1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. 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 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 kmacphail

United Kingdom (Scotland)

1.75/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

After noticing it on offer in the local Sommerfield and having sampled some English bitters recently I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did not pay much for it. Upon pouring it out of the bottle it poured a nice mahogany colour with an off-white head, which lasted less than 10 seconds before disappearing.

The smell of the beer is that of a typical bitter, nothing to distinguish it from any other bitter, but not unpleasant.

However this was as good as it got.

The pint was very disapointing and seriously lacked any body. It had a very bland taste, with only a hint of fruity aftertaste that gave it any note. This was a very disapointing, watery beer. The fact that it did lack any body may result in this being a decent all night beer, but not for me, I didn't even finish the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2006 18:15:34 | More by kmacphail
Photo of IrishRedRock


2.03/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pretty nasty stuff. I drank it in England and it was still bad. Does not look appealing at all, no head and looks like shit. Bitter aftertaste, and smells like someone pulled the bishops finger. Yuuuuuuuck

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2002 14:12:25 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of Naerhu


2.13/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Why the hell is this in a clear bottle? Sure its a beautiful colored brew, but get a clue! Clear bottles contribute to skunkyness. Why in the world cant these brewers get it through their heads? Instant minus 2 on the apperance.

I refuse to review skunked brown bottles, but clear and green bottles are just asking for it.

A - Beautiful dark amber body with rock off white head.
S - Amazing amounts of skunk coming off upon opening the bottle. This quickly recedes, but never disappears. Slightly sweet aroma, with a nice bit of malts. Cant detect any hops through the skunk.
T - Very dry with a nice malty breadyness. I can only imagine this would be a great beer, but for its skunkyness.
M - Smooth and mild carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2006 13:41:40 | More by Naerhu
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 shamus

Ontario (Canada)

2.58/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The best thing about this beer is it's appearence, an attractive gold and ruby colour. It had a nice fluffy head and a smooth lace most of the way down. However the smell and taste was less impressive. Had a sweet malty flavour. My associate said it was quite plain. It lacked a range of flavours. it would go well with sweeter foods like a tomato based pasta. Nothing special in the taste department but what the heck. It's a beer. nothing more nothing less.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2006 00:47:38 | More by shamus
Photo of AlexLMS


2.6/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: bright and light copper colour. Moderate to low, foamy and off-white head. May not be long lasting but leaves some lacings.
Aroma: sweet malts, earth hops, some biscuit presence and a very slightly toasted aroma.
Taste: sweet malts and very bitter hops. Wood oaks notes.
Mouthfeel: very dry, average carbonation, medium alcoholic presence and a medium to full body.
Finish: lingering bitter aftertaste.

Overall: interesting beer dominated by the bitter flavour. Too focused on the bitter side and not as well balanced as I could expect from earlier reviews.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 22:56:05 | More by AlexLMS
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

2.8/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I think its Ok, but its a bit smelly. The body is thin, but theres some nice flavours of citrus, roasty chocolate in there, i think its OK, but theres better stuff from the mother country.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2002 16:45:31 | More by rastaman
Photo of GreenCard


2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark amber, great clarity, medium layer of tannish foam (with an island of suds) that slowly disappears to almost nothing

Aroma: under the fog of a pretty thorough skunk-stench there is some toasty malt, caramel, diacetyl, a bit of fruit and some hard-to-discern hops

Flavor: toasty/roasty malt-base w/ an overlying caramel essence, a touch of fruitiness, a bit tart, the hop flavor comes through around the same time as a pert bitterness, finish is dry with a lingering bitter aftertaste, a quite short flavor progression but the bitterness seems to stack up as you drink it

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, minerally and a bit astringent

Overall Impression: Dinged this one on the aroma for the inexcusable skunkiness. When will they ever learn? Brown bottles! An OK beer which is probably a delight on cask.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2004 18:31:10 | More by GreenCard
Photo of Dogbrick


