O'Hara's Irish Red | Carlow Brewing Company

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O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red

Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by merlin48 on 02-22-2005

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Reviews: 209 | Ratings: 447
Photo of Trailboss76
4.29/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.11/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of Savan
4.22/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

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Photo of dar482
3.39/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a deep amber copper color.

The flavor toasty sweet malt, with a bit of roasted malt dryness and cocoa flavor, medium earthy hop bitterness along with that roasted malt, a bit of buttered browned toast. The bitterness and papery flavors might be from being right past Best By bottle, and probably changes on the finish and hop balance when fresh.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle - part of the 3-form mix-packs of Carlow brews available right now in Alberta - not so dearly priced, either, I have to say.

This beer pours a clear, dark bronzed amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky, and somewhat creamy tan head, which leaves some decent layered TV station fuzz pattern lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of biscuity and grainy pale malt, some lesser sweet caramel essences, a wisp of salty sea-side smokiness, muddled dark Assam tea notes, and some weak leafy, earthy, and citrusy noble hop bitters. The taste is bready and crackery pale malt, further muddled black tea essences, some subtle pome fruitiness, more untethered watery ashiness, and further leafy, weedy, and floral old-school hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly average in its pandering frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and mostly smooth, with a wee airy creaminess trying to get off of the ground since first break. It finishes off-dry, the biscuity essence doing well to moderate the lingering malt sweetness.

Overall, this is a generally enjoyable version of this oft-maligned old-school style, with a nice malt character that is reminiscent of yer more better rendered ESBs of the greater diaspora. Easy to drink, complex, and worthy of sessioning if you ever find this on tap in Eire, or more rarely so (I would imagine) on this side of the pond.

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Photo of KLHBB
3.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

There's a coffee-porterish slant to this beer -- it's very good, but muddier than I look for in an Irish Red. Darkest garnett, a strong smell of earth, medium carbonation, I'd drink this again.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.74/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 330 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 2, 2016.

The pour is an attractive looking amber with plenty of red hues under an off-white, lingering head.

Roasted barley is the main thing I get on the nose with some caramel or toffee. Very sweet all around. Low hops.

Medium body,.

The taste has all the roasted caramel malts that I can expect from the style as well as a decent sweetness. It finishes clean and mildly bitter. Well worth trying at least once.

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Photo of InfernoOrangeSS
4.71/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a really good Irish Red Ale. I am a particular fan of Irish Reds and this is a great representation of them. The color is a deep dark, and the aroma is very much a maltiness heaven. If you're a FB of Irish Reds, then I highly encourage you to seek this great brew out. I really like it and it goes down smooth.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.81/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Comes in red, but doesn't have enough retention to form a head. Aroma was meh red malt peatness. That earthen grassy, mossy malt.

Taste is a little bit of that, toffee malt stuff too. No hops really evident. Carbonation too low. Bitterness from something, doesn't seem hop derived. Real boring session stuff here. Burton-esque at times.

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Photo of josanguapo
1.32/5  rDev -62.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

From XXXII. In Teku glass. Watching True Detective 2x07. Very dry, roasted and with a sourness that makes me think it wasnt in good state as it has no trace of the caramel other people find. Much worse than a Murphy's

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Photo of Angerhaus
2.64/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had on nitro for St. Paddy's day. Maybe it was the nitro tap, maybe I just wasn't in the mode for reds that night, but, regardless, it was awful. Flat, dull, and almost sour. I hope that the rest of you have a better experience.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Draft sample. Fest pour. Poured a dark red hue. A pretty decent Irish red from aroma to flavor. Pretty much exactly what I was expecting but the flavors were more vibrant than anticipated. Caramel malt, amber malt, some fruitiness. Finishes surprisingly dry. Light bodied. A good beer.

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Photo of Brewfocker80
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown with reddish hues
S: Smells of malt and coffee and chocolate
T: Taste of coffee and chocolate and generous malt, hop bitterness is very balanced.
M: Smooth, full body with medium carbonation
O: A good beer but not what I expected to taste from an Irish Red. A lot of coffee flavor which is not common in an irish red.

12oz bottle in a tulip glass

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Photo of Dentist666
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint.
Pours clear brown/red beer with nice 2-finger rocky beige head, good retention.
Smell - grassy, red berries, marmalade, caramel, dough
Taste - caramel, roasted tones, fruity, dry aftertaste, nutty on palate.
Light body, soft carbonation, delightful.

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Photo of Tom_Banjo
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

500cl bottle consumed over lunch at The Boat Yard Restaurant in Dingle. Paired decently with a plate of mussels and fries. Nothing special about it, but prefer it to Smithwicks. Would drink again.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.64/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Clear, deep brown – not really red. More of a strong tea color. Nice, sudsy, parchment-colored foam on top. Smells lovely and malty, like a well-made Vienna lager or altbier. Not a lot of ale esters nor big hop aromas, though there is something fruity, like stewed apples. Overall it reminds me strongly of a tarte tatin, though it doesn't smell 'sweet,' if that makes sense. The aroma is too restrained, too austere, to suggest something that's going to be really rich. A hint of spice – I want to say nutmeg – comes through as well.

