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Bishops Finger - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Bishops FingerBishops Finger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

196 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 196
Reviews: 99
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 15.8%
Wants: 7
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 196 | Reviews: 99 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aussielars
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Coppery amber-coloured and poured with a very nice firm, slowly disappearing, pale cream-coloured head, that leaves lacing on glass. Effervescence is slow and steady. Smells of toast, fruit, malt and maybe a hint of metallic aroma as the beer warms up.

Tastes malty with a very pleasant dry bitter aftertaste. I really enjoyed this nice full-bodied beer. Could definitely have a few more of this, but since I live in Queensland I'll have to wait until winter.

aussielars, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of sloejams
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on cask at Heathrow Airport in London. The Wetherspoon Restaurant in Terminal 4 has 4-5 beers on cask and proudly hangs the Cask Marque at the entrance. Pours a turbid amber color topped with a few bubbles. The flavor is textbook English Bitter – toasty malts, low hop presence. I enjoyed.

I wish LAX had places like this to grab a pint.

sloejams, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of vancurly
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Warming dark orange/amber. Clear, good bubbling and a big beige frothy head
S: Good lifted hop aromas on the pour; from the glass a honeycomb/amber malt profile
F: Rich malt and floral, metallic hop flavours. Hints of herbal bitter principles, such as wormwood or gentian, supported by a good actual bitterness.
M: Full palate, medium body and good length. Leaves a rich impression.
O: Good, hearty ale. Big profile. Probably leave it at one I think.

vancurly, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of Absumaster
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an brown, dark amber color with a creamy head which sticks to the glass. Very low visible carbonation.

Smell is slightly metallic, fruity like a good english beer, some caramel malt. Quite hoppy actually, but this comes out a little later. A malt smell is in the back.

Taste of caramel and slightly bitter, yet hoppy. A nice yeasty fruitness and perfect maltiness. There is a slight husky taste, but this really adds to the beer. A dry and thin mouthfeel, which match the beer.

For me an average bitter, just decent stuff.

Absumaster, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of gpcollen1
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying a few pints at the Clocktower in Cheltenham after a 13 hour day. Travelling this far on business sucks, but I get to have some nice pints that I normally would not be able to enjoy.

Appearance: dark amber in color with a robust white head - It is hard for me to give a nice cask pour anything less than a 4.5.

Smell: actually getting some hops - a bit fruity. I find myself spending a bit of time smelling this one as I am on my own tonight.

Taste: A bit of maltiness and quite pleasant. Thinner than I expected. Actually getting a hint of alcohol - in comparison to the bitters in the 3-4% range.

Drinkability: Quite a nice ale and highly drinkable. Well rounded flavor and suits my tastes wonderfully. I would love to see this around in the US.

Overall - I love the UK. We just don't get to see brews like this unless we go on a weekend cask expedition in the US. I could drink these all day and night. I do love the little bit of extra alcohol in this too!

gpcollen1, Sep 13, 2006
Photo of funkengruven
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up again after a long time ago having this and remembering that I did not particularly enjoy it. But my tastes have grown to become a lot more developed over the years, and I thought I would give this one another try.

This poured a pretty dark red with a thin head sitting over the top of the glass. Smell is extremely hoppy, no skunk evident in this bottle, which is surprising considering the clear bottle. The flavor is of bitter hops and a bold caramel flavor that comes to a clean finish. Carbonation is abundant but not excessive, and surprisingly this time, this is very easy to drink.

That last bottle I had must have been a bad one, but this one was great. I'm sure i'll be greeting my fridge with another one of these sometime soon.

funkengruven, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper. Head is thick and sticky.

S - Fruity, citrusy aromas. Slight metallic notes as well.

T - Citrusy hops and toasted grain. Fruity and buttery flavours and a dry graininess. Solid bitterness in the finish.

M - Slightly chewy and full bodied.

