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Greene King Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale

by on 29 November, 2011

6.0% abv, 500ml glass bottle, Suffolk, England, $6.99 from Countdown Glenfield (normally $8.69)

Greene King, first established in 1979 in Suffolk, have expanded over the years to own several English brands that most of you would have heard of; Abbot Ale, Morland (one of their more famous brews being the Old Speckled Hen), and Ruddles, among others.

Like stained glass in deep ruby red, the beige head dissipates quickly and leaves minimal lacing – which, surprisingly, is also gone before I can finish the glass.

My scent glands are treated to spicy fruitcake, bergamot, and an overture of oaky bourbon character as I get close and take it all in.

The taste of English toffee and fruit mince pies pervades the palate as the thick ale spreads like velvet over my tongue. Bitter molasses and tannin remains for some time after, and builds with each mouthful.

I’m a bit of a sucker for oak aged English strong ales, and I’m glad to say this is an excellent example, the flavours are well balanced with neither the oak or malt characters being overpowering.

I reckon, enjoyed with brandy-drenched fruit pudding and a mince pie or two, all drowned in custard of course, this could be a real winner after the turkey this Christmas!


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