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

very good
301 Reviews
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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) AleOlde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale

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

Style: 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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Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 459
Photo of FLima
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper color with a thin fluffy head with short retention.
Aroma with notes of caramels, butterscotch, earthy English hops and mild Port Wine
Flavor with notes of English earthy hops, toffee, a bit of nuts and chocolate, drops of Port Wine, plums, raisins, vanilla, licorice and wood. Dry aftertaste with a mild to medium bitterness.
Light bordering medium body with appropriate carbonation.
One of the reference for the style, easy to drink and balanced Old Ale. Not bold, bus still flavorful and differs from the crowd with some refreshing notes. This should go well with comfort food.

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Photo of scbeerman
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not bad as an interesting English blended ale. Very solid malt complexity without cloying sweetness; some noticeable bitterness on the back end improves drinkability. Raisin, toffee, fig, caramel, light coffee. However, a few notable flaws - primarily some grainy adjunct lager-like notes in there and a touch of diacetyl - make this just slightly above average on the whole.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, Pours brown with reddish hue. Little to no head. Aroma is bread, biscuit, toffee, dark fruit, Raisins, prunes. Taste pretty much the same as the aroma. Very nice.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
2.85/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: pours a mahogany color with hints of garnet and blood red. a two to three finger head with low retention and leaving behind a fairly strong lacing. pretty much opaque due to the darkness. some points with intense brightness around the edges.

Smell: strong dark fruit character, plums and prunes. huge sweetness, vanilla, oak and toffee. some oxidized qualities come through with notes of leather and stewed plums

Taste: opens with toasted grains hinting at a roastiness. opens up with huge amounts of sweetness coming with notes of stewed plums, vanilla, toffee, and prunes. earthiness begins to come through with notes of oak and leather. ends with a slightly buttery note to possible grassiness.

Mouthfeel: velvety to buttery. heavy for the abv. cloyingly sweet.

Overall: I am a huge old ale fan but this one doesn't cut it. hard to tell if its a bad bottle due to the clear bottle, but I made every effort to buy as young and light protected as possible. it shows some great aged qualities but I believe this blend is a bit of a cop out. the young beer just doesn't have what it takes to stand up against the bold, and most likely delicious, older beer.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle named "Greene King Strong Suffolk Dark Ale" with a picture of a bull on the label. The beer is a dark, crystal clear, ruby coloring with no head. Pretty vibrant in the glass. Nose of very sweet, rich toffee, tangy caramel, sugary sweetness, fig, date, and hints of roast. Very sweet throughout. Flavors of plum, date, dark cherry, and roasted toffee, all on a bready and sugary backbone. Very slick, oily, robust bodied, with an old world fruit rich and sweet aftertaste. Rich, dark sweet linger on a slick, smooth finish. Big beer.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a half liter while sitting in my house London. Still working my way through so many English brews I haven't tried before moving here. Mostly interested in seeing how this compared to Old Peculiar. Brown...not much else to say...not much head or staying power, but could be the glass wasn't cleaned properly. Nose...light malt with that old ale stale hop smell. I find it odd that I'm starting to like that a little bit after smelling it in so many beers here. Overall flavor and mouthfeel seemed to style based on the other English old ales I've had here. Enjoyable, but probably not everyone's bag. Pretty good beer. I really need to do a side-by-side with Old Peculiar and will update this review if I get around to that.

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Photo of Paul_Hutchinson
2.53/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

So I feel a little unfair at reviewing this ale as it's not really my bag. Pours to a very dark red almost brown colour with a head which quickly disappears making this ale appear flat. Smells like Christmas cake with spices, malt and treacle coming through. Tastes lighter than its appearance would suggest and lingers long after swallowing. There will be people who love this beer but I'm not one of them but that's down to my taste rather than the ale

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Photo of Sinfull
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Dark brown color , good beige head. Aroma of fruits , malt , wood . Taste is malty , fruity with notes of oak and chocolate, hint of sourness. Light bitterness in finish. Very good beer

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Photo of The_Mad_Capper
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%

500ml bottle from Yamaya. Clear, deep copper body with mahogany highlights; light tan, quickly diminishing head; thin crown lingers. Aroma includes rich toffee, dried fruit, molasses. Somewhat smokey, wine-like flavor dominates over nutty, toffee-like malt; moderate bitterness. Medium-light body; fairly low carbonation.

The smokey, vinous quality is welcome, though the malt presence is disappointingly subdued. Nevertheless, visually appealing with a terrific aroma and ultimately quite enjoyable.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle from Tesco (£1.79):
Chestnut brown & clear with a 1cm, fine bubbly head that's a light brown colour & fades to a thin, patchy lacing after about 35 seconds.

Sweet to start with dark, ripe fruits & sugar. Rich smelling with some figs, dates, musky notes & caramel malts with some toffee. Sweet without overpowering, some bread, faint vanilla & subtle hops also feature.

Quite sweet with sugar & fruits that includes raisin & figs. Vanilla & hops around the middle but neither manages to dominate. There is some toffee & caramel malts in there as well with some oak & butterscotch too.

