Old Peculier
T & R Theakston Ltd.

Old PeculierOld Peculier
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English Old Ale
Ranked #38
Ranked #7,603
3.98 | pDev: 11.06%
T & R Theakston Ltd.
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Old PeculierOld Peculier
Notes: Old Peculier is possibly one of the country’s most well-known and loved ales. This unique, beautiful brew is often imitated but never matched and is sold literally all over the world. With countless awards to its credit, it is something of which every Briton can be very proud and is the epitome of the greatest of British brewing tradition.

In the early years of the modern brewing era, about two hundred years ago, many brewers produced a dark, strong ‘stock’ beer in the winter months, to provide a base amount of fermented beer to add to beers brewed in the rather more volatile months of the summer.

Old Peculier probably owes its origins to this. The name pays tribute to the unique ecclesiastical status of Masham as a ‘Court of the Peculier’ and is also reference to the strong characteristic of the beer! For many years it was affectionately referred to as Yorkshire’s ‘Lunatic’s Broth’.
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Reviews: 599 | Ratings: 1,045 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mothmanscott
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 12/28/11: Pours an opaque, dark ruby brown producing 2.5 fingers of tan, large bubbled frothy head leaving splotchy lacing behind as it recedes. Aroma is dark malty caramel and fruity hints.Taste is malty: dark bread, caramel, toffee, dark fruity, cherry, amaretto, chocolate and butterscotch. There is a nice balance between the roasted malts and fuggle hops. A nice beer from start to finish.

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Photo of James94
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Clear, dark red colour, strong lacing, best part of two fingers head
S: Banana, malts, grape, summer fruits, general sweetness
T: Candied banana, slightly bitter hops
F: Easy drinking, smooth, carbonation is well-balanced

O: 4.25

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Photo of shambeano
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle with a best before of 30/09/2019. Poured into a Tulip.
Look: I would call the colour a very dark brown, almost a cola-black. about 2 cm of off white head, which quickly subsides to a think film.
Smell: I'm not getting a lot on the nose, a bit of maltiness, caramel, something a touch metallic.
Taste: malty, caramel, toffee, a little bit of sweet dried fruit (raisin, date, sultana), roasted malts towards the end.
Feel: A little lighter bodied, nice tingly carbonation. A little dry at the end. Decent length of flavour.
Overall: Tastes quite nice. I could easily drink 3-4 on a cold day, sitting by the fire.

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Photo of Beer_Rabbit66
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark brown and seems as black as a stout, light head on top but great looks
The smell is nutty and caramel with plenty of malt.
Taste is great, a smooth malty taste with notes of caramel and toffee with a small hint of nut and dried fruit.
Feels Smooth and finished more sweet than bitter but a great balance.
Overall a great ale

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Photo of Snowcrash000
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep, dark mahogany coloration with a reddish tint and a medium, creamy head. Smells of toasted, caramel malt and dark fruits, with just a hint of estery spice. Taste is dominated by sweet and lightly toasted caramel malt and dark fruits: fig, raisins, with just a hint of chocolate, licorice, toffee, estery spice and herbal hops. Finishes more sweet than bitter, with a light bitterness and some dark fruits and licorice lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation.

A rather nice English Old Ale with a good balance, although perhaps a bit too much on the sweet side. Still rather enjoyable, with a good mouthfeel and depth of flavor.

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Photo of Beck_Hardy_UK
2.7/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into pint glass. Dark w/a khaki head. Aroma of toffee, chocolate, and dark fruits. Taste is chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, etc. Mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Over all an excellent offering from Theakston.

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Photo of KooVee
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, 8m to bb.

Deep ruby/mahogany, foam to match style.

Aroma is raisin, dried dark fruit, dark syrup with a slightly metallic edge. Some caramel and toffee once it warms up.

Taste is smooth dark bread, some grain, but not to any particularly large extent. Prunes, some dark sugar. Little bitterness as such, but it matches the sweetness perfectly so that the end result is balanced and if not dry, not wearying in any way. Very drinkable. Mouthfeel could be a bit thicker for my tastes... but that depends on the context.. on tap the fluidity is perfect, from bottle at home one is conditioned to have a more sip-oriented body.

