1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale - Burton Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Burton Bridge Empire India Pale AleBurton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

158 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 158
Reviews: 132
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 17.83%
Wants: 13
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Burton Bridge Brewery
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-01-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 158 | Reviews: 132 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of horndecker
4.13/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting presentation. Odd label, neck label is nice, though.

The brew is a beautiful clear golden brassy-copper hue, with a quick white head. It leaves a little suds. The aromas are tangy and sharp: grass and sweetish toasty malt; peppery pine, almost resinous and medicinal. Nice and refreshing, but not terribly appetizing.
The first thing you taste is a big hop kick, expected, and then a round biscuity malt, like whole wheat bread. The hops come back again in force, bitter yet welcome. Then there is an impression of wildflower honey, perhaps a little caramel. As it warms there is the character of strong unsweetened iced tea. I suppose the wild, bottle-conditioned nature of this brew produces a few odd moments in the malt flavors. But they're all interesting.
The mouthfeel is lively, sharp and refershing. I enjoyed this one.

horndecker, Mar 19, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one is a pure but dull orange in color with a monster, explosive head.

Smell – This aroma is about 60% malts and 40% bitter hops. The hops are very herbal with some very light grapefruity notes. The malts are slightly nutty with some raw sugars and maybe a bit of caramel.

Taste – The bitter hops here get bigger as the ale opens up. The malts have some sugar to them but are mostly reserved. This is a balanced brew. The flavors aren’t explosive but, like the history of the style supposes, will last for a long time.

Mouthfeel – This one is medium-bodied and overly-carbonated. The flavors though are very blended and smooth like a cask-conditioned ale.

Drinkability – The fizzy carbonation kept this from going down well, but it’s a nice example of the style.

RoyalT, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of mynie
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Goodness. That's a head. Hazy orange, too.

Smells like Teryaki beef jerky and apples. Very hoppy, and strange. Not much like any Pale Ale I know of.

Organic hops dominate the flavor. Everything else comes in on the back, and they rush at you as if in desperation. Citrus and yeast jump in there, for a nice, wet finish, leaving a dry aftertaste. Nice

mynie, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of Rastacouere
4.53/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL into Duvel glass. Initially light gushing despite the bottle not having moved since months. A whole bed of sediments lie at the bottom of the glass. Head is at first huge, frothy, but slowly diminishes to an off-white cover. Color is a deep murky orange sand. Nice color really, seems to have reflects of red and brown + the sediments change the light reflection constantly. From the glass come powerful funky aromas, you could almost believe brett was thrown in and this becomes even more apparent as it warms. Big yeasty and fruity (ORANGE, mint tea, cantaloup, pineapple, mango) even woody character. Lingering earthiness, sand-like, almost smoky. Decent hop background. Citrusy on the tongue, tart with those generous drying out orange flavors. Funky (leather, hay) and delicious flavor development containing a warming kiss of alcohol as it warms. I’ve never had something this uniquely yeasty from england. Moderately high carbonation, round powdery medium-full body. Quite salty toward the end. The finish may be the only point that left me wanting more, while it’s long and fruity, whatever hops they used (styrian golding?) almost give it a cardboardy feel the way it combines with the yeasty and fruity acidity. Awesome. Ultimate proof that bottled english ales ought to be mandatory bottle-conditioned, hell this could be an english Saison.

Rastacouere, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of walleye
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a cloudy brown orangish color with a big light tan head that stayed around for a while with some nice lacing. aroma, sweet, floral, hops, citrus,and malts . flavor, malty, hints of orange and alcohol with a slight sour finish . not to bad of a beer

walleye, Nov 04, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one poured a golden color with a finger of head. The nose does not say pale ale of any variety to me. It smells very much like a Balgian, tart like a flanders red. The flavor is the same as the nose, not what I expected from the beer. The sour and tart flavors were not from hops as I had expected, but almost puckered my cheeks. The feel was moderate at best. I liked the beer, but not what I would want from the style.

kmpitz2, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of SheepNutz
3.05/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Half a liter bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a medium orange color with one finger of head. The smell is sweet and spicy, almost tart and a little funky. The taste is fairly bitter, but not in a hop bitterness way. I can't find much hops in this one anyway. The body is a little thin and watery. The drinkability is just there as well. Eh.

SheepNutz, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of clvand0
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy amber color with a moderate head that doesn't have great retention. The aroma was hoppy with some fruit notes, but it also has a certain sourness. The flavor was hoppy/bitter but had a strange sourness about it. Very strange. Finishes slightly bitter. Moderate body and medium drinkability. Not sure how well this one fits the style.

clvand0, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of John
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle conditioned brew. Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale pours a hazy gold with an eggshell coloured rocky dense head. Quite inviting appearance in my 20oz. Nonic. The aroma greets me with an alluring sweet malt, fruity subdued yeast and citrus hop bouquet. The head is persistent. The flavor is a mild blend of the various aroma components in addition to some lovely fruity notes of nearly ripe pear, peach and grape. Orange peel citrus hops finish it off. Elements of alcohol warm but are reserved enough not to offend. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, pleasant. Mellows out as it comes closer to room temperature. Quite a nice beer.

