Adnams Innovation - Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery

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Adnams InnovationAdnams Innovation

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BA SCORE
84
good

59 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 59
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 1
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BlackHaddock on 11-12-2008

Originally brewed as a one off to celebrate the opening of our new brewhouse and our new distribution centre, it is now one of our permanent beer. The beer was created under the direction of our Chairman, Jonathan Adnams, whose instruction was to ‘Brew something to wow me’.

It came first in its class at the 2008 World beer awards and has also won a Gold medal at the 2008 BBI (British Bottlers Institute) awards.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 | Reviews: 26
Reviews by BitterLover:
Photo of BitterLover
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought this 500ml bottle of Adnams Innovation on a business trip to the UK back in April 2008. At the time, I didn't realize that it was a limited release -- I've just always liked Adnams products and hadn't tried this one. It's been waiting patiently at the back of my fridge 'til now (and I notice now that it's two months out of date -- shame on me).

I have to mention the beauty and subtlety of the bottle label. It's a black label embossed with these words:

"A VERY DISTINCTIVE
LIMITED EDITION BEER
BREWED TO CELEBRATE
ACHIEVEMENT IN BLENDING
STATE OF THE ART
TECHNOLOGY AND
CRAFTSMANSHIP
AN INNOVATION IN
ENGLISH BEER BREWING
PAST PRESENT FUTURE"

The word "INNOVATION" is printed in gold, with all the other words just embossed (i.e. no ink). It's a very striking label.

I poured the beer into a proper English pub glass. With the one finger head, the pour filled the entire glass. It's lighter in color than I had expected -- darker than straw but not quite amber. The head didn't last long, and there was no lacing.

The beer has a wonderful floral aroma with honey or honeysuckle notes. I can tell that it's going to be hoppy.

Wow, the taste is really nice. I like bitter beers, and this one delivers. It's malty up front, but soon delivers a hop wallop with a lingering bitter finish. The fact that it's out of date doesn't appear to have hurt it at all. I could drink these all day.

What a shame this one is a limited edition. I actually feel a bit privileged that I happened upon this one. At this point, this will probably be the last review of this beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Sept 2015. Picked up recently from a supermarket. The label mentions that this is part of Adnams' 'craft range', presumably to differentiate them from their more traditional line-up.

A: Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear golden-amber hue with medium carbonation. Forms a small head of white foam that disappears after a minute or two.

S: Aroma of fruity hops with hints of melon, white grape, citrus, grass/hay, fruity ale yeast, mild caramel malt and faint stewed hops. A twinge of booze in the background.

T: Tastes of fruity, spicy hops with a lingering bitter finish. Notes of grapefruit, peel, citrus, mild melon, subtle white grape, grass/hay, a touch of pepper, ale yeast, delicate caramel and stewed hops. Well-attenuated, with a hint of alcohol in the background. A spicy hop-driven bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation and decent body. Could be a bit more lively. Slightly astringent, followed by an aftertaste of fruity hops, subtle leafy bitterness and vague yeast.

O: A rather nice little IPA - it hovers somewhere between English and American in character. Looks OKish, but the aroma and flavour are lovely with plenty of hop notes in evidence. Body is alright. Shame it isn't bottle conditioned, but goes down a treat all the same. A solid effort from Adnams and well worth sampling if you come across it.

Photo of biboergosum
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, with one very hard to discern front label, and one poor grammar-stricken back label.

This beer pours a hazy medium golden straw colour, with two fingers of puffy, foamy, bubbly off-white head, which leaves a decent array of grotto-esque lace around the glass as it lazily melts away.

It smells of mildly bitter floral, perfumed hops, some muddled citrus pith, understated pale malts, a soft, but persistent mineral character, and a further leafy earthiness. The taste is more prominent bready, doughy pale malt, a moderate, indeterminate citrus fleshiness, a somewhat boozy floral perfume hoppiness, and some soft, drying earthy leafiness.

