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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 gr0g
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnished amber/gold in color. Clarity is high. A two finger head with average retention leaves some spotty lacing. Aroma is of biscuity and slightly toasty malt. Toffee malt notes at the forefront, backed up by a very pleasant floral English hop note.

Flavor profile starts off with malty sweetness, but it's held nicely in check by a mild hop bitterness. Overall, it's quite well balanced for an 8% beer. Caramel and toffee for the most part with some bright hops on the finish. Mouthfeel is straight down the middle of spectrum,and carbonation is neither lacking nor overly fizzy. I guess I'd liken this to an "Imperial ESB." This beer is more than the sum of its parts and achieves great flavor and balance for a strong ale.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Situation: a Lego-rebuilding Thursday night...
Glassware: Howard's Pub pint...
Appearance: bright orangee body with a thick, frothy white head...steady effervescence...
Aroma: floral and citric as expected...robust and pleasant...
Palate: nicely balanced, medium-nodied ale; creamy smooth, fortified beeyond the average weight...at 8% abv, the alcohol is not overstated here...
Taste: sprucey, hoppy, aggressively biting with citric-orange at the fore...entirely drinkable, despite its strength...
Overall: a beautiful, simple reminder of what an ale can be--strong but drinkable, aggressive but rewarding--worth the sampler purchase by itself...

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

Poured into a snifter.

A: Slightly hazy dark amber with one-finger, off-white, creamy, foamy head that lasted a couple minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Bread and caramel malt and slightly tang.

T: Light sweetness and light bitterness. Bread and caramel malt and slight spice. Very similar to the nose.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

O: I've had better English Strong Ales, but this isn't bad. It's really drinkable.

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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 garuda
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper, mostly clear, white head has good retention and lacing.

S/T - Malty, with some bready flavors, dark fruits, a touch of green apple, spice on the finish, minimal pine bitterness.

M - Medium to full body, low carbonation, smooth, a touch of heat.

O - Well rounded with a good depth of flavor. Seems like it hits the mark for style.

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Photo of IronLover
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light amber in color with yellow hues and a slight haze. Poured with a short white foam that maintained a thick cap throughout that huge sheets of sticky lacings on the glass. Earthy malt and toffee aromas with a touch of floral hops. On the heavier side of medium bodied with a smooth oily feel up front and a tangy crisp finish. Sweet caramel malt, biscuit malt, and toffee flavors from start to finish with floral bitter hops from the middle to the end. Finishes crisp and dry with toffee and floral hops. Higher abv is well hidden. One of my favorites from the local Yards brewery.

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

Aroma here is a lot like that of a brown ale. The malts of a brown ale are certainly there, with a sweet caramel twinge there as well as a hint of roast.

Taste immediately brought caramel sweetness to the forefront, but is met with toffee malts....this creates a pretty tasty mix and makes me think of a somewhat sweet and strong brown ale. Just a hint of chocolate there as well. There's a prickly herbal hoppiness that lasts throughout the beer and makes this a pretty balanced offering from start to finish. Pretty good.

All in all, I enjoyed it and I don't think it really drinks like an 8 percent beer usually does. Deceptively strong, and tasty.

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Photo of larryi86
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A- A clear light brown with a two finger off-white head.

S- Earthy spices, caramel malts, some toffee, some fruits, some bready notes.

T- Fruity, some citrus and cherry, earthy spice, some hops, some toffee, good complexity.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- An other solid beer from Yards. I will pick this up again, a nice unique beer.

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Photo of DIM
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a clear copper color. It poured with a big, very sticky head.

s: Spicy holiday fruit, evergreen, and toffee.

t: Up front I tasted faint cherry and toffee. The finish was very dry with lots of unidentifiable vaguely bitter fruity spice.

m: Moderately thick feeling.

o: Interesting, but more spice than I like on a regular basis.

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

[Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass]

The pour was a clear medium brown with a slight orange hue and an average (1-2 finger) off-white creamy head that lasted a decent time, finally reducing to a large puddle with a medium collar and had good streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a toasted caramel malt, citrus hops and a doughy yeast with notes of toffee, dark fruit (grapes and plums) and possessed a slight alcohol tinge.

The taste very lightly sweet and a bit malty with a hint of toffee from the start, then slowly became exceptionally bitter with a note of dark fruit and a bitter citrus peel ending. The flavor lasted a decently long time after the swallow, with a strong bitterness left lying on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was between light and medium in body and slightly dry in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a good powerful tasting brew with a nice bitter malty fruitiness...


