Gem - Bath Ales Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

68 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 68
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.28%
Wants: 6
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bath Ales Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Shiredave on 06-25-2003

It's 4.1% in cask and 4.8% in bottle
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 36
Reviews by CharlesRiver:
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first time that I have seen this beer in the states. 1pt 9 fl oz bottle.

Pours amber in color with a very small white head that doesn't seem to last. Malty and sweet in terms of smell. The mouthfeel is solid and appears to have a good backbone. A bit astringent. Sweet in the beginning with a light bitterness in the middle and end.

Not very carbonated, just the way I like my English Ales.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber almost no head at all to speak of,aromas are of ripe apples and spiced cake pretty appetizing.Taste starts out nicely fruity with hints of brown sugar but seems to flatten out and get pretty watery a pretty abrupt ending.This ale had really good stuff going on but the mouthfeel made it fall a little flat (no pun intended)but did add to its drinkability.

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16.9 ounce bottle, with best before dating. Hazel nut in color, cloudy. Soft minimal head, tiny bubble film duly noted, clinging lace. Fine looking product! Fresh hop nose, sweet malty center, nutty and breadyness evident. Soft mouthfeel, "cask like" feel. Long, bitter/sweet finish. Soft and smooth, seek out this well crafted Brit. Fine and satisfying sessioner.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour delivers a hazy, orangeish-copper body with a thin head of off-white froth. The carbonation is limited (maybe 1.8 volumes CO2/liter) as it would be in a cask-conditioned ale. A smoother pour may deliver a clearer beer, leaving some of the lees behind, but the yeast that's carried over is far from assertive and probably adds to the flavor a bit. The nose is toffee-ish with a subtle touch of buttery diacetyl underneath and some fruit (apricots, tangerine) in the background. The body is medium-light and its restrained and very fine, natural carbonation (it's bottle conditioned) leaves it exquisitely smooth across the palate. The flavor reveals more fruitiness than the nose suggests, intertwined within honeyish, toffee-ish, and biscuity malt and a tea-like, leafy hoppiness. A firm bitterness acts as ballast, and it finishes dry with a subtle note of biscuity malt lingering. Quite well done, and an excellent session ale!

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 3 pack of this beer at the Salamander (owned by Bath Ales) in Bath, England in September, 2005.

Pours a light root-beer colored amber in a proper Bath Ales pint glass, this baby has a monsterous off white head that looks like an Root Beer-Ice Cream float! And this was from a very slow pour. As the head slowly drops, there is a large amount that remains stuck the side of the glass. Holy cow!

The first sniff was a sweetbread aroma, but a few seconds later it was grassy, weedy, hoppy bitter nose. Overall, not as balanced as it could be. But it lives up the the bitter part of the name. The sweet must have been in the top layer of bubbles only!!!

Flavor is much better balanced. A good solid bitter profile to live up to the style, but the roasty malts lend a very nice contrast. I am enjoying this and it takes me back to the trip. Very nice.

The low ABV allows this to be a session beer (if I was able to get it in the states). I really like it.

EDIT (11/28/05): As I am known to do, I put the bottle aside to save the label, so I did my hot water treatment, and guess what I found? Another label underneath! This beer used to be "The City Ale- Bath City Football Club Premiere Amber Ale", "A rich aroma of hops and malt with a long, deep, and bitter-sweet finish" and "Best By 25.11.05". Very interesting. Didn't sell during the football season, so re-label it and sell it to the tourists. Hmmmm...

Photo of Squelch
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled from a cask at the Hop Pole in Bath.

Appearance: crystal clear. Brunette colored. Nice lacing

Smell: malts malts malts. Very nice

Taste: wonderful toasted malt flavors. No harshness. Smooth.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. No astringency

Drinkability: one I could drink all day

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Bath Ales produce fantastic beers, so when I came across this 500ml brown bottle, locally, I had to get it. I wasn't dissappointed.

Looked fine in a Gordon's thistle glass, amber, with a good head.

I was not expecting the bannana, vanilla, sweet caramel aroma. You do not get it with the cask version.

No taste of the above aroma, thank God, although it is fairly sweet for a Brit bitter.

Mouthfeel is fine, the flavour stays and a bitterness does arrive, but you have to wait for it.

I prefer the cask, but this is still a good beer.

Photo of gentlebubbles
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


My usual careless pour produces essentially no head, only drifts of white over the surface of a slightly hazy orange amber.

Sweet and sharp scent, like apple juice. Good fruity malt, lots of apple character with a light bitter tang. Only the barest hint of a fizz on the tongue.

