Tawny Owl
Cotleigh Brewery

Tawny OwlTawny Owl
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Bitter - English
Ranked #111
Ranked #35,025
3.7 | pDev: 11.89%
Cotleigh Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Tawny OwlTawny Owl
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Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 20 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of captaincoffee
captaincoffee from Virginia

3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light Amber brown with thin soda pop head that disappears. Nose is mild fruity malt and no real hop presence. Taste is slightly better with more fruit from the malt and a bit of bitterness on the finish. Not again I think.

Sep 06, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a rather light shade of tawny, IMO, but we'll go with that; very cloudy with a sumptuous head that leaves sheets of lace behind

Smell: Toffee and apples, with an earthy tone

Taste: Toffee flavor hits the tongue first, with a growing apple fruit character; by mid-palate, there is a bit of an earthy dimension, but this is not nearly as hoppy as the Barn Owl; biscuity malts linger in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Overall: I bet this would be supurb on cask; not at all bad in the bottle, even with an expiration date that was eight months ago

Sep 06, 2011
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mikul93 from California

2.89/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A Pours dark orange/brown with a nice healthy head which dissipated rather quickly.

S Funky smell. light biscuit smell, spices and something I can't identify.

T Light malt flavor, light citrus with a very mild hop bitterness. It tastes watered down to me. Clean finish.

M Light drinking beer with nice carbonation. Clean finish.

O Would not seek this out again. It was just OK

Sep 05, 2011
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Tulsa (mid-town). BBD of 1-1-11 This stuff was super over in England on cask

Pours amber with 2+ fingers of fluffy cream colored head. Great lacing & above average head retention

S: Biscuitty notes & a hint of sulphur, even that fades as this warms

T: Light biscuitty malt, floral hops , dryness & some mineral & sulphur notes (very faint) up front. Flinty hops, slight grassyneess & lemons & grainy bread notes as this warms. Finishes with slight pear notes, sulphury, lemony & grassy notes, plus a bit of dryness

MF: Light bodied, fairly effervescent, but not overgassed. Becomes pretty creamy once warmer, pretty nice balance

Drinks easy. Not as good as on cask but wouldn't mind a few bottles of this, especially in warm weather, but petty pricey at close to $5 a pint.

Would like to find some a bit fresher, as this has the same BBD as Bitter Bill' review 10 months ago. Seems the English may be a optimistic about how long a low ABV holds up...

Dec 09, 2010
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #37 (Feb 2010):

Not a whole lot of bottled English Bitters, an underappreciated style, are sent to the US. Name says it all; at least for the color ... it retains a good ring of lace for the duration of the pint. Caramel, ripe apples, dried grass and a walnut yeast tone make for a well-rounded aroma. Deep smoothness as the carbonation digs into any residuals; very malty with cara- mel, toasted bread and animal feed grain. A bigger body than expected. Hint of mineral and buttery flavor. A tad yeasty and a faint apple cider twang lead to a hard-pulling dry- ness in the end.

A quaffer's delight, sit it down with an aged cheddar and possible bliss may come from it.

Nov 12, 2010
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droomyster from Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour a beautiful clear copper with a small white head with decent retention and lacing properties. Aromas are predominantly sweet, with lots of caramel and honey with a touch of a grassy hop element. A lot of wood and interesting blend of bitter flavors on the front and midpalates, with a fairly short and noticeably sweeter finish. I'd never heart of Cotleigh beers when I picked this up, and have to say that it was well worth the risk. I will buy this again.

Nov 09, 2010
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bump8628 from Oklahoma

3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Copper-orange, tawny I guess, with an eggshell head of foam that builds to two fingers and then leaves sheets of lace and big bubbles in its wake. Did I mention this was served in a British pint glass?

Mild biscuit grain that is more pronounced on the palate than on the nose. Very light grassy/floral hops that contribute a punch of tea-like bitterness on the end. This one is balanced to the bitter side but doesn't necessarily have much in the way of hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile with only a hint of fruit. Light-bodied but not watery in the least, if that makes sense.

A nice little Bitter. I'm trying hard not to let my giddiness at finding a true session Bitter in Oklahoma (and a fairly fresh one at that) inflate my review at all. Tawny Owl is a promising introduction to the Cotleigh range and I look forward to trying the other two I have sitting in my fridge.

Aug 21, 2010
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A light and flavorful, easy drinking session beer that is non-challenging but also non-offensive.

the Tawny Owl takes its name from the copper-brown-orange color of the beer. Froathy off-white head with good formation, retention, and lacing. This beer is meant for a cask.

Fruity aromas, biscuity-sweet malts, and earthy/grassy hop notes fill the nose in very English-like fashion. It's the quentessential English aroma profile.

The prototype English character carries over seamlessly in flavor as well. Sweet, fruity, and rooted in classic Marris Otter sturdy maltiness. Earthy, pungent, spicy, and floral hops give a lot of flavor along with bitterness in the finish.

Beautiful enough, the medium flavors translate to a lighter body than expected. Creamy and smooth early, fades effortlessly into a bitter, dry, and airy finish.

The Tawny Owl has all the halmarks for classic English Ales without pushing the envelope whatsoever.

Aug 10, 2010
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PorterLambic from Florida

3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear orange-brown. Nice tan head develops, approx. 1" high. Recedes to a thick film after a few minutes. Some lacing remains.
Smell is hops, citrus (with a note of grape & apple), with slight hint of malt.
Taste is hops resin with a somewhat more prevalent malt note, a real faint green apple/citrus note hides in the back. A faint note of pepper shows up mostly towards the aftertaste.
Medium-light body with a similar effervescence. slightly watery. Dry throughout, especially the finish. A decently balanced hop/malt aftertaste lingers.

