Hopback Summer Lightning - Hop Back Brewery plc

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Hopback Summer LightningHopback Summer Lightning

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169 Ratings
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(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 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 Koufax21
2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on cask a Bull's Head Cask Festival in Letitz, PA.

A - poured a faint yellow straw color with a hint of fizzy white head that disappeared after a few moments.

S - this one smells pretty good. A bit more of a hop aroma than I would typically expect from British beer.

T - mildly bitter with a dry finish. I keep hearing from people how good this one is. To each their own, I guess.

M - dry and no carbonation. Light bodied.

O - nope. A very average beer in my opinion. I tried on a recommendation. While I'm glad I got to try this highly touted ale, it just didn't blow me away.

3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle served in a Pint glass.Enjoyed on may´11.
Pale straw color.Slightly foggy.White lasting froth.Small bubble close & dense thick layer crown. Rocky lacing collars.Bread crust & yeast aromas. Subtle bitterness on palate.Subtle malty flavor.Medium body, high carbonation.Quite bland overall.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After giving this a crap review in its bottled form I'm now evening up the balance with this cask review.

Hand pulled into a pint UK sleeve in one of my local pubs on 2 Sep 2011.

Good deep golden body with a thin white head that tried to stay around awhile.

The smell was of floral hops and hints of some citrus interest.

The taste was a well balanced blend of semi-sweet biscuity malts and mildly bitter hops. The hops becoming more dominant as the beer warmed and the mouth dried.

A whole lot better than the bottled version, are they the same beer?

Photo of hwwty4
2.95/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Interesting find at my local. I can honestly say the only reason I picked it up was for the bottle cap. Nice picture of a guy and a hop. Interesting bottle cap but this isnt a review for the aesthetics of bottle caps.

Poured a capped 500ml bottle into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours a highly fizzy, hazy straw with a MASSIVE 5 inch cap (or should I say the whole glass) of creamy white head. Splotchy, soapy lacing was left down the sides of the glass. The nose is rather generic. A bit of biscuit, some caramel and a nice yeasty twang. The flavor is simple, straightforward and much the same as the aroma. A bit of biscuit, a bit of caramel, tart yeast and just a little grassy hops. This is where my biggest issue with this beer is. Its way to carbonated. The carbonation level almost makes it astringent. Its like soaking your tongue in Sprite. Overall, this beer falls flat into the average range. Not the best bitter I've had but definitely not the worst.

Photo of Zimbo
1.8/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Long time since I last had this old favourite. Many tasty memories of it as one of the first great bottled conditioned English beers of the early 90s.

But today there is a terrible old dusty fusty nose to start that just wouldn't blow off. Looks fairly good though, yellow and sort of like a pilsner with some beading and head,which though not overly thick, goes the distance. There is a dryness and a graininess in the body but the odour and 'taste' just consumes everything.

Didn't see that coming.

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 gskitt
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer. It pours a pale yellow, straw color with a shiny white head with some stick and lacing.
The smell was non distinct, nothing really stood out, maybe some notes of hay, herbs.
Taste was more hoppier than I would have expected. Soft herbal and floral notes, wheat. Tasted like a summer day on the fields of England. Enjoyable mouthfeel and at 5% its quite drinkable.

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

Photo of boss302
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hopback ale, summer ale. I had this beer in London.

A It was gold and had the typical cask fine bubble head. Nice looking beer. 4

S For the London area, this is a very hoppy smelling beer. There is a trend to move away from hoppy beers in London. This one was much closer to a hoppy beer. 4

T Lots of malt, and a nice hoppy flavor. 4

M Medium mouthfeel, carbonation was low but appropriate for a cask ale. 3.5 

D Yes, one I could drink more of. 4 

Photo of kjyost
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

BB 23/4/10. Ah well, the joys of the MLCC and their stock.

A somewhat schizophrenic beer here. Pours a crisp clear pale yellow with a decent white head that laced nicely. Some floating sediment was evident even though I didn't pour hard, nor poured the whole bottle. The aroma was some sweetness with a bit of malt, though dominated by vegetal aromas. Upon further consideration though those aromas could be earthiness... The body tasted nothing of the vegetal though with low bitterness, which played well against the light malt body. Average mouthfeel, but a quite drinkable brewski for a summer day.

Photo of Trizzle
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear yellow body, minimal head, some lace.

Light aroma of malt, vague hops, a touch of sweetish honey .

Sweet at the front, drying cereal malts appear through the middle with some fresh hay. Gentle hopping brings some light bitterness finishing quite dry.

Body is quite big for the style, but medium over all.

Drinkability is tops. (British)Summer day with a curry for me.

Good stuff.

Photo of meeekyh
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle is labeled 0708, presumably it is old.

I opted to pour it into a tumbler. I note it is very light in color, clear and there is little head and little lacing. This is not a super-awesome-looking beer.

Smells are light and hard to distinguish. I will allow it to warm a bit before making any more notes...

