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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.

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

Clear light gold. Huge, very fine white head settles slowly to a full rocky cap. Took more than 5 minutes to fit this one into an Imperial pint glass.

Nose is a bit of earthy/flowery hop over very crisp crackery malt. Quite chalky as well, and this becomes more pronounced with time. Overall, a bit subtle, but nice.

Very much on the light side of medium in the mouth. There's a bit of lemony hop flavor over the crisp malt. Touch of earthy hop in the finish, which is very long, tingly, chalky and bitter. Carbonation is nice due to bottle-conditioning, but this particular bottle is probably a bit over-carbonated. Above average, but not by much. More of interest for its role in the waking of the English brewing scene, than on its own merits.

Photo of RBorsato
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straw colored with a nice off-white head, good carbonation, and decent lace. Definitive East Kent Golding hop aroma (lemony and earthy). Crisp hoppy flavor and very well balanced with nice malty sweetness. Light bodied with a dry hoppy finish albeit a bit "bitter"...

A nice brew that smooths out as it warms ... though $3.99 is pretty pricey.

Per Label: "Bottle Conditioned Golden Ale" & "Best Bottle Conditioned Beer - CAMRA - Great British Beer Festival - 1997"

Per H.B.Co. website: Best Strong Bitter at Great British Beer Festival - 1992 and 2001

Per M.J. - U.B.: Marris Otter barley and East Kent Golding hops.

($3.99 / 16.9 oz.)

Photo of UnionMade
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful pale amber, with a creamy white head. Slightly hazy. Excellent lacework, leaving a trail all the way down the side of the pint.
Aroma is decidedly british, with some goldings. Fairly hoppy, with a good malt backing. A touch of toasted malt, but very light. Plenty of floral esteriness, with a touch of nutty aroma. Well balanced, with no flavor particularly standing out.
Flavor is straight up my alley. Creamy and rich, with terrific malt/hop balance. Lightly bready maltiness, sweet and lightly fruity. A touch of apricot and floweriness. Body is medium, with nice low carbonation, that signature cask creamy feel. Awesome. If you have an opportunity to try this beer on cask, do it. Your tongue will thank you, and ask for another.

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.

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

Pours cloudy light golden-yellow in color with some large chunks of yeast in the bottom of the bottle, has a good frothy white head that sticks around and leaves a nice lacing, bready and flowery aromas. Decent grainy and bready malt flavors, light rounded mouthfeel that finishes with a mild bitterness.

Photo of StevieW
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml brown bottle. Best before 200803 clearly stamped on the side. Clear golden yellow pour, sticky uneven off-white head. Smells traditional old beer malt smells and whifs of fresh cut flowers, and some whole hops flowers. Taste was a touch bready, maybe a whisper of toasted malt, but mostly crisp clean hop bitterness. Left lingering residue, holes in your cheeks. Crisp and dry finish. Very refreshing, thirst quenching bitter. Bitterness does linger and leaves you wishing for more. Light to medium bodied, highly charged. A very good summertime ale, quite refreshing. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I would gladly buy it again.

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear (if you pour carefully), yellow-gold body, topped by an enormous frothy white head. Excellent lacing. Grass and hay lead the nose, but it is a subdued aroma. Taste is malty, but clean, with a subtle floral "hop back"ground. Surprisingly full mouthfeel. That's a good thing. Goes down easy and feels good doing it. A fine golden ale, and I'd be happy to see a cask of it in my local.

Photo of PatandDavid
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this several times on cask, but actually took a few notes yesterday.

I've had this better at Nerax, but here goes:

Clear golden color when poured. Not much to smell. No head or lace to speak of.

The flavor was actually rather floral I thought. There was a slightly sweet, delicate lemony note in the finish. The aftertaste proved slightly bitter.

I would recommend this on cask in situations where you know it's going to be fresh: at Nerax, or another situation where it's freshly imported. While my pour wasn't awful by any means, knowing how good this can be fresh, leaves me unable to rate this one any higher at the moment.


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

Sampled on cask at Redbones.

