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Adnams Southwold Bitter - Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery

Not Rated.
Adnams Southwold BitterAdnams Southwold Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

70 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 70
Hads: 151
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 22.68%
Wants: 2
Gots: 9 | 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: rastaman on 08-12-2002

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 151
Photo of T100Mark
3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 16.9 ounce Euro-bomber poured into Nonic/Imperial pint glass.

Appearance - A murky copper/brown color. Minimal head. Minimal stick age. Not the prettiest beer ever.

Smell - Sweet malt combined with a whiff of burnt toast. Mild flower/hop smell on the back-end.

Taste - Sweet malt. A bit of a Carmel flavor. Toasty. The hops offer a mild bitter finish.

Mouth - Moderate carbonation. A little oily. Nice enough.

Overall - This is an English bitter with a twist. The beer has all of the attributes of a good bitter/pale ale (smooth, balanced) but it also has a bit of a smoky flavor to it. Also, the look and color is a little different than a London Pride or a Old Crafty Hen. Not my favorite English ale but interesting all the same.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the bottle in a pint glass. This nice bitter pours a hazel brown with a beautiful off white head of foam that has great lacing, a thick ring, and thick layer of mixed sizes of bubbles. Nose of subtle fruit notes and sweet malts. Very light. Flavors pass the nose with nice sweet caramel notes and subtle fruit flavors of peaches. Light bitterness comes through on the back blending nicely with the sweet malt flavors. A solid bitter.


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Photo of scotorum
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 16.9 oz. bottle into an English nonick

a: Clear deep amber with an inch and a half thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Caramel malt with light fruit notes.

t: Follows the nose with more caramel and less fruit, although the latter reemerge a bit later. Sweet to dry finish.

m: Light to medium, slight watery notes but good carbonation tingle.

o: A good English Bitter, better than some we can get packaged in the US, although at $4.50 a pint a bit too pricey for my regular consumption.

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Photo of rjplumer
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Malt, caramel bread type of aroma. Medium brown body with a bit of an orange hue.. Light tan head about a half inch or so to start and settles relatively quick to a light film. Mild sweet fruit and malt taste with a touch of bitterness. Touch of apple like crispness. Has a full thick feel.

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Photo of FLima
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice copper color with a thick beige head with decent retention and leaving laces and a constant plate.
Aroma with notes of plums, English earthy hops, apple juice and caramels.
Likewise, bitter flavor with notes of English earthy and floral hops, herbal tea, unsweetened apple juice, some lemon, toffee, honey and plums. Just a bit tangy. Consistent dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Light to medium body with appropriate carbonation. Quite smooth.
Balanced and pleasant English Bitter with high drinkability. The warmer the better! After drinking the style often they grow on you. I hope I could get decent local offerings for the style for the right price.

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
3.44/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

No bottle date

Look - Pours a clear, light amber with a good frothy off-white head. Bubbles range from medium to very small. Average distribution, decent retention, excellent clinging.

Smell - Steely old world hop character with a background of cereal sweetness. Fruity and estery, with aromas of bananas and maybe a little apple.

Taste - Nice bitterness upfront with a subtle undertone of cereal malt flavors. Finishes slightly metallic, like the underside of a bottle cap. Bits of fruit, figs and dates. Bitterness lingers.

Feel - Light and refreshing. Has a cooling sensation like fresh water.

Overall - An enjoyable beer. Haven't had many English Bitters, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. Would have rated higher if not for the steely hop character.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled last night on 1/10/15. Comes in a 500ml (16.9 ounce bottle) that was in the discount bin for just $3.00 at the Hy-vee in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Pours a deep reddish-amber in color with a thin off-white head. A decent amount of lacing is seen when sipped that stuck to the sides of the glass. The aroma is for the most part English malts with a hint of fruit. The taste is the sweet malt right up front followed by a hint of fruit and finishes with a slight bitterness, which wasn't hoppy though. Actually very tasty as I have never had this type of brew. Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Overall, I liked this one and this style of brew.

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Photo of gutbucket2
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

5 litre cask from brewery shop containing live yeast. Poured amber, clear, with reasonably lasting head. aroma: sulphur and hop. taste: apple, sulphur, treacle. mouthfeel, light. overall: great character in this bitter.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.12/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this at the local pub last night with dinner. I have to say I love it when pubs pull out the specific glass for the beer they are pouring...in this case a tall 20 oz pint with "Adnams" molded into the glass at the bottom.
Poured a nice gold color with a 1 cm off-white head (pour was nice and slow so head was not as pronounced as it would have been with a more robust pour).
Not much nose...just a touch of English hops. I do wish the English bitters would give me a little more in this respect, but it was to style.
Good clean taste with nice malt/hops balance, although it was not particularly flavorful.
Clean mouthfeel...could have been a little more "juicy" in my opinion.
Overall, a very typical bitter. Nothing to get excited about, and probably not something I could pick out of a blind taste test against other similar bitters. However, a reasonably good beer.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 500mL bottle into a mug.

