Courage Directors Bitter
Eagle Brewery

Courage Directors BitterCourage Directors Bitter
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Bitter - English
Ranked #210
Ranked #46,620
3.49 | pDev: 14.9%
Eagle Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Courage Directors BitterCourage Directors Bitter
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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 121 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sigmund from Norway

3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Rerate, cask at the Station Hotel, Ipswich: Some of the same English malt vinegar aroma as Courage Best, but the flavour is fuller and richer with more pronounced hops. Original rating, 4.1: (Cask conditioned). One of my favourite English Bitters. Perhaps not so very special, but always drinkable.

May 06, 2021
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Beck_Hardy_UK from Scotland

2/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On draught. Amber/tea coloured. Faint whiff of bread/biscuit. Flavour is bready/biscuit. Mouth feel was clean, crisp with just a hint of malty sweetness. Over all a decent bitter.

Jan 28, 2019
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jazzyjeff13 from England

3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of April 2018. Purchased recently from Home Bargains. The label describes it as a superior ale originally brewed exclusively for the directors of the brewery.

A: Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep coppery-amber colour with excellent clarity and plentiful carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy white foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Slight lacing.

S: Aroma of rich caramel malt with hints of toasted grain, nuttiness, subtle fruitiness, ale yeast, leafy hops and mild grass/hay. Nicely balanced.

T: Tastes of caramel malt with notes of mild roasted grain, a touch of barley sugar, nuttiness, ale yeast, faint fruitiness, leafy hops and grass/hay. Slightly sweet, followed by a substantial bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with prickly carbonation and decent body. Could be a shade thicker for the style. Mildly astringent. Aftertaste of bitter leafy hops, caramel malt, nuttiness and ale yeast.

O: Pretty good - a traditional ale with a classic flavour profile. Looks alright, while the aroma and flavour are a satisfying blend of caramel malt, ale yeast and leafy hops. Decent body. Goes down readily enough - almost moreish. Worth sampling.

Mar 20, 2018
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BeckHardy from California

2.63/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

I had this on draft in a London pub. It looked amber in the glass. Like strong tea actually. Low carbonation and a fairly decent head of foam. Decent lacing on the sides of the Imperial pint glass. Smell was of bread crust and biscuits. The taste was smooth with a slight underlying taste of fruit. Mouth feel was a wee bit slick but not bad at all. Over all not a bad pint at all. Served with the chill off of course. I would order this again. It would be interesting to compare this to Theakston's Old Peculiar.

Feb 13, 2017
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml can - a sort of surprising entry to the Alberta market for the typically 'once-in-a-while' English import segment.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, rocky, and bubbly tan head, which leaves some disintegrating ice shelf lace around the glass as things lazily sink away.

It smells of grainy and biscuity pale malt, muddled dark orchard fruity notes (prunes and raisins, predominately), a hint of wayward son yeastiness, and some sassy leafy, weedy, and grassy noble green hop bitters. The taste is bready and doughy caramel malt, some further indistinct black stone fruitiness, a touch of peppery spice, faded yeasty esters, and more testy earthy, floral, and dead grassy verdant hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly pervasive in its come-hither frothiness, the body a so-so middleweight, and sort of smooth, with a wee airy creaminess settling in as things start to warm up a bit out of the ol' basement frigo. It finishes off-dry, the base malt holding tight, amongst the lingering spicy and hoppy intransigence.

Overall, this is a fairly enjoyable English bitter, the hops doing well to elicit some New World elan, in addition to their inherent old-school qualities. I'm a bit taken by this one, even as its ABV seems typically strangled, as such. Easy to drink, and worthy of sessioning, if I were ever to find myself in a pub situation where the default was a given.

Feb 09, 2017
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Altrurian from New York

4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Creamy head. Lovely, lasting cling. Reddish amber with a metallic glint. Full-bodied texture. Taste of toffee with the slightest bitter kick. An exemplar of the style.

Oct 24, 2016
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Beergeeknut from Washington

3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a deep amber with a slight haze. The head is off white and about one finger thick.

Aroma: Piney notes, grapefruit.. a light floral hop dryness in the nose. Little notes of pear and apple.

Taste: Very crisp mouthfeel in the front. Bits of toffee, light brown bread, Wisps of figs and banana and twinges of spice towards the back end.

Notes: What we have here is a very tasty bitter top to bottom quite tasty. Cheers.

Oct 19, 2016
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PlutonowyManiek from Belgium

2.84/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: dark amber, clear. Head color ecru, not too high, on average lasted.
Aroma: in the foreground are plum and caramel in the background and gently yeast.
The beer is slightly watery, like the above are the leading caramel and plum.
Bitterness is always at the finish, coffee. High saturation.

Feb 05, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

2.69/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Initial nice taste, but then it falls flat. A bit more head than I’m used to from British ales, so it looks pretty good. But aroma and taste and palate are all very light, flat and almost bland. Next!