After an ample rest I note tangy citrus and not much else.

Taste resembles a bitter but a bit lighter and with a tangy zip.

Mouthfeel is light and dry.

I would like to sample a fresh bottle of this and see how it stacks up.


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 Tone
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, pale golden color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of yeast, pale malt, pale hops, and slight metallic. Fits the style of an English Bitter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale hops, pale malt, slight citrus, yeast, and slight metallic. Overall, a little lacking in body, too much metallic, but interesting.

Photo of Shadman
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

another heavy weight English bottle...apparently the glass industry is alive & well in the jolly, old Kingdom.

Quite a pale colour for an English bitter...very pale straw yellow, slightly cloudy, with a lot of yeast chunks in the bottom. Head and lacing = good.

Aroma mostly grassy & quite herbal.

Taste follows nose almost exactly. Nothing truly offesnsive, but nothing spectacular either. Mostly grassy malts and herbal flavor. Finish is quite dry & withering.

Mouthfeel was about where I would expect it given the ABV...might be a summer refresher if served cold...but then again there are several that fill that bill.

Photo of benclimbs
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap @ the cat/wheel pub in bristol...suprisingly great cask bitter.

look is a light yellowish amber with a lot of lacing and a 1 finger head.

smell is citrus hops with a bit of malty balance...nice hoppy bitter smell.

taste is quite bitter/hoppy/crisp with a nice combination of fruit hops and off-dry malts...a bit of biscuit in there too.

Overall its a very drinkable, nice cask bitter...a very refreshing summer ale.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Hilden Beer Festival.

Pours deep gold with no real head. Big honey lemon nose. Grain and angel food cake malts. Woody, bright citrus hops with a herbal sting. Medium, sticky body.

As hoppy on cask as I always wished it was in the bottle.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a 500 ml brown bottle, best before date on back label states 23 4 10.

Pours out a light hazy golden hue, considerable suspended particle presence, however the back label explains the yeast sediment is present. Tall white fluffy head.

Bready, crisp metallic grains on the nose, reminds me more of a lager. Very, very faint grassy hops.

And in the flavour it reminds me of a balanced pilsner, crisp bready metallic grains that round out in the middle and finishes with a mild yet pronounced gassy herbal hopping and some dryness. The hops linger on into the aftertaste. It works as a bitter too.

Mouthfeel is light and dry, with a light texture of carbonation throughout.

Ho hum, neither really bad or really good, that middle ground of easy to drink yet easy to forget.

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

This one doesn't strike me as an english bitter but who am I to determine the style that a beer represents.

It poured with an aggressive carbonation and a large soapy head made it's debut. Unfortunately it receded just as quick to nothing at all. Not even a cap. The color is an uninteresting clear pale golden colour.

The smell is weak at best. There is some floral hay but like notes but little else.

I'm reminded of a poor pilsner in the taste.. it's sweet initially, has some white wine like flavour and then a decent bitterness. Little complexity.

Mouthfeel is smooth with prickly carbonation. Drinkability is average.

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

A - Lightly hazed gold with a decent white foam.

S - Nose has some lemon/citrus.

T - Sweet, a lemon and grass hop. Mild bitterness in the back end. Some grainy-sweet bready malt.

M - Moderate body with sharp carbonation.

D - Not bad, but nothing spectacular. Pretty drinkable.

Photo of DerBayer
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very light straw colour with low head

Smell is of hops and hops and more hops - yes very hoppy indeed

TAste is bitter but not too bitter nice hop flavour - this is almost like the English take on a Koelsch

Mouthfeel is good with nice medium body and medium carbonation

Yes nice session brew

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16.9oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very faint with just some light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with light and decently balanced flavors of mild citrus, a thin malt character and a bitter but mild hops presence. There's not a lot to the taste overall, but the hops transitions into a mildly bitter after-taste.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Not very flavorful, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, not the best representation of style, there are definitely several other beers in the style that I would choose first.

Photo of EatsTacos
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a very faint pale yellow. Straw yellow. Fizzy with a thin head and some lacing.

The aroma is lightly citrusy and malt-centric. Somewhat bready. Smells a lot like an adjunct lager IMO.

The taste of this beer is pretty one dimensional, but what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in drinkability. Bland but bitter. The hops are used here completely for bitterness and the malt doesn't contribute a lot of sweetness. The finish is very dry and the complexity does improve with the beer warming. Lemony and citrusy

A little overcarbonated for my liking, especially for an English bitter. Thin bodied.

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

Drinkability - A good cold beer for a warm day on the patio to accompany some spicy Indian food. I'd have another if I had bought one...

Appearance - clear and light gold. Natural sediment settles on bottom.

Smell - Light with mild hops.

Taste - clean and not too hoppy or bitter. Nothing outstanding, but a good beer.

Mouthfeel - smooth and refreshing.

This went very well with the meal which had more than enough flavours. No lightning while drinking but we have had more than enough Thunderstorms today and this season. Hopefully this pleases the lightning gods.

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