Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale - Yards Brewing Co.

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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleThomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

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BA SCORE
85
very good

750 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 278
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 11.67%
Wants: 40
Gots: 138 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 08-01-2002

This powerful and complex golden ale pays homage to Founding Father and fellow brewer, Thomas Jefferson. Yards Brewmaster, Tom Kehoe, worked closely with Philadelphia’s historic City Tavern to recreate this recipe, employing honey, rye, and wheat, just like the beer Jefferson made at Monticello.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 750 | Reviews: 278
Reviews by yeagerbm:
Photo of yeagerbm
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nicely designed 12 oz bottle, this beer pours a clear deep amber with a small white head. The liquid is viscous in appearance. The smell is sweet malt with fruity tones. The beers flavor starts malty and sweet with biscuity malt flavor, followed by a grainy bitter finish and alcohol. The alcohol finish is lingering and a bit solventy. The mouthfeel is very full and smooth with average carbonation. Drinkability is OK but too much alcohol burn and malt sweetness to drink much of it. I'm reviewing this for what it is, and it's really not an American Pale Ale, and not really fitting in any style guidelines. I'd call it a American Strong Amber Ale.

More User Reviews:
Photo of merlin48
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It's well known that Jefferson, was a homebrewer, and I've read some of his recipes on the internet, probably on this site. This bottle's label claims that this "strong golden ale" was recreated from ingredients specified by Jefferson, but that doesn't say very much.
This pours a clear, apricot/orange body with a two finger, ivory head that is tightknit and rocky. Excellent head retention that eventually stabilizes at two fingers. Sheet and patch lacing is profuse.
Aroma features mild toffee malt and fruity hops that evoke pink grapefruit, green apples, and a twist of fresh lemon.
Mouthfeel is actively carbonated, with a medium body.
Taste has a mild, fruity, hops bitterness that dominates throughout. Sour green apples and pink grapefruit flavors are upfront, with a pleasing, toffee and caramel malt backbone. Well balanced, overall, and the 8% abv is well hidden.
This is a very well crafted ale, and highly drinkable. Watch your step with this one, or you might be trying to purchase large tracts of property from naive, French royals or potentates.

Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poures a deep burnt orange with a huge billowing head that really takes its time settling leaving big globs of lace behind,really pick up some lemon rind in the aroma along with some Belgina like spiciness?Not sure what kinda yeast is used here but man I get like a spicey,yeastiness in the aromas very unexpected.Wow nice mingling of flavors very citrusy and lemony upfront with that underlying spiciness but finishes with a dry toastiness with just a tad bit of alcohol burn as it warms.Very interesting and unique ale here is this what one of our greatest forfathers was brewing at Monticello?The bottle says so, damn I wish I could have shook his hand,just great.

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes made on 11/17/10.

Poured into a snifter, a murky amber-gold colored beer with just a hint of a khaki head awaits my beckon call. The head goes away and leaves a film that looks like a warped face of a Greyhound. The lacing is not all that sticky and is rather uninspiring to the eye.

The aroma of the ale is that of a malt bomb. Caramel, raisins, brown sugar, sweet potato, candied yams, and a hint of musty basement all touch my nose. This is one sweet-smelling beer.

Of the scents that I picked up on, the caramel and brown sugar dominate in the taste department. I also taste a bit of a cinnamon spice and sweet potatoes. There is a touch of stinging alcohol presence on the sides of my mouth, as well.

TJ's Tavern Ale has a satisfying, medium to full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. There is a good sizzle on the side bitter receptors of my palate, which is mostly alcoholic heat, but perhaps might also be a result of a slight hop presence.

This is a solid, malt-heavy ale, but not a brew for which I would make a point of seeking in the future. If someone offered this to me at a party, though, I would be happy to partake.

Photo of sellmeagod
2.42/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Thomas Jefferson's own recipe, so they claim. He knew how to make a powerful ale, it seems.

He didn't care too much about defined (or even good) tastes, and the look is otherwise what you'd expect from this ale. It's all sorts of awkwardly bitter at the end too, but drinkable for an 8 abv.

So there are tradeoffs, and you can't be more Virginian than drinking this stuff on President's Day.

