Old Tom
Robinsons Family Brewers

Old TomOld Tom
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Strong Ale - English
Ranked #18
Ranked #28,473
3.81 | pDev: 12.86%
Robinsons Family Brewers
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Old TomOld Tom
Notes: Named after Robinsons' brewery cat, Old Tom is almost as old as the brewery itself. It is recognised, both nationally and internationally, as one of the most famous strong ales, winning some of the industry’s most prestigious awards including World’s Best Ale.

Old Tom is dark, rich and warming with a cherry brandy like colour and character. This strong ale has a booming balance of ripe malt, and peppery hops combined with roasted nut and chocolate flavours with a smoky richness. A distinctive deep port wine finish with bitter hops balance complemented by heady, vinous aromas of dark fruit.
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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 322 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Steve555
Steve555 from Wales

3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red hue with a small head. Smells of yeast and spirits, coffee. Taste of berries, alcohol, Christmas pudding, nuts, port and some tobacco in there, bitterness comes through on the finish, alcohol is always there to remind you of it's high abv but it's not overpowering. Quite a complex brew. Nice stuff.

Jul 15, 2020
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KooVee from Finland

2.85/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

33cl bottle, bb in 9m.

Dark clear ruby brown, light beige lace-sticky head.

Aroma brings to mind the recent revelation Rochefort yeast is actually related to British ones. That is, a very Belgian aroma of a strong dubbel. Dark dried fruits, especially prunes, molasses a bit, plenty alcohol and some cinnamon or nutmeg. There is a lighter fruitiness floating on top that does remind you of British ales, but overall the aroma leads you across the Channel.

Taste has a very strong alcohol component wrt strength. The thin body might be a partial factor. The booziness is tempered by an unusually prominent flavor that is moderately astringent. It is hard to pin down, I think of cork, rotten apple, cellar. A slightly spoiled strong drink that has oxidized in a cellar. Not really pleasant and strange for the style. A metallic aftertaste pointing at significant sugar.

For me, a failure. That unusual flavour is too dominant and signalling spoilage. And while the aroma is interesting, the taste would be very simple and thin without the idiosyncracy. And the alcohol...this is 8.5%, no technical reason to feel like you are drinking 18,5%. .. this is what you get when you use too much sugar/syrup without anything to balance it. It was not done here to make the beer light on its feet, it was done for artificial strength.

Dec 12, 2019
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Bruno74200 from France

3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This old ale shows an amber body with a very thin head

Notes of toffee, caramel malts and a lot of esters all around

The mouthfeel is silky with a moderate carbonation

Jan 14, 2019
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davidperez from Mexico

3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Tulip, it pours a very dark brown, deep, opaque, with a beige one-finger head with very good retention.
After the head dissipates, a brown ring remains right on the fringes of the glass, adorning the aesthetics with a frothy and creamy texture. Beautiful and long-lasting lacing.

The bouquet is nothing short of exquisite. So rich and complex.
Prunes, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, slight hint of coffee and toffee, sweet malts, booze.

This beer is better enjoyed slightly chilled, as it is the best way to showcase some of its bouquet complexity. Sweet malts, dark fruits, and some molasses, spices, brown sugar. A very peculiar overripe apple note appears, which is actually overpowering.
Nice balanced beer, you can sense both the bitterness and the sweetness without any struggle for protagonism, although the bitterness slightly prevails. Nice, vively carbonation. The finish is long and has a hint of booze.
A bit of a downside is its watery mouthfeel, contrary to what one would expect.

Still, overall, a very nice beer.

Dec 19, 2018
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JonnoWillsteed from England

4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Very deep chestnut brown/red. Pours with 1Cm fine pillowy pale tan head. Holds very well as a sup slowly, still 'lacing++' by the bottom of the glass.
S- Rich toasty malts vying equally versus a clear strong smell of alcohol; unusual!
T- 'Follow me down the rabbit-hole', this is some journey. Zesty fruits on the front, richness, alcohol tang, into unctious rich puddingy deep fruits, cystallised cherries and figs, Wow, really, what a presence.
F- It' surprisingly well balanced. It is certainly rich but the 8.5% ABV gives it sufficient heft to counter-balance that. What a beer, it is lovely.
O- Perhaps good it comes in 330ml bottles as 'Old Tom' is a pretty fierce big-beast. It's not likely a session beer; more one to savour on a colder night, BBE: March 2020.
Bought from the big Sainsbury at the top-end of Ladroke Grove, London W10, at £2/330ml bottle. I need to go back there to buy the other beers they stock that I haven't had before. Not a shop I frquent, BUT I would walk the 40mins each way there JUST to buy this epic gem of a beer.

