1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Bishops Finger - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Bishops FingerBishops Finger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

169 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 169
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.89%

Brewed by:
Shepherd Neame Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2001)
View: Beers (52) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 169 | Reviews: 94 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of doktorhops


3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

How this one stayed off my radar for so long [I love a good pint of English Bitter] I'll never know, but there it is: a pint of Shepherd Neame Bishops Finger... it even sounds like a saucy sacrilegious poke at the ecclesiastical order. And we all know how much I love a good beer label euphemism mixing with satire, and beer... Ok as it turns out I looked at the back label of this beer and the name is disappointingly innocuous "It takes its name from the finger-shaped signposts which pointed pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas a Becket in Canterburys"... Poo.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear Jersey caramel body with a boisterous beige foam on top. This screams of a classic Kentish Bitter, Oi!

S: Toasted toffee base upfront, followed by caramel notes and a nice earthy hop finish. There is a slight fruitiness in the hops as well - lemon.

T: Tasty toasted toffee biscuit toasts its way tracing a tantalising dance across my taste buds. Classic English Bitters are generally a malt/hops balancing act and this ale is no different. With flavours of; toffee, caramel, earthy and citric hops finished with a tea-like tannin in the finish. Tastes as English pub as an ale can get really.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D: As English as shepherds pie and a Friday night biff-up followed by some hard slapper shagging/snogging. This brew really takes me back to my jaunt across the capital 'U' capital 'K', with memories of working menial jobs for little pay which all got spent on rent, beer and food, ahhh, those were the days. Anyway reality, you big douche, time to be in the present and presently this is a decent English ale, not the best, nothing like a Citra, St Peter's or Pride of Oxford, but nonetheless a good drop.

Food match: Traditional English fare: shepherds pie and a Friday night biff-up followed by some hard slapper shagging/snogging... and crumpets.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 23:17:09 | More by doktorhops
Photo of safaricook


4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Got this at a visit to my first Irish pub in years at the Moynihans on Madeira.
It was served in the Bishops finger Pint glass and drunk on the breezy terrace with the ocean in view.

Offwhite creamy head that left substatial lacing and reduced slowly to a rim. Body is a clear amber with not much bubbles to mention.
Nose is a flowery English hop, caramel and sweet cherries. Nice!
Taste follows nose with the hops being more resinous and piney. And this addictive caramel flavor.
Body is medium and a bit flat but suits the style though not being English, I miss my bubbles.
Overall a really good example of the style that differs from the Fuller's ESB by the flowery hops. It seems I love this style.

Serving type: on-tap

11-05-2013 13:47:14 | More by safaricook
Photo of Kevichella

United Kingdom (England)

4.28/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Poured it from the bottle into a pint glass and it is a deep, dark copper with a large frothy head that reduced fairly quickly, leaving a little constant ring.

Smell: Smells chocolatey and rich, though not too strong

Taste: Tastes like chocolate and nut

Feel: Feels both smooth and fizzy at the same time when held in the mouth. My tongue started to tingle.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 19:26:32 | More by Kevichella
Photo of Graphirus

Russian Federation

4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours deep copper with a small off.white head that don not stay longer. Small lacing

S - Moderate maltiness, some hops notes and fruity esters.

T - Medium bitterness that stays for long. Maltiness is evident with some notes of caramel.

M - In the mouth feels medium-bodied, Medium carbonation

O - A very good Strong Bitter with the right amount of bitterness to make it easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2013 22:46:20 | More by Graphirus
Photo of FLima


3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with three fingers of fluffy head with short retention, but leaving laces.
Light aroma of English noble hops, caramel and malt sweetness.
Flavor of English hops, caramel malt, nuts and currants with hints of pepper and minerals. Bitter than what I expected which is welcome. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light to medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Very flavorful beer, balancing malt sweetness with a pleasant bitterness. Not overly complex, but it is assertive.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2013 21:36:25 | More by FLima
Photo of Geert


