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SOB (Special Old Bitter) - Pump House Brewery

Not Rated.
SOB (Special Old Bitter)SOB (Special Old Bitter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

29 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 29
Hads: 50
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 16.54%
Wants: 4
Gots: 1 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pump House Brewery visit their website
New Brunswick, Canada

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pootz on 09-01-2006

A deep honey-coloured unfiltered west coast style session beer with the classic fresh aromatic hop bouquet mingling with malty undertones for excellent balance finishing with a pleasant lingering bitterness. A great thirst quencher or the perfect buffer with spicy foods!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 29 | Hads: 50
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured an orangey color ale with a good size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet caramelized malt with hints of dry English hops with some nice floral undertones. Taste is sweeter then expected but well balanced with some floral and dry English style hops. Body is quite full with good carbonation. Well done and more complex then anticipated while not really being close to style but really, who cares?

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

341ml bottle, at Wunderbar, in the fading afternoon light, which actually matters at a place like this. Same fire hydrant imagery as its brethren, speaking out from the label.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium golden orange amber hue, with two fat fingers of puffy, frothy, and light whipped cream off-white head, which leaves some nice coral reef lace around the glass as it lazily drops away.

It smells of bready, rather biscuity caramel malt, dry field honey, leafy pine needles, and bitter generic citrus pith. The taste is just as well balanced, with a goodly dose of biscuity caramel/toffee malt, neutered lemon and orange fruit rind, ethereal Tootsie Roll notes, and further leafy, grassy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, just a wee zesty frothiness throughout, the body an adequate medium weight, a tad prickly, but mostly smooth. It finishes with a drying leafy citrus edge, amongst all that proprietary English malt goodness.

A nicely hopped-up bitter, bordering on Canadian IPA territory - you know, English sentiment blended with American practicality, and all that. Would happily have again, at non-bar prices, in larger amounts, and with more ambient light, so I could see the (as now, imaginary) people I would be enjoying this with.

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Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber color. Haze free. Modest bar-pour head. Leaves only rim bubbles after settling. Some streaks of lace. 

Mostly grainy malt aroma. Very low hop nose. A touch of honey. 

Round, crystal malt flavor. Rich bodied which is enhanced with a low carbonation level. There's little bitterness, even in the swallow, which has a bit of sourness. 

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Photo of wordemupg
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into 400ml dab glass on sept26 2009

A almost clear deep golden orange with a big head that sticks around coats the side of the my glass. The head slowly falls with a big fluffy peak in the middle of the glass, also worth mentioning is how lively this beer looks lots of bubbles.

S sweet caramel and a fair amount of floral hops

T close to the smell but I pick up a little pine, I do like this beer and it gives me new respect for pumphouse

M creamy with tonnes of carbonation

D I could see myself drinking quite a few of these, but I only have one I got in a mixed beer bag, too bad.

Much better then I expected, not too much too complain about here

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Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle, big thanks to NASH for the hookup.

Pours a clear dark orange/amber, some reddish highlights, big thick and rocky off white head forms, drops a ton of lace on the glass, very good retention, very chunky head, looks great. Smell is nice, hoppy, some light spice, floral, caramel, lightly fruity, very grassy hops, like hay and grapefruit, touch of biscuity malt, but just a lot of hopping. Taste is similar, some caramel and biscuity malt off the bat, lightly sugary, some herbal and spicy hops, floral, hay/grassiness, biscuits, light fruit, real solid bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, pretty bitter but still really well balanced. I like this quite a bit, kind of an American take on an ESB, but done pretty well. Thanks Greg!

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Photo of tigg924
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the brewery. Served into a pint glass.

Appearance: ¼ inch head, clear, dark gold in color, small carbonation

Smell: citrus hops and caramel

Taste: caramel at the start followed by a healthy dose of citrus hops

Mouthfeel: sweetish start with a bitter finish that lingers a bit, light body, high carbonation

Drinkability: This one is a better than average bitter beer. I wish this one hit more notes like a lot of the Pumphouse brews, but it is not bad. One I would probably skip over in the future, but an ok beer.

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Photo of papat444
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cjbmcdon for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: A hazy, dark honey body with a thick, 3 finger head that gradually recedes to 1 finger but lasts a good while. Very nice.

Smell: Spices, caramel, malt and a bit of hops.

Taste: A coppery, mineral-like aspect. Good presence of bitter hops and a nice spicy edge to it. The taste hits more after i swallow. Very distinct taste.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth at first then gets a little harsh in the aftertaste. Carbonation is average. Not bad.

Drinkability: The only impediment is the roughness of the taste a little bit but it still drinks very well. Half my glass without me even realizing it.

Overall: A very tasty bitter with a unique taste. I'd recommend it.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to joemcgrath27 for hooking me up with this one.

A - Pours a nice golden orange colour, slight haze, solid finger of light bubbly head, sticky draping lacing and some nice visible carbonation on the body.

S - Scent is fruity with orange citrus hops dominating the nose, complemented by some sweet caramel apple malts.

