Mata Hari (Wicked Women Series) | Brewster's Brewing Co Ltd

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Mata Hari (Wicked Women Series)Mata Hari (Wicked Women Series)
Mata Hari (Wicked Women Series)Mata Hari (Wicked Women Series)

Brewed by:
Brewster's Brewing Co Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 25
Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fruity esters – peach and plum on the nose with earthy hops in the background. Pours a strong tea tinted gold under a 2” off-white foam cap that persists and produces phenomenally thick lacing. It enters with rich graham cracker closely followed by a plum and peach blend finishing with a mild hop accent. Very creamy. Medium body and below medium carbonation.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
1.87/5  rDev -44%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours with a finger or two of soapy head, super-carbonated, and really sheet-like lacing. Aroma of pineapple hits right off, rounded out with some kind of metallic notes, and not much else. Flavor has soda-pop like carbonation, and a weird hop component. Like they used hop concentrate. You know how American fruit beers used to be all concentrate based...Well, the hops in this mimics that...Not good. Feels like an afterthought. ANd there's a detergent like flavor too. It's not balanced well at all. Finish is thin and has a weird hop bitterness, not likeable at all. I dislike this beer. Not worth tracking down at $5.49 per bottle either.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.57/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with slight head. Some typical aromas found in an esb- firm malt, a touch metallic, slight earthy hops. The taste on the other hand puts it somewhere between an esb and a pale ale, with slightly fruitier hops, a little less malty and dryer, and not as metallic. Soft, and easy to drink, but not the most interesting beer in the world.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.32/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours yellow to light orange color with a white head. The aroma is bready malts with some apple notes. The flavor is earthy hops, apples, grapes and grassy hops. Low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of gford217
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by pghlee at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber with a small soapy head that recedes very quickly and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is fairly sweet, apple juice comes to mind, with some light sweet caramel malts and the faintest hint of hops.

The taste follows the aroma and tastes likes apples juice with a sour twang to it. This all blends with the light malts in the background and a dry finish that brings in a little hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is dry and very crisp, with decent carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable British style beer. Not sure it's exactly an ESB, but it's not bad.

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Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this courtesy of pghlee - much obliged!

Pours a deep copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of buttery caramel malts with good amounts of spicy and herbal hop aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramel malt flavors are joined by spicy hops midway through the sip that carry through until the mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished my glass without a problem but I'm not sure about another.

Overall this this is kind of a mish-mash of an ESB and an English IPA. It's not terrible, but there are better beers out there.

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Photo of kiya
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was excited to get my hands on this, as i had heard about this brewery but their stuff is near impossible to find in the states..
Finally by way of the Shelton Brother's importers they brought a small bit through over the pond.

Bottle art is super corny, had to get that out of the way.

Pours opaque, slight sediment and settles into a nice peach color. The head remains tight, even throughout the life of the ale it lasts well. Strong sudsy lacing grips the sides of the glass.

The aromas aren't anything new, mostly hoppy with some grain tones.. a slight bit of fruit once it comes up to room temp.
Great flavor but nothing really pops out, it's not going anywhere. There's a bit of unripe stone fruit flavor mixed with a bit of hoppy bitterness that ends with a smooth creamy flavor while the hops fade out.
A good beer for a session, but i was looking for more from something that's so difficult for an American to find.

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Photo of albern
2.57/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer isn't very good, period. It pours a cloudy orangy amber color with a small off white head, and not much retention. The nose on the beer isn't bad, but it is odd. I'm getting a slighly boozy hard apple cider aroma, some bready malts, some apple pie crust, maybe some heavy fruits. The nose isnt' bad, and it smells like it would have a higher ABV than is the case.

The taste is very watery, quite sour, almost like dish water. The nice apple aromas in the nose are nowhere to be found. There is a touch of bready malts, but this is just a weak, sour, unpleasant tasting beer that I'm disposing of quickly. No interest in finishing this beer. What a disappointment

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Photo of Offa
4.62/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is nice stuff, a good English ESB.

Copper, it has a medium, off-white head that shrinks slowly to a wispy top and leaves a hint of lace.

The aroma is very pleasant with grain, lemon, bread, leaves and tea, pine, and juniper, with the leaf-tea element taking charge after the first sniffs.

The taste is earthy, leafy, with tea, bread crust, lemon, a hint of yeasty sourness. It's also lightly nutty and toasty. It has consistent light sweetness with a light but slightly dominant bitterness that especially takes charge in the finish but not overly so. It's tasty, with subtle, persistent complexity, lasting flavours, ye light, crisp, very easy to drink and with a good depth and range of character.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly, leaving a good lace. Clear amber color but a ton of yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Sour apple nose. Flavor is strange for a beer, sweet, sour maybe apple, drinkable but that's it. $4.49 for a 500ml bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a thin head. A few dots of lacing stick.

The smell is of caramel mixed with lime and tangerine.

The tase is of caramel with some citrus and earthy/woody notes. Finishes dry.

Meium-bodied, a bit oily, smooth.

