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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

299 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 299
Hads: 450
Avg: 4
pDev: 13.5%
Wants: 31
Gots: 24 | 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.
View: Beers (61) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 299 | Hads: 450
Photo of
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours deep mahogany with a finger of creamy beige head that slowly dissipates to a thin covering.

Aroma - dark malts, figs, chocolate, oak, slightly vinous with a touch of white wine-like sourness.

Flavour - an echo of the chocolate, figs, and oak of the aroma, with a lasting smooth, fruity finish like really dark chocolate, with a hint of sourness and a gentle mineralty on the finish.

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

Served into a wine glass from a clear 500 ml. capped bottle. This English Ale Aged in Oak Vats is indeed a blend of two beers, one of which is aged; as noted on further reading of the label. A firm pour shows a deep brown and clear bodied beer with a half inch of creamy off white foam. Ruby red in highlight, the cap offers brief initial retention yet keeps a thin film and leaves dabs of lacing here and there.

Nose is pleasant though not overly forward. A fair malt base which has notes of caramel and oak, along with some wafting alcohol notes. Subtleties become more evident with warming, showing light hop character as well, and a more pronounced new oak character.

Flavor of light caramelized toffee and a bit of dark toast. Rather light bodied for the style though not unexpected for a beer of 6.0%, and with a slightly watery flash of caramel and chocolate on the finish. Malt flavors are reasonably well balanced given the light body. Finishes with a bit of cinnamon and chocolate spice. An intriguing beverage.

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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.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Poured from the bottle with a thin tan head, which quickly evaporated, leaving virtually no lacing behind. The body was an optically clear dark brown color (similar color to root beer). No visible carbonation.

S- Sweet tawny port-like aroma, with nuances of caramel and treacle. Some trace vanillins and a faint oakiness. No hop aroma at all... which is fine for the style. Overall, this smells like a wonderfully complex dessert in a glass.

T- A rich impression of stewed malts up front, which are met with some mildly tart and acidic notes midway. Impressions of dark fruit, oak lactones and port throughout. Finishes dry and vinous with an echo of toffee and low-alpha hop bitterness. Wonderfully dynamic.

M- A medium body with a reasonably soft carbonation, mild astringency from the oak tannins, and no EtOH heat at all.

D- Goes down incredibly smooth. All the flavor of a beer twice its gravity. So quaffable- unlike any other Old Ale I have had.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a dark mahogany with faint, thin tan head

smell - molasses, toffee, raisins, currants

taste - dark fruits here, plums, currants, raisins, some molasses and toffee here as well

mouthfeel - medium bodied, light on the carbonation, slightly sweet upfront, but a nicely balanced beverage, no discernable booziness

drinkability - this is a good beer that I am glad I tried. i'm not that well versed in the Old Ale style, but what I've sampled so far, I am a fan of, with this being my second foray.

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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.

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Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color and poured with a finger high beige head that quickly faded away, leaving lacing in the center of the glass and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of prunes and raisins in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather fruity but also has some flavors nuts and toffee as well as notes oak from the barrel aging.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: Given the low alcohol content, the beer is quite drinkable and goes down smoothly.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'd say "pours" a deep reddish brown colour, but the clear glass bottle gives a pretty good indication of the beer's hue before it's even uncapped. Head is frothy and large-bubbled, the result of some alarmingly exuberant carbonation. Minimal lacing as well as the head crackles down to nothing. Colour is brilliant, head is not.

Nose is sweet and lightly roasted, but with esters of banana skin and lilting organic notes that remind me of root beer. Some caramel swirls around as well, giving a bit of depth. Not bad, it has some nice characters to it.

Taste is also pleasant, if very much expected. Smooth caramel with a light roasty buffer to it that stops it from getting too heavy. Prickle of bitterness on the back, light organics and a nice old-ale astringency. Feel is relatively smooth, but again, I can feel the carbonation in a way that really doesn't seem to sit right with the style.

Not a bad beer, but I've certainly had better examples. The carbonation is off, there's not much nuance or complexity, and overall it tastes like a weak knock-off old ale.

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Photo of wajacobs
3.06/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I hate clear glass bottles!

Of the Greene King beers I've tried Olde Suffolk is the best. It still has a pesistent thud on the back of the tongue that all the Greene King beers do but there is a bit more complexiety than in the others.
Is pours a brilliant deep red with a small but lasting head that developes a gentle lace down the glass as the volume receedes. The aroma ad flaovor are caramel/ toffee and just a touch of tropical fruits and just enough bitterness to dry the tongue. The mouthfeel is light but with that annoying thud. I'm under the ipression that Greene King doesn't care for their beer very well and by the time it reaches out here on the west coast it's drinkability has greatly suffered.

