Bitter Brewer
Surly Brewing Company

Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer
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Bitter - English
4 | pDev: 11%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer
Notes: Brewed with a significant portion of Simpsons Golden Promise, the malt character comes across as toasty, and the flaked oats provide some additional mouthfeel to offset the bitterness. The hops provide an orange aroma and flavor, almost like marmalade. The current signature hop is Mandarina Bavaria, a new aromatic varietal coming out of Germany that has distinct tangerine and orange-like notes.
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Reviews: 446 | Ratings: 1,090 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by brewnic:
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brewnic from Minnesota

4/5  rDev 0%

Dec 15, 2011
More User Reviews:
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jjayjaye from New York

4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy orange tea color with a BIG foamy light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good amount of lacing behind. The smell is sweet malt, roasted grainy with equal part citrus hop. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is light and tangy. Full flavored, I really appreciate the association with 'intense toast and marmalade'. The grainy biscuit character lingers nicely. At 4.0% ABV this is one crazy of the best I've ever had of this style. Many thanks to maximum12 for this opportunity!

Jul 20, 2009
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Soneast from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Aug 15, 2014
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joemcgrath27 from Canada (AB)

4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - slightly hazy copper, thumb of fluffy head dissipated slowly, lots of random sticky lacing
S - big aromas of mandarin citrus, herbs, and grainy malts, some grassiness, definitely interesting
T - start with a prominent mineral flavour, gives way to gentle citrus, fresh grass, and perfume, a prevalent grainy malt backbone, definitely unique
M - light and well carbonated, a bitter and mineral residue feel lingers along with a prominent bitter
O - definitely a unique brew with a pleasant hop mix and a prominent bitter finish, well crafted

Mar 25, 2012
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Chucker17 from South Dakota

3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jun 26, 2015
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Superbohl4 from Wisconsin

3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jan 16, 2015
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edbeered from Minnesota

2.98/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had high hopes for this beer. While I've never cared much for it on tap, I hoped that the cask version would be better(take for example the Summit IPA, which is terrific on cask, but the cold version leaves me, well, cold). This beer(disapointingly) is just a warmer version of the cold Bitter Brewer. Served on cask, this pours a hazy amber color, with a frothy white head and ample lacing on the glass. The smell is malty with a hint of lemon. The lemon smell is an overwhelming flavor in the beer. It's hard to taste much else, although there is a bready malty flavor as well. The mouthfeel is rich(typical of Surly brews). There is just too much lemon flavor in this beer for me to appreciate it. This is a rare misfire for an otherwise terrific brewery.

Jun 24, 2008
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Seefeldt from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Jan 18, 2014
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newk340 from Wisconsin

3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a translucent golden amber with subtle carbonation.

S: hints of hops and wheat gently tease the nostrils.

T: smooth blends of hops that tickle the tongue while citrus hints spatter the throat with the swallow.

MF/D: an initial buzz of carbonation that dissipates as quickly as it hits the tongue for a smooth swallow. excellent session beer.

Sep 14, 2010
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CarlosNed from Minnesota

4.68/5  rDev +17%

Oct 04, 2014
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iRun2Beer from Minnesota

3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 01, 2015
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With full flavor, light body, and ultimate ease of drinking- Bitter Brewer is an ideal session beer.

Fruity malty aromas give the impressions of bruised oranges, and lemon-honey tea.

The copper-golden color actually looks orange when it hits the light just right. With bright clarity and froathy carbonation, the beer lathers an eggshell white head that reduces to a thin but consistent sheet, leaving nice random patterns of lace behind. Very clear, otherwise a classic pale ale appearance.

Flavors take the malty notes from caramel-bready to toasty, toffee, and mild grain. Fruity esters give the flavor of apples and oranges. But the hops give even more character with orange zest, lemon grass, and mint. The lable suggests marmelade flavor, and justifiably so.

Light in body, the initial sips seem creamier/froathier. But then the beer makes a quick transition to a light minty finish with clean bitterness and fleeting hop (citrus) taste. Very easy to drink.

Thanks Shango42!

Aug 03, 2010
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jaywes754 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Jul 06, 2014
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Merchant46 from Minnesota

4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: A pleasant light amber color. Thick white head that dissipates quickly but maintains a presence. Usually few bubbles.

Smell: A fresh baked bread smell dominates.

Taste: Wonderfully earthy, with a bitterness that avoids being fruity or floral, that lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for an ESB, but actually seems appropriate for this beer.

Drinkability: I never have just one around, bcz I always want another (at least). The relatively low alcohol content is nice, considering how much of this beer I like to drink

Important note: You will really sell this beer short if you drink it ice cold. I usually take a can out of the fridge a half hour before I want to have one, then take the next one when I'm opening the first.

Jun 07, 2010
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Jacob007 from New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Jul 12, 2013
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tjnissly from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Feb 03, 2015
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sacrelicio from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Feb 26, 2013
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korguy123 from Canada (ON)

4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into my imperial pint glass.
Special thanks to biglobo8971 for this treat.

A- Clear caramel/toffee color, HUGE 3 finger fluffy white head, lacing is nothing but superior.

S- Bready at first, hops are there but are quite subdued. It has a slight eartly quality to it.

T- Yeasty, bitter is right this tings tastes fantastic. Bitter aftertaste makes me smile.

M- Great carbonation but feels a little watered down to me.

D- This thing is a champ in my books could drink these morning noon and night.

Bitters are slowly becomeing my new goto beers. They are excellent after dinner, refreshing after cutting the grass and hell fantastic in the shower.

Aug 10, 2010
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arniepnminne from Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 18, 2015
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jkroese from Iowa

4/5  rDev 0%

Jun 29, 2014
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Metalsnota from Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jun 30, 2015
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FtownThrowDown from Ohio

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Can thanks to Pwoods.
Amber in color with a two inch head on the pour. Head quickly disappears but leaves nice lacing throughout the glass. Taste is subtle hops and I'm getting a hint of green tea. This is very sessionable and incredibly smooth and drinkable. Would be a nice session beer to have on hand for this time of season.
Another solid beer from Surly. I love these guys.

May 01, 2009
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homebrew311 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received as an extra from millah- thanks man! Can never get enough Surly!!

A: pours a bright clear gold with a white, sticky looking head, good lacing and retention

S: lemon zest and citrusy aromatic hops on the front, rich caramel malts are next with a sweet finish

T: sweet malts come through on the front along with nice fruity hops which introduce some bitterness to the malts, malty finish with notes of bread, very well balanced

MF: smooth and crisp, medium carbonation, light body

D: another low alcohol masterpiece from Surly. I have gotten to the point where I am confident that any Surly product I try will impress me regardless of style

Jul 13, 2010
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starrdogg from District of Columbia

4/5  rDev 0%

Nov 15, 2011
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e30todamax from Virginia

4/5  rDev 0%

Aug 10, 2013
Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 1090 ratings