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

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

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very good

788 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 788
Reviews: 407
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 13
Gots: 52 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 10-23-2001)
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Ratings: 788 | Reviews: 407 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of laituegonflable
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The drink of England, eh?

Well, I've not seen many English lasses that look much better than this. Pours a gorgeous dark copper-amber colour with a very healthy carbonation streaming up the liquid, and a pillowy, thick head of beige foam, sticking around nicely but slowly drooping. This is definitely what an English ale should look like.

Nose is fairly simple, a very distinct aroma of English hops. A bit faint, maybe because I'm serving it a bit cold, but it's still definitely there. It's a mostly floral hoppy character and slightly balanced by a bit of a caramel malt aroma. Fairly good for what it is.

Palate is a lot maltier than I would expect, both from the nose and from the name of the beer. Very rich, almost earthy hops on the mid-palate with the back lingering in a copper, metallic kind of flavour, slightly sour, almost like when you put your tongue to the node of a battery. But the leadership is usurped by the malt on the front which also contributes to a thick, phlegmy mouthfeel. Not only does it feel phlegmy but it creates phlegm in my throat, almost like there's something lactic there. The head, when sipped, is delicious, like a strong Irish stout head. But it's here where that metallic aftertaste is strongest.

Overall, this is a fairly lacklustre example of a bitter. Mostly, it's not very bitter - it's too malty for that. Secondly, the palate, while having enough complexity to keep you interested, is fairly poorly balanced and the flavours are all essentially lined up one by one for you to count, rather than being released in a gush of flowering complexity. I could take it or leave it, really.

Photo of Offa
4.97/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a wonderful English bitter that finally was available here although it sold out fast and with good reason.

Deep copper, it has a medium pale tan head slowly shrinking to a nice, lasting 1/4 inch top that's permanent, and leaves a little bit of lace.
The aroma is rich caramel, toasted whole wheat bread, a delightfully complex yet lively plum-orange-raisin-lemon mix, lea and leaves - very English.

The taste is like the aroma overlal, with a lot of fruit as above, toast, a strong leafy tea character, esp. near the finish, mroe toast, hints of licorice and pepper, and a lightly winey fruitiness and a rather English sweet-sour hint. It has great sweet-bitter balance and a wonderful leafy finish married with sweet caramelised bread crust that lingers.

Photo of tronester
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish brown with a big tan head. Smell is of oak and freshly cut hay. Taste is nutty, sweet, with nice esters created from the British yeast strain. The finish is superbly bitter, very nice. Mouthfeel is good, finishes surprisingly clean. Good carbonation levels, though I did pour vigorously as IMO British ales need lower carbonation for full flavor. As with many English Ales, drinkability is fantastic. It's a shame more American brewers don't try and replicate this style (using UK malts, hops and yeast strains) as I imagine they could make something great.

I had this beer on cask when in London a couple of years ago. While the bottled version is very good, from the cask it is stellar. It's a shame we cannot get it in this form over in the USA!

Photo of roddwolff
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer was seen very well once i served in my mug, with a brown dark color and some coppery notes, good head of foam; the smell is spicy, some malts are distinguished; the taste is frutal, light bitterness and essences of caramel and toast malts; the drinkability simply is well, adequate quantity of alcohol, for enjoy better with food, i took it with meat.

The only thing i didnt like was the mouthfeel, the flavor doesnt last a lot, the body was ok.

Photo of Riggo
4.6/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a gorgeous copper/amber with perfect clarity and a creamy off-white cap of foam. Excellent lacing.

Smell is a wonderful mix of sour, earthy wood, citrus, peat-smokiness, fruit (apples, pears) and cedar.

Fantastic balance in the mouth, a clean, earthy hop bite surrounds a juicy, fruity middle with caramel, toffee, and smoky notes. Cedary and lemony hops draw out the dry finish.

Extremely drinkable for an ale--just so balanced and the dryness cleans things up so nicely. Low carbonation makes for a creamy, mellow mouthfeel but still feels lively and fresh (despite the long journey).

This is what I want to drink every day. A simply beautiful product. I wish american brewers would brew these kind of "hoppy" ales--the hops give an earthy cedary quality and an overall dryness while still remaining so subtle and harmonious with the fruity/caramel malt qualities.