As it warms, it keeps changing; hints of caramel emerge, and even
orange juice. Even so, I keep suspecting this is only a shadow of what it should be. I'd like to try it on cask.

Photo of aracauna
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hazy dark amber or copper body with a VERY small head. I even poured this one rougher than usual. Very low carbonation. A good hazlenut nuttiness. A good breadiness with a very light bit of toast (not even brown toast, just slightly crunchy toast). There’s very little hops, but a little wood backing up the bready malt. A slight bit of apple or melon fruitiness. Very drinkable, but not exciting.

Photo of mdagnew
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought from Sainsburys..

Poured a lovely crystal clear light orange copper colour. Light creamy head poured thick and meringue like then faded slowly to nice firm layer... very sparse carbonation drifts very slowly to surface... very little lacing...

Aroma - Strong biscuity malts, lightly toasted oats and bread, light honey sweetness, some caramel, good juicy fruitiness (apples, apricots and some pears), lots of grassy notes, peppery hops, strong nuttiness, sea salt traces, some leathery traces...

Taste - Spicy / grassy hops to the fore, very light toffee sweetness, juicy fruits (oranges, apples, light figs), biscuity maltiness, definite toasty bread, can't really make out any oats, faint metallic notes, light floral / perfume traces, salty...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry... medium bodied... So so quaffable - a supremely sessionable beer..

Overall - An excellent example of an ESB... one of the most quaffable beers i've had in a while.... definitely recommended..

Photo of Realale
4.54/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pretty tan with some copper highlights. Slightly hazy, and only the faintest attempt at any head whatsoever.

Nose is classic English best bitter - Tons of crackery malt, with rich bready undertones. Well-supported by earthy hops and a touch of caramel. Bit of sulphur to boot.

Medium full and very well-balanced in the mouth. Some fruitiness from the yeast add complexity to the malty goodness. Almost too rich for the amount of hop, but comes into even better balance as it warms. Sulphur pokes out just a touch on the finish.

Could use a touch more carbonation to help cut through the malt, but this is as close to "real ale in a bottle" as I've ever come. Incredibly drinkable. Very similar to London Pride, except maltier and bottle-conditioned! Lives up to its name and then some.

500 ml. bottle. Best before date of February 20, 2004.

Photo of jdhilt
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a one-finger head that goes quickly but still leaves a good lace. Light bodied. Light carbonation - bottle date is Feb 20, 2004. Hazy amber color doesn't really look like a pale. Nose is not distinquishable. Starts on the sweet side, finishes with hints of hops. $2.65 for a 500ml bottle.

Photo of djura
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very nice foam,creamy almost white,no bubbless,dark amber color. Classic ale.
S - Very weak aroma,almost nothing in it,but on the other hand,you could recognize some sweet malt and dark fruits
T/M - dark fruits,sweet caramel and gem,naturally. Easy to drink,clan finish. Lots of nice aroma in the aftertaste. Medium bitterness.
O - Good ale,drink it,you will like it.

Photo of Zimbo
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nice clear medium reddish rich brown sparkle makes a lovely introduction to that nutty nose. The head doesn't really last and despite a slight slight fizz it is mostly silky on the palate but it is neither too lean or too fat. Smooth and deep with a satisfying deep nutty end. Not at all severe but rather civilised actually. Definitely need to try again.

Photo of jvdineen
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer truely captures a cask beer in a bottle. Little or no head when poured from a 1 pint .9 oz bottle. Beautiful ruddy color invites the drinker to a well balanced English bitter. Incredibly drinkable with that low carbonation that I love in cask ales. A good example of the style.

Photo of DaveUK
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Direct from cask.

Appearance - a tawny to dark brown colour with a moderate white head that persisted down the glass. Excellent retention.

Aroma - Caramel and toasted malt. Butterscotch and toffee.

Taste - More caramel malt and some spicy hops present. Juicy malt in the finish. After trying this beer several times, a cloying and sickly note becomes apparent from the caramel and toffee.

Mouthfeel - Cask ale well maintained can rarely be beaten. This was in good condition.

Overall - Quite powerful notes of caramel and butterscotch. Worth drinking as this ale is a quality example of a potent and tasty bitter. However, I would prefer a more balanced beer in this style.

Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy medium amber body with a lackluster head that leaves little lacing

Aroma: Good caramel malt profile (almost smells a bit like warm spice cake) with a touch of hops underneath

Taste: Starts out with a strong dose of biscuity caramel malt: midway through, some nice piney bitterness starts to kick in and balances through to a lengthy bittersweet finish

Mouthfeel: Rather thick and lacks much carbonation

Drinkability: I rather enjoyed this beer even though I was a bit put off when I saw the best by date was 2/20/04! It's still drinking nicely and my reaction to it was fairly similar to reviews written on this batch two years ago.

