2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition
Interbrau S.p.A

2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition
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Interbrau S.p.A
English Barleywine
4.16 | pDev: 7.93%
Mar 08, 2023
Jun 09, 2018
2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition
Notes: First produced in 1968 to commemorate the renowned English writer, Thomas Hardy's Ale is a limited edition barley wine ale. Numbered and vintage-dated to be stored for years, even for over 25, this bottle conditioned ale matures in flavor like fine wines.
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Photo of Rug
Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
Bottle 46271, 2018 vintage

Man, I’ve had this one for a minute and totally forgot about it. It seems like a good night for a super traditional English Barleywine though, and I found this guy in the back of my fridge. Let’s crack it open and find out what it’s all about

Pours a murky orange brown with just a thin ring of tan bubbles that leaves no lacing

The nose brings an odd blend of sweetness and hops, feeling almost syrupy. I’m picking up on aromas of dark bread, burnt sugar, leafy hops, toffee, light pine, biscuity malt, and light raisin

And unfortunately things become even more strange in taste. More complex than the aroma, but in all the wrong ways. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting leafy hops, sticky caramel, biscuity malt, toffee, candied orange, burnt toast, molasses, and light raisin. The swallow brings notes of burnt sugar, candied orange, toffee, biscuity malt, raisin, leafy hops, black tea, and caramel

A medium full body pairs with gentle tingling carbonation, resulting in a slick and bitter beer. Finishes neutral and bitter

This one is somehow worse than the sum of its parts. Like all the worst parts of a Bigfoot amplified. Not the worst thing I’ve had, but quite the disappointment
Mar 08, 2023
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Reviewed by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Thomas Hardy’s Ale Golden Edition 50th Anniversary (2018) from Interbrau S.p.A. (Subcontracted to Meantime, London, UK). 11.15 oz bottle. Purchased from Shangy’s, Emmaus, PA, 18/09/21, for $10.59 (including tax) = $ 0.95/oz. Stored on room temperature shelf at store and 34 degrees at home. Reviewed 08/02/23 (Review 3034). Note that I use DD/MM/YY protocol.
Printed on front of label “Bottle No. 34778 Vintage 2018”. There is also a notification on the rear “Batch/best before: see bottle”. I carefully examined the bottle and found nothing.
Served at 56.3 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. The final temperature was 63.1 degrees.
Appearance – 3.5.
First pour – Medium Amber (SRM 12), clear. A partial laver of sediment remains in the bottle.
Body – Deep Amber (SRM 15), opaque. Under direct light, Medium Amber (SRM 12) and translucent, with medium quantities of tiny particles in suspension. When rear lite, translucent gold.
Head – None.
Lacing – None.
Aroma – 3 – Weak caramel/toffee. No hops, no yeast.
Flavor – 3 – Begins slightly fruity and caramelly. No malt, no hops, no yeast. No ethanol (13% ABV as marked on label) aroma or taste. Slow gastric warming occurs. No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl. Some ethanol appears on the aftertaste. No hop bitterness is present, but a sour note resonates like a miasma.
Palate – 3 – Thin, almost watery, weak carbonation, although it does leave my lips sticky.
Final impression and summation: 3 I really want to rate this higher, but it just isn’t very good. The appearance under direct light is, by far, the highlight – a beautiful deep amber honey. Both nose and flavor are weak with caramel/toffee as the only obvious choice. There is no discernable hop presence. Perhaps the added cane sugar was a mistake, but then it enabled the brewer to reach the desired ABV quickly.
Feb 08, 2023
Rated: 3.84 by heerboth from Pennsylvania

Feb 04, 2023
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Reviewed by oberon from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Bottle #43068.Pours a dull amber shade with a minimal head atop.Raisin and fig really come out in the nose along with caramel and some warming alcohol.The dark fruit shows up front on the palate followed by some caramel sweetness and sweeter booze,some what cakey.A mellow coating feel.I'ts a warming sipper wich go's well on a chilly day like today.
Oct 19, 2022
Rated: 4.59 by jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts

