Hopback Summer Lightning | Hop Back Brewery plc

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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

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Ratings: 178 |  Reviews: 154
Photo of SilentSabre
1.5/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I cannot form the words to say how exceedingly disappointed I am with this. An English Bitter? Um..no, it isn't. It poured up like a hefeweizen, a light, moderately cloudy, fizzy thing. Smell was almost like a sour BMC sort of thing. Taste was like a mildly hoppy pilsner. An absolute disaster, IMO. I really had high hopes for this one, too. Pity.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
1.52/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a light straw color, slightly cloudy, the head being comprised of large, white bubbles. Lots of rising streams of carbonation going on here--pours almost like a pilsener. That said, it has some impressive lacing which is about the only good thing I can say about it.

The aroma is stinky floral hops, a bit acidic or vinegary or sour, and not much else.

The taste is gross. There's this off sour taste with a very noble, flowery/metallic-bordering-on-saaz-and-hallertau like hop kick to it. It has some nasty phenolic chemical like properties. It tastes really watered down, which is probably a blessing if true. There's a weird waxy taste to it.

Mouthfeel is thin and weak.

I don't like it. I would never drink it again. If I could undrink it, I would.

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Photo of Zimbo
1.82/5  rDev -50%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Long time since I last had this old favourite. Many tasty memories of it as one of the first great bottled conditioned English beers of the early 90s.

But today there is a terrible old dusty fusty nose to start that just wouldn't blow off. Looks fairly good though, yellow and sort of like a pilsner with some beading and head,which though not overly thick, goes the distance. There is a dryness and a graininess in the body but the odour and 'taste' just consumes everything.

Didn't see that coming.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
1.95/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

500ml bottle with "07 08" on the label. from the cold case at julio's in westboro. tasted in mid-march 2009.

golden straw with slight haze. moderate head is foamy, and developes really nicely on the second pour. fades to thin layer. very good lacing.

sulfurous and grassy hop aroma with lots of weird chemical notes. (phenols? fusel?) traces of yeast fermentation and grain. hint of esters, but overpowered again with the sulfur and chemical notes.

flavors are similar, with watery malt overpowered by grassy hop that is in turn then overcome with the chemical and phenolic notes, plus astringency and acidity which by this point is unpleasant, esp along with the otherwise moderate bitterness.

slightly thin and watery, with astringency in the finish. fizzy carbonation becomes overactive with the bitterness and again more phenolic/medicinal/chemical character.

more bearable as it warms up, with esters and malt starting to counteract the chemical note, which also lightens up ever so slightly.

still, in the end, this was not drinkable. AVOID

what a shame that this was my 500th review. blech...

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Photo of BierReise
2.36/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nothing like the description,nothing like a bottle conditioned ale. Looks like a pilsner as poured. White tightly compressed head with a clear light golden body. Aroma from bottled hinted at wheat but as poured smelled more like pils malts and a slight skunkiness. Flavor also like a pils or alt style ale. Poor bitter aftertaste left in my mouth. Big dissapointment. They certainly pulled a fast one here.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
2.39/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Strange beer, to say the least. Despite the hype on the bottle, pours and tastes like a partially skunked pils. Looks promising, clear with a nice foamy head. Strange smell and unimpressive taste. Better than the macros, but not by much. There is nothing about this to recommend spending your money.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
2.45/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Summer's almost over, so I thought I should drink this before it goes entirely.

A 500ml bottle with a BB of May 2013. Picked up a little while back from Booths. Features an image of Dionysus on the label (the brewery's logo) - I previously thought it was a green man. Bottle conditioned.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear pale-gold hue with good carbonation and slight sediment (most of the yeast sticks resolutely to the bottom of the bottle). Yields a huge head of frothy white foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer, leaving nice lacing as it goes. Looks great. The aroma, however, is not nearly so pleasant. A distinct note of harsh stewed leaves, faint solvent and sulphur. Virtually nothing else is discernible. Another reviewer mentioned that they thought the aroma was butyric acid, so perhaps that's what this is - at any rate it is vile and seriously detracts from the beer.

Tastes of light malt with a dry, mildly bitter finish. Notes of stewed leaves, sulphur, earthy yeast and a whisper of citrus aroma. A restrained, dry bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and full-bodied, with a dry character. Pretty astringent, with an aftertaste of harsh stewed leaves and a sulphurous note.

Disappointing - I had expectations of this being a pleasant pale ale with a hoppy character. Not so. I looks nice and has decent body, but the aroma is horrid and the flavour also leaves much to desire. Not sure what's wrong with the smell but it is dominated completely by a harsh, sulphur-like quality. This carries through into the flavour, masking this ale's subtle malt and hop characteristics. All said, not a good drinking experience. It's a pity because I've had this before (ages ago) and liked it, so I don't know what the issue is here. Perhaps I should seek it out on cask. At any rate, I'd have to recommend avoiding this in bottles if you like beer.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
2.62/5  rDev -28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5


Bottle tried in June 04 had no date on it, only the code 297. One in Oct 04 had no date no code

Brilliantly clear to the point of transparency, a straw yellow like crystalline apple cider. As you pour, the glass fills with enthusiastic sparkling bubbles that rush up to build a towering paper-white head which dies slowly, leaving scads of foam on the glass in its throes.

