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Old Empire - Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

Old EmpireOld Empire

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

125 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 125
Reviews: 90
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.79%

Brewed by:
Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2003)
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Ratings: 125 | Reviews: 90 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of scumwaffle


4.18/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It is obvious from the posts here that many just don't understand what an IPA really is--the American expectation is that it will be over-hopped, which I believe has led to the extreme proliferation of over-hopped beers which numb the palate to more subtle flavors, especially in "real" English and European beers. This factor is especially disappointing when tasting beers in Belgium or the Netherlands--trendy, overhopped styles are becoming "hip" while at the same time appealing to virtually no-one but tourists.
Marston's Old Empire is about the best of the hundreds of beers I've tasted in the UK during my long tenure there. I'm not sure about the version that is imported to the US, in fact I was not even aware that it is available here. Perhaps it is a slightly different version, or it does not travel well. In any case, the bottle is quite different with it's printed "on the bottle" labeling.
The London/UK version:
Pours nicely into a pint (UK Pint) glass--clear amber/light brownish color.
Nose: Reasonably strong goldings aroma, some malt, a bit of English "cheese."
Rolling over the palate, strong vanilla and malty sweetness, crisp, clean finish.
Hops slight tingle on the sides of the tongue, mild bitterness compared to American so-called IPA, also light floral/heather/goldings.
Overall a very well balanced beer for the English whose products are usually sour and cheesy with gone-by hops.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2013 00:34:11 | More by scumwaffle
Photo of M_C_Hampton


3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from a 500 ml bottle into a glass, golden colored with a large white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: bitter hops and Burton sulfur, lemon, pine

T: lighter flavor than expected, lemon hops, slight sulfur, bitter finish

M: light to medium body, higher carbonation

O: OK English IPA, flavor is light and approachable

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2013 17:23:05 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of Brenden


3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The color is a clear amber-orange. The beer develops a soft white head that recedes to a thick, solid crown a full finger tall. Retention at that point isn't great, note is there a lot of lacing. There is a decent amount, though, left mostly by way of spotting.
I get a mostly sulfuric note at the front of every sniff. Underneath is some grassy hops, very light spicy, with some earth. Malts are likewise earthy. Under it all is the typical metallic note found in the style.
The flavor offers a bit of a surprise in that it's hoppier than I expect. Earthy, lightly metallic, herbal and leafy into a lingering finish, malts add some earth and breads, and maybe even some sweetness.
The body is medium with a blunt crispness all the way through. It gets a bit dry, as most of these do. Carbonation is at a moderate level and constant. Overall, there's a nice smoothness that complements that crisp bite.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2013 23:14:05 | More by Brenden
Photo of dacrza1

New Jersey

3.36/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Date tasted: July 7, 2013... Glassware: Wychwood Hopbgoblin tumbler... Occasion: celebrating a lazy Sunday's end....Appearance: nice pale copper body that is clear and softly bubbling; cloudy white head that laces and quickly dissipates... Aroma: bready malts assert dominance--such an English treat--with some buttery notes... Palate: medium-bodied, smooth and buttery; some heat on the exhale,, despite the modest ABV.. Taste: extremely soft hints of toffee and hops; powerful display of malt high on the tongue; formidable... Overall: a curiosity purchase, using a gift card for a slew of brews including this one; I know Marston is renown for its bitter, and thought the IPA would carry the flag; malty , yes, and a quality sipper with a slightly smoked, buttery, definitively scotch finish...still, tough to place among the more formidable IPAs from either side of the pond....

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2013 02:47:19 | More by dacrza1
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Golden orange; slightly cloudy; medium head; long lasting

Aroma: Citrusy; hoppy; spicy; sulfury; malty

Taste: Good hop bite on start; citrusy fruit on mid; almost a fruit candy on finish; hoppy, dry nutty aftertaste; very interesting

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 21:50:02 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of Dentist666

Russian Federation

3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden beer with ample off-white head. Clear aroma of citrus, quite diacetylic, crystal malts, evident lack of hops in here. Flavour is prosaic, rather sharp bitterness, less resinous, more standard malts. It can be said "not well-balanced", not "full-flavoured". Good carbonation amd full body.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 18:25:34 | More by Dentist666
Photo of hosehead83


3.39/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a .5liter clear bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear antique gold in color, with a moderate head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Whiff of sulfur, faint earthy hop note
Taste-Pale and toasted malts, earthy hops, grapefruit rind bitterness lingers to the finish. Faint mineral bite and sulfur note accompany each sip. Not bad, just different.
Overall, easy drinkinf and subtle. A spicy or robust food pairing would enhance this brew in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2013 17:57:55 | More by hosehead83
Photo of Radome


3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 500 ml bottle bought in Spain.

A - Color is orange-tinged gold. Head is white and mad of tiny bubbles; initially several cm thick, and fades to a thin sheet. Persistent lacing. Poured cloudy but then cleared as it warmed.

S - Aroma is of sweet, bready English malt. Some grassy hops in background, but muted. Fruity yeast. Aromas are soft but clean.

