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Highland Black Mountain Bitter - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Black Mountain BitterHighland Black Mountain Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

41 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 47
Avg: 3.44
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: wagenvolks on 12-18-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 47
Photo of Jazzcrop
2.91/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tastes are, as you may've expected, British hops, pines, tree bark, little malt presence and lost hair strands. Smells like a beer that needs a lot more done to it before it can make it to the Top 100, lol. Has a nice body and an amazing foamy head.

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Photo of corby112
2.71/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes:

Pours a hazy golden amber/orange color with a thin foamy white head that quickly settles into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind.

The aroma is kind of bland with a balance of earthy pine hops and pale, biscuit malt.

Medium bodied with a nice balance of earthy, bitter hops and pale malt notes. Hints of pine and subtle citrus as well as slight earthy, grass notes. Crisp, clean and easy drinking with a slightly dry finish.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.77/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty golden color with a thick white head and a good amount of lacing. Smells of grassy hops and other bittering agents. It actually smells bitter. Tastes of grassy hops and bitter hops and plenty of bready notes. Really bitter from start to finish! Awesome. Drinkability is nice.

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Photo of PDXHops
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint. Muted golden body with a foamy white head that lingers and laces pretty nicely.

The nose is full of wet hay, cereal grains and light citrusy notes hops. Smells very 'clean' and fresh, and tastes so, too. Nice little nip of grassy bitterness that's well showcased by the crisp and dry finish. A touch of nuttiness, a touch of sweetness. Subtle yet focused. A well-constructed, balanced and enjoyable beer. Recommended.

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Photo of beer2day
3.97/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale yellow gold with 2 fingers of fluffy light cream head. Decent retention. Sparse lace.

Nose is very earthy and with a little hot toddy twinge. Very malty with a hint of herbal hops.

Very smooth hit. Creamy texture gives way to some fairly intense, tart bitters in the finish. Surprised at how bitter it gets. Lots of malt body for a beer this light. Definite English feel to it, compared to some of the Sammy Smiths.

Very easy to drink and at 4% why not throw down a few?

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Translucent gold with a white bubbly head that dissipates quickly.

S-Not much on the nose, but there is a detectable balance between hops and malts.

T-A nice balance between the hops and malt like in the nose. It has a grainy/grassy note, but a nice refreshing bitterness. Nothing overpowering at all.

M-Thin and watery.

D-Its low abv., light flavor, and watery mouthfeel make this a very sessionable beer.

I have had much better from Highland, but if you want a decent craft beer to session this could be an option.

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Photo of CBlack85
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours a clear golden color with about two fingers worth of foamy white head that drops into spotty lacing.

Smells of noble hops and bready malts.

Taste follows the nose quite closely, a fair amount of hops, followed by light bready, grainy malts. Dry with a bitter finish. Light bodied and moderatley carbinated. Not bad, but overall not impressive.

While I am usually quite impressed with Highlands offerings, this one leaves me wanting. Not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, just a bit boring.

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Photo of jammapamma
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will compare this to other english bitters like Tetley's. My impression of the style is that it should be smooth, creamy and not much else. It think it's important to explain expectations, because I saw people ding it for "low carbonation", it's a british stlye, it's supposed to be low in carbonation, that's what makes it smooth and creamy.

Highland took a different approach. Their version has more hops, still English hops, but hoppier than any other English Bitter that I've had. My personal preference is that this flys in the face of the style, but whatever.

Aroma- EKG hops, not much else.
Taste-light malt character that is subtly biscuity with pleasant grainy notes, which is quickly taken over by a light, clean hop character. Both are mild, but the hops definitely win in the fight. I hate to compare this to SN summerfest, but that is a very similar hop character. I know that SN summerfest is a lager, but the hop character similarities are stunning. I don't consider that an insult.

I like this, I do. I could drink this all night long and probably will several times this year. I was foolishly hoping for an authentic tasting English bitter and this is not it. Highland chose to go with a less creamy mouthfeel, with more hops to make this more "refreshing." It is more refreshing, but I can't help but to slightly bitch about the beer being out of style. It's not a true English bitter, but it is a very good, light, crisp summer beer.

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Photo of mwa423
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear gold with almost no head, some head would have made this an easy 4.0

S - Mostly malty backbone with a bit of steely hop bitterness.

T - It's a good example of the style, bready english malts chased by hops down the throat, a more traditional english hop.

M/D - Mouthfeel is very creamy, I would think this was out of a nitro-bottle if I didn't know better. However, the thickness and breadiness of this really make me glad I have one to try and that's all.

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Photo of kels
3.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours from the bottle into my pint a hazy golden shade. The occasional bubble rises up through the beer to skim of white foam that remains from the initial, quick-faded 1/2 finger head. Lots of slippery white lace dots the walls of the glass.

