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Russell Blood Alley Bitter - Russell Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Russell Blood Alley BitterRussell Blood Alley Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

72 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 8.67%
Wants: 5
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russell Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 01-04-2011

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 24
Reviews by marty21:
Photo of marty21
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper/bronze with two fingers worth of off white fluffy head. Settles to a solid, creamy cap completely covers the glass with thick lacing.

S: Quite a bit of hops up front with some earthy aromas. I get a bit of citrus in there as well.

T: Hops and biscuity malt for the most part but there is a little citrus pop on the tongue. I wouldn’t say it’s as bitter as the bottle says though. (50 IBU)

M: Light carbonation with a medium body.

O: I’m glad we got a few bottles of this out here in Winnipeg. It’s a really tasty and balanced beer that you could definitely session.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Bunman3
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whatever Russell does, I'm impressed. This is a very tasty ESB, more heavily hopped than many other beers in the style, but the final product is very enjoyable. It pours with about a half inch of head that dissipates rapidly. Blood Alley leaves a wonderful pub draft lacing - I could picture myself hoisting a pint of this with Brick Top from "Snatch". The flavour is delightful - brown bread, orange, and roasted malt. The piney hop finish is not overdone - it's just right!

Photo of chickenm
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head. Nice hoppy aroma with citrus and pine, as well as sweet malt. More balanced taste, caramel and bready malt with a decent amount of bitterness. Light bodied with rather low carbonation. Pretty good overall and quite drinkable; the quality of Russell's beers has been improving as of late.

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 20oz pint at the new Craft Beer Market in Calgary.

This beer appears a clear medium copper hue, with two fingers of dense foamy, rocky, and somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a wall of storm cloud lace around the glass as it easily recedes.

It smells of biscuity caramel malt, edgy orange and grapefruit citrus rind, a bit of brown sugar, and somewhat stronger floral, kind of soapy, hops. The taste is fairly bitter pine hoppiness up front, tempered at once by a decent bready caramel malt, and sandwiched by some latent floral/citrus hops. Simple, but quite duly effective at the same rate.

The carbonation is more or less average, the body on the low side of medium weight, and nice and zippy, which obviously precludes any overt smoothness. It finishes barely off-dry, with a noticeable citrus hop zing.

A pretty tasty ESB, with heady APA sympathies, the hops really predominating here. The comely bartendress volunteered that this was the most popular offering (of their more than 100 at the time!) so far that day - nice to see quality being ratified by the masses, I'd say.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured into a pilsner glass, clear bubbly copper, very tall head retained very nicely, bits of random lacing left
S - interesting mix of caramel, pepper, herbs, and mild orange citrus
T - starts with peppery hops and toffee malts, then grainy and herbal character, finishes with a mix of mild citrus and leafy greens, very well balanced yet big flavours
M - medium body with solid carbonation, mild bitterness, medium to full finish
O - this is a big and very well balances brew, the hop flavours are complex and balanced by big maltiness, a great example of one of my favourite styles

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 8/16/11. Thanks to kjyost for this bottle.
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Translucent medium to dark amber colour with one finger of thick, foamy white head with good retention.

S - Citrus and floral notes come through from the hops initially with some sweet bready and caramel malt notes in the background.

T - Biscuity malt flavours are initially noticeable up front with some floral and citrus hops flavours in the background. Some toffee and earthy notes are evident as well. A nice bitterness is present throughout that lingers in the finish.

M - Light body with a decent chew and light carbonation.

O - The first ESB that I have really enjoyed. I wish I could get this one locally.

Photo of Mlkluther
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark yellow with some orange highlights with fluffy white head that lingers and leaves a little lacing.

Nose is subtle. I didn't pick up to much for some reason. Piney hops and some malt.

Taste smooth, some malt that finishes with an aggressive hop bitterness.

Good beer. More hoppy than most ESBs but very enjoyable. So far I've been very impressed with Russell Brewing. I have three other of their beers in the fridge to try in the near future.

Photo of atigerlife
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with moderate carbonation rising. Small white head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma of grapefruit, honey and orange.

Taste of hops, grapefruit, malts, and sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and stingingly cleansing.

Overall, a decent brew for the style. Worth a try.

Photo of papat444
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a gift from my aunt that my brother brought back on a recent trip to their place in Surrey.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle. Sticker on the bottom has July 2011 which i assume is the bottling date.

Appearance: A bubbling foam above a light amber body with a a mild chill haze. Head really clings to the glass and there's always a bit of foam near the top.

Smell: Hops are noticeable @ once then segue to juicy tangerine. Floral a bit and like a breath of fresh air.

Taste: Hops are well balanced with roasted malt. Some grapefruit as well as a hint of orange. Flavor is full.

