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
473 Ratings
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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Ratings: 473 |  Reviews: 310
Photo of rwdkosak
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle at cellar temp producing a dark ruby color below a thick light head that clings to the glass for much of the session. There is a full malt and carmel nose that isn't at all overpowering but lends a good compliment to each taste that again is malt with sweet, carmel, toffee and later a hint of alcohol and slight bitterness. A dry finish and overall a very good ale with nice oak notes that balance the flavors and pairs well with a cheese plate.

 465 characters

Photo of Pagzzz
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle from Bevmo

Aroma: Some dark malt character with a few fig and raisin notes. Very slight sour aroma, probably from long oak aged portion of the blend. definitely improved as the beer warmed.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear with very little head that dissipated to nothing in a few minutes.

Taste: Rich and caramelly, but a little too artificial. Not sure if its from the "caramel color" added but it lacked the complexity of the aroma. Some dark fruit character and medium low hop bitterness. Overall, a little flacid for what I expect from a strong british ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium where I would have expected a fuller body. Alcohol warming was subdued, but present. Slight astringency.

Overall, not quite what I was looking for. Thomas Hardy's is far superior for a strong english ale.

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Photo of biegaman
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Rubies within an ensemble of fall foliage. Olde Suffolk's dimming tones resemble the final embers of a dying fire or the final days of suffocation for exhausted leaves on an autumn branch. A beautiful patch of ecru stained head would unfold but unfortunately couldn't stay the course. Outer lining and a solitary patch of bubbles have since taken its place.

Fans of brandy or fortified wines would be right at home smelling this. It is a ripe, mellow bouquet redolent of dried fruits, spiced bread and wild rice. If I were to try and replicate it I would fill a well-worn oak barrel to the brim with raisins and plums, top it off with a bold Burgundy and a shot of brandy, and let it sit for a good few years.

Because that's simply what a true British Old Ale should offer - the same complexity and compelling character as a vintage port or Vieille Réserve cognac. Indeed, this not only shares some of the character but also some of the flavours. Distilled wine grapes, candied cherries, brandy, sugary dark fruits, and dark toffee are all well pronounced.

It is full of dark fruit but also hints of spice as well as a strong breadiness. At 6%, you could expect the alcohol to not be any kind of impediment and indeed it isn't. That said, this gives the air of a much stronger beer, not via its strength, but from its complexity. We've all heard the expression "food for thought", well Green King introduces "drink for thought".

This beer is astonishingly reserved. It makes no bid for your attention and yet you're all too happy to give it. It acts coy and indifferent yet everything about it - its scent, its colours - are magnetizing and entrancing. It is spellbinding. You become so fully immersed in its complexities that all deliberations become focused on this all too modest but deserving ale. ...only to have the bottle finish before you really feel you ever got to know it.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 1 pt 0.9 oz bottle into imperial pint glass.
A: Pours a very dark garnet with frothy 1/2 inch light tan head.
S: Nice fresh aroma...raisin, dark dried fruit, plum, caramel malt.
T: Takes a bit for the flavors to come out...caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla, malt, and a slight burnt/smokey note too.
M: Light body, very smooth and creamy feel. Surprisingly good mouthfeel.
D: Exceptionally drinkable. Good complexity in a great session beer. Interesting how it's made too...a blend of old (aged 2 years in oak tuns) and young beer.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours deep deep amber, or brown. little head with great retention. decent lacing.

scent is light with dominating malts, caramel, and dark cherry.

taste is same strong with the oak flavor and caramel dominating. kind of get a whiskey flavor. slight sweetness

mouthfeel is perfect. very smooth, semi thick with carbonation that picks up towards the finish.

a decent ale indeed. this is so easy to drink that i loved reviewing it. a stronger english ale indeed. great flavors.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a super ruby red color with the entire glass being coated in tiny bubbles. The one finger width head stuck around for about a minute. The aroma is woody, sweet and of dark fruit. There was also a very pleasant apple scent. The oak flavor from the barrels is very noticeable. This was super malty and sweet with a nice roastiness to it. Not much hop bitterness here but thats alright, there is barely enough. The feel is a tad thing but not bad. This is a very drinkable EPAish old ale. Nothing super special like i was hoping, but solid.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the heavy bottle into a goblet - short but persistent head, looks quite dark but is actually a pretty clear deep ruby.

Has a definite oaky, boozy aroma, which is odd considering the beer is only 6%. Rum-soaked raisins, yet in some whiffs I (rather surprisingly) smell some lemon zest. What in the hell am I smelling? Must be hops.

My first impression is that this tastes like stale raisin bread about to go moldy. I get a little of that slightly sour "barrel" character, too. This description of mine doesn't seem to be terribly appetizing, but I do like it a good deal.

Feel is not bad, it has less of that Old Ale-stickiness I don't necessarily care for.

