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Adnams SSB (Suffolk Special Bitter) - Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery

Not Rated.
Adnams SSB (Suffolk Special Bitter)Adnams SSB (Suffolk Special Bitter)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

139 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 139
Reviews: 131
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 7
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rastaman on 12-21-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 139 | Reviews: 131 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 6470zzy:
Photo of 6470zzy
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The bitter is a pleasant shade of sun burnt hazy amber with a single finger of cream-coloured head as poured into my crystal pint glass. The head dissipated quickly leaving a slight lacing in its aftermath.

Smell: I detect a pleasantly sharp scent of grapefruit peel melded with a hint of butter.

Taste: To me this is a classic English bitter, the hops are pleasingly biting without being overpowering in the least, as in the smell there is the presence of butter and citrus playing in the shadows that are cast by the hops.

Mouth feel: Generally smooth, almost thin and yet not quite. The carbonation was ideal, not overstated in the least, truly allowing the flavour and aroma to come through.

Drinkability: Very glad to have had this friendly pour. I would definitely purchase this brew again and I truly hope to partake of a pint or more of this on tap one day. A fine English bitter.

6470zzy, Sep 01, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a thin but really sticky head very impressive looking,aroma of nuts and some brown sugar notes.A very tasty brew some toffee and nuttiness in the beginning with a light buttery tone,with a herbal -like finish.Again another English ale complex with alot of flavor but low in alcohol,I wanna take a trip to England and travel the country just for their beer alone.

oberon, Apr 29, 2004
Photo of Popsinc
2.78/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i was generally unimpressed with this beer finding it no more than average. A nice clear amber pur with minimal head. the nose was msotly bland with small traces of fruit and little hop. taste wise i was bored. flat & dull with an odd metallic taste in there somewhere. again, mild fruitiness and dull hoppiness. smooth and clean mouthfeel. overall, not that great for my tatstes.

Popsinc, Oct 14, 2004
Photo of blitz134
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$.99 at Green’s on Ponce in Atlanta. This beer is about 2 weeks past date…but as we all know this shouldn’t really negatively affect anything.

Pours what a typical English Ale should look like in my opinion; caramel in color with a touch of orange hue. An average white head which reduced quickly to a thin layer of bubbles. Smell is light, mainly of hops with some malty sweetness. A touch of pine and resin hops, again typically English in nature. Taste is nice with an initial hop dryness/bitterness up front which transitions to a bit of butter. Finishes malty sweet. I’m really digging the mouthfeel on this one, not really thin at all and actually a bit creamy. Drinkability is good as well. A nice light flavor with a full mouthfeel that goes down easy. Should be good with the ribs and Brunswick stew I’m having with it.

blitz134, Feb 07, 2005
Photo of shapudding
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy and unclear, unfiltered dark homebrewed iced-tea color. Huge cloud of thick, creamy, fluffy, bubble bath of froth foaned up and stayed in the tulip as a good thick layer. The head is a beautiful color, looks like Breyer's coffee ice cream. Scent is malty and a bit spicey, bit of oranges, bit yeasty. Foams up a bit over your tongue, but nicely and not champagne-like. It just flows smoothly and feels nice. Medium bodied and silky. Hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. Slight caramel sweetness. Nicely balanced and easily drinkable, with the flavors becoming much more pronounced as it warms.

shapudding, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of Jason
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$3.45 @ Charles Street Liquors, Boston, MA:

http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/user_reviews/1008/

Presentation: 16.9 oz brown bowling pin style bottle, best before date on the back label.

Appearance: Shimmering pale copper hue with a fluffy off white head.

Smell: Fruity with a peppery hop. (Egg?) Faintly buttery biscuity malt with a mild nutty yeast.

Taste: Toasted malt, fruity with suggestions of melon and pear. A tab buttery. Nutty yeast ties in with the malt well. A stab of hop bitterness breaks apart the sweetness and helps clean the palate.

Mouthfeel: Semi-smooth with a pleasant creamy back, moderate in carbonation.

Notes: This is a perfect example of why I love English Ales, an absolutely beautiful ale.

