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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) AleOlde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

440 Ratings
THE BROS
76
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 440
Reviews: 301
rAvg: 4
pDev: 11%
Wants: 25
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 440 | Reviews: 301
Reviews by Zraly:
Photo of Zraly
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with off-white head. Bubbles in the head are a bit big -- maybe my pour was too vigorous up front. Nonetheless, nice malty nose.

Smooth and a nice note of caramel. Semi-sweet. A bit of wood -- and as it it is aged in oak one would expect this! Slight hint of peat. Medium-bodied and slightly rich. Very pleasant and elegant mouthfeel. Classy. For me, it's a nice beer to re-tune the palate.

Went real nice with aged extra sharp cheddar cheese.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poures a deep brown with some ruby-like tint to it with almost no head to it,very nice aroma of oak and caramel with some brown sugar.A real sipping brew here to savor the different flavors some big oaky notes along with some brown sugar and caramel with this,an almost cola-like flavor as well, as it warms the oak comes thru even more.A real nice old, ale here one to savor.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.33/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

Olde Suffolk is a blend of two beers; one is a 12 percent Strong Beer that was aged in oak for two years, and the other is a fresh Pale Ale of 5 percent ABV. It says "Caramel Color Added" on the label. Is it necessary to add coloring to beer?

Light and faint spritzy carbonation conjures up a finger of bubbly head that sticks to the glass a bit. The clarity is fine with this garnet-tinged brown brew. Hints of vanilla, toffee, Portuguese sweetbreads and date sugar in the aroma. Creamy, slick mouthfeel with an underlying smoothness in a full body. Lots of malt action going on here; sweetness is kept to a minimum or at least does not stray too far to be cloying. Suggestions of ripe dates; toffee or brittle; mild, roasted, sweetened coffee; and a musty diacetyl in the back. Hop character is modest, with a faded herb flavor, middle to end. Grain husk and some cooked veggies in the finish.

For anyone who likes to explore complex, malty beers, this one will captivate you. But you have to wonder what the 12 percent Strong Beer tasted like on its own. Boursin cheese and basil-stuffed chicken breast over Parmesan risotto is a very appealing pairing.

Photo of t8000shx
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a .5L bottle into a tulip

Deep auburn, opaque at the center, translucent along the sides. It's an attractive beer. I botched the pour a bit so didn't get much of a head, but the little I produced was cream colored and did not stay around too long. Probably my fault.

Glad I drank out of a tulip glass, nicely intensified the aroma. Some dark fruit, plum certainly, some raisins/currants, too. Not particularly strong, but satisfying and appealing.

My first thought is fruitcake, or one of those chocolate bars with the nuts and fruit in it. Some mild cherry I didn't identify in the nose, but in hindsight I was smelling it. Caramel, a little oak, perhaps some mild vanilla, and a quick, scarcely existent hit of bitter from hops. All of this was very well balanced, arrived and left smoothly, with some of the fruit lingering.

Even as it warmed up, never got too sticky. Less carbonated, consistent with the style. Drank like a heavier version of a brown ale, but far from anything you would call Imperial, and certainly not as heavy as other, higher octane old ales.

Fantastically drinkable. This beer strikes a perfect balance between bold flavors and drinkability. The beer dork in me says I'm drinking a big, aged, sophisticated beer, and the responsible worker drone in me says I'm drinking a beer that won't kill me tomorrow if I have a couple. It's a damn shame it's not easier to find. If you have a store near you that carries it, I strongly recommend picking some up. I should add that I poured mine too cold and it warmed up as I drank, and I enjoyed it across the entire range. I recommend drinking colder than some of you normally drink an old ale, definitely no warmer than 55, in my opinion.

Photo of sponberg
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown. When I popped the cap, this sucker foamed - but when I poured it, it had little if any head. Weird. Aroma of butter and molasses, toasted wheat toast - appetizing.

Very buttery on the palate - smooth, oily, hints of diacetyl but not from Ringwood. Then the flavors expand - coffee, chocolate, bitter hop, molasses, and a certain hardness that I can't put my finger on. Undercurrents of alcohol are also present. Finishes with a molasses and toffelike flavor that works well. Simply unbeatable with a well-aged cheddar. Very drinkable, as I keep trying to nurse another sip out of my empty glass. Very complex, eminently drinkable brew - three of these, a fire in the fireplace, and a hunk of 5 year old Balderson's cheddar would be an evening fit for a king.

