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Ruddles County | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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186 Reviews
Ruddles CountyRuddles County

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
United Kingdom (England)

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2001

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Reviews: 186 | Ratings: 266
Photo of bmacaskill
4.8/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ruddles County is a remarkable English ale, an ale that almost differs from sip to sip (or gulp to gulp ;-).

The amber colour is exquisite, and the ale is both hoppy and smooth, yet with an herbaceous aftertaste.

I know that sounds kind of weird, but this a a beer with real character. It stays on the tongue and hangs around with an almost tarry note, yet it's fruity at the same time.

I've always been suspicious of reviews that throw around the word "complex", but gee, this is a *complex* ale. I've only had it half a dozen times (the LCBO in Ontario has just picked it up), but it beats the heck out of the other Ruddles offerings. For a non-nitro can (or, as I like to think of it, a "non-engineered can") it's as fine as can be. (Get it? As "can" be? Chortle.)

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Photo of delta490
4.68/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- clear deep copper brown with an off white head. Doesn't last long but does leave big lacing. A slight flow of carbonation is also visible

S- rich malt with notes of caramel

T- big malt flavor balanced against slight bitterness. Flavor is bready and sweet with jut a hint of nuttiness.

M- very smooth. No bite at all

O- a great example of an English bitter. Full flavored and malt forward. Is a great session beer and even better on tap when casked.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.63/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was quite surprised by two things in this beer. One, that it wasn't skunked (clear bottle); and two, that it was so good! Clear. Very deep amber/copper - almost orange-brown in color. The head is a frothy light tan that holds quite well and leaves an exceptional lace throughout the pint. The aroma offers a light sulphur (not enough to be distracting), some grassy, earthy & citrusy (lemony) hops, and an odd - but interesting - mustiness. I'm not sure where the musty character might be coming from.... yeast? house character? And yet, the sulphur and mustiness that I would normally regard as defect seem interesting and exciting! The body is medium with a low level of carbonation that gives it a very smooth mouthfeel. The flavor offers an initial sweet maltiness ripe with caramel & toffee as well as a buttery note (diacetyl? - another normally considered defect that seems to work here), then revealing a good amount of grassy hop flavor and bitterness. The finish is dryish and lingering with a gentle matliness, and a hoppy bitterness that becomes quite lemony at points! (I'd love to know what hops they're using!) This is an excellent example of an English Best Bitter... rich, quite complex, and moderate in alcohol. At 4.7% this offers the opportunity to enjoy several in a night and yet it's full of flavor. It's somewhat rich, but not so much so that it becomes overwhelming. Massively enjoyable.

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Photo of kitschiguy
4.63/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle given to me by a supplier. Poured into 350ml glass.

Lovely dark orange/medium brown - Looks good and fairly typical of the style. Big fluffy head whih dies quite quickly and left a nice film of tight bubbles. Lots of lacing.

Nose is com plex with nuts, baking aromas of bread and cookies, earthy hoppiness. Very nice.

Palate is aboslutely lovely - exactly what you'd expect from a good English bitter - complex nutty malt backbone with a strong hop flavour presence. Toffee, nuts and biscuity flavours compliment the good hop bitter finish. Superb.

Mouth is great - nivce a nd full.

Overall a superb example of tbis classic style.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well I must be somewhat obsessed with this beer, since this is the third time I have reviewed it, but I find it to be one of the more intriguing, complex and confounding beers around, with one tasting producing wildly different results from the next. But the main reason for this new review is that I was lucky enough to stumble upon a cask of this amazing beer at d.b.a. in NYC. Of all the beers I have been wishing to try on cask, this is certainly at the top of the list. Pure luck that I happened to walk into d.b.a. on the day that it was tapped. I was not disappointed but I wasn't blown away either. Cask beers score higher in the mouthfeel and drinkability department, but sometimes the live yeast can obscure the trademark flavor of a more individual beer. Knowing this beer as well as I do, I found myself unable to be sure I was drinking Ruddles going solely by the taste. It lacked character -- but certainly not quality. I drained the first pint in a matter of seconds and was back at the bar ordering a second.

