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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.
very good

434 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 434
Reviews: 301
rAvg: 4
pDev: 11%
Wants: 24
Gots: 19 | 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: 434 | Reviews: 301 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bark
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
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
3.04/5  rDev -24%
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%
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
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
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
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
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
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
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 +11.3%
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 +0.8%
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
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
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
3.82/5  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.

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

Pours a nice deep reddish brown color with very little head and no lacing whatsoever.Nice aroma-somewhat sherry like.Malty,no noticeable hops.Nice flavor-caramel and toffee.Slight alchohol burn in the back.Lingering sweetness.Full mouthfeel-oily,smooth.A very enjoyable beer.Pleasant sipping on a relaxing,cool spring nite.

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 Doiv
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a delightful dark ruby colour, with a tan head that lasts well. Lacing is good.

The aroma is malty, fruity (apples), slightly gingery, woody and roasted hops. The ginger really gives a nice little kick to the nose. Very diverse and full nose.

The taste is raisins, spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc. very bready, roasted hops, chocolate, woody, whiskey, apples. It is obvious that oak is the wood of choice in its aging process.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and sticky but the drink is a little heavy for a session beer. A fantastic offering nonetheless, and the blending and aging really improve the flavours.

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

Pours a rich crimson brown (cola brown) with a an off-white spider web lacy head. Smell is a delightfully complex mix of ripe fruit, whiskey, oak shavings, plums wine. Very nice. Taste starts vinuously sweet, tart, and vinegary. Toffee cookie dough malt notes come in strong and then give way to a gentle finish of tangy hops. Oaky character throughout, and the flavors linger forever. Full feeling, especially for its strength and well worth the money.

Photo of Reidrover
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought in the pint bottle, old fashioned, narrow neck, wide body.
The beer pours a deep ruby red into my Imperial dimpled pint mug..very small head that dissapears fast..leaving forelorn wisps atop the pint.
A nice mellow aroma combining mostly coffeeish malts and hints of hops..nice.
mmmm this is certainlly a nice "kick back" ale,nicelly mild, but with enough background flavour to impress..mostly nice smooth malts backed up with a very tasty hopiness for an English ale..it is like most English ales of this ilk..balanced, which I love in a beer.
Very nice and smooth beer on the palate.
Exceptionally drinkable..very good.I recommend it.


Photo of BeerAngel
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cola color and appears to be clear with a small modest dense light tan head. The rich smell of sweet malts and is also a tad fruity blends nicely enough to make the mouth water. The flavors of heavy malts with a nice sweet tone, perfectly blended hops, and finishes with a light raison on the tail. This is a medium to heavy bodied brew that ends with a smooth sweetness. This is one good brew! Wow! Cheers!

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

This is an interesting bottle containing an interesting brew. It comes in a pint bottle with a long thin neck. It pours an eye-pleasing mahogany with a smallish head that disappears quickly. The smell is an intriguing mix of toffee, oak, pipe tobacco, and a bit of hops. Although the beer screams English, it's somehow reminiscent of a dopplebock at the same time. It's a very nice beer and worth seeking out.

Photo of diablo14
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had the good fortune to try a bottle of the 2000 vintage for the first time tonight at the sherlock holmes and what can i say? an early contender for beer of the year. its a dead set ripper of a brew. a beer i could rip into all night long even tho its quite strong in flavor and strength.

glorious deep ruby color, thinnish head, and low in fizz which is absolutely perfect. smell was woody, fruity and had strong caramel and rich buttery notes. fantastic! flavor comes as advertised, witha marvellous complexity many beers could only dream of. washes over the tongue in sublime fashion and had my taste buds doing a two step in no time. oaky, buttery, stronger toffee presence in the mouth and raisins/currants were also right up there on the palate. all the while superbly smooth, no trace of the ABV and a subtle hopping which finished things off perfectly. sensational!

ive rolled out the superlatives here i know, but geez this is a fine brew. anyone who comes across suffolk vintage would be a madman not to give it a nudge. a classic example of a strong english ale. it sits along the likes of adnams broadside, fullers 1845 and ESB as the best in the biz in the genre.

Photo of yen157
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep mahogany leaning towards dark auburn. Topped by a foamy head with some sticking power. Nose is of toffee, malt, and hazelnuts. A similar description can be made of the flavor. Wood is extremely minimal (perhaps flavor only do to power of suggestion from label). Honey echoes faintly in the background. Dry and clean, yet complex finish. Carbonation is slight, but not underdone, giving the beer a velvety mouth feel. The body itself is just a notch above adequate and wonderfully slick. Good beer.

