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Olde Expensive Ale | Burton Bridge Brewery

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Olde Expensive AleOlde Expensive Ale
60 Ratings
Olde Expensive AleOlde Expensive Ale

Brewed by:
Burton Bridge Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 11-02-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 60 |  Reviews: 53
Photo of sjccmd
3.9/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Wet hay, apricot, sour apples in the aroma. Somewhat farmy. Overripe fruit. Juicy and sweet smelling. Bready malts linger behind the fruit and funk. Fresh baked bread, caramel, and honey. A whiff of butterscotch. Very musty.

Pours hazy light amber with big frothy off-white head. Good retention and lacing.

Sour fruits upfront along with funk quickly washing away into clean crackery malts and balancing hop bitterness. Lightly tart and funky, but not as over-the-top as the aroma suggests. Surprisingly very light on the palate besides the initial wash of fruit and funk. Caramel and toffee along with a slight mineral tinge. As it warms up flavors start to pronounce themselves a bit more with richer malt and fruit flavors.

Medium body, high carbonation. Lots of bubbles but fairly soft. Clean finish.

Haven't had any beer quite like this. Flavors seem to be navigating between light barley wine and Belgian lambic. But, as I understand it, this is what old ale was traditionally liked, having been aged in barrels for an extended amount of time being exposed to various wild yeasts.

 1,090 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
2.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy rust coloured, huge head of foam despite being pulled from the fridge and poured carefully.

Bitter hops and sourness in the smell.

Very bitter starting off, moves to the sour side, actually goes back and forth during the session.

Champagne like carbonation doesn't help.

I don't see any dating of any sorts on the bottle.

Weird drinking experience.

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Photo of pat61
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruit and bread on the nose with some spicy hop. Pours hazy amber with a thick 3” rocky head with a slight amber tint. Light malts, grain, bread on the palate finishes dry. Medium full body with medium low carbonation. Overall meh.

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Photo of RochefortChris
2.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of SnifterLifter
3.75/5  rDev +25.8%

Photo of LiquidAmber
2.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Second most forceful blowout of a bottle I've ever had, with beer gushing out of the bottle like a fire hose for what seemed like minutes, gushering over my counter, rugs and floor. How could a small bottle hold that much foam and beer? After mopping up and putting the rug in the washer (it was soaked and very malty), I was pleased to see two inches of beer in my Dogfish Head pint glass, a cloudy caramel color with a thin off-white head that actually had surprising retention considering that had been so active. Aroma of light caramel malt, apple and pear juice, lightly woody and earthy. Flavor is wild saison yeast, light funk, light apple juice, mild tartness, finishing earthy and funky with a mild brett-like bitterness. Light bodied with moderate carbonation. A very odd little ale, not remotely resembling an old ale (although maybe it did at some point?). Like others here, I honestly don't know whether this is an eccentric, funky saison yeast bitter or an old ale that is very badly infected. Since reviews go back almost eight years with similar over carbonation and funkiness, it must be intentional. Oh and I get the name now! 2 ounces of beer out a 17 ounce bottle. Olde Expensive indeed.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +34.2%

Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev +25.8%

Photo of PeteRiz
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +34.2%

Photo of spointon
1.98/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I poured this from a 500ml brown bottle into an Imperial nonic pint glass.

A= Very highly carbonated. Poured a very hazy peach/orange color with a foamy 4" head (gentle pour at cold fridge temp). The head took forever to settle and left behind some impressive foamy stickage down the glass.

S= Wow its a lambic!?!? Nose full of musty, fruity, brett-infused funk. No hops or real malt to speak of...

T= Thin sweetness leads immediately into a cherry pie tartness, some light hints of oak, and not much else. Finishes bone dry and medicinal.

MF= Uber-thin body (way over-attenuated) with a crazy spritzy effervescence on the tongue.

D= At one time this may have been an old ale but it is totally infected and has morphed into a lambic-esque sour. Seriously, nothing about this ale resembles what it is supposed to be, but wow if someone handed it to me and said it was a half-assed Flanders Red I would believe it. THat's interesting and all, but this is just a showpiece of shoddy quality control. Judging from other recent reviews, this is not a rare infection. Beware.

 1,077 characters

Photo of JGuill
4/5  rDev +34.2%

Photo of FanofHefe
2.51/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pint bottle poured into a Duvel tulip; no dating on the bottle or label. WOW, this thing is hyper-carbonated. It takes several pours to get a drinkable amount in the glass Tan head and tons of lacing. Clear, light amber body with a hint of red. Looks pretty good after all the foam dissipates.

