1698 Kentish Strong Ale
Shepherd Neame Ltd

1698 Kentish Strong Ale1698 Kentish Strong Ale
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English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #189
Ranked #37,099
3.66 | pDev: 13.93%
Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom
1698 Kentish Strong Ale1698 Kentish Strong Ale
Notes: Formerly Shepherd Neame 1698 Celebration Ale
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 98
Photo of shambeano
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, best before 04/2020. Poured into a tulip glass at a little under room temperature.
Look: Pours a clear copper amber, with about 1.5 cm of fluffy white head. The head hangs around for a little white, slowly subsiding. Little bit of lacing. Looks pretty good.
Smell: Malty, a little caramel, a touch bit of biscuit. There is a touch of something floral in there towards the end, but nothing specific I can name.
Taste: Malty like the nose, toffee/caramel, an ANZAC biscuit/flapjack kind of flavour (golden syrup and cereal malt). There is also a little fruitiness, maybe stewed apple with a touch of spice. Touch of bitterness rounds it all.
Feel: a little lighter bodied than I had expected. Some tingly carbonation, but its a bit light on. A touch dry at the end.
Overall: Pretty good. Particularly if you are in the mood for something malt driven.

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Photo of KooVee
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50cl bottle, bb in 8m.

Colour of clear tea, off-white dense but transient head that leaves a nice lace.

Drive-by is over-ripe pear. Interesting.

Nose is first sweetened dark berries covered with caramel, and becomes an ever more intense vanilla as the beer warms up. In general this beer (of course) benefits from being let to reach the natural serving temperature for the style. Fridge-cold, the genre is thin and dull which I think shows in many reviews.

Taste brings in syrup-derived restrained brown sugar flavour, and a layer of earthy bitterness that brings to mind tea, autumn leaves, a bit of faintly peppery spice. Dark fruit too, some would probably say.. to me it is the glucose judiciously portioned. Mouthfeel is medium for the style. Not big and chewy as some seem to expect. Alleviated by sugar as it should be.The tea/earthy notes I would guess to come from Fuggles or some similar classic earthy English hop.

Overall one has to let the beer warm up and not expect fireworks what comes to taste. The aim is to be drinkable with subtle complexity. This is not the most memorable expression of the idea, but for a Neame beer I am impressed. Usually they are one-dimensional.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle - once again, it's not often that we see new offerings from the UK around here.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium bronzed amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky, and somewhat fizzy ecru head, which leaves some random splotchy and sudsy lace around the glass as things quickly evaporate.

It smells of grainy and biscuity caramel malt, a lesser toffee sweetness, some indistinct bruised pome fruitiness, and plain earthy, musty, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is bready and crackery cereal malt, biscuity toffee, baked red apples, overripe pears, a bit of black peppercorn spice, some faint minerality, and more understated leafy, herbal, and dead floral hoppiness.

The carbonation is adequate in its palate-coddling frothiness, the body a so-so middleweight, and mostly smooth, with just a touch of coy hop astringency maybe not following the social norms at this point in the game. It finishes off-dry, the biscuity malt directing the lingering revue.

Overall - this comes across as an affable enough version of the style, very English in its bearing (duh). At any rate, it's quite flavourful, and easy to put back, with zero sign of the extra (in North America, anyways) one and a half points of the ol' wowee sauce. Give it a shot, is my two cents' worth.

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Photo of monkist
3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Should I say this is a quite typical ESB? Although not as good as Fullers' ESB, Shepherd's Neame always feels to lack something imho - had the same impression with their other ales that I had as before.
It starts as a decent strong ale, full bodied, nice, round and malty - and then all of a sudden this body disappears, all the maltiness is gone and only bitter water remains...
Don't get me wrong, I don't intend to bash this beer but I'm a bit lost when having to evaluate it: the first 50% is good, the latter is poor. A proper beer but somehow uncertain in its taste.
A postscript: having it almost lukewarm makes it evenly bitter and malty but disgustingly warm at the same time. Is it the way it is supposed to be drank?
Not bad but not that good either.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

From Lidl. In Ikea's pint glass. Watching Narcos 2x07. Nice english hops bitterness with toffee notes and a nice sweetness. Very drinkable and, at 0.99€ as I bought it, its just an absolute gift

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Photo of Oleg85
3.26/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bought as 1698 Kentish Strong Ale.
L: Pours clear tea-like color (oh, it's called auburn) with a lot of small bubbles rising. Head is 3 fingers tall but it's not thick enough and disappears in few seconds without any lacing.
S: Sweet, hoppy, caramel.
T: Faint hoppy taste, some malts in aftertaste, bitternes 40-45 IBU I think.
F: Light to medium-bodied, not crispy enough.
O: It's quite drinkable but for me it's just ordinary ale.

