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

very good
465 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 465 |  Reviews: 304
Photo of ybnorml
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clean dark chestnut brown beer with some mahogony highlights. Has a nice creamy dark beige head with just a little bit of lace.. There is a nutty sweet malt aroma followed by an intrigueing oak note. Malty sweet down the middle of the tongue with a bit of roasted malt bitterness down the sides. good mouthfeel and a satisfiying finish.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.84/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured vigorously I managed to get a 2 finger head that eventually became no more than a thin white ring. Deep ruby color with hardly any carbonation. Beautiful aromas of brown sugar, dark fruit, vanilla, and butterscotch. Flavors of figs, raisins, cherries, oak, vanilla, and a touch of alcohol. Pleasant bitterness works with the sweetness of the beer quite nicely. Very smooth moutfeel, drying in the finish. The finish really reminded me of wine tannins.

Wonderful beer. One of the things I love I love about it is that the finishing bitterness is so subtle as not to totally and abrasively balance the malts out, rather the flavors flowed from sweet to mildly bitter. Fantastic.

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Photo of blackie
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

apppearance: The pour into my snifter creates a small, dirty white head. The beer is mahogany in color. The marking L04-320 is printed on the back label.

smell: There is a considerable sour/tart characteristic to the aroma. A vinous oakiness is present. Hints of dark fruits and leather. Hops are pretty low.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is just slightly less than medium. The body is a moderate light.

taste: Dark fruits and an underlying sourness. Just a slight hop bitterness. Finish is astringent and bitter with a lingering sour flavor.

drinkability: pretty drinkable

Despite this beer's high ratings, I am not feeling it. Lacks complexity, especially on the tongue.

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

A dark ruby tinted beer. Poured out with very little head and no active carbonation. Smells a little sweet and alot of dark fruit (dates, raisins, plums) and mildly oaky and peppery. Tasted of dark fruit, a bit of caramel and dry vanilla though flavours are not pronounced really...somewhat mineral or metallic notes which where slightly off-putting. Of all, i disliked the mouthfeel most. There was some carbonation, but it was a little thin. I would have liked and expected a bit more fullness. This thing was easy to put down with the low abv and it's relative lack of complexity, though warmth brought out a little more flavor... but don't know that i'd seek this out often. Just wasn't "alive" enough for my tastes.

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Photo of bighoppymonster
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with very little carbonation and a tan head. A single finger head quickly setlles down to barely cover the surface of the beer. Rich sweetness in aroma, but rather faint and hard to pick up. Very smooth, not too heavy with some smokiness. The flavour envelopes the entire palate as you sip on this one. A lot of character with hints of coffee and caramel as it warms a bit. Overall a fantastic Old Ale. My favourite style, and this is definately one to seek out. A terribly enjoyable brew.

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Photo of cheers2beers
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a 20 oz. Wiezen glass

The appearance is dark with a light mohogany tint in the light.The one finger head disapated quickly with no laceing left behind.
Aromas from this complex brew are smoked whiskey,soured wine, and white grapes.Not much typical hop flavors but definitly a bitterness to this ale.
Over ripe apples and a strong woody oak presence present themselves in a long,smooth,silky,viscous finish.
Over all this is an above average ale.Very complex but i dont know if id seek this beer out again.


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Photo of mitchfor3
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550 ml bottle into a pint glass.

Didn't expect much from this beer, but the aroma was a plesant surprise - truly intriguing with hints of wine and whiskey.

Dark ruby in color with thin sticky head.

Taste is remarkably unique and surprisingly complex- reminds me of a barleywine but not quite- hard to place.

Really enjoyed this one and I would recommend it as a great changeup from the usual.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.36/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours a dark, clear copper with a thin, beige head that dies to a nice little collar with decent lacing.

Smell: The smell is strong molasses and caramel notes, with an almost metallic aroma, that seems like it shouldn't be there. Still smells good.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Complex, sweet and wood flavors really come through with a great balance and subtlety. Strong and rich, this robust ale really achieves something that American Old Ales are lacking: Balance. Not the alcohol monster that your used to from America, this one tastes smooth and balanced, but still rich and full-bodied.

Drinkability and Overall: A nice, robust Old Ale from England. A very good, complex yet balanced beer that I won't soon forget. Highly recommended, as it's such an authentic old ale. Mmmm...