Oct 09, 2022
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
330 ml bottle, as Thomas Hardy's Ale Golden Edition 50th Anniversary, Vintage 2018, bottle No. 01037, from Bestofbeers, Denmark. ABV is 13%. Hazy reddish brown colour, minimal and shortlived off-white to beige head. Low carbonation. Aroma of malts, molasses, tobacco, oak and caramel, hints of dark dried fruits. Moderately sweet flavour with the same elements, distinct oak and tobacco, moderate hops. Warming mouthfeel.
Jun 30, 2022
Rated: 4.48 by DBosco from Massachusetts

Apr 22, 2022
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Reviewed by CaptainHate from Ohio

4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
I'd planned on aging this a lot longer but I'm not going to live forever so let's get it on. Smell is very thick with burnt sugar and malts. Taste was more hoppy and bitter than expected, maybe like the namesake (one of my favorite writers), which I'm sure further aging would have changed. Not getting as much leather and tobacco as JW Lee's Harvest Ale; not that there's anything wrong with that but I've kind of regarded them, perhaps erroneously, together. But this is an excellent barleywine
Mar 01, 2022
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Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
11.15oz bottle 2018 vintage poured into a tulip glass at 55° Fahrenheit 13% ABV. The bottle is numbered 3583 with a printed 19/09/27 on the neck. The beer pours medium amber with chestnut highlights and light khaki head. The head hards builds on a pour and settles to a thin ring of varied sized bubbles. The aroma is mild with sweet malt, dark fruit and dark sugar. The taste is semisweet malt with notes of burnt sugar caramel, leather, dates, mild tobacco, port wine and moderately bitter, earthy hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and a semi dry finish. Minimal alcohol presence and minimal oxidation. Overall, excellent English barley wine.
Feb 12, 2022
Photo of DIM
Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
This is enjoyable, with an almost smokey, burned toffee/maple syrup flavor throughout that I liked quite a bit. Faint, cooked apple and raisin emerge toward the middle. The finish adds a harsh, acrid char and lingering cane sugar. The body is still and syrupy. I have another bottle that I guess I'll age indefinitely.
Jan 12, 2022
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Reviewed by micada from New York

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Some hints of American hoppiness, some cane sugar vibrancy, bright light malt middle and loads of lingering flavors. Alcohol seems hot but is not biting. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with lively carbonation. A couple to cellar 10+ years is probably a good idea.
Dec 30, 2021
Rated: 4.3 by Abe_Froman from Massachusetts

Nov 21, 2021
Photo of blazerkor
Reviewed by blazerkor from Nevada

4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
8.20.2021 Bottle 50481

There's a deep dark smell.  There are elements of dark fruits like plums and figs.  It also has the scent of a dark brown yeasty bread.

It tastes like a Belgian Dark and a stout.  The roasted coffee with a funky nutty bread.

It's thin bodied with a mild carbonation.  The finish is bitter sweet initially like chocolate I once had that was 95% cocoa with studs of dried currants... then it fades into long bitterness.

Overall this is fantastic.  It's always cool to taste a new barleywine.  This one didn't disappoint.  I give it a 5.5 out of 6.
Aug 23, 2021
Rated: 3.97 by RobertColianni from Pennsylvania

Apr 10, 2021
Rated: 3.98 by Mikexw from New York

Feb 28, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by SiepJones from Pennsylvania

Feb 25, 2021
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Reviewed by q33jeff from New Jersey

4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: medium brownish orange color, lightly hazy, small off white head, fades, good retention with turbidity even though head fades quickly again.

Aroma: raw barley malt, corn, light grape,
Golden raisin,

Taste: grape, white wine, vinegar, peat,slight metallic, alcohol burn in finish.

Feel: medium to full body. Flat.

Very good. But not legendary like the original was supposed to have been.


Forgot I had another of these that I drank a little over a year ago.