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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa last week, having no idea what to expect. I like this style when done right and thankfully, that was the case here. This was nicely balanced, strong, and had a great taste, and even though this was a bit too strong, it certainly was an English Strong Ale and worth enjoying for someone like me who isn't terribly accustomed to the style.

This had a good pour to it with a light almond hue and decent amount of head. The lacing and the nose were a bit lacking but that was made up in the taste, which started out with a nice up-front burst of citrus and lemon zest. That faded into the rye and esters that were nicely balanced before finishing in a strong amount of warm, leathery hops. There was booze too but it didn't detract and had a bit of sweetness to it that almost bordered on a Belgian beer.

To be fair, this did live up to its style as this was quite strong but as I said before, the alcohol complemented everything else nicely. The balanced is here for those looking for a good example of this style to savor, this is a good beginning. The namesake on the bottle would be well pleased if he could give this a go!

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Photo of deg
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured the beer from the bottle into a pint glass. I noted that after I opened the bottle, the beer foamed. The beer was slightly below room temperature by the way. The color is a good amber color, the head dissapated quickly. There wasn't much lace on the glass. I could smell something, but it was weak (and my sense of smell is weak). I could taste some citrus and spice, I was reminded of an orange spice bread I had once. I could pick up some caramel. The sweetness went away, the aftertaste was dry.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer was served a medium amber color with a one finger white head. The head had a decent retention and faded to give a very nice level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was bready with hints of a buttery toffee and some light citrus and herbal hop aromas.

Taste – The taste was as would have been perceived from the nose. Very malt forward with a light caramel flavor that greets the tongue. The sweetness soon becomes more buttery in nature, almost more of a toffee like flavor while the bready malt flavor remains strong. More towards the middle of the taste a lighter herbal and grassy hop flavor meet the tongue. While the brew is at 8% abv it does not have much of an alcohol presence and in the end one is left with a herbal bread taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker side with the carbonation level rather low. The lower carbonation and thicker more creamy body help accentuate the bready characteristics of the beer and are quite fitting.

Overall – Much easier to drink then I would have expected with a decent flavor profile. Not too shabby.

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Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Slightly cloudy burnt orange. Thin head a nice warm shade of tan. Doesn't leave much on the glass.

S: Not terribly strong. Some nice floral hops. Baked sugar, a little bready.

T: Packs a punch. Bittersweet, extremely hoppy. Those floral hops taste just like they smell, and there are some notes of oat as well. A sharp earthiness. I'm glad to live in the era of refrigeration, because I can't imagine sipping this warm. Some citrus; grapefruit, orange, lemon peel. High alcohol finish with a hint of the nickles on which the master brewer’s likeness appears.

MF: Medium carbonation, not too thick. Dry, almost like a brut champagne. Packs a punch; the high ABV goes down a little rough.

D: Strong but with a nice bouquet. Powerful sense of history. Throw back a few of these, and you’re ready to go kick some British ass!

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Photo of 57md
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy copper with a finger of head that dissipated quickly but left a trace of lacing on the glass. The nose has slight toffee notes. The body is hearty with a strong malt backbone and a hint of coriander. The finish has a touch of tartness, then the definite essence of honey and finally ends semi-dry. The body is fairly substantial for an English Strong Ale.

This is a complex and tasty brew that makes one dream of discussing taxation without representation while knocking down a pint or two.

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Photo of scar
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Holy [email protected] This is the most drinkable 8% beer I have had in a long time.

Appearance- clear with good lace, like most of Yards' beers.

Smell- Nothing off, but nothing amazing. A little earthy hop, sweet malt,little fruitiness.

Taste- THIS IS THE BEST PART OF THIS BEER. SOOO balanced not sweet, good hop presence. If this is actually Jefferson's recipe its amazing he was able to drafts our countries most important docs. He must have had a proof reader.

Mouthfeel- Much thinner than expected but also a highlight of the beer. Thinner than their IPA, the honey and nonbarley malts most likely thin it out. Makes me want to keep drinking this beer.

Yards just keeps on making great beers, these guys are truely masters. In most of their beers I can really taste the PALE ALE MALT, much like IPSWICH, GEARY's and the UK imports.

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Photo of Steasy66
2.68/5  rDev -29.1%
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 yamar68
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean tangerine gold with a finger of sticky white head. Good lacing and steady beading.