Jul 30, 2010
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic) best before 1 JAN 2011
A- This beer has a slight dense caramel brown body with a off-white head that fades, soon after the pour, to a ring of foam.
S- The faint iced tea aroma has a herbal turn pine aroma in the finish.
T- The full green hops has pine and herbal qualities with a fresh crystal malt flavor with some dried kilned malt in the background. There is a watery taste followed by a slight tart note and a butterscotch fruityness in the finish. The bitterness from hops lingers a bit after the finish.
M- The light mouthfeel has no alcohol heat or fizz so it thins even more as it warms.
D- This beer has a nice crisp malt and hop flavor but it is a bit thin and there is some strange flavors in the finish. I think this would be great to try on cask or very fresh, possible but it just lack something in the bottle.

Jul 26, 2010
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Mebuzzard from Colorado

4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice copper, clear pour. Easy looking foam formed a 2 finger head, minimal lacing.

Apples in the aroma, dry and juicy. Some light bicuit and dough as well. Florals and some citrus.

A soft sweet malt in the beginning of the tasting. Moves to juicy apple, crisp and dry. Bitter? Not so much but it sure is dry. Some herbal notes in the back. Tastes pretty good.

Darn well drinkable. I'm starting to like this brewery. This one is sorta like a cider, could use a tad more carbonation. Otherwise darn good

Jun 30, 2010
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Cresant from Kentucky

4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 500 mL brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada Hops glass. Dated best by: 01-01-11. The body was a clear, tawny brown. The creamy off-white head faded slowly to a cap which remained throughout.

Smell was bread crust and fresh MacIntosh apples.

Taste was light bitterness and soft malts. Fruity. Light metallic notes. Apple skins and mild wheat bread. Clean and flavorful. Very well balanced. One could drink many of these, it was very easy to drink and left me wanting more.

Mouthfeel was lightly carbonated. Somewhat slippery and smooth. Seems spot on for the style.

May 23, 2010
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oberon from North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a imperial nonic a clear amber/bronze with a thin wispy white head that left shotty lace as it seetled quickly,aromas a very light,mainly light caramel and toasted grain.A little in the feel but its about right for the style,not watery but definently on the thinner side.Flavors are mild but pleasa with sweetish caramel malt being the main component,a pretty deep bready flavor hits in the finish that lingers pretty well.A sociable pint with decent flavor,not a world beater but its all good.

May 12, 2010
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emerge077 from Illinois

3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BBD: 1 Jan 2011

So this recently showed up around town, but i've only seen it in one obscure suburban liquor store. Not sure what the local distribution is like, but I haven't seen it at bigger stores yet.

It pours into a pint glass a deep amber gold, a good layer of skim on top, with a string of pearls around the edges. A ring of lace forms after its sipped.

Woody with a hint of tobacco at first, becoming fruity and vaguely floral later on, with hints of oxidation already. Something musty and odd is there, but it's hard to put a finger on. Joe says "old man cologne" which isn't that far off.

Dry with a mild note of bready malt sweetness. Faded, muddled fruit. Dull and papery, signaling the onset of oxidation. Light bodied and mildly bitter, the odd notes in the flavor keep it from being sessionable. Hopefully it wasn't mistreated in the few short months it's been in the states, but as it is, I can't fully recommend this one.

May 05, 2010
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

1st of the 3 Birds of Prey gift pack generously provided by the great trader...TATTORSO. Thanks so much, Jeff!

Best by date of 1 Jan 2011.

It pours a clear colour of copper with a 1" head of foam. Lots of tiny bubbles rising to the top of the glass and a nice show of lacing.

The smell is nice and malty with good biscuit notes and some fruity citrus tones. Simple but a very inviting nose.

The taste follows the nose. Big biscuit malt up front with light bitterness of a citrus fruity type...I'd say lemon would be what I'm tasting and it dominates the finish and leaves a nice aftertaste. The bitterness somewhat intensifies as the session goes on...

On the high end of light bodied with a similar level of carbonation, it has a good mouthfeel.

Btw, the foam and lacing gave up about mid session but noot too big of a deal.

Drinkability? A true Session beer is what we have here and I'm sure I could drink this back to back to back....very damn quaffable! The only knock from me is that it's just a tad more bitter than I expected. That being said, I think the folks here in the US will be happy with this beer; I hope in the grand scheme of things that this will have a decent distribution area so more folks can try it.

Feb 06, 2010
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wl0307 from England

3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted by half-pint recently at my local JDW pub, the Half Moon, in East End London.

A: dark amber hue, not exactly "tawny" in my opinion; coming with a thin but quite foamy beer head, with good clarity and low carbonated body.
S: pretty timid aroma, some fruitiness from Goldings+Fuggles hops, but overall very flat... (I suspect it's not that fresh?)
T: juicy, bitter-sweet nutty malts balanced elegantly with leafy and apple-ish hoppyness--lingering yet mild bitterness at the back of the palate, added with more roasted nuts (on shells), and a piney, tea-ish bitter aftertaste...
M&D: very light and soft on the palate, while the superb, lingering bitter aftertaste somehow lifts up the whole body quite nicely. I didn't expect much from the aroma, yet it tastes just nice and balanced, with a heavier body than its alc. strength might suggest otherwise. A quaffable and balanced bitter of above-average quality!

Feb 08, 2006
Tawny Owl from Cotleigh Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 20 ratings