Appearance: medium orange-brown hue with a light haze and a light effervescence. Head is a thin layer of creamy tan foam. Not bad.

Smell: very sweet and malty with some fruity aroma to it. Not bad, but fruitier than I tend to like my bitters.

Taste: sweet malt with a little bit of toastiness; much of the fruitiness from the aroma is pared back. Hops are earthy in character and the bitterness is quite nice. I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good carbonation and a very nice creaminess.

Overall: this bitter got off to a slow start for me, but I find it growing on me. A nicely quaffable beverage.

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Photo of brureview
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Stone English pint glass.

The color is a light copper with a 2 finger head.

The aroma is malty, but there is a floral -fruit nose, and perhaps some vanilla.

Mildy carbonated.

The taste is malty, and light fruit.

Excellent finish- good, deep bitterness without being overdone,

An easy beer to drink. A classic English bitter.

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Photo of Foyle
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 2" puffy off white head recedes slowly with significant lacing. Copper color with minimal carbonation
Aroma: earthy hops, toasted bread
Mouthfeel: medium body, chewy, and somewhat sticky with a dry finish
Flavor: nice balance of caramel and toasted malt flavors with peppery and earthy hop presence Overall: an excellent session ale. I could drink these all day.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

500ml poured into a mug, with soup, cheese and crackers for a dreary Sunday lunch. I feel like a true Englishman.

Appearance - Nice dark amber-brownish color with light haze. A sticky and bubbly off-white head is a solid finger for most of the duration, eventually giving way to a partial cap. Leaves bits of lace.

Smell - Straight up lighter-end pale malts mostly. Light caramel/brown sugar sweetness, some light+dark fruits, black tea, bread. Just hints of herbal and grassy hops. Quite tame but pleasant with no off-flavors.

Taste - Toffee, vague light fruitiness, some raisin, biscuit, herbal and grassy hops. It's subtle by nature, that is a good thing here. Light pleasant flavors, nice malts for 4.1%, low sweetness+hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth, drinkable, and an impressive body for the ABV. Carbonation is on the lower end but right where it should be.

Overall - Certainly not the most exciting beer/style by today's standards, but it's something that I always appreciate and can really hit the spot given the occasion - like a half-liter with lunch for example.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: tan head, high on pour, settles down into a messy, sticky 1/4" cap... copper liquid with a slight haze (this after letting the bottle sit out for 20+ min before opening)... good bit of messy lacing

S: fruity caramel and a definite presence of earthy, grassy hops... bright, round fruitiness (though not terribly distinct), a vague note of air-crusted-over dough, and a light hint of smoky wood... the esters and hops are fairly potent

T: overall typical taste for a dark bitter, but with slight emphasis on dark, toasted caramel, though without being sweet... healthy bitter hop bite right from the get-go, lingering in the finish, taking on resiny and lemon zest flavors - excellent, strong yet quiet.... bit of a tea-like, stewed apple, and toasty whole-wheat bread crust aftertaste... the sum of each subtle flavor grows on you - moreish...

M: super round and smooth with just enough of a toasty dryness to balance

O: requisite pale ale flavors with a solid, satisfying hop bitterness.... a tasty beer and I'd like another.... doesn't quite match the magnificence of draft Broadside, but I'll take it

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Photo of bark
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The colour is brass-amber, the liquid is clear. The tree finger head is off-white and compact. It sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is fresh with bitter and sweet notes. Smooth apricots, grassy-floral hops and distinct bitterness with some minerals. Caramel and butterscotch in the background.

The taste is bitter with semi-sweet notes of apricots and lots of caramel. Hints of yeast, salt and rye bread. Ripe fruits and dried flowers in the background. Medium body. The aftertaste is even more fruity with some dark bread and floral hops. The finish is fresh and bitter with some minerals.

The carbonation is medium strong, the mid-sized bubbles short-lived. The liquid is semi-smooth.

Lots of flavours for a 4.1 % beer, and good balance, too.

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Photo of spointon
4.21/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this one on cask at the Seven Stars pub in London. Poured into an Adnams pint glass.

A= This ale poured a bright/clear gold color with a nice thick white head. The head dropped quickly but left a lot of lacing down my glass.

S= Beautiful aroma profile of pale malt, hints of sweetness, and candylike English hops. Smelled super fresh.

T= Started off with a nice pale malt backbone, moved quickly through a brief sweetness with a slight kiss of caramel/treacle, and then finished long and hoppy. Seemed like East Kent Goldings hop character.

MF= Just right for a cask bitter. Full mouthfeel for the style which was aided by the low/cask carbonation. No astringency.

D= Off the charts drinkable. One of the best pints I had in London.

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Photo of tronester
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy copper with a thin tan head. Smells of brown sugar and toasted grain. Taste begins with some big tea leaf flavor, then some rye bread, and finishes with some leafy, floral hops. Mouthfeel is great. Overall an excellent bitter. Plenty of flavor but not alcohol.

