Kipling | Thornbridge Brewery

very good
109 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by soulgrowl on 01-24-2010

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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 262
Photo of lehkost
4.74/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I think that a lot of the less-than-head-over-heels reviews on this beer are missing out on what this beer is about. Remember, this beer is a more-or-less traditional pale ale, so we aren't expecting huge body or flavor. That we do, for a 5.2% ABV ale, is an achievement in itself.

A - On draft, in a 13 oz. pub many smaller imports, I assume price point is a consideration, since this would be very sessionable at its alcohol content. A very pale, just shy of golden color. Head retention leaves something to be desired, I think, but I have had more luck in the bottle before.

S - The aroma is very unique - fresh fruits and grass. This beer is brewed exclusively with Nelson Sauvin hops (so called due to the aromatic similarity to Sauvignon Blanc wine), so this would be expected with a proper hop regimen. It is spring, so this smell is almost exactly what I'm looking for right now.

T - The taste pretty much matches the aroma. I think passionfruit, a friend thinks fresh green peppers. I read that this hops is reminiscent of fresh gooseberries, which I've never had the pleasure to try. No hint of malt sweetness, and a slightly too persistent bitter finish. Again, though, I believe that this holds up in an approach emulating a solid New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Again, a remarkably bright and full flavor for a sessionable ale.

M - Not overly carbonated, though maybe a bit much for a traditionally brewed English Pale Ale. Perhaps a bit much, not necessarily too much. I feel that it brilliantly complements the bright aroma and taste, and would make this a perfect stand-in for Sauvignon Blanc food pairings, especially citrus-marinated fish and chicken.

O - Sadly, I was not eating any food alongside this beer. I would love to explore its abilities to pair with food, which I think would also help to counteract what I think is a touch too much bitterness. Nelson Sauvin is fairly high in alpha acid, and I am sure that they'll tweak the next batch accordingly. From what I am reading this is the first commercial example of a beer brewed with this hop variety, so I'm sure that while a small (almost infinitesimal) tweak is in order, but I have a very high opinion of this beer, and I think that anyone who doesn't should give it a second (or third, or fourth) shot.

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Photo of BradC
4.66/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a golden yellow with two fingers of pillowy head that eventually falls. Lots of lacing.

Great aroma, light fruity hoppy smell

Taste starts out a little sweet and then the fruity hops come in, some bready malt and then a light bitter finish.

Medium bodied and moderate carbonation makes this real easy drinking.

Overall a great session-able pale ale that's not super bitter. The Nelson Sauvin hops give it a nice fruity bitterness. Glad this was recommended to me.

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Photo of hophopandaway
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is everything an IPA should be: straw coloured with big grapefruit and bigger hoppage. As one would expect with a real ale it is completely flat with a creamy white head that lasts forever and lacing to set your heart racing. This beer packs a huge punch for it's relatively modest 5.2%, with the big bitterness really hitting you on the finnish.
One of my local pubs has this on permanently since they bought two barrels and sold them both within 3 hours, and that makes me happy.

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Photo of tenesmus
4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a straight pint glass.

A vivid golden beer with gentle, even effervesence and a snow white head of light foam that settles to form a dainty cover. The lacing is intricate.

The nose well, the first hit is incredibly evocative of homegrown green weed, thanks for that Thornbridge. The components come through, grapefruit, further citric notes, lemon and lime, resinous pine and some tropical fruits, passion fruit and pineapple among them.

Tasteing, the grapefruit and pine resin are very much in the front row but joined by the tropical passion fruit and kiwi. Something a little bit medicinal in there. Theres some noticable malt structure, but a puckering bitterness and an aftertaste of grapefruit pith.

Feel is light, alcohol and carbonation not really prevalent.

I like this a lot. I can't help hoping it'll be like some beer version of skunk after getting a whiff of it, but the taste belies the aroma. Its quite a soft beer despite the grapefruit - a gentler cousin to Halcyon and Jaipur.

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Photo of mintjellie
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale gold with slight haze, and a generous topping of pale white foam. Excellent retention and spotty lace. Aromatic notes of passionfruit, gooseberry, and dank skunk weed. The tropical fruit continues to come on strong in the mouth, with an assertive leafy bitterness appearing midpalate and lingering through the finish.

Light-bodied with moderate carbonation without feeling thin or watery. It feels slick. I love the deep tropical hop character this beer has. In my admittedly limited experience, this might be the best IPA I've ever tasted.

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Photo of avalon07
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a bright yellow color and a clear texture. There was an inch of creamy head that quickly dissipated. Very good lacing.

S: A very sweet, fruity, hoppy aroma. Extremely enticing.

T: Tasted of hops (a fair amount for an EPA), light malt, and lots of fruit (pineapple, grapefruit, lemon). A light, vibrant, sweet, likeable flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth, silky finish. Light-bodied.

