Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale | Yards Brewing Co.

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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleThomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by NeroFiddled on 08-01-2002

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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 835
Photo of Knapp85
2.95/5  rDev -22%
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 metter98
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear amber orange in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense and creamy beige colored head that gradually died down, leaving a large pillow of bubbles in the center, a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacy rings of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of caramel malts in the nose; as the beer warms up notes of brown sugar also become apparent.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a little sweet and has flavors of caramel malts, toasted malts and toffee along with notes of spices and hints of brown sugar and fruity yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This strong ale wasn't that difficult to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. I enjoyed the complex taste of this beer but it seemed that it could have used a stronger smell.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An aggressive and somewhat young Strong Ale that will some day make an awsome Old Ale.

The pour brings a deep golden or medium amber color with a short and sturdy head of stark-white foam. Light in carbonation, the beer quickly takes on a rather still life, leaving a stubborn head behind but no lacing.

Malty rich aromas take the shape of maple syrups, brown sugars, and heavy charred molassas. Any hop character takes a delicate herbal scent and avoids making any major impact. Cherry and plumb esters can be detected in scent.

Flavors behave much the same as aromas: strong molassas and brown sugar malts weave into a rum-like alcoholic sweetness and fruitcake like esters. Sweetbreads and teal-like herbs give a pruney variety to the beer. Strong and malty lead the way.

Moderately full in body, the beer isn't nearly as syrupy or sweet feeling as the taste and aroma suggested. After the initial weight of the beer suppresses a bit, the beer's rough edges possess a medium cough syrup-like fusal feel that hurts just a touch and causes abrasion.

In the end, this is a very good strong ale but the textures could be smoother and a fuller, rounder flavor and feel could help complete the session.

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Photo of brentk56
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear amber capped by an inch of foam that leaves some crossing strands of lace

Smell: Treacle sweet with tones of dried fruit

Taste: Sweet treacle, up front, with a developing herbal and dried fruit character; modest bitterness in the mid-palate but the finish reinforces the sweeter tones

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: My second ancient beer of the evening; interesting but in both cases they lack the bitter balance I prefer; hope to return to the 21st century tomorrow

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice moderate amber color with a thin white head. The nose brings a good deal of sweetness with caramel, candied fruits, light citrus, and some brown sugar. The taste is definitely sweet with a bit of booze. Light fruits, bread, and cake. Feel is medium with lowish carbonation. Drinks well overall.

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Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poures a deep burnt orange with a huge billowing head that really takes its time settling leaving big globs of lace behind,really pick up some lemon rind in the aroma along with some Belgina like spiciness?Not sure what kinda yeast is used here but man I get like a spicey,yeastiness in the aromas very unexpected.Wow nice mingling of flavors very citrusy and lemony upfront with that underlying spiciness but finishes with a dry toastiness with just a tad bit of alcohol burn as it warms.Very interesting and unique ale here is this what one of our greatest forfathers was brewing at Monticello?The bottle says so, damn I wish I could have shook his hand,just great.

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Photo of mactrail
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The brewery says this has some rye and honey, which would explain the the more rustic flavor. It's plenty strong and nothing elegant about it. The aroma is beery and biscuity with some herbal hoppiness.

Amber in the glass with some copper and golden, very attractive, but not too much head. Fairly well carbonated on the tongue. A bready yet bitter taste dominates. This whole series is quite interesting for the big flavors that are definitely not in the APA-IPA-Belgian groove. I like the scratchy and grainy flavor, with an underlying touch of sweetness. Bitter enough to give it an edge but the hops are neither the earthy nor piney brand that blot out the malt.

Bought at Food and Friends in Philadelphia, appropriately enough, in the 12 oz bottle. I still like the Spruce best but this is very drinkable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is only available at The City Tavern in Philadelphia. It was originally brewed by Dock Street to a recipe based on records of what was purchased for the brewing at Monticello. The appearance is crystal clear (unusual for a Yard's product, and I'd guess The City Tavern may be insisting its being filtered as there is no sediment in the bottle) with a very nice, deep orange-copper color showing orange and ruby highlights. The head is off-white, and needs to be coaxed a litttle, but builds a fairly dense 1/4" head. Once thinned, the whispy head lasts fairly well and leaves some Belgian-lace. The nose is mainly fruity with some caramel malt in the background, and some earthy/mineral notes although there are few hops to speak of. The flavor is far more malty than the aroma suggests, but not very complex. However, once coupled with the rich fruity flavors, it's fairly interesting. There's also a fair amount of alcohol involved, but it's well hidden. The taste ends with a gently spicy dryness and hop bitterness that eases away like the setting sun. Similar in many ways to their IPA. Well worth trying. A beer that becons you to keep tasting.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

red tinted amber color..Great clarity hear as it was sparkling clear. Very nice. Lots of carbonation apparent trickling up toward the surface. A very nice three finger high head of foam capped off the top and hung around for a good few minutes before settling back to a half inch layer which stayed with it throughout the rest of the session.