Photo of shapudding
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the City Tavern. Had asked what they had that was the strongest/heaviest, and was told by one of the guys that this had more body to it than the George Washington stout, kinda surprising. Dark honey golden with a white creamy head. Tons of lacing. Don't see the carbination too much, but it is there in the taste. Hoppy scents, light pine. Bit of fruitcup, little bit of grapefruit. Nice biteyness! Alot of carb in the taste, bit too much?...maybe.. yeah...to me. Light grapefruit juice and hops, little bit of sweetness that jumps from the background. Good alcohol taste, I like that. Decent brew, not one I would go back especially for.

Photo of Guden
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- a hazy gold with a nice two finger head of white foam that leaves pretty lacing.

S- a touch of grass and pine with brown sugar and spice underneath. Also some skunk.

T- pretty different from the smell with no skunk and just a nice blend of subtle piney and grassy hops, biscuity malts and a touch of sweet brown sugar. There's also a refreshing balancing bitterness throughout that lingers on the tail end.

M- low in body and medium high in carbonation this one goes down easy.

D- this one is amazingly drinkable. I never would've guessed the alcohol was so high. It drinks somewhere between a refreshing European pils and a biscuity pale ale and is quite good.

Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness dating, pours basic, semi cloudy light amber, with an off white head, just leaving a minor amount of lacing. Nose also is pleasantly standard, light hops and maple malt. This is a smooth and easy drinking 8% pale ale, nice malty underpinings and subtle, understated hops late and in the background. Perhaps a hint of roasted grain and smokyness to seal the deal on this nicely crafted ale.

Photo of Oberson58
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Tastes like yuengling, but a little better, without the dry mouth. Will drink again.

Photo of far333
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Faint apricot color with a disappearing off-white head. Aroma of biscuity malt, not too sweet, with some fruit and a touch of cinammon. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, leading to flavors of bitter orange peel hops, followed by a strong bitter alcohol flavor. The alcohol is too overpowering. I think I feel fumes going up the back of my throat and stinging the back of my nose. It's actually making me sneeze. No other depth of character or flavor.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a glowing golden amber with a nice frothy off white cream colored head leaves thick patches of evenly strung lacing. Aroma: Nice floral and herb like hop dosage very nice flow overall with a nice caramel malt backbone supporting sweetness here. Taste: Suprisingly more alcohol than I was expecting with some sweet gingery bread notes and a load of hops crashing down on the palate this isn't half bad. Usually not a big fan of Yard's brews but this one named after ol' Tommy J is a contender. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied ale decent carbonation but for whatever reason it's a bit cloying with some alcohol notes in the end. Drinkability: Decent strong golden ale not a beer that would get me hooked but I'm glad I had the opportunity to give it a try.

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

St: 12oz poured into a pint glass. Bottle lists ABV but does not list DBD.

A: Clear amber brown with a half-a-finger rocky white head. After a minute the head has decreased by half, but is still thick; it leaves behind thick lacing. There is a stream of ample carbonation in the middle which reminds one of champagne.

S: Rich, sweet malt, bread, slight citrus hop.

T: Starts very mellow with slightly smokey malt. There are traces of burnt bread and syrup. The finish is a bit bitter from hops, and the finish has a slight burnt flavor to match the alcohol in the throat.

M: Medium and close to heavy with a touch of creaminess.

O: If Jefferson named this a Tavern Ale, I would say he had good beer sense in addition to other faculties. This is a mellow drinking ale with a high ABV. It is pretty smooth, offering malt, some hops, and a rich burnt flavor. One can feel a bit of alcohol in the throat (and in the belly), but it is not blended poorly. This is a great looking beer, and though it does not overpower with flavor, it has enough to allow the beer to be a sipper.It fits Tavern Ale well: a beer one can sit back and enjoy with some food.

Photo of pwoods
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to NJpadreFan for the brew!

12oz. brown bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a golden honey color and clarity. Moderate head on the pour with only a thin skim of retention. Some lacing.

S: Very little aroma. Some sweet malts, maybe some juicy type fruits.

T/M: There's a bit of hop presence, some citrus fruitiness. Malts are sweet but controlled. More on the sugary caramel side of things rather than the biscuity, cereal grains. Some fruity esters but definitely not yeasty. Body is medium with somewhat higher carbonation and a drier finish.

D: Being a strong ale, it's hard to know what to except and criticize. It's drinkable for 8% without much knowledge of the alcohol, and it's reasonably tasty. But it's not something that I'd seek out, either.

