Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale
Burton Bridge Brewery

Burton Bridge Empire India Pale AleBurton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale
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Burton Bridge Brewery
England, United Kingdom
English IPA
Ranked #80
Ranked #27,199
3.57 | pDev: 18.21%
Jun 07, 2021
Apr 01, 2002
Burton Bridge Empire India Pale AleBurton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale
Notes: In the 18th and 19th century, Britain being one of the great naval forces of all time faced the problem of supplying its serving men in it's World Empire with beer. In particular voyages to the continent of India with its tropic climate lasted for months and the dark, fruity ales of Britain turned sour and flat. In 1790 George Hodgson, brewer at the Bow Brewery in East London met the breweries' challenge by simply adding considerably more hops, more brewers' sugar and more grain to obtain a pale, highly attenuated, strong and very heavily hopped beer. The classic style India Pale Ale was born.

Burton Bride Brewery located in the famous beer town of Burton-on-Trent has now re-created this famous style. Thanks to the sulfur rich waters of the river Trent that enhances the clarity and the bitterness of the beer Burton Bridge's Empire India Pale Ale with its alc./vol. of 7.5% is now considered the "benchmark" of this classic style. Its complex combination of dryness hoppyness and fruityness has won numerous accolades throughout the world of beer.

1998 Silver Award, Champion Bottled Beer of the Year

1997 Guardian Newspaper Bottle Conditioned Beer of the Year
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 3.73 by Daneve76 from Australia

Jun 07, 2021
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Reviewed by JonnoWillsteed from England

4.11/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
- Note: Bottle conditioned, and for the first time I've seen the bottle has an additional slot-on paper neck tag advising you how to handle and open/decant such a beer.

L- Pours light chestnut brown. A very slight haze, and 5mm off-white head (later clears to ring + lacing that holds well).
S- Mild aroma, but I get a sense of something fresh and slightly aromatic with spicing.
T- The briefest hint of citrus, maybe mandarin orange, then wham right into meaty and malty body. ...now I'm getting some deep/rich spiced marmalade notes. This is liquor-ish too, the 7.5% comes through loud and clear, it has that high-ABV% alcohol tang. Blind-tasted it wouldn't be hard to pursuade me it's even 8.5%-9%.
F- This is a very fine beer, and I note zero out of place/balance in it's attributes. This is disctinctive; I don't recall another beer I've had of late anything like this. Impactful too, one for me to slowly sip and relish!
O- You try beer after beer that don't quite live up to expectations and then - boom! - you find something like this gem from a brewery you hadn't even heard of. I like suprises like this - I'll definitely be buying this again.
BBE: Dec-2019 500ml bottle, from BeersOfEurope. Late ps. I rechecked the price and it's a quite weighty £3.39/bottle, though I'm not surprised, and I think it's worth it.
May 06, 2019
Rated: 2 by Macamah from England

May 14, 2016
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Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Giving credit where credit is due is, I hope, an important BA tradition. And this is a great beer deserves lots of credit.
Empire IPA adjusted its market and methods in the early 19th Century to brew for British colonials in India and the ale, that took America by storm in the 21st Century was born.

BB's Empire IPA was reviewed at length in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!" and it deserves to be on this list. Also reviewed in a broader context by Garett Oliver in "The Brewmaster's Table" he gives Burton Bridge credit as the source (water source) of how to make "hoppy" beers without having to use tons of hops as other brewers do. (I often think a few American brewers should try to "Burtonize" their water -- prickly water taken from limestone wells -- and avoid the hops.)

As for my review and MHO, Empire IPA Looks and Smells like the real deal. Its Taste is even fuller (perhaps it's the water.)
For Feel, I found this chewy. OA it went well with Indian food. A great versatile ale.
May 03, 2016
Rated: 3.25 by jrob21 from Georgia

Oct 28, 2015
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Reviewed by importedfromdet from Michigan

4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Holy foam batman! I opened this from my cold fridge and an explosion of foam.

