Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter) - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter)Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

420 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 420
Hads: 839
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 16.84%
Wants: 17
Gots: 85 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 10-23-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (47) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 420 | Hads: 839
Photo of BigMacDaddy
2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A dark English Ale, minimal head but laces nicely. It does have a full bodied taste. Can taste the Carmel and Toffee. Aftertaste is pleasant. Not a great beer, but a good one. First tasted a couple of weeks ago, it was good enough to buy again when I couldn't find a limited I was looking for tonight. And good enough to buy again.

 331 characters

Photo of janubio
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml. bottle. Brown colour, not very big head, but it leaves a crown. Smells of toffee, floral, maybe some fruit. Medium body, fizzy palate, good carbonation. Taste of fruits, with some chocolate and fruits, some liquorish dry finish. But in all in all, I'd just say a good beer, not an extraordinay one.

 306 characters

Photo of SmashPants
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: a typically cool embossed brown 500mL bottle, a fancy label as well and a cool name. Good package.

Appearance: very dark amber tending towards mahogany. Only a piffling head pops up and settles to a creamy half-finger. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: a fairly demure aroma but pleasant enough, with caramel and toffee, pine hops and a touch of cocoa chocolate.

Taste: more of those caramel and toffee flavours with some light roast toffee and some very pleasant floral and herbal characters. If anything, a little light in flavour also.

Aftertaste: the flavours linger reasonably well, with some hop bitterness.

Mouth feel: A decent mouth feel - medium to heavy body with a lower to moderate carbonation. Suits the style.

Overall: not a bad English Bitter at all, though perhaps a bit light in both aroma and on the palate for my liking. A case of 16 x 500mL bottles is AU$90 (2013) which isn't too bad for I think one or two every now and then.

 950 characters

Photo of Premo88
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

16.9 oz. bottle poured into nonic pint glass

L: darker amber, brown -- looks perhaps closer to a good brown ale than a pale ale; 100% clear; almost 1/2-inch thick foam head of off-white to very light tan, CRAZY stick off the head ... honestly, the head looks like a high-tide line, so awesome; some lacing as we go done, but not much and not much of a skin or collar

S: buttery sweet malt; yeast; sweet bread/biscuits; floral and light -- the hops might be showing up here more than in the taste ... occasionally it pushes up so flowery an aroma that you'd wonder if it's not a Belgian pale ... pretty cool

T: fruity ... sweet, good malt kick ... almost bites with the malt giving off some nice lightness to it ; very little bitterness or hop presence ... you get more hops showing up probably in the dry finish than in the taste -- at least at first. i think i'm detecting some English hops more and more, but what bitterness is there is subtle and married to the malt.

F: light, just a hair slick/watery with moderate carbonation; not fantastic but solid enough and probably closer to style than i realize

O: LOVE IT! no one single component of this brew stands out as a champ, but as an easy-to-get English pale ale (ESB) for me in my hometown, it gives me all the notes I want from the style. fruity, sweet, some bread malts, some caramel, just enough "bitter" to balance it out and a nice dry finish that isn't wearing me out.

full disclosure: my numbers are probably 0.25 to 0.5 high because I can't get enough of this style. also, I can't get Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale in my hometown, so this one serves as a fine replacement.

 1,649 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sort of an orange-brown color, this beer is pretty dark but has plenty of clarity to it. The head, tinted yellow, billows pretty nicely at nearly two fingers' height before easing down to a strong half-finger that never recedes. It leaves behind chunky patching to almost the very bottom.
The balance between hops and malts is evident on the nose, and there's a good evenness struck between perfume, pine & herb and toffee, caramel and biscuit. The dryness is there but not as evident in the aroma as it becomes on the tongue. There's a slight dark fruits note adding a light sweetness in the finish. The aroma doesn't quite have the strength of the flavor, in which all of the characters mesh without any giving way too much.
Crisp with a semi-dryness brought on not by herb or leaf like many bitters, but encouraged by the hops, it's also softly but firmly carbonated with a solid crisp bite to it and some creaminess, too.

