Old Empire | Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

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Old EmpireOld Empire
163 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 163 |  Reviews: 101
Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
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 biboergosum
3.3/5  rDev -2.7%
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 WillieThreebiers
3.27/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.53/5  rDev -25.4%
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 stevoj
2.98/5  rDev -12.1%
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 jwc215
3.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Voonder for this one!

Pours hazed orange amber with a thin white head. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is herbal/slightly citric, a bit musty, with caramel backing.

The taste is of caramel, some butterscotch. Hops add bitterness more than flavor though there is a citric note with an herbal/asprin-y touch. Finishes dry.

It's on the lighter side of medium body, with medium carbonation.

An easy-drinking beer. Balanced for the style, with a bittering touch.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance - Clear amber colour with a large size frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly decent lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, hops, pears, metallic

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it feels slightly thin on the palette. I can taste butterscotch and malts mixed with some floral hops. I also picked up on a slightly sweet pear taste mixed with some metallic flavour. It finishes with light woody/hop aftertaste.

Drink - The beer seemed to disappear out my glass fairly fast. It's a decent beer for the style. Not something I'd buy again but not a waste of money either.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.06/5  rDev -39.2%
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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Photo of Latarnik
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of wordemupg
2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into pint glass 27/3/12

A clear golden copper with a few bubbles feeding a short lived thumbs width of foam that leaves no lace

S caramels and faint spicy hops, some fruity aspect but it also has a little skunk

T what I smell really, pretty basic with more hop character and less skunk then the nose but still pretty average

M medium bodied with decent carbonation, fairly clean finish perhaps the best part of this beer

O not overly impressed by this one, not a freshness issue but slightly skunked nose and basic flavor profile

I know its a English IPA but even so pretty basic, no part of this beer impressed me but still far from drain pour

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Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The sun obviously has yet to set on Old Empire; its shimmering, flaring golden-amber highlights rival a good summer's sunset and, likewise, are every bit as worthy of being the wallpaper on your computer desktop. Its immaculate clarity is muffled only by a slight chill haze. Its head is thin - like someone took a fingernail file to it - but enduring.

How many aromas will clear glass bottles have to destroy before they are finally stopped? Old Empire is yet another one of these light-struck victims. If we can look past the obvious taint, there's some surprisingly characterful scents under there, among them a floral and hoppy perfume as well as some (perhaps diacetyl-assisted) butterscotch-y malts.

The delectable buttered-rum note in the aroma entices me to take increasingly bigger, faster sips in hopes of being able to taste it on the palate, which I can, but not with the same vivacity it exudes in the aroma. Ditto for the floral, leafy hoppiness. It's there, somewhere, but is heavily restricted by the characteristically stiff Burton water minerals.

By now I'm well-familiar with said blocky, obtuse Burton Upon Trent water; for those who are not, the chalky, hard minerals stick out like a saxophone that uses a broken reed. But it's far from unpleasant and undoubtedly lends the beer a blunt, clipping finish that most would agree is quite invigorating. It's accented in this example with a strong sulfur element.

Marston's Old Empire is a great beer for anybody, except those drinkers who believe that all IPAs should be rapaciously hopped and obnoxiously bitter. This is certainly not that. It is a true Burton ale and has all the traditional, tempered character and crisp quaffability that that appellation implies. May the sun never set on the realm of Burton ales.

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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 Evil_Pidde
3.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 50 cl short-necked clear bottle with a clear label with dark blue writing and a sailing-ship in white.

A: Pours dark golden with an off-white medium-large compact head. It sinks to almost no lacings.

S: Lots of English hops, both floral and bitter. Citric and dry. Malt is a bit held back, but still nice.

T: Sweetness from the malt, that's slightly roasted. Lots and lots of bitter hops. It feels like the malt could have been a bit stronger to balance the bitterness.

M: Aftertaste is rather long, and holds faint bitterness. Body is medium and carbonation is moderate and smooth.

D: Not the most complex English IPA, but not bad, not bad at all.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.8/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Looks rather hazy in its clear bottle, but it pours a pleasantly bright orange golden colour, with a fine bubbled film of white forming the head, such as it is. Minimal carbonation and lacing - the carbonation is perhaps expected from the style, but the lack of lacing is disappointing. Eh, it's a decent look, but I've had better.