Photo of merlin48
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pint bottle pours a dark and clear ruby mahogany body with a small beige head that falls into an enticing film and collar with minimal sheet lacing.
Aroma is robust and complex. Molasses and toffee open a powerful malt character, with fresh baked bread, herbal hops, fresh concord grapes, plums, raisins, and vanilla oak tones adding to the bountiful bouquet.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied,creamy, with appropriate low carbonation.
Several layers of malt complexity are featured in the taste. Toffee, molasses, and maple syrup are apparent, but never overly sweet. Aged oak notes let you know that this has been in the barrel for awhile. Prunes, raisins, and fresh Concord grapes lead the fruity component. Some mild chocolate is noted in the middle, and some dry herbal hops bitterness emerges at room temperature. Wow! Lots of complexities in this one. Finish is slightly bitter, but you're left with an aftertaste that evokes all the many flavors enjoyed as you plow through the glass.
Lacks the punch to be a winter warmer, but the drinkability is excellent. An exceptional array of flavors are displayed from start to finish. Give me three bottles of this and I could spend a full afternoon and evening trying to decipher the complexities of this magnificent ale. This is one of the better English ales I've enjoyed recently. I look forward to getting my paws on a few more of these.

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better than the Speckled Hen. Mahogany pour with nearly no head. Earthy, malty, oak aroma that is very sweet. Velvety mouthfeel. Smooth taste of caramel malt and some vanilla mellowness from the oak. Slight bitterness in the back. Nicely balanced.

Photo of ADR
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark ruby-brown color, nice 1/2 inch head that holds an elevated "ring" inside the pint glass. Dank aroma, a little molasses. Nice roasty flavors that persist to the swallow. Coffee flavors, a little raisin, and chocolate. Some sense of grape, as well. Nice complex malt flavor. A blend of an "Old" Ale with a new batch, this brew reminds me of the blended beers of "yore"...very nice stuff.

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

ST: Pint poured into a wine glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown with a fluffy brown head. It leaves nice lacing. When held to the light, dark ruby red tints take over the beer, and very slowly rising carbonation bubbles can be seen.

S: Roasted malt, toffee, caramel, and fruit.

T: A lot more flavor than the nose suggested, it beings fairly fruity. Mid-way through the flavor switches to light malt and slight toffee. The finish has slight vanilla, nuts, and roasted malts hold center stage along with a bit of oak (a slight burnt taste lingers on the tongue).

M: Surprisingly light, the finish even feels a bit watery.

D: It has some nice flavor, and it is light. The bottle does not list the alcohol percentage, though I would guess it is 5.5 or 6 percent.

Overall: I met someone that went to England and swore up and down about the quality of this beer. With that in mind, I picked it up to try. It has nice flavor and a bit of complexity, and it blends the alcohol very nicely. However, its light and watery mouthfeel distracts true enjoyment. It could use more body. This is not a bad beer, but it is not an excellent beer.

Photo of rastaman
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

an awesome little english strong ale, an excellent blend between, malt and hops, medium body with a dry finish, i like it a lot.

Photo of Melchizedek
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep murky slightly red-tinged brown with a well-formed but slightly uneven tan head. Aroma is sweet malt, with alcohol noticeable and a little dark fruit/raisin.

Plenty going on in flavor, some caramel, some slight burnt and oaky character, spice, a light touch of bitterness and lightly floral hop, warming alcohol, a bit metallic, fairly light and dry mouthfeel for the depth.

Tasty, solid brew. With some cheese and bread, this would make a great meal.

Photo of IntriqKen
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark tea color with a half finger of white that melted to a ring of white only slightly sticky.
Aroma is very toasty amber malts with a touch of dark brown sugar and a little vinegar. (as a side note, my non-beer drinking g/f noticed prunes....tart prunes...interesting)
Taste is very much like the aroma to me...very toasty amber malts with a sweetness mixed with a vinegar like tartness.
I know vinegar sounds terrible, but this combination of flavors really works for me.
I'm more accustomed to American styled Old Ales which are borderline Barleywines. This is a British styled Old Ale and consequentially much thinner but still an excellent drink when you want something heavier.
Cheers.

Photo of cokes
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark ruby with a moderate, creamy beige head.
Roasty, oak merlot-infused aroma.
Taste begin heavily malted. Chocolate Malted Milk Balls and traces of mocha. This fades quickly as a grapey, red wine sweetness develops. Burnt brown sugar, molasses and toffee bars continue this sweet trend. Concord grape juice later. Dry woody oak characteristics are noticed with a careful examination, but are generally overshadowed by the kalidescopic malts. Concludes just hoppy and bitter enough to show that this is, in fact, and English-styled Ale (as opposed to, say, a doppelbock, which this does bear some similarity to). Flourishes of metallic herbs partially dry the palate, although plenty of sticky malt heft remains clinging to the teeth.
Medium in stature. Very low carbonation.
Flavorful and robust. This is a winner.
Grab me a bib if I ever come across this on cask.

