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Spitfire (Premium Ale Export) - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Spitfire (Premium Ale Export)Spitfire (Premium Ale Export)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

310 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 310
Reviews: 156
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 16.01%
Wants: 8
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Shepherd Neame Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-21-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 310 | Reviews: 156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bendulum
4.75/5  rDev +33.4%

Bendulum, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of funkengruven
4.63/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got the last two bottles at the store, glad I did.

This poured a beautiful copper with a slight tan head leaving some lacing. Smell is hoppy, with some slight caramel in there. The hops are prominent in the flavor, leaving a very slight aftertaste and a smoothness that I would consider to be unrivaled for this style of beer. This is one of those brews that is perfect to sit down and relax with.

The LCBO better not discontinue this one.

funkengruven, Aug 29, 2007
Photo of ChrisCage
4.55/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a rich rusty color with ample ample amounts of big burly carbonation rising to the top, and it's very persistent. The head is textured like sponge toffee at first, but then gets really dense and cloud like, and is slightly off white in coloration....it retains very well! The lacing is wonderful, as an English Bitter should be!

S- There is wonderful aromas of citrus fruit flesh, and rich malt sweetness, that contains toffee/caramel. On the finish, I notice fresh, yet not overpowering hop flowers....very well rounded, if not a little mild, but very typically English!

T- The flavors follow the aromas very closely, and the delivery is simply awesome! There is some malt toffee/caramel sweetness right up front, with a spicy citrus fruit and nutty softness in the middle. The finish is reasonably bitter, with more fresh Kent hops puckering the back of my tongue. I only put in that they're Kent hops b/c I know that's what they used ;) The aftertaste gets a little sticky sweet with a bit of caramilk chocolate bar coming to mind

M- Once the carbonation settles down, this becomes a very frothy, creamy drink! It's clean on the palate, finishing in a quenching manner, leaving me craving the next swig of fine liquid! The body I find is solidly medium...not too thick, but definitely not watery!

O- This one ranks among the best EPA's that I've tried to date! I love this style and the smooth, creamy, full flavored character of this one puts it right up there with the best in my opinion! Perfectly balanced, from sweet beginning to bitter end, this one has it all! Highly recommended!!

ChrisCage, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of davidmturner
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

davidmturner, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of Arborescence
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Arborescence, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of Subliminal64
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Subliminal64, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of jeffbrew
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

jeffbrew, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of MEP
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

MEP, May 27, 2012
Photo of Mark
4.47/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Spitfire I had was in a British pub cask conditioned. Appearance wise it might be the most beautiful ale. A dark clear ruby color. Fruity tast with solid malt backbone. Subtle hopping. As with all cask conditioned brews it has a mellow smoothness and high drinkability. There is nothing like cask or real ale!

Mark, Dec 27, 2001
Photo of woemad
4.47/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My memory of Spitfire is two years old, so forgive me if it has managed to improve in my mind. Had this on tap in a pub in Peckham, in Southeast London. This was the only place I saw this, as I usually encountered Speckled Hen in most of the pubs I was able to frequent. I ordered it because I thought Spitfire was a superb name for an English beer, and therefore had to try it! Was a reddish amber color, if memory serves, with a nice, compact white head perched on top. Smelt of sweet malt and floral hops. Taste started with a malty sweetness that was subtle, not dominating, with the bulk of the taste created by the hops, which gave a satisfying, citrusy zip to the taste buds. I really like English bitters, and this one went very well with my bacon & Stilton hamburger and chips.

woemad, Jul 16, 2003
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.43/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cant believe I havent reviewed this yet. Its definitely one of the finer English Pale Ales.

It pours from its stout narrow necked bottle a bright copper with a plethora of miniscule carbonation bubbles. An immense rocky cream head lasts forever and coats the glass behind it. Aromas of English hops (Goldings Im guessing, its not mentioned on the label) are dominant in the nose. Some biscuity malt is there as well. The taste is a snappy blend of earthy, marmalade hops and dry nutty malt flavors. Hops are much more vibrant than the ordinanry English fare that makes it to Canada. The finish rather bitter and quenching. The mouthfeel is medium and delicately carbonated, almost akin to cask ale.

This is the archetypal English session beer IMO. Its got great balance and good complexity. Unfortunately Spitfire doesnt have the detailed Brewer's notes on the bottle that other brands from this brewery have. The clear glass could be problematic but this sample didnt suffer at all.

Try this beer.

CAMRAhardliner, Aug 20, 2007
Photo of Tybo
4.39/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I ordered this one because it was a different style - The Kentish Ale. This was really hard to compare to any other English Style Ales that I have had before. There was a really sweet - deep malty note to this beer but a solid hop not on the back end. Really unique beer and easy to drink with a lower ABV.

