Bath Ales Ltd

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Bath Ales Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #36
Ranked #20,737
3.79 | pDev: 12.4%
Oct 01, 2021
Jun 25, 2003
Very Good
Notes: It's 4.1% in cask and 4.8% in bottle
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Ratings by paulish:
Photo of paulish
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by paulish from New York

Oct 01, 2021
More User Ratings:
4.47 by bad_poetry from England on Aug 14, 2021
3.75 by EdmundBlackadder from Ohio on Jan 18, 2020
3.71 by Stengelfoot from California on Jan 12, 2020
Photo of James94
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by James94 from England

L: Reddish amber colour, thick lacing, one-finger head
S: Fairly generic, slight skunkiness, vague citrus
T: Orange, vanilla, light malts
F: Not overwhelming, smooth, drinkable

O: 3.75

Dec 22, 2019
3.73 by alesinwales from Wales on Sep 27, 2019
Photo of Beginner2
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Beginner2 from Illinois

While I'm hardly an expert in this style (only my 16th rating), it makes me think I've been missing something.

Gem's Looks are driven by its medium chestnut and, in the sun, is brilliant. Decent lace, to boot. Smells are almost entirely malt wanting to become the juice of a hard fruit; call it apple. Tastes are perfectly balanced, just enough tang to tell me this is beer and not cider. Very sessionable and sits nicely in my mouth; waiting for the next bite of a snack.

Impressed by Bath Ales adherence to the CAMRA 'code" (as I call it... although it is looser than that), I went on Bath's website and was impressed that they have grown steadily since 1995 and have four pubs, a restaurant at the famous train station and a new brewery. They also were acquired 3 years ago by St. Austell... another purveyor of the English brewing tradition. Good luck.

May 21, 2019
3.68 by jroof1 from Massachusetts on Mar 06, 2019
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.24/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25
by JonnoWillsteed from England

L- Dark Chestnut, 1cm white head reducing to lacing.
S- Toasty malts, pretty subtle
T- Toast. Dry toasted grains, some balance of malt comes later.
M- The toastiness is quite pungent, the overall mouthfeel is quite mild for 4.8%
O- The smokey/toasty nature might be just a bit too dominant for me. Interesting to try but I don't think I could get stuck into several of these in a night.

Aug 21, 2018
3.87 by Oleg85 from Russian Federation on Jun 03, 2018
Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by jazzyjeff13 from England

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2018. Purchased recently from Waitrose. Bath ales describe this as their premium amber ale - brewed with Marris Otter and Goldings.

A: Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep coppery-brownish hue with good clarity and plentiful carbonation. Yields a decent head of frothy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or so before subsiding and virtually disappearing.

S: Aroma of caramel malt, ale yeast esters, subtle grain, mild barley sugar and delicate leafy hops. Decent but quite subdued.

T: Tastes of caramel malt with notes of ale yeast, mild barley sugar, leafy hops and faint grain. Traditional in character and nicely balanced. An understated bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with pleasant carbonation and good body. Aftertaste of caramel malt, leafy bitterness and ale yeast.

O: Decidedly traditional but pretty good. Looks OK, while the aroma and flavour are a well-judged blend of caramel malt, leafy hops and yeast. Nice body. What it lacks in charisma it makes up for with above-average balance and depth of flavour. Goes down easily and is probably even better on cask. Worth sampling if you have the chance.

Apr 25, 2017
Photo of bark
2.94/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3
by bark from Sweden

The colour is amber with a tint of brown, the liquid is clear. The two finger head is off-white and airy; it sinks down to an uneven lid leaving very little lacing.

The smell is malty with dry notes of rye bread, dried apples and a touch of oak wood. Floral hops in the background.

The taste is smooth with some toffee/butterscotch, rustic farmhouse bread and dried flowers. Light floral/spicy bitterness. Medium body. The aftertaste got quite a lot of raw alcohol, some sweet caramel, nutmeg, thyme and apricots. The finish got less alcohol, and a growing flavour of dough.

The carbonation is mild to medium, the few bubbles are mid-sized and long-lived. The liquid is smooth.

Quite an average bitter/amber ale with odd notes of alcohol and dough.

Apr 03, 2017
Photo of flyingpig
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by flyingpig from Scotland

500ml bottle from Whole Foods, Giffnock (£1.79):
Nice stuff but probably not quite as good as Bath's Wild Hare that I tried last. Obviously a little darker & the sweetness seemed more pronounced at times with a nice combination of darker malts, toasted flavours & some sugars that complimented the caramel & toffee flavours nicely. Nothing seemed overdone & a good balance was maintained throughout, making this one another decent session offering but I'm probably go back to other beers before having this one again; still it's definitely a nice beer & well worth trying.