Jan 13, 2016
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janubio from Spain

2.66/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Amber colour, big head that fades soon leaving some lace. Smell of limestone, dark fruits and a disgusting tyres strong notes. Medium body, good carbonation. Taste of caramel, dark fruits. No hint of tyres here.

Dec 15, 2015
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doktorhops from Australia

3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I’m actually surprised I hadn’t gotten to this sooner what with me being an amateur film Director and what not [excluding both ‘what’ and ‘not’]. Plus with my penchant for English Bitters being quite strong I can only chalk this up to a sizeable slip under the old beerdar. Anyway it is here and pre-review warming up to room temp as we speak. Before I begin I must add that this is a bit on the heavy side for a Bitter at a lofty 4.8% ABV, and Wells & Young’s track record for me has been hit-and-miss with their Courage Russian Imperial Stout being their high water mark IMO, so who knows where Directors will end up.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear copper body with a light splotchy thin beige head on top - about as English Bitter as old English pies with a pint of English Bitter beside it and a side of English Bitter sauce to go with the pie. 8/10.

S: Toffee malt, earthy/nutty notes, hints of dark fruit - raisin, plum, with a veneer of herbal hops in the background... overall this Bitter smells like a bit of excitement compared to the namby-pamby lightweight 4.4% Bitters out there, expecting some explosive not-your-average-day-in-the-pub-watching-football-which-is-called-soccer-elsewhere-in-the-world-to-differentiate-it-from-other-forms-of-ball-sports action here. 8/10.

T: Wow, what a let-down... the flavour is a shadow of the above aromas... it’s not explosive action, just a muted Bitter at best. I’ve had plenty of Bitters that would blow this out of the water flavourwise - several of which weigh in at 4.4% ABV. This is a disappointingly light where-it-counts English Bitter... at least the flavours are as expected from the aroma (toffee/earthy/nutty/raisin/plum) with a slight sour/bitter finish, but otherwise this brew warrants my giant beige stamp of ‘MEH!’. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with some playful carbonation that does nothing to damper that classic English pub vibe. 8/10.

D: Well Courage Directors Superior Ale really drops the ball when it counts in the flavour department and totally misses out on a near flawless try/goal [as long as we’re going along with the footy theme here]. Here is a list of better Bitters for you to try instead of this average drop: Ruddles County, Brakspear Bitter, St. Peter’s Ruby Red Ale and Adnams Bitter - tell me you still prefer Courage after trying these finer brews. 5/10.

Food match: Chicken pot pie with a side of mash, peas, carrots and gravy.

Oct 01, 2015
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Andrewharemza from Australia

3.09/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle. Clear, dark amber colour, short-life small off-white head, slight toffee aroma, light body, soft carbonation, moderate nutty and caramel sweet taste, sour malty palate with simply earthy hoppy notes. Smooth, but nothing special.

Aug 26, 2015
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JackieKu from Taiwan

2.74/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

500ml can.
A: Dark copper with 3 fingers high head.
S: I could not get anything from the smells.
T: Quite watery. Slightly grassy and earthy, probably from the hops.
M: Creamy medium bodied.
O: Expect more malts from the taste. Not bad but nothing remarkable.

Jun 26, 2015
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Lemreway16 from England

4.54/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This in the world of English beer a heavyweight no nonsense bitter. Copper effect with both a hoppy and caramel taste. It leans to a autumn or winter beer where is depth and strength suit the climate. Equally this a beer to complement a Highland Malt Whisky on a wet and windy night.

May 16, 2015
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper amber with a minute haze, extremely little carbonation, and a finger of tannish head leaving a fine lacing.

S: Caramel bananas, toffee and crème brulee, a fine toasted quality.

T: Light caramel and bananas, very little bitterness, sort of a papery quality. Berries.

M: Medium light body, little fine carbonation, much dryer than I’d expected.

O: A little disappointed as I was expecting more from the name and label, like this would be a king of beers or something. However it left lacking. Still a fine brew. Will have it with some greasy fried Thai food in a few minutes in Chiang Mai Thailand, Nov 18, 2014.

May 14, 2015
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redgorillabreath from Pennsylvania

2.74/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I'm new to English bitters. So I'm probably expecting more than I should based on appearance. I was ready for more of a malty flavor than I got. From the tap in the UK.

Apr 25, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle with a BB date stamp of 14 Dec. 2015.

Poured deep red-amber with a decent sized head that displayed poor retention and only left a few spots of lacing.

Feel: near full bodied with medium carbonation.

Flavor: lightly hops such that the hops are obvious but the ale is just mildly bitter and about equally malty and hoppy.

