Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale
Shepherd Neame Ltd

Spitfire Premium Kentish AleSpitfire Premium Kentish Ale
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English Bitter
Ranked #140
Ranked #42,241
3.61 | pDev: 14.96%
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: 184 | Ratings: 455 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KooVee
2.76/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

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Photo of markkyronaylin
3.79/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of Snowcrash000
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.81/5  rDev +5.5%
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

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Photo of leaddog
4/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of jonb5
3.5/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
2.74/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

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Photo of MichaelGennings
2.8/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

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Photo of Jtee
2.3/5  rDev -36.3%
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.

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Photo of eberesford
4.19/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of dipso123
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.09/5  rDev +13.3%
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

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
2.96/5  rDev -18%
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.

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Photo of Sexmortus
5/5  rDev +38.5%
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.

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Photo of sejorules
3.9/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of stevoj
3.49/5  rDev -3.3%
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....

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Photo of DaveBar
3.13/5  rDev -13.3%
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.


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Photo of JackieKu
3.22/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

440ml canned version. 4.2% ABV. Poured into tulip.
A: Brown. Clear.
S: little malty. Not getting much here.
T: Medium malty. Low bitterness. Delicious and easy to drink. Dry.
M: light bodied. Medium carbonation.
O: A decent drinkable and sessionable beer. There are too many alternatives however.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.64/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin head on a clear dark straw body.
The aroma is barnyard, damp hay, apricot and plum. Nice.
The taste is moderately sweet with a kick of bitterness middle to end.
The texture is crisp and fizzy.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From bottle, This beer has a dark amber appearance, with toffee and dried fruit aromatics. A full and textual mouth-feel leave a lasting spicy bitter after taste.

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Photo of stricklandscottm
4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice malty sweet flavor. Not too heavy on the carbonation and caramel hints not as strong. Mellow hops at just the right balance so as not to be the dominant flavor profile the way I like it. Very drinkable. One of my go-to beers when I'm indecisive.

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Photo of Lemreway16
4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was once a favourite of mine, I still drink it but there is a heck of a lot of quality beers and ales competing for top spot. Spitfire is in the top 10 English beers in my opinion. Problem with Shepherd and Neame is they produce so many excellent beers the drinker is spoilt for choice.

So its Spitfire for the session, Early Bird and Late Red to match the seasons.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: crystal-clear, burnished tawny liquid... fairly tall, downy head that slowly slinks away... might as well be no lace

S: fairly typical for these bottled imports from the UK - bread crust, grassy earth, mildly nutty yeast, dull dried apple, and a touch of black peppercorns

T: almost like whole wheat bread and a little drier than expected... in the middle, some soft notes of an unripe pear covered in field dust... toasty with browning dried hop cones on the outer edges, moderately bitter for the origin, with perhaps a tiny nip of dusty dried yeast... touch of sweetness and hop left in the aftertaste

F: clean, about medium-bodied, with a smooth, dry finish... quite easy to put back, and hardly filling with its quite mellow carbonation

O: though the taste may be ever so slightly off here (no bottle date), this has an assertive, pleasant-enough English hop flavor with arguably a slight edge over the clean yet depth-y malt foundation... you're still not gonna find many American breweries making a pale like this

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Photo of leantom
3.54/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bro' got this and gave me one. Here goes:

A: Light, clear brown with sufficient carbonation. Some lacing and an OK head that readily dissipates. Nothing special - generic EPA.

S: Generic pale ale. Very grainy but toasty malt (some caramel). Lots of baker's yeast; in fact, the baker's yeast is probably the more prominent flavor. Yeast imparts some fruity, phenolic scents, like in Bass's pale ale. In sum, grainy malt and fruity baker's yeast.

T: Follows the nose. Grainy malt followed by bready baker's yeast. Good, but I think Bass is better.

F: Toasty, good carbonation.

O: Good beer. Nice to kick back with and drink with the folks.

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Photo of BigBry
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Draft pint at The Firkin in Toronto.
Dark orange/light brown with slightly off white head. Good looking pint with long lasting foam.
Some caramel malt and hop smells.
Light in smell and flavor, slightly nutty and grainy, citrus finish.
Low carbonation, medium mouth feel, smooth and slightly creamy.
A decent, session pale ale, as expected.

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Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale from Shepherd Neame Ltd
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 455 ratings