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 biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. The South Pacific is a new one for me, insofar as pale ales are concerned.

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium apple juice yellow colour (decently pale), with a tall column of thick foamy white head, which leaves a combination of chunky and frilly lace on its slow slide to oblivion. It smells of pineapple citrus, musty straw, soft grain, and a weedy, grassy, teetering on skunky hoppiness. The taste is quite reminiscent of diving into a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - sharp, edgy, meaty tropical fruit, and tart, almost cat-piss-esque notes dominate; the malt is still underwhelming, of the mild crackery ilk, and the hops also seem weedy, funky, and musty. The carbonation is average, though a tad frothy, the body medium light in weight, and a bit too prickly to be considered all that smooth. It finishes just a wee bit off-dry, the grainy malt asserting itself somewhat, before a final blow of funky, fruity hops closes things out.

Well, the Nelson Sauvin hops do a damned fine job of furthering the terroir of New Zealand - so many strange flavours for a pale ale - a thought stolen from Old World white wine drinkers at some point, I would imagine. A little intense, and confounding, at first, but once settled in, I rather enjoyed this little antipodean experiment.

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

I got this bottle from my dear buddy Craig (Zimbo) in a trade we now and then do. I had this bottle for quit a while in the fridge but because of my daughters birthday i cracked this one open for the occasion.

Poured in my Struise glass the beers looks good, A bit cloudy yellow with a nice fluffy head.

Aromas come in the nose. Nice citrus hops.

Taste is like a pale ale should be, I had some pumpkin and pineapple in the taste.

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Photo of Zimbo
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drunk at the superb 'Staggs' Volunteer Arms in Musselburgh. Cost £3.25.

Good couple of mm thick white foam with a hazy har of light yellow. Thick wave blanket of foam clings to the glass side with evey sip.

There is some very appealing tropical fruit on the nose. A much fuller body than the bottled version which to be honest swamps and smothers some of the beer's more appealing and delicate qualities. But as compensation the force of the body pulls the flavour around the mouth giving you a real sense of a full long massaging bitterness. Still, I miss that lightness of touch that comes from the bottle I am afraid to say.

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Photo of Boozecamel
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Wonderfull golden yellow, slightly hazy, with good pure white head. Poured into a pint glass

Smell: Initial citrusy/onion hit with sweet peaches and oranges.

Taste: Citrussy with a strong bitter finish. Little bit of toffee sweetness in the middle.

Mouthfeel: Light, refreshing mouthfeel.

Overall: Easy drinking, refreshing beer with great citrus notes balanced well with the bitter finish. Perfect drinking for a 29 degree London afternoon. Many rave about Jaipur, but I’m more of a Kipling fan.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass. Pours a hazy straw color, with a thin white head.

Has a very European aroma to it; wet straw, almost skunky, with a mild malt aroma.

Starts with a mild toffee malt flavor that quickly melts into a very bitter, dry finish. Fairly peppery in the finish, but lacking any real hop taste. The skunkiness in the aroma is also slightly present in the taste.

This is light to mid-light bodied beer, with a soft feel but a bitter finish. The bitterness is a little out of place, at first, given how soft the water is that makes up this beer.

This ale certainly improved as it breathed, as it released a lot of the "skunkiness" that first presented in the smell and taste. The bitterness is classic Thornbridge; in fact, whichever hop was used to create the bitterness likely is the same one used in their Jaipur IPA. Not a bad English PA, though slightly more bitter than others I've had - something that works for me. Still, of the Jaipur, the Raven and the Kipling, the Kipling is my least favorite of the bunch.

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Photo of emerge077
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Local Option, served in a fluted tulip glass.

Bright high clarity gold, other side of the glass is clearly visible. Soapy white foam on the surface that billows up to the rim at first, sticking to the sides on the way down. Drippy lacing left in it's wake. Retention is good, lasting for the entire glass.

Pale malt notes, sort of a grassy lager aroma. Ok, but nothing too different here.

Flavor is firmly bitter, plenty of grassy, lemony hop character. Dried citrus peel, hay, some vague weediness. Effervescent and medium bodied, exceptionally dry and crisp finish. Light and not too filling. Nicely drinkable, several would be easy to drink, if only it wasn't $9 for a small glass.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant golden pour on tap at Piper's Pub in Pittsburgh's Southside, it's a pale golden ale much like a hazed Czech or German pils in appearance. Light biscuit malts labeled as a South Pacific Pale Ale, recently showed up at my local in Ohio for 6.99 a 500 ml bottle. I hate to say it but I passed at those prices. I'm pretty sure I had an imperial pint for at or around 5 bucks at Piper's. Aroma has a citrus grapefruit esque earthy grassy hop profile about it. Very pleasant floral aspect as well, all those hops amongst a pale biscuit malt background a bit of fruity earthiness comes through from the yeast and English brewing traditions. Flavor was nice a really refreshing hoppy pale ale, English style not an Americanized pale not as aggressive but very well executed and flavors definitely blend together nicely. The pale biscuit malt sweetness with a mild fruitiness is the perfect back drop for the star of the show in this case Nelson Sauvin hops. Those hops bring the herbal grassiness with a nice persistent grapefruit pith bitterness. Mouthfeel was lighter bodied with moderate carbonation a really crsip nice drinking pale ale with great complexity for a beer so light in color. Overall impression is that it would be a great beer to attempt to drink in number, but the price point at 6.99 a bottle may stop me from drinking it indefinitely.

