Robinson's Old Tom Strong Ale - Robinsons Family Brewers

Not Rated.
Robinson's Old Tom Strong AleRobinson's Old Tom Strong Ale

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BA SCORE
84
good

37 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 37
Hads: 119
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 10
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Robinsons Family Brewers visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mora2000 on 10-12-2010

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 119
Photo of grapetonix
2.57/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Super dark, clear amber with many bubbles. This is good.

S: Weak. Some tones of coffee and walnut but that's it.

T: Surprisingly weak and watery considering the ABV strength. Not bad, Tastes walnut and some bitter hops but once again, too weak!

MF: Quite harsh, but this is not said in an entirely bad tone. Some harshness is unavoidable with alco strengths like this. Unlike cheap strong lagers the aftertaste is not metallic nor unpleasant.

O: Nah, didn't work out for me. Not a horrible beer but this price and alcoholic strength makes me crave for more. (564 characters)

Photo of salvo
2.75/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours murky chestnut brown under a khaki head. Red highlights in a dark brown beer. Very strongly and richly malts with a significant peppery alcohol burn. Very little hop character.

I dunno. I guess it's just not my thing. I'm hoping that the claim to have ben voted "World's Best Ale" happened long before I was drinking ale. (329 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
2.8/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with a small, fading head.
Nose shows stale malt, cardboard, golden syrup, port notes and bready malt.
Similar problems with the flavours, more stale and grainy malt. Over-the-top oxidised notes. Not many other flavours to distract from these flaws.
Too much carbonation threatens to overwhelm any redeeming flavours. (334 characters)

Photo of bark
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The liquid is clear; the colour deep wine red with a tint of brown (30 EBC). The low head quickly sinks down to a pale brown lid.

The smell is rich, nutty and a little roasted. Raisins, marzipan, and plums. Some smooth alcohol. Ripe raspberries.

The taste is quite dry and bitter. It is, to be honest, quite thin. Marzipan, nuts and some raisins. Somewhat metallic dry astringent flavours. They are overall raw and not very mature. The short aftertaste got notes of chocolate, marzipan, raspberry candy and beef stock. The finish is dry. No noticeable alcohol at all.

The carbonation is light, the bubbles small. The liquid is light and dry.

I remember this one as considerable richer and full-bodied. Goes well with dark chocolate, though. (746 characters)

Photo of janubio
3.12/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

500 ml. bottle. Dark colour, with a small off white head that vanishes soon, leaving a small lace. Smell of a damp cellar, chocolate, notes of caramel, red wine. Medium to light (too much light) body, soft palate. TAste of caramel, chocolate red grapes. (253 characters)

Photo of allergictomacros
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear, dark ruby red with a quickly clearing head.

S - Nose is heavy caramel and fruit, dark sugar and heavy alcohol.

T - Big dark, caramelized sugars and muted apple. A little dried fruit, quite sweet and middling bitterness. Definitely on the boozy side.

M - Some heft in the body and a lively, short-lived carbonation.

D - Not really my cup of tea. A little heavy on the dark sugars for me, but if you like that sort of thing... (439 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a thin, brief, ivory-hued head.

Smell: A mingled of a surprising fruitiness of red berries, dates, cherry with sweetish malty accents of treacle, toffee, toasted biscuit tops. Also, some herbal, anise hints and a sniff of the alcohol.

Taste: A quick flush of sweet toffee and caramelized sugar with a lingering sweet-tart cherry fruitiness (with an additional handful of berries, dates). Faintly nutty, chocolatey. Herbal, leafy hops with a bitterness that melds to the alcohol warmth. A little licorice. A hint of soured treacle on the backhalf. Drying right at the last second of the finish.

