Beast Bitter | Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.

very good
165 Reviews
Beast BitterBeast Bitter

Brewed by:
Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
New York, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 09-24-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 242
Photo of utopiajane
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nose is vivacious with malt. Biscuity and caramel. Firm dry caramel , none of that soft sweet stuff. The hops twinkle like fuggles do and show you soft earthy, woody spice. There is good citric backnote to them that makes them smell fresh and tangy and even a bit like zest. They also use cascade I think. Toasty malt is so crisp it's almost crunchy in there. I love it! As you drink the beer it simply takes over your mouth and your will to fight. It's abundant with malt. The hops are forward and keep forward until the very last moment in the swallow when you smile because it's the malt that finishes this beer medium dry.

Taste is like toast! Lightly buttered and bitter. So delicious. The finish and the balance is what kept this beer in my glass until literally there was no more beer. Hops give an expert bitterness that never gains speed or strength. Steadfast, although it's not really too gentle either. As all the flavor from malt fades, even the hop fruitiness fades off to tangerine pith but the bitter remains.

Outrageously good. I'll take a few big mugs of that! I also hear that this brewer is using the ever elusive strain of yeast in this beer called ringwood. I would love to know if that yeast is in any way responsible for the flavor that this beer has. You just can't stop drinking it.

 1,310 characters

Photo of logicalparadox
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A classic bitter. An underrepresented style, in my opinion, and this is a beast of an example.

Pours a somewhere between a dark orange to a very light mahogany. Dark enough to let you know there's some big malts in there. Nice head that fades slow. Feels very medieval in some way!

Aromas are malty, buttery, and some light fruit. Picking up on the yeast, it gets the appetite going.

The flavors are bitter, but not biting. Pleasant bitterness with a long finish, that dances back and forth between that and a mellow sweetness from the malts. A light roast character. The cumulative effect is like bitter buttered toast. MMmm.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and a bit creamy. Every pub in the world should have this on tap as the quintessential answer to a generic "give me a pint".

Why do more people not make this kind of brew? Is it difficult to do well? Is it perhaps too simple? Does it just not carry the hero-worship that a flagship IPA brings with it? This is a great beer and an argument for more brewers to take on this style as one worth brewing.

 1,066 characters

Photo of RustyTruck
4.36/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I got this beer as an exchange from a family member in New york so I have no idea how long it was cellaring.

This was my first ESB so it would be wrong for me to judge it but... I swear to what gods I find holy this beer is the best ESB I have ever imbibed! And i have have tried many a bitter since.

I would love to try another to get a more objective review, until then: If you get a chance to try this beer GIVE IT A TRY.

 427 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Village Tavern in Geneseo, NY.

Pours a golden honey color. Mildly hazy, looks unfiltered. Strong visible carbonation, 2 inch head. Some small spots of lacing throughout the session.

Sharp English hop aroma- grass, apples, pears.

Great taste. Pretty hoppy for what it is- a lingering hop bitterness stays throughout the session. Some apples and pears in the taste too, along with grass, biscuity malt, slight wood.

Medium to light body, crisply carbonated.

I'm really getting into English bitters these days, and I love this one a lot.

 554 characters

Photo of Brendog9
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my Newport Storm balloon glass. No freshness date on the bottle.

Burnt orange body with a vibrant white head.

The aroma is hard to place. It smells like a scotch ale with the faintest hint of hops poking through.

Very malty with hints of caramel. The hops make an appearance on the back of the tongue.

Overall, very enjoyable. I would drink this again.

 379 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark orange with a thin, soft, white head that fades to a very thin lacing quickly

S - citrusy, fruity, faint caramel

T - citrusy, fruity, very faint toast, faintly piny, good bitter finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a nice, refreshing ESB. It has a nice estery, citrusy-hop character as well as a solid hoppy, bitter finish. The flavor isn't as full as I would like, but this definitely has a solid flavor profile and tremendous drinkability. This is definitely worth a try if you'd like something refreshing and sessionable.

 550 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mild blonde color with a one-finger head into my glass. Oooh, a beastly bitter? Or a beastly dud?