Jason, Apr 26, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

1 pint, 9 oz brown bottle, sampled on 10-16-04. Best before date of DEC 28 04.
Pours a slightly hazed, apricot body with a dense, ivory head that rises one finger tall. Excellent retention and patchy lace.
Hop aromas are picked up as soon as the bottle is opened. In the glass, there is an interesting bouquet of flowery herbs.
Mouthfeel is light medium in body, with soft carbonation, and a slight mineral presence that is pleasant to the palate.
Taste is dry and hoppy, with an ideal biscuity malt balance. This tastes nearly perfect for style, and I love this style. Some mild essence of pears are picked up in the background, and the finish is bitter, but not biting.
This is beer heaven for anyone that enjoys the style. Exceptional!!

merlin48, Oct 16, 2004
Photo of fdrich29
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an amber copper with an offwhite head that quickly subsided. Nice lacing coated the glass and held on for dear life. Smells of hops, herbs and malt and tastes the same. Smooth, creamy feel in the mouth with the tiniest hoppy aftertaste. This is a great beer to drink and goes down wicked easy.

fdrich29, Mar 30, 2004
Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i liked it, not over the top. malty, then hoppy and bitter, well balanced, not in your face. a bit nutty and oaky, another solid brew from Adnams, whom, may not make some of the most sought after brews, but brew some very solid little ales, which i like them for, well done Adnams.

rastaman, Dec 21, 2002
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an imperial pint glass)
A- A hazy copper brown body with strong carbonation and a thin off-white head with big bubbles

S- gentle caramel malts with some subtle spicy hops. The malt is almost a fruity aroma

T- Very nice biscuit malt flavor with a good spicy hops that is almost grapefruit but maybe a smooth earthiness. Some of the malt is a bit caramel flavored. good crisp hop finish.

M- medium-full body with no carbonation fizziness.

D- This is a wonderful ESB it has nice hops and good malt that balance each other. It is a little low on alcohol and I think that would give it just the right finish.

rhoadsrage, Apr 22, 2005
Photo of anders36
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a dark amber colour into the glass. The head is pretty thick and tan coloured. It disappeares pretty quickly leaving a lace on the glass. The smell is a little fruity and you can also smell some caramel. In the first zip i took i could taste appels!? Even half way through the beer i taste appels. It also has a crisp taste and a nice hoppy feeling. There is also some caramel in the aftertaste. This is a nice beer but i like the Broadside better.

anders36, Apr 02, 2004
Photo of IntriqKen
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice slightly cloudy amber with a half finger white head that melts quickly to sticky lace.
Aroma pretty typical British amber malts and yeast with a nice toasty presence.
Taste is toasted amber malts that are pleasantly balanced with a nice hoppy swallow at the end.
Mouthfeel is a little drier than expected and that's pleasant..
A very decent British bitter and very drinkable with no unpleasant or lingering aftertaste.
Expensive, but I've already bought it again.

IntriqKen, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.78/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Adnams- Suffolk Special Bitter (SSB)

Appearance- a nice dark copper with a decent head.
Smell- oaky with some vanilla and malt.
Taste- good!!! creamy malt with hops, and a woodsy/ slight citrus bitterness.
Mouthfeel- goes in smooth with a slight crisp bitterness in the back.

Overall- a very good session beer that I will purchase again and again.
Adnams makes damn good beers!!!

NJpadreFan, Jan 20, 2004
Photo of jmz62565
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a dark cloudy orange amber with a giant white foamy head. The smell has a sweet malt aroma,not too strong but a nice scent. The taste has a creamy malt sweetness to it then a hop bitterness that's not bad. This is a quality beer with a ton of carbonation. The m/f is medium with a good balance of hop and malt flavors. This is a damn good beer and I highly recommend it.A classic English brew that will not be overlooked.Cheers.

jmz62565, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice slightly clear ruby red/deep orange amber color with a nice frothy white head that leaves good lace. Nose is mostly malty. Taste has a good malt profile with some decent british hop presence. Almost some toffee or caramel hints in here. Mouthfeel is nice, but a bit thick. Nice dry finish. Drinkability is good but not the best. Overall a good english bitter and a fair representation of the style. Im not that crazy about it, but it is a good representation. I think this bottle may be a bit old. A good brew, but there are enough better bitters available that I probably wont be purchasing this one again, except maybe at a bar.

AKBelgianBeast, Aug 22, 2008
Photo of cokes
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

"Suffolk Special Bitter", which I assume is its US alias.

Hazy auburn under beige suds.
Dry toffee nose backed with toasted biscuits smeared with butter.
Dry again, out of the gate. Plenty bready and toasty. Earthy too, with a light tobacco smokiness. It never gains much sweetness, yet the toffee expression is complete, furthered by a minor apple peel fruitiness. The solid foundation of buttered whole-grain bagels remains intact throughout. It ends firmly hopped and herbal, with dying grass, wilting flowers and stalky plants.
Medium bodied with trickling, but steady carbonation.
An awesome quaffer and a very, very nice Bitter.

cokes, Jan 28, 2004
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean, crisp and dry, cleans the palate. Not overpowering bitter for the end of the meal. Balanced with malt. Spot of fruit. A session brew and a transition brew. Pronounced hops, orange undertone, popular with me mates. Nicely drinkable and lower alcohol a plus.