 925 characters

Photo of fourstringer
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a "1 PT 0.9 US FL. oz" bottle with a moderately aggressive hand into a Sam Smith pint glass. No mention of the metric system in sight. Bottle dated 04/06/2014. Seen this around not infrequently, but never tried it.

A: Dark amber/copper with nice clarity. 1 finger white head with a fade to a thin coat by about 3-4 minutes. Quite a bit of lacing. Very nice.

S: Light and vaguely fruity. There is a specific scent that I recognized immediately, but I can't put my finger on it. Some malt. Overall the smell is nice, but very subdued. As it warmed I actually started catching a hint of some aged cheese-type funkiness. Weird, but not unpleasant. My major complaint is an overall paucity of scent quantity.

T: Very nice, full, solid malt right out of the gates. Followed by a notable presence of English hops. Mostly dry finish with strong grain presence. Bread. Maybe some hints of light fruit. Pretty good.

M: Full with a good body. Moderate to high carbonation. A bit higher than expected. Starts to build in the gut a bit over the course of the pint (& 0.9 US FL. oz)

O: Drinks well. Met expectations. Straight shooter. Quality brew. Would drink again, but wouldn't search it out.


 1,210 characters

Photo of Wobbly
4.83/5  rDev +27.1%

One of my all time favorite bitters. This rating is for my experience having it on tap in England on numerous occasions, not necessarily for the experience of having it out of the cans you sometimes find it in throughout the U.S. (would probably drop the score to a 4.4 or so if I were rating that).

Lovely, amber hues with a nice, frothy head. Some lacing. One of the best balanced bitters I have had, where the hops (Goldings, I think) come forth at just the rate level. Bread-like, toasty malt flavors develop throughout. A great beer to drink with Indian food.

 569 characters

Photo of FLima
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep copper color with a one finger thick off-white head with low to medium retention, but leaving lots of laces.
Aroma of nutty malt, apples, caramels and English fruity and earthy hops.
Fruity and malty taste with spicy and earthy notes and an elegant bitterness. Hints of toasted malts, minerals, caramels and green apple citrusy. Dry and bitter long lasting aftertaste.
Light body with good carbonation.
Flavorful and refreshing beer with high drinkability. Classic English bitter, with great balance of malts and noble hops. English beers grew on me and I dig their traditional sessionable like this one and US tweaks that are usually turbinated.

 651 characters

Photo of Subliminal64
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very surprised with the taste of this beer. I was expecting something flat and bland, but it was infact very tasty with a good amount of carbonation.

Its a little on the expensive side, but well worth a look.

I will definetley be having this beer in the near future.

 268 characters

Photo of barczar
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant light amber brown with a frothy khaki head that lingers indefinitely.

Aroma is bready, nutty, and has light fruity yeast character. Seems fairly yeasty, with earthy hop presence to balance.

Flavor is fairly subtle, with fruity undertones, and toasted malt backbone giving way to bitterness at the finish. Fairly restrained. The balance is toasted and earthy. Nuttiness really surfaces as it warms.

Body is moderate, with slightly spritzy carbonation and light alcohol warmth. There's a bit of carbonic bite.

Great bitterness to just overwhelm the malt character at the finish. The fruity character was unexpected, and is not my favorite characteristic.

 674 characters

Photo of gbarbee
4.88/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Light, clear, clean, and amber appearing ale. The head is white, alive, and very inviting.

Smell - A very clean smelling beer, not overpowering. This is what one thinks of when smelling a good beer, even to a non-beer drinker. Some hoppy scents mixed with clean water comes to mind.

Taste - Clean, crisp, refreshing, and light ale. Reminds me of an English pub where this style of beer is enjoyed in the company of friends.

Mouthfeel - Light on the palate, carbonated but overly so, smooth and refreshing.

Overall - Great beer and one of my favorites. It is no wonder that most of the Wells and Young's Board likes Bombardier.

 646 characters

Photo of rickyk76
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark copper color with a slight tan head that, while not thick, laces the glass for the entirety of the drink. As with most unfiltered bitters, not a clear beer, but not chill haze as some have stated.

Aroma is heavy malt with slight fruit. Not a huge nose, but very pleasant.

Taste is slightly bitter at first, but eases into a malty chocolate with hints of raisin. Usually expect more bitterness from an ESB, but this is pleasantly malt forward.