Sweet and buttery malt greet the nose. Hop aroma is right where it should be as well. Smells promising.

The sweetness is still there but it's immediately enveloped by a decent touch of hop bitterness. Malt like buttered bread and you have a pretty damn solid beer as-is.

Carbonation is very well done. Without it, this would be an incredibly weak bitter.

I like it even if I'm not the biggest fan of the style. Check it out.

 536 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Doing what they do best- the Middle Ages brewery can hang their hats on anything English. While missing the mark slightly on minor nuances of ESB, the beer reasonably captures the essence of the style with unwavering committal.

Pouring a honey-amber hue, the beer's mild haze is a testament to it's non-filtered character. Its ample carbonation yields a billowing slight yellowish head with rock-solid staying power and clumped lace. It's a fantastic looking ale that's on par with most well made ales.

Biscuit, light caramel, dry nutty notes, and sharp hops shape the impressions to the nose with authentic English ale aroma. Apricot fruit, apples, and peach are fruity complements from yeast and gives a richer impression to the malt influence.

Flavors seem sweeter and fruitier with notions of caramel soaked fruits, but take a sudden dive into dry nutty taste and earthy wood flavor to balance at middle palate. Its balance is impeccable as the taste of damp sod and wood leads to a broad and spicy bitterness to balance the semi-dry malt taste. Finishing with a mostly earthen bitterness but waivering malt sweetness, the beer closes mostly clean with a short linger of barley and spice.

Medium bodied, the beer's biscuity textures carry an inherent sweetness that's slow but steady to recede. As it does so, the hop dryness, moderate alcohol warmth, and grain attributes gain command in finish for a semi-dry taste and texture that frame the final impressions.

Though this ESB doesn't have the masculine complexities and authentic nutty malt taste of Fuller's ESB, the taste and simplicity of American specialty malts and restrained yeast character keeps its palate a little short and simple.

 1,703 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Nonic, served at fridge temp.

Hazy Apricot with a thinnish, offwhite head.

Aroma is very fruity; especially Apricots and Golden Raisins. Maybe some malt.

Mouthfeel is full with prickly carbonation.

taste; malty, fruity with some herbal Hop sting.

Notes; Looks fine, smells great, tastes pretty good. This is a fine little beer and priced right.

 383 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

almost more like an american ipa in style than an english bitter. smells like big west coast hops, fresh and bold. some sturdy english malts underneath. flavor is beastly and bitter, but not in an imperial only drink one kind of way. its hoppy and dry, refreshingly crisp, and more drinkable than the name implies. its got a great pine hop profile, only really getting bitter in the finish. mouthfeel is great, medium body with some caramel notes, and prominent carbonation which is uncommon in the english style ales. overall this is an excellent beer, if difficult to categorize perfectly. one of my favorites in the mixed 12pack.

 632 characters

Photo of rlee1390
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Cloudy orange, three finger head and well carbonated. Some lacing

S-Malt, a good deal of grassy notes, floral

T-Grassy, floral and a little bit of citrus hops. Nice malt bill, some spices but not much bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, good carbonation and rather smooth.

O-A nice ESB, there are better beers out there, it was worth the try.

 341 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beast Bitter showcases plenty of bubbles for a style traditionally served under no pressure. The frothiness created in the wake of this bottomless effervescence piles up on top and sticks like quilt-work to the glass. The beer's pale golden (almost daisy yellow in some lights) complexion is fare but not altogether unreasonable for the style.

Beer takes its bitterness from hops yet the 'bitter' style tends to be more malt-oriented, at least so do many English offerings. This American brewery, however, has used ample hops to impart a wonderfully fragrant, flowery bouquet that has hints of citrus, rose-hip and other things that might make their way into a bathroom potpourri.

Floral and fruity flavours are appreciated on the palate as well. The resins-y taste is moderate and extremely pleasant on the tongue. Malt factors in too, though maybe not enough considering the style, with flavours of communion wafer and hints of a malty butterscotch and warm corn bread. But the hops are clearly the star of the show.

