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
472 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: 472 |  Reviews: 310
Photo of mrmanning
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LCBO advanced tasting- This pours a faintly carbonated copper liquid, with just a petit amount of beige dusting. Nice malt based aroma(toasty, roasted malts, bready) with woody, nutty, burnt sugars. Flavours are a wonderfully balanced interpretation of the aromas. Lots of vanilla/wood, with sweet nutty malts, toasty, with a smidge of the ABV shining through. Very warming, and dangerously drinkable. Finishes with a big malt bang, and a wonderful warmth.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pored this into a 16 oz tumbler with a wide top. Whew!!! this brew really has a smell that is like whiskey. Taste was strong and when you exhale that oak/whiskey smell was very evident. Was a decent different brew, but most likely will not buy one again.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown-black with red in the light. The thin white head dissipates quite quickly, but the ale is obviously quite lively. Aroma of walnuts and bit of oak, and some malt as well. Lots of caramel appears as is warms and dark wood. Taste was very complex sweet, peppery, sappy, some piney hops, dry finish. Mouthfeel was spitzy, tastes like they used hard water to brew. This is very complex and takes some time to finish, which is great.

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Photo of norwichboy
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany with a quickly dissipating light brown head; no lacing.
Lovely malty (chocolate, toffee) and sweet dried fruit aromas. To taste, similar initial flavours, alcohol noticeable, but it has such a beautiful long lasting bitter finish that goes on and on. Overall everything comes together in this excellent English ale, which I'd be happy to drink all day long.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 Fl oz bottle into mug.

Pours a very very deep red, almost brown. Light brown thin head which quickly settles to a thin cap.

Bits of roasy malts, hints of cream, soft butterscotch aromas, mild raisin like scents. Some warming alcohol in the smell, which increases in strength as it warms, along with the dried fruit scents.

Dark coffee flavors in a thicker medium body. Light hops are experienced in the finish, and light alcohol makes its way through. Very complex mix of flavors, with the acohol presenting itself a little more than other 6.00%ABV beers, but not overpowering. Humble bits of hops and alcohol in the finish, but only slightly dry. It's mostly a smooth finish.

Complex and robust at the same time. This is a highly enjoyable beer, although a bit expensive (but that comes with the territory). Be sure to enjoy this one.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This Suffolk oldie pours a dark mahoghany, almost black, into my pint glass, with a decent tan head that settles and disappears quickly. Nose is sweet malt with strong coffee notes.

Taste is complex, with initial coffee and malt, followed by fruit and a winey, port favoring stage. Finish is oily and peppery and lingers on for quite a while. Mouthfeel could stand some thickening, although it is smooth and generally agreeable. I could drink these all night, if I didn't have to be up for work in seven hours.

This is a solid old ale, not quite on a par with the best, like TH or Engine Oil, but good in and of itself. Give it a go.

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

A- 1/4" tan head that faded into basically no lacing. a dark color then as it sits for awhile it goes to a dark amber color.
S- Alcohol comes through. Almost reminds me of a congac. Sweet, some darker fruits like plums. Maybe some light hops also.
T- Plums are first thing I notice. Some grassy hops balance that out. Bit of warming form alcohol. Cherries also make an apperance. Almost like a candy taste. Grapes also come through. Reminds me of a watered down light red wine.
M- Low carbonation, body on the thinner side, and a dry finish.
D- Bit to watery and laid back for me. I like stronger flavors and this was lacking that quite a bit.

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Photo of numenor1
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful garnet color with a decent tan head with some urging. Nose is reticent, deep malt is obvious but it's very stingy here. Smells a tad sour and dusty. Taste however is exceptional. Bits of dark fruit here and there, more than a touch of sourness, hints of vanilla, oak, some acidity, cocoa powder and mild earthy tealike hops drying it out. Good mineral aspect and very nice. Mouthfeel is full with soft, low carbonation. Very creamy. Very drinkable too.

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Photo of warmstorage
2.51/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a deep chestnut brown from a 16.9 oz bottle. Significant dense brown head, retains light dense brown head. ~$2.75 from Utah State Wine Store in SLC (which isn't in Beerfly, so I can't Beerspy it.)

