Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Mean Old Tom - Maine Beer Company

Not Rated.
Mean Old TomMean Old Tom

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

416 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 416
Hads: 2,128
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 9.37%
Wants: 119
Gots: 379 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Maine Beer Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: dciBA on 03-03-2010

Our American-style stout aged on organic vanilla beans. Intense notes of coffee and dark chocolate lead way to subtle notes of natural vanilla. Flaked oats generate a silky mouthfeel.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 416 | Hads: 2,128
Photo of Devoidb
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- it pours a dark brown with a nice tan head.

S- smells of rich roasted malts, dark chocolate with a slight vanilla bean scent.

T- a great stout with a nice caramelized malt flavor that finishes a bit sweet. lightly hopped but very well balanced.

M- good carbonation, body isn't as thick as I was expecting but it was a very refreshingly smooth stout.

O- It's a great stout, I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't super "heavy" and I could easily enjoy this brew on a summer day.

 479 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, near black, cap of firm khaki head, decent lacing. Scent brings heavy roast from grain, light char even, bitter cocoa and baking chocolate, heavy roasted coffee beans, light berry like whiffs, moderate lingering creamy sweetness. Taste begins with big roast yet again, clouds positive notes of chocolate, coffee and berry and the vanilla is no where to be seen except a faint twinge of potent alcohol laden extract. Body thinner for style, carbonation moderate and beer has a faint graininess despite being mostly smooth. A decent stout heavy in roast and lacking the vanilla.

 596 characters

Photo of oline73
3.16/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with just a bit of light coming through at the edges. There is just under a finger of light tan head that fades to a small layer on top of the pour.

Smell: The roast dominates right off the bat. The the grain shows up and reminds me of cereal, but burnt cereal with you add the roast. There is a mild sweetness to this beer as well.

Taste: This is a solid stout, but I'm not picking up much vanilla. Roasty and fairly smooth. The grain definitely dominate. No real hop bitterness to speak of. The finish is slightly sweet and roasty.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit thin given the style. Smooth carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: Not a bad stout, but not overly exciting either. In the future, I would probably pass on this and just have some of the other Maine beers.

 856 characters

Photo of Firkin-Bunghole
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint .9 fl oz bottle 11/10/11 bottle date

Appearance-Black body with medium brown head that recedes in a minute

Smell-Milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, not picking up any vanilla sadly

Taste-I picked up this stout due to the natural vanilla beans description-i couldn't discern vanilla in the taste, I picked up alot of milk chocolate, roastiness and slight coffee. The beer was very easy to drink.

Mouthfeel-Pretty light, average on the carbonation.

Overall-Don't know if I waited too long from the 11/10/11 bottle date to pick up on the vanilla beans. With the price $6.49/bottle may pick up a fresh bottle again as this is a stout that could be enjoyed any time of year. Wouldn't repeat trying to age it though

 727 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A fairly vigorous pour yields nothing more than a fingers worth of light to medium brown slightly creamy froth with an active rocky top... Still with no discernible carbonation... A light flat black color that allows just the slightest bits of light to leak in around the edges of the glass...

S - The roasted malt is predominant... Very faint hints of dark chocolate and mild coffee... Any vanilla notes are quite subtle... Fairly standard and pedestrian for the style...

T - Roasted malts... A bit nutty... Some dark chocolate... A faint kiss of coffee... Dark bread notes... Again, I really struggle to find any vanilla... A unique slightly burnt after taste lingers...

M - On the lighter side of medium bodied... Perhaps a bit on the thin side... Limited carbonation... Sleek... A slightly chalky finish...

D - A very average American Stout... Text book for the style... Though nothing blew me away, this is a very solid beer... My biggest complaint is that for a brew that's aged on vanilla beans, this one had almost no vanilla to speak either in the aroma or on the palette... Solid, but uninspired would be best description...

 1,146 characters

Photo of kscaldef
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to rlmartin for the bottle. What I believe is a bottling date on the label reads 111011.

A: Pours quite dark with a large, dense, tan head that leaves lots of lacing on the glass

S: Roasty, woody aromas with a little undertone of raisin or prune. I'm not picking up on any vanilla notes, though.

T: Lots of roast, coffee, and light cacao. Finish is woody, but with a bit of lightly acidic brightness.

M: Very light body for a stout and not much linger. Fairly bitter, but clean finishing.

O: I'm a bit disappointed that the vanilla seems completely MIA, but if I hadn't been promised that on the bottle I'd be quite happy with the drinkability of this beer. It does seem a bit light compared to some stouts, but it's got good flavor.

 745 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first thought on appearance is Coke with a bigger longer lasting head. Dark brown/Blake body, ruby highlights, and a light tan loudly fizzing head that started at five fingers and settled down to a more stable three.

