Old Tom | Frederic Robinson Limited

177 Ratings
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Old TomOld Tom

Brewed by:
Frederic Robinson Limited
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes on 01-13-2003

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Ratings: 177 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of bnuttz
2.24/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

alright, i dont know what the deal with this beer is, but i was completely not impressed. This beer had a skunkish, kind of rotten smell. It poured a really dark amber color. Small head was present. The taste is all malts. Not enough hop balance, I even like my barley wines to be more on the malty side, but this is just too one sided. Not recommended.

 353 characters

Photo of silenius
2.31/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I am fairly sure this is an old beer and rumor has it that it is not distributed anymore by Capital Imports. The back label says "BEST BEFORE SEE BOTTLE NECK." I looked and the only thing I saw was this code on the bottle neck L2296 17:03. WTF?

Pours a nice dark red brown with a big head that subsides to a thin collar. Very little lacing. The beer is clear.

Doesn't smell like much, maybe a long since empty cookie jar. Slight brown sugar smell.

Taste is, well, pretty lame. A slightly medicinal twinge then some brown sugar and an echo of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thin and weak.

This beer is hard to choke down after half a bottle. I thought I'd give it a try and that's all it gets.

 705 characters

Photo of khargro2
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of becsug
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
2.59/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Couldn't pass this up at only $1.99 a bottle. Strange cat on label and what appears to be a reference to Capital Brewery on the neck label. The appearance was pretty weak with a resemblence to flat pepsi. The aroma is pretty malty with chocolate and sugar undertones. Pretty uneventful for a barleywine as far as taste goes. Not as explosive as I hope barleywines are. Decent for a one-time tasting, but not impressive!

 419 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
2.61/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

(Poured into a goblet)

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown with a tan head that disappears quickly. It is pretty opaque in the light with a ring of foam hanging on the edge of the glass.

Smell: very faint aroma but there is some caramel/prune smell with a hint of hoppiness.

Taste: watery taste that doesn't have any layers. A slight prune/pale malt flavor that disappears quickly. There is a little hoppy flavor in the back of the throat after a sip. It lacks warmth or malt that I would expect in a barley wine or the hops to back it up.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is low but the body is very thin and slippery

Drinkability: This beers prime has come and gone. It says it is best before L2296 17:13, but I left my Old Tom decoder ring in the pub. I will have to hunt this one down in cask next time I have a chance.

Thanks to tavernjef for mail this one to me, I'm glad I got the chance to taste this one for myself.

 919 characters

Photo of aztraz
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Kirk
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of jahred
2.86/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 9.3 oz. bottle. Thin head, medium brown color with slighty reddish hue. Smell is a bit medicinal with not too many other scents.
Mouthfeel is a bit too thin, especially for the large alcohol content of an old ale. Mostly medicinal taste, with yeasty and sweet cherry tones. I keep expecting more flavor from the beer, but all I'm left with is the yeasty aftertaste - which isn't bad, but not what I hoped for.

 424 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
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?

 447 characters

Photo of ThisSeasonsWaifu
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of SVD
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of akttr
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of Quaffer
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Picked this one up in KC, MO. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This beer poured a very dark brown with hints of deep amber around the edges. The dense, tan head rose up to under one finger with an aggressive pour and fizzed away quickly. There was only a thin ring around the edge of the glass when I took my first sip, and even that was gone in only a few minutes. There was no lacing.

Smell: Classic English barley wine aromas, if a little on the sweet side. Thick toffee, light caramel, brown sugar, and maraschino cherries dominated over some tart, dark fruit. These were all puncuated by the occasional hit of strong alcohol. There was also some burnt sugar floating around in there. No hops to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied but slightly buttery. Completely flat and dead in the mouth. Smooth beyond what is natural. Smoothness is usually good, but combined with the light body, this beer came across bland, watery, and boring.

Taste: Hardly any of the sweetness that was present in the smell came through in the flavor. Tart cherries and dry alcohol dominated. There were light hints of bitter hops as well. A husky bitterness arose on the finish that was borderline astringent. That was about all there was to this beer.

This was a good beer up until the point that I took a drink.

 1,317 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of Bighuge
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Burgandy color. A thin beige head disintegrates into only a rimming. Aroma consists of deep carmelized burnt malt tones. There's a candy like sweetness on the tongue with some dull raisin and dates notes. Some alcohol....not a lot. This barleywine, while not a bad beer, just lacks the complexity and depth and courage I look for in this style. There's not a lot of hop character or bitterness. The malt is overriding, if not that enjoyable. Very average. Not sure I want to cellar that other one I have. Maybe I'll pawn it off on ZAP.

Thanks for effort cokes.

 564 characters

Photo of spicelab
3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to Lukie.