Photo of thierrynantes
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (50 cl.), tasted in 2009.

Appearance : dark reddish color, with white head and little bubbles (moderate lacing).
Smell : fruity and hops aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : malted, caramel and hops flavours, with a dry bitter finish.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style Extra Strong Bitter.

Photo of scottoale
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml. embossed brown bottle with a date code stamped on the glass:31/03/09 D, L8087 16:39. Hazelnut-brown coppery ale with a finger of light tan head.

Smells malty, tangy and peppery with a mild sweetness. A faint tobacco, some nuttiness and a mild whiff of alcohol as well.

Malty sweet and peppery with note of hazelnut, sultana, tobacco and leathery earth. A nice spice from the hops and a bittery clean finish.

Medium bodied with a mild carbonation and a light warming from the alcohol make this a solid offering for the style. A nice bitter thats is a pleasure to drink and very sessionable.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This real ale is a lovely, lightly hazed autumnal nectarine-brown, with a stalwart, cream-colored head reminiscent of cappuccino foam.

Smell: Bright, floral hops leap from the beer, carrying overtones of carnations and dandelions. They prelude a mild fruitiness, equal parts, orange, apple, pear, and mango. Malts keep quiet but for peeps of caramel, brown sugar, and walnuts.

Taste: Well balanced yet deliciously flavorful, a lovely harmony of honeyed toast malts and spicy, herbal, grassy hops. The yeast lends a slight, mildly tart fruity character. The finish is delicate with an edge of dark chocolate and citrus peel.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and juicy, yet dry.

Drinkability: Very good; an excellent ale when well-kept.

Photo of Greggy
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice thick 2 finger creamy tan head with ample lacing and retention. The body is a clear dark amber/red.

S- Nice aroma of caramel, hazelnut, some fruitiness.

T- Starts out initially with just a nice whisp of cognac notes, some nice fruitiness, bits of hazelnut, a hair of nuttiness, and a nice long malty finish with hints of balancing hops and cognac.

M- Low carbonation and nice mouthfeel.

D- Quite a drinkable and sessionable ESB. Definitely will have more of this!

Photo of cvstrickland
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The 500ml bottle pours glimmering-clear, rich, reddish-copper brew into my imperial pint-sized dimpled seidel, and a small cap of ivory foam drapes the drink. The head consolidates quickly, settling into a creamy, chunky sheet banded by a bubbly collar, the whole beer-topping fed by streamers of active subsurface bubbles. Thin rings and isolated blobs of lacing on the glass chronicle the passing of the brew.

The smell is mild and toasty with the signature spicy zip of the Fuggles hops employed in the brewing process. A clean, tea-like sweetness and cracked white peppercorns add zest and heft to the aroma.

The taste is a wonderful balance of dryish toasted malts and mildly fruity caramel layered underneath a spicy nip of fragrant floral hops. A tea-like mild earthiness dries the finish quite effectively, but does so with mellow subtlety, a bit of peppery spice, and delicate bitterness rather than any unpleasant pucker of astringency.

The drink becomes creamier in feel as it warms a bit, and is light-bodied with mild carbonation. Bombardier Premium could easily be consumed in great quantity should the notion strike.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful pint! The thick head of densely creamy dark tan froth holds remarkably well and leaves thick rings of craggy lace.

In the nose it's a touch peppery in a plant-like way, over background notes of caramel malt. With a swirl, some mild yeasty fruitiness can be found (melon, apple, peach).

The mouthfeel is medium with a dextrinous edge, and it's quite smooth with a moderate, fine-bubbled carbonation that gently caresses the tongue.

The flavor displays a lot of the pepperiness found in the nose upfront, backed by some leafiness, and even a bit of floral character before the caramelish maltiness shows. It's soft, and rounded, with a gentle sweetness, and the caramel certainly isn't overdone. The bitterness balances, and makes itself known, but for the most part remains backstage allowing the hops and malts shine. More leafy hop flavors appear in the finish, along with some gently nutty caramel, and even a minor smear of butteriness.

