Old Empire
Marston's Plc.

Old EmpireOld Empire
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IPA - English
Ranked #338
Ranked #48,148
3.4 | pDev: 13.53%
Marston's Plc.
England, United Kingdom
Old EmpireOld Empire
Notes: Crafted to produce an authentic re-creation of an IPA. With its pale appearance, strong hoppy taste and higher alcoholic strength it comprises all the genuine characteristics of a true India Pale Ale, which were necessary to survive the three month long journey from Burton to Bombay - 5.7% abv.
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Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 199 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sigmund from Norway

3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml clear bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 5.7%. Deep golden colour, moderate white head that does not last very long. Moderate but nice hoppy (Cascade and Goldings) aroma, hints of toffee too. Fizzy mouthfeel. The flavour has noticeable Goldings and Fuggles hops and some caramel, moderately bitter finish. Okay, but not particularly interesting.

Mar 26, 2021
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Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

2.5/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

$2.00 on a discount rack so I said what the hell. No bottle date unfortunately.

Looks turbid as hell. Aggressive pour yields little frothy head.

Smell is pure skunked and then some butterscotch or cream corn. Smell extremely similar to Corona but more potent. Strangely, I actually like a bit of skunkiness at times so im not entirely off put by this.

Tastes NOTHING like an ipa. There are almost no detectable hops initially. Its all grainy-ness. As you finish it theres some grassyness you pick up on as the hops finally present themselves.

Feel is nowhere near as flat as it looks.

Overall a pretty terrible beer. I wish i knew if it were intended to taste as it does or if its solely a victim of time and light.

Mar 25, 2021
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elnachooo from Spain

3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

De color dorado con un dedo de espuma blanca de buena retención. Ligera y de carbonatación media. Aroma lupulado. Sabor ligeramente dulce con un final cítrico.

Nov 27, 2020
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JezzC from England

4.58/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Old Empire is delicious mix of malt and citrus. It's a cross between Amber ale and IPA. Goes really well with food - particularly streak or burgers but also curry surprisingly - much better than Cobra or Kingfisher.

Oct 31, 2020
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marcbosch from Netherlands

3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: Pale orange, faint head. Pretty good. The bottle is modern-vintage, but I could've done without the elephant.
S: European hops (peppery, grassy), caramel malt.
T: Following the nose. Good hops kick with a supporting malty backbone. A bit of caramel sweetness at the end.
F: Moderate body, dry finish. Medium carbonation. Good and in style. Perhaps a bit too filling, I was left wishing it came in a 33 cl bottle instead of 0.5 l.
O: Very good English IPA.

Oct 17, 2020
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MarkCairns99 from Northern Ireland

3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A no nonsense and quite malty traditional English ale, the bottled version I had was very carbonated but give it a few minutes and it settles down. On opening the bottle I did notice a stale smell but this disappears and is not noticeable when tasting. A powerhouse of an ale I’ll definitely be buying again!

Apr 25, 2020
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Hanglow from Scotland

3.91/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A 20 day old bottle

Pours a very light amber, large head for an english ale, many bubbles too.

Aroma of apples, pear drops, green hops.

Taste is a pleasing mix of mainly english hops and malt, decent bitterness, great dryness body and lots of carbonation that works in this beer. Fair bit of minerality as you would expect but it isn't too much.

Marstons do make good beers from time to time and this is one if you get it as fresh as this. Really nice cask beer too IIRC.

Feb 21, 2020
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JonnoWillsteed from England

3.64/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L- Dark amber, clear, pours with 5mm white head.
S- Almost hints of herbal cannabis*, and I smell it from the moment I pop the cap. Other than that it's smell seems pretty low-key.
T- Fresh and somewhat dry, the flavour develops a second later, ending with some richness. It's quite toasty [roasted malts], pretty bitter but it is a good example of a traditional IPA, rather than a contemporary interpretation of the style which tend towards being over-hopped, to over very over-hopped, in my experience.
F- It is refreshing, and has a certain deep pungent feel that in a blind tasting I'd guess this was more that 5.7%, maybe around 6.5% or so.
O- Very nice, especially you are a fan of British IPA. It is perhaps just a little more hoppy that I'd be routinely buying, esp in mid-winter when my palate yearns richness before refreshing via dry/hops.
BB 30/9/19. Bought from Waitrose, Notting Hill Gate, London W2.

p.s The bottle appears to have really changed! The glass is now very dark brown vs the photo embedded above. The lable is most black background, with white, purple and gold detailing. An elephant pushing three barrels, vs the ship seen above. The lable states 'Old Empire IPA' vs 'Empire' in the image above. Google suggests it did change name in recent years.