Could definitely drink a few pints of this throughout the night.

 516 characters

Photo of T100Mark
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A GREAT LOOKING 16.9 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Rust colored. Slightly hazy. A lumpy, off-white head that doesn't stay around very long. No stickage to speak of.

Smell - Malt. Sweet. Nutty. Black pepper. This beer has a big nose.

Taste - This beer starts out with a malt/sweet hit but then, quickly, turns tart. The finish is medium-well steak (I'm not kidding). A big beer.

Mouth - Good carbonation. Tart. You really feel it in the back of your gullet.

Overall - If you're expecting a nice, easy-drinking English bitter (such as Fuller's London Pride), go elsewhere. This ale is a little on the aggressive side. Very tasty. I like it.

 674 characters

Photo of Libationguy
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Reddish-light brown color with chill haze. Medium depth tan head with tiny carbonation structure,medium retention and fine lacing.

Toffee, over ripe banana, pumpernickel bread, earthiness, and a sour aroma that isnot unpleasant.

Light caramel and more pronounced toffee notes. Pumpernickel bread, toasted malt notes and a moderate bitterness from beginning to end that is well balanced.

Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation and a slightly watery feel on the palate. Last finish of mild bitterness that is very nice. The beer holds with you for some time.

Nice enjoyable pint. The brown notes of aroma and flavor are interesting and the bitterness in the beer is nicely balanced and helps to support everything else that the beer is giving. Well done.

 768 characters

Photo of gr0g
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with a craggy head about two fingers tall. Good retention and lacing. Caramel and toffee malt aromas dominate. Herbal and floral hop aromas. A healthy amount of dark fruit on the nose, too, making this a bit reminiscent of a dark Belgian ale.

Mild bitterness from start to finish. Esters primarily evocative of dried fruit. Toffee malt backbone. Texture is soft, but not quite creamy. While not a session beer per the classic definition, this is something you could enjoy for pint after pint. Compares quite favorably to Fuller's ESB. I have to credit this beer to turning me on to English bitters when I first tried it a couple years ago, and it's something I still go back to every now and then.

 721 characters

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper colored; medium cream-colored head

Aroma: Malty; biscuity; slighty spicy; hint of sulfur

Taste: Hoppy start; vinous fruit flavour turning into malty flavor; hoppy end; a touch thin in the end

Remarks: Good, but just a tad bit bitter for me; smooth, though

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

 343 characters

Photo of endovelico
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Of vigorous pour and clear mahogany juice and billowy off-white, stubborn head this brew tenuously displays rancid butter, toffee and nutty aromatics with even more subtle and exiguous vegetable notes.

On the mouth it feels watery, thin, - even soapy perhaps - only softly carbonated and nearly devoid of any hop 'bite'. The aforementioned notes are still very much in play at the tongue, only with more preponderance towards the nutty and toffee flavors.

It is definitely a nice, solid, all around enjoyable session Ale with a discernible and respectable yeast and malt character. Could probably serve as a gateway of sorts between sessionable beers and more dexterous (maybe even dextrinous) brews.

 703 characters

Photo of soju6
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a mahogany color with a thick tan head that fades to good lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, some malt sweetness, bit of chocolate and trace of spice.

T: Taste of roasted malt, bit of caramel sweetness, with bit of chocolate and spice. Nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium body, smooth and creamy, nice balance.

O: Nice beer for the style.

 362 characters

Photo of BWED
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a tumbler

A- Pours a fairly clear deep copper with a creamy tan head, retaining well at a 1/4". Slight lacing dresses the glass.

S- Mild malt sweetness and a very light hop tang in the nose.

T- Clean caramel malt and a slight citrus, mild, but a nice flavor. Irony, mineral rich. A very well balanced taste.

M- Medium body and very clean all around feel.

O- Good solid Bitter. Light but flavorful and well balanced.

 446 characters

Photo of Jenks
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aroma – a nice biscuit aroma from the grain bill with just a slight chocolate note. May also have a bit of dimethyl sulfide . Some noble hop character does come thru but it is difficult to pinpoint or describe it.

