1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Blue Bell Bitter - Magnolia Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Blue Bell Bitter
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
83
good

42 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 42
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 15.38%
Wants: 0
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magnolia Pub & Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-23-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by WOTO97:
Photo of WOTO97
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Partook on cask from the good folks at Magnolia's. Generally, a fan of bitters but was pretty disappointed with this effort. Flavors were too muted for my liking. Could definitely use a bit more spice from the hops on the nose and a bit bigger cracker-malt character. If this is meant to be a "strong bitter" then it is pretty weak in the flavor department (a 3.0 might be overshooting it). Definitely some biscuit qualities along with spice flavors from the hops. Body is thin and, without the bite that should follow for style, definitely not that satisfying. Not terrible but not a whole lot here either.

WOTO97, Aug 12, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Jason, Aug 08, 2013
Photo of rastaman
2.48/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Tap@Magnolia Pub and Brewery, San Fransisco- pretty English tasting, lemony, tea like hops, but once again, relatively grainy body, slight watery texture aswell. Hard to see why this one rates so highly on BA, but i guess everyone has different tastes right????

rastaman, Sep 17, 2004
Photo of watermelonman
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This sat with a good classic gold and copper color, without much head. The lace is there but doesn't grab attention. The same goes for the smell; it's good but not the highlight.

Where this beer delivers is in the taste and mouthfeel, and it really does deliver. The malts are traditional and solid, while the bitterness is present but held in check to result an exceedingly balanced beer. The mouthfeel is very good, being medium in every way while pleasing and inviting. It's tough to say anything bad about the drinkability, too.

watermelonman, Oct 08, 2004
Photo of kdoc8
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at Magnolia in San Francisco, CA. It was a brown/amber transparent color, with a thick long-lasting head and lots of lacing. It didn't have much of an aroma and not much of a taste either, except that it was very dry. I was surprised this was a bitter, because there wasn't too much of a hops taste.

kdoc8, Mar 13, 2007
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8 oz cask pour into a miniature nonic. 4.7% ABV, 35 IBUs, On hand-pumped cask at Magnolia in San Francisco, CA.

A - Hand-pumped directly in front of me, it comes out a clear amber brown with a sudsy off-white head. Solid retention and thick lace left all over the glass.

S - The aroma smells like a great English beer, complete with toasty biscuits and caramel malts with a smooth mild English hop nose on the back end.

T - The flavor has smooth caramel malts, toasted to perfection upfront with a biscuity finish and a low level of English hops.

M - I love the texture. It comes out at cellar temperature probably around 50° F and it's medium-bodied and ultra smooth with a soft feel and finish.

D - This an awesome English bitter in cask! I love the texture and flavor combo going on this brew. Good job Magnolia!

BeerFMAndy, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev +3%

largadeer, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of Gusler
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask @ Real Ale Fest
The beer pulls from the cask a clear burnished copper color with a generous head that is spumous in texture and a light tan color, the lace a concealing sheet. Nose was malt sweet, fresh and clean to the olfactory senses; start was malt sweet with the top middling in feel. Finish was medium in carbonation, the hops pleasant and delectable, I thought this the best Bitter of the weekend, dry aftertaste a real pleasant and pleasing surprise, I had a couple of these one a double pour.

Gusler, Jun 15, 2004
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a toasted caramel
Malt and a grassy hop.

The taste was well balanced with a toasted, earthy malt and grassy malt.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a very well done ESB.

plaid75, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of Reswald
4.47/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask-conditioned at the brewpub in San Francisco.

Appearance is that of a classic British ESB, both in color and in the head formed.

Good hop aroma, very inviting.

Taste unmistakably that of a real, cask conditioned ale. Took me right back to my years of living in London. The proper amount of bitterness with the slight oxidation that says "Real Ale".

Excellent drinkability, just like its British namesake.

Reswald, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of jcalabre
2.5/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I originally sampled this beer on 31 May 2003. I am writing this review from my notes.
I sampled this cask conditioned at Pizza POrt's real ale fest 2003: it is hazy brown with a large white head, slightly roasty nose, slightly sour taste; all in all, it's a mediocre session beer

jcalabre, Aug 23, 2003
Photo of Mark
4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was lock to try when I got around to trying the Magnolia pub. First it was on cask, gee that was easy. Second it was brewed with Maris Otter malt and English hops. This beer pourd a copper color, head retention was great, I was surprised by the lack of lacing though. Nice earthy malty aroma. Smooth fruity taste profile reminded me of British cask beer. Solid mouthfeel and drinkability is superb. Was I in London? Excellent, and one of the most authentic bitters I have encountered here at home.

