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Hopback Summer Lightning | Hop Back Brewery plc

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Hopback Summer LightningHopback Summer Lightning
178 Ratings
Hopback Summer LightningHopback Summer Lightning

Brewed by:
Hop Back Brewery plc
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 09-11-2002

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 178 |  Reviews: 154
Photo of weaselchew
5/5  rDev +37.7%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +37.7%

Photo of MEP
4.75/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of GreggBarton
4.75/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.73/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes taken at the Olde Gaol House in Winchester, England (13/08/04):

pours a light gold color with a decent head and a mad amount of lace, even for a cask ale. It totally coats the glass. The aroma is of lemony hops and wheat malt. The taste is equal parts citrusy, very floral hops and light bready malts. The hops make a very nice bitter finish. The mouthfeel is perfection, very silky and subtley carbonated. The aftertaste is crisp and lightly bitter. An excellent beer, one of the best casks I tried in England.

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Photo of Justhead
4.53/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always drink this in pubs when I see it ... even if I rate it average there's something of the essence beyond simple grading ...

On tap ... New Inn, Chippenham Wiltshire uk

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Photo of Garthy
4.5/5  rDev +24%

Photo of steveh
4.5/5  rDev +24%

Photo of budgood1
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out of the half liter bottle a cloudy golden hue, with a frothy head; which leaves lots of lace. a grassy, herbal and lightly malty aroma...very nice. taste is along the lines of your typical golden ales or kolsch style beers....lightly fruity sweet with lots of earthy, grassy, and slightly minty hop notes. as it's bottle conditioned i mixed in the sediment contrary to the directions on the bottle...i guess i just prefer it that way...anyway...the mouthfeel is full and lively adding to the appropriate body...just a nice summer time ale. drinkability rates high just because it's so quenching and tasty and it is summer and i'm damn thirsty. too bad i have only one bottle....it went down quick and was very satisfying. highly recommended as a summer quencher.

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Photo of hophopandaway
4.48/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer comes around at my local less regularly than I would like but i is one of my favourites. The beer is nicely hopped so that there is an element of bitterness but it is not super-dominant. The head is creamy, fine and lasts right to the last sip. The lacing is as good as it comes.
When drinking the mouthfeel is unsurpassed, it's floral on the nose but with a gentle hint of soft summer fruits. The taste is of a mild bitterness that is perfectly balanced with the light earthy and herby flavours that make this a very well balanced beer perfect for an afternoon in the beer garden of your favourite pub.
This is no longer the best beer in it's class but it is a beer that was almost revolutionary in its early years. This is the kind of beer that converts the lager heathens in to real ale fanatics. 5 pints of this on a friday after a tough week is a super way to start the weekend.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a very light gold color, perfectly clear, with a sticky head that leaves lacing and a collar. I'm surprised at how clear this is, given the bottle conditioning. Fine English hop aroma, combined with some sweet malts, monkey fruit and apples. On the palate there's a nice, snappy bitterness here that resonates like a rubber band stretched to the near-breaking point. Toward the finish the sweetness of the malts comes out, and adds a juicy burst to things, but this beer never veers over into "sweet" territory -- it's always very dry (which would make this a great summer beer). The finish is prickly and quite dry; it's bitter in the English way, not the American way (snappy not sludgy). Very lean mouthfeel, almost ephemeral, and very drinkable. This is quite a nice bitter overall. I would absolutely order this for session drinking, summer drinking, or bar food pairing (especially fried stuff like fish and chips). Very good.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500ml brown bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours a slightly hazy yellow body with a good half-inch of persistent off-white head. Smells like caramel malt with spicy, grassy, and citrussy hops. Tastes like bready malt with some caramel character, and just enough grassy, spicy, citrussy hops to provide balance. Light bodied with light natural carbonation. Flavors, while subtle, are balanced and pleasing, and this is a very drinkable beer for sure. A lighter example of one of my favorite styles.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.38/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Head of Steam, Euston Station. Dark golden/amber, big white head for a cask ale, a pretty looking beer for sure....but how does it smell? The aromas are very nice. East Kent Golding hops meld with buttery, biscuity malts, reminiscent of fresh baked bread. The taste is that of a well balanced strong English bitter. A nice floral hoppiness dances with a lightly toasty maltiness to create a very, very, drinkable ale. This ale is medium bodied>light with low carbonation and an insane drinkability. Wow, now that I have done this review, I have just remembered how good this beer is on the hand pump. I'll have to pick up a bottle to review soon!