Anyway, I have it in my head that this is such a fantastic beer that I am always a little let down when I taste it (maybe I am holding on too tightly to my first, wonderful memory of Ruddles). As it's available now in this country, it certainly leaves something to be desired. Those clear wide-mouth milk bottles don't do the beer any favors. And the nitro cans are a joke. An imported cask didn't rock my world either. I guess someday I will have to journey to the brewery and try it at the source. Or maybe the rumors are true and this beer has already changed and the beer I am dreaming about no longer exists.

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Photo of jdmorgan
4.45/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bitter poured a very clean and clear copper hue with a two finger white-brown head.

The smell was soft with subdued notes of malt and hops as well as a bit of citrus. The flavor seemed to have a mixed flavor of hops with a bit of grassy, fruity, and floral characters. It had one of the most complex hop profiles I've tasted, all with a balanced and clean bitterness. The malt body was sturdy and blended well with the hops. The consistency was medium/thick and carbonation was medium.

An old school bitter ale that tastes great and has outstanding drinkability. Definately worth it's following. I'm glad that I stumbled upon it and plan on having more in the future. Highly recommended!

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.41/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask at the Memphis Taproom in Philly. Thanks for the perfect pour Brenden.

Ruddles in the pint glass looks kinda like heaven. It was poured expertly and the liquid is a light shade of gold mixed in with some yellow. The head is an inch and is foamy looking and perfect. Smell is fairly common for the style, malts are up front and pale with a small citrus twist that is LIGHT. A simple nose for a simple style. On first sips or gulps rather I can tell this one is a winner and refreshing. I hope Memphis has this one come back. Taste of pale malts accented with a fairly light hopping giving off slight citrus and earthy flavor. English malts bring this back to perspective and reminds me that this is in fact English all the way. Feel is smooth and light and entirely too easy to drink. I could drinka gallon willingly. Probably my favorite bitter so far, in a style not favored by me. Excellent!!

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Photo of Jason
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz clear glass bottle that looks like an old style milk bottle, no freshness date.

Beautiful white lace around the glass with a bubbly lace that stays around long enough. Bright copper hue has a near sparkling clarity.

Sulfur, musty, grassy, veggie, buttery, and earthy and a hint of lemony hop are what make up the aroma.

Full and luxuriant mouth feel that hold an amazing smoothness, lots of hop flavour that is layered with the bitterness. It’s almost a grassy veggie hop flavour with a lightly pungent bitterness. Shades of buttery and musty diacetyl come through as well as a fluffy malt character. Hops go a touch lemony and the malt draws closer to a biscuity grain as the dry finish pulls in.

I fell in love with the ale many many years ago and I am glad to have come back to it. The complexities are surreal and oddly it does not take away from it being a session brew either. A bit in the raw but that is the way I like my ale.

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Photo of mjc410
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Smith tulip.

Pouring lightly down the side, it's quickly evident that I'm not raising a head. I shift the glass to vertical, and dump away. I'm rewarded with a one finger head, along with a nice cascade effect (this is NOT nitro). The head quickly disperses into a nice thin layer of light tan foam, leaving thick lacing. Held up to a light, the body is a bright copper. The aroma is quite distinctive, and apparent from the moment I cracked the bottle. It has a musty, biscuity English smell to it, and a rich, potent hop presence, as well. Tasting while admittedly still too cold, I find a mild, slightly fruity, very satisfying taste. It has notes of caramel, toffee. The hops don't show too much in flavor, but they do in a slight, but growing bitterness. Not very sweet - just balanced. Medium body and low carb make it very smooth. This bitter really works for me!

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Photo of DustyHayes
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A crystal clear English bitter with a rich copper look that has a good head, the dry caramel taste is unique and is topped off with a nice Sharpe bitter hop flavor, which goes down smoothly, making this a very drinkable and freshen beer and gives this bitter a decent character. This is one English bitter that is worth trying either in a bottle or a can.