The aroma and taste combination is quite recognizable, and actually feels like a bit of a cross between a (smaller part of) quad of rochefort 10 type and a dark British ale. The prune notes I guess and the aroma of dark syrup. A classic.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with ruby highlights. Pretty. Little, if any, head.
Lovely aroma of caramel and toffee, with some dark fruit.
Caramel and toffee taste. A hint of peat. Cherry and raisins.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- Very dark ruby/mahogany. Ours with a thin pale tan head that clears swiftly to lacing.
S- Dark puddingy smell, conjours up images of a trad Xmas dinner.
T- Gentle at first, but builds swiftly. Toffee, molasses (a rich smokey edge). Very distinctive profile, if this was a regular of yours you'd spot it a mile off in a blind tasting.
F- It has good hopping but it's on the richer side of the scale.
O- Lovely, I'd call this a classic winter-warmer. I'm enjoying it tonight together with a pre-prep'd lamb-shank in rich gravy [Tesco] and buttered mash. Perfect on a dark, cold and rainy night. Perfect combo too to mark my 250th review, 35 years after first drinking this beer whilst at university in Yorkshire :)

£1.80/500ml from Sainsbury's - a total bargain at that price. BB: 31/10/19

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Photo of Independent
5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is as close to the nectar of the god's on Olympus as anything you can drink! I first tasted this, recommended to me as I drank pints of bitter in a Welsh pub as the best bottled beer in the world. I've never found anyone who really likes beer who didn't agree, from Yorkshire to Georgetown (Washington D.C.). Theakston deserves an International Medal of Honor for this incredible brew! Looks rich, smells like heaven, taste and feel? Pure nectar!l

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Photo of SpongeHop
3.11/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

L - Dark brown, nearly black. Clear. Amber-brown light shines through. Beige head that dissipates relatively quickly. Leaves lacing on the side of the glass.
S & T - Aroma of wholegrain graham crackers. Tastes like fizzy water with no real discernible notes at first, then goes into the wholegrain graham crackers taste, but very lightly so. Finally a strange mineralic caramel aftertaste alongside some bitterness, then finishes again with the fizzy water. Lingers on the lips with a mostly bitter tone, with a very slight generic hop-pellet taste.
F - Thin mouthfeel.

O - little bit disappointing. Very fizzy watery. Smells better than it tastes. Has a strange mineralic, metallic tinny quality to it.

Wouldn't recommend this one.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle served cool into a pint glass. Reviewed while on vacation in the UK. Best before April 30, 2018

Appearance - dark ruby and Amber brown coloured beer. A gentle and loose two and a half fingers of off white head are poured. Some sparse lacing.

Smell - some metallic notes mixed with hearty caramel, butterscotch toffee and even molasses. With no metallic notes this scores higher.

Taste- middling to heavy bitterness. Some peat and earthiness, with caramel and toffee and molasses . Some wood complexities too.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, a bit sticky with a pricklier than expected finish. Very good and robust feel.

Overall - very good beer that improves as it warms. An impressive first beer in England.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a dark brown with a red hue. The aroma is of plenty of caramel, some booze and some faint hops. The flavor is mild and delicate. Some dark fruit flavors and mild bitterness at the end. Smooth mouthfeel. Delicious.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.19/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer has been around forever. Remember drinking it for the first time in the mid90s. This one rocks the appearance of a brown, dark red toffee and tobacco kind of vibe. Small 1/3" tan colored head. Aroma is a mixture of earth, moss, fire, smoke, tobacco, raisin, dark fruit quad like vibe. Its complex for sure.

Taste is also complex but also muddled. Old ale has always been a catch all kind of style, and that really comes out here. All those aromatics are in the taste, but the booze and bitterness seem amplified more than they should be. Kind of has that twang a quad and bsda/ris bitterness to it. A lot of toffee and bitter dark ripe fruits.

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Photo of KrisPaulk77
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Picked up at Asda in Dyce and enjoyed in my hotel room.
Beautiful deep garnet color with a moderate khaki head that lingered for a moment and then fell, leaving a rim of foam on the edges of the glass.
The aroma was fruity, malty, and jammy with a whiff of ripe banana. Extremely pleasing aroma.
The flavors were rich, with sweet malts and dark fruit cut with an herbal bitterness.
Definitely an enjoyable beer and a true classic.

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Photo of Umbriel
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very interesting beer that's kind of like a stout but yet lighter and more gluggable. It's a very dark ruby red colour and has fruit flavours like dates, sultanas, orange peel but also burnt wood and a sweetness to lift it all. If you're in Yorkshire you can get a pulled pint of this in selected pubs and I'm telling you, it is an absolute knockout, a different and much smoother experience to the bottle. It's strong too and it only takes a few before you're three sheets to the wind. Enjoy!

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Photo of biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is written in honour of my Uncle John. This bottle of Theakston Old Peculiar is stamped "best before" March 31, 2006 and was pulled from the cellar on November 28, 2016.

Theakston Old Peculiar looks black on basic inspection but actually reveals gleaming ruby shrapnel against the light. This more than a decade old beer maintains pristine clarity; there's remarkably not even a single speck of sediment to spoil this old geezer's healthy, handsome complexion. Heck, it's even still got its foam! Practically unbelievable.