This bitter poured a clear, amber color with creamy, white foam that clung to the glass and left some lace. The smell was malty, with hints of citrus and fruitiness. The taste was mild floral hops and malt, nicely balanced. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. The body was medium and the carbonation low. The aftertaste was mildly hoppy. This was quite an enjoyable bitter.

Photo of fattychubs
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden Straw in color, very slightly hazy, with a large sticky fluffy white head, laces nicely as I drink. Aroma is sweet, with floral hops. Taste starts somewhat sweet and malty, middle is a little grainy wheat, finishes with a hope bite, a slight nutty flavor in there somewhere. Body is thin to medium, crisp finish.

First couple tastes I got a lot more nutty and earthy flavor, but as I drank more and it warmed up a bit, it smoothed out. I didn’t think I liked it at first, but in the end it was pretty drinkable.

Photo of jdhilt
2.95/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a white stiff head that stays and leaves a lot of lace. Light straw colored that is cloudy from the bottle conditioning. A lot of yeast stuck on the side of the bottle at the top - unusual. Expiration date was 4-9-03 but the flavor was fine, finishes hoppy but this is a light summer brew.

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
2.38/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Strange beer, to say the least. Despite the hype on the bottle, pours and tastes like a partially skunked pils. Looks promising, clear with a nice foamy head. Strange smell and unimpressive taste. Better than the macros, but not by much. There is nothing about this to recommend spending your money.

Photo of BierReise
2.3/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nothing like the description,nothing like a bottle conditioned ale. Looks like a pilsner as poured. White tightly compressed head with a clear light golden body. Aroma from bottled hinted at wheat but as poured smelled more like pils malts and a slight skunkiness. Flavor also like a pils or alt style ale. Poor bitter aftertaste left in my mouth. Big dissapointment. They certainly pulled a fast one here.

Photo of shirfan
2.78/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark gold with a thin but persistent head.

A sour, floral, slightly fruit-like aroma emerged. Very bizarre..something between sourdough and fasnachts.

I swirled out the yeast, contrary to the bottle's indications, but in keeping with standard wheat beer practice. All I got out of this was sour, chewy wheat and non-descript hops. Vinegar. Maybe the bottle had gone bad; this was very forgettable and not tasty at all. A total trainwreck that I'll attribute to a bad bottle; if this was meant to taste this way, I'll stick to german and american renditions.

Photo of marc77
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear blonde hue, with a thick, stiff, porcelain white head. Tattered lace remains. Soft grainy wheat and mild banana esters upfront in aroma accompanied by subtly earthy with a tinge of floral perfume. Rounded, bready base barley malt sweetness initially in flavro leads into a hay - like, rustic wheat germ esque grain presence. Moderate, drying hop bitterness leaps in mid palate and leaves little residual sweetness. Slightly astringent, grassy, borderline soapy hop flavor turns metallic late. Smooth, lightly dextrinous in mouthfeel-- pleasantly crisp. Finishes dry, mildly tart and slightly chalky. A relatively clean quaffer whose flavor is hurt by the lately emerging metallic note. A notch or two above insipid as a whole. Great name, mediocre character.

Photo of Riggo
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Imported from Salisbury, England this "summer ale" recieved the stamp of approval from Michael Jackson (in my M.J. book) and, according to the label, was the winner of the Best Bottle Conditioned Beer at CAMRA Great British Beer Festival. Despite all this, I was a little unimpressed. A solid, subtley interesting and very quaffable beer to be sure, but just not too exciting or charming.

Pours a golden yellow color, similar to an American pilsner. A white head leaves nice lacing, with rings down my glass. The nose is somewhat subdued, musty and smelling a little of rain, with notes of lemon zest, leafy hops, yeast, grass, and a slight nuttiness. The taste is similarly subtle: notes of lemon, mint and hops. Drinks almost like a pilsener. As it warms, elements of sweetness like white grape juice. Nicely balanced with lingering, nutty malt flavors and a crisp, dry finish. Mouthfeel is a little thin and its as drinkable as any beer I've ever had, probably.

A nice summer refresher for warm weather, but just not interesting enough for me to choose it over other options.

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 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.

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