T - Wonderful flavour on this one. The fruity citrus hops again dominate, but aren't overly bitter. The sweet caramel, though subtle, also comes through nicely. The finish is woody with cedar and pine lingering.

M - Consistent with the style the finish is a little dry, but is not offensive. Nice medium bodied ale, with light carbonation that finishes nice and smooth.

D - This one really surprised me. I've seen it several times before, but never picked it up. It is now definitely a part of my arsenal for hoppy session beers. A great brew from Pumphouse and highly recommended to any hop fan.

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Photo of bobsy
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Good lucid orange pour with a finger of white head. Decent retention and lace. Citrus aroma with a caramel base, and hints of a floral hopping. Certainly enticing. Excellently balanced flavours with the malts manifested in caramel and berries, while the hops bring a good dose of bitterness in the form of orange, pine and flowers. Quite light bodied, but refreshing and not watery in the least. This is a great rendition of a bitter, and that's coming from an Englishman. The hopping is a touch higher than you'd find in the UK, but certainly short of your typical IPA. The most impressive part of this beer though is its excellent balance. Nice stuff!

Cheers to moniker for the bottle.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 341 ml brown bottle, came in a 6 pack. Pours out a chill-hazed copper hue with a tall white frothy head with impressive retention.

Dry toasty malt on the nose, light esters, some caramel appears, light grassy and spicy hops.

Mild toffee up front in the flavour, light orange esters in the middle, dry spicy hop finish, clean aftertaste. Actually gets a bit sweet in the aftertaste as it lingers, a dry sweetness.

Medium-full mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, dry.

A decent Bitter, it holds its own, yet is nothing overly memorable either. Still it makes for a good session ale.

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Photo of grub
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Viggo shared this one. thanks eric!

12oz bottle. sampled may 9/09.

pours crystal clear copper orange with a big fluffy off-white head. drops very slow with lots of chunky lace.

aroma is ok. big buttery and toffee nose. light alcohol. earthy and woody. bit of floral character. white bread.

taste is nice. just over medium bitterness level. lightly toasted multi-grain bread. bit of alcohol. buttery. bit of toffee. bit floral. earthy and woody again.

mouthfeel is good. just under medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is nice. well balanced. the buttery character really takes away from it and throws me off. pretty good otherwise.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear golden brown, creamy off white head retained well and laced up the glass
S - caramel, dank herbal and citrus hops, light spiciness
T - light caramel roasty malt, very tasty sherbal and spicy hop notes, and a lemon citrus finish
M - medium carbonation, somewhat light and pleasantly bitter with some citrus tartness
D - very impressed with this, more hoppy than I was expecting with a good malty balance, easy drinking and very tasty

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Photo of pootz
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bright amber with a sturdy 2 finger off-white cap which lasted well and laced the glass

Aromas were well pronounced: Pine and peach and some light sweetness.

Sturdy crystal malt spine, medium bodied, silky mouth feel.

Starts with some chewy malts which are quickly balaned off well with some citrus-pine hops and light fruit tones...finishes wet and lightly bitter with a pleasant biscuit after taste.

A well made ale with a malty-mild character, silky smooth feel and a brite but pleasant bittering...a great Canadian pub ale

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Photo of kjyost
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased and consumed at Luxelune in Winnipeg. Poured into a sleeve

Copper with a slight haze, pale head with little lacing. Soap on the nose (could it have been the damp glass?) morphs into a crisp fruity hop with a caramel and cracker malt notes. The body has a nice strong bitterness with a light sweetness thy cuts it. Light hop flavours of citrus and a hint of earth come through. Strong crisp carbonation and a bitterness lingers on the palate. Nice beer, worth having...

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Photo of Buebie
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this 12oz bottle in an in person trade with NASH.

Poured into a pub glass, producing a short lived 1'' off white cola like head.
Receding to leave a thick collar and sticky lace drapery.
Color on this is amber with some glowing golden hues when held to light.

Aroma is light with little output, smells faintly of caramel, fermented honey, cocoa nibs, Vienna malt and a touch of rye.

Taste is pretty nutty upfront with caramel malt sweetness. Aspirin kicking into full gear midway through and bitters dominating the finish, lingering long. As it warmed carmel sweetness and malt become a bit more prominant, balancing the bitters much more.
Metallic flavors and aspirin hop flavors are the dominant taste, which are a bit trying on my palette.
Overall a great bitter with some good attributes, but overall not my favorite.

Mouthfeel is thin and carbonation stays at bay, making this a smooth feeling beer.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.78/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Moniker for this one.

The beer color is copper and it is slightly veiled. The head is superb. Creamy looking and dense. Sticks quite well to the glass. I consider this to be the perfect look. The aroma is floral and slightly fruity. The aroma could be a little bit more intense to bring this beer to exceptional status. The taste however is perfect. Bitter, fruity with some caramel notes. Awesome. The body is medium. The drinkability is exceptional. Excellent beer.