O: amber ale meets ESB

Apr 20, 2015
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Jetulio from Spain

3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml. bottle poured into a Pint glass

Appearance... Brown / amber beer with foamy head colour white of 2 fingers aprox (lasting a tiny foam of 2 mm)

Aroma... malt,and fruits. Light aroma with touch of toffee too

Taste... Some caramel notes and then hop , touch of bitterness not lasting in mouth much time.

Mouthfeel... medium/full body and soft carbonation

Overall... a non impressive ale but not a bad one , hops are present but without a long aftertaste.

Jul 16, 2014
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utfiero from Texas

3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color- Light walnut brown. Medium head.

Aroma- mild hops, roasted barley malt, faint hint of raisins.

Taste- very nice balanced ale. Starts malt forward and mild like a gently toasted bread, then the middle fades with a hint of nuts and quickly finishes with a mild dry hoppiness. The back of the bottle proclaims: "Originally brewed exclusively for the directors of the brewery, this amber ale is full of character with a distinctive spicy hop aroma. The perfect balance of crystal malt with crisp, fruity, nutty hops and a lasting finish." From a hophead American perspective, I cannot agree with the bottle's statement; but I truly enjoyed this brew while on vacation in Scotland.

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a small drinking glass. Tasted on 6/1/2013 in Huntly, Scotland.

May 20, 2014
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chogm54 from Australia

3.89/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

English bitters - great sessional winter beers. Directors has a posh label, but lets see if it is a down to earth as the other bitters I've had. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - mahogany brown, clear, pours a thin, off white head that dissipates into a thin 3mm lacing.

S - Caramel malts of moderate intensity with a slight sweetness and fruitness (rum and raisin)

T - Sweetness has not be replicated in the taste - caramel malts with a presence of dark fruit hops (raisins) . Resin like bitterness increases sharply towards the end

M - Moderate carbonation (for a typical english bitter style), medium bodied, creamy, dry slightly metallic finish.

O - disregarding the slightly metallic finish, the beer has creaminess than other mass produced english bitters commonly lack. Also, the hint of dark fruits is a nice addition.

May 03, 2014
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dcmchew from Romania

3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled version. Now called only Courage Directors.
Amber, one finger head, thin sticky cap.
Smell: sweet malts, toasted, burnt sugar, not much really.
Taste: toasted biscuity malts with a flash of lemon zing. A random fruitiness, some caramel and faint nuts. Low earthy hops, with a mild bitterness, kept in check by lingering malts.
Medium body and carbonation,a bit buttery.
This was quite bland. Drinkable, but not entirely enjoyable. Read that the cask version rocks, but this was really quite meh.

Apr 29, 2014
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SmashPants from Australia

3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: an embossed 500mL brown bottle with a stylish Brittish label. A good package.

Appearance: pours a clear, solid amber colour with plenty of fine carbonation visible. A burst of off-white head jumps up and settles to a creamy cap. Decent lacing.

Aroma: quite a pleasant nose, if a bit demure. Some sweet malts with some grass / floral hops backing up. Not strong enough for my likes.

Taste: pretty decent and full in flavour, but not all that much complexity. Still, a very nice sweet malt and grain with those hops backing off a bit. A good quaffer none the less.

Aftertaste: the sweet malts hang about for a time, but that's about it.

Mouth feel: a medium- to- full body, lovely and smooth too - almost creamy. Moderate carbonation.

Overall: one of the better English Bitters. I much prefer them full strength like this rather than the milds. A good dose of sweet malts and some floral hops make this an easy-drinking beer. The price is reasonable for an English Bitter too. Worth it.

Nov 21, 2013
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EmperorBevis from England

3.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Over many years I've had this on cask and keg in various pubs and clubs and also at home in bottle and cans
I've gone various tasting notes and worked out a mean average score for a slightly dull, slightly sweet standard bitter

Nov 01, 2013
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charlatan from Scotland

3.06/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours somewhere between copper and brick red coloured with a decent slightly off-white head. The nose is lemony with a hint of dried fruit: pleasant but not bold. This seems surprisingly malty for a bitter with a sweet start and then a biscuity taste to the fore. Any bitterness which follows is moderate. The hop impact is more metallic giving way to a slight herbal/mint aftertaste than bitter. The taste didn't quite pan out as I had imagined from the nose, yet pleasant but not bold certainly reflects my attitude towards this beer.

Aug 10, 2013
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jonb5 from England

3.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Half litre bottle, poured into pint glass.

A: Bronze, clear, small tanned head, poor retention, some lacing.

S: Malt, yeast, fairly boozy.

T: Fruity, earthy, moderate bitterness, some fuggles, grassy finish.

M: Medium body, slightly on the heavy side, well carbonated which gave it a coarse edge.

O: Earth didn't move, a bit like a watered down uninteresting Dubbel.

Jul 24, 2013
Courage Directors Bitter from Eagle Brewery
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 121 ratings