Adnams Southwold Bitter - Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery

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Adnams Southwold BitterAdnams Southwold Bitter

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70 Reviews
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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 jtierney89
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gorgeous tarnished brassy hue with great clarity and 2 fingers of off white head that sticks to the glass. Bold, earthy and spicy hops on the nose with buttered burnt biscuit it underneath it. Toasted grains, roasted malt and a slight floweyness.

Light body. Big malt profile. Toasted grain on the flavor with a little bit of butteryness. Hops come through flavor wise but there's not a ton of bitterness. Lots of balance. A little thin and watery but it has good flavor, a nice balance of complex malts and noble hops. Bold for a session brew but the water like body takes away from it a bit.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a clear amber with one and a half fingers of white foam that lasts for about three minutes, minimal lacing left behind on the glass. Medium-light body and carbonation levels, crisp snappy finish that has a fairly decent sustain to it.

Smells of buttery toasted bread with a light fig jam spread on top. The sip, however, is markedly sharp and bitter with an initial attack of strong herbal-woody and medium earthen hopping over biscuit malts with another garnish of fig jam... it is VERY much drier and bitter on the tongue than the nose had led me to expect, and I'm liking it very much. I'm not normally a big fan of diacetyl, but somehow this beer has managed to have a reasonable modicum of butter in the aroma but hardly any at all present in the flavor, which works out for the best IMO. Well worth trying, and quite sessionable.

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

Usually not my fav style, English bitter, but I'm trying to get a liking for it, so hopefully this helps my cause.

Pours a nice looking creamy bubbly 1 finger head that seems to just sit there like it has no place to go, and leaves nice lacing on the sides as it dances around them, over semi clear auburn honey brown color.

Nose has a typical earthy bitterness, just slightly herbal and grassy, a light coppery like aroma the good kind, a light sweet caramel and toffee malt aroma, hint of honey malt as well. The hops get a bit more grassy and quite aromatic the more I nose.

Taste gets more bitter, a definite English style bitter. Earthy hops, bittering hops, fairly grassy and herbal but bright, chewy even. malts bring more caramel and toffee like, but light soft and almost juicy like. bitterness grows to a decent mark as it goes, with more of that grassy herbal taste, and a slight nutty like flavor with just a touch of bready dough malt. Slight mint and tobacco like hop character, with a bit more sticky sweetness. Finish is drier but still slightly sweet and sticky, more herbal grassy hops and little malt flavor lingering.

Mouth is med bodied, soft though, with decent carb.

Overall better than I though. The herbal earthy grassy hops don't really turn me off, and in fact bring some interesting characters that I'm actually enjoying this beer. A nice malty balance that adds an interesting softness to it which could be the water.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 16.9 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass

Pours a deep amber with orange hues capped with a two finger off-white head. Great retention and a noticeable amount of spider web like lacing. Pleasant aroma of apple peel, caramel, toffee notes on the nose. Apple peel, pear, a touch of almond and biscuit notes joined by caramel malt and toffee. Finishes with a restrained herbal bitterness. Slick and smooth, fairly substantial malt backbone lends to a lighter medium body with a pleasant level of carbonation. An exceptionally well-balanced, easy drinking bitter. Highly recommended.

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Photo of corby112
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask at the Farmers' Cabinet in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a hazy golden copper color with amber/tangerine hues and a half finger white head that quickly fades away. No lacing.

Slightly earthy aroma with grassy hops countered by sweet and spicy malt notes.  Lots of grass and soil followed by rye, caramel and toffee.

Medium bodied with a nice balance of grassy hops and sweet malts.  Some dry bitterness from the spicy hop character countered by caramel malt sweetness, spicy rye, toffee and hazelnut.  Not all that interesting but it's nicely balanced and easy to drink.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle: best before 30 Nov 2012, poured into an 'Old Speckled Hen' badged pint vase shaped glass on 22 Aug 2012.

Lovely looking beer: clean and clear body of true amber, on top a well formed head of white foam.