Mark, Jan 03, 2004
Photo of marcpal
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Imperial pint enjoyed at the fine establishment in San Francisco.

A: Light orange color with lacing that did not quit. Fine looking beer.

S: Bready and awfully sweet for a bitter beer. There are surely hops but not nearly what it needs. Clearly English in style but still needing more.

T: Considerably bready and malty, slightly off style. Toasted grains, too dry in the flavor and the body.

M: Light body, some production of a coating. Again, too dry and bubbly.

D: More than anything, it was just there. I could see it being far superior from the cask.

Unfortunately, my fault, but this was surely overpowered by the blue cheese apple salad and the spicy chicken sausage. The IPA held up much better: blame my planning though, not the beer.

marcpal, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

ygtbsm94, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of AngusOg
3.75/5  rDev +3%

AngusOg, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of geuze_gone_wild
4/5  rDev +9.9%

geuze_gone_wild, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
2.2/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On-tap at Magnolia

A: The pour is a dark amber color, perhaps copper with a finger or more of off-white head.

S: Oh man, this beer smells like buttered popcorn from the movie theater. A mild toasted bread aroma and perhaps a hint of roast, but mostly butter.

T: Tons and tons of butter with a bit of bread, popcorn, and some mild toasted malt flavor. Pretty simple and pretty, bad, to be quite blunt.

M: The body is medium with a fairly low level of carbonation.

D: Damn this was bad. No beer should have this much butter in it.

womencantsail, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of donniecuffs
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an amber/orange color, with very little carbonation, a thin white head, poor retention, and spotty lacing. The aroma was fairly standard for the style...caramel, toffee, and maltiness, but a little lacking in the fruitiness department. The taste did reveal some more in the way of pear and nuts, but overall there was a caramel/malt dominance, and a sweet finish. Thin and smooth, a nice session beer, though I would like to detect some more fruitiness in it.

donniecuffs, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of beagle75
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hand-pump service into a nonic pint glass at the pub in S.F.

A: Clear, light amber color with no head, just a fine ring of white foam. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Strong husky grain and hay up front, accompanied by floral hops and general fungal earthiness.

T: Begins off-dry, with early floral hops and slight acidic fruitiness that is soon followed by sharp minerals. Toasted malt emerges in the middle as acidity tapers off and slight nuttiness is also detected. The finish is mild and short, bitterness is scant, and flavors are toasty, earthy, and floral.

M: Thin viscosity, wet on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: Described as the "ESB" of the trio of bitters on cask during my visit to Magnolia, its modest abv (listed as 4.5% on the menu) and very passive sensory qualities don't quite seem to measure up to that category. Still, it comes across as effortless to drink and represents a fair try at an English-style pale ale, whatever they may call it.

beagle75, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of justinbrown
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

justinbrown, Jul 23, 2014
Photo of litheum94
3.75/5  rDev +3%

litheum94, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of chugamugofsud
4.4/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the blue bell bitter on cask at the Magnolia Brewery in a sampler. The bar (Jupiter's) had actually had it the night before in pints across the bay in Berkeley. This beer was golden like most bitters are and didn't have much alteration in color. It had a very very thin head, which surprised me somewhat; however, the taste delivered. This bitter comes on slowly, giving you subtle bitters first and then delivering the full punch that one would expect from a cask bitter. This offering is one of the top bitters I've had, the smell was not nearly as insulting as many of the Europeans are and yet the taste was every bit as full.

chugamugofsud, May 11, 2004
Photo of brotherloco
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

brotherloco, May 03, 2013
Photo of HopHead84
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/12/2011

On tap at Magnolia.

A: Bright copper with a mountainous beige head leaving much Brussels lace.

S: Apple and grain with toasted bread. Nicely balanced. Light earth and floral notes.

T: Grainy malt with some biscuit and a little apple. Low earthy bitterness. Finish is smooth and balanced.

M: Silky, smooth, and light  on the palate with medium carbonation.

Overall: Tasty and damn drinkable. I'd love to try this on cask.

HopHead84, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of RXUYDC
3.75/5  rDev +3%

RXUYDC, Jun 29, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Blue Bell Bitter from Magnolia Pub & Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.