Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale - Yards Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

760 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 760
Reviews: 281
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 11.67%
Wants: 39
Gots: 150 | 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:
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: 760 | Reviews: 281
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa last week, having no idea what to expect. I like this style when done right and thankfully, that was the case here. This was nicely balanced, strong, and had a great taste, and even though this was a bit too strong, it certainly was an English Strong Ale and worth enjoying for someone like me who isn't terribly accustomed to the style.

This had a good pour to it with a light almond hue and decent amount of head. The lacing and the nose were a bit lacking but that was made up in the taste, which started out with a nice up-front burst of citrus and lemon zest. That faded into the rye and esters that were nicely balanced before finishing in a strong amount of warm, leathery hops. There was booze too but it didn't detract and had a bit of sweetness to it that almost bordered on a Belgian beer.

To be fair, this did live up to its style as this was quite strong but as I said before, the alcohol complemented everything else nicely. The balanced is here for those looking for a good example of this style to savor, this is a good beginning. The namesake on the bottle would be well pleased if he could give this a go!

Photo of deg
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured the beer from the bottle into a pint glass. I noted that after I opened the bottle, the beer foamed. The beer was slightly below room temperature by the way. The color is a good amber color, the head dissapated quickly. There wasn't much lace on the glass. I could smell something, but it was weak (and my sense of smell is weak). I could taste some citrus and spice, I was reminded of an orange spice bread I had once. I could pick up some caramel. The sweetness went away, the aftertaste was dry.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer was served a medium amber color with a one finger white head. The head had a decent retention and faded to give a very nice level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was bready with hints of a buttery toffee and some light citrus and herbal hop aromas.

Taste – The taste was as would have been perceived from the nose. Very malt forward with a light caramel flavor that greets the tongue. The sweetness soon becomes more buttery in nature, almost more of a toffee like flavor while the bready malt flavor remains strong. More towards the middle of the taste a lighter herbal and grassy hop flavor meet the tongue. While the brew is at 8% abv it does not have much of an alcohol presence and in the end one is left with a herbal bread taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker side with the carbonation level rather low. The lower carbonation and thicker more creamy body help accentuate the bready characteristics of the beer and are quite fitting.

Overall – Much easier to drink then I would have expected with a decent flavor profile. Not too shabby.

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

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Slightly cloudy burnt orange. Thin head a nice warm shade of tan. Doesn't leave much on the glass.

S: Not terribly strong. Some nice floral hops. Baked sugar, a little bready.

T: Packs a punch. Bittersweet, extremely hoppy. Those floral hops taste just like they smell, and there are some notes of oat as well. A sharp earthiness. I'm glad to live in the era of refrigeration, because I can't imagine sipping this warm. Some citrus; grapefruit, orange, lemon peel. High alcohol finish with a hint of the nickles on which the master brewer’s likeness appears.

MF: Medium carbonation, not too thick. Dry, almost like a brut champagne. Packs a punch; the high ABV goes down a little rough.

D: Strong but with a nice bouquet. Powerful sense of history. Throw back a few of these, and you’re ready to go kick some British ass!

Photo of 57md
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy copper with a finger of head that dissipated quickly but left a trace of lacing on the glass. The nose has slight toffee notes. The body is hearty with a strong malt backbone and a hint of coriander. The finish has a touch of tartness, then the definite essence of honey and finally ends semi-dry. The body is fairly substantial for an English Strong Ale.

This is a complex and tasty brew that makes one dream of discussing taxation without representation while knocking down a pint or two.

Photo of scar
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Holy Cr@p. This is the most drinkable 8% beer I have had in a long time.

Appearance- clear with good lace, like most of Yards' beers.

Smell- Nothing off, but nothing amazing. A little earthy hop, sweet malt,little fruitiness.

Taste- THIS IS THE BEST PART OF THIS BEER. SOOO balanced not sweet, good hop presence. If this is actually Jefferson's recipe its amazing he was able to drafts our countries most important docs. He must have had a proof reader.

Mouthfeel- Much thinner than expected but also a highlight of the beer. Thinner than their IPA, the honey and nonbarley malts most likely thin it out. Makes me want to keep drinking this beer.

Yards just keeps on making great beers, these guys are truely masters. In most of their beers I can really taste the PALE ALE MALT, much like IPSWICH, GEARY's and the UK imports.

