Courage Directors Bitter | Wells & Young's Ltd

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Courage Directors BitterCourage Directors Bitter

Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 08-09-2002

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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 105
Photo of PlutonowyManiek
2.84/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: dark amber, clear. Head color ecru, not too high, on average lasted.
Aroma: in the foreground are plum and caramel in the background and gently yeast.
The beer is slightly watery, like the above are the leading caramel and plum.
Bitterness is always at the finish, coffee. High saturation.

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Photo of stevoj
2.69/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Initial nice taste, but then it falls flat. A bit more head than I’m used to from British ales, so it looks pretty good. But aroma and taste and palate are all very light, flat and almost bland. Next!

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Photo of janubio
2.66/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Amber colour, big head that fades soon leaving some lace. Smell of limestone, dark fruits and a disgusting tyres strong notes. Medium body, good carbonation. Taste of caramel, dark fruits. No hint of tyres here.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I’m actually surprised I hadn’t gotten to this sooner what with me being an amateur film Director and what not [excluding both ‘what’ and ‘not’]. Plus with my penchant for English Bitters being quite strong I can only chalk this up to a sizeable slip under the old beerdar. Anyway it is here and pre-review warming up to room temp as we speak. Before I begin I must add that this is a bit on the heavy side for a Bitter at a lofty 4.8% ABV, and Wells & Young’s track record for me has been hit-and-miss with their Courage Russian Imperial Stout being their high water mark IMO, so who knows where Directors will end up.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear copper body with a light splotchy thin beige head on top - about as English Bitter as old English pies with a pint of English Bitter beside it and a side of English Bitter sauce to go with the pie. 8/10.

S: Toffee malt, earthy/nutty notes, hints of dark fruit - raisin, plum, with a veneer of herbal hops in the background... overall this Bitter smells like a bit of excitement compared to the namby-pamby lightweight 4.4% Bitters out there, expecting some explosive not-your-average-day-in-the-pub-watching-football-which-is-called-soccer-elsewhere-in-the-world-to-differentiate-it-from-other-forms-of-ball-sports action here. 8/10.

T: Wow, what a let-down... the flavour is a shadow of the above aromas... it’s not explosive action, just a muted Bitter at best. I’ve had plenty of Bitters that would blow this out of the water flavourwise - several of which weigh in at 4.4% ABV. This is a disappointingly light where-it-counts English Bitter... at least the flavours are as expected from the aroma (toffee/earthy/nutty/raisin/plum) with a slight sour/bitter finish, but otherwise this brew warrants my giant beige stamp of ‘MEH!’. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with some playful carbonation that does nothing to damper that classic English pub vibe. 8/10.

D: Well Courage Directors Superior Ale really drops the ball when it counts in the flavour department and totally misses out on a near flawless try/goal [as long as we’re going along with the footy theme here]. Here is a list of better Bitters for you to try instead of this average drop: Ruddles County, Brakspear Bitter, St. Peter’s Ruby Red Ale and Adnams Bitter - tell me you still prefer Courage after trying these finer brews. 5/10.

Food match: Chicken pot pie with a side of mash, peas, carrots and gravy.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle. Clear, dark amber colour, short-life small off-white head, slight toffee aroma, light body, soft carbonation, moderate nutty and caramel sweet taste, sour malty palate with simply earthy hoppy notes. Smooth, but nothing special.

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Photo of JackieKu
2.74/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

500ml can.
A: Dark copper with 3 fingers high head.
S: I could not get anything from the smells.
T: Quite watery. Slightly grassy and earthy, probably from the hops.
M: Creamy medium bodied.
O: Expect more malts from the taste. Not bad but nothing remarkable.

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Photo of Lemreway16
4.54/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This in the world of English beer a heavyweight no nonsense bitter. Copper effect with both a hoppy and caramel taste. It leans to a autumn or winter beer where is depth and strength suit the climate. Equally this a beer to complement a Highland Malt Whisky on a wet and windy night.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper amber with a minute haze, extremely little carbonation, and a finger of tannish head leaving a fine lacing.

