O'Hara's Irish Red | Carlow Brewing Company

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O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red
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:
None provided.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 220 | Ratings: 495
Photo of BeerLover48Fan
4.85/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally reviewing an old favourite that I haven't been able to find in a year or so.

Poured from a 12oz a very, very dark reddish-brown. Crystal clear and without much excitement in the carbonation department.

Smell is caramel malt all the way - nutty and bready, and quite frankly like the "malt" you remember from being a kid. Some good overripened fruit esthers - banana and mango, not floral. Just a little bit of cola edges in at the end to suggest spice.

Taste is more of the same - cloying caramel malts. Finish is dryish, though, and aided away by the carbonation opening up. Very meaty and much more yeast than in the scent. Caraway and fine white pepper, but only in great moderation.

Body is fairly balanced with zealous carbonation. It's hard sometimes to tell that the cloying feel is the taste and not the beer itself. Drinkable if you're into the very up-front personality!

I cant find this beer in my area but I wish I could because I would drink it often

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Photo of mualphapiper
4.83/5  rDev +35.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorites at The Fiddler's Hearth pub in South Bend, IN. Comes draft in full British pint glasses.

Appearance: A typical red ale color, but I'd say deeper and richer than most. The head is light, but persistent, clinging to the edges of the surface all the way to the end. Nice to look at.

Smell: Thick and earthy, but not overpowering, and appropriate for a red ale. I immediately noticed a distinct aroma of canned mandarin oranges. Also, various nice malts, with en emphasis on roasted walnuts, burnt toast (in a good way), and caramel. Also, I'd say a nice deep smell of freshly turned dirt, I get the impression that this is a very earthy, real, natural ale. Not too much hops on the nose.

Taste: The oranges continue along with more of the toast and roasted nuts. The caramel is less noticeable, but still there. More hops, reminiscent of herbs and spices, cloves in particular. Still very earthy on the finish. Nice combo with a beef/potatoes meal. Long finish! You'll taste this for several minutes after you take a swallow.

Mouth feel: Very nice, I'd put this in the thicker range of red ales. Very genuine. It coats the mouth very thoroughly, contributing to the long finish.

Drinkability: I'll have several pints of O'Hara's Irish red over an evening at the pub. It never gets old, every sip has something new.

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Photo of InfernoOrangeSS
4.71/5  rDev +32.3%
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 TSJ4000
4.69/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ok, Irish Red's are not my preferred style except for the Session Holiday that is, St. Patrick's Day. I get pretty sick of Guinness and having a nice session red available makes things a little more exciting.

This beer is orangy-brown, not really all that red. It has the perfect carbonation for throwing a couple liters down the hatch and it isn't too high in alcohol.

I wish this beer came on Nitro, then it would be awesome.

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Photo of stckhndlr
4.62/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at Finn McCool's in Virginia Beach, VA
Review from notes.

Classic rust red color with a two finger head. Nice thick foam. Sweet malt notes like a belgian ale but with some caramel spice. Has a sweet rootbeer flavor at first but then notes of coffee and chocolate malts come through with a crisp malty finish. Medium body with a clean finish. Very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of granger10
4.57/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark amber color with a larger sized light tan head which dissipates rather quickly. Nice sheets of lace along the glass. Great aromas of nuts and roasted grains and a twinge of fruity hops. Taste begins sweeter with caramel and toffee being dominant. An earthy flavor wipes out the caramel but the toffee holds up through it. Roasted nuts and spent grains come out towards the finish. Finish is drying and toasted, almost smoky and charcoally. Oh yeah, I really dig this beer. Extremely easy to drink.

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Photo of EPseja
4.54/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Time to review the undisputed champion of my blind Irish Red tasting... http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/2095926

Served from a 12oz. bottle in an O'Hara's pint glass at between fridge and cellar temperature.

A - More of an auburn than a red really, but vibrant when viewed against the light. Pushes up a nice, fluffy off-tan inch-thick head. Lacing is sporadic, but comes in full rings. Head retention is respectable.

S - Wonderfully biscuity malts with a hint of honey and a wisp of perfumey peat. Quite heady.

T - Sweet and malty up front, with a porter-like richness that's quite surprising for this style. Quickly moving to the back of the tongue and the throat with a satisfying cocoa-powdery dryness that gets you all ready for the next sip. Simple, yet delicious.