*Not as far-fetched as it might sound, x-ref: Wikipedia 'Cannabaceae is a small family of flowering plants... including Cannabis (hemp, marijuana), Humulus (hops)'

Jan 16, 2019
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qrazvan from Romania

3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Nice clear-brown colour, medium head.
The small is pretty common.
The taste is dominated by a standard english ale bitterness and a metallic feel. The citrus feel given by the multiple hops used can only be found on the bottle advertising.
Nothing to really stand out.

Aug 14, 2017
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Andrewharemza from Australia

3.94/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, pours a ever so slightly hazey golden colour with a small white head that disapates to a small layer.
Aroma grains, citrus, lemon, toffee.
Taste toffee, grassy, lemon. Not to bad.

Aug 29, 2016
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3.44/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger of head on a hazy straw body.
The aroma is honey, pine and dry grains.
The taste is malty sweet, then dry lemon bitterness and earthy too.
The texture is softer with nice fizz.
It's a fine mellow brew.

Mar 29, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Decent looking beer with creamy head, light aroma of hops, pine, citrus. Taste is hoppy with a hint of citrus(grapefruit/pineapple) and an abrupt finish, kind of dry. the citrus tang keeps it interesting. Not as bad as I thought after some of the reviews below.

Jan 13, 2016
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drmeto from Germany

2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

-pours a clear golden-orange with a medium,frothy,white head
-low carbonation visible
-cereals,grainy,sweet,lemon curd
Nose is flat overall
-grassy,spicy,lemon zest,perfumy
-medium bitterniss
-low to medium carbonation
-light to medium body
More an english Bitter than an English IPA

Dec 07, 2015
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josanguapo from Spain

3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.25

From Hipercor, last units. In Ikea's pint glass. After dinner. Not what is expected from an IPA nowdays. Very drinkable but low on aroma and bitterness. Avg 3.11.

8 apr 2017. From Alcampo. New label. In ikea's pint glass. At lunch after futsal match. With fideos soup + fried fish (acedias & squids) Not much aromatic nor fruity but very drinkable with pleasant caramelish notes that gets better as it warms up. Leaved me thirsty for more

Oct 09, 2015
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JaimeLondon from Brazil

3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poor Brittish IPA of a transparent dark orange color.
It smells just like a standard lager, but at least the taste is not bad - there are some ok malt tones.
And oh, they shouldn't call this an IPA...

Feb 01, 2015
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Malt_Man from England

3.02/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Served cool from 500ml bottle into pint mug.

A) Golden lager-like colour, nice white head, although it dissipates quickly, a few bubbles rising.

S) A weakish blend of rubbery malt and flowery hops.

T) Bittering hops dominate, with a bit of fragrance.

M) Light and refreshing. Can't fault the carbonation. No lingering aftertastes.

O) Another mediocre supermarket IPA. Perfectly drinkable, instantly forgettable.

Jan 24, 2015
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BeerDrinkersWorldTour from Northern Ireland

4.08/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Presentation - Brown 500ml bottle with a nice ship logo this beer seems to have switched its vessel of late which may account for my higher rating than most. FEAR the BEER in the bottle that is CLEAR... (I'm so punny)

Appearance - Light Amber colour with light streaming CO2. This beer raises an initial head of heavy foam like shaving cream but this dies very quickly to a lace cover that leaves little evidence of itself in the glass. This is all expected from the style but the lower than average retention messes with the overall score.

smell - This one has a straight up hop aroma of pine, balanced by good toffee malt elements.

Taste - Great Hop and malt balance of punky pine and a sweet rose water and grainy and toffee like malt.

MF - Drying and to be honest even a little powdery.

Overall - Pretty good over all, well balanced and pleasing to sip at of an evening, this is a good example of an India Pale Ale.

Dec 22, 2014

3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml transparent bottle. Wine glass. Golden amber color, chill haze appearance. Off-white froth creates a close & thin crown. Fairly good retention. Slight sulfur, mild toasted, earthy & light fruity both in flavors & aromas. Medium body. Moderate to high carbonation. Oily to watery texture. Low but clean tendency to hoppiness over a kind biscuit bed. Mineral notes are shown in a refreshing bitter finish. Nice session beer.