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Photo of FLima
3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color with a thick off-white head with good retention at first and leaving laces.
Light aroma of English earthy and tangy hops, some toffee, mild cocoa, nuts and dry fruits.
Flavor with notes of English tangy and earthy hops, apple juice, dry fruits, biscuit, vanilla, some resin, plums, oxidized oranges, caramels and tea bags. It took me a while to pick one key note that was missing, which was licorice. I am more used to feel it on dark beers. Quite dry and bitter aftertaste.
Lighter body than expected with good carbonation. Alcohol of 6.5% abv is well hidden, not really warming.
This is a hoppy English Strong Ale with its own character and good amplitude of complexity.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Fizzy pale tea like colouration to this one with a big but sadly short lived head head of rocky foam. But there is decent sticky lace left in the glass.

Smell - Very nice aroma profile. Biscuit and fruit like a plum and apple crumble, there is light woody hop presence and some lightly floral hop tones.

Taste - Nicely bitter and hoppy. There is a mild boozy edge and a soft fruity element with biscuit so that the taste is a milder version of the aroma. In some ways this beer is like the Bishops finger but as it lacks the deep complexity of the malt from the Bishops and has a stronger boozy edge that detracts from the other flavous slightly I'd have to say the 'Finger' is better. That said this is still very good.

Mouth Feel - Smooth and astringent with a nice drying finish.

Overall - A good beer by any stretch but I still feel that the Spitfire and Bishops Finger are both better examples of their style. That said this is a very drinkable number and the boozy may of set the other flavous but it does not become solvent like or nasty so this beer is definitely good and worth a drink.

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Photo of Olegophren
4.48/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Or its nostalgy for good times in Flirenze, where I have this lad for the first time, or just my alcoholism, but I found Sheoherd's neame interesting bitter fruity beer.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

500ml bottle from Tesco supermarket, Glasgow (£2.19):
Definitely one of the better Shepherd Neame beers I've tried, this one is likely the pick of the eight I've now tried. The beer was quite sweet with a good combination of caramel, toffee and sugars without seemingly sickeningly sweet. It's by no means a classic beer but it was a nice one to sip away at on a cold winters night.

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Photo of gutbucket2
4/5  rDev +9.3%

500ml bottle-conditioned. Pours with diminishing head, clear amber. Toffee and caramel on the nose. Taste: alcohol and orangey hop. High sweetness, moderate bitterness. Palate: medium bodied, slightly syrupy. Overall: A warming beer. Well-crafted. Orangey hop - goldings? and complimentary strong caramel and toffee malt flavours.

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

Clear copper-amber pour with a two finger head with minimal retention and decent lacing. Love the nose on this one. RIch and malty with lots of caramel and toffee along with hints of vanilla, sweet biscuit, tea, and some subtle hoppiness. The taste is bold and flavorful with a sweet malty backbone along with hints of caramel, butterscotch, toffee, tea, tobacco, brown bread, vanilla, and hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly syrupy with a sweet, bitter finish. Overall, this is a bit on the sweet side, but just enough balance to keep it honest and drinkable.

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Photo of Geert
3.14/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Brown bottle (not clear as in the picture). No reference to "celebration". Shepherd Neame 1698 Bottle Conditioned Kentish Strong Ale.
No hiss when opening, no carbonation, no foam. None. I like low carbonation, but it appears something went wrong with this one. Especially when reading other reviews (with notes on carbonation).
Clear light amber colour.

S: Well, with no carbonation aroma intensity is low. Mostly toffee malt, appears to have some age (best before may 2014).

T: Caramelly maltiness, firm bitterness. Nice balance.

M: Full bodied, light alcohol warming.

Overall: Good beer, but just not where it could / should be.

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Photo of vinicole
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned. Clear amber. Thin frothy head.
Richly balanced aroma of hops and malt....
that continues into the flavour. Toffee present. The sweet malt distinguishes itself.
Medium body. Soft carbonation due to the conditioning.

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Photo of napetry
3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a Shepherd Neame fan since my first bucket list London pub crawl in 2008. On my return to London for my second pub crawl in 2010, I happened upon the Rugby Tavern during a late morning walk. I noticed a Shepherd Neame delivery was being made so I went in to see what was on draft. The 1698 Ale was not available but I samples the available live ales. In preparation for a return to London in 2012, I noted that Shepherd Neame was promoting the 1698 Celebration Ale, so I thought I would look for it when in London. I was in London for 10 days and it wasn't until the last night there that I was finally successful in hunting down the 1698.

So was the 1698 Celebration Ale worth the effort? Absolutely! I would definitely have a few more to fully characterize this truly fine English Ale. Unfortunately, having totally enjoyed the hunt, I don't recall many characterizing details to report, except that it is a very likeable beer. Next crawl!! Fall 2013?!

I have a great photo of the 1698 which is much better than the Beer Advocate photo, however, I have not figured out how to upload a photo.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a Thumbler glass.