S: Caramel bananas, toffee and crème brulee, a fine toasted quality.

T: Light caramel and bananas, very little bitterness, sort of a papery quality. Berries.

M: Medium light body, little fine carbonation, much dryer than I’d expected.

O: A little disappointed as I was expecting more from the name and label, like this would be a king of beers or something. However it left lacking. Still a fine brew. Will have it with some greasy fried Thai food in a few minutes in Chiang Mai Thailand, Nov 18, 2014.

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Photo of redgorillabreath
2.74/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I'm new to English bitters. So I'm probably expecting more than I should based on appearance. I was ready for more of a malty flavor than I got. From the tap in the UK.

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Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle with a BB date stamp of 14 Dec. 2015.

Poured deep red-amber with a decent sized head that displayed poor retention and only left a few spots of lacing.

Feel: near full bodied with medium carbonation.

Flavor: lightly hops such that the hops are obvious but the ale is just mildly bitter and about equally malty and hoppy.

O: amber ale meets ESB

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Photo of Jetulio
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml. bottle poured into a Pint glass

Appearance... Brown / amber beer with foamy head colour white of 2 fingers aprox (lasting a tiny foam of 2 mm)

Aroma... malt,and fruits. Light aroma with touch of toffee too

Taste... Some caramel notes and then hop , touch of bitterness not lasting in mouth much time.

Mouthfeel... medium/full body and soft carbonation

Overall... a non impressive ale but not a bad one , hops are present but without a long aftertaste.

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Photo of utfiero
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color- Light walnut brown. Medium head.

Aroma- mild hops, roasted barley malt, faint hint of raisins.

Taste- very nice balanced ale. Starts malt forward and mild like a gently toasted bread, then the middle fades with a hint of nuts and quickly finishes with a mild dry hoppiness. The back of the bottle proclaims: "Originally brewed exclusively for the directors of the brewery, this amber ale is full of character with a distinctive spicy hop aroma. The perfect balance of crystal malt with crisp, fruity, nutty hops and a lasting finish." From a hophead American perspective, I cannot agree with the bottle's statement; but I truly enjoyed this brew while on vacation in Scotland.

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a small drinking glass. Tasted on 6/1/2013 in Huntly, Scotland.

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Photo of chogm54
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

English bitters - great sessional winter beers. Directors has a posh label, but lets see if it is a down to earth as the other bitters I've had. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - mahogany brown, clear, pours a thin, off white head that dissipates into a thin 3mm lacing.

S - Caramel malts of moderate intensity with a slight sweetness and fruitness (rum and raisin)

T - Sweetness has not be replicated in the taste - caramel malts with a presence of dark fruit hops (raisins) . Resin like bitterness increases sharply towards the end

M - Moderate carbonation (for a typical english bitter style), medium bodied, creamy, dry slightly metallic finish.

O - disregarding the slightly metallic finish, the beer has creaminess than other mass produced english bitters commonly lack. Also, the hint of dark fruits is a nice addition.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled version. Now called only Courage Directors.
Amber, one finger head, thin sticky cap.
Smell: sweet malts, toasted, burnt sugar, not much really.
Taste: toasted biscuity malts with a flash of lemon zing. A random fruitiness, some caramel and faint nuts. Low earthy hops, with a mild bitterness, kept in check by lingering malts.
Medium body and carbonation,a bit buttery.
This was quite bland. Drinkable, but not entirely enjoyable. Read that the cask version rocks, but this was really quite meh.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.56/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: an embossed 500mL brown bottle with a stylish Brittish label. A good package.

Appearance: pours a clear, solid amber colour with plenty of fine carbonation visible. A burst of off-white head jumps up and settles to a creamy cap. Decent lacing.

Aroma: quite a pleasant nose, if a bit demure. Some sweet malts with some grass / floral hops backing up. Not strong enough for my likes.

