Bishops Finger
Shepherd Neame Ltd

Bishops FingerBishops Finger
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #157
Ranked #39,292
3.7 | pDev: 14.59%
Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Bishops FingerBishops Finger
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Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 310 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BPVandenbroek from Canada (AB)

4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Bishop's Finger pours into my glass crystal clear and a deep copper color, bordering on leathery. Head is two fingers deep and creamy in color.

S - Bishop's Finger is robust in its maltiness, reminding me of an English brown ale. Dark malts with notes of bread and crackers mix quickly and seamlessly with aromas of caramel, leather, and damp earth. somewhere in there, I think maybe I'm getting a whiff of berries but can't be sure. All of this leads into a nutty finish before fading into the peppery, earthy, aroma of European hops.

T - Bishop's finger is medium bodied and smooth, its flavors held up by pinpoint carbonation. flavors are rich in their maltiness, starting off sweet up front with its flavors of caramel. Much like the nose, caramel leads into slightly dryer flavors of leather, each one complimenting the other. this is where flavors lead into the bracing bitter finish you would expect in an English bitter.

Oct 21, 2020
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, deep, dark amber amber coloration with a medium, fluffy head. Smells of biscuity, caramel, slightly grainy malt, toffee and herbal hops, with some dark fruit and red berry accents of fig, raisin and red currants as well. Taste follows the nose, with a good balance of biscuity, caramel, slightly grainy malt and herbal, hops, with some dark fruit and red berry notes of fig, raisin and red currant, as well as a distinct toffee presence and just a hint of pine. Finishes with a medium bitterness and some caramel malt, toffee and dark fruit lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation.

This is a pretty nice English Bitter with a good balance of sweet malts, bitter, herbal hops and distinct toffee and dark/red fruit notes, as well as just a hint of pine. Starts out a little sweet, but is being balanced nicely by a good bitterness in the finish. Quite an enjoyable, expressive and well-balanced brew.

Jun 25, 2020
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James94 from England

3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Chestnut brown, lasting head, good lacing
S: Toffee, malts, vanilla, bitter orange
T: Toasty malt, background of citrus
F: Somewhat complex, a bit watery

O: 4

May 25, 2020
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shambeano from Australia

3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml clear bottle, couldn't see any date, poured into a tulip.
Look: A really good looking dark bronze/chestnut colour. Not too much head, slowly subsides to a thin film in the middle and around the sides of the glass. Great colour, wish it had a bit more head though.
Smell: caramel, some toasted cereally malt, something a little metallic and some slight grassy/herbal hop at the end.
Taste: a little less caramel than on the nose, some toasted malt, a little bit of dried fruit and a little more herbal/green than on the nose.
Feel: mid bodied, not super carbonated, but there's a little tingliness near the back of the palate. Bitterness comes through near the end, and I found it unexpectedly strong and with a decent length.
Overall: decent offering, but I was left a little underwhelmed.

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of InosukeHashibira

3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Relatively cheap for a 5.4 ale, can normally be found for about £1.25 in supermarkets as of 2019, very light scented with a lot of hops.

Taste is actually thin with a bite in the middle of bitterness and a follow through of the hops, fades fast to a lingering slight bitterness, has a bubbliness to the taste not in carbonation it isnt that carbonated but similar to the fizz from a sour sweet such as fizzy cola bottles. A very unsweet ale tho.

Dec 23, 2019
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JonnoWillsteed from England

4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Chestnut brown, pours with 5mm off-white head, that holds very well.
S- Smells lovely, and clearly for me from 20Cm away which is most unusual! Roasted grains, even a hint of smokeyness to it.
T- Toasty grains, and into a malty richer finish, with a gentle hoppy/bitter note at the finish.
F- Refreshing yet fulfilling, a great beer for a winter's night.
O- I haven't had this in a while, but used to enjoy it regularly. Another one of such beers that escaped review until today. It has a beautiful balance, everything comes together so well. I'd had this in the fridge and it shouldn't be that cold, so I'll leave it to warm by 5C+ and re-check my notes above.
I can't find a BBE anywhere on it, not the lables, glass incl bottom, can... but it was bought recently from a busy shop so should be well in-date.

Nov 13, 2018
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle - seems like it's been a long while since we saw any new English brews 'round these parts.

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber colour, with four fingers of puffy, rocky, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves some decent chunky splattered lace around the glass as it very slowly sinks out of sight.

