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XB Bluebird Bitter - Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd

Not Rated.
XB Bluebird BitterXB Bluebird Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

71 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 71
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 03-03-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 71 | Reviews: 48 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.48/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The pour is absolutely fantastic - the bottle conditioning gives this beer lots and lots of carbonation resulting in a huge sticky white head. Even with a gentle pour I had to give the beer time to settle down before filling the glass. The beer itself is a cloudy deep yellow - almost hefe like in appearance.

The nose is rather tangy and tart with strong hints of lemon masking most of the hop notes. There is a light floral note suggesting some interesting hopping.

While I'm all for experimenting and the thought of an English Pale Ale hopped with an "American" hop sounds intriguing, the result is far from satisfying. Primarily because the yeast hasn't produced much of an English PA flavoring - no fruit and no caramel notes at all. Instead the yeast has taken over and you've got a flavor much closer to a hefe or Belgian blonde with obvious banana, clove and lemon flavors dominating. There is some hopping in the background but the yeast completely dominates and takes this completely out of either EPA or APA style ranges.

The mouthfeel is good with the bottle conditioning adding plenty of carbonation and a smooth feel. No bittering from the hops because the sourness overwhelms.

Would I drink this again? Only if someone told me this was a bottling mistake at the brewery. From the coloration (no reds or ambers to be found) to the nose (no caramels) to the taste (no fruity esters) this is not in the least an English Pale Ale. The brewer doesn't seem to make anything hefeweizen like so it's probably not a bottling error - this just doesn't measure up to other English Pale Ales.

RedwoodGeorge, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of jsh420
2.7/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

pours a color similar to apple cider with a big 3+ finger head (so pour it slow) also lots of yeast poured in the glass

smell is fruity apples and grassy hops

taste well not as good as the smell - the beer was too sour - sour apples and earthy hops

mouthfeel stings the mouth - lots of carbonation and the sour beer does not mix

drinkability - love the smell but not the taste - i will stick to the regular bluebird bitter

jsh420, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of plaid75
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy copper hue, with a three finger foamy head. Pretty good retention and nice lacing.

The smell was clean, dry and lightly aromatic. Hints of citrus and cannibus.

The taste was rather thin. Minor malt presence up front, but the beer finished very seltzery. Whatever hop character was present, did not translate to the taste.

Mouthfeel was thin as well.

Drinkable, but so is seltzer.

The idea behind this beer is good - to add some American aroma hops to an English Pale Ale.

plaid75, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of Naes
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This bitter pours out a pale copper color with a tall white head that laces and retains well. It also has a lot of visible carbonation.
The aroma is nothing special. It just has trace amounts of British style hops.
The flavor is not quite what I was expecting. It is citrusy and yeasty more than it is hopy. The yeast seems to be the dominant flavor.
Mouth feel is light to medium in body and generously carbonated.

This bitter just seems to be artificially sweet. Stick with the regular bluebird bitter.

Naes, Apr 18, 2006
Photo of Drummermean
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

Drummermean, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of jwc215
2.9/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazy light amber with a thick, foamy head that settles to a lasting thin cover. Not much lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is floral with some citrusy notes and a bready undertone.

The aroma doesn't really match the taste, mainly because the hops are muted under sweet malt. Odd mix of earthy, leafy hops and some citrus - lemon and orange blanketed under a sweet honeyish malt. It almost works to a degree, but doesn't. The hops are nearly lost to the malt, which itself doesn't lend much flavor to it. The carbonation that is not too noticeable in the appearance interferes and give it something of a seltzer-water aftertaste. It has a sweetish, fleeting finish.

The body thins even when warm, though there is something of a creaminess to it, but not enough to quite make up for the thin body and late carbonation feel.

It not undrinkable despite odd blend that is ironically helped by its mildness. But, it's nothing worthwile, IMO. It's a nice idea in theaory to blend British (Challenger?) and American (Mt. Hood?) hops with English malt, but it doesn't come through well in this case.

jwc215, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of TheQuietMan22
2.93/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving type: 500 ml bottle. A batch code is printed on the label but there is no freshness date.

Appearance: Straight pour into a nonick pint glass. The color is hazy, medium copper. Two fingers of dense, off-white, rocky head dissipated slowly.

Smell: Sharp and British. The “American aroma hops” give it a very acute and concentrated grapefruit aroma, reminiscent of dish soap. It dominates the aroma. I can detect some sweet caramel malts and grassy British hops, but the dish soap aroma is omnipresent and pervasive.

Taste: Very strange mouthfeel: dry and powdery; it is almost like Tang after it has been mixed with water. The flavor is a weak reflection of the smell: sharp citrus hops (which is slightly similar to the dish soap of the smell), caramel, and earthy hops.

Drinkability: Needless to say, the dish soap quality is very off-putting. I will drink it but I doubt if I will ever buy it again.

