Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) | Hanlons Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)
740 Ratings
Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)

Brewed by:
Hanlons Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
O'Hanlon's took over the brand and revived it in 2003, but discontinued it after the 2008 batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-05-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 740 |  Reviews: 565
Photo of AustinBrooks
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of jbertsch
1.62/5  rDev -60.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottle dated 2007.

Poured this hard into a flute glass and got no head. The beer itself was dark caramel in color with no lacing or bubble action to be seen.

Aroma was pungent. Super sweet malt & barley. Apple prune, fig, caramel, and sugar were all tasted. It's complex, I'll give it that, but the sum of it's parts add up to something that tastes like a caramel covered apple soaked in hard liquor.

I first tasted bitter sweet hops, followed quickly by very sweet malts, and finishing long with an almost unpleasantly sour bitterness. This one packs some serious heat for a brew as the alcohol finish is prickly and hot.

Mouthfeel was thin, yet a bit pulpy. No carbonation. No life. Slimy.

I could not finish it, so drinkability was rough.

Maybe I had a dud?
It was in the refrigerator for a bit, but that shouldn't have mattered much. Maybe it's meant to age for a lot longer.

I was sorely disappointed as I was looking forward to this one. Perhaps if this was not called beer or an "ale" I might enjoy it more. Eventhough it has 11-12%ABV, it drinks more like a hard liquor or port wine at 15-20%.

 1,114 characters

Photo of WHROO
1.7/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This was a shock to the system...its hard to even call this a beer - it blurs the line between an ale & wine/port.
Average appearance for an ale, absolutely no head or lacing, looked dead...but it looked thick & full of chunky sediment.
The smell began this wild trip, big on soy sauce...also plum, grapes & port - very fortified & thick. With such a high ABV the alcohol was very evident on the nose. Also some coffee.
Taste made me feel I was drinking the rest of soy sauce after dim sims at the bottom of the bowl...really!!! It was a little spicey hot / peppery because of this. Very port like, fruity & intense. The ABV helped in that it preoccupied me from the taste.
Mouthfeel made me feel I was nearly eating it, thick & tough stuff - sweetness & thickness made this very hard to continue
This is definately an acquired taste that I don't think I am ready for yet.
The thing I was most excited about was it was only a 250ml bottle...yay!!!
Maybe being a 2007 vintage, this just need a few more years to smoothen out.

 1,025 characters

Photo of champ103
1.84/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: This pours a dark amber/brown color. A thin, almost non existent head forms. No lace. After the head recedes this looks closer to a red wine than a beer.
S: Burnt wood and charcoal aroma. Some grapes and plums. Lots of alcohol.
T: Very sweet and sour malt flavor that has a huge vinigar flavor. An overbearing cloying sweetness. Sour grapes and plums again. I don't really care for this at all. Not a lot of depth.
M/D: Very syrupy with a dead and lifeless carbonation. This has an ABV of over 11, and it shows. Lots of alcohol burn that makes this unpleasant and hard to sip.

A 2006 bottle. This is a sub par Old Ale right now. Very hard to drink, and not much character. Maybe this needs to age for 25 years like it says on the bottle. Though not a good beer to drink at the moment.

 788 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
1.87/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

8.5 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher snifter. 2003 Bottle. No. O 10219 Edition, 11.7% ABV, Age, storage (55 degrees F), and pouring instructions.

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing this cool little bottle.

A - Like the fabled horseman, this beer is also headless. The quiet pour procures a clear, dirty brown color with air bubbles that cling to the edges and some small legs on a swirl. The lack of a head doesn't bother me as much as the unattractive color does.

S - Hints at spoilage or bad aging come from the wafts of soy sauce (a la S.A. Triple Bock) but the overpowering aroma is mainly of solvent-like booze, a bit of maple syrup, and robust toasted malts. Some other notes appear as well like prunes and raisins.

T - Rank soy sauce is so much more potent than the nose lets on. It has a hot, quick boozy blast too that finishes with an ode to malt and maple syrup. Not enjoyable at all.

M - Thinner feeling and hot and boozy with a moderate carbonation touch to it. I can't keep it in my mouth long enough to form an accurate representation of how it feels.

D - Three sips and to the drain. I appreciate the opportunity to try a legendary beer but how can they justify saying, "Bottles of this rare bottle-conditioned ale have kept for at least 25 years, maturing in flavour like fine wine." It's only 6 years old and terrible. And they say AT LEAST 25 years. No thanks I'll pass on this and look for an opportunity to try a fresh bottle.