When cold, the scent is a piercing, flowery, cidery perfume. But as it warms it takes on earthern, funky, nasty overtones of ... hominy.

Sharp, pure bitterness up front overwhelms a faint-hearted sweetness, which tastes, unfortunately, of corn. As it warms, still more funk and sweetcorn comes through. Squeeze a whole lemon into the mix and a brief, tart finish and you have that rarity: a bottle-conditioned English ale that needs to be chilled ice-cold.

Thin-bodied with sharp and fizzy bubbles that prickle throughout the mouth.

This is so disappointing compared to the cask, as if it had fallen from the sky and hit the ground hard. Maybe these were old bottles, but having been burnt twice, I think I have better ways to blow four bucks on a bottle of beer.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
2.64/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer poured very fizzily and with a lot of head. The color is a nice gold, with visible bubbling.
Smell: Not much, actually. Just smells like beer to me.
Taste: Pretty constant throughout. I can taste some hops in the middle and afterwards, but other than that, there’s not much going on.
Mouthfeel: Calm and a little watery, with plenty of carbonation in the aftertaste.
Drinkability: Certainly refreshing in the summertime. If I was outside in the sun I might enjoy it more and want another. Otherwise, it’s just a fairly plain lightish beer.

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Photo of shirfan
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark gold with a thin but persistent head.

A sour, floral, slightly fruit-like aroma emerged. Very bizarre..something between sourdough and fasnachts.

I swirled out the yeast, contrary to the bottle's indications, but in keeping with standard wheat beer practice. All I got out of this was sour, chewy wheat and non-descript hops. Vinegar. Maybe the bottle had gone bad; this was very forgettable and not tasty at all. A total trainwreck that I'll attribute to a bad bottle; if this was meant to taste this way, I'll stick to german and american renditions.

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Photo of nightcrawler
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour produced *large* amounts of white foam, even though I was quite careful.

The beer itself was a light gold/coppper color.

I wasn't impressed with the smell or flavor. Not very different from some macrobrewed lite beers.

I could taste hops on the backside.

The body was fairly watery and I burped for about a half-hour after finishing the beer. A decent summer, lawnmower beer, but a bit overly priced for what it is.

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Photo of necoadam
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a clear honey color with a huge head that took a little bit to settle down. Smell consisted of grass, some citrus notes, slight malt, bread/dough aromas, and some slight spiciness (cloves mostly). Taste was a little light. Some hops and malts blend in and out throughout the entire time. Some lemon flavors kick in towards the aftertaste, but finishes quite dry. A little too dry for this beer. But it was quite creamy which was a nice bonus. But other than that, skip this beer.

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Photo of Ralphus
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one doesn't strike me as an english bitter but who am I to determine the style that a beer represents.

It poured with an aggressive carbonation and a large soapy head made it's debut. Unfortunately it receded just as quick to nothing at all. Not even a cap. The color is an uninteresting clear pale golden colour.

The smell is weak at best. There is some floral hay but like notes but little else.

I'm reminded of a poor pilsner in the taste.. it's sweet initially, has some white wine like flavour and then a decent bitterness. Little complexity.

Mouthfeel is smooth with prickly carbonation. Drinkability is average.

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Photo of rastaman
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light and fresh on both nose and palate, wheaty, slighty fruity (banana and citrus), slight hop bitterness towards the end, and enjoyable brew, nothing exceptional about it, but quite solid.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- This beer has a straw yellow clear body with a big white head of huge bubbles and a boil of carbonation made up of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of very light faint fresh grain is soft but pleasant. There is a very faint green note that is not distinctly hops but is plant material.

T- This beer has a faint fresh light grain note that leads into a faint lemon, green hop note. All of that is quickly overpowered by a carbonic acid flavor that finish the taste. As it warms the hop flavor turns more lemony and kefir lime notes.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a strong fizz finish.

D- Don't believe the hype on the bottle. I feel like this is a English bitter that is "dumbed down" with a nice label for the American market. It would be nice to taste some more of the malt and turn down the carbonation.

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Photo of charlatan
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle has freshness date. It is a rather anaemic straw colour and slightly cloudy with a minimal head. There is plenty of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. This doesn't have much of a nose although it is obviously rather yeasty. There is a faint fruity air. The taste is not unpleasant, but there isn't much going on here either; a pleasant light hoppy bitterness (I suppose that is why we are calling it an English bitter), a little sweetness, a return to an even fainter bitterness and, um, that's it. The yeast has surprisingly little direct bearing on the flavour.

