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O'Hara's Irish Red | Carlow Brewing Company

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

Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company
Ireland | website

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by merlin48 on 02-22-2005

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Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 415
Photo of InfernoOrangeSS
4.71/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a really good Irish Red Ale. I am a particular fan of Irish Reds and this is a great representation of them. The color is a deep dark, and the aroma is very much a maltiness heaven. If you're a FB of Irish Reds, then I highly encourage you to seek this great brew out. I really like it and it goes down smooth.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 More Beers To Try Before You Die", a sequel to his CAMRA classic.
Listed also in the "1001 Beers To Taste Before You Die", my review and possible re-rating comes after I Have this again.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.81/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Comes in red, but doesn't have enough retention to form a head. Aroma was meh red malt peatness. That earthen grassy, mossy malt.

Taste is a little bit of that, toffee malt stuff too. No hops really evident. Carbonation too low. Bitterness from something, doesn't seem hop derived. Real boring session stuff here. Burton-esque at times.

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Photo of josanguapo
1.32/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

From XXXII. In Teku glass. Watching True Detective 2x07. Very dry, roasted and with a sourness that makes me think it wasnt in good state as it has no trace of the caramel other people find. Much worse than a Murphy's

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Photo of Angerhaus
2.64/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had on nitro for St. Paddy's day. Maybe it was the nitro tap, maybe I just wasn't in the mode for reds that night, but, regardless, it was awful. Flat, dull, and almost sour. I hope that the rest of you have a better experience.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Draft sample. Fest pour. Poured a dark red hue. A pretty decent Irish red from aroma to flavor. Pretty much exactly what I was expecting but the flavors were more vibrant than anticipated. Caramel malt, amber malt, some fruitiness. Finishes surprisingly dry. Light bodied. A good beer.

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Photo of otzhorse
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown with reddish hues
S: Smells of malt and coffee and chocolate
T: Taste of coffee and chocolate and generous malt, hop bitterness is very balanced.
M: Smooth, full body with medium carbonation
O: A good beer but not what I expected to taste from an Irish Red. A lot of coffee flavor which is not common in an irish red.

12oz bottle in a tulip glass

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Photo of Dentist666
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint.
Pours clear brown/red beer with nice 2-finger rocky beige head, good retention.
Smell - grassy, red berries, marmalade, caramel, dough
Taste - caramel, roasted tones, fruity, dry aftertaste, nutty on palate.
Light body, soft carbonation, delightful.

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Photo of Tom_Banjo
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

500cl bottle consumed over lunch at The Boat Yard Restaurant in Dingle. Paired decently with a plate of mussels and fries. Nothing special about it, but prefer it to Smithwicks. Would drink again.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.64/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Clear, deep brown – not really red. More of a strong tea color. Nice, sudsy, parchment-colored foam on top. Smells lovely and malty, like a well-made Vienna lager or altbier. Not a lot of ale esters nor big hop aromas, though there is something fruity, like stewed apples. Overall it reminds me strongly of a tarte tatin, though it doesn't smell 'sweet,' if that makes sense. The aroma is too restrained, too austere, to suggest something that's going to be really rich. A hint of spice – I want to say nutmeg – comes through as well.

The flavor wants to be full and rich, but the mouthfeel won't let it. There are nice, warming flavors here of cocoa, orange pekoe, poached pears, caramel, and even cider brandy, but ultimately it's just a bit too dry and thin to let those flavors really shine. They finish too quickly, in a flash of cola-like bubbles and spice. The aftertaste is a sort of hollow hop bitterness, tasting faintly of bitter orange. It's a tasty beer, and one that's easy to drink, but I just wish it had a bit more oomph. Possible food pairings: pizza, spring greens, bratwurst, duck, cheese souffle.

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Photo of combatbootz
2.94/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Unimpressed, looked good, smelled good......then huge disappointment. Lack the real Irish amber flavor. Better than a bud, but rather have a Killians.

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Photo of oldglory78
3.09/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Drank from a bottle in Dublin city centre bar because they had no IPA including the O'Hara IPA. This is not a bad beer and better than most of the other red Irish ales normally available. I enjoyed it though it would not be my normal beer. Nice enough smell and taste and slightly bitter aftertaste. No head whatsoever after pouring bottle. If you like red ales I would recommend this

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Photo of bark
2.55/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

The colour is dark brown-red (60 EBC), the liquid is clear. The two finger head is beige and compact, it sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is malty and a bit dry with notes of caramel, milk chocolate and dried red berries. Floral bitterness. Hints of vanilla and boiled vegetables.

The taste is dry with malty notes of caramel, rye bread and dried fruits. Light floral hops and low bitterness. Medium body. The aftertaste got some boiled vegetables/cabbage, brown bread and brown sugar. The finish is smooth with some milk sweetness and chalk.

