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Saint Botolph's Town | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town
631 Ratings
Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
SBT is fermented with two yeast strains for a unique rustic finish. But it’s in the yeast strains where this beer really departs from the typical: one is a German ale strain, the other is a common English strain. Why? Because it’s about the flavour, not just ticking the “style” boxes.

In the end we have an ale of 5.9% abv with a big malty, almost smokey Black Malt character, a bitter attack from Fuggle hops, a rich barleymalt finish, some dried coconut hints and an old ale acidity around the edges. We’ve even timed its tan head, standing proud for ten minutes!

The name “Saint Botolph’s Town” is in tribute to our great home in America: Boston. The original Boston in Lincolnshire, England is an abbreviation of “Botolph’s Town” or “Botolph’s Stone”. When we were back in Yorkshire recently, we found a churchyard where St. Botolph spoke in the year 675; a ‘stump’ (broken old cross) marks the spot. Saint Botolph is a 7th century saint from England whose feast day is June 17th. Perhaps a great day to save a bottle or two for!

38 IBU

Added by morebeergood on 02-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 631 |  Reviews: 301
Photo of Halcyondays
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a deep umber with a medium off-white, almost nitro looking head. Solid retention and lace.

S: Hazelnuts, toasted bread.

T: Strong dark bready character, with a hint of roast. Light hopping on the back end. Full-flavoured.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy, crisp carbonation.

O: My first from Pretty Things. A really good brown ale that made a good first impression. Reminds me a lot of Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown.

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Photo of imbibehour
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle into a Nonic pint glass. Bottled May 2011.

A foamy two finger head, light tan brown with lots of retention. Styrofoam quality to it. Body is a great dark chestnut brown and appears to be actually clear, just so dark you can't quite see through it.

Bouquet of mild chocolate, small roast character and mixed nuts. Malt density and airy grain whisps on the nose as it gets closer, even a hint of cream.

A bitter sense of dark roasted brown spices. A very surprising taste sensation. Hot roasted malts, almost peppery finish, but with a wet and light bodied almost watery feel. Boy I just wish this was a little thicker it could get real interesting. There's just a little bit of heat here that makes it interesting but doesn't make it to big to casually drink.

Overall this is a pretty beer to be drinking and hits the spot, just wished it felt a little better.

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Photo of Sam21
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased for $7.99. Bottled March 2011. Poured into imperial pint glass.

Appearance – Beautiful mahogany body with a bit of haze. Poured with a healthy tan head that sports cement-like retention. Great lacing.

Smell – Deep, rich dark mats. Notes of caramel, prunes, figs, raisins, and brown sugar toast.

Taste – Sugary sweet dark fruits are abundant. There are notes of toasted wheat breadm hay, and even some charred, almost smoky, malt hanging in the balance. Finishes with dark fruits and smoky burnt toast.

Mouthfeel – Velvety smooth carbonation with a full feel.

Drinkability – This beer is quite incredible. Balance across the board, deep dark fruits, and a unique charred character. It reminds me of the dark fruity characters of a Belgian quadruple. A pretty bold brown ale and a homerun for Pretty Things.

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Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slight sourness. Some tarry flavors like over-toasted bagels. A touch of burnt raisins. Very dry. Fairly rich body but not a trace of malty sweetness. Seems chalky. A woody flavor like walnuts, and bitter with the skins. Hops are not overwhelming but provide some bitterness rather aromatics. Some nutty flavors.

The complexity may be appealing, but it is a very intellectual pleasure. I find no sensuality here.

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Photo of mrquartetman
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into a Samuel Adams glass. Dark brown with a big and persistent creamy head that left lace on the glass.

S: Roasted malt aroma, grassy

T: Very malty, big English ale flavor, some sweetness, very hearty

M: Long flavor that morphs from sweet to deep coffee follow.

This beer is a surprise. I bought it because I'd tasted two of their beers a while back and had liked them; but I was really just guessing on what it would be like, memory of beer after tasting so many being what it is. It is an excellent, full-flavored beer, something I'm always looking for these days, having tired of the massive overhopping of American craft beers. This is a beer with a strong malt profile, more aggressive in its flavoring than most of the English ales it takes as its progenitors. Were I drinking it in a pub with lots of beers, I'd be ordering it over and over again.

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Photo of philbe311
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Two fingers worthy of tightly packed slightly airy tightly packed light tan color with a bit of a rocky top... Very solid retention gives way to a full creamy lacing... A deep medium-to-dark brown color... A bit of light leaks in... Not much in the way of rising carbonation though some seems to leech onto the sides of the glass... A bit of lacing clings to the glass...

