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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

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Ratings: 1,088 |  Reviews: 446
Photo of mdwalsh
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of dtx00
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Jslay013
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dansting for this one. 16oz can served in a shaker pint. Poured a clear gold with less than a finger of fine bubbled, white head. Fresh citrus hop aroma. Light bodied with some malt backbone. A little malt sweetness. Nicely hopped, but not overly bitter. Lingering hop dryness to the finish. Very drinkable. Making a flavorful, lower alcohol beer is a tribute to the skills of the brewery IMHO.

I wish more breweries would make beers like this instead of taking it to the other extreme of alcohol and hops. One session beer in the lineup isn't too much to ask, is it?

 578 characters

Photo of twelvsies
4.92/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally get a chance to try a variety of Surly brews, thanks to sonicdecent. Had a few flavors, and this one is my favorite so far. Brass orange with a nice thick looking head, slowly dies down as I drink. So much aroma - American hops, pale malt, hay, and some complex soapy almost laundry detergent smell. Yeah, in a good way. I'd love to find out what a traditional English brewer would have to say about this beer.Tastes like some of the best, quintessential English bitters, with distinctly American hopping. Nice mellow malt up front with an interesting hop profile to say the least. It seems like all the hops are in the nose, but there's a nice dry finish to it. Spicy, with very light citrus notes and hardly any bitterness, yet juicy. Super smooth and crips on the palate. So refreshing and uber quaffable. Damn near just exactly perfect.

 848 characters

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a pretty good-looking beer... and one of my favorite Surly cans to date. Pours a nice orange-y yellow with moderate white head. Nose is decently hoppy, citrusy with a bit of a toasty malty background. Flavor follows suit. Toasty malt with a light hop bitterness, and bigger hop citrusy flavor. THe marmalade and toast comparison made on the can is not far off, though I might not think of it as quite THAT fruity. MF is decent for a bitter like this--light, well-carbonated, but not watery. Overall I enjoy this beer. It's a nice break from the more intense beers that Surly makes--a nice Surly-esque take on a session beer. Kind of like a light IPA (if Abrasive is a double IPA, then this is a half IPA). Nice beer, worth trying, wish it was cheaper than the other Surlys though.

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Photo of The_Craft_Deviant_Rob
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of happygnome
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a nice golden color with about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a nice ring of sticky lacing around the edge of the glass that remains the level of the beer drops there is also a nice patch of lace on top of the beer a very inviting brew
s: caramel malts and nice bitter piny and citrusy hops the for ibu's of 37 as stated on the can there is really a very nice hop presence in the nose
t: noticable bitterness from piny and citrusy hops is complimented by caramely malts a very tasty brew, im pleasantly surprised. the can says abv is 4, and ibu's 37, i wasnt expecting the most flavorful but surly has surprised me, this is a very flavorful beer and very sessionable
m: medium to light bodied beer ranging more towards lighter with very little amount of carbonatoin, but it doesnt taste or feel flat very nice

overal, this isnt bender or furious but susrly has brewed a very nice, very sessionable beer with a lot of flavor

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to mnbearsfan for this one! been wanting to try it for a while now...

pours a nice, golden caramel hue with a frothy off-white head that fades pretty quickly but looks nice and leaves a thin cap that leaves bits of lace.

aroma is pleasantly caramely with some nice malt and a touch of earthy, herbal undertones. a hint of green bitterness. smells great.

taste is surprisingly strong with some nice clean light malts, some green hops, and a nice hoppy bittter finish.

mouth is a moderate body for the abv, with clean, crisp, pleasant carbonation.

all in all, I love it. a bit more potent than many bitters I've encountered, and one of the most flavorful 4% abv brews I've had in a while, but that makes is insanely drinkable and makes me wish i had a few more.

 776 characters

Photo of supercolter
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is another good brew from Surly. Appearance is good, with a copper color and a finger an a half head that dissapates slowly.
Smell is pleasant some light hops that smell very good. A bit of citrus is the only other. Taste isn't as good, the floral hops don't taste as good as they smell. Taste hangs around for a little while.
Mouthfeel is light but ok for the style.
Decent drinkability.

 394 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a deep orange color with a huge, pillowy off white head which leaves a lot of lacing on the way down.

S- Huge floral hop notes, some sweet fruit and mixed spices.

T- Taste mimics the nose, starting off with big, full hop notes and ending with a creamy finish. Not as assertive as i expected from the nose but good none the less.

M- Fairly thin bodied with carbonation on the low side.

D- This is an incredible session beer. If it was available around here I would make it my go to. I didn't know a beer under 5 percent alcohol could have this kind of hop profile without being incredibly bitter.

 608 characters

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

Thanks to Buckeyenation for a couple cans of these to try out on the East Coast.

Pint can poured into Weyerbacher tulip glass.

A: Amber, ice tea tinted beer with a nice foamy head. Spider lacing good and long lasting.