The flavor wants to be full and rich, but the mouthfeel won't let it. There are nice, warming flavors here of cocoa, orange pekoe, poached pears, caramel, and even cider brandy, but ultimately it's just a bit too dry and thin to let those flavors really shine. They finish too quickly, in a flash of cola-like bubbles and spice. The aftertaste is a sort of hollow hop bitterness, tasting faintly of bitter orange. It's a tasty beer, and one that's easy to drink, but I just wish it had a bit more oomph. Possible food pairings: pizza, spring greens, bratwurst, duck, cheese souffle.

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Photo of combatbootz
2.94/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Unimpressed, looked good, smelled good......then huge disappointment. Lack the real Irish amber flavor. Better than a bud, but rather have a Killians.

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Photo of oldglory78
3.09/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Drank from a bottle in Dublin city centre bar because they had no IPA including the O'Hara IPA. This is not a bad beer and better than most of the other red Irish ales normally available. I enjoyed it though it would not be my normal beer. Nice enough smell and taste and slightly bitter aftertaste. No head whatsoever after pouring bottle. If you like red ales I would recommend this

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Photo of bark
2.55/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

The colour is dark brown-red (60 EBC), the liquid is clear. The two finger head is beige and compact, it sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is malty and a bit dry with notes of caramel, milk chocolate and dried red berries. Floral bitterness. Hints of vanilla and boiled vegetables.

The taste is dry with malty notes of caramel, rye bread and dried fruits. Light floral hops and low bitterness. Medium body. The aftertaste got some boiled vegetables/cabbage, brown bread and brown sugar. The finish is smooth with some milk sweetness and chalk.

The carbonation is medium strong, the mid-size bubbles are short-lived. The liquid is semi-smooth.

Shame about the vegetables...

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Photo of biegaman
3.64/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Befitting for an Irish ale, O'Hara's Irish Red has a russet tone that's something like that of a ruby potato. It is a fairly dark beer but shows fantastic clarity. Its head is thick and spongy and is sure to leave its mark on the glass - the dishwasher has its work cut out for it.

As you'd expect with an Irish Red, it's a very dry and distinctly nutty graininess that has head seat at the table. The label mentions a "traditional hop flavour" by which I assume they mean one that is completely subservient to the malt; this smells, as it should, overwhelmingly of barley.

Indeed, O'Hara's Irish Red is probably about as close to nibbling on actual malted barley grain as you can get with a liquid. Mind you, the taste isn't entirely "raw" - there is soft caramelization and nutty toast, and also a faint 'seaweed' kind of character. Nothing about this flavour profile is brittle.

Apparently a "pinch" of roast barley can go a long way; there's a restrained but definite smokiness that's almost reminiscent of a peaty Islay and adds bitterness to the otherwise sweet fruitiness of the finish. And though I dismissed the idea of this maltiness being anywhere close to "as impressive as a bock" upon first reading it, the claim turned out to be not far off. It's hefty.

What this offering highlights is the fact that 'Irish Reds' are from a different stable than 'American Ambers'. This is a very interesting beer - be sure to taste it in isolation, before you've had anything else that might confuse your taste buds. Its clean-cut barley notes make O'Hara's among the most pure and veritable examples of the style as they come.

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Photo of FLima
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear ruby copper color with a thin beige head with good retention keeping a constant plate.
Malty aroma with notes of toasted malts, caramels, licorice and herbal hops.
Flavor or minerals, toasted and roasted malts, caramels, nice spices, herbal, earthy and slightly tangy hops, pears, mild hay and even some smoke. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light body with medium carbonation.
Pleasant Irish Red Ale, not overly sweet, tasty, very well balanced and with a relatively huge drinkability. Now the style makes more sense to me after tasting this reference.

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Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -15.5%

03/19/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Good brew. Malt & toastiness make up the flavor set here. Would have a few if not faced w/39 other choices. Sorry, O'Hara, it's not you...it's me. I'm fickle & playing the field.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Very dark ruby pour with a one-finger beige head. Strong aroma of bready malt and dark fruit. Flavor has bread and caramel malt and cereal grains upfront backed by a touch of earthy hops. Light to medium bodied and very smooth mouthfeel. Grain flavor develops very nicely as the beer warms. Finishes with a nice lingering sweet malt taste.

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Photo of Samp01
3.52/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown with a medium lasting beige head with good lacing. Aroma and Taste is of toasted caramel malt, mild fruity notes, yeast and bready with some mild bitterness. A medium body, smooth with moderate carbonation on the palate. Has good toasted caramel malt yeast flavor with mild bitterness on the end. A good drinking and enjoyable brew in my view.

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O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 447 ratings.
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