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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

735 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 735
Reviews: 401
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 11
Gots: 23 | 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: 735 | Reviews: 401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of clickpush


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: .5L bottle to wide mouth glass. Comes out with lots of bubbles throughout the body. A dark red beer with one finger of tan head on top that leaves excellent lacings in its wake.

Nose: Smells strong of strawberries and bananas right after opening the bottle, like ripping the lid off of a cup of yogurt. Notes of both malts and hops, some herbiness, some toffee, and a touch of alcohol to bring the fruit characters out further. The smell is a tad on the light side, but very strong during the pour.

Mouth: Has a very light body with strong carbonation. Fruity sweet characters, maybe white grapes, and a strong hop finish with a bit of heat from the alcohol, creating a spicy ensemble. Strawberry notes follow the nose into the mouth. I served this at room temp and I think it may have been a bit better chilled. Would definitely drink again.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2006 20:34:24 | More by clickpush


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 2 1/2" dense beige head -- (looks like a root beer float). Excellent retention and thick patchy lace. The beer is a deep copper color and there is a tornado swirl of carbonation bubbles that just keeps on coming.

S - Wonderful light citrusy hops. Seems like just a touch of yeasty hefe quality in there. Touch of malt. Very pleasing aroma overall.

T - Light caramel notes. Toffee. Herbal hops. Well balanced with an almost perfect amount of late bitterness.

M & D - Medium bodied. Low to mid-level carbonation despite the active carbonation in the appearance. Smooth, easy to drink, session stuff here. Very tasty!!

Serving type: can

06-13-2006 01:18:08 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of Dukeofearl


2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I tried this in bottle a little over a year ago, and was interested to see it in cans at my local, so why not give it a try. All I can say is that either my tastes have changed, or it is far superior in the bottle. This comes out almost flat, with a few large bubbles in my Fuller's imperial pint glass. Minimal aroma is helped by a nice (but very light) hop profile in the flavor. I know English ales are subtle, and that's what there is to love about them, but this is beyond subtle. This is missing in action. Mouthfeel is watery to very watery (if the flavor wasn't better, I'd say it was an American light/lite beer based on mouthfeel alone). It did not grab me at all.

Serving type: can

06-02-2006 23:53:52 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of JustinBathurst

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was extremely pleased to have this beer. I was working my way through a large group of English ales, mostly finding myself disappointed, but then I tried this one. The bottle is a massive object in itself, containing 568 mL (an "imperial pint" apparently) of ale. The label reads Bombardier English Premium Ale.

Pours a ruby-caramel, like a cola, really. It's fairly clear. The head is slightly tan. Frothy and sudsy, it falls back without ever opening up the slightest bit. Not really lace... more like a thin carpet of suds.

Smells like a dark molasses bread, a slice of rye bread to be more specific, with a nice citrusy hop character. As it warms, a bit more of a grainy profile emerges.

The carbonation is nicely medium, very much in keeping with the British preference.

The taste is very molasses in the malt district, with mellow earthy bitterness on the exit. A spicy 'zing' like a low-profile ginger is in the background. The aftertaste is pleasant and tangy, not bothersome in the least.

I like this beer quite a bit. It's really too bad it's not very common where I live.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2006 00:09:40 | More by JustinBathurst
Photo of bodybyadam


4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I experienced my first Charles Wells at Hops On Equinox 06. This will not be my last. The medium unfortunately was a 6oz pilsner sampler.
The appearance was a mid-dark brown clear bitter with a nice cream-colored ½” froth to top, like a distinguished gentleman.

The aroma was mild but I sensed a slight flowery hop note.

Taste- I enjoyed this almost like a Nut Brown Ale. Yet surprised this bitter was so rich in flavor.

Mouthfeel- exceptionally smooth.

Drinkability was that of any top shelf ale, highly drinkable. I found this to be excellent. I’m still searching in the stores and local suppliers.

Elbows Up,

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2006 01:48:18 | More by bodybyadam
Photo of JayTheFinn


3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my favorites, period. Definitely one of the better of its style. Had this one over in England on tap and loved it. The bottle version is no let-down!

Has a nice reddish brown look with a particularly thick head that sticks around for a bit.

Subtle toasty smell.

Tastes the same as it smells, smooth and slightly toasty. A bit sweet as well.

Fairly smooth in the mouth, if perhaps a tad more bubbly than I really prefer.