 1,452 characters

Photo of trxxpaxxs
2.11/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Got this from 2beerornot2beer in the Blind Beer Round 6 BIF.
2004 vintage poured into my Bruery snifter:

A: Pours a super dark brown, almost black, with absolutely no head. There is no lacing as it drinks.

S: The smell is big soy. Wow. I haven’t smelled a beer this harsh since Triple Bock. There are also some notes of raisin and candied sugar, but mainly soy. It’s not my thing.

T: The taste is burnt chocolate, raisins, and soy. It’s pretty bad. This is most definitely not my kind of beer. I will say however, that the flavors seem to get better as this beer warms.

M: Full bodied beer. This beer coasts the palate and lingers around forever. It’s really creamy.

O: This is just not my cup of tea. I’m getting too much soy sauce taste. It’s a very difficult beer to drink. It says this beer can be stored for up to 25 years. No thanks.

 856 characters

Photo of DaddyDan
2.38/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer pours a nice orange copperish hue with a pillowy head. From what I can smell, it is quite nice. But that is where it ends. The beer has an extremely sweet syrupy taste with minimal amount of carbonation. There are hints or nuts and fruit, but it is overpowered by the sweetness. I don't think that I will be buying any more bottles.

 341 characters

Photo of dleiner
2.5/5  rDev -39.5%

Photo of DIPAFAN
2.5/5  rDev -39.5%

Photo of bashiba
2.61/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a 2005 edition.
Poured a dirty brown color with a thick creamy head with good retention.

Smell is almost overpoweringly sweet and fruity.

Taste is super sweet malts with tons of sweet fruit flavors, lots of raison and cherry, and plum, with hints of oak and a strong alcohol flavor. A bit of hop bitterness at the end, but not enough to overcome the sweet malt and alcohol flavors.

Mothfeel is creamy and hot.

Overall this beer is just to sweet and hot right now, maybe a couple years in the cellar to mellow it out.

 538 characters

Photo of Knapp85
2.65/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm going to say right off the bat that this needs to be aged. It's just far too strong when it's fresh. I had a bottle of this back in 2008 and I believe that it was that years vintage. It's a dark brew with little head. Has a very boozed up aroma with many different things spewing from it. It's almost undrinkable when it's fresh to me. I had to sip this so slowly that it was like hardly even having any. The best thing I can compare this to would be Sam Adams Tiple Bock.

 476 characters

Photo of LordAdmNelson
2.68/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2004 Vintage, No. P 68673

Pours a syrupy brown with very pretty ruby highlights when held up to light. About an inch of rapidly fading sandy head. Nose is interesting--cherries with some other fruity sweetness, all rolled in chocolate, with some lightly toasted bread. Something a bit off, though, slightly medicinal note.

And on the taste it all comes crashing down. I'm almost sure that this one has been stored correctly, it came from the same store that I got a good-condition 2000 J.W. Lee's from. It's difficult to get through the medicinal character--cough syrup. Cherry, raisin, chocolate--it kind of reminds me of a Tootsie-Roll Pop. It must be infected or something, but I'm not sure if I want to pay $8 to find out.

Medium mouthfeel, smooth. Drinkability is shot because I can't get by the taste. I had huge hopes for this one, big let-down.

 855 characters

Photo of Portertime
2.73/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

To some this may be an outstanding aged beer but I just did not dig it. The strong sherry/rum taste was just too overpowering. Also the outrageous price for an 11oz four pack made me glad I just tried a single. According to the bottle this is the rarest beer in Great Britain but all I can say is, if you have a aquired taste for it more power to you but if you are just looking for something different to try, look further.

 424 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
2.74/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thomas Hardy's Ale

2004 No. P 38485 edition

Appearance- light hazel brown with no head. Looks like flat coke.
Smell- sweet prune, cherry, and raisins. Slight alcohol detected.
Taste- Too too sweet. Strong Fig, Raisin, and Prune flavor with a sickening amount of sugar. Not as much alcohol detected as I thought ( being 11.7% its rather weak.)
Mouthfeel- warm and sugary, no bitterness but a cough syrup aftertaste.

Overall- An Ale that tastes like a bad wine. Maybe a sip or two for dessert but otherwise all hype not worth it!!!

 541 characters

Photo of jwc215
2.74/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2003 no. O 05953 edition

Pours hazy caramel with no head. The color isn't bad, but nothing great and even for the abv level the head retention is poor.

The smell is of raisin, prunes and sherry. The alcohol is very upfront. The smell is quite potent, but not as complex as it could be.

