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

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) AleOlde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

424 Ratings
THE BROS
77
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 424
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 25
Gots: 17 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2002)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 424 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cypressbob
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle...

2000 vintage

Pours with a deep dark ruby body almost dark brown with little light exposure, creamy tan head. Some retention but nothing world changing

Smell, sweet and malty, slight hint of oak. Lots of vanilla, some fresh vanilla pod. Slight hint of sherry. F.. i'm getting some single malt whisky, almost like the scapa 14 year I had....amazing

Taste, bready malty body, woody with a hint of smoke, nice hop bitterness on the finish, an almost whiskey like mouthfeel, slight alcohol finish, roasted malt, almost winey

Amazing...deep, thick aroma, flavours....a fantastic ale, fresh or vintage

I've had 4 or 5 of the 2000's, all great. I managed to overwrite the old review...but i had the 2000's before the fresh bottles

Photo of UnionMade
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a rich mahogany brown. Slightly hazy, topped with a short cap of egg-white head. Beautiful color, glowing with a garnet fire through light. Excellent lacing, leaving copious spattering clinging to the glass.
The aroma is definitely british. Smooth, syrupy caramel malt tinted with chocolate. A mild vinous feel, with softish herbal english hops appropriately placed. Certainly oaky, with a brush of fig and prune fruitiness.
The flavor opens with a tongue coating maltiness, tinted immediately with an oaken sourness. Molasses and caramel, with a bit of roast. Some winey flavors through the middle, meeting with a black cherry and prune esteriness. A little bit of fig for good measure. The winey sourness intensifies into the finish, meeting a surprisingly "there" hop flavor. Moderate bitterness, with a pervasive herbal, wooden flavor. For a year old at least, I was expecting the hops to be more or less non-existent. Just a hint of booze, along with a lingering, grape wine sourness into the aftertaste. Pleasant, mild mannered, syup maltiness. Even tempered carbonation, assertive enough, but mild. Full bodied. Very smooth drinking.
I was expecting something a bit grosser, frankly. I've had a string of bad luck with british vintage ales, but this one's a keeper. The malt is intense enough to keep you interested, but not enough so that you're all set with one. I enjoyed the barrel aged flavors, the sharp wine sourness added quite a bit of complexity. Definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of GreenCard
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark mahogany, great clarity, thinnish layer of tan foam

Aroma: rich rummy sweetness, dark caramel, malty, hint of woodiness, roasted grain, vanilla

Flavor: mild sweetness in a rich malty backbone, slightly oaky, hints of leather and licorice, finishes semi sweet with a lingering tannic bitterness and tanginess in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, low carbonation, smooth texture

Other comments: Tried this on cask at Charlie's Bar in Copenhagen. According to the bartender, this is the only place where you can get it on cask. It is done especially for them. Since it is one of my favorite British beers and I've only tried it in bottled form, I had to give it a try. Of course, even better than the bottled one!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A truly lovely shade of crimson-bronze, like dark raspberry sun tea. The interior looks to be devoid of carbonation, but the two finger cap puts the lie to that notion. The head is the color of a barely toasted marshmallow and appears about as firm. Specks and splotches of lace are the extent of the glass coverage.

I caught a whiff of what smelled like woody bourbon when I popped the cap... that seems to have disappeared now that I'm focusing on the nose for real. Olde Suffolk smells spicy, somewhat caramel-like, not at all whiskey-like and still woody. It's unlike anything that I've smelled before, but I'm at a loss to explain exactly what makes it so.

This is a wonderful old ale. The focal point is heavily toasted caramel malt with accents of subtle spice and fragrant wood. I love 'wood' in my whiskey, wine and beer, as long as it isn't overdone. Olde Suffolk is tangy, spicy and gently sweet at once; a cavalcade of flavors and flavor sensations. It tastes like a more strongly flavored English mild; which is what it's meant to be I guess.