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Photo of OldSock
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance and Presentation – 16.9 oz bottle from Cloverleaf at cellar temperature. Poured into my snifter it is nearly black except when it is held to the light when a faint burgundy comes through. The head is light with a mix of huge and tiny bubbles that last only briefly, they were nearly gone by the time I took my first sip. The head does leave some nice lacing as I drink.

Smell – Lots of dried fruits, particularly raisons. Behind the fruit are a mild oakiness and some toasted malts. There is also an assertive caramel sweetness. As the beer warms a bit of alcohol begins coming through as well.

Taste – Definitely a beer that is different from an Old Ale I have had, English or American. It has a nice slightly wild, horsy, sour taste mingling with the wood and malts. A well balanced beer to be sure, it certainly has some sweetness, but the hop bitterness nicely offsets it without being overpowering. The fruits in the nose are almost nonexistent in the taste. The alcohol is not noticeable in the taste.

Mouthfeel – Medium body with medium-low carbonation, creamy.

Drinkability and Notes – Certainly not a chugging beer, but for a full malty, complex beer it is pretty easy to drink. This is a good beer with loads of flavor big beer flavor, but much less alcohol than I am used to in Old Ales. I’m sorry I can’t get this around me.

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

Presentation: 0.5 liter brown glass custom bottle, gold/brown on cream label

Appearance: reddish-brown color, medium beige head, good lacing

Smell: coffee, nuts, strong malt and some hops

Taste: full body, creamy and smooth mouth feel, maltiness, sweetness, hoppiness, all at the same time, minor molasses and oak

Notes: I review "Old Suffolk Vintage Ale" here, nothing very special, just very good all around English ale

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

1996 Vintage

Pours mahogany with amber edging, full beige head, with light haze.
Complex and aged nose.
Dried up malt, stale brownie bits with raisins stuffed in the pocket of an old leather coat kept in a wooden closet.
Vineous, but not as fruity as fresher vintages.
An undercurrent of mild alcohol finishes the nose.
Thinnish on the pallet, light carbonation.
Fading bitterness with hints of former character.
Slightly tart, with caramel, dusty malts, and an earthy must.
Finishes warm and drying, with a lingering woody, vineous note.
Retained a minimal head throughout.
Past prime, but quite good for 9 years old (from bottling).
Age has taken away some of it's complexities and dulled the pallet.

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

This is has been down in the cellar a couple of years and it looks like tawny bootpolish with a slight haze. The nose is all old fruit and old hops with a iron undertone. The taste is complex as hell with tobacco, dried fruit and a solid malt backbone. A pleasant metallic twang sits on the back of your tongue with the finish. This is much like a Brown from Belgium in its continual ability to challenge and delight the senses.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear deep red/mahogany color with about 1/4" of tan foam at first pour. The head was made up of loose bubbles, so they didn't stick around for very long.

Aroma: Lots of rich caramel malt and some British hops noticeable at first pour. It does have a slight Sherry-like character that I assume is more of a product of being aged in wood rather than from sheer alcoholic strength.

Taste: The flavor is really complex! There are some toasty notes along with the caramel that I noticed at first. The Hops are a much more assertive component of this beer than in some other commercial examples. There is a sherry flavor here that is pretty intense. I am getting a faint plum flavor in here also. The profile starts out with a malt balance, but this fades to let the hops balance the malt to leave it tasting fairly neutral on the palate. There is some pretty low carbonation, so the beer leaves a slight syrupy slick feeling on the back of the throat after tasting.

Opinion: This is a very well crafted beer. British ales aren't my favorite styles of beers, but this is one that stands out among the rest. It has a bold flavor, but ends up finishing pretty balanced and refreshing. I would definitely say that even if you are like myself when it comes to British beers, that you should give this beer a "day in court".

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Photo of fisherman34
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with ruby hints. Medium carbonation and full bodied. Strong aroma of malt, sweet berry fruits, and apple. Very malty flavor, with some hops. Fruity, spicey, and some suggestion of coffee, licorice and chocolate. Quite a long finish. 2000 vintage.

