Duchy Originals Organic English Ale | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Duchy Originals Organic English AleDuchy Originals Organic English Ale
Liked This Beer
3.59 w/ 202 ratings
Duchy Originals Organic English AleDuchy Originals Organic English Ale

Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed for HRH The Prince of Wales's Dutchy Originals (duchyoriginals.com) with profits donated to HRH’s Charitable Foundations. Made with organic barley including some from the Home Farm at Highgrove (princeofwales.gov.uk)—the country home of HRH.

Added by rastaman on 09-29-2003

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Ratings: 202 |  Reviews: 180
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
1.63/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Presentation: 1 Pint 0.9 fluid ounce, Half Litre bottle, sealed with a black crown cap emblazoned with a gold emblem on it. Cream colored main and neck labels have lots of Gold and Black Royal crests and emblems. Certified USDA Organic. No freshness or strength listed.

I gleamed this from the website “Duchy Originals Ale has been brewed in the traditional way, using a blend of the finest aroma hops and malt made from Plumage Archer barley harvested from selected organic farms in Britain including the Home Farm at Highgrove. This traditional ale has a ruby colour and is rich in body with a balanced bitter flavour. Duchy Originals Organic Ale does not contain any artificial or genetically modified ingredients. When HRH The Prince of Wales created Duchy Originals in 1990 it was because of his belief in the clear advantages of organic farming: the production of natural and healthy foods and sound husbandry which helps to regenerate and protect the countryside and wildlife. This Duchy Originals Organic Ale is the result of such endeavors.”

Appearance: Clear and highly polished copper body with thin broken off-white head. Trace carbonation with minimal lacing. Unappealing and lifeless.

Nose: Stinky sweaty nose, like a punctured Wellington boot filled with skinned haddock, rotting plankton, new born baby “yellow turds” and live Octopus. Dank, wet, damp and utterly repulsive. Smells like the Mother Superiors sweaty skunked Nuns pouch.

Taste: Why do I now have images of going down on the Mother Superior!?…..oh my, my own creative descriptiveness is making me feel repulsed, I think I need medical help. Discipline Bum, discipline…..take one for Her Majesty!!! Well I am trying but now I am assimilating Organic beers with those hairy Catholic Nuns who have big moustaches, home made Rainbow sweaters and Tank driving licenses. Gosh this one is not good. Earthy in a compressed soil and autumnal leaf compost kind of way. If this is Organic, gimme Commando style shaved runways, Silicon implants and plucked eyebrows anytime. Wretch!!

Mouthfeel: Reminds me of the times that I dunked McVitie’s Digestives into a hot steaming cup of Yorkshire Tea for a half second longer than the tensile elasticity will allow. What I scoop out from the bottom of my Mug feels like this, saturated biscuit and oatmeal totally drenched and watered down.

Drinkability: Well I have to admit I dumped half of this one. Take some white granulated sugar, put it in a spoon, heat it up and dissolve the resultant sticky black mess in water…..and hey presto….you have Wychwood Duchy Originals Organic English Ale. Drainpour!!!

Overall: Thin, watery, sugary and very metallic. A **HUGE** disappointment, I saw the “Duchy Originals Organic English Ales” and “Prince Charles Charitable Foundation” and went headlong for the purchase. Had I seen the small print reference to “www.wychwood.com” on the reverse label (as I did once I got this one home – duh me!) then this would have stayed firmly on the shelf. Rightly so!!

Classic Witchpiss, I mean Wychwood.

Sets the image of English Organic beers back to the Stone Age.

One thinks that this is Bloody awful. No wonder Prince Charles drinks Timothy Taylor’s Landlord.

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Photo of palma
1.86/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

An almost horrible example of an ESB. Extremely light bodied. Lack of malt flavors. Unbalanced. Astringent. A striking hoppy aroma immediately comes through as soon as you open the bottle but this is not followed by any malt whatsoever. Taste is like a bad over-hopped lager. No complexity, bland, thin. Not good and will definitely not buy this again. The bottle looked nice, that's about it.

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Photo of ChadQuest
1.88/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pour presents a super murky brown colored ale with a finger of white head.
Aroma is a musty, nondescript wash of earthy notes, and a noticeable presence of skunk from age and light.
The flavors are bland, just a dirty mesh of earthy mess.
The mouthfeel has little to no carbination.

This one is not worth me drinking really, and i do not think it will.

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Photo of rastaman
2.06/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Savoury barley flavour. Quite sticky mouthfeel, even a little bit cloying, some grainyness, with some resiny hops in the finish, shares a lot of same characters as other beers from Wychwood. A bit unexciting, and pretty boring in the end, i'm glad i didn't have to drink the whole bottle.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.63/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another hard to find brew scored at the wine house. Now, wether or not its a quality find is the most important thing. Poured into a tulip it formed a modest white head that leaves scattered lace. Light copper body and medium to mild carbonation.

