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Theakston Old Peculier | T & R Theakston Ltd.

very good
576 Reviews
For Trade:
Theakston Old PeculierTheakston Old Peculier

Brewed by:
T & R Theakston Ltd.
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-31-2001

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Reviews: 576 | Ratings: 988
Photo of Or80rowley
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My friend brought this back from the

A. Dark Amber, two finger head

S. Dark fruit, raisin, prune, coco, earthy smell

T. First sweet toffee, into malty, dark fruit, nice malt, grain aftertaste

M. Crisp mouthfeel, refreshing

O. Fresh, I guess is the way to go with this one, my ratings are based on a fresh beer from brewery few days old. Aren't they always better that way!

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hard pour yields a fluffy soapy light tanned head and a dark reddish orange brown body.

Bread, chocolate, dark fruit, toffee, herbal hopping. The taste follows through a little better than the nose.

Medium bodied with a crisp carbonation.

Not big on English beers, but this is nice.

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Photo of FLima
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown ruby color with practically no head, but it left laces.
Nice aroma of toffee, licorice, and pepper.
Flavor with tons of licorice, spices, intense on English hops, charred wood, bread crust, figs, raisins and nuts. Dry aftertaste with an elegant bitterness.
Light body with appropriate carbonation, a bit higher than average for the style, which is good.
This beer tastes exactly what an Old Ale should taste. Very flavorful and deep, but smooth at the same time.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma- deeply malty with rich caramel, slight toffee, notes of dried cherry and earth, nutty with just the faintest hint of diacetyl, fresh blackberry notes, medium low grassy hop, no alcohol

Flavor- not nearly as rich as aroma would lead you to believe- nutty and toasty over solid caramel base, all medium high intensity with medium-high sweetness. Faintly woody. Light herbal hop flavor. Pear and berry esters are medium- low, no diacetyl, roasted malt dries out the finish. Bitterness is medium and balances. Lovely soft vanilla tone with just the slightest suggestion of banana comes out with warmth.

MF- medium-full bodied and smooooth on the palate, no alcohol, very slight astringency from roasted malt, medium carbonation fluffs things up a bit

APP- Beautiful crystal clear deep ruby with low off-white head. Poor retention with light lace.

OVERALL- A really lovely example of old ale that calls to mind Fullers ESB. Proof that it is possible to bet a lot of flavor without a lot of alcohol.

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Photo of Kevichella
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is very dark and when held up to the light glows a deep ruby. When poured from the bottle there was not a hint of a head and holding it up to the light, i could see no bubbles rising, though there was a very slight clouding.

Smells smooth and pleasant though i don't have the experience to say what it smells of.

Taste is delicious and smooth, almost chocolatey.

Feels pleasant and mostly smooth with a mild fizz.

I really liked this ale and will be getting more in next time!

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Photo of fourstringer
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a Becker pint glass with a moderately aggressive hand. Apparently I'm about to enjoy "The Legend".

A: Rich, dark amber. Color of raisins. Nice clarity. 1 finger width of off white head that dissolves to a fine coating in about 2 minutes. Light lacing.

S: Thick malt. Dark Fruit. Raisins. Sweet bread. Pretty present nose. I like.

T: Sweet and fruity maltiness. Grape juice. Interesting. Mild English hop bitterness finishes. No alcohol noted in the taste, but provides some warmth to an empty stomach.

M: Moderate carbonation. A bit high for the style, but smooth overall. Coats the mouth. Lacks the watery body that plagues a lot of English ales.

O: Admittedly, not a huge fan of the style, but this is tasty. The distinct grape juice element is unique. Goes down very smoothly. I believe I'll have another, which is not a response I typically have to malty British beers. Good stuff.


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Photo of StaveHooks
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A - Pours a dark russet brown, with a foamy tan head

S - Oxidized malts, husky grain, light roasted malts, old molasses. The yeast starts coming out as it warms yielding fruit bread dough, prunes, over-ripened berries, wheat germ,

T - Creamy and bready sweetness, muted fruit with a sharp edge. English malts, burnt caramel, tea tannins, and hints of leafy green hops. Plums, berries, thin molasses, very fruity with dark bread malts and bitter tannins rounding out the finish with roasted malts lingering.