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful golden amber color with two fingers of off-white head that lasted for quite a while, leaving a nice crown of foam on top of the beer.

Aroma: Very pungent. Malty yet floral, with some clover and some hay. As the beer warmed up, some dark fruit aromas of raisins and plumbs started to make their presence known. Finally there’s some caramel notes too. Very nice.

Taste: Lots of caramel and malt flavors up front and some very subtle hops at the finish. As the beer warms up, it gets more floral with some clover and honey coming through. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with a slight chewiness. There’s some good carbonation to tickle the tastebuds, and because of the 8% ABV, there’s also a nice alcohol warmth at the finish.

Overall: According to Yards, this beer was crafted from Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe, using wheat, honey, and rye. I found it to be a very damn good beer, one that will be on my rotation of usual beers, as will be the General Washington’s Tavern Porter. Another home run from Yards!

Photo of Ryanm1
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this several different times and just about every one has been from the bottle.

I'm going to post this review through the draught that I had at City Tavern a while ago.

Moderate head, white foam pouring to an Amber colored beer. It is brewed in the English Strong Ale style which registers 8% abv. The taste is on the sweeter side, hints of honey florals, and spices. Full body aromatic and full of various flavors. Most Yards beers have a distinct matl characteristic.

This is a throwback to the turn of the century ales that were brewed back in the day. One of my favorite beers partially cause I am homer.

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

Not sure I'm properly respecting an ale based on a creation of Thomas Jefferson, by sitting in an AC apartment watching a baseball game on TV. Perhaps I'll enhance the experience by finding my pocket guide to the constitution and using it as my coaster.

Anyway, this is a very enjoyable ale. Nice orange/copper color with modest but sustaining head. Smell of hops and a bit of alcohol while being slightly spicy/peppery. Nice taste, slightly bitter but balanced pretty well with toasty malt and a hint of mollases, and a richness i can't identify. Nice mouth feel, bitterness tingles the edges of the tongue while sweet maltiness coats the top.

An enjoyable ale. I hope the founding fathers enjoyed ale such as this, and if not i'm sure there are many people today who would be happy to.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy deep orange/amber color with a 1/2 finger white head on top. Decent retention, with a short foamy head lasting for a while. Nice, thick sticky lacing all around the glass.

S: Lots of bready malt up front, some brown sugar, a little bit of an herbal aroma, and some spice. Hints of fruit on the finish.

T: Grainy malt, a little bit of honey, with some herbal/grassy hops. Some caramel and a green grapes come out as well.

M: Medium to full bodied with active carbonation. Not the smoothest.

O: Its an ok strong ale. Nothing really stood out for me, but I didn't have a problem with it. Probably would not pick it up again though. Still like the Ales of Revolution Series though, cool idea.

Photo of dacrza1
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Situation: a Lego-rebuilding Thursday night...
Glassware: Howard's Pub pint...
Appearance: bright orangee body with a thick, frothy white head...steady effervescence...
Aroma: floral and citric as expected...robust and pleasant...
Palate: nicely balanced, medium-nodied ale; creamy smooth, fortified beeyond the average weight...at 8% abv, the alcohol is not overstated here...
Taste: sprucey, hoppy, aggressively biting with citric-orange at the fore...entirely drinkable, despite its strength...
Overall: a beautiful, simple reminder of what an ale can be--strong but drinkable, aggressive but rewarding--worth the sampler purchase by itself...

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

poured a reddish orange with a thin head. Lotsa floaters in it.
Smelled of flowers and hops.
Tasted like orange rinds. Slightly Bitter and crisp. goes down easy.
Mouthfeel was bitter up front but smooth in the back. nice beer!

Overall, a very drinkable beer. I'll keep an eye out for this if I'm ever in a bar in Philly.

Photo of jmz62565
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a nice golden color with a huge foamy head.The smell is very biscuity with some citrus aromas.The taste has a real fruit,apricot,buttery,malt,and hop flavor.The m/f is light and well balanced with a real nice crisp flavor.This is an excellent ale.I highly recommend it.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.41/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid but clear ruby/dark-orange color, with a thin head that doesn't retain well, just a small skim across the top. Bubbles are abundant and active.

