O'Hanlon's The Original Ruby Stout | Hanlons Brewery

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O'Hanlon's The Original Ruby StoutO'Hanlon's The Original Ruby Stout
90 Ratings
O'Hanlon's The Original Ruby StoutO'Hanlon's The Original Ruby Stout

Brewed by:
Hanlons Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-25-2003

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Ratings: 90 |  Reviews: 84
Reviews by Dantes:
Photo of Dantes
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Package: 50cl, broad-shouldered, crowned, brown bottle. “Best before 12/23/03.” 4.5% ABV. Described as being modeled after a traditional, Irish “corpse-reviver.” Bottle-conditioned.

Cost: ~$3.50/bottle at Finger Lakes Beverage

Presentation: ~55º in an Imperial Pint glass. Removed from refrigerator and warmed for 30 minutes.

Appearance: Very strong “pop” on opening, with almost cauldron-like gunsmoke. The body was pitch-black and the pour generated a very robust, beige head that was easily regenerated by swirling. Handsome.

Smell: This had a nicely deep, fruity aroma; with a substantial roasted malt background. No real hint of Port, but some pluminess.

Taste: Serving this on the warm side really made a difference. It had some subtle flavors that might have been lost to the cold. A touch fruitier than a typical stout might be, but the Port is at best, barely noticeable. If I didn’t know it was supposed to be in there, I probably wouldn’t have picked it out. The malt profile was a bit weaker than I expected, even when warm; and the hops are apparent, but appropriately mild. Although not “bad-tasting,” there is no one remarkable flavor element. I have to say that the label seems to over-promise on this beer.

Mouthfeel: Despite the bottle-conditioning, this was somewhat thin and heavily carbonated. Not much in the way of a finish.

Drinkability: Not a bad beer for drinking in quantity, but certainly doesn’t justify it’s seemingly lofty aspirations or high cost..

Backwash: I can’t help but compare this to the recently sampled Salopian Entire Butt Porter. Both are similar in ABV, style (although the EBP is nominally a porter), and bottle-conditioning. Both are expensive, seemingly elaborately crafted beers with somewhat disappointing results. A recent poster on BA mentioned that the O’Hanlon’s Ruby Stout isn’t really a stout (he never answered my question as to why), but I might be convinced that the O’Hanlon’s is more like a porter, and the Salopian EBP more like a dry stout. In any event, both were surprisingly thin in body, and not nearly as complex as I expected. I like the ruby port idea, and think that a stout (imperial or otherwise) aged in port butts, with good body, would be something special. Until then, a shot of port in a Sam Smith’s, Guinness, Beamish, or Old Rasputin would answer just as well.

NB: I sampled this beer about 2 days after it’s “best-buy” date, but the carbonation was extremely lively, and I don’t feel that it suffered much from age. If anything, some more might have been helpful.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours well a nice port color brown with alot of ruby highlights thru out with creamy head that sticks nicely to the glass,interesting aromas charred fruit and molasses with an odd almost olive like aroma that I cant quite put my finger on but it is not a bad thing.Some unsweetened chocolate and charred fruit I pick up the most in flavor along with a little of the odd oliveness I wish I could pin that down but pretty dry for having port added to it.A solid stout I dont pick up much port but a quaffer for the style.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This Stout is jet black in color (and I don’t say that very often) with a big, frothing, retentive tan head.

Smell – The roasted malts are very light but poignant and are mixed with a barely-detectable sting of yeast. The added port seems in just the right measure. It’s there, a bit winey, but perfectly balanced.

Taste – This is the epitome of the nuanced English-style of beer-making. A bottled-conditioned stout with port added has the risk of going crazy on the palate, but the combination is done just right here.

Everything hit me up front and at the same time. The lightly-roasted malts, the sweet but winey port (not like a tawny port), and the light spritz of yeast all work well together. I don’t know how they got everything to come together so well, but this is a harmonious beer with some really terrific flavors.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied with a slight bitterness from the roasted malts and sharp carbonation to keep things lively.

Drinkability – The carbonation here is so intense that you wouldn’t want to try and session this English Stout, but it’s a good drinker regardless.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Amazing, huge, fluffy, foamy nut colored head is sculpted and precariously teetering well out of the rim of the glass. Damn thats sexy. The lacing is good, and the beer itself is black with slight ruby tinge, as the name implies.

The nose is alcohol, cherry, slight raisin.

