Theakston Old Peculier | T & R Theakston Ltd.

very good
581 Reviews
Theakston Old PeculierTheakston Old Peculier

Brewed by:
T & R Theakston Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-31-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 581 | Ratings: 1,010
Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/27/2012. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, fig, banana, molasses, toast, chocolate, pepper, clove, brown bread, floral, and spicy yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of malt and fruity notes with moderate spicy esters. Taste of caramel, raisin, fig, molasses, light banana, toast, chocolate, pepper, clove, brown bread, floral, and spicy yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, dark fruits, toast, molasses, chocolate, bread, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity of malt and fruity/spicy flavors; with a great balance of malt/fruitiness and no cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent old ale. Nice complexity and balance of flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,198 characters

Photo of tone77
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a cola like color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some maltiness. Taste is also mild, some malts, light hops, not overly flavorful or complex. Feels light in the mouth and overall I found this to be a mediocre beer.

 261 characters

Photo of mick303
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Celler temp pint glass. The colour was a really dark ruby brown edging on black, with a tan head, great lacing and retention. Awesome looking beer. The smell was mostly of complex malt, a whiff of coffee, some earthy bitterness made it in. Taste had slightly roast malt, with some aged lemon citrus, leather, really solid flavour and good complexity. Bold malty flavour with a nice earthy bitterness. Balance is excellent. Feel was very smooth, great sessionable feel to it. A really robust dark ale, lot of complex character to it and balanced really well to make really drinkable and enjoyable.

 596 characters

Photo of Premo88
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into stout glass

L: 3/4-inch caramel head on top of dark amber beer heading toward black; slight lacing.

S: crazy malty; slight darkish fruit but not the full raisins quad-like smell; very similar to stout; more than anything, malted barley and LOTS of it

T: surprisingly clean for such a dark-fruity smell; full malt; it's like an English pale ale with the bitter sucked out; yeast and bread over the second half.

F: solid, great carbonation

O: for a beer that leans toward the Belgian strong darks/quads, I like this one much better. Through four bottles of a six-pack, I've enjoyed three very, very much. The fourth not as much, but 3 for 4 isn't bad. It's like drinking an Irish dry stout that's sweeter. For the price, it's worth a try.

I'll have to try more old ales to decide what I think of the style. This brew doesn't want to make me give up my love for the English pale ale, BUT it's awfully interesting ... like a gateway beer to Guinness.

 979 characters

Photo of WissBrauSean
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured the beer at a cold temperature, unfortunately, so I may not be experiencing the full effect of the beer. Vigorously poured it was opaque obsidian black and had a nice two finger sized brown head of various sized bubbles that settles to a ring and a full cap throughout the drink with a nice random streaking pattern of lacing.

The aroma is of dark malt sweetness with that brettanomyces kind of acidic aroma on top. Some yeast and some fuggles (one of my favorite mild english hops, not "non-magic folk" from Hairy Pitburn) are very lightly apparent. I also get a whiff of prunes. Very nice and complex yet mellow.

This beer is sweet, but not overly so like you would picture a duble or triple of Belgian fare, but in a dark but unroasted malt sweetness of a way. Within the sweetness hides notes of prunes and aloft there is a very mild bitter/sour/acidic hint that may be a mix of hops and that acidic flavor which all roll along the tongue in unison and down the gullet only to be followed by a neutral pause and then some very light hop dryness which is almost unperceptibly bitter. Although it has a mildly pronounced sweetness, factors other than hops play a roll in balancing this beer well.

Mouthfeel is sweet of course. Here I will introduce you to a word called "cloying". Cloying means to some degree, overly sweet. This beer IN NO WAY can be described as such. It's perfect. The body is full yet very drinkable and refreshing. Carbonation is mild but just enough to lift the bitter to the top and help balance the beer well. The finish is mildly dry and a tiny bit peppery from alcohol which gives a little warming effect on the way down.

All in all, I would have to say this beer is world class as well. It's not judged as so on Beer Advocate, but there is very little that I can find fault with this beer. English ales still are probably my favorite and I score them well.

Get out there and try Old Peculier! Not only is the name different, but the beer will make you say "hmmm!" Life is too short not to go "hmmm!" Don't waste it on beer that makes you go "pppttt!"

 2,094 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter from a bottle.

