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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

655 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 270
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 11.67%
Wants: 30
Gots: 70 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 655 | Reviews: 270 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pzrhsau
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a nice real brown tan color with some nice hints of yellow. It is clear with a decent measure of head that sticks to the glass.
S: Nice bready aroma with some hints of nuttiness that gives it a roasty sensation.
T: Nice combination of maltibread flavor that does have too much sweetness to it. It has a nice tanginess to it that really gives you the flavor of beer youd expect being served in a nice dimly lite bar. Very rich but crisp and drinkable.
M/O: Very good interpretation of a homely bar style beer that has some good richness while maintaining some real drinkablilty. I think the beer seeks to be a refined and modern interpretation of what might be served back in old Philadelphia.

pzrhsau, May 12, 2011
Photo of vande
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A glowing orange-brownish pour....I guess that's copper?

S: Potpourri of hints of carmel, malt, nuttiness with a very faint somewhat hidden hint of fruit...

T: a beer... that follows the nose..

M: medium to light in body...

O: Not a bad beer. From what I've had of Yards, they've been a nice Eastern brewery whom I've not had a lot of experience with...but have recently been pleased to try!

vande, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of nukem5
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice copper color with clumps of suspended yeast and a great tan cap of faom.

S: Great carmel and malt flavors come thru in this one.

T: Taste is of carmel and sweet malt with slightly hopped flavor.

M: Slightly chewy and medium bodied full of flavor.

O: Drinkable and good flavor worth revisiting again.

nukem5, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of Sneers
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a would-be clear orange-amber if not for the free-floating sediment. It's all capped with a fat, creamy white head that leaves a good deal of lacing and is replenished by

In the aroma, the malt is bready and is complimented by a light caramel sweetness. There's a distinct nuttiness, which is unexpected, but interesting; I want to say buttery, sweet cashews. Light apricot esters are also present, as is some warming alcohol. Hop presence is low, but floral. The nose on this is very nice, if unique (insofar as my experience is concerned), and of generally moderate intensity.

On the tongue, the malt and fruit remain unchanged, but the alcohol and bitterness increase in intensity; the alcohol is a little harsh, and my guess would be that the hops were mostly added at the beginning of the boil. While the malt backbone is nice, it's as if the "strong" in "English strong ale" asserts itself in these characteristics for the worse. The taste overall is still far from bad, though. The finish is dry, bitter, and frankly feels somewhat tannic. My mouth is also left with a somewhat doughy taste after the swallow.

The mouthfeel is medium, smooth, and creamy: almost, but not quite, what I'd get out of a cask. Somehow the visible carbonation doesn't manifest itself here.

Overall, I really like this beer. It's my first offering from Yards Brewing Co., and it's good enough for me to seek out more of their beers. While my experience with this style is admittedly limited, I would, if asked, probably recommend this one.

Sneers, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of Haybeerman
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep orange/amber color; slightly hazy. Poured a 1 finger off-white head that dissipated to a skim. Lightly decanted. Laced the glass in wide rings.

S: Carmel malt and citrus rind. Faint light-colored fruits.

T: Bready caramel malt. Very smooth and slightly sweet ahead of a sharp bitter finish. Slightly warming alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Dry and warming alcohol in the finish.

D: Malts are a little out of balance with the finish in this one. Fruity aroma and flavor surprised me a bit.

Haybeerman, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

Knapp85, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of JerseyKirk
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy with some yeast particles from bottle conditioning. Amber red with golden bottom. Very tiny head. The lacing is great but the head retention is less than 3 minutes. Off white in color.

S: Nothing really noticeable besides bitter hops.

T: Awesome. Really smooth. Nice and bitter finish. No fruit, pine or citrus. Great easy drinker. No alcohol taste. Even though 7.5% moderate. Warming after awhile.

M: Full bodied. Not thick or thin. Good.

D: Great easy drinker. But not a session beer cause of alcohol content but easily would drink another or ten.

JerseyKirk, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of deaconoflove
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ap. Great golden brown with a small and short-lived head. Very pretty color.
Sm. Caramel and malts with a sweet citris (if that's possible).
Ta. Caramel/butterscotch, then a nice sweet/bitterness (again if that's possible). Lengthy bittersweet finish.
Mf. Full body, some very light syrupyness, but in a good way.
Dr. I like this stuff. I had no clue it was 8% until I popped up the review window.

deaconoflove, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of beer2day
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark orange pour, bordering on brown. Very hazy with many notable floaters. 1-finger cream head, but no retention and very little lace.

Caramel malt with weak dried fruit underneath. Malt presence not all that strong, either. Light cherries, apricots, dates, and figs.

Tastes notably fruity up front with mild caramel middle and strong alcoholic finish. Nice flavor profile, though a little weak for the abv.

Feel is decidedly thin, though quite syrupy.