Not sure about the aroma. A bit of light fruit, apple or pear, is present. Seems light a lager-type yeast and some malt tending toward caramel make up the remainder.

Well, it does not taste like the aroma. The flavor is like burnt fruit, maybe like after putting a piece of fruit, probably apple, on a stick and roasting it over an open fire. Nearly none of the light fruit or malt are able to get through that burnt taste.

The taste also detracts from the mouthfeel. Overall, not recommended.

 790 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A careful pour yields a cloudy apricot colored liquied with a massive meringue of a head; nice retention and plenty of splashy lace

Smell: Very fruity, with a mineral/herbal twist on the overripe pear and apple aroma; doughy, with some diacetyl, as well

Taste: Opens with a doughy character; the mineral and herbal aspect drives the fruit in a decidedly sour direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the caramel comes to the fore but there is a bit of butterscotch from the diacetyl that punctuates the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, somewhat creamy, with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: I know I am going against the tide here, but I rather enjoyed this very different beer; I like the sour and fruit elements along with the caramel and was not put off too much by the diacetyl

 816 characters

Photo of John_M
3.78/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm sure there's an explanation behind the name, but I don't get it. On cask at Max's today.

The beer pours a copper amber color with very good head retention and decent lacing. On the nose, I really get very little... just some grain, sweet malt and cereal aroma. The flavor profile is much better, with this moderately sweet beer coming across as malty, but with a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish. There's a bit of a alcohol heat in the finish, but otherwise the flavors aren't bad. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly soft and long finish. Drinkability is decent, except for the heat in the finish.

While nothing extraordinairy, I don't quite understand the poor reviews for this beer. The bottled version must really be wretched. As for the cask version I had tonight, all I can say is that I've had far worse....

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Photo of froghop
2.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a clear amber with heavy carbonation, a bubbly off-white head, and some lacing.

smell is faint, caramel, and malt.

taste is tangy, caramel, sour malt, a touch of citrus, and a little metallic, ends a somewhat bitter.

overall ive had better old ales.

 258 characters

Photo of Florida9
3.1/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Light brown with just a hint of orange and a slight chill haze. A small white head forms with little retention, though it does leave some lace on the way down.

S: Sweet malt. Vinous.

D & M: Sweet flat malt on the front end, almost like drinking wort. More of the vinous characteristics: green grapes, "foxy" or "racy" in wine terminology. Some oak comes out as the beer warms. A surprisingly light body with virtually no carbonation at all.

D: This is an odd one. Not necessarily bad, just different. Its almost as it someone decided to make a "lite" barleywine. However, it does go done surprisingly easy.

 614 characters

Photo of goethean
3.91/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Way over-carbonated. Amber.

Nice distinct light toffee typically English ale flavor. A bit light in body and flavor for an old ale (at least for this extreme beer enthusiast). Herbal hops flavor is clearly present, which is surprising for an English brew. Overall, probably not something I'd go out of my way to obtain, but no complaints here.

 345 characters

Photo of drpimento
2.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Odde ducke. As soon as I opened it I smelled sherry and walnuts. Poured straight into the middle of the glass and got a little head, no lace. Color is dark amber with a little color particle haze. Upon sticking my schoz into the beer I got lots of other stuff: cider, leather, dirt, Burton-on-Trent smell, caramel, minerals, and yeast. Flavor's about the same. Body's a hair thin. Finish is ok. Not one of my favs. Got to be much better from the cask. Got this bottle last week at Sam's in Chicago.

