Mitchell's Extra Special Bitter | Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse

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Mitchell's Extra Special BitterMitchell's Extra Special Bitter
Very Good
36 Ratings
Mitchell's Extra Special BitterMitchell's Extra Special Bitter

Brewed by:
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse
British Columbia, Canada

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Recently named “one of canada’s top beers” by Maclean’s magazine, this long time favourite with Spinnakers’ regulars is a copper coloured, classic English pub bitter, brewed with English Pale and Crystal malts, hopped with Horizon & Kent Goldings.

40 IBU

Added by 49degrees on 01-10-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by 49degrees:
Photo of 49degrees
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An excellent English style bitter. Routinely served at the brewery on tap, but outside of immediate surroundings, this one is most often found in standard 650ml bottles.

In recent years I've started tackling more and more bitter styled ales and this one sits up amongst the highest tier ales from around the globe. Sadly, it doesn't receive much recogniition, but that's undoubtedly a result of the difficulty one can have in tracking this one down.

Features an exceptional aroma and flavor that relies heavily on the Cascade, Kent Golding, and North Brewer pitch. These three key components are skillfully blended with English Pale and Crystal Malts that provide a very complex result which provides an intriguing amount of malt flavor yet provide ample room for the flower bouquet to shine through.

Pours very clean with a moderate sized head, which disapates slowly leaving a layer of calm foam with periodic large surface bubbling with a tight collar. Lacing is consistent around the glass.

Of particular interest was the last 1/6th of the bottle which dispensed a suprising amount of sediment on the last pour. Sediment was very dark and consisted a small dark brown particulate that was suspend for 3-5 minutes before settling at the bottom of the glass.

Despite the last pour, the rest of this one was a keeper in every way, shape, and form.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Easton70
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chickenm
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with a thin tan head that leaves a bit of lacing. Subdued aroma with malt and a little hops. The taste is very British with caramel malt, bread, honey, and a hoppy finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Nicely balanced and quite drinkable, this is a nice session beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

At the Victoria brewpub. Darker golden with a white head. Light mouthfeel, OK bitterness. Acceptable ESB as understated hoppiness.Melange of hops, including Kent, Northern Brewer and Cascade.Maybe better on tap, and a decent cask. Competent as most of the lineup.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.49/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Stephenlouis for including this Beer in his CanBIF package!

Appearance: Opaque copper with bubbly, soapy dishwater-like head.

Smell: Hops are quite fruity, in fact it smells exactly like a can of Del Monte peaches in syrup! Now there's something you don't find every day in a Beer!

Taste: Very quaffable, British-like flavor profile, fruity hops with only a slight astringency in the tail end make this a very refreshing brew. Some cookies in the body but was a little weak. This stuff must be awesome on cask, but this bottled product tastes pretty close to the real deal.

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Photo of Garin
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE: I had it at Spinnaker's from the cask, instead of out of a bottle. Holy cow that was a good beer. I've learned, then, that you don't drink this one from the bottle. Go right to the source.

It arrived with a nice creamy head, a deep orange colour, with some obvious sediment floating around the glass. It's from cask, so this is to be expected.

The aroma was dominated by citrusy hop aromas, and some vaguely sweet floral tones. Some yeast was in there, and I imagined a bit of a medicinal smell. A little malty grainy tone is in there as well.

The flavour was rounded out by the herbal and floral hops, including a definite bitter orange-peel overtone. Nice rich and slick maltiness filled it out beautifully, and a good bitterness finished it.

The mouth feel was creamy and soft, with low carbonation. Again, this was from a cask, so no surprise there.

If you do buy this in a bottle, I'd recommend pouring it and letting the foam come, and then leave again. From a cask, it has very low carbonation. This is about the same level as you have left after the monstrous billowing foam head that came out of our bottle the first time we had it. If you have a choice, though, go to Spinnaker's.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Spinnakers liquor store, as they were completely out of it on tap at the brewpub itself the whole time I was in Victoria.

Came in a 650 ml brown bottle. Pours out a transluscent mahogany hue, picks up red oak highlights when held to the light. Light tan creamy head on the pour that recedes to a thin dense cap.

The aroma is a surprising deep toasted malt, with nuts and carob, even smells a bit creamy. Light coffee notes as well.

The toasted malt carries over predominantly into the flavour as well, along with bitter, woody nuts, while everything mellows out towards the finish, with the faintest astringency provided by light hopping. Creamy, silky light bodied mouthfeel helps turn this into one helluva session ale. I can see now why this was sold out, and why the brewpub was letting the upcoming batches age properly. Looking forward to sampling the draught version someday soon.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A pint from the cask at Spinnakers.

Arrives a dark, copper color with a finger of light, fluffy foam that sticks around through the drink.

Smell has a light sweetness to it, some caramel malts, hints of fruit, maybe even some citrus.

Taste is a light, light sweet caramel flavor. Hints of bittering hops in the finish, on the watery side (light, light body).

Really, just not that impressed. Drinkability is there but the flavor and the body just had no depth to it.

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Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes accumulated since the birth of Zoe.

Thanks to chickenm for this one.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle (10 notched on the left side of the label and 02 & 7 notched on the right).

Appearance: A dark copper color with red tinges and pours a little like apple cider. The slightest brown in the good sized head with a thick sheet all the way down.

Smell: Orange peel, mineral hops, a bit tea-like and that crisp ESB aroma that i love.

