Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) AleOlde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale
475 Ratings
Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) AleOlde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2002

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Ratings: 475 |  Reviews: 310
Reviews by dogfooddog:
Photo of dogfooddog
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this 11.2 oz bottle was bought from the MJ beer club at least 2 years ago. I was very fond of it at that time and will see how matters have developed. I have no idea if this bottle is filtered or bottle-conditioned at this point - there is some sediment in the bottom.

pours in pint glass with 30% light tan head in glass. oaken smell is very evident, and permeates area around glass. not many british ales touch wood now - it is quite distinct.

taste carries more of the oaky taste, with deep roasted malt and something resembling either a belgian lambic or flemish red character in the front end. not sure if this is an artifact of yeast or wood character. overall taste is subtle and very pleasant.

while this reminds me of the traquair beers (oak-fermented though pasteurized) it also has a lot of similarity to the flemish reds without the sourness. i recommend it to anyone who likes any of the above.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poures a deep brown with some ruby-like tint to it with almost no head to it,very nice aroma of oak and caramel with some brown sugar.A real sipping brew here to savor the different flavors some big oaky notes along with some brown sugar and caramel with this,an almost cola-like flavor as well, as it warms the oak comes thru even more.A real nice old, ale here one to savor.

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Photo of t2grogan
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of Zakk
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.33/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

Olde Suffolk is a blend of two beers; one is a 12 percent Strong Beer that was aged in oak for two years, and the other is a fresh Pale Ale of 5 percent ABV. It says "Caramel Color Added" on the label. Is it necessary to add coloring to beer?

Light and faint spritzy carbonation conjures up a finger of bubbly head that sticks to the glass a bit. The clarity is fine with this garnet-tinged brown brew. Hints of vanilla, toffee, Portuguese sweetbreads and date sugar in the aroma. Creamy, slick mouthfeel with an underlying smoothness in a full body. Lots of malt action going on here; sweetness is kept to a minimum or at least does not stray too far to be cloying. Suggestions of ripe dates; toffee or brittle; mild, roasted, sweetened coffee; and a musty diacetyl in the back. Hop character is modest, with a faded herb flavor, middle to end. Grain husk and some cooked veggies in the finish.

For anyone who likes to explore complex, malty beers, this one will captivate you. But you have to wonder what the 12 percent Strong Beer tasted like on its own. Boursin cheese and basil-stuffed chicken breast over Parmesan risotto is a very appealing pairing.

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Photo of t8000shx
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a .5L bottle into a tulip

Deep auburn, opaque at the center, translucent along the sides. It's an attractive beer. I botched the pour a bit so didn't get much of a head, but the little I produced was cream colored and did not stay around too long. Probably my fault.

Glad I drank out of a tulip glass, nicely intensified the aroma. Some dark fruit, plum certainly, some raisins/currants, too. Not particularly strong, but satisfying and appealing.

My first thought is fruitcake, or one of those chocolate bars with the nuts and fruit in it. Some mild cherry I didn't identify in the nose, but in hindsight I was smelling it. Caramel, a little oak, perhaps some mild vanilla, and a quick, scarcely existent hit of bitter from hops. All of this was very well balanced, arrived and left smoothly, with some of the fruit lingering.

Even as it warmed up, never got too sticky. Less carbonated, consistent with the style. Drank like a heavier version of a brown ale, but far from anything you would call Imperial, and certainly not as heavy as other, higher octane old ales.

Fantastically drinkable. This beer strikes a perfect balance between bold flavors and drinkability. The beer dork in me says I'm drinking a big, aged, sophisticated beer, and the responsible worker drone in me says I'm drinking a beer that won't kill me tomorrow if I have a couple. It's a damn shame it's not easier to find. If you have a store near you that carries it, I strongly recommend picking some up. I should add that I poured mine too cold and it warmed up as I drank, and I enjoyed it across the entire range. I recommend drinking colder than some of you normally drink an old ale, definitely no warmer than 55, in my opinion.

 1,724 characters

Photo of sponberg
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown. When I popped the cap, this sucker foamed - but when I poured it, it had little if any head. Weird. Aroma of butter and molasses, toasted wheat toast - appetizing.

Very buttery on the palate - smooth, oily, hints of diacetyl but not from Ringwood. Then the flavors expand - coffee, chocolate, bitter hop, molasses, and a certain hardness that I can't put my finger on. Undercurrents of alcohol are also present. Finishes with a molasses and toffelike flavor that works well. Simply unbeatable with a well-aged cheddar. Very drinkable, as I keep trying to nurse another sip out of my empty glass. Very complex, eminently drinkable brew - three of these, a fire in the fireplace, and a hunk of 5 year old Balderson's cheddar would be an evening fit for a king.

