Old Empire | Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.

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Old EmpireOld Empire
162 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: 162 |  Reviews: 101
Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
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 mrnobody
2.84/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear golden light amber with two fingers of soapy white head; leaves some lacing behind.

S: Smells of skunk backed with some light malt; hops? Damned if I can smell any.

T: A weird fruity sweetness followed by a bitter hop finish; certainly better than the aroma but not by a huge margin.

M: Light-medium mouthfeel with some prickly carbonation.

D: Drinkability is average. If the original IPA had travelled from England to India in clear glass bottles, this style would not have lasted long enough for US brewers to innovate on.

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Photo of bryehn
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
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 spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
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 TerryW
3.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bright clear coppery orange brew with a moderate head that settles to a heavy film. Gives up lots of good looking lace along the way. A good looking brew.

More malt in the nose that I might expect for a pale ale and lacking what you'd anticipate by way of hoppiness. Smells okay, but doesn't distinguish itself.

Same again in the taste profile. Malts and caramel gives it sweetness up front. Finishes up with bitterness and some grassy hops. Drinkable, needs more hops. Medium bodied and easy drinking.

Overall a middle of the road brew.

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Photo of kwjd
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear orange colour with thin white head. Head dissipates fairly quickly without hardly any lacing. Smells of some earthy and floral hops with some biscuity malt. Bigger bitterness than the smell would imply. Very smooth mouthfeel. Just an ok English IPA, probably won't buy much of this.

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Photo of peensteen
3.05/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very pale golden colour, one finger of white head, small spots of lace. Very big malt aroma, biscuit, light hop bitterness and a faint scent of alcohol. Taste is very malty, slight touch of lemon with a light bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel, good weight, creamy and a good solid carbonation. Drinks OK, overall not great but passable.

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

lately I've been finding a number of "Indian Pale Ales" that do not strike me as tasting like I would expect an IPA to taste.This is one of them. It's a very middle of the road affair and very lacking in hop notes even if it does have a bitter aftertaste. Very easy to drink but not exciting or interesting. Ah well it's not Corona.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.8/5  rDev -17.6%
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 Wattsox
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Muted orange colour with decent thick head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S - A fairly malty, bitter smell, slight alcohol smell in the background.

T - Sweet opener, noticeably bitter on the end with a fairly long lasting light bitter aftertaste.

M - Mild carbonation, medium body.

D - Fairly smooth and drinkable, possibly not a session beer for me but definitely light enough.

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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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Photo of scott451
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before 27 Aug. 11. Let it warm before pouring. Poured into a glass mug. A clear golden orange with a one finger bubbly of white head. Good carbonation. The head soon diminishes to a ring.

In the smell some resins and malts. Very smooth. Malts. Mild bitter finish. Resins remain on the palette.

Medium light body. Good carbonation. Drinkability is good, well balanced.

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

Served into a Flying Dog pint glass

A: Golden going amber, with no head and no lace.

S: Malts, Bitter.

T: Swwet at first then a little bit hoppy, crips, not much complexity, medium to low carb

Overall a was expecting something else, I got used to american IPA, the floral frutiness flavor of it. And above else the clear bottle was a major turn off.
Won't spend my money again on this one

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Photo of jhtipton
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in a 500 ml bottle at the corte de Inglese (English Cut) in Spain. It's in a clear bottle so the color was no secret. A nice golden orange hue with minimal head and not much lacing. I poured this into a pint glass for effect. The bottle is a little different than pictured; it has a paper label vice painted glass now.
Smell was a little disappointing from one who craves the West Coast USA IPA. Hops were not very evident in the sniff test but the malts stood out and it almost had a metallic smell to it. Taste is the average I gave it-nothing special-not even as hoppy as a Fuller's pale ale but it beats the Spanish local brews easily! Mouth feel is fine- a light to medium bodied, balanced beer-but still not what I was hoping for. Drinkability is good-I could have a few more-and since I bought two of them-I'll drink at least one more. I do miss my Sierra Nevada Pale ale...

