Courage Best Bitter | Wells & Young's Ltd

18 Reviews
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Courage Best BitterCourage Best Bitter

Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2002

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 47
Photo of scottfrie
3.28/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served in an imperial pint glass at a dive bar in London. Clear copper color beneath a creamy inch of foamy head that left sheets of fuzzy lace. Tons of fine bubbles cascaded down the liquid. Nose is metallic, penny, copper amber scents, very light and bready. Taste follows the nose with bready and light flavors. Peppery hop in the finish is light but balances out the slightly sweet bready notes. Super light body, slick and watery, served warm. Smooth slick low carbonation. Decent bitter, decent beer, but left me wanting more.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
2.93/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 500ml bottle with a BB of July 2012. ABV is stated as 3.8%. Picked up recently from an off-licence. Label lists the ingredients, including sugar, E150c and E450 - not convinced these are really needed.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A clear golden-amber colour with medium carbonation. Forms a decent head of white foam that lasts for a minute or so before subsiding. The aroma is pretty weak - a faint hint of grainy caramel malt and little else.

Tastes of grainy caramel malt with a dry finish. Slightly sweet, with a faint hint of stewed hops. Pretty mild, not much bitterness to be found. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and reasonably full-bodied. Not much aftertaste; just a whisper of malt.

Surprisingly bland, particularly for a bitter. It's more like a mild really; hardly any hop presence. The balance is OK and it doesn't have any flaws - it just fails to excite me on any level. It's best characteristic is the body, although I wonder if the added stabiliser plays a part in this. At any rate, drinkable but nothing special. No need to seek it out.

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Photo of Eramen
2.82/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Apparently it's the colour E150C... which is a light bronze, topped with a foamy head which comes to a half finger. Plenty of bubbles dancing underneath the white surf as I hold it to the light.

S - I'm getting the malts, faint hops, and a very neutral clay/earth vapor.

T - Pale malts, cereals, grass, paper-cardboard, hops are quite delicate, too much so, leading to an underwhelming finish.

MF - Has a certain creaminess, nice to swirl in the mouth, the pleasant part of this beer.

O - Not the 'best bitter' proclaimed on the bottle by any stretch of the imagination, yes, it's drinkable but I'd give it a miss comparing it to similar bitters.

Also, I do not like the way this beer has added ingredients, the colourant and the stabilizers. It just seems a bit needless and goes against the craft brewing ethos. I'm sure a wonderful beer could be brewed without their use.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.79/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Handpump halfpint at the Rising Sun; a swift half to break up my two-mile walk to the British Museum.

A: Crystal clear medium amber body; thin but solid cap of off-white foam. Great retention and lacing. Lovely.

S: Herbal hops, muted grain, and some fruitiness. Pretty simple and unremarkable. Average at best.

T: Better here, with some really interesting apple notes taking the forefront; very cider-esque, but not in a spoilt way. The herbal, floral hops give some bright bitterness on the finish. Very refreshing.

M: Delicate - light-bodied and moderately carbonated. Characteristic cask softness. Good.

O: Solid bitter. Not bad for the first random half-pint of real ale on my 2012 pilgrimage to London.


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Photo of soju6
3.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Served a golden brown color with a small head and some lacing.

S: Aroma is mostly of malt.

T: Taste a mixture of biscuit and nut. There is a bit of bitterness in the finish.

F: Fairly light body, still quite smooth & creamy.

O: Decent beer, not overly impressive. However it is a decent session beer. Very common beer in the South of England.

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Photo of charlatan
2.63/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ingredients on the bottle include colour (E150c) and Stabiliser (E405). The beer is a light copper colour with a decent head. It smells like a standard high volume bitter, creamy with lemon.

The taste is underwhleming. An indistinct, fairly watery start before a somewhat refreshing, clean hop moment and then an all too swift return to vague watery sweetness.

Lightweight: certainly not the best.

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Photo of wl0307
3.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The first time to try the bottled version. This brand is now brewed by Wells&Young's, presumably better than the previous brewer...? This bottle is at 3.8%abv., BB 30/01/2011, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: the colour is lighter than what I remember from the past (cask version) - light reddish amber, with good clarity, very mild fizziness and a well-lasting light beige froth on the top.
S: quite sweet in terms of maltiness, somewhat like melted barley candy really, mixed with a hint of sweet red beans, honey, dark sugar, and hard-to-discern hop aroma - like sweet barley tea without much aroma, almost.
T: the foretaste gives a good hint at burned sugar and brown sugar, a bit too simplistically sweet, followed by lightly sour but still sweet flavour like ripe plum-flesh or other types of stone-fruits... the aftertaste reveals a drier palate rendered by the tea-ish hops, but not quite bitter and yet slightly rough in terms of texture.
M&D: the mouthfeel is consistently lightly effervescent, with the fizziness making a more tingling feel on the tongue than meets the eye; light-bodied, at times semi-watery, not flavoursome, but overall easy-to-drink enough.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.85/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml brown bottle (3.8% ABV) poured into an 'Old Speckled Hen' vase shaped pint glass. Best before 10-10-2010 and drank while watching the England v Algeria World Cup match.

