1698 Kentish Strong Ale | Shepherd Neame Ltd

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1698 Kentish Strong Ale1698 Kentish Strong Ale

Brewed by:
Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Shepherd Neame 1698 Celebration Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002

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Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 81
Photo of Oleg85
3.26/5  rDev -7.9%
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 -0.6%
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 +7.1%
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 +26.6%
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 +0.3%
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 +13%

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 +7.3%
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 -11.3%
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 napetry
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

 1,100 characters

Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
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 +16.4%
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 +1.1%
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 +13%
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.

 475 characters

Photo of fullsweep
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

 257 characters

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
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


 366 characters

Photo of LeathChuinn
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 618 characters

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

 1,175 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.44/5  rDev -31.1%
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 -32.8%
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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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light brown/amber, with off-white medium large thick creamy head that leaves some lace.

S: Roasted sweet malt, with fruit (red apples) and nuts. Faint floral and bitter hops.

T: Sweet roasted malt, with bitter hops (and some faint floral), fruit and ryebread.

M: The long aftertaste holds some sweetness and a lot of dry bitterness. The body medium to full and the carbonation is rather rich with small bubbles.

D: A nice beer to have when you're eating sturdier food.

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Photo of Lukie
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange amber, with glints of bright amber in the light. Head is minimal as with most english ales in Australia (as they aren't fresh). Small thin lacing which rings around the side.

Quite a zesty smell. Some green apple peel, slight citrus, almost citrus ice if that even makes sense. Some malty characters, but nothing overly impressive.

Slight malty caramel overtones, and some biscuity qualities flow off into quite a big hop hit. Some floral hoppy grassy tones, with some green apple, and citrus. Pretty damn good compared to some of the more average shepherd neame stuff.

The body is quite thin, which is a surprise. There doesn't seem to be a thick malt background like some english ales can get to. Quite easy drinking, and for the added percentage, there is very little hint of extra alcohol.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (50cl), tasted in 2007.
Appearance : brown color (chestnut), white foam head,with little bubbles
Smell : Nose is sweet, malty
Taste ans mouthfeel : In the mouth it's bittersweet, with lots of fruits flavors.
Drinkability : a good beer is the style Extra Strong Bitter (ESB).

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Photo of bark
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The liquid is clear; the colour is medium amber. The finger thick pale beige head is firm, it leaves some lacing.

The mild smell is bitter with some dried fruits, minerals, and yeast, wheat flour.

The taste is sweet with an interesting note of roasted root-crops, apricot jam, chalk and cookies. The aftertaste is a bit bitter and balanced with notes of caramel sauce, sour candy and dark bread.

The liquid is smooth; the light carbonation is made of small bubbles.

I found this beer easy to gulp, but at the same time, it becomes a bit tedious.

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Photo of baggio
3.09/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: goldiebrown with an lace that vanishes all too quickly.

Smell: Light touch of hops, metal.

Taste: Bittersweet, some citric notes, flowers, hint of apple.

Mouthfeel: Lovely carbonation, goes down smoothly even though you can detect a wee bit of alcohol.

This beer feels like a mixture of several styles, can't really define it. Still, it goes down smoothly and has some interesting character but it is not
something i would seek out again.

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Photo of vancurly
3.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear, amber, off-white head that runs away.

S: Flinty/metallic hop aroma. Fleshy/stinky note, some lemon/ginger/allspice. Caught a faint whiff of pickled onion.

F: Floral hop, dried ginger powder. Pungeant note, which reminds me of pinot noir... gamey, forest floor.... Slight toffee note, some pistachio nut, leather, dried fruit.

M: Quite light.... there is a slight alcohol heat that thins out the mouthfeel. Wine-like, in many respects.

D: An interesting combination... Seems strangely chaotic....could only really drink one I think.

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1698 Kentish Strong Ale from Shepherd Neame Ltd
3.54 out of 5 based on 81 ratings.
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