Photo of interzen
2.57/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Look: Dark amber with a fairly creamy, off-white head to about a fingers-width. Retention not brilliant and recedes to a foam ring and some surface coating.

Smell: Predominantly malty - there are some dark fruit aromas in there but you've got to try really hard to pick them out, even after allowing the beer to 'breathe' for a bit.

Taste: Again, dark fruits with a hint of malt and caramel. In terms of taste, it comes a live a bit more than the smell might suggest but it's still on the wrong side of 'uninteresting'.

Feel: Easy drinking and pretty undemanding with it. Lack of carbonation isn't a big thing as there's nothing here that would benefit from it.

Overall: Again, pretty forgettable - as a traditional English bitter it just about passes muster but as an amber ale it's a bit of a fail. Not much to get excited about, sadly. Clearly it has its fans, but I'm not one of them.

Photo of Shiredave
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This is a bright, golden amber beer, with little to no carbonation, head development or retention. Somehow it's still a worth while drink. Light, fruity, earthy aroma - classic British Bitter. Light again in flavor with and excellent malt/ hop balance. Great honey on biscuits quality gives way to strong, grassy hop flavors and firm bittering finishing it off. Body is thin and watery and the lack of carbonation detracts.
Best before date of 20-2-04 ( ie 2-20-04) and right out of the Importers latest shipment. Label states Gem is bottle conditioned, but I saw no evidence of yeast trub in the bottle much less any naturally produced carbonation. I expect British Bitters to be relatively flat, but this one lacks depth and character that I think carbonation could help. Maybe given some time, this will mature into a Gem. As of now, IMHO, its pretty ordinary. At least its in a brown 500ml bottle! ( Orange lable with a funky enlongated rabbit)

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Neat bottle. It poured absolutely flat, without any head. The bottle said it was meant to be similar to a cask-conditioned ale. I may have served it a tad too cold. What jumps out at me is how smooth a drink it is. Another great session beer, with the right ABV to make it last quite some time too. The color is a slightly hazy brown. The aroma is sweet, with just a faint hint of hops. The flavor is a bit more flowery from the hops, plus honey sweet. The mouthfeel is slightly heavy on the tongue.

Photo of allengarvin
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint bottle, in an English tulip glass.

Appearance: Muddy-amber appearance, very little head retention. Foam dissipates very quickly, even for an English beer. I expect at least a thin head.

Aroma: Toasty malt vies with a pleasant hop aroma.

Flavor/Body: Good fruity overtones (plum). A little bit of butterscotch flavor, like one often finds in the midlands or north of England. Nice touch of bitterness, just enough to balance the malt, which tends to the nutty/toasty. Finish is slightly acidic. Body is medium, and carbonation is quite low for a bottled beer, closer to what one would find from a cask of real ale.

Except for slightly high strength, this would make for a very nice session beer. I like the low carbonation levels of English draft bitters, and this feels like a beer on, er, "draught".

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured amber brown with a haziness to the color. The head was wispy, white, and fell like a rock. Hardly any carbonation, which is appropriate in a bitter.

The aroma was fruity and filled with caramel.

The flavor was restrained caramel and toffee. The hops that are present are to the extreme rear with just enough bitterness to balance. Slight metallic flavor.

The finish was dry and just slightly bitter which increases long into the aftertaste. The body was medium light.

16.9 ounce bottle. Fairly ordinary beer, would better be classified as an ordinary bitter.

Photo of Toddv29424
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was recommended to me when I told them that I loved the Rogue American Amber Ale. It was a good recommendation, they taste very similar. Pours a dark orange color with little head. The smell is a mixture of light hops and sweetness like that of fruits. Initial taste is very agreeable, with nothing overpowering. The sweetness continues as it goes down, and the finish has a slight burnt taste to it. In the middle you can taste the hops, but it is very good also.

Photo of ngandhi
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The expected bears the unexpected. Gem has a typical British graininess that gives way to creamy butterscotch, honey, and is that a taste of the tropics? The finish is dry and tannic but preceded by a velvet body with a mysterious light bittering.

Relax, relax.

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a nice orange-tinged amber with a smallish white head (reminiscent of a cask-conditioned pour). A tea-like fragrance and a light malt and fruity aroma lasts a good long time. The medium bodied malt is caramel sweet and just a bit doughy, with a hint of oak. Iced tea and a mild lime-like bitterness make for a smooth and balanced brew. A hint of metallic tang adds just a touch of an edge.

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Gem from Bath Ales Ltd
86 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.