Mouthfeel: Just a bit above medium-bodied.. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Quite decent. Would've preferred a bit more refinement and a slight, slight boost to the body for some desired chewiness. (833 characters)

Photo of charlatan
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a dark brown beer with a red tint and relatively little head. The nose is fairly strong treacle. The taste is reflective of that, treacle, becoming sweeter after a while and then slightly more minty before a more bitter finish. Simple, but good. (253 characters)

Photo of Patrick_E_Sweeney
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served in a beer tulip, chilled. One finger of off-white head, dark brown/amber color. Aroma is very busy; strong malt with caramel, alcohol, and hints of prunes, dried cherries and pears. Also an herbal component that seems a bit metallic. The taste initially hits with a combination of malt and fruit, particularly cherry and pear. Sweetness dominates for the first half second, then a very slight hoppy bitterness follows.

This beer screams mustiness and age, without seeming stale or unpleasant. It is a very interesting combination of flavors that feels a bit disjointed. Still a good beer, and worth trying once. Seems like a hit-or-miss depending on your particular tastes. (682 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of dark fruit with some sweet toffee notes. The flavor is a mix of toffee, earthy hops, a touch of caramel and chocolate malts and a little bit of hop bitterness. The alcohol is very well hidden. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (356 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 330ml bottle, best before Sept 2008, drank July 2007.

Poured into one of my Gordon Thistle glasses. Very dark brown/red with a well formed off-white head. The head stayed throughout the drink.

Aroma was sweet malts and plum bread. Tangy, malty, old Sharaz wine flavour, very different from other Barley wines I have had over the years.

Complexed and interesting. A very good beer. By far the best beer I have had from the Robinson brewery. (450 characters)

Photo of popery
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark and clear. It's a burgundy-maroon sort of color, like a brown-toned red wine. The small tan head dissipates to wisps within a minute or so.

The aroma is all fruit and caramel. Raspberries, plums, raisins, cherries - it's in that general area. The malt is sugary caramel and toffee. There's a little bit of toastiness to it.

Sweet with more fruitiness and some notes of earthy yeast and chocolate. It has a somewhat Belgian flavor that's more apparent in the taste than aroma, though it's still definitely English in character. There's some nuttiness to the malt and light spicy hops in the finish.

The mouthfeel could be a little fuller and smoother. It's not bad, just a bit thin and sticky.

This is a pretty good beer, but it could use a fuller, more robust sweetness. (786 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce stubby brown bottle, no freshness/bottling date info to be had.

Pours dark mahogony, darker tan head, leaves a thicker film, collar and some minor bits of lace.

Sweat nose of caramel, molasses, and some light chocolate.

Malty, bready and tasty offering. More caramel, bananas, vanilla, with smooth malty sweetness carrying the weight throughout this one. Decent sipper, higher complexity would lead me give higher ratings for this beer. (450 characters)

Photo of jonb5
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into a Leffe chalice. Initially very dark, almost opaque, got lighter and clearer, salmon pink around the edges, colour more copper brown at the end. Aroma was Maris Otter malt and Phenol with a hint of Belgian yeast. Tasted Maris Otter malts, dark chocolate, rasperry and phenol with a hint of belgian yeast. Booze well hidden until the finish where it burned slightly, finish also had a note of espresso. Medium body, very smooth, not much carbonation. Overall a malt forward strong ale, complex but not in the extreme. Could be very good if given a year or two to age. (592 characters)

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz brown pop top bottle with classy raised letters and nice, simple label. Best before June 2012. Picked this up at Sainsbury's in Gateshead. Damnit, how I miss Northumberland...

Appearance: Into my New Belgium Globe, this pours a beautiful dark walnut with bright garnet highlights, crowned by a thick, immensely creamy (almost like nitro) cap of dark ivory foam that shows great retention.

Smell: Near room temperature this shows attractive notes of juicy, almost wine-like dark fruit overlaying a subtle, sweet caramelly malt backbone. Swirling brings out toasty pale malt and a ghostly hint of smoke, which is a bit surprising. This is quintessentially British, and it's quite inviting, even if it's not immensely complex.

