Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) | O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.

735 Ratings
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Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)

Brewed by:
O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
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.

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Ratings: 735 |  Reviews: 563
Photo of Elpadrino42069
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Buckeye982
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

8.5 fluid ounce bottle poured into a highball glass (I'm in a hotel goddamn it).

Pours surprisingly fizzy and a the pale oatmeal head disappears quickly in a noisy retreat. The body is a amber and brown, thick-looking liquid with blonde hues. It has a chewy, pulpy look like apple cider. Carbonation is relentless and intense. 4.5

The aroma is so robust that it reaches me from a foot plus distance. Rich, gooey caramel, raisin, prune, earthiness, oak, vanilla and maybe some bourbon. 4.25

Taste starts with red wine and port and segues to caramel and butterscotch. Mid-palate turns dark fruity with raisin and fig and a spicy flavor like bourbon. Heck, there's even some white wine on that finish. 4.25

Thick and gooey, port or red wine-like, with a touch of spiciness and wet booziness. The finish is vinous and mostly dry, but still hits with some wet solvent feel. 4

Glad to have tried this. I see what people raved about. I do think many a modern beer is capturing this flavor and even taking ot a level or two higher though.

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Photo of Lare453
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle. Brown, no head what so ever.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2007 bottle split with a good friend.

Ugly ass brew. Murky with yeast chunks on the bottom. Looks like tea with milk.

Smell is as complex as they come. Tobacco, leather, musk, caramel, apples, Apple peel, dates, sherry and rum soaked fruit. So many things going on. Crazy!

Much like the smell-tons going on here. Booze soaked caramel apples, tobacco, dates. Sweet and almost tangy with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel was medium with no carbonation. Drinks like a fine sherry.

Well this was quite the experience. One of the most complex beers that I have had. Super stoked that I got to experience it. One of those special beers everyone should get to try. Thanks Will for sharing!

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Photo of Howlader
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of unclekeith
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DucksFan16
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of gordavidson
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 bottle. Purchased 9 years ago to save for when/if I got married. Got married, so now I am drinking it. Dark, murky, sweet, rich. Tobacco, leather, brown sugar. Coats the mouth. Definitely tastes like it has some age on it, but has plenty of aging potential left in it. A treat.

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Photo of darktronica
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle pours a burnt orange color, with half a finger of cream-colored foam that mostly dissipates but leaves behind some nice lacing on the glass. Smells of toffee, vanilla, raw sugar cane, and oak pulp, with secondary undertones of orange rind, tobacco, and marzipan. The taste is less complex but no less pleasing, with still some hints of hoppy bitterness to lend some bite to the flavors; this prevents the beer from verging into cloyingly sweet territory, and it also dries out the finish a bit. Really excellent, looking forward to ageing another bottle for a few more years!

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 2008 bottle numbered T22262 from a snifter. It pours deep chestnut with a circle of fizz around the top. It has winey, fruity, alcoholic aromas and flavors. It drinks more like a sherry than a beer. Truly delightful.

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Photo of bcm75
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage. Apricots, soy, plums. Slight smokiness. 9 years in the bottle has done this wonders. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly viscous.

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Photo of TastyIsBeer
4.71/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Domvan
4.9/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(2008, bottle 14956 - poured carefully into a snifter)

L: dirty-murky russet brown liquid, very little head forms... not one speck of lace

S: thick knot of caramel, baked apples (a la Jewish apple cake)... wet dead leaves and top soil... mild honey on the top, rolling over into a fruitier back end... subtle hint of toast and cigar... altogether quite familiar English strong ale aromas

T: decadently rich and thick worty malt... brown sugar overtones and vaguely clove-y phenols linger on the back of the palate... brandy/port-like finish, thread of fruity booze throughout... summary: caramel, brown sugar, bold brandy-like booze

F: full-bodied and syrupy slick at its core, yet surprisingly light in weight, presumably due to the robust degree of alcohol

O: I was anticipating more distinct, unique flavors... it's more a sedative to malt and booze hounds and of interest because of its rarity... I would probably try to get another bottle or two to lay down for another 5-10

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Photo of HollyHops
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Rutager
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle, perfect size for soloing @ 25cl.

