Home > Old Ale > Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale (264 of 1001)

Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale (264 of 1001)

Rating: 3.35

My 264th beer from the 1001 beers list now and one that I first spotted in Tesco a few months ago but put off buying because I wasn’t sure if it featured on the 1001 list or not. The beer was labelled in the store as “Strong Suffolk Dark Ale” but in the book (and what I’ll go with here) it was known as Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale. Upon closer inspection the label did mention it was a vintage ale so satisfied I picked up a bottle to give it a try. The beer itself is brewed by Greene King in Bury St. Edmund and is actually a mix of two of their other beers, neither of which is available to buy individually although I do believe some people have been lucky enough to try them on visits to the brewery (this information may be slightly outdated as I believe others have been able to try the beer at a few beer festivals in recent years as well). The first beer used in the blend is Greene King’s Old 5X which is an old ale brewed to 12% abv. and has been used in a few of the brewery’s beers over the years. After primary fermentation the Old 5X is then aged for at least a year, usually around 2, in on of the brewery’s turn stores. The other beer used in the mix is BPA (Burton Pale Ale) which is a dark and malty offering brewed to about 5% abv. and is another that is hard to sample of its own. Despite not being a huge seller by Greene King standard it appears to be one they are committed to making and as such I’m looking forward to trying it, at the very least it’s another one from the 1001 Beers list I can mark off anyway.

Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale

Appearance (3/5): Chestnut brown, clear bodied and topped with a centimetre tall, fine bubbly head that is a light brown colour and fades to a thin, very slightly patchy lacing after about forty seconds or so.
Aroma (8/10): Quite sweet to start with a lot of dark and ripe fruits, some sugar as well to accompany them. There is a rich smell to this one with some figs coming through with some dates, musky notes and caramel malts with some toffee too. Like I said, this one is very sweet one the nose without overpowering and there is some bread in there too, not to mention a touch of vanilla and maybe even some very faint hops towards the end.
Taste(7/10): Following on from the nose with a lot of sweetness coming through from the sugar as well as the fruits that includes raisin and figs. There is some vanilla in there as well that seems a little stronger than it did in the nose, as do the hops that start to come through around the middle but neither manages to dominate. There is some toffee and caramel malts in there as well with some oak and butterscotch to round things off.
Palate (3/5): Rich and very sweet with a smooth, medium body and light carbonation. The beer is quite complex and rich with an ever so slightly bitter finish.

Overall (13/20): This one started very well with a lot of sweetness and various fruits and held up well right until then end when it started to fade ever so slightly. Not a bad beer at all but it falls short of being a great one and as such I doubt it’s one I’d go back to in future.

Brewed In: Bury St. Edmunds, England
Brewery: Greene King Brewery
Also Known As: Strong Suffolk Dark Ale
Name in United States: Olde Suffolk English Ale
Full Name: Greene King Abbot Ale
First Brewed: circa. 1980s
Type: Old Ale
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £1.79

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Categories: Old Ale Tags: , , , , , ,
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