T - Moderate hops bitterness and flavor. Some crisp malt and soft, fruity yeast notes. A faint sweet alcohol taste. Flavors develop complexity as beer warms.

M - Medium body. Light hops burn. Creamy carbonation.

O - A very nice, well-made brew. However, it lacks the hops punch to deserve to call itself an IPA, even an English one.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 23:40:41 | More by Radome
Photo of Jetulio


3.94/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance--- amber light colour with a white head (1 finger) not lasting
Aroma---citrus, malt and grass. Fresh herbal smell too.
Taste---bitterness presence but with a nice touch of lemon aroma and malts.
Mouthfeel---medium / light body and medium/light carbonation.
Overall--- good and long aftertaste. Drinkable and balanced. Nothing spectacular but consistent.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2013 19:08:48 | More by Jetulio
Photo of djura


2.8/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got it from Italy.

A-Lighter amber with few bubbles and two finger foam lasting a minute.
S-Surprisingly nothing special,some grains.
T/M-Really huge hops aroma and aftertaste,which is typical for IPA's,but really nothing more then bitterness. Not that high abv,but i think it could hit you hard after 3+.
O-Expected much more from English IPA,but not sure i would like to drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2012 14:04:01 | More by djura
Photo of EmperorBevis

United Kingdom (England)

3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber coloured body with huge but quickly vanishing big bubbled white head.

Big hard hitting aroma of erm.... Northern lights, real good cannabis smells in there (so a friend says, honest, :P ) and hops and lemon grass.

Despite the emense hop nose the main flavours are the malts and tastes of wheat crackers not big on bitter tastes rather a slightly sour citrusy aftertaste coming in to sit on the tongue.

Not as heavy and boozy as you might think but still heavy hitting with the alcohol balanced against the ease that this slips down due to a damn good MF makes it a dangerous beast especially considering the nice way the bubbles wash it down to an easy going carbonation.

Among the many, many paleales of Marston’s this is probably the best.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2012 20:17:18 | More by EmperorBevis
Photo of CrazyDavros


3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours dark amber with a large head.
Nose shows grassy hops, spicy notes, caramel and toffee along with soft diacetyl.
Flavours are not as interesting, mainly focussing on bready malt and very faint caramel followed by a plain but aggressive bitterness.
Body seems watery.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2012 10:01:43 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into pint glass 27/3/12

A clear golden copper with a few bubbles feeding a short lived thumbs width of foam that leaves no lace

S caramels and faint spicy hops, some fruity aspect but it also has a little skunk

T what I smell really, pretty basic with more hop character and less skunk then the nose but still pretty average

M medium bodied with decent carbonation, fairly clean finish perhaps the best part of this beer

O not overly impressed by this one, not a freshness issue but slightly skunked nose and basic flavor profile

I know its a English IPA but even so pretty basic, no part of this beer impressed me but still far from drain pour

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 05:49:09 | More by wordemupg
Photo of BGDrock

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Appearance: amber colour, clear, not heavily carbonated, good lace

Aroma: mild malt, and hops coming through in the background (floral)

Taste & Mouthfeel: medium body, carbonation may be slightly too much; starts with lightly sweet flavour, quickly turns to pleasantly bitter hops; good aftertaste; clean and almost "sharp" on the tongue

Overall: well balanced, tasty, and would do well against spicy or intensely flavoured food

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 01:08:56 | More by BGDrock
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear orange amber colour with a bubbly looking head that settles to a thick soapy lacing.

Sweet earthy hops and background malts. The aroma is very muted but there is a sweet, citrus sort of a aroma right at the end.

Some soft hops and bitter malts to begin with although I feel the finish should be a nice caramel one but this is overshadowed by too much sunk and a lot of bitterness.

Smooth & light-medium with mild carbonation and semi-bitter, skuny finish to the beer.

I'd be struggling to tell this beer apart for countless other English ales that I have tried, it is quite frankly nothing to write home about.

1001 Beers Blog: http://abarwithnoname.wordpress.com

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 23:03:07 | More by flyingpig
Photo of treque


3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: light copper in color with orange tint, is clear, filtered, not too much carb, the head is 1 finger and disspiates quickly, just remains a tiny one, off-white in color.

S: sweet malts, earthy, hops, some caramel hints

T: some sweet notes at first, medium body, long last final, bitterness not excesive, easy to drink, medium hop flavour, well balanced

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 00:41:33 | More by treque
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - clear golden copper colour with a decent flutty white head that left some random lacing as it dissipated
S - a strong herbal and grassy bitter with strong accents of grain and metallic
T - dominated by grassy, leafy, metallic flavour but the hoppiness is still mild, some wheaty malts and light fruitiness, but much more pils than IPA in flavour
M - relatively thin and watery, easy drinking enough, but nothing that makes it memorable
T - it is a tasty dry beverage for sure, but in my opinion is less of an IPA and more of a pils, otherwise I would have given better grade for flavour, as it is an tasty and easy drinking brew

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 06:11:45 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of dave2k5

United Kingdom (England)

4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This being my first 'real ale/beer/pale ale' since I was 18 I thought I'd give it some proper thought.

