Bishops Finger | Shepherd Neame Ltd

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Bishops FingerBishops Finger

Brewed by:
Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2001

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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 268
Photo of Bierschenker
4.64/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brought this along from Ireland.

This beer was consumed in a Pint glass.
The colour is a beautiful copper brown.
On top a nice creamy head with mediate bubbles.
The scent is very pleasant, hop and malt. Sometimes the most basic elements form the greatest dish. No carbonation present.
The taste is as superb in simplicity as the scent. Malt, hops and slight yeast.
The mouthfeel is watery and creamy at the same time.
The aftertaste gives more hop bitterness and some lemonpeel.

I am convinced!

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Photo of putnam
4.59/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gator-skin pattern of cream-colored foam crusted onto the sides of the glass and onto the surface of the redwood-brown liquid.
The smell of this beer is alluring. Deep twisted knots of polished caramel and seasoned oak revolve around a respectable load of charred green hops.
Dry ale. Creamy, viscous texture though. Little expolsions of water-filled caramel toast. Branchy, papery dryness is assertive and rules on the finish.
A stylistic mid-point between London Pride and Anchor Liberty perhaps.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.57/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful pour gives a firm long lasting head (almost as in a belgian abbey brew) ... smell is exceptional well matured hops with hints of banana ... the taste is matching the expectations of the bouquet, offering some charcoal grilled tomatos paired with mango chutney and rye bread in the palate ... quite exotic ... a very interesting example of a strong ale ...

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Bobardier Conical Pint Glass.

A - Pours a rich redish copper colour with an off white head that retains well and laces.

S - Aromas are well defined malts, burnt caramel and grains.

T - Some very nis flavours of toffee and carmel malts. The finish is long and flavoursome.

M - So smooth with medium body and minimal carbonation.

D - This is a top ranking English ale of the highest order, it has everything that you could need.

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Photo of AylwinForbes
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shepherd and Neame a long-time champion of English beer. A pleasant surprise to find it represented in that least likely of venues, Heathrow Airport, amidst the overpriced chique boutiques and fast food. From the cask, a slightly turbid amber, moderate head fairly sudsy. Reasonable malty, fruity aroma. On the palate, mild dry bitterness, with good body - the higher alcohol shows - some malty, fruity flavours provide some complexity and interest.

An excellent parting shot.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, this review should probably be taken in the context of the three pretty horrible Russian beers I had before finally cracking this open. My, what a refreshing change! Even the clear glass bottle didn't seem to effect the situation as I poured this beautiful clear copper liquid into my pint glass. A nice off-white contoured head built to just a bit more than a finger before settling at about one centimeter, which deposited some nice lace rings as the liquid descended. There's a nice strong malty nose with an enticing touch of flowery hops. The mouth is prickly and heavy. There's a good crisp malty opening, followed by a full hoppy bitterness that leaves a nice fresh aftertaste. Thanks, I needed that!

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Photo of ngandhi
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite flavorful and impressive with a cask-style carbonation out of the bottle that accentuates sweet, fruity, dusty plum malts. Drinkable without being dinky or noticeably light. Hints of cocoa and a nice hop presence that develops from light, dry resin to spritzy lemon.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of Kevichella
4.26/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Poured it from the bottle into a pint glass and it is a deep, dark copper with a large frothy head that reduced fairly quickly, leaving a little constant ring.

Smell: Smells chocolatey and rich, though not too strong

Taste: Tastes like chocolate and nut

Feel: Feels both smooth and fizzy at the same time when held in the mouth. My tongue started to tingle.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Amber; clear; frothy, beige, long-lasting head

Aroma: Slight dried fruit; malt; light floral hops

Taste: Peppery hops and juicy malt on start; sweet, malty fruity on mid; dry and hoppy on finish

Remarks: Very refreshing and well balanced

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an awesome deep bronze color with an ivory rocky head that lasts the entire glass. Lacework is intricate and copious. The aroma is of a roasty biscuity maltiness some buttery esters and a wiff of fresh english hops. Its a very well balanced nose. The taste is mosly malty, but dry, chocolatey and roasty, rather than a 'dark fruit' christmas pudding maltiness. Theres quite a bit of fruity yeast character, that classic dry english yeast flavor. Theres a bit of diacytl too, but its very complimentary, not over the top. Hops definitely play second fiddle. They have a fresh earthy taste. The mouthfeel is medium and softly carbonated.