The taste is of sticky, sweet fruits, especially prunes, with a sharp alcohol backbone. It has definate port/sherry flavors. It's a malt bomb - no hops or yeast noticeable. The alcohol is consistantly present. The sweet malt is backed by sweet alcohol, making this cloyingly sweet. The flavors are almost lost in to the sweetness and cutting alcohol.

The flavors linger, but the sweetness and raw alcohol are almost over-the top. I felt like I just drank sherry rather than an ale.

There are better balanced, more complex old ales out there. I didn't find this to be enjoyable, or easy to sip.

 902 characters

Photo of MickeyHops
2.78/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of pootz
2.8/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

250ml bottle dated 2003, serial No.# 11474

Poured a dark murkey brown into the cap or lacing, virtually no carbonation....this is one butt-ugly ale.

Aromas of over ripe prunes, rasins, figs....some sweet earthy mustiness...fusil alcohol presense detected as a "licorice"-like aroma.

Rich in ripe fruit tastes, molasses, smoke , some nuts, sweet burnt treacle....big bulky mouth feel...finishes wet with a salty licorice taste.

Definately richly complex and full of great ingredients and a labor intensive process and oak aging.... but it just doesn't come together as an enjoyable ale for me...It has all the makings of a great vinous barley a rich spiced port until the finish where that salty-licorice fusil taste trashes out everything...a good attempt but just not my cup of tea...I don't like these big boozy ales which can't contain their alcohol tastes....where the alcohol creates that licorice-salty decernment in the finish. I have another bottle I may open in 4 or 5 years but not really looking forward to it

 1,055 characters

Photo of cyrenaica
2.8/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2006 Vintage

I tried this beer on January 31, 2008 at "Smokeless Joe's" in Toronto. The bottle was a 2006 vintage, and 13.3% ABV. The beer poured a dark reddish brown with am offwhite bubble head. The aroma was very yeasty, with some malt and candy tones. The mouthfeel was full-bodied, creamy with mild carbonation. The flavour was overpowering from an alcohol perspective with some detectable dark fruity tones and a stomach warming presence. Like the Samichlaus, not a beer I'd try again!

 504 characters

Photo of BCMan
2.81/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is my 1st experience with the new Thomas Hardy's Ale and I've never has the pleasure of the original. I must admit that I did not go into this with an open mind and I fully expect to not really enjoy this beer. This entry will be based on 2003 bottle No. O 03144.

Mr. Hardy poured up a dark caramel brown and generated little to no foam. Only a slight ring around the glass. Swirling in the glass shows that this beer has "legs" which I guess is more of a wine term and interestingly enough, after a quick smell, my wife thought it smelled like wine. The nose is sweet with the presence of alcohol. The flavor is like a heavy syrup. Overly sweet and and reminiscient of a pancake breakfast. The mouthfeel is thick or some might say smooth. After taste make me more thirsty but for something to cut the beer with.

I know this beer is highly reguarded by many and thought to be over rated by some but I'm stuck some where between both. I can see why it's guarded gelously by some and thought to be too hyped by others. I also know that it's meant to improve with age. For this reason I purchased 2 bottles. One went in the fridge while the other went in the cellar. We'll see what a couple of years does to change this new classic. For now I'll stick to my more reasonable stock and revisit Thomas the legend on another night.

 1,337 characters

Photo of IPAcraig
2.84/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I picked this one up in Panama City. Poured into my Einbecker Ur-Bock glass that was given to me by the owner of Het Elfde Gebod in Amsterdam.

2006 no.P 28582

A - A damn ugly beer. Pours a murky dark brown. No carbonation, no head whatsoever after a pour staright into the bottom of the glass. I realize that bigger beers dont have too much carbonation, but I expect some.

S - It has a nice malty sweet aroma, not much else here.

T - Tastes wheaty and malty a bit of caramel is present. It has a sweetness that resembles some of my hombrew before it has finished fermenting. Finishes with a very hot alcohol presence. As it warms, I get notes of sherry, and figs; very nice. A good beer, but still a tad too sweet.

M - Oily and uncarbonated

D - I dont have to pour this one down the drain, but this will be my very last Thomas Hardy.

I didnt knock this beer because of the high price, but this was a disappointment after paying nearly $1 per oz.

 967 characters

Photo of Jmamay22
2.88/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - No head and no lacing. Its a strange dark murky color like muddy water or a dark tea.

Aroma - Alcohol, raisins and prune juice. I hope it tastes unlike it smells.

