Centurion's Ghost Ale | York Brewery Company Limited

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Centurion's Ghost AleCenturion's Ghost Ale
Very Good
Centurion's Ghost AleCenturion's Ghost Ale

Brewed by:
York Brewery Company Limited
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 41
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this a lot on cask at the Brick Store Pub. Gravity pour as well, which was nice. Pours a beautiful very dark brown, almost black, with ruby highlights. Has a relatively thick pancake head that is off-white. Some nice lacing. Smells grainy, including a touch of grain sourness, as well as some gentle cocoa and roasted notes. Perhaps a little touch of coffee as well. The taste is really very nice- rich and full, but smooth and creamy, with a pleasant light nuttiness, more cocoa notes, and some very light creamy roastiness. Sweet and creamy on the finish with some light earthy hops. There is a touch of copper throughout, as well as some subdued dried fruit. Very pleasant. Pleasantly smooth and creamy in the mouth, and just wonderful overall.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Luton Real Ale Festival.

This ale poured a very dark, almost opaque brown with light brown foam that persisted a bit. The smell was very pungent: sweet dark malt, and piney and chicory hops. The taste was mild dark malt with a touch of sweetness and a bit of piney hops. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and low carbonation. The hoppy, malty flavor lingered on the tongue. This was a very nice ale.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amazing strong, dark ale from York. This looks a lot like a porter and there is definitely chocolatey, coffee hints and the use of roasted barley and chocolate malts is obvious.

Rich, earthy malt flavour and low hop profile. Very nice mouthfeel - low, natural carbonation. Could be a nice session beer, but it is a little "heavy" and even the brewery itself admits its not really for session drinking.

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Photo of charlatan
3.02/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Half pint on cask at the Glasgow Real Ale festival. Nasty cleaning fluid type smell while alcohol overrode and clashed with otherwise pleasant flavours.

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Photo of wl0307
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted by half-pint at the GBBF 06, where it just won the Gold Medal in the Strong Bitters category. Served by a hand-pump. I'm attracted to this beer esp. because I've visited the site from which the name of this beer supposedly derives. It's a mansion right beside the York Minster, where excavation work in the past sort of disturbed the spirits buried underneath, bringing out mysterious phantom-figures of Roman soldiers/centurions marching from underground~~

A: mysteriously black in colour, with mahogany glows when seen against light; fluffy off-white beer head with good retention.
S: deeply caramely maltiness mixed with a profound flowery scent of Osmanthus fragrans, dried longan-fruits and smoky/roasty hints of black malts... balanced, slightly tilting towards the malty side but fragrant hops (with a bit of Goldings edge) help result in a nice, complex aroma.
T&M: roast tea-leafy bitterness prevails upfront, bringing aboard lots of bitter-sweet roasty+caramely malts and a thick palate of sticky stone-fruit jam; gradually a slightly herbal hint of licorice, woody taste, as well as a deeper flavour of lightly-roasted coffee prevail somewhere at the back... mixed hoppyness abounds in the aftertaste, making a 3D bitter-sweet blend of hops and bitter-roasted malts to linger until the very end. Semi-thick in texture and full-bodied, yet a fresh, creamy mouthfeel is retained throughout the drink, as the cask beer when consumed is so fresh and at its prime.
D: an impressive ale truly deserving a medal, although I didn't try the runner-up and bronze-medalist in the same category to make a detailed comparison. Somehow this beer makes me want to revisit that beautiful, historical city again, maybe combining it with a proper pub+brewery tour in Keighley and Yorkshire countryside~~

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Photo of emerge077
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Currently on cask @ Map Room, served in a tapered FFF glass, 20 oz. for $6. Enjoyed in the company of autumnaldave & beertooth.

Poured a dark brown with a glint of red at the edges. Bubbly head that poofed up above the rim, and magically it kept it's head for the duration of the glass. Aroma was fairly nondescript, earthy, tea-like, tobacco.

The taste was light and pleasant, subdued toasted malt, tobacco, and an essence of honey in the aftertaste. Fairly toned down and mild for a "strong ale". Pretty light bodied, yet went down very easy. This was a nice cask ale, nothing too wild but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of mdagnew
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at the Yorkshire Terrier pub, York, June 2010... served at room temperature...

Poured a deep dark burgundy red / almost completely black colour... Mocha tan head poured very tight, thick and foamy with a meringue like top.. this faded slowly to good one finger covering... some decent lacing clings to the glass throughout...

