1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Tom - Frederic Robinson Limited

Not Rated.
Old TomOld Tom

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

151 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 151
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.87%
Wants: 2
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: cokes on 01-13-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 94 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Robert-Simmonds
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Robert-Simmonds, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of humulus
3.74/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. deep chocolate brown with a two finger beige thick head.

S: dark fruits, cane syrup, roasted malt.

T: tawny port, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit.

M: smooth, creamy, medium low carbonation

O: very tasty, could do with a bit of ageing. Putting a few bottles away for Christmas 2014 seems like a good investment.

Drank during a warm summers day, so not ideal conditions for this type of beer.

Drank from a snifter.

humulus, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of clarknova
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

clarknova, May 29, 2013
Photo of 2GOOFY
4/5  rDev +7.2%

2GOOFY, May 29, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Slatetank, May 25, 2013
Photo of casapy
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

casapy, May 24, 2013
Photo of pin
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

pin, May 19, 2013
Photo of flyingpig
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml Bottle from Asda Supermarket:
Chestnut brown with a few red tinges and a tiny, white to tan lace on top that turns patchy fairly quickly.

Fruity, sweet malts and a lot of alcohol on the nose with some darker, strong fruits and berries coming through. There was also a touch of caramel and some rich fruits with sugar. Pleasant but perhaps the alcohol could have been hidden slightly better.

Sweet with some alcohol but not as much as with the smell, there is however the same, strong fruit and richness. I could detect some plums and a few other darker fruits with some caramel and toffee coming through as well as some cherries.

Smooth and a little spicy but with a lot of alcohol that had a negative impact on my opinion of the beer. The taste was sweet and boozy and the mouthfeel was medium to full bodied.

An average beer if truth be told, I did enjoy it but they alcohol was a little strong and although pleasant the sweetness and fruity flavours did little to mask it. The beer is a strong and boozy one that leaves you with a warming alcohol taste to it and it was easy enough to drink despite the alcohol.

flyingpig, May 08, 2013
Photo of MisledTitan
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%

MisledTitan, Apr 28, 2013
Photo of blackdavid
4.75/5  rDev +27.3%

blackdavid, Apr 23, 2013
Photo of WissBrauSean
4.06/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yup! The bottle is pretty cool! Old Tom gets points for being homebrew friendly!

I poured this beer at about 55 degrees and it seems to be just perfect. It pours a very dark amber in my tulip goblet shaped glass (I guess I should learn glassware names better) and leaves a nice tan head with a Friar Tuck cap in the center and pretty decent lacing.

Fruit esters first hit my nose right out of the bottle then in the glass malt sweetness predominates with notes of dark fruit, slight acidic bite, molasses, vanilla and a twinge of alcohol.

I thought this would taste more syrupy from the aroma, but it actually isn't overly sweet. The malt sweetness is the road that cherry, oak, vanilla and molasses ride on and finish in a mildly pepper parking lot. There is not a whole lot of bitter, but enough that it tames the sweetness a tad. Along the way alcohol is mildly noticeable becoming more apparent on the way down your gullet (warming is the nice way of putting it).

This beer is on the sweet side, but befitting of the style and the body is medium which is lighter than I had anticipated. The carbonation is light to moderate and there is a slight slimy and numb feeling on my tongue.

Overall, I think this beer is pretty incredible! If it is not world class, it has to be close. I do find it a touch on the sweet side and a little bit high on the alcohol, but that is part of the story of this beer. It is an attractive looking, smelling and tasting beer that is not hoppy and I am going to give it a solid 4 out of 5! Well done! I will seek this beer out and recommend it to others!

WissBrauSean, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of lackenhauser
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Rich, deep garnet color. Not much carbonation but a nice, slim tan head on top. Ok aroma-very malty and bready. Some dried fruit and a trace of alcohol. Big malty flavor. Plums and currants. Malty sweetness. Burnt treacle. Mild booziness. Nice sticky mouthfeel. Quite full. Damn fine UK strong all. Nicely priced as well. Will definately get this again. Bet it is lovely on draft.

lackenhauser, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of JK4Stout
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: If I were ranking the label and cap appearance it'd be a five straight up! Brilliant. This one isn't too far off either though. Looks like a good solid beer. Coloring similar to a scotch ale: nice mellow earthy brown. Good head.

S: A little burning tinge to the end here signals high APV. great malt notes of toffee.

T: Well, it is strong so it lives up to the name, but I was really hoping for something a little more here. I like the initial taste with fruity notes in there, but it falls short. Almost unfinished.