It smells of grainy and crackery caramel malt, a hint of biscuity toffee, some oily nuttiness, indistinct dark fruity notes, a stoney flintiness, and some plain earthy, musty, and leafy noble hop bitters. The taste is gritty and grainy cereal malt, stale bar-top nuts, some ethereal cocoa powder, a still rather muddled black stone fruitiness, some damp minerality, and more understated leafy, herbal, and grassy green hoppiness.

The carbonation is average in its palate-pinging frothiness, the body a so-so middleweight, and mostly smooth, with maybe a bit of hop astringency not playing all that well with the other children here. It finishes off-dry, just, as the malt starts a slow, winding spiral into oblivion.

Overall - this comes across as a pleasant enough version of the style, with perhaps a minor lacking on the anticipated robust malt front. At any rate, quite quaffable, in that 'I guess I will have another pint of this after all, girl dear!' manner. Or something.

May 29, 2018
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hebdomeros from Wales

3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hard pour from the bottle into a straight pint glass produces a tall, frothy, creamy head that promises more than the beer eventually delivered. Colour is a clear dark amber or honey, with light carbonation.

Smell and taste essentially treacle toffee with some bitterness in the aftertaste. The taste opens up and the bitterness recedes somewhat as the beer warms. It's not unpleasant, but one-dimensional. The 5.4% alcohol doesn't announce itself in the taste, but there's enough to make one aware in due course that this is beer.

Overall: nothing special, but a safe choice in the absence of anything more inspiring. The second pint is probably better than the first.

Dec 24, 2017
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Spike from England

3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 500ml bottle.
L: Perfectly clear, chestnut colour. Looks fantastic when back lit with a ruby core and copper edging. The thin off-white head quickly reduces to a smear.
S: Lightly smokey treacle with spiced red fruits. Wish it was a little stronger.
T: Fruity, rich malts with a light, bitter finish. Not too earthy.
F: Medium body with light carbonation. Some alcohol. Dry, rich mouthfeel.
O: Haven't drunk Bishops Finger in maybe 20 years. A very pleasant surprise. A lovely smokey, rich but still quaffable brew.

Oct 17, 2017
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josanguapo from Spain

4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From estucerveza. In Ikea's pint glass. Playing The Secret Monster Society. Ultra drinkable. Caramel with perfectly adjusted english earthy hoppyness. Not watery at all, unlike other kentish ales

Sep 21, 2017
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Dentist666 from Russian Federation

3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear copper beer with thick golden head, excellent retention.
Smell - caramel, toasted malts, some fruitiness.
Taste - caramel, fruity, pleasant earthy bitterness.
Light, soft carbonation, quaffable.

Aug 09, 2017
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle served reasonably cold into a pint glass. Purchased while on vacation in the UK.

Appearance - a clear dark golden, slight amber beer with a finger and a half of white head that lasts for a bit.

Smell - clean with some grainy and lots of dark fruit flavors. A wonderful mix of berries and currents and plums all together.

Taste - like the nose but even more intense. The fruity characteristics make this very tasty and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel - smooth, fairly light, modest carbonation and an easy drinking way about it.

Overall - a very good ESB, one of my faves. Certainly worth a try for anyone with access to it. Enjoying this while on vacation in the UK.

Jul 29, 2017
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OlaB from Norway

3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby brown color, with a good top off white head that disolves inn a quick pace. Sticky lacings on the glass.
The aroma is bread,caramel and toffee, and the flavour follows the nose in most aspects. Malty with bittering earthy hops inn the finish, and good lenght inn the aftertaste. The beer is medium carbonated with a medium body. Mouthfeell is smooth and clean. All inn all is a good and very drinkable beer, but it maybe lacks a little caracter to give it a top rating.

Jun 18, 2017
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captaincoffee from Virginia

3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

On cask at the RAF Club. Pours a brownish amber with a short creamy head that doesn't really last and leaves a few spots. Nose is muted with a bit of floral hops, very slight fruits, and a bit of mustiness. Flavor is more light fruits, a bit firmer bitterness than expected that lingers into the finish, and a bit more of that mustiness. Overall, a below average strong bitter.

May 26, 2017
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The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a seriously good beer. It pours bright brown and clear with very little head. The aroma is floral and with suggestions of toffee and sweet malts. The taste is similar and overall very well balanced. Fairly light bodied and with hardly any noticeable carbonation, especially after a few minutes. 

