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Bitter Brewer - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

958 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 958
Reviews: 426
rAvg: 4
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 223
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 958 | Reviews: 426 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bwiechmann
5/5  rDev +25%

bwiechmann, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SrMonkey
3.96/5  rDev -1%

SrMonkey, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of hoeg0015
5/5  rDev +25%

hoeg0015, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of stevef03
5/5  rDev +25%

stevef03, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Yulles
5/5  rDev +25%

Yulles, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SourNotes
5/5  rDev +25%

SourNotes, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Kaydogg
5/5  rDev +25%

Kaydogg, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of shaebs99
4/5  rDev 0%

shaebs99, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of millelacsmark
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

millelacsmark, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of hu5om
5/5  rDev +25%

hu5om, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of djschnabel
4/5  rDev 0%

djschnabel, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Sender
5/5  rDev +25%

Sender, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of tbeq00
4/5  rDev 0%

tbeq00, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of harrymel
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned 28JUL11 A: pours orange with an ephemeral foam cap finishing in a central dome over this excellently clarified beer. No lace. (3) S: Some citric hops over a malty base layer. The malts may be a hint oxidized and it shows with a cardboard character. (3) T: Lots of pale malts and some nice sweetness from the oats give this a rural taste. Subtle and simple. (3.5) M: Thin with hi carb. The carb is sharp and a little too much for the body. Semi dry finish. (3) O: I could take it or leave it. I make a mild ale actually that is similar to this. I wouldn’t call it world class, but certainly sessionable. (3)

harrymel, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden apple juice colored body with a white head.

The aroma has a wonderful tea-like hop character. Add in some honey and malt notes and you have quite the bouquet.

Hop/Malt balance and the unique English hop flavors are best part of this beer. Honeyed malt flows into medicinal, tea-like hops and a medium level of hop bitterness.

Ah, olde English Ale! To bad Bitters aren't more popular, I could drink beer like this all day long. This is what session beer is all about. Highly drinkable, but still very interesting. The hops really linger on the palate and remind you that while American hops may have assumed superiority, English varietals can still be very enjoyable.

BradLikesBrew, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams glass. A hazy orange/amber color with about one finger of hesd with good retention and nice lacing throughout.

Aroma of grapefruit and orange. A nice balance of hops and malts.

The mouthfeel is light/medium bodied with some nice carbonation and some bitterness on the finish.

Very refreshing.

Could drink alot of this, a nice session beer.

InspectorBob, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can poured into a British pint glass. Authentic!

Appearance - Slightly hazy burnt orange body with minimal head, but what's there is persistent. Has the look of a barely carbonated cask ale. Also authentic!

Smell - Wow, hoppy. Not what I expected. Kind of a stale citrus smell. Like an old IPA. Way more hops than a bitter would have. Hell, it's way more hops than an English IPA would have. It's nice, but I don't know that more hops is necessarily better in this case.

Taste - Hop dominance in the taste. It's all hops until the finish, which has the slightest malt flavor. After that, it's bitter! Not tremendously. It has a slight bite, which is authentic. I'm looking for much more of a malt character, though.

Mouthfeel - Light and tinglingly carbonated. Not high carbonation, but tingly, if that makes sense. It's good for a bitter, although considering the hop flavor it needs more body.

Overall - So hoppy that it isn't really genuine to the style. Lacking the malt backbone to justify the hop content. Still, an interesting take that I don't mind drinking. And you can't beat the flavor for the ABV.

Alieniloquium, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of greenmonstah
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into Perfect Pint

A - Pours a perfect copper color with a finger of large bubbles. Nice retention.

S - Bitter and bready, with a grapefruit note. Strong aroma compared to other bitters I've had.

T - Bitter herbal and grassy hops with none of the fruit of the aroma. A bit bready or biscuity, but most just bitter

M - Light body with lots of carbonation and a drying finish.

O - Unbelievably good for a beer at this ABV. Only Stone Levitation can compare in the low-ABV beer category. A fine beer to have at a pub, so as to avoid getting shit-faced.

greenmonstah, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of jmarsh123
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark gold almost copper tinged with a small white head that fades away to a wisp.

Almost smells like an IPA. Very citrusy nose with slight hints of spice. Smells good, but I'd call it abnormal for the style.

Starts off slightly citrusy, but not anywhere close to the nose. Light spicy bitterness invades the palate much earlier than normal, but never gets too intense. Very even bitterness all the way across the tongue. A very bready almost rye like as well sweetness hits after the initial hop burst before fading into the bitterness as well.

Mouthfeel is very fairly light with good carbonation levels. Very easy drinking beer.

