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

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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1151   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.94   EST. CALORIES: 351   ABV: 11.7%
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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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
BlackHaddock (3763) - Shropshire, ENGLAND - JAN 1, 2014
8.5 FL OZ Bottle, year 2005, P48388. After the excess of New Years Eve I thought I’d slow down a bit and have a couple of beers to savour. I’ve been saving this for a rainy day and on 1st Jan 2014 it’s honking down in Shropshire. Poured into a Chimay chalice it produced no head and looked very Port like, a lot of Port actually. The aroma and taste are so ’un-beer’: Sherry and Port more than a Barley Wine, sweet, very sweet. Reminded me of that uber sweet Cypriot Commandaria St John I used to gulp years ago. A lovely 1st beer of 2014.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Theydon_Bois (8668) - The ’Sham, Surrey, ENGLAND - DEC 29, 2013
Bottle at home, 2004 Vintage No. P42438 - big thanks to an IP trade with Ronny (rlgk), 29/12/13. Opaque dark mahogony brown with zero headwork - just a few stray bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass. Nose is dark berry fruits, sugars, burnt caramel, sherry notes, charred wood, brown sugars, light oxidisation but nothing enough to spoil the show. Taste comprises rich fruit cake mix, caramelised raisens, tobacco, light booze, muscavado sugars, dates, stewed prunes. Full bodied, fine to limited carbonation, sweetish dry finale. A rich and complex barley wine, this is holding up well and will certainly age further. Good balance of rich fruit and sugars, the latter doesn’t overwhelm and the booze shows itself a little but is ultimately well disguised.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
VsXsV (2271) - Linköping, SWEDEN - DEC 25, 2013
Bottle. 2006 vintage. Light hazy deep brown liquid with minimal off-white head. Aroma of raw sugar, dried fruit, toffee, bread, nuts, chocolate, port wine and earth. Taste is light to medium sweet and light bitter with notes of dried fruit, raw sugar and caramel. Full bodied with virtually no carbonation. Very sticky. Smells awesome, really balanced. A classic.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
OldMrCrow (1825) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 24, 2013
2004 bottle enjoyed Christmas Eve 2013.

This is a perfect beer to drink by the fire while waiting up for Santa. Pours flat as water into a tulip [insert Angel’s share joke here], rich copper out of the bottle but glowing ruby held up to the light. Quite a fine nose, soft caramels, dark raisins, sherry, not overwhelmed by the aged hops.

But the taste is where it really shines. Very sweet, a lovely dessert. Nine years have been kind to this and certainly no sign of reaching or passing its peak. Herbal honey, toffee, a touch of orange zest, vanilla, sherry again. Green apple. Late, the interplay of sweet and bitter from the caramel disk of an aggressively torched creme brulee. I think I’ve got to give it a 10 for taste. I don’t see how it could be improved.

Strangely enough, while the beer is totally flat, the mouthfeel is perfect. Rich and full-bodied on the tongue yet not cloying in the least; alcohol burn subdued; the challenge is to sip and savor rather than gulp --- a necessity given the 8.5 oz bottle.

This is a fabulous beer. I wonder if there is still any on the shelves anywhere.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
RexTalionis (2430) - FINLAND - DEC 19, 2013
Bottle 25 cl, vintage 2006, bottle nr 29650. Pours brown in with small bubbly head. Sweet bready maltyness, mämmi, some light notes of burnt rye. Some vinous notes appears later on. Sweet ryebready kind of notes, mämmi and raisins soup in taste. Mild spicyness, vinous notes and sweet maltyness in aftertaste. Nice warmer for the darker times. Ripe raisins and plums in the end, quite a sweet and vinous finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
harrymel (1502) - Spokane, Washington, USA - DEC 12, 2013
ABV reads 11.7%, Vintage 2008, Bottle: 04181 Pours a lovely dark amber with a quilt of light tan foam. Nose is sweet and dominated with a bubble gum quality and some hints of vanilla, praline and marshmallow. Flavor carries a bit more quality with some nice caramelized flavors alongside toast, copper, malt, malt and herbal character. Medium on full bodied with moderate carb and a wet finish. This beer is really nice, but I’d take JW 6/7 days of the week. I’ve got a ’98 in the cellar, it’ll be nice to compare. Serving type: bottle 05-21-2012

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Nische (703) - Saltsjö-Boo, SWEDEN - DEC 11, 2013
2003 Vintage. Aroma is very sweet with lots and lots of raisins. Also some dried fruits, caramel and sugary notes. Flavour is lots of caramel, some sugar and fruity notes. Warming alcohol in the finish.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
NordicV (1158) - Malmö, Sweden, SWEDEN - DEC 10, 2013
Flaska, vintage 2005 @ Bishop Arms Savoy, Malmö. Delad med mzaar. Rödbrun öl nästan helt utan skum. Påminner om ett madeiravin i utseende. Även i doft och smak och munkänslan så finns det mycket starkvin. Russin och annan torkad frukt, läder, trä och mörk kola. En smakexplosion som ligger kvar länge.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
mzaar (1608) - Varberg, SWEDEN - DEC 8, 2013
Flaska vintage 2005 @ Bishop Arms Savoy, Malmö. Delad med NordicV. Mahognyfärgad med minimalt skum som snart lägger sig. I doften: Läder, lakrits, körsbär, fudge, plommon, mörk choklad. Smakinslag av russin, fudge,mörk choklad, kaffe, läder, körsbär... Det är perfekt vinöst. Det är mjukt men ändå så oerhört fylligt och kraftigt. Det är som att sitta med ett glas ljuvligt dessertvin. Det är... fantastiskt.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MrFecesious (959) - British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 7, 2013
Bottle share taster. Mini vertical. 2004: dark amber. Aroma of raisin, cherry, alcohol. Taste is so sweet and syrupy. So brilliant. 2005: hazy amber, no cap. Aroma is sour, prunes, honey. Taste is sour and tart. 2006: cloudy amber. A blasted guy was pouring the 2004 & 2006 LOL. Aroma is wet dog, dark fruit, and a muted dry sour note that was more prominent in the '05. Taste is tart with a LONG dry finish. Overall, a good mini vertical with a lot of variance.

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