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Spitfire (Premium Ale Export) | Shepherd Neame Ltd

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170 Reviews
Spitfire (Premium Ale Export)Spitfire (Premium Ale Export)

Brewed by:
Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-21-1998

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Reviews: 170 | Ratings: 412
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a nut brown colored ale with a nice off-white foamy head with average retention. Aroma is comprised of lightly roasted malt and bitter hops. Taste is better then your average bitter with some lightly sweet malt mix with biter hops leaving a clean dry taste at the end. Overall, an above the pack English bitter.

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Photo of revdrjbob
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! a nice hoppy English ale. A little more than I was expecting.
Poured a heavy dark amber, with a full white foamy head, plenty of carbonation, and when I looked at the bottle, still in date.
Aromas of slight hop, malty sweetness, and some fruits.
Tasted amazing, malty sweet, caramel and crystal, a tad of dyacetal, a heap of hop (nowhere near an IPA, but good) but well balanced. Carbonation was clingy, and just right. A nice dry hoppy finish, lingering dryness, and a warm happy glow.

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Photo of baiser
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a copper colour, with a creamy offwhite head. Some different sized bubbles rising to the top. Little lacing. Aroma of sweetish fruits and caramel.

Taste was unexpectedly bitter. After the initial hop bitterness, there's caramel on the palate and some graininess. It also has has an oiliness to it. A nice hop bitterness at the front and back of each sip. A good, traditional english ale. A solid beer.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a creamy tan head with enormous sheets of lace.
Aroma of caramel, wheat, oats and floral hops.
Flavor of caramel, bread and butter, some grain and a strong, flowery and perfumey hops note.
Mouthfeel is slightly sweet upfront with a grainy and slightly roasted middle and a very strongly bittered hop finish. Very Kent-like.
Drinkability is high. Nice beer, recommended. Very distinctive hop bittering.

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Photo of cypressbob
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Pours with a dirty amber body. Foamy head erupting. Fairly good retention and lacing

Smell is musky, quite typical english ale

Taste, dry and malty. Very little hop bitterness showing itself.

Not a bad ale, but not enough hops to appeal to me

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Photo of zerk
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was a bottle that I brought back from the UK...

Pours a clear copper with a steay flow of bubbles supporting a thin but persistent white head. Aroma is malty with bread, caramel, and some earthy hop notes. Flavor is simple but enjoyable... some caramely sweetness gives way to a lingering herbal bitterness. Mouthfeel is far too carbonated for the style... but settles a bit after a few minutes. Body is medium and the finish is dry. All in all, a pretty decent pale ale, but I'm sure it's much better on cask than in bottle.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pale ale poured a nice light copper colour, with a small, white head. The aromas are heavily malty, with some hops on the back-end. The taste is malty as well, with just a bit of twangy hops in the finish. The mouthfeel on this stuff is good, and so is the drinkability. It took me so long to try this one...why? This stuff is damn good :-) Especially on cask at a Witherspoons franchised pub in the UK!


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Photo of Shiloh
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very well balanced offering with a slight edge to the malts.
Hop bitterness secondary and finish.
Deep amber in colour and clear. Head was thin, leaving semi island lace and some glass cling.
The body was medium/heavy.
Carbonation limited.
Nose, a light floral aspect.
No after taste but light syrupy mouthfeel.

 319 characters

Photo of putnam
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not as good as Bishops Digit, but still...
To quote The Pros And Cons of Hitchhiking:
"I recognise..."
...that instantanaeous burst of hop funk upon cranking off the lid. Clear bottle. Hmm. Not that I dislike hop funk. In fact, I like it.
Underneath my beak it gives resinous, starchy aromas that are industrial...greasy.
Slick, sweetened herbs, dried, Joni Mitchell (v.) to a long, complex finish.
Where is Joni Mitchell?
This beer is Roberta Flack. Sweet and angry.
Or Joan Baez Vol. 2 side 2.
Feminine and throaty.
Provisional, protein-rich grain flavors remind me of Rye Crisp crackers. I think that's a Scandinavian genre. Right? Rye Crackers?

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Photo of BenConnery
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this in a little country pub in Hampshire.
A reddish hue in the glass, the head was shortlived but the smell was typical English ale, certainly not overpowering.
This was a very drinkable beer. I wouldn't say complex flavours and aftertaste but enough in there to savour as you down it. I've tried this in a bottle and it still held most of its body and structure.
I rate this as one of the better ales I tried without being a standout cut above the rest.

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Photo of woemad
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My memory of Spitfire is two years old, so forgive me if it has managed to improve in my mind. Had this on tap in a pub in Peckham, in Southeast London. This was the only place I saw this, as I usually encountered Speckled Hen in most of the pubs I was able to frequent. I ordered it because I thought Spitfire was a superb name for an English beer, and therefore had to try it! Was a reddish amber color, if memory serves, with a nice, compact white head perched on top. Smelt of sweet malt and floral hops. Taste started with a malty sweetness that was subtle, not dominating, with the bulk of the taste created by the hops, which gave a satisfying, citrusy zip to the taste buds. I really like English bitters, and this one went very well with my bacon & Stilton hamburger and chips.

