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O'Hara's Irish Red - Carlow Brewing Company

O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

292 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 292
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 13.28%

Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company visit their website

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: merlin48 on 02-22-2005)
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Ratings: 292 | Reviews: 180 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of superspak


3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into pint glass, best before 1/31/2015. Pours fairly crystal clear ruby red color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, pear, apple, raisin, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, and herbal earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt, yeast ester, and earthy hop notes; with decent strength. Taste of caramel, toast, roasted malt, pear, apple, raisin, brown bread, brown sugar, floral, grass, and herbal earthiness. Fair amount of earthy herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, roast, pear, apple, brown bread, brown sugar, floral, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice balance and solid robustness of bready/roasted malt and earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming present after the finish as expected of 4.3%. Overall this is a solid Irish red ale. Good balance and solid robustness of malt, yeast ester, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 02:39:30 | More by superspak
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

500ml Bottle from O'Reilly's in Lisnaskea (£2.39):
Dark caramel amber with a thin, beige head that turned to a soapy lacing after about thirty seconds and looked slightly wavy around the circumference.

Light, earthy malts and a faintly sweet aroma with some sugar coming through. There is a little caramel and some toasted malts as well but the smell is quite a light one overall.

Toasted malts and caramel start things off, followed closely by some background sweetness, some bread and a light bitterness with some basic, earthy flavours as well.

Medium body & carbonation about the same, there is an earthy bitterness throughout and hints of sweetness, although these are few and far between. Smooth bodied and with a slight tang but overall the balance is quite good.

Sadly this was another fairly average Irish offering that seems to be a common feature of the beers I have tried from the country, albeit with a few exceptions. An okay beer but not one that would warrant a second try really.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 15:36:57 | More by flyingpig
Photo of bmwats


3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark brown ruby hue. Pours a 3 finger, frothy brown-white head. Settles and craters slowly. Dry and uneven fallout, with some dry sticky residue in its wake. Never fully dissipates. Lots of dry beer ring lacing, too.

S: Malt, caramel, molasses, and pecan.

T: Earthy malt, tree bark, and a little hop.

M: Full and hearty feel. Subtle flavors all around. Slightly bitter finish.

D: Drink session style, but worth savoring.

Atmosphere is pretty strong. Dark hue, huge frothy head, and lots of lacing. Nose is nutty and malty, with some sweet and candy notes. Earthy, hearty malt, with a little hop. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 00:34:07 | More by bmwats
Photo of Pegasus


3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep mahogany body, crowned by a moderate, fine-beaded tan head, which fades to a thin layer rather quickly. Thick lacing coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Moderate toasted malt and caramel notes dominate the aroma. A faint herbal hop presence is notable as well.

Taste: Begins with moderate caramel and toasted malt. As the taste progresses, a slight herbal hop presence makes itself known. Late in the taste, a mild herbal bitterness appears. The finish is somewhat dry.

Mouth feel: Smooth and full, with soft carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Pleasant and drinkable, although whenever drinking an Irish beer, I wish for a Guinness.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass long-neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 02:42:28 | More by Pegasus
Photo of rickyleepotts


2.76/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.25

I see this beer all the time at Total Wine & More, but I never buy it. I am not a huge fan of this style, but from what I have been reading, this is one of the best red ales available. It has to be good… it's an Irish red ale from Ireland. If it's not good, then I will have to order a Guinness when I visit.

We were going to review an IPA today, but since St. Patrick's day is this weekend, I wanted to make sure we had time to review this bottle. Oh, and we got another trade in the mail today. I actually got one yesterday AND today. Yesterday included Mad Elf, a beer on the list, and several beers from the east I had never heard of. Today we got two bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, which is also on the list. I asked for two bottles because I love the beer, and want to toss one in the cellar for a few years.

The beer trading stuff is an addiction… we are new to it, but I can see why people enjoy it. I love it when the UPS man knocks on the door! Anyway, let's get to the O'Hara's. That is a really low ABV, and while that scares me, I have faith in the flavor. Speaking of a low ABV, I heard William, beer manager at Total Wine in Scottsdale, talking about low ABV beers being a new trend in craft beer. I haven't seen much of that, but I hope he's wrong. I like stronger beers… the higher the ABV the better!