Thanks a lot to Moniker. One of the best beer I tasted in 2009.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle- A deep and hazy orangey/brown with a huge froth of beige foam, leaves nice lace too. Nose of earthy malts, some caramel, fresh greens, intense hops. Flavour profile is hop-sided. Loads of fresh, green hops (I believe this has been dry hopped), earthy malts, some mild fruit, citric pith. This is just really all about the hops. Very astringent finish, dry and hop laden. I love it. Thanks for the bottle Darlene!

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Photo of Long813
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear copper body with two fingers of white fluffy head. Retention is decent, as is lacing.

S: Large notes of pine hops and some sweet caramel malts. Much more american then an English stylel.

T: Very hop forward with a nice mixture of fruits and sweet malts.

M: Light bodied with medium-high carbonation. The carbonation could be lower, but it's not off putting. The texure is frothy and leaves a nice bitter aftertase.

O: Love this beer, for the price and what you get, you just can't compete.

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Photo of berley31
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a fairly large-sized, off-white head that diminished to about a half-finger size for the duration of drinking. Body is mostly clear, with some slight hazing. Color is a dark-orange.

S: Very nice aroma of... bitterness. Well, what is expected, I guess. Quite strong compared to some others, but some nice background aromas that I unfortunately can't identify.

T: Average to long-lasting duration of bitters... starts off slightly sweet but ends with the bitterness and some light acidity.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy texture, with average carbonation.

D: Probably one of the Pump House's best, if not THE best. It would be easy, and very satistfying, to put back a few of these.

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Photo of souvenirs
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm hoping for lots of hops, but we'll see.

A: very cloudy honey brown, two fingers of lingering tan head, visible carbonation.
S: not a lot of hop presence, grainy malt
T: grainy malts, grassy bitterness, mainly in the aftertaste.
F: fairly low carbonation, no bite, slight lingering bitterness.
O: An okay beer that I wouldn't refuse, but I wouldn't choose it either. I'm not sure what's "west-coast style" about it.

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Photo of muttyd
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Yellow/bronze hazy body. Thick white head as it fills a 16 oz. pint glass. Big hoppy (almost pine-like) bitter aroma. Aroma is also of caramel/toffee malts. Flavor follows the nose. Rather bitter astringent finish. Very drinkable sessionable beer. Big thanks to Berley31 for this bottle!

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Photo of MMansfield
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Maxwell's Plum.

Appearance: Arrives a golden reddish colour, very much like a bucket of honey. Has a nice off white head that lasts and leaves plenty of lacing.

Aroma: Lots of malt, a tad bit of florals and citrus.

Taste: Quite hoppy, which definately does good for me. Also has a lot of prominent malt here. A very well balanced ale. Medium bitterness in the finish, very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Lots of body, a bit creamy, but still refreshing. Drinkability is very high.

Final Statement: Such a good compliment to my fish & chips that I had another. Definately a winner for quaffing sessions. So far it is my favourite Pump House and would love to get it for take home.

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

My first pump house and it's a good one at that. These BIF things are great and many thanks to cjbmcdon for the beer.

Pours a very nice bronze coppery color. Really attractive colour and stands out. Two fingers of head drop to a thin ring of foam with lacing down the glass.

The smell is mostly of piney hops and peach. It's also quite good. I don't think I've noticed peach on other beers but this one (as another reviewer noted) has definitely got them.

Taste is all hops initially. After they have subsided some light fruit from the yeast and malted sweetness makes it's way through - but then a long drawn out bitternesscomes back into play. It's good and very refreshing, but lacking a little in balance. That said it's definitely interesting and keeps you entertained.

Mouthfeel is good if not a little over-carbonated but this doesn't really affect drinkability. As mentioned earlier it's very refreshing and such an active beer I can see these going down really well back to back. A great beer overall.

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Photo of nighthawk
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance was a fairly clear honey-gold, with one finger of white foamy head with good retention and left plenty of lacing.

Notable pine hop aroma, with background of biscuit.

Taste is spearheaded by hops; citrus quickly tends toward pine bitterness. Slightly honey and caramel-sweet biscuit forms the malty backbone. Hops come out on top, but there's a pretty good balance going on.

Mouthfeel is nice and crisp, nice bit of carbonation, fairly light in the mouth; but not watery.

This is a great quaffer on-tap, it's quickly becoming my regular at Maxwell Plum's.

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Photo of Garin
4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours pale and brassy, with some coppery hues. Through the glass, it's cloudy. On top is a puffy white head that sinks in rapidly.

Lots of floral hops on the nose, with biscuity malt hiding in behind.

The flavour is interesting. Is there a mixture of english and C* hops in here? The overtones are english, but I get this little kick of grapefruity resinousness in the finish. Fascinating. It's also a touch more hoppy than your bog-standard to-style bitter, but I'm quite ok with that. I'd call this one a Pacific-Northwest bitter, in the best way possible. It is to traditional bitters what the American IPA is to traditional IPA.

Light carbonation and a silky smooth but low-key body make this an excellent session beer.

Beautifully done Pump House! I'll be back for many more.

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SOB (Special Old Bitter) from Pump House Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.