XXXX Bitter | Castlemaine Perkins

28 Reviews
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XXXX BitterXXXX Bitter

Brewed by:
Castlemaine Perkins

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 04-08-2002

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 68
Photo of make-beer-not-war
5/5  rDev +115.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The epitome of brewing. This fine Qld lager is the best to come out of Australia. Fond memories of the grain and hop scents rolling through the grassy hills of Milton and Auchenflower. I'm salivating while I reminisce.

 218 characters

Photo of JackieKu
1.5/5  rDev -35.3%

I supposed the Bitter means English pale ale but it is not. We have this kind of adjuncts everywhere, and this one isn't any better than others nor cheaper.

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Photo of atigerlife
1.63/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had at the recommendation of a waiter in Brisbane. He should be fed to a crocodile.

Pours golden with a slim white head. Retention is fine. Decent amount of carbonation rising.

Aroma is unassuming.

Taste is of adjuncts. Quite offensive.

Mouthfeel is a bubbly mess. Light bodied.

Overall, don't bother with this one. It is popular, so I'm assuming that is why it was recommended...but not all things that are popular are good.

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Photo of Sphincta
4.45/5  rDev +91.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my beer of choice for a good session. It has a bad rep that is not deserved.
(For some reason it is not cool to drink XXXX in Australia)

If I was at a bar to have 1 beer I would pick a beer with more flavours in the palate.
When I want to drink 12+ beers I choose to drink XXXX.

The beer has a lot of carbonation and must be consumed cold.

It is the most refreshing beer I know. More exotic beers will cause bloat/tiredness after a couple but XXXX can be consumed in large quantities without taste or thirst fatigue.

The hangover is light compared to other drinks. No headache or nausea. Only laziness and a mild resentment towards other people and the world in general.

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Photo of SmashPants
1.95/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle: light brown bottle, pretty shithouse label.

Appearance: clear golden colour, with a frumpy half-cm head that dissipates immediately.

Aroma: grains, a slight smell of corn with no discernible hop aroma.

Taste: not a whole lot of taste, but what there is is not great. Off-metallic meets off grains. Avoid.

Aftertaste: not so great either, but at least most of the off flavours have gone.

Mouth feel: quite watery and very highly carbonated. Suits the hot climate we have in Australia, but this one hasn't been done very well. The carbonation actually changes the flavour, makes it even more metallic rubbishy.

Overall: this is not a pleasant beer at all. Some off grains mixed with off metallic lager rubbish. I would go a long way to avoid drinking this beer. It is only AU$40 a case (2012), but I would rather buy $40 worth of shoe-laces and eat them.

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Photo of SargeC
3.73/5  rDev +60.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep gold color. Low carbonation. Frothy white head.

Smell: Hint of hops with solid malt backing.

Taste: Good malt profile, slightly biscuit with a satisfying bitterness. Floral hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Lingers in the mouth, slightly waxy.

Drinkablity: Tasty brew that is great for a session. Always makes me remember my days in Queensland.

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Photo of aeolianshredhead
1.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is probably Queensland's most popular beer. It's been a good while since I've had it, so lets see where this one stacks up.

A- Very artificial appearance. Head is exceptionally bubbly and dies its inevitable death all too quickly. Just a piss-esque yellow.

S- Adjuncty to the max- that is to say, to the least. Corn. Nothing else at all. No malt presence, no real hops. Disappointing to say the least. To say the most, terrible.

T- One thing comes through- pride of ringwood hops. Anyone with taste buds would almost wretch at the thought. It's maybe not as bad as Carlton Cold, but still, that is no compliment. Far too bland to be pleasant.

M- Extremely watery mouthfeel and almost nothing in the way of body. Aggressive carbonation but little else. This is empty and dull.

O- Just as I remember, XXXX "Bitter" is pretty much devoid of any real beer characteristics. It is exceptionally forgettable and extremely flavourless. People need to remember that something being popular does not make it good.

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Photo of doktorhops
1.61/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

DH: "Hey Mr. Bottleshop Man I would like to buy a stubbie of XXXX". BM: "Really!? Why are you buying that? You usually buy the good stuff". DH: "Yeah, I know, but I was going to review it because I've reviewed most of the nice beers you sell and I need to have a basis of comparison by reviewing some crap macro brew lagers". BM: *raises eyebrow* "Good luck with that". End scene.

Poured from a 'I-wish-all-beer-bottles-were-this-size' 375ml stubbie into a tulip pint.

A: Clear (yuck!) and golden body, with a soap bubble white half centimeter head... typical Aussie lager look, in fact if you gathered together all the Aussie lagers out there and poured them into glasses you would be hard pressed to find any difference in their appearance.

S: Nothing appealing here. Grains, a slight smell of corn with no discernible hop aroma.