O: Not your typical English Pale Ale, but this isn't a bad thing. Extremely well made and drinkable.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: medium yellow-gold color, with a touch of haze....topped with a bright, off-white, soft-foamy head....very nice, narrow bands of lace, some smears

S: fresh, green cereal grass, earthy and woody....lemon or grapefruit peel....sweet, sugary crystal malt and some light toffee....some faint toasted pale malt

T: earthy, "plant-like" hop flavor, potent, vibrant...nice hop bitterness, balanced well with the honey-ish, slightly doughy malt flavors....moderate, smooth citrus-zesty zing...touch of sweetness....refreshingly bitter and fruity (white grape, lemon) through a dry enough finish

M: light, yet malty, in a Czech Pils fashion....perhaps some delicate graininess

O: fantastic English pale....more like a prototypical American pale, but with very (or entirely) English nuances....could see this being misinterpreted and/or underrated (though I see here many agree with me on its merits)

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Nice clear golden-yellow pour with two finger pure white head with decent retention and nice lacing. The nose will absolutely blow you away. The Nelson Sauvin hops totally steal the show! Tons of that distinctive aroma full of grapefruit and tropical fruit, reminiscent of New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc wines. The taste is complex and also dominated by the Nelson Sauvin hops. Earthy, herbal, and citrusy at the same time. Hints of grapefruit, gooseberries, lemon, white grapes, pineapple, and an odd touch of green onion. The mouthfeel is oily and resiny with a light, crisp, and refreshing dry finish. Another awesome beer from Thornbridge!

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Like a yellow wine gum for the colour of the body nice sudsy white head.

Rich and fruity on the nose, hints of pineapple and orchid with big hop hits waiting in the wings.

Bitterness comes through supreme on the taste making a tangy treat for the tongue full on hop hits, cones and all can see where the tropical references come from.

good solid mouthfeel slightly lively carbonation makes a tasty brew

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Photo of nickfl
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of clean, white foam on top of a perfectly clear golden body with a shaft of bubbles rising up through the center. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Musty British hops and bright, clean red apple fruit from the yeast. Some biscuity malt in the background as well, perhaps a hint of toffee.

T - Fruity yeast notes of plum and red apple up front with a musty hop note for contrast. The hops become more pungent in the middle with some grassy character and bready malt. The beer finishes with a good shot of bitterness to counteract the bread and toffee of the malt as well as more grassy hop flavor, juicy red apple character, and oddly enough some grapefruit.

M - Medium body, moderately low carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Excellent and very, very drinkable. The balance and selection of flavor in this beer is perfect for the style and it is a shockingly good English pale ale, especially considering that it came out of a bottle. I can't think of a beer available on my local beer store's shelves that expresses what is great about British beer better than this does. It has a perfect yeast character with the obligatory must hop bite and the malt is spot on, despite the fact that the beer is unusually light colored. My only complaint is that I can't stop thinking about how good it must be out of a cask!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a lightly hazed orange/straw hybrid. Head is full and boastful. It refuses to die off. Laces efficiently.

S-Apparently this is all Nelson Sauvin hops. Boy does it smell so. The NS hops just wreak of eucalyptus, cucumber and other spiced vegetal notes. Very unique easy to identify. Malt adds a respectable balance, but those NS hops shine.

T-Yum. Spicy and vegetal with some rowdy citrus. The hops are really phenomenal here. Good malted balance too. The hops really give you those unique flavors of tea, eucalyptus, cucumber, fresh green grass etc.

M-Light and sessionable. Carbonation is flirty. Could drink this all night.

O/D-I am pretty much always disappointed with English hoppy beers. This honestly may be my favorite take on any such style that applies from the UK. Those hops are so damn cool and unusual. Great time in a glass. loved it.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thornbridge Brewery
Style: English Pale Ale
ABV: 5.20 %

LOOK: Pours a pale yellow color, with a completely white soapy head. Leaves lace down the 20 oz glass, a reasonable presentation for an authentic English pale ale.

SMELL: Biscuity pale malts, some herbal and floral notes, and a small fruity sweetness.

TASTE: Upfront pale malt sweetness chiming in with flavors of fresh baked honey oat bread and a well placed hop bitterness. Nelson Sauvin hops were employed, and the hops really steal the show with a pleasant bitter with notes of herbs, grapefruit peel, rustic tea and pine. This tastes like a real deal, authentic as can be English Pale Ale. This is the kind of beer I wish was right down the street at the closest bar, because I can drink this all day. Resinous, almost sticky hops with a firm bitterness and bite.

FEEL: Light to medium bodied, crisp, and even slightly drying. A moreish bitter finish makes this for an easy quaffer.

OVERALL: A really impressive English pale ale. Easy drinking, great flavor, everything was spot on. If you get the chance to try this, don't pass it up.

