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Bishops Finger - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Bishops FingerBishops Finger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

188 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 188
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 15.53%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | 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: 188 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

04-29-2006 13:29:25 | More by biegaman
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.28/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

03-22-2006 23:58:55 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of granger10


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

03-21-2006 14:16:55 | More by granger10
Photo of Daredevil


4.55/5  rDev +24%

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 ...

03-09-2006 15:10:20 | More by Daredevil
Photo of shamus

Ontario (Canada)

2.58/5  rDev -29.7%

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.

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


2.13/5  rDev -42%

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.

02-26-2006 13:41:40 | More by Naerhu
Photo of surfadelic23


3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

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!

02-21-2006 15:23:48 | More by surfadelic23
Photo of crwills

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

01-21-2006 20:12:30 | More by crwills
Photo of 3Vandoo

Quebec (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

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.

11-03-2005 03:42:52 | More by 3Vandoo
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

07-04-2005 23:07:01 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

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.

07-04-2005 05:34:38 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

05-31-2005 15:11:16 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.28/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

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


3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

05-13-2005 01:10:28 | More by allengarvin
Photo of DrJay


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

05-12-2005 00:23:21 | More by DrJay
Photo of slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

05-10-2005 16:16:23 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of pootz

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

04-28-2005 20:35:42 | More by pootz
Photo of helloloser12345

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%

Serving: Type: 500ml clear, long neck bottle

Pour: Off white colour head which gradually fades away as you drink. Slight lacing.

Appearance: Dark amber, reminds me of the colour of maple syrup.

Smell: Very deep and rich with lots of malt. Definite aroma of dried fruit with a slight hint of wood.

Flavour: Big full flavour, subsiding to give way to a strange bitter hop taste in the back of the throat, which is not altogether unpleasant. Not a complex tasting beer in any way.

Overall: Not the kind of beer that I would normally go for but a pleasant experience none the less.

11-24-2004 20:49:55 | More by helloloser12345
Photo of cypressbob

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

500ml bottle

Pours with a dark amber body, head forms but kinda looks like the scum u get on rivers

Smell, big malty nose, slight hint of dried fruits, raisins

Taste, malty with a slight hop bitterness on the tongue

Pretty good, this is the 2nd time i've had it and reviewed it and it wasnt bad i must say

08-15-2004 22:56:05 | More by cypressbob
Photo of ngandhi


4.33/5  rDev +18%

Quite flavorful and impressive with a cask-style carbonation out of the bottle that accentuates sweet, fruity, dusty plum malts. Drinkable without being dinky or noticeably light. Hints of cocoa and a nice hop presence that develops from light, dry resin to spritzy lemon.

Relax, relax.

08-03-2004 14:19:49 | More by ngandhi
Photo of Dogbrick


2.9/5  rDev -21%

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.

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


2.83/5  rDev -22.9%

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.

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


3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

The colour is dark copper-red. The liquid is clear and the small foam is quite firm.

The smell of this ale is somewhat sour, full of caramel, diacetyl and hops

The body is surprisingly light for the great bitterness. There are clear flavours of diacetyl and caramel, although it is quite low on the sweetness.

The carbon acid is mild, soft and short, probably due to the nitro-tap.

Overall, the taste is simple and straightforward. There is some bitterness and butterscotch but it does its job - no more, no less.

Its aftertaste is quite simple at first, but grows into a large amount of bitterness.

01-25-2004 21:10:23 | More by bark
Photo of Globetrotter


4.33/5  rDev +18%

Well, this review should probably be taken in the context of the three pretty horrible Russian beers I had before finally cracking this open. My, what a refreshing change! Even the clear glass bottle didn't seem to effect the situation as I poured this beautiful clear copper liquid into my pint glass. A nice off-white contoured head built to just a bit more than a finger before settling at about one centimeter, which deposited some nice lace rings as the liquid descended. There's a nice strong malty nose with an enticing touch of flowery hops. The mouth is prickly and heavy. There's a good crisp malty opening, followed by a full hoppy bitterness that leaves a nice fresh aftertaste. Thanks, I needed that!

12-07-2003 19:28:34 | More by Globetrotter
Photo of TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -6%

Clear, nicely copper coloured with a short, fine head. Spotty lace throughout.

Came across as skunky on first being opened. Eventually smells of hops and slightly of wet leaves.

Taste is sweet caramel up front, followed straight away by dry hoppy bitterness. That dry bitterness sticks and will stay with your mouth for a while. Smooth mouthfeel.

Not bad, a bit too dry and bitter for my taste, however.

11-14-2003 02:19:39 | More by TerryW
Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.