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very satisfying and elegant brew, that sizzles after you pour and retains a barleywine appearance. Tasty and a plus that its alcohol is dilluted. Interesting sour oak winey and malts and spice. Nicely hopped, understated. Had another bottle 15 months later and enjoyed its oaky and fruity characteristics (1999 edition).

Had the recent edition in early 2007, 2.3 years later and it was really noticeable woody, and well hopped. Do a side by side with oak aged AB. Still very nice. Review based on the first aged edition.

Photo of prototypic
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with brilliant ruby highlights. Darkness doesn't limit the light cutting through much. Looks deep red with a little backlighting. It's topped with a caramel colored head that's about two fingers deep. It receded quickly leaving light lace in its wake.

Rich caramel and toffee malts kick off the nose. Smells sweet and sugary. There's no questioning the aging with this aroma. Oak's coming through loud and clear. It adds a lot of character and quality depth. There's some ancillary vanilla and raisin lingering. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Nice smelling beer all-around. Pretty straight forward and well done.

Sweet caramel and toffee flavors are in full force initially. It borders on being too buttery, but fortunately doesn't quite make it that far. Vanilla is more prominent in flavor. Oak is very prominent is the driving force of the flavor. The impact is not as dramatic as it is on the nose, but it certainly adds quite a bit. Raisin and faint prune are secondary and mix pretty well. If alcohol's here, I can't tell. It has a slightly spicy, acidic finish. It's very good, but isn't quite as impressive as the nose.

Olde Suffolk has an impressive medium body. Carbonation is restrained and it's nice and smooth. It doesn't quite reach being creamy, but it's nice. Drinkability is very high. Goes down very easy and has a nice, satisfying flavor. ABV is relatively low and doesn't intimidate. I'd happily drink a few of these. In fact, the single bottle I have is disappearing far too fast.

Olde Suffolk's a pretty impressive Old Ale. The aging process in oak barrels had a positive impace that's appreciable in all respects. The flavor has a slight buttery taste that throws it just a little. It's doesn't have a huge negative impact, but does hold it back a little. That's the only small qualm I have with it. Impressive all around nonetheless. Definitely worth picking up.

Photo of californiakebab
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours ruby brown in color with a creamy, vanilla head. I read that this has been aged in oak vats. Never had an old ale before, very excited for this beer. This one is a blend of stock ale that's been aged for 2 years along with a fresh batch. Aroma of dried fruit, oak, wet hay, tannins, and a hint of alcohol is very complex, yet pleasant. After a few sips, the dominant caramel sweetness gives way to a more roasted toffee like character. For a supposed heavy-bodied beer, the finish is somewhat dry, probably from the higher than expected carbonation level. If I had a library adorned with leather & rich mahogany, I'd probably dabble with this style more often (in a snifter of course). Unexpectedly delicious. Would be curious to see how this would play out a year from now.

Photo of plfahey
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Explodes forth from the bottle, a bit of a gusher, but hopefully this one's not a bad bottle. Deep garnet/mahogany appears a moderately clear blood red when held to the light. Moderately large tan head shows good retention and some fair retention.

Aroma-Yum-dark fruit (plums, prunes, figs, raisins), along with a rumlike black licorice note. Blackstrap molasses and burnt sugar parade through the background. A little bit ashy with perceptible fusels. Very light oak notes as well.

Flavor-Light bready sweetness and a bit of caramel quickly give way to richer, darker flavors of prune and raisin, molasses, buttery rum, and a touch of black licorice. Finishes rather dry with some oak notes as well as mild, peppery alcohol. Hops are entirely absent, which is not unexpected. In the aftertaste, there are some light toasted breadcrust malt flavors which complement the lingering dark fruitcake/toffee flavors.

Mouthfeel-Moderately low, soft, gentle carbonation with a medium body. Viscosity seems a bit low for this style and almost feels thin in the finish at times. Dry in the aftertaste, with just the faintest prickle of alcohol warmth.

Not a bad old ale, though the flavors seem a bit dull. The aroma opens quite nicely and the flavor begins impressively, but quickly fades to a dull, thin, and somewhat vapid finish. I would love to taste this one in its native country, but I'm not terribly impressed with the condition I find it in here.

Photo of surfadelic23
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, what an interesting beer! On the label it says it's a blend of an older ale and a younger ale which for some reason made me think of the exorcist... It pours a nice mahogany brown with a hint of dark ruby too.Nice head and leaves a killer lace on my Pitfield pint glass.
It has a bigger nose on it than I thought as I figured the older blend would take out some of the scent but it did not. The hops aren't there in the smell to me but are there in the taste albeit mild.Wow, what a malt hit! It has mild bitterness and a somewhat oakey flavor. Very nice taste and mouthfeel. Regarding drinkability, while this is a great brew, I found it a bit heavy for a sessioner...
But overall, this is a nice complex brew that has a lot going on in it.