Tybo, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of Schmidts
4.39/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with two fingers of tan, white head. Blood orange color Smells of Malts and earthy Hops. Tastes of Malts and marmalade, with nice earthy Hops and citrus. This is a world class Kentish Ale so glad it is in the states. I love the Plane and I now love the brew named after it!
Overall I give it a 4.50

Schmidts, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of TBone2
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful flavor, I had this beer in the UK and it was awesome. You really get the spicy earthy from the Kent Golding hops. A great malt backbone typical of good British Premium Bitters. Color is blood orange and the Union Jack tap handle really stands out.

I enjoyed this with my Fish and Chips at British Beer Company Framingham , MA.

TBone2, May 24, 2014
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Pint glass. Enjoyed on may´11. Deep copper color. Crystal clear appearance. White, small bubbled, froth. Close & dense head with fairly good retention. Nice lacing. Moderate citric & sweet malt aromas. Floral touch. Sweet malty upfront followed by smooth citric. Clean bitterness & gentle palate. Medium body, soft carbonation. Bitter finish. Big beer!!

GONZALOYANNA, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Believed to be the oldest continuous brewery in Britain; Shepherd Neame is probably more famous for its Bishops Finger Ale, or “Nun's Delight” as it is known locally.

Spitfire was introduced in 1990 as a ‘special’ commemorative beer for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, with a portion of the funds going to the RAF’s benevolent appeal. It became so popular it remained a permanent fixture and is now their top selling Cask beer.

Weighs in at 4.5% ABV in the Cask format, and it was pulled with a tight head, as the Beer Engine in the local J.D.Wetherspoons had a sparkler attached to the swan neck, which is a common attachment to Hand-pumps in the North of England. It added to the smooth drinkability of this fine beer for me.

A golden colored ale that has a very enticing malt aspect. A slight sweetish Devon toffee hint arrives in the middle, but a fruity Kentish hops ending is definitely pertinent in the finish. Extremely well-balanced and incredibly thirst quenching.

As the advert goes, “downed all over England, just like the Luftwaffe” well what would those Fokkers know?

This is one seriously drinkable beer, a real quaffable lunchtime session beer. I had 4 of these in a row without flinching an eyelid.

"we shall drink on to the end,
we shall drink in France,
we shall drink on the seas and oceans,
we shall drink with growing confidence and growing strength in the bar,
we shall defend our Beer, whatever the cost may be,
we shall drink on the beaches, we shall drink on the landing grounds,
we shall drink in the fields and in the streets,
we shall drink in the hills;
we shall never surrender (good beer)!"

A Bloody Jolly Good Show from those Kentish Chaps!

TheLongBeachBum, May 25, 2003
Photo of putnam
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not as good as Bishops Digit, but still...
To quote The Pros And Cons of Hitchhiking:
"I recognise..."
...that instantanaeous burst of hop funk upon cranking off the lid. Clear bottle. Hmm. Not that I dislike hop funk. In fact, I like it.
Underneath my beak it gives resinous, starchy aromas that are industrial...greasy.
Slick, sweetened herbs, dried, Joni Mitchell (v.) to a long, complex finish.
Where is Joni Mitchell?
This beer is Roberta Flack. Sweet and angry.
Or Joan Baez Vol. 2 side 2.
Feminine and throaty.
Provisional, protein-rich grain flavors remind me of Rye Crisp crackers. I think that's a Scandinavian genre. Right? Rye Crackers?

putnam, Oct 12, 2003
Photo of TripelJ
4.28/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine example of a bottle conditioned english ale. Spitfire pours a golden caramel with minimal head. Nose is sweet, fruity, hoppy, and I smell some hints of licorice. The taste reflects the nose but is far more smooth and subtle. The fruity sweetness is citrusy, but not overwhelmingly so. Easily one of the better examples of this style and a very drinkable beer overall.

Serving: 12 oz bottle.

TripelJ, Jul 09, 2003
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.28/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a nonic 20 oz tumbler at Nag's Head Belgravia/Westminster.
It pours a deep copper amber color with a rather good-sized frothy off-white head.
A strong tea-like hop aroma rises at first pour. Dry malt and a light wet hay background smell blend in. A light resinous hop and faint fruity smell arrives late.
This is a classic Pale Ale in every way. Edgy tea-like and citrusy hops are slightly forward of the caramel malt backbone. Tastes of bone dry crackers, with a dose of tart pear peek through.
Just beautiful!

BeerResearcher, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of Keegan
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Keegan, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of dirtydisk
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

dirtydisk, Sep 05, 2014
Photo of Johnq1964
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Johnq1964, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of Jetulio
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Jetulio, Oct 04, 2012
Photo of Beerlover
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Beerlover, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of bmaggot
4.24/5  rDev +19.1%

bmaggot, Sep 20, 2014
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Spitfire (Premium Ale Export) from Shepherd Neame Ltd
81 out of 100 based on 310 ratings.