Old Empire | Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

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Old EmpireOld Empire
164 Ratings
Old EmpireOld Empire

Brewed by:
Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
England, United Kingdom

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2003

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Ratings: 164 |  Reviews: 101
Reviews by IllNate:
Photo of IllNate
3.93/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very bright orange. With two finders of fizzy head, that disappears quickly.

S - Smells mostly of malt, a biscuit type malt. Slight alcohol aroma, strange for a 5.7%.

T - Quite bitter. Not a lot of hop flavor, but it's there in a grassy form. Mostly just straight bitterness. Very nice bready malt backbone.

M - Smooth mouthfeel. Excellent really. The bitterness is nice too.

D - Good.

I definitely prefer the american IPA to the English, but the English is good in it's own way too.

Best before 11 July 2011

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
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.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single clear bottle picked up from the LCBO as part of their spring release. Lovely bottle design, though I wish they hadn't gone the clear route - especially for something marked as being "the original export." A lovely pale amber-golden hue, with an inch-thick big bubbled head that survived as a thin ring.

Nose is caramel, toffee, tea hops, floral notes, and a strong butterscotch hit that might be diactyl, but smells pleasant nonetheles. Reminds me a great deal of Innis and Gunn's blonde ale (another clear bottled brew)...

Tastes pretty good actually, caramel toffee and butter open things off, and the brew exits with a tart hop finish coupled with that distinctive Burton twang. Not terrific, but certainly drinkable.

Thinner bodied, strong carbonation.

A drinkable little IPA. Certainly not the best examplar of the style, but whatever kind of brew that found its way into my pintglass is enjoyable and is going down rather well. The buttery character I'm sure is the result of the bottle; regardless, it's not a flavor that I'm averse to. The hops linger in the back, providing a nice kick that doesn't overpower the brew, but aren't realy indicative of an IPA. Still, my favorite Marston's thus far.

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Photo of innominat
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of fionn13
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Feb 2012.

Poured into a Guinness pint glass. A clear golden-amber colour with good carbonation. Yields a thick foamy white head that lasts for several minutes before fading away. Aroma isn't too strong - predominantly yeast esters and solvent/alcohol. Hints of cooked leaves.

The taste has an indistinct grainy maltiness with a dry bitter finish. Notes of stewed leaves, esters, diacetyl and solvent/ethanol. The bitterness is rather harsh, with no aromatic hops present. Mouthfeel is prickly and slick, leaving the palate dry. Acrid bitter aftertaste.

Not brilliant, and certainly not the best example of an IPA I've ever tried. It has a dry bitterness, but lacks hops aroma and a balanced flavour. Don't go out of your way to sample this.

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Photo of BGDrock
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Appearance: amber colour, clear, not heavily carbonated, good lace

Aroma: mild malt, and hops coming through in the background (floral)

Taste & Mouthfeel: medium body, carbonation may be slightly too much; starts with lightly sweet flavour, quickly turns to pleasantly bitter hops; good aftertaste; clean and almost "sharp" on the tongue

Overall: well balanced, tasty, and would do well against spicy or intensely flavoured food

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Photo of foamer
2.8/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I had heard that this beer was a revival of a nineteenth century English IPA, and as such I was curious as IPAs over here are rather lackluster compared to what they used to be (so I hear).

Pours a golden yellow with a bubbly and fizzy white head fed by some lively carbonation. Did I accidentally pour a lager into my glass? I'm afraid to put my nose up to the glass to be quite honest. I can smell the pungent sulphur and the glass is sitting two feet away...here it goes...it's actually not as bad as I thought. Some sweet and biscuits malts, slightly spicy and earthy hops, and some sulphur which seems to have dissipated a bit as the beer sits. Taste is almost all hops with a faint hint of malt, and the sulphur comes in from time to time. Not terribly pleasant but not terrible either. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp and carbonated. Again, an IPA or a lager?