The body was a clear, almost bright amber/light brown colour, on top was an off-white, thin foaming head.

Very little aroma, some slight hop esters and hints of malted biscuits, typical mass produced English Bitter to be honest.

The taste is a good enough mix of malts and hops, nothing spectacular, but nothing wrong with it either.

A bit thin in the body stakes, even for a 3.8% beer and a little too fizzy for my liking.

Pleasant enough, but not a beer I could recommend to anyone.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass. I've now had this in all three versions: cask, can, and bottle, and I must say they vary greatly in taste in mouthfeel. Ironically, the cask version is probably my least favorite.

A: ruby/copper/brownish bitter ale sits underneath a 1-finger eggshell head, leaves a bit of lacing

S: nothing to write home about--smells like a generic bitter

T: same as above although there is much more flavor here than in the canned version

M: much less carbonation than the canned version and a heavier body as well

D: average drinkability

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber with nice head and lacing.

The smell is slightly pungent - herbal/easthy with woody notes.

The taste is of caramel and a nice general maltiness with a bitter backing that comes out in the finish.

The body is pretty thin, but very creamy.

The aroma has more of a bite than the taste. A nice "session" beer with some subtle complexities.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.11/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Bold garnet-sienna with a spotty ivory-taupe head with very good structure and retention.

Smell: Very mild - leafy hops are the most prominent thing going on, but they aren't all that potent. Malts reveal hints of banana bread and bran flakes.

Taste: The malts are lovely, biscuity, toasty, and nutty with some sweet honey notes. Not very complex, but good. The hops are quite light, spicy and piney; they are meek, but so are the malts - a pretty simple balancing act executed without any flair. Ho hum.

Mouthfeel: A bit sticky and syrupy, but the body and carbonation are nice and smooth.

Drinkability: Meh. There are some nice nuances here, but the big picture is unimpressive.

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Photo of JustinBathurst
3.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap in Kent County, UK.

Pint arrived looking deep copper, a bit on the red side of things. The head was tightly-packed white foam. An all-encompassing lace remained.

The aroma is very faint: a bit of burnt coffee, flowers, and a touch of cloves. Oddly reminiscent of car exhaust.

The mouthfeel is slick, with light carbonation. Very much to style.

The taste is unpasteurized honey right off the wax comb, extremely light hops (likely Kent, a little sweet and a little citrus). It has a slight dark cocoa chalkiness. The aftertaste is mostly bitter cocoa.

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Photo of therica
2.88/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a copperish-tint with a quickly fading head. Intriguing scent with a bit of a curious shock, although the rest of the experience didn't seem to deliver. Quite a bite but actually a bit annoying since there wasn't a whole lot else going on with the light malts and citrusy-floral hints. A bit of a sour stomach and alum-tart mouth afterwards. Worth the try if you have the urge to explore everything that might be slightly unusual, just so you can say you had it.

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Photo of watermelonman
2.41/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This sat as a very plain shade of brown without much head. What was there faded quickly. There were a few chunks of lace.

The smell was subdued and what was there was not very enticing. Generic malts come through and nothing else. The taste was bland at best, giving more of the same.

There's just not much going for this one.

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Photo of Boto
3.51/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours somewhat copper coloured. It had a decent head, but it dissapated rather quickly. There was a mild citrus fruit aroma to it. They were also somewhat pronounced in the taste, but yet still rather subdued. Maltiness in the background. Very smooth. Pretty good, but not overly exciting.

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Photo of waboone
1.45/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Perhaps the worst beer that I have ever had. Tasted somewhat like a slightly malty Snapple Lemon Iced Tea. It took two pints of Guiness Stout get the the taste out of my mouth. This is a beer that will leave you cringing in disgust days later. Head is essentially non-existant, the only character to be found in it's taste were citrus overtones, whose existance complimented nothing, creating no depth. This beer seems to exist for the same reason that American lagers such as Budwiser and Coors exist, to put alcohol into a nation's collective blood stream.

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Photo of frank4sail
4/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this "real ale" at a london pub during their real ale festival. Crystal amber color. Creamy white head. Caramel malt nose. Served of course quite warm it was smooth and rich with a big malt spine. The taste was rounded with hop left on the tongue. Citrus notes... Smooth and rounded.. with a wonderful lace on the glass. Solid.

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Photo of rastaman
1.5/5  rDev -51%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pretty weak and watery, this is enough to turn you off bitters for ever, hints of fruit and citrus, quite a smooth palate, but very simple, got sick of seeing it on cask in London.

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Courage Best Bitter from Wells & Young's Ltd
3.06 out of 5 based on 47 ratings.
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