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

very good
301 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 458
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oooh...and English old ale. yes please.

Pours a light brown. Nice 2 finger head. Looks rich.

Aroma is sweet. Caramel, malt, some vanilla and wet grass.

Flavor is good, albeit a bit one sided. It seem the oak vat aging renders most of the flavors. The malt is thin, and with the low carbonation it just about disappears. Some smoke. Caramel and vanilla are the main culprits. It is very smooth.

I like this one. Something keeps me from loving it. I think it's the aging--just wonder what the original brew is like.

 520 characters

Photo of rangerred
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass out of a 500ml clear bottle.

Pours a clear very dark brown with a one finger medium tan head. Head fades away rather quickly leaving a little bit of lacing.

Aroma is wonderful. Lots of butterscotch and caramel along with a rich wood character that is quite appealing. There is quite a bit of dark fruit typical of English ales and some burnt toast. A little molasses as well; quite a bit going on.

The flavor starts out a little sweet with dark brown sugar and molasses with the same burnt toast that was present in the aroma. The wood is a little less prominent and is way in the background. Dark fruit and some yeast character is present along with a decent dose of grassy hops. There is a moderate assertive bitterness to balance out the sweetness and it works nicely.

Overall, a really nice beer if not exactly Earth-shattering. I enjoy the added depth from the blending of wood-aged beer but it is just missing a little something. It is still nicer than your typical English ale and I appreciate that it is not skunked despite the clear bottle.

 1,078 characters

Photo of doktorhops
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Olde Suffolk English Ale has been sitting patiently at the back of the fridge, biding its time, until I decide it is a glorious day for a classic vintage ale. That day is today. Hail to the king baby.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Presents with a deep slight cloudy burgundy body and a minimal tan lacing.

S: Aroma is upfront with dark fruit; figs, plums, dates, a bit of molasses and some burnt caramel. This is then followed with a hint of brandy, faint earthy hops, and woody oak in the finish. Expecting a big sugar hit based on the aroma.

T: Very sweet, very boozy too... quite a bit like the Christmas pudding that is flambé with brandy before serving. It's almost too sweet, even for a sweet-tooth like me. This then follows through the palate with the above mentioned figs, plums, dates, molasses and burnt caramel before ending with some bitter medicinal hops. Aftertaste is that much expected oak. The glaring sweetness of this brew makes it a little one dimensional, and stands out long after the first sip.

M: Medium bodied with flat carbonation which really brings out that slick sugar feel.

D: For an Old Ale it doesn't present much character, bit of a shame really as I had been looking forward to this one. Don't get me wrong though it is a good drop, but it isn't a great drop, and great was what I was expecting from an ale of renown. Theakston Old Peculier is a far better Old Ale.

Food match: Christmas fare; roast turkey, honey glazed ham, sides of roast potato, onion, squash, carrot, peas and a heavy gravy - all are viable options.

 1,582 characters

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

A - Pours a somewhat murky brownish orange. Nice small off white head leaves to ring pretty quick. Lots of cling.

S - Spicy, sugary malty nose.

T - Burnt sugar, herbal spiciness, booze is present. Hops are low.

M - Medium body, good carb, pretty good balance.

D - Not my style for a session, but a pretty good example of an old ale, literally made from an older ale and a newer ale, just like in the old days. Fun.

 420 characters

Photo of heygeebee
3.4/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Pours a dark brown. Two finger head bubbles and dies - little lace on swirl, slight spots.

Aromas are of dark treacle, burnt toffee, roast malts.

Taste is a bit of a let down after the aromas - a watered down version or aromas, and add in earwaxy bitterness on back plate. The dry finish builds as the bottle goes down.

Mouthfeel also slightly watery and light. Moderate carbonation.

All in all, a solid beer. Not a great one. Interesting - when drunk slowly, no great change from intial serving temp to nearly room temp.

 532 characters

Photo of barczar
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with garnet highlights and a foamy half inch khaki head that lingers as a pool of foam.

Caramel, brown sugar, figs, raisins, oak, and burnt toffee comprise the fairly complex aroma. There's a bit of toasted malt evident, along with tobacco and a hint of tar.

Flavor is relatively sweet, with toffee and caramel leading into a dark fruit melange of cherries and dark berries that prevents the profile from becoming cloying. Notes of oak and toasted malt add complexity, giving an almost smoky character to the palate. The finish is slightly bitter and peppery. Floral hops surface as it warms.

Body is moderate, with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and alcohol warmth is subtle.

Overall, very complex, nicely developed malt flavors accompanied by beautiful esters. It's very balanced, yet intriguing.