M - Substantial body on the way in, with perfect expansion and carbonation tingliness. Swallow is slick and voluminous without being gassy. No shortness of sensation here.

D - I've never come across an under 5% ABV beer that has as much flavor and substance as this one does. This is a true session beer by any definition, and puts most peers I've had in its category to shame. I could drink it all day, and I think I plan to this St. Patrick's Day.

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

Pours a nice copper color with excellent head and very nice lacing. It has a great malty scent, with just a hint of sourness to it. Tastes good, a fairly deep flavor with a nice semi-malty flavor, a tiny hint of spice, and a nice slightly sour aftertaste. Goes down easily. A very nice Irish red.

Had this on tap at Rover's Irish Pub in Louisville. Such an excellent draught beer! Thick and smooth, wonderfully sweet with a nice tartness. Goes down great.

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Photo of darioklc
4.48/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into original O'Hara's 0.5l glass which I've bought together with beer.
A: The color is reddish with a lot of bubbles. There isn't a lot of foam and it gradually disappears.
S: It has a pretty intense malt aroma with a slight sensation of alcohol
T: This is the first red beer that I tried and maybe because of that it seems to me that this is one of the best beers I have tried. It has a rich caramel flavor, neither sweet nor bitter, just as it should be.
Overall: As I said before this was really big surprise for me in a good way. Surely beer that you must try!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark amber color. The head is two inches in height, and recedes slowly leaving nice sticky lacing The aroma is of sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and a hint of grapefruit. The taste is a little hoppier than other Irish Red Ales I have had, but it is more well balanced because of it. There is a nice interplay between the sweet malt, and this floral hops that lasts long into the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium light bodied with nice refreshing carbonation. Overall, this is a very good Irish Red Ale, and a great session beer too. I will certainly drink this again. I could see this being a wonderful beer on a nice spring day.

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Photo of Brad007
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: Pours a copper red color with a well-carbonated head of foam (seems almost too carbonated to be honest).

Aroma: Sweet and malty. Little or no hop presence.

Taste: Sweet and malty upfront. A bit of dryness on the tongue as well. Kind of chewy. Some bitterness. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Sweet with some bitterness.

Verdict: I really like this beer. It's sessionable, drinkable and it goes down very well. I could drink a few of these if I could find it in a pub setting.

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Photo of Trailboss76
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.23/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, along with the stout, this showed up at Hi-Times, so I've got to try it,

A: Pours red (I'm Shocked... Shocked), with a full creamy white head, great lace.

S: Real nice caramel malt, sugar.

T: Sweet malt, pastry flour, red malt with a light hop presence. Very good flavour.

M: Soft carbonation, creamy, medium-bodied.

D: One of the best Irish Red's I've had, good beer, very enjoyable.

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Photo of Savan
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.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a deep, ruby amber brown. A dark cream colored head stays around for a while and settles to a thin film. Random light lacing. The beer smells of dark caramel, malts and faint hops. The taste is well represented by the smell: a sharp hop presence, but followed by a mellow caramel malt finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, very drinkable.

Overall, this is the second beer I've had from O'Hara's, and it's another good one. Well made, very drinkable, and no punches. I love breweries that aren't pretentious, and this is one. Well done.

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Photo of scarletfire79
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours an orange hued red. looks nice in the glass. small head that leaves quickly. definitly smell some caramel notes in the nose, hints of other sweetness as well. very well balanced. the taste backs up what the smell previewed. very well balanced. nice flavor profile, sweet, malty, bitter, the whole nine. really nice. not my favorite irish red, but a decent stab.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.13/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A sudsdy but fairly good retention off white light tan head, hits three fingers deep with a great body color. A fantastic very dark amber red with lots of play in hues through the light from ruby to dark indian red all throughout with a nice mahogonay brown top.

Roasty malts, sticky toffee more like a doppelbock strangely not so much grassy or fruity. Faint chocolate on this, smells real nice.

Palate hits with a good mix of malt stickiness and toffee. Sweet malts roll nicely, with an almost toasty finish but not quite. Lightly crisp almost with some decent carbonation but nothing watery or wet, or that takes away from the palate. Palate is VERY malt coating for an Irish red. Warmth brings out cocoa powdered chocolate, and a quick hop bitter that lingers very slightly.

This is quite a lively solid brew for 4.3% I could just pound these back all day. Great beer.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.12/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this 11.2 oz bottle into my Carlsberg pint glass. The freshness date on the bottle reads 31/12/08. I am excited to try this beer out, since I have had their other beers and have been really impressed. This is some REAL Irish beer for ya...

