Jefferson's Golden Ale | Yards Brewing Co.

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Jefferson's Golden AleJefferson's Golden Ale
Very Good
Jefferson's Golden AleJefferson's Golden Ale

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fomerly Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

This powerful and complex golden ale pays homage to Founding Father and fellow brewer, Thomas Jefferson. Yards Brewmaster, Tom Kehoe, worked closely with Philadelphia’s historic City Tavern to recreate this recipe, employing honey, rye, and wheat, just like the beer Jefferson made at Monticello.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 303 | Ratings: 908
Photo of RBorsato
2/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Hazy golden color, overcarbonated with a beige head and lots of sediment. Oxidized/Infected peppery aroma and flavor -- very much like old TJ's homebrew recipe gone bad. Very surprising considering the Best By date. Medium-full bodied but seems light due to overcarbonation.

A bit pricey to take the chance of trying it again... Sorry Yards -- Bone up on the Quality Assurance!!

Label States: "Strong Golden Ale" & "Authentic Recipe" & "Bottle Conditioned"

Best Before: 04/24/06 (lasered on neck)
Tasted: 10/21/04

($1.79 / 12 oz.)

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Photo of Buggabeer
2.15/5  rDev -43%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A Poured into a draft glass and it had a nice head with alot of carbination. The head quick faded away and left a hazy amber color. Not overly impressed.

S Smell was average with a lot of carmel malt notes. Also had the winter warmer alcohlo smell to it as well

T I must say the taste was not that great. On first swallow it gave me the shivers as if I just took a drink of NyQuil. After the 5th swallow I started to get used to it but still not a good a good thing. Way to much alcohol taste. Now I know how they kept the men to stay during the revolution after taking many of beat downs early.

M Again not impressed. I can't seem to shake the NyQuil shivers with every swallow.

D The more I drink the less I like it. I'll sleep good tonight or I'll be praying to the porceline god. I would not recommend this beer to anyone.

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2.22/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle to stange. Sampled 4/5/11.

A: Large 3 finger head, khaki colored, foamy/fluffy and long lasting. The body is orange-amber and lightly hazy at first. Clarity improves after warming. Tattered half sheets of lacing from the head with even better coverage from the body.

S: Toasted caramel. Grassy/resiny hop qualities come through. Earthy hints. Light diacetyl.

T: Malt forward with rather non-descript flavor and aroma profiles. Alcohol is noticeable, but not solventy and not to a detriment.

M: The ABV might actually be more apparent in the mouthfeel. Medium-full body with a thick, semi chewy, yet slick and boozy texture. Carbonation is soft.

D: After making my way through this Ales of the Revolutiony variety case...I guess historically recreated beers just aren't my thing.

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Photo of sellmeagod
2.42/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Thomas Jefferson's own recipe, so they claim. He knew how to make a powerful ale, it seems.

He didn't care too much about defined (or even good) tastes, and the look is otherwise what you'd expect from this ale. It's all sorts of awkwardly bitter at the end too, but drinkable for an 8 abv.

So there are tradeoffs, and you can't be more Virginian than drinking this stuff on President's Day.

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Photo of maltedmilk
2.59/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

from the bottle:

Yards has recreated Thomas Jefferson tavern ale- a strong golden ale-
from ingredients originally specified by Jefferson himself for
semi-annual brewing at his estate Monticello.


Poured into my pint glass a clear copper color with a small head that quickly dissipated. Smells sweet…tastes sweet with a tiny bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is a definite presence.

I tried a bottle of this beer on 2 separate days to determine if I really disliked it that much. I have to say I do.

This beer is almost flat. It has a cloying sweetness.

I don’t know what Mr. Jefferson was thinking.

Not a great beer. And its pretty expensive. I would not buy this beer again.

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Photo of Steasy66
2.68/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz into pint glass
A- Light amber with 3 finger lacy white head.
S- Malty, a bit of 'C' hops.
T- Really sweet, like high fructose corn syrup sweet. A little bit of citrusy hops.
M- A bit thick, decent carb, but just cant get past the thickness.
O- Really cant get past the sweetness on this one, its not a caramelized malt sweetness, its something else entirely, just doesn't taste right.

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Photo of crhensel
2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Bottle into pint glass) Poured a cloudy dark amber with a very small head that didn't last at all. A ton of heavy toasted grains in the nose, but otherwise no distinctive aroma. I might even venture to say it was burnt... Mouthfeel was very pleasant, but holy hop! The hop bitterness and the roast overpowered everything. About halfway through the glass it became too overpowering and I wasn't able to finish. I don't think I'll be back to this one, which is disappointing since I tend to like the Yards offerings.

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Photo of BeastofWotan
2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a wonderful attractive light brown color, with a nice one finger head. Lots of bubbles, almost looks like a cream soda.

Smell: Some fruits, toffee, and a tad of alcohol.

