Bishops Finger - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Bishops FingerBishops Finger

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BA SCORE
82
good

102 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 102
Hads: 236
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 15.38%
Wants: 8
Gots: 34 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 102 | Hads: 236
Photo of dgilks
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark amber colour with some red hues. Rocky, light tan head with good head retention.

Dusty, toffee aroma with some pale malt and earthy hop notes.

Light, smooth, toffee-like malt with moderate bitterness and some earthiness. Nicely balanced and crisp.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. A touch fizzy but as expected for a bottled ale.

A nice, easy to drink, standard issue British ale. The rich toffee note adds a unique depth. (450 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep clear orange-tan with no fizz but a lumpy beige head that leaves some trails. Peanut and spicy hops nose with slight orange oil. Gooseberry and dark toast malts with juicy bitter-sweet black cherry base, and musky, herbal hops, like incense or cinnamon oil plus a tannic hit like tea. A possible whiff of diesel and a metallic tang, too. Light -medium, dry and crisp.

Easy drinking, with lots of earthy-spicy English hops character. Thoroughly decent for a mass market ale. But don't let it get too warm, because that's when the nasty off flavours come out... (572 characters)

Photo of Sigmund
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rerate: 500 ml clear bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 5.4%. Golden brown colour, big to moderate off-white head. The aroma has loads of toffee and caramel, also notes of malts, fruits and bakery. The flavour is nutty with plenty of caramel, some fruity sweetness, and a distinct hoppy bitterness in the finish. Alcohol is noticeable. Original rating: (500 ml bottle). Kentish strong ale of golden brown colour, good head, malty aroma with caramel and oak. Nutty flavour, well hopped, "raw" in the edges (which I like). Would love to try this one cask conditioned! (588 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Jan 2011. This is ale with a pedigree - the label proclaims Shepherd Neame as Britain's oldest brewer (from 1698).

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A deep ruby-brown colour with good carbonation. A thick, creamy off-white head tops the liquid and remains for 5 minutes or so before dissipating to a surface film. A rich aroma of roasted malt and caramel, with notes of hops and a hint of burning. A whiff of alcohol.

A strong malty flavour with good bitterness. Slightly sweet with caramel notes, but mostly a distinctive roasted flavour tempered by hops as you swallow. A warming hint of alcohol on the palate. Mouthfeel is somewhat carbonated and mildly astringent, leaving a dry sensation. Aftertaste of bitter hops and malt.

Highly drinkable. This is probably my favourite ale from Shepherd Neame, and is the beer that springs to mind when someone mentions strong English ale. A good flavour makes it an drink for all seasons. Worth seeking out. (997 characters)

Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The drink pours nicely, giving a head which lasts for about a quarter of an hour, which also has a very nice colour: sort of yellow at the bottom getting whiter as you go up.

The smell is good, very good. A rich smell, reminding me somewhat of roasted coffee.

The taste is bitter, and quite harsh, the bitterness remaining for a few moments, dwindling out slowly which can be either good or bad, depending on your tastes. The roasted characteristic remains in the taste, as well as a strong hopp taste.

Overall it is fairly drinkable although somewhat harsh and bitter.

Note also the harshness increases as the beer warms up. (631 characters)

Photo of NefariousR
4.04/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz. glass bottle into a pint glass at Panteli's in Canterbury, UK.

A - Pours a reddish-orange with a foamy off-white head.

S - Citrus aromas -- particularly grapefruit -- are very evident, rounded out by hops. Malt can be sensed in the distance.

T - Strong hop profile with some sweetness in the background.

M - Medium-bodied and slight sticky, with a moderate level of carbonation.

D - A solid ale that goes well with English food. Try it if you're in the area. (483 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
1.41/5  rDev -61.3%
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. (959 characters)

Photo of eric5bellies
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Bobardier Conical Pint Glass.

A - Pours a rich redish copper colour with an off white head that retains well and laces.

S - Aromas are well defined malts, burnt caramel and grains.

T - Some very nis flavours of toffee and carmel malts. The finish is long and flavoursome.

M - So smooth with medium body and minimal carbonation.

D - This is a top ranking English ale of the highest order, it has everything that you could need. (445 characters)

Photo of FreshHawk
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Light amber bronze color. Decent off-white foamy head. Decent retention with a little lacing left.

S - Toasted grain and malt, with a good amount of caramel and toffee. Some nuts and earthy hops.

T - Balance between the hops and the malt and grain. Hops are tea-like, earthy, and floral. There is a toasted malt/grain taste. Gives it a slightly bready and sweet taste. The hops are more prominent than the malt.

M - Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. Fizzy and slightly smooth.

D - Good drinkability between the balanced flavors and the good body. The body and flavor are a little too watery for me really to enjoy, but it is good.

Notes: Lots of tea, floral, herbal flavors. Very balanced flavors. Nothing overpowers and it is a little thin for me, but a good all around everyday beer. (808 characters)

Photo of rarbring
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear amber beer, an off-white head that leaves good lacing.

A good bready malt aroma, a bit of sweetness and a god measure of hops. A faint metallic taint at the end.

The hops are predominant in the taste, with nice bitter notes. But some sweet tones from cookie crumbs. Good balance.

Medium carbonation and a smooth feeling.

A good solid typical English brew. (367 characters)

Photo of PartyBear
3/5  rDev -17.6%
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. (398 characters)

Photo of Macca
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
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. (496 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.81/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (894 characters)

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (653 characters)

Photo of TheSarge
4.16/5  rDev +14.3%
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. (589 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (728 characters)

Photo of wl0307
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
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! (1,745 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
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. (450 characters)

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. (804 characters)

Photo of chiefydawg
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
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. (1,019 characters)

Photo of fullsweep
3.36/5  rDev -7.7%
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 . . . (355 characters)

Photo of Ohiovania
3.54/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (629 characters)

Photo of AlexLMS
2.62/5  rDev -28%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of LittleCreature
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

OVERALL - 4
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. (955 characters)

Photo of AylwinForbes
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
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. (477 characters)

Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
82 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.