Aroma is coffee au lait, milk chocolate, and just a hint of vanilla, then the vanilla releases more as the head recedes.

Taste is a little different, the coffee more of a black dark roast and much more dominate. Just a shadow of chocolate and a twinge of vanilla.

Mouthfeel could be a bit cheesier.

A good effort from a brewery to watch.

 561 characters

Photo of Number45forever
2.9/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was in my local store and saw this...a stout aged on natural vanilla beans. Having never head of this beer, I picked it up with high hopes.

Pours jet black with little head and very visible carbonation.

Smells roasty, with a lot of hops. You would have no idea this is supposed to be a vanilla stout. Coffee smells.

Taste is quite plain. Not bad, completely unoffensive. NO VANILLA whatsoever. Coffee is the dominant flavor, a lot of hops for a stout. Some malty sweetness I guess. It's ok.

Moutfeel is way too carbonated for a stout. I prefer a smoother feel.

Overall, this beer is average. I wouldn't seek it out again, but I'll have no problem finishing this 17oz bottle. I cannot believe this is supposed to be vanilla. This should be labelled as a stout, not a stout aged on vanilla.

 795 characters

Photo of cradke
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A great black stout with a fine finger thick head.

Smell: Malty. Some chocolate. The vanilla isn't as strong as I would have liked.

Taste: A decent stout. Nice sweetness. Very little bitter notes. Like the nose, it's missing the vanilla I was looking for. Solid beer but a little plain jane.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation throughout. A little thin but pretty good.

Overall: A solid beer. I was hoping for more vanilla which wasn't in the nose or taste. The beer had good sweetness and an almost total lack of bitterness. The beer didn't have anything which wowed but it had nothing that offended. A great beer to keep in the fridge.

 648 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer provided by Dan, thanks Dan. On my wants list no less. Beer is black with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet almost vanilla, a little roast.

Beer tastes a little plain, the aroma was the best part, medium bodied, nice finish, a little bitter, dry, good mouthfeel and connectivity and a nice finish. I may have this again.

 372 characters

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.76/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra. Poured into a half pint glass, my favorite glass. Its black, if held to light the edges are tawny brown, light tan head, plenty of lacing a nice looking stout, just rather poor retention. Aroma of coffee, bitter chocolate, charcoal, english yeast. Smells a little to estery for an american stout. No vanilla detected. Tastes like fresh roasted coffee, bitter cocoa, charceterful english yeast, again not much if any vanilla. Really very roasty malts This stout tastes slightly hollow for some reason and chalky. While there is something left to desire in the aroma and taste the texture is full and velvety. I was hoping for more from a brewery I really love. I mean I really, really love lunch, zoe, and peeper, mean old tom just fell a little short for me....sorry Main Beer Company, but don't worry I still love the rest of your products.

 863 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 fl oz brown bottle served in an oversized wine glass.

Bottled on 01/05/12.

Deep oak in color, semi opaque. Slightly off white head that fades to an intact sheet while leaving a thin ring of lace around the glass. A bit of thin lacing with decent strength.

Mildly rich coffee aroma complimented by a clean, dry hazelnut. The roasted malt character is in the background with touches of milk chocolate.

Bitter dark chocolate with a rather intense, freshly roasted espresso flavor. Very minor notes of vanilla; however, the expected sweetness is practically absent. The floral hop bitterness at mid sip is moderate and works well with the roasted flavors. Notes of hazelnut and light alcohol in the aftertaste.

Full bodied. A really nice textural balance between a bit of roughness and spots of slickness.

Overall a pretty pleasant stout. My only real criticism is that although the flavors are not quite flawed, they are a bit muted. Based on Mean Old Tom, I'll try more of the Maine Beer Company's other offerings.

 1,024 characters

Photo of billab914
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into my Devil's Backbone tulip. It poured black in color with a thin, frothy head to it. Nice lacing as I drank it.

In the aroma I get a good amount of roasted malts mixing with some notes of vanilla and chocolate. The vanilla was nice and seemed to smooth out some of the roasted malt flavors.

The taste also shows a lot of roasted malts to it throughout. I get some coffee flavors with some slight burnt notes to it mixing with a sweeter vanilla flavor. A little bitter-sweet dark chocolate is there as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being below average. It felt a little thin and over carbonated for my tastes in the style. Overall it was a pretty good beer, nicely flavored and easy drinking. Very enjoyable overall.

 768 characters

Photo of Gatch
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with a gorgeous medium brown, frothy head. Good legs but no head retention or lacing.

S: Roasted malt and a lot of coffee. Notes of dark chocolate and some vanilla.

T: Tons of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and some vanilla in the finish. Very faint, though, and not as present in the beer as expected or as I would have liked.

