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Hopback Summer Lightning - Hop Back Brewery plc

Not Rated.
Hopback Summer LightningHopback Summer Lightning

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

169 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 169
Reviews: 150
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 16.02%
Wants: 12
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hop Back Brewery plc visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 09-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 169 | Reviews: 150 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by IllNate:
Photo of IllNate
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A pale yellow, with a good amount of white foamy head. Head disappears to lacing within a few minutes. Found a couple chunky bits in mine.

S - 'baby vomit', which is indicative of butyric acid, produced from a contaminated mash. I was going to suspect a poorly treated sample, but it's a fairly distinct smell and is produced in the mash. I even got a new glass and re-poured the rest of the beer. It's hard to look past this off smell, but otherwise it smells like pale malt. Nothing in the way of hops, which is surprising.

T - The butyric acid is not present enough to affect the taste. Tastes of pale malts and a light bitterness.

M - good, nice and smooth.

D - Would be better without the smell.

Conclusion. Shelf life isn't great on this beer and it's best to get this beer on tap and/or fresh. I went easy on this beer because my sample obviously wasn't as good as it's meant to be. I specifically chose this beer for my visiting brother to bring back because it's supposed to be excellent, but alas, i'll have to have it another time.

bottle date coded: BB 16 09 II

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Kind of a hazy copper/yellow color wich is the way it should be.Got a little yeasy not in the aroma had a little clove flavor lingering in the palate.Very easy to drink, refreshing summer ale I enjoyed it,better than alot of summer golden ales and such here in the US.

Photo of Popsinc
3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: A pale golden pour with a small white head and very little carbonation. Slighty cloudy.

Smell: The nose is quite dull and boring. A little bit of lemony zest and subtle hops. A pinch or corn sweetness. Some flowery notes.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp off the top. Again, some lemon fruitiness in the middle of the body followed by a nice hoppy finish. Medium bodied with some creamy texture. Bitter on the finish and it lingers for quite a while.

Drinkablilty: Not too bad i suppose. A bit of a thirst quencher with some backbone. Not my favorite for overall balance. Hit or miss depending of your mood i suppose.

Photo of brownbeer
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale, clear, golden orange color with a frothy white head. Spicy, earthy hops in the nose, lemon, and something slightly sour. The taste is well balanced, not really exciting or boring. It has an earthy mineral character and has English hops and malt written all over it. This would be a fine beer to chug in the summer, though not without flaws, and I imagine it could be hard to find a fresh bottle.

Photo of shapudding
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a nice and very clear golden. Piles of creamy white head layered up, then finally reduced down and stayed as a thick layer. Very nice. I am not getting too much in the scent, just some maltiness. Good amount of carbination rising up through the glass. Good amount of carbination, just right. Malty and hoppy, leaves a tingle in your mouth after each sip. Fairly balanced flavors though... Leaves a bit of hoppy bitterness in your mouth. Nice summer day brew, very easy drinker.

Photo of merlin48
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, straw yellow, body, topped by an enormous, rocky, snowwhite head that pits and craters. Strong retention and blobs of patch lace are left all over the imperial pint glass. Aroma is muted, with herbal and grassy hops atop some sweetish pale malt. Mouthfeel is light medium bodied with spritzy high carbonation. Bitter, grassy hops drive the flavor from start to finish, with slightly sweet, biscuity malt providing a solid backbone. A hint of pear emerges as it warms. Nicely executed English Bitter, well balanced and very sessionable.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
2.48/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Summer's almost over, so I thought I should drink this before it goes entirely.

A 500ml bottle with a BB of May 2013. Picked up a little while back from Booths. Features an image of Dionysus on the label (the brewery's logo) - I previously thought it was a green man. Bottle conditioned.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear pale-gold hue with good carbonation and slight sediment (most of the yeast sticks resolutely to the bottom of the bottle). Yields a huge head of frothy white foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer, leaving nice lacing as it goes. Looks great. The aroma, however, is not nearly so pleasant. A distinct note of harsh stewed leaves, faint solvent and sulphur. Virtually nothing else is discernible. Another reviewer mentioned that they thought the aroma was butyric acid, so perhaps that's what this is - at any rate it is vile and seriously detracts from the beer.

Tastes of light malt with a dry, mildly bitter finish. Notes of stewed leaves, sulphur, earthy yeast and a whisper of citrus aroma. A restrained, dry bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and full-bodied, with a dry character. Pretty astringent, with an aftertaste of harsh stewed leaves and a sulphurous note.

Disappointing - I had expectations of this being a pleasant pale ale with a hoppy character. Not so. I looks nice and has decent body, but the aroma is horrid and the flavour also leaves much to desire. Not sure what's wrong with the smell but it is dominated completely by a harsh, sulphur-like quality. This carries through into the flavour, masking this ale's subtle malt and hop characteristics. All said, not a good drinking experience. It's a pity because I've had this before (ages ago) and liked it, so I don't know what the issue is here. Perhaps I should seek it out on cask. At any rate, I'd have to recommend avoiding this in bottles if you like beer.

