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: 1210   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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Nate (4279) - 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 (4182) - 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.

MullMan (1099) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - FEB 8, 2005
2004 bottle. color is mahogany and garnet, clear. minimal tan head is only a ring inside the glass. aroma is deeep malt, port, sherry, fig, some toffee, single malt whiskey. flavor is a powerful malt surge. mouthfeel starts glassy & slick with light to low carbonation. sweetness is very strong like a tawny. strong alcohol presence is like a smooth whiskey, very warming. I had this 15 years ago but I don’t remember it being so sweet.

JonMoore (2067) - Loughborough, Leicestershire, ENGLAND - FEB 7, 2005
2004. Dark amber colour with a soon gone head. Rich caramel, sweet and malty aroma. Very sweet, spicey and malty taste. Warming alcohol. Supreme creamy mouthfeel. Seems to be improving as it warms up. Fantastic stuff.

Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - FEB 3, 2005
UPDATED: MAR 25, 2010 2003 #13817. Pours deep mahogany with only a ring of bubbles. Aroma very vinous. Has grapes,prunes,raisins and some toffee/burnt caramel. Flavor is wine like fruit. Very oily mouthfeel. Has a big warming feeling almost a burn. Will have to try again after it ages.3-25-10. 04 bottle. Murky brwon, no head whatsoever. Huge nose of dark fruits, caramel/toffee, and faint oxidation/cardboard. Flavor is dominated by a tart cherry character, with huge toffee/caramel character as well. Residuel sweetness is a little much for me. Oily slick mouthfeel.

pineypower (3327) - Ocean County, New Jersey, USA - FEB 1, 2005
2004. Poured out a thick syrup color with what seemed about the same consistancy. The aroma tells of brown sugar and toffee, which carries over into the taste. The taste is also balanced by notes of fruit and sweet malts. Not what I expected, but not too bad

LoveCaissa (873) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - JAN 29, 2005
2003. 250 ml. Bottle No. 12131. Pretty brownish colour. Aroma and flavour are immensely sweet. Lots of toffee, raisins, prunes, plums etc. Considering the fact that this is my rating No. 500 it was actually a little disappointing. IMHO the sweetness is a little too overwhelming.

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