O'Hara's Irish Red
Carlow Brewing Company

O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red
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Red Ale - Irish
Ranked #175
Ranked #45,988
3.56 | pDev: 13.48%
Carlow Brewing Company
O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red
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Reviews: 230 | Ratings: 524 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of PhilHeinricke
PhilHeinricke from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was watching "The Commitments" again the other day, and in a bar scene the manager was drinking a beautiful glass of what looked like Irish Stout. It was a beautiful sight. So I needed to get some Irish beer, not just dark beer or Killian's which is brewed in the U.S. by Coors, even though it's good. I needed something brewed in and imported form "Arrland".

So I cruised down to that Total Wine place. They have a decent selection of international beers. It's a beautiful beer as are all Irish reds with a smokey kind of taste not syrupy but almost there. It took me all the way to Arrland walking down the Salthill Prom with Maria Doyle Kennedy on my arm.

Apr 17, 2021
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YuriArtibise from Canada (BC)

3.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

OVERALL: A toasty Irish read ale

Appearance: amber brown, clear, with quickly dissipating off white foam
Aroma: muted roasted malts, caramel with slight herbal notes
Taste: dry toasted caramel,
Mouthfeel: Light and dry, with low carbonation
Finish: dry and lingering, with a hoppy bitterness

Serving Style: 500ml bottle

Mar 18, 2021
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TheRatCage from Connecticut

3.3/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Look: Very dark red. Small head that recedes very quickly into a tiny amount of lacing.
Smell: Some malt and that's about it.
Taste: Light malt, maybe some grain. It is bitter and I feel that's the overwhelming takeaway which is odd.
Feel: Light-medium bodied. Carbonation right up front and then again at the end.
Overall: Wasn't a fan. It is drinkable and doesn't offend but I honestly think even Killian's Red may be a better choice.

Mar 10, 2021
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BJB13 from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle poured into a nonic glass.

Crisp and fairly light, opens grainy with caramel malt and moves to woody hop flavor. Finish is a bit thin. It seems representative of the style if perhaps mediocre.

Feb 21, 2021
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

3.81/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 mL bottle from the LCBO, one of three from an O'Hara's variety pack that showed up late last year. Best before Sept 28 2021 and served at cellar temperature.

Pours a deep brownish-bronze colour with ruby red highlights; one inch of foamy, bubbly off white-coloured head falls apart within two minutes or so, leaving behind a sudsy collar as well as a decent coat of sticky lace. Looks good in the glass, but the aroma is a little muted - wheaty malts, toasted grains, caramelized sugars and bread, with mild background hints of soil/earthiness and roasted nuts.

The flavour mostly follows the aroma - grainy, wheaty and toasty, with caramelized malt, toast and some nuttiness towards the finish; concludes with an herbal, earthy note, suggestions of orchard fruit and light hop bitterness lingering into a slightly leafy aftertaste. Light in body, with low carbonation that weakly agitates the palate; feels smooth and slick on the tongue, with decent drinkability... it's only 4.3%, so you might consider it a session option, but truthfully it's a little too sweet for me to accept it fully in that role.

Final Grade: 3.81, a B+. I doubt I've reviewed much more than a dozen Irish reds, but I do appreciate the style when it's done well, and O'Hara's Irish Red is basically good enough for me. It does remind me of a malty American amber ale - and blindfolded, I really doubt I'd identify this as an Irish red vs. an American one. It's the weakest inclusion in this variety pack by a fair margin, and I wouldn't deliberately seek it out in the future, but it's still a good amber-type ale that I wouldn't mind drinking again. Worth a tick.

Jan 03, 2021
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dfillius from Iowa

3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

True to style pretty much, but I don’t really like reds/ambers. It’s the malt character that turns me off I think. This beer is a bit flat feeling in the finish. Bitterness is nice. This one would look better with more head. From the 2020 Aldi beer advent calendar.

Dec 15, 2020
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TerryW from Canada (ON)

3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Looks good. Color of dark red tea, long lived and lots of fine lace all the way down. Nose is malt and mild grains. Thin bodied and bitter up front, sweeter, more malty up the middle before finishing gently bitter and dry.

Nov 04, 2020
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gvickery from Texas

3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Mahogany, brown. Not what I’d consider Red.
Smell: Light toasted malt, ho-hum nothing to write home about.
Taste: Same, light toasted malt, some bitterness on the backend, a good example of the style. More toasted aftertaste than others.
Not bad, but not spectacular either, get you’re shit together Carlow, I’ve had American red’s better than this shit.