John, Oct 07, 2004
Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer after its release from the 500ml brown bottle sets in the glass a turbid orange-amber color, the head miniscule in size, bubbly in texture and the color a light tan and it vanishes in the wink of eye, the lace forms a very thin sheet that somewhat obscures the glass. Nose has a bit of yeast, lightly sweet, musty would be a good description; the start is lightly sweet, fair malt presence with the top cadaverous. Finish is light in carbonation the hops light weight in their spiciness, aftertaste is desert bone dry with a bit of bitterness from the 7.5 percent ABV, can’t say it pleases me much, sampled it twice as I thought the first bottle bad, sure the hell different from most English Ales.

Gusler, Jul 16, 2004
Photo of cokes
4.35/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy ambered tan with an explosive sandstone head that grows for minutes after the pour. It eventually retreats and forms chasms and trenches.
Tangerine essence and slappy minerality on the nose.
Begins full of fruited doughballs. Peaches, dates, oranges and green grapes. Sweet butterscotch backing. Phenolic vanilla and citrus. Celery stalk bitterness with dusty chalk and booms of hard-water minerals. Ends with a upturn of herbal bitters. Pine nut/tinfoil/mango/woody shrub aftertaste.
Slow carbonated and cask-esque in the mouth. Alcohol is not noted aside from some parching fumes around the swallow.
This is a beauty of a raw, old school, funky-ass EIPA.
Get up and dance.

cokes, Jul 14, 2004
Photo of aracauna
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy yellow amber with a booming white head. This one was a bit of a foamer. Banana bread and a bit of evergreen. This is fairly malty and the big esters give it a bit of uniqueness, but it could really use more hops to really be an IPA. It’s pretty bizarre, actually.

aracauna, Jul 13, 2004
Photo of chugamugofsud
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thie beer pours murky/cloudy amber with a small white head that quickly fades into wisps of white across the top of the glass. The smell is mainly of yeast with a little bit of citrus and the beer tastes thick and yeasty (almost like a bottle-fermented trappist, although more like an American trappist copy). There is really little hop taste in this beer, not like your normal IPA. Instead, the taste is mostly of sugar and yeast with a thick alcohol bitterness arriving late.

chugamugofsud, May 17, 2004
Photo of longpondbeerman
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When I first poured this, I thought I had gotten a bad bottle. It pours an incredibly murky amber; frankly, it looks like orange marmalade with an absolutely enormous tinted head, which easily filled 5/6 of my glass. Then I take a whiff and it smells strange--spicy, sweet, like a cloved barley wine. What the...So, I checked the previous reviews (something I ordinarily try not to do). Nope, they were right on: this is almost a Belgian masquerading as an IPA. Fortunately, I like Belgians well enough. But I like hops even more, so I have to say that for an IPA, this is a disappointment. OK. Shift gears. This is still a worthy enough brew. I got to tell you, however, there's enough residue in the bottle to offer sufficient ballast for the entire voyage to India, and the alcohol is quite invasive in the taste. I could find no hops. Forewarned is forearmed.

longpondbeerman, Apr 16, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I read somewhere that Empire India Pale Ale uses the original IPA recipe, or as close to it as modern day brewers can come. If that's true, I'm anxious to see what those Brits drank way back when.

Orange-accented amber with a slight haze. The head is massive and filled almost the entire pint glass before any beer was visible at the bottom. It's light cream in color, impressively stiff, and craggy as it falls. Foamy rings of lace appear eventually.

The beer smells, strangely enough, like a cross between an IPA and a Belgian ale. It has that earthy, sour, funky aroma that I associate with Belgian yeast. The funkiness is also evident on the palate. Who added Orval to my IPA?

Also present is too much unmasked alcohol. Although there's a decent quantity of hops, their flavor contribution is less than wonderful. BBEIPA tastes somewhat woody as well. The body/mouthfeel is fine, though it is a little too carbonated.

If Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale is what the original IPAs tasted like, then I'm glad that American craft brewers came up with their own take on the style.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 09, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured hazy orange. Huge yellow head that lasts for days.

The aroma was fruity and hoppy with a slight sour note that reminded me of a lambic beer.

The flavor was slightly sour and hoppy, but not overly so, more of a matured hop flavor and bitterness.

The finish was slightly bitter and well done. The body was medium to medium full.

16.9 ounce bottle. The old IPA's were thought to have perhaps been a bit sour in character and hopped to preserve them. This has enough of that lacto/brett character to be authentic.

GCBrewingCo, Feb 18, 2004
Photo of Jables
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The Original IPA, yeah they invented the style.
The pour is a little funny, it sounded like a soda pop all cracklin' and the head had tiny little bubles that fizzed for a bit. It called down and actually maintained some of the head quite well.

The aroma is sweet but sour fruits, sour cherries, apples, pears, and peaches (?).

Tastes like stewed cherries and apples with minimal spices mostly warm subdued fruit flavors. This to me, doesn't taste like a Pale Ale thats bigger with more hops it just tastes like a pale ale with different hops, it's not big at all.