Aroma is dominated by distinctly toasted grains. A very light citrus hop is just barely detectable.

Very bright and refreshing beer. Extremely carbonated and very clean feeling. Taste is a nice balance of toasted grains and lemony citrus. Bitterness has a nice bite, but not aggressively. Taste is a little on the watery side. Very simple, straightforward and pleasant. Light, crisp and highly drinkable. Surprised this is a winter seasonal. This would be perfect on a hot summer day.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
3.22/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly pedestrian straw golden color with a thin whisp of whiteish head.
Smell is solid some light malts and a nose full of flowers.
Taste is textbook here-there is a solid bitter malt flavor and some hop profile.
Finish is very dry with some bitter after-bite.
Drinks well- highly sessionable.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold and pale yellow in color. Thin head that disappears quickly. Lace sticks nicely to the sides of the glass.
Typical English bitter aromas of pale malts and a grassy herbal scent.
Grassy herbal hops in the flavor. Plenty of malts to balance it out. This beer won't "wow" you with flavor but I don't think it's really supposed to. It's meant to be a nice light easy drinking sessionable beer and it hits that profile spot on.

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Photo of danielharper
3.04/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Very clear, slightly yellow body. No effervescence. Soapscum on top is the whole of the head. Disappointing.

Smell: Bitter, dry, slightly hoppy, with a malt backbone. Very much like a standard English bitter.

Taste: Very clean, almost tasteless. Notes of malt, strong aftertaste of corn.

Mouthfeel: Thin, low carbonation, no particular hop presence. Bog-standard for a bitter.

Drinkability: Lacks character. It's drinkable, but it's just not all that great.

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Photo of Bung
3.12/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Fairly bright golden pour, minimal white head. Some malt and citrus pine in the aromas, hints of grass, all pretty subdued though. Taste is similar, some malt and bitters. A bit musty, enough carbonation, light bodied. Certainly a session beer. Not a whole lot different than some macro lagers, Yuengling and such. Not bad, just not great. They have definetely done better.

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Photo of HopDerek
3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle provided by Kegatron.

Pours a clear golden yellow color with 1 finger of frothy white head into a pint glass. Some retention and spotty lacing. Smells of grassy hops, honey, grain, and some citrus zest. Tastes of lemon and oranges up front followed by honey and lightly toasted grains. Finishes with some mintiness and grass. Medium-light in body with OK carbonation. Somewhat thin but crisp with a lingering gentle bitterness. An OK beer but nothing that really stands out, seems like it is missing something in the flavor as everything is subdued.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.46/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into DFH specialty glass on 5/20/09. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Clear golden/light amber body with mild carbonation and one-finger bright white head that settled to a thin patch and left spotty lacing around the glass.

S - Mild noble hops impart a slight citrusy and perfumy character, though the hop presence is very subtle overall. A slight honey character offers a bit of sweetness.

T - Sweet and slightly grainy malt character provides the foundation, with some honey and ripe tree fruit offering plenty of sweetness. A subtle grape presence also persists through the finish. Finishes with grainy malts and scant citrus hops with a lemon zest tang.

M - Light bodied with a watery texture, only slightly oily perhaps. Medium carbonation with a pretty thin mouthfeel overall. Slight bitter finish with plenty of residal sweetness on the palate.

D - Pretty decent session brew, but not one of my favorites from Highland. However, it is a pretty light and easy-drinking warm weather beer.

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Photo of thryn
3.67/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An ever so slightly hazy amber, with tiny bubble of carbonation dancing to the top. Head is white and about a finger thick, but drops to a layer of foam nearly immediately.

Smells of grassy hops and some bready malt. Slight buttery smell.

Taste follows, though the hops are less forward on the palate. Balance is good, though the diacetyl is a bit too prominent. The bottle says this is an English bitter, though, and I'm going to review it as such rather than as an APA.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, with very minimal carbonation.

Overall a drinkable brew and a decent bitter, but nothing special. I really like Highland and I think they make some solid beers, but this adds to my wondering about the challenges of organic brewing.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very pale yellow with a thin whispy white head on top. This disappears as quickly as it came. Some thin spottly lacing sticks along the glass edge. Nothing special. I was surprised at how pale this was though. I was expecting it to be darker for some reason. Smells grassy and grainy. Smells like a sourdough. Some slight lemon zest in there as well.

Mouthfeel was a little on the thin side, but I didn't mind it. Flavor was of a tad sour grass mixed with a nice bitter bite. The bitterness is not overpowering in any way, it's just there enough. Finishes a little citrusy as well.

I enjoyed this drink, and could see myself having a pint or two at a time.

