Master Brew
Shepherd Neame Ltd

Master BrewMaster Brew
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Style:
Bitter - English
Ranked #256
ABV:
4%
Score:
77
Ranked #47,328
Avg:
3.36 | pDev: 14.88%
Reviews:
31
Ratings:
52
From:
Shepherd Neame Ltd
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  1
Gots
  8
SCORE
77
Okay
Master BrewMaster Brew
Notes: Delicate and devilishly drinkable, this quintessentially Kentish ale lays the county's hallowed, herbaceous hops on a firm, biscuity bed of pale and crystal malt. Endowed with an inviting auburn-amber hue and a tantalising toffee-ish aroma, it's an enlivening English ale that, given its unassuming ABV, pleasures the palate with a remarkable fullness of flavour.

Bottles: 4% ABV, Cask: 3.7% ABV
View: Beers
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 52 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3.79/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cask half pint at the Cask and Glass, London Victoria. Deep amber to brown colour, moderate white head. Moderate malts and hops in the aroma. Tingling hops in the flavour, very good.

Mar 23, 2021
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

3.59/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, deep amber coloration with a small, creamy head and slightly visible carbonation. Smells of grainy, slightly toasted and caramelly malt and some earthy/herbal hops. Taste is a good balance of grainy, slightly toasted and caramelly malt and earthy, herbal hops, with hints of toffee and fruity accents of citrus and berries. Finishes with a medium bitterness and some grainy malt, toffee and herbal hops lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation.

This is a nice enough Bitter with a good balance of sweet, bitter and slightly fruity elements, as well as good overall malt/hop balance and a good bitterness, with the grainy, toasted malt and earthy, hops dominating here, rounded out by some toffee and fruity accents.

Jun 12, 2020
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vinicole from England

3.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Cask. Amber with a frothy head which generates lacing.
English hop aroma. Toffee malt.
Caramel flavour which is nicely balanced by the hops.
Cask conditioned feel. Thinnish.
Had this many times over 45 years of drinking.

May 30, 2019
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rocketcat from Finland

4.18/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Right amount of sweetness, tastefullness and abit bubbling feel. Right choice for sweet beer moments.
///////
Makea, mutta sopivasti. Sopivan aromikas ja hieman kupliva tuntuma. Makean oluen hetkiin oiva valinta.

Jul 10, 2017
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josanguapo from Spain

2.03/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

From Lidl. In Ikea's pint glass. Watching Narcos 2x08. Very watery with a tasteless bitterness. It could be very drinkable if its flatness didnt bore so much. Just some lemon notes, not much else

May 29, 2017
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captaincoffee from Virginia

3.71/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured pint from the Royal Air Force Club on Piccadilly by Hyde Park. No, you can't get in, but feel free to live vicariously through me if you must.
Clear amber with larber than usual head for cask (this was a first pour off a new cask).
Nose is light, but definitely towards the floral end of the hop spectrum.
Taste was particularly fruity in the malts. Not much depth, but reasonable for the brand. Underwhelming, but typical English pub beer for downing a few. Good but not great. Better than Spitfire at least. In the bottle it is probably not worth trying at all.

Feb 11, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with one finger airy head. Nice aroma of hops, taste is also mostly hops. This is what I think of when i think of Bitters. well done, and very good.

Jan 19, 2016
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PlutonowyManiek from Belgium

2.8/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Color: amber, clear.
Head: white, fine-bubble, unfortunately, very quickly reduced to a thin film.
The delicate aroma notes of lemons, plums and next bit of caramel and toffee.
Taste: Very poorly, only butterscotch, and maybe somewhere at the bottom, very gentle lemon.
Gentian: slight, soft, but at the finish.
Saturation: high tweaks in the language.
Alcohol: retracted.

Oct 07, 2015
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doktorhops from Australia

3.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It sounds like the name of a new Iron Chef style brewing show where Sam Calagione battles against Jim Koch for the Iron Brewer crown, which is a hat shaped like a Spiegelau IPA glass: Master Brew... Kentish Ale! [said with a pause in the middle with an overtly ridiculous American movie trailer voice] However it isn’t. It’s just a beer. A beer by Shepherd Neame nonetheless but still a beer [I so wanted to see “Master Brew Kentish Ale” on the T-box, but oh well *pops open bottle*].

Poured from a you-know-what-size-it-is into you-know-which-receptacle, aka 500ml/nonic pint.

A: Clear auburn-copper body with a foamy off-white 1 cm head that wont actually just quit. I don’t know how Shepherd Neame do it but all their beers look exactly the same, least the ones I’ve tried... just as well it’s a good look for an EB. 7/10.

S: All their aromas are similar too... do you reckon Shepherd Neame distribute the same product in different packaging and the joke’s on us? I swear I had a Spitfire the other day and the aroma was exactly the same... toffee/caramel malts, fruity/earthy hops and a restrained tea leaf tannin in the background. Straight up English Bitter goodness right ‘ere! 7/10.