Sentiment is the same.

Jan 28, 2021
Rated: 4.34 by odenbr12 from New Jersey

Nov 22, 2020
Rated: 4.41 by Scottsbeer from Florida

Sep 24, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by freewill35 from Indiana

Aug 08, 2020
Photo of tigg924
Reviewed by tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Pours hazy, amber in color with minimal head. Taste is cedar, raisin, fig, and tobacco. Heavy bodied, low carbonation, sweet. Makes for a decent barleywine. Missing some of the caramel sweetness I associate with the style. Nice sloww drinker.
Jun 28, 2020
Photo of Charliethebrit
Reviewed by Charliethebrit from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
From a bottle, #38552, Vintage 2018, slightly chilled, poured into a tulip glass, a cloudy toffee colored ale. No head - this is a barley wine!!
Rich, sweet caramel on the nose.
Wonderful, barley wine. Strong, rich, sweet, aged bottom of the oak barrel goodness. Caramel with Christmas pudding fruits, hint of orange chocolate, extra ripe figs and tobacco.
Feel is smooth and minimal carbonation, this is a wine !
Amazing winter ale, a barley wine with a kick. Heavy, silky body. Great once in a while !! This is a barley wine. Like any wine do not overchill.. 45°F to 50°F is perfect. Wonderful that the goodness was not filtered out of it. Thomas Hardy fails to disappoint every time! Timeless. It is like a journey back into the past, when pirates and Royal Navy officers drank this in the port taverns, side by side. I think this is going to be more for the British Christmas pudding and Marmite fans. Not so much the American ale enthusiasts.
Impossible to follow. This one is gonna be the last one of the night.
I could drink this al night, hey ma, why are you hooking me with the hook of your cane along to my bedroom?? Oh you know this one, ehhh? Darn.
Apr 19, 2020
Rated: 4.35 by BeerGlassesCollector from Cyprus

Apr 04, 2020
Photo of bluejacket74
Reviewed by bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
11.15 ounce bottle, bottle #35492, best before date of 19/09/27 stamped on the bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a burnt orange/amber color with about a half inch light tan head that stuck around for a bit. Not much lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like dark fruit (raisin, plum), toffee, caramel, wood, bready malt and some apricot. For the most part I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some dried stonefruit and earthy flavors noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's slick and smooth with a low/moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was good, although some age wouldn't hurt this brew either. Might have to pick up another bottle if I come across more! $10.49 a bottle.
Jan 25, 2020
Photo of mntlover
Reviewed by mntlover from Tennessee

4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a clear copper color off white bubbles no real head.

Aroma is nice sweet malts, sugar, darker fruits figs and some pear. Light alcohol notes but it blends well.

Taste is like the nose good sugar/molasses notes. Good fruit figs, plums and pear it's big flavors but lighter body then you would think. Good earth notes and spice with light peat.

Mouhfeel is medium with nice mellow carbonation.

Overall is good, could really use a few more years would make it better. But it's enjoyable been few years since I have had Thomas Hardy's Ale.
Dec 19, 2019
Photo of thebeers
Reviewed by thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Pours a lovely, murky plum-tinted brown with a wisp of light tan head. Spotty lacing.

Smells great. Cream, leather, vanilla, caramel, fig, plum, earthy hops and alcohol all make appearances.

The taste is less enjoyable. There are some great individual elements, but the fruit, hops and alcohol just aren’t quite in the right balance, to my taste; the lightly-peppery hop bitterness is little jarring up against the sweetness. I suspect a little more age would soften the edges and make it all more harmonious.

Lightly creamy and relatively full bodied.

The look and smell of this are fantastic. The taste is still a bit rough. It’s good, but a couple more years should make it delightful.
Oct 18, 2019
Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
Reviewed by DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Bottle number 42725. Purchased at Cable Beverages.

Pours out translucent amber. No head even with an aggressive pour. Just a thin white ring surrounding the glass.