A decent sipper, but not one I'd go back to again.

beer2day, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of Buggabeer
2.13/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A Poured into a draft glass and it had a nice head with alot of carbination. The head quick faded away and left a hazy amber color. Not overly impressed.

S Smell was average with a lot of carmel malt notes. Also had the winter warmer alcohlo smell to it as well

T I must say the taste was not that great. On first swallow it gave me the shivers as if I just took a drink of NyQuil. After the 5th swallow I started to get used to it but still not a good a good thing. Way to much alcohol taste. Now I know how they kept the men to stay during the revolution after taking many of beat downs early.

M Again not impressed. I can't seem to shake the NyQuil shivers with every swallow.

D The more I drink the less I like it. I'll sleep good tonight or I'll be praying to the porceline god. I would not recommend this beer to anyone.

Buggabeer, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of prg1976
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy light amber color. Thick white head.

Smell is pretty faint. Smells almost like a Belgian, with banana and bready yeast.

Taste is sweet upfront, with a dry bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, not super carbonated. Average drinkability because of the dry bitterness. It's a little too much for all night drinking.

Overall, it's a decent beer. I don't think I've had very many beers like this one.

prg1976, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip from a 12-oz bottle.

The body is hazy from both chill haze early in the pour and then yeast later in the pour. Judging from some older reviews, they have stopped filtering this beer. The color is coppery amber, capped by a two-finger head that leaves thick rings of foam connected by delicate and fine lace after each sip.

The aroma is potent. In your face with a lot of earthiness from both the hops used (presumably, since I didn't note any other hop aromas) and the English yeast, which gives it a very notable aroma. There are also hints of caramel among aromas of fruits and some alcohol. The taste is very similar, with the caramel more evident and the fruitiness still there, but less so. The alcohol comes through stronger than some of the other flavors, making it a bit harsh on the palate.

The carbonation is high, which when coupled with the relatively heavy consistency of the beer, makes for quite an enjoyable texture on the palate. However, the high ABV, noticeable alcohol, and not enough balance between the sweet fruits and caramel and the strong earthiness, it's a hard one to get down easily.

NittanyBeerFan, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of papat444
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer in a month and a half! Picked this up last October on my trip to Philly. Shared with my wife last night with our supper: catfish, Mexican rice and chili beans.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Pours an orange colored body not unlike honey, especially with the little flakes in there that look like they're frozen in there. Head is approx. 2 fingers.

Smell: Caramel or toffee. Sweet aroma.

Taste: Strong toffee with some brown sugar in the end. Taste becomes fuller as it nears room temp. A dry sweetness is present.

Mouthfeel: Quite low carbonation and smooth also. The feel dissipates quickly i find though it gets better as it warms.

Drinkability: Taste is good enough to keep me coming back and the ABV is manageable.

Overall: Not a bad beer. I wasn't wowed by it but decent enough to try again.

papat444, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of bmwtinut
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at my local Wegmans as part of my weekly sampling. Time to try some more local brews.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip pint glass.

Appearance - very hazy copper, lots of sediment floating around. nice foamy 1 finger head that dissipated quickly. Nice lacing.

Smell - Nice sweet aroma with a yeasty bread scent.

Taste - starts out sweet, brown sugary taste with some spices. The alcohol is definitely noticeable at the finish. -

Drinkability - to me this is more of siping beer than a drinking beer the alcohol is too noticeable for me on the finish it outweighs the nice strong sweet tastes on the start. Not a great beer but a nice beet that I am willing to try again.

bmwtinut, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of turnstile
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler filled at the Yards tasting room in Philadelphia.

Appearance: Hazy copper/rustic orange; head forms as a 1/4 inch layer of off-white foam quickly receding to the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Caramel malt, citrus, pine and faint spice.

Taste: Slight caramel note, mildly biscuity. Toasted malt. Sweet apple cider note quickly muted by a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and slightly syrupy. Carbonation is light. Generally slick.

Drinkability: Great drinkability for an above-average ABV.

turnstile, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 200th review that deserves some merit as this beer holds dear to me as I had several of this beer at my rehearsal dinner the night before my wedding. Poured from a 12 oz bottle and/or on tap in a chilled pint glass. Pours a deep orange body (a little darker than orange) with a sudsy beige head. Aroma of pale malts, slight spices, and candy sugar. Tastes strongly of nuts and caramel, sweet but layered; earth, cracker, and pine. Just a hint of alcohol, some bockish grape, touch of smoke, touch of spice in the back. Wonderfully crisp, just that perfect medium level, with a touch of sourness, light bitterness, medium body that can go either full or light depending on the moment. Nice herbal quality. A very authentic english strong ale that I understand that closely aligned with Thomas Jefferson's creation and style.

CuriousMonk, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of BabySnakes
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint glass

I find the honey-orange color intriguing and unique. A foreshadow of good things to come. Not too much head in this pint glass.