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Photo of Photoglyph
4.36/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

First tried this several years ago, have not been able to find it the last few years. I was quite impressed with it the first (and subsequent) time(s) I tried it. The head is quite sculpted as it settles down, nothing like the microbrew beers I like so much here in the states. I think the golden color is perfect and the taste is exceptional as well. Think it helps that 'Summer Lightning' was the title of song by the British Prog rock group, Camel in the eighties.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on cask at the Jolly Farmer (Hopback owned) in Surrey. Poured a pale and clear golden yellow, with a small white head that gave excellent lacing. Floral hops and some citrus aromas.
Sharp herbal bitterness on the front end. Mellowed out with some floral hops mixed in. Just enough mellow chalky malt in the background to round it off and call it "complex."
Finished dry and very well balanced medium bodied brew. Very drinkable and, at 5%, gives just a tinge of warmth on you after the second or so.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a bit confussed about the lower ratings for this brew. Folks, this is a really good brew. Maybe the comparisons to a Pale Ale hurts a bit, but it's supposed to be a Bitter. The brew starts off with an obvious bottle-conditioned hazed, and light carbonation; trying to capture the essence of cask-conditioning. The brew could handle a bit deeper more of a golden hue, but the beer looks nice and frothy. Fresh aromas of pine and fresh-cut grass complement the medium pilsner malts nicely, offering a balance and added character above the sweetness. Fruity (pears and appricots), spicy (Fuggle Hops), and super clean flavors meld neatly. The feel is a soft, candied texture and a firm hop bite. Finishes very clean with a dry-hop linger. Really liking this brew.

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Photo of DaveUK
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Clear brown with well formed 1/2 inch head. The head settled to a ring halfway down.

Aroma - Bitter hops and lightly roasted malt.

Taste - Taste of fresh, biscuity malt. Hint of fruit in the juicy, hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium, wonderfully refreshing.

Drinkability - I would certainly seek out this superb golden ale again.

I had this in the Turf tavern, Oxford, UK. If anyone is in the region I highly recommend this pub for its large choice and excellent handling of quality ale.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice hazy pale yellow color, nice carbonation, nice littlye creamy white head, which leaves alot of sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, bitter, and slightly sour. The taste is hoppy, bitter, with some sourness. Medium body, with some nice bitterness. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty English Bitter.

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Photo of jwc215
4.28/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours bright straw yellow with a thick, fluffy white head that leaves rings of foamy lacing.

The smell is of lemongrass with grainy honeyish sweetness.

The taste is grainy and lemony. Sweetness becomes a bitterish, woody dryness in a crisp, refreshing finish.

Refreshingly light-bodied and crisp. Thirst-quenchingly clean and dry. Laid-back carbonation helps give it an incredible smoothness.

Extrememly drinkable. Has a cask-like character to it. I can imagine this being awesome, to say the least, poured fresh from a cask. I could happily drink this all day - esp. in the summer, but any time of year. It has subtle complexities with both a nice malty and hoppy character. Well-balanced and very smooth. A unique brew for the style that works very well.

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Photo of putnam
4.28/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Best before: Y23 03 05." Guess I'm safe.

Doughy, buttery head over yellow/orange liquid. Aromas of lemon, porridge, milk, and tree leaves. Freckly spots of foam adhere to the glass interior. (Fruit flies like it!) Creamy, buttery texture delivers toasty-dry, stalky, crusty, slightly nutty flavors. Bitterness is even and expertly placed to dry the finish and power the hay, prairie, and pollen-flavored backlash.

