The last time I tried Robinsons Old Tom English strong ale I was rather unimpressed. I certainly didn’t think it lived up to the boast on the neck label – “world’s best ale”.
But when I saw a version with chocolate on the shelves at Dan Murphy’s I still bought a bottle. Why? Because it was a new beer and I’m a sucker for new beers at Dan’s. I do have my standards though, there was also an Old Tom with ginger next to the chocolate version but I thought that would just taste awful so I didn’t bother with that.
Still, this chocolate Tom sat there in the beer section of my house for several months. I kept passing it over because of my dislike of the original Old Tom’s. So it was tailor-made for this week. While it was better than the original, I could still taste the unpleasant alcohol tones that I disliked the first time around (part of me thought that, a year on, my palate would have developed enough that the original Old Tom would now taste good – nope).
For me the sweetness of the chocolate (I think it might be real chocolate rather than a flavour derived from malt) really worked well in counteracting the ickyness of the overt alcohol flavours of the original.
It’s a definite improvement. Though I’m still not keen on trying the ginger version.