Rather bland for a brewery with hop in its name (in Oregon that means, boom, HOPS!) and not as rich as I would expect a golden ale to be. Perhaps it would be called a summer ale in the US?

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Photo of Afterburner
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a light gold, verging on yellow. Enormous rocky white head that lasts forever.

Smell: Noticable malt bouquet, accompanied by a mild spicy hop note. Also some fruityness, though I can't pick out a particular fruit.

Taste: Mild orange-y citrus makes the first impression, followed by mellow hop bitterness mid-palate. A very minimal amount of malt peeks out briefly before quickly disappearing. The finish is hop bitterness and a mossy, earthy flavor that I can't quite peg.

Mouthfeel: Aerated, vibrantly carbonated, with a large bead. Light bodied.

Drinkability: The mossy, earthy flavor in the finish is offputting, and I feel more like I'm drinking a lager than a bitter. The label of this beer brags about the awards it has won, but the awards were 6+ years ago. Maybe they changed the recipe. Maybe the beer just doesn't travel well here to the states. But it's just not doing it for me. If someone handed me one at a party, I might drink it, depending on what else was in the fridge. But I won't be buying another one.

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Photo of lackenhauser
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy golden color with a huge head that lasted almost the whole way down.Somewhat floral aroma.Slight citrus.Some malt.Very bitter taste.Hops overpower any malt that might have been there.Almost metallic from the overabundance of hops.No balance that I can tell.Ok body-amost thin.An average beer-having read the label I was expecting a bit more for all the awards it says they have won.Might be better on tap in the UK.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16.9oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very faint with just some light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with light and decently balanced flavors of mild citrus, a thin malt character and a bitter but mild hops presence. There's not a lot to the taste overall, but the hops transitions into a mildly bitter after-taste.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Not very flavorful, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, not the best representation of style, there are definitely several other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of ybnorml
2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clean Light yellow color with a foamy white head. Aroma was mostly yeasty bready smelling. I did not get any hops in the aroma. In fact I had to read the bottle again because my nose told me I was drinking a lager. Very light in flavor nothing jumps out at you. It did have a clean crisp finish. Which would make it a good summer time/ lawnmower beer. Not what I had expected.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.94/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a white stiff head that stays and leaves a lot of lace. Light straw colored that is cloudy from the bottle conditioning. A lot of yeast stuck on the side of the bottle at the top - unusual. Expiration date was 4-9-03 but the flavor was fine, finishes hoppy but this is a light summer brew.

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Photo of hwwty4
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Interesting find at my local. I can honestly say the only reason I picked it up was for the bottle cap. Nice picture of a guy and a hop. Interesting bottle cap but this isnt a review for the aesthetics of bottle caps.

Poured a capped 500ml bottle into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours a highly fizzy, hazy straw with a MASSIVE 5 inch cap (or should I say the whole glass) of creamy white head. Splotchy, soapy lacing was left down the sides of the glass. The nose is rather generic. A bit of biscuit, some caramel and a nice yeasty twang. The flavor is simple, straightforward and much the same as the aroma. A bit of biscuit, a bit of caramel, tart yeast and just a little grassy hops. This is where my biggest issue with this beer is. Its way to carbonated. The carbonation level almost makes it astringent. Its like soaking your tongue in Sprite. Overall, this beer falls flat into the average range. Not the best bitter I've had but definitely not the worst.

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Photo of Koufax21
2.97/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on cask a Bull's Head Cask Festival in Letitz, PA.

A - poured a faint yellow straw color with a hint of fizzy white head that disappeared after a few moments.

S - this one smells pretty good. A bit more of a hop aroma than I would typically expect from British beer.

T - mildly bitter with a dry finish. I keep hearing from people how good this one is. To each their own, I guess.

M - dry and no carbonation. Light bodied.

O - nope. A very average beer in my opinion. I tried on a recommendation. While I'm glad I got to try this highly touted ale, it just didn't blow me away.

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Photo of dwren89
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: pale gold with fluffy white head, good clarity

Aroma: lemon zest, biscuity, slight tartness,

Taste: cold, refreshing, thirst quenching biscuity malt flavor with balanced hop bitterness, finishes with a bitter tinge; not a lot of distinguished hop or malt character, just a nicely balanced summer ale to slake a thirst on a hot day. Short finish

Mouthfeel: Tingly carbonation, light body,

Overall Impression: Not a bad ale to drink on a hot summer day to refresh your system. But not an ale (or style, for that matter) that provides much complexity or depth. Balanced. Not bad, but not earth shattering.

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Photo of pin
3/5  rDev -17.6%

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Hopback Summer Lightning from Hop Back Brewery plc
3.64 out of 5 based on 178 ratings.
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