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Evensong | Durham Brewery Ltd

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Very Good
16 Ratings

Brewed by:
Durham Brewery Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 09-27-2003

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by MAB:
Photo of MAB
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A solid beer. The closest thing to a commercially produced homebrew that I've ever had.
It has a lovely dark, almost copperish, color; slightly hazy but it is a real ale, after all.
The first aroma that i got was caramel.
The first flavor note that I detected was the soft malty sweetness. Although there are hops, this one isn't especially bitter (pun intended).
It had a nice carbonation level and it was not too watery.

In the end it didn't make a jump out at me, in any category, so the complete balance actually makes it suffer. Good but not above average.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of rastaman
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My fave (so far) from this brewer. Nice caramel/choc flavour, some citrus from the hops. Also has some nice, almost tart, acidity, which works quite well, pretty nice. Some metal in the finish, which seems to be evident in all Durham beers i've tried, this was nice, dry and dark in flavour.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle of Real, honest to goodness, Ale!

This beer pours a dark, somewhat hazy rusty orange brown colour, with two fingers of fine foamy, silky pale beige head, which leaves a wash of painted lace around the glass as it settles. It smells of sweet, spicy malt - toffee, caramel, bread pudding, along with some zippy biscuit notes, and dusty, earthy hops. The taste is bready, biscuit, grainy malt, with some pitted fruitiness - cherry and fig come to mind, a bit of dry cocoa, and fairly zingy earthy hops (like a souped-up Honda Civic, in a way). The carbonation is average, in its restrained peppiness, the body medium weight, a tad pithy, but generally smooth. It finishes clean and malty, the reserved biscuit sweetness still the main player, amongst some lesser ashy, timidly bitter lingering hops.

A decent bitter, the malt doing more for it than the country lane hops. The chalky ash character, old-school or not, does leave me ruing somewhat the bigger bottle and even bigger price tag. Good to try, at any rate.

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Photo of Sammy
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ml. from Presario. I expected more balance, instead recieved a fresh bottle that was mostly lagerish. A little bitterness, a tad above average mouthfeel. Drinkability was OK, but this is a common beer and nothing to seek out of interest. Best I can say is earthy.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle conditioned: best before Dec 2013, poured into my Abbot Ale glass tankard at home on 27 Nov 2012.

Looked impressive: huge tan coloured head on a lovely ruby body with carbonisation bubbles rising through the clear beer.

The smell was malts all the way: nutty, chocolatey and toasted brown bread.

Flavour wise again the malts rule the tastes: still nutty, but so chocolatey, toasted/roasted biscuits with fruit notes within the biscuit. There is also an undertone of hop bitterness throughout the taste which balances out the semi-sweet malty molasses that are trying to take over completely.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, bought in Scarborough. Bottle conditioned. ABV is 5.0%. Copper coloured beer with a large and lasting creamy tan head. Pleasant aroma of fruity hops and malt. Lovely malty flavour with some caramel and fruity hops. A very nice and drinkable beer indeed.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast...

Poured a deep mahogany red colour. Creamy tan head poured small but pretty tight and thick and foamy then faded quickly to light coating with thick edging... some light carbonation and patchy lacing...

Aroma - Lots of toasted nuttiness, chocolate malts, liquorice notes, dark dried fruits (raisins, plums, also some overripe banana), freshly cut grass notes, peppery spiciness, some malt loaf traces, some yeast, for only 5% there was a definite alcohol note coming through, nutmeg, light treacle sweetness...

Taste - Quite a lot of peppery and grassy hop bitterness to the fore followed by toasted nuttiness, quite spicy - nutmeg and some light allspice, toasted buttered bread, overripe or stewed fruits (apples, pears, some citrus, plums), cooked veg notes, some metallic traces, some salt, faint smokiness...

M&D - Quite smooth but slightly cloying... medium bodied... a little sickly for my liking to be very drinkable...

Overall - A very average ESB... too many off notes for me... worth a try once maybe...

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Photo of gutbucket2
4.79/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

500ml, bottle-conditioned. Pours reddish-brown, slight haze, immense lasting head.
Aroma is raspberry, perhaps caramel. Taste is again of berry. Mouthfeel is chewy, lingering. Overall: Top-class. Unusual compared to most british bitters. Highly recommended.

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Photo of haz77
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark bronze with an inch of frothy tan head. This drops to a firm and bubbly finger-thick layer. Looks to have almost no carbonation.

