Royal Oak Traditional Bitter | Hanlons Brewery

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Royal Oak Traditional BitterRoyal Oak Traditional Bitter
Very Good
26 Ratings
Royal Oak Traditional BitterRoyal Oak Traditional Bitter

Brewed by:
Hanlons Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-23-2004

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Ratings: 26 |  Reviews: 23
Photo of spointon
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of pin
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of smi
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml Brown bottle, bottle conditioned beer, best before 20th Apr 2010, drank 22nd Dec 2009. Poured into my 'Old Speckled Hen' pint vase.

Very little head sat on top of my deep, dark amber beer, the body was almost see through. The beer is supposed to be made to an 1896 recipe using original methods, not sure the original would have been this clear.

My garage was cold today and the beer might be suffering because of that (no head for instance) , very little smell at first, then as it warmed a hoppy aroma mixed with malted biscuits began to arrive. Later an English apple orchard and country garden fragrance added to the enjoyment within the smells.

Hoppy flavour, not overpowering, but hops dominate the taste, be the beer cold or warming. A good quality Bitter with all the attributes to make it an agreeable drink.

The 5% ABV sits happily within the brew and although not hidden, is masked well by the lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.

Should have allowed the beer to warm up more before starting the review, but I was thirsty! The beer might even have had a 'chill haze' it was so cold.

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Photo of papat444
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to HogTownHarry for this one.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, best before March 3, 2009.

Appearance: Brown body color reminds me of apple cider. Massive , thick head that sticks to the sides of the mug, very fluffy.

Smell: Mild, aromatic hops aroma.

Taste: A kind of mineral, earthy taste but a little bit thin in body. Finishes a little bit astringent, not bad.

Mouthfeel: This is better, hops are balanced, not aggresive and mild malt in there also. A little bit citrusy & floral in the palate. Finishes a bit bitter.

Drinkablity: Not bad, drinks well though kind of glad i was getting to the end of the bottle.

Overall: Well-made beer with good flavors, would not be my first choice but i wouldn't necessarily say no to it.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep transluscent chestnut hue, tall tight creamy head with impressive and vigilant retention. Thin sticky rings of lacing are left in the wake as this bitter disappears.

Crisp bready malt on the nose, light floral and spicy hops. Dandelion greens rise up as it warms.

Pleasant doughy malt upfront, a bit toasted. Mild herbal hops throughout and on the finish. A touch astringent in the aftertaste, but that's what we showed up for with this style.

Mouthfeel is full yet smooth, putting this in good ranks for an excellent session ale.

A very enjoyable bitter, it is mild which is par for the style, yet the quality and substance is apparent. The mild herbal aftertaste that lingers forever along with some biscuit malt is very comforting.

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Photo of elricorico
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out with an extra large head, waiting for it to settle so I can finish pouring the bottle. The beer itself is a medium golden brown that is slightly hazy.

Aroma is of English hops and caramel. Herbal and floral at once, not overpowering, but more pronounced than the malt aroma.

Taste is fruitier than the aroma, but still leans towards the hops more than the malt. Grapefruit like citrus flavour, a bit of crackers, some lighter fruits, like apple and pear. Refreshing.

Mouthfeel is on the light side. Carbonation isn't overdone. Overall nothing special but suitable.

Not hard to drink, but after a pint I don't want for more of it. A pretty good beer, but nothing exceptional.

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Photo of crwills
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the LCBO - I think it was part of the Fall release.

Pours a deep, rusty orange colour into a pint glass, with a thick frothy head that sticks around. Faint, tangy hop aroma is all that I could detect. Powerful malty flavour with low carbonation, and an oily mouthfeel. As it warms of, the flavours come out, including bitter coffee and a bit of smoke. Some tangy noble hops throughout. Clean, short-lived aftertaste.

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Photo of CanuckRover
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of the great 2008 LCBO winter release. Pours a medium amber with a big beautiful thick head with good longevity. Lacings coat the glass. A little bit of cloudiness, I must have let some sediment in from an aggressive pour.

I have a bit of a cold, this beer deserves better, but I'll give it a shot. Hops in the aroma give a fresh woodiness with some slight pine that I haven't seen much in the English beers I've tried before. Prior reviewer's note on herb or mint is apt, there is a slight medicinal quality to the aroma.