Photo of dwren89
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: pale gold with fluffy white head, good clarity

Aroma: lemon zest, biscuity, slight tartness,

Taste: cold, refreshing, thirst quenching biscuity malt flavor with balanced hop bitterness, finishes with a bitter tinge; not a lot of distinguished hop or malt character, just a nicely balanced summer ale to slake a thirst on a hot day. Short finish

Mouthfeel: Tingly carbonation, light body,

Overall Impression: Not a bad ale to drink on a hot summer day to refresh your system. But not an ale (or style, for that matter) that provides much complexity or depth. Balanced. Not bad, but not earth shattering.

Photo of ADR
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hazy brownish yellow with tons of papery chunks. Half inch head that's almost as firm as styrofoam. Estery cotton-candy aroma, a bit of lime. Impressive floral bittering for a wheat brew, and resulting from English hops. Malt is subtle molasses and a slight bit of banana and unsweetened clove. Light bodied and finishes on a dryish side with re-asserting bitterness. This is an interesting beer, but the flavor profile didn't quite click with me. This bottle was shipped from another store that's closed so it might be on the elderly side and the chunks were large and papery.

Photo of rastaman
2.9/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light and fresh on both nose and palate, wheaty, slighty fruity (banana and citrus), slight hop bitterness towards the end, and enjoyable brew, nothing exceptional about it, but quite solid.

Photo of rhoadsrage
2.88/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- This beer has a straw yellow clear body with a big white head of huge bubbles and a boil of carbonation made up of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of very light faint fresh grain is soft but pleasant. There is a very faint green note that is not distinctly hops but is plant material.

T- This beer has a faint fresh light grain note that leads into a faint lemon, green hop note. All of that is quickly overpowered by a carbonic acid flavor that finish the taste. As it warms the hop flavor turns more lemony and kefir lime notes.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a strong fizz finish.

D- Don't believe the hype on the bottle. I feel like this is a English bitter that is "dumbed down" with a nice label for the American market. It would be nice to taste some more of the malt and turn down the carbonation.

Photo of Sammy
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An easy drink, thin mouthfeel. Golden. Somewhat hopped, but understated. Bit of wheat and wheatgerm. Low carbonation, floral hops. Cloves, sweet csugar cookie malt and bannana. Fresh crisp. Unfinishable with 5 of us. Rest for cooking burgers. Some bitter aftertaste.

Photo of hophopandaway
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer comes around at my local less regularly than I would like but i is one of my favourites. The beer is nicely hopped so that there is an element of bitterness but it is not super-dominant. The head is creamy, fine and lasts right to the last sip. The lacing is as good as it comes.
When drinking the mouthfeel is unsurpassed, it's floral on the nose but with a gentle hint of soft summer fruits. The taste is of a mild bitterness that is perfectly balanced with the light earthy and herby flavours that make this a very well balanced beer perfect for an afternoon in the beer garden of your favourite pub.
This is no longer the best beer in it's class but it is a beer that was almost revolutionary in its early years. This is the kind of beer that converts the lager heathens in to real ale fanatics. 5 pints of this on a friday after a tough week is a super way to start the weekend.

Photo of surfadelic23
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up b/c I saw where it had won some CAMRA awards...
This one Pours out a nice and very clear golden straw color just as the bottle said. Mine poured a nice white head about 1/2 inch rhar dissipated quickyl. There was some malt smell but did not pick up any hops. . Very nice. I am not getting too much in the scent, just some maltiness. There is a nice amt. of carbonation rising up through the glass. It has a nice malt and hop flavor that's well balanced but still manages to leave a bitter tingle after every sip. This one was nice to drink on the back deck by the pool. Very refreshing and none too heavy.

Photo of dgallina
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from a 16.9 oz bottle without freshness date. An unusually light and very clear golden color with huge, foamy, white head and great head retention. Smells quite fresh and fruity; lots of hop floweriness here. A little lacking in initial taste, but quickly builds strong flowery and herbal flavors before finishing very long and extremely dry. Very light (overly so) and carbonated in the mouth. An unusual and extremely drinkable beer.

Photo of edchicma
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A better than average brew. Head was enormous and chunky..smell was malty and yeasty and very pleasant on the nose. Flavor was rounded and malty with a very nice light hop finish. Mouthfeel was smooth throughout with a lightly dry finish. Easy on the drinkability scale. A very solid brew.

Photo of puboflyons
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the 1 pt. 0.9 fl. oz. bottle marked 0708. Sampled on April 26, 2009. The look was a cloudy pale yellow with a very puffy, fizzy white head. It looked more like an American Pale than an English Bitter. Not dark enough in my opinion. The aroma is hoppy, mildly yeasty, and vaguely fruity. Again, not what I am used to in an English Bitter. The mouthfeel has reasonable carbonation and texture. The flavor was very sour and tart rather than hoppy. This seemed to have more of the properties of a Blonde. It was a pretty good Blonde but an average Bitter.

