Harveys Tom Paine Original Old Porter | Harvey & Son Ltd.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Harveys Tom Paine Original Old PorterHarveys Tom Paine Original Old Porter
Very Good
36 Ratings
Harveys Tom Paine Original Old PorterHarveys Tom Paine Original Old Porter

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by putnam on 07-28-2004

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 30
Photo of goethean
4.92/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a tulip glass. Pours opaque black; slightly fizzy; no head.

Rich, vinous, fruity aroma.

Soft front. Slighty dry, complex roasty fruity estery typically English-ale flavor (similar to Young's beers) in the middle. Medium body. Subtly funky finish -- chalky, perhaps? No hops bitterness or flavor detectable.

I did not detect the chocolate or coffee flavors that other reviewers did.

At 4.8%, it offers a far more complex and satisfying experience than most session beers. However, its painful price tag prevents it from becoming a habit.

 551 characters

Photo of JameskingJK
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of putnam
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In conclusion...
After three "Tom Paine" brews I think I have a beat on the set. These are old-tyme, sweet, though balanced, low-acid beers for codgers with delicate palates and a tolerance for funk.
This porter delivers a murky, sweaty coffee and dirt bouquet before rolling over the palate with oily, tar pit crud flavors that are a real treat. There is never an edge - only unashamed, bowels-of-the-earth iron, iodine and sludge flavors. Lots of roasted walnut wood, soot and branch flavors are varnished with an unspeakable smoothness... almost like... mocha gelatine.
live this porter. it makes sierra nevada porter taste like Burger King coffee.

 654 characters

Photo of AltTrinker
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml wide bottle with no bottling date indicated.
It pours a dark, almost opaque , brown color with a mocha head that withers to a thin layer after a few minutes. There is some, but minimal, lacing on the glass.
The nose gives a strong, ripe fruit aroma of prunes lightly mixed with coffee and chocolate. The aroma has a certain sweetness to it that gives an icecream like sensation. It has a rich, full mouthfeel that continues the ripe fruit flavor, again predominantly of prunes with minimal roastiness. Hoppiness is restrained, just enough to balance the sweet, malt presence. The finish is delingtfully smooth.

This is a very drinkable Porter with wonderfull ripe fruit aromas and flavor. The mouthfeel is full and thick, a bit surprising for a 4.8% ABV ale. I enjoyed mine after dinner, and it made a wonderful desert.

 831 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this from a bottle called Tom Paine’s Original Old Porter. Poured to a used motor oil black, with medium tan head that dissipated soon and left some lacing. Aroma was a strong and pleasant malt chocolate-caramel that lasted for most of the drink. Flavor was a very tasty mix of malt chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a hint of coffee. This all led to a well rounded finish that was long, almost a little too sweet, and very warming for a beer with only 4.8% abv.

This would make a good winter warmer.

 510 characters

Photo of fretlessman71
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pertinent Preliminary Comments: Interesting that an English brewery would celebrate the life of a man who helped the colonists secede from the British Empire. Oh well – what do I know, anyway?

APPEARANCE: Very dark brown, just barely translucent. Light beige craggy head that doesn’t last too long. Good lacing on the sides, however.

AROMA: Dark fruit (black currant? Blackberry?), cocoa, and sherry. Almost no hop presence.

FLAVOR: The sherry nose is also present in the flavor, but it’s a lot nicer than I thought it would be. Almost has a Cab Svgn. quality to it. Chocolate is much stronger here. Subtle roastiness, but overpowered a bit by the somewhat sour notes in front. Caramel comes through as the beer warms a bit, as does espresso. Black malt is present only in the finish, leaving a slightly bitter/sour aftertaste, but all that does for me is make me want another sip.

MOUTHFEEL: Low carbonation, medium-high weight. Nice full feeling in the mouth, as well as being somewhat oily/slick.

DRINKABILITY: At 4.8% it’s pretty close to a session beer, and darned flavorful at that.

OVERALL COMMENTS: A good solid beer overall. If you like red wine and chocolate, and don’t care for hops, this might be right up your alley. I kinda miss the hops a little, though… but that’s just me.

 1,315 characters

Photo of sacrelicio
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a great porter. It looks good, with an opaque brackish brown body accented with ruby edges. It smells great, with vanilla, brown sugar, cream, and nuts. It tastes good, with cocoa, coffee, and tart fruits. Even a little peppermint. Nice. The mouthfeel is good, nothing too special. But nice. The drinkability is great, with a reasonable ABV and a medium body making it refreshing and sessionable.

 404 characters

Photo of delicious
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a wide, 500mL bottle.

