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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 70
Hads: 154
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 22.89%
Wants: 2
Gots: 10 | 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.
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 154
Photo of metter98
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
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 +17.7%
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 +0.3%
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 -20.2%
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 -3.8%
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 -9.8%
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 -7.6%
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 -2.5%
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 -0.8%
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 -38.1%
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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Photo of Slatetank
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on cask at TJ's Restaurant and Drinkery's Shelton Brothers tap takeover event.
Served cask temp in a nonic.

The color is a deep golden amber with very light haze and thick cream that settles gradually with fine bead and lace stickage is good. the smell is very herbal and has a nice fruitiness from the ale yeast ester which is slightly pear/apple tinged with a light spice in the nose almost comes forward as piney with a mineral element in the mix. The feel is good with light body mild carbonation as expected with moderate bitterness and fruitiness from the yeast which is tangy on the palate with a mild astringent tinge in the mostly dry finish.

The taste has a more piney flavor than the aroma lets on with some gentle bitterness which has a more herbal taste w/ gentle pepper tinge and accent with more yeast which brings a light alcohol flavor and subtle mineral tinge w/ a dry finish. The overall is a highly drinkable bitter -very quaffable. I would order this again as it is pretty full of flavor for a 3.7% beer.

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Photo of rarbring
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The ale is clear honey amber, a warm off-white head that settles slowly leaving very good lacing. Very small curtains.

The smell is sweet fresh bread with a dash of honey, ripe apples and pears. An orange, almost metallic finish.

Starts sweet, brown bread, brown sugar, a dash of oranges, then a straight bitter finish.

Medium carbonation, small foamy bubbles, soft and refreshing, a rather long dry finish.

Very session-able, a nice relaxing ale. The can bought in Sweden says 4.1% ABV.

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Photo of fullsweep
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Imperial pint on cask at the local sports and community centre.

A: Reddish brown, but heavy on the brown. I guess 'mahogany' would be close, but not so dark.

S: smells fairly typical for an English bitter. Honestly I can't say much else.

T: nothing incredible or outstanding about this, but relatively solid.

M: smooth, no fizz, moderately rich but not overpowering

O: as stated above, there is nothing amazing or outstanding about this, but it is a fairly solid offering, and very representative of the style.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep amber with a really large thick compact white head that sure takes it's time to set into rather nice lacings.

S: Mild sweetness to the malt, butter and bitter hops. Rich fruityness. Smells rather basic, but man - why mess with the basics if you know what you're doing?

T: Green apples and nettles - dry! Malt is kind of dry and is generously buttery. Bitter hops.

M: The aftertaste is long and bitter in the best possible way. Body is light and carbonation mild.

O: An uneven beer. The taste is a little to mild, but nice. The aftertaste is the best I've had in a canned Bitter.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.37/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Handpump half-pint at Ye Olde Cock.

A: Clear medium amber body with a thin, sticky white head. Ok retention, nice lace. Attractive.

S: Musky, grainy malt. Harsh, lighly sour fruitiness. Almost vinous. Not good.

T: Follows the nose, unfortunately. Caramel malt, rotten prunes. Sweet finish. Pretty disappointing.

M: Typical cask. Medium body, less carbonation. Ok.

O: This was a major disappointment, since I absolutely loved the Adnams Southwold Mild, and hoped that its Bitter counterpart would be just as great. I have a sneaking suspicion that Ye Olde Cock might not be the best at keeping Ye Olde Casks, so if I get the chance to have this one again I'll gladly rereview.


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Photo of Trizzle
2.4/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

A last resort for me. I've always put off reviewing this thinking perhaps I'm not getting it at it's freshest, but it is perpetually average so here we go...

Start with the positive..
Good looking beer. Clear brown body with some yellow highlights. Solid head lingers and laces.
Mouthfeel is quite big. Probably the biggest I've had for the style and ABV. It's full and very smooth. Perhaps I shouldn't mark a bitter so high for being so much bigger than the style dictates, but I'm looking for positives here.

