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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale - Yards Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleThomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

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

596 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 596
Reviews: 263
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 11.97%
Wants: 28
Gots: 43 | FT: 1
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:
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 added by: NeroFiddled on 08-01-2002)
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Ratings: 596 | Reviews: 263 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

08-16-2012 23:24:50 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice moderate amber color with a thin white head. The nose brings a good deal of sweetness with caramel, candied fruits, light citrus, and some brown sugar. The taste is definitely sweet with a bit of booze. Light fruits, bread, and cake. Feel is medium with lowish carbonation. Drinks well overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 22:24:49 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear amber orange in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense and creamy beige colored head that gradually died down, leaving a large pillow of bubbles in the center, a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacy rings of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of caramel malts in the nose; as the beer warms up notes of brown sugar also become apparent.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a little sweet and has flavors of caramel malts, toasted malts and toffee along with notes of spices and hints of brown sugar and fruity yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This strong ale wasn't that difficult to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. I enjoyed the complex taste of this beer but it seemed that it could have used a stronger smell.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 06:08:12 | More by metter98
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

red tinted amber color..Great clarity hear as it was sparkling clear. Very nice. Lots of carbonation apparent trickling up toward the surface. A very nice three finger high head of foam capped off the top and hung around for a good few minutes before settling back to a half inch layer which stayed with it throughout the rest of the session.

The aroma was rather weak for me. Typical English ale with a huge malt bill attached to it. Lotso of bready notes here coing through now with that deep musty like smell, like wet hey it would seem at times. The flavor followed it up almost perfectl with a solid offering of english malts, and a nice little bit of hop bitterness, albeit not much, but just enough to give it some depth. Lots of musky wet earthy flavors here as well coming through, with the finish being very nice and drawn out which suprised me

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2011 23:44:07 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear amber capped by an inch of foam that leaves some crossing strands of lace

Smell: Treacle sweet with tones of dried fruit

Taste: Sweet treacle, up front, with a developing herbal and dried fruit character; modest bitterness in the mid-palate but the finish reinforces the sweeter tones

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: My second ancient beer of the evening; interesting but in both cases they lack the bitter balance I prefer; hope to return to the 21st century tomorrow

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 01:09:31 | More by brentk56
Photo of BEERchitect


3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An aggressive and somewhat young Strong Ale that will some day make an awsome Old Ale.

The pour brings a deep golden or medium amber color with a short and sturdy head of stark-white foam. Light in carbonation, the beer quickly takes on a rather still life, leaving a stubborn head behind but no lacing.

Malty rich aromas take the shape of maple syrups, brown sugars, and heavy charred molassas. Any hop character takes a delicate herbal scent and avoids making any major impact. Cherry and plumb esters can be detected in scent.

Flavors behave much the same as aromas: strong molassas and brown sugar malts weave into a rum-like alcoholic sweetness and fruitcake like esters. Sweetbreads and teal-like herbs give a pruney variety to the beer. Strong and malty lead the way.

Moderately full in body, the beer isn't nearly as syrupy or sweet feeling as the taste and aroma suggested. After the initial weight of the beer suppresses a bit, the beer's rough edges possess a medium cough syrup-like fusal feel that hurts just a touch and causes abrasion.

In the end, this is a very good strong ale but the textures could be smoother and a fuller, rounder flavor and feel could help complete the session.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2010 05:24:44 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

01-09-2012 01:18:55 | More by acurtis
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2005 23:39:51 | More by oberon
Photo of Knapp85


2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a reddish brown color with a little head on it. The aroma was basically all malts and some other farmhouse grains in there too. The taste wasn't very impressive to me. The taste had an odd Sourness to it. Not sour like a Lambic but something different. It was an interesting difference but didn't really help the beer at all in my opinion. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad. I would try this one again because I'd like to see if it still has the weird flavor to it.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2011 05:23:32 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591


3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Thanks to G311 for this bottle!

Jefferson, indeed! Were we to drink his actual recipe, it would taste terrible! Nothin' 'gainst ol' TJ, just sayin'. This one pours a clear copper amber topped by a quickly-fading finger of white micro-foam. The nose comprises caramel, spruce, some very light coffee (I think that's what that is...), and a hint o' citrus. The taste starts off with a solid caramel backbone, but then quickly spreads out into a panoply of citrus and floral bitters. Some peppercorn is detectable near the back. Throughout, a vague maltiness is perceived, sorta like a bland old ale hangin' about in the background. The body is a solid medium, with moderate carbonation and an almost chewy feel. Overall, a decent brew, a good occasional, but not really a go-to or everyday offering, if you ask me.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2010 04:13:05 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of JAHMUR


3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

11-03-2013 17:37:55 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of NeroFiddled


4/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2002 14:51:28 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly fogged amber with a crème head. Nose is slight pine-y hops. Full, but not in my face. Flavor is outstanding I say. Nice full hop tones that stay constant. Almost seems to be a fruity edge to it that seems like apples and a touch like cherries. Feel is very smooth with carbonation and has a nice body on the liquid. Overall this is extremely drinkable. Goes down smooth and has a nice full character. Would love to have this on tap.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 19:51:12 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2003 17:57:19 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Slatetank


3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had this a couple times lately this time at Wegman's chilled in a tumber from the 12oz.

The color is medium brown with translucent clarity and thin white cap with fine bead thick lace collects in a film. The smell is strong with malt which also brings a light herbal and woody odor perhaps from the hops with mild alcohol in the background. The feel has thick body w/ moderate carbonation and spiced middle with subtle alcohol in the feel and a nice balance between malt with moderate lingering bitterness.