The aroma was rather weak for me. Typical English ale with a huge malt bill attached to it. Lotso of bready notes here coing through now with that deep musty like smell, like wet hey it would seem at times. The flavor followed it up almost perfectl with a solid offering of english malts, and a nice little bit of hop bitterness, albeit not much, but just enough to give it some depth. Lots of musky wet earthy flavors here as well coming through, with the finish being very nice and drawn out which suprised me

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Photo of mothman
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Beige head with a lot of lace. Color is a clear dark gold.

Flavors of alcohol and bready malts. Hints of biscuit and some spice flavors. Some earthy spice flavors as well.

Medium bodied with a dry feel. Good carbonation.

Overall, a rather boring beer. Not something I'd drink more of.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Johnny Brenda's, Philly, PA

Served on tap in a stem glass. Poured a dark amber color, hazy, with a short, study, white head that leaves little to no lacing. Aroma of sweet malts and dark sugars, fruit esters, and a bit of herbal hops. Taste is bready, with notes of caramel, molasses, maple, with a bit of fruitness, and a mild, drying hoppiness. Thick and a bit syrupy, heavier-than-medium mouthfeel, bold and drinkable.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had this a couple times lately this time at Wegman's chilled in a tumber from the 12oz.

The color is medium brown with translucent clarity and thin white cap with fine bead thick lace collects in a film. The smell is strong with malt which also brings a light herbal and woody odor perhaps from the hops with mild alcohol in the background. The feel has thick body w/ moderate carbonation and spiced middle with subtle alcohol in the feel and a nice balance between malt with moderate lingering bitterness.

The flavor has a brown malt toasted quality with spiced yeast element that enhances the moderately bitter hop profile and there is a gentle English yeast with mineral quality that comes in near the finish with a slight alcohol warming. Overall a pretty decent strong ale - you get the English influence and it is pretty drinkable for the strength.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Thanks to G311 for this bottle!

Jefferson, indeed! Were we to drink his actual recipe, it would taste terrible! Nothin' 'gainst ol' TJ, just sayin'. This one pours a clear copper amber topped by a quickly-fading finger of white micro-foam. The nose comprises caramel, spruce, some very light coffee (I think that's what that is...), and a hint o' citrus. The taste starts off with a solid caramel backbone, but then quickly spreads out into a panoply of citrus and floral bitters. Some peppercorn is detectable near the back. Throughout, a vague maltiness is perceived, sorta like a bland old ale hangin' about in the background. The body is a solid medium, with moderate carbonation and an almost chewy feel. Overall, a decent brew, a good occasional, but not really a go-to or everyday offering, if you ask me.

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Photo of billab914
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. it poured a hazy amber color with a dense and frothy head filling the top inch of the glass.

The aroma feels very balanced with equal amounts of bready, yeasty flavors, malty sweet flavors and citrusy, hoppy flavors. It has just a bit of a spice flavor coming through as well. It's not a strong aroma but everything comes through and integrates very well. It left some decent lacing on the glass as I drank it too.

The taste has a bit more of the toffee, slight caramely, malty flavor to it. The bready, yeasty flavor comes through with just a bit of a spice to it. The citrus hoppiness is a bit more reserved in the flavor compared to the nose, but it's there. The alcohol shows through in the finish as well with a moderate warming feel to it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with slightly below average carbonation. The lower carbonation worked pretty well for it. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some nice flavors to it and felt pretty well balanced. I really like the concept and the history behind it. Jefferson had a pretty good beer here.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy deep orange/amber color with a 1/2 finger white head on top. Decent retention, with a short foamy head lasting for a while. Nice, thick sticky lacing all around the glass.

S: Lots of bready malt up front, some brown sugar, a little bit of an herbal aroma, and some spice. Hints of fruit on the finish.

T: Grainy malt, a little bit of honey, with some herbal/grassy hops. Some caramel and a green grapes come out as well.

M: Medium to full bodied with active carbonation. Not the smoothest.

O: Its an ok strong ale. Nothing really stood out for me, but I didn't have a problem with it. Probably would not pick it up again though. Still like the Ales of Revolution Series though, cool idea.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a glowing golden amber with a nice frothy off white cream colored head leaves thick patches of evenly strung lacing. Aroma: Nice floral and herb like hop dosage very nice flow overall with a nice caramel malt backbone supporting sweetness here. Taste: Suprisingly more alcohol than I was expecting with some sweet gingery bread notes and a load of hops crashing down on the palate this isn't half bad. Usually not a big fan of Yard's brews but this one named after ol' Tommy J is a contender. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied ale decent carbonation but for whatever reason it's a bit cloying with some alcohol notes in the end. Drinkability: Decent strong golden ale not a beer that would get me hooked but I'm glad I had the opportunity to give it a try.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly fogged amber with a crème head. Nose is slight pine-y hops. Full, but not in my face. Flavor is outstanding I say. Nice full hop tones that stay constant. Almost seems to be a fruity edge to it that seems like apples and a touch like cherries. Feel is very smooth with carbonation and has a nice body on the liquid. Overall this is extremely drinkable. Goes down smooth and has a nice full character. Would love to have this on tap.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First off, the label on the bottle identifies it as "a strong, golden ale" and I have submitted the correction for review and action.