Photo of rosszimm36
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

How something this good comes out of a clear bottle is still a mystery to me. You can see it in the bottle, and it pours the same color: a dark ruby brown. It's tan head is very short and lasts only a few seconds. It's sweet and spicy aroma likewise is a faint and fleeting.

The intense and complex flavor redeems all. Rich and malty with a perfect balance of sweetness, this beer has notes of fruit, berry, and toffee. With an exceptionally smooth mouth-feel this beer is incredibly easy drinking with no harshness in the taste.

I suggest letting this one sit a few minutes after the pour because it opens like a wine, gradually becoming fruitier, it's full range of flavor evolving. A regular in my fridge. Highly recommend.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours deep deep amber, or brown. little head with great retention. decent lacing.

scent is light with dominating malts, caramel, and dark cherry.

taste is same strong with the oak flavor and caramel dominating. kind of get a whiskey flavor. slight sweetness

mouthfeel is perfect. very smooth, semi thick with carbonation that picks up towards the finish.

a decent ale indeed. this is so easy to drink that i loved reviewing it. a stronger english ale indeed. great flavors.

Photo of opalchemist
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Very dark brown with red reflects.
Foam is off white, very short persistent and very coarse.

Nose:
Roast aromas, little sourness, maltiness and some flowery hops and caramel'y oak.

Tongue:
Very balanced, upfront caramelized malt aroma, velvety creaminess in the middle and some delicate hops paired with a discreet oaky afterthought.
Medium to full bodied...

Great beer - was not really thrilled, when it directly came directly out of the fridge - however the warmer the beer, the more the aromas developed. And when it was the best, the bottle was empty.
I want more! Really really addictive!

Photo of DESTRO
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours out a deep dark red tinted brown/copper. somewhat small bubbly head, light lacing. smells of sweet malt, raisin bread, alcohol and caramels rise up making for a most mouthwatering aroma. full bodied with smooth carbonation, silky. taste wise its sweet and malty, once again caramels, raisins, some coffee notes and a light hop bitterness. an awesome ale, one to be savored while relaxing. yum.

Photo of Shumista
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into my Stone pint glass.

A- Looks pretty good. Dark ruby brown with a medium sized off white head. I'm not sure how I feel about the added caramel color which is advertised on the label. I feel like it might kind of be cheating and I'm surprised to see it advertised like this. Odd front label description.

S- Prunes and dark fruits, caramel malt.

T- Dark fruits, coffee, caramel. Finishes nutty with a little bit of subtle oak.

M- Little bit thinner and more watery than I expected.

D- Smooth, fairly mild, and very agreeable with a low alchohol content for the style.

Photo of bditty187
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark burgundy hue with snippets bronze from the penetrating light, it is awesome eye candy. The beige head never development much height, not that I was expecting it too. It topped off at a half finger, which quickly faded to a soapy residue. Did not lace. The nose on this ale is wonderful; great potency initially, the aroma, at its best, is literally mouthwatering. The strength does die a little in time. The bouquet is wine-like upfront, followed by oak, light but noticeable raw alcohol (like brandy), malts, and a hint of buttery-cream. The palate is not as biting or raw as some Old Ales; this could be an attribute of the blending of the two ales (see the back of the label) or I have an older bottle. Anyway it is very unique tasting, malty upfront but that is quickly followed by a mellow woody-winey-creamy taste then a kiss of alcohol follows; the finish is divine, seriously. Figs and fruit, subtle sweetness, distant and suppressed hops (aged?), a kiss of wood, a note of dry bitterness. Yeah, it is that damn good. The carbonation is light but appropriate, medium-full body, all in all, a very respectable mouthfeel. A tremendous quaff, something to savor, I would love to drink this on a regular basis. I snagged a couple bottles of this fine brew in Des Moines for $3.50 each. I wish I bought more. Recommended. Seek it out.

Photo of bobes
3.37/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich deep amber/ brown with a minimal head that dissapated quickly. Initial nose was very floral but gave way to a rich roasted malt aroma. Taste is dominated by malt but with a minor hop component. A rich roast after taste lingers in the back of the mouth just long enough to let you know its there, but passes in reasonable time. Mouthfeel is moderately velvety based on the rich malt character, but finishes sort of dry.

On the bottle it is claimed that this is a blened beer, using an oak barrel aged beer and cutting it with a younger beer, a BPA. In this beer I think this works. The roast character is not overpowering and seems well placed in the beer. The blend of the fresh beer definately adds a youth to the final beer that makes it enjoyable. A bit more flavoring hops would make this beer stand out, but that might not be to style.

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 440 ratings.