The carbonation is medium strong, the mid-size bubbles are short-lived. The liquid is semi-smooth.

Shame about the vegetables...

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Photo of biegaman
3.64/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Befitting for an Irish ale, O'Hara's Irish Red has a russet tone that's something like that of a ruby potato. It is a fairly dark beer but shows fantastic clarity. Its head is thick and spongy and is sure to leave its mark on the glass - the dishwasher has its work cut out for it.

As you'd expect with an Irish Red, it's a very dry and distinctly nutty graininess that has head seat at the table. The label mentions a "traditional hop flavour" by which I assume they mean one that is completely subservient to the malt; this smells, as it should, overwhelmingly of barley.

Indeed, O'Hara's Irish Red is probably about as close to nibbling on actual malted barley grain as you can get with a liquid. Mind you, the taste isn't entirely "raw" - there is soft caramelization and nutty toast, and also a faint 'seaweed' kind of character. Nothing about this flavour profile is brittle.

Apparently a "pinch" of roast barley can go a long way; there's a restrained but definite smokiness that's almost reminiscent of a peaty Islay and adds bitterness to the otherwise sweet fruitiness of the finish. And though I dismissed the idea of this maltiness being anywhere close to "as impressive as a bock" upon first reading it, the claim turned out to be not far off. It's hefty.

What this offering highlights is the fact that 'Irish Reds' are from a different stable than 'American Ambers'. This is a very interesting beer - be sure to taste it in isolation, before you've had anything else that might confuse your taste buds. Its clean-cut barley notes make O'Hara's among the most pure and veritable examples of the style as they come.

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Photo of FLima
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear ruby copper color with a thin beige head with good retention keeping a constant plate.
Malty aroma with notes of toasted malts, caramels, licorice and herbal hops.
Flavor or minerals, toasted and roasted malts, caramels, nice spices, herbal, earthy and slightly tangy hops, pears, mild hay and even some smoke. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light body with medium carbonation.
Pleasant Irish Red Ale, not overly sweet, tasty, very well balanced and with a relatively huge drinkability. Now the style makes more sense to me after tasting this reference.

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Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -15.3%

03/19/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Good brew. Malt & toastiness make up the flavor set here. Would have a few if not faced w/39 other choices. Sorry, O'Hara, it's not you...it's me. I'm fickle & playing the field.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
4/5  rDev +13%

Very dark ruby pour with a one-finger beige head. Strong aroma of bready malt and dark fruit. Flavor has bread and caramel malt and cereal grains upfront backed by a touch of earthy hops. Light to medium bodied and very smooth mouthfeel. Grain flavor develops very nicely as the beer warms. Finishes with a nice lingering sweet malt taste.

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Photo of Samp01
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown with a medium lasting beige head with good lacing. Aroma and Taste is of toasted caramel malt, mild fruity notes, yeast and bready with some mild bitterness. A medium body, smooth with moderate carbonation on the palate. Has good toasted caramel malt yeast flavor with mild bitterness on the end. A good drinking and enjoyable brew in my view.

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Photo of Paul_PABrewNews
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Lovely reddish brown hue and soft carbonation, excellent looking red ale. Slightly off white small head.

Aroma: Brown Bread, Caramel, Earthy Hops and Very Soft Tones of Molasses

Body: High, Low body overall. Clean taste with a mild earthy/dirty hops tone and bitterness.

Taste: Nice overall flavor for a red ale, the caramel and brown bread notes began the ale which mellowed out and blended with the earthy hops flavor. The bitterness play it's part more in the middle of the ale and blended down towards the end bringing up a sweet cereal grain sweetness to finish.

Overall not a bad red all, it has it's own character and is one of the nicest traditional red ales I've had, very solid and should be searched out by all red ale fans, Cheers!

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Photo of khmel
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: Deep amber light brown, slightly opaque. Minimal light-beige head but decent retention. Lacing and ample carbonation.

S: Brown bread, faint nose. Sweet malty.

T: A little hoppy up front, sweet-ish, roasted malt, little smokey in the finish.

M: Smooth, creamy, light to medium body. Medium carbonation. Dryish finish.

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Photo of Moose90
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz on tap from Rí Rá Irish Pub

A – Good looking beer, nicely red in the glass with a cream colored one finger head. Lacing stays great throughout.

S – Mostly subdued, some sweet caramel notes and a earthy almost peat note as well.

T – Nicely malty, though balanced as well with just the right amount of hops.

M – Refreshing, easy to drink, carbonation levels are in line for the style.

O – Good beer for the style, has a little bit more complexion than some others in its range.

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Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | 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.

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Photo of flyingpig
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.

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Photo of bmwats
3.49/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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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.

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O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 201 ratings.