Nose is malt, cracker, fruit, brown sugar, toffee, mild hoppiness. Coconut is hidden in the back somewhere. Gotta take a big whiff for that one. Really complex scents coming out of this glass.

Taste is buttery smooth on the intro, malty in the middle, and quickly switches over to a tongue tingling mild hop bitterness that dissipates after a few seconds. Any scents that were present are more mild with the taste. But for a 13% ABV this is an incredibly drinkable beer. Perhaps some age has mellowed this brew out. Warming brings some booze out, but very gracefully.

Carbonation is mild. Full bodied. It looked a little like syrup on the pour. It's nice but not outstanding. It fits the role.

This is my first British Barleywine and a good introduction. Smooth and malty with a tiny bit of bite from the hops to add balanced. I paired the second half of this beer with an Almond horn. Very nice stuff indeed.
Sep 29, 2019
Rated: 4.73 by AreSoms from Sweden

Jul 29, 2019
Photo of johnnnniee
Reviewed by johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Bottle from Julio's
Deep amber in color bordering on copper with a decent sized long lasting off white head.
Rich bready toasty toffee and caramel maltiness with bits of dark dried fruits and a fair amount of warming alcohol.
Doesn't seem as harsh as the older Hardy's did when they were fresh and I quite enjoyed sipping on this beer. Might need a little bit of age to come into its brilliance.
Jul 02, 2019
Rated: 4.01 by Paoloboston from Massachusetts

Jun 15, 2019
Rated: 4.75 by jkermitj from Mississippi

May 30, 2019
Rated: 4.24 by cozmo from New York

May 11, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by KeyWestGator from Florida

Apr 28, 2019
Photo of StraightNoChaser
Reviewed by StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
look: Copper and clear. Not much head or lacing to speak of.
smell: Some toffee and brown sugar notes, quite subtle nose for a big barley.
taste: more going on here than in the nose. Some dark fruit notes, slightly bitter notes as a nice ounterpoint to the mild sweetness. Curious what a few years will do to this.
Apr 07, 2019
Photo of VoxRationis
Reviewed by VoxRationis from New York

4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a custom tasting pint glass; 2017 Vintage, bottle no. 34683.
A: Pours an increasingly hazy, caramel color, e.g. light copper with orange highlights, forming little head, retention to no more than a rim, and little or no lacing which resolves entirely.
S: Aromas of caramel, vanilla, raspberry, cherry, and brandy.
T: Semisweet with booziness evident. Aromas remain in flavor pallet, with addition of perhaps white pepper and definitely leather and/or tobacco. Peppery bitterness offsets some of sweetness and booziness, a plus.
M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Very rough at this stage and chewy.
O: No question that this is a well designed barleywine. Enjoyed it.
Apr 07, 2019
Photo of Avitra
Reviewed by Avitra from California

4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Slightly too sweet, which is why it's a good but not great barleywine. Lots of apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, this actually tastes almost like a good apple strudel would.
Apr 07, 2019
Rated: 4.24 by Thorfinn960 from Ohio

Feb 27, 2019
Rated: 4.44 by scottyshades from Florida

Jan 31, 2019
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Reviewed by justme from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This was an exceptional barley wine. Hit all the right notes. Full bodied, warming, just delightful. Pour a deep mahogany color with almost no head. Got better as it warmed. A lot of fun in a bottle!
Jan 28, 2019
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Reviewed by strohme2 from Michigan

4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
2018 bottle produced by Meantime. Poured into tulip.
Pours a murky amber, with what I’d call red highlights. No carbonation, just a thin crown around inside glass. Aromas of dark bread, raisin and fig, caramel and toffee.
Similar tastes. Rich caramel, toffee, sweet bread, hints of raisins or figs, cocoa powder.
Zero carbonation while drinking, slick mouthfeel, zero heat.
A real treat that I’m glad to have tasted.
Jan 20, 2019
2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition from Interbrau S.p.A
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 48 ratings