Photo of Steasy66
2.68/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz into pint glass
A- Light amber with 3 finger lacy white head.
S- Malty, a bit of 'C' hops.
T- Really sweet, like high fructose corn syrup sweet. A little bit of citrusy hops.
M- A bit thick, decent carb, but just cant get past the thickness.
O- Really cant get past the sweetness on this one, its not a caramelized malt sweetness, its something else entirely, just doesn't taste right.

Photo of yamar68
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean tangerine gold with a finger of sticky white head. Good lacing and steady beading.

The nose boasts an array of harsh caramel/toffee malts and soft citric hop notes. Smells darker than it looks...

It really is awesome to think that beer like this dates back to the time of our founding fathers. Beautiful depth and complexity. I don't think "English Strong Ale" but more like hoppy Scotch ale. Good stuff.

Complex, approachable, great concept. All 4's.

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 mactrail
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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

A: This poured a clear copper with some light tan head.
S: It smelled like fresh barley and copper hops, with lots of herbs and spices.
T: It tasted like lots of herbs and spices (oregano, thyme, sage, coriander, etc.) with some fresh barley and copper hops. It had a clean and mildly bitter aftertaste.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a great historic ale, with a strong herbal blend that worked well in the scent and taste. The body was great and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was very easy to drink. Not my favorite type of beer, but it was a nice change of pace and very well crafted. Definitely worth 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 RonfromJersey
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright amber body, topped by four fingers of big bubbly just-off-white froth.

Big hay/grass aroma makes an mpression at arm's length.

Deep caramel sweetness coats the tongue. Crisp earthy noble hop bite at the swallow. Good balance as the afterglow settles in.

Sturdy mouthfeel, borders on chewy.

Jefferson knew how to make a good beer, as well as a good country.

Photo of jwhancher
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a case of Yards' Ales of the Revolution a month or two back. Poured this one into a snifter for review.

A: Pours a cloudy light amber with noticeable suspended particles throughout.

S: Smells mostly of honey with some peppery notes and a tad bit of spiciness.

T: Honey again is evident here with perceived molasses notes. It's a sugary, spicy quality that almost seems maple syrup like. No real hop character, although I'm assuming some noble hops were used.

M: Tastes medium full with a sweetness throughout that comes out best in the end. The residual sweetness seems to weigh it down a good bit. Good carbonation.

O: Of the 3 beers in the variety pack, this is likely my #2 choice behind Washington's porter. This is a well brewed beer. I just don't think I could drink it everyday as it has a little too much sweetness weighing it down. It's great trying to taste what the founding fathers drank at some point, but I'm glad that I can live and drink in the present time.

Photo of tobelerone
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

Poured a hazy amber with a very small white head that settled quickly. Patchy lace.

Aroma has some noticeable booze up front, a fair amount of sweetness, bready, caramel malt, and a touch of mostly floral hops.

Flavor is decent enough, booze feels a little too prominent, pretty sweet overall, again, with a caramel maltiness, some toffee and brown sugar, raisins, and a bit of floral and citrus hops in the finish.

Body is medium, carbonation is moderate, fairly smooth, syrupy and a little creamy. Not bad.

Overall I thought this one was only average, the booze was a little too assertive, even for the style, and drinkability was only fair. Definitely warming. Flavors also seemed a little muddled to me. Sweet but dry in the finish.

Photo of Neorebel
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a beautiful golden brown, with tiny specs of sediment within. Unfiltered is good in my book. Carbonated, with only a thin ring of a head, though. Aroma - fresh, soap and linen somehow, toasted malt; grainy/bready. Interesting dichotomy. Flavor is sharp on the tongue and somewhat heavy. Definitely very tangy/sour - although there is surely some hops in the finish, I'm not sure where that bite comes from exactly... the alcohol? Not a bad thing, but not a beer you can drink all night.

Photo of tone77
3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. has a copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, slightly sweet. Taste is a bit unusual, bready, hops, sour, some alcohol, seems like lots of flavors pulling in different directions. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a mediocre beer.

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

Bottle, $1.49. Yards was one of the first breweries I got to try thanks to an uncle, probably in 2007? Not this one, though.