Enjoyed at cellar temperature, or just below, the character of this beer really comes through. It's really very nicely balanced between hops, malt, bitterness, and yeast character. And there's enough there to keep it interesting for more than one. Certainly worth trying.

Photo of philipquarles
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice mahogany with a medium beige head. The foam shrinks quickly leaving a small but dense cap. Nice lacing. Aromas of crystal malt and some faint dark fruit esters (prunes maybe). Tastes of slightly toasty caramel malt. Light hop bitterness throughout with an earthy finish. Definitely going to have to try and find this on cask.

Photo of EatsTacos
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber with a thick, creamy dark beige head. Really nice looking beer.

Aroma is a good balance of Crystal malt with some subdued English fuggles hops. Sweet bready aroma

Great balance in the flavour. Begins with the sweet bready graininess that leads into a spicey hop profile. Very classic English hop flavour. Bitter long finish. Very good. A classic english bitter.

Thick creamy mouthfeel. A medium carbonation level works really well too.

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A real joy to drink tonight at one of my local favorite beer-spots, Marikka's.

The beer opens with a brown-ish pour that reminds me of many English Mild Ales. The head formation is confident and withstanding, retaining all the while, while leaving memorable lacing on the glass. The look promises greatness.

The aromas are timid, but do reliquish a boquet of perfumy, piney hops atop of a rich, malty concoction of caramel flavored malts, biscuit-like qualities, and a hit of toast and cocoa. Can't wait to dive into this beer.

Flavors of mild toasted malts govern while an upcharge of caramel and malt soon to follow. Firm malt flavors are tempered with a piney, nectar-like flavor from the hops to balance the firmness with delicacy from suble herbal, flowery flavors from the hops and soft fruity esters from the yeast-- maybe a bit of Christmas in this beer.

The feel is dead-on for English Pales. A firmly malty texture with a soft pillow of creaminness, carbonation; tempered with the proper balance of hop bitterness.

This is one of those beers that are easy to dismiss because of the timid values in hops and malts; but balance does this beer justice. Remember that this is a moderate abv. beer and not meant for overwhealmed judgement-- just drinkability. I could drink this all evening long.

Photo of linnet
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Colour is ruby, small off-white head, there is some lacing, small bubbles. Aroma is fruity sweet, jam and honey smells amost like a doppelbock, the presence of hops in the aroma is not very strong. Flavour has a distinct bitterness, but for a premium bitter it is also rather sweet. Mouthfeel is rather lively. This is a very nice bitter, maybe lacking a bit of complexity,but still very enjoyable

Photo of midnite2sixman
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a solid amber and brown mix, with a nice foamy head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some nice lacing.

This one smells like oats, fruitiness, brown sugar. Fairly bland, absolutely English.

Taste is bitter with just a touch of fruit. Nothing extraordinary really. Just a bit of roastiness in there as well.

Mouthfeel is average on this one. I can't really say much about this beer for some reason. Not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing.

Drinkability: Definitely worth a try. Not sure if it warrants repeated tastings though.

Photo of pmcadamis
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - This pours from it's big and heavy bottle into a pint glass a dark "aged bronze patina" hue that is dark for the style, and it supports a big pillowy white head. This shows good head retention, and leaves quite a bit of fluffy lace on the glass.

S - Mineral-laden rusty orange water. This smells like a stone drinking fountain in a rural park that's fed by well water. It's not all bad... I'm getting some slightly crispy toast and light toffee notes.

T - Yeah, this is way to metallic and mineral-y for me. Some people love that kind of flavor, but I think "hard water" flavors interfere with the other notes and make this hard to enjoy.

M - Light bodied, firm, and crisp. This is neutral on the finish, and leaves a tinny taste after the swallow.

D - I didn't care for this one. I could see how some might like it, but I just found it to "off" to thoroughly enjoy.

Photo of prosper
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber, with a thick, rich head that's a lot bigger than I'd like to see on an English Ale.

Smell - not much there. A slight sweet fruitiness, maybe. Nothing exciting; I'm expecting a bland, bland brew at this point.