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (50 cl.), tasted in 2010.

Appearance : Orange coloured with white foamy head.
Smell : Aroma of malts and caramel.
Taste and mouthfeel : Flavour of malts, caramel and hops. Dry hoppy finish.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style English India Pale Ale.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
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 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 rarbring
3.56/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear copper/amber/orange beer, with an off-white head that leaves some lacing and curtains.

The smell is citric, bitter oranges and a whiff of malt vinegar, sweet bread crust, toffee.

Taste is predominately sweet and malty, syrup, butterscotch digestive biscuits. A rather modest bitter finish, but lasting. The bitterness is orange peel and cherry seeds.

Rather low carbonation, smooth texture and a nice dry finish.

In all a very well balanced Brittish IPA, not extremely hoppy but very enjoyable.

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Photo of digita7693
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
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 mjgarrett2
2.92/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Slightly 'paler' than most American IPA's I am used to. Still a decent orange/caramel, not the unappetizing neon yellow you sometimes see.

S-Very wild and somewhat floral, not unlike a damp pine forest.

T-Dry and a bit flat (flavour, not carbonation). You get a nod of hops but it doesn't follow through with that distinctive flavour. Mellow which leaves you wanting and expecting more from the aroma.

M-Pleasant and a delicate balance from start to finish, in contrast to the lack luster taste.

D-Easy to sip and enjoy, but does not tease you for more like the top notch IPA's always do.

Note: I suspect the hops have gone off a bit due to the age and storage of the bottle as the vendor is inconsistent at times.

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

Pours as a light amber with lots and lots of carbonation and a small creamy white head. The aroma is malty with clear sugars but there is a slight acidic hoppiness sitting behind it with earthy floral notes. The flavours are traditional English hops, with a light maltiness. The finish has a clingy bitterness with a earthy character. A weaker version of what would be considered a traditional IPA but still very flavoursome.

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Photo of Daniellobo
2.13/5  rDev -37.4%
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 benclimbs
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours brown amber in a glass with very little head and just a bit of lacing

smell is a bit of vanilla with some dry hops in there...overall, just a bit perfumy and not very good, a bit of skunkyness, soapy smell? i know i rinsed my glass well

taste is a bit of caramel hops, sweetness, followed by a dull bitter finish, not very awesome, still some vanilla, is this just a crappy oak aged beer? reminds me a bit of innus and gunn but not nearly as good.

mouthfeel and drinkability are pretty average, nothing special about this beer, isn't even an IPA, not nearly hoppy enough, even compared to east coast/ other english ones.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was let down by the lack of hops in this EIPA as I expected from both the brewer and the ABV that this might be a bigger beer. This is a decent beer but tasted like most other ESBs. cirtus notes on the finish and nice balance but not the EIPA i was hoping for from Marstons

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Photo of laituegonflable
2.74/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly orangey-golden colour with a little bit of head that disappears to leave a spit-like cloud on the top. Steady but light bead. Leaves some trails of white lace, looks pretty blah, really.

Smells very hoppy and English. Large bitterness with European hops - grassy and slightly citrussy. Aromas of tea, lemon and some caramelly malt, makes for a decent smelling hoppy beer, but ultimately (I think) has a bit of a pilsenery aroma. Lacks the fruity ale esters.

Taste starts off a bit buttery, with a fairly smooth malty front palate, bitterness comes in soon after, with the flavour of lemon rind followed by an astringent tea leaf character, quite grassy as well with a herbal edge. Bitterness eases off right towards the back to leave a slightly zesty finish, although it returns for the aftertaste. Slight yeasty edge to the aftertaste and very acerbic and distasteful, mediciney, like the taste of a crunched up headache tablet. Not much nuance to the aftertaste, just overly bitter. Rest of the palate is passable.

Mouthfeel quite thin and watery - slightly dry at the back, slight stickiness on there but mostly thin.

The hang really kills this beer for me. I sense a lot of Goldings hops, and I'm not really a fan, just needs more tempering of them, or a better blend.

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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 162 ratings
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