The flavor has a brown malt toasted quality with spiced yeast element that enhances the moderately bitter hop profile and there is a gentle English yeast with mineral quality that comes in near the finish with a slight alcohol warming. Overall a pretty decent strong ale - you get the English influence and it is pretty drinkable for the strength.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 12:48:14 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is decent. It has a strong pale malt scent with some light crystal malts. The taste is good. It has a smooth yet intense pale malt flavor that finishes dry and bitter with a bit of a breadlike taste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent pale ale. It has a little too much abv., but it is still quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2004 20:23:06 | More by WesWes
Photo of Rifugium


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Johnny Brenda's, Philly, PA

Served on tap in a stem glass. Poured a dark amber color, hazy, with a short, study, white head that leaves little to no lacing. Aroma of sweet malts and dark sugars, fruit esters, and a bit of herbal hops. Taste is bready, with notes of caramel, molasses, maple, with a bit of fruitness, and a mild, drying hoppiness. Thick and a bit syrupy, heavier-than-medium mouthfeel, bold and drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

09-21-2011 16:42:21 | More by Rifugium
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

01-02-2014 21:44:06 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A vigorous pour yields a two finger thick, pale tan crown of froth. The beer is a brilliantly clear amber color that shows a nice copper hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells most notably of sweet, concentrated malts at first; aromatic notes of caramel, some slight toffee, and a rich breadiness. After the first smell of the aroma some hop character begins to become apparent; the hop notes supply a light spiciness, with perhaps a touch of herbal character and maybe even a hint of citrus zest. Somehow the malt seems a little dusty and has maybe a hint of oxidation character to it.

Lightly sweet tasting up front, but it has a solid herbal flavor to it as well as a noticeable bitterness that is noticeable from beginning to end. The beer finishes with a toasty, biscuit-like malt flavor that provides some drying to the palate. A touch of warming alcohol is also noticed in the finish as it couples with a slightly harsh, astringent note. Malt flavors of toffee, lightly stale caramel and lightly browned soda crackers add to the flavors of the beer. The herbal hop notes, which can get a bit astringent at times, also mix with some light spiciness that is a welcome note. The beer is a touch lighter in body than I would expect for a beer of this strength, it makes it a touch more quaffable, though a little more richness might have been nice.

An interesting beer, I still have no idea what this really is. It seems a little bland, but with such a generic bottle description I don't even have an idea of what the brewer was trying to do.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2008 02:58:26 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215


3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a thin head that becomes somewhat patchy/wispy. Not much lacing sticks until further down the glass.

The smell is of herbal spicing with some tropical/citric fruits (lime), a touch of butter, and caramel.

The taste is of caramel/grainy malty sweetness, honey that grows as it progresses, with just a hint of butter. It is balanced by a leafy/herbal, mildly citric, bitterness. Some booze shows, though well-incorporated and not more or less than expected for abv. It has a well-balanced finish.

It is medium-to-full bodied brew, with a syrupy quality approaching barley-wine style. Carbonation is on-spot - enough to keep it from being sticky, but enough to keep it alive, and even somewhat refreshing.

A sipper on the syrupy side. An interesting one at that. Well-balanced. Strong but not overbearing or harsh. It's one that I enjoyed the flavor (and overall character) as it progressed.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2009 17:44:02 | More by jwc215
Photo of mactrail


4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The brewery says this has some rye and honey, which would explain the the more rustic flavor. It's plenty strong and nothing elegant about it. The aroma is beery and biscuity with some herbal hoppiness.

Amber in the glass with some copper and golden, very attractive, but not too much head. Fairly well carbonated on the tongue. A bready yet bitter taste dominates. This whole series is quite interesting for the big flavors that are definitely not in the APA-IPA-Belgian groove. I like the scratchy and grainy flavor, with an underlying touch of sweetness. Bitter enough to give it an edge but the hops are neither the earthy nor piney brand that blot out the malt.

Bought at Food and Friends in Philadelphia, appropriately enough, in the 12 oz bottle. I still like the Spruce best but this is very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2012 02:47:57 | More by mactrail
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy orange color with yellow highlights. Only a spotty surface head and no lacing. The aroma was of malt and tart fruit. The flavor was slanted towards the malt, but granny smith apples, light bitterness, and barely noticeable alcohol round out the flavor.

The mouthfeel is smooth with a dry finish. The malt rides the tongue for a few seconds after swallowing. Carbonation is quite light. Medium bodied and can be considered a hearty ale. Nicely drinkable. Interesting to see how the founding fathers liked their beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2004 12:27:04 | More by Gavage
Photo of corby112


4/5  rDev +6.4%

11-22-2011 04:42:26 | More by corby112
Photo of tempest


3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a hazy orange-amber with a thin white head and lacing. The aroma is an odd mix of fruit and herbs. The flavor makes a little more sense, thought it's still nothing normal (I like that). It's juicy at first, then there's a hit of biscuity grains followed by citrus rind and earthy hops. I should mention the aroma hints at a possible infection. I can't tell if its juicy hops, or something more acidic and musty. Oh well, it's good for now. Worth a try for something different. Sort of like Rock Art Ridge Runner barleywine, an imperial ESB if such a thing existed.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2008 23:00:24 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak


3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The ale is fairly hazy, obscured in part by the dark color that resembles and amaretto and orange juice mix. Not much head to mention.

S: The nose is thick and malty, a barleywine if ever I smelled one. Lush grains and ripe green grapes dominate with sweet caramel.

T: Lots of caramel and grain, the ale is a malty treat. Dark bread and grapes add flavor, increasing the strength of an already heavy ale. The alcohol, while not boozy and hot, is evident, plodding around the taste.

M: The mouthfeel is bold, lots of malts. Syrupy thickness dominates.

D: This is a better nightcap beer, something big to lull me to sleep. As it is, I hope I stay awake through the 2nd half of the early games.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2008 19:46:23 | More by akorsak
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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 596 ratings.