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
Barleywine - English
4.2 | pDev: 6.43%
Mar 01, 2022
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 CaptainHate
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by CaptainHate from Ohio

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
Photo of jkblr
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by jkblr from Indiana

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
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
by DIM from Pennsylvania

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
Photo of micada
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by micada from New York

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
Photo of blazerkor
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by blazerkor from Nevada

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
3.97 by RobertColianni from Pennsylvania on Apr 10, 2021
3.98 by Mikexw from New York on Feb 28, 2021
4.5 by SiepJones from Pennsylvania on Feb 25, 2021
Photo of q33jeff
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by q33jeff from New Jersey


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
4.34 by odenbr12 from New Jersey on Nov 22, 2020
4.41 by Scottsbeer from Florida on Sep 24, 2020
4.25 by freewill35 from Indiana on Aug 08, 2020
Photo of Charliethebrit
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Charliethebrit from Massachusetts

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
4.35 by BeerGlassesCollector from Cyprus on Apr 04, 2020
Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by bluejacket74 from Ohio

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
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by mntlover from Tennessee

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
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by thebeers from Pennsylvania

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
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

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
Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by johnnnniee from New Hampshire

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
4.75 by jkermitj from Mississippi on May 30, 2019
4.24 by cozmo from New York on May 11, 2019
4.25 by KeyWestGator from Florida on Apr 28, 2019
Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by StraightNoChaser from Georgia

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
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by VoxRationis from New York

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
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Avitra from Switzerland

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
4.24 by Thorfinn960 from Ohio on Feb 27, 2019
4.44 by scottyshades from Florida on Jan 31, 2019
Photo of justme
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by justme from Massachusetts

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
3.91 by trevorpost from Pennsylvania on Jan 20, 2019
Photo of Brutaltruth
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Brutaltruth from Ohio

From the 11.15 oz bottle in a snifter. This historic anniversary ale pours
a rich reddish brown almost peach tinged color with a decent head of
white foam that subsides to a thin ring, subtle light wispy pool, and displays
sparse lacing with each sip. Nose of astringent booze, white raisin, caramel
and honey, with light herbal and vinous notes. Flavors expand on the nose
with rich caramel and boozy white raisins mingling with a brandy note
with a stewed peach and hint of apple. Flavors improve with warmth
showing toffee and a touch of an oaken note. Decent mouth feel for
such a beast; smooth, warming, low carbonation, and a warming subtly
dry finish.

Overall, a fantastic little brew.

Cheers and congratulations on 50 years of a great ale

Jan 11, 2019
4.05 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania on Dec 22, 2018
Photo of jzeilinger
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

A - Dark amber pour with ultra thin lacing and no carbonation.

S - Light brown maple sugar and toffee aroma with some booziness.

T - Light toffee with some citra on the back end and some heat.

M - Full bodied and silky that's totally dry on the back of the tongue and wet on the front.

O - This is a really nice beer and recommended.

Dec 22, 2018
3.25 by gbiello from Massachusetts on Dec 06, 2018
Photo of JackRWatkins
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4.25
by JackRWatkins from Georgia

A: Pours up a hazy amber with a thin ring of bubbles that slowly forms into a light ring of foam with some light white capping across the top of the beer.
S: Definite tobacco and a hint of red currant along with some caramel and a general ripe fruit note, some of the booziness is apparent as well, along with a subtle sweetness.
T: Immediate tobacco and a sharp astringency, seems to be a tad more earthy than the standard young iteration. The booziness is not painful but is very noticeable and complements the other flavors at play. There is a definite sense of dark chocolate and coffee (think less roasty and more beany) here as well. The sweetness comes out a bit more as the beer sits, and the yeastiness starts to come through as well, a distinctly peppery quality also joins the fold. A slightly more over brown/burnt sugar comes out as the beer sits more.
M: There is basically no carbonation in this beer, even at this strength, it should have some light carbonation. Not much, but more than this. The mouth is full and robust but not thick.
O: This is a very good beer. It has some characteristics that I enjoy more than the standard Thomas Hardy's Ale, but also lacks some of the things I enjoy about that particular iteration. All in all the almost total lack of carbonation is an issue here for me, and I would have liked to see more of the fruity aromas coming out of this edition. That being said, this beer being a 2018 and the current standard release being a 2017 probably has a lot to do with that. I would save yourself a few dollars and buy the standard version personally.

Nov 29, 2018
Photo of mynie
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by mynie from Maryland

Let's finish my tour of the new Thomas Hardy iterations with what seems to be the most well-liked of the bunch: the 50th Anniversary Golden Edition.

The regular beer was good but could have used some aging. The oak aged variant was nicely aged but absolutely without a wisp of carbonation. Let's see if this special blend can thread the needle.

Pours fairly tepid but still miles fizzier than the oak aged. A pretty dark amber color with ethanol hue and minimal effervescence.

Smells much more Belgiany than the other two... by which I mean yeast-heavy, I guess, but also I think there's some firm candy sugar in there. Minimal hops and only a respectable amount of alcohol. It smells much more like a quad than a BBW.

Tastes very good. Confounding, a bit. Again, much more like a Belgian triple or quad than any type of barleywine. Sugar up front, BW barley in the middle, yeast and booze on the finish. The finish is where the beer really leaves its mark, though: it's got that raw, lively yeastiness I associate with the best Beglian quads, like De Dolle and Westy. The sip isn't nearly as smooth, but the aftertaste is exquisite.

It is, indeed, the best of this particular bunch. I don't know if it's quite worth seeking out--the tepidness of the pour doesn't help it at all--but it was definitely worth the 10 bucks I spent on an 11 ounce bottle.

Oct 30, 2018
Photo of Beersnake1
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Beersnake1 from California

Poured from fridge temp into a Thomas Hardy's Ale snifter. Look is a reddish brown with quickly dissipating light head. It's murky and barley wine like! Nose is toffee, herbal notes, and a moderate amount of fruit - cherries and a hint of strawberry. To be honest, I am a bit surprised how subtle the nose is. Taste is really smooth. A slight bitterness is there, as well as a slight alcohol burn. The caramel notes really come through. Some cinnamon, vanilla, white chocolate, and candy are there. There is a ash taste that is a bit strange. I am stuck on the bitter aftertaste, which isn't normally there in an English barley wine. I am planning to age a couple of bottles for 5-10 years, so I will update this review then. Mouthfeel is thick and robust. Overall, a nice barleywine with great aging potential.

Jun 09, 2018
2018 Thomas Hardy's Ale 50th Anniversary Golden Edition from Interbrau S.p.A
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 36 ratings