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: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 60 |  Reviews: 53
Reviews by baos:
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
2.56/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – The body here was brown and hazy. The head was rather frothy and quite inviting, leaving some nice shaving cream foam on the inside of my glass.

Smell – This has a light malt base with some really strange fruit smells. Apple seems to dominate, which is weird for the style.

Taste – The malts here are somewhat dark and bitter. The light fruiting does even more to confuse things. I can pick up some very strong apple tartness along with big cinnamon spicing.

Mouthfeel – Big, giant carbonation but not in a good way. This one was medium in the body and very fizzy.

Sinkability – It was “olde expensive” alright; it cost me about 1.25 a sip.

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Photo of Todd
2.16/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Presentation: 500ml brown bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: First off, this beer is highly over-carbonated. It's so fizzy that a small 4oz pour creates enough head to fill-up a 20oz glass. The foamy head is very light, meringue-like and takes forever to settle. The beer itself is a cloudy/hazy copper-amber with brown hues. Obviously a bottle-conditioned ale, and potentially an off one.

Smell: A zesty, cidery, musty, medicinal nose with some fruity pear-like aromas.

Taste: Many odd flavours here. The beer starts off with some serious carbonation fizz, then goes musty, then extremely medicinal. Band-aid flavours are all over this beer. This is where I dump the beer down the sink.

Notes: A horrible ale, without a doubt off. I wasn't going to review it, but I think it's important to document beers like this as an indicator of potential quality issues.

Be safe and stay clear of this one.

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Photo of merlin48
2.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

1 pint,9oz bottle with the knight on the label, served into a pint tumbler at cellar temperature. Using a pint glass was a mistake, as the first pour was 98% foam. The rocky beige head slowly receded to reveal a hazy caramel amber ale underneath. Faint aroma of grapes, but toffee and bitter floral hops dominate the nose. Mouthfeel is quite carbonated, and full bodied. Taste is definitely interesting, a yeasty bitterness that is tart, but not fruity. The taste is difficult to describe, but I find nothing pleasant about it. There's a musty aftertaste that is bitter and medicinal, almost skunky. Alcohol isn't very noticeable in the taste, but I feel buzzed as I reluctantly finish the glass. Very overpriced, and at the bottom of my list of British ales. Theakston Old Peculiar is far better than this one.

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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 Osiris9588
1.73/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

From the 750ml brown bottle it pours a murk, pale amber, with a fair amount of sediment floating around. The two-finger white head is not very thick and dissipates quickly, leaving some slight lacing.

The smell is of yeast and sour fruit, and for lack of a better descriptor, fermentation. The flavor resembles the smell, just a mash of furit and yeast left to ferment, along with a strong an unpleasnt phenolic aftertaste. The mouth--well, I can't really keep in my mouth long enough to comment--the yeasty, medicinal, biting aftertaste is not enjoyable.

The drinkability is nearly nil--I'm palate began to grow accostomed to the yeasty fruit, but the cough syrup aftertaste is horrible. I'm dumping this down the drain. Possible a bad bottle

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Photo of ADR
3.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Hazy reddish-amber color, lots of suspended particles. Pale head of decent duration (I was pretty nervous opening this, the India Ale last summer was a friggin' geyser). Minimal lacing in intricate tendrils. Peach aroma, some sense of wine grapes as well. Grape combines with a fairly diacetyl butterscotch malt for the initial taste. Decent start and re-inforced by medium body. Finishes oddly, some pepper hops and a musty, dusty "wood shed" off taste with some phenols as well. I continue to wonder how well these Ales travel to the United States.

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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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Photo of Metalmonk
2.41/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sure looks good, a red-tinted dirty copper color and a huge fluffy head that sticks around a long time. A little bit of lace shows up as the glass empties.

Aroma gives off a candy-like sweetness, a bit fruity, with something rather hard to pin down--maybe toffee, maybe butterscotch, not really either though. And an infernal malt liquor type wang. Despite its 6.5% alcohol, it smells pretty boozy. As it sits and warms, it REALLY starts smelling boozy. The more I smell, the more I think "aftershave". Uh oh.

Flavor is rough. There's a cherry succulence trying to work its way in...and some sherry-soaked berry and apple...but these flavors and anything else potentially enjoyable are steamrollered by a grossly medicinal flavor that just spells w-r-o-n-g. I tried to taste it for the part of me that loves weird, bitter, funky, dirty beers, but there's a fine line between that kind of sublimity and just plain ugliness. Because this is a larger bottle, I poured twice. The second pour shot out some yeast, though I didn't swirl. The flavor became a bit nuttier, so I raised the Taste score from 1.5 to 2. Big deal.

Mouthfeel is okay, carbonation-wise, but the paint-thinner veneer of the finish literally leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


This bottle is way too big.

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Photo of jackndan
3.33/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Burton Bridge Old Expensive: On cask at the RAF. Deep, dark amber sits under the not atypical cask conditioned head. Oh, the power of suggestion: the program calls the beer an old ale with a “port wine aroma in the nose.” That was all could taste, in fact my entire note on the aroma and taste is that this beer is very winey. I’m not saying that is bad, or even that this beer was bad, but I never should have read the description before sampling the beer. I did also note that this beer had a fairly prominent alcohol taste toward the end. Oh well, I did enjoy it, and could see sipping it on a cold winters afternoon/evening.

