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Bishops Finger - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Bishops FingerBishops Finger

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218 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 218
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 9
Gots: 30 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 218 | Reviews: 102
Photo of PartyBear
3/5  rDev -18%
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.

Photo of Macca
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark amber. An off-white head that hangs around. Great lacing. Clear. Good looking beer.

The nose starts with malts but then a nice whack of hops come through as well which give some fruity notes.

Not a lot of the malts on the palate. Knocked over by a lot of hops. Although the malt does fight back at the end. Intense bitterness.

Full bodied.

Loved it in the glass and on the nose but not as convinced when I put it in my mouth. I think it's well made but just not what I like.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very suprised to find I hadn't reviewed this beer on here, thst oversight is now rectified!

Clear 500ml bottle, poured into vase shaped pint glass (Old Speckled Hen, badged).

Bright and clear body, a lovelly deep amber brown colour (the label says chestnut brown), with cream coloured foaming head. Plenty of bubbles could be observed rising through the body, in short, it looked great! The head produced somegood laceing as the beer was consumed.

The smell was of brown toast, light toffee and some floral hints I couldn't tie down.

The beer has a bitterness from the hops that hit you first off, then those toffee notes I found in the aroma come to the fore, this is not a sweet tasting beer though, far from it, because the bitterness re-appears in the aftertaste.

A good solid beer, wish it was bottled in a brown or coloured glass though, it might help to keep it in good nick longer.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must have had about a million of this beer over the years, but here goes my review...

A: It pours copper/brown, with a large off-white creamy head that lingers for some time before it dissipates leaving nice lacings.

S: Somewhat roasted caramell malt, some floral notes along with fruit.

T: Light roasted malt together with floral hops, but the bitter hoppy taste is what dominates. There is also dryness and some faint dark fruit.

M: Very bitter and long aftertaste. The body is full and the carbonation is moderate.

D: This is a great beer, this is one of the beers I always have on my nights on the pub...
This is a household beer at my house.

Photo of TheSarge
4.16/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Makes three finger thick head that is very light tan, and forms into a strong rocky/pillowy formation. Body is copper in color and cleanly filtered.

As for the aroma qualities, metallic hops are upfront, with some prune and tea characteristics.

Taste wise it's a little lemony, tea, chocolate in the middle. Finishes with herbal characteristics.

Prickly carbonation, wetting to the palate. In the middle to the end MF is a little powdery and leaves the palate dry.

A good English ale and mild hops character keeps this beer interesting. Even with the dry finish, it's still refreshing.

Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my mom for bringing this back from England for me. Served in a pint glass.

A - A few fingers of tan foam that dissipates fairly quickly to a cap with a few spots of lacing. Transparent orange-brown color. Looks like a standard ESB.

S - Biscuity malt, with a touch of floral hops, some caramel, berries, apple, and grain. Odd beer in that the floral hop character was stronger when chilled. Pretty solid.

T - Light sweet biscuit malts with a touch of earthy and floral hops. Pretty simple, but still effective.

M - Thin body, low carbonation - pretty cask-like. Dry finish with a bit of residual sugar.

D - 500ml seems like an appropriate serving. Goes down pretty easy. Low ABV, decent taste, inoffensive texture.

Photo of wl0307
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Comes in a short and fat 500ml clear bottle, BB FEB 10, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass. Interesting notes on the back label: "Bishops Finger - At 5.4% it's near the knuckle".

