1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

785 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 785
Reviews: 407
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 12
Gots: 48 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 785 | Reviews: 407 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dnichols
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured a 20 ounce capped bottle into a pint glass.

A: It poured a clear ruby red with one finger tan head generated by a moderate pour. The tan head was thick and sticky but receded quickly none-the-less. As the head receded it left an even curtain on the exposed glass and a uniform cover over the surface of the liquid.

S: It exhibited a sweet fruity toasted malt with hints of ripe plumes and raisins. There is a distinct aroma of alcohol despite the relatively low 4.3 ABV.

T: My first sip was a dominated by a nice balance between the sweet malts and hidden tangy citrusy hops. I did not experience the characteristic bitters I expected from the style until I allowed it to rest and warm. Then the modest bitters came forward. However, there was an element of sipping a diluted brew that resulted in an unsatisfying experience.

M: Thin, light, watery body with a slightly sweet front, zesty citrusy finish and a relatively clean finish.

D: Bland, low ABV, and not much character. Not a brew I would get excited about beyond this sample...wouldn't turn it away but I doubt my dollars would find there way back to jolly old England.

dnichols, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of meechum
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a branded pint glass at the Brick Store

A - Poured a dark brown with red highlights in it. A nice head that fell quickly enough but left a good lace down the glass

S - Smelled of mocha and toffee with a nutty smell also..good

T - A very good taste to it..much as advertised in the smell

M - A very good balanced mouthfeel..good carbonation

D - A totally sessionable brew..in fact, I sat down and told the bartender at Brick Store I wanted a sessionable ale because I was getting ready to go to the Beerfest and this was what he brought me..very good..and I think my first intro to ESB's...a good beer

meechum, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of elricorico
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one is dark amber, bordering on brown in colour. A two finger foamy tan head formed. It is reasonably slow to reced and leaves a sheet of lacing. Looks good.

Fruity aroma gives an impression of bananas and berries. A light herbal hop aroma in there as well. Nothing fantastic, but pleasant.

Lightly sweet fruit punch through most of the mouth, with a herbal hop finish. For a moment the finish reminded me a bit of Boddingtons (not a good thing) but it seems to have passed, and taken on an almost root beer type quality. Not a lot of bitterness here, more for fans of the sweeter stuff.

There is a bit of body to this beer, but I find the carbonation sharper than I like for the style.

I wouldn't mind trying this one on cask, to see if that smooths out the carbonation. This could make a very nice pub ale.

elricorico, Oct 20, 2007
Photo of Zorro
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Much darker ale than I expected this is a very dark amber with a light brown head that you could possibly call tan but not really. A clear bronze colored ale that I could also call a red colored ale.

Very aromatic ESB here strong Kent hop aroma with lots of toasted grain and biscuit malt. Fairly buttery but not over the top this has a nice caramel scent.

The flavor begins sweet and slightly bitter with a butter and wood after taste. Long lasting herbal bitterness in the after taste it is a little astringent and walnut skin would be the best way I can describe it. Herbal and bitter are the two best ways to describe this so if you like that you will love it. Malt sweetness is all at the start of the flavor profile here along with a bit of nuts.

Pretty good mouthfeel.

Tasty ale but it loses some drinkability point on the basis of the price of this stuff. Other than that this is a good ESB on the herbal and bitter end of the ESB scale. Recommended to try at least once.