M: Heavy and lingering...(insert fat guy at buffet joke as you see fit)

O: I like it, but man it could be so much better. I wish it just had a little more malt to even out the alcohol content. enjoyable though...and I'm certainly saving the bottle.

JK4Stout, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of khensley
4.41/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice beige head, which quickly dissipated, leaving no rings or lacing. Cola colored in appearance, no chill haze noticed.

Smelled like sour apple, with a hint of ginger. Made my mouth crave the next sip.

Taste is unique, plum dominates the palate, with a maltiness of blackened crisp pizza dough. Finishes with a warming alcoholic note and fades into a light pepperiness, much like a good Trippel might. Bitters can only be found when swallowed before the plum notes can take hold.

Mouthfeel is warm and inviting, surprising for such dull head retention. Not too thin, but not noticeably big at the same time.

Port-like in so many ways. Overall, a very rewarding bottle, as it should be for the $6.00 price tag. A once a year treat for me.

khensley, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

tbryan5, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of spointon
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a stubby brown bottle that has raised lettering in the words "Old Tom" and "Strong Ale". Poured into a stemmed globe glass.

A= This ale poured a clear, reddish mahogany color showing an off white head that rose about 1/2" with a vigorous pour at cellar temp. The head dropped to a ring after a few minutes but showed nice retention and some stickage on the glass.

S= I first noted big aromas of treacle, molasses and rich malty sweetness. There is a nice chocolatey note in there too. Alcohol stays pretty well hidden. Some fruity ester showing fig and raisin. Really a star in the aroma department.

T= Begins with that treacle note on the tongue and then brings in some caramel malts, a hint of chocolate, and even a vinous character that adds complexity. Nice English yeast character throughout. Hop bitterness is there but doesn't get in the way of the malts. Esters are there as well, but the malts are the real star. Finishes pretty dry despite the earlier malty sweetness.

MF = lighter side of medium bodied, with an appropriately modest carbonation level. Overall impression is a soft feel on the palate.

D= Super high drinkability on this one. I find this to be an exceedingly enjoyable English old ale / winter warmer, and the drinkability combined with the hidden alcohol make this one deliciously dangerous!

spointon, Jan 11, 2013
Photo of His_Royal_Hoppiness
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

His_Royal_Hoppiness, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of Viceroy
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Viceroy, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of Kahlerbock
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Kahlerbock, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of cdwil
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

cdwil, Nov 20, 2012
Photo of kew
4/5  rDev +7.2%

kew, Nov 20, 2012
Photo of sneaks2210
4/5  rDev +7.2%

sneaks2210, Nov 17, 2012
Photo of heygeebee
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From Warner's. BB Aug 13

Pours a deep dark brown. Half finger tan head fades to a clumpy film.

Strong aromas of port, rum, brown sugar, and caramel. English malts to the fore. Little hop presence.

Taste is warmly alcoholic, making me think more rum in the barrel! Rum and brown sugar are dominant flavours in with the English malts. Alcohol starts to take over as it warms.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for ABV. A little harsh on the back palate.

A good beer, but too alcoholic to be a very good one. Drink ability very much down by end.

heygeebee, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of mmapes
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Traded from Ben in York (thanks!)

Pours cola brown, but is much darker in the glass, a deep reddish brown. Not much head (the bottle is dated about 10.5 months ago). A second pour yields some fizz that dissipates quickly. Served at refrigerator temperature.

Smells mostly sweet and malty, maybe a little sour but not unpleasantly so. Vanilla? Very little hops or bitterness on the nose. Expected a sweet, smooth, carmelly, barleywine-ish flavor based on the smell.

Taste is a bit dryer and more astringent than I expected. Alcohol is very forward. At fridge temps, the flavor is pretty subtle compared to the booze, but I expect will be more interesting after warming up a bit.

As it warms, it grows on me. It has some interesting leather/tobacco notes. Still not very heavy for an 8.5% ale, so perhaps that's a balance some people will like.

Not really what I'm looking for in a strong ale -- I usually like something maltier, smoother, rounder, sweeter. This one is more mineral/alcohol/dry.

mmapes, Oct 26, 2012
Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Haven't had a good ol'-fashioned British old ale in a while, so let's see how this one stacks up. It pours a deep garnet-brown topped by a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises molasses, black pepper, dark red wine grapes, light oak, and a pinch of clove. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a hint of tobacco and some extra pepper for the sake of it. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a very nice old ale, one certainly worth re-visiting on a number of future occasions.

TMoney2591, Oct 26, 2012
Old Tom from Frederic Robinson Limited
85 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.