Aroma is a bright mixture of lemon, ginger, and vanilla (big on the vanilla) and maybe not watermelon exactly, but damn close to the watermelon bubblegum I remember from childhood. There's a malty presence that carries through like malt does in barley wines: syrupy, molasses-like. This was meant as a unique beer experience, a kind of time travel, and they sure succeeded in offering a fairly exotic and different aroma. I can't think of a beer, American Pale Ale or otherwise, that smells like this. Oh, the taste? Right...

The dessert-y spices and sugars detected in the aroma are all there in the flavor: vanilla and lemon dominant, ginger and straight-up traditional bubblegum flavors too. Thankfully it avoids being oversweet thanks to some grainy and toasty elements. And despite a kind of glowing/warming, the alcohol is extremely mellow. Where's the 8%? I would've believed this was in the 4-5% range.

Mouthfeel is creamy and hefty, not thick, not thin, goes down real well. Slight sticky coating after the swallow.

This is so different, and the 8% alcohol so well-hidden...I wish it was a more readily available beer, for the good of all beerkind. Really really good stuff.

[If you've ever had Smuttynose's Wheat Wine from their Big Beer series, that's comparable to TJ's Tavern Ale.]

Photo of emsroth
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a mug.

App: Wonderful orangey-amber with a tan head. The head is a bit lacking, the color of this beer is amazing.

Smell: Sweet caramel, toasted cinnamon bread, a dose of fruity/herbal hops. Definitely some vanilla and toffee.

Taste: A sweet simplicity: caramel and toasted grain balanced by the snap of the alcohol, carbonation, and moderate hop presence.

Full medium body with a bit of chew.

A simple, no frills, highly drinkable brew any time of year.

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Abe's of Bethlehem, PA. Poured into regular pint glass. Served @ ~60F which is a little warm but it'll do.

A- Very nice rich old copper penny color. Very transparent with light yeast suspended. Very easy foamy light khaki head fades to a thin layer.

S- Caramel malts and rich dark fruit like dates and prunes evident of a nice malty beer. It seems like yams are present too... but I can't quite put my finger on it. Alcohol detectable.

T- Very strong yam flavor. Molasses are present as well. It kind of reminds me of sweet potato pie actually. Its really a very old fashioned style beer. The website description from Yards notes that this was made with ingredients from his Virgina estate, which means yams or maybe sweet potatoes and molasses. Caramel malts are noticeably present.

M- Very good carbonation. A nice dry bite to the finish that I particularly enjoy.

D- Drinkability is good. The strong sweet flavors make it so that personally I can't drink too many. The high ABV is fairly masked in my opinion and this beer is very palatable. Each sip begs for another.

Overall a good beer, and a quality offering from Yards who continues to impress me.

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

This beer is only available at The City Tavern in Philadelphia. It was originally brewed by Dock Street to a recipe based on records of what was purchased for the brewing at Monticello. The appearance is crystal clear (unusual for a Yard's product, and I'd guess The City Tavern may be insisting its being filtered as there is no sediment in the bottle) with a very nice, deep orange-copper color showing orange and ruby highlights. The head is off-white, and needs to be coaxed a litttle, but builds a fairly dense 1/4" head. Once thinned, the whispy head lasts fairly well and leaves some Belgian-lace. The nose is mainly fruity with some caramel malt in the background, and some earthy/mineral notes although there are few hops to speak of. The flavor is far more malty than the aroma suggests, but not very complex. However, once coupled with the rich fruity flavors, it's fairly interesting. There's also a fair amount of alcohol involved, but it's well hidden. The taste ends with a gently spicy dryness and hop bitterness that eases away like the setting sun. Similar in many ways to their IPA. Well worth trying. A beer that becons you to keep tasting.

Photo of socon67
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark amber in color, and fairly opaque. Tan foam retains well, and laces the glass decently.

S - There is a fruit scent that combines with some garden spices. A sherry scent comes through more over time until there is a boozy aroma from this beer.

T - Initial sip has a sweet fruit flavor. Esters give a slight acidic bite on the palate. Finish has spicy notes.

M - A heavy styled beer that is pretty complex. There may be too much going on with the sweetess\spice for this to be any more than a one bottle treat. But it certianly is not boring.

O - Always fun to have something from Yards. These guys have consistently made some good stuff. After having this and the Washington Porter, I need to get a bottle of Ben Franklin's spiced ale.

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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.