Malty nose and taste: toffee and semi-sweet molasses fill the mouth with flavour, rich for a 4.1% ABV beer. Talk about easy drinking, this is a session beer with a great taste and attitude.

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Photo of drpimento
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty good brew. Poured at a good temperature with a nice sized, foamy, frothy, fluffy, cream-colored head that settles after a bit and some lace. Color is a clear amber copper. Aroma is beery, malt, hop, toffee, caramel, fruit. Flavor's much like nose and bitter up front, then carbonic tang with a little malt sweet under. Body and carbonation are good. Finish is like flavor, of average length and is very drinkable.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a big fluffy head and some sticky lace. Nice clarity.

Biscuit and toasted grain, but hard to find.

Nice direct bitter brew. Bitter up front, with toasted malt in the background. A little thin and lean. Looking for some sugar and fruit, and the sweetness is there but limited. Finishes long and bitter.

Medium bodied but a little loose.

Overall, likable for the style. Some flaws, but easy to overlook.

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Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decent starting head which leaves chunky lace on the glass. Crystal clear with a deep copper amber color. Attractive.

The nose is closest to toffee and caramel than anything else. Mild hop aroma in the background.

This is a smooth drink, rich and lowly carbonated. More bitterness than the smell would suggest. Plenty of toasted malt, but it isn't too biscuity.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange-brown with a tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is pretty faint with some slight malt and fruity aromas. Taste is of malt, slight fruit, and some herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium level of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the smell is pretty lacking in my opinion.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

50 cL bottle, can't believe I haven't reviewed an Adnams beer yet,

A: Pours a light copper with a mild white head which leaves excellent lace, great head retention.

S: Minerally lemons and biscuity malt, very English and fragrant.

T: Great taste of biscuity slightly sweet malt and minerality. The hops bring light notes of citrus to the party. Very flavourful for the low ABV.

M: Light-bodied, crisp, exceptionally easy drinking, fairly clean finish.

O: A tasty drinkable pint, this is a good one, haven't had a new British beer in a while and this didn't disappoint. I can only imagine it's even better on cask. A satisfying fun pint.

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

There's nothing like settling into an imperial pint of English bitter. Like an hat that's been broken in and comforts the soul, this beer does the same. Although the beer is new to me, there's something very comfortable about it.

While pouring a deep copper hue and nearly brilliantly bright, the beer's calm carbonation separates into a dense blanket of foam across the glass. With firm retention and lacing rings, the beer mimics the look of cask while poured from a bottle.

Somewhat muted aromas of toffee, biscuit, toasted pecans, and starch carry a pleasant and mild scent while the earthy hop aromas come to life with a leafy, piney note that accents esters of oranges and figs very well.

Flavors are moderate and balanced, propelling the malty-sweet rich taste of toffee and biscit just ahead of the mid palate of hop bitterness that also carry the taste of leaves, stems, and pine needles. The well-melded balance leaves a dry malty sweetness to broaden on the palate while giving a juicy quality to the orange and fig undertones.

Medium bodied, the lighter carbonation allows for fuller appreciation of malt, but also drying somewhat in finish for a smooth and creamy minty cool/dry evaporation to occur.

The ale has an overall very approachable and masculine quality- although it's difficult to celebrate an one attribute, it's the balance that makes it so charming and comfortable.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy Hour at my house. Bust out the cheese, the summer sausage, the crackers, and a half-liter of English Bitter. And let's warm that bottle up. What else to do? Oh yeah, on to the beer:

A good looker after the bottle is poured. In the imperial pint glass, the color shines a copperish red color with a somewhat soapy head on top, leaving a semi-creamy lace around. The nose feautres some pleasant diacetyl, some earthiness, a some pinches of esters.

Light bodied, but full of flavor. Modest diacetyl and earthiness towards the start, the duel of flavors slowly die and give off a bit of sweetness from the malt. We start to get a sense of esters, very subtle pineapple, and some unmalted-like sweetness (like chewing on malt). Sure, the beer is light bodied, but it seems like there's some meat on its bones, and the carbonation level is just right (not overly carbonated, and not really flat).