Taste: Very malt forward with the hops riding on the back. Has a not overly citrus profile and the Golding is not overused as the tea aspect is kept to a minimum. Fleshy fruit.

Mouthfeel: Mouth filling from start to finish. Bitterness in the tail end and robust indeed.

Overall: Very satisfying, flavorful and intense for the style. Highly recommended.

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Photo of benbou17
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of LampertLand
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Spinnaker's Brewpub 'Mitchell's ESB' @ 5.2% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $5

A-pour is a burnt orange from the bottle to glass with a big off white head that is leaving a spotty lace along the pint

S-certainly doesn't have the powerful smell I've been acustomed too , way to mellow

T-clean , mellow tasting 'ESB' , no wow factor

MF-low/mild carbonation , medium body

Ov-ok beer , below average local 'ESB'

prost LampertLand

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Photo of Voonder
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown colour, very clear, with no head. Smell - malts with chocolate notes. Taste the same, plus you can recognise those hops in there too. It's pretty chocolaty though (nothing wrong with that). Moderate carbonation, balanced and very drinkable, very good beer overall, perfect ESB!

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Photo of Derek
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this at the brewpub.

A: Copper Bronze, some off-white head, lots of lace.

S: Not a lot of nose, a little bland.

T: Bready, fruity, with a British Bubblegum aftertaste (from the yeast). VERY British. My taste score may be on the low side (I'm not a fan of the overtly British yeast).

M: Light body and carbonation.

D: Quite quaffable.

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Photo of Jotora
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of polloenfuego
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a copper/amber gold with a small amount of foam. Not much in the way of retention or lacing, but the color is quite nice.

Smell is malt led, what I get is some caramel malts, with perhaps a visit from bready malts, and then some grassyness and light hops.

Taste is malt driven, the caramel malts lead the way. There is a slight metallic taste, then you get some piney resiny hops. Not a ton of hops, but in line with the style.

Feel is actually a little light for the style in my opinion. Carbonation is on the low side, as I would have expected. Finish is slightly bitter.

Well, I wouldn't call this the best ESB I have had, but it isn't bad. An easy to drink beer that doesn't offend. On the other hand, it doesn't stand out to me either.

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Photo of Mack
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Erik-P
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of IllNate
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium amber with a finger of head and decent retention. Aroma is malty with biscuit and bread tones, some caramel coming through as well. Hop aroma is earthy and floral.

Taste is full bodied and sweet. Nice english malt and caramel tones as well as earthy floral hops. A bit sweeter finish than I would like however.

Mouthfeel is pretty good and it has the right amount of carbonation.

Overall a decent beer but not anything special in any category.

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Photo of saskguy
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, I have to admit to have drunk large amounts of this beer over the years. The malt hop balance is great. I find it stacks up with most of the esb's that I have tasted in the UK.

Being served at the correct temp at the brewpub helps a lot as does the correct carbonation. The bottled version is not quite as good, but still better than most.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650ml bomber poured into pint glass a few weeks back, from notes

A reddish copper with a slight haze, completely full of bubbles, pours tan foam for 2/3’s of the glass and it just sits there, still three fingers when the beers half gone, big chunks of lace everywhere

S iced tea powder, a handful of pennies, some citrus, spiced apple sauce, spicy herbal hops

T maybe some wet leaves and a little hard toffee added to the smell, a little malty for an ESB but I suppose some would call it “balanced”

M light and explosive, pretty much turns to foam the second it hits your mouth, a little gritty after the fact

O I don’t detect any flaws but its way over carbonated, OK beer but nothing worth buying more of

This one’s popped up a few times over the years on the best of Canada list and has been a long standing want. I didn’t think it was anything special to be honest.

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Photo of EskimoDave
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Graham5161986
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was really looking forward to this beer as I haven't had anything from Spinnakers in a LONG time.

This classic ESB pours a crystal clear dark brown colour with a good 1 and 1/2 finger off-white head that has decent retention and leaves some very nice traces of lace on my imperial pint glass.

Aromas of honey, bread and toffee waft up from the head along with some subtle hints of hops, chocolate and cream.

The taste on this beer is outstanding. I get Honey, toffee and caramel with a good backbone of bitterness from the hops that is balanced out by roasty notes of chocolate and cream. So simple, yet decently complex and incredibly delicious. A very well put-together flavour profile.

Mouthfeel on this one is medium bodied and creamy with just the right level of carbonation and a touch of bitter spice on the finish from the hops.

As for Drinkability, there's not much to complain about here. Overall, this is super easy-drinking classic ESB that should satisfy any purist and is a real treat for the tastebuds. I will definitely be buying this beer again. Can't wait to try more from these guys!

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Photo of canucklehead
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of the cornerstone beers in Spinnakers and perhaps in the history of BC microbrewing. The recipe has changed from when Malcolm Faviell and John Mitchell brewed this back in the 1980's in the original Spinnakers but this version is still great. The subtleness of the flavours show the real English roots of this beer. Everything has its place and this is truly one of the great BC session beers. BC may not have the hopmonsters of our neighbours down south but this is a good example of the understated ales that we do best.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spinnakers does not disappoint.

The look of this beer is classic ESB. Solid copper colour with a fine, white head. The scent is a bit malty, but other than that, I could easily think this beer was a true English ESB.

The hops do not overpower, and the malt taste does not make the beer too sweet.

I can't wait for the opportunity to try this on tap.

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Photo of Beervana
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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Mitchell's Extra Special Bitter from Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 36 ratings