The smell is very sweet and pine-apple-y. Perhaps a hint of wheat?

The taste is strikingly familiar to the aroma. Sweet and citrusy with pineapples and a candied grapefruit finish. This may well be my first "English Strong Ale" so I'm limited to this one. That being said I find this flavor very unique. It seems strange and familiar all at once. Its not unlike a "beer" at all (like a sour beer would be compared to a "typical" beer) but the exotic (to me) flavors are, well,.... exotic.

The mouthfeel is medium heavy and dances on the tongue.

This is a drinkable beer, as i have drank this beer all night before, but I really wouldnt call it a session beer.

BabySnakes, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of Ty1erC
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

*12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.*

a: the beer looks very similar to iced tea in my glass; it's orange-ish in appearance, with bits of sediment suspended throughout. the head quickly dies away, and i'm seeing no lacing whatsoever.

s: it smells of caramel, spices, and candied fruits.

t: wonderful. this is a very complex beer. it has a sweet malt profile that blends perfectly with the spices, hops, and relatively high amount of alcohol.

m: full-bodied, moderately carbonated.

d: this beer goes down easier than most 8% abvs. exercise caution.

Ty1erC, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of jmdrpi
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazy dark copper color with cream colored 1/4" head that stays around. great lacing.

a little bit of a boozy aroma, sugary.

taste is heavy on caramel malt. sweet, with a hint of earthy spice. nice balanced and blended flavors. very tasty.

thick smooth mouthfeel. very drinkable for an 8%abv beer. appearently Jefferson had it right.

jmdrpi, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

TheSupremeAJ, Dec 17, 2010
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.

TCHopCraver, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. it poured a hazy amber color with a dense and frothy head filling the top inch of the glass.

The aroma feels very balanced with equal amounts of bready, yeasty flavors, malty sweet flavors and citrusy, hoppy flavors. It has just a bit of a spice flavor coming through as well. It's not a strong aroma but everything comes through and integrates very well. It left some decent lacing on the glass as I drank it too.

The taste has a bit more of the toffee, slight caramely, malty flavor to it. The bready, yeasty flavor comes through with just a bit of a spice to it. The citrus hoppiness is a bit more reserved in the flavor compared to the nose, but it's there. The alcohol shows through in the finish as well with a moderate warming feel to it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with slightly below average carbonation. The lower carbonation worked pretty well for it. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some nice flavors to it and felt pretty well balanced. I really like the concept and the history behind it. Jefferson had a pretty good beer here.

billab914, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of allengarvin
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay glass, this beer is a somewhat hazy light brown with a modest, fading head. The nose presents some light caramel malt and a faint dusting of hops. Good flavor. Quite a bit of malt, and more bitter than I expected from the aroma, though there isn't much hop flavor to speak of. Yeast character provides some ample esters, and there's a hint of diacetyl at the close. Full-bodied, with a creamy texture.

Thanks to my mother for bringing this from D.C.

allengarvin, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of BeerConnoiseur
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a Yards Variety Pack Beers of the Revolution in the Poconos.

Alcohol content: 8%...this looks like its going to be a seriously good beer...The label states:

'Brewed with authentic ingredients' and 'based on Jefferson's original recipe', meaning stuff that was 'specified and grown on his Virginia estate' went in here.

Can you say: Awesome?!

A: Amber pour with a cloudy amber hue which surprised me because I did not expect that with an Ale. One finger of white creamy head, which drops to a ring with a nice lacing.

S: This beer reminds me of a good Belgiun with its sweetness and spiciness . The combination is incredible, this is a wonderful elixir!!! There is toffee, caramel, spice, and a perfect sugary taste. I am not a huge malt fan, I usually prefer hops, but this tasty treat is all about the malt and sugars. More sweetness, candied yam type taste...this is a true gem of an Ale!

T: Loads of spice!!! I would love to know which 'authentic ingredients' were used. Nutty caramel taste remains true to the end. Very, very tasty - probably one of the best I have tasted.

M: Creamy and delightful, medium overall as far as the feel. I ejoy the spices the constant tingle of spice on my palate.

D: Other than it being 8%, this is a very drinkable Ale!! I liked this intriguing and flavorful treat, and I believe Thomas Jefferson would have been happy with Yards product.

I have to give it to Yards, so far I have tried 4 of their products and each and everyone one I have been very happy with the quality and richness that Yards is making.

Yards is becoming a favorite of mine, and I am happy to know Yards is located in my hometown of Philly!

My recommendation: If you haven't had Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale....GET SOME!!!


BeerConnoiseur, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of JRed
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky dark orange with small white head on top. Aroma of sugars, citrus, lemon zest, some alcohol, and spices. Clean taste of citrus, floral notes, prunes, tang, spices, slight alcohol burn towards the finish along with some hop bitterness. The drink rides out with some caramel and prune flavors. Medium in body with light carbonation.

JRed, Nov 05, 2010
Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.