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O'Hara's Irish Red | Carlow Brewing Company

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O'Hara's Irish RedO'Hara's Irish Red
458 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 458 |  Reviews: 211
Photo of codynevels
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Jspriest
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of travisnd
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this Irish Red in a 4 pack from Total Wine. Compared to other Irish Red's I've had like Sam Admans and Saranac I found O'Hara's to be the best and most expensive. It had a nice dark rich color when poured into a glass with minimal head. Goes does nice and even when warm, still tasty! Bring the price down and I'll be buying more!

 336 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown amber color with a fairly dense, off-white head. Head retention is above average, lasting a few minutes and persisting with a ring around the glass and a few islands of foam. Carbonation is visible in the transparent beer, but is rather sluggish. Lacing is of small clumps that gradually fade away.

Scent is primarily of mild malt sweetness, caramel influence, a dash of pepperiness, maybe a bit of hickory smoke character on the fade out.

Taste is fairly malty, definite caramel influence, and do I detect even a bit of roasted malt at the end? Smoked presence in the nose is apparent in the aftertaste. No noticeable hop character, this is a very sweet beer with some subtleties.

Mouthfeel is solid for the style, fairly heavy to medium-heavy with enough carbonation to make the beer palatable and keep flowing. Finish is dry, but not sticky.

Overall, a drinkable beer, quite sessionable, but also something that is fairly one-dimensional, and while I'd drink this on another occasion, I don't necessarily think I'd go out of my way to buy more.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an English pint glass. Pours a deep garnet red. Thin off white head with ok lacing.

Aroma is kinda German maibock lager smell. Little bit of caramel.

Taste is kinda the same. Kinda like a red mixed with a maibock.

Mouthfeel is smooth. High ish carb.

Overall a decent beer. Probably won't buy it again though. I like my reds hoppy and to taste a little more like a red.

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Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 2 1/2 to 3 inches above the glass leaving a big tan to light brown head floating over a clear reddish/amber colored ale.

Aroma consists of fruity caramel malts, a classic beer aroma.

Taste is more of the same a fruity caramel malt taste, and not the fruits of the tropics, the more hardy fruits grown in cooler temperatures.

A nice dry light caramel aftertaste on this moderately carbonated Irish Red. A pretty good beer to kickback and throw down on a hot summer day.

When I finished I saw that I give it 5 out of 5 'good' so I guess that's pretty 'good'.

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Photo of eclaycamp
3.12/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby red moving to amber. Has a nice frothy tan head, with some surprising lacing. Aroma has a caramel / malt / burnt sugar thing going on. I get a little bit of smoked malts as well. Taste isn't bad, somewhat middling. There's a big toffee note in the beginning of the beer but it's chased away by more smoked malt character in the finish. Taste is somewhat sweet. There's no real hop character to speak of. This beer calls itself an Irish Red but with the smoked character it feels more like a 60 schilling or something similar. Overall it's not a bad beer but there isn't anything drawing me back, either. Somewhat mediocre.

 640 characters

Photo of theboozecruise
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint.

It's a clear deep reddish brown color Witt a huge frothy head. It really takes a while to dissipate and left good lacing.

The smell is strong and malty with hints of toffee and a small hint of hops.

The taste is the same basic flavor profile as the aroma, but not as robust. If anything, the hops come through a little stronger. Definitely more bitter after a second sip.

It's a little thin, but this is a very drinkable sessionable Irish red. Not bad at all.

 518 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first time I had this beer I thought it was great, The second time around I thik my tastes had changed because it wasn't nearly as good. The beer poured out as a nice looking red color with a fizzy white head. The lacing was decent but not too impressive. The smell was of sweet malts, they kind of reminded me of a scotch ale. The taste seemed good the first time with a good malt base and not much deviating from that. The second time I think the bottle may have been bad because it just didn't taste the same. The mouthfeel was medium bodied. Overall the beer is worth trying one last time I think before I come to a true verdict on the flavor issues.