A clear copper with a dense, off-white head with good retention and a little lacing, this beer looks good. The nose is surprisingly fruity, with poached pears, caramel apples, quite a bit of butterscotch and some hops. Leafy, mildly earthy English hops along with a slight citrus honey aroma are present. As it warms up, I get more toffee and caramel. Solid.

This obviously quite young, because it does taste a little brash. Opening up with candied fruits , a little caramel and toffee, this is quite nice. Burnt sugar does lend a little bitterness, but I do detect some hoppy bitterness as well. Bready, this is mildly alcoholic on the back-end. Medium full in body with soft carbonation, this beer feels quite nice on the palate. The finish is especially nice, with a lingering toffee sweetness and burnt sugar bitterness. There's aspects to it that make me think whiskey. The flavor notes are well-integrated for the most part, and this beer is quite nicely done. Solid stuff, I'd drink it again.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to leftmindedrighty for this extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a golden color into a tulip. About a half finger of off white head is achieved with a moderate pour that dissipates quickly leaving slight lacing.

Smell – Lots of caramel and toffee, slight chocolate, hints of hops and citrus.

Taste – More citrus up front than sweetness. Though there is a heavy caramel bready maltiness to it. Earthy notes, some odd metallic taste.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall – Interesting beer, worth trying, not one I’d seek out.

Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliantly clear deep gold/light amber hue with a big sticky off white head. Nose is extremely subtle a first. Lacing is extremely stellar. Subdued earthy and herbal nose. A touch of dry coriander as the beer airs out.

Taste has an overall buttered toast like quality to it. The flavors in general are modest as well. Starts with a biscuit like graininess followed by caramel, oak, and a touch of butter and finishes clean and crisp. Alcohol warms very slightly on the swallow. Balance is pretty superb.

For a subtle beer I happen to enjoy this one a lot. A touch of bright fruit balances the richness of the beer on the finish making the large body more approachable. Pretty damn good.

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 keanex
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip from a 12 ounce bottle with no freshness date.

A: Clear dark amber, almost copper body with a small light tan head that doesn't stick around long.

S: Very sweet and malty with brown sugar and nuts, very warm and inviting.

T: Very sweet from the malts with a brown sugar and nuts flavor coming in through the middle and lasting to the finish. I'm not getting any of the bright flavors other users are experiencing, this is very sweet and malty to me. Very warming as well.

M: Sharp carbonation meet a medium bodied beer.

O: I like this more than the rating indicates, but it just doesn't stand out very much. This is definitely a nice winter beer though, it's warm and inviting.

Photo of kennylopez
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint.

Appearance: a hazy golden yellow with a thick white head that lasts and leaves traces of lacing.

Smells: a earthy pine hop note and a some sort of herb I can really point out.

Tastes: there is a grassy hop character that has a well grainy malt that enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: this is a brew that has a lingering hop and is well carbonated. I liked this ale, but its not my favorite English style Strong Ale.

Overall: For 8% this is a super easy drinker and few can go down fast and smooth. I also enjoyed the $8 six pack.

Photo of microbrewlover
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a golden color with a thick head and lacing that remains in the glass after the beer is gone.

The smell is hoppy, there are also spices in there, maybe honey there is also a lemon grass smell.

The taste is hop forward there is also a strong lemon grass taste as well as some spices that I can not identify.

The mouthfeel is grassy, hoppy and thick. The bitterness lingers after swallowing but the bitterness is not too strong. It is really just right. I normally prefer 'malt forward' brews but Yards got the hop level in this one just right. This is great for any time of the year but I believe this brew would be best in summer and served at a barbecue or other outdoor party.

Photo of thain709
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a cloudy, golden-orange body with some sediment suspended finger of creamy, white head retained to a full cap and left some lacing behind

S - The nose was interesting...there was a touch of spice, some sweet honey, mild grains, and herbal hops

T - Flavors followed through with what the nose provided...starts off with a lot of spice...I actually wasn't expecting it in this beer...I say it follows suit with some cinnamon and coriander...the sweet honey rushes in to balance things out...the honey maybe be a little astringent here...the finish provides a tingly feeling with light carbonation and bitter hops...not grapefruit or pine bitter, just hoppy bitter

M - Medium bodied...spicy and sweet with a metallic twang lingering

O - You could probably warm this up and serve it like has herbal, spice, and sweet characteristics all throughout...I'd say it's a good representation of what they were drinking back then

Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 760 ratings.