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Photo of John
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My understanding is that this beer has undergone some changes since Greene King took over the brand from the Rutland Brewery and moved the brewing site. From what I've read regarding what it once was, it sounds amazing. What I found (present tense) while having the pleasure of enjoying this on cask, was a rich, smooth malt and subtle hop flavor. A pleasure to drink...a bitter with brilliant flavor and character.

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Photo of Snamnoum
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - deep copper color. Gentle pour produced 1 finger of with frothy/creamy head which had moderate retention and left a fair amount of sticky lace

Smell - citrusy hops, followed by pale malt, and some doughy yeast.

Taste - begins mellow with some initial malty sweetness and bread-like yeast but transitions into a delightful hoppy bitter finish which is smoothed out by copious amounts of buttery diacetyl. Extremely well balance and complex. This epitomizes english brewing at its finest. I can only imagine what this would be like from the cast.

Mouthfeel - light/medium bodied with very low carbonation which I think contributes to its outrageously creamy feel.

Drinkability - a low abv style and a low abv beer so this beer is made for drinking in quantity. A truly lovely brew. Its one of those beers that when you open and have your first sip, you sink a little deeper in your chair and instantly feel at home.

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Photo of Homebrew63
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I actually received this in a beer basket of joy for christmas. This was a large bottle which poured a amber color. It had the taste of a mild ale and it had an incredible amount of lacing. Head was good and lasted awhile.

Mild mouth feel and no one flavor grabbed my palate. Maybe a touch of malty caramel but nothing standing out in my memory.

All around not a bad beer. I have only very recently started appreciating this form and am still wht some would consider to be a newbie to the style. I very much enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of fx20736
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a British Pint Glass.

Coppery medium amber with a thin cream colored head that leaves copious lacing.

Aroma of bready malt, apples and maybe a whiff of sulfur and minerals.

Mouthfeel; solid and big.

Taste: biscuity malt paves the way for an herbal hop sting, followed by an honey covered apricot sweetness and a mineral like aftertaste.

Notes: WOW! This one does it for me and then some. A dry, fruity EPA with an earthy aftertaste. Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale is currently my favorite EPA but this one isn't far behind. I will buy this again (and again).

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Photo of AylwinForbes
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruddles County (once Ruddles of Rutland, but now it appears to be consolidated with other breweries from different areas) was one of the icons of the CAMRA revolution in the early seventies. I was interested to evaluate it now some twenty years since my last experience. In a clear glass bottle you can see the reasonably dark amber colour; the nose is somewhat fruity, malty; on the palate is where it counts with a very characteristic hoppy, complex, dry, quite bitter, long after taste. There are layers underneath that you don't get in an ordinary beer. Yes, you could still pick it out of a line-up, even with the diversification of bottled craft brews that has occured in recent years.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear, dark copper colored beer with a small head that fades into a small ring at the side of the glass. Carbonation is high for the style, at least higher than draft examples.

Smell is nice malty with pale malt notes that are light dextrinous and bready. Some caramellic notes and a little sulfur and mineral smell. The yeast adds some fruity, English notes.

Taste is mild bitter without real hoppiness. The hops are earthy and low aromatic. The malt is light caramellic and dextrinous. Yeast gives fruity notes. Great balance. Body is quite full for the style.

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Photo of tapman
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium orange-red. Head is off-white and persistent; good head retention with this one. Clear body with a lacing that can't be beat. Very nice for the style. I could see it being a little less clear, but that's personal preference.

Smells like butter and fruit and metal. The metal isn't so unpleasing, as it is small, but its there nonetheless. Also a sweet, almost pie cruse like aroma. Interesting.

Taste is raisins, dried mixed fruit medley, butterscotch and toffee, with a hint of musk. This one was a really cheap four pack, like 4.99 for 1 pint 4 oz. cans x4, without nitro widgets which makes me happy. Hops are English and bready, and balance well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, though not as creamy as some others of the same style that I've had. Still, without a nitro widget, it holds its own.

