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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

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: 291 | Ratings: 842
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 MmmIPA
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A-Copper color body,with a thin head and some lacing around the glass.

S-Malt and some flowery hops,I smell sweetness also.Honey?Some earthly smells also.This stuff smells like Dead Guy Ale a bit.

T-Honey? I think it may be honey.The hops are bitter but not overpowering,I think the taste is clean also.

M-It goes down real smooth and taste great too.No hard carbination.

D-I like this stuff,I only have 3 bottles of it so im gonna drink em real slow.I may have had this beer a long time ago when I wasnt a BA.Ide buy it again but there are other choices that I wanna try first.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an ever so slightly foggy, bright glowing amber that fades to copper. The head consists of a narrow collar.

Smells of a simple and sweet honey and taffy with a dry woody, almost birch bark hop on top.

Tastes big and woody with more birch bark and a super dry sourness much like the white insides of a grapefruit peal. In the finish, there’s a little caramel with some coffee underneath.

The mouthfeel is light with a moderately large bubbled carbonation.

Not too bad. It’s a well done beer for sure, but not one I’m rushing out to try this one again.

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Photo of kenito799
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle bought at brewery, poured into a pilsener glass.

Clear golden amber color, 3/4 inch head foams up and recedes slowly leaving lots of rings of lace.

Fresh, unassuming malty aroma with caramel notes.

Mouthfeel is excellent, creamy and inviting. The taste is extremely well balanced with soft maltiness almost but not quite sweet at first, then nice hop bite that doesnt hit too hard. A strong more English style, with 8% alcohol dangerously well hidden. Enough hops to leave a pleasantly bitter finish, highly drinkable. But too many at this ABV will get you in trouble, and wow you want to polish this stuff off fast it's so good!

Along with the ESA, my favorite of the Yards offerings. Would love to try this from a beer engine.

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Photo of stingo
4.73/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The second of the "Ales of the Revolution" I've had the good fortune to have on tap at home. Pours a darkish orange color, with an off-white head. No nose to speak of, but the taste is delightful. Very well balanced sweetness and bitterness, and alcohol? what alcohol? You'd never guess this was an 8% brew. And mouthfeel is JUST right for the flavor - it's thick enough and rich enough, but not so rich as to fill you up (and prevent you from getting another). I will definitely have this beer on tap again. Very highly recommended, and props to Yards for another fine instigation to Revolution.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.41/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid but clear ruby/dark-orange color, with a thin head that doesn't retain well, just a small skim across the top. Bubbles are abundant and active.

Aroma is a bright mixture of lemon, ginger, and vanilla (big on the vanilla) and maybe not watermelon exactly, but damn close to the watermelon bubblegum I remember from childhood. There's a malty presence that carries through like malt does in barley wines: syrupy, molasses-like. This was meant as a unique beer experience, a kind of time travel, and they sure succeeded in offering a fairly exotic and different aroma. I can't think of a beer, American Pale Ale or otherwise, that smells like this. Oh, the taste? Right...

The dessert-y spices and sugars detected in the aroma are all there in the flavor: vanilla and lemon dominant, ginger and straight-up traditional bubblegum flavors too. Thankfully it avoids being oversweet thanks to some grainy and toasty elements. And despite a kind of glowing/warming, the alcohol is extremely mellow. Where's the 8%? I would've believed this was in the 4-5% range.

Mouthfeel is creamy and hefty, not thick, not thin, goes down real well. Slight sticky coating after the swallow.

This is so different, and the 8% alcohol so well-hidden...I wish it was a more readily available beer, for the good of all beerkind. Really really good stuff.

[If you've ever had Smuttynose's Wheat Wine from their Big Beer series, that's comparable to TJ's Tavern Ale.]

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Photo of edskirk3
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
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 brewmaster2
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

a- pours a decent amber with a light amount of head.It did not retane head for very long.

s- It had a hoppy lemon scent mixed with the smell of alcohol.It smelled a little weaker than it really was.

t&m- at first a little bitter then it lightens to a light and malty alcohol taste.it had the right carbination for great mouthfeel.

d- At first the alcohol taste hit but then the hops and malts combine to make for a pretty good beer. I would recommend trying one even if it's not your usual style beer.

