Sussex Best Bitter
Harvey & Son Ltd.

Sussex Best BitterSussex Best Bitter
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English Bitter
Ranked #28
Ranked #22,191
3.86 | pDev: 12.69%
Harvey & Son Ltd.
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Sussex Best BitterSussex Best Bitter
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Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 36 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Spike
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On draught at ‘The Crown’ pub in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.
L: Clear, rich copper colour. No carbonation at all. One finger of cream head leaves rings of lacing. Fantastic lustre. Looks great.
S: Malty & light. Not much there.
T: Biscuit, soft caramel, orchard fruit plus lots of stewed, black tea. Astringent with a hint of sweetness.
F: Medium body, very smooth, long & dry finish.
O: Traditional, southern counties, English bitter. Soft mouthfeel, very hoppy, bone dry.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Cask pour at the Madison Pourhouse in Albany, NY.

This one pours a cloudy-ish amber color, with no head, or lacing.

Smells like not much at all- I'm not sure of the age of this cask, unfortunately. I pull a little bit of floral hops but not much else.

I think this cask may have beyond it's lifetime, unfortunately. This is super watery and incredibly bland. There's just a little bit floral hops, and *maybe* just a smidge of biscuity malt, but there's just basically nothing here. Completely forgettable. I really enjoy a good bitter but I couldn't recommend this one, at least at Madison Pourhouse.

This has a very light and thin body, with a very low level of carbonation, even for a cask pour.

Not good at all.

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Photo of Caput_H_lupulorum
4.97/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At it's best a fabulous easy drinking session beer. Head sometimes thin, but usually leaves good lacing on the glass. The aroma is complex, nutty and floral and the taste well balanced with a decent finish.

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Photo of vinicole
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask. Sparkling clear amber. Thin head. Good lacing.
Aroma of English hops and malt. Butter.
Tastes as it smells.
Smooth with a gentle carbonation.
Excellent example of a true English bitter.

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Photo of bosox941827
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served hand-pulled at The Harp in London in an imperial pint glass.
A - Classic bitter; slighty cloudy amber, filled to the rim with just the thinnest of lacing on the top.
S - Again classic bitter balance of malt and hops off the nose.
T - A bit thinner than I was expecting, to be honest. The malt is up front with nice caramel flavor and a bit of diacetyl, however there was a bit less hop character then I'm used to, and I say that with the English bitter category in mind (i.e., NOT the IPA category). The balance between malt and hops is "delicate", with maltiness coming out a bit on top; had that balance been tilted just a bit the other way this beer would be nearly perfect.
M - Nice body, and obviously being hand-pulled, it's nearly all from the beer and not the carbonation.
I love this style of beer, and this is a very good example but this came up just a BIT short for me overall. Just a bit more English bitter-style hoppiness (see: DarkStar HopHead for example) would have put this over the top. That being said, I would and could drink this all night and not have a problem - still a great beer.

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Photo of Trizzle
4.77/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


I'm obsessed with finding good bitters lately and this is great.

Body is an orange cedar. Small head retains well and loads of lace.

Grass, hay, oily hops and wheat in the nose. Huge aroma for a bitter.

Full creamy mouthfull of cereal malt with very restrained sweetness turns grass, hay and wheat. Finish is dry and very more-ish..

A real mouth-filler. Big bodied for the style and so round and smooth.

Obviously painfully drinkable. So glad I found this beer (and this great little pub) 5 mins walk from my place.

Went perfectly with the pork and pistachio terrine with relish and brown sour dough. (Anglesea Arms- Hammersmith/Chiswick London)

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Photo of Newsman
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the White Horse Pub, Parsons Green, London. Wanted something the locals would try, and a couple people ahead of me ordered it.

Glad I took a chance. Poured a great pint with a decent head, good lacing. Nice malty smell with some floral hops lingering in there, too.

And the taste was excellent. I don't think I've had any beer that so perfectly matched the hops-to-malt ratio one would expect for the style. Yeah, it's a bitter, so the hops aren't overpowering in the least, but they're noticeable and they mesh very well.

Mouthfeel was good, not as flat as I was expecting. And drinkability? With a relatively low ABV and a quenching taste, I could go all night with this one.

Just a very well put-together brew. My hat is off to the brewmaster.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a pint on cask at the Red Lyon in Slinfold, West Sussex. Not to be confused with the King & Barnes Sussex Best Bitter (K&B now owned by Hall & Woodhouse).

Appearance is relatively typical for a cask English bitter. Deep reddish-brown in color with very little head. Since it's cask, there's no nitro, and it's pulled from traditional hand-drawn pumps, so only a 1/2-finger head emerges. The color though is quite lovely.

Although this is a traditional bitter, the taste was much sweeter in my opinion. Can't quite place the exact flavors, but there was a floral/fruity sweetness on the finish with very faint flavors and nut and cinnamon as well--but these are very subtle.

Mouthfeel was very smooth with an almost faint oily feel to it.

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a half pint on cask at The Harp near Trafalgar Square. This was one of my favorite real ales while in London for a week. It was a mixture of floral hops and oak with a fruit punch aroma at first. Then I started to pull cherry juice flavor with dry wheat cracker in the background and a note of blueberry in the aroma. Delicious.

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Photo of corby112
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark amber/ orange color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of a floral hop and malty balance, nothing special. This is a very quaffable and smooth, yet not watered down, ale. The malt presence balances out the delicate floral hoppiness quite nicely.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hand pumped at the Royal Oak, Harveys' tied house in Southwark. Imperial pint.

Copper body, white head. Decent-poor retention.

Bit of funkiness in the nose like the Knots of May pale mild, substantial farmy grassy hop notes, a bit of maltiness.

Citrus comes out in the palate, which is interesting for the style, grassy, light flavour, low carbonation to be expected but reasonably full feel.

Good stuff.

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Photo of paycheck
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this beer at Spuyten Duyvil, NYC, tonight (1/9/06) as the cask was just tapped.

This beer appears full of life, with light copper tone and white head.

The nose was challenging yet welcoming--a smell of earthiness and culture.

The taste overrides the nose with a surprising crispness--a wave of clean, pleasant hoppiness, accompanied by a slight tang, washing over the palate. It is a flavor of hearty golden ale with a light bitter citrus. It creates sceneries of an English coal-mining town and a beach resort.

This beer is light at heart yet heavy with history, just like its gravity—easy-drinking yet dense. The impression is balance, and the result is refreshing, palatable, and session-friendly.

note: don't be discouraged by the nose.

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Photo of deBeers
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautifully clear chestnut with a 1& 1/2 to two finger virgin bubbly white head that recedes quickly and evenly leaving no trace of lacing to be found.

Medium-thin mouthfeel yet hearty for a cask-conditioned ale. A great session brew. This ale is the oppitomy of smooth and the bitterness is nicely showing yet perfectly blended.

Sitting for a few minutes, it starts to become a little tangy/citrusy?. Grapefruit begins to show itself as it warms. Very enjoyable.

This was drank at My Place as of 1/8/06 out of a pint glass. The line was poured out as no one else was drinking this while I was there.

"Winner of the First Prize Gold Medal at the International Brewers’ Exhibition in 1980, this beer is brewed to an original gravity of 1036° -1040° from a recipe which has evolved over many years. It is a full, well-hopped bitter with a reputation that exceeds the borders of its native and adjoining counties."

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Sussex Best Bitter from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 36 ratings