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Photo of jwc215
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to decaturstevo (of RB) via jcwattsrugger for this!

Pours straw yellow (slightly hazed) with a thin white head. Some small strands of lacing stick.

The smell is grassy with an "English" aroma in the back.

The taste is of herbal (aspirin-y) bitterness with a light maltiness (and some water). There's some bread/yeast that is pretty bland. It has a dry, leafy, a bit grassy, finish.

The feel is thin and on the watery side.

There is a chalky/powdery dryness that didn't make it as easy to drink as it could have been. It does have an "English bitter" character, though more "bitter" than the typical example - a bit too though - a bit more malty flavor wouldn't hurt it. Good enough to start off with and move on... (and, why this is a "winter" seasonal, I have no idea...nothing "winter" about it...a "change-up" from the typical??)

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, courtesy of and enjoyed w/ dkachur - thanks! Poured into a tasting glass.

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly light and pale yellow, transparent bodied beer, full of lively and effervescent carbonation, spritzy, fine, and fast. The one-finger of foamy white head has average stick and retention. The lacing itself is clingy, foamy, a little bubbly, fairly nice.

Aroma: Very light and pale, slightly dry and biscuity, graham cracker-like in places, with a shallow and slightly tart hop presence, reminiscent of lighter citrus and hay.

Taste: A definite toasted malt presence, accompanied by some paler, sweet notes and a leafy, slightly minty hop presence that comes across very well. The balance is pretty good, decent for the style, even if it is a little simplistic.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly light and crisp. The body itself isn't too thin, but the sheer volume of carbonation in this one really cuts through whatever body is there - very light and airy on the tongue, which works well for the style and flavor profile.

Drinkability: Pretty high, I'm gonna have to say. This one may be dangerously sessionable - it's just a straightforward, balanced, relatively simple ale. I could definitely see myself enjoying a few pints of this at some North Carolina bar some spring or summer evening. Give it a go.

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Photo of cdizinno
1.86/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: On-tap at Flying Saucer. Clear yellow/orange.

S: Slight earthy hops and sweet malts, very bland.

T: Even more bland than the smell. No taste that is discernable.

M&D: The beer is very light and watery.

Unfortunately, this is the worst Highland I've had yet.

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Photo of gford217
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle courtesy of OldStyleCubfan poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden yellow with a fluffy white head that dissipates very quickly and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is pretty unimpressive with mostly toasted grains and light malts. There is maybe a hint of grassy hops in the nose, but not much.

The taste is slightly better with a much more noticeable grassy hop presence up front with the same light bready malt base as in the aroma. The finish is dry and slightly bitter.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with decent carbonation though it could use a little more body overall.

This is a fairly drinkable pale but really basic overall with minimal hop presence. Not bad but nothing too complex or flavorful.

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Photo of DrJay
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mikesgroove. Thanks!
Clear gold with a whitish, soapy collar and thin skim of fine bubbles. A bit of stickage and decent head retention. Grassy, floral, and light citrus hop aromas with mellow sweet malts. Solid bitterness with a light malt presence, just a bit of toasted grains and honey sweetness. Same hop characters, but with additional spiciness and a bit more citrus in the finish. Light bodied with average carbonation. Fairly crisp. Pretty tasty and refreshing.

 489 characters

Photo of blackie
3.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewed as an English Bitter

a: a fluffy white head caps the clear golden ale, average retention and light lace

s: bready pale malts support a simple, dried citrus hop nose, aromas of dried grasses

m: lively carbonation around medium in level, light-medium body

t: pale malts are not quite bland but the beer does seem a touch watery as a whole, the malt does however lend a nice grainy flavor upon which the hops are applied, dried lemon peel, bready, clean and crisp

d: sessionable, as it should be

sixer from Whole Foods, Cary, NC

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Photo of farrago
2.9/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thin, loose head, gets close to one finger and then dissolves swiftly, likewise minimal lacing. Very clear light orange to yellow in color, fully transparent. Big curious whiff of banana upon pouring, knits in over time with the grains, wild rice, rye and straw bundles, not a lot of malty counterpoint, note of dried butter like it was left on the breakfast plate that morning. Light-bodied, as in the nose it is open and easy to assess, but mostly so because of its relative lack of complexity. Everything comes in small portions, be it orange to lemon citrus, soda bread, biscuit, straw or hay, wheat, apricot to peach pit styled fruit, or used tea bags. The carbonation is on the low side, so what's there tends to sag. The banana thing knits into the whole more here. Releases swiftly through the finish, slight bitter astringency left on the tongue. Not deeply flawed at all but lacks the stuffing to hold your interest.

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Highland Black Mountain Bitter from Highland Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.