Greene King announces return of rare brew Strong Suffolk

Strong Suffolk, an original Greene King beer believed to date back to the 1920s, will be making a much-anticipated return this winter for a limited time only, with its 6% ABV.

The English Strong Ale will be available to purchase while stock lasts from Greene King’s Online Shop for the RRP of £2.50, or from the Greene King Beer Café now, located at the renowned Bury St Edmunds brewery.

The rare and much-loved ale was last brewed in 2018 as a single batch, and due to high demand, returns this year ahead of the Christmas period as a special one-off brew. Strong Suffolk has developed a dedicated fanbase due to its deep, fruity tasting notes and the traditional method in which it is brewed.

Fans of the ale will be pleased to discover that no significant changes have been made to the unique brewing process, or delicious notes of fruitcake, sultanas and dried fruit as well and spice and oak – the main change is the refresh of its well-known badge. Dipping into the archives, Greene King has resurrected one of the original label designs for the limited batch as a nod to the beer’s history.

The blended beer is the result of an innovative yet traditional brewing process, taking on a strong 12% ABV ale base, which has been fermented and matured in 100-barrel oak vats. The crucial maturing process can take up to two years and creates the rich Madeira wine-tasting palate the beer is frequently compared to.

As part of an old technique that has been lost over time by most breweries, the lids of the vats are covered in marl, a word in Suffolk to describe a type of sandy gravel, to stop the lids of the vessels being lifted by the secondary fermentation and to prevent wild yeasts and bacteria from infecting the beer.

After the beer is blended with a dark, full-bodied beer called BPA, it undergoes a process that combines old and new techniques. The result is a dark ale with masses of deep, fruity flavour that is reminiscent of heritage English ales.

Head Brewer at Greene King, Jack Palmer, said: “We are extremely proud to announce the return of one of our most popular beers here at the Greene King brewery. Strong Suffolk is a fond favourite amongst beer lovers everywhere and as it’s only available for a limited time we’re sure it’s going to go quickly!

“The freshly brewed dark beer is commonly referred to as reminiscent of old English ales, making it a great example of Greene King’s drinking heritage that we take a lot of pride in.

“The unique brewing process of the ale is something we value here at Bury St Edmunds, and we’re very much looking forward to celebrating its return as a limited-edition brew.”

Strong Suffolk can be purchased, while stock lasts, at Greene King’s Online Shop or at the Greene King Beer Café now.