2.9/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a bottle at the cafe in the Tower of London. Brown color with a thin beige head. Little lacing to be had. Very sweet aroma of malt, along with a hint of sourness. Medium body with an odd flavoring. It is mostly sweet caramel malt, with an underlying sour fruit and smoke character. The finish is on the thin side. Overall this beer is lacking in many areas but it is not terrible.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2004 14:10:40 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of PartyBear

United Kingdom (England)

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

Pours as a deep red colour with a thick creamy white head and good carbonation. There is a quite sharp nose to it, with a hint of sugary sweet toffee beneath, and a noticeable yeast aroma. The flavours are quite fruity upfront, lots of sour berries. There is lots of bitterness in the flavours, a dry hoppiness and a carbonic texture. Nothing special, very average, and slightly underwhelming beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 12:51:31 | More by PartyBear
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 bmills1608


3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Descent, but nothing special. Slight maltiness, slight bitterness and a unsweet cider quality. Overall,I thought is was a bit light. I found nothing offensive about this beer, but nothing really impressed me either. The best thing it had going for it was it was easy to drink, and the bottle is kinda cool. Does not live up to the price though, that's for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2002 12:49:34 | More by bmills1608
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 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 gjh


3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks very docile in the bottle. Pours a a nice, clear, dark amber color with a nice frothy white head which disapates somewhat quickly. While I did not get te same smell noted in other reviews, it was not overly very impressive and inviting as other beers. Very dry taste with a hint of chocolate. Overall, a mild bitter worth a taste, but not much more. I must admit, the name of the beer is more intriguing than the beer itself. I just hope it was not a Catholic Bishop.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2003 17:26:11 | More by gjh
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Golding hops, great hoppy aroma. Some barley initially. Pale copper colour with lace and aestheticly pleasant transparent bottle (keep out of sunshine!) Drying, tad metallic. Understated carbonation. Drinkable but a 500 ml. for 3 is more than enough.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2005 02:51:56 | More by Sammy
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish copper colour with a good thick creamy head. Good retention, with some fine lacing.

Nose is hoppy and phenolic with a nice yeasty basis.

Quite robust bitter taste, with a rather short palate. Stays toasty for a while but falls off rather quickly. It has a very subdued mouthfeel which detracts from the overall effect of the beer.

It's drinkable, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 23:58:55 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From Englands oldest brewery poured a bownish color with minimal head,kind of a funky smell almost skunked and a little musty.Taste is slightly fruity with some dryness in the finish,pretty drinkable but nothing spectacular.It's still nice to find ales from the island across the pond.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2003 20:11:39 | More by oberon
Photo of Stephen63

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Mahogany body with very short lived head.

S - Flowery aroma with malt and hops also very prevalent.

T - Slight fruitiness, but for me the hops then seems to take over. Pleasant enough.

M - Bit weak/thin.

D - Not really my style, so nice to try one but not a beer I'd like to get as a six pack.

A solid if unspectacular beer. Would definitely be interested in trying a cask version.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2007 21:06:13 | More by Stephen63
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 fullsweep

United Kingdom (England)

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

500 mL poured into a glass.

Pours with a nice, thick head, at least 2 fingers. Top bubbles are nice and foamy. Color is a reddish brown.

Has a decent bitterness, with a medium sweetness. It's good, but not overpowering. Nice mix of mellowness and flavor, but nothing remarkably interesting.

Would drink again, but only after I try everything else . . .

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 23:19:16 | More by fullsweep
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 tang214


3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this one in the The Wilton Arms pub in Westminster. It is a great ale but found it to be a little bland. It probably would have gone better with my fish and chips than what I did have. It had a deep ruby-brown color with some creamy head. It smelled very full bodied. And as I said i found the taste a little lacking but overall it was a good bitter and quite drinkable. I hope to have it again in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2003 12:33:37 | More by tang214
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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.