The bubbles are average, and damned good at it, the body an adequate medium weight, and tacitly smooth, the hops crashing the party in a more or less weak manner. It finishes off-dry, with a softened innocuous grainy maltiness, which has to deal with an emboldened, astringently metallic, floral bitterness, combined yet with a lingering minerality.

One weird-ass American IPA, this. Sure, there's some usual suspect hops in the mix here, but they come to have little bearing on the overall perception, which is one of tea cozies and floral liqueur, at least to this camper.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber with a small head.
Nose shows resinous, earthy and herbal hops, with a vague fruity character (grapes?). Also quite a lot of doughy wheat shows through. Very different, almost seems like a hoppy weizen.
Flavours are a little rough, an unchallenged metallic bitterness is the main feature throughout, although there is a little wheat and herbal hops underneath.
Body is quite watery.

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown 500ml bottle packaged in a cardboard box made mostly from 100% post-consummer recycled waste. The tag on the neck of the bottle said 'Bottle No 7576'.

My daughter brought me this bottle, in the summer, should have been drank before the end of October, so it is almost two weeks out of date!

Poured into a pint sleeve glass (chilled as requested on the package).

Golden cum tangarine orange colour with a very slight haze through the body. A very small off-white head soon disappeared into a scummy wisp, pity.

Picked up a hoppy aroma straight away, it also dominates the taste (hops that is).

The ingrediants are listed as: Malted Barley, Malted Wheat, Boadicea, Styrian Goldings and Colombus Hops, Water and yeast.

It does have a light feel considering its 6.7% ABV, that must be the wheat content I suppose. Fairly high in the carbonisation stakes, but not fizzy, just a little lively for a UK bottled ale.

The 6.7% is well hidden although it does appear in the aftertaste as the mouth drys a little.

I can't understand why this beer had such a short storage life. No one else is ever going to review it, what a great shame.

Photo of eric5bellies
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Bombardier conic pint glass.

A - Pours a slightly hazy honey colour, with a nice two fingered white head that reduces to a thick film.

S - Really nice hoppy flavours and citrus aromas.

T - Slight apple at first and heads into a nice hoppyness with the piney notes that takes over and then slides into a maltiness.

M - Medium body and light top medium carbonation.

D - Well this will suprise you without doubt and its well worth a try.

Photo of FreshHawk
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Golden orange color with a decent sized, foamy off-white head. Recedes fairly quickly. Very limited lacing left over.

S - Both malt and hop scents are full and jumping out of the glass. Good amount of citrus hops. Decent amount of caramel and apple. Candied fruit kind of smell.

T - Nice balanced caramel malt and apple taste. Also a little honey. Faint hops (probably due to age). They provide a bit of citrus and pine/floral flavors. Had a caramel apple and autumn taste. Really well balanced as a whole between the caramel malt the fruitiness and the slight citrus. The caramel/apple dominate but the slight hop flavors come in at the end, usually on the back of the palate.

M - Medium body with adequate carbonation. Quite smooth and somewhat drying.

D - Superb aside from the ABV. It is very well balanced and goes down smooth. The problem is that it has more of a taste of a session lower ABV beer but the ABV is a bit too high to be that kind of beer.

Notes: Ok so apparently my review may be slightly skewed in that it is an older bottle (reviewed in Feb. 2010), but the best buy on the neck says 06 Feb. 11, however other reviews say their best by was in 08, so take this for what it is worth. Would have loved to try this fresh as it is still good with a bit of age (albeit probably not what the brewer intended). Really good and balanced beer, but the ABV is a little high to be a session beer (although the alcohol taste is not present). All that said, like one of the reviewers before me said, this is quite possibly the last review of this beer. That is quite a shame. It was a good beer from a good brewery. If there are any odd bottles left over or they brew it again pick it up (although the odd bottles may be going bad sometime soon?).

