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
85
very good

116 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 116
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 14.51%
Wants: 10
Gots: 21 | 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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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 36
Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice fluffy head of about 1 finger fades at a med pace with a bit of lacing and finishes with nice groups of bubbles floating on the top, very dark murky molasses cola brown color with hints of maroon light.

Nose is nice, soft aged brown malts, various toasty brown malts, molasses, toasted nuts, light biscuit, light fruity aroma, almost hazelnut like earthy root. Then some herbal hops, not a lot but enough to give a light bitterness and let you know its there. Some caramel, touch of booze, light esters, and a hint of cocoa.

Taste is similar, toasty brown malts, plenty of biscuit and caramel, toffee, toasted nuts with a hint of hazelnut. Herbal earthy root like tastes with that herbal hop bitterness as well, earthy and slight salty. Slightly syrupy with a bit of a booze kick. Soft aged brown malts are there but drowned out by the other flavors. Finish is a bit drier but slightly sticky, but of herbal hops and earthy root and nut like flavors linger with a hint of syrupy flavors.

Mouth is a bit bigger bodied, semi soft, decent carb, some warning and tingly booze.

Overall nice, good malts, a bit syrupy but not too much, bit too much booze, nice flavors, not what I expected from a UK beer with how big it is, but the hops remind me it is.

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.6/5  rDev -5%
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.

Photo of Billolick
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of bark
3.02/5  rDev -20.3%
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.

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +5.5%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color with ruby tints and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. OK lacing.

S: A strong aroma of malt, dark fruit, and sweet elements.

T: Tasted of caramel, dark fruit (plums), molasses, malt, and a vinous quality. A pretty solid flavor, with a nice amount of complexity. There's a slight booziness, but it's pretty well masked. A good flavor.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a sharp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, this is a well made beer. Not without some minor flaws, but definitely drinkable.

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong, malty aroma has a firm fruity overtone, mainly apple with a hint of banana, and touches of caramel, yeast and - varnish? Actually the latter is not really bad. Pours a dark reddish amber, almost mahogany, with a thick and fluffy pale golden tan head. Very appealing! Flavor has a strong malty core and notes of apple, banana and caramel. That darn varnish-like taste pops up, though. Smooth, firm texture has plenty of fizz and leaves a lasting tingle. Finish is malty and fruity. This ale is the cat’s meow!

Photo of Brenden
4.29/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Old Tom is a thick, opaque dark brown with a dark red hue in the body. It forms a light, creamy tan head that rises up to one finger tall and retains a solid half finger all the way. Creamy lacing is left in leggy patches.
With chocolate, molasses, dark fruits and rich, hearty breads, this beer is as advertised both in the nose and in the flavor. It also imparts a distinctively English minerality with a slight metallic note. Dark, thick, moist raisin bread is what comes to mind. It's rich and, surprisingly, doesn't come off as too sweet. Alcohol that's not overt in the nose sits underneath and warms gently in the finish. A gentle note of herbal hops is present, though malts bring the show in every way. A bite of spiciness pulls through at the end of the sip. I don't know what people here are looking for, but this beer is exactly what the brewer advertises it to be.
Crisp up front with a bit of smoothness, the feel may be the only aspect of this beer that's lacking. It goes just a little tinny, and the thin body can't quite support all the heft.

Photo of CrazyDavros
2.8/5  rDev -26.1%
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.

Photo of AgentMunky
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a wine glass. Best before 11 November.

A: Pours very dark, too dark to see through unless directly in the light, when it glows red. Nice frothy head sticks around at the edges of the surface.

S: Sour and strange, almost lambic-like. Traces of seaweed or salt. Some sweeter smells from alcohol or malts underneath. Soured apples and burnt brown sugar? A sweaty orchard? Very difficult to describe. The only other aroma as interestingly bizarre I can recall is that of Orval. [Edit: After I drank a little bit and poured the last third of the bottle, the funkiness became muted. Now I only smell fruity malt and a distant background sourness. Pity; I quite liked the earlier, quirkier scents.]

T: Taste follows smell. Mostly malty-sweet, light caramelised notes, a hint of raisin, and an unfamiliar flavour I attribute to the port finish. Ever-lurking in the background is the lambic-esque sourness. The aftertaste is very wine-like; dry, puckery, and very nice.

M: Smooth, with a bit of tartness. Pleasant.

D: Definitely an interesting -- and enjoyable -- experience, which I hope to repeat sooner rather than later. Recommended.

Photo of popery
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of FLima
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.), tasted in 2011.

Appearance : reddish amber color, with tan foamy head.
Smell : dark fruit aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : alcohol presence, with sherry notes and a dry finish.
Drinkability : a nice beer in the English style Old Ale.

Photo of soju6
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark ruby color with a off white head that fades to bites of lacing.

S: Aroma of Malt, dark fruit, some carmel bit of chocolate and spices.

T: Taste of malt, caramel, trace of chocolate and spices. Mild bitterness and quite clean with a bit of lingering spice.

F: Moderate body, smooth with a unique rich flavor that is enhanced as it warms.

O: Good beer for the style. Probably would go best on a cold winter evening. Worth checking out.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
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...

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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)

Photo of Radome
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of Samp01
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of jonb5
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of charlatan
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Robinson's Old Tom Strong Ale from Robinsons Family Brewers
85 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.