Sussex Best Bitter
Harvey's Brewery

Sussex Best BitterSussex Best Bitter
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Bitter - English
Ranked #16
Ranked #19,884
3.89 | pDev: 12.85%
Harvey's Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Sussex Best BitterSussex Best Bitter
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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 63 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KooVee
KooVee from Finland

4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

33cl can, 6m to bb.

Orange-amber. Nice sticky lace, large bubble.

Nose somehow brings autumn rain and apples fallen from trees to the wet ground to mind. Herbal notes mixed with a whiff of toffee.

Taste has a frontal subdued assault of caramel, transforming quickly to dry bitterness around the edges with toasted malt in the middle. Pleasant, long aridity.

Very good in a non-recognizable way.

Jan 25, 2019
Photo of Spike
Spike from England

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Sep 24, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

2.86/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

Feb 29, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From a cask at the 2016 Atlanta Cask Ale Festival.

Orange Amber body that's slightly hazy and topped with a bubbly white head.
Mild but earthy aroma.
Much better and much stronger flavor although it takes a moment for the flavor to build up.
Mild+ bitterness. Good and lasting aftertaste.

Jan 23, 2016
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Caput_H_lupulorum from Maine

4.97/5  rDev +27.8%
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.

Jun 28, 2015
Photo of vinicole
vinicole from England

4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

May 10, 2014
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sleazo from New York

3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Cask Market Porter

A_Pours a chestnut copper hue. Minimal head but the cap lasts to the bottom.

S_Not much aroma to speak of. Slight bit of bready malt and no hops.

T_Dry biscuit like malt up front followed by a pleasing herbal bitterness. This lingers on the tongue for some time. Rather dry.

M_Medium bodied with perhaps a bit to much carbonation for cask but still rather nice.

O_A true session beer if there is one. I prefer dryer beers so this is one I could see having more than a few of.

Jul 31, 2013
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jonb5 from England

3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint from the Market Porter. Ruby colour, slight tanned head which was poorly retained, looked a bit hazy. Slight yeasty aroma, reminded me of a Belgian Pale Ale. Tasted berries, it got more bitter as it warmed, corky finish. Mouthfull not overly smooth, had a bit of gas. Overall a tasty session beer, more pale ale than bitter.

Mar 28, 2012
Photo of bosox941827
bosox941827 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Mar 28, 2011
Photo of paxton1978
paxton1978 from England

4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just one of my all-time favourites, since it can be found all over my locality on cask and is usually well-kept. A wonderful warming chestnut-coloured beer, on this occasion with a head that dissipated quickly but left a little lacing. Slight hop bitterness to slightly offset the slight spiciness. A great session beer in every sense.

Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Trizzle
Trizzle from England

4.77/5  rDev +22.6%
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)

Jul 21, 2010
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Newsman from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Jan 03, 2010
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StJamesGate from New York

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Market Porter, Borough Market, London.

Pours russet with tan lace. Smoke and bitter orange nose. Toasty grains backed with bark hops. End is astringent and dry on the tongue. Medium body. A roast orange glaze taste overtakes the toast as it warms.

Toast and tight hops make for a spartan pint of bitter, but still drinkable at only 4%.

Oct 28, 2009
Photo of fullsweep
fullsweep from England

3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Sep 19, 2009
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redzone3120 from Delaware

4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

A - Has a very dark clear amber color with a good thick head. As the head settles down, it leaves a nice white lace on the edges of the pint glass.

S - Has a bitter hoppy smell with a nice aroma. Smells like its going to be a good beer.

T - Has a slightly bitter taste with lots of nutty flavors. The hops, and possibly malts, are evident.

M - The first thing noticed is in the carbonation, or rather lack of it. This is probably one of the flattest beers I have ever had. Definitely distracts from the flavor but that is probably more a personal thing than anything else.

D - Very drinkable though might take a little bit to get accustomed to if you are not familiar with this style out of the cask. Highly recommended and enjoyable.

Sep 03, 2009
Photo of BeerDetective
BeerDetective from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask in several lovely pubs in London, a wonderful example of the style, nice and big caramel taste to me up front, then a wonderful ride through the hops to the wonderful finish. All around one of my favorite beers I have discovered from the U.K.

Apr 28, 2009
Photo of jwc215
jwc215 from Arizona

4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at The Coal Hole, London:

Pours deep ruby with a creamy head. Sheets of lacing cover the glass.

The smell is floral/leafy/herbal with slight caramel.

The taste is herbal/leafy with caramel and a lemon tartness and an aspirin-ish bitterness in the finish.

It has a velvety, medium-body.

Nicely bitter (slightly tart) with a refreshingly dry finish. A solid example of the style!

Apr 23, 2009
Photo of tempest
tempest from New York

4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Apr 21, 2009
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

Nov 21, 2008
Photo of Antilochus
Antilochus from Canada (ON)

3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Jun 24, 2008
Photo of paycheck
paycheck from New York

4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Jan 10, 2006
Photo of deBeers
deBeers from California

4.28/5  rDev +10%
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."

Jan 10, 2006
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UncleJimbo from Massachusetts

3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bitter poured a slightly hazy, amber reddish color with slightly off-white foam that persisted. The smell was minimal: malt with a hint of sulfur. The taste was malty with a good, balanced hop bitterness throughout, and a touch of fruitiness. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry with medium body and low carbonation. The hops lingered on the tongue. This was a good, drinkable bitter.

Dec 07, 2004
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CRJMellor from Arkansas

4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours mahogany and gold with a tan head with big bubbles. Moderately thck hed that leaves chunks of lace.
Aroma is toffee, hay, bread and butter and a fruity bittering.
Flavors of toffee and grain with a floral and touch of citrus hop profile.
Mouthfeel is semi-sweet to stat with a little bit of roastiness in the middle. Slowly building residual bittereness throughout.
Drinkability is very high. Great session beer, gets better after two.

Aug 28, 2004
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Crosling from Colorado

3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Sampled at the White Horse in London, England.


The aroma was nice. English hops; flowers, light lemon and herbs along with a slightly toasted maltiness.

I really enjoyed this. This is a beer you can drink constantly thoughout the night but not only that, it is great as a palate cleanser when you are trying a lot of big beers as well. Very good example of the style. Flavors much like the aroma.

Jul 17, 2004
Sussex Best Bitter from Harvey's Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 63 ratings