Photo of beerdrifter
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the biggest beer store in the UK, Beers of Europe Ltd. Clear amber pour with a tinge of yellow. Two finger head with decent retention and nice lacing. The nose is disappointing. Very subdued and grassy, more like a Belgian IPA with just a hint of hops. Lots of tart, almost sour apple in the taste along with a yeasty grassiness also reminiscent of a Belgian IPA rather than an English or American IPA. Very herbal and fruity with hints of pine and tea with a caramel sweetness that doesn't quite overcome the tangy, bitter hop bite. Very dry, crisp, slightly fizzy finish. If this had been a blind tasting, I would have bet the house that this was a Belgian IPA. Not a bad beer, but it's definitely not what I was expecting.

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

It's good but not great, big hops not huge, no solid malty backbone

Photo of rarbring
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is slightly hazy amber, an off-white head that leaves little lacing.

The smell is weak but pleasant, apples, nuts and some old grass.

Medium sweet, toffee, brown bread, some fruit acidity, ripe apples, nuts and a good grassy bitterness.

Medium low carbonation, small soft bubbles, smooth and refreshing, a good dry finish.

A nice well balanced beer, that actually more reminds me of an English IPA or ESB. But that is not a bad thing.

Photo of DanAM
2.53/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Fine. Seems like a misguided attempt for a british company to produce an american style ipa. Overall not a terrible beer, but it basically tasted to me like an unbalanced beer that shot to be a bit bitter without more more complexity. I didnt hate it but was it worth bring back to the USA in my suitcase? No.

Photo of kojevergas
2.39/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle acquired at Abbott's Alehouse off-license in Cork, Ireland and poured into a Grolsch pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

A: Three finger head of little cream, nice thickness, and fair retention. Clear gold-light copper colour.

Sm: Light caramel and malt. Bleh.

T: Bittering hops clash with poorly handled malt in the body. The alcohol comes through far more than it should, a very unpleasant effect. This beer tries to be complex but ends up unbalanced and off-kilter. Poorly built for the style. Where are the bittering hops on the climax?

Mf: Smooth but coarse where it needs to be. Wet. The mouthfeel does match the flavour, which isn't a good thing in this case.

Dr: Expensive and pretty crap. Avoid. It is refreshing for the ABV, but the only thing this beer innovates is a new bad taste.

Photo of bark
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The colour is pale amber; the liquid is clear. The low off-white head sinks slowly, leaving some lacing.

The smell is dry and hoppy. Grass and hay. Some yeast and minerals. Hints of canned fruits and melon.

The taste is very malty in an English way. Canned exotic fruits and some matured cheese. Hints of wax and stearine. Full bodied. Fruity aftertaste with a growing elegant bitterness and ripe apples.

The carbonation is medium strong, the bubbles small. The liquid is smooth.

A fine and hoppy strong English ale. Do I recognize those fruity flavours from other Adnams beers?

Photo of StJamesGate
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours glowing orange-tinged gold with a fast-fading creamy white head. Musty, oily, spiced orange nose of English hops with some caramel. Batch loaf malts with some papaya hints and barley sweets, then aggressive Ricola, gingerbread and sandalwood hops with hints of nectar, starfruit and Noble spice. Sweet comeback and a spicy, overripe pear (or white grape skin, as another review said) linger. Medium, chewy, slight burn.

Definitely an English IPA.

Interesting! Hops come on strong but not at all American (in spite of the Columbus). Great interplay of spice and sweeter undertones. Doesn't clear easily, though, so pair with something fatty.

Also bottled as Marks and Spencer Southwold Winter IPA

Photo of wordemupg
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip 1/2/13

A golden orange with a slight haze, lots of slow tiny bubbles feeding a tight long lasting cream colored foam that ends up as a thin film leaving plenty of random lace on the way down

S smells like marmalade and caramel, there's some herbal notes, bubblegum, wet grass and hay with some orange creamsicle, some sugar coated cereal in there to

T a little citrus but the hops aren't all that strong, malty caramels and sweet grains, defiantly not an American IPA like its listed but decent nonetheless

M full for the color and the little bubbles cream it up a little, slight bitter bite and the booze is well hidden, earthy herbal finish

O more of a strong ESB then an IPA, I think its a little faded even with a BB date over a year from now would make this one nearly a year old I'm guessing

it was worth a try but I doubt I'd buy it again, maybe a freshness issue? perhaps a two year BB date? either way its a little basic

Photo of AgentMunky
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Best before 24 September 2011.

