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Blue Bell Bitter | Magnolia Pub & Brewery

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BA SCORE
3.66/5
Good
55 Ratings
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Magnolia Pub & Brewery
California, United States
magnoliapub.com

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-23-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#31,007
Reviews:
28
Ratings:
55
pDev:
14.75%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
1
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of Offa
4.7/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask, this is an outstanding English-style ESB, and very English. The beer menu says 4.5% alcohol.

Copper-amber, it has a thin off-white head slowly shrinking to a foamy ring, some lace.

Aroma is caramelly toasty barley - rich and slightly fruity, earthy-woody-tea hops - an excellent, full English character.

Taste is similar, nice winy-caramelly-nutty-toasty barley maltiness with nice, firm peppery wood and tea bitterness to nicely balance the sweetness. It stands up well to food and is highly drinkable. It has an engaging, full feel.

 546 characters

Photo of gleemonger
4.5/5  rDev +23%

Photo of Reswald
4.44/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask-conditioned at the brewpub in San Francisco.

Appearance is that of a classic British ESB, both in color and in the head formed.

Good hop aroma, very inviting.

Taste unmistakably that of a real, cask conditioned ale. Took me right back to my years of living in London. The proper amount of bitterness with the slight oxidation that says "Real Ale".

Excellent drinkability, just like its British namesake.

 412 characters

Photo of Mark
4.42/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was lock to try when I got around to trying the Magnolia pub. First it was on cask, gee that was easy. Second it was brewed with Maris Otter malt and English hops. This beer pourd a copper color, head retention was great, I was surprised by the lack of lacing though. Nice earthy malty aroma. Smooth fruity taste profile reminded me of British cask beer. Solid mouthfeel and drinkability is superb. Was I in London? Excellent, and one of the most authentic bitters I have encountered here at home.

 507 characters

Photo of chugamugofsud
4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the blue bell bitter on cask at the Magnolia Brewery in a sampler. The bar (Jupiter's) had actually had it the night before in pints across the bay in Berkeley. This beer was golden like most bitters are and didn't have much alteration in color. It had a very very thin head, which surprised me somewhat; however, the taste delivered. This bitter comes on slowly, giving you subtle bitters first and then delivering the full punch that one would expect from a cask bitter. This offering is one of the top bitters I've had, the smell was not nearly as insulting as many of the Europeans are and yet the taste was every bit as full.

 636 characters

Photo of watermelonman
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This sat with a good classic gold and copper color, without much head. The lace is there but doesn't grab attention. The same goes for the smell; it's good but not the highlight.

Where this beer delivers is in the taste and mouthfeel, and it really does deliver. The malts are traditional and solid, while the bitterness is present but held in check to result an exceedingly balanced beer. The mouthfeel is very good, being medium in every way while pleasing and inviting. It's tough to say anything bad about the drinkability, too.

 535 characters

Photo of Kishanti
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of donnebaby
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mostly clear dark gold amber body, minimal white haze rides above. Low spiciness in the nose -- some cloves and cinnamon -- not overpowering but on style for the bitter.

Taste is yummy and addicting. Lots of blueberry, mint, and a floral chamomile, cola and passionfruit as well. Restrained sweetness and muffled toasty maltiness. Unobtrusively mild bittering hops. Soft bubbly feel, medium carbonation. Very sessionable and unique bitter from Magnolia.

 457 characters

Photo of QuakeAttack
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8 oz cask pour into a miniature nonic. 4.7% ABV, 35 IBUs, On hand-pumped cask at Magnolia in San Francisco, CA.

A - Hand-pumped directly in front of me, it comes out a clear amber brown with a sudsy off-white head. Solid retention and thick lace left all over the glass.

S - The aroma smells like a great English beer, complete with toasty biscuits and caramel malts with a smooth mild English hop nose on the back end.

T - The flavor has smooth caramel malts, toasted to perfection upfront with a biscuity finish and a low level of English hops.

M - I love the texture. It comes out at cellar temperature probably around 50° F and it's medium-bodied and ultra smooth with a soft feel and finish.

D - This an awesome English bitter in cask! I love the texture and flavor combo going on this brew. Good job Magnolia!

 821 characters

Photo of elNopalero
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on cask. Love what cask conditioning brings to a beer.
Light caramel tan color.
Light aroma. Mellow rounded orange marmalade hop character. Easy going.

 160 characters

Photo of bboven
4.06/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Similar characteristics to the regular blue bell, with the exception of the mouhtfeel and drinkability. This version is very lightly carbonated and served at cellar temps to draw out more of the flavors and makes for a highly, highly quaffable beer. I just wish it was lower in alcohol.

 286 characters

Photo of imbibehour
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a toasted caramel
Malt and a grassy hop.

The taste was well balanced with a toasted, earthy malt and grassy malt.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a very well done ESB.

 309 characters

Photo of geuze_gone_wild
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Jame515
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 100floods
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got me a pint while out to a fancy dinner at SF's Nopa. I had the lamb shank, I must say the pairing was not intentional, but worked out pretty good.

Dark/gold hue, no head to be seen. The first smell that comes to my senses was definitely almost like a slightly burnt/spiced lager smell, kind of like lunatic lager (which they also serve at the restaraunt, but I can tell the difference). What the smell turned out to be was more in the taste. Decent carbonation. Nice subtle blend between hops and malt.Medium/light body, definitely felt a slight buzz, but no way was this a heavy beer. Again, I lucked out with the food pairing, the beer worked great right after a bite of the lamb shank.

Mr. Kim, you were right, Magnolia is good.

 736 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask @ Real Ale Fest
The beer pulls from the cask a clear burnished copper color with a generous head that is spumous in texture and a light tan color, the lace a concealing sheet. Nose was malt sweet, fresh and clean to the olfactory senses; start was malt sweet with the top middling in feel. Finish was medium in carbonation, the hops pleasant and delectable, I thought this the best Bitter of the weekend, dry aftertaste a real pleasant and pleasing surprise, I had a couple of these one a double pour.

 507 characters

Photo of ffejherb
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Magnolia on 7/12/09.

A - Clear amber/copper-tinged body with slim off-white head that receded to a very thin ring and left virtually no lacing at all.

S - Light noble hops, toasted grains and sweet caramel comprise the basis of the aroma. Pretty simple nose.

T - Pretty straight up ESB style ale with a sweet caramely malt character and toasted grains. Light noble hops impart an herbal, grassy character.

M - Light to medium bodied with a syrupy texture and soft mouthfeel, perhaps a bit thin overall. Nice hop bite in the finish with a little more oomph than your typical bitter.

D - Pretty solid example, though not as creamy as I'd expect from a bitter on cask. Still, this one packed a lot of flavor and decent hop character for the style.

 761 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of BabaBeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of AngusOg
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of JRod1969
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Blue Bell Bitter from Magnolia Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 55 ratings
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