Brakspear Bitter - W.H. Brakspear & Sons plc

Not Rated.
Brakspear BitterBrakspear Bitter

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BA SCORE
85
very good

101 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.56%
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: 101 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flyingpig
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 500ml bottle of this in Home Bargains for around £1.

Clear reddish copper colour, fluffy white head that has good retention & leaves some lacing.

Fruity with a nice butterscotch aroma & some nice sweet malts too. There is a good mix of malts, honey and some floral notes. Very sweet & well balanced.

Sweet with a nice mix of butterscotch, malts & hops upfront that is followed by a great summer fruits type taste too it. Sweet right up until the finish which is a solid bitter one.

Smooth, medium bodied beer that has a creamy feel to it & goes down well. Carbonation is low in this one & the finish is a nice dry one

Overall the beer is really well balanced and full of flavour. Only downside being that the bitter finish is slightly too strong for my liking.

Featured in the 1001 Beers Blog:
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Photo of anakar
2.1/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Terrible... That's how I'll start it off

App - it's only fooling attributes, this one pours a light bronze with a pretty head. Very clear

Smell - The first sign, it smells like WINE... I know, you don't hear that a lot, definetly not about an English bitter but it has no hoppiness or barley-ness to it. Wine

Taste - Sadly and to my great disapointment - same like the smell: tastes and has a terrible after taste of red WINE!

Mouthfeel - It's very light and a bit carby, don't think an English beer should be either of those

Overall - Avoid it. maybe mine was spoiled, but if you like an English beer (not even bitter, could be just about any good English) you'll find no trace in this Oxfordshire pride
try something else from Brakspear, they have some nice stuff

Edit: Just looked at the bottle, it's not spoiled however it is brewed in Belguim... I don't know why, but that has a funny feeling to it...

Photo of stjaernstoft
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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

Presentation-500ml brown pop top bottle with cool bumblebee cap. This beer is 3.4% abv, and has a best by date of October 31, 2011. The label says that this is brewed with the special ‘Double Drop’ system, and that it uses Maris Otter and English Goldings and Fuggles.

Appearance- Poured into a tulip pint, this brew pours a burnt orange/copper hue, which is capped by a nice ivory cap that fades after a minute or two to a thick, sticky film. All in all, a nice looking beer.

Smell-Some apple-like fruity esters up front, with a bit of earthy English-variety hop, and light malty notes. Simple, but inviting.

Taste-My initial thought was that this was overly light on flavor, but as the brew warms a bit, I think this initial impression may have been a bit harsh. It is light, but then again, this beer has only 3.4% alcohol, and the flavor that is there is, on the whole, pretty good. It starts out clean, with just a hint of fruity esters. A light, pale and crystal maltiness hits you next, and the finish is bracingly clean and bitter.

Conclusion-A pretty tasty bitter. At 3.4%, this would make one really nice quaffable (true) session ale. The bitterness is still just a bit high for me, in that (for me) it overtakes the malt just a bit too much. I like my bitters fairly balanced, if leaning towards the bitter side. Still, this one isn’t bad at all.

Photo of drperm
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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 marquis
4.63/5  rDev +23.1%
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.

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 brendan13
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A very clear orangey amber colour with a very small centimetre or so of head that falls fairly fast.
S - Bready, honey & caramel malt aromas with some light floral hints. Some notes of diacetyl.
T - Much the same as the smell but the hops come out a bit more.
M - Lighter side of medium bodied with a fairly low carbonation level. Bitterness is there but pretty subtle.
D - A pretty tasty beer for 3.4%. Just a shame the value isn't there. But if I was sitting in a pub by the Thames drinking this all afternoon I'd be happy enough.

Photo of pootz
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

Pours a clear amber-reddish ale in the mug with a sufficient rocky off white cap that has fair retention and fair lacing qualities.

The nose is caramely-sweet malts with light wisps of kent golding leafyness.

Interesting profile: up front caramel sweet malts, musty woody tones and twiggy hop tastes in almost a perfect 3-way balance then mid palate the hop bittering breaks out and builds'til it is the dominant taste in the finish with a light caramel after tone.

Decent sessioner but not at these prices.

Photo of ReDave
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Well, got this from my daughter-in-law coming back from London.

MM.. pretty light stuff.
Double Dropped.. OoKay..

Poured a very light brown amber. very light off-white head that sorta disappeared.

Not much aroma, little malt, very light spice perhaps.
[going very lenient here]

Very light beverage, especially compared to what i normally have. Not sure what is typical, so, maybe this is OK...

light.. not offensive.. not exactly "fragrant mouthwatering" characteristics as claimed on the label, but
drinkable if given an open mind.

Photo of Fizzlybear
2.42/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

L - Pours a dark brown with a small off white head, that didn't last for so long.

S - Smells of sweet choclate malts and a few fruit notes. Also a hint of black pepper like spice in the background. I found to be the most redeeming part of this beer.

T - Taste starts of as a malt and honey with a very bitter aftertaste.

M&D - the mouth feel is great but after it went down I felt it very harsh.

Overall I wasn't too impressed, hopefully I'll find a pub that has it on tap, im sure it I would appreciate it more.

Photo of Kristing
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is an amber-coloured bitter with little head and, initially, high carbonation. The aroma is mellow with a quite strong element of dried fruit and apricots.

At first, the taste is full of hoppy bitterness with a mouth-feel of carbonation. However, as the carbonation goes down the taste becomes more mellow to the tongue, and the light bitterness goes up to the palate. Their is a lovely tone of dried fruit, as well as a hint of honey in the after-taste.

This brew is rather drinkable, due to the mellow taste and a low alcohol content. Nonetheless, I do prefer stronger bitters, and thus consider them as more drinkable.

Photo of fullsweep
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of charlatan
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of TerryW
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of velkyal
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

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 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 CAMRAhardliner
4.1/5  rDev +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.

Photo of Bananaman
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of CanuckRover
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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 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.

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