Brakspear Bitter - W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc

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Brakspear BitterBrakspear Bitter

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BA SCORE
84
good

65 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

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Reviews: 65
Hads: 109
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.67%
Wants: 10
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  3.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 109
Photo of marquis
4.63/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On cask at the Royal Oak, Car Colston, a hostelry renowned for the superb condition of all its beers.
I hardly recognised it, a shade darker perhaps than before?Totally crystal clear with just under a half inch thick,dense head which survived most of the way down the glass.As with most cask ales, aroma isn't a feature (it's only what gets pinched from the liquid itself anyway) but the beer really fought way above its weight in the flavour compartment.A beautifully balanced bitter with a hint of astringency.It all goes to show that strength isn't all in beer.
Utterly and absolutely gorgeous stuff. (605 characters)

Photo of allergictomacros
4.6/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a clear copper with an impressively creamy head with excellent lacing

S - Malt, lemon/citric hop, some floral notes, chalk. Light fruitiness.

T - Dry, grainy and mildy hoppy. Some earthy tones, lemon, and nuts and soap. Really nice, balanced bitter.. and very low abv to boot.

M - Dare I say creamy? Very nice moderate body with some heft.

D - Doesn't get any more drinkable than this. Superb. (407 characters)

Photo of Chaz
4.6/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The smallest Bitter I've ever encountered, either as an import or otherwise. Pours a very clear-to-brilliant golden copper in color, leaving a light tan/off white head of small dense bubbles. Medium duration on the head, about two and a half minutesto deflate adter a modrate pour. Good lacing. The nose says it all, with a bitterness that is usually less pronounced in this style. There's plenty of biscuity malt and a mild herbal/vegetal character here too, but the hops are mugging for all the good shots here. The first sip gives you an idea of what you're in for: bitter and astringent, a touch of lactic sourness, and very attenuated malt sweetness right around the middle. Light-bodied and with a light and breezy mouthfeel, but this is both on-style and perfect for this brew. Wonderful aromatics here, with equal parts malt and hop. As this warms the vegetal/fruity character I detected in the nose really develops and makes something of a "Star Turn", complementing the lingering bitterness quite beautifully. Biscuity malt also kicks around looking a bit like an unloved supporting cast member, but it can't be entirely forgotten here. An absolutely wonderful drink! If only there were more like this readily available in the U.S. - hop-bombers, are you listening?
(Edit: I first encountered this as part of the old All Saint's Brands import portfolio, and was positively ecstatic to see it return via Shelton Brothers - naturally, the brewery closed soon after! May or may not be brewed by the good folks at Wychwood . . . I sure hope so!) (1,552 characters)

Photo of dwren89
4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: amber with gold highlights, creamy off white head, great clarity

Aroma: toasty , toffee, earthy hops with slight metallic hint,

Taste: toffee and caramel flavors abound, slight toastiness with a bready malt character, earthiness from the hops

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, soft carbonation

Overall Impression: Considering this ale only sports 3.4% ABV, it packs a malty and flavorful punch! Surprisingly complex and flavorful, this is highly indicative of the English brewing style-- finding ways to create flavorful beers without having to jack up body and ABV. Toffee and caramel flavors explode in the mouth and finish with a earthy bitter twinge. This is an ale that you could drink all night long, enjoy every last drop, and not stagger out of the pub drunkenly. (780 characters)

Photo of marc77
4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brilliantly clear light copper hue, topped by a thin, but persistant head that leaves loose lace. Rustic, leafy, dry - hopped, earthy Fuggles hop nose hits the nose upfront, & is ensued by biscuit malt, light caramel and mild diacetyl butterscotch. The malt profile is a seemless extension of the aroma, being comprised of biscuit & light buttery diacetyl, w/ malt sweetness provided by light crystal malt. Hop bitterness offsets malt sweetness perfectly, lending an overall balance to this bitter. Ample residual dextrins provide a full body, & when coupled with the low carbonation, the mouthfeel is slickly smooth. Assertively British, earthy Fuggles hop flavor. Finishes w/ fading biscuit notes. Brakspear Bitter is a very flavorful & full bodied session brew, especially considering its low gravity. The best "light" beer I've ever tasted! (852 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.36/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Handpump halfpint from a fresh cask at the Eagle and Child in Oxford.