Taste: The most prominent flavor is the alcohol, but there are distinct fruity flavors that follow up, particularly that of apples. Definitely can taste the higher ABV.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation, not very thick.

Drinkability: The strongness of the alcohol flavor makes this a sipper. I can't imagine drinking more than one or two of these.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a reddish brown color with a little head on it. The aroma was basically all malts and some other farmhouse grains in there too. The taste wasn't very impressive to me. The taste had an odd Sourness to it. Not sour like a Lambic but something different. It was an interesting difference but didn't really help the beer at all in my opinion. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad. I would try this one again because I'd like to see if it still has the weird flavor to it.

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Photo of JamesS
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very light copper to orange flavor, with no lacing. It's a bit overcarbonated, the head built up a lot quicker than any other beer I've had in a long while, causing a couple of small messes. Light scent, it's missing the heady scent of most strong ales, but it has a nice floral/fruity scent that's nice. Nice taste, a good blend of grains, malts, and hops, along with a little floral aftertaste, but it's a little weak as far as flavor depth. Goes down fine, but the carbonation hurt here, too.

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Photo of desertbronze
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a12 oz. bottle of this in a trade with CrazyMacHarris99.

Pours with a one finger off white head which fades quickly. No lacing in the glass. Amber color with orange tints and good clarity. Smells sweet (like sugar) - no hop or malt aroma. Sweet taste with a slightly astringent aftertaste. Seems like the beer may be fermented with a Belgian yeast. Beer tastes thin - not much body. This beer drinks ok - it hides the 8% alcohol well.

Move along - nothing to see here. I find nothing to recommend this beer. Sort of a sweet, bland high alcohol beer.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First off, it must have been a bad day when I tasted this beer because it did not live up to the local hype. Perhaps it was an old keg or something.

I had this brew on tap at City Tavern. This beer was very uninspiring and left a lot to be desired. Undercarbonation left it with a flat feel in the mouth. It coated the mouth in a bad way. Wheaty taste but not much hops to be found. It looked great in the glass with a moderate head.

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Photo of Antg8989
3.04/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So this smelled like burnt rubber in one glass and like scream ale in another. Bronze colored. Nothing fantastic here. Inconsistent to say the least. Next please.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark golden color, leaning towards amber. The head is a finger high, and eggshell in shade. Retention isn't particularly impressive, but its creamy texture leaves behind some lacing on the glass. (3.5)

Smell: Honey accentuates the powerful, bread-laden malt backbone. A touch of spiciness appears in spurts, helping to balance some of its sweetness. Buttery and toasted hints prove to add to this brew instead of detract. It's well made enough, but it hardly comes close to 'popping'. (3)

Taste: This is a sweet brew - very sweet actually. It starts off with a slightly toasty maltiness, before building into notes of rye spice, butter, and honey near the back end. The aforementioned honey keeps the finish from being cloying, so that's good. Otherwise, this is a pretty insipid beer. (3)

Mouthfeel: It feels fairly rich and sweet, but the back end is also dry. A slight twinge of alcohol appears due to the dryness, too. Carbonation is low, so this beer is quite drinkable for the strength. (3.5)

Overall: I'm disappointed by how uninteresting it is - the beer itself was brewed well, but the recipe itself come across as being rather ho-hum. I'd suggest trying a single of this once, just don't be surprised by its average taste. (3)

3.08/5: It's not a case of "great recipe, blah execution"'s the other way around instead

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Photo of Yvaithe
3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm new so my review won't be as awesomely detailed as most on this great website.
It poured nicely with a lot of bubbles but the head died quickly. It starts out nice but ends with a very bitter end. I enjoyed this ale but half way through the bitterness was making wish I was done with it.

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Photo of tone77
3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. has a copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, slightly sweet. Taste is a bit unusual, bready, hops, sour, some alcohol, seems like lots of flavors pulling in different directions. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a mediocre beer.

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Photo of pwoods
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to NJpadreFan for the brew!

12oz. brown bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a golden honey color and clarity. Moderate head on the pour with only a thin skim of retention. Some lacing.

S: Very little aroma. Some sweet malts, maybe some juicy type fruits.

T/M: There's a bit of hop presence, some citrus fruitiness. Malts are sweet but controlled. More on the sugary caramel side of things rather than the biscuity, cereal grains. Some fruity esters but definitely not yeasty. Body is medium with somewhat higher carbonation and a drier finish.

D: Being a strong ale, it's hard to know what to except and criticize. It's drinkable for 8% without much knowledge of the alcohol, and it's reasonably tasty. But it's not something that I'd seek out, either.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep orange/amber color; slightly hazy. Poured a 1 finger off-white head that dissipated to a skim. Lightly decanted. Laced the glass in wide rings.

S: Carmel malt and citrus rind. Faint light-colored fruits.