3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: nice brown colour, very clear. Small head which lasts.
S: Low in aroma, some dark malt. I'm thinking I smell some Brett.
T: Nice toffee malt. Fairly bitter.
M: Quite dry, highly carbonated for an English ale.
O: Misses something in aroma and taste/mouthfeel could be fuller.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 20:19:29 | More by Geert
Photo of IchLiebeBier


4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Amber; clear; frothy, beige, long-lasting head

Aroma: Slight dried fruit; malt; light floral hops

Taste: Peppery hops and juicy malt on start; sweet, malty fruity on mid; dry and hoppy on finish

Remarks: Very refreshing and well balanced

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 22:33:47 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of jonb5

United Kingdom (England)

3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Half litre bottle, poured into pint glass.

A: Brown, small off white head, clear.

S: The malt used for this really reminded me of the malt used in some beers from Bamberg, had a real malty sharpness. There were also notes of slightly sour fruits.

T: Burnt caramel which was balanced out by some bitterness, had hints of wheat and dark chocolate. Possibly some Fuggles hop.

M: Medium body, smooth, moderate carbonation.

O: Fairly wintery, not a bad ESB but not the best.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2013 10:31:06 | More by jonb5
Photo of djura


3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found it in Romania.

A - Very beautiful amber to cherry red color. One finger foam lasting few minutes. Lots of bubbles staying couple of minutes.
S - To be honest,didn't feel nothing written on the bottle. Mostly fine pale aromas.
T/M - It is high bitter,and that is ok,but it is to much carbonated. Tick,caramel taste.

O - Above average,fine ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2013 07:34:43 | More by djura
Photo of Radome


3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500 ml bottle bought in England.

A - Deep copper color, orange highlights. Brilliant clarity. Bone colored head piles 1 inch high and is fluffy, then fades to thick sheet with serious lacing.

S - Aroma is full of earthy English hops, but somehow they don't come across as fresh. Nothing else makes it through.

T - Taste is a mix of light bready malt and earthy hops. Not overly complex. The hops only provide light to moderate bitterness, yet somehow they seem a bit harsh. There is a metallic note that detracts at first, then disappears.

M - Medium body. Smooth, creamy carbonation. Low hops bitterness. No alcohol presence.

O - A forgettable beer. Other than appearance, I don't think anything about it stands out from the crowd.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2013 23:18:14 | More by Radome
Photo of ToppyBeerMaster

2.53/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear brown hue, dark fruit nose, sweet sultanas, dates, slightly rough upfront, caramel, toffee in the middle, strong tasting, slight bitter aftertaste, full bodied dark beer.

Typical english ale, similar style and feel to other Shepard Neame beers. Would be best enjoyed on a cold pommy day served slightly chilled to bring out the flavour of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 20:34:30 | More by ToppyBeerMaster
Photo of EmperorBevis

United Kingdom (England)

3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Let me level with you

I'm not a huge fan of Bishops finger, not drank it in years.
Bottle was on offer thought I'd give it another chance.

Very brandy looking shade for the body big brash white frothy head.

Rich aroma heavy on the hops with hints of figs and sweaty dockers.

Quite a bitter peppery taste, starts very dry malt then goes right into a bitter harsh aftertaste too soon, I think on cask it would deliver a little more depth.

Okay mouthfeel and good carbonation makes an easy drinking beer that's easy to find though a little dull but decent.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 20:27:57 | More by EmperorBevis
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Brown mahogany coloured with with a bubbly, slightly off-white head that is about a thumb width tall and has excellent retention, staying for several minutes. The beer is still and has great clarity.

A nut aroma with some lighter malts and even fainter caramel. It is sort of earthly smelling and to be honest it's not the strongest smelling beer in the world.

A bread and malt flavour with an earthy, nutty flavour to it and a little caramel. It isn't great but it's a drinkable, sadly not one that stands out against the crowd.

Medium with a smooth, mildly carbonated feel to it. The mouthfeel is pretty good on this beer, shame the taste couldn't quite match it.