IMO, this is on par with Fullers 1845. Yummy malt presence. I would love to find this hand-pulled someplace.

[About 1/2 way though I lit an Aristoff Black Robusto Extra, and flavor-wise it was a perfect match, but it was about 10% too much for the beer.]

Photo of BierReise
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great English ale this is. Dark amber brown and cloudy with a nice thick head. Good retention here with scattered lacing. Big sweet malt aroma with a woody, fruitiness. I detect some herbs as well in there. Flavor is noticably English, a good strong malty ale with a slight bitterness in the finish. Overall one of the best English ales I've had in a bottle.

Photo of Morris729
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark burgundy in color with a tall and foamy tan colored head that only remains for a second before fading into a thin lace. Nose is rather wine like with some additional notes of molasses. Full mouthfeel with little active carbonation and a smooth, slightly oily, texture. Taste begins with sweet roasted malts and brown sugar followed by some oakey notes and a sour raisiny flavor that gives way to some noticeable hops that leave a dry finish and lingering aftertaste. An enjoyable brew that’s a good choice for a nightcap. Some additional aging would probably also benefit this complex beer.

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 byrd
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a light tan sticky head. Clear dark brown in color with garnet highlights. The head reduces to a thin lace that covers the surface. Rich sweet caramel malt and dark fruits notes in the aroma. Nose is also somewhat vinous with a little noticeable alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, but seems a little on the lighter side. There’s a fine carbonation one the tongue and the feel is quite smooth on the palate. Sweet malt starts with some dark fruitiness. Vinous notes come through quite well along with a woody/oak flavor. There’s a mild yet tart hoppy finish that is just a touch roasty. A little alcohol is noticeable on the aftertaste. This is a well balanced and very drinkable brew. A complex yet very enjoyable old ale.

Photo of HardTarget
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pint brown bottle, mentions aged in oak for 2 years, but no best by date.
Aroma: Chocolate malt smell, with some alcohol
Appearance: Deep brown, clear when backlit. Thin tan head that retreated quickly. Given the abv, not unexpected.
Flavor: Both the dark malt and the crisp hops come through in a nice 1-2 combo punch. Full rich malt taste followed by a very clean, dry, slightly bitter finish that is quite refreshing. Hops seem a bit strong for the style, but given the blending of aged and fresh beer, seems appropriate.
Mouthfeel: Creamy medium-heavy body with a dry finish. Slight alcohol prickle at the end.
Overall Impression: Nice stuff! Both the malt and the hops are given a chance to show their stuff. The blending of old and new works nicely, almost like getting 2 beers in 1. Satisfying, but drinkability isn’t impaired.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A rather unique beer, with respect to the fact that it is a beer blended from a 12% “old” beer called Olde 5X, and a 5% “fresh” beer called BPA. The Olde 5X is stored and matured for 2 years in 100-Barrel sized Oak Vats – the newest & latest of which now forms part of the Brewery Museum which opened in 2001.

This beer goes by two names;

Olde Suffolk English Ale
– the exported Bottled name, as well as
Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale
– the UK Bottled & Draught* name.
*limited release during the Winter in Cask form for the UK only.

Appearance: Varies from a dark brown to a ruby mahogany color when back-lit. Thick tan-brown head, formed from bubbles of various sizes. The head has a yellowy tinge at times, but settles to a decent looking ¼” covering that remains & offers up some lacing.

Nose: The nose has a nice aged/young mix – some molasses, toffee and fig syrup odors. Also has a dark fruit wine and Port like dimension in the back end.

Taste: Marvelous malty beginnings, sweet but never sickly, moreover it is a sweetness often found in exotic dark fruits, a light tasty sweetness. It has a molasses taste that is as smooth as fig syrup in the middle. Waning, the malts are replaced with a dry bitterness; hoppy is the wrong word here – for it is a pure bitterness, presumably from aged hops. A light aniseed-liquorices feel on the tongue lingers through the bitterness. Excellent

Mouthfeel: Strong and Whole-bodied. A very full feel in the mouth from this Old Ale. Sweet malty beginnings, yet an astringent bitter finish which lingers.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, I expected this to be more of a sipper, yet it disappeared from my Imperial Pint Glass in no time. Extremely quaffable!

Overall: A very unique English Ale, that has somewhat of Gueuze-like pedigree.

Well worth seeking out and even sticking some into the Cellar for a bit longer. I know of a few people in the UK who have actually tried one of the base beers, the Olde 5X, during tours of the Brewery – if that ever got released, now that would be something!!

Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 434 ratings.