Old Marcus | Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Very Good
35 Ratings

Brewed by:
Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
New York, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-30-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 35 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by TheBrewo:
Photo of TheBrewo
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew was served from the cask at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. It is served into a house nonic glass, glowing a golden red coloring. It holds a frothy two finger head of creamy eggshell colored bubbles. These cling to the sides of the glass, leaving solid sheets of lacing as it recedes at a slow pace. There is a chill haze throughout, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears light. The nose is bright with mild banana esters and crisp lemon flesh. Clove spice and citric hops come with warmth, as does more sweetness from a lightly caramel, malty base. There is an interesting “sunscreen” note to the nose, giving more plastics, and that characteristic “bitter” note of the style. Our first impression is that the flavoring is wrought with cooling banana bread. As we sip, mild caramel and pale malts mix with cooling banana esters and light citric hops. The peak shows sharp phenolic bitterness, with light plastics and faint strawberry sourness. Sour lemon peel adds to this, with a continuation of those same malts and hops from the outset. We finish with more fruit, with blackberry sourness, even more bitter citric and grassy hops, and more of those sharp magic marker plastics, imparting that same characteristic bitterness of the style. The aftertaste breathes of fusel booze, English breakfast tea leaves, grassy hops, lemon juice, smooth woody musk, and sweeter pale grain. The body is medium, and the carbonation is light. The mouth is left wet and cooled, with a thin syrupy coating, despite the lightness otherwise. There is minimal slurp, smack, or pop on top of each sip. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks decently.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this was the nose. This shows nice sweetness, hoppiness, and a cooling quality to the heavily breaded malts, while hitting all the high points stylistically. The flavoring followed nicely, and the flavorings have mellowed beautifully in the casking. We felt the feel to be a little weak, as we were hoping for a more robust, cream pop and fizzle with each sip. Otherwise this is a tasty local offering we were happy to drink.

 2,125 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of nnthom266
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Photo of ABokononist
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Sammy
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the honour of being served it by Old Marcus Rubinstein, the owner and Brewmaster himself, at the Middle Ages brewery. A good representative of the ESB style, nicely hopped. Lots of suds. Had a scotch aroma. Bitter also nut, and a dry bitter aftertaste.

 256 characters

Photo of tempest
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler friday afternoon from the tasting room and cracker it open later that night.

The head is a little short, but the off-red body looks pretty tasty. Smells a little sweet on top of the hops and malt.

Very good ESB, quite delicious. I wish the flavors were a bit more distinct and complex, but this is still one of the finest ESB's I've ever had.

Very easy drinking, my growler was empty before I knew it. Watch out for the 6.6 abv, a growler of this might catch up with you.

 501 characters

Photo of TheBCrew
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 5 gallon keg of this for the kegerator. Poured into a pint glass with rocky off-white head that lasts. Lots of sticky lacing. Pale orange, somewhat cloudy. Aroma of biscuits and butterscotch (diacetyl). Taste to match with a slight hop bitterness. This one's a little more on the malt side. Rather thick body with good drinkability.

 344 characters

Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of athenmonk
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another tasty MA selection. Poured a yellowish color which bled into a coppery fire around its edges, this all after a hazy, brown cascade I could write many a poem about. Pearched atop was a pillowy white head and this sucker had plenty of lacing as well. Smell had more esters than I was expecting from a bitter, but seeing the ABV% gives an indication as to why that would be so. Besides that there was a immature green grape and floral hop bite in the nose. Taste was musty, bitter and malty all at the same time with plenty more of that alcohol character. However, the alcohol did not dominate at any time and served more as an interesting backbone for this ESB. There was plenty of dry raisin character in the taste which left an almost parched effect making me want more to keep my mouth wet. Sometimes the simplest of beers can make you fall in love even more with the art of brewing.

 892 characters

Photo of sachie23
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ppoitras
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled at the brewery.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light beige head over the clear dark amber brew. Doughy head recedes slowly, with hearty sticky lace. Aroma is earthy biscuits and light alcohol fruitiness. Taste begins with the sweet malt, gets a teensy bit funky in the middle, and then closes with moderate floral hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft over the tongue, and drinkability is nice as well. Good stuff.

 459 characters

Photo of blackened1339
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of craftaholic
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm very surprised by this beer. I expected bitter but I didn't expect it to be so tasty. Leaves behind more lace than a Vicky's fashion show. Smells like a nice roasted malt but not overdone. The taste is bitter yet creamy? It has a transformative property from the front of your tongue to the back. From bitter hops and roasted malts to pillowy cream.