 789 characters

Photo of kaiyote
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of merlin48
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pint bottle pours a dark and clear ruby mahogany body with a small beige head that falls into an enticing film and collar with minimal sheet lacing.
Aroma is robust and complex. Molasses and toffee open a powerful malt character, with fresh baked bread, herbal hops, fresh concord grapes, plums, raisins, and vanilla oak tones adding to the bountiful bouquet.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied,creamy, with appropriate low carbonation.
Several layers of malt complexity are featured in the taste. Toffee, molasses, and maple syrup are apparent, but never overly sweet. Aged oak notes let you know that this has been in the barrel for awhile. Prunes, raisins, and fresh Concord grapes lead the fruity component. Some mild chocolate is noted in the middle, and some dry herbal hops bitterness emerges at room temperature. Wow! Lots of complexities in this one. Finish is slightly bitter, but you're left with an aftertaste that evokes all the many flavors enjoyed as you plow through the glass.
Lacks the punch to be a winter warmer, but the drinkability is excellent. An exceptional array of flavors are displayed from start to finish. Give me three bottles of this and I could spend a full afternoon and evening trying to decipher the complexities of this magnificent ale. This is one of the better English ales I've enjoyed recently. I look forward to getting my paws on a few more of these.

 1,391 characters

Photo of kaneel
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of vinivini
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of innominat
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better than the Speckled Hen. Mahogany pour with nearly no head. Earthy, malty, oak aroma that is very sweet. Velvety mouthfeel. Smooth taste of caramel malt and some vanilla mellowness from the oak. Slight bitterness in the back. Nicely balanced.

 252 characters

Photo of juicebox
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of ADR
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark ruby-brown color, nice 1/2 inch head that holds an elevated "ring" inside the pint glass. Dank aroma, a little molasses. Nice roasty flavors that persist to the swallow. Coffee flavors, a little raisin, and chocolate. Some sense of grape, as well. Nice complex malt flavor. A blend of an "Old" Ale with a new batch, this brew reminds me of the blended beers of "yore"...very nice stuff.

 396 characters

Photo of RickyS
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of goast8127
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

ST: Pint poured into a wine glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown with a fluffy brown head. It leaves nice lacing. When held to the light, dark ruby red tints take over the beer, and very slowly rising carbonation bubbles can be seen.

S: Roasted malt, toffee, caramel, and fruit.

T: A lot more flavor than the nose suggested, it beings fairly fruity. Mid-way through the flavor switches to light malt and slight toffee. The finish has slight vanilla, nuts, and roasted malts hold center stage along with a bit of oak (a slight burnt taste lingers on the tongue).

M: Surprisingly light, the finish even feels a bit watery.

D: It has some nice flavor, and it is light. The bottle does not list the alcohol percentage, though I would guess it is 5.5 or 6 percent.

Overall: I met someone that went to England and swore up and down about the quality of this beer. With that in mind, I picked it up to try. It has nice flavor and a bit of complexity, and it blends the alcohol very nicely. However, its light and watery mouthfeel distracts true enjoyment. It could use more body. This is not a bad beer, but it is not an excellent beer.

 1,138 characters

Photo of rastaman
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

an awesome little english strong ale, an excellent blend between, malt and hops, medium body with a dry finish, i like it a lot.

128 characters

Photo of Melchizedek
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep murky slightly red-tinged brown with a well-formed but slightly uneven tan head. Aroma is sweet malt, with alcohol noticeable and a little dark fruit/raisin.

Plenty going on in flavor, some caramel, some slight burnt and oaky character, spice, a light touch of bitterness and lightly floral hop, warming alcohol, a bit metallic, fairly light and dry mouthfeel for the depth.

Tasty, solid brew. With some cheese and bread, this would make a great meal.

 470 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark tea color with a half finger of white that melted to a ring of white only slightly sticky.
Aroma is very toasty amber malts with a touch of dark brown sugar and a little vinegar. (as a side note, my non-beer drinking g/f noticed prunes....tart prunes...interesting)
Taste is very much like the aroma to me...very toasty amber malts with a sweetness mixed with a vinegar like tartness.
I know vinegar sounds terrible, but this combination of flavors really works for me.
I'm more accustomed to American styled Old Ales which are borderline Barleywines. This is a British styled Old Ale and consequentially much thinner but still an excellent drink when you want something heavier.

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Photo of DruC4
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of cokes
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark ruby with a moderate, creamy beige head.
Roasty, oak merlot-infused aroma.
Taste begin heavily malted. Chocolate Malted Milk Balls and traces of mocha. This fades quickly as a grapey, red wine sweetness develops. Burnt brown sugar, molasses and toffee bars continue this sweet trend. Concord grape juice later. Dry woody oak characteristics are noticed with a careful examination, but are generally overshadowed by the kalidescopic malts. Concludes just hoppy and bitter enough to show that this is, in fact, and English-styled Ale (as opposed to, say, a doppelbock, which this does bear some similarity to). Flourishes of metallic herbs partially dry the palate, although plenty of sticky malt heft remains clinging to the teeth.
Medium in stature. Very low carbonation.
Flavorful and robust. This is a winner.
Grab me a bib if I ever come across this on cask.

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Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very satisfying and elegant brew, that sizzles after you pour and retains a barleywine appearance. Tasty and a plus that its alcohol is dilluted. Interesting sour oak winey and malts and spice. Nicely hopped, understated. Had another bottle 15 months later and enjoyed its oaky and fruity characteristics (1999 edition).

Had the recent edition in early 2007, 2.3 years later and it was really noticeable woody, and well hopped. Do a side by side with oak aged AB. Still very nice. Review based on the first aged edition.

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 475 ratings