A pleasant, complex drinker. While it's very enjoyable, I'm left thinking it could be even better. I agree with the reviewer below me, this should be bottle-conditioned. There is the likely difference between this, and an exceptional Old Ale like Fullers Vintage. That said, it's still pretty damned good.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours dark brown with a thin, soapy off-white head. Some spotty lacing.

Nose is big and oaky, tons of buttery toffee, some fruitcake hiding out as well. Rich and sweet. As the beer warms, the vanilla recedes somewhat and you get some light tannins coming through as well.

Taste up front is lightly acidic, with a light earthy bitterness, and some notable tannins. This gives way to more toffee towards the finish, with a soft, woody, almost stale note persisting as well. Finish is juicy, lingering buttery old oak and toffee and a light, subtle earthy bitterness staying on the tongue, with more toffee on the exhale.

Mouthfeel is very lightly (almost under-) carbonated, medium bodied, though just a hair watery at times. Forced carbonation does this one a noticeable disservice.

Very drinkable, with a sense of refinement and depth of flavor that belie the low abv. Overall, a tasty beer that exudes class in the same way the smell of old leather does. It's a shame this one isn't bottle-conditioned, as that could really be the final leg needed to elevate this into a whole other realm.

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

Poured dark black color with an average frothy light brown head that lasted with good lacing. Heavy roasted malt and toffee aroma. Medium to full body with a slick texture. Flavor is a heavy sweet with a light bitter finish of long duration.

Very good brew.

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Photo of bitterthebetter
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep dark brown with amber hues and an off white head

aromas of bourbon, apples, caramel, roasted malt

bourbon notes upfront, followed by apples, caramel, malt, slight pine hops

medium bodied, strong bourbon notes, good malt character

big mouth feel, strong malt flavors, whiskey, malt, a very tasty british ale

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Photo of katan
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 500ml into a pint

A - dark red to almost cherry in color - some areas are more opaque which appear black. Almost porterish. Little head retention, but it didn't appear to be from the lack of carbonation. Very filtered.

S - Sweet chocolate and caramel notes on top with a hair of yeast backdrop. Not bitter at all. Does have a sour tinge to it.

T - Starts off relatively light in flavor - just a hair of malts and the exact counterbalance of bitterness. Mid-stream is just a bit flat. Finishes with that very sour acidic flavor mixed with some yeast spiciness. Aftertaste is muted, but overall a bitter astringent residue.

M - Thinner than I would have expected from the appearance - the body is light. Watery. Small amount of leftover filming.

D - Very easy to drink - flavors are mild and so is the abv. Carbonation is not very filling.

I shouldn't look at previous reviews as it may bias me, but I have to say I'm going to run against the grain on this one. It just didn't do it for me.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into two white wine glasses. Thanks to Heidi & Tom Morris for the hook-up! Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!


A: Pours a dark cola-brown with a creamy light-khaki head that dissolves quickly and leaves virtually no lace.

S: Big buttery oak aroma that plays nicely with vanilla, caramel sauce, nuts, and toffee.

T: Buttery oak and toffee with help from toasty malt, nuts, caramel, vanilla, and a hint of dark fruit.

M: Slick and oily with a dry and peppery quality that keeps things very interesting. Sticky finish coats everything.

D: The only thing that could make this better is if they brewed it with some chocolate malt. Really very nice.

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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.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 16.9oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours an extremely muddy dark brown with just a slight light brown head that disappeared quickly and left no lacing at all. The aroma reminds me of toffee, caramel, vanilla and oak. The flavor has a big toffee component but there is also just a slight tart funk to it. Vanilla, and caramel are both there also. The mouthfeel is light with just a slight carbonation to it. This is a good beer and a style that I would like to delve into just a little more.

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Photo of scottoale
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very classy looking 500ml. brown bottle and labels (3), with a code stamped on the neck. It pours burgundy to mahogany in color with just a 1/4" of disappering off-white head. Very mild carbonation visibly and caramel color added is noted on the front label. Good looking brew.

Smells mildly sweet with lots of oak up front, some vanilla, ripe fruit, toffee and alcohol. It has a vintage oaky must that fits the bill.

Light sweetness with oak and toffee, that tastes more nutty than fruity like the smell. Some nice tannins in there that add to the flavor, but step down the mouthfeel. The carbonation is fine, the alcohol not to noticeable for an Old Ale. Overall it's very tasty and easily consumed. I would definetely enjoy this one again in the future.

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Photo of MagyarPuska
3.43/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Looks like a dark pop/soda. A little lacing with a quickly dissipating head. What head there was had an off white/cream color.

Aroma: Fruit, raisins. Well rounded scent, with other smells in there. Hoping that the raisin is lying, as I am not a big fan of beers that aspire to be raisins.

Taste: Following the aroma in suite, it tastes like fruit. I noticed raisins as well, too bad.

Mouthfeel: Not as heavy as I thought it would be, slightly watery, with little reminder of beer after it goes down.

