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Olde Expensive Ale - Burton Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Olde Expensive AleOlde Expensive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

52 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 52
Hads: 59
Avg: 3.03
pDev: 23.1%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Burton Bridge Brewery
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 11-02-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Olde Expensive Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 52 | Hads: 59
Photo of Bitterbill
2.52/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy rust coloured, huge head of foam despite being pulled from the fridge and poured carefully.

Bitter hops and sourness in the smell.

Very bitter starting off, moves to the sour side, actually goes back and forth during the session.

Champagne like carbonation doesn't help.

I don't see any dating of any sorts on the bottle.

Weird drinking experience.

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Photo of pat61
3.5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruit and bread on the nose with some spicy hop. Pours hazy amber with a thick 3” rocky head with a slight amber tint. Light malts, grain, bread on the palate finishes dry. Medium full body with medium low carbonation. Overall meh.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
2.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Second most forceful blowout of a bottle I've ever had, with beer gushing out of the bottle like a fire hose for what seemed like minutes, gushering over my counter, rugs and floor. How could a small bottle hold that much foam and beer? After mopping up and putting the rug in the washer (it was soaked and very malty), I was pleased to see two inches of beer in my Dogfish Head pint glass, a cloudy caramel color with a thin off-white head that actually had surprising retention considering that had been so active. Aroma of light caramel malt, apple and pear juice, lightly woody and earthy. Flavor is wild saison yeast, light funk, light apple juice, mild tartness, finishing earthy and funky with a mild brett-like bitterness. Light bodied with moderate carbonation. A very odd little ale, not remotely resembling an old ale (although maybe it did at some point?). Like others here, I honestly don't know whether this is an eccentric, funky saison yeast bitter or an old ale that is very badly infected. Since reviews go back almost eight years with similar over carbonation and funkiness, it must be intentional. Oh and I get the name now! 2 ounces of beer out a 17 ounce bottle. Olde Expensive indeed.

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Photo of spointon
1.98/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I poured this from a 500ml brown bottle into an Imperial nonic pint glass.

A= Very highly carbonated. Poured a very hazy peach/orange color with a foamy 4" head (gentle pour at cold fridge temp). The head took forever to settle and left behind some impressive foamy stickage down the glass.

S= Wow its a lambic!?!? Nose full of musty, fruity, brett-infused funk. No hops or real malt to speak of...

T= Thin sweetness leads immediately into a cherry pie tartness, some light hints of oak, and not much else. Finishes bone dry and medicinal.

MF= Uber-thin body (way over-attenuated) with a crazy spritzy effervescence on the tongue.

D= At one time this may have been an old ale but it is totally infected and has morphed into a lambic-esque sour. Seriously, nothing about this ale resembles what it is supposed to be, but wow if someone handed it to me and said it was a half-assed Flanders Red I would believe it. THat's interesting and all, but this is just a showpiece of shoddy quality control. Judging from other recent reviews, this is not a rare infection. Beware.

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Photo of FanofHefe
2.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pint bottle poured into a Duvel tulip; no dating on the bottle or label. WOW, this thing is hyper-carbonated. It takes several pours to get a drinkable amount in the glass Tan head and tons of lacing. Clear, light amber body with a hint of red. Looks pretty good after all the foam dissipates.

Not sure about the aroma. A bit of light fruit, apple or pear, is present. Seems light a lager-type yeast and some malt tending toward caramel make up the remainder.

Well, it does not taste like the aroma. The flavor is like burnt fruit, maybe like after putting a piece of fruit, probably apple, on a stick and roasting it over an open fire. Nearly none of the light fruit or malt are able to get through that burnt taste.

The taste also detracts from the mouthfeel. Overall, not recommended.

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Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A careful pour yields a cloudy apricot colored liquied with a massive meringue of a head; nice retention and plenty of splashy lace

Smell: Very fruity, with a mineral/herbal twist on the overripe pear and apple aroma; doughy, with some diacetyl, as well

Taste: Opens with a doughy character; the mineral and herbal aspect drives the fruit in a decidedly sour direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the caramel comes to the fore but there is a bit of butterscotch from the diacetyl that punctuates the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, somewhat creamy, with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: I know I am going against the tide here, but I rather enjoyed this very different beer; I like the sour and fruit elements along with the caramel and was not put off too much by the diacetyl

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Photo of John_M
3.78/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm sure there's an explanation behind the name, but I don't get it. On cask at Max's today.

The beer pours a copper amber color with very good head retention and decent lacing. On the nose, I really get very little... just some grain, sweet malt and cereal aroma. The flavor profile is much better, with this moderately sweet beer coming across as malty, but with a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish. There's a bit of a alcohol heat in the finish, but otherwise the flavors aren't bad. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly soft and long finish. Drinkability is decent, except for the heat in the finish.

