Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 1979

On Friday I opened my birthday present and shared it with Sarah. My bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale was brewed (or perhaps bottled) 2 months before I was born. This was by far the oldest beer I had ever drunk and in no way did it disappoint.

I popped the crown seal and a faint whisper of gas escaped. I poured it into a jug and left it for 10 minutes to breath. 30 years is along time to be constrained under glass. I was quite surprised at how dark the beer was, a very dark brown. Far darker than the 1999 vintage I had a couple of weeks ago and still darker than the O’Hanlon’s vintages.

The beer poured a very dark viscous brown with the faintest whisper of a white head that disappeared immediately. The aroma featured an incredibly complex cocktail of aged intense malt (Borvril, Milo), marmite, beef stock, citrus (orange flesh) a perfume note, Madeira wine, and a refined sensation of warmth. In the mouth the beer was luscious, smooth and viscous but in no way cloying, full in body yet brisk as a volcano you might say! Flavours of Madeira, a salty note, some liquorice, more orange fruit, and lovely vinous warmth all featured. I had high expectations but I had no idea this beer was going to be this good. Pure liquid engineering!

When I added this to ratebeer I was informed that this was my 100th rate (I don’t do it much obviously) and I was rewarded with a REALLY bad heavy metal music clip from You Tube, weird.


Greig McGill said...

Ohhhh yeah! What a way to welcome your birthday. Cheers for the text too, nice to get the live feed as it were! ;)

Sam Possenniskie said...

wait until you get to 500 - it is a real hoot!

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

It may never happen, 6 years or so and only just 100.

Bailey said...

I tend to think Marmite/Bovril flavours in beer are a bad thing, but this does sound pretty special. Oh, and happy birthday, by the way.

Kelly Ryan said...

Funny enough, I had a 1979 on my 31st birthday this year! Sounds like we tasted a few similar characters, you can check out my tasting notes on it here

Hopefully will get to the Malthouse when I'm over in NZ mid-February and bring a couple of bottles of Thornbridge beers to taste. Looking forward to it!


John de Terre Neuve said...

Funny, I have had 2 bottles of the Sept 1979 vintage for 32 years now, I bought them in 1980 when I was attending the University of Southampton. I would have thought they would have long gone bad. Well maybe I will just pop stopper off one of them this year