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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 theboozecruise
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint.

It's a clear deep reddish brown color Witt a huge frothy head. It really takes a while to dissipate and left good lacing.

The smell is strong and malty with hints of toffee and a small hint of hops.

The taste is the same basic flavor profile as the aroma, but not as robust. If anything, the hops come through a little stronger. Definitely more bitter after a second sip.

It's a little thin, but this is a very drinkable sessionable Irish red. Not bad at all.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
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 BeerLover99
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: cloudy brown/mild crimson hue, trace head, solid lacing

S: sweet ripe fruit (date/figs), nutty, malt

T: sweet nutty, malt, very British yeast tone, semi-dry crisp finish

M: light, semi-dry mouth

O: Let me 1st state, reds are my least favorite style.
That being noted, I still was not a huge fan of this beer.
Could be a great session brew for a Fat Tire newbie.


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Photo of PhageLab
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint glass.

A - Reddish brown brew carrying a 1 finger head. Retention and lacing were mild.

S - Faint aroma of sweet malts and bread.

T - Toasted nut flavor, very muted. Body is a balance of sweet malt and roasted coffee. Watery finish.

M - Creamy light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - Not the best example of the style. Certainly not bad by any means, and could probably be enjoyable at a concert or something of that nature.

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Photo of stckhndlr
4.62/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at Finn McCool's in Virginia Beach, VA
Review from notes.

Classic rust red color with a two finger head. Nice thick foam. Sweet malt notes like a belgian ale but with some caramel spice. Has a sweet rootbeer flavor at first but then notes of coffee and chocolate malts come through with a crisp malty finish. Medium body with a clean finish. Very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep mahogany color with a slightly off-white head.

S: Very malty beer, I can't detect hops at all, just sweet smelling malts.

T: On the taste, this beer is quite well balanced. There is a mediocre bitterness to counteract the maltiness. Light caramel and a slight toasty flavor with a sweet finish.

M: Moderately carbonated and not-quite full bodied, this beer is somewhat smooth.

D: This beer is quite drinkable! I'd defiantly buy it again.

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Photo of Offa
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red-brown, big tan head steadily shrinks to permanent foamy thin top, foamy lace – nice looking.

Aroma is very nice toasty, caramelly, fruit bread crust, figs, toasty rich bready.

Taste is dryish and well-balanced up front, light swet-sour fruit and nut, some dark toast, strong black tea and pepper bitterness dominating finish and lingering with spicy fruit. It is a little too bitter in the aftertaste, reducing drinkability a little.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
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 SkeeterHawk
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have seen this beer around lately, so I finally decided to give it a shot.

Appearance: Pours a very clear deep red color with a pretty creamy looking 1/2" of tannish bubbles that has plenty of staying power and looked pretty much the same a minute after the pour. Most of the way through the beer, there is still over 1/4" of head on the beer and lace smeared all the way down. I seriously don't know how they could possibly improve on this for the style. Kudos!

Aroma: The aroma gives plenty of earthy notes that remind me a lot of Samuel Smith. The malt is toasty and full of character. I am also getting a pretty healthy dose of hops for this style and they are giving a mild grassy and slightly floral. Definitely British style hops.

Taste: The flavor is sweeter than anything I though from the aroma. The malt is in charge, and the hops only contribute to the initial parts of the flavor. There are lots of toasty notes in this beer, and though the beer is rather light bodied and somewhat dry, it still comes across the palate rather substantial. The carbonation being high actually makes you slow down as you drink it, so this may be a good thing since it is such a light beer so that it doesn't hit your palate too watery. There is a very slight acidity that hits the back of the throat a bit more as the beer warms.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good beer for what it is. It is the best Irish Red that I have tried to date, but that isn't that many. The first beer I ever brewed was an Irish Red, so you would think that I would have more commercial experience. Either way, this is a good beer with a lot of character for such a light one...so you should take your time with this one.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy reddish-brown. A medium tan head, 1" thick and fairly creamy, sits atop. Nice lace is left behind.
Smell is malt, wood and a sense of dryness. Weak but a nice balance.
Taste is malt, wood, grape and apples, with a slight smokiness. Balanced well.
Medium effervescence and body. Relatively smooth with a dry finish. A slight warming in the throat. A solid brew. Wonder what else they have?

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance - Two finger cream colored head with decent retention and good lacing. Dark red body.

Smell - Coffee and with the sweetness of dates.

Taste - Malty. Much like a lightly sweetened and creamed iced coffee.

Mouthfeel - A little too watery. Froth adds some body while it lasts.

Overall - Enjoyable beer. I won't be day dreaming about it though.

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Photo of kjyost
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle BB Aug/2011 poured into a Stella chalice.

A: Reddish brown clear beer with small head that descends quickly and leaves little lacing.
S: Sweet caramel notes with earthy malt and hop undertones.
T: Sweet body, though leaning almost too much to the cloying without enough bitterness to balance. Earthy undertone with fruity apple notes at times. Nice though nothing great.
M: Thick and viscous, lingers longly. Well carbonated.
O: I enjoyed it while it was there. Would I purposefully buy it again? No.

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Photo of phishgator
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Deep amber/red hue, extremely dark in color with a pinkish head. The carbonation is mild. It comes across very dry with some caramel sweetness. The body is filling for such a low abv beer. A nice example of the style and one I will have again.