 847 characters

Photo of Eramen
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cascades into the glass a dark red mixed with brown. A couple of shades lighter than cola. Head is initially a finger high but soon bubbles away to nothing.

S - Biscuit malts, dried dark fruit, cola, peat, moist earth.

T - Sugary dried plums, figs, spongy fruit cake, cola, hint of coconut oil, no hops present, but stands up amazingly well.

MF - Medium bodied with a soft feel, little carbonation and very pleasant on the palate.

O - Quite a decent old ale, one that I could revisit and could recommend without reservation.

 535 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear caramel brown with a tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and toffee aromas. Taste is very much the same along with some dark fruit flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some very rich aromas and flavors.

 484 characters

Photo of choyhosoi
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown color with a white head. The scent is a normal fruity scent not too overwhelming. The taste is a bit like Boddingtons. If you haven't had that then it is like a brown with some sweetness to it. This is a smooth session beer that would be good in a pub. I would recommend this if you have a chance to try it.

 321 characters

Photo of plfahey
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Explodes forth from the bottle, a bit of a gusher, but hopefully this one's not a bad bottle. Deep garnet/mahogany appears a moderately clear blood red when held to the light. Moderately large tan head shows good retention and some fair retention.

Aroma-Yum-dark fruit (plums, prunes, figs, raisins), along with a rumlike black licorice note. Blackstrap molasses and burnt sugar parade through the background. A little bit ashy with perceptible fusels. Very light oak notes as well.

Flavor-Light bready sweetness and a bit of caramel quickly give way to richer, darker flavors of prune and raisin, molasses, buttery rum, and a touch of black licorice. Finishes rather dry with some oak notes as well as mild, peppery alcohol. Hops are entirely absent, which is not unexpected. In the aftertaste, there are some light toasted breadcrust malt flavors which complement the lingering dark fruitcake/toffee flavors.

Mouthfeel-Moderately low, soft, gentle carbonation with a medium body. Viscosity seems a bit low for this style and almost feels thin in the finish at times. Dry in the aftertaste, with just the faintest prickle of alcohol warmth.

Not a bad old ale, though the flavors seem a bit dull. The aroma opens quite nicely and the flavor begins impressively, but quickly fades to a dull, thin, and somewhat vapid finish. I would love to taste this one in its native country, but I'm not terribly impressed with the condition I find it in here.

 1,505 characters

Photo of KDawg
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from bottle into a pint glass. Pours a good mahogany color that is see through. No real head from this

Good complex aromas of toffee, caramel, blood oranges and a slight touch of hops as well. Slightly lacking a bit of depth, but the complexity makes up for it

good medium body with a real good feel. The flavors are slightly lacking as mostly toffee and caramel dominate. Good depth on the flavors though

This was a real quality ale to drink. Very drinkable with good depth and aromas. The flavors are lacking slightly, but what is there is very good

 561 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Couldn't resist tryin' this one. It pours a very dark ruby-brown topped by a short finger of ashen foam. The nose comprises flaky biscuit, light toffee, light honey, light vague dark fruits, and a touch of toasted wood. The taste holds notes of dark greens, graham crackers, light cardboard, light tobacco, tea, sweetgrass, and a vague sense of cedar. The body is a stolid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a creamy feel. Overall, a nice brew, one that's clearly benefited from the oak-aging.

 544 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.7/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a nonic served at cellar temp.

Deep dark garnet with a thin brown sugar colored head that leaves decent lacing.

Aroma: winey alcohol laid over some dark fruits and toasted caramel malts

Mouthfeel: slippery and smooth

Taste: malty, toffee like sweetness, dark fruity with a certain woodiness.

Notes: Reminds me of Yorkshire Stingo a little. This is a tasty malty sipper.

 408 characters

Photo of Radome
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a "1 pint 0.9 fl oz" bottle into a snifter. Beer was bought during a trip to Norway. It seemed fresher than a previous sample I had in the US and rated at 3.63 overall.

A – The beer color is a deep amber or brown with serious red highlights when held up to the light.. It is very clear. The starts out thick and rocky and fades to thin wisps of a light tan color. Lots of lacing on the glass.

S – The aroma is equal parts earthy hops and sweet caramel. Malt and a slight funkiness lurk behind them, but at very low levels. No oak or alcohol notes. Not very complex or inviting.

T – The taste is smooth and fairly complex. I get malt, caramel, figs, leather and some earthy hops. A hint of alcohol in the finish. It has a definite English ale character, but some of the same low level funk and vinegar as a Flemish Brown, albeit at a lower level.

