Adnams Broadside | Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery

very good
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Adnams BroadsideAdnams Broadside

Brewed by:
Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-10-2002

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Reviews: 152 | Ratings: 279
Photo of Abinlp
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is a deep reddish brown with a minimal head. Its aroma is not very potent, but has the sweet toffee, fig and yeasty quality that makes a good British ale my favorite. Its rather sweet tasting, with pronounced biscuit, bread, malty tones. Its quite rich I would add, and with the (unusually) high alcohol content, not an ideal session beer. But its very impressive any way you look at it.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 500 mL bottle into a pint glass, ruby colored with a thick white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: malty, nutty, dark bread, grain, slight alcohol

T: toffee, brown bread, big malt, pepper hop finish, caramel

M: thick and rich

O: nice strong bitter that has a sweet dessert like taste

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Photo of WGO
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep copper colour. Aroma is warm, fruity and very inviting. Raisins, chocolate, caramel aroma. Tastes of chocolate, raisins, bit of alcohol warmth but not to overpowering. Great beer, a classic.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I surmise this is something of a classic... having been made since 1972.
It is fruity and tangy and malty. Balanced.

Listed in the "1001" beers, it should be there.
MJ's 1999 edition gave it 3 of 4 stars and said "blends hoppy dryness and hessian notes with oily, treacly maltiness.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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Photo of drmeto
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-pours a clear copper-ruby with a big,frothy,offwhite head
-low to medium carbonation visible
-herbal,spicy,bready,cough syrup,slight coffee,nuttytoasty finish
-medium to high bitterniss for the style
-medium carbonation
-medium body
Very spicy English Strong Ale.
Pretty good overall

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Photo of DypsoBubble
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Colour of Coke. Pours with a small head that dissipates to nothing in a few minutes. Aroma of malt and molasses. Tastes of molasses, prunes, licorice and a hint of blackcurrant. Medium mouth-feel for a dark beer: not too heavy and not too light. Quite a lot of carbonation. Bitterness at the middle and back of the tongue that lingers and very slight sourness. Not very hoppy up front. Tastes pretty high in alcohol but with little burn. Enjoyable.

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Photo of takusan1000
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 1/2 liter bottle that had been aged for 7 months. Dark golden appearance with a foamy head and lacing. Light, sweet smell that isn't assertive. Taste is great--initially a strong syrup/molasses taste that isn't cloying--honey and herbal floral tastes, honeysuckle. A complex bittersweet, buttery character quickly takes over, crisp but still rather heavy in mouthfeel. Dried fruit--apricots, raisins, currants. Typical taste of ESB and English ales in general of a good toasted breadiness. Overall a little too sweet for my tastes, which makes it a heavier beer than I would like, but I would happily get it again.

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Photo of janubio
3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber colour, with a thin head that leaves ring and lace. Aroma of chocolate, licorice, dark fruits, plums. Creamy, not much carbonation, medium body. Taste of chocolate, plums, dark fruits. Bitter rough finish.

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Photo of Lemreway16
4.51/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Some beers bridge the divide of draught into bottle - Everard's Tiger, Timothy Taylor's Landlord are examples. This beer on draught is virtually unbeatable. I used to live in East Anglia and it was the King of draught beer. There is a however its not the same in a bottle, why? its far too strong and the taste is over powered by its strength.

From the pump @ 4.7% its unbeatable - from the bottle @ 6.3% its too strong to be a session beer and in my mind relegates it self to the one off bottle/specialist taster style.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

on cask, imperial pint glass. light brown with white head. slightly sweet aroma. taste is mild and malty, a bit of toffee. medium bodied, soft carbonation.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

According to me [I don’t trust that guy] I have previously had Adnams Broadside. I don’t remember this... or they changed their label design... either way it shows how reliable I am as a witness*. IIRC their Bitter is pretty damn tasty (I rated it 6.95/10 which is just below above-average for my rating system - granted I was a harsher critic back in those days - I’ve become much more forgiving in my old age) so I’m expecting a solid gold turd of a brew here [‘solid gold turd’ being an honour I bestow on only a few beers - the crème de la turd].

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Presents a clear deep maroon body with a 1cm beige head that sticks around quite well, I like. 8/10.

S: Quite plum driven with macerated fig and brown sugar rounding out the biggest aroma characters. There is a bready yeast centre with notes of cream sherry and tea leaf in there as well. A broad English canvas from which Adnams provide us with a decent broadside of a brew. 8/10.

T: Dark English ale in its essence - plum, fig, brown sugar - fruit cake in a glass... similar to Theakston Old Peculier but lacking the finesse of Theakston’s Old Ale. There is a slight medicinal herb bitterness with a metallic note at the finish. Hmmm, a roasted nut character in there as well. Not bad... not knees of the bee either though (bees do have a lot of knees - you can’t compete with their knees, don’t even try). 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a thin/flat carbonation. 6/10.