Dark treacle with a very aggressive pour yielding a two-finger tan head. Good retention and decent lace trails.

In-your-face boozy port nose. Molasses, brandy cherries, raisins and oak. Too much booze.

Very similar to the nose with a tad less aimless booze. Lacks dimension and complexity but holds your attention with the intensity of the fortified dark fruit character.

Mouthfeel is way too limp for flavours this big. Simply no carriage of the bold character that it should be all about.

Disappointed by this. Excessive booze rawness that pretty well fails to integrate with the rich malt and dark fruit character. Similar to, but a pallid imitation of a decent Scotch or Old Ale.

 712 characters

Photo of crowncapcollect
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle (design is different to photo)

A good example of this style, but not really a style of beer I like. The treacle taste is a bit too dominant for my liking and it is a touch on the sweet side. But, it does look lovely and the smell is quite intriguing.

 264 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fat, medium size bottle. No glued on label. Formed glass into the head of a cat. Kinda cool.
A dark brown, ruby pour. topped with a slight head, kind of soapy looking. Solid color, not bad.
Aroma is sweet. Raisin, plum other dark fruits. Almost too sweet. Like a wine, too much like a wine.
Taste follows nose. Plums, prunes, raisins, dark cherry. A bit slick, yet syrupy. Seems a bit broken down. Malts don't mesh well, hops are non-existant.
a bit hard to finish. Too sweet for me.

 483 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.16/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A pretty brown beer with a nice head, but alas nut much going on below the surface. Very smooth and somewhat malty, this beer is too subdued in the flavour profile to being highly regarded. I sensed the quality but could not really grasp the nuances as they were too far down in the mix.

 287 characters

Photo of mmapes
3.17/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Traded from Ben in York (thanks!)

Pours cola brown, but is much darker in the glass, a deep reddish brown. Not much head (the bottle is dated about 10.5 months ago). A second pour yields some fizz that dissipates quickly. Served at refrigerator temperature.

Smells mostly sweet and malty, maybe a little sour but not unpleasantly so. Vanilla? Very little hops or bitterness on the nose. Expected a sweet, smooth, carmelly, barleywine-ish flavor based on the smell.

Taste is a bit dryer and more astringent than I expected. Alcohol is very forward. At fridge temps, the flavor is pretty subtle compared to the booze, but I expect will be more interesting after warming up a bit.

As it warms, it grows on me. It has some interesting leather/tobacco notes. Still not very heavy for an 8.5% ale, so perhaps that's a balance some people will like.

Not really what I'm looking for in a strong ale -- I usually like something maltier, smoother, rounder, sweeter. This one is more mineral/alcohol/dry.

 999 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Squat 330ml bottle purchased from Stanmore Cellars.

Uncaps without much ceremony, a minor hiss that releases a tiny amount of carbonation. Body is a deepish, oily brown with a seeming clarity in the thinner parts of the glass. Head forms a very fine mesh across the top, eventually petering out to a thin but creamy ring. Carbonation is powdery. Overall, it looks pretty good.

Nose is malt-heavy, but with a distinct savoury overtone. Like rich malt extract spiked with seaweed glutamates. Some grainy notes come through as well, which somewhat add to the body of the savoury character, although they don't really add any additional savoury notes themselves. As it warms, the sweetness comes through a little more, giving some wild honey and crushed biscuits. Not bad.

Smooth entry on the palate belies the strong heat which pounces on the second half, leaving a sherry-like boozy ache on the back. The sweetness drops out about three quarters of the way in, leaving it malt-poor on the finish, and leaving the finish reminiscent of ink. Slight oxidation characters don't help this assuage this impression.

Feel is smooth enough on the entry, but it disappears as the booze increases, leaving it volatile and hot in the mouth.

Overall: watch out. This has an unpleasant heat to the booziness on the back that's not matched by enough flavour to give it structure or purpose. By the end, I felt a little bit battered.

 1,420 characters

Photo of Skidz
3.22/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out a goldent yellow and sits crimson in the glass. Small head achieved with a forceful pour, but is soon gone, leaving only a bit along the fringes.

Smells of dark, fruity esters (raisins, dates), sweet malts, dark caramel, and a hint of chocolate. A slight hint of alcohol is noted.

Tastes of sweet malts, caramel, prunes and dates, but soon thins out as it becomes astrigent and the alcohol takes over. Finishes off dry and bitter.

Feels a bit thin in the mouth to be honest. I was expecting something a bit more rich and full-flavored. It's smooth through, and the carbonation is at the right level. One of these is enough, however.

 651 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

Photo of TheLevi4000
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

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Old Tom from Frederic Robinson Limited
3.75 out of 5 based on 177 ratings.
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