It's nice to come across a bitter stateside. Even better to come across one that has held up on the voyage acorss the ocean. Pleasant mix of flavors here.

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Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a 10oz pint glass at Churckey DC. From notes.

A real nice light tan off white head hits on the pour, and barely falls if at all. Dark chestnut brown body withe amber and orange sides and hues, and a fairly crystal clear appearance. Very good lacing on this drink as it clumps throughout at times while finishing.

Nose brings a soft malt body, and mostly semi toasted bready malts. Not much else, but really pleasurable and simple and solid.

Taste strangely on first quaff is a mild cheap tobacco, similar to cigarettes, but certainly tolerable. Chewy graham cracker malt and milk depth, with a fairly bitter hop finish, giving to an earthy feel.

Overall a real mellow and chewy classic bitter that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt, 0.9oz bottle poured into a tulip stout glass. Date stamp says 1346 21:12 - whatever that may mean.

Appearance: Clear dark coppery orange. Tiny bubbles coming up through the beer slowly when held up to the light. Thin skin of white foam across the top with some occasional strands of lacing noted. Very nice color with this beer.

Smell: Herbal and mild buttery note with just a bit of skunk in there. Skunkiness goes away as beer warms up.

Taste: Malt with a hint of diacetyl butter and hop bitterness mixed together at the beginning, and finishing with a sharp bitterness. Definite English style hop bitterness here. A tasty example of an English bitter.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation but a little watery underneath, although it does remind me of just about every English bitter I've ever had out of the bottle, so really spot on for style. I suspect it would be better on cask. So in other beers I might feel the mouthfeel was average, but in this case, it works well with everything else going on and is just right.

Overall / Drinkability: Quite drinkable and I think a good example of an English bitter. I could easily see myself having another one. Like all English ales needs to warm up for a bit after coming out of the fridge before you get all the flavors and the real character of the beer.

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Photo of metter98
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively dark and clear reddish amber in color with a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high beige head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and down the sides of the glass and a ring of bubbles around the edge.
S: There are light but unique aromas of buttery malts and fruity yeast in the nose; these become a lot stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has a light amount of bitterness along with hints of butter and toffee.
M: It feels a bit higher than light-bodied on the palate with some hints of chewiness and has a light amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite flavorful given its low alcohol content, which makes it rather sessionable.

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

Southwold Bitter pours a deep mahogany caramel amber color with a slightly hazed appearance. Head is thick and tan full of froth, with fine even lacing. Earthy, leather notes of complexity even some fruity grape notes more concentrated raisin even, with a hop nose of earthy herbal hops. Complex enduring flavors of butterscotch, caramel, blended with earthy herbal hops dominating eachother into submission to create an exhilarating layer of balance. Which exudes the palate into wanting more and more, a very easy to consume complex low in alcohol English bitter. Mouthfeel is complex with a hint of diacetyl but doesn't knock you down, rather it balances out other aspects that the beer has to offer. Medium bodied evenly carbonated this beer I'm sure is supreme on cask. Overall a enjoyable beer that I want travel to far for since I can get right down the street.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Strong, malty aroma has a fruity overtone, mainly pear and grape. It pours a clear, dark coppery amber bordering on mahogany with a nice light tan head that leaves some generous lacing. Malty flavor is rather bitter, but not fiercely so, with subtle notes of fruit, wood and caramel and a touch of smoke. Smooth texture has average body and a fair amount of fizz.

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Photo of flyingpig
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper to amber with a bubbly white head that is about a mhalf a centimetre tall. This eventually settles to thin, soapy lacing after about a minute.

Light earthy hops and light malts hitting you first. There is a tiny amount of bitter that is detectable and a touch of fruit too.

Earthy hops and malts that are coupled with some light, summer fruits and some bitterness.

Light bodied and smooth although not quite falling into the watery category, there is a mildly bitter taste and a hint of dryness to the beer. Average with mild carbonation.