Zorro, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of rajendra82
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer came in a sturdy looking 500 ml. Bottle, and I chose to warm it up close to cask temperature before opening it. The beer looked very good in the pint glass, as the copper colored body was absolutely clear, and the head atop was nearly two finger thick and sticky. I know my bottle was fresh, because the store owner had cut open a newly arrive case and handed it to me, but I did not realize how fresh until the hoppy aroma hit my nose. Quite a bit more aromatic than most other English bitters I've sampled so far. The earthy pungent hop smell was quite detectable, even at an arm's length. The taste was where the Englishness of the beer started to make itself known. The bitter-spicy, mineralized, dry, and musty taste was typical handiwork of an English yeast strain. Not much citric brightness was seen here, like that typical in the American interpretations of the style. The mouthfeel disappointed me a little, as it was tinny and marred by an almost metallic aftertaste. Not as good as Fuller's version from what I recall, but it's been a while.

rajendra82, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of trevorwideman
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

568ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep mahogany orange/red with 1 1/2 inches of head. Lots of sticky lacing with a bit of mild, lazy carbonation piercing the brew. Great colouring. Aroma is of apples, caramel, grass, earth, plum, and a bit of peppery spiciness.

Taste begins with a herbal bitterness, followed by a mineral-like flavour that most likely comes from the water source. Earth, grass, caramel, light fruitiness (apple, raisin), and some black pepper. Tasty and very much what the style calls for. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a higher carbonation than I expected from an actual English bitter. Pretty dry in the finish with sweeter notes coming out in the aftertaste. This is a simple and well executed beer that would be a great session ale, especially on cask.

trevorwideman, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of DaggerEyes
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a reddish brown with a thin tan head and small bubbles of carbonation.

Nutty with bready malts some hints of caramel and a bit of smokeiness

Malty taste with some cherry flavors and hints of wet tabacco

Thin body, little carbonation, very watery, I was incredibly unimpressed with the body of this beer

A very sessionable ABV which is appreciated, but i found the mouthfeel of this beer so offputting that I have no desire to try it again anytime soon

DaggerEyes, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of dgallina
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big 550ml brown bottle marked best-before 12/31/2007 on the neck.

Pours transparent copper with slow carbonation and a thin but very rich tan head. Sticky lace abounds. The nose is a little weak, suggesting nutty biscuit malts with a slightly smoky and herbal edge. Flavor is more forthright; plenty of toasty biscuit-like grains with a balance of herbal and leafy hop overtones. Finishes slightly dry, peppery with dried fruit notes. Body is thicker than you'd expect; creamy, rich, and filling. I prefer the Fuller's bitters, but this one definitely redeems Charles Wells' after my poor experience with their banana bread beer.

dgallina, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-amber body with a finely bubbled, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Perfumy aroma of caramel, citrus, bittering herbs, and yeast.

Taste: Subtle malt flavor of caramel with a pinch of chocolate. Vaguely fruity. Lightly sweet. Bitter herbaceousness. Finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Fair enough. A decent, if not standard English bitter.

ChainGangGuy, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of Rainintheface
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

1 pint 3.25oz 11/30/07. Poured into pint glass.

A: deep copper with 1 finger head and light carbonation

S: faint pepper, raisins and caramel malt

T: oddly bitter at first but ends somewhat sweet, dark fruits

M: light-medium body, very little carbonation feel. a bit metallic

D: not overly impressed. There are better to be had.

This beer had a hard to describe sensation to it. A kind of twang to the lips and tongue tip but not attributable to carbonation, I don't believe. Like I had an electric razor to them.

Rainintheface, Sep 30, 2007
Photo of henrysunset
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dated feb 28, 2007; from K's brewing closeout. (past date but it was still tasty)

Big poufy head attractive amber color.

sweet malty nose. citrus hints. very little hoppiness.

pretty tasty, a little zesty. Roasty malt finish. sweetness is pleasent.

smooth, tasty and drinkable. too bad we got just one.

henrysunset, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of GrimmReaper
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice looking 568 ml bottle,got my hopes up too quick.
This one pours a nice amber color with a tinge of orange to it and a very nice off white 1+ finger head with a creamy look to it and some mild lacing.
Aroma was hard to detect,not much there,everything was kinda faint,very lite malts and sweet fruit,maybe a trace of caramel.
Taste was bitter right up front and dry also, than a tangy metallic taste lingers and finish's off dry again.
Mouthfeel is kinda watery with a prickly tangy feel on your tongue.
Not much to this one at all in flavor or aroma...easy to drink but why,when there's so much flavorsome beers out there.I'll pass on this one for the next round.