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Photo of kevin62
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap -This beer poured to a golden-copper color with a small white head that quickly dissappeared.The aromas were of caramel,malt and hops.The flavor was also very hoppy with a medium to light body in the beer.I personally thought this beer was ok,not a great standout though.Maybe I will have to try it again at another time.

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

When poured it has an amber hue with a thin tanish head.

The aroma is heavy of hops and caramel malts.

the ingredients where originally specified by Jefferson himself for semi-annual brewing at his estate, Monticello.
He used lots of different grains, rye, and a sweetness making for an extremely well balanced drink.The flavor is smooth, sweet and citrus, leaving a sweet yet slightly bitter but refreshing aftertaste

What I love best is it's drinkablility , this is an 8% beer but you cant taste the alcohol at all. They did a remarkable job of making a great tasting classic beer that puts you on the floor right quick!

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

Thanks to Meyesa and John for the bottle!
Hazy copper, topped with a thick white head. Head dies to nothing, with no lace. Big grainy, malty aroma. Honey, molasses? Rather sweet and fruity. Apple and raspberry syrup. Earthy hops. Sweet flavor, toned down by the big earthy graininess. Caramel and wood, immediately dry, moving quickly into pepper and apple skin. Soft buttered biscuit. Dry, grainy finish, moderately hoppy, woody, with a yeasty tang. Modest carbonation, full bodied, kinda gritty on the palate. Strange sugary sweetness in the finish. Alcohol is entirely hidden. Dryness is nice, but the grain is a bit overbearing. Kinda feels like rye bread in the aftertaste. Lingers forever. Good thing I'm a fan of rye bread. Not the smoothest, but it's decent and tasty. I'm not sure I could drink a lot of this. Is this what beer was like back then? Odd. Still beats Bud by a long shot.

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a lackluster amber with a decently foamy white head. Good head retention with decent lacing. The color is just way too dull for me, and makes it look almost unattractive.

Smell: Peppery bitterness initially with loads and loads of alcohol. Some decent fruitiness, with lemon peel and coriander hints in the background. Seems weak, and not very robust smelling.

Taste and Mouthfeel: At first, it's repuslive. Overly bitter, unbalanced, and sulfery. I thought it was a drainpour. But then I realised what this beer is supposed to be. Imagine what beer tasted like over 200 years ago. Pre-refridgeration and all. Then take a sip. That's what this is. It's very dry and peppery, but odd malty background notes, and an incredibly dry finish. Yeast and alcohol notes throughout. And, in the right mindset, I really like the way this tastes. The mouthfeel is bubbly.

Drinkability and Overall: At first I didn't quite know how to take this beer, but now, I really like it. It's very intersting and unique for sure, but it's also quite tasty. Definitly recommended if you're in the mood for something different.

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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 jmz62565
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a nice golden color with a huge foamy head.The smell is very biscuity with some citrus aromas.The taste has a real fruit,apricot,buttery,malt,and hop flavor.The m/f is light and well balanced with a real nice crisp flavor.This is an excellent ale.I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Higravity
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tight nice gold with a white head that yeilds plenty of lacing. Smells of spicy hops and some malt sweetness. Taste is kind of bland middle of the road except the hops in the finish that really give it some life, bitty and spicey just not really floral or sweet all of that is left for the malt. You can't really taste the alcohol but the body is good and this is very sessionable, but at $10 a sixer around these parts I don't drink it very often.

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

A: Pours an orangey amber color with a smal white coloredl head that leaves a nice looking cloud on top.

S: Aromas of malts and barley. A little fruit or citrus with a strong malty nut base.

T: Mouthfeel is well balanced with a noticeable maltyness, but also some faint fruity hops that make themselves known. There is also a little barley in there also. Has a nice, but not overpowering, bitter end.

M & D: Mouthfeel is smoothness that makes you wonder what type of beer it is. I thought maybe an altbier or a bitter. Drinkability is real nice--Gonna work on the six pack tonight. Had a bunch of these while I was at the City Tavern for dinner about a year ago. the Rabbit was wonderful!

