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 treque
3.55/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: light copper in color with orange tint, is clear, filtered, not too much carb, the head is 1 finger and disspiates quickly, just remains a tiny one, off-white in color.

S: sweet malts, earthy, hops, some caramel hints

T: some sweet notes at first, medium body, long last final, bitterness not excesive, easy to drink, medium hop flavour, well balanced

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.28/5  rDev -3.2%
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 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 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 evlu1441
3.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, this beer is a very medium amber with a thin head and lots of carbonation rising up to the top.

The aroma is quite skunky at first (probably due to the clear bottle), but there is also a mild hop aroma going on.

The taste is very bitter off the start as it hits the middle of my tongue. It slowly gives way to some nice hop aroma. The malt notes get lost in the mix a little bit but are still there (if only slightly). This beer has a surprisingly light body.

Overall, I'm not overly impressed with this one. It has too much hop bitterness without backing it up with malt or hop flavours. It is a decent beer though, perhaps just not to my taste.

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Photo of Roke87
2.63/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500 mL bottle, chilled and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Poured an amber almost yellowish colour with a finger of fluffy white head that very quickly dissipates to a nice bubbly top, leaving

Smell- uh oh I’m getting a skunky aroma from the second I opened this one, smells a lot like typical American macro, to be honest I usually have a couple lines for each category but this one really does not have a lot going on in terms of the aromas, I am worried.

Taste- Just like the smells and my sinking feeling returns (no pun intended from ship on the label). This one tastes exactly like a typical macro, actually it reminds me a lot of a labatt blue, I am also getting a slight metallic taste from this one, not a drainpour but very disappointed for sure.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied, to be honest the mouth feel is like your typical macro, over carbonated crap with no taste what so ever.

Overall- I’m in shock, I never thought the Brits would send us a British macro because that’s exactly what this one tastes like. I am getting a mild malt flavour as it warms up but wow am I ever disappointed, this one was almost an instant sell-out at my local LCBO so I thought I would pick up a couple of them before they were all gone, boy am I not looking forward to drinking this one again, might just have to give it away, hopefully someone will accept. Fail on all aspects.

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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 hopsolutely
3.47/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In aroma and taste, almost an archetypal English IPA.

Pale amber and clear with limited head, but still a decent mouthfeel. Lacking the warm orange and red tones or creaminess of many British ales. Bready aroma and pleasant bitterness on the finish, without any hint of hoppiness anywhere on the palate.

Very, very British!

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.03/5  rDev -10.6%
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 GodOfBeer
3.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale amber with a thin white head, not much carbonation.

Smells a tad skunky at first, thanks to the clear bottle. Sweet citrus hops and bready malts come through. Smells like a typical English IPA.

Nice and malty upfront with a decent amount of citrus hop character.

Nice creamy mouthfeel and highly drinkable. Definitely one of the best English IPAs I've had in a while. I'm pretty sure this must be the first one for the reviewer below me who was expecting pine? This isn't a west coast IPA sir, and this deserves more than a D rating. Learn to differentiate beer styles.

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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 gnz
2.29/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500 ml served in a tankard.

A: Lovely golden shimmer. Pours with a seizable head.

S: Very aromatic, unfortunately not too good. The hop smell is nice but there are some undertones that leaves to desire.

T&M: The hop in the smell certainly reflected in the taste. It didn't taste as much as I was expecting and I somehow caught myself thinking I was drinking a Sol. Unexpected for an English IPA, but might be expected due to the 'lightness' of the beer.

O: I wouldn't go for this beer again.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev +6.2%
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 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 mrnobody
2.84/5  rDev -16.2%
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 +16.5%
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 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 TerryW
3.46/5  rDev +2.1%
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%
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%
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 -11.5%
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 -17.4%
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 Wattsox
3.2/5  rDev -5.6%
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 +15.9%
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 scott451
3.47/5  rDev +2.4%
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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Old Empire from Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
3.39 out of 5 based on 156 ratings.
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