Rich & very sweet with a smooth, medium body & light carbonation. The beer is quite complex & rich with an ever so slightly bitter finish.

Started very well with a lot of sweetness & various fruits & held up well right until then end when it started to fade ever so slightly. Not a bad beer at all but it falls short of being a great one.

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Photo of Dave_Sutula
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only beer I've ever had that i would rate a 5 all around. Appearance is a rich dark red almost brown. Small head. Flavor is instantly fruitcake, then smoky and finished off by anise. Velvety texture, which only enhances. It is amazing. Even if you only try this once it is absolutely worth it.

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Photo of mhaugo
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16.9oz bottle decanted into a snifter. 6.0% ABV. Served at 55F and allowed to elevate to room temperature.

Appearance: Stained maple, brilliantly clear, rapidly fading head (4.5/5).

Aroma: Smells like an ancient, musty, dark old bar. There is an incredible lingering sweetness and fresh tobacco scent. This aroma definitely puts the “old” in Old Ale (4/5).

Taste: This beer features an incredible complexity considering its relatively low ABV. There’s an intresting staleness, followed by brown sugar, tobacco, caramel, dark cherries, and oak (4.25/5).

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation (4/5)

Overall: It’s interesting to go directly from The Bruery’s Coton to Olde Suffollk. Both beers are great examples of the style, but on completely opposite ends of the spectrum for alcohol by volume. Both have been aged to perfection. Both have a minimal contribution from hops. Both have rich dark cherry and brown sugar flavors, but one clocks in at 14.5% and the other is 6.0%. It’s enlightening to see that these Old Ale flavors can develop, regardless of the alcohol. I guess you could call Olde Suffolk a “sessionalbe” Old Ale (4.25/5).

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Photo of MarkoNm
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color covered with a nice tan head and a decent retention.
The malty aroma is complemented by some sweet fruits and spices.
The taste is nicely bittery, you can also taste some nice spices, although can't say which.
Easily drinkable and smooth.

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Photo of vinicole
4.4/5  rDev +10%

Original score = 4.25

The more I drink it the more I like it.
I love the distant sour notes of the 5X and the way it balances with the fruity sweet maltiness of the rest of the blend. There are far too few brews that are so well bended as this one.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: a quality-look bottle, albeit clear (why do the English like clear glass so much??) with a stylish label.

Appearance: pours an almost cola-coloured clear red-brown with very minimal carbonation visible. A beige head jumps to two fingers and fizzes down to a solid cap.

Aroma: the aroma is dominated by toffee / caramel and some brown sugar. Some vanilla oak just hanging about in the background. A little demure.

Taste: the toffee and caramel are still definitely there, but some bittering hops and oak flavours are better integrated on the palate. Would still like to see a bit more fruits and hops.

Aftertaste: the almost overly sweet toffee and caramel backs off a bit and the bittering hop and oak pick up. Quite a nice finish.

Mouth feel: a medium body with moderate carbonation. Carries the flavour well, I reckon this would be killer if it was a bit drier on the finish.

Overall: a good, reasonably heavy English ale. It does seem like a stronger English mild ale, which is a nice change. I would have expected some more complexity however - as it is, it is more like a slightly richer Newcastle Brown, which is much cheaper. So, a nice beer, but nowhere near worth the price of AU$100 a case of 12 x 500mL.

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Photo of delta490
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- deep ruby brown with a typical short lived foamy white head. No retention.

S- rich and fruity with dark fruit and caramel dominating.

T- the flavor definitely mirrors the aroma and then some. Raisins and sugar are what I notice

M-thinner, fitting with english ales. A little bite from the hops and oak.

O- a really good English strong ale.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 1 pt 0.9 oz bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet with a moderately aggressive hand. Clear bottle. Why Great Britain, why? The base of the bottle proclaims "Brewing Perfection". Well ok, then.

A: Very dark amber with scant 1/4 finger of white head. Disappears to a wispy suggestion of a head in 1-2 minutes. Kind of underwhelming.

S: Sweet, dark fruit, cherry. Dates. Spice. Light sourness. Not bad.

T: Sweetness up front with raisins, cherry, dried fruit. Malt. Transitions into some mild tartness/acidity and finishes surprisingly dry. Firm bitterness in the end, which is probably the best part. Some oak. Some bourbon.

M: Low carbonation. Honestly, a fairly watery body with a residual stickiness on the lips and tongue. Unfortunately, I don't think this was a prime bottle...

O: Sad to say, disappointed overall. Has potential, especially with regards to the scent and flavor, but came off a bit weak. I was hoping for some more complexity, depth and assertiveness. I believe I'll pass in the future.

 1,020 characters

Photo of REDAMI
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 16.9 oz bottle into Samuel Smith pint glass.

A - Dark, caramel brown color. Little to no head.

S - Bready malts, toffee, raisin, slight pale ale hoppiness, and sweet vanilla on the nose.

T - Sweet toffee, wood, vanilla, vague copper metallic aftertaste from the hops.

M - Alcohol is well hidden, smooth with little carbonation, wine-like.

Would love to have tasted the two beers used in this blend separately. The combination is intriguing in its complexity. Better than expected.