The nose is a little understated but still an absolute bombshell. All kinds of figgy, fudgy richness emanates from the glass, included in which are dates, prunes, raisins, baking spices and Christmas pudding. It is reminiscent - though lacks the profundity - of another quintessential Old Ale, Thomas Hardy's. Granted, this recipe probably isn't designed to age as long...

Nevertheless, it's held up unexpectedly well. While it's showing signs of age it drinks more graceful than ever. Just as white hair totally suits certain people, some beers actually benefit from oxidization. While it's disappointing those beautiful dried fruit and toasted nut flavours are cut a little short, the oxidized, very sherry-like component isn't at all a detriment.

In fact, it's remarkable how much this bottle of Old Peculiar resembles a quality Oloroso - it shares not only that very dry, oxidated mouthfeel but also the astonishingly complex nutty and figgy flavours as well as nuances of olive, chocolate, musty spice box and a raisiny richness. Curiously, there's even an impression of oak (though it never saw the inside of a barrel).

The hops and specialty malts that went into the mash-tun have faded but remnants remain; beyond the dried fruits is actually a fairly prominent earthiness, a note like a damp forest in the fall. For this we thank the Fuggles which are notoriously grassy and leafy. And roasted barley provides a subtle bittersweet coffee-like note that persists through the finish.

Talk about a visceral, emotional drinking experience! It's rare to find such complexity and graceful aging from a beer that's only 5.6%. I opened the bottle unsure what to expect but fairly certain of disappointment - sometimes it's wonderful to be wrong. Theakston Old Peculiar will certainly go down as one of my all-time favourite finds from the cellar.

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Photo of Vader444
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour into tumbler

This takes me right back to my student days. Rich,fruity and sweet. In fact too sweet for me. Long gone are the days I could sink pint after pint of this. One is enough for this middle aged bore! Still, a very decent beer and one that I'll gladly come back to once in a while.

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Photo of bark
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown clear liquid. High beige head, no lacing.

Smooth somewhat roasted smell. Fortified wine, dried fruits and plum pudding.

Malty taste with roasted notes. Passing clean-dry bitterness. Medium body. Mulled wine and dried fruits in the aftertaste.

Strong fresh carbonation, small smooth bubbles. Light liquid.

I think this beer would gain of stronger alcohol.

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Photo of Spike
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 500ml bottle.

L: Very dark, ruby red (nearly black) with a thick, foamy, taupe head that leaves walls of lacing.

S: Raisins, molasses & light rum but less robust than anticipated.

T: Plum, spice, toffee. Has a floral aspect that provides a nice lift and prevents the taste becoming too dense.

F: Medium to full bodied with a rich tongue coating. Slightly sticky. Light carbonation. Bitter, moderately dry finish.

O: A beautiful beer to look at and an enjoyable, slow, drinker. Rich and smooth. Excellent balance of sweet and bitter. Heaps of character. A classic English ale.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm glad that I had this classic again in order to review it.

Looks are not classic. Even though this beer has sat around, it could give some appetizing foam. Color is mahogany.
Smells are that dark fruit classic, maybe even some nuts making it a fruit cake. Tastes are largely the same, but nothing stands out. This is just a well-made ale. I'd like a few more bubbles.

Old Peculier is reviewed in the "1001 Beers To Taste Before You Die" and it deserves to be on the list... even a contemporary version. It also reviewed at length in Roger Prostz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die."

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Photo of kitschiguy
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly reddish, chocolaty brown with a very fine, big off-white head which died gradually and left lots of lacing.

Nose has lots of roasted malts - some chocolate, toffee, molasses and lots of coffee. Very nice.

Palate is much the same as the nose but with dried fruit, raisins, plums and a hint of cherry. doesn't taste sweet but bitterness is low. Nicely-balanced.

Mouth is a little thin.

This is a very nice beer. Well-balanced and complex.


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Photo of patre_tim
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Ruby red with low carbonation, topped with 2 fingers of beige foamy head.

Amazing nose of dark malty cherries, a hint of liquorice and tar.

Cherries, dark malts, a hint of dark wood notes.

Light body, moderate carbonation. Very smooth.

Amazing brew. Light but complex and rich. Love it! Got in Bangkok Villa Market over 6 months ago. This one has travelled with me on an epic journey to Harbin and back to Chiang Mai. Drank Feb 1st, 2016.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: dark brown, clear.
Foam beige, fine-grained, dense and compact.
Aroma: dark fruit, plums fried, sweet, overripe bananas, caramel.
Taste: at first the plan goes caramel, slightly acidic, fried plums and delicate ashes.
Gentian is a clear, dry coffee. Saturation medium, perfect.

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Photo of stevoj
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours as black as a stout, but with a red tinted foamy head. Taste is smooth and woody. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Mouthfeel seems watery, but also feels right. For a heavier British beer, this goes down smooth.

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Old Peculier from T & R Theakston Ltd.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 1045 ratings