A: Small strings of bubbles drift upwards through an unassuming body. Little head on top of a clear, lustreless golden-hued beer.

S: Very lovely. Hops and citrus. Bready maltiness. Floral honeysuckle. Wow.

T: Hm. Strange, but tasty. An appley fruitiness draws unexpected first blood, before being blown away by piney hops. These, in turn, are backstabbed by a light honey which is then smothered by malt. After the dust settles, the aftertaste is inconclusive -- a collection of casualties from all camps of flavour. Some bitter-dry hops, some honey-wet malt. Although all the flavours are enjoyable, they don't quite balance, and none is dominant enough to characterise the taste. Odd, good, and with room for improvement.

M: Substantial, chewy, and biscuity. Nice.

D: Well, you definitely won't be bored. After half a glass, I'm still not sure what to conclude. No problem drinking it, and it doesn't show its strength. A confusing conglomeration of flavours, but one I would be open to revisiting. Recommended.

Notes: The black-on-black label reads, "A very distinctive limited edition beer brewed to celebrate achievement in blending state of the art technology and craftsmanship. An INNOVATION in English beer brewing past, present, and future."

Photo of NightINgale
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a British pint glass...

A - Pours a clear golden, orangish body, with a frothy beige head. Some lacing and decent head retention. The beer does look like an American IPA, but the appearance is not super impressive.

S - This beer has a very floral, almost flowery aroma, with hints of citrus and tropical fruit, as well as some honey and caramel.

T - Starts out with a pretty solid hop bite, with a little spiciness to it. Fairly sweet, with hints of honey and toffee. I was getting loads of fruit notes (pineapple, apples, mangoes, some citrus). The after-taste has some moderate bitterness and a biscuity undertone to it. Not very bready.

M - The mouthfeel is very smooth. Medium-bodied, low in carbonation, and very soft on the palate, with just a little bit of a pepper-like spiciness (which only complements the general feel of it all).

D - Drinks well, but I wouldn't call this beer sessionable nor quaffable. At a fairly high ABV, it goes down very easily, but you will start to feel it in your body, nevertheless.

Photo of ADZA
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark golden colour with decent carbonation that leaves a two finger head with nice lacing,the aroma is very sweet indeed almost like sweet floral honey mixed with a tinge of fruity hops,it has a nice weighty mouthfeel with a big hit of honey coated hops first up on the palette followed by a gentle smoothness of pale malts and finishes with a little touch of bitterness,i have tried a few of Adnams brews and this is by far their best.

Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from Bières & Chopes, and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : golden color, with white foamy head.
Smell : fruity and grassy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : fruity and slight yeasty. with a nice bitter and hoppy finish.
Overall : a nice beer in the style IPA.

Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The third of my four beers purchased from the Adnams shop in Southwold, though I also tried some during the tasting session with the brewery tour guide.

A very refreshing IPA, strong scent of hops too, which goes with the hoppy taste expected of an IPA. A quite citrus-y touch too.

Refreshing, and excellent in the summer though not my favourite style.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

strange brew here, paler in color for the style, looks and smells a bit like some funky yeast too, maybe age is a factor here, but to me its as much a hoppy wheat as it is an american ipa. very english in the grain bill, some stale sweetness and some copper hints, while the hops are more bittering than flavoring. the carbonation is excellent though, and the lighter medium body and creamy texture make it really nice going down. its not the most flavorful brew ive come across, but its got a curious yeast complexion that is both bready and slightly saison-esque. hops finish quick, and the alcohol shows through just a touch in the finish. a strange brew that doesnt really fit neatly into any category. some of these english craft operations are starting to do some pretty unique stuff, and while this one isnt all the way successful, its a cool bridge of styles, and quite refreshing.