Opaque, very dark brown color, with a foamy, mocha colored head.
The nose is sweet and creamy like ice cream. As it warms, prunes and other dried fruit comes out.
The flavor suggests roasted malts and coffee with some of the dried fruit in the nose. Nothing burnt, and not too sweet.
It is a joy to drink an under 5% ABV beer with such a wonderful mouth feel and full flavor. I imagine it is no small feat to offer a low alcohol beer with this kind of drinkability without sacrificing mouthfeel and flavor.

 550 characters

Photo of robotiks
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of ADR
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice very dark brown color with slight red highlights. Creamy frothed milk tan head. Thick clouds of lace, stick in large sheets. Slight sense of sherry to the aroma, bits of chocolate, and a hint at a roast. Lightish mouthfeel, carbonation is subdued, milky feel across the tongue. Solid roast to the flavor, bitter and mildly oily, coffee is well-expressed. Wine-like overtones, similarities to Fuller's London Porter in many aspects. Nice drinker, easy to throw back with nice dark notes to add further interest.

 515 characters

Photo of yen157
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thin tan head, dark, dark coffee body. Head reduces to wisps quickly. Dark rich nose with dried figs, raisins, and an warm milk. Very nice. Chocolate, some toffee, and coffee with a splash of heavy cream. Bitterness seems to be mainly from the black malt. Relatively thin body for a beer this flavor dense, but carbonation is light enough so that this doesn’t seem awkward.

This is what I like in a porter, not too big. Carbonation is a little too light, but overall this is quite good. I hope to come across this again, but Michigan is a little far to go for it!

 568 characters

Photo of Naes
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with amber hues showing through. The head is a tiny layer of cream colored bubbles.
The aroma is sweet with a bit of chocolate.
Its flavor is roasty with tones of chocolate, toffee and coffee in the mix.
Mouth feel is full bodied, a bit syrupy but remains smooth with a dry finish.
This is one of the better imported porters that I have tried.

 353 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 500ml broad bodied brown glass bottle with a thin short stubby neck. The main label has a picture of Thomas Paine set against a black and gold background. Tom Paine was an English ‘radical’ by birth who eventually went on, so the legend goes, to assist in drafting the American Declaration of Independence and was to eventually die in the USA. Labeled as ‘Harveys Tom Paine Original Old Porter’, and listed at 4.8% ABV. No freshness date.

Appearance: A very dark brown body when backlit which becomes a dark black when it is not. A decent enough ½” light brown tan head slowly evolves and forms on the pour, but it eventually settles to a thin looking cap covering – but never breaks and is always uniform, and it does leave some nice looking lacing. Extremely finely dissolved carbonation remains firm start to finish.

Nose: Dark brooding nose is full and flavorsome. Sourness, Roasted Malts, Stale Red Wine, Milk Chocolate, Coffee and some Rum & Raisin.

Taste: A mixture of milky chocolate and fantastic flashes of sourness throughout. Dark freshly roasted coffee and some raisins here and there. Predominantly though, this Porter is all about the rum sourness, it is never over the top, or even off-putting – and it will not be to everyone’s taste - but somehow it lends a lovely Olde Worlde feel to this libation.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet definitively Porter-esque in character. Above average feel is bolstered by the sourness and lots of roasted malts; all supported by a caffeine like injection from the coffee flavors.

Drinkability: Seemingly refined, yet harking back to a time when things were simplistic. Works well for me; the sourness is welcome and adds to the overall quaffability.

Overall: How things used to be. Well worth seeking out, but don’t expect the usual low profile bland offering, this one does not shy away from keeping the sourness where it should be, but it blends it impressively into a worthy English Porter.

This is definitely an English Porter “Old-School” style…..and I loved it. Recommended.

 2,075 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of orangemoustache
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish/mahogany with a tall but average foamy,brown head that leaves nice lace as it disappears.The nose is sweet like carmamelized fruit,hint of chocolate malt as well.The taste is a nice blend of bitter and sweet chocolates along with dark fruits most notably prunes and a subtle sourness that is faint enough to be an asset and not a distraction.Some hop pressence on the finish has a slightly drying effect,along with a grittyness that helps give a fuller feling than the actual body which is a bit thin and low in carbonation.A very nice beverage for a cool May evening,or any evening!

 605 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

--Thomas Paine

Opaque, melted dark chocolate brown with intense, sparkling ruby accents when viewed through bright sunlight. The smallish cap of dark brown foam would look more at home on a stout. It's a substantial one finger in thickness at present and looks like it'll stay for a bit. There isn't much lace (yet) since the head isn't giving any ground. Once the glass is nearly emptied of beer, there's an impressive, three finger swath of lace through its midsection.

The nose, while a little underpowered, is pleasant enough. Cocoa powder is first in line with a whiff of spice coming in second (I'll go with allspice). It also smells a little like musky fruit which, I believe, is due to a mild, but real, hop presence. Even though there isn't much to criticize, plenty of porters have this one beat in the aroma department.