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Photo of dgallina
2.41/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500ml brown bottle without freshness date. Poured good-looking hazy copper with very firm tan head. Little aroma; perhaps a vague touch of caramel sweetness. Terrible flavor; medicinal alcohol up front followed by indeterminate hop bitterness and alcohol burn. Hideously phenolic all the way through. Medium body in the mouth; lots of simultaneous creaminess and carbonation. Very difficult to finish this bottle and not something I'd try again.

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Photo of JGuill
4/5  rDev +34.2%

Photo of krberg
1.97/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

No freshness date.

Pours copper with a HUGE thick beige head. I couldn't stop this beer's head. Even with a gentle pour, 1/4 of my glass was foam.

It smells like raisins and cinnamon. Amazing! Like a christmas dessert.

Tart and sulfury. Slightly bitter.

The mouthfeel with full with CO2 and not the silkiness usually associated with old ales.

Another one down the crapper! This is not my day for old ales. This is 3 out of 3 that have been undrinkable. 14 bucks wasted.

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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 Brent
3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sure what I've got here. Overly fizzy and murky. Funky, fruity flavors similar to those in this brewery's Empire India Pale Ale, but in overdrive. Spicy, fruity, buttery and some vague plastic notes. A Belgian beer on acid sort of effect. A plethora of flavors, but no harmony or balance to the mix. Not bad, but in an odd way, annoying.

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Photo of Gusler
2.2/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer after separating from the 500ml brown bottle pours a mud puddle murky brown the head moderate in size, the texture bubbly, the color a light tan and the residual lace a very thin and somewhat patchy sheet. Nose is that of over ripe apples, sweet and sour, start is sweet, thinly malted with a rather thin top. Finish is mild in its acidity, the hops and alcohol fight to claim the bitterness title, very dry almost vinous, can’t say it does much for me and I’m normally a big fan of English ale.

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Photo of marc77
3.52/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just like Freeminer's IPA, this bottle was seriously overcarbonated and was a mild gusher! Be it overpriming or a latent infection, it's a pain in the ass to pour. Deep copper - red in hue w/ a light haze. Floral and pungent Goldings nose w/ pleasant diacetyl that doesn't overwhelm the aroma. Medium caramel notes along with a bit yeast fruitiness make the aroma distinctly "British" and fairly appetizing. Fruity yeast esters assert themselves in flavor and are quite similar to those of Young's. It's deeply caramelly and sweet, but the mild yet balancing hop bitterness and diacetyl lend a complex overall flavor. The finish is a touch musty, with residual sweetness on the tip of tongue and lingering clean and mild hop bitterness. Old Expensive Ale is a raw, flavorful and rich beer. The overcarbonation is annoying, however. Diacetyl is very high, but in this old ale it adds complexity. This is a brew definitely worth tasting, but not one to come back to.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.58/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Initial pour took a while. Lots of carbonation in this brew. The color was a tan with a hint of amber at the edges. I let this one sit for a while before the carbonation settled down enough to sip. This definitely reminded me of visiting england. While fuller than a typical english bitter, I did notice that the hop ale flavor came fully through. The extra malt balanced out the taste with a light toffee and a tart yeast presence. The beer finished well but did not make me want to go out and buy more of this brew.

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Photo of dsa7783
2.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

1 Pint, 9 fl oz bottle copped singly from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
Pours a hazy, cloudy, murky, ruby-red, light-brown color with absolutely no head at all and very minimal lacing...
Very faint, subtle, almost non-existing aroma with a slight suggestion of grains, wheats, and malts...
Average, at best taste- very light and nondescript witha small hint of caramel and vanilla thrown in the mix... No alcohol was noticeable, but the mouthfeel was very watered-down and faint, pale, and almost non-existent... Poor level of drinkability as well, with not much going on here...
Overall, this beer seemed almost "nonexistent" in terms of flavor and taste...
Poor sample - not recommended...

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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.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.88/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a two-finger light brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Good carbonation. Nose is sweet and slightly raisiny. Medium bodied. Starts sweet and raisiny and finishes on the dry side, alcohol is not noticeable. Lives up to its name - $5.25 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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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.

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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 SnifterLifter
3.75/5  rDev +25.8%

Photo of horndecker
1.94/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Plump matronly bottle with a foil hairpiece....ugly label, poor design, bad drawing....

Pop the top and the room fills with sweet candy-ish aromas. The beer is highly carbonated. Tons of foam, fine and frothy, eventually subsides to a light coat of fuzz. Color is deep copper and bit cloudy.

It smells old. Er, olde. A bit citric, old socks, materized white wine, banana. Very funky

It tastes awful. Er, awful. To be more specific, a citric wash flashes away to a tiny moment of candy sweetness and leaves you with a relentless nasty bitterness.

Is this a bad bottle? Do they mean it to taste this way? I can hardly take enough sips to gather enough information to write this review. It did have a nice foamy mouthfeel though.

Steer clear.

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