D: I can see where Adnams were going with this English Special Bitter-cum-Old Ale, and it is surely a top drop, not ‘solid gold turd’ good, more a ‘cat piss respectable’... which is still quite decent. I know what you’re thinking - why do my beer approval terms contain “piss” and “turd”? Simple - I’m Australian. Everything here degenerates to urination/defecation terms of endearment... I’m not taking the piss: This is a tasty brew from Adnams. 7/10.

Food match: Rack of beef, roasted with all the trimmings (aka gravy, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding).

*Note: if you were going to murder someone, and I suggest not doing this in the first place, but if you do it in front of a witness hope it was me (as the witness of course - I’m not into the whole being murdered thing).

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Photo of Reidrover
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint bottle purchased from Lifesource Natural Grocer Salem OR $4.99 Dark amber coloured ale with a small,bubbly tan head. Great typical English malt and hop aromas. Hay,nuts,leafy and earthy very nice. Balanced taste..interesting and with a strong light chocolate finish. Great smooth mouthfeel. Good traditional ale...excellent stuff.

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Photo of scream
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this quite a bit, but I am a fan of the English styled brews. There are others that are better but the distribution here in the U.S. is pretty thin at the moment. This is one of the best available from my perspective.

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Photo of dogin26
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

I rate this beer seriously high not just because of its quality flavours but also the price point. Here is australia i can get a case for cheappppp.

Great toffee, caramel malts with dark but easy drinking fruits. Banana also makes an appearance. Just delicious

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.83/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Adnams Broadside (bottled version, introduced in 1972) has a very thick, creamy, beige head, a clear, bubbly, copper appearance, and significant lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, syrupy, brown bread crust, nut, and mild hop oil. Taste is of banana, sweet, brown bread, sugar, and a mild, balancing, straightforward bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and somewhat slick, and Adnams Broadside (bottled) finishes semi-wet, easy drinking, and not the least bit alcohilic.


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Photo of SmashPants
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: A large dark brown 500mL bottle with a decent label. (3.5)

Appearance: pours out a dark red-brown in colour with a moderate amount of fine carbonation visible. A fantastically thick and creamy one-finger beige head hangs about for quite a time, with great lacing. Looks good. (4.5)

Aroma: definite notes of earth and resin, some bread malts and a touch of some sweet alcohol - perhaps sherry. (4.0)

Taste: a fantastic combination of the characteristics on the nose - earth and resin with bread malts and heavy fruits. (4.5)

Aftertaste: some sherry comes through in the aftertaste, along with the full profile on the palate lingering for quite a time. (4.5)

Mouth feel: medium in body with a moderate carbonation that brings the flavour through nicely - if you decide to let it warm enough. (4.0)

Overall: one of the better beers I have had to date, and certainly one of the best English Bitters. Generally I find English Bitters way over-priced and pretty boring, but this one is full on flavour and a very decent price. An equivalent price of 24 x 330mL case for AU$55 (2014) is almost unheard of for something this good. Surely this must be an introductory price, as this is a new ale to Queensland...

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%

Poured from 500ml bottle fresh from the local Waitrose down the street in Marylebone, London. 2 for 3 GBP sale...not bad.
Pours a deep amber brown with reddish highlights in the light. Off-white, tan head with dense foam.
Nice nose...something lacking from most of the ESBs I've had here. Malty caramel notes.
Flavor is rich. Solid malt backbone with smokey flavors and some caramel. Nice bitterness on the finish in an overall well-balanced beer.
I will likely pick up a couple more soon.

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Photo of Wobbly
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

A: Deep amber-brown. Lovely, dark bloom, which dissipates after a few minutes. Minimal lacing.

S: Strong malt backbone, with a wine-like fragrance. Almost port-like in fact. Definite notes of nut and oak.

T: Very well balanced, strong bitter. Toasty, biscuit flavors. Port-like alcoholic flavor. Very dry and surprisingly refreshing.

O: Outstanding example of how great English bitters can be. Along with Fuller's ESB, this is one of my favorite examples.

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Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Deep, dark, ruby red. Good head and lacing.

Aroma: Dark fruits. Reminiscent of Belgian dubbel and not too far off in abv. Cola. toffee and raisins are all pleasant. This smell very malty and sweet with a bit of booze. There's some stout-esque roasted malt in there too. Nice/

Taste: This beer tastes like toffee. Swueet and delicious. Malty, roasty and delicious. Broadside is full bodied. Theres a touch of English hop bitterness at the back end underlying the predominant syrupy sweetness. Very unctuous in flavour.