T: Bready caramel malt. Very smooth and slightly sweet ahead of a sharp bitter finish. Slightly warming alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Dry and warming alcohol in the finish.

D: Malts are a little out of balance with the finish in this one. Fruity aroma and flavor surprised me a bit.

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Photo of popery
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes. 7/27/11. Pours a translucent medium brown-ish orange. Eggshell head. Aroma is caramel, cider, spice and a some booze. It’s not very good. Taste is a kinda one note sweetness with a bitter, boozy finish. Lots of malt shows up, but it lacks complexity. Just sweet caramel. Feel is too thin. It’s not terrible, but it could be drier or richer or more complex. There’s just something missing. On top of that, even though there aren't a ton of English Strong Ales around, I still consider it a strong style, and this beer just doesn't live up to other takes for me. That said, I do plan to give it another shot.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A vigorous pour yields a two finger thick, pale tan crown of froth. The beer is a brilliantly clear amber color that shows a nice copper hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells most notably of sweet, concentrated malts at first; aromatic notes of caramel, some slight toffee, and a rich breadiness. After the first smell of the aroma some hop character begins to become apparent; the hop notes supply a light spiciness, with perhaps a touch of herbal character and maybe even a hint of citrus zest. Somehow the malt seems a little dusty and has maybe a hint of oxidation character to it.

Lightly sweet tasting up front, but it has a solid herbal flavor to it as well as a noticeable bitterness that is noticeable from beginning to end. The beer finishes with a toasty, biscuit-like malt flavor that provides some drying to the palate. A touch of warming alcohol is also noticed in the finish as it couples with a slightly harsh, astringent note. Malt flavors of toffee, lightly stale caramel and lightly browned soda crackers add to the flavors of the beer. The herbal hop notes, which can get a bit astringent at times, also mix with some light spiciness that is a welcome note. The beer is a touch lighter in body than I would expect for a beer of this strength, it makes it a touch more quaffable, though a little more richness might have been nice.

An interesting beer, I still have no idea what this really is. It seems a little bland, but with such a generic bottle description I don't even have an idea of what the brewer was trying to do.

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Photo of steelcutoats
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was one of the first craft beers that I ever tried. I figured now would be a good time with the election coming up, it would be a good time to reflect on one of the Founding Fathers for guidance.

The ale poured into my tasting snifter with a golden ruby color, and was crystal clear. There was a thin head that quickly dissipated. I couldn't quite place the aroma. I could detect the hops, but other than that it's a mystery to me. Yard's website indicates that this brew is made with ingredients indigenous to Jefferson's native Virginia. It's quite pleasing to taste, and you can definitely pick up on the strength of the alcohol content. It's an enjoyable beer worth checking out, just to see what the Founding Fathers drank.

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Photo of thlayli87
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes

A - Copper color with 2 fingers of cream colored head. Decent lacing and retention

S - Grainy malt, not much else

T - Somewhat salty taste, earthy hops. Flavors lack complexity.

M - Good carbonation level. Pleasing on the palate.

O - Pretty boring flavors and a mediocre beer overall. I'd pass this one by.

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Photo of JerseyPaul
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hazy, light brown color with some orange tint to it; plenty of carbonation along with sediment; thin white head dissolves away rather quickly & leaves minimal lacing

Smell: Semi sweet caramel malts with a bit of spiciness; some citrus & pine hop notes; a trace of a dank mustiness as well

Taste: Light semi sweet caramel malt gives way to bitter citrusy hops & some spiciness

Mouthfeel: Medium body; good carbonation; hop bitterness on the aggressive side; chewy but crisp

Drinkability: High ABV makes this difficult to consume too many at once

Overall, Tavern Ale is definitely a strong ale. The hop bitterness and alcohol notes in the aoma & taste make you quickly realize that this is a big beer. However, those traits subside into a more easier drinking ale that would make our ancestors proud. I'd recommend this to others to try.

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Photo of edskirk3
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Took the Yards Brewery tour a couple weeks ago, and split a case of this stuff with my buddies. Bottled June 30 2006.

I have no complaints about this beer except one: there's definitely ginger in it, to which I apparently have a slight allergy. Nothing life-threatening, just an itchy throat and sometimes a sneezing attack. So I gotta take off for drinkability.

Otherwise, not bad. There's also some honey in it, I believe.

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Photo of magnj
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at a little pub in Philly.

I had no idea what this was, bartender described it as buttery which is somewhat concerning but I tried it anyway.

A - Murky amber body, minimal head but it was a full pour.

S - Malty aroma, nothing to write home about.

T - Big malty body, not sticky but malt forward for sure. Smooth, no hot alcohol. Kind of buttery but that was suggested to me so I'm not sure.

M/D - Full body, again not sticky or hot. Easy to drink but sneaks up on ya. Not really memorable, not bad but I wouldn't look for it again.

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Jefferson's Golden Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 908 ratings