Hyper-drinkable ale and lighter in character than any from England that I can remember. Akin to Cooper's Sparkling, only no yeast matter and more toasty dry - less exotic.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.26/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful pale amber, with a creamy white head. Slightly hazy. Excellent lacework, leaving a trail all the way down the side of the pint.
Aroma is decidedly british, with some goldings. Fairly hoppy, with a good malt backing. A touch of toasted malt, but very light. Plenty of floral esteriness, with a touch of nutty aroma. Well balanced, with no flavor particularly standing out.
Flavor is straight up my alley. Creamy and rich, with terrific malt/hop balance. Lightly bready maltiness, sweet and lightly fruity. A touch of apricot and floweriness. Body is medium, with nice low carbonation, that signature cask creamy feel. Awesome. If you have an opportunity to try this beer on cask, do it. Your tongue will thank you, and ask for another.

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Photo of soultrain
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Stella Artois glass.

A-Clear golden yellow beer, great 3" head that sticks around, leaving lace filigree in it's wake...later pours the beer clouds up with sediment and huge yeast chunks, and the head, is a miracle, fluffy cloud, that is 3"+ and sticks around forever. Great looking, extremely appealing beer.
S-This is the first in which I've noticed "pez-like" notes, behind a golden ale smell (grass, biscuits, hay, light lemon). Unusual, but smells pretty good to me.
T-This "Hopback" ain't hoppy enough to justify the name, but it is a tasty golden ale, for sure. Hops are there, though, and give this beer decent bitterness, and a nice dry finish. This is a damn good ale, perfect after a day of hanging drywall, or reviewing a Fischer's Amber Ale....
M-Good carbonation, kinda chewey. Medium, I'd say.
D-Can I have another? Etc.

CRUX: DAMN FINE BOTTLE CONDITIONED GOLDEN ALE. Needs more hops IMHO, but this hits the spot anyway. Well worth the sample.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow when first poured, massive tower of delicious pillowy white head with great retention. Little bit of lacing. I think there should be more sediment but I'm using a 200mL glass and there's a lot of this still in the bottle. Gets a bit of cloud by the end.

Nose is ripe and fragrant, lots of fresh fruit, maybe a bit sour from underripeness (that is, the hypothetical fruit that these malt esters produce). A touch of banana, some passionfruit, guava even and a hint of strawberry - although that just may be a slight tannic edge. Good generous smell of hops blends well. Delicious.

Far more full-bodied on the palate than is suggested by the nose, and not so airy and fragrant. Rich bittering hop dominates with a slight grittiness which is not unpleasant but certainly unexpected in a golden Summer ale. The finish is extremely dry and feels like there's sediment getting caught at the back of my throat. It's not bad though, it's like a very good dry riesling finish. The star here is the palate. There is a rich bouquet of flavours here that makes it hard to pinpoint specifics. But it's slightly tonic, bitter and quite fresh, but bold and flavourful. Mouthfeel is a bit dry but mostly fluid, goes down smoothly.

A really interesting drop - chock-full of character and with a huge deal to like. Really pleased I bought this.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear but slightly hazed golden yellow. Looks a lot like a lighter honey, crowned with a lacy white head with fair retention. Pilsnerish, delicately leafy/floral (lettuce/dandelion) hops and a pleasant orange-and-honey, sort of biscuity malt sweetness tickle the olfactory glands. Crisply hopped with a nice, firm, citric bitterness that dominates the overall flavor, but not without letting a mild but noticeably nutty, whole-grainy malt character to shine through. Quite nicely robust and refreshing, yet light with a pithy hop finish that dries up nicely but leaves enough juicy sweetness to pull you back in for more. This is a lovely summer ale that drinks like a really very good pilsner or kölsch. Possibly a good curry beer.

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Photo of StevieW
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml brown bottle. Best before 200803 clearly stamped on the side. Clear golden yellow pour, sticky uneven off-white head. Smells traditional old beer malt smells and whifs of fresh cut flowers, and some whole hops flowers. Taste was a touch bready, maybe a whisper of toasted malt, but mostly crisp clean hop bitterness. Left lingering residue, holes in your cheeks. Crisp and dry finish. Very refreshing, thirst quenching bitter. Bitterness does linger and leaves you wishing for more. Light to medium bodied, highly charged. A very good summertime ale, quite refreshing. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I would gladly buy it again.

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Hopback Summer Lightning from Hop Back Brewery plc
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 178 ratings
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