Old Tom is considered an English Strong Ale and is somewhere in the middle of a Pale Ale and a Barleywine bold and fruity with, most likely, noticeable alcohol flavour. Being that this one is 8.5 ABV, I'm inclined to think that it is most possible.
Yup! The bottle is pretty cool! Old Tom gets points for being homebrew friendly!
I poured this beer at about 55 degrees and it seems to be just perfect. It pours a very dark amber in my tulip goblet shaped glass (I guess I should learn glassware names better) and leaves a nice tan head with a Friar Tuck cap in the center and pretty decent lacing.
Fruit esters first hit my nose right out of the bottle then in the glass malt sweetness predominates with notes of dark fruit, slight acidic bite, molasses, vanilla and a twinge of alcohol.
I thought this would taste more syrupy from the aroma, but it actually isn't overly sweet. The malt sweetness is the road that cherry, oak, vanilla and molasses ride on and finish in a mildly pepper parking lot. There is not a whole lot of bitter, but enough that it tames the sweetness a tad. Along the way alcohol is mildly noticeable becoming more apparent on the way down your gullet (warming is the nice way of putting it).
This beer is on the sweet side, but befitting of the style and the body is medium which is lighter than I had anticipated. The carbonation is light to moderate and there is a slight slimy and numb feeling on my tongue.
Overall, I think this beer is pretty incredible! If it is not world class, it has to be close. I do find it a touch on the sweet side and a little bit high on the alcohol, but that is part of the story of this beer. It is an attractive looking, smelling and tasting beer that is not hoppy and I am going to give it a solid 4 out of 5! Well done! I will seek this beer out and recommend it to others!
I would encourage anyone wanting to get a taste of English ales to try this beer! And if you haven't tried an English Ale or any other Ale, get off that duff and do so, life isn't going to come to you, you have to seek it out! Don't waste your time!