Aroma is limited, a little stale, slight notes of cider and sour bread.

Taste is pretty blah. A little sour, nut, caramel, slight hints at roastiness. Minimal, ummm, almost zero hops detectable. Unpleasant astringency. Tastes a little burnt, and a little like white vinegar. Kind of like a sour, basic brown ale (makes me think of a sour Newcastle, which I would normally drink when the only other options are BMC products.)

Edit: after it warmed to complete room temperature (it's about 75 in my house right now) it became slightly more drinkable, and I bumped my "taste" score from 2.0 to 2.5. I'd drank it in the mid cellar range, i.e., mid 50s. All of my taste comments still apply, but the really unpleasant tastes have mellowed a bit, which is a little bit odd, given that cold generally masks bad flavors. Only other real difference is in the aftertaste: hints of fruit (apricots?) and some notable alcohol warmth.

Either it's way past due, or is just plain mediocre beer, and I'm inclined to think it's the latter. Good example of an import in a pretty bottle that isn't worth my time or money.

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Photo of vancurly
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a lovely clear mahogany, with a tan head.
Noticable wood aroma, with dough, leathery, some gamey wildness.
Medium bitter, with hints of leather, brine, caramel, and English hops.
A medium, creamy mouthfeel, and a long finish.
Quite an unusal beer. Drank it as a part of a beer tasting flight. The others in attendance were uncertain...some liked, some not so. Its overall score was 3.4, from 6 tasters.

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Photo of HoustonTX
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-Olde Suffolk English Ale-

Wonderful pour, poured a dark brown, deep and enticing. Nice large cream white head. The first whiff smelled of lovely aged bourban- alot of oak in the nose. I procedded to take many other sniffs. The next one was a nice roasted malt smell, along with some nice dark fruit notes. Now on to the taste, the taste is incredible. Mellow and incredibly smooth. Upfront has a flavorful roasted malt taste, with a caress of a light nuttiness. This is closely followed by a blast of nice dark fruits. The flavor is semi-sweet at this point. Shortly after a strong beautiful oak taste comes creeping in. Giving the drink a sherry/cognac sipping sense about it. Which leads us to the hops in this brew. In my opinion they are balanced to perfection, and there is no denying that. Perfect balance overall, delightfully mellow and smooth, and the balance is right on. The aftertaste leaves a light fruit/hops/alcohol note, which lingers for a second.

This is one beer that makes me proud to be a Beer Advocate. A must try!

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

16.9 fl. oz. bottle, served at room temp.

Appearance - Dark red/ruby color. Poured clear with a two-finger head formation. Minimal carbonation present. Retention of head was minimal with a lacey adherance to the sides of the glass.

Smell - A detect a sour-sweet aroma with a bit of fruity presence. I would say cherry if I had to place a particular fruit with the aroma. That would make sense with an ale due to the aromatic esters. Overall this has a very clean, crisp aroma.

Taste - The carbonation was very light which complimented the light taste of the first deep swig. The taste I can equate this to is a tea-like or simple malt taste. Not a strong overall presence of any one flavor, nor did I taste a change over time.

Mouthfeel - Wonderful mouthfeel! When I rolled this beer around my mouth and allowed for the taste to mature, the fullness of the beer was quite evident. Great amout of carbonation.

Drinkability - Oh my, this was a pleasure to drink. So very smooth, so clearly representing what an English Ale should be. Except for the price, I would often say, pass me another.

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

Poured into a pint glass, had a half inch off-white/khaki head which dissipated soon after the first sip and left decent lacing. The smell was complex, albiet not very strong, with notes of caramel/chocolate malts, and an almost berry-like fruit aroma that reminded me of red wine (specifically some cabernet cavingions i've had). I really enjoyed the taste, the caramel and chocolate malts stand out again firstly, and a berry/grape taste follows, ending with a dry finish. There are a lot of flavours going on, but they all seem a little subdued, however this didnt hamper my enjoyment of the beer. It is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect so it actually feels very light. Would definately drink this again.