May 01, 2017
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hreb from Washington

3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

500mL clear glass bottle, 5.4% abv version. Served in a small tumbler. Beer is mild in aroma, toasty and slightly yeasty, with a hint of sourness. Nice color -- crystal clear, of course -- dark red amber. Flavor is just dry and leaves a pleasant bittering, as ESB should. Years of drinking American ales leads me to find the hop flavor here rather dull. The real highlight is the thin unsweet toffee flavor, layered over a heavy, biscuity malt base. Mild carbonation lends a very enjoyable, if wet, mouthfeel. I'm not sure how excited I can get about ESB these days but I'm happy enough to drink this one.

May 22, 2016
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fridayletmedown from Sweden

3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tried this one for the first time in a couple of years.

Overall a nice english ale (or esb/premium bitter/strong ale to be, eh, precise). Lovely smell: toffee, dried fruits, butter; light floral hops; and some mineral note I cant really nail down. Taste is basically along the same lines. To conclude - tired of modern style pale ales or even ipa? - try this. Lots of flavors, but in another way.

Apr 18, 2016
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janubio from Spain

3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice amber colour, small headthat leaves a ring, and a good lace with teardrops. Aroma of caramel, dark fruits, nuts, butter. Medium body, thick rough palate. Taste of caramel, dark fruits, nuts. Astringent finish. Good one.

Apr 16, 2016
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rapayn01 from Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I split half of a 500 ml bottle at a holiday party. It was a smooth bitter, relatively balanced and low abv. This is the kind of beer I often enjoy when I'm in the UK.

Jan 18, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bitter? Indeed! Sharp bitterness lingers on the palate. Aroma is toffee and gingerbread, dried fruit. Taste is more of the same with an abrupt finish. Color is dark amber with lasting creamy head and nice lacing.

Jan 14, 2016
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Ben_Bernstein from Germany

3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nose without mistakes, reminding of Trappist beers... But cannot keep the promise when you start drinking. Somehow to thin and not enough structured body. It`s puffing out fastly and leaves a feeling of bad halitosis...

Jul 26, 2015
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a thin head on a clear dark straw body.
The aroma is dark plum and toffee.
The taste is caramel, toffee sweet with a bit of bitter grain to finish.
The texture is crisp and fizzy.
It's well balanced.

Jul 05, 2015
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Andrewharemza from Australia

3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From bottle, Pours a clear amber with minimal white head. Aroma of caramel and syrup. Taste is slightly bitter. Palate is medium body with a long dry aftertaste. Overall a good ale.

Jun 16, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A great gift from a new friend from across the pond----THANKS IAN!

This classic ESB pours a beautiful brownish red from the clear bottle with a nice off white head of foam that lasts long with great lacing. Nose of caramel malts, dark berries notes of raspberries and some strawberry, and a good dose of floral hops. Flavors exceed the nose with caramel malts dancing about raspberry tartness and beautiful floral hops. Nice carbonation makes for an easy refreshing brew. Finish is long and moderately bitter with a touch of tartness. An excellent example of a quality ESB.

May 25, 2015
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BeerDrinkersWorldTour from Northern Ireland

4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Amber red in the glass with a decent two finger head that has slightly below average retention. The head dies to a lace cover and leaves some spotty lace in the glass but this is minimal and there is minimal CO2 activity in the glass.

Smell – The bouquet is very complex. There is a pleasant aroma of red fruit/berries including strawberry, raspberry and cherry. There is also a smell of roasted malts, treacle, raisin and prune. This is all rounded off by a very faint whiff of alcohol solvent.

Taste – This beer has a taste that is similar to the nose. There is a lovely roasted toffee/treacle taste running through the whole experience. The middle is dominated by fruity berry tastes similar to the smell; there is strawberry, raspberry, loganberry, blackberry, cherry and some prune. The back end of this beer is a wonderful bitter kick similar to coffee but earthier and sharper.

Mouthfeel – This beer is very creamy, and has a good full mouth feel and supports amazing linger.

Overall – This one is an absolute beast of a bitter! The sweet fruity front is balanced perfectly by the dark bitter back end and there is some depth to this I did not expect from a beer in a clear glass bottle. Sheperd Meame continue to surprise me.

Oct 15, 2014
Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 310 ratings