Nose is a little earthy and woody, with some slightly skunky crushed vegetation and a hint of pine bark. It's quite mild, and it's set against a light honey character, which again makes it milder from a hops point of view. Eh. It's pretty average.

Taste is also quite light on, although here the hops give a prominent pine tolling on the mid to back. Finish is surprisingly malty, with a honeyed grain note sticking around on the back. Feel is smooth on entry, but soon has a twang like seawater, and a aridly dry finish.

Wow, quite underwhelmed by that overall. This beer gives both English ales and the IPA a bad name. I think it's hard to drink, overall, and has neither the mild pleasantness to be enjoyable, or the character to be interesting.

Leave it be. You can do better.

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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 Fettpopps
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of samEBC
3.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of bark
3.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The colour is copper/brass; the high head is off-white, it leaves some lacing while slowly sinking down.

The smell is very powerful and bitter. Notes of sour/bitter hops, butter, herbs, apple acid and some yeast.

The taste is bitter and a little sour. Fruity hops, some yeast and dry hints of toffee and tobacco. The malt is clearly in the background, and there is almost no sweetness at all. The aftertaste is sour/bitter with hints of butter, minerals and dark bread.

The carbonation is medium to mild; the liquid is smooth.

Lots of bitter/sour hops: Without the malt this beer gets unbalanced.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.35/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep gold with slight puffy head that doesn't lace. Nose is some leaf and twig, with slight soapy lemon as it warms. Husky malts with slight caramel, followed by woody (Goldings?) hops with touch of lemon rind zestiness and a diacetyl hit. Chewy feel, bigger than expected from the flavor profile. Tight finish, quiet but punchy ABV.

Pretty one dimensional. I'd expect more from the birthplace of IPA.

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Photo of stcules
3.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber-copper. Very clean. Almost no foam, and a low carbonation.
In the smell a good earthly hop. And malt. Very clean. In the finish a herbal and very long, and clean hop.
Notes of artichoke, and orange marmelade. Definitely bitter.
Average body.
In the aftertaste the maltiness is quite short, quickly replaced by a quite long bitterness.

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Photo of Mattias
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of andrenaline
3.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a light golden colour, half a finger of head with little retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Sweet floral hop, touch of caramel and burnt wooden notes. The hops are certainly earthy, but have a unique sweetness to them as well.

T - The bitterness dominates and the earthiness of the hops come out nicely. Light caramel notes are overpowered by the grassy hops, but the bitterness is a bit of a turnoff.

M - No complaints here, medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness on the finish.

O - A tasty ale, but nothing spectacular. I wouldn't pick up another bottle, but I'm glad I tried it nonetheless. There's better offerings of the style.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.42/5  rDev +0.9%
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 Daniellobo
2.13/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Quite a forgettable IPA

Presentation: 500 ml clear glass bottle. Somewhat old fashion label design with emblem, name of the brew, and a sailing boat dominating the image. Back notes imported nature and basic ingredients in several languages. Shows best by date (01 Oct 10) Notes Alc. by Vol. (5.7%) Served on a pint glass.

A - Medium amber pour with a short frothy head, short retention, little lacing, and a faint surface memory. Certainly subpar for the style, and the final appearance is totally flat but to be fair that was due to the long time that it remained sitting untouched before being disregarded.

S - Only skunky bitterness. Talking about a hoppy profile or malt hints is a bit delusional. Not terrible since the skunk whiff seems minimal but not a good aroma either.

T - The taste expands the aroma, which really is not good news in this case. There is predominating harsh bitterness woven with an unavoidable skunky sense early on. Minimal hop and malt notes that is are not coated by the overall roughness.

M - Light-medium body, with fading carbonation.

D - Nah, bitterness with skunk notes barely reaching out IPA land and the following flatness make this one brew that one does not really feel eager to finish.

Notes: I don´t know it it is typically this bad, and frankly I don´t feel inclined to give it another try. Sure enough in all fairness this might be a bad bottle, badly stored, badly bottled, badly imported, or badly brewed... And I sure hope there is a better version of this out there.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +18%

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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
Beer rating: 3.39 out of 5 with 163 ratings