Photo of akorsak
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the General Sutter. I originally saw this beer in one of Michael Jackson's books, so I am excited to finally try it.

A: The bitter is a pale straw color (seemingly par for the course here), fizzy and clear. The fizziness leads to wispy lace.

S: The bitter brings light bitterness and ample pale malts. The hops are vegetal at times but generally mild and earthy. The pale malts are light and bready.

T: Light and refreshing, a perfect way to start the day. Balance is key, at least initially. Upfront, light malts are biscuity and the hops earthy - very mild. That changes as each sip progresses. The hoppiness builds quickly, a bitterness that, by the end, is surprisingly strong and dry. The lightness of the ale is nice, plenty of flavor in such a small package.

M: While the ale is light, it doesn't skimp on flavor. The rising bitterness is a reminder that the Brits know their way around hops too.

Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with very little active carbonation, an aggressive pours gets a little bit of foam. Color is a slightly hazed yellow with an amber tint. Lazy streams of bubbles drift up through the straw colored liquid. Some rings of lace form.

Clean malt aroma, fairly simple.

Taste reminds me a little of Czech Pilsner, lightly malty with a grassy hop in the middle. Honey lingers faintly in the aftertaste. Biscuit or crackery presence. Very clean feel, smooth with low carbonation. Hop bite is mild but adds a pleasant bittering at the end. It would be much easier to session this on a cask, the $5 cost of the bottle is a little prohibitive on the session end of things.

Photo of Darkale
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy, bright gold body, absurdly powerful head -- mile-high, smooth, foamy, and irrepressible. When I opened the bottle, it began to gush out the top; I put the bottle in the sink and waited, and it continued to spill out. After 30 seconds, I simply poured the beer into my biggest glass, because I was tired of waiting; if I had not poured it, I think I'd still be in the kitchen waiting for it to stop.

Obviously the lacing was similarly over-achieving. I love a big massive head on a beer so I won't hit the rating too hard over it, though others may not like all that foam!

Spicy but clear aroma. Reminiscent of a fine pilsener or a Kolsch. Crisp and raspy mouthfeel ends creamy, but still your cheeks tingle. Taste is slightly sour and very hoppy.

A very tasty and remarkably effervescent beer. The sort of beer that keeps your mouth moving even after you've swallowed it.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a gold colored beer with a standard head with above average retention. Carbonation is quite good and body is a bit thin. Aroma is lovely with a mix of floral hops and nice strong malt. Taste is very refreshing with some sweetness kicking first and ending with a slight bitterness. Overall, this is an above average English ale and very refreshing for the summertime.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle bought in the UK. Poured the color of liquified straw with a huge head that looked like dishwasher detergent but settled to a thin white head. Very resiny, fruity, clove aromas from the hops was predominant. Smells of grapefruit and white grapes also present. Taste is much more malty than aroma would indicate with a very bitter back end. Medum bodied mouthfeel that leaves a slightly astringent flavor. This beer is so much better on cask that its hard to rate on the bottle alone but thats that with that.

Photo of buzzy
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of PeatReek
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear and straw yellow, with a light lid of head. Aroma is mostly malty with bright English hop aspects. Taste is all malt up front, nice and crisp with a stiff pleasing bitterness and a bit of hoppy flavor on the back end. The mild cask carbonation really allows the malt backbone to shine, and the body is so light that I'm shocked its original gravity was 49. Super drinkable; I had lots to try this evening, but I'll definitely have several of these if I ever come across Summer Lightning again.

[NERAX 2007]

Photo of MJR
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Carefully leaving the yeast dregs in the bottle, this brew pours a brilliantly clear pale gold with lots of carbonation bubbles. It's bright white head starts thick and full, then shrinks a bit in the middle, leaving a solid collar around the edge of the glass. Good lacing.

Smell: The aroma is very fresh, with a good amount of tart wheat and lemon. There's also a touch of citric hops that have a dash of spiciness. Not all that interesting, but not bad...

Taste: The flavor starts out firmly bitter, with a citrusy shot of lemon rind. After the initial hop bite, it opens up with a big burst of fresh wheat tartness. The hop bitterness and flavor stay in the forefront, offsetting the balance a bit. A bit of a grassy flavor in there as well. Finishes crisp and clean, with a bit of chalky yeast and a lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, with a clean mouthfeel that's on the lighter side of medium. Finishes a bit dry.

Drinkability: Seems like an American wheat ale with both the flavor profile and hops taken up a notch or two. While there's nothing offensive about this brew, there's just not that much that holds my attention.

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Hopback Summer Lightning from Hop Back Brewery plc
82 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.