This beer smells surprisingly sweet- unexpected. Vanilla beans, shortbread cookies, a touch of treacle, toffee, and some old dark malts. A little swirling and warming brings out additional depth and complexity.

The flavor is really everything I hoped for, and I have waited a long time while searching for bottle. The malts are totally heading down the toffee, dark bread crust, molasses, brown sugar, and treacle avenue. There is a touch of dark fruit, but nothing that stands out as far as dark berries. More of the sugared fig/date paste than currants or blackberry. There are a few remains of earthy English hops, and these provide a fantastic bitterness to balance all the malty goodness.

The mouthfeel is just full enough, but doesn't get heavy. This is big enough to be a contemplative sipper and keep company with some of the great English Barleywines, or I can imagine ordering a few on tap (cask ideally) over a long dinner and dessert at the pub.

Conclusion: This is fantastic. Maybe I was born to drink English beer, but I just love this. It hits all the right notes for an Old ale, save for a maybe a slight lack of "tart". But who can get nit-picky with such a fantastic and iconic beer.

 1,244 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Thanks to Butch for the bottle! 12 oz bottle into a plastic cup.

A: Pours a dark brown color. The head is a one finger light mocha shade.

S: The first thing I notice is a nice caramel malt backbone. Afterwards, it morphs into a slightly sweeter expression of dark fruit, molasses, and chocolate. Decent depth in the aroma.

T: The opening, midtaste, and finish at first sip is mostly earthy sourness. A bit of caramel tries to pop up before the semi-sour (not tart) finish, in a (failed) attempt to give it some depth.

M: Feels light, but not overly so. There's a good bit of carbonation which help gives the bittersweet finish a nice backbone to it. Refreshing?! Yes. Apart from the nose, it's probably my favorite feature.

O: Enjoyable aromatics, but it's just okay otherwise. Though to be fair, this isn't my style by any stretch of the imagination.

 856 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a dimpled pub mug, a dark red brown with a light tan head that lingers leaving some lacing, clear

S: sweet malt, caramel, toffee, bread

T: sweet and sour malt flavors, subtle coffee, caramel, dark fruit, raisins, robust earthyness, slight spice, some hop bitterness at the end

M: thick and rich, viscous, more carbonation than expected

O: Flavors are more subtle than American old ales. The focus is on malt with the hops only coming through at the finish. It's a filling and satisfying beer.

 531 characters

Photo of horshack7
4.67/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark brown in color with a thin light tan head.

Aroma: Spice, light mustiness, licorice, faint molasses, raisins and a good dryness in the nose.

Taste: A good malty backbone, raisins, twinge of smokiness with spice notes. Licorice, minor notes of dried dark fruit. The mouthfeel is smooth but has a light spice bread bite.

Notes: I had this for the first time quite a long time ago in a bottle then last October in England on tap now again in a bottle and it's absolutely incredible.

 498 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a tulip glass. A finger and half of head on a dark brown colored body.
The aroma is crushed grain and roasted malt. Nice.
The taste is roasted malt, some dark fruit and the mildest bitterness. Complex but not heavy.
The texture is crisp with lower carbonation and medium body.
A great ale and tasty.

 304 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy very dark brown, almost black in color with some very light amounts of gentle carbonation near the surface of the beer and some dark amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense and foamy dark beige head that slowly condenses and reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer evenly. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark malts with some lighter notes of fruity yeasts.

T: Upfront there are some moderate to strong flavors of dark malts with just a light amount of toffee sweetness. On top of the malty flavors, there is also a moderate amount of fruity flavors likely contributed from the yeast. Light amounts of bitterness that slightly intensify as it lingers and the beer warms.

M: Just slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Relatively smooth.

O: Since the overall ABV is not too high (as it can sometimes be in the Old Ale style) and the body is not quite as full, this beer is relatively easy to drink. There are nice flavors and the beer is not overly sweet or cloying which makes this one quite enjoyable.

 1,155 characters

Photo of Radome
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 500 ml bottle bought fresh in Spain.

A - Deep mahogany brown, not quite black. Where light penetrates at the edges of the glass it appears slightly cloudy. Tan head is creamy and thick but quickly fades to a thin layer with thick, sticky lacing.

S - Aromas are muddled and more muted than I remember. I get biscuit-like malt, brown sugar with a hint of carmelization, figs. No overt hops, but an earthy note must be from them. Fruity yeast note.

