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Duchy Originals Organic English Ale | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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179 Reviews
Duchy Originals Organic English AleDuchy Originals Organic English Ale

Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
United Kingdom (England)

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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Reviews: 179 | Ratings: 202
Photo of Sammy
3.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Generous head and lacing. Fresh, The hophead dose of a double IPA in a 5% beer. Much higher IBU tasting than a typical English bitter or IPA style. Hop leaf taste, grassy, mildly astringent, some malt and bitterness in a long aftertaste. Offset was beery cheese aroma.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice. The beer pours a paler-than-expected straw to light copper color with a light haze. Very nice carbonation, retention, and lacing. Smells quite fruity and not as malty / caramelly as anticipated. A bold hop aroma gives off earthy and grassy notes. Tastes malty with pilsner-type malts and never shows Brittish pale malt, caramel, toasty flavors. Shows nearly tart apple and appricot flavors. Follows up with ripe oranges and lemons. Much more fruity than I expected. A strong grassy hop flavor ties it all together from sip to finish. Otherwise, a beer with segmented flavors that needs melding. Clean and crisp in the finish with a light lingering citrus and hop note.

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Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a sturdy head that leaves some lacing

Smell: Earthy barnyard aromatics and caramel with a significant mineral tone

Taste: Opens with a rusty mineral flavor that builds in a medicinal tea-like, grassy fruit direction at mid-palate; after the swallow, the caramel malt mellows out some of the more awkward, though interesting flavors; the finish, however, re-introduces a real Burton water flavor that lingers for quite some time

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not quite sure what to make of this, to be honest; some have hated it for its awkward mineral and medicinal flavors; while I can't say I truly enjoyed them, I did appreciate the direction the beer was heading, and tip my hat to the brewer's creativity

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep slightly cloudy amber ale with a nice foamy head with average retention. Aroma of fresh English hops is quite interesting with nice dose of light caramel malt. Taste is quite dry with some English hops coming out quite clearly with a nice base of English caramel malt. Body is full for the style with some adequate carbonation.

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Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a brilliant bronze with aminimal white head,nice rich clarity.Big fruity malts in the nose along with some caramel/biscuit,a light toastiness is in there as well.If you life malt tilted English ESB's this is for you,fruity as all get out,(green apple mainly), with a tinge of vanilla and caramel,a passing leafy hop comes in late.Its bigtime quaffable and subtle,like it should be.

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Photo of nickfl
3.69/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Hazy amber body with one finger of white head. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Musty english hops and lots of fruity yeast. Moderate biscuit malt and notes of apple and plum.

T - Somewhat malty, but not particularly sweet. Toasty flavors in the middle with some hop flavors and a hint of brown sugar. The finish is pretty clean with moderate bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, low carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - A pretty average english ale, perhaps a bit on the dry side. There is nothing to complain about here; it is a bit dull, but that is really par for the style.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wychwood's organic ale pours a just-slightly hazy copper body beneath a heavy dollop of off white froth that holds quite well and leaves some very nice half-rings and crags of lace about the glass.

The nose is fruity (some orange, some dry apple - coming from both the hops and the yeast) and somewhat mineralish and earthy over a delicate, lightly caramel-accented malt base.

In the mouth it flows smoothly with a medium body and restrained carbonation.

Hoppy fruitiness greets you first in the flavor, followed by a more pungent, leafy character. Across the middle and into the finish it's bitter, herbal, and caramelishly malty.

Delicately balanced and teetering on falling away from flavor, this is a massively drinkable pint that could easily take you through many toasts in a night at the local.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pristine tangelo with a definite reddish blush. A little more red and I could call it blood orange. The cap is orange-tinted ivory in color and has plenty of character. The pitted upper surface falls unevenly and leaves thick, chunky hunks of lace in its wake. DOOEA has a very nice appearance that, as someone else has pointed out, does not belong to a brown ale. I'm guessing English pale, bitter, ESB, something along those lines.

The nose is too weak by half. I can appreciate an undercurrent of pale malt, along with an underwhelming amount of hoppiness that is orange-like and somewhat herbal. Because of the lack of power, no other impressions are possible. I hope the flavor has more going for it than the aroma.

Organic English Ale is okay on the palate, but I'm still not impressed. This is a hop-driven beer, even if the little buggers are having a hard time keeping the car between the ditches. The first flavor to greet the taste buds is a barely sweet maltiness combined with orange zest-flecked herbs. Next is an increasingly bitter hoppiness that is no longer fruity. Wrapping things up is a Burton-on-Trent hard water firmness that retains most of the hop bitterness, but little of the hop flavor.

The flavor profile seems lackluster to me. There's a lot going on, but it isn't going anywhere worth going. I'm still not sure what the proper style would be, but I'll go with ESB since it is (bitter, that is). The finish fades without fanfare and doesn't compel me to keep drinking like really good beer does.

The mouithfeel is on the light side of medium and is well within bounds for the style (the one that I've assigned anyway). The soft carbonation is akin to a cask-conditioned beer more than a bottled one; a characteristic that I'd be more enthusiastic about if the flavor was more exciting.