A wonderfully balanced, in the English tradition, bright, "sessionable" ale of somewhat modest strength. I thought it was very drinkable and reflective of traditional English style of brewing, with perhaps a touch more hoppiness.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very nice dark amber, with a thick and fluffy off-white head that persists. Aroma is crisp and malty with a strong undertone of apple cider. Flavor, however, is on the thin side; it is more hoppy than malty, decidedly but not unpleasantly bitter. Texture is smooth and a little watery. Aftertaste is mildly bitter with a hint of fruit.

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Photo of brentk56
3.23/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber with a foamy egg white head that sticks and laces fairly well

Smell: In addition to the caramel malt, there is some butterscotch and medicinal elements

Taste: Opens with a fruity blend of apple and pear that descends into butter by mid-palate, when the herbal, medicinal elements also arrive; after the swallow, the beer becomes rather sour and bitter

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Just too many distractions here to be satisfactory; at first, I thought it intriguingly different; now the sourness limits my interest; I do like the bottle, however

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Photo of stcules
2.86/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper colored, lightly veiled. Thin perlage, good head, longstanding.
Tea leaves, earthly, herbal hop in the smell.
The taste is again on the herbal hop side, pleasant and clean. Something similar to heather. Something strange, also.
Long aftertaste, herbal, with a pleasant hop.
Some difficult to understand the taste.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a double finger, loose, off white head that settles to surface but remains for the duration. A good amount of lacing observed. Pouring the entire bottle will cloud things up. There is a mild bitterness in the smell but mostly malty. Medium bodied, the mouth feel and flavor are similar to the nose. There is a slight bitterness from the hops up front that keeps things interesting, but it's well balanced with a solid malt character. I good drinker and an enjoyable interpretation. You can never trust an exotic dancer, but this ones a good bet.

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Photo of dgallina
3.86/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pint, 9 fluid ounce brown bottle dated best-before February 2008.

Pours clear copper with 3/4 inch of rich, slow-dissolving tan head and great lacing. The smell is hoppy and somewhat simplistic for an ESB; mostly pine and leaf notes. Flavor is more developed. Biscuit malts and mineral water develop into a green leaf and pine hop center. Finishes earthy and drier, with a toasted malt, rough and raw hop finish. Mouth-feel is a little thin initially, but the beer becomes fuller as it warms up. A little over-carbonated and gassy regardless. Drinkable , if a little common.

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Photo of emerge077
3.68/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First impression is that it tastes like a cross between an IPA and a mild Barleywine. Very mild and subtle would be the keywords here.

Pours a deep amber, with a good amount of foam at first, which subsides quickly. Lazy bubbles float to the surface. Points for sustained carbonation.

Smell is nondescript, bready malt, some sweetness.

Taste has subtle fresh hops like an IPA, and a big sweet malt like a barleywine. A hybrid of the styles if you ask me. Smooth mouthfeel, would be improved if on cask, as it is at the Map Room on occasion. Sweet malt lingers in the aftertaste, but it's brief. Good drinkabiltity, will have to compare this to a cask sample.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
2.21/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Label explains that this beer is brewed by Sara Barton, one of England's rare female head brewers. Imported by Shelton Bros.

Pours with a bright golden auburn hue topped with a fading fast khaki collar to a few scant bubbles rising to a smooth surface.

Sour nose of tart apple and plain hard candy.

First swigs: Much the same in the nose of Earthy dirt meets vegetal & sour fruit. 4.6% abv.

This turned into an awful drain pour! I say this while the only info on the label is F08 129. What does that mean? How was I supposed to know that it's crap by now.

There goes $4. Damn! Not happy!

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$3.95 at La Bodega in Riverside, CA for a Bottle Conditioned 500 ml bottle in November, 2006.

My second tasting of a Brewster's beer, and I see they don't have many reviews yet. I accidentally let the yeast into this, so it pours a somewhat muddy orange that makes for a nice looking ESB. A thin head hangs on for life ever so slightly.

Aroma is very weak- often the word subtle is used, and I guess that's not untrue here, but it really is weak. Hard to distinguish much of anything. As my wife would say- "smells like a beer".

Flavor is much more pronounced than the aroma- but it starts as a sour tongue-battering and an acidic back of the mouth flogging. Slight fruitiness and bready malts are there too, but they are way overpowered by the sour. I'm trying, but it's hard to enjoy.

Now having said this, I was really in the mood for a nice gentle subtle beer from the Isles tonight, and this one really drinks decently enough once I get past the sour. But I can't recommend this one.

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Photo of Rudgers73
3.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 mL glass bottle.

A- Pours a deep amber color with generous amounts of fluffy, tan head. Takes quite a while to settle into a rocky, long-lasting head.

S- I can smell some sweet citrusy hops. Maybe some peach/apricott? Smells a lot like a mild belgian dubbel or tripel.

T- Wow what a unique taste. First a hit of piny hops followed by a hit of what seems to be pineapple-ish tasting. Slighly thin like a witbier, then a residual bitter effect at the end. I really have no idea what to think of this beer. So strange.

M- As far as carbonation goes, there isn't a very wild amount. Most of the mouthfeel comes from the depth of flavor. There is so much going on, but at the same time it has a really flat tone to it. Hops spike the tastebuds then the sweet fruit smooths it over to a more round and balanced roundness.