Appearance – Pours a thin head which does hang around for the duration of the beer. Color is brilliantly clear deep reddish copper.

Flavor –Very nice British malt flavor profile; biscuit followed by a little toffee. I don’t detect any of the chocolate that I smelled. There is a piney/earthy hop flavor that plays well with the malt characteristics. Clean fermentation; no detectable flaws or imperfections. The yeast left behind plenty of body which bodes well in this beer.

Mouthfeel – Medium body. Moderate to light carbonation. No alcohol warmth. This beer is balanced on the malt side but there is sufficient bitterness. A small degree of creaminess. There is a bit of an aftertaste that lingers on the palate; slight astringency.

Overall – This is a good beer that turns into a great one as the drinking experience goes on. At first I felt there was an aftertaste that was slightly offensive but as I continued to sample the beer I could no longer detect it and that gave way to a very enjoyable beer. The malt flavor is the highlight of this libation with strong British character. The noble hops and British yeast contribute their roles and play them well as second fiddle. By the end of the beer I am left wishing I had more; not for tonight but another that I wanted a nice British ale. To improve it, I would like to see a more pronounced head and something to clean up the slight DMS aroma that is present.

 1,648 characters

Photo of RaphaelSC
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a red amber body, with a white head of 2 fingers with good rentention.

S: Malt sweetness with floral hops, bread and a mild fruit smell.

T: Some bread and fruit flavour and toasted malts with the bitterness in a great equilibrium, the flavour is complex because all that wonderful malts that it beer is made of.

M: Bread and bitterness well balanced make this a very good session beer.

O: Bitterness is not rich as the malt, but still is good, but the malt steal the show here, with an average ABV, make this beer perfect as a session beer, still its is complex enough to delight the most demanding taste.

 618 characters

Photo of mick303
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

4.7%. Poured a healthy three finger head of off-white creamy head. Shows nice retention and good lacing. Colour is a clear ruby brown.

Smell is of fruity malt, bread, caramel, apple, floral and citrus hops. Light and crisp.

Taste is full bready malt, some sweetness toward the end. Slight sour apple citrus and roasty caramel. Floral hops add a nice estery bitterness. A lot of fruitiness, mild nutiness, light citrus bitterness. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel has a full coating smoothness, light soft carbonation, very smooth and sessionable.

Very easy to drink, tasty and balanced. Short on complexity but a nice session bitter. Satisfying malt body.

 655 characters

Photo of Juergentara
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Easy to drink with lots of malt and hobs; you can nearly taste some fresh tobacco. Not too strong; so ideal beer for people with some thirst and also "beer-connaisseurs"!

 170 characters

Photo of doktorhops
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this sitting in my fridge and I couldn't believe I hadn't reviewed it yet - almost drank it! Lucky I checked BA and found it was on my "to do" list (which is every beer in the world... it's a big list alright). Wells Mr. Bombardier, let's see what you've got!

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: This English style Bitter presents with a deep cooper/brown body and ecru half centimetre head. Looks like a classic British Bitter.

S: Caramel malts are upfront on the nose, with floral hops, toasted biscuit, metallic twang and a hint of citrus in the background.

T: Begins with sweet toffee, then the caramel base kicks in followed by a Brown Ale nuttiness and finishes with subdued citrus/floral hops bitterness. That sweetness overpowers everything (just a tad) but that aside we have solid English Bitter flavours at play.

M: Medium body with light carbonation.

D: Nice drop, sweet? Yes. Too sweet? Depends on if you have a sweet-tooth. I like it, but can see where others might be put off. Also the metallic aroma didn't present in the flavour, which is always a good thing... unless you're a robot.

Food match: Just had Mexican (soft tacos), which you wouldn't normally associate with an English Bitter but surprisingly it works. Ole!

 1,273 characters

Photo of pkalix
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark tangerine pour, no discernible head. no rising bubbles.
sweet aroma, malt-y. smells very drinkable.
taste is sweet, malty, pleasing. nice qualities.
overall, very nice taste and very pleasing. typical range of abv content; expected and pleasing. i like the sweetness of this brew. it is not a stand-out brew but is one that can be had in succession easily.

 361 characters

Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter) from Wells & Young's Ltd
86 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.