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Old Tom - Frederic Robinson Limited

Not Rated.
Old TomOld Tom

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

157 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 157
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.3%
Wants: 2
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Frederic Robinson Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cokes on 01-13-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 157 | Reviews: 94
Photo of endless1408
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought from the Aeon at American Village, Okinawa.

A - Pours thick and dark like espresso with a fine two fingers of dark cream on top.
S - Coffey, toffee, caramel, mocha, mollasses, anything and everything delicious
T - The first thing that hits is the Belgique yeast explosion on my tongue, followed shortly by roasted malts and a smattering of the above scents becoming flavor in addition to sweet pit fruits, namely red cherries.
M - Medium to heavy on the tongue with staying power and warmth from the booze. Extremely pleasant carbonation fits the bill nicely.

Overall: This beer came right out of nowhere and made my night. It is always a relief to find good beers in Okinawa, this being a classic no less.

Photo of bacher468
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of Packard
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Photo of BeerDocT
4.26/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Label proclaims it the "World's Best Ale." Hmph. We'll see.

Appearance 3.75: Pours out a murky, opaque dark brown. Very little head and no lacing. Still, this is quite a difference from your typical yellow ale.

Smell 4.50: Ho, wow! As I poured this brew in the bottle, a big wave of malt and caramel seeped up and hit me in the olfactory senses! Amazing bouquet on this beer. Malt, caramel, grassy hops, butterscotch, I could go on but won't.

Taste 4.25: Front is slightly sweet and tart with a lovely hint of malted barley. Middle is slightly caramely with more of the barley and a very nice hint of grassy hops. Finish is so smooth with just a delightful blend of caramely, buttery malt and light hops. Balanced and no over the top sweetness. Aftertaste is long and you get more of that lovely malt along with a pleasant earthy taste reminiscent of porta bella mushrooms.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Beautiful and balanced and outstanding.

Overall 4.25: Excellent beer. Big, balanced and no hint at all of its 8%+ ABV. Smooth, delicious and just an excellent ale, this baby may very well be the best of its kind in the world. It really reminds me of a Scottish ale, what with its deep malt obsession, but it does have the English interest in hops about it as well. This beer was a revelation to me, certainly one I had not heard of before, but certainly one I will buy again, this time in bulk. Highly recommended.

Photo of becsug
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%

Photo of falcon1
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.46/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(poured into a balloon)

A: very dark, reddish-brown liquid, clear.... almost an inch of spongy tan foam on the pour - thought it would stay longer - alas, it did not - settled into a ring around the edge

S: gotta say - this almost smells like Abt 12(?!)... very fruity - sort of strawberry, grape, cherry.... bold presence of dark caramel, sweetish, desserty - perhaps a mild, sweetish coffee in there?... the booze is more felt in the nose than overtly detected as a scent - in other words, it's tucked far back behind the other aromas

T: raisin, cherry skin, dark brown sugar syrup up front... fairly assertive, tonic-herbal nuance starts around midway, coursing through the finish, ending with dark, dried cherry, toffee, and a medicinal booze (akin to Ny-Quil?) in the aftertaste - just hanging there... gotta be judicious, nearly indulgent use of dark invert sugars here - I wouldn't call this necessarily sweet - superb balance from alcohol and bitterness tempers it, at least - but the melanoidin-derived flavors associated with candy sugar are all too present... the bitterness grows fairly assertive after long. raining down on and flooding the palate - thank heavens for it!

M: approaching fullish-ness - actually, considering what the flavors suggest, I'm surprised it's not a notch or two more viscous - a soft rinse of suds seem to balance that with a phantom rush of clean booze on its heels... vaguely-menthol cooling sensation at the back of the throat after the finish...

O: fan-damn-tastic!... is this what a latter-day Burton Ale tasted like? I've found few British imports here in the States that have tasted quite like this... can't help but pick up another bottle

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

all old ale should taste like this. old tom is a classic, a genuine no frills english ale of the highest class. underrated as they get, this is everything we think about when we envision old world english evenings turning into late nights, and as claystation phrased it so eloquently, one sip and you expect to be visited by the ghosts of christmas past present and future all at once. its got just enough dark malt roast without being bitter like darker ales, rich enough, without being sweet at all, even dry in fact, and hefty while still being sturdy yet sessionable. its winter beer for me i think, but its not that confined. the combination of grain and yeast in this is impressive, i dont wish for anything else. a great balance between dark and light as well as strong and approachable are on display here. one of the more enjoyable beers on the market at about five bucks a bottle, it is an overwhelming success and a fantastic example of what true english old ale should taste like and feel like. a blue collar treat.

Photo of lesdemonsamaporte
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of artoolemomo
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up an okay amount of head which has better retention. The head is a medium khaki/beige while the body is a murky chestnut brown which appears as a hazy maroon when held up to the light. Lacing seems to be solid and consists mostly of sheeting.

Nose- This is dominated by warm and inviting malt. Starts off with banana, moves to molasses and honey, and then finishes with caramel. It takes a while but slight notes of raisins do appear. Swirling doesn't reveal anything else.