This is a hop-forward English bitter. Bitterness comes in relatively strong with some of the mint mentioned above. Heavy with pine flavour and some citrus zest bitterness. Deep, very satisfying malts, whiskey soaked bread pudding, toast and pulpy orange. Description isn't doing it justice, incredibly complex for a standard bitter.

This would be killer on cask. As is, it's still decent body-wise. I like my bitters leaning towards flat, this has some fairly lively carbonation. Very smooth drinker and relatively high alcohol is well hidden.

This is an absolutely wonderful example of one of my favourite styles. I will definately be heading back to the LCBO to see if any more of these are hanging around. Excellent beer.

 1,259 characters

Photo of grub
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, best before 06 03 09. sampled jan 16/08.

pours a deep copper colour, leaning more towards brown than red, with a big fluffy cream coloured head. the head drops slowly and leaves tons of lace behind.

aroma is good. big bread and biscuit malt. floral and herbal hops, almost minty. touch earthy. bit of alcohol.

taste is nice. solid herbal and minty hops again. light floral character. touch of caramel sweetness. big bready malt. bit of cracker too. medium-low bitterness level. touch of alcohol. light fruity character.

mouthfeel is nice. medium carbonation level with a bit of sting. medium-light body. i think this would be better with less carbonation - probably damn fine on cask.

drinkability is good. alcohol is hidden well. the solid malt presence mostly balances the bitterness. the minty/herbal character doesn't quite do it for me, but it fits the style well.

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Photo of bobsy
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned from the LCBO. A modest white head rests upon a dark copper body, leaving a nice lacing all the way down the glass. Sweet malts in the aroma are complimented by a hint of fresh picked raspberries. The taste was surprisingly bitter, but smooth, with pine and citrus notes from the hops complimenting the sweet malts perfectly. Wonderful long-lasting bittersweet aftertaste.

 391 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a fluffy white head, good retention as well as lacing. Has a hazy copper/orange color.

Smells of floral and earthy hops, caramel malt and a bit of fruitiness.

Tastes of bitter hops, fruits and a shy sweet malt. Had this beer after a quick work out and wouldn't have it any other way.

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Photo of Tim2000
2.29/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500 mL brown bottle, best before march 2009.

Pours a clear reddish-orange with a huge rocky head that dies down fairly quickly.

Aroma is of citrus and pine with some faint sour notes.

Quite thin and dry throughout, with some nutty, roasted in the background that are quickly overtaken by astringent, slightly citric hops and a lingering sourness. Mouthfeel is watery and carbonation is low.

Not much to get excited about here. I find this beer bland and watered-down, not to mention the unpleasant sour flavour throughout.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - murky copper with a thick,solid, creamy head. Laces nicely in rings around the glass.

S - grassy hops and candy/fruity sweetness and metal. Notes of coffee and cocoa.

T - Lemony and slight toast. Quite fruity as well. Comes with some nuts, butter and initial astringent bite.

M - ON the dryish side, with a solid medium body.

D - Solid, sessionable ale. Loving it.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Comes out a muddy orange colour with a thick head that very slowly disipates as the beer is being drunk. Lacing stick a small amount. Has that nice standard British smell; toffee, grass, toasted malts and grassy/floral hops. Taste was a surprise. It was a bit minty, something that my nose did not pick up, even after drinking. Bit of toasted malt, some fruitiness, plenty of dry hops, and a minty aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very soft and smooth. Like a velvet pillow. Probably drinkable to most. However, I'm not a big fan of mint. Because of this, I will not be purchasing it again. Good to try, though.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a orangey brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of dry malt with some light bittering hops presence also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by some dry malt with some hints of nuts and a nglish hops finish that is also quite dry. Body is above average with some great carbonation. Well done for the style but not necessarily something I would care for very often.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep honey colour, two finger, fluffy off-white head with lots of lacing. Carbonation is slow and lazy, sparse. Smells of toasty malt, wood, toffee. Taste is also high malt, less hops, buttery mouthfeel, smooth textured, caramel, citrus / sour fruit notes. I found the finish more malt than bitter, a bit abrupt in the finish. The evidence of bottle fermentation quite apparent from the second, smaller pour that was full of chunky yeast, clumps and suspended particles. This offering is probably representative of the style but I would have preferred more bitterness and less malt personally. Well worth a try, an interesting brew to say the least.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.56/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a glowing, hazy orange color with a rocky long lasting head. Sheets and chunks of lace cling tenaciously to the glass. The aroma is freshly hoppy with a citrus twang and a balancing balast of bready malt. The taste is a bold exposition of English hopping mixed a firm malt profile, and apple, tropical fruit esthers. Citrus rind and lemon candy abound as the glass warms, as well as the typical earthy Goldings hop profile. Sweet caramel drenched bread malts strike a perfect balance. The finish is bitter and herbal from the generous hopping. The mouthfeel is luxuriously smooth with micro carbonation.