While nothing extraordinairy, I don't quite understand the poor reviews for this beer. The bottled version must really be wretched. As for the cask version I had tonight, all I can say is that I've had far worse....

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Photo of froghop
2.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a clear amber with heavy carbonation, a bubbly off-white head, and some lacing.

smell is faint, caramel, and malt.

taste is tangy, caramel, sour malt, a touch of citrus, and a little metallic, ends a somewhat bitter.

overall ive had better old ales.

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Photo of Florida9
3.1/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Light brown with just a hint of orange and a slight chill haze. A small white head forms with little retention, though it does leave some lace on the way down.

S: Sweet malt. Vinous.

D & M: Sweet flat malt on the front end, almost like drinking wort. More of the vinous characteristics: green grapes, "foxy" or "racy" in wine terminology. Some oak comes out as the beer warms. A surprisingly light body with virtually no carbonation at all.

D: This is an odd one. Not necessarily bad, just different. Its almost as it someone decided to make a "lite" barleywine. However, it does go done surprisingly easy.

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Photo of goethean
3.91/5  rDev +29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Way over-carbonated. Amber.

Nice distinct light toffee typically English ale flavor. A bit light in body and flavor for an old ale (at least for this extreme beer enthusiast). Herbal hops flavor is clearly present, which is surprising for an English brew. Overall, probably not something I'd go out of my way to obtain, but no complaints here.

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Photo of drpimento
2.9/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Odde ducke. As soon as I opened it I smelled sherry and walnuts. Poured straight into the middle of the glass and got a little head, no lace. Color is dark amber with a little color particle haze. Upon sticking my schoz into the beer I got lots of other stuff: cider, leather, dirt, Burton-on-Trent smell, caramel, minerals, and yeast. Flavor's about the same. Body's a hair thin. Finish is ok. Not one of my favs. Got to be much better from the cask. Got this bottle last week at Sam's in Chicago.

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Photo of wl0307
4/5  rDev +32%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 500ml brown long-neck bottle, filtered I presume. Freshness info. unavailable on the beer label, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: pours a light copper hue with a huge and tightly frothy beige head that lasts extremely well, fed by an unusually high level of carbonation.
S: sweet perfumy apple-ly, caramely & creamy malts come with a touch of overripe-fruits-like dense yeasty-sweetness, very much like a lot of other English strong ales I've come across. The overall impression is however very quiet, hinting at a depth of something underneath the huge froth. No doubt; as the froth dissipates, a fine nose of sweet tea, sweet plum-flesh, date-ish fruits, and herbs are lifted to the surface by a good swirl. Integrated and rich, albeit not terribly complex. Very English.
T: moderately sour fruity swallow with a quiet flavour and light alc. rule at first, then gradually, an aromatic tea-ish and dry-nutty taste creep up, leading towards a sherry-like dry aftertaste with aromatic licorice-flavoured prunes (a Taiwanese delicacy) and an old-ish spicy/peppery taste mixed of old fortified-wine (like Masala) and English hops... A slightly alcoholic mouthfeel emerges in the very end, but the palate remains powdered-herbally dry-ish and enjoyable.
M&D: contrary to the appearance, the mouthfeel goes rather smooth on top of a very decent, moderate body overall. The aftertaste really shows the depth of flavour and maybe the touch of "old-ness" any aged strong ale should demonstrate. This is NOT a big, complex, exciting old ale that one might expect. This is NOT even an Old Ale according to the definition on this website. However, this ale rings a bell of the traditional West Country-style aged strong pale beer that won over people's palate with the controlled sourness and lingering dryish palate. Give it a good slurp and sit back - you'll really enjoy it in the end.

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Photo of Offa
1.72/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This is another dud from Burton Bridge for me, similar to the Empire IPA and, like the other, makes me suspect that the bottle was bad.

Cloudy brownish yellow amber, it has a huge pale tan head, fizzy, slowly shrinking and never vanishing, leaving no real lace.

The aroma is strong bananas, old musty grapes, yeast, peach, some bitter orange.

The taste is similar, a little better than expected after the Empire ale experience and the signs so far, but not much. It's highly alcoholic- winey with old, fermenting bananas, turned peaches, yeasty. It is tart, a little sour, bitter. The best part is a dry, almost leafy quality that tries to take over in the finish but then fades, leaving a bad aftertaste. It's even worse as it warms and is undrinkable.

I may try this again, on the belief that this was bas, but many others seem to have had a similar experience.

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Photo of henrysunset
2.55/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

clear of cloudiness, amber in color with huge head of medium light tan bubbles.

scent is citrus, sweet malt, but not dark. may be slightly off flavor.