Mouthfeel: Just enough astringency mixed with some dryness. Upfront it's strong but the back end is a bit weak as it doesn't follow through though it leaves a bit of presence in the aftertaste. Gains some as it warms though.

Overall: Good flavor with a nice dose of dryness (not too much which i like) mixed with some mineral and bitterness. Be patient with the body as it improves nearing to room temp.

Photo of LampertLand
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Russell Brewing 'Blood Alley ESB' @ 5.5% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchase for $7

A-pour is a pale gold from the bottle to a clear amber in the glass with a medium size off white head leaving a minimal spotty lace along the pint glass

S-very citrus almost IPA like , hints of caramel in the back

T-crisp and clean tasting Bitter , doesn't have that IPA vibe

MF-mild medium carbonation , big medium body , the bitterness doesn't overly stay on the palate , seems to only linger

Ov-good beer , try it

prost LampertLand

Photo of Derek
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper-bronze with an off-white head, good retention, great lace.

S: Plenty of finishing hops with floral, orange rind and leafy aromas, some earthy mineral, light fruity esters (mango & pear), with some underlying sweet grainy malts.

T: Plenty of dry hop character: orange rind, floral & leafy hops, sponge toffee, hints of steelie mineral, sweet biscuity malt with a balanced bitterness (doesn't seem nearly as high as 50 IBU).

M: Light to moderate body with a very modest carbonation and hints of hop acidity.

D: A great drinker.

An all-around great Beer. I'm glad a few cases made it to Kelowna's Mission Park store!

Photo of jrenihan
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Calgary Craft Beer Market.

Beer is amber in colour with a small but solid white head. Great lacing.

After the appearance, it goes downhill. Smell consists of damp hops and a bit of bready malt. Not a lot else and the smell is not very good.

The damp hop taste is in the nose as well. Some biscuity malt is there to balance it somewhat. Mildly bitter. Not very complex.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall, very disappointing and not great. The hop flavour is odd. I have never had this beer before, but given the other reviews, I have to wonder if the beer was off or if there was a problem with the lines. I don't know the answer but the pint I had was not very good.

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this before, but apparently never reviewed it. Good thing I had an extra bottle kicking around!

A - Pours a nice amber colour, thumb of head with solid retention and solid chunky lacing.

S - Nice musty hop profile, slight citrus note alongside a solid caramel backbone.

T - Nice citrus hops, sour rind bitterness with some earthy cedar hop flavours with the musty caramel malts coming through on the finish. The musty caramel lingers on the finish with a hint of bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - Overall a solid sample of the style, hits the flavour profile and offers up a delicious lingering bitterness. Well worth seeking out and an all-around awesome ESB.

Photo of leaddog
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a pale copper with a hefty finger width of frothy bubbly head.

Smell - Piney hops, malts, hint of caramel, citrus fruit (grapefruit?).

Taste - Well balanced hops flavour with the malts and caramel notes. Leaves a light bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nice smooth texture.

Overall - An enjoyable variation from the traditional ESB by Russell Brewing. Excellent hops to malts ratio, which made this brew extra tasty. My first taste of Russell and I look forward to trying more.

Photo of SamKetchum
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Perfect amount of bitters. It's crisp, caramel-y, and fresh. It'd even tingle the nose of an IPA drinker. The taste begins slowly before soaking into your tongue for a fantastic aftertaste.
8/10 taste
Light-Medium colour
Not much smell
Notes of nut

Photo of wordemupg
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pint at the Craft Beer Market 11/13/11

A golden copper body with lots of very tiny bubbles forming a thin film for a head but mind you it had nowhere to exist due to a full pour, somehow it leaves lots of unorganized lace well down the glass

S lots of hops with a little pine with some tropical citrus notes and a little caramel malt, would pass for an APA or an IPA in my books with what I'm assuming is from a shitload of dry hopping

T a little more balance with the malt keeping things in check, not as citrus forward with some herbal notes and a slight metallic flavor but not an off flavor by any means

M bitter for a bitter and the pin prick bubbles fluff it up just enough, a little left behind to savor and I have little to complain about in this area

O bad ass bitter if you ask me, great for the hop junkies that don`t want to get hammered from a few pints

I`m a little mad at myself for not knowing about a wicked beer only available on tap at the moment here in Calgary. I`d love to be able to buy a bomber of this because I`m sure it would cost much less then my expensive bar pour

Photo of Jeffo
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from kjyost in a recent trade. Cheers for all the fun brews man!

From a bomber into a snifter
IBU: 50

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and ring. A slightly hazy burnt orange in color with medium level of carbonation evident. A slight wisp remains leaving some nice lacing down the glass. Pretty good looking brew.

SMELL: Lots of hops on the nose. Very hoppy for the style. Some caramel notes with some nice floral hops and pine flavors. Some melon aromas are in there too. Pretty nice, though more of an IPA than a ESB.

