Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale
Shepherd Neame Ltd

Spitfire Premium Kentish AleSpitfire Premium Kentish Ale
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Bitter - English
Ranked #140
Ranked #44,642
3.62 | pDev: 14.92%
Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Spitfire Premium Kentish AleSpitfire Premium Kentish Ale
Notes: This 4.2% Kentish ale (bottle 4.5%) was first brewed in 1990 to celebrate the Battle of Britain which was fought in the skies above Kent 50 years earlier. The beer is named after the legendary Spitfire aeroplane designed by RJ Mitchell. The versatility of the aircraft and the courage of its pilots were essential to victory and were a key symbol of the spirit of that time.
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Reviews: 192 | Ratings: 471 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JamFuel
JamFuel from Sweden

3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with fine head.

Smell is malty and a bit roasted with notes of caramel, citrus and some spiceiness.

Taste is malty, roasted and a bit sweet. Notes of caramel, citrus, dried fruit, toffee and some spice on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium and well carbonated.

Overall, a very drinkable beer, not outstanding in any way, but solid.

Nov 06, 2021
Photo of Tony787
Tony787 from Canada (ON)

3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I bought a can at the LCBO in Ontario 500ml at 4.2% poured a 2finger head into glass .
Overall I like this beer a little sweet and malty but very well balanced leaving a nice lace to the end .
Good beer from England

Oct 05, 2021
Photo of Beaconheath
Beaconheath from South Dakota

4.97/5  rDev +37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle calls itself an Amber Ale. Poured translucent copper with pale beige head. My lot tended to lose its foam after a few minutes, had to be regenerated several times by swirling. Seamless blend of sweet, caramel malts, fruity yeast, and just enough hoppy bitterness to linger on the palate and create a thirst for another sip. Well judged proportions of flavor components. Excellent accompaniment to breaded chicken breast and potato, I can also imagine it with British fish&chips.

Aug 15, 2021
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cask conditioned this is just an excellent ale. Enough said. Rerate May 14 2002: Had this one again today from can + bottle (bottle slightly better) in Norway, not nearly as good as cask conditioned, but still a very drinkable ale. Could use a little more aromatic hops. Rerate 2: I take back what I said about can vs. bottle. I found a retailer who stores the cans cold, and they’re a helluva lot better than the frequently skunky (clear!) bottles, which are stored warm at my other retailer’s. Well kept, I just love the nutty freshness of this ale.

Mar 23, 2021
Photo of Aeryxium
Aeryxium from Canada (ON)

2.4/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Medium amber with a very light head that dissipates quickly. Decent amount of carbonation with slightly larger bubbles than I’d expect. Looks very inviting overall.

Fairly complex on the nose, with malt and caramel dominating and wafts of citrus, plums and molasses in the background. Very appetizing indeed.

Wonderfully earthy as caramel and bitter hops come front-loaded, but unfortunately it dies out far too quickly with very little left by the finish and virtually no aftertaste. The start is so great it really gets one’s hopes up, only to dash them against the rocks with the plain, watery finish. Despite being crisp and balanced, it just falls short. Very disappointing.

Nice carbonation gives a very pleasant tingly feeling that really surrounds the tongue, but as with the taste, everything just dies off quickly.

This is the epitome of disappointment in a can for me. It promises so much, from look to smell to the first moment it hits your tongue…but then becomes an absolute bore far too quickly. It gets a bonus points for naming, but all-in-all, it’s just plain boring.

Mar 10, 2021
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BPVandenbroek from Canada (AB)

4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spitfire pours into my glass crystal clear and the color of copper with hints of burnt orange. The head is packed, off white and decently lasting.
On the nose, the first thing I notice is an up front mineral quality. Minerals lead quickly into notes of caramel and ripe fruit mixed with undertones of soda crackers. The finish gives me English hops in the form of fresh cut grass as well as peppercorns. Spitfire’s aroma is very much what I would expect from an English bitter. It’s all malt, fruit esters, and bitter hops in the finish. All with the subtlety and restraint I like so much in British beer.
As I take that first sip, Spitfire offers me a smooth, medium bodied ale with sweet malt flavors up front. Sweet malts taste like caramel and soda crackers. Fruit esters come out in the center tasting like ripe orchard fruits. Somehow those fruits taste somewhere between peaches and granny smith apples. These qualities combine seamlessly, leading into a crisp, assertively bitter finish. Spitfire’s bitterness is enjoyable in that it’s assertive without being too aggressive or overpowering.
It’s as smooth, balanced, and tasty a bitter as I’ve had in a long time. Every element of this beer’s flavor and aroma provide very decent character and overall balance.