Taste - wow, what a bombshell! I love it! So many awesome flavours, in just the right proportions. There's a sweet toffee malt, plenty of tropical fruit esters, a slight earthiness, lots and lots of bready-biscuit and english nuttiness. Water mineral edge is there but not pronounced. Finished neutral with a slight bitter edge.

Fills the palate nicely, creamy smooth and not a lot of prickly carbonation.

Drinkability - I can wait till that next sip!

Photo of rec
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This highly recommended English Ale pours a crystal clear amber body with an unfortunate scummy white-soap head. It's not unusual for an English ale though, where most lack long retention, strong lacing or any kind of truly appetising aesthetic.

The aroma was rather mild, but a slight malt sweetness and aromatic hops were apparent on the nose even if nothing else. Pleasant, even if underwhelming.

The initial sip is met with a bright up-front flavour, but one that quickly seems almost too balanced for its own good - nothing really grabbed me with a "wow". That sweetness from the nose was found in the flavour as dark fruits, along with some complimentary toasty-malt.

The aftertaste is notably bitter, but considerably less than other English Bitters. That's presumably because of the desired differences between a typical English Bitter and an Extra Special Bitter.

Overall it's one I'd highly recommend. Nothing ground-breaking, but a fantastic tasting complex English ale that's rounded enough to have as a once off or even as a session beer.

Photo of fullsweep
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a glass.

Nice foamy head upon pouring. Dissipated slowly with a bit of lacing.

The smell was mild, but present.

Taste. This wasn't as bitter as most of the English bitters I'd tried at this point (Ruddles County, Harvey's, Sussex) so I was not surprised at all when I read BA's description of the Extra Special Bitter. I hadn't realized it was a separate style. The characteristics described there, I found to be particularly true. This was a very balanced, moderately malty and only mildly bitter ale.

Thoroughly enjoyed both the taste and mouthfeel.

Very drinkable beer that I would definitely try again.

Photo of smcolw
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber/light brown. Clear. Light beige head that diminishes to a single bubble layer. Nearly a complete ring after the first sip.

Crystal malt is the first impression of the smell. Nearly no hop aroma. Creamy.

Traditional "round" British flavoring. Lots of malt (lighter toasted varieties), but an equally generous dose of hop bitterness. Very nicely balanced. Full bodied like all good English ales. A very predictable ESB!

Photo of kimcgolf
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store Pub. Poured to a bright reddish-amber color with thin white head that lingered to mid-glass and left very good lacing. Nose was malty dark fruit with just a hint of spices and hops. Mouthfeel of this medium-bodied beer was tingly and slightly dry, while the flavor followed the malty dark fruit sweetness of the nose, with a hint of toffee. Finish not as dryly bitter as I would like, but not bad.

Photo of biggmike
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark copper/amber color with nice white head that lasted a long time. The aroma was fruity but not real prominent. The taste was also of dark fruit with a bit of spice to it as well as a touch of hop bitterness. The mouthfeel was smooth and sort of creamy. I enjoyed this beer and at 5.2% abv, it was an easy drinker.

Photo of gabeerfan
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrived a nice dark copper brown. Nice off-white head.
Very fruity aroma. Caramel, plums, figs, raisins. Some herby bitterness.
Flavors mirror the aromas pretty closely. Pretty sweet on the tongue. The earthy, herby hops come in a little stronger, but are still bit players.
Medium bodied. Somewhat syrupy that coats the palate, but doesn't linger for long. Smooth carbonation.
Very drinkable. Easy drinking and good flavors make this a good drinker all night.
Very good beer and my choice if Fuller's ESB isn't available.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bright burgundy red with a flat off white head that left a splotchy lacing.

S: A big spicy fruitiness erupts from the nose along with some nice earthy woody hop notes.

T: For flavor there is some spiciness, licorice, dark fruit (raisins), coffee, dried apples and a roasted caramel presence. There is some warming alcohol notes as well.

M: full, with some creaminess and dry from the toasted malting.

D: Good drinkability. Overall a very complex beer with lots of different flavors that blend together nicely with no one standing out or dominating. Rich, robust flavor and a great example per style.

Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter) from Wells & Young's Ltd
86 out of 100 based on 788 ratings.