This is benchmark bitter. Packed with traditional hop flavor and balanced with great malt and yeast flavors profiles. Try this beer if you like ale in general, you will be pleased. Almost as good as Fuller's ESB.

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Photo of pootz
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Decants a murky amber ale in the glass with a smallish sticky cap that laces well.

Aromas of succulent fruits and musty earthy tones and some caramel.

Flavor gives a dry impression spiked with juicy fruits and some nut-tobacco-earthy-musty tastes riding on crystal malts..finishes a tad bitter but with a very soft palate.

Decent quaff!

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Photo of bark
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned. The colour is copper with a tint of red. The high compact head is beige.

The inviting smell is bitter with some chemical notes. Some sweetness with a lot of caramel.

The taste is fruity and bitter with lots of aroma hops (Goldings?). Fresh notes of apples and dough. The aftertaste is bitter with some notes of apricots, apples and bread.

The liquid is creamy; the carbonation is robust with large bubbles.

A bitter with lots of character, perhaps more of a special bitter than a bitter?

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Photo of Stephen63
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Darkish body with nice frothy head.

S - Nice and fruity with flowery aroma.

T - Pretty much citrus fruit and smooth toffee. Good balance

M - Good level of carbonation and smooth enough.

D - Easily drinkable. Pretty nice.

Overall a good solid bitter. Certainly typical of the style.

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Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is the same as the pale ale, a it's labelled in the US, to appeal to that market. It is a bitter, and a very good one. A fruity tasty bitterness, greapefruit from Challenger and Goldings hops and lots of good comlex malting. Smooth, great lacing. Strong on the palate.

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Photo of haz77
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an orange-hued copper, with an inch of tight light-tan head. This drops to a creamy finger. Looks to have plenty of carbonation.

S - Floral/perfumed hops, bisuity malt, mushroom woodiness, burnt toast.

T - Starts with a caramel/nutty malt flavour, with a citrus note coming out in the middle. Finishes with an astringent tea-like hop bitterness. Pleasant and delicate.

M - Starts light-medium, but becomes fuller. Carbonation is light and works well.

D - A tasty offering. Easy to drink and solid all-round.

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Photo of colebenoit
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This beers pours with a head of about an inch, but it dissapates quickly, leaving a very nice lacing down the side of the glass. The beer itself is an orangish brown colour, much the colour of toffee or caramel, and it is quite hazy as a result of bottle conditioning I'd assume.

Smell - The smell of fruit, ie banana's and dates is the first thing that I detect on the aroma of this beer. Those smells develop quickly into an almost rummy/raisiny type smell with just a hint of a bubblegumesque aroma. Over all the aroma is fairly sweet smelling and definately challenging and pleasent. Very fine indeed.

Taste - The beer devlops a mild nutty maltiness on the body that definately has a hint of sweetness, but this is very much shoved aside on the finish by the immense bitter hop finish. The hops have a rather citric resin flavour and are very lingering and intense. Very much in the style of an English bitter although not the best I've ever had, it has a pleasing unique flavour.

Mouthfeel - This beer has a very wonderful mouthfeel with a very soft and creamy texture that is very pleasing. The carbonation is soft and gentle which is great before the bitterness.

Drinkability - This beer is quite a fine beer although I couldn't see myself drinking more than a pint of it. The bitterness is very cloying and intense and although this beer is very good, I could definately drink more of say Fullers ESB.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.7/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent bitter. Nice cloudy bronze colour with a thin, lasting head.

Smells of malts, with a hint of grape in it. Taste is malts, traces of hops and a hint of woodiness with it. It is quite well balanced: the malts don't dominate, and the hops blend well. The woodiness lends itself nicely to the amount of malt flavour I can taste.

Nice and smooth on the mouth, and quite easy to drink. I should have bought two.

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Royal Oak Traditional Bitter from Hanlons Brewery
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 26 ratings