Easy to drink and good on the palate but not the greatest tasting or smelling beer in the world. To be honest I was expecting a lot more from this beer than it actually delivered.

1001 Beers Blog:

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 21:55:39 | More by flyingpig
Photo of paulozanello


3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cristal clear copper amber color with a tan one finger head that persists for a short while. Retention is good and above average. Lots of carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is bready, toasty malts, caramel and toffee. Not overly complex but still good.

Taste begins malty with toasted grain, caramel and toffee. A slight roasted character contributes a little to add bitterness but towards the end the earthy hops really kick in bringing way more bitterness and good balance to the toffee-like malt notes.

Body is medium leaning towards low. Carbonation is high, maybe a bit too high. Finishes dry due to hop bitterness/astringency with a boost from the carbonation.

Overall a nice ESB with a fairly simple but well done malt bill balanced by the right amount of hops. It does lack more depth in the malt department and the carbonation could be lower to enhance the other flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2011 21:18:53 | More by paulozanello
Photo of seanyfo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

50cl bottle poured into standard uk pint sleeve

BBE May 2012

A- chestnut brown body with excellent clarity. Tan head is a rocky 2 finger that reduces to a sustained thin layer over time with good lacing/legs.

S- chestnuts, some toasted malts with a hint of toffee sweetness

T- toasted malts up front, slightly astringent with a very subtle sweeter malt hint. Hop bitterness comes through eventually in the finish.

M- carbonation is a bit too high, medium body.

D- definitely doesnt have enough sweeter richer malts on the palate to balance the toastier malts and hop bitterness and therefore be a top ESB. Carbonation also just a bit too high and that takes away from the smooth feel you want from the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 21:59:13 | More by seanyfo
Photo of LeathChuinn


3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 50ml bottle and served at room temperature in a half pint glass.

A: A reddish amber colour with a 1 and a half finger off-white, fluffy head. Decent amount of lacing to the glass.

S: Aroma is mild, malty and with a hint of caramel and damp grass.

T: Definite tastes of caramelised malts and chocolate malts with a taste of chocolate resins, nuts and a fruity finish.

MF: Smooth and light carbonated. Lingering bitter finish.

O: Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 22:52:39 | More by LeathChuinn
Photo of dgilks


3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark amber colour with some red hues. Rocky, light tan head with good head retention.

Dusty, toffee aroma with some pale malt and earthy hop notes.

Light, smooth, toffee-like malt with moderate bitterness and some earthiness. Nicely balanced and crisp.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. A touch fizzy but as expected for a bottled ale.

A nice, easy to drink, standard issue British ale. The rich toffee note adds a unique depth.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 08:25:23 | More by dgilks
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep clear orange-tan with no fizz but a lumpy beige head that leaves some trails. Peanut and spicy hops nose with slight orange oil. Gooseberry and dark toast malts with juicy bitter-sweet black cherry base, and musky, herbal hops, like incense or cinnamon oil plus a tannic hit like tea. A possible whiff of diesel and a metallic tang, too. Light -medium, dry and crisp.

Easy drinking, with lots of earthy-spicy English hops character. Thoroughly decent for a mass market ale. But don't let it get too warm, because that's when the nasty off flavours come out...

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2011 09:43:30 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of Sigmund


3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rerate: 500 ml clear bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 5.4%. Golden brown colour, big to moderate off-white head. The aroma has loads of toffee and caramel, also notes of malts, fruits and bakery. The flavour is nutty with plenty of caramel, some fruity sweetness, and a distinct hoppy bitterness in the finish. Alcohol is noticeable. Original rating: (500 ml bottle). Kentish strong ale of golden brown colour, good head, malty aroma with caramel and oak. Nutty flavour, well hopped, "raw" in the edges (which I like). Would love to try this one cask conditioned!

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 19:29:27 | More by Sigmund
Photo of jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Jan 2011. This is ale with a pedigree - the label proclaims Shepherd Neame as Britain's oldest brewer (from 1698).