M - Straight up medium body with low to medium carbonation, lightly textured with a wet middle and a tannin dry finish.

No doubt this is brewed in England. A very traditional tasting ale with some minor oxidation flaws. But it's to be expected from an import. Nice fruit notes with some hops still hanging in there. The yeast really shows up and adds a bready doughy character. Would love to have this on cask in England.

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Photo of bum732
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

S: Sharp raisin, sherry notes, raisin bread

L: Dark brown, off-white head that dissipates

T: Sherry and rich English malt up front. Quite fruity, with prunes and raisins. Medium earthy bitterness with some hop flavor entering the finish. Finishes quite dry with lingering earthy and slightly spicy hops.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Super drinkable with nice English flavors. A true classic and very good.

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Photo of Justin-Wills
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

And lo did God come down (when there was no footy on) and speaketh to the fine chaps (and ladies) at Theakston brewery in Yorkshire. And lo did he tell them exactly what he wanted in the perfect ale, or woman (if he was to ever marry). Fruity and full bodied!

Verily did Theakston brew Old Peculiar (The Legend) and lo did God stagger back up the stairs to heaven with a mighty grin on his face dreaming of lovely bar maids from the Yorkshire Dales!

This beer is truly a wonder to behold. A dark ale that's easy to drink (for me and God anyway) with lots of fruity flavour. It comes with a huge stamp of approval from me, him upstairs (though you might struggle to get confirmation if you've don't have his direct line), and many ale drinkers around the globe.

At the time of writing Aldi have it for £1.49 a bottle. The steal of the century. Buy it, drink it, love it!

Needless to say that if you haven't tried this ale, try it now.

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Photo of Budinetz
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1 pint, 0.9 oz bottle, into a stout/porter glass

A- Pours a dark brown, amber color...about 30-40 Degrees SRM. pours a half inch , light tan head, with chunky lacing around the glass as I sip.

S- smells of dried fig, dates, toffee, biscuity, malty, sugarness

T- a very malty, sweet, succulent, brew. This one leaves me thirsty for more due to the low abv and the slickness on the palate

M- a bit more prickly on the tongue than some of the aged old ales or altbiers. Definitely has a nice, smooth, sweet characteristic that pairs well with many dessert dishes as well as entress

O- Hands down one of the best, sessionable, old ale style beers. At 5.7 % and low abv, you can drink this one all night and not wreck your palate, nor fall on your face :)


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Photo of puboflyons
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the imported 25 oz. bottle. Sampled on June 25, 2013. I do not know if the original UK classic is the same as the one I can get here as an import in the USA but I am reviewing the import.

The pour is a beautiful looking dark brown with a slight haze and a decent beige head that lingers and laces the pint glass with each sip.

Sweet malts are emitted from the aroma right up front with brown sugar, a toffee note and a vague mustiness. But I would say "sweet" is the catch word.

The body is medium and smooth that holds its texture while swirling and then swallowing.

The taste is also incredibly sweet and malty with a low to moderate bitterness at the finish. This is the first time I have had this in about two years since it briefly left the US and it does not seem to have lost its uniqueness.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark chestnut; medium head that dissipates quickly; good lacing

Aroma: Malty; dried fruit; sweet; molasses, caramel

Taste: Malty and creamy on start; roasted grains in the middle; semi-sweet nutty finish; well balanced; excellent taste

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Near black with ruby hints. Head about one finger, but very nicely persistent and leaves nice amounts of lacing

S- A slight hint of roasted malts but mainly sweet with notes of caramel and brown sugar. Slight earthyness

T- Notes of dark bread, caramel, maybe liquorice, maybe chocolate, maybe a dark fruit hint. No roasted feel to speak of, just very much chewy and sweet but not too sweet, balanced by a slight earthy/leafy note

M- Full creamy mouthfeel (chewy as mentioned) with very low carbonation, just a hint of it on the tongue

O- Was not so impressed. It's an overall nice beer with decent complexity and a bit of a barleywine feel, but really just nothing outstanding

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ah, finally got around to finding a bottle of this. I'm sure it's preferable on cask/draft. Still interesting for what it is - always nice to try a new malty, characterful British ale...