Definitely a bitter beer, but never gets close to the palate wrecking ways of an IPA. Everything about the flavor is exactly what I would expect from a bitter. Another very good job by Surly.

jmarsh123, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of TwinButte
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Golden brown color with an off white head

S- Its a nice spicy aroma. Smells pretty hoppy.

T- A citrusy flavor but very bitter on the back end.

M- A light body beer.

D- As the name says, it is bitter beer with a strong hop aroma. Smells alot like a pale ale. Was expecting an undrinkable bitter beer but its not too bad. Not my favorite Surly and that being said I probably won't get this one again.

Serving type: can

TwinButte, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of zrab11
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a cloudy orange color with a 1 finger off white head

S- Has a nice smell. It smells of hops and tea leaves. with a hint of yeast

T-Has a herbal bitter taste upfront then in the middle the citrus hops come through then it finishes with some more herbal flavors

M- Light to medium body with good carbonation

D- Overall this is a very drinkable beer. could drink a few of these in a sitting. It was good but i was hoping for a little more body and also looking for it to be a little more bitter. Ive had a few more Esb's that are a tad more flavorful. Def. give this a try though!

zrab11, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a hazy copper color with good carbonation leaving a nice, foamy white ring

S: Citrus hops, Earthy

T: A little bit of citrus hops upfront and then there is a nice, but not overkill bittering with a dose of floral notes, grains and Earthiness, bitterness is prounounced, booze is very light

M: Light bodied with a fairly low carbonation, but still enough to provide a crisp bite.

O: Not a bad beer and easy to drink

barleywinefiend, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of cpetrone84
3.2/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep transparent amber orange with a large bubbled cream colored head. The nose is very hoppy, orange peel and leafy hop with a bit of stale biscuity bread up front and notes of tea. The flavor is less hoppy and has a bit of an empty finish, very tea like, some herbal leafy hops, with some underlying biscuit. Thin body, well carbonated, lacks depth in finish.

cpetrone84, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of warnerry
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours clear orange brown with one finger of quickly dissipating off-white head. Leaves some nice lacing.

S - Smell contains both bitter and sweet citrus notes and a nice grain character.

T - Taste follows the smell pretty closely with a more prominent bread character. Finishes with a nice clean bitterness.

M - Medium mouthfeel with relatively low, but good carbonation level for the style. Bitterness is subtle, but lingers nicely.

O - A very welcome flavorful low abv brew. The citrus notes are quite nice.

warnerry, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Cavery
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can dated 6/6/11, courtesy of my brother Klym in a recently family trade. Always happy to give another Surly can a tick! There's something cool about just having these among your other beers.

16 oz can into generic snifter

A: Nice looking sappy brown red and yellow body with soap sud foams that form a ring around the glass. Islands of patchy lacing form, and then melt away like icebergs adrift. A slight murkiness that may be from having this a bit colder out of the can than it should be, I'll give it a few minutes before moving on.

S: Animal feed, cigar wrappers, firewood, and bunches of pine needles. Unusual in the nose, and I quite like it. It would seem suggestive of a malt presence, but the hops are still there in a mellow way. I find this nose really familiar yet hard to pinpoint, I spent about 5 minutes on this category before I came up with the initial descriptors. It's oh so familiar yet oh so elusive. Freshly cleaned horse trough as a final statement.

T: Old tree bark with an initial taste that reminds me of those candied black jelly beans. The flavor quickly picks up interrupting the old black licorice jelly beans to transition to a much fainter hop and mothballs bitterness. This is quite a pleasant surprise. I wish I was more familiar with the style, as the balance of flavors seems to be very solid. A tad bit of wateriness sneaks through, but not in a way that compromises the flavor. It just adds to an ease of drinking. Dried old leaves crunch in the finish, and catch fire for taste of a wildfire in fall.

M: Light but creamy in the mouth, good feels from a thickness of ingredients. The bitterness hits first in a faint smokey-airy sort of feel, then transitions into a much more solid chewiness. Slow release of small bubbles helps maintain a strong chewy sensation throughout. The ease of drinking certainly comes from its low alcohol feels and flavor compatible carbonation. Bitter, but sessionable.

O: I really liked this, I think the flavors really popped off the body in a very unique and clean way. It was like taking a hoppy trip to a farm, setting fire to it, and then making a clean low ABV getaway. I enjoyed thick bitter flavors and chewy mouthfeels, but I don't feel trashed. I need to drink more bitters, as this one left me with a craving for more bitter sessionables.

Cavery, Sep 23, 2011
Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 958 ratings.