Bitter Brewer | Surly Brewing Company

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Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer
Very Good
1,088 Ratings
Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 1,088 |  Reviews: 446
Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams glass. A hazy orange/amber color with about one finger of hesd with good retention and nice lacing throughout.

Aroma of grapefruit and orange. A nice balance of hops and malts.

The mouthfeel is light/medium bodied with some nice carbonation and some bitterness on the finish.

Very refreshing.

Could drink alot of this, a nice session beer.

 368 characters

Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of imbibehour
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the can into a nonic pint glass. Canned May 13th 2011.

A Foamy three finger head is produced off the pour from the can that is perhaps off white. Head on build up seems small but grows. Body is a hazy murky orange color with a hint of brown, kind of swampy looking, with some tiny rising carbonation. Lots of clumpy sticky retention and bubble bath character.

Orange, cinnamon, marmalade with a clean refreshing spritzy quality. Feels like Italian orange soda, with a small hint of bitter and malt behind it. Just flat out wonderful, this is just an exceptional nose here.

Taste is wet, mild, and slightly bitter. A surprising mild baked bread quality and orange mouthwash finish, almost very rinsing agent like. Mild palate coating, a hop bent strangely surrounded by mild orange/marmalade citrus that is hard to pinpoint.

Overall extremely nice and super sessionable drinking brew, I just wish it had a little less wet character in feel to it, but that would be hard to pull off, and that probably wouldn't represent the style very well. The nose on this is just flat out fantastic.

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Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to maximum12 for this brew.

Poured into my Surly glass a very nice cloudy golden brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing and small islands. The nose is malty, hoppy, bitter, with some citrus notes. The taste is malty, with some very nice hop notes, bitter, citrus notes. Medium body. Very drinkable, a very nice brew.

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Photo of jwc215
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade!

Pours hazed orange amber with a thin white foamy head that stays.

The smell is of citric orange, tangerine, grapefruit with floral and piney notes.

The taste is of orange marmalade with a slight toastiness with spicy floral/citric hop spiciness. A malty, roasted sweetness turns to a bitter dry finish.

Bitter despite the firm, smooth malty backbone. More bitter in the American style than the traditional English. Certainly an American take on the style, with English malts but plenty of American hops. Light enough to be very drinkable/"sessionable" but big on aroma and flavor. This is surely one that is worthy of a bitter "session" brew!

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Photo of Duff27
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- The pour into a pint glass produces a two-inch, light-tan head on top of a hazy, red-hued golden beer. Above average staying power on the head and some lacing.

S- Sweet citrus hops...reminiscent of orange-flavored gum. Interesting!

T- Follows the smell at first, bitter citrus (orange) hops. Bready aftertaste that I grew accustomed to as the beer wore on.

M- Good carbonation. Medium to medium-thin mouthfeel.

D/O- Simple, yet highly effective. This is now the best "lowest ABV to fullest flavor"-ed beer I've ever had. Bring me more of these English Bitters if they are anything like this, as I am quite impressed. Would love to be able to take this on summer outdoor adventures. Surly, again.

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Photo of Lare453
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lightly hazed apricot marmalade kiddin'...under a crisp, creamy white head...really, crisp and creamy...this is so far, one of the paler Surlys yet (maybe Cynic was lighter?), but the least alcoholic, for sure. (4.2%)

orange/ apricot marmalade dominates the aroma, also...fresh with citric zest...pithy, zippy...and a little sticky...

Taste: big bitter blast, tangy and tart, then nothing but refreshment. Easy drinking ale, this, crisp, snappy, light bodied, but full of testure, flavor and character. Bitter lemon rind feel keeps creeping into the palate.Then it fades back, with the hoppy kick still hanging on.

Interesting. Very much like a smooth, light ESB, but with that special something you get from the hops we grow on this continent. I am liking this, a great late spring sessioner.

Once again, an utterly unique, new creation from Surly. Keep 'em coming , guys!