Taste: pretty decent and full in flavour, but not all that much complexity. Still, a very nice sweet malt and grain with those hops backing off a bit. A good quaffer none the less.

Aftertaste: the sweet malts hang about for a time, but that's about it.

Mouth feel: a medium- to- full body, lovely and smooth too - almost creamy. Moderate carbonation.

Overall: one of the better English Bitters. I much prefer them full strength like this rather than the milds. A good dose of sweet malts and some floral hops make this an easy-drinking beer. The price is reasonable for an English Bitter too. Worth it.

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Photo of charlatan
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours somewhere between copper and brick red coloured with a decent slightly off-white head. The nose is lemony with a hint of dried fruit: pleasant but not bold. This seems surprisingly malty for a bitter with a sweet start and then a biscuity taste to the fore. Any bitterness which follows is moderate. The hop impact is more metallic giving way to a slight herbal/mint aftertaste than bitter. The taste didn't quite pan out as I had imagined from the nose, yet pleasant but not bold certainly reflects my attitude towards this beer.

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Photo of jonb5
3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Half litre bottle, poured into pint glass.

A: Bronze, clear, small tanned head, poor retention, some lacing.

S: Malt, yeast, fairly boozy.

T: Fruity, earthy, moderate bitterness, some fuggles, grassy finish.

M: Medium body, slightly on the heavy side, well carbonated which gave it a coarse edge.

O: Earth didn't move, a bit like a watered down uninteresting Dubbel.

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Photo of soju6
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep amber color with a moderate head that fades to some lacing.

A: Aroma of roasted malt, some caramel with a bit of fruit and spice.

T: Taste is similar with roasted malt, some caramel sweetness bit of fruit and spice in the background. Has mild bitterness with a fairly dry finish with just a bit of lingering bitterness.

F: Medium body and smooth.

O: Decent ESB but rather mundane. A bit sweet for more than one.

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Photo of wl0307
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first time to try this beer in its bottled version now being produced by the Wells & Young’s in Bedford. Coming in a nicely curved brown bottle, BB 13/12/2013, served cool in straight imperial pint glass.

A: dark reddish amber to light copper in colour, coming with a thin layer of off-white frothy head to last on top of constant flows of mild carbonation.
S: applely and tea-leafy hoppiness laced with a light touch of citrusness, coupled with caramely and mildly buttery maltiness. A good swirl wakes up the soothing aroma of roast and nutty malts. Very pleasant overall.
T: light on the palate, the foretaste shows decent toasted crystal and bready malts balanced by a sound level of citric acidity and a wee touch of yeastiness; the aftertaste is full of aromatic nuttiness with a good amount of earthy bitterness to linger.
M&O: the mouthfeel is smooth enough given the non-intrusive carbonation, the body remains medium to light and overall it is an easy drinking, medium-quality Best Bitter with some good elements to offer.

Tasting Date: 06/11/05, BB date: 31/05/06.
A: a light copperish hue, with a strong ruby hint, the thick off-white head is fluffy and rocky, sustaining for a reasonable length.
S: refreshingly malty, caramel, and fruity, consisting of sweetened citrus zest and lively herbal hop aroma, slightly sharp and intense~~ after swirling, a deeper, flower-scented hop aroma comes through, providing a firm fruity hoppy and malty aroma, mixed of honey dew, lightly caramelised sugar, an intensifying flow of flower hops, faintly preserved figs, and an orange marmalade hint--all hide underneath and need to be awaken by serious swirling.
T: deliciously malty and lightly tartly-sweet fruity upfront, underlined by lots of tangy and sweet citrus-fruity hops while maintaining a feather light body~~ bitterness only gradually develops, full of tangy touch of fruit zests plus a tea-leafy tannic texture, lending a slightly clashing or stimulating mouthfeel to the moderately bitter and tart-fruity finish.
M&D: lively texture throughout, along with the flavour it’s a bit like gin&tonic!! A bit thin-bodied in the end, though. Overall a light-medium bodied bitter with good fruity elements to enjoy, this is an easy-to-drink session bitter, though not as mellow nor tasty as the cask-conditioned version when in good form.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

500ml Bottle from Morrisons (£1.59):
Golden amber colour with a good-sized, bubbly head that is off-white in colour and holds pretty well for the first couple of minutes with only a slight reduction in size.