Beast Bitter has got little but very sharp teeth. The sparkling mouthfeel is a bit ill-suited for the style but does give it a very refreshing, mineral-rich finish. Middle Ages Brewing have clearly figured out how to Burtonize their water. The beer could stand to use more malt; it lacks that medium-heavy, sticky-sweet, wholesome body.

Beast Bitter is actually very tame, but striking nonetheless. Its floral, earthy, resinous hopping and mineral-rich water make it as refreshing as a pre-moistened towelette. It's definitely the kind of beer worth buying six of - and probably the kind most people could just sit down and drink six of to themselves too!

 1,682 characters

Photo of soju6
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light amber color with a good head and some lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus, fresh grain and a fruity sweetness.

T: Mild flavor of caramel, fruit and grain with a subtle bitterness. has a nice dry finish.

F: Medium body, crisp, smooth, creamy and clean.

O: Breat bitter, not sure why it is called the Beast, but it beats out most other of this style. Highly recommended.

 380 characters

Photo of Klym
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to steelersx for this interesting extra!

Wasn't sure what to expect from this given the disparity in the bros and the people's ratings and my relative lack of experience with ESBs. It was alright, drink worthy, but nothing that stopped me. The beer has a gorgeous color with a nice white head that leaves carwash lacing. Nose is pungent with cereal and only the mildest detection of hops. The taste is much the same, but the honey very present honeycomb is robbed of its sweetness and is instead replaced with a very cereal, oaty taste that has an iron touch which maybe where the hops come in. I didn't not enjoy drinking it but it never made me think or savor. Good compared to other ESBs I've had but I think the buck stops there.

 745 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice golden color with a pretty good looking head on it. The head leaves a little bit of lacing but not too much. The smell of this beer is malty, it's a little sweet and earthy too. The taste of the beer gives off a lot of the same features as the smell. Mostly malts dominate the flavors here. The mouthfeel of the beer is decent, I'd say it's average for an ESB. Overall this beer was pretty good and probably worth a try. I can't say that I'd run out for more right away.

 501 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From 08/23/11 notes. Received as an extra from SteelersX; thanks man! Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a hazy dark orange color with one finger of fluffy white head and
moderate carbonation evident. Light lacing on the glass and little head retention.

s - Smells of light citrus hops, floral hops, and pale fruity malts. Some light fruit, pretty nice.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, fruity malys, pale malts, and some bready malts. Lightly bitter in the taste, but just a touch.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation; a touch too carbonated.

o - Overall a pretty nice ESB. Easy to drink and some light fruit with the light bitterness, would have it again.

 694 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass - thanks to SteelersX

Pours a clear golden orange color with a tuft of white head. Retains with a layer of film throughout the pour, leaving a few spots of lacing.

Bready malts with toasted notes in the nose, some sweet caramel. Light touches of floral hops and citrus fruit with honey.

Mild touch of bitter hops up front with some citrus fruit tones. Orange peel gives way to the bready malt base with caramel and crust. Doughy and sticky with bitterness, finishes with lingering flavor.

Medium body, a bit higher carbonation, sticky and a bit chewy on the tongue. A pretty nice ESB, and nice balance of bitter hops and bready malt.

 676 characters

Photo of ChrisCage
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to drewsy for the trade!

A- Pours a very nicely bronzed gold color, that while not cloudy, isn't exactly clear either...just foggy! The head is awesome on this one, starting out about 3 fingers thick, and eventually settling to a superbly thick cloud sitting on top of the beer. The carbonation looks soft and fine, and the lacing is excellent...thick sticky foam clings to my pint glass!

S- There is a very well balanced aroma profile going on starts off with enticing sweet caramel malts, becomes slightly spicy in the middle and finishes with good earthy hop cones. Mixed into this is a floral/zesty citrus aroma too! Smells like a winner!

T-! This tastes different than I would have expected, coming off to me more like an IPA to me than a bitter, but it's much softer, as there is some malt balance to be found. I find that as it warms, the bitterness becomes more prominent too.

M- Medium body and with a creamy carbonation. The leafy hop presence is very noticeable and provides a somewhat oily mouthfeel. Very smooth during the swallow!