TheQuietMan22, Oct 20, 2012
Photo of jclzony
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light fruit-like sweetness on the tongue but did not find it resembling a washed out mass-produced light beer. Has malty characteristics with a mouthfeel that is light and spritzy without coating the mouth. I thought this selection good for an early afternoon quaff.

jclzony, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of kazam55
3/5  rDev -17.8%

kazam55, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of drpimento
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had this before from cask and it's much better that way. This one poured with a small, cream colored head that quickly faded and no lace. Color is a slightly hazy orange amber. Aroma is malt, caramel, a bit of toffee and hop. Flavor is fairly bland (this bottle was in my cold fridge) and similar to nose. Body is ok and carbonation is a bit fizzy. Fiinish is like flavor and short. Usually I'd rather have another brand. Nothing really wrong with it. Can't imagine finding this someplace and not being able to find something better.

drpimento, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of RobertColianni
3/5  rDev -17.8%

RobertColianni, Aug 29, 2013
Photo of BMan1113VR
3/5  rDev -17.8%

BMan1113VR, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of peoplewithhands
3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: cloudy light orangish with light head that stays

Smell: grapefruit and citrus with some sweet malt

Taste: grapefruit and bitterness with alot of fruity tart

Mouthfeel: Crisp carbonation, light body.

Overall: the fruitiness is almost too much, but I would drink it again.

peoplewithhands, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A soft, clear, golden-orange body, with light carbonation streams, topped by a fist full of tightly whipped foam which gently rose above the rim, and dented well in the pour.

The US hop experiment works here, as the nose is a surprising but pleasant burst of citrus, with a heap of orange leading the way. A very fresh, clean aroma.

Soft, sweet, malty start, which is quickly balanced off, too quickly. Could use a bit more of fine stiff upper lip British malt character. The US hops come around and push aside the base, and leave a slight off putting perfume texture along side the orange and other citruses in the finish. Really does not come together well.

Nice soft "session beer" mouthfeel, but might be just a tad too watery. Goes down ok, at least some of the sips.

A noble try at an international merger, but the sum doesn't equal the parts. Stick with the tradtional and classic Bluebird Bitter.

RonfromJersey, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of gentlebubbles
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

NERAX 2006 (Fri)

Contract brewed by Ridgeway

Beautiful toasty amber with a fluffy white crown that shortly falls, leaving specks on the sides.

Sulfur in the nose.

Bready malt and more sulfur, like egg yolk. Juicy lemon and sticky resin around the edges, with a touch of salt in the finish.

Lightly biting fizz.

This is ... interesting. It changes a lot all down the glass, which I could admir despite not exactly liking it. Doesn't bear any resemblance to the regular Bluebird, as far as I can tell.

gentlebubbles, May 27, 2006
Photo of DrJay
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Orange with a slight haze with a thick, eggshell cap of fine bubbles. Great head retention and thick, sticky sheets of lace. Fruity aroma, tart apples, pears, soft malts, and a bit of citrusy hop spice. Moderate bitterness, fruity up front, apples, light citrus. There's a bit of spice towards the end and light, lingering bitterness. It's drier than I expected, which gave the texture a more coarse character and seemed to draw away any significant malt flavour. Light bodied with slightly rough carbonation. I liked the aroma on this one, but it feels like it's overattenuated.

DrJay, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL English style brown bottle,

A: Pours a hazy light orange with a small white head. Fair retention, no lace.

S: A lot of grapefruit with a Pine Sol/terpene astringency.

T: Mild malt character. The hop flavour is solid with assorted citrus, hay, and a light carbonic acid flavour. Very well attentuated.

M: Prickly, spritzy carbonation. Crisp, good body overall.

O: Not a fan of the nose here, but the flavour saves it somewhat. A nice drinking pint, but at $6+ it's way to price for what you get.

Halcyondays, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of WesWes
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a hazy golden color with a towering white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a mild malt scent that boasts of pale, light crystal, and bisquit malts along with a nice hoppy aroma that balances well. The taste is average. It has a very bitter flavor that dominates the taste. It's very citrousy. The malt content is way off balance and hardly enjoyable. It has a fruity yeast element that seems almost sour to the taste. The mouthfeel is average also. It is a medium bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This seemed like a good beer at the first smell, but it quickly dropped in my opinion with the first taste. It's one and done for me.

WesWes, Feb 22, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well-bubbled amberish orange with an expansive head that occupies more of the glass than the beer does immediately after a gentle pour. The foam is yellowish ivory, is airily stiff and sports hundreds of large, gem-like bubbles on its upper surface. This is not the type of cap that will deposit much lasting lace, although a few skinny fingers are arrayed haphazardly along the nonic bulge.

I like the nose. The beer smells exactly like what it is, namely a pale ale brewed with English (Challenger) and American (Mt. Hood) hops. Hard to say which one is the most aromatic, it's a virtual dead heat. Slightly floral, moderately spicy and nicely citric fruity. There's also a suprising amount of diacetyl that leads to an enjoyable (in this case at least) buttered breadiness.

