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Brakspear Bitter - W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc

Not Rated.
Brakspear BitterBrakspear Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

101 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 9
Gots: 2 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad bitter for 3.5%. Pours a yellow with some creamy head. Easy drinking, a nice mild bitterness. Neutral to cheesy scent in head. About average mouthfeel,mild hop-grassy.A drop of spice and the band-aid. An average beer, which is not a bad thing.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light clear brown color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of light caramel malt with some dry Fuggles hops. Taste is also a mix between some dry Fuggles hops and a medium caramel malt base. I thought it was relatively well done for the style.

Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of Jason
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +33%

Photo of BlackHaddock
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of wl0307
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted by a pint at the Bow Bell, Bow Church, East End London.

A: bright reddish amber hue, very clear, with a nice off-white frothy beer head with good retention and a fine carbonated body; the tight lacing sustains just fine.
S: earthy and floral scent of hops plus a grapefruit zest note, like Fuggles-dominated hop content. Simple and nice.
T: lightly-sour sweet maltiness underlined by a profound spicy and herbal hops, followed by a dryish zesty kick at the back; very smooth finish with a moderate bitterness which lingers surprisingly well~~
M&D: the soft mouthfeel is consistently backed by subtle and fine carbonation--very good cask-conditioned; light-bodied, simple-flavoured, this is a good honest bitter to savour--could use bolder flavour to really stand out, though.

Photo of biegaman
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A fusion of lemon yellow, maple beige and tawny amber are glossed over with a coating of mahogany. There is a very thin but existent level of white, bubbly head. Lacing present. Leisurely schools of bubbles are observed in spurts, taking their time on the vertical path upwards. This is a beer meant for holding up to the light.

The aroma smells, to be quite frank, like beer that has sat in an opened bottle over night. The must of damp cardboard, rotting cork, and steaming vegetables make for smells as unpleasant as they are unexpected. First and foremost, however, is the stark and unappealing smell of cheap, buttery toffee.

The beer is badly lacking in flavour and texture. It is a common complaint I have with the British bitters that are shipped to North America; they loose their taste and their essence. If this were unpasteurized, unfiltered, and fresh ... then I'd have an entirely different beer in front of me. It is that simple. I imagine it would be quenching and tasteful. I assume it would taste (and drink) as it was designed to.

Instead, I have a nearly full pint I'm trying to avoid drinking. The soft, honeyed biscuit malts and light sprinkle of toffee are instead an astringent, dry, buttery mess of cheap caramel and cardboard. It is lifeless. It is tasteless, bland, bloating, and least of all: it is far far from something I could drink all night.

I have had a few good offerings I enjoyed from Brakspear. But this beer, a 3.5% well malted bitter, was nothing like what it should be. I will try to avoid a rant before it begins by saying anyone who's been to England and had true bitters, that is to say unpasteurized, unfiltered and fresh off cask, can attest that these imports are a ghost of the real selves. That said, this is all I have to go by ... at least hopefully only for now.

Photo of Viggo
3.98/5  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.

Photo of Gusler
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cloudless amber color, the head modest but quite short-lived leaving a fine sheet of lace to blanket the glass. The nose crisp and clean with the malts dominant and lightly sweet tones to seal it off. Front is lightly sweet, the top skimpy and the acidity modest in its bite with a nice English hop spiciness that makes the “Bitters and ESB”, special brews that I enjoy as often as I can.

Photo of bark
4.1/5  rDev +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.

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of RoyalT
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This beer is an even mix of orange and brown. The head was moderate and didn’t hold well.

Smell – This is a very balanced English Bitter. The musty malts, caramel, and light floral hops mix well to offer the drinker a rather substantial nose.

Taste – The toasted malts pick up a bit of wood at the taste along with, oddly enough, some alcohol notes. The sharp citrus hops and hints of sour and tart round things out at the finish.

Mouthfeel – Light to medium-bodied and tangy with a good bitter character.

Drinkability – This Bitter is refreshing and very well-balanced and definitely worth a look.

Photo of cokes
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Photo of woosterbill
4.36/5  rDev +16%
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!

Photo of CrazyDavros
2.63/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with a small suddy head.
Nose shows grassy Euro hops with some caramel and faint toffee underneath. Could be mistaken for a malty pale Euro lager.
Flavours don't improve much, plain unchecked bitterness and wet cardboard notes throughout. Practically no malt.
Very thing body.

Photo of cdwil
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Bierman9
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask just put on at Redbones, got a free 1/2 pint from Jeff, the Manager. Dark, dull golden color, with a little bit of haze. Hardly any head or lace, though. Some hops in the nose, and a hint of citrus. Overall - a mild nose. Decent body, and smooth, with hardly any carbonation from the cask. Flavor was hoppy for the most-part. A mellow, floral smoothness was present. Some citrus flavors, and oakiness. An easy-going bier. Cheers.

overall: 3.75
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 3.5

194

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of rarbring
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB date of end Jan 2011 - so a month out of date. The rear label mentions that this ale is produced using their unique 'double-drop' system, which has two fermentation stages. I like their bumblebee emblem.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A coppery-amber colour with slight haziness and medium carbonation. Produces a decent off-white head that lasts for a few minutes before collapsing to leave a surface film. Aroma is malty with an underlying sweetness. Notes of roasted malt, toffee and caramel. A hint of hops.

A smooth malt taste with a nice balance of sweet and bitter flavours. Hints of roasted malt accompanied by notes of toffee, citrus and burnt grain. A subtle hoppy bitteness makes for a dry finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, with a crisp tingly sensation. Dry bitter aftertaste.

A decent ale - the flavour is subtly complex but not over the top. Makes for easy drinking. Worth cracking one open if you come across it.

Photo of mdagnew
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought from the Vintage, Antrim

Poured a nice golden amber colour. Light creamy head poured quite thick and foamy with a rocky, meringue like top then faded to good thickish layer... barely any carbonation... light wispy lacing...

Aroma - Good strong mouthwatering juicy fruits (oranges, light figs, apples, some apricots), light caramel maltiness, good biscuity notes, toffee apples, light pepperiness, some freshly cut grass notes, light rubbery traces, some vegetal notes, toasty / burnt bread, some sweet graininess..

Taste - Good strong peppery hop bitterness, juicy fruits (oranges, grapefruits, pears and apples), very little sweetness, nutty notes, definite toasted bread, some sea salt notes, very floral and perfumed, light metallic traces..

M&D - Pretty sharp and dry... light bodied... At only 3.4% this is extremely quaffable.. an excellent session beer...

Overall - A pretty standard bitter... no real flaws just not the most exciting beer in the world... worth a try...

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of marc77
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
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!

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Brakspear Bitter from W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc
85 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.