Well crap. For a beer that looks and smells so impressive, I sure was expecting a big taste here. I have been disappointed. Perhaps the first thing I notice is the mouthfeel, which is ridiculously thin for a stout, is very carbonated at first, and then totally flat. It is slick also. First taste is definately of red wine. It slowly goes to a snapshot of malt and then a big splash of very typical stout bitterness, with more wine in the finish.

This is really a good beer, its appearance and smell just had me expecting something way different from what I got. This is an interesting stout, worth a try, but it has some serious mouthfeel issues in my book and if you're going to drop 4 bucks on a stout you can really do better.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown body that reveals ruby highlights and a shimmer of light when backlit. Fluffy, two finger, beige head is slow to recede and leaves some nice patchy lace on the glass.
Aroma has standard dark roasted malts, mellowed considerably by notes of port wine which impart some pear and apple.
Mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied, and well carbonated.
Taste has mild bitterness from the dark roasted malts, but the addition of ruby port wine softens the edges and adds some fruity character. Some chocolate is noted, along with some apple peel.
Definitely, a nice change of pace for a stout. The addition of port wine imparts a smoothness that aids drinkability and rounds off any hint of sharp, burnt dark maltiness. A bit overpriced, at $3.99 for a 16.9 oz bottle, but worth a try, and another solid offering from O'Hanlon's.

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Photo of tigg924
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, dark brown in color with a touch of red

Smell: big time port and some chocolate

Taste: big time port, some chocolate, light coffee, and black licorice

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, medium-light body, sweet but super dry...especially on the finish.

Overall: A sipper where the port comes through big. This is about as different a stout as I have had in a while. You must like port to enjoy this one and I do. However, the taste is a bit too strong and different for me, so this is most likely a one and done.

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Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was a nice and complex beer. It poured into my tasting glass nice and dark brown, with hints of red highlights. It has some head, and little lacing. The smell was sweet, with some notes of fruit, and the bitterness of dark chocolate. I drank it, and it was very flavorfull and had a unique taste due to its port wine attribute.

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Photo of ADR
4.07/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown-black color with pronounced reddish highlights. Big mountain of a head, very frothy and cloud-like and leaving delicate sparkling laces. Aroma of sweet eating apples and a touch of sherry-like depth. Mouthfeel is lightish medium, carbonation is bright, apparent, and speckly all the way through to the close. Flavor is a unique combination of very noticeable fruit (again, the apple) and a counterpoint of bitter roasted malt with a coffee quality. Aftertaste is diminished in the main structural qualities but the port seems pretty evident late, similar to sweet fermented strawberries. A little different and a fun beer to give a whirl.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark chocolate ruby tone forms a thick tan head leaves behind a good amount of lacing. Aroma: Mild chocolate air of herbal hops with a touch of mild tobacco leaf. Taste: Mild fruit underlies chocolate overtones is infused nicely with English hops all ties together pretty nicely for me. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied somewhat airy carbonation. Drinkability: Excellent all around English stout with dinner or even breakfast if you prefer.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an Imperial pint glass)
I just bought this beer today and just opened it before noticing the best before date of 1/17/2004
A- It has a nice dark black body that is too opaque to see any carbonation. The head is a thick creamy light tan with a tint of red. The head last and last though the drink.

S- The smell of dark roasted malt and some notes of dark fruit has a sort of fresh latex paint aroma to it. It might be port and oak combined but I still have paint aroma stuck in my head.

T- This beer has a smooth dark roasted malt flavor that has some brown roast notes. It is followed by a slightly sweet port quality that finishes with a smoky oak note.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a hint of fizz at the finish.

D- The malt was pleasant and it tasted like a nice porter but the port notes were a little unpleasant. I really love a good port and I really like oak in many beers. This port flavor tasted cheap and a bit to red wine like with a big smoke and oak finish. I will have to hunt this down and try if fresh but I didn't feel like it had been oxidized.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.26/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Interesting concept.
Pours a ruby black in the glass with a decent off white to tan head of loose foam that leaves lots of sticky lace in it's wake. The head on this beer lasts quite a while. Impressive.

Aromas are mildly dark roasted malts with some raisins and a whiff of vineous port wine.

Mouthfeel is thin for the style.

Taste is dark roasted malt with coffee and chocolate undertones and then the sharply bitter fruit flavors of the port melding with some hop finish. Balance works very well.