M – Medium body. Low carbonation. Hops bitterness is at a low to moderate level. No alcohol burn.

O – I enjoy this example much more than my last review; perhaps the previous one was not well-kept. This time it is complex and very enjoyable.

 1,114 characters

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

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramel, honey, malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of honey and caramel followed by some breadiness from a hearty malt character. The hops presence is decent for the style and provides a good balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a aged beer to for a while but a bit over-priced when there are better less-expensive choices out there.

 744 characters

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

Poured from a clear 500ml bottle into a snifter. (Someone please tell me why any brewer that cares about the quality of his beer is still using clear bottles!) The beer pours a deep amber with a nice full head that comes roaring back to full strength with a swirl or two of the glass. Some dark malts and fruity notes (plum?) in the nose--quite pleasant.

According to the label, this old ale is a blend of two ales, one of which has been aged two years (all, or part, in oak barrels). The oak manages to come through just a bit, along with a hint of fruity sourness (tart apple, maybe) around the edges. Dark malt and caramel take center stage, though, and a healthy but moderate level of carbonation makes this beer extremely drinkable.

I ended up rating this beer 4.0 across all categories. I stopped and reconsidered each but in the end decided that they were all indeed "fours," that is, all very good but not quite exceptional. I really enjoyed this beer and will try it again when in the mood for this flavor profile at a relatively lower abv.

 1,051 characters

Photo of Gobigvt7
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a thinnish dark brown with amber edges, a pinky of white lacy head atop. lacing is very fleeting and wet.

a nose of faint apple skins and light buttery malt. smells english.

unsure of what exactly to expect, but somehow it fulfills the
expectations. tastes english but...more. apple skins still in the background, lots of very mild malt and the faintest tickle of hops at the end. I can see where the oak aging might have deepened the flavor profile, but its effects are subtle. A little caramel on the finish. Some toasted malt and bread on the finish of the finish. Semi-sweet.

very light bodied, especially for how it appears in the glass. Almost a session, but with some added depth. No distinguishable alcohol.

I don't remember what I paid for it, so it very well could have been worth it! A nice take on the traditional english session brown. Wish there was more barrel and/or alcohol, personally, but for what it is, it was above average. Part of this beer was aged in oak for 2 years. Where is it?

 1,020 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Pours with relatively minimal light tan head crowning a beautiful ruby colored body. The color of this beer is pretty outstanding. Good clarity as well.

Smells of chocolate malts, noble hops (surprising, as I don't think there are noble hops in this), a faint whisp of alcohol/solvent, a touch of caramel, sharp vodka-macerated fruit, and burnt pie crust.

The initial flavor is of dark caramel and slightly burnt toffee. What follows is less easy to describe. The hop flavors seem to be melded with some slightly unpleasant solvent and non-ethanol alcoholic flavors. These are mostly mellow however, and give way to interesting notes of dusty figs, dried plums, and stale raisins.

The mouthfeel is smooth and pleasing, with nice low carbonation and a full body.

Conclusion: I continued to sip this beer after I finished the above review and waited till the last sips were left before writing this. Despite the odd flavors of this ale, and the way it isn't quite like anything I have tasted in an old ale or otherwise (the closest was a 3 year old Cooper's Vintage Ale), I sipped it greedily till the bottle was fully drained into my glass and my glass was almost empty. From this, I conclude that this is a tasty ale that should be regarded with respect considering its unusual aspects. If you have the chance, try it.

 1,347 characters

Photo of opalchemist
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with red reflects.
Foam is off white, very short persistent and very coarse.

Roast aromas, little sourness, maltiness and some flowery hops and caramel'y oak.

Very balanced, upfront caramelized malt aroma, velvety creaminess in the middle and some delicate hops paired with a discreet oaky afterthought.
Medium to full bodied...

Great beer - was not really thrilled, when it directly came directly out of the fridge - however the warmer the beer, the more the aromas developed. And when it was the best, the bottle was empty.
I want more! Really really addictive!

 610 characters

Photo of californiakebab
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours ruby brown in color with a creamy, vanilla head. I read that this has been aged in oak vats. Never had an old ale before, very excited for this beer. This one is a blend of stock ale that's been aged for 2 years along with a fresh batch. Aroma of dried fruit, oak, wet hay, tannins, and a hint of alcohol is very complex, yet pleasant. After a few sips, the dominant caramel sweetness gives way to a more roasted toffee like character. For a supposed heavy-bodied beer, the finish is somewhat dry, probably from the higher than expected carbonation level. If I had a library adorned with leather & rich mahogany, I'd probably dabble with this style more often (in a snifter of course). Unexpectedly delicious. Would be curious to see how this would play out a year from now.