N: Bit of bitter hops, notes of ginseng oddly enough or a spiked herb. Spicy and grassy.

T: Like the look, had some herbal iced tea characteristics. Not a pro on this style, but the malts behind it were more than the smell. Something metallic in there brought it down while being rounded nicely by the spices and cracked pepper. Almost like this light drinker was seasoned.

M: Not a crushing bitterness, even a bit watery.

D: Tons of drinkability. Cans of these went down easy with some grilled squid and Indian curry. Thanks again buckeyenation.

 771 characters

Photo of BobZ
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pint can poured into a Duvel tulip. Another thanks to roon.

Appearance: Orange/amber with a nice 1" head that shrinks a bit to 1/4" with nice sticky lacing.

Smell: Bready malt first with a little bit of hops beneath.

Taste: Similar to the nose with big bready malt up front with a bit of caramel followed by a nice floral/citrus hoppy finish with a pleasant level of bitterness. Really a nice amount of flavor here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well carbonated, and very clean on the palate.

Overall: Extremely flavor packed and sessionable take on the style,I had this beer outside on an early summer day and it was a great fit.

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Photo of KindaFondaGoozah
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of robotiks
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into an imperial pint glass.

A-Darker amber beer, decent clarification but slightly hazed. Pale, brown-white head (but not tan), large off the pour with decent retention.

S-British hops, herbal. Some sweeter, nutty/biscuity malts.

T-Initially of herbal/earthy hoppiness, with an assertive, but far from overwhelming, bitterness. Malts are biscuity, very dry feel and flavor. Finishes bitter and herbal.

M-Medium carbonation. Medium-light body, a refreshing character in its moderate lightness.

D-Pretty damn decent drinkability. Not amazing, but enjoyably different in its British characteristics. The 4-pack I grabbed before my friends came over was gone before long.

 684 characters

Photo of DanforthPewter
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of lpayette
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received in trade from the generous Lofgrep.

Bitter Brewer pours out of the can a nice hazy orange-yellow color with a solid two fingers of head with great lacing power. From the smell you can quickly tell you're in for a treat. Hints of honey with a nice balanced hop bite. I could try to describe the taste differently, but really this carries over flavor-wise as well. It makes for a perfectly refreshing and amazingly drinkable beer. I just wish this was more readily available to me. Great session beer.

 509 characters

Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 16-ounce can. The “CANNED ON” date is “06/14/12.”

Appearance: Poured into a nonick pint glass. The color is golden copper. Two fingers of fairly thick, buttery, eggshell-colored head dissipated slowly to leave a rocky lacing and thick ring around the edge.

Smell: Off the bat it offers a west cost hop character: lots of citrus, which is mostly grapefruit but I got a hint of cara cara orange, too. The citrus does stand out above everything else, but its maltier British roots almost balance it out. Grassy hops, lightly toasted malts, sweet caramel, toffee, and a little honey.

Taste: A nice, citrus hop bitterness kicks the taste buds awake. After that, the citrus blends into a balanced beeriness: tinge of grapefruit and orange (which keep the back of the tongue and cheeks tingling), lightly toasted malts, grassy hops, sweet caramel, and honey.

Drinkability: It is a solid, tasty, and sessionable brew — perfect for the Twin Cities’ future MLS hooligans.

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Photo of schimschim
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of TGanyone
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of tubeman
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of gio540
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouread into a Surly Imperial Pint Glass from a 16 oz can.

A- Orange, woody appearance, very carbonated off white three finger head, big bubbles, very clear, golden hue.
S- Wow, very appealing citrus aroma, hints of pine upfront, nice hoppy profile, hints of malts, caramel, very nice sweet aroma.
T- Very smooth and refreshing, perfect summer beer, very mild bitterness, slight citrus and pineapple taste as well as bready malts, very sessionable beer.
M- Medium mouth feel, nice carbonation, clean and crisp, I want another.
O- What can I say Surly continues to produce delicious beers that are never a letdown, bitter brewer is a solid beer that is easy drinking, I will continue to drink this beer till it’s out of season.

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Photo of Atron67
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- poured what is actually pretty dark almost burnt amber color. offwhite lightly biscuit character to it. pretty solid retention and lacing as well with the head which i wasn't expecting.

S- light bicuit and bready character. subdued hops but well balanced. rather sparse in my mind for a bitter however its probably the low carbonation and it not being a cask that make this way.

T- solid malty light biscuit pretty crystal type sweetness to it that is really nice. followed up by a much better (than nose) hop character. i would guess the hops to be willamete, but anything from the goldings family. the hops is just right for the bitter quality. the residual sweetness stays with the hops, without actually being sweet if that makes sense, and your left with a lingering mix of the hop character with a touch of the malts blended.

M- smooth pretty light body, light carbonation though still relatively crisp.

D- definitely an awesome beer, on cask this would probably get all 5's

 987 characters

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