Quite drinkable and refreshing. The mouthfeel is a touch too thin and this beer lacks a "wow" factor but it's by no means bad it's just average-good really.

Jables, Jan 31, 2004
Photo of counselor
2.2/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

pale amber color with an absurdly large fluffy head. This beer smelled like an old refrigerator that had sat unused for months. there was a mild aroma of old oranges. The taste was the same, stale, funky, old. I wonder if it had just sat too long at the package store (usually good turnaround there though). As one other reviewer noted British IPAs tend to dissapoint me and this one certainly did

counselor, Jan 03, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
2.93/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hazy, peachy color, full, creamy froth atop...
Fresh, fruity aroma, yeasty and smooth...becomes creamier and mellow...grapefruit and pineapple sticks out a bit, and it appears stickily sweet...I enflamed my nose to conisder the last time I encountered anything like this...I think it was DogfishHead 120...So far, looks good, smells good,...
but the taste? It don't carry over so well...too much sourness on the palate, too much green apple...Now it's reminding me of that other big, overpriced bottle from these guys, Olde Expensive Ale. Don't know why IPAs from England disappoint me so often.
Taste flattens out, becomes tinny, plasticine...not pleasant at all.
My experiences with this company continue to be one-time affairs, sorry to say...

feloniousmonk, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting incarnation of the IPA. Perhaps I've gotten too used to "Americanized" versions, this one has some unique fruity hops flavors. Almost spiced in nature, like a Belgian witbier, and the pear-like flavors also brought to mind Belgian ales, Orval in particular.

Also one of the most enthusiastically carbonated beers I've run across. After opening the bottle I went for a glass. On returning I found the beer happily foaming out of the bottle. A few inches of beer filled the glass with foam, so I left it to settle. When I returned, the beer was once again foaming out of the bottle.

An interesting beer. Big and solid, with hoppy orchard fruit flavors livening things up. While the grapefruity/piney hops of the Pacific Northwest are still my favorite, this is an entertaining variation.

Brent, Sep 28, 2003
Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a deep orange with a huge sticky orange tinted head,aroma is of orange rind and slightly geranium like.I got a hint of orange and mineral right off the bat with this with a dryish finish this a kick in the ass IPA for sure.Why the low ratings on this beer I think it is a very well made beer,I guess Iam just different.

oberon, Sep 17, 2003
Photo of BeerResearcher
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is an oddball IPA. It pours a cloudy amber with an overly carbonated head and nice thick trails of lace. The aroma is yeasty and clovey up front and some malt and spicy hop aroma in the background. There's a sweet malt body somewhere, but it seems to be compromised by a Champaign-like effervescence. The grapefruit, lemon zest and spicy hop bitterness mingle with coriander and clove-like flavors. The alcohol begins to reveal itself at the halfway point, as does a caramel quality. I continuously upgraded and/or downgraded my rating of this brew throughout this review. So, the best I can offer is; this is a must try, because of all the crazy angles and surprises.

BeerResearcher, Sep 16, 2003
Photo of far333
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is an IPA? Am I too used to American IPA's or is this one a little off? Hazy honey color with an orange frothy head that lingers. The hop profile is very light. It's fresh and floral, but it is overpowered by a fruity, yeasty, doughey sweet flavor. The mouthfeel is round and creamy, but the flavor is off to me. Couldn't finish the glass. Too sweet for me.

far333, Aug 31, 2003
Photo of TripelJ
2.28/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought this hoping to discover another great english IPA, and I was a little disappointed. First I crack the bottle, I can't help but take a quick *whiff* from the bottle--UGH--gross! This beer is the most wretched smelling brew I have ever smelt before. I have bottles of vinegar that smell better than this and that is all this beer smells like. The taste is average at best with a moderate hop profile (I was expecting a lot more). Maybe this is a bad brew because my stomach is already upset with me over the quarter pint I have consumed. The rest is going in the sink.

TripelJ, Aug 22, 2003
Photo of 86MonteSS
1.6/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Reading the reviews, I could have gotten a bad bottle or an average one, but either way, this stuff was wretched. I'm serious, this was really, really bad. The best way I can describe it is: you know how the doctor's office smells? That's what this tastes like.

I've had a couple Burton-upon-Trent beers in my life and that was the only reason I bought this--I had a lot of faith in the town. I paid $5.50 for the last bottle in the store (they didn't think they'd ever get any more), thinking I had stumbled across England's biggest and greatest secret. But no, instead of a malty and robust pale ale, I got a cotton swab and a tongue depressor. Turn your head and cough, motherf***er.

I'd really like to try this again. I don't think I got the best (or the youngest) bottle of the lot. But until I've had another sample, my decision stands: This was undeniably horrible. I hate, nay... detest pouring out beer but I had to discard at least 18 ounces of this stuff. It's funny... I paid only $4 for the best beer I've had in my life (Rochefort 10) and over $5 for one of the absolute worst. Variety is the spice of life, huh? *hurl*

86MonteSS, Aug 12, 2003
Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale from Burton Bridge Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 158 ratings.