 780 characters

Photo of hustlesworth
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- clear big bottle, samuel smith's imperial pint glass. the first thing i notice is the pancake batter-like tan head sitting atop this handsome dark brew. it's clear, rosewood in color, and very appealing. the lace on the low side, with only a few swirlies here and there. foam does remain however, at a nice sudsy ring to the bottom of the glass.

S- it has a little bit of that 'clear bottle that's been sitting on the shelf a while' effect, but giving it a moment to breathe sure helps. nicely woodsy with oak and vanilla, caramel, toffee, and burnt cookies. earthy and herbal hops provide a nice contrast. half way through the glass the aroma peaks and becomes delightfully sweet and earthy at the same time.

T- all woodsy and dark chocolate, this is one rich and delicious brew. devil's food cake comes to mind with a hint of vanilla sweetness. dark squishy and dark dried fruits linger in there somewhere, but the flavors are fleeting as the other complexities move in and out. raisin, prune, and currant notes layer over the deep woodsy and burnt flavors. soil, stone, cedar, and black pepper appear in the finish with a pleasant mild hop bitterness. something in there reminds me of the lightly peaty finish of the glenlivet and it goes very well with the flavor profile.

MF- creamy and soft, the gentle carbonation rolls away the dew. it's an almost cask ale type of feel and there's a drying yet coating feeling on the cheeks and a lingering almost powdery character.

D- a real treat even though it's probably past its prime. i love old woodsy things, things that feel antique. not like decorations and shit, i mean like old ales and kellerbier. this one from greene king definitely satisfies.

 1,707 characters

Photo of danieelol
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours cola (toffee when held up to light). Ok head and lacing.

Smell is quite complex with toffee, caramel, green apple (Granny Smith), sweet cream, marzipan spice and a teensy bit of roast and nuttiness.

Taste is very very dry with caramel and marzipan coming through. Very bitter- perhaps as much from alcohol as hops.

Mouthfeel is ok. You do get a lot of alcohol coming through though.

Overall a pleasant example of the style.

 433 characters

Photo of t420o
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Semi-aggressive pour produces a 1 finger head that is off white/very light brown in color. Beer is dark brown with hints of ruby. No lacing to speak of.

S- toffee, chocolate, carmel, eurp metallic smell. Not getting any oak

T- Like the nose. Toffee, caramel, burnt sugar, grains, chocolate. You definitely have to let this one warm up to about 60 to get all the flavors out of it. Until then it is kind of bland and flavors are muttled together. Has that Euro taste to it. Even when it warms no oaks is present sadly.

M- Nice and creamy smooth going down. Slightly tingling carbonation upfront

O- I think this could have been a very good beer, but it just wasn't all the way there. Fairly bland. Still Euro metallic tasting. Good but nothing more.

 754 characters

Photo of DCon
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received bottle from the iTap House in Chesterfield, MO for $6.50. Poured from the 1pt, 6oz bottle into a Guinness Glass. The only thing written on the sides was ghk66879 (serial number?).

Appearance- Pours a Dark amber color body with a 2 finger head than is tan and creamy. Retention was very good and beer left minimal lace.

Smell- Had hints of a cider from the start. There was also an oak/roasted smell that was very pungent. Not my favorite for the style but decent.

Taste- The beginning was a very nice sugary, roasted caramel taste and then the malts make you think there are tons of chocolate in here. Very creamy and complexed!

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Smooth Carbonation, and Creamy. Has a Medium-Dark Viscosity ends up being lighter at the end of the drink. One of the best mouthfuls ever!

Overall- Could drink many of these back to back. Very rich, smooth, creamy, and has attributes of a Guinness and English Ales. Perfect! Will be keeping my out for more of these!

 987 characters

Photo of jlb502
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4something for 16.9 OZ.

A: Poured out a clear bottle. Has a nice amber color that's translucent and inviting. How can it be inviting? I don't know, it looks like syrup.

S: First thing I smelled was skunk. Bummer. The smell faded though and didn't effect the beer too much. There's also cinnamon and something cakey.

T: Pleasantly spicy. Cinnamon, fruitcake and vanilla. There's also a bit of skunky bitterness. It's not too bad but I don't think it's intentional.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty nice. Nothing spectacular but nothing wrong.

O: I'd like to try this beer again to see if the bitterness is intentional. Overall I think it has a solid base but it could definitely be improved in a number of ways.

 707 characters

Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 458 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.