Fruity hops and a biscuit aroma along with some sweetness and a fair bit of spice, notably some light spice. It is definitely a hop filled beer with a lot more fruit than expected.

Spicy upfront with some fruity hops and a few malts with some caramel in there too. There is a syrup like sweetness and a fair amount of citrus in there too.

Medium with lively carbonation and quite a fruity and sweet feel to the beer.The beer has a slightly creamy body and is rounded off with dry, bitter finish.

Not what I was expecting from this one, it was a nice beer but it came across a lot lighter than I would have imagined. The beer was very lively and there was quite a sweet taste overall that I imagine would get quite sickening after a while but since I only had the one it wasn't a problem.

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Photo of KStark
3.41/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This a beer I tried on cask several years ago when on vacation in London. It was in the majority of the pubs I visited but it was a beer I didn't care for and seemed inferior to the other real ales I tried.
So when it appeared at my local BCLB I was not in a hurry to try it but what the heck.

Appearance: It pours out a copper color with a white head about 1/2 an inch. I've heard they use artificial coloring but it doesn't say on the can.

Smell: The aroma is mostly malt. caramel , brown sugar, a note of hop but very little.

Mouth Feel: Medium carbonation

Taste : Very sweet , caramel predominates very little hop flavor

Overall: This is probably not the same beer as the cask version. Not a bad beer in the can it seems fresh and very drinkable but there is little complexity or hop character for a Bitter. It almost has the malt sweetness of a Brown Ale. In review the bittering hops are more predominate as the glass goes down. It''t not bad for the price but there are
a lot better English bitters around even in BC.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hand pulled pint in my nearest pub (Park Inn, Wellington, Shropshire) on 11th May 2012.

Amber body, clear and handsome looking: off-white head of foam sat on top.

When ever I’ve had this beer (many times over the years) it has never had a great aroma: no matter who was brewing it at the time. Malts foremost with hints of fruity hops is what I got this time, which is more or less what I remember from other tastings.

Malts lead the way in the taste too: with the hops and yeast coming along nicely in the background. Fruity biscuits; lightly baked with a finish of mildly bittering hops. Easy to drink and a standard ‘Best Bitter’; never been a favourite but nothing wrong with it.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely golden copper. One finger cream head.

Aromas of ENGLAND! Malts and toffee dominate a moderate but well balanced nose.

Taste is a let-down after the nose. Dull malts dominate and the toffee/caramel notes of an English bitter don't quite get thru. Bitter aftertaste builds. On reading other reviews - Kudos to Dansmcd who picked a hint of clove - I concur - an odd find!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied - low carbonation.

Overall, not the best, and let's face it, it's a crowded market for bottled Bitter.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well it is in a can which made is fairly fresh tasting which can be an issue for UK beers in BC. Cheap at $2.10 a tall can which makes it good value as it is a decent bitter that has a fairly thick mouthfeel and a caramel-like note in the taste. Not sure why they had to add sugar but it is a beer I will go back to as it has that English hop nose backed with a strong malt backbone.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light copper with a thin, slightly off-white head.

Syrup (I notice the ingredients list sugar), biscuits, bread. Mild hops. Really sweet smelling from the sugar.

Slightly sweet, syrupy biscuit malt taste. Lightly lemony hops. Fairly one dimensional, and a bit sweet. Not horrible, but certainly not great. One of the lesser bitters I have.

The sugar lends a thicker than expected body to this, and the carbonation is really mild. Drinkable - almost sessionable - but a bit heavy handed.

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Courage Directors Bitter from Wells & Young's Ltd
80 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.