I went into this beer with high expectations, hoping that it would be a carefully crafted IPA and be a refreshing change from the standard English IPA, but I was let down. The choice of selling this beer in clear bottles baffles me as it isn't terribly pretty, and it does the beer a disservice. Most unfortunate. Apparently this is offered on cask, but I'm not going to try it on bottle again.

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Photo of Brenden
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.

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Photo of InfernoBoss
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of biboergosum
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my second attempt at trying this beer, as the fragile nature of its clear glass packaging resulted in the first bottle getting crushed by a single full bottle resting on it in my beer drawer. Keeping the next bottle (a gift from my gf, who participated in the previous bottle's demise) free and clear of obstruction, it has survived to fulfill its purpose...

This beer pours a medium pale golden hue, with a large amount of thin soapy white head, that leaves a bit of lacing. It smells of grassy hops, wood, and lemon peel. The taste is earthy hops, bitter citrus, and a light bready maltiness. The body is moderately heavy, a bit oily, and the carbonation a wee bit high. It finishes clean, and a little tart - I would stand to have a few pints of this given the opportunity. One thing though, I don't really get the categorization as an American IPA, it is much too mild for that, but then, it's got a lot of zing for an English IPA. Somewhere in the middle, so I guess it has to go one way or the other.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
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 Sammy
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Underated Enlish style IPA. A nce bitterness and drinkability, good malting, though drying finish. Fuggles and Goldings hops. Pours attractive light golden body with lots of white foam. Neutral aroma. Suitable cabonation. From LCBO. Easy drinking, and worth having as an example of subtle English creations.

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Photo of Damian74
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of adamcthomp
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - clear golden copper colour with a decent flutty white head that left some random lacing as it dissipated
S - a strong herbal and grassy bitter with strong accents of grain and metallic
T - dominated by grassy, leafy, metallic flavour but the hoppiness is still mild, some wheaty malts and light fruitiness, but much more pils than IPA in flavour
M - relatively thin and watery, easy drinking enough, but nothing that makes it memorable
T - it is a tasty dry beverage for sure, but in my opinion is less of an IPA and more of a pils, otherwise I would have given better grade for flavour, as it is an tasty and easy drinking brew

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Photo of scumwaffle
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.

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Photo of cletetron
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of beer_bottle
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.02/5  rDev -11.2%
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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Photo of AEK
3.32/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml poured from a clear glass bottle into a Hobgoblin branded pint pot.

A. Tangerine somewhat in colour, with very little head that is reminiscent of a strong barleywine. Within 5 minutes the head had completely disappeared.

S.Perhaps my sinuses are blocked up today but I cannot smell anything whatsoever which is really disappointing.

T. Noticeably bitter from start to finish. The fruity malt is noticeable along with hints of bitter orange. Tastes stronger than a 5.7%ABV ale

M. Medium bordering on heavy.

D. Quite a nice drink but a little too heavy to drink on a hot day like it is today. This beer is 3 weeks over its BBE date but as it has been at the back of a dark drinks cabinet it hasn't suffered and still tastes fresh.

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Photo of Welshbloke
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.53/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a clear orangey color ale with a medium bubbly head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with lightly dry and astringent hoppy notes. Taste is dominated by weak dry caramel malt notes with a dry finish. Body is average with OK carbonation. Lacking complexity or floral notes of English hops to be a beer I would drink again.

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Photo of Pelicanrocks
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.06/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Light, almost completely pale yellow colour with half a finger of foamy white head. Does not look like a typical IPA.

S - The nose offers nothing even remotely close to any IPA that I have had. There is a slight hop bitterness present but it is not a typical IPA hop nose. No floral, citrus or pine. The hops resemble a typical European pils/lager hop. There is a bready contribution from the malts but, again, no sweetness that I would expect from an IPA. I would have guessed this was a pilsener had I not read the label.

T - Follows the nose. Slight hop bite with a flavour profile typical of a pils. Some bready malts in the middle and the hops rerutn in the finish. Not reminiscent of an IPA at all. Disappointing.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation. More of a pils mouthfeel than an IPA one.

D - A decent enough beer, but not even close to resembling the style.

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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 164 ratings