While the hop content is on the low side, their flavor contribution (but not so much their bitterness) is definitely noted. What a wonderful use of the herbal, fruity English varieties. The body is well within bounds for the style and the gentle carbonation is a boon to drinkability.

Olde Suffolk English Ale is different and is very good. The two years that (part of) it spent in oak were years well spent. That woodiness gives it that *certain something* that makes it distinctive. Since the flavor is becoming richer and more intense with warming, I'll take my leave in order to concentrate on the second half of the bottle. The most amazing thing of all is that this fine ale is available at my local grocery, right alongside the Bud Select and the Coors Light.

Photo of hefevice
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, 2000 vintage. What an interesting beer! Pours dark ruby/mahogany (almost the colour of a tawny port) with a small but creamy head which retains fairly well but with no lacing observed. Complex aroma with sweet malt dominating, and hints of freshly removed wine bottle cork. Very complex taste, hard to pick up anything in paricular until the pleasantly bitter espresso finish which lasts a long time. Very nice drop.

Photo of mschofield
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich red/mahogany color with a one finger tan head, leaves sticky webs of lacing, has a very low level of carbonation.
Fruit and strong malt aroma, earthy and wood notes.
Fruity, malt and dark bread flavor notes, with earth, candy and raspberry as well.
Full bodied, a bit warming, seems stronger than it is.

Photo of dungaree
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful amber hue. Small head dissipated quickly. Light carbonation with small bubbles indicates a well crafted beer. Smells of caramel, light alcohol, and oak. Very different.

The taste is distinctive. The taste of oak and age prevails. Also tastes of caramel candy and very light chocolately. I can see the beer languishing in oak barrels, waiting to be ripened and poured out. Pleasantly sweet malt with a slightly dry hop finish. The oak essence reminds one of certain liquors that are also aged in oak barrels, such as Jack Daniel's. Hints of alcohol on the outer edges of the tongue throughout. As the beer warms, the age and oak prevail even more.

Thin mouthfeel but very pleasant. The oakiness may be a bit powerful at times. For something different, refreshing, and surprising, this is a great brew.

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When I poured this beer out, it was not at all what I expected. Of course, I did this before I read the label (silly me!). Pours a rich, dark, port-like ruby brown, very stylish, with a very nice light-medium tan head that drops to a cover quickly.

When I first smelled the aroma, I just said "wow". I could not at all put my finger on the aromas presented, but the package of them was incredible. After a while of consideration, I came up with rich dark chocolate, port, maybe a dark rum, and some really strong, dark candied fruits. Very rich, very complex. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner.

Flavor follows through, very rich, very filling. Molassas with vanilla mixed in, the oak aging shows through. I didn't know, and poured this to go with a nice spicy pizza, and it nicely stood up to the flavors, but this is not a pizza beer. It's really more to sit alone, to be appreciated, to be enjoyed as is.

A very nice beer, but very rich (n flavor, not in how it sits on the stomach). Be prepared. Probably very good for a late end to the day, especially a cold and wintry one. Very recommended.

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Much darker than I was expecting but still a beautiful beer. Deep garnet red with just a tiny little bit of head that is quite persistant.

Definately get some oak in the nose. The wood melds nicely with rich malt notes. Distinct caramel notes. Just a hint of fruityness. Just barely there.

Very nice flavor. Very full and rich and complex for an English ale. Nice caramel up front which mingles with distinct oakyness in the mid palate. Also get a distinct nuttiness in there as well. Definately some hop bitterness in the finish with just a touch of astringnecy. Actually finishes quite dry but still with the oak I think. All in all really terrific flavors. Very rich but not overwhelming. Very nice brew.

Good mouthfeel. Fairly thin for a beer of this richness and complexity but not too thin. I bet this is fantastic served from a cask. Would probably make my perception of the mouth feel change dramatically.

Quite drinkable. I wish I had some more. Not cloying at all. That dry oaky finish keeps me coming back for more.

Good mouthfeel.

Photo of stjarnflikka
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 edition, 6%.