Drinkability: Ehh, not that great. Kind of fruity for my liking so I couldn't see myself enjoying one of these on a regular basis.

Overall Impressions: Not a great big fan. The raisins really chase me away from this beer. If you like that sort of thing then give it a try. Rating this beer higher than I enjoyed it for the complexity of the taste.

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

Bottle serving, got from Draeger's in San Mateo.

Poured a medium brown, cola color. Not much of a head, no lacing.

Aroma is of malt, caramel, and a bit of toastiness. Not a strong nose, overall, and a rather subdued aroma. Not that that's a bad thing.

Taste is smooth, not very bitter dispite being labeled as such, and dominated by the caramel flavors. The bitter flavor doesn't really hit until the end, and it's not even close to being a high IBU beer. Nice and balanced, though.

Drinkability is fairly good, although it somehow tastes and feels stronger on the alcohol than one would expect for 4.5% ABV.

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

purchased at a supermercado in Lima, Peru

pours a burgundy body with a decently retained off-white head. average retention and lacing, but overall an attractive beer. the aroma was a pleasant mix of black cherries, paprika, oak, and toffee, with a bit of spicy hops thrown in the mix.

i was really surprised by the flavor on this one, especially after tasting my friend´s disgusting greene king ipa (made by the same brewers). lots of dark fruits like plum, currant, and apple, with a big malty backbone that delivered notes of sweet, sugary caramel and butterscotch. the alcohol could´ve used a bit more oomph, however, but the 2 yr oak aging threw in a bit of a bite to the finish. i´d definately have this again, and probably will have another bottle on this trip.

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Photo of froghop
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours a clear burgundy with a small tan head, good lacing.

smell is of sour malt, dark fruit, touch of caramel, and some woodiness.

taste is dry up front, caramel, prunes, raisins, sour malt, and a little hop bitterness in the end.

overall a nice old ale that improves as it warms.

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Photo of kinger
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I debated for some time in the store if I should purchase a bottle of this or not. I'm glad that I decided to! Pours a dark red almost purple with a decent head and good lacing. I let the beer warm up in the glass for a bit, the aroma is very fragrant. Feels smooth going down and finishes even smoother. Very drinkable indeed, and the flavor is nothing short of spectacular. The blend of two ales must be the key with this one cause there is a fresh hoppy taste followed directly by a strong smooth burst. Almost finishes like a whiskey or a dry wine, I can't quite put my finger on it but it works well. This beer is a bit pricey for my liking but it worth every penny to enjoy once in a while.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a sheer brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing. The aroma is of molasses, milk chocolate, and hints of wood. The taste is of caramel, nuts, and tannins. It is rather weak when compared to the aroma. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a watery texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I could drink again.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wow, this is much darker than I expected. A very dark brown with a snall rapidly dissapating head..

Aroma seems sweet and fruity.. Perhaps some sweet malts as well and I can actually smell the booze in this... Weird..

Very dark and fruity taste.. Where are the rich roasted malts? Its not bad but something just isn't where its supposed to be...

Weird review...I expected to like this quite a bit more but I have to say I was dissapointed... Just ok to me..

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

Sometimes I get in a London pubish mood and buy a few English ales for home enjoyment (wish my Thai wife would learn how to drive me from pub to pub - she almost rear-ended a Mercedes the last time I let her drive a quarter mile!) I'm a cask fanatic so I'm always comparing my store bought selections to past Britain real ale pub holidays, apples and oranges as they say. This Olde Suffolk is a heckuva beer. They say part of it is aged in oak for two years. All I know is I'll be buying lots more of this stuff so I'm prepared for any British ale craving that may strike. This flowing from a cask would be an unbelievable treat. Impressed.

Oh yeah yeah,
A British ale.
All aboard,
Let's set sail.

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

500 ml bottle, served in a big wine glass at 59 F/ 15 C.

Bright red-amber color, medium sized beige head that mostly goes away, spots of lace of varied size.

Smells like cidery red and green apple, grape juice, toffee, light roast coffee, oak, some musty leaves, and mild solvent. Cohesive and good.

Tastes like apple, grape, toffee, light coffee, herbal leafy hops with discernible bitterness, and underlying wood. Mild acidity. Some ironlike mineral flavor. Tasty and well balanced. Lingering coffee, wood, herbs.

Lush texture. Watery when sipped, but this is best not sipped. Very drinkable, thirst quenching.

Good interesting beer, I enjoyed this.

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Photo of Offa
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is wodnerful.

It's deep ruby red with a slight brownish hue, topped with a big, dense, light tan head slowly shrinking to a thin, lasting foamy top and a little lacing.

The aroma is earthy toasted bread, fruit, caramel with hints of chocolate, port, pine, juniper licorice, burnt sugar, pine.

The taste is similar, rich, complex, yet fairly subtle. There's a clear light bitterness up front and in the finish, more mellow in the middle. The palate is full and complex, and lively. It's easy to drink, complex, and very flavourful.

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 473 ratings