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Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy golden-copper color with a white head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of crisp pale malts with good amounts of light citrus and earthy hops. Also present are mild amounts of breadiness.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as robust. Smooth pale malts up front are joined quickly by light citrus hops – lemon rind with hints of grapefruit. Midway through moderate amounts of breadiness temper the bitterness from the hops until leafy and somewhat earthy hops come in near the end, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with soft carbonation.

Overall I was really impressed with this beer and could easily have more than a few of these. Well worth a shot.

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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 CwrwAmByth
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a samuel smith pint glass.

Appears a pale yellow/golden colour with not much of a head to talk about.

Smells of hops and alcohol.

Tastes like a citrus zest with lots of hops and bitterness. Quite a refreshing taste.

Overall a good refreshing beer, went well with a roast pork dinner.

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

The beer pours a glowing yellow golden, slightly cloudy, with a small white head that leaves a nearly clear glass.

The aroma is much like a lager, grain and some straw/grain/barn/ "funk." There is a bit of light fruit in the aroma as well and some light leather.

The taste is a wave of lager with the funk, followed immediately by a refreshing fruitiness with zesty citrus and tropical notes, with another quick wave of dry bitterness that finishes the flavor.

While not visibly highly carbonated the beer has a biting, carbonated mouthfeel that finishes dry. This is a very flavorful and refreshing beer.

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

A 500 mL bottle from IM Wine.

A: The pale ale is light, a hybrid looker that seems to fall between an APWA and, well, a blonde ale. A finger and a half of white head, a luxurious quantity that leaves lacing behind.

S: The EPA has light tropical aromas, sweetness alongside the biscuity malts. Flowers, fresh cut grass and mild citrus fruits. A nice package.

T: The pale biscuity malts, a soft start, supports a surprising amount of hop flavor. The ale finishes very dry after the sweetness. Flowers and grass are sweet and lightly bitter; pineapple and onion grass add sweet zestiness. The entire flavor profile is mild even with the complex tropical flavors. Unmentioned until now, the yeast provides more fruity flavors, none of which are as strong as the hops.

M: A surprisingly quaffable ale, light but hopped to a tropical tune. A wide array of citric bitterness, sugary sweet at times, dominates the ale.

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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 Rifugium
3.08/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First had: on cask at the Dandelion, Philadelphia, PA

Poured clear, yellow, with a nice white head that retained rather well throughout. Light, grassy, floral nose. Light taste, very smooth, with notes of grass and light fruits. Light mouthfeel, easily drinkable, but not extremely flavorful.

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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 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 DIM
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

a: Lightly hazy golden color, it was served to me with a thin, big bubbled head.

s: Very appealing of fresh smelling, grassy, bitter citrus; and light, pale malt.

t: Mildly sweet grains with hint of apple and lots of grassy citrus that lingers long into the finish.

m: Gently creamy carbonation, perhaps a little thin overall.

d: Very flavorful pale ale with a nice hop bite, I'm surprised a cask from across the pond traveled so well.

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Photo of foogerd
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Golden yellow hazy body with some white head that thinned out to a film and left some miniscule lacing.

S- Lots of citrusy pineappley fruits coming through even a little sweet red apple aroma. Light malts,crackerlike. Tropical hops really dominate this nose.

T- Hops still retain their tropical identity with a more bitter kick than the nose.

M- Lively carbonation with a wet slick feel.

O- Very solid English Pale Ale almost ventures into IPA category.

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Photo of phishgator
2/5  rDev -50%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Had this with a hand drawn pump. The appearance was in an imperial pint glass with a slight hazy dull straw color, slight white head and low carbonation. The smell was a little band-aidy and funky. The beer had a slight sulfur aftertaste; almost like it was infected, but another person in my group said they thought it was just fine. I don't know that I would get it again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 3/19/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a short white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, floral hops, chocolate and a touch of citrus.

T: The taste starts sweet with flavors of honey and citrus. Then a good hops presence for the style comes in. the malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to pound down for a while.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a stemmed glass, nice golden color. nice fluffy white head, overally pretty solid.

musty yeast, slight grapefruit skin,definite "white wine fruitiness", slight bready note.

bready/biscuity malt upfront, semi dry, slight grapefruit note with a firm bitterness in the finish.

medium bodied, very drinkable. if this were reasonably priced i'd make this a go to session beer.

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Photo of claspada
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas are quite complex with floral and lemony hoppiness and distinct white wine vinous characteristics; light white grapes, apple, pear. The faintest hint of biscuity malt.
The taste begins with pale maltiness but quickly shifts to an explosion of hoppiness; grassy, floral, earthy and light citrus. This hop profile is quite delicious but for my tastes I wish there was some more maltiness. As it warms you get some granny smith apples and sweet bitter fruitiness, almost like pineapple.
Overall this a good beer which showcases this amazing hop variety to a tee. While I recommend this, I do so with the asterisk, because it is overpriced for the overall product/offering. The Alpine brewery does a better showcase of this hop with their brew Nelson and it is much cheaper and comes in a 22 oz compared to a 500 ml. Still good though.

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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 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 oberon
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iam really diggin the Thornbridge stuff I gotta say.Poured into an imperial nonic a dull llemon yeallow with a thin quick to fade white head.Aromas of sweet biscuit malt and tropical fruit,fitting for a south Pacific pale ale.Flavors of sweetish biscuit dough mixed with overripe mango,pineapple,and some green apple,even a litle leafiness in the finish.An easy quaffer and a sold EPA at that,I would buy again.

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