T - Flavors are similar to aromas. Mostly brown sugar but some other flavors add complexity. Chocolate milk, cinnamon, prunes. No hops. Combination of flavors works better together than it sounds.

M - Low hops bitterness; no alcohol burn. Carbonation is a bit harsh and adds a carbonic bite.

O - I remember this as a much smoother and stronger beer when I discovered it in the early '90s, especially when I had it in Europe at that time. On draught it was nearly a religious experience! This bottled version is not nearly the beer I remember.

 1,008 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.15/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1623rd Review on BA
Bottle to Alchemist stemless

2012 Bottle

App- This was more like a light porter to me. It had some good dark browns but was also a bit lighter all around in the glass. I noticed a good depth of center and then a good 2 finger brown head. No cling or lace.

Smell- This to me wasnt really an old ale. Missing the malty backbone. This was sweet with a licorice and caramel note behind it. A bit too thin on the aromatics. A little bit of wheat.

Taste- I dont wanna classify this an old ale. This was more like a dark mild or a small hoppy porter. I think a lot of what I like about an old ale is that big rich malt base with some caramel on the backend.

Mouth- Way too light on the body. Thin and a bit watery. The carbonation was a small carbonation with a bit of prickly anise and malts.

Drink- Well I had higher hopes for this one and it just didnt pan out. Cant win em all. Just not what I was thinking it was and then blended too many styles together for me.

 991 characters

Photo of doktorhops
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ooooo, Old Ale! This is a style I've never tried before. I expect it will be similar to English Pale Ale... but older. In any case the 10 word novel on the back of the bottle was mildly entertaining: "Picked off one by one. Four... Three... Two... It's You!"... yeahhh, let's drink this brew.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Deep seal brown clear body with a non-existent head, it was beige as I recall.

S: Darkest of dark fruits; figs, dates and macerated sour cherries. There is an overtone of toffee, much like in a sticky date pudding, with butter and a dram of whiskey thrown in. Essentially it has the aroma of a Christmas cake.

T: Confirmed: Christmas cake extravaganza! The flavours are upfront toffee sugar, dark fruit and cake/bread mid-palate, finishing with an alcohol hit and some herbal medicinal bitters. It's a deep, dark, brooding ale, perfectly befitting the theme of mystery/crime writing.

M: Bit oily to drink, with a medium body and light carbonation.

D: Quite a tasty brew we have here. The flavours are big (as long as you drink it room temp like the Poms), and there is an almost Belgian tripel flavour profile going on, minus bubblegum with sticky date/earthy characters instead. Compared to the nearest brew I've tried with these flavours (Hook Norton Twelve Days)- this one beats it easily. Price-wise is a different story, however the trade-off still brings this ale out on top. I want another.

Food match: Complimenting this with a Christmas cake would be a real treat. Main course- char-grilled pork ribs, roast kale, and grilled Mediterranean vegetables, yes!

 1,614 characters

Photo of dougbassett
3.41/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the "1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die" -- I believe this is #4 for me.

Just looks amazing, a dark mahogany brown pour with a slightly tan head that lingers. A sweet nose of brandied cherries and brown sugar, I'd have liked it to have been a little stronger but still, nice and evocative. Things are unfortunately not as evocative tastewise, I get mainly pure brandy and hops with a touch of malt underlying it all. It does have a nice resilient mouthfeel that seems suitable to the style.

Something of a disappointment for me though I certainly don't hate it -- it's just a bit too restrained for me and what I expect out of this style. Maybe it was the bottle, I don't know.

 692 characters

Photo of jwhancher
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber brown, a little hazy with some nice tight head that leaves lacing on the sides of glass. Smells of molasses and dark fruit such as dark cherries & apricot. Has some brown sugar notes and some melanoidin malt character. Tastes just like in the nose. Noble hop bitterness in nose with ample bitterness in taste. Feels heavy & thick for a relatively low ABV by today's standards. Feels chewy, almost like a meal within itself. Great tasting old ale. Wish I had more of this in the dead of winter.

 512 characters

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a Pint glass.

