Old Empire
Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

Old EmpireOld Empire
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Style:
English India Pale Ale (IPA)
Ranked #337
ABV:
5.7%
Score:
78
Ranked #45,962
Avg:
3.41 | pDev: 13.78%
Reviews:
103
Ratings:
169
From:
Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  8
Gots
  18
SCORE
78
Okay
Old EmpireOld Empire
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 103 | Ratings: 169 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Hanglow
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.64/5  rDev +6.7%
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)'

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Photo of qrazvan
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.94/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of stevoj
2.98/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of drmeto
2.73/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

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

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Photo of josanguapo
3.51/5  rDev +2.9%
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

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Photo of JaimeLondon
3/5  rDev -12%
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...

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.02/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4.08/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

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Photo of GONZALOYANNA
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.5/5  rDev +32%
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.

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Photo of scumwaffle
4.14/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.51/5  rDev +2.9%
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

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Photo of Brenden
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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Photo of vinicole
3.65/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Date tasted: July 7, 2013... Glassware: Wychwood Hopbgoblin tumbler... Occasion: celebrating a lazy Sunday's end....Appearance: nice pale copper body that is clear and softly bubbling; cloudy white head that laces and quickly dissipates... Aroma: bready malts assert dominance--such an English treat--with some buttery notes... Palate: medium-bodied, smooth and buttery; some heat on the exhale,, despite the modest ABV.. Taste: extremely soft hints of toffee and hops; powerful display of malt high on the tongue; formidable... Overall: a curiosity purchase, using a gift card for a slew of brews including this one; I know Marston is renown for its bitter, and thought the IPA would carry the flag; malty , yes, and a quality sipper with a slightly smoked, buttery, definitively scotch finish...still, tough to place among the more formidable IPAs from either side of the pond....

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Golden orange; slightly cloudy; medium head; long lasting

Aroma: Citrusy; hoppy; spicy; sulfury; malty

Taste: Good hop bite on start; citrusy fruit on mid; almost a fruit candy on finish; hoppy, dry nutty aftertaste; very interesting

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of Dentist666
3.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden beer with ample off-white head. Clear aroma of citrus, quite diacetylic, crystal malts, evident lack of hops in here. Flavour is prosaic, rather sharp bitterness, less resinous, more standard malts. It can be said "not well-balanced", not "full-flavoured". Good carbonation amd full body.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.37/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a .5liter clear bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear antique gold in color, with a moderate head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Whiff of sulfur, faint earthy hop note
Taste-Pale and toasted malts, earthy hops, grapefruit rind bitterness lingers to the finish. Faint mineral bite and sulfur note accompany each sip. Not bad, just different.
Overall, easy drinkinf and subtle. A spicy or robust food pairing would enhance this brew in my opinion.

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Photo of Radome
3.89/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 500 ml bottle bought in Spain.

A - Color is orange-tinged gold. Head is white and mad of tiny bubbles; initially several cm thick, and fades to a thin sheet. Persistent lacing. Poured cloudy but then cleared as it warmed.

S - Aroma is of sweet, bready English malt. Some grassy hops in background, but muted. Fruity yeast. Aromas are soft but clean.

T - Moderate hops bitterness and flavor. Some crisp malt and soft, fruity yeast notes. A faint sweet alcohol taste. Flavors develop complexity as beer warms.

M - Medium body. Light hops burn. Creamy carbonation.

O - A very nice, well-made brew. However, it lacks the hops punch to deserve to call itself an IPA, even an English one.

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Photo of Jetulio
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance--- amber light colour with a white head (1 finger) not lasting
Aroma---citrus, malt and grass. Fresh herbal smell too.
Taste---bitterness presence but with a nice touch of lemon aroma and malts.
Mouthfeel---medium / light body and medium/light carbonation.
Overall--- good and long aftertaste. Drinkable and balanced. Nothing spectacular but consistent.

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Photo of djura
2.83/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got it from Italy.

A-Lighter amber with few bubbles and two finger foam lasting a minute.
S-Surprisingly nothing special,some grains.
T/M-Really huge hops aroma and aftertaste,which is typical for IPA's,but really nothing more then bitterness. Not that high abv,but i think it could hit you hard after 3+.
O-Expected much more from English IPA,but not sure i would like to drink it again.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.42/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber coloured body with huge but quickly vanishing big bubbled white head.

Big hard hitting aroma of erm.... Northern lights, real good cannabis smells in there (so a friend says, honest, :P ) and hops and lemon grass.

Despite the emense hop nose the main flavours are the malts and tastes of wheat crackers not big on bitter tastes rather a slightly sour citrusy aftertaste coming in to sit on the tongue.

Not as heavy and boozy as you might think but still heavy hitting with the alcohol balanced against the ease that this slips down due to a damn good MF makes it a dangerous beast especially considering the nice way the bubbles wash it down to an easy going carbonation.

Among the many, many paleales of Marston’s this is probably the best.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.02/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours dark amber with a large head.
Nose shows grassy hops, spicy notes, caramel and toffee along with soft diacetyl.
Flavours are not as interesting, mainly focussing on bready malt and very faint caramel followed by a plain but aggressive bitterness.
Body seems watery.

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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 169 ratings