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O'Hara's Irish Red - Carlow Brewing Company

Not Rated.
O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red

Educational use only; do not reuse.

193 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 193
Hads: 390
Avg: 3.56
pDev: 18.26%
Wants: 18
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company visit their website

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: merlin48 on 02-22-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 193 | Hads: 390
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.3/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: It poured deep amber red into a pint glass with a creamy, off-white head. A moderate level of carbonation is visible; there is a good amount of head retention.
S: The nose is relatively sweet and there are hints of caramel malts.
T: There wasn't a whole lot of overall taste, although the few flavors there were shared similarities with the aroma and were malty and sweet. The taste also had some hints of black tea, burnt malts, and other grains and there is some bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied and smooth on the palate.
D: It was relatively easy to drink this beer but nothing really stood out about the taste so I'm not sure if I would have it again.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first time I had this beer I thought it was great, The second time around I thik my tastes had changed because it wasn't nearly as good. The beer poured out as a nice looking red color with a fizzy white head. The lacing was decent but not too impressive. The smell was of sweet malts, they kind of reminded me of a scotch ale. The taste seemed good the first time with a good malt base and not much deviating from that. The second time I think the bottle may have been bad because it just didn't taste the same. The mouthfeel was medium bodied. Overall the beer is worth trying one last time I think before I come to a true verdict on the flavor issues.

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Photo of brentk56
3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber color with a robust head that nicely laces the pint glass

Smell: Caramel malt with a hint of grain

Taste: Caramel up front that is quickly matched by a grainy, sharp hop taste; the two flavors continue through the finish with a sweet toffee note at the tip of the tongue by journey's end; grainy bitterness lingers into the aftermath, however

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I'm just not crazy about the grainy bitterness on this beer and that limits my desire to have another

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There are certain beers that define the style. Guinness does it with Irish Stouts, Sierra Nevada with American Pale Ales, Urquell with Pilsners; and O'hara's with Irish Reds.

The pitcher comes to the bar with a darker than expected red-brown color and a billowing mousse-like head. Decanting into the glass, the beer has a firm look that doesn't over state the carbonation or firmness.

Light aromas of carmel-toffee and lightly toasted breads. Mild nuttiness comes through as the beer warms. A light creamy malt aroma comes in late.

Flavors of caramelized malt, toasted malts, and sun-kist malts come together in a very clean and unobstructed taste. No fruitiness, no spiciness; just a complex, malty taste.

Hopped to balance the bitterness only, the profile of the beer rests in it's delicate creaminess, well-attenuated malt taste, and superbly clean drinkability.

Not the most complex beer, but simple, pure, clean, and highly sessionable. I'll gladly share a pitcher any day. Thanks Marikka's.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear burgundy color ale with a big foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of medium sweet malt is somewhat bland. Taste is a mix between some medium sweet malt with some notes of caramel and mild fruity yeast. Body is about average with some average carbonation.

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Photo of zeff80
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper/red color with a small, white head of foam. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - It smelled malty and sweet with some mild grassy notes.

T - Nice bready malt flavor with a good caramel taste. Mild grassy bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is an okay red ale. Not fabulous but tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautifully bronzed orange-red with brassy orange edges; the perfect hue for an Irish Red. The pale caramel nougat cap looks good as well. Its surface is packed with sticky bubbles that spatter the glass with an attractive display of lace when they pop. I don't know about the rest of the beer, but the look is right on the money.

The nose is weakly toasted malty and weakly fruity. Too bad that it isn't stronger because I get the sense that there's something to like in there. More of an English hop presence would be nice.

Irish Red is okay beer even if it doesn't impress me as much as I thought it might, being brewed in Ireland and being touted as a 'tradional' version and all. As in the nose, there's a fair amount of toasted bread malt with a hoppiness that delivers more bitterness than it does flavor. I can still easily appreciate that pleasant tea leafiness that many British ales have.

No surprises where body and mouthfeel are concerned. More malt would help matters, but then I suppose that Carlow was going after a light, drinkable beer, not an especially malty one. A few more bubbles would improve things considerably as well. It'll do for the style.

O'hara's Irish Red is traditional in the sense that it's fairly mildly flavored, it's scrupulously balanced and it's sessionable thanks to the sub-5% ABV. That doesn't make it tremendous beer though. I think I'll stick with the Americanized versions by Three Floyds (Brian Boru) and Great Lakes (Conway's Irish). Sometimes we Yanks just brew better beer.

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Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear amber with a one finger head that is gone pretty quickly,heavy caramel malt aroma along with some brown sugar and highly toasted grain makes it pretty aromatic.Pretty sharp mouthfeel though pretty darn prickly on the tongu the only drawback to this brew in my opinion.Big and toasty flavors some almost butterscotch flavors come thru no hop bitterness really but that tru to the Irish red style.Pretty flavorful but the mouthfeel brings down the scores a little on this one.

After drinking a few of these beers the mouthfeel was alot smoother and rounder,maybe just one bad bottle in the bunch the better mouthfeel made this brew alot better.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
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...

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Photo of mactrail
2.48/5  rDev -30.3%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Erdinger pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland. I've been largely unimpressed with this brewery's efforts so far.

A: Four finger head of lovely cream, good thickness, and nice retention. Dark amber colour; nontransparent.

