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  • Marston’s Old Empire

    February 22nd, 2011FletchtheMonkeyBeer Reviews, IPA

    Perhaps this was served a bit colder than Marston’s would like, but forgive me, it’s been a rough day at the coalface if you can pardon me that expression. In fact, I’ve just pulled this bottle straight from the freezer after a short blast amongst the frozen peas and chicken wings, such was my need for ice cool beer refreshment.

    Perhaps why that’s why this India Pale Ale doesn’t burst forward with the verve and charisma of the ‘modern wave’ of British IPA’s. It has a more prominent hop character than the average beer and it doesn’t lack in the bitterness stakes either, but the wisps of delicate citrus and almost unnoticeable spicy pine needles are hidden under what seems to be a layer of damp, decaying hops. Over chilled maybe?

    Marstons Old Empire

    Marstons Old Empire

    Perhaps Marston’s Old Empire is just another distinctively average beer from Marston’s (Ashes Ale, Fever Pitch, Sweet Chariot anyone?).

    Perhaps that would be unfair, given the conditions and my exhaustion. I’m at the point where beer is beer and (at least I thought that) almost anything would taste glorious. And it does exactly what I need a beer to do, just not in any interesting or noticeable way. There’s few distinctive flavours that can be readily identified, no hidden complexities that ebb and flow and tease and excite. It’s a perfectly acceptable, not-quite-cold beer and that makes it just fine for the moment.

    Perhaps Old Empire is something that deserves to be treated better, perhaps it’s something more refined than a kick-off-your-shoes beer. Perhaps I’m not giving it the attention it deserves, maybe I should be giving it the chance to be more than just respite from a day of spreadsheets, invoices and Google Analytics.

    Perhaps I’m being unfair.

    Perhaps I should have gone to the pub.

    Beer information:
    Beer: Old Empire
    Brewery: Marston’s
    Style: India Pale Ale
    ABV: 5.7%
    Country: Burton-upon-Trent, England


    Mark is better known as @fletchthemonkey and started writing about beer in 2009. When not content with spending all day on the internet working in digital for an multichannel retailer, Mark waxes lyrical at and types up match reports for Leeds Guide magazine.

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2 responses to “Marston’s Old Empire” RSS icon

  • I think you are being grossly unfair to this beer.

    Old Empire has been a favourite of mine since I discovered it in 2007 and is always on my shopping list. My only disappointment is that I don’t see it on draught often enough, where is gives Jaipur a run for it’s money.

    Over chilling a beer deadens the delicate flavours and aromas and I think you must have suffered here.

    Give it another go.



  • Hi John

    Quite possibly I’ve been unfair, hence all the perhaps and maybes in the post, which actually I think is very fair in the interests of being open and honest rather than writing something off regardless of the content!

    We do try to avoid posting after one bad sitting of a beer, as we think that can be unfair. Especially when I knew damn well it was below the advised temperature. But after an interesting twitter discussion about context the other day I thought these tasting notes were worth posting to highlight this issue.

    I actually have another bottle at home and will do my best to treat it better next time!

    Any other recommendations? (PS.; Thanks for commenting, makes it worthwhile posting!)



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