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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
98
world-class

175 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 153
Gots: 32 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) Alström Bros
Ratings: 175 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -10.5%

imperialking, Sep 03, 2013
Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -10.5%

drewone, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of harsley
5/5  rDev +11.9%

harsley, Jul 26, 2013
Photo of Cstromberg57
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Cstromberg57, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of Arloxen
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Arloxen, Jul 10, 2013
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.

HBBJ, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of ramblinwreck101
4/5  rDev -10.5%

ramblinwreck101, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of Michigan
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Michigan, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of valdieu2
5/5  rDev +11.9%

valdieu2, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of TheBeeraholic
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

TheBeeraholic, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of kscaldef
4/5  rDev -10.5%

kscaldef, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of beernads
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

beernads, May 31, 2013
Photo of Absolut
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Absolut, May 30, 2013
Photo of JMBSH
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

JMBSH, Apr 21, 2013
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.

stakem, Mar 15, 2013
Photo of patm1986
5/5  rDev +11.9%

patm1986, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

mdaschaf, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

t0rin0, Mar 02, 2013
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.

nebula1999, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of aorloski
5/5  rDev +11.9%

aorloski, Jan 18, 2013
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.

pmarlowe, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of mcphish22
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

mcphish22, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of baybum
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

baybum, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
3.3/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

1999 vintage. Acquired at a certain bottle shop in Southern California. Cost was $30.00. ABV is marked as 11.70%, but it's probably gone up over the years. 330ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap and understated appealing label served into a pilsner glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given its current ratings.

Served after a brief period of rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with tortilla crisps.

A: Pours a quarter finger light khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, but merely average strength. No eat particles are visible. No bubble show. Body colour is a very dark caramel amber. Doesn't look fantastic, but it's par for the style.

Sm: A downright pungent aroma of sweet rich malts, heavy scotch, nice sweet caramel, biscuit malt, and buried dark fruit. As powerful as an aroma can usually get. Alcohol is notable. No yeast character is detectable. It kind of turns me away, but I want to tame the beast.

T: Rich malt, caramel, caramalt, rich scotch notes, biscuit malt, and heavy malty sweetness Heavy on the malt, if that wasn't clear. It certainly doesn't taste 13 years old. It's a rich malty flavour profile. Prunes. Tobacco. No real yeasty character. Some alcohol does come through. I think I like it; it's just so rich and refined. The rich scotch notes are delightful: caramel, hints of vanilla, some booze, refined malt, and awesomely subtle toasted character. Well put together, but it's not quite balanced. Aftertaste of malty molasses syrup.

Mf: A bit syrupy - especially on the finish. Otherwise, it's nicely smooth and wet. Good carbonation, even after all these years. Complements the flavour somewhat, but it has its flaws.

Dr: Even after 13 years, it's still a tasty beer. The refined scotch notes are a plus, but the syrupy finish is a turn off. It's not without its weaknesses, but I do like it overall. The cost isn't justified, but it's certainly a tasty brew. I do think its peak was hit years ago. I wouldn't bother trading for it. Hides its high ABV well. One tasty, complex, and uniquely rewarding beer.

Low B-

kojevergas, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of csurowiec
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

csurowiec, Dec 26, 2012
Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
98 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.