S - Big and malty from the get go... Hazlenut... Brown sugar... A faint whiff of coffee... Carmel... Some bready (crust) notes...

T - Brown sugars... Nutty... Loads of bready malts... A bit of graininess... A very light roasted bitterness rises on the finish adding loads of depth and complexity...

M - On the lighter side of medium bodied... Lightly carbonated... Very lush to start... Goes down very smooth... Finishes with a slight touch of dryness... Chalky follow through...

D - An outstanding English Brown Ale... Beyond solid in all facets... I will gladly stock up on more bottles of this... This really shouldn't be a surprise and Pretty Things continues to impress me with each and every offering...

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Canary Square in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Mass.

A: Slightly murky, dark brown color with a two-finger head of off-white foam which left great lacing on the glass.

S: Hints of hazelnut, fresh-milled grain and fruity esters mix with a light, herbal hop scent and a bit of rich, chalky cocoa powder.

T: Rich, flavorful malts hit the palate first with sweet, nutty, roasted grains. The sweet, slightly bitter malt flavor blends in with drying hops to balance the sweetness and impart a hint of roasted coffee before washing down smooth and slightly creamy with a lingering, smoky malt bitterness.

M: Medium-full bodied brown with a rich, satisfying mouthfeel which achieves a smooth, creamy balance.

O: A very nice English brown ale kept in line with tradition by withholding the heavy hand of American hops. A bit jacked up still at nearly 6% ABV, this brown ale has smoky, sweet flavors that played nicely off the BBQ brisket sandwich and spicy horseradish sauce I had. I'd definitely pick up a bottle in the future.

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Photo of infi
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, shared with BAs brun & NYManc.

Poured into a brandy snifter.

Translucent dark brown with purple undertones, which yields a cream-colored and thinly-sized head that quickly dissipates away. Visually highly carbonated when held towards the light. Smell is full of dark fruity sweetness with some burnt brown sugar or molasses darkness added. Some Belgian candied sugar, distinct toasted nuttiness and yeasty breadiness to be noted as well.

Taste carries a lightly toasted malt breadiness at first with the dark fruit akin to prunes and figs being identified midway. There's also a sort of subtle spiciness to the beer. And in the finale is a thin alcoholic booziness that shines away within seconds. Really quadrupel-like. I honestly thought this was a quad and not an English Brown Ale. Very interesting in flavor similarities nonetheless.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and light-bodied. Prickly-feel on the tongue. A good and wholly interesting beer.

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Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 fl oz brown bottle served in a nonic.

Pours a muddy, near opaque maple in color beneath a creamy, lightly tanned head. A few traces of patchy lacing.

Mildly sweet caramel and toffee aromas. Notes of almond and hazlenut whose dryness is aided by a moderate floral hop presence. Hints of fig, raisin, and date.

Sweet caramel and brown sugar up front that provides a nice, initial richness prior to giving way to an almond-filled dryness at mid-sip. The floral hops provide a pronounced saffron and pepper-spice prior to a burst of carbonation. Coffee and hazlenut with a touch of sweetness.

Medium bodied; active on the palate with an underlying dryness.

A very flavorful and balanced English Brown. One of the better versions I've had in a while.

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Photo of Brewbro000
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque dark brown with a small light khaki head that recedes quickly
S - scents of molasses, roasted malts, coffee and a hint of dark fruits
T - brown sugar/ molasses sweetness on the forefront that dries out quickly from the balancing hop bitterness. The hops actually play more in to this beer than I would expect for an English brown. Finishes roasty and slightly bitter from the toasted malts. This thing is an awesome pike of malt, wish I knew the grain bill!
M - moderate carbonation with a smooth slick finish
O - loved this beer from the second I popped the cap, I have yet to be discouraged from Pretty Things.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a brown body with a tan head that leaves mild lacing.

S: This one has a light and delicate nose. Toasted malt dominate the nose with notes of brown sugar, dark fruits, and caramel. Slight hint of nuts and vanilla as well.

T: Again, toasted caramel malts are the main player here. Earthy hops balances it out. There is also from brown sugar, nuts, some coffee, & dark fruits.

M: Medium body; Medium carbonation; Creamy texture;

O: Nicely done beer that I'm glad that I picked up. If I'm in a mood for a different type of English Brown ale, I would definitely get this again. Very easy to drink, perhaps 1-2 at a time.

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Photo of pburland23
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into my dimpled Guinness mug.

Beer pours a dark, chestnut brown with a half finger or so of light brown head. Nice looking mug of beer.