M: Body becomes much better as it warms. I couldn't help but think of a porter when this beer was cold. But it thickens up and the flavors get better.

O: Another fantastic beer from Maine Beer Co. A great example of the style.

 572 characters

Photo of BigPlay1824
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a very deep black with a finger of bubbly deep mocha colored head that lingers nicely and becomes more creamy in character over time, leaves a ton of lacing
S: really great coffee malt scent, very deep, vanilla is there just slightly at the end
T: hmm, im kind of disappointed, this is kind of a run of the mill stout, coffee malt notes but not much more, finishes with a slight burnt flavor which lingers on the palate long afterwards
M: a bit aggressive on the carbonation, drinks thick and leaves the palate cleanly
O: it was nice, drank nicely, tasted good, nothing stood out though, i had hoped for more of the vanilla flavor but really none of it came through which was disappointing. the only brew ive had from the folks up in maine that i likely wouldnt buy again, o well

 813 characters

Photo of n2185
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours black with two fingers of khaki head that fades into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: lots of roasted and smokey malt aromas up front followed by sweet vanilla and cocoa notes.

T: again, lots of roasted, smokey, and bitter malt characteristics. The finish has some slight vanilla notes, but they're subtle compared to the smokey flavors.

M: medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is slightly watery.

O: a pretty decent beer, though I'd like more vanilla presence. It's very smokey and roasted and not sweet at all.

 547 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.42/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

16.9 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very deep purple, almost black. Beige head settles very quickly, lacing is sparse and patchy.

S: Lots of creamy vanilla and vanilla bean. Reminds me of the vanilla bean ice cream I used to make. Roasty and chocolatey scents underneath. Mostly cocoa and chocolate syrup. A bit of french roast and earthy yeast too.

T: Sweet cola-like character up front is quickly punctuated by woody and smokey malt tastes. Vanilla was so prevalent in the nose, but it's hard to place here; just the slightest hint of it within all the roasted malt. The chocolatey presence is also all but silent in the taste, with only a slight flavor of dark cocoa. Semi-dry finish with tastes of woody smoke, black cocoa powder, and a touch of vanilla.

M: Thin and somewhat watery in the mouth. Just enough carbonation to keep it from being totally flat. Very slightly silky. Not much body to it; lacks substance.

O: This beer tastes like a pretty decent home brew, not the product of a production brewery. It smelled great, but the taste just did not follow. The lack of body also contributed to its mediocrity.

Notes: I kept hoping that it would open up a little if I let it warm, but it didn't. This one needs to be revised, I think.

 1,264 characters

Photo of pschul4
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Axic10 for this extra!

A- Pours a cola brown with a 1 finger tan head that recedes to a ring around the top of the brew

S- Definite vanilla notes with roasty malt flavors in the background

T- Sweet notes to go with the roasty malts you get from the nose. Not straight vanilla but some sucrose sweetness keeping everything tasty

M- Thin :( If this beer were thicker it would be phenominal.

O- I really enjoy this and would love to be able to try it again

 469 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a dark brown, near black with a one+ finger khaki head. Good retention with some faint sip marks.

The aroma is of mild roast coffee, a touch of milk chocolate and fresh vanilla beans. There is an overarching sweetness that works to balance out the bitterness of the roast.

The flavor profile mimics the nose. Some bitter roast coffee mixed with some sweet milk chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla blends with the roast for a nice lingering finish.

Medium body with moderately high carbonation. The vanilla beans seem to help lift the beer off the palate, making it feel thinner than it really is.

This is good beer. The vanilla beans do not overpower in any way. Well-crafted american stout. I could drink this any day.

 766 characters

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like I expect a "Stout" should pour-- dark brown almost black color-- topped by a short lived head that laced the glass.

A slight nose of toasted malt.

The flavor isn't particularly up front and center. This beer is a stout, but maybe it's because I've been quaffing too many RIS's that when I see stout I expect WEIGHT! This beer doesn't provide that. It's a mild stout in every respect- ABV, flavor stance, even I might add complexity. there's the hops bitterness, hints of toasted malt, a little chocolate thrown in, maybe some sweetneess even.

Mouthfeel is quite cordial-- remember this is a mild flavored stout. But this beer's finishes quickly leaving me wanting more flavor, and more at the finish.

Overall I would choose this beer as a "lite" stout.

Now what exactly "aged ON natural vanilla beens" is-- stout filled barrels placed on a pile of vanilla beans-- or stout filled barrels fed a few vannilla beans from time to time... good question.

 965 characters

Photo of Viciousknishs
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- pours an ebony color with a creamy looking light tan head. Good retention with some lacing as well.

