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Bishops Finger - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Bishops FingerBishops Finger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

180 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 180
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.85%
Wants: 7
Gots: 11 | 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)
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Ratings: 180 | Reviews: 97 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 3Vandoo

Quebec (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
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 allengarvin


3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: bottle

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


4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


2.9/5  rDev -20.8%
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 GreenCard


2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
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 bark


3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

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


4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2003 02:19:39 | More by TerryW
Photo of Shiloh

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first impression of this brew was not good...but that quickly changed.
Colour was a deep orange/amber.
Carbonation was limited.
Head was light, glass cling high, lace full but thin, and a full bubbled ring.
Nose was lightly of caramel. Body medium/full.
Taste was first a caramel sweetness...caramel stayed, sweetness left, replaced by a nice hoppy bitterness still with a caramel lead.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2003 01:34:20 | More by Shiloh
Photo of nomad


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

Poured a nice caramelized ruby color, with a soft off-white head leaving delicate stain that looked quite nice. Its thin head is admirable given that most british session ales can barely form one.

Smelled of floral hops, a very grassy and thinly herbal turn on East Kent Goldings, a soft fragrant hoppiness. Is that what fresh East Kent Goldings smell like? Shepherd Neame is smack in the middle of East Kent...

Tasted of an interesting malt - it had the hearty body of Maris Otter malts without the sticky sweetness, more like an amber malt, but had a graininess of a very fine character. Tasted some date notes, as some mild but definite licorice notes grew in the middle. Juicy yet a bit of Hallertau-like dryness began through the middle as well, almost seeming like a product of the licorice, the marvelous flavor popping up earlier. Hops give off a tart cranberry bitterness toward the end.

It appears this beer comes from an interesting yeast, because there are little esters in the nose but some great flavors. But the point is that this is a tasty bitter/ale. Unfortunately watch out for it skunking before it gets to America, due to their use of clear glass. Must be unbelievable on draught in England.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2003 16:58:55 | More by nomad
Photo of putnam


4.58/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gator-skin pattern of cream-colored foam crusted onto the sides of the glass and onto the surface of the redwood-brown liquid.
The smell of this beer is alluring. Deep twisted knots of polished caramel and seasoned oak revolve around a respectable load of charred green hops.
Dry ale. Creamy, viscous texture though. Little expolsions of water-filled caramel toast. Branchy, papery dryness is assertive and rules on the finish.
A stylistic mid-point between London Pride and Anchor Liberty perhaps.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2003 21:18:07 | More by putnam
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
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 BeerResearcher


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

Pours a deep copper color with a nice fluffy off-white head. Some trails and some spotty sticky lace. Medium sweet caramel maltiness. Sharp bitter and tea-like hops. Balanced, smooth, sweet and very drinkable. Nicely blended towards the end. Nice beer!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2003 15:51:38 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of tang214


3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
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 gjh


3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
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 NeroFiddled


3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The nun's delight! Clear, bright amber with a reddish tint and a creamy head. (The aroma is slightly skunky). The body is moderately light with a gentle carbonation. The flavor is assertive with a strong malt presence and an assault of hops. The hops win out in the finish, leaving it dry and long lasting. Though it's not a very complex ale, it is full of bold malt and hop. An excellent beer to pair with English cheeses.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2002 13:00:43 | More by NeroFiddled
Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 180 ratings.