Only disappointment for me is that the mouthfeel is too thin and leads to disappointment in the taste and aftertaste.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle-conditioned stout pours the expected opaque-black body with glints of mahogany at the base of the glass and ruby highlights along the edges when held to the light. Even carefully poured, the head rises up causing you to pause a moment. But that's OK as it needs to sit and warm a little anyway. And in that time the frothy, light tan head will settle into a creamy, merangue-like cap that adds even more to its appearance. The retention is astounding, and it initially leaves wide sheets of creamy froth about the glass. The addition of a small amount of port is obvious in the nose with a combination of fruit and wine that's balanced by a dull roastiness similar to that of spent espresso grounds. The body is light/medium; and its fine, natural carbonation delicately caresses the tongue before leaving it smooth and creamy across the palate. The flavor is rich with wine and ripe dark fruit (plum, black cherry, black grape) up front, followed by dark bread, molasses and a whisp of cocoa across the middle. It finishes dry and roasty with a passing note of nutty, caramelish malt and a lingering winey note that fades as its bold bitterness rises. It's quite interesting and enjoyable when enjoyed slowly at cellar temperatures. But, as the label suggests in its reference to its being based on a "corpse-reviver" (hair of the dog), it makes a better first beer (of the morning or night) than it does a session beer.

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Photo of DESTRO
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

this pours out black with some nice ruby tint on the edges. crazy big head. looks pretty nice. the aroma is pretty typical stout. smells roasty, soem coffee etc. didnt really pick up on any port though. in the mouth it was a little thin. not bad but didnt seem "hefty" enough. the flavor was decent stout, roasty, solid. still no evidence of wine, but thats probly for the better in my case. its a decent drink, nothing ill crave again, but not bad.

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

I bought this because I was intrigued about a stout with ruby mixed in. This beer didn't really live up to my expectations.

Pours black with slight crimson hues. Big soapy tan head.

Medium chocolate aroma, medium wine scent too. I suspect there's not too much wine here, especially with the low ABV.

Somewhat thin body, lots of carbonation. Weak chocolate and port flavors up front, very dry finish.

Wine aroma becomes more pronounced as it warms.

Not a bad stoud, just not sure how much I like wine with my beer.

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Photo of russpowell
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a beautiful brownish tan head (god lace, not so great retention) and the color is closer to molasses than ruby red, good clarity

Smell, some fruit and a musty, malty smell, not a real strength.

Tastes of baker's chocolate, roasty grainess and leather and wood. Bitterness on the tounge and throat.

Mouthfeel: Fairly well balanced, but too prickly, more malt needs to shine through. The dryness is plesant.

Drinkabilty: Something fairly eclectic about this, makes me think this is what a stout would've tasted like 150 years ago

best before date of 07-18-06, pretty good for colorado, most imports seem to be way past their BBDs that I've come across.

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Photo of UncleFlip
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost opaque, but is actually a deep ruby colour when held to the light. It has a loose tan head,with good retention, and a loose wet lace left behind when it does fall.

The smell is very yeastty, mixedwith a bit of maltiness. There's not much hop here...though the port does come through.

Nice roasty malt right up front, followed by subtle spice and just a hint of port flavour. There's Just a bit of hop on the end.

On the mouth, some fizziness up front swells, then carries to the finish. Medium liquid underneath.

I find it rather drinkable- there's enough complexity to keep itinteresting, but it's not overbearing.

Be well

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.99/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an English pint glass.
The appearance was a sturdy dark brown close to black color with a finger's worth of quickly dissipating white semi-foamy head that left barely any lace. What was there seemed to just slide into the beer.
The aroma had some plums, sweet cherries, dark roasted malts, light coffee, milk chocolate and some earthy hops.
The flavor leaned towards the sweet side like an English Stout should and did a good job of pulling the roast towards the sweetness for a fair blend. Smooth silky sweet aftertaste of the malts and noted fruits.
The mouthfeel was almost medium bodied as it seemed to sit just a touch under. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt appropriate.
Overall, pretty nice as an English stout and one I wouldn't mind coming back to for me.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had some higher hopes for this stout as I love a good port wine. Let's see how this one goes.

A- Pours a deep dark brown almost black color. One and a half finger mocha colored head that dies down to just whisps on the top of the beer. Little lacing on the glass. Nothing pops with this beer in appearance.

S- Good roasted malt upfront on this. This turns into some plum, raisin, and tart cherry fruit notes. The port comes into play toward the end of the aroma but almost in a separate kind of way. Nothing wrong with that but the aroma kind of stops and then goes into this....not blends into this.