A: Clean bright chestnut body with a creamy finger of tan head. Lovely.

S: Very fresh aroma of floral hops, mild fruit, and nutty malt. Restrained but pleasant and complex.

T: Follows the nose. Great balance of leafy hops and toasty, nutty malts. Clean bittersweet finish. Simple, yet distinct in it s freshness. One of the best Bitters I've had this year.

M: Light-bodied with similar carbonation. Could use a bit more on either front, but it goes down easy.

O: Great session ale, period. I'm not surprised that bottles aren't as good, but on cask near the source this was a real treat.

Cheers! (671 characters)

Photo of PatandDavid
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drink these while you can...

Again at Redbones, awesome copper colored beer, not much head or lace.

Oh, the beers they have lately taste so fresh!! Anyway, this was medium to light bodied, not a hop monster, not overly sweet and malty, but a very well balanced. I alternated this with another beer, and I have to say, this had the same charcteristic: a fruity, refreshing taste. Medium to light in body.

Would get again. pat (433 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.34/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: 500 ml brown bottle with a BB (Best Before) date jet printed on the neck of the bottle.

Appearance: Thin and inattentive off white lace that barely stays around. This ale is very clear with a bright shaded orangey copper hue.

Smell: Soft fruity and buttery aroma, some plum and lemon jump out amongst the stable malty nose. Faint woody hop in the nose behind the malt and yeast.

Taste: Moderate body with a supple smoothness, carbonation flows over the palate and prepares the tastes buds. A light maltiness cradles a growing hop presence with light bready and caramel tones. Hops evolve quickly on to the palate with a solid bitterness and lingering earthy and woody flavour. Yeast hands off a fruitiness that adds some serious depth to the brew, other than the mild buttery diacetyl it is quite a clean ale. Finishes dry with a lingering earthy hoppiness.

Notes: Quite an impressive little ale at 3.4% abv, the head retention has its problems but on a whole this is a stellar bitter. It was worth the 3.99 (I personally would not pay more) a pop and an ale to go back to when I crave a refreshing bitter. (1,132 characters)

Photo of drperm
4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle purchased in Cambridge, UK in May 2011, brought back to the US and opened in July.

The minute I popped the bottle, I was transported back to the UK.
In the glass, it's a handsome copper-amber with a nice glow. Little head retention, but I don't care -- it makes it look like a cask pull!

On the nose, wonderful hints of toast, brown sugar, faint fuggles, and lots of florals.
The taste is a perfectly balanced maltiness with a fine bitter snap to finish. Just a hint of butter in there, but it's neither distracting nor detracting. It possesses the perfect balance of oily coating and spritzy scrubbing-bubbles.
At 3.4%, it's the model of a well-balanced, superbly crafted session ale, and proof that high strength is no prerequisite for a great beer. The maltiness leans a bit heavy, but I've no serious complaints.
All round, an extremely agreeable Bitter and a pleasant companion for the evening. This would be ideal with Shepherd's Pie, English Tikka Masala, or ye olde Fish & Chips. (1,005 characters)

Photo of rarbring
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a clear amber ale with medium sized bubbles, an offwhite head that leaves good lacing, but small curtains.

Smelling honey, ripe apples, nuts and oatmeal.

Starting with sweet brown bread, honey and orange marmalade, a hint of canned pears, grass and apple peel.

Medium low carbonation, soft and refreshing, a slow dry finish.

Very good, very sessionable, and very reasonable ABV. (390 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Shiny copper with a short-lived white fuzz on top.
Strange nose full of buttered bread, hard toffees, minerals, sulphur, and savory herbs.
Begins dry with flour-coated bread crusts. Buttery hues add depth and character. Never attains any real sweetness, but toffee, caramel and apple skins are suggested. High pH water, makes this hard and brittle in the mouth. Hopping is light, but adds both lilac and herbal bitterness. A bit of dried tobacco on the swallow.
Nicely constructed!
Tempered CO2 levels add an authentic feel. Light-bodied but in no way weak.
I'm impressed. (579 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.11/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle from a Marston's sampler picked up at the LCBO; best before July 31 2015. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a clear copper-orange hue, with one inch of frothy, off-white head seated atop the liquid. It clings to the surface for at least five minutes, gradually seeping away and leaving behind a bubbly cap, creamy collar and an uninterrupted ring of lace. The aroma is inviting, but nothing unique for this style - butterscotch and caramel are the most prominent features represented on the nose, but the bouquet also contains some pleasantly floral hop undertones and nutty malt notes, as well.

