1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

John Smith's Bitter - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Not Rated.
John Smith's BitterJohn Smith's Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

28 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 28
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 3.07
pDev: 25.41%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  3.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Possibly several ABV versions of this beer.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-18-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of endless1408

United Kingdom (England)

3.25/5  rDev +5.9%

06-05-2014 16:10:57 | More by endless1408
Photo of JohnSmithsFC

United Kingdom (England)

4.95/5  rDev +61.2%

John Smith's Bitter (JSB) is undoubtedly the most supreme of all beers. Some say that God drinks it. I'll tell you why. JSB has smooth, creamy feel with of course that 'taste of Yorkshire' praised by the great Winston Churchill himself. Its delightful golden colour can be likened to piss although its taste is the exact opposite (not shit - see review on Guiness). The alcohol percentage of 3.8% is ideal and complements the taste like no other alcohol percentage. All in all, JSB is the Pint of Champions. We fucking love John Smith's Bitter. Long live the king.

11-14-2013 20:34:19 | More by JohnSmithsFC
Photo of TT--Cashout

Newfoundland (Canada)

2.75/5  rDev -10.4%

08-30-2013 00:24:40 | More by TT--Cashout
Photo of vinicole

United Kingdom (England)

3.5/5  rDev +14%

08-15-2013 19:43:53 | More by vinicole
Photo of SoPeL


3.25/5  rDev +5.9%

08-14-2013 17:32:13 | More by SoPeL
Photo of M_C_Hampton


3.03/5  rDev -1.3%

A: poured from a 440 mL can into a glass, amber brown with a loose white head that lingers leaving little lacing, clear

S: heavily malty, earthy grain, caramel

T: flavor a bit on the uninteresting side, slight malt, little hops, slight mineral water

M: thinner higher carbonation

O: nothing exciting, low alcohol content, refreshing served cold

08-07-2013 17:03:58 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of ZachKelly


3/5  rDev -2.3%

01-13-2013 01:24:57 | More by ZachKelly
Photo of whiterapid


2.5/5  rDev -18.6%

01-09-2013 04:39:57 | More by whiterapid
Photo of Beerman1977


2.5/5  rDev -18.6%

12-29-2012 20:50:16 | More by Beerman1977
Photo of brother_rat

New York

4.5/5  rDev +46.6%

12-01-2012 21:58:31 | More by brother_rat
Photo of cervezango


2.93/5  rDev -4.6%

smells a litte fermentaed apple and alot like cider really., hints of pepper i guess you could say.

very carbonatedwhich kindoff goes against being a bitter in my opinion. lots of weird clumpy lace looks chemically.

very mild but tastes like a bitterr its no esb but its def. more bitter than alot of the euro pale lagers of similar cost.

and marginally more refreshing than them also

its clearly not afraid of its bitterness which i respectit says serve cool rather than serve ice cold, which i like.

hints of spearmint and sweet cider.

made by heiniken.

05-02-2012 00:47:39 | More by cervezango
Photo of JRaburn

2.5/5  rDev -18.6%

04-01-2012 12:58:58 | More by JRaburn
Photo of Atyoungberg


5/5  rDev +62.9%

12-11-2011 00:45:14 | More by Atyoungberg
Photo of pokesbeerdude


3.33/5  rDev +8.5%

16oz can courtesy of ScrimshawFan. Into a 90 Shilling imperiall pint.

A: Pours a clear copper color with about an inch of off white head that sticks around nicely. A few small spots of lacing are left behind as the head recedes to a thin cap.

S: Kind of an odd smelling beer, a little bit of sulfur, and some caramel malts. A bit of wet dog in there too. As it warms it smells a bit better, but again just a malty, kind of odd smelling beer.

T: Light with a touch of caramel and a touch of roasted barley in there as well. Very subtle. Slightly sweet, quite grainy, and quite light. Just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Slightly smoky as well. Pretty watery, but not bad by any means.

M: Light body, light carbonation, finish is dry and clean.

O: Not a bad session beer, I could easily drink this all night. Its not insanely flavorful, but its way nicer than drinking a light adjunct lager.

Thanks Casey!

11-24-2011 02:42:17 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of GRG1313


1.75/5  rDev -43%

Can brought back from England by a friend. Pours clear light brown with hint of gold. Short white head.

Nose is a light smoke, light bacon character. Can find light undertones of coffee and chocolate when warm and if you really seek them out.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery. There is no "there" there.

Flavor is single dimensional "lightly malted water." This one is just about devoid of flavor whatsoever.

Finish is a scant light bitter coffee.

No reason to drink this unless water is unavailable and one my hydrate.

02-10-2011 16:55:57 | More by GRG1313
Photo of SmokinSmyth


2.93/5  rDev -4.6%

I had this with an Italian dinner in the New Forest. A typical bitter, but slightly above average. Served with a short head (to make sure you get the full pint), which quickly disappeared. A sweet malt smell, medium body, average color. I tasted hardly any carbonation, but it was quite drinkable.