This is a very tastey ESB that I highly recommend if you like English ales. Its maltier than most, but not underhopped. Unfortunately its in a clear bottle, fortunately theres lots of brewery and beer info on it.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

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Photo of Graphirus
4.21/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours deep copper with a small off.white head that don not stay longer. Small lacing

S - Moderate maltiness, some hops notes and fruity esters.

T - Medium bitterness that stays for long. Maltiness is evident with some notes of caramel.

M - In the mouth feels medium-bodied, Medium carbonation

O - A very good Strong Bitter with the right amount of bitterness to make it easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of funkengruven
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up again after a long time ago having this and remembering that I did not particularly enjoy it. But my tastes have grown to become a lot more developed over the years, and I thought I would give this one another try.

This poured a pretty dark red with a thin head sitting over the top of the glass. Smell is extremely hoppy, no skunk evident in this bottle, which is surprising considering the clear bottle. The flavor is of bitter hops and a bold caramel flavor that comes to a clean finish. Carbonation is abundant but not excessive, and surprisingly this time, this is very easy to drink.

That last bottle I had must have been a bad one, but this one was great. I'm sure i'll be greeting my fridge with another one of these sometime soon.

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Photo of chiefydawg
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My sister-in-law was kind enough to grab this for me while in England recently. Thanks Katrina!

Impressively frothy, beautiful rocky head sitting atop a crystal clear amber-colored body. The lace is sticky, webby, and durable. I don't think it would have looked like this coming off a shelf in Ohio. More effervescence than I expected in an actual English ESB.

Caramel, toasted English muffins, toffee on the nose. Clear glass bottle, yet absolutely no skunk. Sweetish smell of warm autumn day in a bottle.

Still getting the caramel, though it is very aptly bittered to a splendid balance. Sweet and malty yet with a perceptible earthy, piney bitterness. There is a lurking taste towards the bottom that hints of barrel aging in a scotch barrel.

Overall this is one of the better ESBs I've had. It is rich yet drinkable, fresh, clean, and perfectly balanced. There is a slight aftertaste well after the bottle I cannot place, but not unpleasant. Would go well with most foods I think... perhaps especially crumpets.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The drink pours nicely, giving a head which lasts for about a quarter of an hour, which also has a very nice colour: sort of yellow at the bottom getting whiter as you go up.

The smell is good, very good. A rich smell, reminding me somewhat of roasted coffee.

The taste is bitter, and quite harsh, the bitterness remaining for a few moments, dwindling out slowly which can be either good or bad, depending on your tastes. The roasted characteristic remains in the taste, as well as a strong hopp taste.

Overall it is fairly drinkable although somewhat harsh and bitter.

Note also the harshness increases as the beer warms up.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.16/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Makes three finger thick head that is very light tan, and forms into a strong rocky/pillowy formation. Body is copper in color and cleanly filtered.

As for the aroma qualities, metallic hops are upfront, with some prune and tea characteristics.

Taste wise it's a little lemony, tea, chocolate in the middle. Finishes with herbal characteristics.

Prickly carbonation, wetting to the palate. In the middle to the end MF is a little powdery and leaves the palate dry.

A good English ale and mild hops character keeps this beer interesting. Even with the dry finish, it's still refreshing.

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Photo of safaricook
4.11/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Got this at a visit to my first Irish pub in years at the Moynihans on Madeira.
It was served in the Bishops finger Pint glass and drunk on the breezy terrace with the ocean in view.

Offwhite creamy head that left substatial lacing and reduced slowly to a rim. Body is a clear amber with not much bubbles to mention.
Nose is a flowery English hop, caramel and sweet cherries. Nice!
Taste follows nose with the hops being more resinous and piney. And this addictive caramel flavor.
Body is medium and a bit flat but suits the style though not being English, I miss my bubbles.
Overall a really good example of the style that differs from the Fuller's ESB by the flowery hops. It seems I love this style.