Dec 20, 2020
Photo of James94
James94 from England

3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Dark amber, quite clear, little lacing
S: Hops, doughy yeast, hint of strawberry, orange and lime
T: Bread crusts, slight citrus, some mint, a bit of candy sweetness, bitter finish
F: A tad overcarbonated

O: 3.75

Nov 25, 2020
Photo of shambeano
shambeano from Australia

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. I couldn't find any dates on it. Poured into a tulip glass.
Look: Pours a dark coppery brown/amber colour, with about 1.5 cm of bubbly head that quickly subsides into a thin film. Nice colour, but disappointed with the head.
Smell: Malty, a little bit of a barley grain smell, caramel, a little earthy hop at the end. Pleasant but reserved.
Taste: Malty again, a little more caramel, some slightly burnt toffee, some grassiness and earthiness. More bitter than I had expected.
Feel: mid-bodied, mouth filling. A little bit of carbonation to lighten it up, but not too much. Has a decent length of flavour.
Overall: Tasty, but a little plain.

Mar 01, 2020
Photo of KooVee
KooVee from Finland

2.76/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

500ml bottle, no bb I could discern.

Very clear coppery amber colour, initially hefty head that vanishes rapidly, leaving only small floats of bubbles.

Nose is very timid. A bit of malt, a bit of telltale metallic tang indicating significant sugar, just a bit of spicy hops lumbering about.

Taste is insipid and hollow. A bit of fruit, a dash of grain, too much carbonation for the limp body, making it soda like. The aftertaste does have a bit of caramel and hops in the classic manner. Once the beer warms up.

A sorry affair, this. I am puzzled by the fact that just three days ago I had excellent Spitfire on tap. I was so surprised at how good that version was. Having had the notion the bottled version is subpar. Well, it is.

Feb 09, 2020
Photo of misteil
misteil from Ireland

3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: very clear, copper brown , not much of a head going on , few tiny bubbles on top.

Smell: Smells great , hoppy , malty , little bit of roasted coffee , a caramel sweetness to it too.

Taste: Bit of a hoppy tang , slight sweetness , bitterness , buiscuity , quite a metallic finish but it doesn't detract too much from the overall taste , which is quite good alright.

Feel: Heavily carbonated , sticky but goes down well enough , as beer like this , which is gauged to be sessionable , should.

Overall: Pleasently surprised by this beer , could easily see my self knocking back a few of these on a night out. Not out of this world , but definitely drinkable.

Jun 19, 2019
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, medium amber, coppery coloration with a small, creamy head. Smell is dominated by toasted, grainy, bready malt, with just a hint of floral/earthy hops. Taste follows the nose, being dominated by foremost toasted, grainy and slightly bready malt and some quite herbal/earthy and slightly floral hops, with just a hint of toffee coming through as well. Finishes quite crisp, with a medium bitterness and some toasted/grainy malts and herbal/earthy hops lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a light/medium body and medium carbonation.

A nice bitter with a focus on toasted/grainy malts and herbal/earthy hops that give this quite a crisp and bitter quality. A little light-bodied, unfortunatly, but quite drinkable.

Mar 26, 2019
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- Chestnut. No messing, fat white 2 finger head, slowly reducing
S- No more kiddy hop-bombs, a grown up beer. Hops in balance, Some malts, ah the joy.
T- Toasty. More than expected. It's good but that's a pretty solid dimension I get.
F- Crisp, dry, refreshing.
O- Very nice if on for a hoppy/full-on ale

Aug 26, 2018
Photo of leaddog
leaddog from Canada (AB)

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

Poured from can at ABV of 4.2%

Appearance - Pours a deep amber with two fingers of bubbly off-white head.

Smell - grassy, leafy, herbal hops, grassy and biscuity malts, caramel, hint of dark fruits, earthy yeast.

Taste - Starts off with the grassy, leafy, and herbal hops. The grassy and biscuity malts come through next followed by the caramel. The hint of dark fruits and earthy yeast finish off the brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Finishes a tad sticky with the hops and the sweetness from the malts lingering.

Overall - An easy drinking brew that has a pleasant hop bitterness.

Jul 02, 2018
Photo of jonb5
jonb5 from England

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

A: Amber, clear, small head left quite a bit of lacing.

S: Earthy Fuggles hop, oaky sherry like.

T: Earthy bitterness, ,slight hint of rubber, slight fruitiness kicked in at the finish.

M: Medium body, not overly carbonated.

O: Solid bitter, nice session beer.

