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O’Hanlon’s Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2003 - 2008)

 (RETIRED)
overall
100
99
style
Formerly brewed at Hanlon’s (prev O’Hanlon’s)
Style: Barley Wine
Newton St Cyres, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
common

on tap
common

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1154   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.94   EST. CALORIES: 351   ABV: 11.7%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Scarce, subtle and complex, Thomas Hardy’s Ale is the beer enthusiast’s equivalent of rare cognac. Bottle-conditioned to mature in the bottle like fine wine, this old ale/barley wine will improve with age for at least 26 years (and we’re still counting!). Not for the faint of palate, especially when young and brash, maturity brings an elegance of flavors unmatched by any other beer—if you have the patience to cellar it for at least a decade.


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Malakin (469) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - OCT 7, 2004
2003 Hazy brown with no head. Sweet caramel alcoholic aroma and the flavour is more of the same. Quite a bit of sugary sweetness, not one of the better barley wines I've had.

4.6
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
JoeMcPhee (8510) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - OCT 5, 2004
2003 version. Bottle #11152. Rich garnet colour with a thin white lace. Almost still appearance. Beautiful aroma, malt dominant showing cookie dough, toffee, caramel, biscuit, plum, prune, currant, berry, and a wisp of molasses. There is also a wisp of citrusy resinous hoppiness as well. Flavour is incredible malty, molasses, toffee, and caramel. The alcohol can’t really be tasted but it can be felt in the mouth. Slight sweetness, but not cloyingly so. I suspect this would mellow somewhat over time. Even so, it is very drinkable, even now. Finish lasts and lasts. Fantastic brew.

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Wakie (612) - Centreville, Virginia, USA - OCT 4, 2004
2003 Edition. A deep brown color, resembling a thick porter in appearance. The aroma was an interesting blend of toffee, raisins, malt, and honey. Very complex and delightful. The taste was equally as complex and enjoyable. I found it it be extremely enjoyable but so very rich that it was hard to get through a bottle alone. Enjoy with a few friends.

5
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Crosling (1863) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - OCT 3, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 22, 2008 2003 # 015846 Edition. Pours with very little carbonation. The color is a majestic ebony with accents of magenta. The thin layer off creamy head diminishes quickly into a ring, then disappears entirely. The nose is astonishing. Raisins, figs and red apples covered with caramel. Wow. Cinnamon, plums and sherry up front. More dark fruit comes later followed by caramel and toffee. Molasses and honey on the finish. Dry but juicy. Odd. Unbelieveably smooth. Unbelieveable drinkable (I want 4 more). Unbelieveable mouthfeel. Rerate, after many sampling in 2008 and prior. The 2003 and 2004 vintages are really amazing right now. I believe Ohanlons is doing an excellent job recreating this brew. I think they’ll even get better, hopefully as well as Eldridge Popes versions.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
rlgk (11026) - Göteborg/Jönköping, SWEDEN - OCT 3, 2004
Vintage 2004. Whisky-like color. Has a vinous aroma with malt and some candy-notes. Malty and fruity aroma, very good considering it has not matured yet. Id love to have this one again.

4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 1, 2004
This brew pours with a dark reddish-brown body topped by a very thin head with no lacing. The aroma is sweet and malty with a great caramel and candy sugar notes, with a slight peppery bitterness and light alcohol esters. The flavor is sweet, malty and fruity with notes of candy sugar and a slight bitterness in the finish. Full bodied, smooth and a touch warming.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Cornfield (5506) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - OCT 1, 2004
Vintage 2003, bottle O09200. (I’m getting too old to cellar such beers for long!) This poured out the color of orange pekoe tea (with the same amount of head and carbonation), but certainly didn’t smell like it. A very sweet malty aroma, dark fruits, and strong alcohol presence. Syrupy to drink, very sweet, winey, dark malt. A bitter finish with a nifty alcohol warming.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
pilsnerrogge (2511) - Finspång, SWEDEN - SEP 29, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 22, 2009 Bottled
Hazy reddish amber colour with a huge creamy head. Vinous, oaky, cherry aroma. Thick mouth feel. Sweet and warming with long oaky alcohol bitter finish.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
MrWalker (926) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - SEP 27, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2005 Bottle @ Stockholm Beer Festival 2004
Vintage 2004. Rich! Sweet, but not too much. Raisins, tar, smoke, dark fruits etc. Rating this at a festival with all the people and noise all around is almost impossible. Too complex. Tried the cask (No. 0001 of 0001) as well. Similar. Will try them side by side. And will rerate this when I get my case of 24 later. 8/5/8/5/18 4.4

Ratedate 7 Dec 2005. Bottle 08790 vintage 2003
Pours with big dish water bubbles that escapes very fast to leave an almost flat surface. Aroma of cheese, port, raisins and nuts. Surprisingly thin body but still very mouth filling with a big explosion of figs and raisins. Very sweet still and full of wine like alcohol taste/palate. Nuts and some bitterness comes through in the aftertaste. Same score as 2004/2004.

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
ante (3374) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - SEP 25, 2004
(sampled cask-conditioned at Stockholm Beer Festival) Reddish brown, no head at all. Rich full and malty sweet aroma. Dark fruity malt, port, red berries, toffee and plums. Big, sweet and oh so deep and classy flavour. Port, pepper, plums, raisin, nuts. Long warming, hearty, aftertaste of figs, pear, toffee, port and spices. I was very surprised when I stumbled over the cask version of this glorius brew. I wish I had a case of this at home.


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