Wild Swan
Thornbridge Brewery

Wild SwanWild Swan
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English Pale Ale
Ranked #67
Ranked #32,035
3.72 | pDev: 10.75%
Thornbridge Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Wild SwanWild Swan
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 44
Photo of rex_4539
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Slightly hazy golden color, quarter finger white head, messy lacing, loads of carbonation.

S: Spicy, bready, hints of hop. Not much going on.

T: Malty, bready. Not much going on.

F: Light bodied, yet not easily drinkable due to high carbonation.

O: The worst beer I had from Thornbridge. No character whatsoever. Stay away.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear bright straw color with white head. Aroma has grains and some spoiled lemons (not in a bad way) along slightly dank hops. Taste has at first just a hint of lemon and not much else but the hops intensify towards the finish with grassy bitterness that dries the palate and lingers on the aftertaste. Light body, medium carbonation. At first it seems quite watery but overall I get what they were aiming for with this beer and I think they succeeded.

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Photo of Spike
2.81/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A: Very pale yellow. Crystal clear. Small head recedes quickly. No lacing. Some carbonation visible. Looks like a light beer.

S: Faint nose. Citrus hops. Some grassy tones when swirled rigorously.

T: Some bitterness. Some citrus. But also something metallic. Has the same aftertaste as a Heineken Light.

F: Thin mouthfeel. Light carbonation saves this from becoming watery. There is some bite up front but it doesn't last and the finish is nonexistent.

O: This is supposed to be a very, very pale ale - a bit of a lager/pale ale mash-up - so it succeeds in that aspect. Generally, I like a sessionable summer/golden ale but this example is way too limp for me.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Champagne coloured. Lots of bubbles. Foamy white head.
S: Rindy tropical fruit. Gooseberries, grapes and lychees.
T: Dry with a pungent, tropical, earthy, rindyness. No malt character but not the most Alka-Seltzer like pale ale. Has a cooling mentholated/eucalyptus type property on the tongue. Not bitter.
O: Not my cup of tea but probably someone else's.

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Photo of interzen
4.31/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle served in a nonic pint glass

Look: Summed up nicely by a friend of mine: "It looks like you're drinking pee!" - very, very pale, almost watery, yellow. Slightly off-white head with good retention and some nice lacing left behind. Extremely pale for a bitter, but not far off the mark for a summer ale, which this claims to be.

Smell: Not much going on here - hoppy with herb and floral notes, with the occasional hint of lemon peeking through.

Taste: There's a bit more going on here - there's a nice, resinous flavour from the hops and a none-too-aggressive underlying bitterness. Some small-scale fruitiness but malt flavours were notable by their almost complete absence. Hoppy, but not aggressively so.

Feel: Light, not too fizzy and very refreshing - the bottle describes it as "the pure essence of summer". Can't argue with that - I could easily imagine knocking a few of these back on a hot summer's day. Not that we get many of those in the UK ...

Overall: OK, so it's only 3.5% ABV which would mark it out as a session beer, but even so it's a mighty fine pint - light, refreshing and not too demanding on the palate. Definitely a keeper.

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Photo of safaricook
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautifully golden light english ale with a good hoppy nose of floral and herbal hops. Taste and body are a bit thin but regarding the low abv this ia neither a surprise nor a real flaw. A fantastic, tasty and refreshing session beer.

Just had it again almost 6 month after best before date and still great!

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Photo of BigBry
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle. I believe we saw this for a sample at Beer Fest, now to try a full bottle.
This beer pours out hazy, straw yellow, maybe some shimmery highlights. Short, foamy white head, with lots of loose bubbles, filmy lace left around the glass. It smells of mild grain, and some light fruit along with floral, earthy hops. The taste is a mix of pale malt, and grassy, earthy hops, slight citrus finish. As expected for an English Pale Ale.
The carbonation maintains a decent head, medium body, smooth.
Low alcohol keeps it easy to drink, but I'm not sure I would search it out again.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle from Waitrose:
Very light, pale golden colour with an appearance that borders on straw coloured. It is topped with bubbly and patchy looking lacing on top.

Very hoppy smelling and with a lot of pine coming through alongside some nice topical fruits notes and a helping of bitterness, probably from the pine hops. There is also some lemony citrus notes and a tiny amount of grapefruit in the mix too.

Fruity and citrus infused taste with some spice and a little bit of grapefruit. I could also detect some bitterness and a few fresh malts as well.