Photo of dcmchew
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden pour, one finger white head, fast to a very thin somewhat sticky lacing.
Smell of sweet oranges, low caramel, spicy leafy hops and a tinge of flowers.
Bitter citrus start, jam-like with a mild caramel maltiness. Faint peach and dry petals. Earthy and dry leafy English hops, kinda muddled.
Medium body and carbonation, crisp finish, hoppy aftertaste.
Still an English IPA by my standards, decent but not very interesting in any way.

Photo of Dentist666
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is announced as Adnams' version of American IPA!
Pours golden orange beer with decent head, poor lacing. Quite good aroma of pine pitch, honey, herbal hop and malt. Full-bodied smooth beer. There is citrus, apple, honey and perfect hop in taste. Nice carbonation and crisp palate are guaranteed. Very attractive Strong Ale!

Photo of brendan13
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear mid-orange with a 3cm slightly off white head that hangs about for a fair while.
S - Grapefruit, touch of pine, some spice, marmalade touches. Hops galore for an EPA. Touch of sweet malt.
T - Really, much like the smell; grapefruit, touch of pine. Light sweet malt with a touch of biscuity malt.
M - Lighter side of medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Pleasent bitterness.
O - Totally not an EPA, more like an American IPA no doubt thanks to the Columbus.
A very tasty beer indeed. Some more 6.7% beers that have this much flavour yet go down so well -yes please!

Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the Waitrose supermarket in mid-2008, this ale comes with an engraved brown glass bottle and a nicely-presented thick cardboard-paper box, along with a tag showing its individual, identity number (No. 10053)! BB 10/2008, served 6 months past the expiry date - hope this is still drinkable...

A: pours a lightly dark amber hue, topped with a superbly tight and frothy off-white head almost like the texture of Crème Brulee; carbonation is pretty restrained, with occasional rocket-launches of tiny bubbles from the bottom.
S: the nose is full of sweet grapefruity and orangey-citric hops in interaction with creamy pale malts and other fragrant notes of Styrian Goldings hops (really this bit is impossible to miss, if one has tried and loved a full-aroma ale like Young's Special London Ale). A close sniff reveals notes of candy-ish sweetness (here, the nose is given a touch of estery Belgian Pale!), a touch of aromatic, ripe-peach-skins and lychee-shells, and some diacetyl even. Creamy, hoppy, aromatic - pretty much like a well-hopped IPA with an American twist (the lychee-ish aromatic hops, of course).
T: a mouthful of aromatic yet tannic hop juice is almost tangy-dry simultaneously from the beginning, underlined by quality pale malts with notes of "dirty-cloths" (I always use this term without any intent of offence!) typical for an English Pale Ale, plus all the trimmings exactly as identified on the nose. The aftertaste continues with the aromatic fruity flavour profile, but also added with a lengthy aroma of grapes akin to Muscat or Gewurztraminer (the slightly sweeter type of white grapes) in the finishing touch. Moderately bitter, slightly dry, and everlastingly chewy hoppy in the end.
M&D: this ale is so enjoyable, with a truly enjoyable hop profile, lightly dry and moderately bitter while it's also full of aroma and flavour. The carbonation comes at a moderate level, soothing but not totally soft like a cask-conditioned ale, while the body remains intact throughout the drink, providing some kind of a backbone to the palate. I personally find this a highly enjoyable ale, for how harmonious the overall taster is, and how beautifully the aroma is arrived at from the three hop types (Boadicea, Styrian Goldings, and Columbus). Alas, this is only a limited-edition ale and filtered. If the brewery could make it as readily available as, for example, Young's Special London Ale and conditioned in bottles, I am quite confident this could be another popular choice for real ale drinkers wandering in supermarkets.

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Adnams Innovation from Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.