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

Local Distribution

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RATINGS: 1196   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.95/5   EST. CALORIES: 351   ABV: 11.7%
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.

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Dorwart (2616) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - MAR 7, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 4, 2006 (2004) Thin, dense head. Surprisingly good carbonation. Head refomed nicely upon swirling. Rich complex aroma. Pears, tons of caramel, wood, roasted malts. It’s all in there. Color is a dark mahagony red. Excellent flavor. Rich and silky smooth. Good helping of malts, caramel, toast and a nice alcohol burn and warming as it goes down. Little sweet and syrupy. Finish it thick and lingering. A very, very good barleywine. No oxidation present whch is awesome.

3fourths (9367) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - FEB 27, 2005
2003 - Sickly oily aroma of old pears, caramel butter, smoking tobacco and other old/aged qualities. Very potent and sharp alcohol and old, rotting plums, pears and peaches. Hard to take on the tongue... sour and moldy tasting. I honestly just can’t get into something like this. Too sweet and fruity, can’t they put some hops in this thing?

Wacher (129) - Århus C, DENMARK - FEB 26, 2005
2003 #O02036. Dyb rødbrun farve. En anelse uklar. Skummet er næsten ikke-eksisterende. Duften af blommer i Madiera vælder én i møde, med det samme. Men der gemmer sig også figner, karamel og en anelse alkohol i aromaen. Øllet opleves først som sirup; tykt og sødt. Derefter overtager alkoholen, med mindelser om rom, blommer, og ege-fade. Til sidst en anelse bitterhed.

Dalle (1145) - Skørping, DENMARK - FEB 22, 2005
Bottle. Reddish brown colour with no head. Over-ripe fruit, apples, pulms, touch of bonfire and some brandy-ish alcohol. Smooth with very low carbonation. Delicious.

mullet (849) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - FEB 20, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 13, 2006 Bottle (2003 vintage) brought back from Regional Wines by my housemate. I had wanted to try this beer for the longest time since reading Jackson’s raves about it, and I must say I was quite disappointed. Nice copper-brown colour, negligible head. Big malty, toasty, almond aroma with a subdued prune fruitiness - nice but not especially interesting or complex. Flavour is incredibly sweet. The malt character is actually really good, with a big thick body and a nice muscat-esque sultana character but it’s just SWEET. Alcohol is perceptible but blends in well. I thought there’d be some hop character but there isn’t. Even after at least 12 months in the bottle this still tastes like it hasn’t finished fermenting - I think I understand what people mean when they say Samichlaus or SA Triple Bock need years of aging before becoming approachable. Half of a 250mL bottle was easily enough for me. I now have the dilemma of what to do with the other bottle - drink it now when it’s sickly sweet or age a beer that has already travelled two long distance trips... I think I like oxidation better than sugar. Thanks Rob.
RR: 2005 bottle, drank early 2006. Salty, meaty, sherry-ish aroma like something ten years older. Tastes very young, though. Intensely fruity-sweet. Massively malty, but equally apricoty. Interesting stuff again, but I still don’t particularly like it.

Nate (4296) - Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 19, 2005
2004 vintage, #P42441. Thanks to rickgordon for this, #1300. Alcohol vapors inlcluding isopropyl, ethyl acetate, some soy, licorice, sweet malts, molasses and brown sugar. Oak. Chestnut brown clear with just a hint of head. Thick heavy body, oily, with very little carbonation. Alcohol warming and light carbonic burning. Starts syrupy sweet with heavy tangy notes of soy sauce, molasses, and overripe fruit. Sweetness calms a bit with some more vinuous tang, alcohol, oak and caramel. Medium bitterness comes in to finish, though still outdone by the sweetness. After is sugary, vaporous, and leaves a mildly cloying nutty-molasses sweetness on the tongue. I think this beer is too raw at this stage, and would benefit from a few years cellaring. But as I’m leaving in a week and have no room in my suitcases, I’m drinking it today. C’est la vie.

Padron4KM (810) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - FEB 18, 2005
UPDATED: SEP 3, 2006 2004 edition # p09399.
Pours out a rich mahogany, with a 1/2" reddish brown creamy head.
Head settles to a thin thin cap rather quickly and leaves no lace.
Aroma is rich. Malty, plummy, rum, caramel, brown sugar, faint wisp of alcohol.
Creamy smooth mouthfeel.
Flavor is equally rich, but not quite mature yet. Like a young cigar the flavors are there and balanced, but not quite "married" yet.
sweet, malty with some biting hops, some spice, some caramel, prunes, warming alcohol at the end.
I Will be cellaring a couple of bottles of this to see how they age.
I drank this one by itself, but it would be a perfect companion for a Fuente Don Carlos no. 4, a La Flor Dominicana 2000 series El Jocko (or a no. 4) or a Romeo y Julieta en tubo petite no 2. As for a cuban variety maybe a Romeo cedros deluxe no 2.
(04 bottle 9/3/06 update) still too young I think. port like, warming alcohol, bit of yeastiness. flavors are coming together nicely.

KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - FEB 18, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 14, 2009 2003... Very expensive stuff... not sure if it’s quite worth the price but oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Anyway, this stuff pours as thick as fog in San Francisco, but doesn’t cling to the glass, uh, like fog in SF I guess. The taste is thick and filled with some kind of spice mixture-- perhaps orange and a little cinnamon, with a splash of rum? Not bad, but it would be better if the price was lower.

backroadbob (6) - Walnut Creek, California, USA - FEB 11, 2005 does not count
2004 edition. Orange cedar color.Delicate head that doesn’t cling to the sides. Nice carmelly apricot fig aromas would suggest more age. Fairly simple date sugar, preserved lemon, slighltly woody, toasted pumpernickel flavors. Long, warm, carmelly finish. I don’t have any old ones to compare to, but if memory serves, this seems much sweeter.

FlacoAlto (4234) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 10, 2005
Vintage bottled 2004, Sampled February 2005
Pours a lightly hazy orange-amber color, it is topped by a thinnish tan to pale brown head. The aroma is rich and heady with notes of brandy, toffee, butterscotch, caramel. The aroma is quite heady and interesting.

The taste is fresh and hoppy with notes of pine, a hint of citrus, and of course rich malty notes of caramel, toffee, and lightly toasty biscuits. This is quite tasty fresh, it has been so long since I had a non-aged version of this that I forgot how fresh and pungent this is when it is brash and young. This is quite tasty, and I really like the sweet toffee, malted candy notes that dominate this beer right now, and there is a nice balancing hoppy bitterness in the finish. As it warms up a bit a little soothing note of warming alcohol starts to tickle my throat, perhaps accentuating notes of rum and brandy.

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