T: Verbatim what I wrote for Spitfire applies: “Balanced flavour here; the hops add a citrus tang and the caramel malts come through on the back palate”... Shepherd Neame I like you but you are seriously ‘aving a larf. If I could taste a point of difference this one has a bolder herbal bitter note in the finish but otherwise this brew is a definite bed mate to Bishops Finger and Spitfire, the fact that those other brews are decent reflects on this similarly tasting brew. Metal note implies some classic copper vats used in the brewing process and a slight distraction. 7/10.

M: It’s not all “good news goats” with a carbonation that is distractingly “burpy” for lack of a better descriptive, body is mid to light and spot on though. 5/10.

D: Not bad as usual Mr. Neame. This is a decent enough EB that doesn’t wow but at the same time it doesn’t disappoint either - it’s like the ale version of long-relationship sex - gets the job done. My only gripe is how gassy it is - it certainly doesn’t facilitate the ‘slamming down pints Dave Lister style’ drinking that I know and love, I’ve really had to pace myself with this one, maybe that was Shepherd Neame’s plan all along... 6/10.

Food match: That not-so-old English classic: Chicken Tikka Masala with Biriyani and a Naan of course!

Sep 20, 2015
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Beer_Rabbit66 from England

3.44/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Simple refreshing sweet tasting ale.
Look is a smart bottle and pours neatly to a lovely dark brown copper / amber colour.
Smell is sweet hoppy and toffee, appetising!
Taste; clear crisp, dry, bitter with a light fruity hint.
Feel is smooth and plesent, with a bitter after taste but lingers plesently.
Overall a plesent ale to enjoy. Nothing too special.

Jul 25, 2015
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EmperorBevis from England

2.44/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Kind of light brown lear body with big foamy white head thats fucks off to nothing quick

There is almost an aroma the small shining light from this ordeal some sweet barley in there

The taste or more the lack of it a slight menthol flavour and mostly like beer soap

Very thin & very fizzy

a big old pile of bollocks

AVOID!

Jan 12, 2014
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flyingpig from Scotland

3.22/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle from Morrisons (£1.50):
Amber to orange colour with a massive, three fingers tall head that is foamy in texture and rises a lot after the drink has been poured. Clear & lively looking.

Some caramel malts at the start with a sort of metallic aroma and some vanilla hops. There was also a few grassy notes and a bit of toffee coming together to give a sweet aroma.

Light malts and sweet flavours to begin, namely some caramel and perhaps a touch of vanilla from the nose. There was a sort of bitter, earthy taste around the middle and a touch of fruit at the end.

Light medium and as expected a pretty smooth beer on the palate. Carbonation was noticeable but nothing overly strong and there was a dry, semi-bitter finish. This one was pretty standard overall on the palate but it wasn't the most well balanced.

A standard ale with quite a nice aroma and a good bit going for it but the flavours, although nice, were a nit muddled and not balanced well which the beer suffered for in the end. Carbonation was perhaps a little strong and the head was almost out of control when I poured the beer resulting in a bit of spillage after a fairly gentle pour.

Mar 04, 2013
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jonb5 from England

3.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint, served in Shaker. Amber colour, hazy, tiny tanned head, retained some lacing. Fruity aroma with hints of Maris Otter malt and Golding hop. Tasted malty, bitter with notes of wheat, long charcol finish. Smooth texture, body thick for the low ABV, no real carbonation. Overall slightly watery but quite a lot of character for the strength.

Aug 31, 2012
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Dentist666 from Russian Federation

3.48/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear orange beer with good off-white head, lingering for a long time and leaving lots of laces. Rich smell of caramel malts and dark fruits, tones of herbal hops (the smell is quite tpical for kentish beers). Taste is watery, somewhat citrusy with standard for the style soft bitter finish. Drinkable beer, but not having its own face.

Aug 20, 2012
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jazzyjeff13 from England

2.91/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of June 2012.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear orange-amber colour with medium carbonation. Forms a large head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding. Aroma of roasted malt with dry, fruity ale yeast, caramel and stewed hops. A hint of ripe cheese.

Tastes of roasted malt with hints of caramel and a dry bitterness. Notes of fruity yeast, roasted grain and leafy stewed hops. Decent hoppy bitter finish. Mouthfeel is slick, prickly and astringent - leaves the palate dry. Aftertaste of bitter roasted malt and stewed hops.

A fairly typical Shepherd Neame brew - pedestrian. The roasted malt and house yeast dominate the taste/aroma, but there is little in the way of aromatic hops. Lacks depth, and the mouthfeel is thinner than it could be. A bog-standard bitter; drinkable but nothing special. No need to seek it out.

Apr 02, 2012
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Ruds from England

2.72/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass

Note - bottle clearly states 4.0% ABV, not 4.4% as listed above (change request sent)

Pours to an amber/gold - light brown colour with a small head

Smells of well . . . Shepherd Neame ! Their beers tend to have a similar aroma in my opinion, quite clearly English hops, I'd guess Fuggles is involved as a slightly earthy/grassy smell comes over?