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

I was impressed by the age stuff, so i was wondering if this one was something like a blurred Porto wine, Jerez or something like that. No, it's a dark beer, with strong (but not as much as i expected) body, nice concentration of malt, smell and taste. But nothing soooo special. It's a good beer. Good, good, good. But that´s all. It works as an ordinary black ale, crafted far away from the barrels.

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

An agressive pour led to a nice cascading effect and two fingers of dense mocha colored foam head. The liquid was a seemingly murky reddish brown, lace was thick and hung in sheets.
The smell was sweet roasted caramel malts, a bit of ripened dark fruits with an inviting subtle earthiness.
The taste was a delightful blend of sweet caramel malts, traces of chocolate and peppery spicy hops that bring perfect balance with their bold bitterness.
Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Crisp, dry, wine-like mouthfeel.
Very well done. Exceptional drinkability. Worth the effort to find and try this fine Old Ale.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Didn't quite know what to make of this one. Its colour, smell, and taste were all totally different from what I was expecting. It poured a crystal clear dark reddish brown colour. The head was khaki in colour and approximately 4mm thick. It subsided to nothing in less than 45 seconds. The smell was very interesting, and also unexpected. Very wine-like. It actually had a fruity / grape smell. There was a substantial amount of roasted malt in the background, clearly identifiable, but the wine - grape - alcohol smell was easily noticeable and right up front. Peculiar. The taste was reminiscent of wine, as well. Malty for but a moment when you take a sip, then turning tart and very wine like. Odd indeed as I have never had an ale with these characteristics, though I have read of them. Mouthfeel seemed light and was much more carbonated than I was expecting. I didn't think this was awful, but I certainly wasn't impressed. Very peculiar brew.

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Photo of saintwarrick
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark red which has been typical of most of the old ales I've tried. Brandy-ish scent is very heavy in the smell. Taste doesn't overhwelm, but hints of brandy and raisins are easily detectable. Much more drinkable than my other favorite old ale, Thomas Hardy. Not quite a session beer, of course, but if you're looking to have 1-2 beers one night, this is definitely recommended. An all-around solid old ale that's easy to find.

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Photo of dgallina
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle without intelligible freshness date.

Pours clear red-edged brown with thin head that quickly evaporates. Smells of fruity and somewhat sour wine; something like a belgian red sour ale. An unusual mix of flavors; well-toasted grainy bread and chocolate malts and vanilla intermix with a refreshing oak sourness. A bit phenolic, alternately sweet & sour in the finish. Medium body, but pretty light due to the steady carbonation.

Not entirely successful, but worth a try.

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Photo of RedHaze
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby with a tan two finger head, that settles slowly to a thin swirling cap, leaving behind a very nice webbing of lace.

Smell; caramel, chocolate and cherries all come out up front. There's a nice touch of an oakey dryness, and slightly vinous.

Taste; theres's chocolate covered cherries, caramel malts and dried figs. The oakiness is really blended well, and doesn't become overpowering. A bit of a sourness comes out as this gets warmer along with some vinous qualities, and a little alcohol burn in the finish. A very nice, relaxing beer. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, but this is still very easy to drink.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out nicely, with a pillowy head and lacing that falls into almost nothing over time.

The smell is sour and has a litte bit of apple in it. If it was supposed to be fruity at all that's gone.

Taste is slightly sour with molasses and coffee flavors, the nose has an almost metalic cinnamon flavor to it.

Mouthfeel isn't quite watery, but not far off, still enjoyeable.

Drinkability would be good if I was able to get a fresh batch, but I don't think it survived the trip over very well.