TASTE: A little mild up front. Some grainy malt with light roasted flavors and some melon sweetness. The flavors come out much more after the swallow, however. Floral bitterness and light touches of pine, as well as some grainy malt, melon sweetness and some light roasted flavors linger nicely on the palate. The roasted notes underlay the entire experience, making this one quite interesting and unique. This one started out a little mundane, but recovered really well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Quite creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes a touch dry on the palate. Definitely a velvety, creamy feel here.

OVERALL: Pretty solid stuff. The nose was a little too IPA for the style, but the flavors were unique and enjoyable. Not quite your average ESB, but the roasted notes made this an interesting interpretation of the style. An enjoyable beer that's well worth checking out. Cheers again for this one kjyost. Recommended.

Photo of canucklehead
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I never thought Russell would become one of the top brewers in BC but there limited releases are getting better and better and this ESB is spot on in both mouthfeel and hop profile. The nose is lovely with both a brewery smell and an elegant hop smell that combines PNW and English hops. The beer is incredibly drinkable yet has complexity that arises as it warms up. Sessionable yet a cut above most ESBs. Good job Russell

Photo of BDTyre
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great ESB from Russell named after historic Vancouver land mark. Rich, light copper with a wispy towering white head. Big blast of hops, almost enough to make one do a double take as this initially could be mistaken for an IPA. A big malt profile kicks in pretty soon and this ends up smelling like a very powerful ESB.

The taste is blended a bit better and seems more balanced. Slight citrusy hints and a very faint metallic twinge to it. Nicely done very rich and full-flavoured.

Great mouthfeel; nice low carbonation that is naturally done.

Even though it comes in a bomber, this could easily become a session beer.

Photo of tbeckett
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from kjyost. Thanks!

A - Pours a nice dark copper. Bright. Moderate carbonation. Fluffy off white head fizzling away. Solid rings of thick lace and a half finger of good retention.

S - Citrus is strong but some time brings out alot more bread. A good balance but less so than the classic examples of the style. Definately smells more hop forward.

T - Citrus is strong with some bread or muffiny baked goods. Lightly toasted bread. Citrus really takes hold but the malt is there to keep things in check. West Coast ESB is apparently a new style.

M - Carbonation is mild, body is medium to full with a moderate but very obvious bitterness.

O/D - A hop forward ESB. Drinkable and enjoyable yet nothing to gawk at. Solid but not exactly to style with the balance of rich fruity malt and good hops to back it. And interesting take on the style nonetheless.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Falconettis in Vancouver.

A: 1/2" bone white head which dissipated slowly. Brownish amber colored liquid.

S: Hops, roses and grapefruit.

T: Slightly bitter, some malt, and apple pie.

M: Medium carbonation and slightly slippery.

O: A nice, very well balanced Extra Special Bitter. Very crisp tasting and a good sipper.

Photo of kjyost
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

660 mL bottle purchased at the MLCC. Served around 6-8C in a British pint glass.

A: Amazing looking beer. Crystal clear with a light amber hue and a nice white head that stayed seemingly forever and left huge amounts of lacing down the glass. I am in love.

S: An initial grainy nose with a hint of sweet malts gave way to some fresh citrus hops.

T: Biscuit notes with a light residual sweetness allows some earthiness and a bit of citrus to come through, likely from the hops. The bitterness take a while to build but is definitely there.

M: The body comes across as thin, with low carbonation. The thinness of the body is a major knock herer though, as I was expecting a bit more from it.

O: Russell is coming to play with their bombers of late. Their canned lineup was average, at best, but this beer has me sold that Russell is willing to experiment and make better beers than the Manitoba brewery they purchased.

Photo of djoprahwinfrey
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - clean amber pour, 1/4 finger of white head which dissipates quickly leaving moderate lace

S - decent amount of hops and citrus upfront, grapefruit and maybe some lemon

T - fairly potent hops, some pine, fresh grass, toasted brown bread, medium bitterness on the finish

M - medium bodied, medium carbonation, slightly slick/oily going down and afterwards

O - Overall this is pretty damn good, nothing outstanding but definitely enjoyable . A well put together ESB but i think the stated 50 IBU might be a bit high.

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pint on tap at the National in Calgary. A reddish-brown amber with two fingers of creamy beige foam. Aroma is nutty and semi-sweet, brown bread, brown sugar, and what I can only describe as toasted orange with floral notes in the background. Palate is also "nut forward" (haha), quite a rich and dark flavor counterbalanced by some saltwater taffy and grape notes. Fairly aggressive hopping lends a marmalade and tree sap element. Chewy body with moderate carbonation and a dry finish, more nut shells and a floral echo. I prefer some of the other offerings from this brewery, although this is by no means bad. For some reason I kept searching for more.

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Russell Blood Alley Bitter from Russell Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.