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Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2017) | Meantime Brewing Company Limited

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Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2017)Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2017)
16 Ratings
Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2017)Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2017)

Brewed by:
Meantime Brewing Company Limited
England, United Kingdom

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 7
Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

look: handsome, mildly hazy copper with a wisp of a reddish tan head.
smell: subtle caramel and dark fruit.
taste: much like the nose. very easy drinker.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from the LCBO (2017 vintage, no. 29000); best before Sept 15 2027 and served barely chilled. I had to go with something big for my 1900th review, and beers don't get much bigger than barleywine.

Pours a foggy copper-amber hue, with a deliberately aggressive pour generating only one finger of loose, bubbly, light beige-coloured froth that vanishes almost as quickly as it appeared. A thin collar lingers on, without much in the way of lace; looks kinda flat, but I do like the nose on this one, unabashedly sweet as it is. I'm getting a lot of toffee and dried fruits - e.g. fig, prune and date - as well as the requisite whiff of ethanol (and it's about as punchy as you'd expect from nearly 12%). Hints of molasses, toasted biscuit and overripe orchard fruits also come through.

Wow - not a brew for the faint of heart. The booziness is borderline brazen, yet still blends together beautifully with the array of fruity, malt-forward flavours that comprise the remaining bulk of the flavour profile. I'm getting plum, fig and date, with hints of bruised apple and pear developing soon thereafter; there's also plenty of toffee and caramelized sugars. Finishes with an earthy, herbal licorice note... and plenty of booze, of course: enough to have a slight numbing effect on the tongue, along with a suggestion of burnt grain. Full in body, with virtually no carbonation whatsoever, which results in an exceedingly smooth, rather flat mouthfeel.

Final Grade: 4.22, an A-. Thomas Hardy's Ale is a gorgeous beast of a beer, or at least, that was my impression of this vintage. It hits hard and fast, so sip with care - the booziness is ever-present, but it's so seamlessly integrated with the other flavours that I didn't care one whit. I will definitely be getting a few more bottles for the cellar... and maybe one more to cap off St. Patrick's Day next weekend. Ontario BAs should consider this absolutely worth the $7 price tag.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a lovely tawny gold color with no head to speak of.

Smell is British Barleywine personified. I get caramel, treacle, light hops and heavy dark fruits. Very very nice.

Flavor brings much of the nose with it. I get those dark fruits, brown sugar and treacle and a bit of booze.

Feel is the bummer of this beer for me. Heavyweight with nice coating action. But there is so little carbonation as to be off putting. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but I assume so.

A very damn nice British Barleywine. I could drink this until my head fell off, and at nearly 12% ABV that wouldn't take long. Glad to have gotten my hands on this one.

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Photo of rcjennings
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Chasecrandell
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bogdawg
3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Tcsox
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DIM
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Please pardon the following blasphemy, I think the best U.S. interpretations of traditional British styles are superior to their U.K. benchmarks. Stouts, barleywines, pale ales etc, I am grateful to the originators for their existence at least.

I am enjoying this, but there is just too much sugar for my liking. I let the bottle rest for two weeks after purchasing so I could leave the sediment behind. A gentle pour left me with a clear, golden amber colored brew.

I taste primarily the juice of overripe apples and pears and charred brown sugar and toffee. There is also a hint of ash at the finish that I'm not fond of. The alcohol is very well masked. Might get a bottle or two to stash for a decade or longer.

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Photo of trevorpost
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of OompaMentor
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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Photo of nasty15108
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip/snifter glass. 2017 Vintage / Bottle #41937.

L - Poured a brownish red iced tea color with very little head retention.

S - Dark dried fruit (raisin, fig, apricot) with a slightly sweet maltiness (biscuit) and a very slight astringent alcoholic finish.

T - Malty, with more of the dried fruit and burnt sugar. Slight alcoholic burn and hop bitterness in the finish.

F - Medium mouthfeel with nice cloying properties.

A Winter "must-have". Classic through and through. Price and hard to find but worth it if you are lucky enough to find a bottle.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.71/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JackRWatkins
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep, murky amber color with a thin ring of beige foam.
S: Notes of tobacco, caramel, and a subtle yeastiness that is very pleasant. Some slight hints of dark fruits (possibly raisin). Also some slight notes of fresh bread.
T: Slightly sweet, though not as much as I expected, with a decent bitterness. There is a lovely warm maltiness here that is rich and dark, along with a fairly prominent boozy note that is quite nice. The dark fruit starts to come through a bit as the beer sits, think raisin or cherry, but not quite grape. There is an astringency here along with a lovely yeastiness.
M: Smooth and full, but not thick.
O: Excellent. The bitterness, yeastiness and astringency do it for me with this beer. The whole package is delicious of course, but those characteristics give it distinction from J.W. Lees Harvest Ale for me and make this my preferred beer of the two. Seek it out.

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Photo of justme
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle with no pop. Poured with no head. Almost no carbonation at all. Overall a bit flat. Suspect this bottle wasn’t up to snuff. That said it was still with these limitations a truly first class beer. Bold complex flavors. Can only imagine how good it could have been.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


Bottle to wine glass at........

Caramel, fresh malt/barley,

Full bodied, but not super thick.


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Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2017) from Meantime Brewing Company Limited
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 16 ratings