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HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) - George Gale & Company Ltd

Not Rated.
HSB (Horndean Special Bitter)HSB (Horndean Special Bitter)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

50 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 50
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.31%
Wants: 18
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
George Gale & Company Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 03-27-2002)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UnionMade
UnionMade

Colorado

4.95/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours an orangey earthy brown, topped with a tight beige head. The foam settles into a thick, even mist after a few minutes, keeping a thick collar all the way through. Somewhat chill hazed, with a deep, rich color that suggests considerable depth. Loads of sticky belgian lace forms rings all the way down the glass.
The aroma is just outstanding. Biscuity maltiness is supported by a soft, yet present goldings hoppiness. Excellent estery fruit, just enough, with a light woodsy nuttiness and a slight earthiness to the hopping. A touch of grassy fuggles. Hints of apple and pear, adding to the brew's complexity. A bit of caramel aroma to the malt, adding a touch of sweetness.
The flavor starts out with strong maltiness. Very biscuity, with a distinct maris otter flavor. Toastiness paves the way for soft floral esters, conveying a distinct pear taste, along with some red apple. The malt takes on some caramel sweetness into the finish, where it meets with a gorgeously balanced goldings hop flavor. Earthy, leafy and floral, with a slight fuggles grassiness, like a newly mown lawn, I'm thanking the fact that this is canned and impenetrable to light. Some nuttiness is present in the finish, reminiscent of walnut and hazelnut. A touch of yeasty breadiness, which carries into the aftertaste along with biscuity caramel malt and goldings goodness. The aftertaste lingers forever, allowing me to languish in the heavenly flavor. Pleasant hop burps. Rather full bodied, the smooth silkiness supported by soft, minute carbonation. I am so glad this beer is available in the US, and I feel pangs of jealousy for those that enjoy this on a regular basis.
Canned or not, this will be a staple in my fridge. A most enjoyable pint, easily one of the best bitters I've had, if not the best. I actually feel a little sad when I take a sip, as I want the glass to last forever. This is exactly what I want in a bitter, and I'm determined to track down a cask. Perhaps this is my holy grail? The only thing keeping this beer from a straight 5 review is the fact that I know it's got to be even more amazing cask conditioned. My only complaints are that I'm having a difficult time allowing it to warm, and the only place i know of that sells it is a small store in north jersey. I can't get enough. A case or two is coming home with me next time I see it.

Serving type: can

02-08-2004 23:53:37 | More by UnionMade
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So often I automatically skip over the "can" section of my local stores. What a mistake that has been. I've seen this one before, but never given it a second glace. Until today.
Thought it was nitrogenated. It's not, but it pours like it is. Huge rocky tan suds on top of a blurry bronze fluid.
Enormously fragrant. Rusty iron, bitter herbs, weathered barn doors, biscuits, apples, buttery dough, toffee, grapes, flowers.
Enters the mouth toasty and nutty. Roasted walnuts. Plenty biscuity too. Buttered English Muffins topped with dry toffee. Apple pie arrives next. Crisp and crusty, glazed with caramel. Migrates to a fuller fruity sensation, but this time of pear. Amazingly enough, there are even traces of vinousness, white and grapey and bright. Dough exists through it all, coupled with wood splinters. Bitterness builds gradually. Begins a bit rusty, turning to florals, then to a grassier sense. UK hopping (Fuggles and EK Goldings?) done exactly right.
Nearly full bodied initially, but it wanes over time. Never weak in stature.
This might be the best thing that's ever happened to a can.

Serving type: can

06-22-2004 20:41:56 | More by cokes
Photo of sponberg
sponberg

New York

4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer sampled: on draught, 45 degrees, in mug 10283.

The color is a deep golden/auburn, with very little head as poured. The smell is typically English malty, with hoppiness in the background.

HSB starts off with a decided hop presence (I noticed it more on tap than I remembered in bottle) and firm bitterness, with a round, almost buttery malt to complement the hops. The hops are present throughout the sip, leaving a pleasant, just shy of unbalanced bitterness on the tongue along with the lingering malt flavors. As the brew warms, the malt comes to the forefront as expected. A very, very drinkable ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2002 03:18:35 | More by sponberg
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep copper with ruby hue and a nice ivory head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of toffee/caramel - complex maltiness with lemony citrus, apricot and a bit of wood.

The taste is of nice caramelish/toffeeish maltiness with a leafy, citric hop bitterness in the finish.

It has a creamy smooth body that is full-bodied for the style. Coating. Mild carbonation. Silky.

Incredible how they replicated the cask-feel so well in a bottle, adding to the drinkability factor. Very well-balanced and delicious. Complex in a soft and subtle way. This is an exceptional bitter!

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2009 00:45:30 | More by jwc215
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent bitter. Simply excellent. Good color with little head. Has an excellent malt smell. The taste is very good, incredibly drinkable. Noticeable but not overwhelming hops presence. You want to have this at a nice temperature. A very good balance for a bitter. Carboniation seems perfect for mouthfeel. This has got to be one of the best session brews I have ever had the pleasure to drink. This beer makes me rethink the quality of canned beers.