In the Glass: This looks like a traditional red ale. It had a nice thick white head to start, but that quickly became a thin layer of foam on top of the beer. I wonder how big of a difference the temperature makes on this beer. With such a low ABV, I wouldn't think it would get better as it heats up. Maybe. I will let it warm up a bit before I finish it. The beer doesn't have much lace to speak of. This makes me think of George Killian's Irish Red. I hope it's better than that!

Nose: I will warn you, my nose has been stopped up for the last few days. I thought I was getting sick, but I think I am just suffering from allergies. I never had allergies until I moved to Arizona, where I was told allergies didn't exist. Oh well, I can still smell and taste, and that is all that matters. This smells like an Irish red. I haven't had a Killian's in a while, but I remember that smelling better than this. Surely not… let's see what the O'Hara's tastes like.

Flavor: There is a lot more flavor here than in a bottle of Killian's, but the flavor is consistent with the red ale style. Like I said, we are drinking this ice cold… so I am going to let it sit before I take a second or third drink, but I am not impressed with the initial flavor profile here. I AM impressed with the finish and the aftertaste. But we will get to that in a moment.

Mouthfeel: There are a lot of bubbles up front, and as you swallow, the beer really mellows out. It has a nice smooth finish, and leaves a lingering sugary sweet aftertaste. It almost tastes like burnt sugars with a hint of caramel. In regards to the mouthfeel, this is boring and way too carbonated for my liking.

Aftertaste: This is my favorite part of the beer. As soon as you swallow, the aftertaste becomes somewhat drying with a nice sugary sweet finish. Not barleywine sweet, but a nice dark caramel flavor. It lingers, but dries out as you continue to swallow. I would never expect a beer that has such a low ABV to have such a powerful finish.

I am glad that we could drink an Irish beer this week, but I wouldn't order this one again. If this was on draft and I was sitting in a pub in Ireland… maybe. But only because it is a true Irish beer and I would be drinking this IN Ireland. Jeremy and Petulia were recently in Ireland. I wonder if they had any of this while they were there.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 22:55:24 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of RonaldTheriot


3.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

O’Hara’s Irish Red has a very thin, off-white head, a brilliant brick-red appearance, lots of bubble streams, and a little bit of lacing left behind. The aroma is of medium-roasted barley malt, molasses, brown bread crust, and candied fruit. Taste is of tannin, bread crust, and mild bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and O’Hara’s Irish Red finishes crisp, dry, refreshing, and easy drinking. Overall, this is a simple, yet good beer. It's worth trying out.


Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 14:55:27 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Best before 12/28/12.

Pours a clear super dark reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and a slight alcohol aroma. There is also a distinct soy sauce aroma that comes out as the beer warms up. Taste is much the same with toasted bread and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a pretty good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a slightly above average beer that is drinkable but not something I would go after again.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2013 01:48:36 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of TSJ4000


4.7/5  rDev +32.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ok, Irish Red's are not my preferred style except for the Session Holiday that is, St. Patrick's Day. I get pretty sick of Guinness and having a nice session red available makes things a little more exciting.

This beer is orangy-brown, not really all that red. It has the perfect carbonation for throwing a couple liters down the hatch and it isn't too high in alcohol.

I wish this beer came on Nitro, then it would be awesome.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2013 17:14:43 | More by TSJ4000
Photo of eduardolinhalis


3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a Thumbler glass.

A: Pours a dark amber copper color. Clear. Forms a small beige to gray head with low retention. A very think layer remains on the top forever and some lacings are formed and left in the glass

S: Toffee, caramel malts, wood and hops. Some notes of bready yeasts. Light lactic notes in the very end

T: Slightly sweet grains upfront. Strong notes of wood. Notes of roasted malts, caramel malts, English style grassy hops. BTW, an smooth but very pleasant hoppy bitterness. In overall, a dry beer in the mouth. Very reach in flavors

M: Light body. Medium to low carbonation. A little bit molasses. Excellent woody and bit bitter aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. Very well done beer. Recommended

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 15:56:43 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of smakawhat


4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A sudsdy but fairly good retention off white light tan head, hits three fingers deep with a great body color. A fantastic very dark amber red with lots of play in hues through the light from ruby to dark indian red all throughout with a nice mahogonay brown top.

Roasty malts, sticky toffee more like a doppelbock strangely not so much grassy or fruity. Faint chocolate on this, smells real nice.