Nov 13, 2018
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep/dark brown, almost black coloration with a faint reddish tint and a medium, creamy head. Smell is dominated by caramel malt and dark fruit: rasin, fig, with a hint of toffee and brown sugar. Taste follows the nose, being dominated by dark, bready, caramel malt and dark fruits: raisin, fig, with hints of red berries: redcurrant, toffee, chocolate and tobacco as well. There's also a slight mineral note to this. Finishes with a medium bitterness and some toffee/chocolate notes lingering in the aftertaste. Slightly thin mouthfeel with a rich body and medium carbonation.

This kinda reminds me of a cross between an American Barleywine and a Doppelbock with its rich, malty character and notes of dark/red fruits, but also good bitterness, which prevents it from becoming too sweet. Quite nicely balanced, actually, but the mouthfeel could be better.

Sep 13, 2018
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josanguapo from Spain

4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Saveur Biere. In Teku glass. Playing Avernum 3. Sweet, with a brown sugar, molasses profile that is really sniffable Alcohol is a bit noteceable but improves it instead of being a fault

Jun 21, 2018
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Dinglehacker from Wisconsin

4.48/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter.

L: Dark dark brown, unfiltered flecks in the light.

S: Currant, chocolate, dark malt.

T: Chocolate, caramel, some grape and dried fruit.

F: Creamy and smooth

Great dark ale, rich and complex from start to finish.

Oct 07, 2017
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle dated not so sure, L4174 11:48
A - Dark Mahogany, backdrop. gently carbonated, quick to dissipate cap and thin rings of evidence.
S - Dark fruit, Figs, raisin, wet leather, warm tobacco barn, a bit of booze, and warm toffee.
T -Burnt dark sugar, warm caramel, a bit of cigar wrap, (yes I have picked broad leaf) , dark brown sugar, toasted malt, and wonderful spiciness.
M - Smooth feel, lightly coated palate, jumps to the sweet introduction, then the bitter snap waltzes in to balance things out. The linger is of a fine cigar, or Canadian maple pie. Wonderful either way
O - This offering is rich in the best ways, malts on display, a touch of hop bitterness, the fullness of the palate, offers cover to the 8.5% broadcast on the label. A wonderfully crafted ale worth exploring

Jul 16, 2017
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monkist from Hungary

5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is really one of the best strong ales! Very well made, this was the first one that started me off on the pursuit for stronger and complex ales. Although tasting it again after a few years it might not overwhelm me as much as it did the first time, it is still a noteworthy, very good strong ale.
It has a quite remarkable aroma, stronger than of a normal strong ale/imperial porter/double stout or whatever you might call it. Its body is also full of flavors, coffee and sweet caramel malts, although the sweetness is not overpresent in this case. Rather the 8+ % ABV that really adds distinctiveness to its taste.
I am totally satisfied with this Old Tom, nothing more to add. A refined, precious bottle of heavy malt liquor, that's what it is.

Jul 09, 2017
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

S: prune and molasses on the nose with traces of treacle, dried fruit, spice, sweet malt, and faint alcohol.

L: pours bright dark brown under a thin light cream foam cap that reduces to a thick film.

T: very creamy on the tongue with fruit, nuts, molasses, complex malt, dark dried fruit, and a little red wine to sherry. It finishes moderately bitter joined by a mild touch of sweet molasses and very faint chocolate.

F: very creamy with a medium full body and medium low carbonation.

O: big, full flavored beer

Mar 31, 2017
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Djspectral from Czech Republic

2.24/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Very traditional and old school design of the bottle looks very nice and stylish in hand but the beer itself has a cocacola-like look, it feels good and creamy in mouth, has a very interesting smell but the beer has a veeeery bitter and aromatic heavy taste which I did not enjoy at all :(

Dec 29, 2016
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woomThomas from Sweden

3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer is unclear and very dark brown almost black. The foam is dirty white and will properly. The foam has medium to large bubbles that hang around for a while. The foam leave direct track in the glass. Here you are met by quite malty aromas and a little toasted. With hints of dried fruits such as dates, raisins, a little chocolate. Some herbs and brown sugar, nuts and a little molasses. Something small wet wood tar echo. The flavors reminiscent of the scents of roasted malt in the beginning. Here are some more sweetness and more chocolate and a little caramel. Some dried fruits of dates and raisins. Certain orange towards the end. Medium to full body. Moderate Carbonic. A little sweetness and soft bitterness. A little alcohol on the end.

Jun 27, 2016
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captaincoffee from Virginia

2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep brown with firm medium head that leaves a bit of lacing and a film and ring around the top of the beer. Nose is a bit of dark fruits a strong earthy or basement smell. Taste is...earthy in a bad way...like dirt literally muddy tasting. Like an old ale gone wrong. There is some of that dark fruit you would expect, and pepper, but not enjoyable when you feel like you are licking the ground. Overall, how could this have won awards?