Poured into lager glass. Looks like a great IPA. Semi-opaque dark orange. Very foamy head, about 1/4 foam. Tons of carbonation bubbles, almost like champagne.

Smell is very interesting for a pale ale, very fruity, lots of floral notes as well. Very unique smell.

With this interesting smell and marketing as the old school authentic IPA, taste was not too entirely different from a basic IPA upon first going down, but suddenly the crisp hos give way into something more darker and woody, it is quite pleasant. Cask aging I take it, and tastes great. Notes of alcohol come in as well, which add to the taste. Tastes old school, fo sho!

Mouth feel is of an IPA but the wood is left in your mouth with a little bit of hops bite. Wouldn't say it is unpleasant, but very unique. Dry. Longer after the drink the more dry your mouth is, eek.

That carbonation and ABV hit you quick and you feel like you are sipping some history. I dig it but not at the price. Would definitely have again.
Jul 07, 2015
Rated: 3.75 by sporklift87 from Colorado

Mar 29, 2015
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Rated by kscaldef from Oregon

3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Very unusual. Woody, thick with resins. And I think a hint of brett
Jan 21, 2015
Rated: 3 by goast8127 from Michigan

Oct 29, 2014
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Rated by Dwkasper from New York

4/5  rDev +12%
Funky and delicious. Bright and refreshing. Taste follows nose. Grape must, lemon, oak. Tastes like the stodgy old grandpa of american IPAs
Oct 26, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by tommy5 from Michigan

Oct 19, 2014
Rated: 2 by Doomclaw from Massachusetts

Oct 07, 2014
Rated: 2 by StrayteEDGE from Massachusetts

Sep 25, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by AnitaBrewski from Massachusetts

Aug 20, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by Joey-bags1990 from Missouri

Jul 05, 2014
Rated: 4 by Ser_Finn from Pennsylvania

May 06, 2014
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Reviewed by Foyle from North Carolina

2.63/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75
Appearance: billowy 3" off white head settles very slowly with much lacing. Cloudy golden appearance.
Aroma: Floral and earthy hops, toasted grain
Mouthfeel: medium and a bit sticky with a semi-dry finish
Flavor: spicy hop presence with a sweet malt backbone. Somewhat astringent and a bit of a cough syrup flavor.
Overall: good but not great. Glad I tried this but I doubt I would buy it again at $6 for one bottle.
Apr 27, 2014
Rated: 4 by beruski from Massachusetts

Apr 12, 2014
Rated: 2.75 by Phishagonia from Connecticut

Mar 29, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by zero_signal from New Jersey

Jan 05, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by BillRoth from Maryland

Dec 07, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by RochefortChris from North Carolina

Dec 03, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by jaydoc from Kansas

Nov 03, 2013
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Reviewed by dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
A: Pours a crystal clear burnt orange in color with minimal amounts of gentle visible carbonation and some faint golden yellow + amber highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a medium patch of thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of citrus/lemon hops and a lightly sulfuric aroma. There are some very light aromas of sweet caramel malts in the background.

T: Upfront there is a light flavors of slightly sweet caramel malts which is followed by moderate to strong flavors of citrus/lemon hops. Light notes of minerals and a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy.

O: I kind of enjoy the really lemony hop aromas and flavors to this beer - it is easy to drink and hides the relatively moderate to high levels of alcohol well. I would get this again and I imagine it would be really nice served as a proper pint at the pub.
Sep 28, 2013
Rated: 3 by AlaskanYoung from Arkansas

Sep 06, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

Aug 04, 2013
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Reviewed by kvnstfrd from Missouri

1.76/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5
Poured into a 16 oz. goblet.
Pours a vey cloudy golden-amber color with a one-finger off-white head.
Smells of fresh cut hay with some cherry and orange aromas. A slightly sour smell.
Taste is strong with hops right from the start with a very sour flavor while on the tongue.
The aftertaste yields some fruity malt flavors, but still dominated by an awful, grapefruit-like sourness. Hop bitterness is not backed up with enough malt to balance. As the beer warms, I'm picking up more yeast flavors, but still horribly sour and bitter. Not a good bitter. It's starting to taste like Alka Seltzer. Mouthfeel is harsh, astringent and dry with too much carbonation.
Overall, too much like a grapefruity, American IPA and a total waste of $7. Barely able to finish this one.
Jun 26, 2013
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Reviewed by JLapadura from New York

