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: 261
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer has a slightly hazy lemon yellow body with a big bubbly dish soap head of white.

S- The clean papery green hops have a nice green lemon aroma to follow

T- The green papery English hops are followed by a gentle green herbal hop flavor that lingers as a nice mellow pungency with no real bitterness.

M- The medium mouthfeel is smooth with no alcohol heat

O- The fresh easy drinking beer has great hop flavor but the malt and yeast profile are pretty well hidden. It still very drinkable and would be lovely as a British pint instead of a 10oz. tulip.

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Photo of iD9
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a 8 oz. cognac snifter.

Appearance: Bright straw-yellow color with a foamy head. Little retention, immediately boils down to a minimal lace. Notable carbonation in the glass. Brew is clear through-and-through. A slight golden tint through the body of the beer.

Smell: Slight earthy nose, and a touch of piney aroma. Ends with a mild fresh-hop finish. Aromatics are inoffensive and fit the style.

Taste: Dry throughout, with a hint of malt towards the back end. Finishes with a touch of hop bitterness but, again, very mild.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. As the carbonation dies down some the body fills out a touch but is still notably effervescent.

Overall: Infinitely quaffable. Light, crisp characteristic with a mild aromatic profile and refreshing array of flavors make Thornbridge's Kipling and excellent summer beer. A definite improvement on many summer standards. I approve.

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

Poured on Feb 19 from a growler filled on Feb 16.

Straw colored with a light layer of foam. Mildly effervescent. Nose is grapefruity and floral with pine resin. Mouthfeel is light and bright. Taste is bitter and tart at first, with a hint of mineral and a slightly bitter, nutty aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is well balanced, tasty and refreshing.

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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 hopsolutely
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The best American-style pale ale I have ever enjoyed from a British brewery. As a self-professed "hop head", this beer is an exceptionally pleasant surprise.

Pours a hazy and insipid yellow with a limited white head that did not offer great expectations. However a delightful hop-forward aroma of tropical fruits with a mild citrus undertone hints at the upcoming flavour profile. Enough malted barley for a decent body and mouthfeel, but an impressively wide hop palate: mango, pineapple and other tropical fruits with pine resin and citrus elements. Nice balance of sweet and dry across the body with a lingering bitterness to the finish.

Rating it based on enjoyment rather than style, as this is unlike any other "British" ale I have had... would definitely recommend!

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.32/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle: slightly out of date when poured into an 'Old Speckled Hen' badged pint vase on 9th Dec 2012.

Pale yellow body with a slight haze to it: on top a rippling uneven head of white bubbles.

Tropical fruit aroma: the taste is simular but more citrusy with the dry citrusy bitterness getting stronger as the mouth loses the last drop of beer in each sip/gulp. This is a summers day brew, not a cold December evening one. Refreshing but not at all warming or cosy.

Well crafted but not a beer I'll be trying to find again: my taste buds prefer sweeter, maltier flavours.

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

Appearance: white head, thick and bubbly; golden like a pineapple; clear

Aroma: pineapple and mango slap you in the face, with fresh hop bitterness balancing it out

Taste & Mouthfeel: medium-light body and silky smooth; mild sweetness is very different and balanced just right with bitterness - this ones is all about the hops; specific flavours don't play in taste as much as did in the aroma, but the fruit is definitely tropical

Overall: a great choice for summer with light, unusual flavours, and very easy-drinking

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Photo of haz77
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear straw with a finger of frothy white head. The quickly recedes but a swirl of the glass easily refreshes it. A couple of streamers are visible.

S - Biscuity malt, guava, passion fruit, pineapple, some grassy (?) hops buried behind all of this. Fairly tempting.

T - The start is all biscuity malt before the tropical fruit really moves forward in the middle. Guava and passion fruit in particular are prominent at the end along with bubblegum. A lightly dry bitter aftertaste lingers for some time. Very pleasantly and easily quaffable, if lacking some depth of interest.

M - Medium body with soft, persistent carbonation, which finally fades at the end of the drink, leaving the hop bitterness to cleanse the palate. Solid.

D - Well crafted, solid brew. An easy drinker with just enough punch to catch you out.

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Photo of crnipeter
2.82/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

After reading several reviews I've got an impression I'm reviewing entirely different beer.

Pours somewhat dim gold with a finger of foamy white head that quickly sets.

Nelson Sauvin hops give it pronounced white wine aroma that overshadows anything else. Careful sniffing reveals ripe grapes and/or gooseberry.

It's often said Nelson Sauvin imparts tropical fruit flavors but I'm not getting any. The taste is massively grassy with dry finish having slightly harsh woodsy bitterness that lingers. It's light, crispy and palate cleansing. I miss the fruit character and the flavor seems to be deprived of malt-qualities, especially when considering Munich malt advertised as an ingredient.

