Bath Ales Ltd

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Bitter - English
Ranked #82
Ranked #36,503
3.71 | pDev: 16.98%
Bath Ales Ltd
England, United Kingdom
View: Beers
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 46 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bark
bark from Sweden

2.97/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The colour is amber-brown, the liquid clear. The two-finger head is off-white and compact; it sinks down to a thin lid leaving no lacing.

The smell is very malty and worty, it reminds me of standing next to the boiler in a brewery. Some treacle, ripe red apples and a touch of floral hops.

The taste is less malty then the smell, fine bitter notes of dried flowers, hay and plums meats the roasted malt flavours of brown bread, molasses, Tootsie Roll and a hint of figs. Medium body. The aftertaste got some chalk and minerals, brown malt, chocolate toffee and a slight metallic bitterness. The finish is almost burned with some metal and brown bread.

The carbonation is mild to medium strong, the small bubbles short-lived. The liquid is medium smooth.

Something of a bottled version of the classic British “light and brown” mix. A bit too worty in the smell and a bit too metallic in the taste, though.

Apr 05, 2017
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Benjiman from England

3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very malty for a self described bitter, feels closer to a brown, but with a lot of hop bitterness. I prefer hoppy beers, but this is pleasant for a change.

Jun 06, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark for a bitter, but the flavor is right in the zone.Pours reddish/brown with creamy head, and nice coffee bitterness. Mouthfeel is just right, not watery. Listed on the label as a dark bitter, this is very pleasant....

Jan 19, 2016
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interzen from England

3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Look: Deep brown with ruby red highlights and no sign of haze or sediment. Fingers-width of tan/khaki head which gives way to a ring around the inside of the glass and a small amount of surface foam.

Smell: Plenty of malt, as you'd expect from an English bitter, along with some dark fruit notes as well. The bottle blurb mentions 'hints of chocolate' but there's nothing like that evident in the smell, at least initially.

Taste: There is a definite hint of dark chocolate in the taste, though, along with stewed, dark fruits. The whole thing tastes a bit like fruit cake with a hint of hops. There's plenty of maltiness - the grain bill mentions Maris Otter, Chocolate and Crystal malts and the only hop mentioned is Bramling Cross. Even so, this is as probably as 'traditional' as a bitter as you'll find.

Feel: A bit lifeless - there's very little in the way of carbonation although it'd be unfair to describe it as completely flat. Even so, it's quite tasty and very drinkable and given the malt-forward nature the carbonation, or lack thereof, isn't really a dealbreaker.

Overall: Not bad, not bad at all - it's a bitter in the 'English' sense rather than the 'IPA' sense so if you're looking for a hop bomb then you're most definitely in the wrong place. However, if you're fancying a good, old-fashioned bitter then you can't go far wrong with this, but if you're after something with a stupendously complex flavour profile you're better off looking elsewhere.

May 27, 2015
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CwrwAmByth from England

3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pint served at a pub in Cardiff 19/01/13.

Pours a dark brown colour, slightly hazy with a big white head.

Not a very strong smell - malty.

Tastes very drinkable, no strong flavours, just medium malts and a weak hop bitterness.

Overall a decent enough pint for drinking with a meal, avoid if you're seeking a bit flavoursome beer though.

Jan 20, 2013
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jazzyjeff13 from England

3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2012. Described on the label as a dark bitter. I like the brewery's hare emblem.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A dark ruby-brown with medium carbonation. Forms a small head of white foam that disappears almost immediately. Aroma possesses an overwhelming note of diacetyl; beneath this lies dark, fruity malt with hints of molasses, dried fruit, chocolate and vanilla.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a dry, bitter finish. A whiff of diacetyl upfront, followed by notes of dried fruit, molasses and vanilla. A stewed hop bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied, with tingly carbonation and an astringency that leaves the palate dry. Aftertaste of fruity, bitter malt.

Pretty good, but spoiled by the pervasive buttery aroma of diacetyl. The flavour is fruity and slightly sweet, with good balance. I would probably score this higher if the diacetyl note were absent, but it stands out to a degree that can't be overlooked. Certainly worth trying, but see if you can find it on cask....

Dec 23, 2011
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EmperorBevis from England

4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a curvy tulip glass making a rich conker brown body with a waif like white head.

The nose is treated to a malty aroma with just subtle hints of hoppyiness that are a little elusive.

The dark brooding bitter looks very appealing to the eye, the nose has been flirted with and the taste continues to treat.