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

A - Dark brown body with thin brown soda like head.
S - Rich bread, malt and tobacco.
T - Tabacco, malt, old raisins. A little bit of sour, not a lot of bitterness and a touch of sweetness. The wood flavors are integrated into the overwhelming woodyness.
M - Fine carbonation, medium body.
D - This is an enjoyable ale. Mild in just about everyway.

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Photo of Sigmund
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle, as "Greene King Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale", vintage 2000, sampled May 2005 at the Champion of the Thames, Cambridge. Served too cold from the fridge. Deep brown to ruby colour, large thick head. Vinous aroma, oak and claret, hints of English pipe tobacco. (One of the punters was smoking his pipe in the pub when I sampled this beer, but I swear the beer had some unsmoked pipe tobacco aroma too.) Vinous flavour (old port wine) with caramel and raisins. A bit too sweet for my taste (or maybe I was too drunk to fully appreciate the sweetness?)

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

500ml bottle...

2000 vintage

Pours with a deep dark ruby body almost dark brown with little light exposure, creamy tan head. Some retention but nothing world changing

Smell, sweet and malty, slight hint of oak. Lots of vanilla, some fresh vanilla pod. Slight hint of sherry. F.. i'm getting some single malt whisky, almost like the scapa 14 year I had....amazing

Taste, bready malty body, woody with a hint of smoke, nice hop bitterness on the finish, an almost whiskey like mouthfeel, slight alcohol finish, roasted malt, almost winey

Amazing...deep, thick aroma, flavours....a fantastic ale, fresh or vintage

I've had 4 or 5 of the 2000's, all great. I managed to overwrite the old review...but i had the 2000's before the fresh bottles

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

The beer pours a rich mahogany brown. Slightly hazy, topped with a short cap of egg-white head. Beautiful color, glowing with a garnet fire through light. Excellent lacing, leaving copious spattering clinging to the glass.
The aroma is definitely british. Smooth, syrupy caramel malt tinted with chocolate. A mild vinous feel, with softish herbal english hops appropriately placed. Certainly oaky, with a brush of fig and prune fruitiness.
The flavor opens with a tongue coating maltiness, tinted immediately with an oaken sourness. Molasses and caramel, with a bit of roast. Some winey flavors through the middle, meeting with a black cherry and prune esteriness. A little bit of fig for good measure. The winey sourness intensifies into the finish, meeting a surprisingly "there" hop flavor. Moderate bitterness, with a pervasive herbal, wooden flavor. For a year old at least, I was expecting the hops to be more or less non-existent. Just a hint of booze, along with a lingering, grape wine sourness into the aftertaste. Pleasant, mild mannered, syup maltiness. Even tempered carbonation, assertive enough, but mild. Full bodied. Very smooth drinking.
I was expecting something a bit grosser, frankly. I've had a string of bad luck with british vintage ales, but this one's a keeper. The malt is intense enough to keep you interested, but not enough so that you're all set with one. I enjoyed the barrel aged flavors, the sharp wine sourness added quite a bit of complexity. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of GreenCard
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark mahogany, great clarity, thinnish layer of tan foam

Aroma: rich rummy sweetness, dark caramel, malty, hint of woodiness, roasted grain, vanilla

Flavor: mild sweetness in a rich malty backbone, slightly oaky, hints of leather and licorice, finishes semi sweet with a lingering tannic bitterness and tanginess in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, low carbonation, smooth texture

Other comments: Tried this on cask at Charlie's Bar in Copenhagen. According to the bartender, this is the only place where you can get it on cask. It is done especially for them. Since it is one of my favorite British beers and I've only tried it in bottled form, I had to give it a try. Of course, even better than the bottled one!

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

A truly lovely shade of crimson-bronze, like dark raspberry sun tea. The interior looks to be devoid of carbonation, but the two finger cap puts the lie to that notion. The head is the color of a barely toasted marshmallow and appears about as firm. Specks and splotches of lace are the extent of the glass coverage.

I caught a whiff of what smelled like woody bourbon when I popped the cap... that seems to have disappeared now that I'm focusing on the nose for real. Olde Suffolk smells spicy, somewhat caramel-like, not at all whiskey-like and still woody. It's unlike anything that I've smelled before, but I'm at a loss to explain exactly what makes it so.