Solid drinkability. I could down one after another.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 04:03:39 | More by JayTheFinn
Photo of UnionMade


4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle purchased in London by my loving sister. Thanks Jang!!!!
Interesting bottle, providing a full english pint. Short necked, with a glossy shield proclaiming the brew within to be Bombardier. The bottle cap also proclaims this to be a full english pint. Nice packaging.
Popping the cap, this one pours a beautifully clear garnet red, filling an english pint to the brim, I'm almost worried it'll spill over. A whisp of head forms on the hop, with a bubble or two floating up rapidly to feed it. Good head retention, keeping a strong collar throughout. A little island of foam floats in the middle, in the shape of Belgium. Sheeting lacework. Typical light english aroma, what with the lack of head. Fruity and malty. It's still a bit cold. The fruitiness grows as it warms. Ripe brown pear, strawberry, caramel, pale malt and a bit of floral, spicy english hops. Juicyfruit gum fruitiness as it warms to room temperature. A hint of chocolatey roastiness. The flavor opens with grainy caramel, immediately fruity, perfectly balanced by modest floral, earthy hops. Tingling carbonation. Very nice. Somewhat lighter bodied, feeling thinner that american counterparts. Sessionable as hell. Modest hop presence in the finish, with that familiar goldings character. Some spicy hoppiness. Might that be the Challenger? I'm not too familiar with the variety. Very clean feeling, lacking any off flavors. Great session ale. Classic.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2006 09:13:58 | More by UnionMade
Photo of TheBungyo


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice pour was kind of a smokescreen ... the rest of the experience never got any better than the pour. Nose is very weak. I get a tinge of caramel and the barest hint of hops. Taste is bready, a little sweet like caramel, and then a splash of bitterness. All seem as if they have the volume turned down. Mouthfeel is pretty good. Overall I'm not in a hurry to revisit this one. Oh, and I should mention I do enjoy the more subtle brews, but this one begs for something more profound.

Serving type: can

04-22-2006 05:05:14 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of anders36


3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber colour into the glass. The head was off-white and mediumthick. Had a fruity and slightly malty aroma with some hints of caramel. The flavor is malty and fruity with some bitterness and some hints of caramel. Maybe a little to much CO2. Leaves you with a malty bitter aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2006 17:54:58 | More by anders36
Photo of TurdFurgison


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at a bar in London (the Grenadier) in early 2006. It was a little darker than pale copper in color, served in a pint glass.

The aroma was a little fruity, but mostly neutral (hops vs malt). The flavor was a little more on the hops side, with a lasting bitter after-taste. Not bad at all, I was happy to be drinking some cask-conditioned product in London.

Unfortunately we got to the pub 15 minutes before closing so we could only drink one each. I would get it again, but I prefer Fullers ESB flavor over this.

Serving type: cask

03-22-2006 15:10:35 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of joecast


3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

great looking 568ml. bottle. 5.2% abv. best before 2/06.

fairly dark appearance. mahogany with mostly reddish amber hue when held to light. clear, showing light carbonation. great head stability. forms about half inch and hasnt changed in ten minutes. lightly tanned.

candy sweet malty aroma is the first impression. slight hop spiciness shows up, but only just.

taste blends malt and hops well. so much so that its hard to pick out where bitterness, malt and hop flavor start and stop. being a hophead, i like to know. especially with the bitteness. this one seems to really fade away at the finish.

mouthfeel is rather lacking. pretty light mouthfeel, and an uneventful finish makes me think ive had a water chaser after each sip.

surely age couldnt have had this much of an effect? only being one month past bb date, i doubt going back one or even two months could cause enough improvement for me to want to seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2006 11:37:32 | More by joecast
Photo of shamus

Ontario (Canada)

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

Lovely red appearence with a bountiful honey-tan head. Nice lace rings. Smelled scotch malty with undertones of hops. A distinct scotch malt flavour with a pleasant mouth feel. There was just a slight grit but it was appropriate to the style and taste. A bit on the sweet side for a pale ale lover like me, but a good quality beer for its style. Presented in a unique and weighty bottle (heavy enough to make a real weapon). Label states an Imperial pint, 568ml.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2006 00:33:08 | More by shamus
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Red-brown with a good chunky retaining head.

S - Slightly sweet, floral hops and citrus.

T - Light toasted malts and some lemony twinges. Hops are mild and there's a slight tart edge in there as well.