Palate hits with a good mix of malt stickiness and toffee. Sweet malts roll nicely, with an almost toasty finish but not quite. Lightly crisp almost with some decent carbonation but nothing watery or wet, or that takes away from the palate. Palate is VERY malt coating for an Irish red. Warmth brings out cocoa powdered chocolate, and a quick hop bitter that lingers very slightly.

This is quite a lively solid brew for 4.3% I could just pound these back all day. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 23:20:31 | More by smakawhat
Photo of horshack7


3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a very dark amber red with brown hues around the edges. On top is two fingers worth of an off white head.

Aroma: Dark fruits in the front. Plum, raisins, brown bread, caramelized sugar. Malts are very much on the bready side with traces of molasses.

Taste: Dark bread, faint banana, plum, molasses, light grape, caramel malts. Mostly a smooth mouthfeel with a wisp of a malty bite.

Notes: I'ts not too bad a good example of the style and drinkable. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2012 00:37:54 | More by horshack7
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the classic irish red to me. pours dark ruby to brick red, much darker than its american counterparts. nice off white head rests lazily on top. smells like earthy semisweet irish malts with a touch of smoke to it. flavor is malt driven but well balanced. long bittersweet finish rounds it out. tons of culinary potential with this beer too. its just a rich but drinkable perfect example of the style. mouthfeel is right on for what it is, excited carbonation and a just medium body. slightly filling after a few, lots of malt here, but not heavy. i would recommend this to anyone seeking a sudsy irish red.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2012 15:36:16 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Cozzatoad


3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

A- Light brown colour with bright reddish hints if seen through light, lots of very small bubbles visible among the beer's body. A couple fingers of a quite dense-looking white head, nice amounts of lacing too. Very nice

S- Sweet caramel notes among a soft, quite stout-like, bready malts feel. Maybe a slight roasted hint

T- Pretty much what the smell suggested. Very much on the malty side with a bit of a bready feel. Malts have notes of caramel, chocolate also shows up along with a bit of a roasted feel. Light, delicate tea-like bitterness in the finish. Overall not so distant from an irish dry stout

M- Medium body, minimal carbonation. Super soft and smooth on the palate, carbonation is to be felt only the tongue, where it brings a bit of life

O- Not the most complex beer out there, but sure one that stays totally true to its style by bringing great balance and drinkabilty. Definitely worth as a regular beer if you can find it for a cheap price

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 08:38:41 | More by Cozzatoad
Photo of ThomasMetal75


4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

*Apparently I reviewed this on Rate Beer & not here, so here is my review*

A- Ruby head with a nice thick head. I noticed little lacing.

S- Malty and sweet with a roasted caramel scent.

T- Same as aroma. Malty sweet, and has a nice roasted, almost toasted. caramel thing going on. It is mildly bitter. Excellent!

M- Light and extremely drinkable. Not heavy at all. Ohara’s Irish Red is a great light beer that is easy drinking.

All the flavors work well with each other and the abv is so low that a few could be had easily. A+ brew!

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 19:27:35 | More by ThomasMetal75
Photo of darioklc

Croatia (Hrvatska)

4.5/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into original O'Hara's 0.5l glass which I've bought together with beer.
A: The color is reddish with a lot of bubbles. There isn't a lot of foam and it gradually disappears.
S: It has a pretty intense malt aroma with a slight sensation of alcohol
T: This is the first red beer that I tried and maybe because of that it seems to me that this is one of the best beers I have tried. It has a rich caramel flavor, neither sweet nor bitter, just as it should be.
Overall: As I said before this was really big surprise for me in a good way. Surely beer that you must try!

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 15:02:45 | More by darioklc
Photo of acevenom


4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pours clear, deep amber with a tall, creamy tan head. The head dissipates slowly, leaving lots of lacing on the side of the glass. There's a pleasant aroma of sweet malts. It smells bready as well. The taste is malty and slightly sweet. There is some hop bitterness and there is some breadiness in the taste. It's very delicious. The body is medium and the carbonation is moderate. It's creamy and the finish is clean. The drinkability is high. Overall, this is a very good beer. It's a solid, delicious beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2012 21:00:13 | More by acevenom
Photo of mcguirmn

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A good amount of cream colored head with pretty good lacing. Beer has a dark red color to it.

Smell - A faint smell of coffee is present. Also very sweet smelling. Lots of Malt.