The flavour profile is straightforward, but beautifully balanced and quite enticing. Toffee and butterscotch sweetness start things off in familiar territory, with hints of citrus peel. The floral, leafy English hop bill struts its stuff in the latter half of the profile, providing a mildly bitter finish with notes of toasted nuts. Somewhat minerally aftertaste that rapidly fades from the palate. Light in body, with moderate carbonation levels that provide a nice, crisp mouthfeel that works perfectly with these particular hop flavours.

Final Grade: 4.11, an excellent A-. Brakspear Bitter is a fabulous session ale, and definitely one of the highlights of Marston's 'Classic Ales' sampler. This is not a complex beer, or even necessarily a particularly memorable one - but it's easily one of the best English bitters I've had in years, and for that reason I must give it some sincere props. Solid stuff that all English ale fans should consider worth a shot - I'd definitely be buying more if it were available in this province in a more convenient format. (1,674 characters)

Photo of RichardMNixon
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%

Served on cask in Philly. Pours light amber with an almost grapefruit-like hue and the thick creamy head of cask beer. Nose has faint whiffs of biscuits and toast. Taste is surprisingly fruity with back current of woody tannins. Body is thin but supported by the nice carbonation from the cask. Both that and the cask temperature were a huge compliment to the beer; it would have been a far lesser beer served cold from a keg. (426 characters)

Photo of bark
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour is amber with a tint of yellow. The finger thick airy head is off-white.

The smell got burned notes with lots of malt and some bitter-sour notes of thistles (!).

The taste got a touch of smoked malt. The taste is over all malty and fruity with flavours of sour drops and a chemical note of band-aid. The aftertaste is bitter with a sourish note of apple acid and lemon peels.

The carbonation is light and pleasant with tiny bubbles, making this a highly drinkable beer. As a bitter should be. (515 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I remember the last time I tried this beer, it was 10 years ago in Henley-on-Themes, where it was then brewed. It was one of my first casks, and it was amazing. Good to see beers like this at the LCBO.

The pour reveals a dark copper liquid with a modest off-white head. Plenty of lace accumulates on the glass. Every now and then a lazy carbonation bubble meanders to the surface. The aroma is hoppy with a very earthy feel with some fruity, tangy notes in the background. Doughy malt and a good dose of butterscotch mingle with English hops in the first sip. As the glass warms the hops become more prominent, as does some butteryness and tartness. The mouthfeel is surpisingly full bodied with little carbonation for a bottled beer. The finish is moderately bitter with a lingering malt sweetness.

A decent bottled bitter, could be a little bolder and hoppy though. (869 characters)

Photo of CanuckRover
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great looking bottle, lovely royal blue with gold trim. Pours a dark amber with a thumb of nice off-white head. Great sticky lacings coat my pint glass all the way down.

Toffee malt, subdued sweetness with a little bit of a soft vanilla character. Rounded Goldings earthiness behind.

Sweetness up front, caramel/toffee, with a zesty freshness that gives way to some classic fuggles bitterness. Nice and juicy just the way I like them they provide a subtle burst of bitterness that quickly fades away leaving just a trace of resiny goodness and some malty sweetness.

Great mouthfeel, as much as you can expect from a bottled version of a cask classic.

Easy drinking, classic tasting bitter, I'd love to have it on cask. (722 characters)

Photo of Jonte
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle poured into a pint glas.

The beer is clear, has a amber/orange color and a creamy off-white head that is mostly diminishing after a few minutes.

The aroma is of butter, biscuits, fruits like citrus and plums, light caramel and hops.

The taste has bitterness, citrus, caramel, light bread. Some toasted notes and a bit of wood/leather. Dry and bitter finish.

Light carbonation and medium body.

Low ABV of 3.4% makes it an excellent beer for session drinking. (476 characters)

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bitter poured a clear, amber-red color with off-white foam that settled slowly and which clung to the glass a bit. The smell was mildly fruity hops with mild malt. The taste was malty and fruity with a very light sweetness and low hoppiness. There was a bit of buttery diacetyl upfront. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with medium body and very low carbonation. This was a very enjoyable bitter and excellent as a session beer. (436 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Henley brewery is now closed.