Although not a bad beer really it was far to mild and lacking in any strength or flavour where it counted and not a beer that I particularly enjoyed or would go back to.

1001 Beers Blog:

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Photo of oberon
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a clear deep copper color with a nice looking 1/2 finger white head atop that held well.Bready and toffee malt aromas,light fruity ester and hard water roud it out,there is a light whiff of leafy hops.A little light in the mouth but probably right on for the style and abv.,subtle flavors of sweetish toffee and biscuit,fruity tones,that hard water,and a little more pronounced leafy hops in the finish.It's not bad it is what it is,I could drink alot of these over a long period of time in a session.

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Photo of jrfehon33
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It pours a medium brown with a hint of red and just a little bit of head.

Taste: This beer certainly is bitter but it's not overwhelming. There is just a slight bit of sweetness, grain, and pine but it's mostly the bitter flavor that you taste. There's also not very much to the finish, most of the flavor you get on the initial part of the sip.

Mouth Feel:  This is a very carbonated beer and nice and crisp.

Overall: It's a very good beer in this category and a good one to drink to get introduced to bitters. However to me it just seems to be lacking a prominent second note. Beyond the bitterness there really isn't much else to it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.39/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Half Time Beverages.

Bottled on Dec 11, 2011

It pours a clear deep gold copper with a 2 finger head of white foam. My imperial pint glass looks so gorgeous right now.

It smells grainy with a fruity backbone and has some light bitter notes.

The taste has some grain like in the smell, more bitterness than the smell, a kind of aspirin bitterness that doesn't hit my palate all that well. It finishes slightly on the sweetish side where the medium light body gets a bit thin.

This is not a bad Bitter. The abv is nice and low and drinkabilty as far as said abv goes is great. The flavours just don't mesh as well for me as I hoped.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.9 ounce bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, deep amber-hued body with a foaming, short-lived, white head. A few spider web streaks of lace on the descent.

Smell: Toasted barley husks in the nose with an ill-defined sweet-scented trace to it, discarded fruit skins, and some earthy, woodsy English hops.

Taste: A taste of wet toast with a little, light caramel sweetness that quickly recedes away. A bit of apple skin, a bit of red grape skin. Earthy, woodsy, faintly herbal hop character with medium-light bitterness. Faint toastiness remaining in the predominately hoppy (though, even that’s still quite restrained)

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Falls a little shy of a medium level of carbonation for an overall soft mouthfeel.

Overall: Enjoyably subtle.

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Photo of popery
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours clear and amber, the color of freshly oiled mahogany. The head is a thick lip of fine, khaki bubbles. The beer doesn't quite achieve the look of a hand-pumped pint, and the head quickly thins to a stubborn few millimeters. The aroma is freshly baked pastries laced with hop nectar. The caramel malt backbone is quite rich for the strength of the beer and holds up the hops well. The hops are rather fruity - peaches, nectarines, meyer lemons and a hint of pineapple - with touches of mineral notes. The taste is a bit sweet, and there isn't quite enough to the hops to pull it together. The caramel malt verges on sickly, medicinal sweetness, though it's certainly not a fatal flaw in my estimation. Carbonation is low, and the mouthfeel is fairly smooth, but it's a pale imitation of a cask. It's hardly the fault of Adnams. I'd just love to try more English ales fresh out of a cask. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and, once again, am amazed at how much flavor English brewers can pack into <5% abv beers. Of course, not having sampled the casks of England, I really have no idea how it compares to the style. Perhaps, if I was surrounded by bitters, I wouldn't praise it so highly, but that's an issue for another day.

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Photo of fx20736
2.27/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a British Pint Glass. Served cool.

pretty medium copper with 2 fingers of a cream colored batter texture head which leaves nice swaths of lacing.

strange aroma of burning rubber.

Chewy, viscuous mouthfeel.

taste: bitter. quite bitter. and fairly malty.

Notes: had my 1st two Adnams beers today and their is a bitterness which I find not at all pleasing. Pity as I was excited to try some new English beer.

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