Dark burgundy-ruby in color, only a fleeting rise of head, appearance of density to the body (shape of the glow).... vaguely sherry-like vinous notes against a somewhat bold rich caramel and similarly potent dark stone fruit in the aromas.... immediate toffee and brown sugar flavors, with the prune-like fruit surging in from around the edges, thick caramel flavor and mild chewiness... with each sip an almost Scotch ale quality unfolds, and apparent Flemish red-like oxidized, lightly sour tinge in the aftertaste.... despite hints of syrupy chewiness initially, it lightens up enough early on not to tire the palate, though it retains a consistent bold malty, dextrinous texture, without viscosity.... little-to-no alcohol presence at any stage... not bad at all overall, though a bit of a letdown - I'll certainly try it on the pump if I ever come across it....

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Photo of PolarBear3
2.76/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 1 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

A - Pours a dark brownish, ruby colour with a tanned head that dissipates to nothing. Looks like a flat coke.

S - Roasted chocolate, coffee sweet malts even a little liquorice.

T - Get lots of the roasted chocolate, coffee with a very mild bitterness at the finish

M - Medium bodied with very little carbonation

O - An average ale that lacks real flavour. Seems fairly flat and rather disappointing.

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Photo of soju6
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep mahogany color with a tan head that fades slow;y to lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, bit of chocolate and dark fruits.

T: Taste of roasted malt, with dark fruit and a bit of chocolate in the background. Mild bitterness and a quite dry finish.

F: A solid mediumbody, smooth and creamy. Nice balance.

O: An enjoyable beer that goes down easy. A nice way to end the day.

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Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Belgian snifter.

A: The beer is very dark reddish-brown, with a fragile off-white head that quickly fades to a thin partial top coat and a ring. A thin lace is left on the glass when tilted

Aroma: Peculiar and hard to untangle, but sweet and featuring dark fruits, a little rip banana, dark bread, roasted malts, toffee, cinnamon and some Fuggle hops.

Taste: Nicely balanced, moderately rich, complex, and in keeping with the aroma. Sweet at the start. Very lightly bitter and smoky aftertaste, with lingering mineral water. Cinnamon again. Modest but significant hop presence.

M: Smooth with well-chosen, near-medium carbonation. The nice soft feel I associate with Belgian darks.

O: A very good, flavorful beer that will work good as both session and dessert beer.

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Photo of T100Mark
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pulled (cask) into a pint glass at The Ship Tavern in Holborn, London.

Appearance - A deep ruby red color (almost black but not quite). Superb clarity. A thin tan head. Moderate stickage. A very handsome beer.

Smell - Mild malt nose. Slightly sweet smelling.

Taste - Malty. A bit sweet. A little toasty (but not as toasty as the color would suggest). The finish is a touch tart. Very nice!

Mouth - Velvety! Faint carbonation.

Overall - Don't let the look of this beer (or the name) deceive you. This ale is so easy to like. The combination of sweet and toasty makes for a very special (and chugable) ale.

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Photo of bump8628
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chestnut brown, ecru froth forms a loose head. Molasses, treacle, brown malt, biscuit on the malt side of things. Countered by a surprisingly sharp hop bitterness along with an earthy hop punch. Slightly musty with a charred wood note. Pretty evenly balanced. I much prefer the lighter drier versions of this style and Old Peculier fits that mold. A nice English ale to sip, enjoy, but not think too much about. Glad this is back.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/27/2012. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, fig, banana, molasses, toast, chocolate, pepper, clove, brown bread, floral, and spicy yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of malt and fruity notes with moderate spicy esters. Taste of caramel, raisin, fig, molasses, light banana, toast, chocolate, pepper, clove, brown bread, floral, and spicy yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, dark fruits, toast, molasses, chocolate, bread, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity of malt and fruity/spicy flavors; with a great balance of malt/fruitiness and no cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent old ale. Nice complexity and balance of flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of tone77
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a cola like color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some maltiness. Taste is also mild, some malts, light hops, not overly flavorful or complex. Feels light in the mouth and overall I found this to be a mediocre beer.