 658 characters

Photo of BeerLover99
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: cloudy brown/mild crimson hue, trace head, solid lacing

S: sweet ripe fruit (date/figs), nutty, malt

T: sweet nutty, malt, very British yeast tone, semi-dry crisp finish

M: light, semi-dry mouth

O: Let me 1st state, reds are my least favorite style.
That being noted, I still was not a huge fan of this beer.
Could be a great session brew for a Fat Tire newbie.


 390 characters

Photo of PhageLab
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint glass.

A - Reddish brown brew carrying a 1 finger head. Retention and lacing were mild.

S - Faint aroma of sweet malts and bread.

T - Toasted nut flavor, very muted. Body is a balance of sweet malt and roasted coffee. Watery finish.

M - Creamy light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - Not the best example of the style. Certainly not bad by any means, and could probably be enjoyable at a concert or something of that nature.

 463 characters

Photo of stckhndlr
4.62/5  rDev +30.1%
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.

 377 characters

Photo of tlazaroff
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep mahogany color with a slightly off-white head.

S: Very malty beer, I can't detect hops at all, just sweet smelling malts.

T: On the taste, this beer is quite well balanced. There is a mediocre bitterness to counteract the maltiness. Light caramel and a slight toasty flavor with a sweet finish.

M: Moderately carbonated and not-quite full bodied, this beer is somewhat smooth.

D: This beer is quite drinkable! I'd defiantly buy it again.

 457 characters

Photo of Offa
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red-brown, big tan head steadily shrinks to permanent foamy thin top, foamy lace – nice looking.

Aroma is very nice toasty, caramelly, fruit bread crust, figs, toasty rich bready.

Taste is dryish and well-balanced up front, light swet-sour fruit and nut, some dark toast, strong black tea and pepper bitterness dominating finish and lingering with spicy fruit. It is a little too bitter in the aftertaste, reducing drinkability a little.

 441 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Erdinger pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland. I've been largely unimpressed with this brewery's efforts so far.

A: Four finger head of lovely cream, good thickness, and nice retention. Dark amber colour; nontransparent.

Sm: Barley plus amber hops. Expected but pleasant.

T: Amber and barley hops, typical of an Irish red, for the body, plus some bittering hops on the jump after the climax, and some cream running throughout the third act. Better than expected, particular with regard to the hoppy complexity. Built well for the style; though it should be noted that you see very few Irish reds in Ireland. Balanced well.

Mf: Wet, creamy at times, and smooth. Complements the flavours. Does a nice job.

Dr: Priced fairly when not on draught. Not a great beer, but worthy of the style. It's certainly worth a try. One of the best beers from this brewery.

 882 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.94/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have seen this beer around lately, so I finally decided to give it a shot.

Appearance: Pours a very clear deep red color with a pretty creamy looking 1/2" of tannish bubbles that has plenty of staying power and looked pretty much the same a minute after the pour. Most of the way through the beer, there is still over 1/4" of head on the beer and lace smeared all the way down. I seriously don't know how they could possibly improve on this for the style. Kudos!

Aroma: The aroma gives plenty of earthy notes that remind me a lot of Samuel Smith. The malt is toasty and full of character. I am also getting a pretty healthy dose of hops for this style and they are giving a mild grassy and slightly floral. Definitely British style hops.

Taste: The flavor is sweeter than anything I though from the aroma. The malt is in charge, and the hops only contribute to the initial parts of the flavor. There are lots of toasty notes in this beer, and though the beer is rather light bodied and somewhat dry, it still comes across the palate rather substantial. The carbonation being high actually makes you slow down as you drink it, so this may be a good thing since it is such a light beer so that it doesn't hit your palate too watery. There is a very slight acidity that hits the back of the throat a bit more as the beer warms.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good beer for what it is. It is the best Irish Red that I have tried to date, but that isn't that many. The first beer I ever brewed was an Irish Red, so you would think that I would have more commercial experience. Either way, this is a good beer with a lot of character for such a light one...so you should take your time with this one.