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Photo of thetachibro
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

into the pint glass it pours a light brown almost dark honey. not much of a head but a think white foam across the top. smell isn't too potent somewhat average lightly malty and fruity. it has an nice balanced flavor mild malts with a little spicy hops...very nice mouthfeel and i can definatley drink a sixer

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

Appeared a deep orange color atop which sat a quickly dissipating 1/2 finger head. Slightly cloudy and no carbonation apparent. Light roasted malt aroma with grainy background. Very pleasant toasted feeling on the tongue with a hint of fruitiness in the back of the mouth. Perfectly balanced and a good aftertaste. A nice tingling about the tongue. If Jefferson really drank this beer no wonder he went chasing after Sally Hemmings! A wonderful brew.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a deep peach color with nice long-lasting head that stayed throughout the glass.Smell is fruity with a bit of hops. Taste is supremely smooth with a nice fruity texture. Finish is moderately dry and absolutley enjoyable, This is a geat beer. I find it hard to believe that they put 8% in here.

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Photo of PSUDREW
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Intersting brew. I like the idea of brewing the nation's forefather's recipes, and I do enjo the way it is presented.

Nice hazy, golden/amber pour. Some frothy head that dissapates a little to quicky, but still laces the glass nicely.

Nose is that of fruit setting out a bit too long (but in a good way)|

Taste mixes a fruit apricot, a sour afternotes, as well as a solid malt base. I honestly especed more hoppy ness, but it never showed. I did like the sweet and sour fruityness mixing the obvious alchohol notes, they played well off each other

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Photo of rajendra82
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From pezoids as part of BIF 20 package, this beer came with a historic looking label bearing the image of Thomas Jefferson. As I cracked open the bottle, a foaming gusher almost erupted on my desk, but some quick handiwork saved the day, with only a couple of drops being wasted.

The beer came out cloudy, and deep orange in color, with a Duvel-esque tall foamy head capping the body and crowning above the rim of the glass. The aroma was also evocative of a Belgian strong pale ale, with a musty, yeasty, spicy smell.

The taste was rustic with a rough hewn apricot juice like maltyness and a distinct sour note. The yeast was very earthy and provided a unique spiciness. The hops were muted. The mouthfeel was gritty without being harsh, and the aftertaste sticky and sweet-sour. The 8% alcohol was well hidden among the layered flavor profile.

I am not sure if Thomas Jefferson formulated this recipe after his tour of Paris as ambassador, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did come up with this beer after visiting some Belgian or Dutch tavern after making landfall in Europe.

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Photo of Brent
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle describes this as a strong golden ale. Emphasis should be on the word "strong." The aroma lets you know right away that the gloves are off. Up front, hops bite in with a non-aromatic bittering that coats the tongue and up to the roof of the mouth. Some malt sweetness struggles to break through, but a wall of hops bittering blocks most progress. 8% abv shouts out it presence throughout. If this is what the founding fathers were drinking, it is a wonder they were able to sign the Declaration of Independence. Interesting, but, in the long run, a bit too heavy handed. Wins the coolest bottle cap award, though.

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Photo of maek228
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is bottle conditioned...BONUS! Alright, so this is one of the Ales of the Revolution. Apparently made from Thomas Jeffersons recipe for beer....I'm impressed. I like the idea of drinking a beer with Jefferson on it.

Appearance: An orange/brown. Thick white head that doesn't go away. Foam clings to the glass all the way down. Makes my mouth water.

Smell: ehhh, smells like alcohol, lemon, and hops.

Taste: Upfront is a burnt biscuit/wheat flavor, rounded out by a blunt lemon rind taste. Ends with hops and a strong prescence of alcohol. Let me just say, this is my kind of ale. This is a truly "rough around the edges" ale. This is a man's ale. I love the taste, it kicks your ass. Its obviously strong and hearty in an old school manly sort of way.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied...kinda thick.

Drinkability: These go down easy. If you drink enough of them, you'll be down.

Great Ale. Highly recomended

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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 yeagerbm
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nicely designed 12 oz bottle, this beer pours a clear deep amber with a small white head. The liquid is viscous in appearance. The smell is sweet malt with fruity tones. The beers flavor starts malty and sweet with biscuity malt flavor, followed by a grainy bitter finish and alcohol. The alcohol finish is lingering and a bit solventy. The mouthfeel is very full and smooth with average carbonation. Drinkability is OK but too much alcohol burn and malt sweetness to drink much of it. I'm reviewing this for what it is, and it's really not an American Pale Ale, and not really fitting in any style guidelines. I'd call it a American Strong Amber Ale.

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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 842 ratings.
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