 354 characters

Photo of williamherbert
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear, bright orange head: a "real amber" (ie. not "beer amber") color. Crystal clear. Nice foamy head.

Heavy yeast (which is fine with me) with a sweet malt. Slight hop presence, but the ringwood yeast definitely dominates. Nice balance.

Heavy sweet malt flavor with secondary hop undertones. Major bready yeast flavor. Tastes like a standard pub ale with heavy yeast base. Flowery yeast taste/aftertaste.

Medium body with a thick finish. Slightly flat, but not too bad. Slightly dry, but also refreshing. Smooth, but with a bite. I really really like this beer. A growler could be drained in an afternoon.

 621 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Mahar's in Albany, NY

A-Copper with a thin tan head that left behind nice lace.

S-Malty sweet and then....meh....

T-Sweet malt and bitter, peppery hops at the same time. A nice oaky astringency in the finish, nice.

M-Medium body with a good amount of creaminess. Good lingering dryness.

D-Good, solid overall, Nothing crazy, lacks on aroma...a dry hop injection would add nicely to this brew.

 408 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very well balance English-style strong bitter with a slight nod toward rich malty character but not without a bold rebuttal of earthy, spicy hop bitterness.

Pouring a bit darker amber, light brown color than typical for ESB-type beers, the beer showcases its froathy character with a dense off-white head that retains and laces well.

Malty-rich aromas of caramel, sweet breads, light bread crust, and a slight brown sugar scent all set the tone for the hops and esters that round out the nose. Earthy, grassy, spicy hops give a slight musty nose with elements of peat and light woodiness. Mildly fruity yeasty notes give a roundedness and complex element to the aroma and help to offset the grassy hop scent.

Again, the malts give first impressions to taste with a mild toffee, bready/biscuity flavor with moderate sweetness that work well in conjunction with the fruity apple, pear, and appricot yeast contributions. A mid palate of earthy/spicy/grassy hops give a crisp and sharp bitterness that grows in intensity going into finish that balances out very well in the end.

Hearty and creamy without becomming weighted, the beer retains its structure well while protruding the fruity and hoppy notes throughout. Waivering everso slightly late, the beer finishes semi-dry with a slight malty-sweet linger along with spicy hop bitterness.

Very well done although the sligh malt forwardness could be better balanced by a bit more of a hop increase to improve.

 1,464 characters

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a wonderfully fruity Ringwood yeast aroma. It doesn't appear to be too bitter, although some hops are noticeable. The taste is good. It has quite a bitter bite with loads of Kent Goldings hops. It also has a good malt base comprised of pale and crystal malts. It goes down easy and finishes dry with a slight yeast fruitiness. THe mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking ESB. It's got the hop content I like with a full body and the right amount of malts.

 704 characters

Photo of schlazzgraft
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on cask at Mahar's in albany, ny... great place!

A - Reddish amber, fairly clear with a little yeast sediment in the bottom (which i don't mind). Nice head retention and laced the glass the whole way.

S - Nothing extraordinary, caramel malts with some subtle hints of british hops

T - A nice smooth bitterness up front, which blended into a great bready malt taste. Biscuits, toasted nuts, and a little bit of herbal quality was detected. A nice dry finish, which some people might not love.

M - Nice and smooth, about what you'd expect from looking at it.

D - Took a while to get through one of these, it was a little on the strong/astringent side. Pretty tasty though - I'd love to try other brews from these guys.

 730 characters

Photo of Seanpatrickhaley
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of T-34-85
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of prisdefer
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of John
4.66/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A stellar brew on cask or tap.

30 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Old Marcus has a dark, copper-colored body and an off-white head. Pretty good retention, and a few spots of lacing left behind.

The aroma is heavily fruity, and also features a hop bite and a biscuit-like malt bill.

The flavor of Old Marcus follows the aroma pretty closely. Up front this beer is extremely fruity, tasting like apricot. In fact, I seriously considered whether there was some kind of fruit flavor added, but I decided that there probably was not. After the fruit there is a big malt bill that has a lightly toasted, biscuit-like character to it. The finish is bitter and hoppy.

The body is a bit heavy. Carbonation is on the light side.

Old Marcus is a fairly drinkable brew, but given the chance, I really don't think that I would order it again.

 767 characters

Photo of FrankShirley
4/5  rDev +2.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Old Marcus from Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 35 ratings