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Photo of chicagoabbot
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My friend had a 500ml bottle of this and split it with me, into pint glasses. Pours a bright body with plenty of head, great color an English IPA, or a "South Pacific Style" as they call it. Smell has the slightly more subdued hop profile characteristic of the English IPAs (compared to the huge West Coast IPAs). Very clean, with a unique hop profile. Taste is plenty bitter with a depth of malt character and some hop varieties that I have not tasted before, or at least not in this particular combination. Really solid English IPA. Recommended.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely golden, sweet malty and fruit scented ale. Dense, thin and creamy white head.

Berry, apple and brown sugar intermix in the taste, with a bit of hops and a bity of bready malt flavours. Very light and well blended, subtle tastes. No one flavour dominates, but as you drink you pick up different flavours every where.

Nice and smooth and even with a 5.2 ABV you feel like you could spend an afternoon drinking these.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just about perfectly golden, with a soft, pillowy white head with very good retention. Delightfully aromatic, and I know this may be a bit taboo on a beer site, but it smells an awful lot like a cross between a New Zealand sauvignon blanc and an Alsatian Gewürztraminer - gooseberry abounds, plus loads of coconut and lychee and even some rose. Honeysuckle and marshmallow are in the mix as well - but the flavor is quite contained, very vinous with gooseberry, kiwi fruit, and honey notes. Crisp and perfectly bitter, with snappy carbonation and a dry finish. This is an excellent and unusual English ale, and I would love to try it on cask.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a pale yellow, pilsner type colour, with a small to medium white head, leaving solid lace.

S: Grass, grapefruit, gooseberry, very interesting nose.

T: This simply reminds me a ton of New Zealand Sauvingon Blanc. The gooseberry flavour is distinct and there's no mistaking it. Grass, grapefruit, passion fruit and a light kiwi fruit play round out the tropical hop flavours. Very distinct.

M: Medium-bodied at best. Crisp, very clean, easy drinking for sure, something to go with spicy food as it's an excellent palate cleanser.

O: This was a fun beer to delve into. I drank this on-tap without knowing anything about it aside from the fact that it's English. Then I saw the label and it said South Pacific Pale Ale it made sense. If there's not Nelson Sauvin hops in this I would be shocked, shocked. Great EPA, like nothing I've ever had before.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before September 2012.

Pours a golden, modestly-foggy colour - perhaps with a slight tinge of amber, but in general this is quite a bit paler than your average pale ale (whether English or American). The brew itself is topped with slightly more than one finger of dense, creamy white head with solid retention - though it does eventually die down to a bumpy cap, leaving some modest lacing behind. Lots of juicy, fruity goodness in the nose - white wine definitely comes to mind, although there is plenty of grapefruit and other citrusy notes as well. It's fresh, floral, and definitely does its job - after a few sniffs I really want to take a sip of this stuff.

The nose does not lie; this is the good stuff. Fruity tropical hop flavours dominate the profile, ranging from citrusy grapefruit rind and lemon zest, to honeydew melon and pineapple, right down to basic floral, grassy dryness. The malt backbone is bready, with some light honey sweetness to balance out the astringency - still, the hop bill remains the more prominent facet of this brew's flavour. Slightly dry finish that lingers only briefly. On the light side of medium-bodied, with lively carbonation that keeps the brew crisp without becoming a distraction. This is a session brew par excellence.

This is a highly enjoyable brew, maintaining a reasonable semblance of balance as is common in the English style, but with plenty of juicy, tropical fruit hop flavours that remind me more of an American pale. Categorization aside, though - this is easily one of the best pale ales I've had in a long time, and believe me, I've tried plenty.

Final Grade: 4.31, an outstanding A grade. Thornbridge's Kipling claims to be a 'South Pacific Pale Ale', and its plethora of delicious, juicy hop aromatics and fruity flavours certainly do their part to evoke in my mind imagery reminiscent of that region. A superb brew, without any asterisks or caveats - just a fabulous pint all around. This should be on shelves year-round, but I'd settle for it being an annual LCBO import.

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Photo of Tone
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, straw color. 1/2 inch head of a white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of citrus hops, hint of sweet malt, hint of grass, slight floral hops, and slight spice. Fits the style of an English Pale Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and creamy, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of slight earthy malt, floral hops, hint of citrus hops, slight grass, hint of alcohol, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, good appearance, aroma, feel, and body.

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Photo of wl0307
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the Waitrose supermarket, this ale is a new product there so offered at the introductory price, £1.60; coming in a slim 500ml brown bottle, BB 24/11/2011, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass. NOTE: this beer uses Nelson Sauvin hop variety.