A well rounded taste hits the mouth starting with an almost buttery slightly sweet shortbread taste turning to a malty, fruity main taste and finished with a slight bitter kick.

Life affirmingly good

Nov 17, 2011
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StJamesGate from New York

3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate garnet with a creamy ecru head that doesn't stick around. Chocolate malts, red berries and soil on the nose. Chocolate and more juicy dark berries with spice cake and tea leaf hops to end. Cola comeback and dry linger. Medium, some chew, round.

Big Crystal fruit kicks this one up a level. I don't know if the Bramling Cross are late enough in the boil to give aroma, but there's definitely blackberries in there, too. Juicy, above average bitter.

Jul 17, 2011
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AEK from Wales

4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml brown bottle poured into a Young's branded pint pot.

A. Ruby red in colour with a good, bubbly white head.

S. Plenty of toffee and caramel notes, some fruity malt in there too along with a touch of cocoa.

T. Fruity malt, hints of vanilla and perhaps a trace of dark chocolate.

M. Medium and slightly chewy.

D. Quite a pleasant beer, much better than their Golden Hare that I tried the other night. Give this one a try if you see it on a shelf.

Jul 01, 2010
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fullsweep from England

4.92/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass. This is marketed as a "dark bitter." Not sure what that means, but it tastes and smells very much like an English brown ale or a dark mild.

I must say from the presentation/packaging to the beer itself, I really enjoyed this!

A: brown beer with 1-finger foamy head on top, left a fair amount of lacing. Beer was moderately clear with a bit of cloudiness.

S: rich in malts, earthy tones, and dark fruity notes.

T: one of the better beers I've tried of late. Although labeled a "dark bitter," the taste is very similar to a dark mild or a brown ale. Very rich and appealing.

M: smooth and moderately carbonated.

D: exceptional drinkability--goes down easy, even after sitting for a while.

Mar 11, 2010
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benclimbs from California

3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours dark brown with a nice head and tons of sticky lacing in the glass

the smell is very nice, warm fruit and caramel

taste is really smooth, more caramel with some very prominent rum raisin flavours. finishes just this side of sweet but maintains a solid amount of drinkability.

mouthfeel is silky smooth...

overall its a really great bitter - one of the better ones i've had here in the UK - mmm, the best of bath ales brews i think.

Feb 14, 2010
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BlackHaddock from England

4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown 500ml bottle, poured into a vase shaped pint glass.

Deep, dark mahogany red/brown body with a thin biege head on top.

Sweet malt aroma, bicuits and molasses, brown toast and thick cut marmalade.

The sweet malts rule the roost in the flavours, but not as sweet as in the smell, there is a subtle bitterness from the hops which stops the malt from taking over completely.

A good rich depth to this beer, a bit more alcohol and some spices, it could be turned into a very good winter warmer.

Impressed, as I always am with Bath Ales, wish I could get their cask beers up here in Shropshire.

Dec 11, 2009
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PartyBear from England

3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours as a deep chestnut red with a thick foamy off-white head, which shows good retention.

Aroma: Rich and malty on the nose, with hints of chocolate, dark fruits, and toffee.

Taste: Lots of breads and grainy flavours up front, with a subtle bitterness from the Bramling Cross hops. There is the impression of mild chocolate, with a slight taste of burnt sugar. The finish is verging more towards the bitter end of the scale with resiny hop flavour.

Mouthfeel: Full in the body, smooth, and quite creamy.

Drinkability: Nicely balanced beer, and very easy to drink. Well worth a try if Bitter is your thing, you won't regret it.

Sep 23, 2009
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crowncapcollect from England

4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into a straight pint glass. Nice off-white head that disperses quite soon. Pleasant mild aroma. Colour is slightly reddish dark brown. Very well-balance beer, dry and bitter with a solid hop finish. Very drinkable, and would make a good session beer.

Aug 19, 2009
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soulgrowl from England

3.86/5  rDev +4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pleasant plummy brown, clear but dark, with a very active, off-ivory head that doesn't last long. The more I look at it the more it reminds me of cola. Pleasantly bright and fruity nose, but with a dark shadow; orange, lemon, cherry, and a hint of marzipan up front - caramel, butterscotch, and chocolate to back it up. Sweet smells all around but the overall impression is balanced, with a firm floral/citric hop edge to round it out. Tastes as expected, mildly fruity and juicy with more than a hint of chocolate, tangy cola notes and citric hops that lead into a crisp finish that can almost be called tart. Similar to an American amber ale, in many ways, although the hops are (naturally) more British in tone. A touch thin on the palate, but nice and dry. A pleasant quaffer or sipper - it's pretty mild, but it's got a nice depth to it.

