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

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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:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 740 |  Reviews: 565
Photo of BDeibs
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Axnjxn
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of lonewolfcry
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SierraFlight
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeffo
4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

 2,286 characters

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2800th review! 8.5 ounce bottle into tulip glass; 2008 vintage, bottle No. T 24099. Pours moderately hazy deep reddish brown color with a small dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, fig, date, apple, caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, tobacco, leather, light chocolate, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, prune, fig, date, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, leather, tobacco, light chocolate, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, prune, fig, date, caramel, toffee, toast, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, leather, tobacco, light chocolate, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and light earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and moderately slick/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome old ale style! All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

boy does this cellar well. 2004 edition, thanks to a buddy who really has some will power to save beer this cool this long. my first thomas hardys, really stoked. it pours an almost flat looking but quite shiny brassy color, with a lot of viscosity but good clarity, like a light amber maple syrup. the nose is definitely sweet, and there is some stale yeast must to it, but i am surprised its as clean smelling as it is, with the booze aroma only moderate and the sugars really interestingly flavored, not just sweetness for the sake of strength. highly refined flavor profile, as well integrated as you would expect for a ten year old bottle. to me its more of a barleywine than an old ale, but the distinction has always been blurred anyhow. molasses, cane sugar, melting brown sugar, neutral wood, ancient yeast, and minimal oxidation are all tasted here, but the synergy is special. im not sure ive ever had anything quite like it, and trying to nail down exactly what its like is akin to describing the color purple to a blind man. you just dont know until you know. i would recommend that you figure out how to get your hands on one of these and know, because the knowledge is everything right here. i hope to be back for more vintages!

 1,243 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Photo of sharpski
3/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of templar316
4.75/5  rDev +15%

An 04 to celebrate the big 40. Pours a deep dark chocolate brown, with just a wisp of carbonation. The nose is really opening as it warms; maple, leather and pipe tobacco. There's smooth cola, a bite of tart cherry, fading into a lingering tobacco finish. Here's hoping I can find a 05 for 50.

 293 characters

Photo of TubaManJack
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

2008 Vintage
Bottle Number 11523

Appearance: Pours like a brown motor oil. A touch of carbonation, as without it I would think I just poured an oxidized port, as there are still a nice solvent leg as I tilt the glass back.

Smell: Figs and Raisins - huge dried fruit presence . There is a bit of booze on the nose like fresh polished shoes.

Taste: Just like the smell. However there is a lot of dark sugars from brown sugar, caramel, molasses. It was quite a surprise as it did taste like port. I can't get it out of my head. As it warms I lost the raisin bit and the leather into more of the burnt sugar, solvent, and gritty fig center.

Mouthfeel: Thick with a little carbonation. It lies quite thick on the tongue only exceeded by a few 15% barrel aged stouts.

Overall: This is nice experience, but was a bit overwhelming and fairly a single note. It was a bit like enjoying a big glass of port. Nice, but so sweet it needs to be shared. It was a nice find, but at $12 it was a bit much for a medallion token on a red loop. Find a friend and split it after dinner.

I'll be on the look out for a earlier pre-2003 vintage

 1,130 characters

Photo of RochefortChris
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of tom10101
3.25/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of beergoot
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle label info: 2008 No. T 21853 Edition

Dark honey colored body with lively, fine bubble carbonation although the head is very thin and wispy. Very dense, rich smelling aroma; caramel; figs and dates; molasses; warm, dark bread. The taste reflects many of the aroma's traits; raisins and fig flavors about. Heavy body with a thick, resinous, vinous feel.

It's hard to beat a thick and chewy old ale and this sample is pretty awesome. A big boozy alcohol heat also significantly contributes to the appeal, adding depth and complexity to an already huge malt and dextrin presence. A nice find and thoroughly enjoyable experience, especially if old stock ales are your thing.

 678 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.97/5  rDev -3.9%

2008 bottle purchased at La Cave a Bulles in Paris, poured on 9/18/14 at home in Florida into a Hunahpu snifter. Pours murky brown with some purple hues and basically no head except for a ring of yellowish tans bubbles around the edges. Aroma is very sweet brown sugar and figs, chocolate, leather, toffee, caramel, molasses and some sherry notes. Flavor is figs and leather, brown sugar sweetness, light lingering chocolate and brown sugar, a hint of booze, and some bready malts. Not overly sweet to my surprise. Full bodied with very very little carbonation. Fun to try, very nice.

 584 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%

2008 bottle picked up locally. enjoyed from a thomas hardy's snifter.

brew pours a murky brown with a darker bottom and lighter surface...looks fairly muddy and not the most enticing. a few bubbles lay on the surface, but no head per se.

nose is really rich and dense. sweet boozy toffee nougat like candy with some minty menthol.

taste follows suit with a minty, boozy, candy sweet nougat. almost like candy canes. immensely sweet.

tasty, a dessert drink...this is only 6 years and feels REALLY young.

 513 characters

Photo of Mayo2323
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Duffman79
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of piccnd3
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Kyrojack
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of Hugonaut13
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of brother_kenneth
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of MisterE
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2005 vintage 11.7% ABV 8.5 oz bottle #P 37773 - a gift from a friend, poured carefully (as per instructions on back label) into a 12 oz tulip glass

A: flat medium brown with no head, no bubbles

S: dark dry fruit - raisins, figs, and earthly sweetness

T: strong and sweet with suggestion of bitter, burnt malts and alcohol

M: smooth, almost syrupy, with no carbonation; only alcohol to tickle the tongue

O: unusual and robust, but not one I'd order myself

This beer reminds me more of a port wine than an old ale.

 518 characters

Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) from Hanlons Brewery
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 740 ratings