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 hreb
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of fridayletmedown
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of janubio
3.05/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.75/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of stevoj
3.35/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of Ben_Bernstein
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
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...

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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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 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 eduardolinhalis
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear and beautiful copper color forming a medium and thin bubbled beige head. Medium retention and lots of lingering and molasses lacings left in the glass

S: Strong notes of caramel followed by citrus and flowery hops. Toffee and roasted malts. Fruity notes, a combination of grapefruit and grapes. Sweet bread and grass

T: Slightly sweet upfront. Caramel and crystal malts followed by pleasant moderate hops bitterness. Strong notes of toffee. Citrus and grassy hops profile. Notes of grapefruit and red grapes. Finished by a dry and grassy bitterness

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation. Caramel bittersweet aftertaste

O: Very drinkable. Very pleasant and easydrinking British Ale

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Photo of Alex-Alkis
3.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can. This fine beer has the typical Kentish Ale-look with the golden/red-brown color. It’s quite easy to drink even though there is a lot of bitterness in it. Slight taste of some tangy butterscotch and toffee in the aftertaste makes the beer more pleasant to drink.

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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 doktorhops
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

How this one stayed off my radar for so long [I love a good pint of English Bitter] I'll never know, but there it is: a pint of Shepherd Neame Bishops Finger... it even sounds like a saucy sacrilegious poke at the ecclesiastical order. And we all know how much I love a good beer label euphemism mixing with satire, and beer... Ok as it turns out I looked at the back label of this beer and the name is disappointingly innocuous "It takes its name from the finger-shaped signposts which pointed pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas a Becket in Canterburys"... Poo.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear Jersey caramel body with a boisterous beige foam on top. This screams of a classic Kentish Bitter, Oi!

S: Toasted toffee base upfront, followed by caramel notes and a nice earthy hop finish. There is a slight fruitiness in the hops as well - lemon.

T: Tasty toasted toffee biscuit toasts its way tracing a tantalising dance across my taste buds. Classic English Bitters are generally a malt/hops balancing act and this ale is no different. With flavours of; toffee, caramel, earthy and citric hops finished with a tea-like tannin in the finish. Tastes as English pub as an ale can get really.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D: As English as shepherds pie and a Friday night biff-up followed by some hard slapper shagging/snogging. This brew really takes me back to my jaunt across the capital 'U' capital 'K', with memories of working menial jobs for little pay which all got spent on rent, beer and food, ahhh, those were the days. Anyway reality, you big douche, time to be in the present and presently this is a decent English ale, not the best, nothing like a Citra, St Peter's or Pride of Oxford, but nonetheless a good drop.

Food match: Traditional English fare: shepherds pie and a Friday night biff-up followed by some hard slapper shagging/snogging... and crumpets.

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Photo of vinicole
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear chestnut brown. Long lasting but thin head.
Malt and floral hops aroma.
Taste reflects the aroma with added leaf hop bitterness.
Moderate feel.
Standard English ESB.

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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 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 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 FLima
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with three fingers of fluffy head with short retention, but leaving laces.
Light aroma of English noble hops, caramel and malt sweetness.
Flavor of English hops, caramel malt, nuts and currants with hints of pepper and minerals. Bitter than what I expected which is welcome. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light to medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Very flavorful beer, balancing malt sweetness with a pleasant bitterness. Not overly complex, but it is assertive.

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Photo of Geert
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: nice brown colour, very clear. Small head which lasts.
S: Low in aroma, some dark malt. I'm thinking I smell some Brett.
T: Nice toffee malt. Fairly bitter.
M: Quite dry, highly carbonated for an English ale.
O: Misses something in aroma and taste/mouthfeel could be fuller.

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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 jonb5
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Half litre bottle, poured into pint glass.

A: Brown, small off white head, clear.

S: The malt used for this really reminded me of the malt used in some beers from Bamberg, had a real malty sharpness. There were also notes of slightly sour fruits.

T: Burnt caramel which was balanced out by some bitterness, had hints of wheat and dark chocolate. Possibly some Fuggles hop.

M: Medium body, smooth, moderate carbonation.

O: Fairly wintery, not a bad ESB but not the best.

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Photo of djura
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found it in Romania.

A - Very beautiful amber to cherry red color. One finger foam lasting few minutes. Lots of bubbles staying couple of minutes.
S - To be honest,didn't feel nothing written on the bottle. Mostly fine pale aromas.
T/M - It is high bitter,and that is ok,but it is to much carbonated. Tick,caramel taste.

O - Above average,fine ale.

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Photo of Radome
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500 ml bottle bought in England.

A - Deep copper color, orange highlights. Brilliant clarity. Bone colored head piles 1 inch high and is fluffy, then fades to thick sheet with serious lacing.

S - Aroma is full of earthy English hops, but somehow they don't come across as fresh. Nothing else makes it through.

T - Taste is a mix of light bready malt and earthy hops. Not overly complex. The hops only provide light to moderate bitterness, yet somehow they seem a bit harsh. There is a metallic note that detracts at first, then disappears.

M - Medium body. Smooth, creamy carbonation. Low hops bitterness. No alcohol presence.

O - A forgettable beer. Other than appearance, I don't think anything about it stands out from the crowd.

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