10-15-2010 17:00:22 | More by SmokinSmyth
Photo of drpimento


2.85/5  rDev -7.2%

Had this some years ago and I seem to remember it as much better. Poured with a light tan, foamy, frothy, fluffy, textured head and lots of lace. Color is a very clear dark copper. Aroma is a little funky and hints of sulfhur. Some malt and hop. Flavors about the same. Certainly nothing special. Body's ok, carbonation is overdone. John Smith why hast thou forsaken me? Finish isn't too bad.

01-15-2010 21:19:13 | More by drpimento
Photo of nickfl


3.25/5  rDev +5.9%

A - One finger of white head on an amber-brown body with good clarity. The head has good staying power and leaves thick lace on the glass.

S - Sweet malt with some toasted notes and light, musty hops. A hint of caramel and fruity yeast.

T - Sweet, toasty malt with lots of red apple notes from the yeast. Slight roasted quality in the finish and mild bitterness, otherwise quite clean.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, lots of toasty quality but a bit bland overall.

06-29-2009 05:34:25 | More by nickfl
Photo of fullsweep

United Kingdom (England)

2.85/5  rDev -7.2%

440 mL can poured into a pint glass.

Reddish brown/dark amber beer. Very thick head that lingers a long time--lots of lacing all the way around the glass.

Not much in the way of smell. There's just not much to describe.

Tastes of caramel, sweet malts and lots of bitterness on the finish. Not bad, but not great either. In fairness, I bought a 4-pack of this and it took me well over a week to finish all four.

Relatively thin mouthfeel--although that is typical for a traditional bitter. Not much to report.

I had to try it, as these are sooo common around here, but it's not one I'd seek out necesarily.

04-20-2009 22:19:55 | More by fullsweep
Photo of superdedooperboy


1.85/5  rDev -39.7%

I bought this beer in Germany along with a trusty Newcastle as an escape from the many German pilseners that dominate the German beer market. Boy, what a mistake.

Initially I was all for the beer, as it poured a nice dark amber/brown color with a nice, thick, off-white head. Smell was somewhat floral and grassy, nothing amazing, but nothing bad, either. The Germans I was dining with didn't particularly seen to enjoy the fragrance, though. I should've taken that as a sign.

As soon as I put the beer into my mouth, I couldn't believe the disappointment. The sweet malt character did not meld well with the bitterness at all, and the overall taste was nothing less than rotting vegetables. I wasn't even able to finish the beer.

Perhaps I just got a bad batch, or the can killed it, or my taste buds just weren't adjusted to it after so many German pilseners. That seems unlikely, though, as I had also been enjoying Altbier, Weizenbier, Doppelbock, Schwarzbier, and even more styles during a stint in Scandanavia. Therefore I must say that this beer, to me at least, was absolute rubbish.

08-14-2008 13:15:23 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of TurdFurgison


3.4/5  rDev +10.7%

Poured from a 440mL can at a business class lounge in Heathrow airport. The beer was brilliant clear and copper colored, with a white sticky froth leaving some nice lacing on the glass. The smell was a little caramel, not much hops in the aroma. The taste was smooth, with little carbonation, caramel malty but with a just barely detectable bitter after-taste. The mouthfeel was very nice, it felt like a cask ale even out of the can, very easy to drink again and again I'm sure. It's just that I won't probably see it in the States.

07-08-2007 19:00:31 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of MMansfield

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev +10.1%

Picked up a single can and Cystal & Lucketts.

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber colour with a tight & fluffy off white head. Lots of lace and lots of retention.

Aroma: Caramel dominant with floral hops, grass and general sweetness. Not that much here.

Taste: Somewhat cloying caramel flavour, metallic notes. Moderate bitterness, overall pretty bland but not offensive.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, plenty of carbonation. Moderate drinkability.

Final Statement: A quaffer english bitter. Not offensive, nothing to write home about. It was better on tap.

05-20-2007 19:45:58 | More by MMansfield
Photo of Mandrake

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +18.2%

Pours a fairly deep reddish-copper with a reasonably thick off-white head that is fairly small, but lasts well and leaves plenty of lacing. Smell is fairly faint, with caramel and some butter showing. Taste, on the other hand, is quite full and rather idiosyncratic. It seems to me to be caramel and strong licorice, bordering on medicinal, but not at all unpleasant. Bitter for sure, and with a very unique character, I can see how someone wouldn't like it, but I rather do. Mouthfeel is decent, quite rich and with good carbonation, and drinkability is average. One of a kind, in my experience. I've never had anything quite like it, and I think it's reasonably good.

09-19-2006 03:20:03 | More by Mandrake
Photo of CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

2.05/5  rDev -33.2%

Originally reviewed February 19, 2005. 33cl Nitro-can. Decent rich brown amber pour, with copious white head and great lacing. Absolutely watery and lacking any true depth, hardly any flavor. I will admit that I have don't have much like for bitters, but this one should not be drunk, for almost any reason.

07-23-2006 15:09:51 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of DrJay


2.88/5  rDev -6.2%

Clear, dark amber with a very dense, long-lasting head (almost like pancake batter). The aroma is mostly malty, although it's still pretty mild. No detectable fruitiness and just a bit of floral hops. Flavour balance is definitely bitter, with very mild floral hop flavour and light biscuity malt presence. Still, it's a little timid overall. Very light carbonation, medium/light body.

08-06-2004 21:22:48 | More by DrJay
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
John Smith's Bitter from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
74 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.