Light with pretty strong carbonation that makes it seems a little gassy. The beer was pretty smooth and tangy with some spice and a dry, fruity finish.

A nice, light and refreshing offering that turned out to be a pretty nice tasting beer. Quite a hoppy beer with plenty more smell and taste than the alcohol content would suggest although it did seem slightly over carbonated.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.59/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a lightly hazy blonde color ale with a large pure white foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of citrus and sweet malt with light floral notes is a bit off as too much citrus is apparent. Taste is also dominated by underlying citrus notes which are bit too powerful and don’t necessarily seems to originated form the latest fresh West Coast hops. Malt base is solid with light floral notes and limited sweetness. Body is quite full with good carbonation. Not bad but way too much citrus notes with light sour notes.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle: best before 16 Aug 2012, opened on a warm and sunny 24 May 2012.

It is certainly pale, even for a 'pale ale' and it reminded me of urine, especially with it's white frothy head.

The smell is all citrus hop: grapefruit and lemon aromas mostly.

The taste follows the smell: citrus flavours and hoppy with a bitter undertone at all times.

Pleasant and easy to sip, the alcohol level although low, suits the body strength nicely. All in all a nice enough beer, but not really exciting or more-ish.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OMG! it looks like Rolling Rock when poured but with a big frothy head.

The aroma isn't all that great either, opening the bottle was like being scented by a cat, it settles down though to a more complex pleasant floral and soapy scent.

The taste is a knock out though, a real rampaging taste starting dry desert dry then picking up a citrus zing then a long pass to a super hop strike, it's a great pint, not 'alf ;)

thin mouthfeel but this is good it slates the thirst, great carbonation.

You know what, I bet if they were to brew rolling rock to a much higher standard it might come out like this

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Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into pint glass 22/2/12

A slight haze in a pale straw yellow body, lots of bubbles of all sizes feeding a soapy foam that sticks around leaving a few dots of lace

S lots of lemon and lemongrass alike, grassy hops too while were at it, smells very nice quite fresh

T has a little lemon fanta thing going for it and I get some faint mint but other then that it tastes as it smells but just a little toned down

M very light and refreshing even a little airy, hoppy lemon aftertaste is rather pleasant

O lots of flavor in a low booze session brew, I could drink this all day under a hot sun

I'd need to spend a shitload of cash to catch a buzz at 8$ and 3.5% but for a summer swiller I might go for one

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Ever so slightly cloudy pale yellow pour with a quickly fading two finger head with minimal lacing. Very subdued nose with hints of grass and just a touch of lemon. It opens up a bit as it warms though. What it lacks in the aroma, it makes up for in the taste. Wonderful bold, herbal, floral hoppiness with refreshing hints of lemon and pepper with just a touch of pine. The lemon really comes out as it warms up. The mouthfeel is crazy awesome with a great tangy carbonation and an incredible crisp, dry, refreshing bitter finish. They had to have dry hopped the shit out of this! This is the perfect summer beer. And with an ABV of 3.5%, it's totally drinkable. Another great offering from what is becoming my favorite UK brewery!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. White Gold Pale Ale, eh?

This beer pours a hazy, super pale straw hue, with two fingers of thinly puffy, foamy white head, which settles at an even pace, leaving some sudsy, soap-film lace around the glass in the process. It smells of biscuity white grain, lemon oil, some mild tart tropical fruit, and floral, earthy hops. The taste is tart lemon rind, grainy pale malt, and grassy hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body fairly robust in its medium weight seat, given some of the other mitigating characteristics, and generally smooth. It finishes pretty dry, the lemon and herbal hops seeing right to that.

Well, looks sure can be deceiving - I guess this offering's appearance at least lives up to its particular and peculiar moniker. Beyond that, we have ourselves a decent bitter - fruit edition. The lemon doesn't overpower, though, letting the noble hops show their stuff. And the 3.5% ABV - bartender, keep 'em comin'...

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Photo of Zimbo
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gave a stinky skunky smell in the bottle which thankfully diappeared the moment it was poured.
Very pale lcrystal clear yellow with a very light but reasonably full fluffy head. The head leaves small whisps of foam around the glass when drunk.
A bit thin but it still possesses a lengthy chewy dry bitterness which is also strangely delicate. Gentle flowers, ginger and lemons all come to mind but its the mouthfeel which really is the winner here.
I'm usually not a big fan of this style of beer but its made a believer out of me.
Is there anything which Thornbridge does badly?