Apr 21, 2014
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FLima from Brazil

3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Light clean amber color with a thick head with medium retention.
Some apricot in the aroma with caramels, sulfur, pine and biscuit malt.
Malty and tangy flavor with notes of tea leaves, English earthy hops, caramels, toasted malts and grapefruit. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light body with good carbonation.
Decent English IPA with a nice earthy bitterness. Balanced and tasty, a bit thin though.

Nov 12, 2013
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hansavijaticar from Croatia (Hrvatska)

4.5/5  rDev +32.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've tried this beer 2 years ago and I wasn't thrilled at all. Maybe it was too cold or it was too cold on the outside where I was drinking it, but it seemed too watery and bland to me. Maybe it was too aged and spoiled because I've tried it from white bottle. Now I have it for second time, from the brown bottle, and I love it.

Nice orange, slightly hazy in colour.

Smell: pepper, citrus, bit of caramel, marmalade and honey.

Taste: white biscuit, orange, and long moderately bitter finish.

It reminds me of Fuller's Wild Swan, St. Austell Proper Job and Anchor Liberty, which I love very much. One of the best English IPA-s, although considerng Cascade hops in it, I think of it as hybrid beer - bitter/APA. (The real English IPA would be Meantime IPA and Fuller's Bengal Lancer.) Very underrated currently on BA. Or it simply got improved in last years. Give it another chance.

Sep 12, 2013
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scumwaffle from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It is obvious from the posts here that many just don't understand what an IPA really is--the American expectation is that it will be over-hopped, which I believe has led to the extreme proliferation of over-hopped beers which numb the palate to more subtle flavors, especially in "real" English and European beers. This factor is especially disappointing when tasting beers in Belgium or the Netherlands--trendy, overhopped styles are becoming "hip" while at the same time appealing to virtually no-one but tourists.
Marston's Old Empire is about the best of the hundreds of beers I've tasted in the UK during my long tenure there. I'm not sure about the version that is imported to the US, in fact I was not even aware that it is available here. Perhaps it is a slightly different version, or it does not travel well. In any case, the bottle is quite different with it's printed "on the bottle" labeling.
The London/UK version:
Pours nicely into a pint (UK Pint) glass--clear amber/light brownish color.
Nose: Reasonably strong goldings aroma, some malt, a bit of English "cheese."
Rolling over the palate, strong vanilla and malty sweetness, crisp, clean finish.
Hops slight tingle on the sides of the tongue, mild bitterness compared to American so-called IPA, also light floral/heather/goldings.
Overall a very well balanced beer for the English whose products are usually sour and cheesy with gone-by hops.

Sep 10, 2013
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jonb5 from England

3.27/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served in a pint glass.

A: pale amber, clear, small head decent retention and lacing.

S: slight cranberry, molasses, malt thought of Heller bock

T: sweet, brown sugar, toffee, finish bitter with some burn.

M: smooth low carb, thick chewy.

O: hard to figure out, very sweet, more like strong maerzen or light bock, the combination of sweetness and bitterness didn’t balance themselves out.

Sep 02, 2013
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M_C_Hampton from Georgia

3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from a 500 ml bottle into a glass, golden colored with a large white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: bitter hops and Burton sulfur, lemon, pine

T: lighter flavor than expected, lemon hops, slight sulfur, bitter finish

M: light to medium body, higher carbonation

O: OK English IPA, flavor is light and approachable

Aug 08, 2013
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Brenden from Ohio

3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The color is a clear amber-orange. The beer develops a soft white head that recedes to a thick, solid crown a full finger tall. Retention at that point isn't great, note is there a lot of lacing. There is a decent amount, though, left mostly by way of spotting.
I get a mostly sulfuric note at the front of every sniff. Underneath is some grassy hops, very light spicy, with some earth. Malts are likewise earthy. Under it all is the typical metallic note found in the style.
The flavor offers a bit of a surprise in that it's hoppier than I expect. Earthy, lightly metallic, herbal and leafy into a lingering finish, malts add some earth and breads, and maybe even some sweetness.
The body is medium with a blunt crispness all the way through. It gets a bit dry, as most of these do. Carbonation is at a moderate level and constant. Overall, there's a nice smoothness that complements that crisp bite.

Jul 23, 2013
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vinicole from England

3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Light amber. Very bubbly. Thick head.
Earthy hop aroma. Grain detected.
Malt biscuit and tangerine but mellow. Bitter finish.
Moderate feel and reasonably balanced.
Old fashioned English IPA.

Jul 22, 2013
Old Empire from Marston's Plc.
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 199 ratings