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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

70 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 70
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 15.11%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | 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: 70 | Reviews: 48 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense bright white head that quickly died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: The nose has aromas of apples and notes of citrus hops.
T: The taste is similar to the smell in that it has fruity flavors, but there are also some notes of biscuit malts. A mild amount of bitterness is present, and this particularly stands out in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: This beer is very drinkable and goes down effortlessly; I would easily have lots of these in one sitting. It is quite refreshing and thirst quenching.

metter98, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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 ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

ygtbsm94, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass a dull lightly hazed gold with a nice well retained white head that inches down very slowly leaving a creamy top.The addition of Mt. Hoods for aroma really show thru giving it a "light" citrusy character not robust like the bottle says but quite nice I also picked up a touch of mineral and biscuit.Sadly the citrusy character doesnt carry over into the flavor much somewhat dry with a mineral-like quality with that English herbal,"green" finish.Now this is a nice bitter the aromas were very nice and its very sessionable but I was hoping for a little more oomph in the end.

oberon, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear amber with a thin creme head. Nose is mild apple tones and bitter edges. Flavor is high on the grain tones. Highly bitter. Feel has a pretty high carbonation. Liquid is well bodied for the most part. This is a fairly easy drinker, though it is slightly intense.

RblWthACoz, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent amber with 2 fingers of rapidly falling eggshell white head. Above average lacing & average head retention

S: Slight breadyness & great fruittyness once warm

T: Leafy & citric hops, plus biscuitty malt up front with bit of toffee. Fruittynes (apricot, apples & dates) & citric & leafy hops follows as this warms. Finishes with a little bit of mineral dryness, some fruit & nice orangey hops

MF: Light/medium bodied with restrained
carbonation & good balance

Great drinkabilty, this one I could easily session on, although I'd prefer to move on after a few, because I'd think the flavor would bore me after a while. If less pricey or on cask, this one would work for me!

russpowell, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

Slatetank, May 16, 2013
Photo of WesWes
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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 jwc215
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
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 Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
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 wl0307
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
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 Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Georgiabeer, May 11, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer has a slightly dense orange body with a strong carbonation and a bubbly rocky off-white head. The foam sticks together as it slides down the glass after each sip.
S- The soft pale malt has a faint dry honey malt flavor and a slight tartness in the finish that becomes more hoppy as the beer opens up. There is also a soft candy sugary note that comes through as the beer opens up.
T- The soft pale malt and tartness finish with a slight sweetness of malt. The hops take over the tartness as the beer warms but still stay pretty soft.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a fizzy prick on the tongue at the end of each sip.
D- This beer has a very light flavor and a subtle depth but there is not a lot of depth of flavor there. It is easy to drink but just not much character.

rhoadsrage, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of plaid75
2.73/5  rDev -25%
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 DrJay
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
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 PEIhop
4/5  rDev +9.9%

PEIhop, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Hopheadjeffery, Jul 08, 2013
Photo of popery
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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 drpimento
3/5  rDev -17.6%
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 BGsWo22
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

BGsWo22, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev +9.9%

bigred89, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of ADR
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy light amber with a big bottle-conditioned head that's a little tough to control in a glass. Not a lot of lace though, mostly dots (much better in the second pour, as it warms). Pleasant mild citrus aroma, not overwhelming but slightly astringent. Mouthfeel is lighter, carbonation plenty ample overall, maybe overdone. Granular senses, pithy with black pepper and asociated spices. Malt is fairly ordinary in impression. Despite the American aroma hops, the beer remains well-balanced and tight. Finishes with a bit of tar resin and some exaggerated fizziness in the aftertaste. Drinkable, but a bit unremarkable, not sure why Coniston needs an entry like this, but its an interesting idea.

ADR, Jun 11, 2005
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
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 ClockworkOrange
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Imperial pint glass a clear medium apricot color with about two fingers of dense off white head. No lacing to mention. Smells and tastes of bready grains, a hit of caramel malts and floral, citrusy hops (lemon and orange). Barely medium bodied with ample carbonation and a pleasant bitterness that lasts through the finish. Overall a tasty bitter, but for the price, I'll stick with the regular Bluebird.

ClockworkOrange, May 03, 2009
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XB Bluebird Bitter from Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.