Serving type: can

06-25-2004 02:54:54 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of CRJMellor
CRJMellor

Arkansas

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(ed. note - My mom's maiden name is Gale and I'm directly descended from psst Gale's so my review as the potential for bias)

Pours mahogany/teak color with a thin tan head that still manages to deposit enormous sheets of lace to the Imperial pint glass.

Aroma of roasted malts, some caramel and dark fruits and oats.
Distinctive wheat bread note in the background.

Flavor of sweet, gummy caramel with some chocolate, oats and roasted notes and floral yet heavily spicy and zesty bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Sweetness pervades the front but i cut by a full grain middle and an ever increasing bitterness which is truly scrumptious.

Drinkability is very high. Could sit in the garden all day and drink this beauty. A 2nd prop goes to the cellarman at The Castle in Cambridge for this well-kept beauty.

Serving type: cask

07-08-2004 20:25:25 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of cdwil
cdwil

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

12-29-2011 14:18:14 | More by cdwil
Photo of pezoids
pezoids

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a four pack of this at Monster beverage in Glassboro, NJ. Poured a bright and clean orangey amber brown and was topped off by a rich and creamy head of tan foam. The aroma has some metallic notes and leans more towards the sweet and malty side rather than the bitter and hoppy. Has a candy like caramel malt sweetness. The taste is full of flavor and the sweetness is dead on. The hops are there but barely noticeable. Nicely blended. This leaves a sweet butter toffee tang on the tongue. I really enjoyed this beer, although it should have been a bit warmer.

Serving type: can

05-07-2004 05:41:27 | More by pezoids
Photo of hansavijaticar
hansavijaticar

Croatia (Hrvatska)

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

06-14-2014 19:41:50 | More by hansavijaticar
Photo of assurbanipaul
assurbanipaul

Texas

4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a glorious, thick head that lasts forever and laces well. Strong nose of chocolate and malt. Lightly carbonated, color is a deep, rich amber. Palate is heavy, rich and strong. Yeasty malt taste, roasty, almost like cola with a strong hop aroma.

Good example of an English bitter. Seems not to suffer from living in an aluminum can.

Serving type: can

05-29-2003 20:08:01 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A slightly hazy chestnut body with deep reddish-copper highlights is topped by a good-sized head of rocky "vanilla" foam. The head holds quite well, and it leaves some very nice rings of lace throughout the pint. The nose displays an earthy/mineral (but not quite metallic) and leafy character that seems to come from a combination of both malt and hops; over a decidedly caramelish malt. The medium body is accentuated by a very fine and delicate carbonation that leaves it creamy, soft and smooth in the mouth. There's just enough carbonation to give it a little mouthfeel and bring out the flavors without becoming gassy. Very nice, and perfect for a session beer. The flavor reveals basically what the aroma indicates with a maltiness that's just as equally earthy and dusty as it is caramelish with a touch of mineral, some leafy hops, and a mild woodiness. More complexities arise, however, with a bit more investigation. There's an underlying touch of yeasty, berry-like fruitiness; and a toasty, chocolate side to the malt that becomes quite apparent in the finish. It's very well-balanced with a bitterness seems to hide itself in the shadows but continually keeps things dry without ever building on the palate. Again, it's perfectly balanced and makes for an excellent session ale. There's enough character to keep it interesting throughout an evening; a brilliant balance that makes it workable; and a low enough alcohol that you can do it at a session pace. Brilliant!

Serving type: can

08-17-2003 21:38:24 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of bark
bark

Sweden

4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The liquid is clear; the colour is red-copper. The finger thick head is pale beige and very compact and smooth.

The light smell is a bit bitter with flavours of fresh bread, wort and ripe grain.

The taste is fresh with a fine hoppy first flavour. Lots of malt and delicate flowery (buttercups) notes. Some sweet wort in the aftertaste, that also brings notes of tree sap and rowanberries. A delicate bitterness in the finish.

The carbonation is medium strong, the small bubbles are soft. The liquid is smooth.

A solid best bitter.

Serving type: cask

11-23-2009 19:16:46 | More by bark
Photo of doerickson
doerickson

Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown coloring with little head. Soft nose with a bit of light malt. Low carbonation. Toasty caramel malt in the forefront with some light hops to balance; short finish. High drinkability. Very nicely made.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2002 21:15:32 | More by doerickson
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Sturdy 500ml English style bottle-conditioned ale bottle. Freshness date scored on the back label.

Appearance: A solid dark woody/brown beer with a patchy white large bubbled foam head. It fades into a foamy lace, but is still pleasant. Contains very little dregs in the bottle.

Smell: Clean, light aroma of leaf, earth, faint bubble-gum.

Taste: Smooth, extremely mellow with a water-like mouth-feel/consistency. Malts are very light with hints of earth, bark, toasted malts, faint chocolate and a very tame mild malt sweetness. Just a touch of fruity flavours lingers about, and there's a barely detectable note of medicinal in the back. Hops bring a gentle raw, leafy bitterness to the palate that both balances and intrigues. Dry, leafy and earthy in the finish.