T: Bad... really bad, shady lager characters, the usual suspects; musty grains with a watery semi-flavourless backing. It's a train wreak of a beer, but in it's defense so are all the other macro Australian lagers. More to the point if I had to judge it against those beers it's really a contest to see how bad it gets (which ends with Victoria Bitter winning and Tooheys Red a close runner-up). By the way I've got bad news: no hops.

M: Fizzy like a soda drink.

D: How could I even get through a stubbie of this when I was younger? It's as if my palate has matured over the years and macro Australian lagers taste like nothing but tepid soda water. Getting on the subject of beer names - this is not a bitter. A bitter is a style of ale that originated in England and actually has hops and flavour in it and is drunk at room temperature... this is as far from a bitter as you can get; change the name already! (XXXX Lager works fine).

Food match: What to eat with this beer? I'm at a loss. Let me say one thing; any food you have with this (and any other macro lagers) will be a waste, so keep that foie gras and white truffle ravioli in the cupboard for when you have some Duvel in the fridge, otherwise cheap take-away will do the job (even when this beer doesn't).

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Photo of rjimlad
1.66/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Like most civilized people, I shun XXXX, but in the interest of science and no other alternative drink at work on a Friday afternoon, I decided to do a little review.
It pours a pale amber with a sparkly head like a soft drink that disappeared instantly leaving no lacing. Aroma is faint but smells beer-like. There are no discernible characters here except a faint boozy whiff of something associated with beer.
Flavour is less offensive than I normally expect. There's not much to complain about except the lack of flavour. It's weak and grassy with none of the underpinnings of beer character. If you have it icy cold in the manner of Oz, then it is a refreshing throw-down thirst quencher. Treat it like an alcoholic soft-drink (soda) with grass flavouring and you have XXXX. Let it warm up at your peril. DO not leave it linger in your mouth but get it down as fast as you can.

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Photo of mulder1010
2.04/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

750 ML poured into a SA perfect pint (YIKES)

A-- Poured a clear straw (yellow gold) color. One finger bright white head and lots of little bubbles on the side of the glass. Looks way carbonated. Head retention is good and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S-- Sweet/sour smelling but lacking any real distinguishing flavor. Not very impressive at all.

T-- Not a whole heck of a lot in the taste area. Watery with a bit more hop flavor to give it the bite. Has a little sweet malt taste to it as well.

M-- Very carbonated and unimpressive. The bitter taste gets a bit bigger as you drink on but it is a small bite and has a bit of a metallic taste to it. Hop taste is faint and quick disappearing. Watery is the only real thing I can say about this. Very bloated feeling in the end and that is not a good thing in drinking beer.

D-- When it is cold it is maybe passable. Australian lagers once warm are crap. Even cold Australian lagers are crap but on a hot day they do pass for mineral water or something to quench a thirst first. The question is sessionable?? NO. Left me with a bloated feeling and a stomach ache. Too much sugar and carbonation. Looked good to start but fell very flat very quick. Have tried Tooheys New, VB and XXXX and would suggest not to try any of them if you come over as a tourist and look for the craft beers that brewers that are putting an effort into their work and it does show.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in a tall water glass)
A- This beer has a crystal clear body of dark yellow with a big bubble supporting no head. There is a thin wispy film during the pour.
S- There is a light dry honey hint with a stronger green sulfury finish.
T- The big sulfury bite has a finish of hop bitterness with no real flavor and a slight cinnamon bite/heat without the flavor. That grows as the beer warms.
M- There is a light mouthfeel with a big cleaning fizz.
D- This beer has a sharp sulfury flavor that hides any other flavors that might be underneath.

 551 characters

Photo of istarilord
2.2/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured out a light golden color with foamy head that dissipated quickly.

Though there was a skunky smell when bottle was first opened, I did not notice it after pouring and there was only a hint of it on the palate.

The beer is fairly lacking in flavor... it's not particularly bitter and has a light citrusy taste with a bitter/sour aftertaste that turns sweet. I guess the bottle says "tough on thirst," so I should expect a light flavor.

Not too carbonated, but particularly smooth either. Goes down easily enough, but far from my first choice.

 550 characters

Photo of Stavage
2.51/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

There seems to be a lot of hate towards XXXX from outsiders (non Queenslanders) and I'm not including people who cant stand macro lagers in general.

Has a nice clear golden colour in the glass. Poured with quite a large frothy head which all but vanished to a thin surface covering by the time I was ready to take my first sip.

Aroma wise nothing too strong. All that can be said is it smells like a brewery but weaker. There is another scent too that I can't quite describe, probably what most here have described as a metallic smell. It's something bound to be (is?) unpleasant to most but it's also a smell I was brought up with so I find it almost reassuring.