A: dark amber hue with great clarity and moderate/restrained carbonation, while the creamy off-white froth retains the texture very well, leaving tight lacing as it goes.
S: enticingly malty with a pronounced fruity backbone of Goldings hops; given a swirl and a closer sniff, the main aroma gives out a lovely edge of toasted nuts, toffee, as well as an almost raw-ish, gristy pale malts (aromatic!), backed by a mixed fruitiness hinting at raisins/dried berries, sweet citrus fruits, toasted apple-slices and a touch of dried plums.
T: a lightly effervescent swallow of soothingly sour-sweet malts (with a unusual, fast developing flow of herbal bitterness) slowly gives way to juicy, savoury-sweet pale malts laced with an intensifying "dry herbal" touch, before arriving at a mildly chewy and really pleasantly bitter, dry-ish finish that shows everlasting aroma mixed of roast malts, bitter nuts, and a mixed berry-ish fruitiness. Throughout the drink, my taste buds simply fail to pick up any trace of alc.~~
M&D: despite the filtered & pasteurised form presented in a clear bottle (ouch!), the true quality of this famous fruity bitter ale has not been compromised greatly, fortunately. The body is full and the taste is well structured, and it still tastes absolutely light and refreshing. The only thing I don't like about the texture, of course, is the (relatively) high level of fizziness - a "problem" SN seems unable to address for a long long time now... Nevertheless, honestly, I'm biased for Shepherd Neame's ales, particularly this one!

Photo of jwc215
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had at Hoop & Grapes (London):

Pours copper amber with a bubbly head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel with a pleasant, herbal spicing.

The taste is of light caramel, a bit herbal (slightly soapy?). It has a tea-like, dry finish.

The body is light - a bit watery. It has a well-covered abv, but it is slightly higher, pushing it into ESB, yet there are bitters with more of a body. Still, some bitterness lingers.

Thin, mild, but pleasant.

Photo of Nickls
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Poured with a generous finger and a half of foamy whitish head. Good retention, and lacing was solid throughout the sample. Clear amber hue.

S - Musty and biscuity maltiness with what I am guessing is a Ringwood yeast aroma. Kinda of woody aroma

T - Tea-like hop bitterness and a solid Ringwood presence, which makes it fairly distinct against the style. Decent maltiness to back it all up.

M - Thinner to Medium MF with very subtle carbonation

D - Fair drinkability for me, and it was tougher at points than others I've sampled in the style. Flavors are just OK, but overall a bit bland. Didn't really pique my interest too much.

Overall, not a bad example of the style and definitely more of a traditional English take. Not bad stuff, and pick it up only if it's easy to find.

Photo of chiefydawg
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My sister-in-law was kind enough to grab this for me while in England recently. Thanks Katrina!

Impressively frothy, beautiful rocky head sitting atop a crystal clear amber-colored body. The lace is sticky, webby, and durable. I don't think it would have looked like this coming off a shelf in Ohio. More effervescence than I expected in an actual English ESB.

Caramel, toasted English muffins, toffee on the nose. Clear glass bottle, yet absolutely no skunk. Sweetish smell of warm autumn day in a bottle.

Still getting the caramel, though it is very aptly bittered to a splendid balance. Sweet and malty yet with a perceptible earthy, piney bitterness. There is a lurking taste towards the bottom that hints of barrel aging in a scotch barrel.

Overall this is one of the better ESBs I've had. It is rich yet drinkable, fresh, clean, and perfectly balanced. There is a slight aftertaste well after the bottle I cannot place, but not unpleasant. Would go well with most foods I think... perhaps especially crumpets.

Photo of fullsweep
3.36/5  rDev -8.2%
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 . . .

Photo of Ohiovania
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The gf flew one home for me from Woking.

The look of the beer is a very nice medium dark amber. Some nice head formed and lasted a generous amount of time. Decently carbonated with some good lacing. Pretty average but decent aromas, some bitter sweet and just slightly malty. The taste is a very pleasant bitter and a nice balance of malt and somewhat other hard to described flavors (not to steal someone elses description but almost buttery and slight citrus.) Mouth feel is very creamy and feels good going over the tongue.

I wouldn't make this and everyday beer but it was a nice change of pace from what i usually drink.

Photo of AlexLMS
2.62/5  rDev -28.4%
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.

Photo of LittleCreature
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 4.0
Poured two fingers of frothy beige head that reduced to a thin layer over a clear reddish brown body.

Smell - 4.5
Lovely, rich, sweet malt driven aroma. Smells of baking teacake, burnt sugar, caramel, a little leafy hops with a vague blackcurrant edge.