Not the flavor that I was expecting. There's something amiss here, though I'm not sure that I'll be able to identify what it is. The beer is insufficiently malted and lacks any sort of softness or creaminess whatsoever. In fact, it's borderline harsh in the mouth. The sweetness that builds throughout each mouthful and leaves a tacky residue on the finish tastes like added sugar, akin to lemonade, rather than malt.

Speaking of lemonade, the flavor is more citric sour than hoppy bitter. Looking at the listed ingredients for Bluebird Bitter versus this XB version, one realizes that they really aren't that dissimilar. The main differences are that the original uses Maris Otter malt and this beer uses Mt. Hood hops in addition to Challenger. Why then do the beers taste so different? I love BB for its subtle, drinkable charm. XB lacks those very qualities.

The mouthfeel is too thin to be enjoyable, even with the mildly sticky, mouthcoating finish. Some of the harshness fades as the boisterous bubbles begin to die, but the mouthfeel is still no great shakes.

Fans of Bluebird Bitter are hereby warned to avoid this beer. It isn't very good and it certainly isn't as advertised. Coniston's hope of a more highly hopped, American-style pale ale with English roots (a fantastic idea by the way) fails in the execution. Bluebird soars while Bluebird XB never gets off the ground.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of popery
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

While XB Bluebird Bitter isn't a bad beer, it disappointed me in comparison to the normal Bluebird Bitter. The appearance is a light transparent amber with a head that dissipates a bit quickly. The aroma has some American and British hop notes, which is nice but nothing too spectacular. The flavor is a bit generic and yeasty for an English ale. Unlike the normal Bluebird, this is another English ale that makes me think that English ales don't travel terribly well.

popery, Jul 26, 2009
Photo of cbaird2
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Hazy, reddish light amber color, with a huge head, though it dissipated quickly.

S: Smells nice, fruity, slightly hoppy, a little earthy

T: pretty plain tasting in comparison to the smell, malty, earthy, a slight bitterness at the end.

M: highly carbonated

D: Not a real standout, could drink many I would think, but not sure I'd want to.

cbaird2, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of mattpetti
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden color with a large white head, which maintains retention throughout my entire drinking of this beer. "ENGLISH PALE ALE with AMERICAN AROMA HOPS" is what is stated on the bottle. Since I do not agree with calling this an english bitter i'm going to rate it according to the english pale ale style. It smells of light citrus hops(lemon zest as it warms a little), slightly fruity, and maybe some spice. Smells almost of a hefeweizen. Taste is not too different from the smell with the yeasty hefen flavors comming through and the american hops making a fight to balance. The malt flavor is nonexistant with no fruit showing. All in all the taste of the beer isn't bad though. It's dry and not cloying at all with biting active carbonation, citrus and low abv, making it very refreshing. Though it is not what i woiuld have in mind tryign to pull a EPA off the shelf it is ultimately decent and interesting.

mattpetti, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of wl0307
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Using American Mount Hood aromatic hops, is this supposedly the classic Bluebird with an American twist? But the original bluebird is made with 100% English Challenger hops, so this has to be a totally different ale then? BB 17/12/08, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: pours a slightly translucent dark amber colour with reddish hues, coming with a well-lasting tight frothy off-white head and rather mild carbonation - looking quite healthy for a RAIB.
S: sweet tangerine-ish citrus hops come with rather intensely sweet pale malts and syrup, added with a hint of butterscotch-like yeasty influence. As it warms the yeastiness comes at the expense of the other elements on nose.
T: yeastiness in the form of lactose-drink accompanies the main entry of lightly burned pale malts (with an edge of fig paste, slightly like a thinly-sweet edge of a pasteurised ale to be honest...), sweet citric taste (a bit like the undertone of tangerine syrup), thin-bodied bitter-sweet tea, leading towards a lightly dry/tannic and bitter finish that doesn't go without a subtly sour edge of more yeastiness.
M&D: overall this is a lightly-carbonated, smooth-enough, medium-bodied pale ale that suffers a little from the intervention of the yeast sediments, clouding the overall balance b/w malts and hops a bit more than what does to the traditional/ordinary Bluebird Bitter.

wl0307, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of yen157
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber beer with golden highlights, topped by a fine but foamy head. Midly orange citrus in the nose blends well with the very light touch of phenols that have always bothered me about this beer. Hints of toast and caramel. Toasty in the mouth, but overall quite light on the malt flavor and fullness of the body. Carbonation is way too fierce, same as with the original. Orangey citrus hop flavor is restrained. This is definitely a British beer not to be confused with a West Coast style hop bomb.

yen157, Apr 19, 2005
Photo of Hoves
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

XB pours as a golden beer with a very minimum head. I would have expected more hops from an XB...

Coniston has always been good to me in the past and I'm not saying this is a bad beer. It is good, I guess I was just expecting more.

The XB is perfectly carbonated with decent hops (not as much as anticipated).

It's weird to say but XB is not as good as expected but may my expectations were too high...

It is a good beer and I would recommend to anyone...it has a slightly sweet hoppy flavor...

Again, Coniston succeeds....but for me I would have liked more.

Hoves, Mar 01, 2010
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XB Bluebird Bitter from Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.