HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) | George Gale & Company Ltd

BA SCORE
87
very good
60 Ratings
HSB (Horndean Special Bitter)HSB (Horndean Special Bitter)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
George Gale & Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom
gales.co.uk

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 03-27-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
60
Reviews:
40
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
11.47%
 
 
Wants:
21
Gots:
1
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 60 |  Reviews: 40
Photo of pin
3/5  rDev -25.2%

Photo of Howlader
3/5  rDev -25.2%

Photo of GreenCard
3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This sample is a bottled version of the HSB with a different label on it: "The Hospital of St Cross & Almshouse of Noble Poverty". The reason for this is that the George Gale brewery provides the beer for the Brothers at this "cloister". If you go to the gift shop and ask for the wayfarer's dole, you'll get a small sample of this beer and some bread. Anyway, they sell this beer in the gift shop with the special label on it.

Appearance: nutty brown, good clarity, nice layer of spongey tan foam, lace

Aroma: bready (pumpernickel?) maltiness, twinge of earthy hops

Flavor: mild malt sweetness followed by an equally mild hop bitterness, touch of yeast, slight nuttiness, finishes semi-dry with a bready aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, mild carbonation, slight astringency

Other comments: Bitters bore me a bit, but this one is quite nice. Smooth and drinkable. It's a shame that this brewery has been bought out by Fuller's and, consequently, might be closed down.

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Photo of FLima
3.22/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark Amber color. It made just one finger head.
Faint malty aroma.
Taste is quite malty with earthy hops, with a dry finish. I could not get much more than that.
Light body with light carbonation and small bubbles.
It is a straight forward bitter ale, no thrills.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.25/5  rDev -19%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.26/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had high expectations for HSB so I tried this on cask in a Pub in Bornemouth England as well as in London and again in a conditioned bottle.

Its a Dark copper color with a short lasting head and no lace. The aroma is of raisins, raw husky grains and alcohol solvency, virtually no hops in the nose. The flavor is dominated by a bland maltiness. There is very little hoppiness even for an English Bitter. Its a very one dimensional taste. The least hoppy of all the cask bitters I tried. Some sort of burnt quality (burnt grains?) is noticeable in the finish. Not very impressive.

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Photo of rastaman
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very nive english bitter, had it on cask and enjoyed it a lot, a good example of the style, lots of zesty hops, with a decent maltiness.

136 characters

Photo of Sigmund
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask conditioned at The Hogshead pub, Ipswich. Deep amber to brown colour, low head. Moderate aroma of English malt vinegar and plums. The flavour is "dusty" malty with notes of malt vinegar and sour fruits. "Dusty" hops in the finish. OKish.

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Photo of hopley
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of DaveUK
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark brown with a small very light brown head that persisted down to half way down the pint glass.

Aroma - too mild for my liking, lightly malty with a hint of hops

Taste - sweet-malt with strong tones of biscuit. Medium finish with a nutty flavour.

Mouthfeel - medium, low carbonation almost flat, dry

Drinkability - the good flavour but mild aroma combines to give a fairly light feel to this best bitter. Nothing outstanding, however, a good session bitter for those who prefer a stronger pint

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Photo of woosterbill
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Handpump half-pint at the Thornbury Castle. The bartender insisted on pouring me a sample first, in case the beer was too strong for me to handle. Oooh, 4.8%, I'm scared!

A: Clear deep amber body; thin tan head with ok retention and nice lace. Solid, but not memorable.

S: Fairly assertive aroma of earthy hops + caramel malt. Not much complexity, but it smells nice enough.

T: Follows the nose - earthy + floral hops up front, with solidly sweet caramel malt following close behind. Long, bittersweet finish. Enjoyable, but nothing special.

M: Fairly hefty bitter, with good body and moderate, fine carbonation. Very nice.

O: This one was above average, but far from great. I was surprised to see it's A- overall rating on here, as it struck me as being a fairly pedestrian bitter: there was nothing wrong with it, but it didn't have any real subtlety or individuality.

Cheers!

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic

A - copper with a reddish tint, a bit light tan head rests on the top

S - raisins, prunes, plums, dates with a sweet smell at the end, maybe a hint of alcohol in there. This smells real delicious.

T - balanced malt hop mix up front with a hint of the fruity taste the smell indicated. A bit of a buttery finish.

M - I really hate to do this because this beer in the bottle isn't anywhere near what I remember this beer being like on cask but the mouthfeel on this is terrible, especially terrible for the style. This is way too carbonated and that really takes away from the flavor.

D - Smells great but the taste really isn't the greatest and the mouthfeel really hurts this one. I remember this being a million times better when I had it out of a cask and hopefully I will be able to try it again that way to post another review for this beer. I wouldn't pick up another bottle of this but would love to try it out of the cask!

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.66/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled and possibly bottle conditioned
Pours a copper hued amber body with big foaming white head that pretty much disappears altogether
Spritely citrus aroma
Nice bitterness on the way out

 193 characters

Photo of robotiks
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rarbring
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is clear brown with hints of read, an off-white lively head that leaves lacing.

The smell is rather light, some bread and lemon marmalade.