This brown 500ml bottle claims to be brewed in 'England for Tillverkare The Brakspear brewing Co'.

Best before April 2008, drank on a wet cold July 2007 evening in my front room.

I poured the bottle into one of my Duvel glasses.

It looked great, a good solid foaming head, slightly off white. The beer was a lovely deep terracotta red.

The aroma was of hops, malts and some barley tones too, a typical English bitter smell. Nothing very strong, but there if you search for it.

Considering the 3.4 ABV, this is a very good beer, the soft roundness often found in English bitters is here in an abundance. A kind of understated fruitiness is also to be found.

This is a well balanced beer, not sweet or sour, just a pleasant session beer, ideal for an afternoon in a beergarden on one of those rare sunny days we have during an English summer. (895 characters)

Photo of twelvsies
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hearty amber color with some tan head and nice foaming action. Smell comes out maltier than I expected for a bitter, nutty maybe. There are also some nice hop characteristics in there. Taste is more hoppy than the smell let on, and a bit biscuity and buttery, with the nutty malt flavor backing it up. And of course it's got that nice biting bitter kick at the end which I've really come to enjoy a lot recently. Yum. (425 characters)

Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Appearance – Dark golden amber in colour with a medium head that vanishes quickly and leaves little to zero lacing.

Smell – To be honest this Bitter smells a little of wet dog and chocolate but do not let that put you off!

Taste – There is a depth of flavour in this one that is rather impressive. It starts off smooth at the front of the mouth but has bold bitter flavour on the back of the tongue. Coffee roasts like espresso with earthy hops and some notes of what I think may be citrus and toffee but it is hard to say because it is so dark and properly bitter that I drank this quickly enjoying it too much to really make notes on it properly.

Mouthfeel – Wonderfully astringent yet smooth with good body. This went down a treat.

Overall – A very complex Bitter with a lot of character and a well-balanced, ever changing flavour. I liked this one a lot so I drank it almost forgetting to make my normal notes. If you want to try and rate a good bitter I recommend this one. (995 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice light copper color with a light but pretty sticky head,aroma is light and slightly grassy and mineral-like.Flavor is nice and subtly hopped with some mineral flavors with a nice slightly sweet malt backbone.A true sessions beer in my mind a great find. (265 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just had this on tap at Redbones. Light copper in color with a nice white fluffy head that lasted. Wasn't much in terms of smell. Hints of malt and some hops came through.

Nice light hop bitterness came through that seemed to balance well with the malt. Nothing overpowering in away from this beer. I could of had a couple and not even known it. I would love to try this on cask. The ending just kind of died.

Overall very good and I would order another. (462 characters)

Photo of stjaernstoft
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brakspear Bitter, ABV: 3.4%.
500 ml bottle, 19.50 SEK at Coop Forum.

A: The liquid is darker orange, almost copper-coloured, and has a small, off-white, almost beige head that leaves nice lacing.

S: A robust, malty, fruity, earthy aroma, with hints of rye bread, toffee, chocolate, orange and bananas. Very British-y!

T: Great burnt, bitter flavours of banana bread, tropical fruits, dark chocolate with orange, and a lovely balance of malt and hops.

M: The body is good, considering the low ABV, and the carbonation is light. It's drinkable, and doesn't suffer from being served at almost room temperature.

O: One of the best additions to the Swedish supermarket shelves so far - why don't we import more beers like this, instead of watered down versions of stronger likes? A great British session beer that's nice on its own, as well as with most typical British (and Swedish) dishes. Go-ood. (899 characters)

Photo of Viggo
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle picked up at the LCBO.

Pours a clear light orange/gold, thick big soapy white head forms, drops some lace chunks as it settles down to a thin ring around the glass, looks nice! Smell is weird, some thick malts, caramel, wheat, very bready and biscuity, fresh baked, bit of citrus, some herbal and earthy spiciness, pretty interesting. Taste is quite nice, bit of malty caramel sweetness up front, nutty biscuity middle, herbal bitterness, light touch of roast, bit of a yeasty finish, some floral, nice solid bitterness. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, very drinkable stuff, I might have to get more. This would be stellar on cask. (665 characters)

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Brakspear Bitter from W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc
84 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.