Now one must remember that a XXXX is a beer to be consumed ice cold like most Australian macros. As such there are no discernible subtle flavours when the beer is drunk properly. It's carbonated enough that it almost acts as a flavour overpowering most of the drink. There is a slightly hoppy taste if you concentrate hard enough but otherwise a fairly rough flavour followed by a sharp bitterness that soon fades. The bitterness has a dull metallic quality which I suppose I'm used to but seems to be highly off putting to people who have not acquired the taste (and I'll be honest in admitting its hardly a product worth getting acquired to).

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated. Wouldn't say its light bodied but it's certainly not heavy bodied. Quenches a thirst well if if you can stand to have the stuff in your mouth.

Overall this is the macro I grew up with, and it's my cheap macro of choice. Saying that I generally never have any desire to drink a cheap macro. I'm slightly disappointed in that my memory is of this beer having a far stronger bitterness and the taste in general was a lot weaker than I recall.

I still drink this when I'm drinking with the boys at the pub and I've shattered my tastebuds to the point where they couldn't honestly appreciate a better beer. And I still occasionally enjoy slamming a bottle down as refreshment on a hot day. I don't think it deserves a lot of the bad press it gets but on the same token its nothing more than a lawnmower beer.

 2,151 characters

Photo of thierrynantes
2.23/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2003.
The Castlemaine 'XXXX' (pronounced four ex) could be regarded as the first national Australian beer.
Created in 1859 by the brothers Fitzgerald, the son of an Irish brewer, to Castlemaine in Victoria, the brewery Castlemaine is the oldest brewery in Australia.
In 1924, their flagship product, the Castlemaine XXXX became the favorite beer of the region.

Appearance : yellow color, with white foam head (not persistent).
Smell : no aroma ?
Taste and mouthfeel : floral, It's slightly bitter taste in the back.
Drinkability : a not impressed beer in the style lager.

 604 characters

Photo of LittleCreature
1.86/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance - 3.0
Poured two fingers of fomay off-white head that steadily reduced to a thin layer over a clear golden body that has little visible carbonation.

Smell - 2.0
Aroma is sugary sweet, grainy and a little metallic.

Taste - 1.5
Not good. Flavours of grain and husk fade to leave a metallic and moderately bitter finish. Gets quite sweet as it warms.

Mouthfeel - 2.0
There is a low to moderate level of carbonation, the beer feels quite astringent in the mouth.

Drinkability - 2.0
Metallic flavour and unpleasant bitterness make this harder to drink than most macro lagers.

While this is not a truly awful beer, it is pretty bad, and I would be very happy to never drink it again. There are worse macro lagers out there, but there are some much better ones as well.

 790 characters

Photo of btmo
2.83/5  rDev +22%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is one of Australia's better macros, but as is common with the style, it just isn't anything special.

It is a little hard to find outside of its home in Queensland, but it is worth looking for if you are a fan of the style.

I find it overly sweet (a consequence of Qld being the home of sugar production in Australia?), but when served cold, it is worth a try.

And just for fun, and old (Australian) joke.

"Why do Queenslanders call their favourite beer XXXX?"

"Queenslanders can't spell 'BEER'"



 539 characters

Photo of Kulrak
2.02/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep gold color with a lot of tight white head, looks pretty decent. Deja vu, I just reviewed XXXX Gold, and the smell is exactly the same, like chemicals. The taste is bad as well, chemicals, some sweetness and an odd horrible bitterness that makes you want to pour it out. The mouthfeel isn't too bad, nice and creamy, but the taste ruins it. All in all, another horrible beer that isn't very drinkable. I'm glad I only bought the one.

 445 characters

Photo of jarmby1711
2.31/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

On a day in Melbourne that is as tropical as it can get for here 36C
thunderstorms /lightening I convinced myself that this is the environment to showcase the pride of Queesland.
It poor a clear deep gold to amber coloyur with an acceptablyplacid level of carbonation which tried to sustain a rather indolent head.
I like to smell beer straight from the bottle as there is always more to entertain the snoz.
This had the faintest of stone fruits to it , perhaps nectarine ? but like so many beers once it was poured into a glass , all character was lost to be replaced by a characterless tinny water aroma
The hint of nectarines was the hight point of the XXXX Bitter experience for me.
The taste was bitter , sure , and maybe a little like a batch of scones that had gone awry (ie ordinary )
The mouthfeel is oily bitter and not particularly refreshing.
In the highly unlikely scenario of becoming intoxicated on this I would imagine you would have one shitful hangover.

