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Adnams Bitter - Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery

Not Rated.
Adnams BitterAdnams Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

42 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 42
Hads: 58
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 10.87%
Wants: 10
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: wl0307 on 05-28-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 58
Photo of Overlord
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Every bitter I have seems to be radically different from the last. This one poured a strange cloudy brown with no head. Never would have guessed it was a bitter.

Smelled like overripe plums and malt ... taste was mostly sweet, maybe some earthy hops in there, but mostly sickly caramel malt and overripe fruit.

Too thin, just pretty bad, overall.

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Photo of rjimlad
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Promising start when it poured a hazy caramel with a thin head and some fine lacing. Not much aroma except for some hop resin and slight citrus.
Flavour is citrus and hop, loads of grapefruit bitterness. Quite boozy and drinkability is compromised by this. Some grassiness and subdued breadiness. I was a little disturbed by a slight soapy taste that bothered e when I identified it. I think this is a pretty average bitter.

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Photo of StJamesGate
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On cask at the Tin Goose, Heathrow airport.

Pours ruddy brown with a thin clingy white head. Musty, toilety, barrel nose. Sour cracked grain and cranberry malts with a malt vinegar sting, then tobacco leaf, tea and woody hops. Medium, slight chew, dry finish.

Sour, skunky, and musty - is this what a bad pint tastes like?
I'm not a huge fan of Adnams, but their reputation means their bitter must be better than this, and I wouldn't trust an airport bar to care much about conditioning.

10-28-2009 17:11:43; On cask at The Crown, Victoria Park, London.

Pours orange with great white lacing. Faint nose. Woody malts and orange coriander hops. Dry tight finish with medium body.

A properly bitter pint of bitter and with the low ABV, a very sessionable ale.

look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In bottle, 28/5/13 - Raspberry nose, more red berry up front with woody hops and some chew. A very fruity bitter. Makes Fuggles palatable, though past date. I'll taste this fresh some day...

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap in the White Horse pub in Chelmsford. Served in an adnams pint glass on an adnams coaster, overall a very adnams atmosphere here!

Not an amazing bitter, it's very dry and not a great example of the style to be honest. Too much hops leaving it quite unbalanced for my taste.

A very 'meh' drink overall. I would order it again if there were no other ales but I would always choose somthing like Doom Bar over this.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: goldy-copper, good clarity, thick layer of spongey off-white foam, good head retention

Aroma: malt, hint of rust, herbally hops, bit o' diacetyl

Flavor: dry malt backbone with an enveloping green hop flavor; vegetal bitterness and a hint of lime peel; finishes dry with a lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium body, pert carbonation, crisp, slight astringency

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Photo of nick76
3.16/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma is simple toasted malt and grassy hops. The appearance is deep amber with a medium foamy tan head. The flavor is hops, toasted malt and nuts and some toffee. The palate is fitting for a bitter. The aftertaste has an astringent bitterness that reminds me of soap, otherwise its not too bad.

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Photo of Wattsox
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle, consumed December 2010, BBE September 2011.

A - Copper colour, small head which dissipates fairly quickly, leaving light covering and lacing.

S - Pleasant floral hop aroma, some light malts.

T - Fairly hoppy taste, bit of malt; nice mild bitter.

M - Perhaps a little much carbonation, otherwise quite light.

D - Quite a drinkable standard mild English bitter.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Jan 2012, so it's just out of date. ABV is stated as 4.5%.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A rich coppery-amber colour with good carbonation. Forms a small head of white foam that disappears rapidly. A subtle aroma of sweet, fruity caramel malt with hints of yeast and stewed hops. A faint buttery note in the background.

Tastes of caramel malt with a dry bitter finish. Notes of toffee, faint hints of aromatic citrus and a vague yeasty fruitiness. A mild stewed-hop bitterness upon swallowing. Hints of alcohol/solvent in the background. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and a little slick. Good body. Somewhat astringent. Aftertaste of fruity caramel malt.

Not bad; a decent bitter (as the label says, a classic). Slightly sweet, with subtle flavours that blend well. But it's a bit boring - if something more exciting was on offer then I'd probably pass this over.

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Photo of corby112
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from cask in restaurant/pub in London.