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Photo of sendbeer
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Sweffin
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BeerOps
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of MasterSki
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Binny's SL Tasting Room.

A - Murky, semi-transparent, apricot color with a one-fingered, off-white head. Great lace and decent retention. Some visible carbonation. A little more head volume would have been nice.

S - Centennial hops? Reminiscent of Bell's Two-Hearted at first with the tangerine citrus and pineapple, as well as some of the Surly candy smell. But as it warms up it unleashes some bitter lemon and pine, as well as a stronger English malt character. Really interesting combination of aromas.

T - Dryer than I expected. English ESB taste - bready, with a touch of malt sweetness. I was kind of underwhelmed. Bitter on the top of the palate, and nowhere as sweet as it smells. It gets a little stronger as it warms, but the strongest flavor profile comes when I burp - thankfully it's a good flavor!

M - Tingly carbonation that suits the bitterness. Creamy, smooth, and a little watery, although that's not inappropriate for the style.

D - My only knock is the carbonation - might get bloaty after a few. Low ABV makes it highly sessionable.

Not my favorite Surly, but a solid brew and a nice change of pace.

 1,150 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Eziel
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of AngusOg
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of tommy5
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Stevedore
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can with 5/7/13 canning date, courtesy of Evan; have had a couple cans of this already but reviewing this one I poured into my Bell's snifter on 6/11/2013.

Aroma: It smells distinctly like freshly milled malt. When I say malt in this context, I'm saying it smells like malt as in the homebrew ingredient that just got milled at the homebrew store. I love it. There's also a little bit of orange zest. Maybe some sort of citrus jam? Either way, smells neat and aromatic! (4.25)

Colour: Hazy, darker copper body that pours with a fluffy 2cm head that dissipates into a thin film on the beer. As I drink this down, it leaves layers of lacing that I can trace my swallows with. Nice looking beer. (4)

Flavour: For a 4% beer, this is pretty packed with flavour.. feels like I'm drinking toasted bread with orange marmalade, but in a thin liquid form. There's some floral flavours in there but its mostly the orange.. and there isn't much of that milled barley malt scent in the beer but I definitely get a small, small bit of bready background to the floral and citrus hops. A decent bit of bitterness but definitely not overwhelming at all. (4.25)

Mouthfeel: Thinner bodied, but well carbonated and incredibly refreshing. This beer is definitely a sessionable one. I'd probably drink a whole 4-pack of 16oz before getting buzzed. Finish is slightly dry but not particularly so, with a nice, mellow floral bitter aftertaste that lingers a bit but is not overwhelming at all. (4)

Overall: An awesomely sessionable beer that does not lack for flavour whatsoever- whether its from the malts or the hops. We don't have the chance to drink much English Bitters at all, but this is definitely a style I'm into. It's a good one to drink on the porch in the summer evening. (4.25)

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Photo of fthegiants
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of drabmuh
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a shaker pint glass. Beer is dark yellow and amber. Beer is mostly clear and forms a thick white head of small bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation levels are moderate. Looks good.

Beer has a soft aroma, mostly nutty and mildly bitter. Kind of smells like Sierra Nevada Pale ale but lighter.

Beer has a medium body and is a little nutty and only mildly bitter. I get that bitters should be around 35 - 45 IBUs, this nails that. It gets better the more I drink it. There is some graininess on the palate. It is pretty good. I enjoyed it and drank a couple.

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Photo of tempest
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Blue Nile.

Damn, I tried to come in skeptical on this one but it blew me away. It combines awesome hops with the mellow and subtle flavors of a true bitter. I'm knocked out that the true can separate. First a big fruity hops flavor with pineapple punch and citrus hit. Then really mellow vanilla and malt flavors shine through. This beer is deep - the flavors just keep coming. The only real fault I found is that the aroma didn't do much for me and there wasn't much lacing. Whatever on smell and appearance, this one tastes so good I dare say it might be the finest Surly yet.

I want more.

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Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 1,088 ratings