2.07/5  rDev -42%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2
I know it's where it all started but English IPA's are awful. Not just this one but all.
Immediately upon first sip there is something wrong. No hops actually you fall in debt to the hop municipal credit union...negative acceptable amounts of hops despite hops being the foundation of IPA. Sweet flower no bitter despite the decent 7.5 abv you wouldn't know. Don't buy despite one of the coolest bottles ever.
Jun 11, 2013
Rated: 2.5 by pin from Australia

May 27, 2013
Rated: 4 by Slatetank from Pennsylvania

May 23, 2013
Rated: 3.25 by mikeincharleston from North Carolina

May 23, 2013
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Reviewed by Durtdiggler from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Poured from pint sized bottle into a tulip glass. Cloudy amber. I could not wait to Let the sediment settle. White head settles quickly and leaves a lot of lacing.

Aroma is most unique ever. Kind of a Belgian funk but with strong fruits like banana, citrus, some clove, coriander and orange. It must be the yeast. Earthy hops, very non West Coast IPA. Incredible. Just all hits you in the face.

Taste hits with immediate big bitter hop that's intense in a earthy, herbal way but smooth not sharp then fades into nice ester malt, slightly sweet with some caramel. Malty backbone as well but the cask carbonation mellows. The hops last thought the taste. A bit boozy.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, almost barley wine like.

I've read about Burton on Trent IPA and the recipe and this beer is far from what the US would think about IPA. It's almost Belgian like but not a fair comparison since the profile is so unique to anything I've had. It's very earthy, natural with a lot of different things going on in the aroma and taste. The yeast seems to be huge impact on this beer.
Mar 28, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by Sparty55 from Michigan

Mar 01, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by tjdrewry from Connecticut

Feb 17, 2013
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Reviewed by doopydoogle from Canada (NS)

4.19/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A - Cloudy pale with orange and amber hues. Vibrant had with staying power that gives way to large, foamy suds without descending.

S - Slightly sour smell, akin to a lambic. Granny smith apple, fig, coriander, bubblegum, and fresh yeast rolls.

T - Very tart, tight beginning with a subtle malt that is revealed beneath the sour astringency. Then a subtle bitter gives way to a strong bite that coats the back of your tongue on the finish. A little musty and funky, with an almost blue cheese like quality. Sweet pastries and wine follow with a nice bready malt at the end with the bitter. Overall, quite interesting and unique. Makes me wonder if this bottle might be bad? Not that its bad, just nothing like any US IPA.

M - Explosive carbonation and a good, present mouthfeel. I could really see this going well with any foods because of the acid and the bittering qualities.

O - A unique beer, somewhere between a berlinerwiesse, a lambic, and an APA. Worth a try for sure. British beers are fun!
Jan 18, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by cliff1066 from Virginia

Dec 09, 2012
Rated: 3 by sneaks2210 from New York

Nov 14, 2012
Rated: 3.5 by mmilyko from Nevada

Nov 09, 2012
Rated: 2.5 by durlta from Iowa

Jul 23, 2012
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Reviewed by smcolw from Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5
Large bubbled head from the pour. There is a small amount of fine bubbles that rise from the bottom of the glass, but this just creates a thin layer on top.

Smells like soured milk. Nearly no hop nor malt aroma. Not appealing.

The flavor reminds me of a Homebrew IPA, with lots of yeast flavor. Much better malt and hop presence, but I think it still falls short of my expectations. Sour swallow and aftertaste mimics the soured milk smell. The body is rich and the carbonation is low which I like.
Jul 15, 2012
Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale from Burton Bridge Brewery
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 170 ratings