In short,a decisevly bitter in balance ale with white wine aroma and grassy flavor (500 ml into pint, BB 04-08-2013).

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Photo of seand
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a translucent yellow light amber with a fair amount of fizzy white head. The foam dissipates to a thin layer quickly, but leaves reasonable lacing. Kind of looks a little like a crappy lager but the head has more resilience.

S: Really nice hops; subtle and complex and sweet and citrusy.

T: Mild, but there is some nice complexity here too. Starts sweet but leads into an airy hoppy finish. Nice.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty great. I'd have this on tap all the time if it were common locally. Complex but subtle and without a huge ABV.

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Photo of fx20736
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass, served cold.

A: Hazy Butterscotch with a blizzard of carbonation. Scant lacing.

S: Citrusy lemon, fragrant floral hoppiness on a bed of malt.

Mouthfeel is soft with prickly carbonation

T: Bed of malt followed by a fragrant hoppiness and a peppery sting:

Notes: This is a tasty, fragrant, pleasing beer. Very nice.

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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 fank2788
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz bottle split in 2 pint glasses
Bright gold and mostly clear in the glass with a pure white head of fine bubbles which lace a bit. The smell is pretty incredible for an english pale ale. The hops give off a amazing variety of fruity aromas ranging from pineapple to citrus including grapefruits and lemons to mango. Beyond the hops there is a touch of caramel malt. The taste follows the smell but the fruit is toned down and the hops end up tasting more grassy and floral than fruity. Bitterness is fairly restrained as the hops are more flavorful than bitter, that moderate bitterness is balanced with a sweet bready maltiness. The mouthfeel of this beer is moderate with lively carbonation both of which are spot on for the style. The finish is just sweet enough and crisply bitter. Overall this is an incredibly flavorful, rather unique EPA that is a joy to drink. A world class example without question.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this while recently visiting Ginger Man in New York. I took notes from my visit because they get beers that I can't find anywhere else. I recommend visiting that place... the beer selection is amazing and the food is limited, yet very tasty. On to the Kipling:

The coloring was very light/pale with one finger of head on a fluted glass. The smell reflected a decently sour nose along with some sweetness. Overall wholly unexceptional in the nose, which would be expected for an English Pale.

The flavor had a little unusual presence. I tasted some type of berry that really came through. There was even some bitterness from the hopping. I also got some grass and creaminess.

This beer was good but a little confusing.

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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 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 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 Oakenator
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive English ale. Hop flavors are present in this beer vs. other English pale ales. Nose is citrus and definitely forward with grapefruit. Tongue is the same and has a deeper flavor profile than a lot of other English pale ales. One to remember for the next trip across the pond.

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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 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 woodychandler
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am slowly emptying my reefer of bottles. It is not that I am totally averse to them, but I would prefer to be advancing The CANQuest (TM) instead.

From the bottle: "Thornbridge Brewery is a collaboration of innovation, passion and knowledge. Our brewers come with a variety of experience but all share the same desire to make great beers. Using the flavours of the land their aim is to put the art back into the science they were taught. Brewing has forever pushed the boundaries of technology. We found a way to use it to harness our passion for great flavoured beer. This means no pasteurisation or filtration. No stealing of delicate flavour and aroma molecules. This is Craft Beer as it should be. A complex combination of all that makes beer great. Kipling is a golden beer made exclusively with the fabulous Nelson Sauvin hop that imparts tropical fruit[-]like flavours. Thornbridge were [sic] the first UK brewery to use this hop. The beer's initial sweetness and medium body are balanced by a lasting bitter finish."; "Innovation-Passion-Knowledge".

Given all of the labeling as well as being able to see suspended particulate, I went with about as gentle a pour as I have ever employed. I still got a skim of bone-white foam that quickly became mere wisps, however. My second, lees-ridden, pour created a finger of rocky, off-white head with good retention. Lacing was prevalent throughout. Color was an ever-so-slightly-hazy sunshine yellow with lots of carbonation bubbles in evidence. Nose had an odd fruitiness, like grapefruit and pineapple together. Mouthfeel was very effervescent and it did, indeed, taste like a hybrid of a grapefruit and a pineapple. Finish was quite dry with the grapefruit taste simply lingering well after the swallow. I really must try more of Thornbridge's beers.

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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 CanuckRover
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fairly bright gold. Nice white head bubbles up on the pour but settles to a film pretty quickly.

Winey fruit on the nose. Nelson Sauvin all the way. Grapefruit with a nice sweet backing.

Starts off pretty soft, with some mild English malt. Hops pick up pretty quickly. Big grapefruit flavours with a dusting of sugar and really aromatic floral notes. I find Nelson Sauvin accentuates any booziness in a beer and the same can be said for this one.

A really nice pale ale, characteristic of a lot of the pale ales coming out of the UK right now.

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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 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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Kipling from Thornbridge Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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