 1,703 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy reddish-brown. A medium tan head, 1" thick and fairly creamy, sits atop. Nice lace is left behind.
Smell is malt, wood and a sense of dryness. Weak but a nice balance.
Taste is malt, wood, grape and apples, with a slight smokiness. Balanced well.
Medium effervescence and body. Relatively smooth with a dry finish. A slight warming in the throat. A solid brew. Wonder what else they have?

 402 characters

Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance - Two finger cream colored head with decent retention and good lacing. Dark red body.

Smell - Coffee and with the sweetness of dates.

Taste - Malty. Much like a lightly sweetened and creamed iced coffee.

Mouthfeel - A little too watery. Froth adds some body while it lasts.

Overall - Enjoyable beer. I won't be day dreaming about it though.

 356 characters

Photo of kjyost
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle BB Aug/2011 poured into a Stella chalice.

A: Reddish brown clear beer with small head that descends quickly and leaves little lacing.
S: Sweet caramel notes with earthy malt and hop undertones.
T: Sweet body, though leaning almost too much to the cloying without enough bitterness to balance. Earthy undertone with fruity apple notes at times. Nice though nothing great.
M: Thick and viscous, lingers longly. Well carbonated.
O: I enjoyed it while it was there. Would I purposefully buy it again? No.

 508 characters

Photo of phishgator
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Deep amber/red hue, extremely dark in color with a pinkish head. The carbonation is mild. It comes across very dry with some caramel sweetness. The body is filling for such a low abv beer. A nice example of the style and one I will have again.

 269 characters

Photo of thecarster1
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a pint, one fingers worth of creamy white head that fades leaving an uneven layering of lace, walnut coloring with amber highlights.

s- sweet toasted malts, dominate, maybe a touch buttery, nutty.

t- nice sweetness here, not cloying but enjoyable, subtle hop presence that is slightly bitter, nutty, earthy, a touch of butter, and yes it is almost tea-like.

m- medium, creamy.

d- nice, wasn't expecting too much here but this is a solid irish red. i would drink this again, not sure i'd buy much because it's a bit pricey.

 548 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice red/brown color, nice smokey almost tobacco-like aroma. nice tan head with a good amount of lacing. Pours a nice red/brown color, smell is of tobacco, dark roated malt, some toffee notes. A little disappointed in the flavor and palate feel, from the look and smell I figured that it would be smooth and flavorful like Smithwicks, but it is not. lackluster flavor, and a bit harsh on the palate.

 399 characters

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

Pours a deep ruby brown color forming a large creamed coffee like hue, fine speckled lacing forms evenly on the sides of my chalice. Aroma has some mild fruit notes, hints of grape and cherry with earthy rounded notes with a nice malt presence. Much more palatable than the last Irish Red I tried at double the price. Hints of peated malt, fruitiness lingers on throughout the maltiness, this beer could become one dimensional unless you really really like it. Underlying fruit blends nicely together, minimal hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with even flowing carbonation going on. No harsness on the palate really smoth and expressive. This was a solid authentic offering of the style from across the pond.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large, hefty head leaving lots of chunky lace. Light brown color and reasonably clear.

Dark caramel aroma with a touch of coffee. Quite sweet, like toffee, but with a strong toastiness.

Not as sweet as the aroma would suggest. Still, I wouldn't describe this as dry. There isn't much hop to this brew. Comes closest to a scotch ale. The body is full with a low carbonation.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 33cL stange glass in a Dublin gastropub.

A: Beautiful deep red with a finger of head. Dark but clear, allowing a gorgeous ruby coruscancy in the light. I'm impressed.

S: Oddly neutral (perhaps because it's on draught?) with some buttery tones and firm malts deep underneath.

T: Roasted malts, chock full of meatiness, rocket into the front. This red ale taste much more like a light stout. Hops, however, are not absent and pack a punch of their own, especially later on in the taste. Tasty, biscuity hops linger in the aftertaste with an almost coffee bitterness.

M: Good, interesting, and well-balanced.

D: A good beer, but a strange red (again, stout-er than I expected). It pairs excellently with slow-roasted pork belly.

 742 characters

O'Hara's Irish Red from Carlow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 458 ratings
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