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Photo of TripelJ
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine example of a bottle conditioned english ale. Spitfire pours a golden caramel with minimal head. Nose is sweet, fruity, hoppy, and I smell some hints of licorice. The taste reflects the nose but is far more smooth and subtle. The fruity sweetness is citrusy, but not overwhelmingly so. Easily one of the better examples of this style and a very drinkable beer overall.

Serving: 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of Globetrotter
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found this wonderful little brew sitting on a shelf in a local Moscow grocery store. I couldn't resist. The half-liter bottle is clear and colorless, with a wide base and a very thin stem. Nice label, although I would have hoped for a picture of a WWII vintage fighter. Oh well.

Poured a lovely red amber color under an extremely short lived head (so short, I didn't even notice the color. The collar is nice, though, and it does look like a good British ale should. Forget about lace. The nose is a nice combination of malt and citrus that almost snaps in front of the nostrils. The mouth is more bubbly than I would like to see in this kind of ale, but not unpleasant. The taste is quite good indeed. There's malt, and citrus, and barley, and ... oh, the memories of Oxford start flooding back ... Hops are here, too, and they demand their due in the finish - nice and crisp, leaving a most pleasant bitterness in the mouth after the liquid is gone.

After some pretty bad Russian brews tonight, this is a fine way indeed to remind myself of why I like beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Believed to be the oldest continuous brewery in Britain; Shepherd Neame is probably more famous for its Bishops Finger Ale, or “Nun's Delight” as it is known locally.

Spitfire was introduced in 1990 as a ‘special’ commemorative beer for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, with a portion of the funds going to the RAF’s benevolent appeal. It became so popular it remained a permanent fixture and is now their top selling Cask beer.

Weighs in at 4.5% ABV in the Cask format, and it was pulled with a tight head, as the Beer Engine in the local J.D.Wetherspoons had a sparkler attached to the swan neck, which is a common attachment to Hand-pumps in the North of England. It added to the smooth drinkability of this fine beer for me.

A golden colored ale that has a very enticing malt aspect. A slight sweetish Devon toffee hint arrives in the middle, but a fruity Kentish hops ending is definitely pertinent in the finish. Extremely well-balanced and incredibly thirst quenching.

As the advert goes, “downed all over England, just like the Luftwaffe” well what would those Fokkers know?

This is one seriously drinkable beer, a real quaffable lunchtime session beer. I had 4 of these in a row without flinching an eyelid.

"we shall drink on to the end,
we shall drink in France,
we shall drink on the seas and oceans,
we shall drink with growing confidence and growing strength in the bar,
we shall defend our Beer, whatever the cost may be,
we shall drink on the beaches, we shall drink on the landing grounds,
we shall drink in the fields and in the streets,
we shall drink in the hills;
we shall never surrender (good beer)!"

A Bloody Jolly Good Show from those Kentish Chaps!

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Photo of oberon
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Found this one at Cork'n Ale back home in Saginaw,Mi,poured a nice copper color with medium head,has a hoppy aroma.Pretty dry ,appetizing taste with some nice bitterness.Very nice medium body,very drinkable,should have gotten more than one,I will be looking for more ales from this brewery for sure.

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Photo of tang214
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I also had this one a the Wilton Arms pub in Westminster while I was recently on vacation there. This is truly and excellant brew. It poured and was deep brown with some ruby color also. It had a rich and creamy thick head. It smelled of flowery almost fruity hops. It was delicious to the taste. It was moderately complex and very flavorful. It was slightly fruity and had another flavor that I just couldnt quite figure out. It was smooth and extremely drinkable. If I ever encounter this brew again I will not hesitate to drink it and hopefully purchase it.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool Bottle! I like the color it is when it pours out, a golden caramel color with a light colored head to it. The head doesn't stick around too much, but when it is around, it is nice. There is some settlement on the bottom of the beer, looks like syrup or something. Anyways, has a nice refreshing taste to it and doesn't dissappoint.

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Photo of BitteBier
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nearly carmely-ruby pour with minimal head. Smell is rather pleasant but also somewhat meek--a straightforward blend of hops and malt. Taste is heavier than expected, a bit syrupy though not unpleasantly sweet. Like the smell, the taste is dominated by the usual balance of hops and malt, with the flavor profile not changing much between start and finish. The more I drink, the more the medium-bodied malts seem to come through (i.e., this one improved as the glass emptied). Syrupy texture detracted from the mouthfeel a bit, but this is acceptably drinkable.

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Photo of Mark
4.46/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Spitfire I had was in a British pub cask conditioned. Appearance wise it might be the most beautiful ale. A dark clear ruby color. Fruity tast with solid malt backbone. Subtle hopping. As with all cask conditioned brews it has a mellow smoothness and high drinkability. There is nothing like cask or real ale!

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz. clear bottle (wide w/thin neck) with a sharp looking label and foil sheaf.

Appearance: A crystal clear golden-red with a frothy, healthy head.

Smell: Hints of fresh malt and hops.

Taste: Lots of bold and traditional pale malt flavours. Clean and hoppy with high carbonation fizz. Slight sulfur flavour, as a Pils or Lager.

Notes: A classic Pale Ale and now, affordable. Most of Shepherd Neame's brews have dropped in price in order to compete with the wide varieties of U.S. beers, one would assume.

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Spitfire (Premium Ale Export) from Shepherd Neame Ltd
3.63 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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