Notes: Naturally bottle-conditioned. I highly recommend that you stand the bottle to let the yeast settle and server at ~55F. With a careful pour, leave the dregs in the bottle.

Quite possibly one of the most drinkable beers on the palate, where nothing overwhelms and all is in harmony. A top-notch session beer, to say the least, and much like a cask ale in the bottle. We need more real English-style bitters in the US. I'll have to write Congress.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2002 19:58:52 | More by Todd
Photo of sawbones420
sawbones420

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Judging by the locations of the other raters, I don't believe this fine ale is imported in the US. Having had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time in England, I've drank my fare share of real ale. My British friend, Matt, always brings me a handful of various ales when he comes to visit, which temporarily quenches my insatiable thirst for British Beer. I had one can of HSB left from his last visit so I thought I'd throw it up on BA.

Regular 440ml can (no nitro), poured into an imperial pint glass. Deep brown color, with a deliciously thick whitish head.

Smell is fruity and full-bodied.

Sips deliciously smooth and fruity, with only the slightest trace of carbonation. A delicious malt flavor overtakes your tongue. Smooth and mild, but extremely drinkable. I miss having this available on tap. And come to think of it, I'm pretty sad this is my last can! Sip? This is a beer to take gulpfuls of.

It's somewhat understandable why Brits are able to down pint after pint of dark ales after you've had a brew like HSB. It may be dark, but it goes down smooth and keeps you thirsty for more. Easy to quaff, and leaves a satisfying malt aftertaste. I know this to be one of the more popular bitters in England, so I can only hope that it may one day be exported to the US, to satisfy our ever expanding national beer palette.

Serving type: can

11-11-2007 02:40:12 | More by sawbones420
Photo of Viking
Viking

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[cask conditioned and served fairly warm]

Reddish-amber beer, with a full head. Aroma a blend of caramel and floral scent. Nice hop bitterness, but not overpowering. Sweet, almost creamy, malt taste balances the bitterness nicely.

A wonderful beer to drink while kicking back, talking with the cute barmaids, and watching a pivotal playoff-implication hockey game.

Serving type: cask

04-11-2002 21:27:33 | More by Viking
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank at a pub based beer festival in Shropshire 14th Sept 2007.

Great dark colour, ruby red and clear, firm biege head that stayed the distance.

Fruity, hoppy and interesting aroma.

The fruitiness within the fullbodied taste gives this beer a wonderful flavour.

The taste clings to your palat, this is a good beer. Glad I re-introduced myself to it, I won't wait so long between visits again.

Serving type: cask

09-15-2007 08:04:42 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of Stoutmeister
Stoutmeister

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

04-15-2014 23:04:29 | More by Stoutmeister
Photo of dcmchew
dcmchew

Romania

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

11-04-2013 12:07:59 | More by dcmchew
Photo of blamoe
blamoe

United Kingdom (England)

4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gales HSB now brewed at Fullers is an excellent example of an dark ale that is highly drinkible and not to heavy, but also not watery. The taste is quite strong with a slight fruit taste and also quite fruit cakey witha malty base and a slight hop kick. This is my favorite Gales beer and can be drunk all night long.

Serving type: can

06-17-2008 18:41:23 | More by blamoe
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask draught at Kickoffs in Waterloo. Always a solid English bitter here, so I'm game.

A - mahogany-brown, leaves a 2cm white head encircling the glass.

S - bread and biscuits, citrus and malts.

T - A fine English bitter (somewhat similar to Fuller's ESB). Toffee, bread, malts that finishes with a crisp bitterness.

M - A bit thin, low carbonation as cask-draught tends to be. Goes down smooth.

D - Terrific on cask - privileged to have tried it in this form. Bitters and I get along just swimmingly, so this will be a sessional for me in the future. Good offering.

Serving type: cask

10-23-2009 04:50:26 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of ThirstyBird
ThirstyBird

Germany

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at NERAX
Appears Deep reddish brown with a light tan head that sustains.
The aroma is watery fruitiness, some caramel and bitter hops. The taste though pokes your tongue awake! Wow, lot's of flavor! Rich malt, fruit, The bitterness has a slight sourness which adds a lot of interest. The body is light/medium. The brew is super silky smooth. Very nice and very, very drinkable. I would love to have this beer available in my market.

Serving type: cask

03-26-2010 16:18:04 | More by ThirstyBird
Photo of CanuckRover
CanuckRover

Ontario (Canada)

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

Very dark red, bordering on brown. Eggshell head, settles to a nice film. Well marked lacings to the finish.

Mostly caramel on the nose.

Nice English malts give a real red ale character to this one. Loads of caramel to start with touches of nice red fruit in the middle. Bittering hops clean up nicely in the finish, making it a very sessionable ale.

Cask was in good condition, no complaints.

Serving type: cask

04-14-2011 16:33:48 | More by CanuckRover
Photo of BigBry
BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

4/5  rDev +0.5%

05-19-2013 16:11:34 | More by BigBry
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +0.5%

03-24-2014 17:30:12 | More by jrenihan
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HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) from George Gale & Company Ltd
88 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.