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Photo of rtrasr
4.94/5  rDev +35%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this bitter at the Plough in London near the British Museum. Pours a beautiful cooper color with nice white head. Some lacing in the glass. It smelled warm and toasty. It tasted so easy. Perfect for a cool fall day. It went down so easy. The perfect session beer. Tasted of a nice glass of milk. I drank 3 pints, no problems. Has to be one of the best bitters out there.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of April 2013. Picked up some time back from a supermarket. The figure depicted on the label is 'Southwold Jack', a local icon and an emblem of the brewery.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep orange-amber colour with medium carbonation. Forms a decent head of frothy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or two before collapsing to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of caramel malt with fruity yeast esters, stewed hops, faint grass/hay and a hint of sweetness.

Tastes of caramel malt with a dry finish. Notes of caramel, fruity yeast esters, stewed hops, mild grass/hay and a dry earthiness. A subtle bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with light carbonation and good body. Slightly astringent, with an aftertaste of dry stewed hops and fruitiness.

A decent bitter, if a tad unexciting. Would be nice if the hop aroma was more prominent, but overall this is balanced and well-crafted. A easy-going ale that would be perfect for sessioning. Worth sampling if you see it.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: 16.9 oz bottle. Pours a rich, clear deep copper. Off white silky head leaving layers of lace.

SMELL: Toffee and sweet dough initially, a bit sweet smelling and candy like. Brown sugar and molasses.

TASTE: Well balanced with caramel, butterscotch and a noble, grassy pine like hop. The dough apparent in the nose carries through with the taste. Very lightly bitter, this is a nice English ale.

FEEL: Medium bodied, smooth, creamy and delicately carbonated. A more than quaffable session beer.

OVERALL: Bottle claims the Adnams brewery of the year in 2011. With offerings like this, you can see how they've earned that distinction.

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Photo of rangerred
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with a slight chill haze. Just a small half finger head than doesn't last for long with a few streaks of lacing on the glass.

Aroma has dark fruits typical of English bitters along with toffee/caramel and some burnt toast. Pretty average.

The flavor continues the English fig, prune, toffee characteristics but I like that there is an additional bready/grain flavor. Everything is just a tad bit muted but no off-flavors are detectable. Bitterness is light with great grassy hop flavors. Mouthfeel is slick and silky but a little sticky which is slightly distracting.

Overall, a good English bitter but not quite up to the Fullers level. Still, I love this style and would really like to sample this out of a cask.

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Photo of claspada
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly dark amber color with a thick eggshell head of froth that recedes to leave solid lacing.

Aromas begin with earthy, floral hops with some emerging fruity green fruit esters with some more herbal hops in the background. As it warms you get some of the malt base composed of heavily toasted bread, light minerally aspects with some emerging caramel maltiness.

The tastes begin slightly biscuity and toasted maltiness with some minerally aspects in the finish. Hops are lightly bitter but balance the malt sweetness, mainly earthy and herbal. Some fruity English yeast esters also emerge as it warms.

Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is slightly bitter with a slightly balanced malt sweetness.

Overall this was an enjoyable beer that I enjoyed while eating my Malaysian dinner the other night. It is extremely drinkable, never boring and just a quality example of an English Bitter, one of the top ones I've had in the US for sure. It lacks the spoiled, old, oxidized flavors many English imports have which was very pleasing.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.7/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle. Pours amber with a medium lasting white head. Aroma is of grassy hops, caramel malt, and ripe fruit. Body is medium and tangy. Earthy hops followed by caramel malt and some fruit on the palate. Finish is long and earthy. I can’t say I enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of Offa
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent bitter with nice character yet low ABV, a very English beer.

Bright reddish copper, it has a big off-white head steadily shrinking to lasting rocky top.

Aroma is wonderful full roasty character, slightly caramelised toast, tea, hints of citrus and jam.

Taste is wonderful juicy, faintly winy toast, tea, woody-toasty bitter finish after a sweeter start. It is lively and engaging, juicy and appetizing. The bitterness and sweetness are gentle and balanced, but firm and it leans slightly to the bitter side in a lean finish.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle - surely this is the same offering as the 'Adnams Bitter', no?

This beer pours a clear medium golden amber hue, with two fingers of loosely foamy, dirty white head, which leaves some low shoreline lace around the glass as it quickly settles.

It smells of grainy caramel malt, thin apple orchard fruit, and some mildly bitter leafy, grassy hops. The taste is somewhat biscuity, grainy malt, with some breakfast butter character, a simple drupe fruitiness, and herbal, leafy hops.

The carbonation is generally quite sedate, just a bit of sass here and there, the body medium-light in weight, and haltingly smooth, a slight indistinct edge floating throughout. It finishes off-dry, barely, the grainy malt, apple skin fruitiness, and leafy hops conspiring and conjuring that particular effect.

A so-so bitter, not really up to the spec of a Fullers or John Smiths, with an off kilter, and overly dominant fruit nature. Good for one, I suppose, and then it's simply time for something else.

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Adnams Southwold Bitter from Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.