A: Pours an absolutely clear light copper color forming a medium bubbled yellow to beige head. Medium retention but with a thin layer that remains for long time forming and leaving many lacings in the glass

S: Very British in the nose. Strong toffee, caramel malts and nuts upfront. Roasted malts, British yeasts. Quite biscuity with strong notes of British grassy and flowery hops

T: Follows the nose. Slightly sweet caramel malts upfront followed by roasted malts, brown bread, British yeasts and an intense grassy hops bitterness in the end

M: Light body. good carbonation. Grassy and flowery hops aftertaste

O: Easy drinking beer. Strong British ESB character. Great beer. Recommended

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper colour with a decent White head that retains well.

S - Very pronounced Nutmeg and Spice with Toffee.

T - Up front some nice caramel flavoured malt, followed by some spice and a little tobacco. The finish is spicey and bitter.

M - Medium body with minimal carbonation

O - Really liked this one. Aromas are very pronounced and plenty on offer with the taste

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Photo of charlatan
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tan coloured beer poured with a significant head. There's a creamy nose with a hint of kendal mint cake like sweetness about it.

This is smooth on the tongue, a little understated, much less bold than I had anticipated, yet still very pleasant and rather warming. There's a nice interplay of brown sugary malt and rather laid back herbal hops. A very pleasant sipper.

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Photo of Brabander
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer a few months ago from my very dear Beerbuddy Zimbo. Thanks for this one Craig, i loved it!

Poured in my Struise glass the beer looks very nice. Teacolour with a two finger head and a nice carbonation.

Roasted malts and a light bitterness. When you drink this beer you get some of carbonation in your mouth. Lacing is nice.

When you look at the beer when it is in the bottle it does not look very inviting but when you drink it you will love it. Goood beer.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 mL clear bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: ruby/rust coloured ale with moderate head

S: rich, sweet, caramelly

T: rich, sweet, syrupy

M: sticky, thick, rich on the tongue

O: very good ESB, this might be the best beer I've had from Shepherd Neame.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hoppy floral but with a punch,
an unusual thing is it? An English warrior poet?

That lusty slightly sweet strong ale that can be life affirming.
Lacking in the head dept but such is the case with a second bottle fermentation.

Enough carbonation to dance on the tongue and be a beer not a soda pop

A reminder of why English bottle conditioned beer is so great


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Photo of LeathChuinn
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pils glass and served at room temperature. (Bottle conditioned)

A: Pours a very clear amber colour capped with a thin white head lasting until the final sip. Not much lacing. Yeast sediment can be seen in the bottle through the clear glass but with the right pour none ended up in my glass.

S: Aroma is sweet, malty with a touch of vanilla and hops.

T: Cream, caramel, sweet soda bread, sweet malts and sugar. Finish is alcohol and mild bitterness.

MF: Smooth and slightly oily with a warm finish from the alcohol.

O: I like beers with a malty character, and this is one of them.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Dec 2011. Described on the label as a bottle-conditioned Kentish strong ale, while a blob of yeast is visible inside. Brewed to celebrate the brewery's foundation in 1698.

Poured into a Guinness pint glass. A clear coppery-amber hue with good carbonation. Produces a small head of frothy off-white foam that dissipates rapidly. Aroma of rich, sweet malt with hints of caramel, roasted grain, dried fruit, stewed hops and booze.

Tastes of sweet malt with a subtle roasted character and dry bitterness. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, dried fruit, yeast, grain, faint spice and stewed leaves/veg. A warming hint of alcohol upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and astringent. Body seems a tad thin for it's strength. Aftertaste of malt and stewed leaves.

Palatable, but no masterpiece. There's quite a range of flavours going on, however the sweetness and stewed hop character are too dominant. Would benefit from a reduction of the overcooked hops in favour of a late addition for aroma, and perhaps more distinct roasted malt flavour. I might have this again if the price is right, but there are better strong ales out there.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.44/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500ml clear glass bottle served into an English style tankardish mug in London, England, at me friend's gaff. Reviewed live.

A: 1.5 finger head of slight cream and fair thickness. Retention is poor. Semitransparent textbook copper colour.

Sm: Cream, caramel, amber hops, and chestnut. I don't get any of the roast described on the label. A mild strength aroma.

T: The chestnut and cream is quite nice. I like that the caramel is restrained, because it might spoil the direction of the beer. It is quite simple, however, and the finish is a bit foul. It's a tad watery. Built blandly and not well balanced.

Mf: Too smooth and too wet. Doesn't really suit the flavours of the body.

Dr: Decent ABV, bland, fairly priced in England, and decently drinkable. It's worth a try for fans of the brewery, but others should leave it be.

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Photo of ricke
2.38/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Golden copper color with a medium-sized white head that leaves small lacings.

S: A light smell of malts, fudge, butterscotch, leafy hops and vegetables. Very faint floral note. Not very pleasant.

T: The taste is somewhat sweet and malty with notes of butterscotch, earth, leaves, vegetables and some hops. Perhaps a fruity note or two. The finish is mildly bitter with faint notes of hops and sweetish alcohol.

M: Medium body and medium level of carbonation.

D: Boring and pointless with a rather bad composition. I can't get around the strange aromas of leaves and and vegetables.

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1698 Kentish Strong Ale from Shepherd Neame Ltd
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 98 ratings