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Photo of daliandragon
2.6/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Despite a fairly deep study of beer drinking, I haven't had too many Australian beers, which makes me curious when I see the bottle in the local Superstore here in Incheon, South Korea (whose foreign beer section I basically consume singlehandedly). 2300 won, not horrible but the same price as a Hoegaarden. Game on.
Castlemaine XXXX Export pours an alarmingly pale yellow, reminiscent of apple juice. Another surprise when the nose is revealed to be sweet, almost sugary. Not quite skunked, but still a strange smell to be smelling from your beer.
I tasted some hoppy bitterness in the flavor but something was missing to make this a good beer. The mouthfeel is likewise even but not real substantial, and a bit over carbonated.
This is a serviceable beer but absolutely no more.

 786 characters

Photo of Globetrotter
2.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I found this on the shelf in Moscow's largest discount grocery store chain - a place not known for a large variety of unusual or hard to get brews. Comes in a 33cl brown bottle with a yellow and red label identifying the stuff as "Export Lager." Four big red X's on the front, with a sketch of some factory buildings just above. Back label makes it clear that, while the hops are "Australian," the brew itself is from no further down under than Italy. Ingredients on the Russian import label conform to the purity law. Best before 2/11/06, I opened it on 9/3/05.

Unimpressive. Pours clear gold under a short-lived one finger fizzy white head. No lace, collar or film. There is practically no nose at all - at least not that I can discern. The mouth is quite prickly and slightly sticky. The taste is raw. The carbonation overwhelms what malt there might be, leaving rusty metal to dominate the taste buds. A touch of sweet grain emerges late in the finish, which is otherwise quite non-descript. So, in fact, is everything else about this brew. Doesn't do it for me.

 1,069 characters

Photo of amicar
3.23/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Golden- white head that quickly goes away. Very subtle spice hop smell. A little low end bitterness, very mild; would've thought it might be a touch more bitter with the name, and all. However, very smooth and thrist quenching. Clearly made not to challenge anyone, but be easy to drink.

 287 characters

Photo of bark
1.86/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Sold as “XXXX Export Lager” in Europe. Brewed under license by Carlsberg Italy.

The colour is yellow with a trace of gold. The foam is white, uneven and finger thick with some curtains left on the glass.

The smell is unbalanced with a dry chalk-like flavour. There are also some notes of honey sweets and an odd, musty scent.

The carbonation is very strong, I experienced it even as sharp and unpleasant; it really did froth in my mouth.

The taste is sweetish with a peculiar flavour of adjuncts, most probably rice. Apart from that, the taste is thin, metallic with a weak, fading bitterness. The aftertaste got delicate notes of butter and citric; it is very weak and watery.

I really wanted to give this disgraced beer a chance, but it was useless: It really was a piece of crap.

 803 characters

Photo of joecast
1.88/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

bitter by name, not by nature.
fizzy yellow beer appearance with thin lace head. second pour forms 1cm fine bubbly head.
sweet almost candy like aroma.
very sweet also in taste. leaning towards cloying but just shy. cutting bitterness makes an attempt to break through, but the sweetness of it is just too overwhelming. not that there is much bitterness there in the first place.
hmmm, the candy bar of the beer world? maybe
perhaps aimed at younger drinkers? probably
a good beer? most definitely not.

 509 characters

Photo of diablo14
2.35/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

well its better than victorian and NSW swill thats for sure. i bet this was a much more drinkable brew before CUB stuck their nose in a few years back. and i have to say this too, i dont dish out complements to Queenslanders easily, they missin a chromasome up there. but this is the best borin lager in aussie along with emu. no great recommendation, but its still true.

theres nothing different about this beer from anything else here except that this is one beer that can legitimately call itself a bitter. it actually tastes like theres some hops amongst all the adjuncts. its funny tho. as youd expect from the banana benders., the bitterness in this beer is the last thing youd want from a beer up there with the climate they have. but as a beer that originated in victoria more than 100 years ago , theyve taken a liking to it. i would have thought VB would be more suited to them, but then thats Queensland for ya. i suppose you cant make a lager called victoria bitter your state beer.

as far as southern brews go this is a bit like melbourne bitter, no good, but it least its got somethig a bit different from what youd normally cop here. it feels like theyve actually used real hops in this beer, but then its merely masking the rest of whats another boring, shitty aussie lager. at least the cartoon fella they had promoting this beer when i was younger was pretty cool.

 1,390 characters

Photo of jahsausage
3.15/5  rDev +35.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Colour is extremely pale, leads me to suspect that in great australasian fashion that the "BITTER" on the can doesn't
mean anything regarding style of the contents. Taste wise there is an initial almost creamy non-event followed by a bitter bite as it approaches the back of the mouth. For what it is - an aussie provincial beer in the same league as VB - is quite good, suppassing VB in my opinion by virtue of its stronger bitterness and lack of VB's ever so slightly dodgy taste. Judged as a beer in its own right it doesn't rate so great.

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XXXX Bitter from Castlemaine Perkins
2.32 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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