Smell is dark and roasty with some pronounced malt sweetness and perhaps a touch of nutty sweetness as well. Delectable aroma.

Taste is also dark and roasty. There's some hoppiness, brown sugar, molasses, and some more nuttiness. Again, there's a lot going on here.

Carbonation is on the light side, but it works. For being such a dark beer, this is a medium bodied beer that is well balanced.

You can obviously smell and taste the British influence on Pretty Things beer. This is probably the best Brown Ale I've ever had. Great beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at prezo's

Nice creamy head fades at a med pace, light lacing, dark hazy molasses brown colored beer.

Nose adds nice dark malts, dark crystal, light caramel and molasses brown sugar, bit biscuity, light sweet effervescence, light earthy hops

Taste starts fairly sweet, plenty of malts, darker malts, crystal, biscuit, light brown sugar, some light earthy hops and just a touch herbal, touch of a candy flavor. Finishes still fairly sweet but not sticky, some bitterness coming through with a touch of lingering earthy hops, some darker malt flavors lingering as well.

Mouth is med with decent carb.

Overall pretty good, a bit on the sweet side, decent hop addition light but earthy, just a touch of a briny taste, but a decent drinkable brown.

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Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear very dark amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacy rings of bubbles down the edges of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and toasted malts in the nose along with notes of brown sugar, cocoa, nuts and smoke.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and initially has a slight amount of malty sweetness. There are hints of molasses in the flavors; the underlying hops do not really contribute any noticeable bitterness yet they help to balance off the beer from being overly malty.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, somewhat smooth and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and is quite sessionable. I had no problem drinking an entire bottle of this.

Note: Bottled March 2011, Batch 10

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
3/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Due to the rather outstanding reviews of this beer and brewery, was really looking forward to this one.

Poured brown with nice head. Decent carbonation. Smelled more malty than hoppy. Tasted OK, like a very average brown ale. Mouthfeel also eh. Was OK. I do like brown ales, but wasn't impressed by this one. At all.

The high price point ($9.99 in bombers only)and the dashed expectations were disapointing.

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Photo of ranger60
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On draft at Deep Ellum in Allston, MA

Appearance: Dark brown and transparent. Very little head.
Smell: Malty, sweet
Taste: had a nice 'creamy' taste. Sweet and malty with very nice aftertaste
Mouthfeel: Pleasantly creamy
Drinkability: Easily drinkable

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Doherty's East Ave.

A: Dark, chocolate pudding brown. Faint, light tan head. Good lacing.

S: Cocoa and hazelnut, kind of a Nutella smell to it, roasted coffee, good maltiness.

T: Dark, roasty, but super smooth malt. Bitter chocolate, with milk chocolate sweetness. Slight coffee ground taste. Sweet and roasty, very enjoyable.

M: Medium body, low carbonation, but smooth.

O/D: It won't blow you away, but this is one of the better brown ales I've had in a while. Very solid offering by Pretty Things. Might have to pick up a bomber.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.92/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this bottle from dmeadows in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks Denis!

Bottled November 2010, Batch 8.

Poured into a MJ tasting glass. Pours a deep dark brown with reddish hightlights. Big yeasty tan head of about two fingers. Head is slow to drop.

Aromas of molasses, dark caramel malt. Raisins. Brown sugar. Brown malt. Reminds me of the aroma from my home roasted grains used in a porter, fresh out of the oven. Toasty.

Flavors of toasted malt, raisins, nuts, a little smoky, light roasted coffee, very complex. A lot going on here that all melds very well. Finish is long, with a roasted smokiness lingering.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a light roasted grain bitterness. Good level of carbonation.

Overall an excellent brew. One of the most complex brown ales I've ever had. So much going on that really clicks together. Very nice.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled March, 2011. Poured into a nonic.

A: Clear, dark brown. Thick, stiff head that lasts for a good while. Good lacing.

S: Mostly herbal hops, some mild roastiness. The smell is pretty faint.

T: Some roastiness and chocolate and herbal hops. I think I can taste the effects of the Belgian yeast, but that might be my imagination. [In the May 2011 batch, banana flavors come through much more clearly.] The finish is earthy and a bit dry, and the earthiness sticks to the tongue for a while. The flavor is overall a bit less robust than I would like, but it's nevertheless sufficiently interesting.

M: Medium mouthfeel for the style with good carbonation. A bit creamier than I would have expected.