Taste is acidic, unbalanced, bitter and has an off quality. Aftertase of an unpleasent woodiness.

a bit thin and alcoholic, odd for the low 6.5 ABV. uninspirational.

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Photo of jwc215
3.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle:

Pours hazy/murky tea-like amber with a head that has good staying power. Trailing lacing sticks.
As per instructions, I decanted carefully, letting sediment settle and left in bottle. Still, it did not pour the "clear" that it states it would on the label. The head retention and lacing save it.

The smell is a vague fruitiness - lemon and peach - with some caramel.

The taste is of an odd fruitiness - overripe pear and apricot with lemon and orange. Restrained caramel and some mustiness. It has a sour and bitter - almost aspirin-like - finish.

Rather thin, but just about hits medium-bodied. Dryness lingers.

A bit raw, with alcohol coming through more than it probably should.

Drinkable for one, I suppose - pretty hoppy for style (though not in a way that "works" very well. Not "sessionable", though it probably wasn't meant to be. I thought this might be an out-of-date bottle - no freshness date indicated - but, looking at other reviews, I suppose it is what it is. It sort of has potential - but imbalanced and fruitiness just doesn't mesh well, and maltiness doesn't really shine forth the way it should.

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Photo of baos
2.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into my bicentennial Mason jar.

A: Huge head a hand and a half into my jar until it overflowed. Cloudy copper body. Head dwindles down to a nice sheen. Definitely Martin not Charlie.

S: Smells like dried apricots and candy. Maybe a bit of clove and pink bubblegum.

T: Here's where it kinda goes downhill. My first Old Ale, this is a strange brew. Very bitter kinda like an esb but with a stale candy taste in the backdrop. Ends dry and peculiarly sour.

M: Kinda watery.

D: Well the sourness kind of grows on you, but I doubt I"ll choose this one again although it has made me very interested in what a well made example of this style will taste like.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Olde Expensive Ale

A- Cloudy reddish orange with a huge thick head. Heavy thick lacing down half the glass.
S- Orange peels and tea leaves.
T- Sweet orange rind, tea leaves, caramel malt, and spices; pepper and clove come through.
M- Thin and a little watery but becoming more cloying further in. Alc. appears in the aftertaste.

Overall- I enjoyed this 1! Simple, flavorful, and easy to drink a few.

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Photo of dsa7783
2.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

1 Pint, 9 fl oz bottle copped singly from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
Pours a hazy, cloudy, murky, ruby-red, light-brown color with absolutely no head at all and very minimal lacing...
Very faint, subtle, almost non-existing aroma with a slight suggestion of grains, wheats, and malts...
Average, at best taste- very light and nondescript witha small hint of caramel and vanilla thrown in the mix... No alcohol was noticeable, but the mouthfeel was very watered-down and faint, pale, and almost non-existent... Poor level of drinkability as well, with not much going on here...
Overall, this beer seemed almost "nonexistent" in terms of flavor and taste...
Poor sample - not recommended...

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Photo of danielharper
2.12/5  rDev -30%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: This beer nearly leaped out of the bottle at me, likely overcarbonated. First pour leaves huge head that fills up nearly two-thirds of the glass -- after removing some of it I managed to fill up enough of the glass to get an idea of the color and consistency. Dingy brown body, very hazy. Very thick head (obviously), off-white colored.

Smell: Hard to classify. Slightly musty, malty. Reminds me more of a brown ale than an Old Ale. Slightly nutty. No hops in nose.

Taste: Very malty, roasty. A touch of unfermented sugar in the wort I think -- slightly sweet and somewhat cloying. Slightly astringent, not complex at all.

Mouthfeel: Thin, watery. Apparently this one lets all its carbonation out in the original bang, 'cause I'm not getting it in this glass.

Drinkability: I'll finish this one, but this is really a brown ale marketed as an Old Ale. Reclassify it as a brown and it isn't so bad, but this is just a disappointment.

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Photo of Hautacam
4.3/5  rDev +41.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First of all... I had this ON CASK ( My Place Restaurant, Newtown, CT)...nothing like the shitty reviews for the bottles.
This is a really tasty brew. Medium brown with a foamy tan head. Smells a bit doughy and metallic....slight hint of phenol.
The taste was a well balanced slightly sweet, steely malt with a sharp hop bite that came on fast and lasted. There were hints of pome fruits , caramel and a very slight bit of sulfur way in the back.
The body on cask was really nice, gentle carbonation and medium to full bodied. I had a few Imperial pints and had to leave, but I could have sipped this stuff all night. I hope to see this again.