This is a wonderful old ale. The focal point is heavily toasted caramel malt with accents of subtle spice and fragrant wood. I love 'wood' in my whiskey, wine and beer, as long as it isn't overdone. Olde Suffolk is tangy, spicy and gently sweet at once; a cavalcade of flavors and flavor sensations. It tastes like a more strongly flavored English mild; which is what it's meant to be I guess.

While the hop content is on the low side, their flavor contribution (but not so much their bitterness) is definitely noted. What a wonderful use of the herbal, fruity English varieties. The body is well within bounds for the style and the gentle carbonation is a boon to drinkability.

Olde Suffolk English Ale is different and is very good. The two years that (part of) it spent in oak were years well spent. That woodiness gives it that *certain something* that makes it distinctive. Since the flavor is becoming richer and more intense with warming, I'll take my leave in order to concentrate on the second half of the bottle. The most amazing thing of all is that this fine ale is available at my local grocery, right alongside the Bud Select and the Coors Light.

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Photo of hefevice
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, 2000 vintage. What an interesting beer! Pours dark ruby/mahogany (almost the colour of a tawny port) with a small but creamy head which retains fairly well but with no lacing observed. Complex aroma with sweet malt dominating, and hints of freshly removed wine bottle cork. Very complex taste, hard to pick up anything in paricular until the pleasantly bitter espresso finish which lasts a long time. Very nice drop.

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

Pours a nice rich red/mahogany color with a one finger tan head, leaves sticky webs of lacing, has a very low level of carbonation.
Fruit and strong malt aroma, earthy and wood notes.
Fruity, malt and dark bread flavor notes, with earth, candy and raspberry as well.
Full bodied, a bit warming, seems stronger than it is.

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Photo of dungaree
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful amber hue. Small head dissipated quickly. Light carbonation with small bubbles indicates a well crafted beer. Smells of caramel, light alcohol, and oak. Very different.

The taste is distinctive. The taste of oak and age prevails. Also tastes of caramel candy and very light chocolately. I can see the beer languishing in oak barrels, waiting to be ripened and poured out. Pleasantly sweet malt with a slightly dry hop finish. The oak essence reminds one of certain liquors that are also aged in oak barrels, such as Jack Daniel's. Hints of alcohol on the outer edges of the tongue throughout. As the beer warms, the age and oak prevail even more.

Thin mouthfeel but very pleasant. The oakiness may be a bit powerful at times. For something different, refreshing, and surprising, this is a great brew.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When I poured this beer out, it was not at all what I expected. Of course, I did this before I read the label (silly me!). Pours a rich, dark, port-like ruby brown, very stylish, with a very nice light-medium tan head that drops to a cover quickly.

When I first smelled the aroma, I just said "wow". I could not at all put my finger on the aromas presented, but the package of them was incredible. After a while of consideration, I came up with rich dark chocolate, port, maybe a dark rum, and some really strong, dark candied fruits. Very rich, very complex. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner.

Flavor follows through, very rich, very filling. Molassas with vanilla mixed in, the oak aging shows through. I didn't know, and poured this to go with a nice spicy pizza, and it nicely stood up to the flavors, but this is not a pizza beer. It's really more to sit alone, to be appreciated, to be enjoyed as is.

A very nice beer, but very rich (n flavor, not in how it sits on the stomach). Be prepared. Probably very good for a late end to the day, especially a cold and wintry one. Very recommended.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.8/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Much darker than I was expecting but still a beautiful beer. Deep garnet red with just a tiny little bit of head that is quite persistant.

Definately get some oak in the nose. The wood melds nicely with rich malt notes. Distinct caramel notes. Just a hint of fruityness. Just barely there.

Very nice flavor. Very full and rich and complex for an English ale. Nice caramel up front which mingles with distinct oakyness in the mid palate. Also get a distinct nuttiness in there as well. Definately some hop bitterness in the finish with just a touch of astringnecy. Actually finishes quite dry but still with the oak I think. All in all really terrific flavors. Very rich but not overwhelming. Very nice brew.

Good mouthfeel. Fairly thin for a beer of this richness and complexity but not too thin. I bet this is fantastic served from a cask. Would probably make my perception of the mouth feel change dramatically.

Quite drinkable. I wish I had some more. Not cloying at all. That dry oaky finish keeps me coming back for more.

Good mouthfeel.

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Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 465 ratings.
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