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Photo of gpcollen1
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying a few pints at the Clocktower in Cheltenham after a 13 hour day. Travelling this far on business sucks, but I get to have some nice pints that I normally would not be able to enjoy.

Appearance: dark amber in color with a robust white head - It is hard for me to give a nice cask pour anything less than a 4.5.

Smell: actually getting some hops - a bit fruity. I find myself spending a bit of time smelling this one as I am on my own tonight.

Taste: A bit of maltiness and quite pleasant. Thinner than I expected. Actually getting a hint of alcohol - in comparison to the bitters in the 3-4% range.

Drinkability: Quite a nice ale and highly drinkable. Well rounded flavor and suits my tastes wonderfully. I would love to see this around in the US.

Overall - I love the UK. We just don't get to see brews like this unless we go on a weekend cask expedition in the US. I could drink these all day and night. I do love the little bit of extra alcohol in this too!

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Photo of Tomais
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes:

Smells malty with blackcurrant and blackberry fruity notes.
Head fades. Mouthfeel was initially very fizzy - I could have poured it more aggressively; smooth once it settled a bit.

Taste: slightly sweet on the tip of the tongue, bitter hops towards back and side of mouth, fruits and berries on the middle of the tongue. Burps citrusy-marmaladey hops. This is a really well balanced beer - the tastes flow and merge and balance each other beautifully.
I loved it.

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Photo of chogm54
4.04/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A-clear, chestnut brown. Pours a thin white head that fades quickly.

S- butterscotch, caramel malts, hint of dark fruits. great example of an English bitter.

T-roasted malts, golden syrup and hint of coffee. Nice strong choppy bitterness throughout.

M dry texture,medium body and carbonation, good aftertaste.

O. Really tasty beer, I'm impressed how much the bottled version tastes like on tap. Rich in malts and bitterness, yet very session able.

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Photo of NefariousR
4.04/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz. glass bottle into a pint glass at Panteli's in Canterbury, UK.

A - Pours a reddish-orange with a foamy off-white head.

S - Citrus aromas -- particularly grapefruit -- are very evident, rounded out by hops. Malt can be sensed in the distance.

T - Strong hop profile with some sweetness in the background.

M - Medium-bodied and slight sticky, with a moderate level of carbonation.

D - A solid ale that goes well with English food. Try it if you're in the area.

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Photo of Suds
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had a pint of this on cask during a recent trip to London. It's a beautiful rich amber colored brew with a thin dense head. The aroma is great...a nice malt backbone, a little toasted qualities, crackers, bread, and very, very slight herbal hops (if you search for them). The taste is equally satisfying: moderately dry, but with plenty of malt goodness in the flavor. There's a steady bitterness that settles in a quarter of the way through the mid-taste. Very little hop taste. Smooth, very smooth. Wonderfully fresh and drinkable. I could have many of these.

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Photo of Mark
4.01/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at my reliable Lord Moon pub in London. bishops Finger is a clear deep amber topped by a dense off white head that leaves excellent patterns of lace. Aroma is very mild but inviting. Very very smooth on the palate with subtle hopping over a solid malt base. touch of fruit typical of the brewer is present. Easy drinking and enjoyable.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with a nice fluffy off-white head. Some trails and some spotty sticky lace. Medium sweet caramel maltiness. Sharp bitter and tea-like hops. Balanced, smooth, sweet and very drinkable. Nicely blended towards the end. Nice beer!

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must have had about a million of this beer over the years, but here goes my review...

A: It pours copper/brown, with a large off-white creamy head that lingers for some time before it dissipates leaving nice lacings.

S: Somewhat roasted caramell malt, some floral notes along with fruit.

T: Light roasted malt together with floral hops, but the bitter hoppy taste is what dominates. There is also dryness and some faint dark fruit.

M: Very bitter and long aftertaste. The body is full and the carbonation is moderate.

D: This is a great beer, this is one of the beers I always have on my nights on the pub...
This is a household beer at my house.

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Bishops Finger from Shepherd Neame Ltd
3.64 out of 5 based on 268 ratings.
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