Taste- This is not a beer to be taken lightly and while the heat might not be that strong, you can tell right away. Heavy malts with caramel and raisins being the biggest notes initially while a honey and syrup note seem to coat the back end. Almost reminds me a honey liqueur. Some bitterness on the backend- mostly of the woody variety. Strikes me as little thin and doesn't seem to work for this beer. Some notes of pepper but really could use more presence and complexity. Especially for a beer that proclaims to be the “The World's Best Ale.” Still pretty solid as the initial heat begins to diminish and the honey, caramel, and raisin take over. Very syrupy. Some citrus and burnt caramel around the edges. Between above average and good, solid beer. No flaws but doesn't do anything amazing.

Mouthfeel- Almost medium bodied but it might just be the heaviness of the syrup on the palate that suggests this. Carbonation is rather subdued.

Drinkability- Fairly easygoing but does take some time warming up to. Lively enough amongst many English beers but rather docile by American standards. A little much at 5 bucks a 330 mL beer. Would be interesting to try it on draught.

Overall- Above average to good beer. Seems fairly true to a style that I don't have much experience with. I'll have to track down a Bracia to get a firmer idea of the English Strong Ale. Definitely worth a shot as I can see this beer having fans.

Photo of ImperatorScab
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of khargro2
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%

Photo of Renegrenade
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of Phillybrewhead
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Kirk
2.75/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of WGO
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of stuart3368
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Zach136
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of PaulsBrew
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of ISmith87
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - 4 - This beer is a really dark brown mahogany color with a nice ring of head that sticks around and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Bottle is cool looking, nice old style, dark design.

S - 4 - Really nice old ale smell - caramel, coconut, booze, hop bite, vanilla, bourbon.

T - 3.75 - Not as full as you might expect from the smell, it's good though. Same notes come out in the taste. Maybe a little bit more boozey than I'd want, it would probably be really good aged. Caramel, coconut, bourbon, vanilla, hops.

M - 3.75 - Medium - heavy mouthfeel. Alc is present, at 8.5% almost a little too much. Aftertaste is nice vanilla caramel.

O - 3.75 - This is a good old ale, but not the best by far. The American made ones are more smooth w less booze taste - like Bell's Third Coast Old Ale and Double DBA.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Squat 330ml bottle purchased from Stanmore Cellars.

Uncaps without much ceremony, a minor hiss that releases a tiny amount of carbonation. Body is a deepish, oily brown with a seeming clarity in the thinner parts of the glass. Head forms a very fine mesh across the top, eventually petering out to a thin but creamy ring. Carbonation is powdery. Overall, it looks pretty good.

Nose is malt-heavy, but with a distinct savoury overtone. Like rich malt extract spiked with seaweed glutamates. Some grainy notes come through as well, which somewhat add to the body of the savoury character, although they don't really add any additional savoury notes themselves. As it warms, the sweetness comes through a little more, giving some wild honey and crushed biscuits. Not bad.

Smooth entry on the palate belies the strong heat which pounces on the second half, leaving a sherry-like boozy ache on the back. The sweetness drops out about three quarters of the way in, leaving it malt-poor on the finish, and leaving the finish reminiscent of ink. Slight oxidation characters don't help this assuage this impression.

Feel is smooth enough on the entry, but it disappears as the booze increases, leaving it volatile and hot in the mouth.

Overall: watch out. This has an unpleasant heat to the booziness on the back that's not matched by enough flavour to give it structure or purpose. By the end, I felt a little bit battered.

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.34/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark coloring, nearly black, with a beautiful off-white, creamy head above. Wonderful.

Aroma: deceptively soft, smooth and creamy. Malty-sweet, but even-tempered and expertly balanced.

Taste: Enters the palate full, rich and in complete domination. Rowdy, ruddy, and taking no prisoners. This brew tastes like an old tom behaves, it throws itself around without regard for societal norms and common regard. Dark fruit on the flavor, some spice, massive malt, some toffee and a touch of caramel. All very well-played and perfectly put. No over-weening hops, no over-bearing malt, but this is still a large beer, just like any Tom Cat strutting it's stuff.

Philosophical question: is the American barley-wine style better because it's bigger, and hoppier? I say, not necessarily. If you can't handle some subtlety, if you need to be pounded on by every beer you try, …well, you're missing a lot. There is so much to be said with just plain old good taste. This is a barley-wine, but don't expect a ton of American-style over-hopping. Don't expect to be burned by over-…alcoholing…?
What's wrong with the classics, I ask, and I don't expect an answer, because I know what it should be. If you want something delicious, and beautiful, cool, calm and slightly cacophonous, Old Tom's your man. Deee-lightful. Tasty, tasty, tas-teee……

this is so good, so malty, cool, calm, and utterly lovely. My goodness. I like this more and more, as I drink it down. I'm practically in love with it, ...mmmm.

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Old Tom from Frederic Robinson Limited
84 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.