Pours a dark amber orange with thick foam white head. Nice delicate hop aroma balanced by a slightly malty bacbone. Very smooth and refreshing ale with floral and citrus hops making it quite crisp. Nicely balanced with a slight dry finish.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber approaching copper with a small head.
Nose shows light caramel, floral and peach notes, quite sweet. Diacetyl is definitely noticeable, making it seem fuller and richer.
Loads more toffee and caramel as flavours with faint reminders of the fruity aromas along with resinous hops. Finishes with a rather dull metallic bitterness.
Nice low carbonation.
This would have been quite good if not for the dodgy finish.

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Photo of gnoff
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can from Swedish "Systembolaget".
Tried it on April 28, 2006.
"Label" said:
Adnams The Bitter Classic Beer
Mine had 4.5% ABV

Beautiful reddish-brown color with a big beige head.
Faint sweet, a bit hoppy, scent.
Thick mouthfeel, at the same time a bit watery taste.
Medium bitterness.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 1pt 9 oz on 07/06/2005.

Poured cloudy dark amber color with medium white head that diminished slowly with fair lacing. Medium hoppy aroma. Medium body. Well balanced flavor with a medium bitter finish of moderate duration.

Good drinkable brew.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Adnams; don't know about the name but these guys (or girls) know how to make a decent drop (The Broadside being the other brew of theirs I've tried). Let's get straight to business as I'm a big English bitters fan and my beer is tantalising me with it's English bitter ways.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a conical pint.

A: It's got a great brown ale look and feel to it. A rusty dirt coloured body with a very tasty creamy looking half centimeter head that beckons to the tasty creamy looking head lover in me... wait a sec, "head lover" sounds wrong... ahhh f**k it, I do love good head!

S: You've got toasted biscuit and toffee malts with an odd (almost minty?) character... maybe it's the hops? Let's find out head lovers!

T: This brew is malt central. We've definitely met our quota of malt here; toasted biscuit, caramel, toffee, we've got you covered. The classic bitter back note is easier on the taste buds than what we typically find in modern APA's and IPA's, but hey that's just how they did it in those days. It's a good, decent English bitter we have on our hands, something you would find in ye olde pub in Sussex or Kent.

M: Decent and ale-like in the mouthfeel; light carbonation with a medium body. Easy on the palate.

D: It's down to the dirty now - how does this compare with the other English bitters I've tried? Well it's not quite as tasty as the Pride of Oxford, however it does take the Hepworth & Co "Sussex" bitters to the cleaners. Bear in mind though that Pride of Oxford isn't indicative of the style and if I was choosing a "typical" English bitters out for a friend who wanted to know what an English bitters is then Adnams would be the pick. Two words: English bitter.

Food match: I would match this with a pie or Cornish pastie, some mash potatoes with gravy (or tomato sauce) and peas. A classic English meal for a classic English bitters.

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

Thick very creamy quarter inch heavy white head. Amber brown body. Dark fruit smell. On the tongue this is dominated by a bushel of apples with a dark musty dank cellar quality with an element of sourness before there is a lengthy lingering bitter quality. Somewhat dilute, this is not as well balanced nor with as much definition as I would expect as its parts just don't create a very good clean whole.
Still decent enough but it ain't Adnams's Extra is it?

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Photo of Mjoepp
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear and deep amber/copper. Little white foam, medium bubbles, dissapears quickly.

S: Fruity, sweets. Little skunk feeling to it.

T: Apricots, sweets. Aftertaste is bitter caramells and metal.

Overall: More than avrage bitter, but not really a favorite.

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Photo of jwc215
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-cask in London:

Pours copper with a foamy white head. Foamy lacing sticks.

The smell is musty-ish, a bit leafy, with caramel.

The taste is of strong caramel with a leafy, tea-like, slightly aspiriny bitterish finish.

The feel is light-bodied/thin. Approaches watery.

Something almost clashes here, but ends up with a refreshing quality. Caramelly with an herbal dryness. It does have a certain drinkable smoothness to it.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle poured into a glass.

Brownish amber, but transparent. Lots of head, especially for a bitter, with plenty of lacing.

Smells nice. Floral hops and malt mixture.