Jun 15, 2020
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(330 ml bottle, BB 28 Nov 2020; purchased off shelf at Total Wine... poured into Belhaven pub pint... and, of course, I knock the bottle over en route to my tasting table - foam ignition)

L: crystal-clear, crimson-garnet colored liquid; tall, tight, inch-high pad of old-paper off-white foam... misty cap holds like a champ; one broad, splotchy streak of lace

S: roasty, cherry-ed, dried fruit, musky-yeasty, malty nose... dried fruit and tan leather, though neither that pungent... a bit more character than your average bottle/draft Irish red

T: dry, but moderate-robust roasty, bread-crusty malt foundation; little sweetness up front or in through to its finish; remarkably dry, in fact, with a vaguely bubble-gum, day-old bread crust aftertaste; mellow earthy bitterness lingering (all this after the first big sip!)... after the second sip, and thinking this is strangely midpoint between a malty-rich red ale and a stout; rather stout-y (dry) roasted character humming from the get-go, gradually enriched by the compounding residual bitterness

F: medium-bodied, dextrin-puffed, dense-foamy wash... aft is mildly parching, mellow lip-smacking... bit of an almost acidic nip up front; its roasty bitterness lending a light stun to the palate

O: easily the roastiest Irish red I can recall having tried... quite interested to try a draft version (eventually)... certainly worth seeking out another bottle (I'd snatched the last on the shelf at TW)... relatively impressed, wanting more (1667)

May 31, 2020
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Thisdrinkinglife from Switzerland

1.48/5  rDev -58.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Review: 50cl bottle of O’Hara’s Irish Red Traditional Ale: 4.3% vol.

Nice swanky logo with Irish symbols and squiggles in a lovely styled bottle, looks the part on the shelf.

Aroma was very light, a bit malty, got some apples and other subtle fruity aromas, an ok smell overall, but very light on the nose.

Colour is a beer with a dark ruby red appearance and a smallish white head, not a bad look, albeit the head isn’t great, a bit flat.

Dark and deep reddish colour, white head that dissipates fast.

Wasn’t impressed with the taste at all, felt a bit like washing up liquid, but with hops!

Roasted barley and malts and hints of caramel, but struggling under the intensity of the hops that linger.

Very, very hoppy, and far too strong to enjoy. The aftertaste is killing this beer.

Bit flat in the overall taste too.

Not really enjoyable at all, not smooth and far too bitter. All hoppy but with little else. Disappointing considering all the rage about this brewery. And definitely not like a traditional red ale, they can fuck off with that, lol!!!

Jun 01, 2019
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Amendm from Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A strong pour from a 11.2-oz. bottle=a finger of creamy and rocky beige head with long retention and spots of lace. Translucent deep reddish copper with amber highlights.

The smell features caramel malt up front with roasted malt, baked apples and toffee as does the taste.

The taste begins semi-sweet and mildly bitter from hops, the middle is rich and malty with some bitterness coming from roasted malt. The finish is almost sweet, quick and clean as a mild hop bitterness lingers.

Medium body, above average carbonation. Malty smooth even profile.

BB 28 MAR 2019. A happy revisit, true to style. An enjoyable easy drinker.

Feb 13, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed as part of BJCP training, 15A. Irish red ale. Best before March 2019

Average fizzy slight tan head with decent retention, little lacing, dark but clear mahogany ruby cranberry color

Nose fair toasty reddish malt, toasty and a little caramel, little toffee and hint buttery, biscuity, faint herbal tea hop

Taste toasty but dry malts, toasted reddish, mild caramel and toffee, little biscuity, mild herbal tea hops, little earthy floral, mild to medium hop bitterness, finish dries quite a bit and bitterness increases due to darker reddish malts

Mouth is med to a little lighter bod, nice medium carb, smooth

Overall not bad, will within style but maybe a bit too hot

Feb 06, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

3.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a 16 oz (473 ml) nonic pint glass at Beer Authority in New York, NY.
A: Pours a clear, deep red, almost brown color in the light. Ruby highlights around the glass edge. Two finger, foamy, light tan head with relatively low retention and modest lacing.
S: Aromas lean to grassy and grainy. Not much different from a very aromatic Pilsener.
T: Semisweet. Flavor included more caramelized malt in the picture. Light bitterness creates a nice, balanced, and refreshing picture.
M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp finish and refreshing.
O: Very drinkable and fairly enjoyable. I would have this again, although I not sure in what context.

Dec 16, 2018
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RichardLeahy from Australia

3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L. From a 330 ml bottle into a tall glass. Darker than I expected, but a red tinge. Modest white head which fades to slight lacing. A touch disappointing. S. Better, sweet malt and grain. T. Follows the aroma, a touch of caramel as well. F. Smooth, not much carbonation, which is appropriate. Slight sweetness on the back end. O. I'm a sucker for any Irish beer and red ales aren't all that easy to come by in Australia (other than Kilkenny, which I like a lot), so I rate this one. But a little disappointing.

Sep 29, 2018
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Nephilium from Ohio

3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Earthy aroma, with a touch of roasted malt. Pours a clear reddish-amber with a full off-white head. Flavor is toffee, caramel, and a touch of earthy hops. Light bodied, easy drinking. A very good Irish Red.