May 23, 2009
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mdagnew from Northern Ireland

4.14/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought from Sainsburys...

Poured a deep mahogany red colour. Creamy white head poured fairly thick and fizzy then faded quite quickly to very thin layer and then to a light ring around the edge... some very light carbonation drifts to the surface... no real lacing...

Aroma - Lots of chocolate malts mixed with good toasted nuttiness, dark ripe fruits (plums, figs), strong toffee apple notes, some caramel and brown sugar sweetness, toasted malt loaf, very light smokiness, burnt / nut brown butter, dry hay...

Taste - Strong peppery and roasted chocolate malt bitterness, toasted nuts, lightly charred / toasted bread, cocoa powder, quite tart fruits (apples, plums, pears, some figs), light burnt toffee sweetness, grassy hops, faint cola traces..

M&D - Sharp initially then smooths out a little... medium bodied... a very very quaffable brew - excellent for a session...

Overall - A very satisfying and drinkable dark bitter.. a perfect session ale at only 4.5%... recommended..

Nov 13, 2008
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Baileyuk from Michigan

4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent bitter.

A - Weakest part, not much head, what there was faded quickly. Lacing was minimal. Dark Brown (But more brown than black)

S- Malty, Roasted maltrs mainly. Good smell

T - Wow, very good. Roasted malts come through. Slight tobacco taste although not unpleasant.

M - Perfect carbonation, medium to full bodied. A little thick for a bitter but actually goes with the beer perfectly.

D - Very high, I sucked this one down and am looking forward to another sometime.

Oct 16, 2008
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wl0307 from England

3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the Sainsbury's supermarket, BB 17/06/09, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass. According to the label, the ingredients include Maris Otter, Chocolate and Amber malts, on top of Bramling Cross hops; it's fine filtered for bottling.

A: pours a clear, dark russet brown hue, topped with a frothy dark beige head with superb retention, while carbonation comes mild and
S: caramelised apples, brown-sugary longan-fruit tea, black date paste, and a little stinky hay come on top of a super creamy and fragrant fruit-yeastiness, reminiscent of many ales by Adnams and Greene King, for some unknown reasons... raisiny, chocolatey notes of aromatic amber malts stay deeply underneath. Very aromatically malty overall.
T: a mild sour-grapey edge along with black dates and cold sweet black tea surround the bitter-sweet, semi-sharp amber and (remotely) chocolatey malty theme, with a dry touch of burned malts and nuts at the back... the increasingly chewy and lengthy hop bitterness beautifully complements the lightly fruity aftertaste of dark malts, rendering an utterly soothing, bitter mouthfeel in the never-ending finish.
M&D: smooth on the palate with only a light dose of carbonation, this bottle version tastes cleaner and lighter than the cask version, which shows a bit more syrupy and oily mouthfeel. Although the body comes pretty light for the flavour, somehow it manages to hold up and supports the flavour equally well. All in all, this is a very decent take on a cross b/w a premium bitter and an old ale.

Sep 01, 2008
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hunteraw from China

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in Bath. Pours a much darker color than I had been expecting from this "english bitter," a deep ruddy copper. Big head fades slowly, but leaves no lace. Smell is sweet, brown sugar, dark fruit, wood - wet hardwood. Taste, on the other hand, is dry - roasty, somewhat bitter. Made with Bramley Cross hops, according to the label. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, lingering crisp aftertaste. Drinkability is moderate.

Apr 03, 2008
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Mark from California

4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep copper color, thick tan head that left exceptional, intricate, multi patterns of lace. Inviting aroma of dark fruit, malt, and chocolate. Slightly roasted taste is malt heavy, some chocolate, and a short subtle hop finish. A very smooth and easy drinking ale that I really enjoyed.

Feb 15, 2007
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rastaman from England

3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chocolate, wood, some earthyness. some roasted malts, toasty, pretty nice, soft texture, with medium bitterness, a slightly different English bitter, but a very decent one, citric bitterness on the finish is not overbearing, pretty nice. (Cask GBBF 03')

Sep 30, 2003
Barnsey from Bath Ales Ltd
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 46 ratings