Taste - 4.0
Alcohol presence is there, especially for an English Ale. After the smell, the highish level of bitterness is a surprise, although there is plenty of malty flavour to balance it. Somewhat buttery, and there is an orange flavour in the dry finish.

Mouthfeel - 3.5
Moderate carbonation is a little rough over the tongue. Feels quite heavy in the mouth.

Drinkability - 3.5
Borderline sessionable, the alcohol is very noticeable but it's bloody tasty and not hard to drink.

I drank this straight from the fridge, and it was only in the second half of the glass I could truly appreciate what a good beer it is. Not cheap, but certainly worth it for the quality.

Photo of AylwinForbes
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shepherd and Neame a long-time champion of English beer. A pleasant surprise to find it represented in that least likely of venues, Heathrow Airport, amidst the overpriced chique boutiques and fast food. From the cask, a slightly turbid amber, moderate head fairly sudsy. Reasonable malty, fruity aroma. On the palate, mild dry bitterness, with good body - the higher alcohol shows - some malty, fruity flavours provide some complexity and interest.

An excellent parting shot.

Photo of thierrynantes
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (50cl), tasted in 2000.
Appearance : deep amber color (dark malt), with white foam head
Smell : rich malty nose,
Taste and mouthfeel : notes of chocolate, hoped, well balancing bitterness, finish of smoky malt.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style ESB

Photo of Suds
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had a pint of this on cask during a recent trip to London. It's a beautiful rich amber colored brew with a thin dense head. The aroma is great...a nice malt backbone, a little toasted qualities, crackers, bread, and very, very slight herbal hops (if you search for them). The taste is equally satisfying: moderately dry, but with plenty of malt goodness in the flavor. There's a steady bitterness that settles in a quarter of the way through the mid-taste. Very little hop taste. Smooth, very smooth. Wonderfully fresh and drinkable. I could have many of these.

Photo of Bierschenker
4.64/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brought this along from Ireland.

This beer was consumed in a Pint glass.
The colour is a beautiful copper brown.
On top a nice creamy head with mediate bubbles.
The scent is very pleasant, hop and malt. Sometimes the most basic elements form the greatest dish. No carbonation present.
The taste is as superb in simplicity as the scent. Malt, hops and slight yeast.
The mouthfeel is watery and creamy at the same time.
The aftertaste gives more hop bitterness and some lemonpeel.

I am convinced!

Photo of rjimlad
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my haste to get into this I overchilled it and lost the initial impression. The colour, though, is beautiful clear, clean copper with a creamy head that hung around leaving fine lacing. I must be olfactorily challenged because I am weak on aromas so I didn't get what other reviewers said. It's toasty and malty with a hoppy lift but I just can't pick any more detail than that. On the flavour side I found a perfectly balanced malt and hop; toasty again and a bit metallic back of the palate. I love the bitterness. Just right and great length with a lip-smacking finish. I must confess to being an ESB noob so I can't really compare with many others but I like this a lot.

Photo of MillRat
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an English bitter with some attitude and unconventional hopping. This clear coppery ale maintains a white head that leaves lace behind. The hops are rather interesting, going beyond the usual Fuggles and Goldings into some more mineral-like notes. The yeast has a decided fruity flavor to it that carries into the aroma as well. The taste is quite heavy with biscuity malt and hop flavors. For only 5+% ABV, it is quite full-bodied. A second or third bottle would be most welcome, but it does not fall into the realm of the truly sessionable.

Photo of Stephen63
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Photo of Mark
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at my reliable Lord Moon pub in London. bishops Finger is a clear deep amber topped by a dense off white head that leaves excellent patterns of lace. Aroma is very mild but inviting. Very very smooth on the palate with subtle hopping over a solid malt base. touch of fruit typical of the brewer is present. Easy drinking and enjoyable.

Photo of aussielars
3.82/5  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.

Photo of sloejams
3.92/5  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.

Photo of vancurly
3.88/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 218 ratings.