Aroma - Lots of good strong roasted malts mixed with strong biscuit notes... toasted nuttiness, light hops, dark brown sugar / toffee sweetness, light fruits (blackcurrents, apples, prunes), earthy, some sooty traces...

Taste - Pretty much as above... some grassy and peppery notes, hint of citrus, good bitterness coming through from the roasted malts, toffee sweetness...

Feel - Fairly smooth and creamy... medium bodied... at only 5.4% this is a very drinkable brew...

A very nice sessionable brew... well worth a try...

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Photo of surfadelic23
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One thing that consistenly amazes me about English real ales are the complexity of flavors possible in low abv brews! It shouldn't as I homebrew, but it does. One positive is that it makes one appreciate that a beer doesn't have to be 20% abv and brewed with esoteric bs ingrediants to be good...
A warming, dark bitter ale, with a roasted malt taste. Very easy to drink for its strength 5.4%.
I had this on cask in numerous pubs in York but especially enjoyed it after a huge dinner in the little pub in my B&B.

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Photo of vinicole
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark brown body, topped with an off white head of foam that leaves excellent lace as it settles slowly.

S - A slightly sweet aroma of malt with notes of red apple and lightly musty hops. Some toffee in the background.

T - Dry, toasty malt up front with just a bit of toffee. Some dry caramel in the middle that lasts through the finish. Musty hops and a fairly strong bitterness balance out the malt along with a hint of fruity yeast that lingers on the palate.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This is a very nice cask ale with a excellent malt character. The combination of light toffee and red apple yeast character is perfect and manages to work with the mouthfeel to create a very satisfying drinking experience. The bitterness is stiff, but just enough so to balance everything out and make for a quaffable brew. In many ways, this is exactly the sort of beer that I think of when I imagine drinking in a British pub and I will gladly drink it again whenever I have the chance.

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Photo of beckje01
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark, low carbonation, average head. It looks very inviting after the tour.

Smell - Coffee malt smells.

Taste - Smooth, rich and malty not too much hops. Very good taste.

Mouthfeel - Not too carbinated sits well in the mouth.

Drinkability - Goes down easy and is a good end beer. I wouldn't suggest having anyother kind after this one in a night.

I had this beer at the brewery on my trip to york, I loved this beer and it was the best I had while I was there. I also had this beer from a bottle at a later date and I must say cask is much better and I probably wouldn't have it from a bottle agin but I very much want to go back to York for this beer and some tourist things.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle:BBD 28 Jul 2013. Shared with the wife on 14 Jun 2013. Poured into two old 'Home Ales' half-pint countryman tankards.

Dark, very dark: ruby red hints in the light, good tanned head that lasted on both halves.

Malty aroma and taste: charcoal and chocolate infused coffee, all rolled up in a caramel flavoured brown bread bap. Then soaked over night in alcohol, great!

Smooth, complex and tasty, more malts obviously than hops, but the hops do keep the sweetness in check nicely.

Good body feel and depth: a very pleasant beer all round.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown. Earthy and woody flavor that carries a slight nut tone. Bitter edge is there for sure, but its mature enough to be able to keep it pleasant. Feel is smooth with a low but slightly biting carbonation. It's pretty smooth and nice to drink.

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Photo of deebo
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of ThirstyBird
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a half pint at NERAX in Cambidge MA
A - Pours a deep reddish brown. Light tan head stay around.
S - roasted malts some nice hops as well
T - Roasted malts and some dark fruit. Nice hops on the aftertaste.
M/F - Light/Medium body with light carbonation.
D - This was one of my favorite ales of the festival. Great drinkability.

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Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of chinabeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on cask at NERAX 2009

very dark, brownish amber. good gemstone clarity. foamy, off-white head, bubbly, fading into wisps and a bubbly ring. minimal lace.

great roasted aroma, porter/stout maltiness with touch of mash acidity, moving into a coffee note all the way to the finish. touch of grassy, earthy hop, plus more roasted malts.

on the palate, everything's a little watered down, but still complex, with a dark malt and roast, touch of esters, and both grassy/earthy hop and roast bitterness, with faint acidity.

light and thin, but smooth, with faint astringency in the finish. milde carbonation gives lift and hint of additional body.

hmm... this approaches porter/stout territory.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the 2011 Belfast Beer Festival.

Brown-black with tan froth. Tar, smoke and spice on the nose.
Sour grain, rusk, and cinnamon toast to start, salty, with big leaf and branch hops to end.
Meat juice and berry finish (!) and dry linger. Light to medium, soft and sticky.