At least Original Old Porter doesn't wimp out with respect to flavor and mouthfeel like so many 'traditional' English porters do. It seems to be a different beer on the palate than it was in the nose. It's now roughly equal parts coffee and chocolate with unripe fruit (read: sour) underpinnings. There's plenty of roasted dark malt on hand, well above average for a porter.

The sourness is pervasive, but isn't overpowering, and a counterbalancing bitterness appears on the finish to even things out. I'd like to see a bigger, firmer mouthfeel. Keeping style in mind though, it isn't that far out of line. The carbonation does its work quietly and effectively.

Thomas Paine, as the label reminds me, is the author of the influential pamphlet 'Common Sense'. The brewers seem to have taken that sentiment to heart in crafting a no-nonsense, traditional porter that lacks bells and whistles, but doesn't lack good, honest porter flavor.

 1,928 characters

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As I understand it, Porters appeared as the result of mixtures of different beers so perhaps the style has a broad definition of what the beer should really be. I've taken a Porter to be a "near stout".
This Porter poured a dark brown almost black opque with a mild tan head. The head was short lived and some minor lacing on my glass. The scant nose left me inhaling thinking something evaporated before I completed the pour. The nose was a precursor for what the flavor would be-- it had many of the underpinnings that I've come to expect from Porters but left me wondering where the flavor went. What I could discern was a touch of ale with toasted malt, some hints of caramel. The flavor dissipated quickly with a fast finish.
The mouthfeel was that of a mild but smooth minimal carbonated drink.
I consider that the drinkability was above average because of the low ABV and rather mild carbonation.
Unfortunately this porter left me wanting a stronger flavor stance.

 976 characters

Photo of Greggy
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a fluffy light tan head about 1.5 fingers in head. It leaves some lacing on its way down. The body is brown with dark ruby highlights.

S- Almost a creme brulee like nose. Big caramel, vanilla, large fresh roasted coffee, dark roasted malts, and a touch of smoke.

T- Starts out with an almost tart dry chocolate and bitter hop component then moves into a slight chocolate and residual hop finish. This is very much, like the name implies, an old english porter, but it didn't have to much character to me.

M- Very smooth with low carbonation.

D- It's to bad the taste wasn't as good as the rest of this beer as it'd be pretty sessionable. As it is though, I probably wouldn't have it again. I could see this being much better fresh.

 748 characters

Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle on sale at Wilbur's in Fort Collins, CO, for $1.99.

Moderate pour into my pint glass produces a thin choco-tan head over a dark-brown not-quite-opaque body with reddish tinges around the edge: as you would expect from a porter.

Smell is caramel malt, chocolate malt, espresso, not too strong, but pleasant enough.

Taste is burned malt, roasted malt, toasted malt, and some chocolate espresso. Nice taste.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a porter, but then this is an ENGLISH one, so what did I expect?

Drinkability is high, especially since the ABV is only 4.8%.

I'll pick this up again, but only if it's on sale again. Not worth the regular price of $3.99, IMHO: there are many better brews on which one could spend 4 bucks for a half liter.

 771 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample at AleFest Dayton (As Tom Paine Porter): This beer is a very dark brown color with a thin beige head and spotty lacing. The aroma is chocolatey cocoa and burnt malt. Medium-bodied and dry with roasted malt and chocolate flavors. The finish is sweet molasses and chocolate. Better than expected overall.

 309 characters

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of CRJMellor
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep, dark maroon with black tints. Thin but creamy head with a ton of gooey lace.
Aroma is slightly peaty and roasted barley hit with some french vanilla coffe and a biscuity note.
Flavor is light chocolate upfront moving to a flaked barley finish. Simple yet satisfying.
Mouthfeel is semi-sweet to start moving to a dry but somewhat thin middle and finishing wiht a roasted hit.
Drinkability is decent but nothing special.

 434 characters

Photo of Kookiekwan
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours black has a thin filmy almost non-existant head, with very little retention. The aroma is of roasted coffee/toffee with a hint of butterscotch. The flavor is sweet roasted coffee, very smooth mouthfeel. Even though its only 4.8% I could still taste the alcohol in the finish.

 291 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a winking lizard tour beer that's been hanging out for some time
nice, stout bottle with a pic of good old time paine

it's a solid looking brew. totally opaque black with a khaki head that retains itself well, releasing scents of molasses, licorice and a hint of the soy sauce aroma that suggests some passage of time. ever-so-slightly spicy as well. the flavors are dark and sophisticated, with a smoky finish to the smooth (but light, actually) mouthfeel. no hop flavor but some apparent bitterness for balance

 516 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Harveys Tom Paine Original Old Porter from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 36 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.