Taste and Moutfeel - no carbonation and extremely sweet malts immediately smacks you in the face. I don't have an overwhelming sense of raisins or prunes as was in the nose. Further tasting reveals a subdued fruity and yeasty taste. Finishes with a very light alcohol taste.

Drinkability and Notes: I don't think I'd want to drink more than one. You can definetly tell this one has sat around for 4 years, which is exciting and interesting, but I severely doubt I would buy another bottle at $5 or so a pop. I don't see how this has scored so well for others.

 746 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
2.89/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Here we have one of the quintessential beers meant for aging; and what a decorative bottle, too. Nothing classier than popping this open and pouring it into a snifter – cheers.

Four year-old bottle, going on five (2008 vintage, No. T17583).

A: Dark reddish-brown in color, with fine sediment and haze; a rich-looking ale if I’ve ever seen one. Sandy tan head, fizzing quickly and effortlessly away to leave only a ring of beige around the glass’s outer circle. The lacing sticks around in long strands for a short time before lowering back into the body.

S: Deep, powerful aromas; each whiff conjures one hell of a sensation. The main idea is not a bright sugary-sweetness, but that dark, deep-down richness of brown sugar and caramel cream. It’s savory, with that sweet marshmallow and maple I absolutely adore in an old ale. Complexity comes in the form of plum and raisin, accompanied by notes of solvent, vinous booze. Excellent.

T: Actually, this has a ton of sour character to it; not the dark malts I was expecting. It’s mostly a bitter, strangely hoppy, unsatisfying spiciness, only slightly grounded by some deep caramel. I have a feeling I might have a bad bottle. A little raisin and chocolate comes through, but I can’t stick with it long enough to find anything more – had to drainpour it. Too bad; I mean, my mouth was nearly watering from the nose.

M: Slick, but not very heavy; more carbonation than expected. A little over-attenuated for a beer this big.

O: What happened here? Damn, that’s unfortunate – I was really looking forward to this. I might try another bottle, but not for a while at over 50 cents/ounce.

 1,655 characters

Photo of MDekker
2.92/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2006 Vintage Thomas Hardy, split with my brother, so we each didn't get much (although I couldn't have handled much more). I wonder if I'm missing the boat on this, because I didn't find this to be a pleasant experience. Here goes:

A: Looks like apple cider. Hazy, and absolutely no head.

S: Fruity - like raisins, and notes of the alcohol too. Potent.

T: Kapow! Chills and shivers. Tastes like sour fruit and dry fermented grapes. Powerful aftertaste. Like a wine, and yet beer, which left me confused.

M: Like water, basically. Smooth, but nothing impressive.

D: I could only manage small sips at a time. I really didn't enjoy it, although I wouldn't mind one again sometime to see how different the experience is. Maybe I need one that's much older.

 758 characters

Photo of alexatlatx
2.94/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 2

So i have read reviews and articles about how this beer ages for 25 years, etc etc.

I was happy to find this bottle in a Belgium section of a respectable Atlanta Liquor store on vacation.

I snagged this bottle of 2004 No. P 58787. 8.5 ozs, 11.7% and a christmas tree ornament for about $8.

I poured this into my Duvel glass so i could snag the full aroma. No hops, all figs and alcohol. When my girlfriend smelled it she said, "that smells like a barley wine, no thanks."

The taste is like chugging a red box of raisins on the playground...and chasing it with a shot of vodka.

Maybe this should have been a small sample shared between several pals after dinner. I can't say it is bad but I doubt i'll buy it again unless i can find some for cheap.

 762 characters

Photo of chilidog
2.99/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

As a BA, this is one of those...gotta at least try it beers. According to the O'Hanlon's web site this is a beer to gift, celler and enjoy for years. So far, I asked for and got this as a gift. At twenty dollars a four, my wife said, Hope ya like it. It was this or North Coast Stock Ale. To be honest, I love N.C. Stock, I'll stick with that one.

This Thomas Hardy...2007. P 11406. It pours a murky dirty copper. No head, No lace, No carbonation. An old ale indeed. It looks old and flat already.

The aroma was good enough to call out sweet malts, candied sugar and alcohol.

The taste is again sweet, brown sugar, malted grains, caramel, toffee, dark fruits like prune and fig. Alcohol backs it all up.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Alittle alcohol burns the rear of the mouth as a pleasing aftertaste or finish

Drinkability, sure as a sipper, after dinner drink. As you would a brandy. You don't want thisone to clash with any other tastes, though chocolate might just work.

Overall im glad I got it. I'll celler the others for b-days yet to come. Here's to ageing!!

 1,080 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) from Hanlons Brewery
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 740 ratings