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Blue Bell Bitter - Magnolia Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Blue Bell Bitter
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41 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 41
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 15.7%
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
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Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of womencantsail


2.2/5  rDev -39.4%

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.

11-27-2010 08:56:40 | More by womencantsail
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

2.48/5  rDev -31.7%

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????

09-17-2004 10:45:17 | More by rastaman
Photo of jcalabre


2.5/5  rDev -31.1%

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

08-23-2003 03:47:40 | More by jcalabre
Photo of kdoc8


2.68/5  rDev -26.2%

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.

03-13-2007 21:46:20 | More by kdoc8
Photo of benito


3/5  rDev -17.4%

A pint of this with lunch at the Haight's only brewpub after a big bike ride up San Fran's Twin Peaks.

A: Deep copper with a fluffy, half-inch head.

S: Strong on butter and very doughy, offset by a light fruitiness and a malty (as in grainy, not sweet) touch.

T: This is comfort beer exemplified. There's a good malt body with a crispy dry finish--very similar to Anchor's Small Beer another San Francisco brew. Otherwise, there's not much to it...but I think that's the point.

M: Medium bodied with a good texture and length across the palate.

D: Fine. Not exactly thirst quenching, but an easy enough beer to drink with lunch.

The x-factor here is that this beer is supposed to be straightforward, and it is. It's worth trying, even if you (like I) won't love it.

06-17-2006 01:37:52 | More by benito
Photo of Hollenbeck2


3/5  rDev -17.4%

this to me tasted like a belgium beer, I could have been way off and I tatsed this in a flight with 7 other beers, it was good just not my style or should I say favorite style.

had this on tap at the source, magnolia brewery.

I would however recommend trying this beer, because even though they were not all my style I could taste that they were good.

01-22-2008 02:53:48 | More by Hollenbeck2
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

3.08/5  rDev -15.2%

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.

12-11-2008 20:34:23 | More by marcpal
Photo of donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -11%

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.

08-03-2010 21:15:18 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of ygtbsm94


3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

10-25-2013 05:08:12 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of t0rin0


3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

10-23-2012 02:02:39 | More by t0rin0
Photo of beagle75


3.43/5  rDev -5.5%

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.

01-08-2011 01:18:45 | More by beagle75
Photo of drewbage


3.45/5  rDev -5%

Sampled on San Diego Real Ale Festival:

Beer pours light coppery and hazy from the hops.

Aroma is spicy with a corn edge to the malt.

Flavor is balanced well to the edge of hop razor wire. The hops are intensely grassy with a large presence of tannin that leads the finish to being a lemon grass tea.

06-02-2003 23:59:46 | More by drewbage
Photo of WOTO97


3.48/5  rDev -4.1%

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.

08-12-2010 00:22:59 | More by WOTO97
Photo of Jason


3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

08-08-2013 19:11:48 | More by Jason
Photo of justinbrown


3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

07-23-2014 17:18:15 | More by justinbrown
Photo of brotherloco


3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

05-03-2013 21:23:43 | More by brotherloco
Photo of IRONRakkasan


3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

01-20-2014 21:27:51 | More by IRONRakkasan
Photo of Evan


3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

05-29-2014 14:18:50 | More by Evan
Photo of mentor


3.55/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours a three finger tan head over a cloudy lightly reddened copper liquid. Smells hoppy of cotton candy oranges, malt of light-colored caramel, and honey. Tastes hop flavor (oranges, tin, iron, wood) with supporting bready malt flavor. Full bright esters step in late to transition from hop, across the malt, and a sweet pleasing finish. Very earthy hops with a grassy edge and a mineral finish. Has a bit of a Brettanomyces crsip and horseblanket in the finish. Light in the mouth and modest carbonation. I liked it. I'm not a fan of brett, but it actually added an interesting character to this.

10-31-2013 03:01:27 | More by mentor
Photo of charlatan

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.58/5  rDev -1.4%

Conker (horse chestnut) coloured with a big fluffy head, this represents a rare foray into the cask conditioned world for me. It has a subtle floral aroma amidst pine tones and a doughy smell. It is much more malty than I anticipated - the hops are almost an afterthought here. A pleasant earthy, peaty, smoky flavour gives way to slight bitterness. I was rather disappointed that Magnolia didn't have any of their Mild (a speciality of my long lost home area which I haven't come across at all in Portland) available, and judging by this I reckon it ought to be well worth trying.

08-29-2005 03:27:29 | More by charlatan
Photo of HopHead84


3.68/5  rDev +1.4%


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.

08-14-2011 18:33:47 | More by HopHead84
Photo of largadeer


3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

08-27-2013 00:12:57 | More by largadeer
Photo of AngusOg

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

06-19-2013 20:43:54 | More by AngusOg
Photo of litheum94


3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

07-26-2012 17:08:19 | More by litheum94
Photo of RXUYDC


3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

06-29-2014 00:15:49 | More by RXUYDC
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Blue Bell Bitter from Magnolia Pub & Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.