M - Low carbonation and a smooth medium feel.

D - Very good. Could drink this one all day long (figuratively speaking). Not a huge hoppy/malty brew, but nice and tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2006 04:37:53 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of funkengruven

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a deep red/brown with a slightly tan head. Smell is of caramel, which is not that bad actually. Taste is reflected as such as well, caramel malts with a bitter bite that finishes off quite smoothly. Pretty easy going and a good beer overall. I've had other Wells offerings that were hardly impressive, this one is not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 00:59:48 | More by funkengruven
Photo of kdog630


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich amber with plenty of head that lasted until the end of the glass. Very malty but no real hop aroma to speak of.

First taste was also very malty with a slight alcohol finish. Prepared to be disappointed. However, the second sip was much smoother with an excellent bitter finish to balance out the sweetness of the malt.

A very drinkable beer, especially during the colder months. I don't think I would have this in July, but January is a good time for a beer like this.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2006 02:54:20 | More by kdog630
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


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

Presentation: Snazzy and distinctive, arrives in a 1 Pint 3.5 fluid ounce brown glass bottle bedecked with feathered flecks all over its high bodied shoulder. The thin neck is entirely covered in a red, white and blue neck label which lists this brew at 5.2%. Low slung main label is more English than Lord Nelson; the Red & White St. George’s cross has a gold colored regal Coat of Arms in the middle of it.

Appearance: Lovely deep polished chestnut hue runs amok with a clear mahogany body that supports a creamy vanilla head which in turn seems to have the ultimate staying power.

Nose: Deep malts with a roasted Walnut essence. Brown Ale tones with a little Earthy finish and some roasted Barley.

Taste: Organic malt start with some nutty caramel. Middling woody malt in the centre piece with a soiled Peat finish. Earthy and natural with little in the way of any forced feel. Delicate bitterness in the finish takes the edges of the malts nicely but is too low key to ever balance them. A malt bomb for sure. Strangely Northern in character, yet Southern in source.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and lots of it. Soft chewy peanut texture mixes with a roasted caramel body. Lovely thick carpet finish on the tongue.

Drinkability: Hmmmm, this big bottle seemingly lasts for ever. It only cost $3.50 which I thought was great value. Bloody drinkable I have to say. No problems with this one at all. I don’t recall it being this quaffable on cask, ever.

Overall: I have tried this one many, many times in the UK on draft and been far from impressed, often finding it thin and metallic. As such I have passed it by in its bottled form in the USA for many months/years. Pity me. Tonight I gave in, in the bottle this one was a real treat; this version is much stronger than the Cask version in the UK which is “only” 4.3%. Even so, Bombardier is one of the UK’s biggest selling Cask beers. For my money the bottled ‘Premium’ version benefits immeasurably from an extra degree of kick, maybe the Cask version should follow suit!?

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2005 06:18:24 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of colebenoit

British Columbia (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer before and enjoyed it greatly but I'm having it right now so I'm gonna review it. I drank the beer from a pint glass.

Appearance: I'm a huge fan of this beer's appearance. It is mildly dark in colour with a deep rich, ruby read colour that really glows when held up to light. It pours with a nice dense, slightly rocky head.

Smell: This beer smells quite wonderful with a strong smell of malts and toffee, and a definate hint of cherry pie. The smell of hops lingers on the end of the aroma.

Taste: This beer had definate hints of toffee and roast malts in the body with a pleasant sweetness. This develops into a more buttery toffee flavour with hints of cherry slightly after swalloing and the finish has a toast like dryness with an assertive bitter hop flavour that lingers.

Mouthfeel: All and all not a bad body, not too watery, but it could definately benefit from a bit more substance/creaminess. The carbonation is very fine and subtle, but pleasent and noticeable.

Drinkability: Definately high in this category, I could drink nemerous pints of this without getting tired of it. A thoroughly enjoyable beer and a fine example of an English ruby red ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2005 01:47:32 | More by colebenoit
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep amber with a fluffy, off-white head. Plenty of head, retention and lacing. Couldn't ask for more.

S: Raisin's and spicy hops.

T: Raisin bread (hint of biscuit) with a gentle hop bitterness.

M: Light-to-moderate body (impressive for it's weight), will carbonated (perhaps a little too carbonated for a bitter).

