Old Empire - Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

Not Rated.
Old EmpireOld Empire

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

146 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 146
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 3.4
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 9
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2003

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 146 | Reviews: 95
Reviews by foles:
Photo of foles
1.98/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Maybe I'm not very experienced with IPA's, but this wasn't a nice experience for me. There may have been other flavours present - but all I could taste was a overpowering, burning hop presence, in a medicinal way.

I tried very hard to get used to it and enjoy some of the flavours potentially hidden, but I just ended up forcing my way 3/4 of the way through the beer, and pouring the rest out.

Unlikely that I will retry it.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4.08/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Presentation - Brown 500ml bottle with a nice ship logo this beer seems to have switched its vessel of late which may account for my higher rating than most. FEAR the BEER in the bottle that is CLEAR... (I'm so punny)

Appearance - Light Amber colour with light streaming CO2. This beer raises an initial head of heavy foam like shaving cream but this dies very quickly to a lace cover that leaves little evidence of itself in the glass. This is all expected from the style but the lower than average retention messes with the overall score.

smell - This one has a straight up hop aroma of pine, balanced by good toffee malt elements.

Taste - Great Hop and malt balance of punky pine and a sweet rose water and grainy and toffee like malt.

MF - Drying and to be honest even a little powdery.

Overall - Pretty good over all, well balanced and pleasing to sip at of an evening, this is a good example of an India Pale Ale.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single clear bottle picked up from the LCBO as part of their spring release. Lovely bottle design, though I wish they hadn't gone the clear route - especially for something marked as being "the original export." A lovely pale amber-golden hue, with an inch-thick big bubbled head that survived as a thin ring.

Nose is caramel, toffee, tea hops, floral notes, and a strong butterscotch hit that might be diactyl, but smells pleasant nonetheles. Reminds me a great deal of Innis and Gunn's blonde ale (another clear bottled brew)...

Tastes pretty good actually, caramel toffee and butter open things off, and the brew exits with a tart hop finish coupled with that distinctive Burton twang. Not terrific, but certainly drinkable.

Thinner bodied, strong carbonation.

A drinkable little IPA. Certainly not the best examplar of the style, but whatever kind of brew that found its way into my pintglass is enjoyable and is going down rather well. The buttery character I'm sure is the result of the bottle; regardless, it's not a flavor that I'm averse to. The hops linger in the back, providing a nice kick that doesn't overpower the brew, but aren't realy indicative of an IPA. Still, my favorite Marston's thus far.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of BGDrock
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
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

Photo of foamer
2.8/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I had heard that this beer was a revival of a nineteenth century English IPA, and as such I was curious as IPAs over here are rather lackluster compared to what they used to be (so I hear).

Pours a golden yellow with a bubbly and fizzy white head fed by some lively carbonation. Did I accidentally pour a lager into my glass? I'm afraid to put my nose up to the glass to be quite honest. I can smell the pungent sulphur and the glass is sitting two feet away...here it goes...it's actually not as bad as I thought. Some sweet and biscuits malts, slightly spicy and earthy hops, and some sulphur which seems to have dissipated a bit as the beer sits. Taste is almost all hops with a faint hint of malt, and the sulphur comes in from time to time. Not terribly pleasant but not terrible either. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp and carbonated. Again, an IPA or a lager?

I went into this beer with high expectations, hoping that it would be a carefully crafted IPA and be a refreshing change from the standard English IPA, but I was let down. The choice of selling this beer in clear bottles baffles me as it isn't terribly pretty, and it does the beer a disservice. Most unfortunate. Apparently this is offered on cask, but I'm not going to try it on bottle again.

Photo of Brenden
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my second attempt at trying this beer, as the fragile nature of its clear glass packaging resulted in the first bottle getting crushed by a single full bottle resting on it in my beer drawer. Keeping the next bottle (a gift from my gf, who participated in the previous bottle's demise) free and clear of obstruction, it has survived to fulfill its purpose...

This beer pours a medium pale golden hue, with a large amount of thin soapy white head, that leaves a bit of lacing. It smells of grassy hops, wood, and lemon peel. The taste is earthy hops, bitter citrus, and a light bready maltiness. The body is moderately heavy, a bit oily, and the carbonation a wee bit high. It finishes clean, and a little tart - I would stand to have a few pints of this given the opportunity. One thing though, I don't really get the categorization as an American IPA, it is much too mild for that, but then, it's got a lot of zing for an English IPA. Somewhere in the middle, so I guess it has to go one way or the other.

Photo of dacrza1
3.38/5  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....

Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%
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

Photo of scumwaffle
4.14/5  rDev +21.8%
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.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.02/5  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.

Photo of AEK
3.32/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml poured from a clear glass bottle into a Hobgoblin branded pint pot.

A. Tangerine somewhat in colour, with very little head that is reminiscent of a strong barleywine. Within 5 minutes the head had completely disappeared.

S.Perhaps my sinuses are blocked up today but I cannot smell anything whatsoever which is really disappointing.