GrimmReaper, Sep 24, 2007
Photo of Cresant
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this back from the UK, the bottle is slightly different than the one pictured. Poured the 568mL brown bottle into a Wells/CAMRA/GBBF tall pint glass. Over two fingers of off white cramy head with a variety of bubble sizes. Body was clear and dark - nearly cola colored (brown/amber).

Smell was sweet and malty. Bready. Dried fruits. Leafy as it warmed more.

Taste was flinty bitterness up front. A sweet bready finish tempers the hops. Roasted malts. Bready.

Mouthfeel gave a mild sizzle on the tongue with a medium body and a somewhat zesty carbonation level. Overall a nice bitter, but not as good bottled as it was on cask at the GBBF 2007.

Cresant, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of drinkininthewood
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 568 ml brown pop off bottle into a pint glass. BB 31/01/08

A- Dark red in color, with a frothy 2 inch thick tan head, and many large lively bubbles.

S- Nice malts, some grain/nuts, and has a somewhat fruity character.

T- Caramel malt sweetness up front with a nice roasty flavor followed up with a grassy/earthy, spicy, and slightly bitter hop balancing, some mineral flavors were noticed in a somewhat dry finish. Nice balance.

M- smooth and somewhat powdery, with a medium body and carbonation is moderate. Theres something "metallic" about the mouthfeel that im not to excited about.

D- Fairly decent, nice flavor.

Overall a nice, quality bitter. Probably one of the better offerings from this brewery. Worth a try for sure.

drinkininthewood, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of Onslow
1.75/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

This beer seems to get decent ratings but i really disliked this beer .. First off, not to bitch about price but this really is to expensive, Especially for this kind of brew .. Medium sized head for a bitter .. Smells of used socks and old biscuits .. Taste is just a muddled mess, quite disgusting actually! .. Avoid at all costs!!

Onslow, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of jwc215
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small date of 31/12/07 printed on bottle that I assume is a "best by" date:

Pours a vibrant ruby amber with a thick head that slowly descends and stays. Broken rings of creamy lacing stick to glass.

The smell is of caramelsh grain, slight hint of sulfur. Earthy and berry-like fruitiness come through behind the malt sweetness.

The taste if of caramelish, biscuity sweetness balanced by a background of earthy bitterness. Cherry-like fruitiness becomes more pronounced as it warms. Bready, dry finish.

Medium bodied, it leaves a malty sweetness on the tongue, along with an unfortunate metallic tinge, though not enough to really interfere.

A nice ESB - malty, but with just enough bitter balance to keep it in style and interesting. A nice one to have on its own, but cherry like sweetness and bready notes make it a nice one to pair with warm cherry pie. A classic ESB that I would love to try on cask.

jwc215, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very clear reddish brown color with a small tan head of large and active bubbles. The head doesn't stick around for all that long and the beer then looks mostly still with only a few bubbles rising.

Aroma: Initially I got a good bit of nuttiness and some caramel, but my glass was really full after this pour. As the beer warms up some, you can pick out the hops in the aroma, but the malt is the key player.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma pretty closely in that you get a good bit of malt in the beginning with some dark caramel and quite a bit of toasty flavors, but there is a clean and well defined hop bitterness that sets in to give balance to the beer about midway through the sip. The bitterness starts to take over the balance of the finish late, but then stays with you for a good while late after the sip...and this actually turns a bit chalky really late in the finish. This is a tad unpleasant on the back of the throat, but this isn't necessarily out of style.

Opinion: Overall this beer is pretty drinkeable for an English Bitter...ESB...whatever. I am not a huge fan of the Bitters, but this is one of the better balanced ones I have tried in recent times. Though it is not a huge beer, there is plenty of flavor here, and it doesn't leave your palate wanting for more. The dryness on the back of the throat is a bit like roast to me though I know it isn't. After about half the glass though...you don't really notice it anymore...imagine that!