Upfront tasting sweet and malty, a fresh loaf of bread, citric, lemon and orange, nice bitterness, fresh grass and nettles.

Small carbonation, soft and smooth, a medium body and dry finish.

Well balanced and well done.

 370 characters

Photo of JanM
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I can't make up my mind about this beer. It tastes of quality brewing but at the same time it's sort of bland. I drank it bottle conditioned. It poured in a nice amber color, it's smooth and creamy, and has a toffee taste somewhere in the background. Fruity smell. It looses most of its dynamics if served just a little too cold. Looking at the average BA score I think it's overrated. Perhaps it's better on tap?

 413 characters

Photo of SteveP
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A well balanced mix of dark fruit/ginger spice and clean, powerful, but not overbearing hoppy bitterness from the Maris Otter malt and Goldings, Fuggles, Challenger hops. Though full bodied, there is a twisted tin twang which may be the result of the container.


I like this. Even though it's from a can I like it. It's one of the stand by ales I keep in the house... The hops are impressive, even under these poor conditions. The more I drink it the more I like it.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: clear brown beer with copper tones; 1-finger head with nice lacing (seafoam style)

S: sharp and grainy with some earthy notes

T: bitter, with mild fruitiness, but the bitterness overpowers any sweetness. IMO the bitterness is pretty bold, but not unpleasant

M: crisp and refreshing

D: not bad

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Photo of poskok
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of kelvarnsen
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted by a pint at Sir Charles Napier, Brighton. This is the first time that I’ve tried the now Chiswick-brewed HSB.
4 A: clear, dark russet brown in colour, coming with an off-white creamy head that leaves tight lacing behind, on top of rather low carbonation.
3.5 S: rich caramel, pear-drops and sour-sweet plums fill the nostrils, added with a touch of palm sugar, but lacking a more assertive hoppy input as before.
4 T: the initial entry of brown malts and caramelised sugar is ensued by the slow manifestation of hops that mix in the flavour very well, leaving a semi-dryish, faintly earthy, and tea-ish aftertaste… a light tinge of sour-sweet ripe plums seems to linger and blends well with the tea-leafy hoppiness. Very pleasant in the finish.
4 M&3.5 D: fresh on the texture, full of micro-scopic fizziness, but the body is lighter than what I can remember from my last pint of Hordean-brewed HSB from three years ago. Although this is still a lovely pint, at the price of 2.95 pounds a pint, I wouldn’t rush to try a second pint at this pub again…

* Review of 14/08/2005:
Another favourite cask ale of mine when living in Sussex. Happy to see it on draught at the Cross Keys, a Wetherspoon's pub in City, London.
3.5 A: seemingly fresh, it comes in a brownish hue, with a thin, white head and leaving uneven lacing. Looking o.k.
4 S: the aroma is dominated by a sweetish raisiny, dark-malt note, a port wine-like deeply aromatic texture is also present. Overall it's very juicy and mouthwatering.
4.5 T: rich nutty malt flavour dominates the palate with sightly tart, raw-nut flavour; gradually a profoundly dryish yet fruity and vertically-structured bitterness takes over and lingers well towards the finish. The flavour in the aftertaste, a bit like the taste upfront, is reminiscent of peanuts, dark fruits e.g. black prunes... while a soft bed of hops sustains at the back as a balancer with the otherwise fruity and rich malty palate.
4.5 M&4 D: very rounded mouthfeel throughout, good depth of dark malts and refreshingly bitter texture are the winners for this beer. Very very nice bitter indeed, extremely drinkable for me, especially in Autumn.

 2,171 characters

Photo of dolzan
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very solid, substantial head, and a nice red colour.

Very balanced overall, but I was a bit surprised with this being a bitter, since there is precious little hop that can be felt in this brew. A very drinkable beer, but maybe, just maybe a little bland, especially compared to Fuller's ESB for example.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

A: Vivid mahogony, almost ruby coloured. A fine but clingy off-white head which glazes the surface of the beer.
S: Peppy and fudge-like.
T: Dry with a pleasant woody rum quality. Initially just nice and taut with no caramel or warming syrup, but it comes through slightly as your tongue gets more saturated in it. No aftertaste at first. Fairly acidic. A touch of white bread in there, and just a hint of citrus. Gets progressively better towards the end of the pint. Nice fluffy mouthfeel.
O: A very sound beer but not particularly inspired. Would complement a Ploughman's beautifully.

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Photo of ADZA
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby hue which leaves a two finger head and sporadic lacing,the smell is sweet caramelized malts,herbal hops,a touch of dried fruits and also some sweet dark port,the mouthfeel is just over light bodied and has tastes of dark ripe fruits,sweet caramel,marzipan,sticky toffee and finished with a earthy hop bittersweetness and overall its alright and different but not my favourite example of the style.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint glass at a pub in Salisbury, England. Pours a deep red with a good head retention. Sweet malt aromas, some slight fuggle style hop aromas as well.
Taste is really nice, great sweet malty flavors and maybe some toffe, but is well balanced with a good amount of hops. Easy drinker but heavy. Im usually not a fan of bitters, but this is one of the best bitters ive had to date.

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HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) from George Gale & Company Ltd
4.01 out of 5 based on 60 ratings.
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