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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

181 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 181
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 157
Gots: 35 | 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:
Beer added by: Todd on 11-27-2001

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 
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 181 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aorloski
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of pmarlowe
4.39/5  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.

Photo of mcphish22
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of baybum
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of kojevergas
3.3/5  rDev -26%
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-

Photo of csurowiec
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of harrymel
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1998

Poured slow homie, toffee crystal beer with a glass surface. Lovely hues. Smells of nougat, caramel, candied raisin, toffee, toasted sugars, lots of toffee & caramel. Hint of vanilla. Tastes of caramel, nougat, nut roll, bits of honey, syrup, cola and tawny porto (10 year) - nice flavor. Medium on thin body with light, prickled carb and a wet finish that gave a little hint of alcohol. A gracefully aged beer I'm glad to have tried and received from a great trading partner as an extra.

Photo of andant
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of resistdefy
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Melonie
3.5/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of metter98
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer is relatively clear reddish amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of sherry in the nose along with sweet notes of caramel malts.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is dominated by flavors of sherry and port wine. Notes of malty sweetness are also present.
M: It feels medium-bodied, a little thin and slightly syrupy on the palate with a very low amount of carbonation.
O: Aging this beer definitely intensifies its smell and taste. It is a pleasant and interesting beer to sip and surprisingly the alcohol is very well hidden from the taste.

Note: 1998 vintage (aged 14 years)

Photo of Rempo
1/5  rDev -77.6%

Photo of KAP1356
4.61/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1988 vintage I was able to find at RFD in Washington, D.C. Purchased it to celebrate being done with the PA bar exam...

A - Pours a mild mahogany color with hints of a dark burgundy hues throughout the body. There is little to no carbonation visible and is basically flat - not too surprised there however.

S - Really intoxicating aromas of sherry, port, sweet dark fruits come through up front. Raisins, cherries and some red grape come through nicely. Boat loads of toffee, caramel, and malty goodness come next mixing with the liquer-like scents. Some slight oxidation is noticeable but is welcomed in this bouquet of deliciousness.

T - Man. Sweet port, brandy and sherry flavors come through with raisins being the common theme at the outset. Dark fruits take the stage with raisin, cherry, prunes and red grape being the most noticeable. Delicious toffee and caramel come next with some leather notes and some slight chocolate as well. Oxidation is just right with this one as it has done wonders to this flavor profile.

M - The mouthfeel is a smooth and creamy with no real carbonation. Medium bodied at times bordering on the thicker side with the sweet flavors going on.

O - Really one of the better beers I have encountered in terms of the flavor profile. It is the oldest beer I have ever had. The aging and oxidation that resulted really did wonders for this beer. I can only hope that someday I will be able to find more that has the same character and quality as this vintage did.

Photo of jheezee
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of heygeebee
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing 1998 Vintage thanks to MrKennedy for sharing.

Pours a colour reminds me of transparent marmalade.

Soft aromas of fortified wines, port/sherry/muscat.

Taste is almost port-like, however, amazingly luscious for the ABV. if you watered down port, it would taste watery, this doesn't. MrKennedy picked a vegemite-like character also on front palate, which I concur with. Alcohol, whilst definitely in the mix, does not dominate in anything other than a slightly warming way.

Mouthfeel is outstanding for the year in question, no flatness or dullness present at all.

Overall, a truly amazing brew, and one I was most fortunate enough to be allowed to share in.

Photo of spicelab
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Deep treacle, more or less clear. No head whatsoever, save for some turbulent bubbles here and there.

Masses of rich, woody, dark fruits. Prunes, muscatels, bark, liquorice and brandy drenched fruit cake. A hint of oxidation mars an otherwise sublime nose.

Thankfully, the oxidation doesn't come through. Brandy snap, sherry, golden syrup pudding, dates and liquorice. So deep and brooding. Fuckin delightful.

Difficult to describe the mouthfeel because it's so unobtrusive. Not big, nor syrupy, nor boozy. Does exactly what it needs for the flavour profile show its wares.

Delectable. Started out impressed but not blown away, however once this settles into is groove it's an uncanningly classy piece of work.

Photo of MrKennedy
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle, 1994 vintage, into a Cigar City snifter.

Pours dead still, no carbonation whatsoever. Dark brown colour with a light ruby tinge when held up to the light.

Smell is of port, prune juice, raisins and vegemite. No oxidation, this has held up sublimely well!

Tastes of port, mixed with sherry and with a little bit of soy and toffee. No oxidation or dated taste to it, still retains plenty of punch with its characteristics. So complex, a wonderful mix of port and sherry.

It doesn't need the carbonation. Given the typical flavour profile, a still beer is fitting. Very warming, this hasn't thinned out one bit, decadent, full bodied and a massively long finish.

Brilliant, arguably the best of any of the Eldridge Pope vintages that I've tried. Such fullness of flavour, lack of oxidation and thinning leaves this as a truly world class beer. Here's hoping someone takes over from O'Hanlons in resurrecting this rightly famous beer!

Photo of ajs4bd
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of pma7779
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of stoutman
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

VERY NICE! Have a few mid 1980's bottle in my cellar and opened this 1989 Vintage bottle to staste what aging does... not much as it tastes much the same as 20 years ago! Poured deep brown with no head. Nose had dark fruits like prunes and raisins. Low carbonation, some oxidization, brown sugar, fortified fruit and alcoholic flavors. A very flavorful beer.

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of tbeer40
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of smi
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of ale1
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i was fortunate to have several cases of this reserved in my cellar over the years, we have reviewed this wonderfull ale before and seems to have gone missing. I use this ale as the benchmark for all others a 5+++ in it's old style i hate to see the greediness with only 4 small bottles now available and not even quite the same, but close

pours a deep ruby red with natural carbonation and lots of lacing , reminds me of a fine brandy in a large glass , nose of raisins,plums,pear, barleywine

almost gone now my stock of the old ale ,it is for us priveleged few in jupiter Florida that had the foresight to save some so nyaahh nyah nyaah nyaahhh

go pout with your bottled budwizer

Photo of RoryOMoore
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
98 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.