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Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast..

Poured a very pale yellow colour. White head poured thick and foamy with a pock marked topping then faded to light covering... some light carbonation bubbles drift slowly to the surface... light lacing...

Aroma - Some juicy tart citrus fruits with maybe some tropical hints (lemons and limes, pears,), sulfur notes, quite grassy, floral honey, light sweet grainy malts, talcum powder traces, herbal, peppery hops...

Taste... decent peppery hop bitterness, quite floral, metallic hints, light sweet biscuit malts, mouth watering fruits (lemons, apples, limes), some saltiness, faint floral honey sweetness...

M&D - Fairly sharp and dry... light bodied... very quaffable at 3.5%

Overall - A pretty good English bitter... very quaffable and certainly worth a try...

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the palest pale ales I've ever seen, almost like a sparkling cider in color and clarity. Aroma is light and lemony, with a bit of spice and a bit of sulfur, calling to mind a witbier with hints of pineapple and coriander. Enticing but not particularly complicated, though there are hints of tea and buttery biscuit in there as well. Crisp and delicate in flavor and mouthfeel, crackery malts met with bitter orange and hints of thyme and dandelion. Really very easy drinking, even if it isn't as interesting as it is refreshing.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 500ml bottle with a BB of June 2011 and an ABV of 3.5%. A tall bottle with gold foil around the neck and a cool damask background on the label. Picked up from my favourite beer specialist.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A hazy pale straw colour with light carbonation. Yields a thick white head with a creamy consistency; this lasts for several minutes before subsiding. A lovely aroma dominated by floral hops. Undertones of grainy malt with citrus notes and a nectary sweetness.

Tastes of crisp aromatic hops with a refreshing bitter finish. Light malt is present but disguised. Notes of grass, citrus and faint pine. Mouthfeel is prickly and lightly acidic, as well as somewhat astringent. Body is a little bit thin. Mild aftertaste of aromatic hops.

A light ale with a fantastic hoppy flavour - very refreshing. Could easily imagine sinking a few of these on a warm summer day. It could benefit from a somewhat maltier backbone to balance the hops - but I'm nitpicking here as the flavour is excellent for such a low ABV. Well worth sampling if you have the opportunity.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from a hand pumped cask at Tap & Table in Emmaus Pa. The beer is a slightly hazy yellow. Very light bodied, the aroma of some citrus comes through nicely. The flavors are very light but still pronounced enough to give this a good soft character sure to please.

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Photo of ReluctantScooper
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask. Various places, usually outdoors.

Having brewed a robust 5.9% IPA, it would have been easy for Thornbridge to just dial everything down to brew something lighter. Thankfully they didn't.

It's one of those beers that's "just enough". Just pale enough, just lemony enough, just light liquid malt enough. Three or four pints is just sessionable enough.

It's often overlooked for its stablemates, but Wild Swan ought to have more of a rep. As a light-ABV but full-tasting English cask ale, it's close to being unbeatable.

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Photo of wl0307
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted by a pint at the University Arms, Sheffield, which is run by the Univ. of Sheffield but has a good sense about the draught ales it serves, with a regular turn-out of Thornbridge ales on top of two other guest ales from the region. Served by a handpump w/ a loosely-fitted sparkler.

A: extremely pale straw hue with absolute clarity; the white fluffy head gradually settles to a rim, on top of low fizziness.
S: refreshing and lively hops (floral) spread everywhere, it's easy to detect even in a distance~~ a closer sniff reveals honeyish malts and a slightly nectar-ish sourness (also a bit like sweet lime), with malty notes like crushed cookies firmly in the background.
T: slightly dry and quite mildly-flavoured upfront, while it gradually introduces a deepening wave of dry hoppiness to cut deep through the palate, leaving a slightly herbal, floral, and zesty bitter aftertaste that is really chewy on the mouthfeel, on a par with a balancing flow of bitter-sweet, toasty and cookie-ish malt aroma+flavour. In the remote end the soothing and superbly lingering bitterness lasts with a dry-ing impact.
M&D: smooth and light on the mouthfeel (this cask is on form but not at its prime), chewy and dry on the texture due to the abundant entry of bitter hops; this is a powerful little Bitter, packed of hop flavour and boasting a vertical structure of bitterness. Another delicious offering from Thornbridge!

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Wild Swan from Thornbridge Brewery
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 44 ratings