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Photo of wl0307
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ale, is allegedly a blend of Green King’s old oak-aged stale ale Old 5X (12%abv.) and a lighter beer, called the Best Pale Ale (5%abv.). A few years back when I first tried this beer, it was bottle-conditioned, but this version now is filtered, and possibly pasteurised as well. BB FEB 2007, served cool in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

Appearance: deep dark ruby hue coming with a beige frothy beer head slowly dissipating and leaving uneven sheets of lacing along the way; very gentle and constant carbonation.
Smell: enticing sour-sweet aroma of ripe plums and dried berry-fruits, on top of a mildly lactic-sour aroma from old oak barrels (like a more creamy version of Rodenbach's oaky-sourness), creamy/buttery diacetyl notes and toffee-ish dark malts, coconut milk, fruit cake, perfumy and a little winey touch... Overall, the nose is deeply fruity and complex, while the freshness and liveliness are also retained.
Taste: surprisingly light in contrast to the rich aroma, the foretaste is almost… tea-ish, where a bitter-sweet taste of dark malts is supported by a flow of dried dark fruits with its sour-sweet edge, slightly bitter, burnt maltiness, then turning fast to a dry-ish bitter palate full of dry herbs, bitter licorice, and slightly tannic tea-leaves; surprisingly clean finish in the end with a subtle, lingering echo of bitterness (from hops?) and old sherry like palate.
Mouthfeel: the texture sustains well, with refreshingly mild fizz sitting underneath a rather clean and light body – this is an ultra-light old ale, and there's a lovely contrast b/w the rich aroma and feather-light palate, while complexity reveals in the most subtle manner.
Overall: I remember my last bottle (bottle-conditioned, as I remember it) being much richer on the palate, but that was four years ago. I'm not sure if the recipe has been changed, but the beer as it is now is quite drinkable and thirst-quenching even. But why has it been changed to the pasteurised+filtered(?) version? Or is my memory a bit too hazy to get this fact right?

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Photo of surfadelic23
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, what an interesting beer! On the label it says it's a blend of an older ale and a younger ale which for some reason made me think of the exorcist... It pours a nice mahogany brown with a hint of dark ruby too.Nice head and leaves a killer lace on my Pitfield pint glass.
It has a bigger nose on it than I thought as I figured the older blend would take out some of the scent but it did not. The hops aren't there in the smell to me but are there in the taste albeit mild.Wow, what a malt hit! It has mild bitterness and a somewhat oakey flavor. Very nice taste and mouthfeel. Regarding drinkability, while this is a great brew, I found it a bit heavy for a sessioner...
But overall, this is a nice complex brew that has a lot going on in it.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle shared at the March Michiana Coalition of the Drinking meeting. dark, very little head. dark amber colored. has a caramel, woody odor. Malty flavor that is syrupy and sweet. sweet caramel and molasses flavor is very strong. i can see drinking this but its really unlike anything else i see in the U.S.

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Photo of DrJay
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle, 12/2009: Looks pretty good, nice and clear with a reddish tint and tan cap. Fruity aroma, plum and raisin, malty, hint of oak. Similar flavour with more pronounced oak towards the end. Dry tannins in the finish were a little stronger than I would prefer. Smooth, nearly creamy, texture once the initial carbonation dissipated. I'm not getting the chocolate or toffee that was present in the aged bottle I tried, mainly just fruit and wood, so I'm a little less impressed. Still quite good though.

1998 Vintage: Clear ruby/mahogany with a short tan head that reduced to a thin wisp of bubbles. Some lace. There was a light vinous/sherry aroma that melded nicely with ripe/dried fruit and a hint of oakiness. Complex fruit and woody flavour with a light tartness, hint of cherry and a bit of chocolate/toffee in the finish. Medium body, low carbonation, smooth and slightly drying. Very tasty. This beer has aged well and the bottle I shared was in excellent shape. 4/4.5/4/4/4

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

Tasted this on 12.03.06, a 500ml bottle purchased from Redmonds, Ranelagh, Dublin. The labelling was a bit different to one shown on BA, calling itself "Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale". It says on the label "A unique blend of two classic ales BPA and Old 5X. Old 5X is aged in oak for 2 years. Brewed in limited quantities" What does blended mean?

Anyway, this poured a dark brown body with a lovely tan head. Slight haze.
Smelled of light hops.
Tasted of rust, and some malts; very good (clean finish).
Very smooth and drinkable, a very nice strong old ale.

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 472 ratings