The nose boasts an array of harsh caramel/toffee malts and soft citric hop notes. Smells darker than it looks...

It really is awesome to think that beer like this dates back to the time of our founding fathers. Beautiful depth and complexity. I don't think "English Strong Ale" but more like hoppy Scotch ale. Good stuff.

Complex, approachable, great concept. All 4's.

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Photo of Ryanm1
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this several different times and just about every one has been from the bottle.

I'm going to post this review through the draught that I had at City Tavern a while ago.

Moderate head, white foam pouring to an Amber colored beer. It is brewed in the English Strong Ale style which registers 8% abv. The taste is on the sweeter side, hints of honey florals, and spices. Full body aromatic and full of various flavors. Most Yards beers have a distinct matl characteristic.

This is a throwback to the turn of the century ales that were brewed back in the day. One of my favorite beers partially cause I am homer.

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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 Pencible
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear copper with some light tan head.
S: It smelled like fresh barley and copper hops, with lots of herbs and spices.
T: It tasted like lots of herbs and spices (oregano, thyme, sage, coriander, etc.) with some fresh barley and copper hops. It had a clean and mildly bitter aftertaste.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a great historic ale, with a strong herbal blend that worked well in the scent and taste. The body was great and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was very easy to drink. Not my favorite type of beer, but it was a nice change of pace and very well crafted. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

St: 12oz poured into a pint glass. Bottle lists ABV but does not list DBD.

A: Clear amber brown with a half-a-finger rocky white head. After a minute the head has decreased by half, but is still thick; it leaves behind thick lacing. There is a stream of ample carbonation in the middle which reminds one of champagne.

S: Rich, sweet malt, bread, slight citrus hop.

T: Starts very mellow with slightly smokey malt. There are traces of burnt bread and syrup. The finish is a bit bitter from hops, and the finish has a slight burnt flavor to match the alcohol in the throat.

M: Medium and close to heavy with a touch of creaminess.

O: If Jefferson named this a Tavern Ale, I would say he had good beer sense in addition to other faculties. This is a mellow drinking ale with a high ABV. It is pretty smooth, offering malt, some hops, and a rich burnt flavor. One can feel a bit of alcohol in the throat (and in the belly), but it is not blended poorly. This is a great looking beer, and though it does not overpower with flavor, it has enough to allow the beer to be a sipper.It fits Tavern Ale well: a beer one can sit back and enjoy with some food.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright amber body, topped by four fingers of big bubbly just-off-white froth.

Big hay/grass aroma makes an mpression at arm's length.

Deep caramel sweetness coats the tongue. Crisp earthy noble hop bite at the swallow. Good balance as the afterglow settles in.

Sturdy mouthfeel, borders on chewy.

Jefferson knew how to make a good beer, as well as a good country.

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Photo of jwhancher
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a case of Yards' Ales of the Revolution a month or two back. Poured this one into a snifter for review.

A: Pours a cloudy light amber with noticeable suspended particles throughout.

S: Smells mostly of honey with some peppery notes and a tad bit of spiciness.

T: Honey again is evident here with perceived molasses notes. It's a sugary, spicy quality that almost seems maple syrup like. No real hop character, although I'm assuming some noble hops were used.

M: Tastes medium full with a sweetness throughout that comes out best in the end. The residual sweetness seems to weigh it down a good bit. Good carbonation.

O: Of the 3 beers in the variety pack, this is likely my #2 choice behind Washington's porter. This is a well brewed beer. I just don't think I could drink it everyday as it has a little too much sweetness weighing it down. It's great trying to taste what the founding fathers drank at some point, but I'm glad that I can live and drink in the present time.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

Poured a hazy amber with a very small white head that settled quickly. Patchy lace.

Aroma has some noticeable booze up front, a fair amount of sweetness, bready, caramel malt, and a touch of mostly floral hops.

Flavor is decent enough, booze feels a little too prominent, pretty sweet overall, again, with a caramel maltiness, some toffee and brown sugar, raisins, and a bit of floral and citrus hops in the finish.

Body is medium, carbonation is moderate, fairly smooth, syrupy and a little creamy. Not bad.

Overall I thought this one was only average, the booze was a little too assertive, even for the style, and drinkability was only fair. Definitely warming. Flavors also seemed a little muddled to me. Sweet but dry in the finish.

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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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