Old Marcus | Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.

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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
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Ratings: 35 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of nnthom266
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Photo of mattp
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Full bodied, rich ESB. Beautiful dark amber, almost red, color. The Ringwood yeast is not as noticeable as in some other of the Middle Ages beers. Nice hop/malt balance. I would love to try it cask-conditioned.

Unfortunately, Old Marcus is only available on tap at the brewery or in a couple of downtown Syracuse locations. If you are in town give it a try.

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

Photo of aerozeppl
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another one from notes. Had this a few months back.

A: Poured a deep copper color. A finger of white head with some lacing.

S: The smell that that of wood and must. Awesome recreating of an English ESB smell wise.

T: Bitter and malt. They played off of each other well and neither dominated but rather switched off each sip.

M: Solid med body with the cask carbonation. Fairly standard but done well.

D: Super easy drinking bitter. If I see this on cask again I will grab it.

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Photo of bbutler527
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At a customer's recommendation, I drove 4 hours to get a keg of this ESB. (OK , I also brought back 2 barrels of their IPA, which is a house favorite.) It was definitely worth the trip. After having another ESB on tap for a few months (hint: it's brewed in WA and NH,) a side-by-side was in order.

After sampling the Old Marcus, the flavor and aroma of the other beer was almost non-existent. Old Marcus is on the upper end of the ABV scale (6.5%) for the style, but it's very drinkable. All in all, a very worthy entry for the category, and a keeper on draught.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of ABokononist
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of athenmonk
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of blackened1339
4/5  rDev +2.6%

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 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.

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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.

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Photo of FrankShirley
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of AMCimpi
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of mjforres
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of BeerTruth
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler filled at the brewery, poured into a nonic pint glass.

This ESB pours a somewhat murky copper hue with a very generous off-white head that dies down to a thin layer. Lacing is pretty sticky throughout tasting. Smell is very buttery with that ringwood yeast stamp that Middle Ages has perfected. Taste is very much the same. The bready/biscuity flavoring comes through well, with a mild hop bite that balances this out quite well. Just wish the taste had more to it, a bit one dimensional. Mouthfeel is pretty chewy/thick, but enjoyable. Very subtle carbonation. They don't bottle this one, so pick up a growler at the brewery or buy a pint somewhere if you see it on tap. Old Marcus is a great representation of this style.

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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 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.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a great beer. Props to the tusk for having a brand new cask to crack into for me.

Marcus poured a rich dark brown with approximately half an inch head. There was not tremendous aroma to the brew, but being served warmer it was still able to release some nice malty/hoppy aromas. This was not an overwhelmingly hoppy ale, but for its style it was still quite tasty.

Needless to say this beer was very much a living creature with constant variations in flavor drinking down towards the mother. I like my beers to be onions...but would never drink an onion beer.

This is my second time having Old Marcus in a cask and I enjoy its company with my food every time.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Old Marcus from Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 35 ratings