seymour (1650) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - JUN 17, 2015
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thomas Hardy’s Ale, 1995 vintage, shared in tulip snifter glasses by my brother-in-law John who bought it at the historic brewery shop one year before its unfortunate closure, which he carefully cellared ever since. It poured an opaque dark reddish brown colour with a thin beige head of spritzy little bubbles which dissipated fairly quickly, no lace and no fizz. The semi-sweet, still, and highly-alcoholic characteristics made it seem more like a port wine or madeira than any familiar beer, hence the barleywine label. Nothing like fresh, highly-hopped, highly-carbonated, so-called-Barleywines typical of modern American craft-brewers, which are basically just high-grav IPAs. Rich and complex, suggestive of caramel, toffee, molasses, raisins, prunes, toasted nuts, chocolate babka, boozy fruitcake, leather. A hint of that meaty/savory umami flavour a bit like roasted mushrooms, olives, soy sauce. Sweet but not too cloying or sticky. A bitter balance remained, but distinctive hoppy aromas were long gone. Delicious despite it’s twenty year shelf life. Noticeably oxidized, but in a good way, not mushy or oxidized. No sour or vinegar-like traits. A bit like an aged Belgian Dubbel, minus the spicy yeast phenols. I was thrilled to sample this rare treasure, so of course I was predisposed to like it. Even so, I REALLY, REALLY enjoyed it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime beer drinking opportunity that actually lived up to its hype. Thank you, John!
Mackeon (148) - - MAY 8, 2015
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Just found my diary from a trip to Dorchester back in the eighties. We had a long, long session in the Hardy Bar, with many pints of this delicious beer. What a pity short-sighted greed killed off Eldridge Pope.
zimbo (753) - SCOTLAND - MAY 2, 2015
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
1987 tasted 12/08/90.
Dark brown and thinnish for a beer of this og. Very complex. Applish flavour. Dry sherry quality. No head retention with no carbonation. Very smooth. In time gains a syrupy quality in the glass. Needs time.
More recent notes of older vintages to come.
Jow (2656) - New York, USA - MAR 12, 2015
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
1999 vintage (the year I graduated high school) had this evening to celebrate my sons first birthday, big thanks to Tom for hooking me up with this. Pour ruby brown. Lovely nose of dark fruits and butterscotch. Tastes of butterscotch, port wine, cherry, tobacco, cola, and plums. Lingering finish that is semi sweet. Smooth soft mouthfeel no harsh alcohol edges.
Martinus (3638) - Baarle-Nassau, NETHERLANDS - FEB 24, 2015
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Clear red brown colour, dissipating white head. Aroma of caramel, Madeira, chocolate milk and mushrooms. Sweet flavour, umami, shi-take, orange zest, light sour note, caramel, cassonade sugar, raisins, molasses, nuts and soy sauce. Finish soy sauce, chocolate, malts, caramel, Madeira. Lingering sweet. Complex, warm beer and relatively mild. Unbelievably well preserved for a 1980 beer (1 Sept), and only a 25cL bottle even. Great beer.
(from 25cL bottle @ Tim’s place. Vintage 1980. Thanks for sharing jc1762, and his wife! Much appreciated)
tectactoe (3099) - Michigan, USA - FEB 23, 2015
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle: 1998 vintage, thanks Ryan. Dark amber pour, no head at all. Oily looking, more like a brandy. Aroma of heavy black cherry, raisins coated in toffee, faint papery oxidation, mild ashy & earthy spice in the background, & some thick caramel malt. Flavor is the same, sticky sweet with lots of caramel, prune, raisin, & alcohol. Warm, sticky, sweet. Mild oxidation has set in, leaving a little cardboard in the aftertaste. Heavy body. Would be tough to drink a lot of.
Bottle: 2004 vintage, thanks Ryan. This bottle had much more sweet vanilla, caramel, & a toffee-cake essence than the ’98 that was opened before it. No apparent oxidation, either. Nice flavors of toasted honeycomb, red licorice, toffee, prune, & sherry booziness. Flavorful, dense, & heavy. Very sweet, but this one was much more enjoyable.
tderoeck (6158) - Gent, BELGIUM - FEB 6, 2015
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
5/I/15 - 25cl bottle with a neat little seal around the bottle neck @ home - BB: n/a, bottled: 1/IX/80. Yes, that’s a 1980 vintage! (2015-13) Thanks to jc1762 and his wife for sharing the bottle!
Clear purple brown beer, no head. Aroma: lots of chocolate milk, very intense, molasses, caramel, syrupy, bit oxidized, Madeira wine, bready yeast. MF: no carbon, full body. Taste: sourish, bit vinous, raisins, caramel, alcohol, bit oxidized. Aftertaste: little sour, orange peel, caramel, bit sugary, alcohol, earthy, molasses, Madeira and Sherry notes. I was very sceptical about this one, cause I’ve had my fair share of (very) old beers, practically all had gone undrinkable, except for lambics. This is amazingly complex and drinkable and well preserved!
climberbob (266) - Virginia, USA - FEB 3, 2015
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. 1988 vintage opened in 2014. Strong molasses and dried fruit aroma and taste. Low to no carbonation. Butterscotch and burnt sugar. More like a port wine. Very fine.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
Ferris (7560) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 25, 2015
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle - Vintage 1994 - Toffee and raisin, plum, some musty mushroom notes and cocoa. Deep cloudy brown with no head. Incredibly complex raisin, mushroom and woody notes with some tannin. Finish is long, dark fruit and vinous. The mushroom notes are a bit off putting and I think without those notes this would have a home run. Otherwise still a great beer.
jc1762 (181) - Tokyo, JAPAN - JAN 6, 2015
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 7, 2015 Vintage 1980 - bought from a private sale.
Caramel brown, translucent rims and center. The bottle pours clean with thick proteins all around the bottle.
The nose shows a lot of port and madeirization - carmelized raisins, dried fruit along with very faint hints of chocolate. The palate is medium and completely still - a slight tartness appears but the port flavors are the most apparent. Some slight caramel tones also appear but otherwise excellent.