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Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) - O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.

Not Rated.
Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999)Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

179 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 179
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 154
Gots: 33 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.70% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This entry is for vintages brewed by Eldridge Pope & Co. PLC. / Thomas Hardy Brewery from 1968 to 1999. O'Hanlon's took over the brand and revived it in 2003:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... 1533/16858 

(Beer added by: Todd on 11-27-2001)
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Ratings: 179 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of iatethecloudsfor
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of hilgart1
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of Steve_Oldrati
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of DLucky
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of harsley
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Cstromberg57
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Arloxen
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of HBBJ
4.69/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

1987 vintage, saved for a special occasion.

Appearance: Deep, dark brown with just a tinge of orange. Clear as a beer this dark could be. No carbonation, but what would one expect with a 26 year old beer.

Smell: Rich, sweet aroma, filled with raisins, figs, molasses, toffee, and oak. Very much like a Pedro Ximenez sherry.

Taste: An explosion of flavor. Sweet, with dark fruits, malt and oak intertwined. Some acidity and hop bitterness keep it from being cloying. Alcohol perceptible, but not overwhelming. Sweetness fades in the aftertaste, leaving a pleasant, warm, dry sensation.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body. Coats the tongue, and doesn't want to let go.

Overall: Still crazy (good) after all these years. I didn't have much expectation with a beer this old, but it delivered. A beer for lightly sipping and savoring.

Photo of ramblinwreck101
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Michigan
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of valdieu2
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of TheBeeraholic
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of kscaldef
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of beernads
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Absolut
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of JMBSH
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of stakem
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

'96 vintage 330ml bottle poured into a matching Thomas Hardy's snifter. The cap pries off with a slight hiss and vigorously poured down the center of my glass releases a few large bubbles that collect around the perimeter of the glass and fade to nothing in a short amount of time. The brew is a dark cherry to mahogany color when resting in my glass but when held to the light appears as a brilliant clear ruby color that fades to orange and then almost yellow at its outer most edges. When the glass is swirled and tilted, some leggings of alcohol slowly droop down the wall of the glass.

The aroma is like sherry with plenty of alcohol esters slightly driven by fruity qualities. Raisins, prunes and dates give way to toffee and a slight medicinal feel and faint herbal hop edge. Some earthiness is present along with a mild musty touch of cardboard-like oxidation. Notes of chocolate blend with almost a hint of dried grassiness. I hate to compare this 16 year old brew to itself in other vintages without actually having those other vintages open at the time of this review but lets just say that while this does smell good overall, there are other vintages both younger and older that have a bit more depth of character without showing their age.

The taste is earthen with an alcohol kick that leads the way tasting minorly medicinal. The flavors of dark fruits remind me of apple skins, pears and over-ripe cherry or the pits of cherries. As the brew warms up, more of a raisin flavor comes into play with a hint of seedy dates or prunes. The oxidation shows up not only in the aromatics but also the flavor towards the finish. There are suggestions of wet paper to cardboard present into the aftertaste with a hint of herbal hops. When focusing on the residual maltiness, a hint of chocolate emerges and a touch of dusty grain. Like I mentioned in the tail end of my aroma notes, other vintages of Thomas Hardy might showcase this brew's real potential moreso than what I am writing here.

This is a full bodied brew with a very soft, light amount of carbonation that visually is completely lacking but in the feel is present enough to keep the flavors of the brew moving across the palate. It is felt in an accenting way to the alcohol that glides across the tongue keeping it almost lighter in the feel. I enjoy Thomas Hardy's Ale quite a bit. I have enjoyed many different years of this brew from freshly released yeas ago to excess of 20 years old. I selected this random vintage to write my review tonight and admittedly will need to revisit. Even though all of my bottles have been stored exactly the same way, I think this bottle shows more oxidation than any of the other vintages I have opened to date. Still good, just not as good as some of the others both younger and older. Regardless, Thomas Hardy's Ale remains a classic and a brew I wish I had more of nearly every time I partake in a bottle.

Photo of patm1986
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of nebula1999
4.73/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

~1996~

Dusted off this 17 year old from the cool winter cellar and poured it at cellar temp (55F) into oversized snifter glass. No refrigeration required. Deep ruby/brown color. Very bright in the glass when held up to the light. Small ring of tan foam with medium sized bubbles settles around edge of glass fading quickly. Some floaters, but nothing to worry about.

Aroma is detectible within seconds of popping the cap even before pouring it. A proper slow pour so as not to disturb too much sediment unleashes a torrent of dark fruit, dank aromas. Raisin right off the bat with molasses, fig, prune, burnt toast, smoke(?) and alcohol. Extremely inviting.

The taste brings all those aromatics to the forefront with a moderate to somewhat intense sweetness on the mid tongue. No hop or bitterness whatsoever. No oxidation in this vintage either. All malt, sweet & decadent dark fruit and booze. Continual swirling brings back a fleeting head.

Mouthfeel is somewhat oily, yet lean. Definitely not as brothy as young editions. Aging brings out that liquor/vinous essence whereas younger versions are thicker, beefier and even chewy. A real shame that 2008 was the last vintage produced. Might never experience that youngness again. Young or aged, they are almost like different beers altogether.

Photo of aorloski
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of pmarlowe
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to seeswo for this. One of my favorite authors and favorite styles. 1999 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark cola color, all the way to clear around the rim, with a few bubbles but otherwise flat.

S: Caramel, candied dark plum and raisin, and mild to moderate oxidation and sherry flavors. The nose reminds me of a vintage port.

T: Rich, decadent caramel, raisin, sherry, on a long finish. Wow, this is delicious. Fairly sweet, this is again reminiscent of port for me.

M: Light carbonation and full bodied, a tad syrupy. Alcohol is completely hidden.

O: This is a superb dessert beer. Definitely a sipper, something to enjoy a nip of. Showcases how good a non-BA english barley wine can be.

Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
99 out of 100 based on 179 ratings.