T. Noticeably bitter from start to finish. The fruity malt is noticeable along with hints of bitter orange. Tastes stronger than a 5.7%ABV ale

M. Medium bordering on heavy.

D. Quite a nice drink but a little too heavy to drink on a hot day like it is today. This beer is 3 weeks over its BBE date but as it has been at the back of a dark drinks cabinet it hasn't suffered and still tastes fresh.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.53/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a clear orangey color ale with a medium bubbly head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with lightly dry and astringent hoppy notes. Taste is dominated by weak dry caramel malt notes with a dry finish. Body is average with OK carbonation. Lacking complexity or floral notes of English hops to be a beer I would drink again.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.06/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Light, almost completely pale yellow colour with half a finger of foamy white head. Does not look like a typical IPA.

S - The nose offers nothing even remotely close to any IPA that I have had. There is a slight hop bitterness present but it is not a typical IPA hop nose. No floral, citrus or pine. The hops resemble a typical European pils/lager hop. There is a bready contribution from the malts but, again, no sweetness that I would expect from an IPA. I would have guessed this was a pilsener had I not read the label.

T - Follows the nose. Slight hop bite with a flavour profile typical of a pils. Some bready malts in the middle and the hops rerutn in the finish. Not reminiscent of an IPA at all. Disappointing.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation. More of a pils mouthfeel than an IPA one.

D - A decent enough beer, but not even close to resembling the style.

Photo of evlu1441
3.26/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spin the wheel with the clear bottle.... Pours out a brilliant clear amber hue, very impressive clarity. Tall frothy white head that slowly recedes to a thick creamy cap. Immense amounts of lacing, practically coats half of the glass.

Aroma is woody and nutty, orange and grapefruit hop nose, along with a mild caramel malt base. Subtle yet refined.

Perhaps I am simply a whore to the hepped up and hopped up PNW American versions of this style, but the flavour profile seems tame. Full of character but tame. Nutty, caramel malt up front, woody, earthy middle, followed by an herbal, dandelion/arugula-like hop finish, with the mild herbal hops lingering long into the aftertaste. Rounded orange and grapefruit notes tend to surface as it warms.

Medium-bodied on the light side, with a slick, oily mouthfeel that lightly coats the palate. Very quaffable.

When all is said and done an earthy, astringent IPA, mild compared to North American standards, however would still make a fine session ale given the style.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.76/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Listed here as an American Indian Pale Ale, tastes more traditional and English to me, but hey, I care not.

Looks good in the bottle and looked just as good in my glass, neat tight foamed head, sat on top of an orange coloured body.

Malty in aroma and taste, no great smell though, the maltiness comes through and leaves a full mouthfeel, making this a very drinkable IPA, British or American.

Photo of mrnobody
2.84/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear golden light amber with two fingers of soapy white head; leaves some lacing behind.

S: Smells of skunk backed with some light malt; hops? Damned if I can smell any.

T: A weird fruity sweetness followed by a bitter hop finish; certainly better than the aroma but not by a huge margin.

M: Light-medium mouthfeel with some prickly carbonation.

D: Drinkability is average. If the original IPA had travelled from England to India in clear glass bottles, this style would not have lasted long enough for US brewers to innovate on.

Photo of GONZALOYANNA
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml transparent bottle. Wine glass. Golden amber color, chill haze appearance. Off-white froth creates a close & thin crown. Fairly good retention. Slight sulfur, mild toasted, earthy & light fruity both in flavors & aromas. Medium body. Moderate to high carbonation. Oily to watery texture. Low but clean tendency to hoppiness over a kind biscuit bed. Mineral notes are shown in a refreshing bitter finish. Nice session beer.

Photo of joecast
4.18/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

recieved a 500ml bottle of this during my last brew day. thanks geoff!

lightly hazed gold/amber color. light carbonation. long thin neck ensure a pour which forms an even white foamy head. it settles to a thin lace leaving lacing around half the glass.

aroma is a balanced mix of malt sweetness and floral hops. the presence of the malt gives the impression of a very strong beer. probably more than the reality of 5.7%abv.

wow! big hop flavor. impressive. full on bitterness kicks the taste buds around. yeah, thats an ipa all right. finishes lightly enough though that the next sip isnt far away.

great example of an ipa regardless of type or origin. a bit light on aroma, but the flavor packs a punch and keeps you asking for more. yummy.

Photo of Roke87
2.63/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance - Clear amber colour with a large size frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly decent lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, hops, pears, metallic

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it feels slightly thin on the palette. I can taste butterscotch and malts mixed with some floral hops. I also picked up on a slightly sweet pear taste mixed with some metallic flavour. It finishes with light woody/hop aftertaste.

Drink - The beer seemed to disappear out my glass fairly fast. It's a decent beer for the style. Not something I'd buy again but not a waste of money either.

Photo of jwc215
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Voonder for this one!

Pours hazed orange amber with a thin white head. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is herbal/slightly citric, a bit musty, with caramel backing.

The taste is of caramel, some butterscotch. Hops add bitterness more than flavor though there is a citric note with an herbal/asprin-y touch. Finishes dry.

It's on the lighter side of medium body, with medium carbonation.

An easy-drinking beer. Balanced for the style, with a bittering touch.

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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
78 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.