May 15, 2016
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geodonnokepyo from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Smell: sherry, rum, roast, phenols, dark fruits, molasses
Taste: roast, cherries, rum, stone fruit, slight astrigent
Feel: smooth, a little chalky, finishes a little dry

Feb 26, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice aroma and flavor from this brew. Dark and strong, with aged oak barrel essence. Slightly fruity (raisins, figs, prunes). Alcohol very present in finish. A nice evening sipper to finish the day

Jan 19, 2016
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Tom has a thin, cream-colored head, some scattered lacing left on the glass, and an opaque, red-brown appearance, with noticeable tight bubble streams and tan chunks suspended throughout. The aroma is of dates, sweet fruit cake, strong, bready malt, and a touch of chocolate. Taste is the same, and the mouthfeel is high medium. Old Tom finishes on the wet side. Smooth, though.


Jan 16, 2016
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce (330 ml) bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a dark reddish/brown color with a half inch light tan head that stuck around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like dried dark fruit, molasses, port wine, and a bit of brown sugar and bananas. It tastes like dried dark fruit, banana, toffee, molasses, port wine, grape skins, and some earthiness. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and smooth with a good amount of carbonation. Regardless if you call this an Old Ale or an English Strong Ale, it's a good brew. I'd buy this one again.

Dec 23, 2015
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BeerWithMike from Nebraska

4.24/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampling right now on 10/3/15. Picked this up today at the Hy-Vee on 132nd & Dodge (West Omaha) for $4.99. Comes in a nice 11.2 ounce (330ml) bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" pint glass.

Brew pours a very deep brownish-black in color that is very close to a pitch black actually. Just a very thin beige cap is seen as well as some creamy lacing that slides back down the sides of the glass when sipped. Aroma is of roasted malts with some sweet molasses. Bit more going on with the taste as there is a light hint of some red wine (?) which is probably just some dark fruits and like a barley wine. Actually pretty smooth despite the high alcohol content. Doesn't taste 'boozy' either. Pretty much a sipping brew. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall a tasty brew and lucky I didn't have another one of these or I would of been toasted. :D

Oct 04, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark red brown with a decent head.
Toffee and medium malts on the nose.
Rich and pleasant but not very complex malty flavor.
Way better than Chocolate Old Tom.

Jul 14, 2015
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drmeto from Germany

4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

-pours a clear ruby with a medium,foamy,beige head
-medium carbonation visible
-huge toffee,caramel,chocolate,nutty,molasses,plums,raisins,figs,slight coffee
-syrup,molasses,chocolate,nutty,slight coffee,toasty finish
-medium-high carbonation (overcarbonated for the style),medium-full body
-slight alcohol-warming
Really good Old Ale

Jun 14, 2015
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beergoot from Colorado

3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany colored body with thick, rich, dense head. Caramel and dark fruits; plums; black strap molasses. Dark, roasted grain flavors with bright, fruity esters; decent bitterness; a mild touch of alcohol. Medium bodied, leaning towards the heavy side; mildly aggressive carbonation on the tongue; semi-dry finish.

An interesting and overall very enjoyable strong ale. There is a slight hint of tannins and phenolics in the flavor although it doesn't detract from things. Very much a dark malt and alcohol focused beer without any heavy-handed residual sugars or excessive booziness. The body is a little bit on the weak side but shouldn't matter to most folks as the appeal to the other senses is solid.

Oct 24, 2014
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Hoppsbabo from England

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

A: Very dark ruby. Small light beige head.
S: Mmm, so good. Loads of rum-like dried fruit and bubblegum.
T: Echoes the nose. Full-flavoured although nothing like the gaudiest of barley wines. Reasonably sweet and particularly bitter. Plenty of bread in the finish. Resembles St Bernardus yet it's quite a different animal.
M: Smooth but frothy.
O: At £1.50 a bottle it gets extra marks for the price.

Oct 23, 2014
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deadonhisfeet from Kentucky

3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I cellared this bottle for at least 8 months before cracking it open a pouring it into a Bruery snifter. The pour is very dark reddish-brown with only a slip of light escaping through. It sports a massive tan head that lasts and lasts. Overall a really impressive-looking pour. I'm loving the nose on this beer too. Lots of toffee, sweet malt, dark fruit, leather, and a hint of tobacco.

Nice medium body with a firm feel and a malt-forward flavor. Not as much malt complexity as I had hoped and there is a little too much booziness on the back end, but still enjoyable. There is a malty, fudgy, slightly smoky blend of flavors up front that persist across mid-palate where they are met by booze and dark fruit. The booze overwhelms the remaining flavors and lingers on the finish.

Not a bad beer, but not quite as good as I hoped it would be. I could try aging the booziness out of this beer, but don't see the point. I'm confident there are superior offerings out there.

Oct 16, 2014
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safaricook from Netherlands

3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

Very dark, good foam for such a brew
Smells of toffee, molasses, roast then some fruity esters and booze
Toffe, fruity, roast, a bit astringent, metallic but not in a bad way, ends on a bitter note
Quite zingy but otherwise apropriate body, warming alcohol
Enjoyable strong ale that does not hide its alcohol

Oct 05, 2014
Old Tom from Robinsons Family Brewers
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 322 ratings