Well I just got done with a traditional ESB that I consider the standard to judge against and this one...well it stands up although with a hitch in its gallop. It bit on the dry side for my liking. Hops are well placed and balance this brew out nicely. Malts have a caramel lean that fits nicely. Metallic creeps into the picture as it warmed up late in the aftertaste.

Notes: A balanced brew that ends up being on the malty side. Not one I'll hunt down by any stretch.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
2.65/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle purchased from Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA (I think).

Pours a moderate orange-amber in a Fuller's Imperial Pint glass, with a bubbly head that is one of its weaker features. Aroma is weak, not bad, but nothing special either. A little orange citrus, a hint of pine, but weak.

Flavor is a real problem for me. There's malt, and hops, and water, and yeast, yes, this is beer. But the main thing is that there is a really strange metallic bitterness that leaves a very unpleasant coating on my tongue (is that flavor or mouthfeel?). The end makes me want to clean my palate in a hurry. Is that buttery diacetyl? I'm still learning that part of beer, but this comes close.

This should be a good beer, but sorry, I just don't like it.

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Photo of Dogbrick
2.68/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sample at AleFest Dayton: This beer is a pale clear amber color with a medium off-white head with decent retention. Thin, spotty lacing. Bready malt aroma. Medium-bodied with earthy, slightly stale malt flavor, along with some caramel. The finish is malty and metallic, with a sweet aftertaste. Not very enjoyable.

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Photo of gdogalishus
2.69/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Sering from Bottle
Serving temp: 47.7 degrees F
pH: 4.34
Alcohol %: 4.63 ABV by residual extract method

Served from the bottle into a curved pint style glass. Large tan head of about 1.5 inches. Mild carbonation with few bubbles apperant in the glass. Good, filtered type clarity... isn't this supposed to be organic? Where's the yeast slurry? I kind of expected that from an organic style beer that markets to the "traditional" style brewing. Oh well. Still the appearance is inviting. A hint of red, copper color.

The aroma is missing. There is nothing in the nose of this beer. No hops, no malty sweetness. Aroma is completely missing (or maybe my nose is broken? Nope, can smell the remains of my Bluebird sitting next to it!)

Taste is bitter and dry. A resinous hoppy character in the flavor dominates. Not bad, but the grinding hoppyness begins to agitate the tongue after a few swallows.

Mouthfeel is destinctively thin and lacking body. This lack of body intesifies the dry hoppy character.

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Photo of GreenCard
2.74/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: darkish amber, good clarity, thick layer of spongey tan foam, good retention, lace

Aroma: bready maltiness with a roasty edge to it, woodsy English hops, edge of yeast, touch of toffee

Flavor: dry grainy malt profile that is smacked around by a hearty hop flavor/bitterness (EKG probably), hint of caramel, dark malts, distant hint of grapefruit rind, finishes dry as a bone with a long-lingering hoppy bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium body, fine carbonation, crisp, a bit astringent

 500 characters

Photo of Noelito76
2.75/5  rDev -23.4%

Photo of theopholis
2.8/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Nice looking clear amber/copper with a white, creamy head. Head has little retention and very little lacing.

Aroma- Lots of malt sweetness and caramel. Good level of malt and hops.

Taste- Not as sweet or caramelly as it smells. The taste is a bit of a let-down. Somewhat dry. Not very malty. Somewhat grainy, with a hint of soapiness to it.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with a decent level of carbonation. It is very thin in the middle though.

Drinkability- It's not horrible.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.84/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The word ENGLISH is dropped for the home market, the brown 50ml bottle had two months before its best by date. It was poured into an 'Old Speckled Hen' badged vase shaped pint glass.

Clear, but not bright, the colour was golden brown with a reddish hint. An off-white head sat on top, thick at first then a thinner covering. The head did produce some good laceing as the glass emptied.

No huge aroma came from the beer, some hop and toffee maybe.

The taste was fairly bland, fizzy, mid-dry, the malts and hops are there but neither grabs the beer by the neck and sorts it out. The 5.0% ABV doesn't feature or show in any way, the body suffers because of that, it seemed watery and lacking in the creamy, rich stakes. Drinkable, but a mild disappointment.

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Photo of malcontent
2.87/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear, light amber body accompanied by a thin, foamy head that dies away in a heartbeat.

Lightly hopped, strong caramel maltiness with musty grain undercurrents.

Soft hop bitterness with a strange sweet characteristic obviously drawn from the malt but almost too sugary. I'm afraid this misses the mark.

Too fizzy and a tad slick on the finish. Just an OK bitter.

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Photo of mooseisloose
2.88/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a 500 ml bottle at LCBO. Cool barley and hop art illustrated on the bottle, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields a funky aging cheese smell with a metallic twinge. Pours to a gold colour with a slight reddish tint. The head is off white and fades quickly. Taste is quite basic, good malt backbone, bitterness starts slow then builds into a dull bitter aftertaste. No big hop bite, actually quite balanced. I was expecting more, kind of disappointed. Not a brew I would seek out in the future. Basic by all means. On the second pour out of the bottle this beer improved dramatically, it is on target for the style, but in my opinion still just an average brew.