I'm not surprised that Duchy Originals Original English Ale (not a very poetic name, now is it?) is brewed by Wychwood. It has their 'okay, but little better than average' fingerprints all over it. Oh well, at least a portion of my $3.49 went to the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation. It'd be nice if a little something went to the brewery's R&D department as well.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a clear, bronze-hued body with a finger of white head depositing small flecks of suds on the way down.

Smell: Light nose smelling of barley-based bread with some distant, vaguely sweetish toffee accents and notes of spicy, dried herbs.

Taste: Humble, even obsequious maltiness tasting of three-day-old bread marked with a bit of sweet toffee. Lightly spicy, herbal hop character hinting at basic black tea. Modestly bitter. A little barnyard apple comes about as it warms. Gently drying finish with those tea-like tones lingering into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-low carbonation. Soft, easy-going mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Simple, subtle, but easy to drink, it's a satisfactory beer to wile away the time with. So about as much as anything rolling out of Wychwood aspires to be.

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Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid amber, clear. Good start to the head, but it dies quickly

Grainy aroma, some "darkness" to the malt--crystal, I presume. Little hop, a dollop of cream.

Strong sweet caramel flavors (especially compared to the flight of other English ales). Much lower hop presence than expected--although it does show up in the aftertaste...mildly. Slightly creamy, good body, high carbonation.

A "round" ale that goes down easily. While it may not be complex, it is easily quaffed. I am reminded of Samuel Smith's Pale Ale on this one.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a caramel color with a slight red tone to it. Smell has a barley tone to it with a mild sweet edge to it. Taste is somewhat interesting with a pronounced barley flavor to it. It has a frothy mouth to it that feels good. You could drink a lot in a sitting and it is worth trying, but I have to say I doubt this is the finest example of the style.

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Photo of jwc215
4.06/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with virtually no head - just a sustained patch in the middle and a white ring along the edge.

The smell is of sweet caramel and some hop fruitiness - esp. apples and some orange.

Upfront, it's like caramel-coated apples. Some barley then enters in, with hints of toasted grain. The caramel still hangs on while other flavors emerge. There is a slight citrus peel thrown in. It's very well-balanced between sweet malt and bitter hops.

It does have more of a watery feel than I personally would hope for considering the taste and body. But, there is a smoothness to it, and the flavors do hang around for awhile.

It's very flavorful - as a whole, reminds me of a gently spiked caramel apple. But, it does have it's flaws. The appearance could be better (more of a head, especially), and it could use a fuller body. Still in all, a good brew that I buy on occassion because it's something different from England and has a nice, unique taste.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.13/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, light amber color...ample froth atop...

Aroma: a creamy thing, light, yeasty, zesty, a bit of bready malt...

Taste: sweetish, fruitish, a spank of hops, nicely bitter, juicy,tasty, yum...Medium bodied, sufficient malt, a touch of caramel there, very much delicious.

Here's an organic ale I can stand up and salute. Very tasty, not just noble, but well worth the drinking. If you want to go organic, here's the perfect place.


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

500 ml bottle, with best before dating of 13 oct 07. Expensive stuff at over $4 per bottle, this one pours a rich shade of reddish, dark almond amber, clear. Moderate retention is noted on the light tan head. Moderate loose and then quickly sliding lacing. Sweet green apple nose. This is a Brit style ale, on the sweet side, and a bit thin taste wise, needs some hops IMHO. The fact thats its made from organic ingrediants has a fancy label and all the proceeds go to "the Prince's of Wales Charitable Trust", doesn't make this any more then an almost decent sessioner, but not much else. I wouldn't spend over $4 for this again...

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

10/28/06- Purchased at Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA

Presentation- 16.9oz bottle with no freshness info noted. Poured into a imperial pint glass.

Appearance- Amber-copper in color. Minor 1/4 inch head, both frothy and white. Light streaks are left behind.

Smell- Fruity hop aroma with a light toasted malt backing. Really have to dig in to get the scent.

Taste- Starts off with a lemon-tangerine hop falvor which quickly turns outright bitter. Pretty hefty deep roasted malt with a light dark chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel- Mild carbonation with a lingering bitter aftertaste. Very crisp.

Drinkability- Classic ESB. Would have liked the hop flavor to last a bit longer. Otherwise it's quite nice and sessionable. One of the better organic ales I have tried.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An organic ESB, huh?
A nice light ruby, chestnut brown pour. Good head. Shaped up quickly and seemed a bit chunky. Nice lacing.
Smell of earthy hops, come coriander and anise. Sweet roasted malt rounds it out.
Not a huge taste, but very good. Slightly sweet and smoky, with a good touch of bitterness. Peat comes through a bit as does some cherry and hickory. Anise turns to plum and is slightly sweet on the end.
A very nice and easy drinking organic,

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Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a smooth pale and light crystal malt scent along with a slightly bitter/fruity yeast aroma. The taste is good. It has a light malty flavor that is easily drinkable. It goes down with ease and finishes with some light hops and a bit of residual sweetness. It has a nice English ale yeast fruitiness to it. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It's light and easily drinkable with a decent malt/hop character.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium rich copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy pillowy white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell was very balanced. A strong biscuity grain aroma with a substantial flowery and citrusy aroma. I greatly enjoyed the citrus element here.

