Old Empire | Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

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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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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 156
Photo of hansavijaticar
4.5/5  rDev +32.7%
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 CAMRAhardliner
4.47/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange copper color with an ok head (tends to fade fast) and nice streaks of lace. The aroma is very hoppy with earthy spicey Goldings notes. Also a good, though secondary, malt character in the nose. The taste is a delicious mix of grassy floral and bittering hops contrasting a firm biscuit malt background. Theres also some nice fruit esters somewhere in there. The mouthfeel is thick and quite silky, its almost like this was bottle conditioned. The finish is crisp and bitter.

This is definitely the best Marston's beer Ive tried. I was pleasantly surprised with how hoppy this beer was. Its cool to taste English hops in this intensity. I really recommend this.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.21/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on a hot summer afternoon one might be tempted to order a cold lager ... if he hasn’t got the chance to get hold of an Old Empire IPA that is ... IPA’s are perfect thirst quenchers to start with and this one tops it with a overwhelming taste of fresh hops and a marvelous bitter aftertaste .... a great brew in an impressive bottle ...

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Photo of joecast
4.18/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

recieved a 500ml bottle of this during my last brew day. thanks geoff!

lightly hazed gold/amber color. light carbonation. long thin neck ensure a pour which forms an even white foamy head. it settles to a thin lace leaving lacing around half the glass.

aroma is a balanced mix of malt sweetness and floral hops. the presence of the malt gives the impression of a very strong beer. probably more than the reality of 5.7%abv.

wow! big hop flavor. impressive. full on bitterness kicks the taste buds around. yeah, thats an ipa all right. finishes lightly enough though that the next sip isnt far away.

great example of an ipa regardless of type or origin. a bit light on aroma, but the flavor packs a punch and keeps you asking for more. yummy.

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Photo of scumwaffle
4.14/5  rDev +22.1%
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 dave2k5
4.12/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This being my first 'real ale/beer/pale ale' since I was 18 I thought I'd give it some proper thought.

A: Real golden amber with quarter of an inch head which just doesn't seem to quit on you.
S: Citrus, or so I thought anyway, something I would quite like to smell with my IPA, hops are prominent which is also satisfying.

T: Caramel, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste, again the hops are prominent but its not overall displeasing, it leaves you wanting more pretty much after the first sip

M: After a few minutes in a regular pint glass, little carbonation which is pleasant and doesn't leave you burping out more than you swallow. Suffice to say it finds it's way to your gullet quite easily

Overall this being my first IPA I'm still new to this, but it's one I really enjoyed and I would suggest it to most. Cheers!!

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4.08/5  rDev +20.4%
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 Voonder
4.05/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber orangeish color with gorgeous 1 finger white head which stayed there for a while. Smell - hops and citrus. Quite nice aroma. Taste is the same, starts with sweet malts and grapefruit then hoppy bitterness kicks in. Mouthfeel - medium bodied with just enough of carbonation. Drinkability is rally good.
Overall, I loved that beer, this is something I would drink on regular basis. I really enjoyed the balance of that beer. Great stuff!

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Photo of diablo14
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i dunno, maybe its just me, but i get the impression that people have some weird ideas about what an IPA should be. considering the burton on trent region invented the style, youd think theyd know how to brew it right. i just dont know what beer drinkers really expect when they having an IPA, but i see so few get any wraps. and considering the only other review of this beer to this point was done by a yorkshireman, im disappointed because the man obviously knows his beer, but doesnt rate this. dont get me wrong, im not getting personal, its just this style seems to get alot of divided opinions.

its a marvellous deep golden color with the minimal head you expect from english beers. i was suitably impressed with the level of hops i was getting in my nostrils, plenty of goldings and fuggles in there. sensational. nice compliment of sweet malts present also. the flavor was beautiffuly balanced between malts and hops, with some lemon apsects. i love the way this beer feels in the mouth. light bodied, but plenty of zing, subdued till it gets to the back palate, then flavorsome and aromatic hops take over and give it a marvellous bitterness that hangs on the tongue for some time. its like any good english beers, it knows what its trying to do and doesnt try to do too much. i could easily drink this beer all night and be more than happy.

i dont want to sound like i think i know everything about beer, coz lord knows theres plenty of BA's out there who have had alot more beers than i have. tho when it comes to IPA's, i think many have their own ideas on how it should be which are not necessarily accurate. marstons are the only place that brew this style the way it used to be, so how can anyone say its no good? this is going to be the closest thing you can get to what the colonists used to drink in india, if not a bit more refined. so to me, theres no way anyone can rate this poorly. or maybe IPA has become something different to what they were back in the day. whatever the case, i reckon theyve done a great job here.

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Photo of bryehn
3.95/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very bright golden-amber colour with a frothy white head that didn't last very long, but holds on as a collar and paper thin film. Leaves a mild lace.

Bready malt aroma, tends to be just a tad skunky at first, best left to breathe. Brewed tea with a slight lemony citrus note coming through after warming a bit.

Tastes of toasted malt and honey, really seems to hide its slightly above average ABV. There's a butterscotch tone and a balanced dryness that has a grassy or floral tinge to it.