Highly drinkable, especially for the price.

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Photo of PEIBeerGuy
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Before I even knew what brewery it was from, I liked it and likened it to the Greene King IPA, which I also lik... uh, enjoy.

Not much head, but a thin creamy layer of it stays right to the bottom.

Nice smooth smell. Mellow and rather caramel / butterscotch.

Great taste.

Smooth in the mouth, with just enough carbonation.

Very drinkable!

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Photo of Finnman
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It really is the ultimate bitter-lovers' bitter. Ruddles County takes me back to my London "ultimate pub crawl" expedition days.

Notes: Pours a copper-amber colour with a nice head. Steady retention and bubbles form around the glass. Good strong aromas of molasses, maple syrup, and hop. Taste is nice and powerful. Some fruit mixed in with some caramel. The bold bitterness of the hop kicks in a notch more in the finish and smooth out in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is creamy. Not as good as the cask-conditioned Ruddles County, but still a great bitter ale.

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Photo of dudelove7485
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

Copper in color and cloudy. Off-white head with very small bubbles that leave no lacing. Strong, toasty aroma (almost burnt) with a hint of grape. Smooth, light-medium body with low carbonation; a little thin, but not watery. Taste is sweet, but not overpowering, with caramel and malt. Aftertaste is peppery and bready and lingers pleasantly around the tonsils. Very satisfying.

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Photo of kbnooshay
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured an orange amber color with a massive frothy coke float-like of a head. A few streams of light carbonation travels to the top. Aroma is of wood, apples, pear, tea and caramel. This is a very malty & doughy beer. The hop flavor is more in the background and the bitterness is light. Sweet malt and brown sugar flavor dominates. The feel medium and smooth. This is very drinkable. The general flavor reminds me of old speckled hen except this is cleaner, not skunky and doesn't have that nasty harsh ass flavor to it. Very drinkable.

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Photo of erosier
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L: Pours the same as it looks from the clear bottle - rusty orange red with a medium sized and medium bodied white colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of caramelized malts and slight hop aromas. A hint of fruitiness at the very end - that same sweetness many beers from this company have.
T: A nice caramelized malt base with some more biscuity malts on top of a nice bitter hop flavor that rounds out the beer.
M: Very smooth, somewhat sweet feeling, refreshing, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, this is another one I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Photo of pezoids
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a pull tab bottle, this beer poured a very clear orangey amber color with just a tint of ruby showing when held up to the light. Topped by a thin creamy head. I let this warm up a bit from the normal fridge temp to unlock some flavor. Interesting aroma. It shows some sweet graininess like pilsner, but floating right beside is a bouquet of mixed fresh fruits and even a hint of butter toffee and caramel.

The taste is sweet, buttery and fruity all at once. Medium light in body. An earthy hop bite finishes this one off and leaves a pleasant bitterness on the tongue. A very nice and flavorful English ale. Enjoyed it very much.

Greene King continues to satisfy the palate with down to earth outstanding ales.

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Photo of putnam
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

See notes on the bottle below. I am surprised that the can tastes as good as it does. I ordered it as a substitute for the out-of-stock bottles. And it is the exact same material only with a slight harshness on the finish. The carbonation is another clear difference. Maybe the bubbles were masking the somewhat assertive hop bitterness (?). Still a "bitter" that lives up to its name.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one comes in a clear bottle- which I'm not a fan of due to quick light damage, but luckily the particular beer I'm drinking is quite fresh tasting. Pours a nice chestnut color with a finely beaded head that leaves some lacing, but fades a little too quickly. Nice earthy hop smell with gentle, creamy malt and some butteriness. The taste is similar, but with somewhat more resonant hops, with a nice lingering grassy and earthy bitterness. A little bit of nuttiness on the finish, and a very smooth creamy mouthfeel. There is a trace of copper lurking there in the background as well. More complex than it seems at first flush, this ale hangs together very well. I thoroughly enjoyed this- now do something about the glass bottle.

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Ruddles County from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.73 out of 5 based on 266 ratings.
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