Feb 13, 2017
3 by RHF711 from Canada (ON) on Jan 29, 2017
3.35 by Silke_Neryn from Sweden on Dec 07, 2016
3.69 by fr0wn3r from Serbia on Sep 18, 2016
3.35 by Euroglot from Belgium on May 27, 2016
Photo of vinicole
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by vinicole from England

Bottle. Light amber colour. Very little head. Gently rising effervescence.
Sweet honey and malt aroma. Hops present.
Lion Bar - toffee, nut and biscuit flavour.
Moderate feel and body.
Traditional malty English Pale Ale...and Bitter when drawn from the cask.

Apr 22, 2016
3.88 by Martine from England on Mar 24, 2016
3.76 by rulisekmartin from Czech Republic on Mar 16, 2016
3.91 by Foley67 from Scotland on Jan 30, 2016
3.62 by randomNBGD from Serbia on Jan 13, 2016
Photo of DypsoBubble
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
by DypsoBubble from England

Colour of black tea with a moderate head which persists after pouring. Aroma is of malt but little hops.

Tastes very malty with some fruity esters and a back bitter hop. Up front hops, hard to detect. Quite a nice mouth feel for a low alcohol session beer. Pretty bog-standard British fare and not at all exciting. Tastes of mass produced bitter back in the 1970s which helped introduce lagers to the British palate.

Dec 14, 2015
3.48 by Spike from England on Nov 28, 2015
3.52 by JavierGC from Spain on Oct 14, 2015
3.54 by risenz from England on Aug 26, 2015
3.44 by Tdenham from England on Aug 21, 2015
Photo of Dentist666
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by Dentist666 from Russian Federation

Poured into english pint.
Pours clear copper beer with half-finger beige head. Smell - bready, malty, toasted.
Taste - biscuity malts, grainy, smooth and ok.

Jun 19, 2015
Photo of interzen
2.57/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
by interzen from England

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Look: Dark amber with a fairly creamy, off-white head to about a fingers-width. Retention not brilliant and recedes to a foam ring and some surface coating.

Smell: Predominantly malty - there are some dark fruit aromas in there but you've got to try really hard to pick them out, even after allowing the beer to 'breathe' for a bit.

Taste: Again, dark fruits with a hint of malt and caramel. In terms of taste, it comes a live a bit more than the smell might suggest but it's still on the wrong side of 'uninteresting'.

Feel: Easy drinking and pretty undemanding with it. Lack of carbonation isn't a big thing as there's nothing here that would benefit from it.

Overall: Again, pretty forgettable - as a traditional English bitter it just about passes muster but as an amber ale it's a bit of a fail. Not much to get excited about, sadly. Clearly it has its fans, but I'm not one of them.

May 27, 2015
3.75 by KeyWestGator from Florida on Apr 05, 2015
3.92 by stephenlee from England on Feb 28, 2015
3.68 by jtosch from Oregon on Nov 21, 2014
3.5 by AlexAfonin from Russian Federation on Nov 02, 2014
3.25 by BreweryRun from California on Oct 02, 2014
2.5 by gnikola from Serbia on Sep 19, 2014
3.89 by Sam-VW from England on Sep 16, 2014
3.5 by renatopi from Serbia on Sep 15, 2014
Photo of AllForAugust
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by AllForAugust from New Zealand (Aotearoa)

A few things to address before reviewing. Firstly, BA has this listed as an ESB, while the brewery has it as an Amber Ale. That's going to make this hard. Secondly, there's a difference in ABV between bottle and cask. What gives, yo? This is the first time I've encountered this shit.

A: Very robust color if you're judging it by ESB standards, but for the sake of sanity, I'll be doing this review as the brewer/brewery has defined the style: as an amber ale. The robustness fits this style well. The amber color and clarity is much akin to famed InGen CEO, John Hammond's walking cane handle in the 1994 classic 'Jurassic Park'. There. That's enough pretentiousness for this review. Head looks great, but hardly lasts. The bead is fantastic. Little to no lace.

S: identifying the Maris Otter malts in this brew is hardly a challenge. In fact, I'm likely to make note of this beer as a prime example of its use. Sadly, there's little hop aroma. The sweetness of the malt overpowers it far too easily.

T: Sweet and wholesome Amber Ale twang! A lil but of toffee, a lil bit of grapefruit. But nt the grapefruit as I taste it now. It's kind of the icky grapefruit taste I remember from when I was a child. Dangerously drinkable, this drop is.

M: It just feels good, ya know? A bit sticky at first, but given enough time, it'll dry out. Great finish.

O: Great beer! Figure out what fucking style it is and you could really be on to something.

May 30, 2014
Gem from Bath Ales Ltd
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 94 ratings