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Photo of Daredevil
2.91/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had quite some expectations on this brew, as Duchy Originals claims to offer 'uncompromisingly good food' ... but one again (as with their biscuits) I must admit to be rather disappointed .... someone earlier on described this as a 'piss' ... now I wouldn't go that far, it definitely is drinkable but I wouldn't label it as enjoyable ... too watery, too sweety (sweety as in marshmallows or cheap toffees), well sure not up to it's ambition ... as the profits of the sales of this brew go to Prince Charles' Charitable Foundation it would have been great if they could have found a better brewer ....

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.91/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a small head and a very murky copper color. Somewhat sweet smelling, with hints of caramel and butterscotch. The exceptionally bitter hop flavor hits you at the back of the throat. I certainly like that sensation, but I don’t taste very many other flavors at all. Only after the beer starts to warm a bit do I start to taste hints of malt on the sides of the tongue, a bit reminiscent of a carbonated cola. I suppose there’s nothing really wrong with this beer, but I expect more from an ESB and I wish there were something to attract me besides the admittedly attractive fact that it’s organic.

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Photo of clickpush
2.93/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pour: 500ml bottle to tulip glass. This is a very active and lively terra-cotta colored beer, and although the head is a bit thin, it too bubbles and changes as the very visible carbonation streams upwards.

Nose: This beer has a complex aroma that seems to cover a lot of bases. My first reaction was a bit of fruitiness, plums maybe, and then the malt smell came in, adding to its sweetness. At the end I picked up some herbal hints of cilantro.

Mouth: A very disappointing flavor for such an inviting looking/smelling beer. Aside from a weak-bubbled entrance, this beer completely ignores the front of the mouth, heading straight to the back with its dry, bitter flavors of melon or citrus rinds. The beer disappears quickly after swallowing and doesn't present any alcoholic warmth either. I know it's an ESB, but there is no depth or balance in the flavors. I also find the carbonation to be too weak in the front and too strong in the back - the inverse of the carbonation qualities that I most enjoy.

This is was a big let down considering it was a beer-of-the-month pick at Plump Jack's, home of the best beer selection in SF.

 1,142 characters

Photo of gfreed
2.93/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Medium dark-brown in color, similar to cloudy iced tea, with a tan head. Somewhat smoky aroma along with some yeasty background and a small amount of fruit. The taste was boozier than I expected given the style and the ABV, and the alcohol covered up most of the flavor. Some malt managed to sneak through, but not enough flavor of any kind managed to survive. There are better British ales available in the U.S.

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Photo of vhiggins
2.98/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Very fresh beer.
A nice amber color with a bitter caramel scent. Pours a nice head to start
but fizzles away after the first sip or two. I enjoyed the fact that is was
an organic beer, anything organic is always a plus for me personally. It tastes like it's going to fizzle the back of my throat but it goes down suprisingly smooth.
average beer...being organic makes it slightly above.

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Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of Wordslinger
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.02/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 04/02/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a cloudy orange red body, dark. Foamy whitish colored head, diminishing. Sweet fruit aroma. Very dusty musty English smelling aroma. Watery, not carbonated honey taste. Sweet tasting but not sickly palate, or taste. Very English tasting.

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Photo of Drew966
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Duchy Originals Organic English Ale pours almost the same color brown as the bottle with an off white head from a one pint and nine tenths ounces bottle. Malt is noticeable in the aroma and just a bit of hops. Good malt/hop balance, but the finish is less than great, being a bit metallic. Not bad, not exciting either, just kind of average. Worth a try.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.06/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy amber colour with a lot of carbonation showing. There is a nice size foamy and frothy beige colour head. There is some faint lacing, and the head lasts for a few minutes before it's gone.

Smell - I can smell some toasted malts, some caramel notes, and some hops.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a nice mouth feel, the carbonation seems to be just about perfect. I can taste the hops and then the malts, then they both give way to a caramel sweetness that lasts until the finish. And the aftertaste is slight bitter and sweet. However it seems like the beer needs to be kicked up a notch. It is missing a nice medium or full bodied taste. It comes across as slightly tasteless and watery.

Drink - The beer could be promising with a few adjustments. It lacks severely in the flavour department.

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Photo of scottum
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour out an amber with a flat white headskie. Flavor is mild. Bit of a biscuit chew in the malt, hops are not but front, but add the bitter balanceing. Mouthfeel is average, not super smooth at all. I was very excited to see a new organic beer choice as I try to limit my entire diet to only organic sources, but alas this brew does not deliver. it ain't bad, but it is just a very simple ale. I suppose it doesn't have any lofty claims so I can't fault them for that, but it's just not special in any way. Meh. Not bad as a black & tan with some Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout.

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Duchy Originals Organic English Ale from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 39.1% out of 100 with 202 ratings
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