Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) | O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.

BA SCORE
96
world-class
209 Ratings
Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999)Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This entry is for vintages brewed by Eldridge Pope & Co. PLC. / Thomas Hardy Brewery from 1968 to 1999. O'Hanlon's took over the brand and revived it in 2003: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1533/16858

Added by Todd on 11-27-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
209
Reviews:
120
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
10.36%
 
 
Wants:
169
Gots:
45
For Trade:
2
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 |  Reviews: 120
Photo of Lamar
4.92/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle from 1991 No F07844
An amazing sipping beer. The look is dark brown in the glass with no head at all. There is an amazing complexity on the nose with notes of clove, spice and sherry that I was able to detect. Rich in taste with a strong chocolate finish. Paired perfectly with my Fettuccine and Black Truffle Oil ; as good a beer as I have ever had.

 357 characters

Photo of Narthax
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.09/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

6.33 oz. bottle. 1991 bottle. Deep amber with a couple of floaty bits. No head. Smells of raisins, oxidations, and something like charred wood. Tastes of rich sweet caramel. Brown sugar. Raisins. A little cardboard and sherry oxidation. Mild bitterness the cut the flavors. Tingly alcohol. Medium heavy and flat, but never sluggish. Remarkable. I expected this to be terrible, having had a 2007 bottle that was unpleasant, but this is delicious.

 456 characters

Photo of SkylerShores
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Ohiovania
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

95'

Figs, dates, chocolate, tobacco , hint booze, slightly vinous, rich and decadent. Still but feels dense, almost viscous.

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Photo of smi69
4.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Hayley_86
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Share of a 1975 bottle in honor of a friends birthday, very special.

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Photo of mattreitz49
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Budlum
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1996 vintage.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.36/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

17 years old.

A: Cola coloured, darn near black. Not much of a head.
S: All the usual barley wine flavours.
T: Medicinal with dried fruit, still sweet, – all the usual barley wine flavours. However, it's gone a bit flat and sour.
O: Probably nice when fresh. I fear I have a bad bottle, but I'm not going to spend hundreds of pounds on the rest of the stock to be sure. For what it's worth, a home brewed version of this is one of the best beers I've ever had.

 463 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jaydoc
4.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Treyliff
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1987 Vintage
Half-pint bottle poured into a snifter glass

A- prying of the cap produces just a faint hiss. Pours a deep brown color with zero head or carbonation in the appearance

S- intense dark fruit aroma up front with notes of bold prune, fig & raisin. Wet cardboard (oxidization) follows the fruit aromas, along with caramel, wet leather, tobacco, beef broth & a hint of smoke, very interesting

T- Wow, this is quite possibly the most intensely flavored beer I've ever had. Sweet, savory, salty umami up front that opens up to flavors of prune juice, dried figs & raisins. Mid-palate adds a meaty element, reminiscent of salty beef broth or pot roast. As it nears the finish, I find notes of soy sauce, caramel, port & that wet cardboard oxidation. The linger gives flavors of more dark fruit and more of that savory saltines that almost makes you salivate

M- thick bodied with virtually zero carbonation, silky mouthfeel that stays viscous throughout into the finish, alcohol is hidden quite well

O- wow, this was an experience, like anything I've ever tasted. I can see what these are only 6oz, as it has taken me over an hour to drink it. Glad to have had the opportunity to taste this one, a 29 year old beer the night before my 30th birthday.

 1,263 characters

Photo of deonreds
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of WTKeene
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A 1993 vintage I bought for my brother's 21st two years ago, we finally cracked it tonight. Spent the last two years in the back of a fridge. Poured into a 2015 Jester King Funk and Sour fluted tulip glass.

Appearance: A translucent burnt caramel color, it looks more like a dark brown liquor than anything else. Pours almost entirely flat but with a few small bubbles of coffee-milk colored head upon the first pour.

Smell: Wow. Bright, brandied raisins, hints of cognac. Little bits of burnt toffee and fruity dark chocolate, this is seriously something to behold.

Taste: Mostly follows the nose, the chocolate isn't quite so prominent but the bright, fruity raisins certainly are. Caramel and burnt toffee is here too. Vanilla and fragrant toasted coconut on the finish. This is easily among the most complex barleywines I've had and quite a difference from the 04 and 06 vintages I've had. It's also clearly better than the 04 and 06 vintages.

Mouthfeel: Really thick and luscious, much more so than the relatively thin 06. Sticks to the palate and has quite a long linger. More carb than I was expecting, which is to say it's nearly flat but not entirely so. This is truly something.

Overall: Wow, everything I was hoping it would be. I'm not super familiar with ports and cognacs and brandies, but this does remind me of a truly complex tawny port. The Thomas hardy vintages have earned their reputation as among the best aged barleywines and they are absolutely worth seeking out. I'm going to need my own birth year vintage in the future, for sure.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
3.62/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1987 vintage, shared with cellar partner in 2016.
Now I've never had a TH Ale of any vintage, so it was a very interesting experience jumping right into a 30 year old bottle.
Poured pitch black with no head, but some viscosity was evident. Smell was meaty, Madeira, leather, booze. Very savory and umami. Taste followed suit -- much less sweet than the JW Lees we tried side by side with it. It was strangely quite puckeringly salty, and rather tart. I wondered if there might've been a slight infection. Fairly bitter as well, not sure from hops or tannins or what-have-you.
Overall this was the most INTENSE tasting beer I've ever had in my life. To be honest I couldn't finish my pour, but I understand the allure of old bottles like this. A fascinating and complex ale quite unlike any other I've ever tried. Glad for the the opportunity.

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Photo of BrownBottle
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Boogski
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

93- had it since 93... Was in great condition, still very high alcohol flavor.

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Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beers-es
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Franziskaner
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown in color and extremely murky. No head whatsoever is present. That aroma reminds me vaguely of Sam Adam's Triple Bock! Lots of plum, a bit of fig, a hint of cabernet. The taste is plenty more plum and dates with loads of malt and barley. The body is very thick and yet viscous. It's oddly smooth for something so thick. I wonder if it should be entirely uncarbonated or if the fact that it sat through a couple of power outages in summer and winter over the many years I've had it? Still, very unique and interesting.

 535 characters

Photo of Justin8mypants
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible. Lots of dark fruit, chocolate and carmel/toffee flavor. Low carbonation as you would expect for a 16 yr old beer. Very sticky and a nice syrupy mouthfeel. Really something special.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Last night I had a 1987 Thomas Hardy's ale... opened with a little tiny hiss, poured a nice brown color with a ruby hue. Flavors, oh man that thing was complex... leather, soy sauce, meaty, sweet, slight tartness. It was definitely a sipper and something you can really only have a small amount of, but I'm very glad I got to taste it.

Still have a 1986 and a 1988 to drink at a later time.

 392 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cp45
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
4.44 out of 5 based on 209 ratings.
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