I tasted this blind and man, was I confused - who'd have guessed a Black Bitter?? Plenty of roast, very umami, but light enough to be drinkable. Satisfying.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Last Drop Inn in York. First day in York and roaming City Center, dropped in for a bite and some brew. I can't imagine a better backdrop. Very nice, sweet folks.
This is listed as an English Strong Ale, much to my surprise. I'm a little too green to dispute, but I thought I was drinking an English Stout.
This was a very tasty, highly drinkable brew. I wasn't about to mention this there, but reminded me of Murphy's.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.4/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bottle (Pre 1999)

(Aged for 12+ years)

Thanks for sharing, MrVonzipper!

Dark, murky brown with nearly no visible carbonation. Leaves the glass clean.

The nose has actually held up (or changed into something) quite nicely, consisting of lots of dark fruits, namely figs and dates, a bit of earth and leaves, and some alcohol-soaked cherry. Dare I say...I like it?

The flavor, however, has not held up nearly as nicely. There's a huge amount of oxidation and seems a bit metallic--this tastes like how rust looks.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with very little, if any, carbonation.

This one's seen better days, though it wasn't even the most vile beer I drank that evening!

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Photo of trevorpost
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of paxton1978
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review is an unabashed attempt to level-out the ridiculous reviews of bottles that are 12-15 years old. This beer shouldn't be aged and those that have and then have unfairly rated it should be ashamed. If I came on here and slated an aged bottle of pliny then I'd get slated in return, so why is this any different. To quote a previous reviewer. 'suck it'.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 500ml brown pop top with cool label. Best by June 28 2012. Brought this back with me from England. Loved this on cask in 2005; let's see what the bottled version's like! Poured into my Black Sheep Riggwelter tulip pint at true cellar temperature.

Appearance: Beautiful dark walnut brew with brilliant clarity. Rich looking brew, with a nice creamy light beige cap which shows good retention.

Smell: Mild roast up front; not as sharp as a brown porter, though a bit more than your typical brown ale. Hints of milk chocolate and some nutty tones as well. Wee bit of dark fruitiness as well. Overall, this is rich, reasonably complex, and quite pleasant. B to B+

Taste: Somewhere between a brown porter and a nut brown ale. There's quite a surprising bitterness here, however. The malt bill includes pale, crystal, and chocolate, and I'm willing to bet that there's a decent bit of the latter in here. Yet there's also a strong, fruity hop bitterness here as well (the hop bill includes Challenger, Fuggles, and Bramling Cross). No idea on the IBU's here, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was somewhere in the 30s or low 40s. There's a nice bit of roast and maltiness here, but the bitterness is surprisingly dominant here. Overall, it's a good beer, but it's a bit unbalanced (IMO) towards the hops. Still, very nice malt character as well.

Mouthfeel: A bit over-carbed in the bottle; this is better on cask, obviously, but this is not a bad carbonation level for this style of beer. Other than that, it's fairly rich and full for the gravity.

Overall: Is this the same, damn-near life-changing beer I had back in 2005 on cask at the York Brewery? Well, not quite. I managed to pop into the brewery this past summer to grab a half-pint after a whirlwind tour of York's city center, and I thought it was pretty good, if not remarkable. I also had a bottle this summer in York and it was...meh. This, on the other hand (I believe from a fresher batch) is really quite tasty, if, as I said, a bit more bitter than I'd like for the style.

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Photo of bylerteck
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of FreshHawk
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark mahogany with definite ruby streaks. Full, large, frothy, creamy, sticky, off cream color with very good retention leaving a thick layer of creamy lace.

S - Sweet, earthy nut flavors strongest with some background hints of chocolate. Some strong dark and caramel malt aroma as well. Very faint dark fruit (and general fruitiness) underneath it all.

T - Interesting mix of different English flavors. Initially there is a lot of earthy and nutty taste with mild dark and caramel malt bringing some sweetness. Some chocolate malt and a bit of a roasted feel, somewhat similar to an English Stout with more coming out mid-sip. Some grassy and earthy hops come out.

M - Medium to light body with a little below average carbonation. Fairly smooth.

D - Quite drinkable with a nice mix of dark mild and stout flavors. Light and easy on the tongue but it has enough complexity to be interesting that builds as you drink it.

Notes: Best before 28/August/2010. Very enjoyable beer to drink. It's definitely English although I don't think it fits neatly into a style. Well balanced and very enjoyable beer. Worth grabbing one if you can.

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Centurion's Ghost Ale from York Brewery Company Limited
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 41 ratings