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Photo of thecarster1
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a pint, one fingers worth of creamy white head that fades leaving an uneven layering of lace, walnut coloring with amber highlights.

s- sweet toasted malts, dominate, maybe a touch buttery, nutty.

t- nice sweetness here, not cloying but enjoyable, subtle hop presence that is slightly bitter, nutty, earthy, a touch of butter, and yes it is almost tea-like.

m- medium, creamy.

d- nice, wasn't expecting too much here but this is a solid irish red. i would drink this again, not sure i'd buy much because it's a bit pricey.

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

Nice red/brown color, nice smokey almost tobacco-like aroma. nice tan head with a good amount of lacing. Pours a nice red/brown color, smell is of tobacco, dark roated malt, some toffee notes. A little disappointed in the flavor and palate feel, from the look and smell I figured that it would be smooth and flavorful like Smithwicks, but it is not. lackluster flavor, and a bit harsh on the palate.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
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 +1.1%
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 AgentMunky
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 33cL stange glass in a Dublin gastropub.

A: Beautiful deep red with a finger of head. Dark but clear, allowing a gorgeous ruby coruscancy in the light. I'm impressed.

S: Oddly neutral (perhaps because it's on draught?) with some buttery tones and firm malts deep underneath.

T: Roasted malts, chock full of meatiness, rocket into the front. This red ale taste much more like a light stout. Hops, however, are not absent and pack a punch of their own, especially later on in the taste. Tasty, biscuity hops linger in the aftertaste with an almost coffee bitterness.

M: Good, interesting, and well-balanced.

D: A good beer, but a strange red (again, stout-er than I expected). It pairs excellently with slow-roasted pork belly.

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Photo of obywan59
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a mixed 6-pack I received for Christmas. This one was a gusher, but just barely. Pours a deep amber into my pint glass, with a 3 finger tannish head that recedes quickly leaving a bit of thick lacing. Held to a bright shows a brilliant ruby shining through the glass.

Some sweet malt, perhaps a little dark fruit, and a whiff of vanilla.

At first more sweet than bitter, barely a hint of hops, The sweetness diminished rather abruptly leaving more of a light bitter taste. A bit tart, like grapefruit, or even grapefruit rind. Rather dry in the end.

Medium thin bodied with a light prickle of carbonation.

Not a lot going on here, but would probably make for a pleasant enough session. Definitely a better choice than a macro.

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Photo of marty21
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark clear ruby red almost brown. Has a creamy two finger off white head. Settles to a thin cap. Leaves thick dense creamy lacing. Left a complete wall of lace at the top of my glass.

S: Very sweet malt. With hints of caramel and I get a bit of dark fruit.

T: Sweet caramel malts with a bit of hops. Finishes sweet but with some roastiness.

M: Light carbonation with a medium body. Very clean and crisp.

D: I was impressed with this one. It had a great appearance and the taste was really good. This could be a great session beer especially with the low Abv. One of the best red ale's I've had.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle and into a pint glass.

Look - brownish/dark red in color, fairly clear, and with about 2 fingers worth of a soft beige colored foam that dissipates slowly. Good carbonation.

Smell - very malty smell, also a little musky. Fairly rich smelling texture.

Taste and mouthfeel - somewhat acidic and pungeant taste, fairly bitter in the middle and end..can't place the hops. Texture is somewhat creamier.

Drinkability - aftertaste is a little too bitter for me to enjoy often.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown 500ml bottle, best before 28 Aug 2011, drank in my hotel lounge after a night out in Cork, Ireland.

Poured into a small, quarter pint tumbler it looked a lovely redwood tree bark colour, bright and clear. A lot better than the two Irish Reds I'd had on tap at one of the bars I'd been in earlier. Creamy head, both in colour and texture, produced some good lacing and stayed on each pour until the end.

Sweet malty molasses, toffee apple treacle without the sickly feel, those are the smells I got from the beer.

Semi-sweet taste, those molasses and treacle type aromas already mentioned were evident in the flavours also. A bit too sweet for my normal liking, but still enjoyed the beer.

Well carbonated and full of life, but somewhat lacking in depth or inner strenght, an OK beer but not an outstanding one in my eyes.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.67/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber with a thin tan head that doesn't retain particularly well. The aroma is very British in style, with notes of caramel and toffee, dark fruits, burtonized water, fruity esters, and some slight floral hops. The flavor is similar with soft caramel and treacle notes upfront, along with some apple and cherry, earthy hops, vanilla and a hint of oak, sharp carbonation and a kiss of alcohol. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth and drinkability is very good. A very understated Irish Red Ale, probably more representative of the style than the hopped up American versions.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.93/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours red, a little darker than average, no head.
Aroma was kind of flat beer.

Taste, some slight tang to the ale, but really not much going on. The bitterness prolly isn't desireable in this style of beer. Tastes as if it is a half red, half brown ale blend with the slight nuttiness and subtlety (read: boring) that fans of session beers like. Lacking depth, substance, ingredients it seems.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Dark red, almost to the point of being brown. Big foamy tan head. Great retention and sticky lacing.

S: Big malty smells. Rich caramel, some toffee, and lots of coffee. Grassy and slightly citric hop smells.

T: Huge tastes of roasted coffee give way briefly to some sweeter caramel flavors. Citric hops add a quick bite before being overwhelmed again by the malt. Coffee flavors re-emerge and are accompanied by toffee and even some chocolatey roasted malt tastes. Long, slightly dry finish showcases coffee and roasted malt flavors.

M: Thick for the style, but smooth. Plenty of carbonation.

D: Good. Goes down easily despite the thickness.

Notes: This is not your average Irish red. A bit of a malt bomb, but I like what they've done with it. There are almost some stout-like qualities. Flavor and body are more robust than most examples of the style, but it still retains its sessionability. A nice change of pace from all the watery, bland reds that saturate the market.

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