Sammy, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was slightly confused at first as to why the Suffolk Strong Bitter (4.5% ABV) would be labelled as Suffolk Special Bitter until I realized that the BATF would probably not allow them to use the word "strong" on their U.S. label. With that said, I'm sure that this is indeed the same beer.
It pours a slightly hazy copper body beneath a creamy head of off-white foam. The head retention is decent, and it slowly drops to a wide collar and whispy surface covering. Some spotty lace also adds to its appearance. The nose delivers earthy, leafy, and grassy hops (Fuggles? and probably some Goldings) with a pinch of yeasty sulphur thrown in over a caramelish malt. It's firm bodied and creamy in the mouth with a very fine and natural (bottle-conditioned), moderate carbonation that gently caresses the tongue and rouses the tastebuds. Some yeasty fruitiness that wasn't noticed in the aroma makes an appearance in the flavor; followed by a mellow toffee-ish/caramel/biscuity malt that's backed by a solid bitterness and peppered with a leafy hop flavor. It finishes dry with some residual bitterness that leaves the palate refreshed and ready for food or more beer. Simple. Satisfying. Refreshing. An excellent session ale!

NeroFiddled, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of surfadelic23
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this at the Sarasota Rythym and brews fest.
This brew pours out a dark copper tone. The head's a beaut/ nice and frothy while slowly settling away and leaving a white lace on the glass. First smell is sweet malts with a hint of hops coming through in the background. This is am awesome bitter that has nice malt flavors that eventually dissipate to hoppy fun! This one is all about balance. This has a great mouthfeel and that in tandem with the balanced flavor and relatively low abv make it painlessly drinkable.

surfadelic23, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of Backer2004
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one first during my Fourth of July BBQ. Went well with the grilled chicken being served. Nice and smooth, one of its best characteristics was how well it went down. Frothy head to start and it seemed to be lighter on the bottom than the top. Nice balance of hops. Drinkable for the style.

Backer2004, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of edchicma
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice for a low abv. Initial smell of citrus, then as it warmed more, a light malty presence was evident. Very nice amber/copper color with an initially nice head that dissipated into just a bit of lacing. Taste was very good...slight maltly sweetness followed by a nice hoppy presence that linger in a slightly bitter aftertaste.Mouthfeel was not watery, but medium bodied. Very easy on the drinkability scale. Went very well with the roast beef dinner I had. This is actual review. This was also inadvertently posted under the Southwold Bitter>

edchicma, Feb 22, 2004
Photo of rebel1771
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with small head.

Aroma is very malty with caramel sweetness and buttery undertones.

The taste is awesome. Malty sweetness is the first thing that hits and is followed by a buttery, nutty flavor. At the very end a bitter hop flavor is present to give this brew a slightly dry finsih.

This is one of my favorite brews. Being only the second beer I've tried from the Adnams brewery, I will have to try the remaining selections from this brewery.

rebel1771, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of TLove
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a glass tumbler.

Has a truly beautiful pour, color, head, and retention. Without a doubt the best appearance of its style. A nice, balanced ESB that is actually quite smooth and yeasty. Tangy, buttery, sweet, and slightly smoked in flavor, the beer has a slight, malty structure.

Sweet finish, with some very soft, apple-like finish with moderate carbonation. A solid beer of its style. Decent finish, though a bit dry and sparse tasting.

TLove, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle – Poured a deep orangey brew with a medium head with average retention. Aroma of hops and sweetness is very enjoyable. Taste is very creamy with light bitterness. Floral aftertaste with a hint of sweetness. Above average English bitter. Make me wants to hunt down some more products from Adnams & Company Brewery.

Phyl21ca, Feb 02, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany hue with a thin off-white head that deposits lots of lace.
Aroma of grain, buttered rye bread and rsiny hops and a dark fruit and malt hit.
Flavor of malt, hint of cinnamon and a roasted nuttiness with a spicy yeast finish.
Mouthfeel has a little bit of sweetness to start moving to a heavy hop oil and resiny with tons of palate punching spciciness.
Drinkability is a very good. Need to on draught or cask to assess how good but very nice brew.

CRJMellor, Jul 29, 2004
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Adnams SSB (Suffolk Special Bitter) from Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.