D: Good depth of flavour (considering it's weight), awesome session brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2005 14:13:57 | More by Derek
Photo of JanM


4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color, fruity smell. Even though I have seldom seen it mentioned in a review of Bombardier EPB I think there is a surprising bread taste in this beer. It's not really a typical bitter but in my personal taste. But the mark of this beer is its pronounced and lingering bitterness, kicking in as aftertaste. Strong personality, great brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2005 21:07:34 | More by JanM
Photo of battlekow


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My girlfriend brought this back from England for me, and I must say, it's a classy-looking beer. It's a very attractive maple color with a small, creamy head and reasonable lacing. It looks like a perfect pub beer. Smells malty and hoppy, pretty basic, but balanced and delicious. Taste is sweetly malty upfront, with toasty malts and bitter hops lingering in the back. Little bit of a sour apple taste. Mouthfeel is slightly dry.

Bombardier is darker and more balanced than the American ESBs I've had, which I think tend to be either barely hoppy or exceedingly so, and it's a very solid beer. Wish I could get this in the States.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2005 01:14:59 | More by battlekow
Photo of GreenCard


3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not sure why there are two similarly named Bombardiers listed under the Charles Wells brewery (according to their site, they only make one), but the one I'm drinking seems to fit these specs and looks exactly like the can in the picture. Anyway...

Appearance: hazelnut brown, great clarity, spongey layer of off-white foam, great head retention, lace

Aroma: light caramel and malt, toast, oddly ethereal "stabs" of resiny hops (one second it's there and the next second... gone), raisins

Flavor: mildly sweet with a rounded maltiness, passion fruit, piny hop flavor, full hop bitterness that builds with every sip, finishes dryish by the third swallow with a malty/grassy aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, spritzy carbonation at first, a bit minerally

Other comments: This is one of those somewhat mass-produced, not bottle-conditioned beers that surprises you. It's actually a decent beer. Definitely good enough to buy the "mini-casks" that it also comes in. Had it on cask at a pub recently, but it had gone off, so...

Serving type: can

08-03-2005 17:32:30 | More by GreenCard
Photo of horndecker

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this at The Mitre in Cambridge, UK

A nice dark copper, clear and deep. Very creamy off-white head, lasts for a bit with a little lingering suds. Moderate carbonation.

Aromas of citrus, toffee and a hint of flowery hops, all somewhat subdued, but well represented.

The first taste is fruit and toffee, a gentle wash of bitter hops, then a nutty and toffeeish malt, after which a crescendo of mild bitterness leads to a drying finish and herbal tea aftertaste. A great balance of flavors, very drinkable and inviting. Nice compliment to the tasty bangers and mash with three different types of sausage this pub served.

It's medium bodied, with decent carbonation, and a tongue-coating glycerine feel. The nuttiness returns in the aftertaste after it loses it's chill. It does what it does quietly but firmly. Everything is in fine order. This is one I would return to again and again.

Serving type: cask

08-01-2005 22:38:56 | More by horndecker
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Big head that fast disapears into some lace, bitter and acidic bite, with some malts and chewy creaminess to offset. Nice dark glass bottle. Drinkable.A somewhat better than average beer, the British present a pint, and that's all I can have of it.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 02:22:30 | More by Sammy
Photo of DrJay


3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear chestnut brown, a little on the dark side, thin light tan head with good retention. Decent lacing, thin layer of foam down most of the glass. Malty, some caramel, plum fruit, and a light earthy hop aroma. Carbonation is slightly coarse, creamy body and texture. Darker fruit in the flavour, some malt, but bitterness is forward throughout. Finishes on the dry side. Traditional flavours, tasty, definitely would have it again.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2005 22:33:07 | More by DrJay
Photo of WetCoaster


4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Stunning clear deep ruby/copper with a thick, pillowy amber head. Very good retention. Active carbonation. Doesn't get much prettier.

Smell. Simple, but quite nice; carmelized malts, red apple fruitiness and mild hop spice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very nice indeed. Smooth, full, sweet, slightly chewy, slightly smoky. Dense caramel malt up front, followed by leafy and ever-so-British hops, which gradually dry out the flavor, leaving a lingering -- but pleasant -- bitterness in the finish.

Drinkability: Without question, the most balanced, drinkable ESB I've run across. The color, the feel, the flavor -- I love everything about it. A new favorite, and one I'll be revisting often.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2005 22:07:48 | More by WetCoaster
Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter) from Wells & Young's Ltd
86 out of 100 based on 735 ratings.