 498 characters

Photo of wl0307
4/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 500ml brown long-neck bottle, filtered I presume. Freshness info. unavailable on the beer label, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: pours a light copper hue with a huge and tightly frothy beige head that lasts extremely well, fed by an unusually high level of carbonation.
S: sweet perfumy apple-ly, caramely & creamy malts come with a touch of overripe-fruits-like dense yeasty-sweetness, very much like a lot of other English strong ales I've come across. The overall impression is however very quiet, hinting at a depth of something underneath the huge froth. No doubt; as the froth dissipates, a fine nose of sweet tea, sweet plum-flesh, date-ish fruits, and herbs are lifted to the surface by a good swirl. Integrated and rich, albeit not terribly complex. Very English.
T: moderately sour fruity swallow with a quiet flavour and light alc. rule at first, then gradually, an aromatic tea-ish and dry-nutty taste creep up, leading towards a sherry-like dry aftertaste with aromatic licorice-flavoured prunes (a Taiwanese delicacy) and an old-ish spicy/peppery taste mixed of old fortified-wine (like Masala) and English hops... A slightly alcoholic mouthfeel emerges in the very end, but the palate remains powdered-herbally dry-ish and enjoyable.
M&D: contrary to the appearance, the mouthfeel goes rather smooth on top of a very decent, moderate body overall. The aftertaste really shows the depth of flavour and maybe the touch of "old-ness" any aged strong ale should demonstrate. This is NOT a big, complex, exciting old ale that one might expect. This is NOT even an Old Ale according to the definition on this website. However, this ale rings a bell of the traditional West Country-style aged strong pale beer that won over people's palate with the controlled sourness and lingering dryish palate. Give it a good slurp and sit back - you'll really enjoy it in the end.

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Photo of Offa
1.72/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This is another dud from Burton Bridge for me, similar to the Empire IPA and, like the other, makes me suspect that the bottle was bad.

Cloudy brownish yellow amber, it has a huge pale tan head, fizzy, slowly shrinking and never vanishing, leaving no real lace.

The aroma is strong bananas, old musty grapes, yeast, peach, some bitter orange.

The taste is similar, a little better than expected after the Empire ale experience and the signs so far, but not much. It's highly alcoholic- winey with old, fermenting bananas, turned peaches, yeasty. It is tart, a little sour, bitter. The best part is a dry, almost leafy quality that tries to take over in the finish but then fades, leaving a bad aftertaste. It's even worse as it warms and is undrinkable.

I may try this again, on the belief that this was bas, but many others seem to have had a similar experience.

 867 characters

Photo of henrysunset
2.55/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

clear of cloudiness, amber in color with huge head of medium light tan bubbles.

scent is citrus, sweet malt, but not dark. may be slightly off flavor.

Taste is acidic, unbalanced, bitter and has an off quality. Aftertase of an unpleasent woodiness.

a bit thin and alcoholic, odd for the low 6.5 ABV. uninspirational.

 319 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.03/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle:

Pours hazy/murky tea-like amber with a head that has good staying power. Trailing lacing sticks.
As per instructions, I decanted carefully, letting sediment settle and left in bottle. Still, it did not pour the "clear" that it states it would on the label. The head retention and lacing save it.

The smell is a vague fruitiness - lemon and peach - with some caramel.

The taste is of an odd fruitiness - overripe pear and apricot with lemon and orange. Restrained caramel and some mustiness. It has a sour and bitter - almost aspirin-like - finish.

Rather thin, but just about hits medium-bodied. Dryness lingers.

A bit raw, with alcohol coming through more than it probably should.

Drinkable for one, I suppose - pretty hoppy for style (though not in a way that "works" very well. Not "sessionable", though it probably wasn't meant to be. I thought this might be an out-of-date bottle - no freshness date indicated - but, looking at other reviews, I suppose it is what it is. It sort of has potential - but imbalanced and fruitiness just doesn't mesh well, and maltiness doesn't really shine forth the way it should.

 1,137 characters

Photo of baos
2.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into my bicentennial Mason jar.

A: Huge head a hand and a half into my jar until it overflowed. Cloudy copper body. Head dwindles down to a nice sheen. Definitely Martin not Charlie.

S: Smells like dried apricots and candy. Maybe a bit of clove and pink bubblegum.

T: Here's where it kinda goes downhill. My first Old Ale, this is a strange brew. Very bitter kinda like an esb but with a stale candy taste in the backdrop. Ends dry and peculiarly sour.

M: Kinda watery.

D: Well the sourness kind of grows on you, but I doubt I"ll choose this one again although it has made me very interested in what a well made example of this style will taste like.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Olde Expensive Ale

A- Cloudy reddish orange with a huge thick head. Heavy thick lacing down half the glass.
S- Orange peels and tea leaves.
T- Sweet orange rind, tea leaves, caramel malt, and spices; pepper and clove come through.
M- Thin and a little watery but becoming more cloying further in. Alc. appears in the aftertaste.

Overall- I enjoyed this 1! Simple, flavorful, and easy to drink a few.

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Olde Expensive Ale from Burton Bridge Brewery
Beer rating: 2.98 out of 5 with 60 ratings
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