The nose is quite tart and sweet - smells a touch like a Belgian triple or quad that had been left out overnight. Background cola and peppery notes.
Taste is sickly. Far too sweet and sour. Somehow it's like a high ABV beer that has turned. It dries out a tad in the immediate aftertaste but lingers long and sickly acidic. .

I'm done giving this beer "another shot".

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

08-09-2010 17:05:10; 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.

look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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 AtLagerHeads
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at Nicholson's - Cincinnati on February 25, 2004.

Mostly clear amber body topped with a nice head of fluffy foam that coated the glass on the way down. Smooth as silk with a nice malty character and hints of the bittering hops. Mouthfeel smooth and rich with a medium body.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on cask at the Priory Arms, Oct. 2004.

This bitter poured a very slightly hazy, deep amber color with white foam that settled flat. The smell was minimal: malt with a trace of sulfur. The taste was malty with mild hops, a hint of caramel, and a touch of sweetness and bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel was dry and a tad "chalky", though smooth. The body was medium with very low carbonation. The finish was astringent and made my salivary glands ache. This was an OK bitter.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-cask at the Market Porter, London

Light orangey amber. Little head to speak of (it's cask afterall). Aromas of fresh citric hops and classic, buttery, british malts. Taste follows suit. Quite citrusy and hoppy for a 3.7%abv brew. Nice maltiness in the mix as well, and a killer finish that is clean as an open sky. Mouthfeel, light and easy to drink. Refreshing even. A classic session ale.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.55/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


This is what a bitter should be!

A crystal clear amber, with a beautiful fluffy head crowning over the rim of the glass. Very fragrant. Nice maltiness, and crisp hops balanced with subtle perfection.

This one I could drink all day and not feel like I was missing out on anything.

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Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

large bottle with dating, its fresh. Tasty English style ale. Medium body and nice smooth mouthfeel. Nice and malty, bready, yeasty and fresh tasting. Moderate hop bite to add balance and complexity to this brew. Completely English in its sensibilities. Doesnt overpower the ole taste buds, as some U.S. ales can do ( I love those as well dont get me wrong...)

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Photo of govtmule
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first cask-conditioned beer. So, this could be skewed, but here is my impression...
I ordered this at Eli Cannon's on 3-12-04 while waiting for a table. It was served at slightly below room temp. It was kind of dark in EC's but it appeared to be more of a yellow or light tan than amber like the other reviewers said. There was a nice foamy white head. The taste was nice with some hints of fruit and a creamy feel on the tongue. Good balance. I could drink it all night without feeling too dense.

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Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Adnams Southwold Bitter 3.7° – 3.50
Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery in Southwold, Suffolk, United Kingdom (England)

Cask @ Papago Brewery
The beer a cloudless amber color as it sets in my mug, the head portly in size with the color a pleasing light tan and the texture creamy, lace forms a thin sheet to cover the glass. Nose is all malt, sweet and pleasant with the start lightly sweet, nice malt presence and the top light in feel to the palate. Finish is devoid of carbonation as one should expect, mild hop presence, quite dry aftertaste and quite reminiscent of Caffrey’s and Boddingtons’s Cask beers, and a nice change of pace from the hearty IPA’s and dark brooding beers I have sampled of late.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just had this on cask at Eli Canon's.
The brew came to me at room temp and displayed a clear orange/amber color with about a 1cm soft creamy white head. The head stayed around throughout most of the sampling.
Aroma is mild but I get some caramel malt and also a nice mix of earthy and grassy hop.
First sip reveals soft creamy texture and very faint carbonation. I get a sweet malty start which rolls over to a grassy hop finish that lingers on the roof of my mouth rather nicely. Overall the brew is mild on flavor and aroma but isnt that part of what a bitter should be? I could drink tons of these in a sitting I think. Good example of the style!

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