Overall: This is really a great English Ale. Right up there next to Fuller's 1845 in this genre.1845 is considered a strong ale while this is an ESB. I would say there is very much overlap between these styles. A wonderful break from hops and a real taste of the full bodied potential of English beer when breaking free of the confines of English session beers. Highly recommended.


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Photo of magpieken
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

500ml bottle. BB 28/02/15. Batch A4044. Pours a deep, dark, ruby colour with a generous beige head. It looks very inviting. Stewed fruit, golden syrup and moderate hop aroma but it’s all very subtle and in no way overpowering. Hints of nuts. Light to medium sweetness is balanced by an earthy, medium bitterness which lingers. Medium body which finishes in a semi-dry manner. Decent enough but it didn’t quite knock my socks off.

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Photo of admiral
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A great example of a strong English ale/bitter

aroma: treacle, dark fruit/fruit cake, candy and minerals

taste: dark fruit/fruit cake, candy, treacle/brown sugar, raisins, currents with slight vanilla bean and toffee and a touch of spice/pepper. rich malt and fruit cake combined - very tasty!

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Photo of PolarBear3
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark reddish colour with a slightly tanned head and two finger lacing that retains fairly well

S - Yeasty , spice with banana, some toffee or sweet candy apple, quite a bit going on here

T - Not as pronounced in the palate as the nose some slight toffee, roasted malts, banana along with the spice, almost slightly peppery and bitter on the finish

M - light to medium bodied with low carbonation (a little watery)

O - Not a bad beer ale but lacks a real punch to bring you back for more

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Photo of chogm54
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle into a pint glass.

A-pours a thick frothy off white head. Clear. Dark mahogany.

S-nothing much here. Molasses,malt,toffee not too strong or appealing

M-faintly roasted malts with a nice strong choppy bitterness at end. Not as malty and a relatively short finish for an English strong ale

F- dry texture, thin bodied,low carbonation, slight metallic finish.

O- nice bitter. Just like on tap, the warming abv and choppy bitterness puts this beer ahead of other bitters

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Photo of woodychandler
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

ChANdler is a Britsh surname referring to both a CANdlestick maker as well as a storekeeper aboard ships. Ironically, I was literally and figuratively a ChANdler/chandler for just over fifteen years on four different U. S. Navy ships and my heart remains at sea, on the open ocean. Imagine my elation at seeing this reasonably priced bottle on the shelf recently!

From the bottle: "Commemorating the Battle of Solebay (1672); "Broadside is brewed to commemorate the Battle of Sole Bay, the fierce battle fought against the Dutch Republic in 1672 off the Suffolk coast. The English fleet was moored in Southwold with Admiral Edward Montagu & most of his sailors drinking in local ale houses when called to action! Broadside uses east Anglian malted barley and only one hop variety - First Gold. This dark ruby red ale is full of malty, fruitcake-like flavours and is great savoured with strong cheddar. Delicious served cool."

I popped the cap and began with a heavy-handed pour that netted me two dense fingers of tawny head head with great retention, slowly falling to create some marvelous lacing. ADM Montagu nodded in approval as I directed the helmsman to bring us alee, starboard of those Dutch bastiges. Color was a deep amber with ruby highlights (SRM = > 17, < 22) and NE-quality clarity. Truth-in-advertising time! The nose was, indeed, quite malty and fruity and the descriptor of "fruitcake" definitely applied to both myself and the beer. The order to "Release batteries!" was given and the ship rocked sideways in the water as I hefted the glass to my lips and let fly. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was semi-sweet, at most, with the malt having done its thing and the yeast having had a field day. The taste was very biscuity and fruity and I could think of nothing but fruitcake. Deelish! In the meantime, we had the bloody Dutch on their heels. Our double-crack'd CANnons left those clog-wearing punks on their heels and they had no choice but to tack away and northward from whence they came. One of our lads incurred a splinter which will almost assuredly cost him his arm, though. The finish was fittingly dry and as we headed for safe harbour, I toasted our brave lads in a job well done.

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Photo of Foyle
3.05/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours with a 2" foamy off white head that recedes very slowly and leaves significant lacing. Ruby red/brown in color with mild carbonation bubbles.
Aroma: sweet fruit, clove, spice, earthy hops
Mouthfeel: medium bodied and somewhat watery. A little sticky with a semi-dry finish.
Flavor: a complex combination of sweet flavors (licorice, banana, clove, raisins) with a strong earthy hop presence for balance.
Overall: a very good, but not outstanding beer. I would not consider this beer sessionable as it is quite filling. It would be best served as a dessert beer or paired with proper food (such as strong cheese or roast beef).

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Adnams Broadside from Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
3.88 out of 5 based on 279 ratings.
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