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

A - dark red, almost like red wine or porto, thin head
S - smells like porto, mixed with red grapes, raisins, wood and slightly roasted malt
T - sweet toffee with red grapes, oak wood with little roasted malt and a little bit cherries in the distance.
M - medium to low carbonation with medium to low body
D - not much drinkable, however must be great with some cheese

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle 6,0% Abv.
Poured into a snifter.

I received this beer from an online store and was a tad annoyed to find it in a clear bottle, lets hope that the flavour hasn't been affected.

Appearance: Strong Suffolk pours a clear dark brown that is transformed into beautiful dark ruby when back lit. The head is tan brown in colour and of decent size. It displays reasonable retention and leaves some pretty good lace.

Smell: As I cracked open the bottle I got a pretty decent whiff of sweet toffee and masses wood. I absolutely love wood in a beer so things are looking good for Suffolk Strong.
Closer inspection of the nose yields tons of oak (to my delight), toasted malt and sweet toffee. There are notes of raisins and some other dark, dried fruit and an assortment of spices (it might just be the time of the year, but it reminds me of the smell of a Christmas pudding). As the beer warms the oak notes seem to take a back seat behind this 'Christmas' aroma. Hints of chocolate and molasses are also noted.

Taste: After the sweet toffee and fruit elements of the nose I was expecting a fair amount of sweetness from the flavour, but to my surprise it was pretty well balanced between sweet and bitter.
Wood doesn't dominate the flavour as much as the smell, but is still well present, toffee, toasted malt and spices are present in equal measure. Hop character is fairly low (as one would expect) but a slightly herbal flavour and some bitterness are present in the finish. As the beer warms vanilla and a hint of dates are notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with absolutely perfect carbonation - understated and smooth. I love the feel of 'English' carbonation and this is done superbly here.

Drinkability: Strong Suffolk goes down very well, great for a cold day. I would certainly drink this beer fairly frequently if it was available.

Lastly - Greene King, please, please, please, please bottle old 5x and send me a bottle !!!

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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.

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Photo of Monsteruss
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The foam was dark wheat in color, bubbly and smooth with nice lacing. It had a almost opaque color with a ruby red tone with burgandy and brown highlights. It had a very deep roasted barley and fruit aroma underlined by hints cherries, carmel and toasted wood. It's taste was a very deep toasted oak, barley, fruit, with a carmel toffee hops accent. Mouthfeel - full-bodied. Drinkability - I loved this beer! Deep, rich, full of complex flavors and aromas. This would be a perfect holiday beer during the winter.

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Photo of darkmartin
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours to an opaque brown with strong red undertones. Medium, tan head that doesnt last, thin lacing.

Smell: Lots of roasted malt and caramel, some toffee and dark fruit.

Taste: The fruits come out quite a bit more than the nose suggested, while the caramel and roasted malts take a backseat. Hints of sweet vanilla in the finish. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite high, the flavor is really quite nice in that it embodies the roasted malt and wood notes of an oak aged ale, while simultaneously maintaining a lighter, fruitier side. I need to pick up a few more of these.

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

pours a stunning rich burnt caramel that glows with ruby. a solid half-inch buff hued fluffy head fades quickly to a thin collar that leaves bits and bubbles of lacing.

aroma is deliciously rich with caramel and roasted malt notes accentuated by dark fruits. dried cherries, raisins, and blackstrap molasses intermingles with oaky vanilla notes.

taste follows aroma with a good bit of rich fruit and more woody notes. oak, vanilla, hints of bourbon. subtle woody tannin notes are there as well. depth greatly improves as it warms.

mouth is smooth and clean. slightly slick, with carbonation slightly high for the style, although definitely not offensive.

the flavor profiles are perfect for the mouthfeel and this old ale reminds me why I love old ales so much. a bit lighter and smoother than most of the american iterations, this one hits a home run again and again and leaves me wanting another one.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice clear, deep ruby-brown pour with quickly fading head and decent lacing. Nice malty, complex nose with hints of vanilla, oak, burnt toffee, tea, tobacco, bread and dark fruits. Taste is much the same, with the vanilla, burnt toffee and oak becoming more prominent as it warms. Also get a very pleasant, subdued spiciness with just a touch of bitterness that nicely compliments the caramel sweetness. This is an incredibly smooth and drinkable beer. I was slightly disappointed that the oak aging didn't come through more in the taste, but overall this is a great beer that I will be visiting again very soon!

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby red color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both nice. The brew smells like toffee, raisins, bready malt and caramel, but also some skunk (I'm sure the clear bottle didn't help). Luckily the taste isn't skunky at all. It's a good malty beer, it tastes like caramel and bready malt, toffee, nuts, and some oak. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating with low carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. I think this is a decent enough brew, it's worth trying.