Pours a clear burnt-orange with gold edges when held to the light ...and what's this? Yes, I do believe... Hold on, let me double check. YES! We have the much sought after rooby tones!! By no means dominant, but they are there!!! Anyways, thin off-white head, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Big sweet caramel on the nose with a drop of sherry. Some nice dried prunes and a touch of fresher (than dried...) dark fruits. Also a touch of fruity yeast (or phenols perhaps) that doesn't seem familiar. Different from belgian styles, but fruity along the same lines.

Oh man!! Demerara sugar and sherry in a great way. Not overly sweet, but sweet with lots of caramel, sherry, prunes and other dried dark fruits, some leather and old wood. There's a light acidity that cuts through the sweetness and adds to the drinkability for sure. Booze isn't strong but it definitely feels warm in the throat after a few sips.

Full body (but nothing too crazy), low carbonation.

What a bummer this stuff isn't made anymore. I have another bottle, a few years older that I'll have to keep for some time. Those sherry notes are amazing and more of that couldn't be a bad thing.

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Photo of zac16125
4.77/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thomas Hardy Old Ale
250mL bottle in tulip
vintage 2006

A: very dark mahogany, sliver of tan head, dissipates quickly, almost no lacing 4.25

S: tons of dark fruit, vinous, spicy booze, subtle soy sauce 4.75

T: tons of dark fruit, currants, vinous, caramel/toffee 4.75

M/D: full body, surprisingly high carbonation, ABV very well masked, great drinkability 4.75

O: not sure what it's like fresh, but with 9 years on it, it's simply world class 5

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Photo of BDeibs
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Axnjxn
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of lonewolfcry
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SierraFlight
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeffo
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this one from a generous soul a few years back. For the life of me I can’t remember who it was, but if it was you, thanks very much for bringing this one along. Much appreciated.

From a 25cl bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2008
No. T 45476

APPEARANCE: Pours out virtually still with a few bubbles forming on the top. A slight wisp rises and forms on top of the brew, but it’s minimal. A ring forms as well with swirly wisp on top and some receding bubbles from the pour. A crystal clear maroon or burgundy brown with no carbonation evident. A slightly bubbly ring remains but that’s it.

SMELL: Very bold and complex nose of toffee, caramel candy, dark dried fruits and some brown sugary notes. Red berries, some light notes of leather and light earthy wood aromas. Really nice and enticing.

TASTE: Lots of sweetness up front with a good kick of booze through the middle and into the swallow. Toffee, sweet caramel candy, red berries and dark fruits up front. More sweetness and booze through the middle and into the swallow, with a bold and lingering finish of toffee and candy sweetness, dried fruit, brown sugar, wood, leather notes, and some nice booze soaked berries pulling it all together. This is really nice and enjoyable. Easy to drink as well. Loving every drop of it and it will unfortunately be empty far too quickly.

PALATE: Virtually still. No carbonation on this one really, though it’s not really missed per se. Silky on the palate, enough weight, goes down slick with no real scratch at all and finishes sticky. A touch of heat lingers, but well measured. I’m normally not a fan of flat beer and do wish there were a hint of carbonation here, but it’s not necessarily distracting in this case. It actually fits the beer, somehow.

OVERALL: This is really nice. I can see why people speak so highly of this one, as it really is a complex and flavorful treat. I will say I wish there were a touch of carbonation here, but in the end, its absence really isn’t an issue with this beer. Plenty of character and lots worth pondering here. If this were available to me, I’d definitely drink it on a semi-regular basis. Such a shame that it is no more. Thanks to the mystery person who put this beer in my lap a few years back. This was a gem.

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Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
4.12 out of 5 based on 735 ratings.
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