SkeeterHawk, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of irishkyle21
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice reddish brown. The head is well retained with some good looking lacing. Smells of fruits, malt and toast with some butter. The taste has hints of biscuits, hops and a dry finish the malt is quite pronounced as well. A good session beer. Paired well with some Triscuits with melted old cheddar and salsa.

irishkyle21, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.48/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean deep amber with an off white head. Bigger carbonation than expected. It had a very faint sweet smell, but really not much at all. In the taste a very small caramel malty sweetness and small bitterness, but not too big. It s a smooth English beer, very session-ish, but not much in the aroma and taste to write home about.

OWSLEY069, Jul 01, 2007
Photo of bashiba
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a dark clear amber with 2 inches of thick white head that quicly vanished.

Smell has hints of fresh bread, minerals, and some light hops.

Taste is smooth and subtle with hints of toasted malts, chocolate, fresh bread, minerals, & pepper, with just a bit of spicy hops. Incredibly balanced.

Mouthfeel has a decent amount of body with good carbonation and a crisp dry finish.

Extremely drinkable, one of my Benchmark English beers which all others are judged against. Always has a place in my fridge.

bashiba, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of Mandrake
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep copper with a very nice off-white head that lasts quite well and leaves some decent lacing. Smell is quite malty, with a bit of nuttiness coming through on top of nice caramels and a hint of butter. Some grains. As such the taste comes out of left field with some nice citrusy hops. Spicy Goldings give some nice bitterness to the ale, with the malts complex enough to lend it good character. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and has good body, and drinkability is stellar. Great bitter, and a wonderful drinking beer for just about any time.

Mandrake, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy auburn. Medium head, lots of lacing all down the glass.

S - Seltzer water, red licorice rope with pine and earthy/woodsy hops.

T - Red licorice, some woodsy, mossy hops (fuggles likely). Aftertaste is a light bitterness.

M - Slight carbonation, not too much though, medium bodied, pretty refreshing.

D - Not bad, a bit too sweet overall. If I am in the mood for a mild English bitter, I might have this one again.

mrasskicktastic, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of Orrshow
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Deep amber which was crystal clear. 1/2 finger of off white head which was a little frothy and left some lacing.

Smell - Slightly piney with a little bitterness to it. Biscuits and toffee malt arise as well.

Taste - Nice crisp citrus hop off the start. More pine with some carmel/toffe flavor. A little watery though. Somewhat bitter.

Mouthfeel - Low carb and substancial enough body.

Drinkability - Amazing...I could sessions this until the cows came home.

Orrshow, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of kmacphail
4.88/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked a bottle of this from a local shop after seeing it on a billboard at the end of the street. I was not disapointed.

The beer poured a lovely dark brown colour, with a slight hint of ruby and formed anice thick off white head. This pint gave off a nose of roasted malts, caramel and a faint hint of some bitter fruits to give balance.

The taste was even better!! Roasted malts balanced by bitter hops with some fruity berries and butterscotch thrown in for good measure. the pint swirled nicely around the mouth with a nice thick body, truly a fabulous English pint.

This is truly one of the best beers I have ever sampled, a true classic and one that should be in every cupboard throughout the global market.

kmacphail, May 16, 2007
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany body is topped by a one finger beige head. Good retention and some sheets of lacing on the glass. Aroma of toasty bready crystal malts and floral and spicy hops. Light medium body, medium carbonation, and some mineral on the palate. Taste is very much like the aroma. Bready and toasty malt, bitter unripe pears, slight nuttiness, and a pervasive floral and spicy hop bitterness. A pretty good English Bitter here.

merlin48, Apr 17, 2007
Wells Bombardier (English Premium Bitter) from Wells & Young's Ltd
86 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.