S - Caramel, roasted malt, floral notes, earthiness, woodiness.

T - Roast malt and sweet nutty flavours up front. Chocolate in the middle with a bitter-sweet semi-floral finish and a bit of astringency.

M - Medium, smooth body and soft carbonation.

D - Solid effort. I'll be seeking out further offerings from this brewery based on the beers I've tried form them so far. Recommended.

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Photo of Martine
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an absolutely gorgeous deep reddish mahogany colour, with a full and firm head of beige bubbling, that leaves soft curtains of lace down the glass. Fair amount of carbonation, and there's a nice light cloud to the body.

I can't get over the colour. It's just delightful, bright but deep, and such a gorgeous hue.

Nose is veritably complex, and surprisingly and pleasantly different from what I expected. Big notes of red wine cork, light cherry liqueur and toasted grains, with an organic lashing of cut crass and lucerne hay. Very well integrated. Smashing nose.

Taste is also very good, light toasted grains and a slick sweetness that round out a crisply bitter back palate, with hints of medicinal phenols. Mmm, it's toasty and comforting, but with a good deal of depth and a refreshing bite. Mouthfeel is a bit too prickly. I wonder what it would be like off cask.

This is an absolutely cracking English ale, one of the best I think I've had. So much complexity, but so well integrated that it sits pleasantly and easily in the mouth. Cheers to Adam @ Platinum Liquor for recommending this one =)

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Photo of BDTyre
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Cloudy, copper brown colour with a thick, creamy head. Malts, rich toffee and some fruit and light chocolate in the scent. A bit of brown sugar and even coffee.

Richer fruit taste: cherries, apples. Light, crisp hops. Good, chewy malts. There's toffee, bread and mild chocolate. Well blended, nice and creamy.

Low, natural carbonation. Slightly metallic aftertaste, but overall a good bitter.

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

This brewery is a first for me so its good anyway it pours a deep copper hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a creamy two finger head and nice sporadic lacing,the aroma is quite nice with hints of cherry,raspberries,liquorice and some toffee,it has a nice medium bodied mouthfeel which really suits it and has tastes of cherries,raspberries,barley sugar and finishes with a stonefruit dry bitterness that lasts and overall on my first sample from this brewery i am quite impressed and look forward to the rest of the lineup.

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Photo of PartyBear
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy and a warming chestnut brown colour with a medium creamy off-white head (perfect head for a bitter), and fine medium carbonation. Another good looking beer from Durham. The first thing that hit me from the smell was the yeast, followed by a fruity orange, and behind that lots of sweet malts, like bread and cakes. The taste is full of banana cloves, with some breads and caramel malts behind. A rich bitter that is still easy to drink.

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Photo of wl0307
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Revisiting the bottle-conditioned version of this beer today. BB Dec 2007, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

The appearance is the same as my last bottle--dark reddish brown with a thin off-white froth. The smell retains a complex, nutty and chocolatey theme of dark malts, but this time round a clear hoppy motif seems to run through the malty baseline, packed with aromatic, flowery hops with a milder citric as well as berry-fruity edge. The yeastiness comes quieter, too. On the palate, semi-powdery yeasts, juicy flowery hops, berry-fruits, and slightly sour-sweet nutty and chocolatey malts are blended beautifully, leading towards a spicy, dryish, and dried-leafy hop bitterness in the end, leaving traces of licorice, the bitter edge of caramel, and a somewhat tannic/rusty mouthfeel.

Softly fizzy and medium-bodied, this bottle seems to feature more aromatic hops than the last, and the control of bottle-conditioning yeasts seems to be more mature than ever. But the texture falls slightly thin in the end and the overall performance of malt is somewhat blurred. Still a nice beer, but not as impressive as my previous encounters.

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Photo of revdrjbob
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Shared with Teaser yet again. I think we might have to start buying a few of each beer we intend on reviewing. I feel as though I'm not getting the full experience of the beer from only half of it.
Another ESB, I'm loving this style.
Poured with a huge marshmellowy head, off white. Beer is a browny red colour, bottled condioned as I added the yeast.
Very little aroma to begin with, maybe a tad cold. Aroma builds to hops and malt, roasty sort or charchteristics, mingled with a slight chocolately aroma. Maybe a hint of yeast?
Tastes very malty, chocolate again, very easy bitterness, finishes dry and sweet. Caramelly too.

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Evensong from Durham Brewery Ltd
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 16 ratings
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