Pours a clear, blood-red beer with single large bubbles in it. There is a thick creamy foam on top.

There are very clear apple and citric tones in the smell. There is malt and a bit of champagne-like smell, very nice.

The taste is fruit. Apples are dominating, but theres also raspberries in there. A large sweetness and a very good carbonation tickles the tongue. Reminds och champagne and cider with a bit dry aftertaste that isn't notably bitter.

This is just a wonderful tasting beer. Excellently balanced with a great frutiyness and freshness. Really enjoyable and easy drunk, great brew!

Photo of merlin48
4.53/5  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 Rastacouere
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2000 issue. Light brown cover surpasses a deep brown garnet. Aroma is complex, vinous and malty. Shy balsamic cherries initially surprises until they are reached by mellower red grapes reminiding of a tart red wine. Added to the yeasty hints, this was like a liquid raisin bread with an interesting dark malt profile (roasted chocolate, nuts). Unfortunately, it didn’t really hold up in the taste department where it’s more meaty rather than richly bready and desserty and just far less complex and developping. There’s this unique fruit tartness thing going on under an apple clothe, but it heads nowhere. Flavor evolution made me think of a cone without a summit. Fine mouthfeel though, medium body with appropriate carbonation, a bit higher than expected.

Photo of francisweizen
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 Vintage, thanks Bob. This one pours out a dark brown colouring with a big beige head that lasts quite well for a "strong ale" hehe. Aromas are complex and consist of sherry, vanilla, a bit of oak, and the normal slightly roasty malt aromas. The taste is smooth up front with the subdued oak and vanilla flavors leading into a nice malty middle and a slightly strong finish of subdued hops and a bit of chocolate/almost coffee. Mouthfeel is creamy, and smooth, but not too thick. Drinkability is very good. This is probably amazing on cask.

Photo of bashiba
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a very thick long lasting head.

Smells are very sweet and malty with hints of wood.

Taste is very good. Some nice malt flavors with a very biscuity and woodyness that is very pleasant. The hops are very subtle but nice.

Mouthfeel is very full and creamy with nice carbonation.

Great Drinkability, a very easy drinking english ale.

Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
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 bark
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The colour is deep deep copper – amber, the medium-sized beige foam dissolves slowly into a thin lid. The liquid is clear.

The smell is mild, mainly sourish with a hint of mint and some malt.

The carbonation is perfect for dark ale, gentle and balanced. Refreshing!

The taste is very complex: At first, a very fruity and sweet aroma with hints of cherries replaces a touch of dark rum. Then, a dry and elegant whisky-like flavour emerges with a clear savour of alcohol. The aftertaste is full of flavours; nuts, dried fruits, marzipan, a hint of lime and an increasing bitterness that seems to last forever. The only thing that stops me from a “5” in the taste-column is the almost annoying alcoholic taste. At 6%, this shouldn't be a problem.

This is a blend of a fresh ale and a strong ale that have been matured in oak casks for two years, giving it a very multifaceted taste. World class!

Photo of GreenWBush
3.08/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A Greene King beer not packaged in a clear bottle! Rejoice!

This ale gave me a wicked rush of crazed carbonation that eventually rested to a 1/4" lightly splattered head / lace. The color is a deep ruddy pond water.

Wine like fruity esters abound; oaky carmelized sugar, slight cider hints. Major bready doughy malt until interrupted by a spattering of noble hop.

Once you get past the rush of liquid cardboard I initially noticed, this is a good English experience. Its rather hard to describe in its astringency, however. Slighly thin mouthfeel, med to low drinkablility.

Photo of Padron4KM
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, stored in liquor stores' walk-in since 2002.