S- bakers chocolate, soft roasted malt and cocoa aromas hit the nose at first. Light roast coffee beans and vanilla notes come out as well.

T- semi-sweet chocolate and iced coffee hit the palate at first. Soft roasted malt quality and a oily walnut note are there mid palate. Finishes with assertive vanilla bean flavor and more dark chocolate.

MF- slick oily mouthfeel with a light weak body and natural bottle conditioned carbonation! A thicker body and silky mouthfeel would do wonders for this brew.

D- really drinkable.

Overall a good stout with awesome vanilla tones. Just a little to thin and delicate.

 718 characters

Photo of bitterbeerguy
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After a long week, I decided to open this bottle with a fellow beer enthusiast.

Pours a lite midnight color. I realize this is kind of an oxymoron, but it is the perfect description. Very dark, but not terrible dense. Nice small off-white bubbles grace the top at first and subside quickly.

Aroma is balanced between chocolate, coffee and vanilla. Really the vanilla did it for me. With that said, I was surprised how the notes were all very subtle- so often I find American Stouts have more pronounced flavors, but that's OK by me.

Taste- I was initially a little disappointed by this- a little weak body for the complexity of the aroma. With that said, I let it sit 15 minutes and that helped to make those flavors arrive. The vanilla won the race for me, and really why I would recommend this brew to others. Some beers talk about vanilla, but MOT had it spot on. Some light notes of marshmallow fluff, caramel, and butterscotch linger in the background.

Overall, a very nice way to begin a wonderful evening with friends.


 1,039 characters

Photo of sprucetip
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle dated 11.10.11, so about 3 months in the bottle.

Black but not thickly so, as it is translucent and reveals good clarity when backlit. It is highly active, has a finger of mocha head that stays for a bit and leaves scraps of lacing.

The aroma includes a modest level of roast, a wee nip of vanilla, and some malty sweetness. It is not especially rich, strong, deep or complex. But it is well balanced and pleasant, and seems to become more robust throughout the sample.

The taste is composed of much the same elements as the nose. The roast is far from bold, the vanilla is so minimal that it is more like the vanilla tones imparted from an oak barrel that does not actually have any vanilla in it, and is joined by some mildly sweet malty character. There is some ever so faint roasty bitterness. It is very smooth and balanced, if not particularly complex or robust.

The strong carbonation occasionally burns a little but not uusally, it has a medium/full body, and is just a really smooth and easy drinking mid sized stout.

This is clearly a very well made beer. It is smooth and balanced, but not very complex or aggressive in the smell or flavor. It is an easy drinker, and does have some limited depth. Perhaps the vanilla comes through stronger when it is more fresh? This bottle came off a warm shelf, and was 3 months in the bottle. But, at $7 for a 500ml bottle, Cadillac Mountain at $5 for a 650 or $11 for a sixer is looking pretty good. Maine Beer Co makes nice beer, but I don’t think it is quite as good as it should be for the elite level pricing it sells for.

 1,601 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pint at Valhalla in NYC for $8, comes filled to the brim with barely a line of mocha-colored head and lotsa bubbles. Pretty good retention for that tiny head, and beautiful lacing.

Smell: As in the bottle, the nose is underwhelming. Slight roastiness, maybe a whiff of vanilla. Opaque.

Taste: Full roasty flavor, followed by dairy and pleasantly sour milk. Sort of like week-old half-and-half. Nice vanilla at the end. A bit of coffee and bitter chocolate. Just beautiful.

Mouthfeel: Well-rounded, with full roasty flavor, medium body and fine carbonation. Not dry, bonus! Creamy and oily to boot.

Overall: A wonderfully balanced, drinkable stout. Way better than the bottle!

 692 characters

Photo of shangwang
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Stumbled on Mean Old Tom on tap at Ron's Original tonight. Served in a Chimay goblet.

There was a dark black appearance to the body, with a half-finger of frothy tan head that dissipated to a thin layer rather quickly, leaving some soft, foamy lacing behind. It smelled very strongly of coffee, but it wasn't as much a dark roast smell as it was a sweet mocha with hints of vanilla. The taste was more bitter than I expected from the smell, and I got baker's chocolate, medium roast coffee, and a hint of vanilla. The mouthfeel was much waterier than I expected; it was rather light in the mouth with almost no carbonation. In fact, I'd say it was flat, which was disappointing.

Overall, I was let down by the taste after the expectations I had from the smell and appearance. It wasn't a bad beer, but I was hoping the vanilla would be a major contributor to the taste, and it just wasn't. The mouthfeel was extremely disappointing - it had no body, which would have added a lot. I doubt I'll be seeking this one out again with the number of other beers in this style that have great character.

 1,096 characters

Mean Old Tom from Maine Beer Company
88 out of 100 based on 416 ratings.