T- Roasted malts on the front of this breaks way to a nice cherry tartness with some darker fruits as well. There is a light smoked presence that makes way into a port taste in the back of the beer. Once again the port has its own taste that juts in and doesn't do it in a smooth fashion. Start and stop jerk motion in the mouth with flavors.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Kind of watery feeling in the mouth. Carbonation was a little lacking in the beer. Roasted malts and port are left on the palate and in the aftertaste. Clean tasting for the most part. Drying on the tongue.

D- This beer was a one and done. Actually I don't think I finished the very end of this one. I didn't expect a whole lot with this one and it didn't surprise me. Might drink again if someone buys it.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice black with hints of red on the edges, the head is insane, it took forever to get it all out of the bottle and was so thick that it literally had merangue like curls on it which hung around for ages.

Smell is of the fairly standard stoutish roast and coffee variety, though some darkish fruit wafts sneak in around the edges.

Flavour has plenty of depth, some plumish / prunish aspects, roast, chocolate, and that vague hint of port that's alluded to on the label, quite good.

Mouthfeel is less coasting that I'd like for a stout, likely due to it's low ABV while drinkability was quite good, no problem drinking this one.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very dark, opaque color (dark ruby red when held up to the light) with a small creamy and persistant off tan head that stuck around for awhile.

S: dried fruitiness (plums) with a silky, smooth roasted aroma that was vinous with some dark licorice, and smoked oak. Not a lot of hop bitterness detected.

T: Labeled as brewed with port wine that gives this stout a very warming and refined texture similar to a fine wine. The initial flavor starts out malty with a dry lightly smoked roasted flavor with dried fruit (plums). A touch of chocolate, licorice is also detected while the beer finished dry on the tongue with a light smoked wood character.

M: medium bodied with a smooth, soft, and silky roasted feel while it slid down the throat effortlessly.

D: Very easy to drink and to enjoy. A nice dry English stout worth a try.

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Photo of emerge077
3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BBD: 07 18 06 on label. Stored in a cooler.

Pours a mahoghany brown tone, with a ton of cascading foam, had to pour out a little due to overzealous pouring.

Nondescript malty aroma, a vague hint of fruitiness.
Bittersweet cocoa nibs, roasted black malts, some plum or dark fruit character. Creamy mouthfeel at first, until the carbonation wanes. Last third of the bottle felt a little flat. Not too robust, more in English Porter territiory to me. Easy to put down the pint, perhaps a little too pricey to session.

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Photo of cabsandking
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with slight ruby highlights and a sturdy tan head with impressive retention. Light aromas of oak barrel, sweet malts, raisons, and a tad bitter sweet chocolate. Earthy overtones cover some of the sweetness found in the nose. Dry, bitter hop spice plays of the balance early on with burnt barley, chary malt making up the backbone. Some tart astringent in the back is stout like and could be the port speaking although there is no apparent sweet ruby port characters detectable. Medium carbonation leaves a big froth on an otherwise descent mouthfeel. Overall very reserved in the flavor department, I think O’hanlons could have made something much bigger out of this.

I've been enjoying the stout and ruby port mix, a.k.a “Velvet Pussy”, for some time now and IMO a quality 12oz stout with a 1/2oz pour of quality port works better than O’hanlons concoction. S

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Photo of buschbeer
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 0.9oz bottle
Served in a pint glass

A - It pours dark brown with dark amber highlights. It has two inches of mocha head.

S - The aroma is roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. I also get a tart cherry smell.

T - I get some rich roasted coffee with a hint of burnt popcorn on the finish. I had some initial sweetness, but it fades as the beer warms.

M - Medium to full

O - It is a decent beer. I really didn't detect much of the port but it was interesting to try it.

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Photo of Brent
4.14/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Light tan head in contrast to obsidian black brew. Aroma was not too active, but I probably tried to gauge this a bit cold. Picked up a bit as it warmed, but not a lot in this department. Flavor makes up for any shortcomings. Heavily roasted, but no scorched grain flavors. Malt was nice and bright, particulary since my bottle was a bit past the best-by date. Some light chocolate notes and a touch of coffee ground bitterness. Very low level of hopping - the roasted malts supply all the bittering you could ask for. A little bit of oak tannic astringency. I couldn't identify the port wine as an independent flavor, but I did feel more sophisticated drinking this.

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O'Hanlon's The Original Ruby Stout from Hanlons Brewery
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 90 ratings