O- While I think this could stand to contain a little more of a malt character to help balance out the heavier bitterness, this is a very decent beer that I'd be happy to enjoy over an evening! It's definitely flavorful, smooth, and quite easy to is actually quite clean on the palate. I recommend this one and am looking forward to trying more Middle Ages product!

 1,454 characters

Photo of Brenden
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is a hazy copper. A big white head is rocky and quite dense. It retains itself very well and lacing is left in plenty, legs spreading from thick patches all over the glass.
The smell isn't potent until it warms. Then, it's got an IPA-like hops dosing with lots of earthiness and some malts do balance it well. There's just a slight grains presence with a little butter in there too. There's something very interesting and dare I say British in the yeast component. Some citrus rind xome out before a touch of fresher fruit sift in.
The flavor kicks with a nearly IPA-strength bitterness with lots of herbal character. There's a bit of a tart juice and a boost in balance from malts and interesting yeast notes before some rind-like bitterness flows into the finish. At that point, a bit of peppery spiciness hits the back of the tongue. This is big, complex, hoppy and balanced, quite a take on the style and much appreciated on my end.
This medium-bodied brew is crisp all the way with a moderately smooth flow. Moderate carbonation is on the level.
This is the sort of ESB that can renew or ignite one's love of the style as well as make me really appreciate different interpretations. A fantastic effort from these guys.

 1,232 characters

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 4-20-11
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A – Poured three fingers of thick foam, clear copper orange color, lots of carbonation present. Great head retention with a thick layer of froth around the glass

S – Roasted malts, caramel and orange peel and hop aroma

T/M – Bitter malt taste, orange peel and caramel come through, more malt then hops. Slight gritty mouth feel

D – Good tasting bitter, hints of orange peel and caramel. Glad I had this medium bodied brew. I would recommend this brew to those who like bitters

 547 characters

Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light fizzy head of almost 1 finger, clear pale wheat orange color, light lacing.

Nose light grassy hops, bit of chewy hops, light toasty pilsner like malt aromatic malt.

Taste starts with a light grassy and slight spicy noble-ish hop flavor, gets somewhat bitter but not too much, light toasty malts under, crisp and clean finish with lingering bitter but clean hops.

Mouth is med bodied with decent carb.

Overall a decent americanized pale ale, light malts that are distinguishable, nice grassy hop profile, semi bitter but not astringent.

 545 characters

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from notes

A - light amber body, small white head.

S - Nice bitter hops, some nondescript sweet malts. great balance

T - hop-forward bitterness, mildly sweet malt balance

M - medium body, drying mouthfeel.

O (D) - good and tasty, but dryness slows you down.

 262 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I do not like beers that explode when opened. I lost a third of the bottle. The head is massive! And it recedes slowly in a dome-like fashion leaving plenty of spotty and chunky lace. Light amber in color with a moderate degree of cloudiness.

Pleasant blend of modest floral hop and pale malts. Surprisingly, there's also some alcohol warmth to the nose.

A true bitter in terms of flavor. The malt is present but it plays second fiddle to the hop bitterness. The body is smooth but thin. There is heightened level of carbonation, naturally. The aftertaste is mild bitterness. I detect a touch of sourness. Overall, a balanced bitter.

 636 characters

Photo of brew3crew
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had during a middle ages tasting.
A-nice copper color with white head
S-smells hoppy and malty
T-nicely balanced between the hops and malt. Nicely bitter
M-light bodied Nd goes down smooth
D-very drinkable. My taste was gone in no time
Very decent brew. Never had an esb style before. this is the highest rated so I hope others can keep up

 339 characters

Photo of Urbancaver
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden orange with a lot of white head. A good combination of big and small bubbles on the head. Nice lacing. Smells hoppy and bitter with a nice balance. Tastes malty hoppy bitter with a bit of a kick. Really a very well balanced beer. Geat mouthfeel. A very drinkable bitter. Overall i much more agree with the bros rating of this one. A phenomenal representation of style

 380 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Beast Bitter from Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
3.89 out of 5 based on 242 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.