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Photo of mick303
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Celler temp pint glass. The colour was a really dark ruby brown edging on black, with a tan head, great lacing and retention. Awesome looking beer. The smell was mostly of complex malt, a whiff of coffee, some earthy bitterness made it in. Taste had slightly roast malt, with some aged lemon citrus, leather, really solid flavour and good complexity. Bold malty flavour with a nice earthy bitterness. Balance is excellent. Feel was very smooth, great sessionable feel to it. A really robust dark ale, lot of complex character to it and balanced really well to make really drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of Premo88
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into stout glass

L: 3/4-inch caramel head on top of dark amber beer heading toward black; slight lacing.

S: crazy malty; slight darkish fruit but not the full raisins quad-like smell; very similar to stout; more than anything, malted barley and LOTS of it

T: surprisingly clean for such a dark-fruity smell; full malt; it's like an English pale ale with the bitter sucked out; yeast and bread over the second half.

F: solid, great carbonation

O: for a beer that leans toward the Belgian strong darks/quads, I like this one much better. Through four bottles of a six-pack, I've enjoyed three very, very much. The fourth not as much, but 3 for 4 isn't bad. It's like drinking an Irish dry stout that's sweeter. For the price, it's worth a try.

I'll have to try more old ales to decide what I think of the style. This brew doesn't want to make me give up my love for the English pale ale, BUT it's awfully interesting ... like a gateway beer to Guinness.

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Photo of WissBrauSean
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured the beer at a cold temperature, unfortunately, so I may not be experiencing the full effect of the beer. Vigorously poured it was opaque obsidian black and had a nice two finger sized brown head of various sized bubbles that settles to a ring and a full cap throughout the drink with a nice random streaking pattern of lacing.

The aroma is of dark malt sweetness with that brettanomyces kind of acidic aroma on top. Some yeast and some fuggles (one of my favorite mild english hops, not "non-magic folk" from Hairy Pitburn) are very lightly apparent. I also get a whiff of prunes. Very nice and complex yet mellow.

This beer is sweet, but not overly so like you would picture a duble or triple of Belgian fare, but in a dark but unroasted malt sweetness of a way. Within the sweetness hides notes of prunes and aloft there is a very mild bitter/sour/acidic hint that may be a mix of hops and that acidic flavor which all roll along the tongue in unison and down the gullet only to be followed by a neutral pause and then some very light hop dryness which is almost unperceptibly bitter. Although it has a mildly pronounced sweetness, factors other than hops play a roll in balancing this beer well.

Mouthfeel is sweet of course. Here I will introduce you to a word called "cloying". Cloying means to some degree, overly sweet. This beer IN NO WAY can be described as such. It's perfect. The body is full yet very drinkable and refreshing. Carbonation is mild but just enough to lift the bitter to the top and help balance the beer well. The finish is mildly dry and a tiny bit peppery from alcohol which gives a little warming effect on the way down.

All in all, I would have to say this beer is world class as well. It's not judged as so on Beer Advocate, but there is very little that I can find fault with this beer. English ales still are probably my favorite and I score them well.

Get out there and try Old Peculier! Not only is the name different, but the beer will make you say "hmmm!" Life is too short not to go "hmmm!" Don't waste it on beer that makes you go "pppttt!"

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter from a bottle.

This beer smells surprisingly sweet- unexpected. Vanilla beans, shortbread cookies, a touch of treacle, toffee, and some old dark malts. A little swirling and warming brings out additional depth and complexity.

The flavor is really everything I hoped for, and I have waited a long time while searching for bottle. The malts are totally heading down the toffee, dark bread crust, molasses, brown sugar, and treacle avenue. There is a touch of dark fruit, but nothing that stands out as far as dark berries. More of the sugared fig/date paste than currants or blackberry. There are a few remains of earthy English hops, and these provide a fantastic bitterness to balance all the malty goodness.

The mouthfeel is just full enough, but doesn't get heavy. This is big enough to be a contemplative sipper and keep company with some of the great English Barleywines, or I can imagine ordering a few on tap (cask ideally) over a long dinner and dessert at the pub.

Conclusion: This is fantastic. Maybe I was born to drink English beer, but I just love this. It hits all the right notes for an Old ale, save for a maybe a slight lack of "tart". But who can get nit-picky with such a fantastic and iconic beer.

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Theakston Old Peculier from T & R Theakston Ltd.
88 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.