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A deep ruby-brown colour with good carbonation. A thick, creamy off-white head tops the liquid and remains for 5 minutes or so before dissipating to a surface film. A rich aroma of roasted malt and caramel, with notes of hops and a hint of burning. A whiff of alcohol.

A strong malty flavour with good bitterness. Slightly sweet with caramel notes, but mostly a distinctive roasted flavour tempered by hops as you swallow. A warming hint of alcohol on the palate. Mouthfeel is somewhat carbonated and mildly astringent, leaving a dry sensation. Aftertaste of bitter hops and malt.

Highly drinkable. This is probably my favourite ale from Shepherd Neame, and is the beer that springs to mind when someone mentions strong English ale. A good flavour makes it an drink for all seasons. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 23:29:51 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The drink pours nicely, giving a head which lasts for about a quarter of an hour, which also has a very nice colour: sort of yellow at the bottom getting whiter as you go up.

The smell is good, very good. A rich smell, reminding me somewhat of roasted coffee.

The taste is bitter, and quite harsh, the bitterness remaining for a few moments, dwindling out slowly which can be either good or bad, depending on your tastes. The roasted characteristic remains in the taste, as well as a strong hopp taste.

Overall it is fairly drinkable although somewhat harsh and bitter.

Note also the harshness increases as the beer warms up.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 16:48:28 | More by CwrwAmByth
Photo of NefariousR


4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz. glass bottle into a pint glass at Panteli's in Canterbury, UK.

A - Pours a reddish-orange with a foamy off-white head.

S - Citrus aromas -- particularly grapefruit -- are very evident, rounded out by hops. Malt can be sensed in the distance.

T - Strong hop profile with some sweetness in the background.

M - Medium-bodied and slight sticky, with a moderate level of carbonation.

D - A solid ale that goes well with English food. Try it if you're in the area.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2010 21:26:47 | More by NefariousR
Photo of kojevergas


1.35/5  rDev -63%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into an pub (nonreal) pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland, on October 10th, 2010. Pours a strange cherry-gold and looks overcarbonated. Head of moderate thickness retains two fingers decently. A clear bottle? This brewery should know better.

Smell: A light scent of esters; berries. Not getting the toffee or roast the label describes. Unappealing.

Taste: A note of stale bread with a nasty finish. If I'd brewed this, I'd have thought I'd done something seriously wrong. Truly awful.

Mouthfeel: Far too coarse and a bit too wet. This beer feels stale on all fronts. The beginning is too dry; the head does nothing creamy or worthwhile.

Drinkability: I wouldn't buy this again or have another. I'll be lucky to finish this glass.

Stay away from this one, regardless of what beer style you like. This is best reserved for Altar Boys, because they're known for enjoying Bishops Fingers - if you know what I mean.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2010 18:51:39 | More by kojevergas
Photo of eric5bellies


4.4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Bobardier Conical Pint Glass.

A - Pours a rich redish copper colour with an off white head that retains well and laces.

S - Aromas are well defined malts, burnt caramel and grains.

T - Some very nis flavours of toffee and carmel malts. The finish is long and flavoursome.

M - So smooth with medium body and minimal carbonation.

D - This is a top ranking English ale of the highest order, it has everything that you could need.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2010 13:31:17 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of FreshHawk


3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Light amber bronze color. Decent off-white foamy head. Decent retention with a little lacing left.

S - Toasted grain and malt, with a good amount of caramel and toffee. Some nuts and earthy hops.

T - Balance between the hops and the malt and grain. Hops are tea-like, earthy, and floral. There is a toasted malt/grain taste. Gives it a slightly bready and sweet taste. The hops are more prominent than the malt.

M - Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. Fizzy and slightly smooth.

D - Good drinkability between the balanced flavors and the good body. The body and flavor are a little too watery for me really to enjoy, but it is good.

Notes: Lots of tea, floral, herbal flavors. Very balanced flavors. Nothing overpowers and it is a little thin for me, but a good all around everyday beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2010 14:57:35 | More by FreshHawk
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.