Aug 12, 2018
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a medium to dark cranberry red with a half finger off-white head with great retention and lacing; looks nice. Aroma of biscuit malt, mild red berries, a hint of charred malt, smells good too.Flavor follows aroma, with deep biscuit lightly toasted malt, mild suggestions of raspberries and brown bread. Finishes lightly hoppy and malty. Medium bodied with light creaminess and pleasant mouth feel. I liked this quite a bit. This is a style that I don't see very often and glad to try a genuine Irish one. I like malt flavors and this ale deliver very solid malt along with the light berry fruit I expect from the style. The toastiness of the malt was a benefit to my taste. This covers all the bases that I expect from an Irish red and the flavor depth is excellent for the ABV. I'm really glad I picked this up and will return to it in the future. I'm not sure why this scores so low here, it is well made and authentic.

May 04, 2018
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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a single-serve into a pub glass.

Pours clear and a deeper red than anticipated. A furious and ample initial head quickly settles into modest lacing. Solid but not spectacular look.

The aromas are toasted malts mixed with recognizable but muted hops. Again, solid but not "write home" material.

The flavor has a bit more character than the nose, with toasted malts, roasted grain, and a nice mixture of malty sweetness and drying hops.

The mouthfeel is the best--it finishes crisp and light.

Overall, a solid beer, but probably not an "again and again" selection.

Apr 28, 2018
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Wasatch from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. Bottle
BB: 28.FEB.2019

Poured into a DFH glass a nice dark brown/reddish color, nice carbonation, with a nice thick/creamy small light tan head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, slight hop, kinda roasty. The taste is malty, slightly hoppy, kindaroasty. Medium body, ABV is hidden pretty nicely. Overall, surprised me, tasty.

Apr 09, 2018
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Sable from Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours nicely, but the head drops fast, so fast it was gone before I carried it out to the living room. But that's not really a problem. The flavor is very deep and rich, dark caramel flavor, with a very roasted taste and very little sweetness. The color looks very dark, but when you hold it up to light it is a strong red. This goes onto the buy again list!

Feb 26, 2018
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janubio from Spain

2.27/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Amber colour,, small head witih medium retention and minimum lace.
Aroma of caramel and red fruits, bust mostly lime and sulphur.
Medium body, with thick textures and averages carbonation. Astringent finish.
Taste is somewhat medicinal, with red fruits and caramel. Sulphur.
Sorry, but I can't nothing exceptional in this one to make me repit it.

Jun 20, 2017
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MoohMooh from France

4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Looks deep brown/red (strawberry red and very clear when held up to light), with a huge head when poured; it recedes to a substantial foam and leaves sparse lacing.

Smells sweet (apple, caramel), herbal and flowery hops. Cocoa. Kinda earthy too.

Taste is bread, hops, chocolate/coffee. It's very "warm", for lack of a better word. A milky/creamy taste as well, surprising, but very pleasant. Slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth, medium light; carbonation is medium.

Didn't look at reviews, so I didn't expect anything special, but this is a very nice surprise.

May 09, 2017
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Trailboss76 from Virginia

4.29/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

**Dark tea-like, cola-like color. Not much head. Mild, malty aroma. The label says "a full-bodied Irish Red with a traditional hop flavour to balance a sweet malt finish". I get more of a malty taste throughout with some subtle hop reminders. Smooth drinker but lets you know it's got something goin' on!! Little fizzy on the finish.

Apr 22, 2017
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle, it pours a reddish brown with a modest head, soon reducing to a robust ring with islands.. Some toasted malts in the nose. Bread and some roasted malt in the mouth. Enjoyable, but not memorable.

Apr 07, 2017
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

On tap:
Looks a little more like a maroon-tinged brown ale. Very light slightly off-white head, but resilient thin rim. Swirl brings a fleeting froth.

Nose has a toasty note to the malty red ale overall nose. Little sweet tea and a very light fall or winter spice note to the malts.

Taste is a little sweeter than expected from the nose, but still has a roasted malt component. There's more bitterness in the back than I'd expect or had before in other Irish reds. Does have a resemblance to the bitterness of some brown ales, but not specific to them. The feel is also thin and carbonated.

Lighter but not necessarily easier drinking than other Irish reds, and one that seems to have a brown ale side to it.

Mar 22, 2017
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Savan from Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours in to a pint glass with thick almond head of about two fingers; a beautiful light burgundy :)
....Never did like the smell of a irish red, that said this smells as all of them do a little musky basement and a lil old grain smell about them/this one. I felt it still deserved a 3.... it does smell like it "should" after all.
The taste is a lil sweet and a lil bit of a bitter on the finish. This beer has a very good refreshing finish and I would love to try again and .... no doubt will being I can find it.

Mar 01, 2017
O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 524 ratings