Apr 17, 2018
Photo of UPMD_Bill
UPMD_Bill from Maryland

2.74/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks nice, poured into a glass. Pale amber with some lacing.
I'm put off by the smell and taste - something about the hop variety reminds me of cheap American beer. Strong floral character, moderately bitter. Feels light with moderate carbonation.

Apr 01, 2018
Photo of MichaelGennings
MichaelGennings from Canada (ON)

2.8/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer has a thick caramel coloured head that leaves quickly. The colour of the beer is chestnut brown. The beer is clear and there are plenty of ascending bubbles.

The smell is bland. Very faint floral hops and nothing else.

The taste is a hint of malt, some floral hops, slight hop bitterness, and an odd flavour I can't pinpoint.

The beer is medium bodied.

The finish is dry.

This beer is OK but that's about it, in my opinion.

This is not a product I would buy again.

Sep 21, 2017
Photo of Jtee
Jtee from Canada (ON)

2.3/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

From a 500ml can served at 12 degrees Celsius into an English pint glass. Best before date: 30.11.2017

Look: The beer pours a clear medium amber with 2cm of tan, puffy head that fades into a partial film in 1+ minutes. Decent lacing.

Smell: Faint and well-balanced as nothing seems to stand out. Boring. An unpleasant metallic note. Some spicy and floral hops... maybe a bit of earth as well.

Taste: Moderate strength and malty. Faint floral and earthy hops. An unpleasant adjunct quality. The finish is quite faint, medium length, and on the bitter side.

Feel: Medium body with low carbonation. Smooth with an unpleasant mouth-coating quality. No apparent alcohol.

Overall: Dreadfully boring I'm afraid. Mediocre in looks and not worthy in terms of aroma and flavour. The beer gets better as it warms so I wouldn't recommend drinking it cold.

Jul 10, 2017
Photo of eberesford
eberesford from Canada (ON)

4.19/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At it's best on tap in an English pub. The export version is slightly heavier with a higher abv. This means it is not quite as perfectly balanced but still a fine example of a best bitter. I was put off by the cans, but all in all better than the old bottled version of the export version.

Apr 01, 2017
Photo of dipso123
dipso123 from Oregon

3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very nice session beer with a bit of toffee, fruity yeast esters, and a spicy note that seems like it might be a hint of peat-smoked malt.

The Shepherd Neame website says this beer is 4.5% packaged and 4.2% on draught. The 500ml cans all say 4.2%, so all the better IMO.

Jan 28, 2017
Photo of josanguapo
josanguapo from Spain

4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

In Cerveceria Internacional, in Spitfire pint glass. At lunch, with russian salad + bratwurst + fabes. Very drinkable and balanced, with a zesty finish that lingers for very long in the palate leaving you thirsty for more. Really addictive

Dec 12, 2016
Photo of PlutonowyManiek
PlutonowyManiek from Belgium

2.96/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: chestnut, dark amber, clear. Foam light beige, tall, compact and durable.
Aroma: caramel, toffee, a little lemon.
Taste: caramel, toffee, light, crisp lemon. Beer is heavily watery.
Gentian quite clear, dry, slightly tart.

Apr 04, 2016
Photo of Sexmortus
Sexmortus from Arizona

5/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best beer I have ever had in my entire life. The beautiful caramel colour combined with the smooth, bitter, refreshing taste makes this beer one of the best in the world easily.

Mar 30, 2016
Photo of sejorules
sejorules from Sweden

3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: reddish clear and almost no head.
S: Mostly mealtimes with slight touches of hops, but nothing out of the box.
T: At first, light and watery with a slight touch of toasting as. Then, a big punch of bread taste and finally a very balanced bitterness kicks in.
F: Medium to high carbonation, feeling is light.
O: very interesting beer.

Feb 20, 2016
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

3.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this on the ferry from Calais to Dover. Nice and tart , like a bitter should be. Nut brown color with thin head, bitterness nips the tongue right from the get-go. Liked this a lot....

Jan 19, 2016
Photo of DaveBar
DaveBar from Canada (ON)

3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Purchased at the LCBO for just over $2.00 for a 500ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head that films out within 2mins. Very dark gold almost brown colour and filtered clear

S- Has that malty character you expect from an English ale.

T- Not so good. Bitternes abounds. Light and malty without much hops at all. Pretty simple brew that does not excite me at all

M- Dry and uninspired

O- Not so good. Will not buy again. Lucky if this one doesn't go back to LCBO.

Food Pairing

This not so good brew went ok with...... chips, pretzels or anything salty that will help this one go down.


Nov 24, 2015
Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale from Shepherd Neame Ltd
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 471 ratings