Two things immediately jumped out at me regarding this beer: 1) No matter how hard I tried, I could not get it to produce any head beyond mere wisps and 2) it had a Nebraska-quality to its clarity, which is not usually the case for Yards. The color was a bright copper and the nose had a biscuity sweetness to it. The mouthfeel was medium and I got a definite biscuit taste in the mouth. The finish was dry and even a little grainy. It really belied its 8% ABV. I found it entirely drinkable and would probably have to be careful with it, given its subtleness.

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Photo of stakem
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear light amber color with some faint particles stuck floating around in suspension. Head appears slightly stained yellow with less than a finger of strength and retains poorly leaving some lace clinging to the glassware. Nose is a mix of herbal hops and sweet maltiness blended with astringent alcohol. The smell of the alcohol carries through into the taste. It has a slight grainy profile that is bitter upfront from a combo of hops and alcohol that blends through the body with some malty sweetness and finishes quite warming from the alcohol with some lingering bitterness. Medium feel with this beer and it is moderately carbonated. The alcohol flavor is pretty much the dominant factor in this beer with the hop bitterness and malty sweetness trying to tame it. Overall it isn't bad.

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a thin head that becomes somewhat patchy/wispy. Not much lacing sticks until further down the glass.

The smell is of herbal spicing with some tropical/citric fruits (lime), a touch of butter, and caramel.

The taste is of caramel/grainy malty sweetness, honey that grows as it progresses, with just a hint of butter. It is balanced by a leafy/herbal, mildly citric, bitterness. Some booze shows, though well-incorporated and not more or less than expected for abv. It has a well-balanced finish.

It is medium-to-full bodied brew, with a syrupy quality approaching barley-wine style. Carbonation is on-spot - enough to keep it from being sticky, but enough to keep it alive, and even somewhat refreshing.

A sipper on the syrupy side. An interesting one at that. Well-balanced. Strong but not overbearing or harsh. It's one that I enjoyed the flavor (and overall character) as it progressed.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Thanks much to mikesgroove for the extra! There is a bottle dating on the neck but I can't read it, it's all smudged, onward!

A very foamy off white head, probably about three fingers tall from the pour. Some good staying power and the head looks quite creamy when forming, but then gets into a foamy large bubbles consistency while settling. Body color is a basic brown amber, clear mostly but slightly opaque.

Nose is incredibly small. There is almost nothing going on here. I can't pick out next to anything. Some toasty like malts eventually come through, and some light brown sugar gingerbread. Still it is a very closed nose.

Taste brings not too much at first. Subsequent sips bring out a very strong muted pine hop and malt brown like bread aroma. Slightly molasses tasting, with a very good dense and thick but not syrupy body. Carbonation hits a little too add some fun. After some time there is a banana like estery quality as well it seems.

Overall, at first this didn't seem real interesting but as it went along it got better. It does come off though as just a bit average for me.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness dating, pours basic, semi cloudy light amber, with an off white head, just leaving a minor amount of lacing. Nose also is pleasantly standard, light hops and maple malt. This is a smooth and easy drinking 8% pale ale, nice malty underpinings and subtle, understated hops late and in the background. Perhaps a hint of roasted grain and smokyness to seal the deal on this nicely crafted ale.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer poured a clear golden with white head that is leaving a lace. The scent is non-descript. The taste is slightly Belgian base and alcohol. The Mouthfeel is fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this beer is a big yet decent.

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Photo of tempest
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a hazy orange-amber with a thin white head and lacing. The aroma is an odd mix of fruit and herbs. The flavor makes a little more sense, thought it's still nothing normal (I like that). It's juicy at first, then there's a hit of biscuity grains followed by citrus rind and earthy hops. I should mention the aroma hints at a possible infection. I can't tell if its juicy hops, or something more acidic and musty. Oh well, it's good for now. Worth a try for something different. Sort of like Rock Art Ridge Runner barleywine, an imperial ESB if such a thing existed.

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Photo of WesWes
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is decent. It has a strong pale malt scent with some light crystal malts. The taste is good. It has a smooth yet intense pale malt flavor that finishes dry and bitter with a bit of a breadlike taste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent pale ale. It has a little too much abv., but it is still quite enjoyable.

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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 289 ratings.
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