The flavor was simply delicious. A full biscuity grain goodness with a substantial and refreshing peppery citrus pop. Just an excellently balanced beer.

The mouthfeel was full and chewy. Finished very dry.

Overall I am very pleased with this delicious brew. I was not expecting it to be so well balanced. This beer would be great on cask.

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Photo of biegaman
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Duchy Organic Ale looks kind of like a cross between guava juice and iced tea - both of which I find refreshing and delicious - therefore I'm working on the assumption that this must be as well. There's certainly no reason to think otherwise; its dense, chilly blush, which doesn't hinder clarity at all, suggests at least a good amount of flavour.

There are reasons to like this aroma, you have to pay close attention or you'd overlook them, but there are good reasons to like this aroma. Pink grapefruit-like citrus, sugary malts and a whiff of the flower shop - again, nothing to wax poetic about, and an obtuse (textbook British) water profile distorts them, but I don't mind sticking my nose there.

I was trying to find a way around it, but it must be said: this isn't much more flavourful than a bucket of rocks. Once again, there are pleasantries - herbal and fruity hoppiness that results in tastes of oranges and roses as well as lemony citrus, flower petals and toasty, bready malts - but they're all muffled out by something. I need the volume turned up.

Same goes for mouthfeel. The effervescence of flowers, the zest of hops, the tea leaf-like bitterness, the crunchiness of toasty malts - all lovely - but all combined don't amount to even half of the mouthfeel, which is majorly dominated by a mineral-rich water that sticks out (and throbs) like a sore thumb. The beer is, dare I say it, quite watery.

Organic certification is a very good thing, but you're still wasting resources and doing the environment a disservice brewing a beer that isn't worth buying. While the contents of my glass are worth finishing, and helping charity and Mother Earth are both worthy causes, I can't see donating my liver or money to this beer again.

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Photo of Zorro
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a near clear copper colored ale with a somewhat skimpy white head.

Smell is extremely herbal with the buttery scent of Ringwood yeast. Additional aromas of toasted grain, saddle leather and tea.

Flavor begins slightly sweet with a fairly buttery flavor and drying herbal hop finish. As you drink it this becomes spicy and even more herbal. The tobacco flavor of fuggles comes out fairly strongly here. Toasted grain flavor gives a taste effect not unlike buttered wheat toast. Strongly herbal hop flavor very much like medicine.

Mouthfeel is quite full.

This is one of those ales for which it is greater than the sum of its parts. If you detest Ringwood yeast as some do then do not buy this ale you will be very angry. If you like Ringwood yeast then you will probably love this.

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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 Georgiabeer
4.23/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice representation of they style, and also nice to see a beer that is both organic and whose sale contributes to charity. Pours a slightly hazy amber with a good head that fades to a thin cap and leaves some lacing. Looks true to style. Smells earthy, slightly coppery, quite rounded, and with somenice soft hops intermingling with the firm, light malt. Taste is similar. Very well integrated and balanced and with more of the typical metallic earthiness, soft hops, and roundedness. Mouthfeel is soft but with a subtle bite at the eend. Very drinkable and quite nice indeed.

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Photo of Derek
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Organic is great... but shipping it over the pond?

A: Amber, off-white head, some retention, great lace.

S: Fruity (earthy citrus), biscuity malt, floral & spicy.

T: Quality biscuity malt, orange rind, slight earthyness, figs, dark fruit (prunes), slight burnt caramel flavour with a little spice. Good bitter balance.

M: Moderate body, carbonation is a little higher than expected for the style.

D: Quite good.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red-orange colour, with a slightly ribboned-white head of cludgy foam. Lacing is eccentric, but stays fresh enough. Looks nominal at best, but the colour is ripe. Head certainly needs some lovin'.

Wood shavings on the nose are perceptible, with a rufous aroma of dark caramel to backlight it. The wood and pine characters are most dominant, and it freshens up perspicaciously. It almost hints at acidity in an incoherent way, but it's very pleasant overall. I like it.

Quite smooth on the palate, with a round caramel cannoliness. Some partial hop resin partway through spears the glutinous nature of the rest, and the example I had was served too cold, which somewhat benumbs the feel. It's a little emaciated on the palate - it doesn't have the full-bodied and strikingly preternatural bent of the nose, but it's pleasant enough.

Very drinkable, all things considered, with enough interest to keep me titillated. It's not a beer that is going to cause me apoplexy or fanaticism, but it's smooth, easy-drinking and inoffensive.

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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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Duchy Originals Organic English Ale from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.59 out of 5 based on 202 ratings.
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