D- Kind of expensive, but worth trying for its pure oddity. Only brewed once, too. Better find yours.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.81/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Mata Hari (the World War I spy) was executed by firing squad after being found guilty of espionage. Her head was removed from her body and was embalmed. It was then stolen and hasn't been found to this day. Mata Hari (the ESB) has a head. For the time being anyway.

Coppery orange, not quite dark enough to be considered burnt orange. The large cap is lightly toasted marshmallow in color and has a quality texture. It's both firm and creamy at once with a roughly bubbly surface and is beginning to lay down an impressive amount of spackle-like lace. It's such a pretty head, too bad it won't last.

The nose is more earthy than most English ESBs and even has a slight phenolic character. I can't say that the hop bill (Northdown, Progress and Fuggles) makes a positive impression, at least where the aroma is concerned. Unless the flavor leaves the path indicated by the nose and strikes out on its own, this beer isn't going to be all that enjoyable.

If you like sour, buttered fruit mixed with mild caramel notes then Mata Hari is for you. It isn't for me. As much as I didn't want to admit that Band-Aid-like phenols were present in the nose, they've come home to roost on the palate. It's hard to believe that the brewster planned to include diacetyl and medicinal flavors, so I have to believe that they're uninvited guests.

Mildly sweet, toasted malt meets unripe orchard fruit on more or less equal terms. I see nothing wrong with the amount and type of malt, and the hops should be right up my alley, so I can only conclude that the yeast is what's responsible for the less than stellar nature of this beer. And here I thought that Jezebel was an ugly lass in the glass.

The body/mouthfeel is probably the most enjoyable characteristic. While it's no bigger than medium, it fits the style well. A modest amount of viscosity on the finish is a nice touch and the carbonation seems to be spot-on.

Brewing beer named after Wicked Women is one thing. Brewing wicked beer is another matter entirely. Mata Hari isn't exactly a wicked beer I guess, but neither is it a charmer that I want to spend the night with. One bottle will be more than enough.

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Photo of ElGordo
2.26/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Sampled at our recent staff tasting, and we're all hoping that our shipment was mistreated in some way, because this tasted like it had really gone sour. Pours a golden-amber color with almost no carbonation whatsoever. Not much aroma - a touch of funky, sour yeast and a bit of caramel malt. Palate is immediately a little off - a funky, slighlty sour aspect overpowers the mild hop profile and light caramel malt. The body is substantial, holding the sourness on the palate longer than I would prefer (which isn't very long). Not recommended, although maybe it's better when fresh.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I nice find this weekend while out on the beer trail,poured a light amber/copper with a quick to form but also quick to fade white head.Interesting aromas but very pleasant I picked up some orange essence along with a cider quality as well a some sweet dough and lingering light green herb.Flavors are somewhat subdued but they are really tasty,a bigger malt base lightly sweet like cookie dough and cider-like with a hint of brown sugar finishing with a snap of leafy hop.A nice English ale the subtle flavors and nuances of this beer would really come out on cask I am sure,well done ladies.

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Photo of wl0307
2.91/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The bottle-conditioned version of this brew, coming in a 500ml brown bottle, BB 09/05/07, served in a straight imperial-pint glass. The back beer label has the minimalist story of the featured figure in this brew as part of the "Wicked Women" series, Mata Hari, that she was an exotic dancer who turned spy during the WWI. Also stated is the mixture of three kinds of hops used in this brew--Northdown, Progress, and Fuggles. Sounds really enciting~~ (I mean the hop part, of course.)

A: light russet in colour, slightly hazy due to fled yeast-sediments, coming with a slowly effervescent beige beer head that settles slowly to just a thin cap throughout the drink; nice and smooth carbonation.
S: pretty sharp fruity aroma of pineapple, sweet orange, cranberries upfront, as well as slightly sour, musty... sweet brown-sugary malts and hints of roughly-crushed nuts and chocolates assume the backbone, leaving a tea-leafy and earthy hoppyness of Fuggles hidden in the remote corner. At first the aroma is slightly too sharp and sour for my preference, yet luckily after breathing, the sour edge softens a lot and a more pleasant flowery edge of hops comes to take over.
T: an effervescnet texture of amber malts approaches along with a semi-strong musty-yeasty taste of sour fruits like pears, apples and berries... gradually giving way to black-tea-ish as well as lightly earthy, chewy hops; the palate turns dryish bit by bit, as of roasted malts, towards the ends of the tongue, and feels pretty clean on the palate throughout. The lingering leafy hops and the suble bitterness do provide a comfort prize for the overall timid flavour profile.
M&D: medium-light bodied for a 4.8% premium bitter, the spritzy and thinning-out texture doesn't bode well for the already restrained flavour; besides the yeast-condition in the beer goes slightly awry and unfortunately kills off supposedly more pleasant elements on the palate... Not very successful in bottle-conditioning, I must say. To get a taste of what the beer is meant to be, it's got to be CASK I'm sure!!

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Mata Hari (Wicked Women Series) from Brewster's Brewing Co Ltd
Beer rating: 3.34 out of 5 with 25 ratings