O: This beer is very drinkable and would probably be a great dinner or social beer.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Sunswick 35/35 on 4/7/11.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a dark brown color. It has a small light tan head on it, that has decent retention and left some good lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of toasted malts and caramel. There are also notes of vanilla, hazelnuts, grassy malts, and some cocoa.

T - It tastes of dark roasted malts up front. There is a nice grassy hop character, caramel sweetness, nuttiness, and some nice dark fruit notes. The finish is pretty clean, with just a touch of lingering bitterness.

M - This has a medium body and medium carbonation. It coats the mouth nicely and goes down smooth. There is some roasty bitterness and the finish is clean.

O - This has good drinkability. It goes down easy and has great flavor. I could easily drink a few of these in a sitting. This is my first beer by pretty things, and I'm excited to try more. I would recommend giving this one a try.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very opaque brown color with a thick finger of frothy tan head. Reduces slowly down to a thin layer lacing very nicely around the glass.

S - Aroma is full of toasted caramel malts and sweet brown sugar. Some dark fruits and nuts are also evident in the nose.

T - Starts off with sweet toasted caramel malts and some nutty flavors. Bit of brown sugar sweetness in the background. Through the middle some light citrus fruit and a touch of bread flavor. The finish is a blend of some dark fruits, caramel, and nutty flavors that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth and crisp, though a tad watery. Nice and sweet with a earthy finish.

D - Very drinkable. Smooth and balanced flavors, and though they are a touch mild, it is different and interesting. Very nice nutty flavors.

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Photo of Satchboogie
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, March '11 batch, poured into a pint glass

A: Brown and fairly opaque, though clear around the edges. About an inch and a half of mocha brown head that slowly dissipates.

S: Toasted grains, brown sugar, nuts. I admit, the aroma is a bit faint.

T: Brown sugar, slight dark fruit, toasted grains, a little nuttiness and mustiness. Good portion of medium roast, Earthy coffee, slight smokiness. There's probably more depth in this brown ale than any I've had before. I suppose the flavors bounce around a bit with the coffee/toasted/smokey brown malt being the focal point. Definitely one of the more tasty brown Ales I've had.

D: Medium carbonation, chew body with a fairly good coating though the body itself is just a touch light. Does have a nice creamy mouthfeel.

O: One of the finer 'sessionable' brown ales there is.. Loaded with great earthy and nutty/smoky flavors while the alcohol is almost completely hidden. This would probably become a staple brown ale for me if only it was locally available.

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Photo of wcintula
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome brown ale! Drank about a bomber's worth on-tap. There's not too much to speak of as far as looks go, but looks aren't everything. Great malty smell with a light spicy hop scent and dark fruits. Everything compliments everything in this beer There's a touch of booze in here as I've come to know and like in many brown ales, English or American. I never knew how many excellent brown ales there were out there.

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Photo of uustal
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, nice subtle redness in the color as well. Coffee colored one-finger head. Decent lacing and retention. Aroma of dark fruits primarily. A bit of toffee and chocolate powder as well. Flavor starts off with nice sweet malts. Unsweetened chocolate, hint of nuttiness, sticky molasses. Toasty bread characteristics. Dark fruit flavor carries the beer until the finish where a decent amount of hops shine through (citrus/pine).

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Photo of younger35
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received a bottle of this from adamharbaugh as an extra in a recent trade. Have really liked Pretty Things thus far and I do love me a good Brown Ale. Drank from my spanking new Russian River tulip.

Bottled Dec 2009, Batch Four

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish red with a big beautiful one finger light tan fluffy head. The head stays around for quite some time but not a lot of lacing is left.
Smell- Has a nice sort of dark fruitiness that jumps out of the glass right from the get-go. Lots of raisin bran and dark brown sugar. I assume they used some Belgium candied sugar(s) in here as it has that sort of earthy candied thing. A touch of hops are noticeable as well adding a twang of citrus.
Taste- Sort of a tamed version of the nose with a kind of hoppy bitter dark fruited start. Raisins and prunes galore (although subtle) with an ever so light kiss of caramel and chocolate. The beer isn't sweet in the least and surprisingly has a sort of earthy bitter undertone. Something almost grassy about it. Sort of doughy at times as well especially near the finish as a light nuttiness moves in.
Mouthfeel- Surprisingly dry with a nice zippy bit of carbonation in the light body.
Drinkability- Really nice beer. I love how the beer has all the makings and flavor of a sort of English/Belgium Dark Ale but it's not sweet at all and very dry and balanced. It's super easy drinking and very enjoyable. I'd be really interested to try a super fresh one just for comparisons sake. Thanks very much Adam!

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 631 ratings
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