Pours a reddish brown in color, solid long lasting tan head. minimal lacing.

oaky, malty,red wine aromas.
mellow creamy smooth beer with a touch of bitterness on a long finish. very tasty beer

Photo of BeerResearcher
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a strong black coffee color with a smallish beige head.
The aroma is very mild for the "Old Ale" style. A faint smell of fresh brown bread and maybe a little molasses can be noticed with some concentration.
The malt body, a little thin at first gulp, begins to develop in short time. Brown bread, toffee with a splash of rum are the upfront flavors. Citrus peel bitterness and a light taste of tart plums provide a nice and interesting hop to malt balance.
I'd love to try this on tap!

Photo of Brent
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

According to the website, this "Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale" is a blend of two ales: Old 5X , which is brewed to the maximum strength possible (around 12% abv) and left to mature in 100-barrel oak vats for a minimum of two years, and BPA, a dark freshly brewed beer which is added just before bottling. The result is 6% abv. I wonder if this is a "two-threads" beer, along the heritage of the old porter designation as "three-threads" through blending.

Very robustly malty, with about as much caramel malt as one could pack into the flavor profile. Given the hype of the barrel maturation, I expected a bit more complexity than what presented. There was a bit of soft acidity in the malt, lending a touch of liqueur to the flavor. Finish was bright and a bit astringent, which cleaned up nicely. An interesting beer, but not one that engaged me.

Photo of WetCoaster
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nice warm ruby/mahogany with a short-lived, slightly off-white head. Fine, almost champagne-like carbonation. Collar and thin lacing.

Smell: A lot happening here. There's a slight yeastiness and an apple tartness up front. There's some caramel malt sweetness, some dark fruit/raisin, and slight scotch aroma. It's sweet and fruity overall with a nice richness.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Hmmm. Not a lot happening here. A bit of maltiness initially--perhaps a bit of port?-- with some nuttiness and toastiness, but the flavor is dominated by a huge wave of oaky bitterness. The mouthfeel is quite thin and the carbonation keeps things crisp.

Drinkability: Er... good? Well, I mean, it's not awful and pretty light, so I guess you could drink a few.

I don't get this beer. So much time and work go into making it, and this is the result? It looks great, it smells great, but bluntly, there's not much flavor to speak of. I think I may have to come back to this beer, maybe I'm having an off night. Right now, not a favorite.

Photo of Zorro
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great looking clear burgundy red brew.

Smell is BIG and fruity and nutty smell and some mild spice and malt. A great smelling brew with a great apple/plum scent. The oak is noticeable in this.

Taste is a bit sweet but not too much, closer to dry than sweet.
Lots of fruit, walnut, oak and subdued malt in the flavor. The bitterness is there but is in proportion to the mild flavor of this brew.

Mouthfeel is good.

Super drinkable brew, one of those beers than can pull off the difficult trick of being complex and mild at the same time.

Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger light brown head that fades to a ring and leaves hardly any lace. Light carbonation, light to medium bodied. Color is a nice clear amber. Starts wth coffee overtones and has some hoppiness. A good ale too bad it is "brewed in limited quantities". $3.90 for a 16oz bottle at Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

Photo of Globetrotter
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tall brown half liter bottle with a short neck and a blue, gold and white label featuring an illustration of oak vat #6. My bottle is vintage 2000. The Russian import label lists only ingredients in conformance with the purity law. Best before 1/29/05, I opened it on 5/30/04.

Clear dark copper hue under a reddish-tan one finger head that fades quickly to film and collar. Lacing is minimal. There's some floral hops in the nose, along with a bit of citrus fruit. The mouth is heavy and medium carbonated. The taste opens with substantial heavy malt, plus some plum sweet and sour notes. Strong, crisp British hops follow in the finish, leaving a nice dry bitterness in the aftertaste. The fruitiness is a bit of a distraction for me, but this is a good drinking brew. Yum.

Photo of HochFliegen
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Olde Suffolk pours a dark reddish/brown. It had a small head that turned to a film that laced a little bit. This beer had a strong scent of raisin and carmel. A rather sweet smelling beer.
This smooth ale starts out with a nice sweet malt taste that has hints of carmel and raisins as in the aroma. It also has a slight coffee note to it and a nice bit of bitterness in the end.

Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 424 ratings.