Taste - The malty smell only increases once it touches your tongue. Very sweet tasting but the taste of alcohol is still very present.

Mouthfeel - I expected this beer to be a little thicker. It was a little too watery for my liking. Perhaps it is better on tap...

Overall - Overall it is a very enjoyable beer. If it is the only Irish Red on the menu, by all means, try it out. In my opinion, it costs too much and leaves me wanting more.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2012 00:20:12 | More by mcguirmn
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear dark garnet and is much darker than expected with some carbonation. The head is off-white, modest and quickly dissipating, leaving rings of lace.

Big caramel malt from a tulip glass with some sweet tea and wheat bread.

Balance is better than anticipated from the nose but still on the malty side. The finish is lingering with unsweetened tea. Oddly interesting.

O’Hara’s Irish Red has a medium body and is a bit woolly with no hint of alcohol. This one is well carbonated with a trying finish, almost chalky.

This is a fine session beer with little to discuss. However, it would work well as a social beer with friends on a crisp autumn afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 20:53:11 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of mactrail


2.48/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Tastes like the old sod tossed a couple of clods into the brew tub. Reddish cast is undeniable, so we can agree on that. Watery and might possibly be refreshing if you were thirsty enough. Earthy, to put is politely. Less offensive after a few sips when the tongue is numbed a little. Touch of roasted flavor, but it washes very thin. Sharpish with club-soda carbonation.

On tap at the Linkery in San Diego. Overall, it's cheap-tasting swill even for this benighted style. Easy to see why the Irish drink stout on their home turf.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2012 05:58:26 | More by mactrail
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received a reddish amber brew with a foamy cap of head and slight lace.

Mild toasty notes, some mineral bitterness. Lean in the nose.

Toasted malt up front, with a little burnt caramel, some light hop bitterness, bread crust, and maltiness in the finish.

Medium body, good carbonation.

Ok brew. Liked how this stood up to food. Nice balance of malt and bitterness. Glad I tried this.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2012 18:14:32 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of JuicesFlowing


4.23/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a deep, ruby amber brown. A dark cream colored head stays around for a while and settles to a thin film. Random light lacing. The beer smells of dark caramel, malts and faint hops. The taste is well represented by the smell: a sharp hop presence, but followed by a mellow caramel malt finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, very drinkable.

Overall, this is the second beer I've had from O'Hara's, and it's another good one. Well made, very drinkable, and no punches. I love breweries that aren't pretentious, and this is one. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 19:04:56 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of TMoney2591


3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

I can't for the life of me remember if/when I've had this beer before... Anyone? Regardless, it pours a clear russet-amber topped by a finger or so of off-white foam. The nose comprises buttery biscuit, a touch of mandarin orange syrup, and a sprinkling of cilantro in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, though the orange-like qualities come to the fore, sorta creating a candied orange peel kind of flavor. Some added toffee helps this effect along. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, an alright red, but not one that I would ever really seek out again. Just didn't do it for me...

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 06:05:53 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce bottle - Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark amber body with a moderately sized, ivory-hued head. Fairly copious amounts of lace.

Smell: A sweet-scented brushing of toffee and brown sugar over deeply toasted malts with a faint sniff of quality smoke, dark fruitiness, and herbal hops.

Taste: Toffee and brown sugar, though not overtly sweet, a bit less than anticipated from the nose. Toasted malts paired with modest raisin notes. Very, very faint touch of clean smoke. Light herbal hop character, lightly bitterness. Drying, malty on the back half and into the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-light carbonation.

Overall: I hadn't had this one in several years, and, well, I kind of remember why I hadn't. Particularly so-so.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 05:27:01 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of thierrynantes


3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (50 cl.) purchased in V&B Nantes, and tasted in 2011.

Appearance : red amber color, with white foam head (not persistent).
Smell : malty and caramel aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : sweet malty with notes of caramel.
Drinkability : an average beer in the style Irish Red Ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 17:55:50 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of travisnd


3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this Irish Red in a 4 pack from Total Wine. Compared to other Irish Red's I've had like Sam Admans and Saranac I found O'Hara's to be the best and most expensive. It had a nice dark rich color when poured into a glass with minimal head. Goes does nice and even when warm, still tasty! Bring the price down and I'll be buying more!

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 20:23:17 | More by travisnd
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O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 292 ratings.