Taste: More malt than suggested in the nose. This is actually toasty malt-forward at first. A bit of sugar as well, both in a brown-sugar sort of flavor, and the fact that this feels significantly lighter than a beer of this gravity should. Winey dark fruit takes over the flavors almost immediately, and while I have no reason to believe this has any kind of bugs (esp. Brett) in it, as does Gale's Prize Old Ale, there's just a hint of acidity.

Mouthfeel: Feels like about 6.5%, rather than 8.5%. This aids in drinkability, yes, but I'd like just a bit more malt chewiness here.

Overall: This was on my "gotta find" list for several years, as I love traditional English Old Ales and Barleywines, so I was stoked to find it at Sainsbury's on our first night in Gateshead. Is it all that I hoped for? Well, not quite. I'd opened a bottle of this across the pond and was flat-out disappointed. Seems like I drank that bottle far too cool. At room temperature, this is much better. The booze is wonderfully warming, the dark fruit/winey esters are much nicer than in some examples of this style, melding with the sweet, soft malt background, and the dark caramel is nice as well. Do I love it? No. That being said, it's probably coming up on 9-10 months old (at least) now, and it's aged very nicely. The mouthfeel's a bit thin, but the flavors are nice, and for what I paid for this (about $3.60 US), I would definitely pick up 2-3 of these each winter. Game changer? No. But definitely a well-crafted, ultra-traditional, and quite tasty English Old Ale.

Solid B (84-85) (2,324 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark red brown with a decent head.
Toffee and medium malts on the nose.
Rich and pleasant but not very complex malty flavor.
Way better than Chocolate Old Tom. (162 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml squat bottle, another Liquor Stores Intl/Depot/Barn/Emporium exclusive here in Wild Rose Country. Um, yay?

This beer pours a gently hazy, very dark ruddy amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, fizzy, and broadly bubbly pale beige head, which leaves some weirdly spooky Swiss cheese lace around the glass as things move southwards.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel malt, minor musty toffee notes, my seven-month old's pureed apple and pear mush, a decidedly un-infant-like plum wine booziness, a hint of gritty, stale chocolate, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more of the same, complexly rendered, as it were - bready caramel malt, besotted prune, plum, and dried cherry fruit, a bit of cigar ash, ethereal dark chocolate, musty basement, and more earthy, leafy, and perfume-heavy floral hops.

The bubbles are present, but generally out for no more than a pleasant stroll, the body just on the lee side of medium weight, and tacitly smooth, as a certain metallic essence rears up as it warms. It finishes on the dry side, the fruit bleeding out, the malt packing for vacation, or something, and the noble hops holding down the fort, a fort replete with mellow sipping alcohol.

Definitely old-tasting, but not in the 'something might be dead and buried here' sense of Thomas Hardy's or the like. That is to say, more fruity, than musty and/or dusty, and lighter in bearing. At any rate, and agreeable enough strong English ale - ageism need not come into play here. (1,477 characters)

Photo of MM3
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle had a best before date of February 2011.

The beer has a red/brown color with a small head and low carbonation.

The smell is complex. It is sweet combined with notes of alcohol and mocha/chocolate.

The taste of the beer is similar to the smell. It is sweet, but it is nicely compensated by hints of roasted malt and hop bitterness.

This is a beer to enjoy for a longer period of time. The taste changes as the drink goes warmer. Hints of dark fruit get noticeable. (479 characters)

Photo of FLima
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown reddish color with a one finger beige head with medium retention and leaving some laces.
Aroma of molasses, Port Wine, licorice and mild chocolate.
Delicious flavor of nuts, roasted malts, peppery yeast, English earthy hops with a tangy citrusy, caramels, dark and red fruits, pears, chocolate, Port Wine, mild nice sourness and tobacco, licorice and home-made coffee. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with perfect carbonation. Alcohol of 8.5% abv is very well hidden.
This is a tasty, complex, bold and pleasant old ale. Surprisingly drinkable at 8.5% abv. (574 characters)