A: looking pale amber with great clarity, coming with a tight and thick off-white froth to last on top of constant streams of fine bubbles.
S: juicy tropical fruits and grapefruits spring to mind, on top of hop resins and a fine sheet of pale malts; the fruitiness contains white grapefruits, green guava, gooseberries, with a light tinge of salted star fruits in the background. Being fruit-dominated, the nose somehow allows a little room for the aroma of English malts to sneak through. Very enticing and hoppy.
T: a clean mouthfeel of citric fruitiness has immediate following of the body and aroma of quality English pale malts plus mineral-ish saltiness of yeasts, then a manifesting flow of assertive hop bitterness cuts through, leaving a rough & tangy mouthfeel and tannic aftertaste as of crushed citrus seeds at the rear of the palate. The complex fruitiness on the nose has dissolved into a happy mess on the palate, lending a mostly decorative effect on the overall balance.
M&D: the mouthfeel remains refreshing without going fizzy, the body is medium for the alc. level, and the flavour profile is evolving and showing a very very decent balance. I’ve tried this wonderful pale ale for many times now, on cask, and this bottled version really doesn’t disappoint at all. A delicious thirst-quencher.

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Photo of TerryW
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear golden yellow under a moderate white head that settles to a quarter inch cap. Good lacing.

Mmm. Great nose characterized by lots of fruity hops over top of sweet malt. Smells like it gonna be a treat.

And indeed it is a treat. This is a tasty beer, a very nicely done IPA. Very nice pine flavour, gentle but definitive citrus character. Great combination of flavours in just the right amounts. This is a very nice drinking beer. Just a little bit of sparkle from the carbonation.

Buy yourself more than one bottle of this. Very enjoyable. Recommended.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I wasn't even aware of the Australasian-Style Pale Ale. Apparently this is one of them. Snifter.

A: Pale yellow gold with perfect clarity and a mountain of soapy white froth that lingers for many minutes before settling to a thin ring of foam. Excellent lacing.

S: The aroma is pretty awesome. Earthy and floral hops meld with soft apple and pear notes. There's a juicy fruit candy-like note in the distance and a bit of Chardonnay grape. There's a strong weed-like presence and some gooseberry. Malt profile is lightly toasted with some biscuit character. I love this aroma.

T: Assertive hop bitterness throughout with a very pleasant orchard fruit presence that brings to mind Granny Smith apple. There's a little orange and some toasted biscuit. Earth blends with lemon and a touch of passion fruit.

M: Upper light to lower medium body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, dry, crisp, and creamy.

Overall: I abandoned expectations heading into this and I was really surprised. This beer is delicious.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Against the Grain, Dublin.

Incredibly creamy steady off white cap of foam that leaves crusty rings over cloudy honey gold with some odd speckles. Sour lemon, mango and straight hop resin - fresh!
Lemon curd and mango then lots of grapefruit hops with some passionfruit.
Gooseberry and tangerine finish and dry nettle linger. Medium, some chew, round and smooth.

Tart and a bit dank up front, with the fruit underneath - there's kiwi and starfruit in there, too. Different with each sip, and the creamy body does wonders. Hops on parade but all without heavy IBUs.

Possibly the best showing for Nelson Sauvin ever.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Thirstybird (thanks Rian). 26.05.12 indicated on the bottle. Pours a straw gold with a rocky, half inch head embedded with tiny pinpricks - some particles are evident floating in solution. Great nose on this beer - mild tropical fruit notes, citrus and a light earthy character. Taste follows nose; however, light malts also manifest in the flavor profile, with an earthy presence through the middle and back, a slight buttery character and a mild, lingering earthy bitterness at the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a pleasant, even carbonation and a light acidity that refreshes the palate. Overall, a very pleasant and easy drinking EPA (perhaps one of the best I've had to date). The Nelson-Sauvin hops add a really great character to this beer. Well worth trying if the opportunity presents itself.

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Photo of TIJAE
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in trois pistoles goblet

Sampled at the Cove

Bought in Branford, CT @ Coastal Wine and Spirits

Review: Great smell. Strong flavors of tropical fruit - kiwi, citrus, lemon. Letting the beer open up and sit for 10 minutes at room temperature really opened up all the flavors. Paired with wild mushroom Brie puff pastry.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

500ml bottle BB 12/6/15 into a pint glass. Bought from 'Grandstand Farmers Market', Singapore

A - Clear pale amber, thin foam head (3mm) which remained intact for 10+ minutes.
S - Lemony citrus, lychees
T - Bam, citrus! With the perfumed aroma of lychees too. Followed by hops and some dry bitter notes
M - Nice mouthfeel, neither thin nor too heavy.
D - Fresh and zesty. Like a slightly more bitter version of a spicy Paulaner weissbrau or similar Munich beer. Very pleasant drinking for out in the tropics, where something 'interesting but refreshing' is rare and appreciated.

- The label has evolved, and is quite a bit jazzier than the one shown above.

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Kipling from Thornbridge Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 262 ratings.
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