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Photo of Metalmonk
2.41/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sure looks good, a red-tinted dirty copper color and a huge fluffy head that sticks around a long time. A little bit of lace shows up as the glass empties.

Aroma gives off a candy-like sweetness, a bit fruity, with something rather hard to pin down--maybe toffee, maybe butterscotch, not really either though. And an infernal malt liquor type wang. Despite its 6.5% alcohol, it smells pretty boozy. As it sits and warms, it REALLY starts smelling boozy. The more I smell, the more I think "aftershave". Uh oh.

Flavor is rough. There's a cherry succulence trying to work its way in...and some sherry-soaked berry and apple...but these flavors and anything else potentially enjoyable are steamrollered by a grossly medicinal flavor that just spells w-r-o-n-g. I tried to taste it for the part of me that loves weird, bitter, funky, dirty beers, but there's a fine line between that kind of sublimity and just plain ugliness. Because this is a larger bottle, I poured twice. The second pour shot out some yeast, though I didn't swirl. The flavor became a bit nuttier, so I raised the Taste score from 1.5 to 2. Big deal.

Mouthfeel is okay, carbonation-wise, but the paint-thinner veneer of the finish literally leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


This bottle is way too big.

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Photo of BretSikkink
2.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow. Burst of carbonation leaves me with approximately four finger head, retention is really quite incredible at this volume (i.e., it's not getting any smaller). Gets rather rocky but otherwise quite light and spongy, lacing includes many good-sized bubble populating the interior of the glass. I've had too much time to look at it...

Dark fruit sweetness, the malts run the show here along with some lively diacetyl yeast. Pears come to mind to describe the sweetness.

Same with the flavor, which is accompanied by a rush of carbonation down the throat - this could give you hiccups. Raisin steps forth to claim dominance in the flavor, maybe dextrin was the correct sugar. There is a definite hop presence that emerges near the finish, which doesn't balance as much as it should: the bitter and spicy aftertaste works with the sticky sugars, with the result being a very sticky residual that mucks up the palate.

Re-pour at this point. Once again, this beer is badly overcarbonated. It reacts like badly-tapped keg beer. I've seen conditioned bottles shatter after falling from upright onto their sides by a kid's foot on a tile floor so I know the amount of pressure from secondary fermentation, but this beer would require an oversided tulip to contain that head, while I only accounted for an English old ale with my nonic.

As far as the style, it matches the characteristics of thickish, viscous malt-driven brews with a good level of bitterness and dark fruit characteristics. The off-putting thing is the foam, which makes it hard to drink..I wish the 500 mL English bottle had been a regular 355. The lacing is beautiful, however. The glass looks like an off-white blizzard hit it, and if this were served off a cask at room temperature it could be very enjoyable.

Bottom line: as astringent and alcohol-apparent as this old ale is, 6.5% is an almost unacceptable abv. I would grant this beer many props if the brewer was hiding 10-12% in there, but this is difficult to stomach. My advice for those with an unopened bottle is to cellar it for a while and serve it slightly chilled, waiting a bit before pouring, and doing so carefully (or "unhurriedly" as Duvel says). Consume quickly, and consider having a friend.

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Photo of yinzer
2.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

appearance: nice lingering head, amber color

smell: very fruity for an old ale. pleasant pear nose.

taste: nice flavor, nothing special. A bit tart finish with no rhyme or a reason Some malt to balance.

mouthfeel: pleasant with lingering carbonation.

drinkablitly: just not a fun beer. I might not finish the bottle.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.68/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer shows disapointment from the outset. An overcarbonated, fizzy pour brought a broze colored beer with quickly fading head retention. Unavoidable aromas of esters and fusal alcohols overpower the malts, hops, and subtle nuances. Flavors don't fare much better. Quite hot and fruity with high levels of buttery, yeasty flavors. The body is moderate, but pales underneath the harshness. Seems that this beer was designed correctly, but fermented at temperatures that were way too high. Likely not to try this one again.

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Photo of horndecker
1.94/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Plump matronly bottle with a foil hairpiece....ugly label, poor design, bad drawing....

Pop the top and the room fills with sweet candy-ish aromas. The beer is highly carbonated. Tons of foam, fine and frothy, eventually subsides to a light coat of fuzz. Color is deep copper and bit cloudy.

It smells old. Er, olde. A bit citric, old socks, materized white wine, banana. Very funky

It tastes awful. Er, awful. To be more specific, a citric wash flashes away to a tiny moment of candy sweetness and leaves you with a relentless nasty bitterness.

Is this a bad bottle? Do they mean it to taste this way? I can hardly take enough sips to gather enough information to write this review. It did have a nice foamy mouthfeel though.

Steer clear.

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Olde Expensive Ale from Burton Bridge Brewery
72 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.