Very noticeable carbonation, but creamy and yeasty as well. There is a wood character to the finish with just a bit of smoke.

I could drink this beer any time of the year with just about anything I eat or on it's own.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.94/5  rDev +16.2%
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 IllNate
3.93/5  rDev +15.9%
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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Photo of Jetulio
3.93/5  rDev +15.9%
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 janubio
3.92/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

50 cl. clear bottle. Coppery orange colour, small head that doesn't hold too long. Smell is hoppy, sulphurous, a bit skunky, oranges. Rough in the tongue, but saomewhat silky. Taste is citrus, butter, biscuit, some caramel, marzipan, vanilla. Nice one.

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Photo of Radome
3.89/5  rDev +14.7%
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 BGDrock
3.85/5  rDev +13.6%
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 Brenden
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
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 digita7693
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

got this recently in a trade from blackhaddock, thanks!

a nice clear amber, small head, that goes away, but leaves a thin layer

s malty and floral, nice smell, slight citrus and herbs in the background

t very nice, smooth, bitter hoppy, but doesnt knock you down, and sometimes thats a good thing, not everything needs to be a billion IBUs, very well done here

d very drinkable and enjoyable, could and would definitely drink a few of these with friends outside during the summer

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Photo of wl0307
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coming in a 500ml clear bottle, BB 31/05/09, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: dark golden to light amber hue, coming with a creamy off-white froth settling gradually to a thin blanket, while the carbonation remains pretty light for a bottled ale.
S: English Goldings hop aroma fills the nostrils with abundant tangerine-ish citrusness and a light floral touch, plus sweet biscuity malts, sulphurous stinky edge of yeastiness, and a rather intensive tart edge of citrus juice. Overall, pleasant and integrated.
T: bitter-sweet citric-peels, hay-ish notes as well as biscuity on the main entry, gradually going deep down the palate and renders a quietly expanding zesty/tangy bitterness that lingers nicely with a sulphurous touch typical of Marston's ales as well as rather mild and gristy biscuity pale malts. Is the good level of tangy bitterness overall supposed the work of dry hopping? If so, compared with other "extreme" interpretations of this beer style, the dry-hopping (if any) here is pretty approachable and integrated with the main flavour seamlessly.
M&D: slightly sharp on the carbonation, spritzy even, unlike the quiet appearance tends to suggest, but not to the OTT level. Against a medium body, the fruity-hop and bitter elements seem to stand out quite elegantly on the balance, making this a very quaffable bitter ale. Overall, better than my first tasting three years ago, but one would imagine a brown bottle might help with the overall performance to make it free from possible light-struck.

* Tasting Date: 17/04/05
Quite apart from quite a few other reviewers' comments, I find the beer jolly drinkable! (though it has to be taken in the context that I'd had a pint of not remarkable real ale at my local first...)
Tried it at home, served in a big tulip wine glass.
Appearance: light amber, thin head and fine bubbles.
Smell: grassy perfumy nose, with not dominating hint of malt.
Taste: nutty, fruity(grapefruit peel?), creamy/mellow palate, quite smooth actually.
Aftertaste: lingering hoppyness, dryish, very mild grapefruit-zesty throat but deep down...

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Photo of Mark
3.79/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was is a medium amber that was topped by an airy white head, lacing was light and scattered. Fresh hoppy aroma was a easy improvemnt over the lack of lacing, cherry notes were evident. Long fruity finish dominates with some apple and cherry notes, creamy and full bodied. Good Beer Guide says it's a IPA, something the pump clip neglected to mention. Either way it was the strongest in abv of any cask ale tried on this trip. A decent beer but an unspectacular one.

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Photo of charlatan
3.79/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber colour without much of a head. Has a pine hop aroma, but I can pick out a sweet grainy smell too. Tastes a lot like many of the IPA's I enjoyed while I lived in the Pacific Northwest, albeit without the citric bent that many of those ales had: it begins fairly sweetly but then a herbal hop flavour takes command.

Alas this is a type of beer which is lamentably thin on the ground here in the UK.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.76/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Listed here as an American Indian Pale Ale, tastes more traditional and English to me, but hey, I care not.

Looks good in the bottle and looked just as good in my glass, neat tight foamed head, sat on top of an orange coloured body.

Malty in aroma and taste, no great smell though, the maltiness comes through and leaves a full mouthfeel, making this a very drinkable IPA, British or American.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
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 GreenCard
3.74/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pale coppery straw, slight chill haze, frothy later of off-white foam that collapses on itself

Aroma: fresh floral hop scent with a touch of grapefruit; sweet caramelly malt in the background

Flavor: semisweet malt profile offset by a decent grapefruit rind bitterness; hints of unripe plums and golden raisins; finishes dry with a bitter aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-ish-full body, pert carbonation, crisp texture

Other comments: If you're able to find a bottle of this that hasn't been skunked because of the clear bottle, it's actually quite a scrumptious IPA.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.71/5  rDev +9.4%
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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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
3.39 out of 5 based on 156 ratings.
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