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Photo of BogleHill
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled version. Pours out a deep amber. Frothy head fades quickly. Low carbonation. Aroma of sweet nuts. Very smooth and malty drinking brew with flavors of roasted nuts, raisins, slight licorice. Very well balanced. Nice nutty finish. Another sturdy English brew!

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Photo of JohnnyP3
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from clear bottle into imperial pint glass. No identifiable date stamp.

This old ale pours a dark brown with a slight orange-red tint. Leaves a one-finger-wide head that gradually reduces itself to a thin layer of foam crowning the beer. Moderate lacing.

Smells of malty/fruity goodness. Sweet caramel/toffee notes.

Wow, this is a malt powerhouse with some floral/fruit notes from the hops. Dates or raisins perhaps. Candied fruit notes are present. Strong malt sweetness up front that is delicious. Sweetness does not linger too long. Fantastically smooth and well balanced after the initial malt onslaught. A nice earthiness to this beer. Probably from the oak barrel aging process. Also some hints of tobacco, caramel and toffee. So much more going on here than I expected, this is a fantastic surprise.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. Moderate carbonation. The flavors cascade through the mouth and envelope the taste buds in a warm embrace. I find this beer to be very drinkable. Excellent contemplative brew that is very nuanced and complex. I will be savoring more of these in the future.

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

Dark brown with red highlights and a thin tan head an uneven lacing. Spice and sweet aromas with a hint of oak. A nutty brown ale with toffee and caramel, roasted malts and a semi-dry oak finish. Slight metallic aftertaste that disappeared as the beer warmed. Fuzzy and smooth with light carbonation.

This is a very tasty beer that is very complex and not to high in alcohol. The metallic aftertaste is something I've noticed before in English beer but it does disappear warmed up which also releases more of the complex flavors. Definitely a good buy.

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

0.5l bottle poured in a chalice.

Great beer! Classic English Ale.

A: Beautiful deep amber color with a thin beige head which dissipates quickly leaving very few lacings
S: Caramel malts (and some notes of roasted malts), toffee, dark fruits (plums and grapes, mainly), wood, brown bread, yeasts, flowery hops and a bit of alcohol in the end. Sophisticated
T: Delicious. Complex as the nose. A little bit sweet. Caramel malts and dark fruits in the beginning. Woody (reminds red wine). Very well balanced bitterness (the taste of fresh hops is impressive)
M: Medium body. Low to medium carbonation which reminds a traditional English Bitter. Delicious bitterness
D: High. Very mild and smooth Beer. A winner, no doubt!

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Photo of ClimbStuff
4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark Carmel in appearance, hint of ruby when held to the light.

S: Delicious smell of toffee, some roasted notes

T: Complex, initially seems like a mono-tone beer, but then a distinct but subtle roasty flavor, followed by a pleasant "hang"

M: Fantastic. Sits on the palate, medium body, little to no carbonation

D: Rich flavor makes the beer delicious but not super drinkable. This is a sipper beer not a "guzzler" beer

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Photo of July2Nov
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice dark-reddish brown color (mahogany-like). Not alot of carbonation and only a slight lace around the rim and an ever so small head.

Smell: Sweet, buttery biscuit, caramel, toffee and raisin notes come out. Smells like some good old fashioned bread pudding in a bottle! The taste-buds are ready for this one!

Taste & Mouthfeel: My god this is good! The scent was right on. The beer is smooth throughout it's life and the assortment of flavors combine for a refreshing and compact concoction. Has a slight bubble-gum (ie. sugary) taste right off. Tends to have a spiced raisin flavor that peaks up during the middle and holds onto till the end. Aftertaste is slightly acidic, without being gross. Run, don't walk, and find this!!!

Drinkability: The only bad thing i can say about this is: that it's only brewed in limited qualities. My expectations were shattered with this English ale and can't wait to get my hands on another one. The label said that it is a perfect accompaniment to "mature English cheese", but I can tell you that a nice simple pizza, with spinach and cheese is not too shabby either. If you see this one on the shelf, grab it and enjoy....you'll thank me later.

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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.

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Photo of Brad007
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a one-finger head into my pint glass. Not bad. I don't like how they use clear bottles.

Aroma is full of raisin and otherwise sweet malt. Not really much that I can detect (and I did clean the glass).

Taste is full of crisp, sweet malt with a strong tendency towards raisin. Simple. Nothing out of the ordinary. Tastes better than I thought it would.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering crispness and raisin. Again, nothing harsh. Just a simple, tasty ale. You can't really tell that it was aged in barrels unless you count a slight oak twang.

Not bad. I bet it would be even better fresh and on tap. Still, worth a try if you like this brewery's output.

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 299 ratings.