Note: Clear beer bottles should be banned.

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Photo of schwemjw
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Ruby red with almost no head.

S: Dank herbs. a wine quality with a hint of oak. There is some spice in here with bits of grape and sour cherries. A butterscotch malt.

T: Tart cherry with a dry finish. Cranberry and walnut dance around my tongue followed up by dried grape. A little roasted malt that imparts some toffee with oak in the finish. Lots of acid.

M: Pretty light actually. No carbonation. I expected this to be bigger.

O: This is refreshing! The taste is very different from the aroma. Its very tart surprisingly. /83

 536 characters

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark brown body; medium sized head

Aroma: Spicy; oak notes; wine like

Taste: Spicy; oak flavors; malty with a bitter finish; fairly well balanced and pretty good overall

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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

Appearance: Deep amber brown in color with a modest off-white head, which soon fades to a scattering of foam on the surface. Thin, fine-beaded lacing coats the glass walls. Before a light, fat, slow-rising carbonation can be seen.

Aroma: Caramel and spices dominate the aroma, there is a wood note as well, somewhat like old oak

Taste: Opens with dark caramel and toasted malt. As the taste progresses, a slightly smoky, wood flavor appears. Towards the background of the taste, understated mildly earthy hops as present as well, rising from the middle of the taste to a modest presence at the close.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very pleasant, full.

Drinkability/notes: Well-crafted and elegant.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom embossed pint bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a Samuel Adam Boston Lager sensory glass.

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Photo of bmwats
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Dark brown. Pours a quarter finger, bubbly, brown-white head. Settles quickly. Plenty of clingy effervescence throughout the body of the brew. Very sparse lacing quickly retreats into the body of the brew. Shallow.

S: Nutty malt. Tea leaf and a little butterscotch, and chocolate.

T: Roasted malt, a little coffee, touches of licorice, molasses, pecan, and tea.

M: Hearty, malty, and earthy. Heavy alcohol character. Has a certain sweetness that infiltrates the nasal cavity. Bitter finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is really nice. Not just a whole lot to look at, but a fair head with substantial effervescence; however no real lacing. Nose is really nutty with some sweet and herbal components. Complex flavor consisting of roasted malt, accentuated with bitter, sweet, herb, and nut components. Bitter and sweet with a high alcohol feel, but not overwhelmingly so. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, rich, dark copper brown, with ruby highlights. A slight, rocky head builds from ample carbonation which also clings to the glass. As the carbonation dissipates from the glass, the beer takes on more of a dark, ruby color.

Sweet malt is accompanied by dates, figs, and sun-baked oak. After a few sips, the aroma takes on the distinct character of caramelized sugar.

Toasted malt with a hint of bitterness and light spice. Sun-dried raisins with light, lingering malt bitterness is a nice, subtle touch. Warmth brings out cola and nuts.

The medium body is contrasted by a sharp texture with light alcohol and ample carbonation.

This one was enjoyed from a Dogfish Head snifter over a quiet half hour before dinner while listening to classical music. A rare stolen moment in time. This ale would likely pair well with lamb.

Aged 3.5 years in the cellar.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A blend of two ales, one aged in oak vats for 2 years. Poured from a bottle into a Fuller's Pub Pint. The pour is clear and dark, dark brown with very little light getting through. It sports a nice rocky head that dissipates quite fast. The nose is a bit sulfery at first, but once it de-gasses a bit you get some rich, sweet toffee and treacle notes and bready aromas. No alcohol is evident.

The beer has a medium body and nice, sweet, malt-forward flavor. It is all about the malt. Sweetness dominates but the beer is not cloying or syrupy at all. Wonderful earthy flavors of bread, oak, toffee, caramel, nuts, and molasses slide all over the palate. You also get just a hint of dark fruit. The flavors become just a little dry right in the back of the mouth and you get a little spice just as you swallow. The feel is firm and silky.

A very traditional beer. Not to be confused with a barleywine or modern-day booze bomb. No roasty bitterness and very little in the way of hops. Just lots of rich, chewy malty goodness.

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Photo of pkalix
4.91/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

deep, dark mahogany. a little head at first but dwindling to virtually nothing, although it does lace fully down the sides when tilted....
last guy said it smells like vanilla and wet grass and really hit it on the head with that description...
taste is a sweet malt-y, vanilla-y. very nice and very tasty, but i agree with the other guy in that the 'aging' might be the brew's downfall. it seems to create a slight funkiness, and a tad bitter that just doesnt mesh well. but that only takes it down from a perfect score. this brew has some wonderful qualities and is very pleasing. it feels a bit thin but that can easily be taken in stride.
overall, this is a beautiful drink. and at 6% it's relatively promising. i love the sweetness- it's like a dopplebock but has an entirely different set of parameters. i have a suspiciousness against myself for wanting to award another set of strong 5's in two beers in a row. and after much consideration, i have to admit this is an outstanding brew and i have no 2nd thoughts in rating this very highly. let me know what you think. i recommend this completely and will purchase a few more tomorrow to affirm what i feel now!

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 459 ratings.
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