Tastes of light malts, light hops, slight (and ever so) citrus taste

Mouthfeel - refreshing and a dry hop aftertaste

Overall - a pretty average beer, not one to get excited about. Might be from England's oldest brewery but there's a heap load of guys who have been brewing for a fraction of this time coming up with far superior ales in the UK !

Jan 02, 2012
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david18 from New York

3.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the beer available on the trade show floor at a recent conference I attended in London. Overall, pretty good and it was served a little colder than a typical English Bitter so it was a little more refreshing for lunchtime.

Appearance is a little lighter than most bitters with some good carbonation and a little less cloudy than I expected.

Aroma was very malty and refreshing.

Flavor was also quite refreshing. Light, some bready malts, a little hops. Quite well balanced.

Overall aver good beer.

Sep 20, 2011
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dgilks from Australia

3.61/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper colour with a relatively small but smooth, off-white head. Fair head retention.

Non-descript toffee malt with a slightly metallic edge. Average.

Nutty, rich and enticing toffee flavoured malt. Some earthy hop but this is malt driven and pretty good.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A decent, malty ale with some hop sharpness to add bitterness and balance. Nice.

Sep 09, 2011
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GONZALOYANNA from Spain

3.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle served into a Pint glass.Enjoyed on may´11.Pours reddish deep amber in color.Crown is white small size bubbled,foamy thin layer.Pretty good retention leaving a collar while slowly dissipates.Clear appearance.On the nose:slightly caramel malts & subtle floral hints.Mildy toasted malt flavor with an smooth bitterness.Medium/low body & moderate carbonation.Finishes quite bland.Quite refreshing.Label indicates 4.0% ABV

Aug 29, 2011
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PartyBear from England

3.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours as a light red copper, with a nice big fluffy white head, and it sustains a decent level of carbonation throughout. It is quite floral in the aroma with a nice strong malty caramel base from the crystal malts and a slightly metallic hint. The taste is very citric and floral, with some nice bitter hops, and a subtle sweetness in the back. A very drinkable bitter, pleasant enough but nothing groundbreaking but this is what Shepherd Neame have always produced and they do it well.

Dec 24, 2009
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fullsweep from England

3.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL from a clear bottle, poured into a pint glass. (NOTE: my bottle says this is 4.0% ABV, not the reported 4.4% listed here.)

A: great brownish-copper colour. Foamy bubbles coming up from underneath form an off-white head of 1 finger or so. Dissipates quickly leaving only marginal lacing.

S: caramel malts with earthy/metallic undertones.

T: again earthy, not much in the way of fruity/sweety, which is okay but leaves this bitter somewhat unbalanced.

M: moderate to low carbonation (which is okay for a good bitter), moderate body with a stickiness to it.

D: would definitely drink again.

Dec 13, 2009
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BlackHaddock from England

3.6/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear 500ml bottle, drank 6 months before its due by date. Poured into a Uk pint sleeve glass.

Large bubbles in a white head sat on top of a sparkling light brown/amber body. The head got thinner and thinner as the beer was consummed, leaving only a collar and a wispy covering at the end.

Hops for me won the aroma stakes, malted biscuits coming in second and last, couldn't find anything else, but this isn't a complicated brew.

No strong, powerful flavours here, just a pleasant mix of Kentish Hops and Crystal malts which produce a typical Southern English Ale/Bitter.

The bitter eliment within the flavour stays long enough in the mouth and I found this beer very easy to drink and enjoy, as I have done often in the past.

Feb 07, 2009
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charlatan from Scotland

3.44/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle with freshness date Feb 2009 is fairly light coloured with an amber hue. A fairly insubstantial head has formed around the rim of my glass.

The nose is sweet and fruity, with rhubarb and blackcurrant springing to mind. That makes it sound more sour than it actually smells though. In the mouth it is less sweet, with carbonation hitting home first before a blackcurrant tinged herbal bitterness takes over. I like this but it would be better if it were rather bolder.

Jul 24, 2008
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Flyer from Wisconsin

2.01/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The crystalline caramel color was the best thing about this beer. The head was weak and soap-like, foretellling the relative lack of carbonation. Overall, it has less taste than an American macro. There was a passable hoppiness to the aftertaste, but not nearly enough to save this. The least you can expect from a beer like this is to be crisp and refreshing when you're hot and thirsty (which I was), but it wasn't refreshing, and the hops had more of a mushy taste than a crsip taste. Give me a Miller Genuine Draft over this any day.

Jun 02, 2007
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Mark from California

4.02/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ale is a deep clear amber, a signature of the brewery's beers, however the minimal head left no lacing whatsoever, little visual ambience in the beer, nothing like the beautiful Spitfire from the same maker. Fruity aroma with slight hints of sulpher that does not off put. Slightly roasted malts are on the palate with fruity hops as well. A decent beer but Spitfire is far better in my book.

Jan 13, 2007
Master Brew from Shepherd Neame Ltd
Beer rating: 77 out of 100 with 52 ratings