A: Real golden amber with quarter of an inch head which just doesn't seem to quit on you.
S: Citrus, or so I thought anyway, something I would quite like to smell with my IPA, hops are prominent which is also satisfying.

T: Caramel, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste, again the hops are prominent but its not overall displeasing, it leaves you wanting more pretty much after the first sip

M: After a few minutes in a regular pint glass, little carbonation which is pleasant and doesn't leave you burping out more than you swallow. Suffice to say it finds it's way to your gullet quite easily

Overall this being my first IPA I'm still new to this, but it's one I really enjoyed and I would suggest it to most. Cheers!!

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2011 15:24:33 | More by dave2k5
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a light golden colour, half a finger of head with little retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Sweet floral hop, touch of caramel and burnt wooden notes. The hops are certainly earthy, but have a unique sweetness to them as well.

T - The bitterness dominates and the earthiness of the hops come out nicely. Light caramel notes are overpowered by the grassy hops, but the bitterness is a bit of a turnoff.

M - No complaints here, medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness on the finish.

O - A tasty ale, but nothing spectacular. I wouldn't pick up another bottle, but I'm glad I tried it nonetheless. There's better offerings of the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 01:15:05 | More by andrenaline
Photo of evlu1441

Alberta (Canada)

3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, this beer is a very medium amber with a thin head and lots of carbonation rising up to the top.

The aroma is quite skunky at first (probably due to the clear bottle), but there is also a mild hop aroma going on.

The taste is very bitter off the start as it hits the middle of my tongue. It slowly gives way to some nice hop aroma. The malt notes get lost in the mix a little bit but are still there (if only slightly). This beer has a surprisingly light body.

Overall, I'm not overly impressed with this one. It has too much hop bitterness without backing it up with malt or hop flavours. It is a decent beer though, perhaps just not to my taste.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2011 00:38:03 | More by evlu1441
Photo of Roke87

Ontario (Canada)

2.63/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500 mL bottle, chilled and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Poured an amber almost yellowish colour with a finger of fluffy white head that very quickly dissipates to a nice bubbly top, leaving

Smell- uh oh I’m getting a skunky aroma from the second I opened this one, smells a lot like typical American macro, to be honest I usually have a couple lines for each category but this one really does not have a lot going on in terms of the aromas, I am worried.

Taste- Just like the smells and my sinking feeling returns (no pun intended from ship on the label). This one tastes exactly like a typical macro, actually it reminds me a lot of a labatt blue, I am also getting a slight metallic taste from this one, not a drainpour but very disappointed for sure.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied, to be honest the mouth feel is like your typical macro, over carbonated crap with no taste what so ever.

Overall- I’m in shock, I never thought the Brits would send us a British macro because that’s exactly what this one tastes like. I am getting a mild malt flavour as it warms up but wow am I ever disappointed, this one was almost an instant sell-out at my local LCBO so I thought I would pick up a couple of them before they were all gone, boy am I not looking forward to drinking this one again, might just have to give it away, hopefully someone will accept. Fail on all aspects.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2011 06:07:13 | More by Roke87
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Underated Enlish style IPA. A nce bitterness and drinkability, good malting, though drying finish. Fuggles and Goldings hops. Pours attractive light golden body with lots of white foam. Neutral aroma. Suitable cabonation. From LCBO. Easy drinking, and worth having as an example of subtle English creations.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 04:00:01 | More by Sammy
Photo of hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In aroma and taste, almost an archetypal English IPA.

Pale amber and clear with limited head, but still a decent mouthfeel. Lacking the warm orange and red tones or creaminess of many British ales. Bready aroma and pleasant bitterness on the finish, without any hint of hoppiness anywhere on the palate.

Very, very British!

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 01:40:06 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Feb 2012.

Poured into a Guinness pint glass. A clear golden-amber colour with good carbonation. Yields a thick foamy white head that lasts for several minutes before fading away. Aroma isn't too strong - predominantly yeast esters and solvent/alcohol. Hints of cooked leaves.

The taste has an indistinct grainy maltiness with a dry bitter finish. Notes of stewed leaves, esters, diacetyl and solvent/ethanol. The bitterness is rather harsh, with no aromatic hops present. Mouthfeel is prickly and slick, leaving the palate dry. Acrid bitter aftertaste.

Not brilliant, and certainly not the best example of an IPA I've ever tried. It has a dry bitterness, but lacks hops aroma and a balanced flavour. Don't go out of your way to sample this.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 23:26:47 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of GodOfBeer

Ontario (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale amber with a thin white head, not much carbonation.

Smells a tad skunky at first, thanks to the clear bottle. Sweet citrus hops and bready malts come through. Smells like a typical English IPA.

Nice and malty upfront with a decent amount of citrus hop character.

Nice creamy mouthfeel and highly drinkable. Definitely one of the best English IPAs I've had in a while. I'm pretty sure this must be the first one for the reviewer below me who was expecting pine? This isn't a west coast IPA sir, and this deserves more than a D rating. Learn to differentiate beer styles.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 21:59:11 | More by GodOfBeer
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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
78 out of 100 based on 125 ratings.