Taste is nice and crisp with a slight spicy bite to it--especially early in the glass--it fades as the beer warms and you move down the glass.

Very nice mouthfeel--heavy carbonation for the bitter. I like it.

Would definitely drink again.

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Photo of JanM
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not sure if I should use bitters on tap as a reference in rating this beer. I think bitters need to be carbonated but not overly carbonated like the can version I had. It kind of puts it in another style (or sub-style) so to speak. In any case, Adnams Bitter filled my glass with an inviting chestnut colored brew, lots of bubbles and some good foam. Straight out of the can it produced a smell of hops and metal. After a while it became floral too. The first taste was of sweet caramel and bitterness (ta-dam!). This was followed by a hint of licorice and dryness. Refreshing, I'm happy with it.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very pleasant burnished bronze colour, with flashes of red through it. Head is fine and filmy, and leaves beautiful patterns of lacing down the inside of the glass.

Pleasant English hop fragrance on the nose, giving some resin and wood flavours, with a darker lilt of tobacco leaf. A bit of caramel maltiness as well, that balances it. Pretty nice.

Very smooth on the palate, with some burgeoning grain sweetness through the front, before a welcome addition of bittering hops cleanses the back, and gives a much needed balance. Slight hint of marzipan on the very back. Feel is very pleasantly smooth, with just a leavened hint of carbonation.

A very drinkable brew, and a mild but pleasant English bitter. Not a very robust one, but it's nice enough.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the biggest beer store in the UK, Beers of Europe Ltd. Clear amber-copper pour with quickly fading two finger head and nice lacing. Pretty typical English Bitter nose with lots of biscuity malt, subdued fruity herbal hops, and a strong aroma of tea and rye bread. The taste follows suit with fruity, herbal tea, and bitter hops up front, balanced nicely by solid bready, nutty, caramel malt with hints of vanilla, rye bread and a touch of metal. Smooth bitter finish and the low ABV make this pretty drinkable. I've heard a lot about Adnams and they're a solid brewery, but still nothing that really jumps out to me.

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Photo of Finite
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnished bronze and rub red in colour, medium head with reasonable lacing, cloudy with fine carbonation.

Sweet cola-like smell with hints of toffee and brown sugar.

Smooth buttery toffee and caramel malts, some burnt malt showing in the background. A mild floral hop bitterness is faintly in the background.

Soft, low carbonation, smooth, medium body mouthfeel.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasty bitter from Adnams. Nice, orangey-copper colour with very thin head. Thick, malty yeasty smell and traces of citrus from the hops.

A little bit hoppy on the flavour, but there is a nice malt character and definite bread-y notes to it. Well balanced and rich - a decent bitter.

The carbonation could be toned down a bit, but this is definitely a nice session beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Gouden Carolus goblet in low altitude Galway, Ireland. My bottle clearly shows 4.5% ABV, NOT 3.7% ABV as in the description.

A: Pours an amber-copper with a one finger head of poor retention but decent cream and thickness. Appealing.

Sm: Caramel, hops, barley. Lots of caramel, in other words.

T: Slick open to caramel and hoppy barley. Maybe a bit of chocolate but it could be overflow from the caramel. Ironically, it's far from bitter. The balance favours the latter half. Well built but longing.

Mf: A bit too wet and surprisingly smooth for a bitter. The smoothness does complement the taste, however.

Dr: Low abv, good taste. An excellent session beer.

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Photo of Hammarby
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber with a foamy white head twith some lacing.
S: Fruit, iron,butter, dried apricots.
T: Bitterness, fresh bread and a hint of iron. Aftertaste of light fudge and dill crisps. I can't explain the dill crisps, but it's there.
M: Medium body, kind of low carboration.
D: Good. No problem drinking this one whatsoever. Then again bitter is one of my favorite styles.

This is just the way a bitter should taste and feel, to my opinion.

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Photo of david18
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Of all the english beers I had on my recent visit to London this was probably one of my favorites. Very bright light color, good carbonation, refreshing (especially for an english draft ale) and quite a nice thing in the afternoon. Perhaps it was partially the difference between draft and cask but I enjoyed this beer all week.

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Adnams Bitter from Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.