Photo of Samp01
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rusty reddish brown with a small lasting beige head. Aroma is of dark malt, chocolate, some gain notes. Taste of dark caramel malt, chocolate. Light bitter notes. Palate is a medium body, mild carbonation, as a nice sweet chocolate flavor. The finish is a combination of dark caramel and chocolate malt, has more of a chocolate liqueur flavor that lingers with light bitterness. Overall a flavorful and tasty brew. (422 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, L1298 bottle code. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee, molasses, raisin, apple, toast, dark bread, light nuttiness, earth, pepper, herbal, and light phenolic esters. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, chocolate, apple, raisin, light nuttiness, earth, toffee, and light herbal spiciness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, dark fruit, apple, toast, biscuit, earth, toffee, nuttiness, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and robustness of flavors; almost no cloying flavors present on the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good old ale. Nice flavor complexity, robustness, and balance; very smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering. (1,090 characters)

Photo of BrewSage1985
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Gorgeous colour in the body, a dark brown with tints of red. Small, light tan head.

S: Smell of plums, raisins, wine/port and other dark fruits. Intense aroma.

T: The taste of port and smooth dark roasted malt hits you straight away, then along comes the plums and dark fruits. Taste of burnt roast malt in the aftertaste and the fire of the alcohol as the taste leaves you, perfect winter warmer. Slight grassy aftertaste. Old Tom hides the alcohol content well. A medium/full mouthfeel but perhaps a bit too much carbonation for this beer.

O: For a commercial beer thats easily available it's quite superb and has a wide range of flavours and aromas. To me, it's best to drink this one slowly and at a temperature of 10 degrees C for the fuller flavour. (761 characters)

Photo of Radome
3.87/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 500 ml bottle bought in England.

A - Deepest brown color with ruby highlights when held up to the light, which also shows it's crystal clear. The head is tan and fairly thick at first, but fades to a thin blanket of fine bubbles.

S - The aroma is yummy. I get brown sugar, raisins, maybe some oak. There is something a bit spicy in there as well, which may be some rum-like alcohol coming through. Hops are there as an earthy and woody note.

T - The taste is not as smooth and velvety as the aroma led me to hope. There is an initial taste of cracked grain and somewhat harsh earthy hops. After that there are some of the raisin and dark sugar notes from the aroma, but they are muted. The alcohol is well hidden.

M - Medium body. Smooth, but low carbonation, as expected for the style. Alcohol is not detectable. Hops bitterness is low to moderate.

O - This beer has a lot of great attributes, but they just don't quite come together in the taste, which is where it really counts. According to the label it was awarded the World's Best Ale in 2009, but that's hard for me to believe, unless it's gone downhill in recent years. (1,147 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased from Half Time Beverage.

It's a gorgeous looking brew; deep golden brown with a 1 finger head of white foam and very impressive lacing.

I also love the smell; loads of dark pitted fruit, a bit of bread, some sweet malt, absolutely nothing bitter in the aroma at all. Well, the style doesn't call for bitterness..

Plums and raisins hit me on my first sip and then, a lot of alcohol. Some caramel sweet working its way in, more fruit and more bread and yes, more alcohol.

This is going to sound weird but sometimes there seems to be a blank area where I can't really taste anything. They are very brief but I'm sure they are there after sensing them more than a few times. Here, I find the aromas of the beer were not lived up to compared to the taste..

The body of this Old Ale is pretty darned light; a major disappointment I have with Old Tom. I'm sure? the cask version, if there is one, would take care of that.

All in all, there are positives than negatives to my way of thinking so I'm glad I bought 4, drank 1, and am saving the other 3 bottles for another time. (1,084 characters)

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle served in a Celebrator glass. Poured a deep reddish brown with a finger of light tan head. Fruit, molasses and a light hop aroma. Nice and malty with more molasses, caramel and some dark fruit. Fair amount of carbonation. Medium bodied. Hoppier finish than I would have expected from a British beer. Nice example of a British Old Ale. (349 characters)

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Robinson's Old Tom Strong Ale from Robinsons Family Brewers
84 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.