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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

88 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 8
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: 88 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of fullsweep
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%

500 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

I had tried Brakspear's Oxford Gold, classified here as an English Pale Mild Ale. While the OG was on the bitter side, it sure tasted nice on a sunny afternoon.

Ironically, I don't find most English bitters to be all that bitter. But this one is. I enjoy trying new beers, and this one was no different, but having said that it's way too bitter for my tastes.

fullsweep, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of charlatan
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%

Dark amber to light copper coloured beer with a generous head. Rather sweet, fruity nose which has me thinking of grapes and raisins.

Fairly standard one dimensional bitter with enough of a hop bite to make it palatable. Slightly oily on the tongue. Reminds me of the Badger beers.

charlatan, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of TerryW
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%

A good looking beer that pours hazy golden amber with a moderate head. The head settles to a heavy film and gives up lots of pretty spotty lace.

Slightly sweet malty nose. Mouthfeel disappointingly soft and washed out. Some bitterness. Balanced malt and hops. Not a bad beer, but not overly exciting either. Deports itself as maybe a little above average.

Easy drinking, well made, but not real interesting.

TerryW, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of velkyal
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%

I loved the colour if the Brakspear, dark amber with an off-white head. On giving it a good sniff it was slighty bready and laced with bananas. The first mouthful was a delight, very smooth and creamy with a refreshing bitterness. But then strange things started to happen, it started to smell vaguely of rubber tyres, oak and even whisky. The problem was a lack of consistency within the pint, one minute there was a strange smell and then the next it was gone. I found that towards the end of the pint it had become stale, reminding me of digestive biscuits that go soft.

velkyal, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.13/5  rDev -17%

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.

Phyl21ca, Sep 25, 2008
Photo of Viggo
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

Viggo, Sep 12, 2008
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%

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.

CAMRAhardliner, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of Bananaman
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%

Brakspear Bitter is one of the best beers you can find in a regular food store in Sweden.

A typical ale-look, brown, but clear in the color. Nice beige/white head.

Smells nicely of caramell and some typical english hops, fuggles etc.

Tastes fine, some nuts, some dry fruityness. A bit caramell is noted too.

Plain and simple, nice. You can have this beer anytime considering the low ABV.

Bananaman, Aug 19, 2008
Photo of shamus
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%

A new one at the LCBO. Low in alcohol at 3.5% but very tasty. Lot's of flavours going in in this: malty, butterscotch, biscuit. Very bitter like a bitter should be. The label states that this is a double fermented ale. Very rich, very fresh and very drinkable.

shamus, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of CanuckRover
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

CanuckRover, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%

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.

Sammy, Aug 11, 2008
Photo of biegaman
3.28/5  rDev -13%

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.

biegaman, Aug 04, 2008
Photo of allergictomacros
4.6/5  rDev +22%

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.

allergictomacros, Jul 26, 2008
Photo of Daredevil
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%

nice amber color, firm and creamy head ... smell of wet grass and fresh hops with hints of tar .... taste of pink grapefruit, macadamia, with hints of sultanas and lime ... a bit watery, perhaps ... nevertheless, probably one of the better brews from Wychwood ....

Daredevil, Nov 26, 2007
Photo of Jonte
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

Jonte, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of mdagnew
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%

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...

mdagnew, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of BlackHaddock
4/5  rDev +6.1%

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.

BlackHaddock, Jul 20, 2007
Photo of Hammarby
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%

A: Dark amber with an offwhite head.
S: Phenols, red berries, malt, fudge, sweetness.
T: Bitterness, malt, hops, metallic tone. Hint of honey in the aftertaste.
M: Low carboration, medium body. Just the way a bitter should be, but perhaps a bit "thin".
D: Goes down really easy. And with an abv of 3,4%, you could drink a considerable amount of it without getting too cocky.

Hammarby, Jun 08, 2007
Photo of JanM
2.58/5  rDev -31.6%

The colour is of copper yellow wild honey and it pours with weird big bubbles looking like soap. The smell is bitter with apples, pears and a pinch of caramel. The initial taste is almost of apple juice with the bitterness kicking in after a few seconds. But, I'm sorry to say, I found it very watery and on the flat side (but then why not? It's a low-alcohol English bitter). The aftertaste is not so bad although the as a whole I think the product begs for another percent ABV.

JanM, May 20, 2007
Photo of GreenCard
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Appearance: light coppery brown, great clarity, medium layer of spongey off-white foam, great head retention, bits of lace

Aroma: biscuity maltiness with hints of leather, toffee, hop greenery, and wet wood

Flavor: bone-dry malt profile with a quick-hitting green bitterness; hop flavor like unripe apples or greengages; hints of orange marmalade, copper, and leather; finishes as dry as it started with a long-lingering alkaloidal bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium body, pert carbonation, crisp texture, slight astringency

Other comments: This bitter stands out from the "bog standard" bitters you find in England because... well... it's actually bitter!

GreenCard, May 16, 2007
Photo of Chaz
4.6/5  rDev +22%

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!)

Chaz, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of Sigmund
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%

660 ml brown bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. Served with original Brakspear pint glass, nice! "Double dropped", ABV is 3.4%. Brewed with Maris Otter malts, Goldings and Fuggles hops. Copper coloured, low head. Aroma of "dusty" Goldings hops + rusty iron in stale water + hospital flesh wound dressings(!) Flavour is very tasty for a 3.4% pasteurised beer, nicely balanced between the malts and hops, nutty and toffee elements, not sweet. Moderate carbonation. A nice Fuggles finish.

Sigmund, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of bark
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%

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.

bark, May 06, 2006
Photo of wl0307
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

wl0307, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of twelvsies
4/5  rDev +6.1%

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.

twelvsies, Jan 13, 2005
Brakspear Bitter from W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc
85 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.