Sm: Barley plus amber hops. Expected but pleasant.

T: Amber and barley hops, typical of an Irish red, for the body, plus some bittering hops on the jump after the climax, and some cream running throughout the third act. Better than expected, particular with regard to the hoppy complexity. Built well for the style; though it should be noted that you see very few Irish reds in Ireland. Balanced well.

Mf: Wet, creamy at times, and smooth. Complements the flavours. Does a nice job.

Dr: Priced fairly when not on draught. Not a great beer, but worthy of the style. It's certainly worth a try. One of the best beers from this brewery.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin but dense lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty, nutty and spicy with tea, caramel and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out with flavors of caramel, tea and bready malts with a touch of smokiness. There is a decent hops presence that comes in and provides a good balance. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice representation of style, light kick makes the beer a good one drink when you want something flavorful that is not going to destroy you. It is well-worth drinking over the course of an evening.

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Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 2 1/2 to 3 inches above the glass leaving a big tan to light brown head floating over a clear reddish/amber colored ale.

Aroma consists of fruity caramel malts, a classic beer aroma.

Taste is more of the same a fruity caramel malt taste, and not the fruits of the tropics, the more hardy fruits grown in cooler temperatures.

A nice dry light caramel aftertaste on this moderately carbonated Irish Red. A pretty good beer to kickback and throw down on a hot summer day.

When I finished I saw that I give it 5 out of 5 'good' so I guess that's pretty 'good'.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a bottle at Market Cross Pub and Brewery in Carlisle, PA. Served cold in a 12oz brown bottle, poured into a half pint.
A - A deep garnet w/ caramel highlights and a full inch of tan head.

S - Caramel malt aromas w/ a slightly fruity yeast and bready aroma.

M - Med full, creamy and malty textures w/ a generally dry finish. An herbal hop bitterness trails faintly behind.

T - The smooth taste of pale and crystal malt w/ a lite yeastiness and cream w/ a faint taste of pine flavored herbal hops. Gentle almond and grainy flavors finish out the taste.

D - A fine red, nice sweetness, smooth taste -easily drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
3.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Puts an effervescent caramel with 2 fingers sand colored head Average lacing & below average head retention

S: Grainyness & toasty grains as well, much orchard fruit

T: Fruittyness (apples & pears), leafy hops & astringency up front. Astringency continues as this warms, along with pears & leafy hops & a bit of dryness. Finishes fruity with leafy & minty hops & a touch of apple peel

MF: Light/medium bodied, fairly vigirous carbonation, okay balance

Drinks alright, I'd say there's at least a dozen American versions I prefer, nothing special here IMO

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Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown color forming a large creamed coffee like hue, fine speckled lacing forms evenly on the sides of my chalice. Aroma has some mild fruit notes, hints of grape and cherry with earthy rounded notes with a nice malt presence. Much more palatable than the last Irish Red I tried at double the price. Hints of peated malt, fruitiness lingers on throughout the maltiness, this beer could become one dimensional unless you really really like it. Underlying fruit blends nicely together, minimal hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with even flowing carbonation going on. No harsness on the palate really smoth and expressive. This was a solid authentic offering of the style from across the pond.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large, hefty head leaving lots of chunky lace. Light brown color and reasonably clear.

Dark caramel aroma with a touch of coffee. Quite sweet, like toffee, but with a strong toastiness.

Not as sweet as the aroma would suggest. Still, I wouldn't describe this as dry. There isn't much hop to this brew. Comes closest to a scotch ale. The body is full with a low carbonation.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Sn 30th Anniversary tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown with one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of roasted and toasted malts, caramel malts, and chocolate.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, hops, nuts, and roasted malts.

m - Light to medium body and high carbonation.

d - Ok but not that great of a beer. Wouldn't seek out again,.

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark, ruby-crimson - towards brown even - with a thick tan head that descends and lasts, leaving spotted lacing.

The smell is of light caramel with herbal notes. Mild.

The taste is is lightly roasted caramel (soft) with taste (slightly burnt edges) with a mild herbal bitterness (towards metallic) in the finish. Medium-bodied.

This didn't exactly make me want to run for more after the bottle was through, but the one was drinkable. It could use more all-round fullness (and slightly less burnt/metallic touches). On the up-side, it does have balance, and enough smoothness to be on the enjoyable side of things. Not a bad interpretation of the style.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the liquor store because it was less than a dollar a bottle. This should have set off an alarm in my mind.

Beer is dark red to brown and mostly clear. Forms a big head of medium off white bubbles that falls away leaving some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is minimal.

Aroma is mildly malty.

Medium body with an unfortuante late bitterness and slight aftertaste. Some sweetness up front, slight roast in the back. I wonder how they got the black colour to this beer (U added intentionally). Eh, its relatively easy drinking. Not too impressed in general. Sorry.

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Photo of stakem
3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber/red color with 2 fingers of white slightly tanned head. Fair retension and a sticky amount of lace clings to the glass. Slight aroma of hops hidden behind an abundance of grain in the nose. Taste is malty with slight hop bitterness and a crisp finish. It is light bodied and moderately carbed. Overall a fairly decent red but nothing I would be excited about trying again.

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O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 193 ratings.