A: Pours a black color forming a medium very creamy and bubbled beige head with excellent retention. A lots of creamy chunks of foam are formed and left in the glass

S: Mainly sweet and roasted with notes of flowery hops. Sweet and fruity Ale yeasts backbone

T: Sweet and roasted upfront. Roasted malts, notes of dark chocolate, dark fruits and coffee. British hops bitterness (bit citrus)

M: Medium body and carbonation. Roasted bitterness aftertaste

O: Easydrinking Ale. Very British. Recommended

 540 characters

Photo of BS-
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a highball glass.

A: Very dark brown with a good golden head after a hard pour. The beer is a very deep burgundy colour when held against the light. Head melts away fairly quickly, leaving an extremely thin layer of froth with almost non-existent lacing.

S: Nutty, caramel, slightly herby, with hints of coffee

T: Malty with a hint of chocolaty sweetness. Very pleasant presence of coffee and caramel in the aftertaste. Some citrus notes can be detected too.

M: Decent to medium mouthfeel with good carbonation.

O: Overall a very mellow beer, perhaps a little too mellow to the point of being slightly lacking. I was expecting a bit more from an old ale, but this is a very good beer, nonetheless.

 716 characters

Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.9/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer pours black with no head or lacing. The aroma is of licorice and anise, fairly plain. The flavor leads off with anise followed by a licorice and peppery finish, ordinary. It's mouthfeel is smooth but a bit watery for the style. Theakston Old Peculier is an average beer, recommended.

 293 characters

Photo of Kremlock
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep red colour with no head. no lacing

S: Caramel and more caramel.

T: Caramel dominates the palate with a med bitterness. There are hints of alcohol but it is truely well balanced with the malt and biterness.

M: Very smooth feel with just the right amount of carb.

O: Ok beer. I found it to be a bit too strong on the caramel flavour but when I had it with orange chocolate it intensified the flavour of the chocolate.

 429 characters

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice. Poured a 3" cappuccino head with decent lifespan. The body is a burnt sienna brown color in masstone but held to the light an interesting maroon comes through. It smells complex with malts, vanilla, cocoa, and cola. The tast mirrors the smell and has a substantial malt finish. Gets yeasty in the end. Very nice over all. And it's not the beer which is "peculiar", it's a historic name.

 397 characters

Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark ruby-brown with a thick light brown 2-finger head that slowly dissipates down the glass leaving a nice solid lace.

S: Caramel and dark fruit aroma with a good malty scent.

T: Slightly sweet flavor with a good malt flavor and slightly hoppy from the Fuggle hops.

M: Full body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent English Ale – lots of complex flavors and aromas.

 435 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 9/4/12

Deep chestnut in color with a two finger cap of foam. Head retention is a thinner layer and some decent, soapy lace is left clinging to the glass.

Subtle earthy hops drift about heavier malt aromas of caramel, toffee, bread, raisins and a hint of burnt molasses. Smooth, consistent smell. Some floral hops as it warms. The flavor has a tangy bent that the aroma lacks, and it's not entirely pleasant. Beyond that is a dry tasting beer that boasts dry bread notes and toasted sugars. One plus is that the hops take a downplayed, but persistent approach toward the palate. The overall taste is a bit edgy, as is the feel, what with a medium thick body, moderate carbonation and a coating finish.

As the beer warms, the tanginess subsides some. Still, I found myself wanting something from this beer that it didn't deliver. It's solid, but I'd like to give it another shot to see if this is a bottle fluke.

 954 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into pint glass 29/8/12

A murky light brown, looks peculiar, thick even, just a short lived film and a random patch of lace
-edit second pour leaves a thick tan thumbs width of foam that leaves lots of unorganized lace, perhaps a dirty glass first try

S molasses and rum soaked raisin, figs, nutty toffee with some faint bruised banana and some other overripe dark fruits

T no bruised banana but hazelnut comes out strong and everything I smells still there, a little sweet and very malty

M a little syrupy but creams up nicely from the bubbles, after taste is long and nutty

O solid beer with plenty of complexity, just missing a little something to put it into the world class but most worthy

I´ve heard about this one before and when I saw it at a beer bar in Mexico I knew what to do

 814 characters

Photo of Dentist666
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ABV 5,6%.
Pours deep dark reddish brown beer with excellent tan head.
Smell of coffee, roasted malts and caramel.
Taste is deep, less fruits (prunes are in place), more caramel, coffee and nuts. Chewy body and moderate carbonation. Very good old ale.

 250 characters

Theakston Old Peculier from T & R Theakston Ltd.
3.94 out of 5 based on 1,010 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.