A: It pours with two fingers of rocky, sticky, cream-colored head. The beers body is semi-hazy and deep amber (almost brown) in color, with red hues playing out in the background light. The head sticks a little as it fades.

S: Wow, this smell is unique. I haven't read any other reviews of this beer yet, but I can't imagine what other people think about the smell. Surely, people are not smelling french onion, garlic, butter and croissant in the malt like I am picking out. I know how ridiculous that sounds...Some floral hops, every now and then.

T: I really like the way this beer tastes. I am getting flavors of tobacco, smoke, toasted grains and sweet, overripe raspberries. Great aftertaste!

M: Very light in the mouth, yet the beer is definitely full-flavored. The sugars reach the back of the tongue as the beer is swallowed. Smooth, almost non-existent carbonation.

D: Drink! Drink it up! Easy as can be, if you enjoy the unique flavor. Low alcohol means that this beer could be had throughout the night.

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Photo of MoohMooh
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.

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

330 ml bottle from Corral liquor in Granite City, Il. purchased along with an awesome Irish stout from the same brewery. Copper Red (strong brewed tea) about the same color of my Killians Klone Killer 2-3 finger light tan head stands proud and long. Lace persists first half of pint and morphs to a ring fed by strong beading. Strong C02 level enhances mouthfeel. Very tasty giving me flashbacks of the 1/2 gal. growler of Blue Eyed Moose IPA in its outstanding herbal floral hop and and sweet inviting caramel malt with a faint biscuit yeast aroma. The drinkability is supurb especially its crisp finish and the "don't stop drinking me" hop aftertaste calling you back again and again.

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

Poured from an 11.2oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin but dense lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty, nutty and spicy with tea, caramel and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out with flavors of caramel, tea and bready malts with a touch of smokiness. There is a decent hops presence that comes in and provides a good balance. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice representation of style, light kick makes the beer a good one drink when you want something flavorful that is not going to destroy you. It is well-worth drinking over the course of an evening.

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Photo of acevenom
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pours clear, deep amber with a tall, creamy tan head. The head dissipates slowly, leaving lots of lacing on the side of the glass. There's a pleasant aroma of sweet malts. It smells bready as well. The taste is malty and slightly sweet. There is some hop bitterness and there is some breadiness in the taste. It's very delicious. The body is medium and the carbonation is moderate. It's creamy and the finish is clean. The drinkability is high. Overall, this is a very good beer. It's a solid, delicious beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There are certain beers that define the style. Guinness does it with Irish Stouts, Sierra Nevada with American Pale Ales, Urquell with Pilsners; and O'hara's with Irish Reds.

The pitcher comes to the bar with a darker than expected red-brown color and a billowing mousse-like head. Decanting into the glass, the beer has a firm look that doesn't over state the carbonation or firmness.

Light aromas of carmel-toffee and lightly toasted breads. Mild nuttiness comes through as the beer warms. A light creamy malt aroma comes in late.

Flavors of caramelized malt, toasted malts, and sun-kist malts come together in a very clean and unobstructed taste. No fruitiness, no spiciness; just a complex, malty taste.

Hopped to balance the bitterness only, the profile of the beer rests in it's delicate creaminess, well-attenuated malt taste, and superbly clean drinkability.

Not the most complex beer, but simple, pure, clean, and highly sessionable. I'll gladly share a pitcher any day. Thanks Marikka's.

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Photo of aeminter
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Deep amber, almost brown when viewed normally, but a deep bright ruby when held to the light. It pours up a nice thick foamy tan head

S-Nice and malty with a buttered toast smell and just a hint of hops.

T-Very mellow with a nice balance of hop and malt. It is a little nutty and roasty...it makes me smile.

M-Medium body and carbonation makes this beer very smooth and adds to the drinkability.

This is quite possibly the best red I've ever had.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into nonic.

Deep mahogany hue with a one finger tan head that slowly settles to a thick pillowy cap. Rings of stringy lacing along the glass.

The aroma is very sweet, with plenty of caramel and a bit of fruity hop aromas.

Lots of burnt caramel in the flavor, along with some minty tea-like hop flavors. Full bodied, with a good amount of carbonation.

A rather enjoyable Irish Red, one of the more robust ones I've had. Recommended.

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O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.56 out of 5 with 495 ratings