D - Much better than I remember. A good solid session beer.

allergictomacros, Jul 01, 2006
Photo of kmacphail
1.75/5  rDev -52.3%
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.

kmacphail, Jun 24, 2006
Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearence well intact: nice looking bottle, good colour and proper head. Foam stuck around and would leave good lacing. Shinning ruby-brown colour. Aroma is Kent hops. Could be stronger, especially considering the lovely scent these hops lend. Mouthfeel in the same manner, that is to say, developed and good character but somewhat restrained. Like it's trying to be too well mannered. Flavour is light buttery texture, some nutty notes. High-Medium bodied, some bitterness. The Kent malt makes up the majority of flavour. Tasty with satisfying finish. However, flavours seem to trail off. Taste kinda falls apart and really wears thin near the end. Carbonation is decent, but I think this would be better on tap. This is very much within the British manner, a beer full of character but still mild mannered and more concerned with being quaffable than bold or distinct.

biegaman, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

lacqueredmouse, Mar 22, 2006
Photo of granger10
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden orange color with a larger off white head thats compact but dwindles down after a few minutes. Tons of lacing along the glass. Aroma has an earthy base to it with a floral edge and caramel maltiness. Seems quite balanced and quite nice. Taste follows suit but adds more of a fruity character, apples and bananas. A slight buttery flavor comes with the earthyness from the yeast. There is a slight mineral flavor which rides along the whole time. The hops are always there, floral and fragrant, but they never really come out and shine. Finish is drying, a bit citric, with a slight english toffee sweetness. Well balanced and smooth. The hops and malts and yeast work nicely here. Enjoyable but not the most complex or intriguing beer out there. Still, I definitely recommend trying it.

granger10, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of Daredevil
4.55/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful pour gives a firm long lasting head (almost as in a belgian abbey brew) ... smell is exceptional well matured hops with hints of banana ... the taste is matching the expectations of the bouquet, offering some charcoal grilled tomatos paired with mango chutney and rye bread in the palate ... quite exotic ... a very interesting example of a strong ale ...

Daredevil, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of shamus
2.58/5  rDev -29.7%
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.

shamus, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of Naerhu
2.13/5  rDev -42%
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.

Naerhu, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of surfadelic23
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at a pub in Bath. It was a solid ale but a little on the uninspired side. It had a dark reddish color with an off-white head. It's smell packed way more of a wallop that the taste as it was rather full-bodied. Overall, the is a good bitter and very easy to drink. If I ever see it on cask in America, I'll definitely have this again!

surfadelic23, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of crwills
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not a huge fan, but this is the type of beer that you could drink all day and not really notice, so I guess it would be nice in a pub somewhere.

Poured from a unique, cylindrical-bottomed bottle into a Hobgoblin glass. Fairly dark red-cold colour with a moderate head, which was bubbly rather than foamy and faded quickly.

Smell is surprisingly alcoholy for the ABV. Malts predominate, as well as some earthy scents, wine/sour grapes, and strawberries.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, which is part of what makes this so easy to drink. Taste is a little bitter up front, with some plants, earth, and pepper. Very little aftertaste, and what's there is not bitter at all.

crwills, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of 3Vandoo
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice beige head that is very creamy. Her color a very dark amber.

Her smells is of Kent's hops, caramel flavours, malts and hops. Some notes of yeast are present that finishes with an alcohol flavor.

Her taste is very alcoholic, roasted malt flavours, shy bitter, hoppy, malt is dominant in this beer and the finish is very dry. Some floral notes are present from the hops, but the malt take much more of the taste. A Piney taste is present and very oily brew.

3Vandoo, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dusky orange-bronze with a healthy rubiginous tint. The interior is on the active side, with swirling fine bits and (temporarily) boisterous carbonation. The cap looks very nice. It's pearlescent golden ecru in color with respectable staying power. A fair amount of sudsy lace completes the eye pleasing appearance. Solid sheets appear in the beer's wake as I drink.

The nose is well-balanced with elements of caramel and heavily toasted bread, as well as more than a handful of darkly earthy, muskily fruity English hops. I think hops have the edge, but it's a near thing. While there isn't a whole lot wrong with the aroma, nothing really pulls me in and engages my olfactory lobe.

The aroma fell between two scores and I chose the lower one. The flavor falls between the same two scores and I've chosen the higher one. The same components that make up the nose are present on the palate, but in a more forceful configuration. The beer is still toasty and caramel-like and the hops have now caught my interest. That wonderful sweet-bitter interplay pulls it all together.

I can't emphasize enough how well-balanced BF is. The hops are a touch more prominent on the finish, which is just how I would have drawn it up. Pleasantly bitter, unsweetened tea-like notes appear on the back end; a nice surprise. The mouthfeel is medium in heft with a firm feel and a low (read: perfect) amount of carbonation.

Bishops Finger is a good ESB. It's plenty flavorful and was a joy to consume. I picked up the only bottle that I've ever seen. I just wish I could remember where that was. I'm sure it's even better fresh and on-cask.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an awesome deep bronze color with an ivory rocky head that lasts the entire glass. Lacework is intricate and copious. The aroma is of a roasty biscuity maltiness some buttery esters and a wiff of fresh english hops. Its a very well balanced nose. The taste is mosly malty, but dry, chocolatey and roasty, rather than a 'dark fruit' christmas pudding maltiness. Theres quite a bit of fruity yeast character, that classic dry english yeast flavor. Theres a bit of diacytl too, but its very complimentary, not over the top. Hops definitely play second fiddle. They have a fresh earthy taste. The mouthfeel is medium and softly carbonated.

This is a very tastey ESB that I highly recommend if you like English ales. Its maltier than most, but not underhopped. Unfortunately its in a clear bottle, fortunately theres lots of brewery and beer info on it.

CAMRAhardliner, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear red/brown color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention which is quite a surprise since all my previous bitter had no head really. Aroma of floral malt with some nut. Taste is quite enjoyable and refreshing with some robust malt, floral hops and some nice nutty and subtle bitterness at the end. Overall, this is an above average bitter.

Phyl21ca, May 31, 2005
Photo of Sammy
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Sammy, May 26, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burnished copper color, thin, fading head. Aroma is very lightly hoppy. Flavor is simple but tasty: nice hop bitterness, especially at the finish, light malt, and a pleasant fruitiness. Moderately-low carbonation & body.

Not a bad British ESB, but nothing particularly stands out either.

allengarvin, May 13, 2005
Photo of DrJay
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, deep coppery red topped by a generous light tan head that settles into a rocky lace. Good head retention as well. Fruity aroma of apples/plums and floral hops, with caramel maltiness. Aromas carry through into the flavour and play well against the moderate bitterness. Medium-length fruity finish that ends on the bitter side. Moderate carbonation with a medium body and a very slight slickness.

500 mL clear bottle, no best before date that I could spot.

DrJay, May 12, 2005
Photo of slitherySOB
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good session beer. I'll buy a few cases of it next time. Bishops Finger pours a dark, wooden red colour. Stained mahogany? A huge, fluffy head appears that slowly disipated to about a half finger thickness. Still, thick and creamy, leaving lace down the sides of the glass. The smell, at first, is awful. Clear bottle, skunked beer. And this was a terribly skunked beer. However, after a few minutes of air, the skunk smell died down(or my nose grew accustomed), and I could smell the beer. Caramel, toffee, malts, sugar and flowery, herbal hops. The skunk smell was still their, but not nearly as dominant as that first initial sniff. The smell is probably worthy of a higher score, but because of the skunk smell, I must take it down a point. The taste is excellent! Light, nicely balanced, and a perfect blend of sweet and dryness. It almost tastes like caramel and honey spread over whole grain toast. Their is also a dry, herbal and flower taste in the end. And, because of it's light taste, I'd consider it a perfect session beer. Lightly carbonated, smooth mouthfeel. Definitely drinkable. As stated above, I must buy this by the case.

slitherySOB, May 10, 2005
Photo of pootz
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice fancy 500ml clear bottle put a Dark copper-brown ale in My pint glass. Modest head but good lacing...fairly pungent aromas of fruit ( apricot) over a musty burlap undertone. Good malt spine of caramel malts upfront but it is quickly ballanced off by resinous pine-like hops that continue to get increasingly bitter until the finish where they leave a lasting metalic after taste....this is a quality bitter but these styles of ale are not my favorite so that bias may explain my overall rating....it reflects my impression that this brew has nothing unique to distinguish itself in this style.

pootz, Apr 28, 2005
Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.