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: 151 | Ratings: 277
Photo of tony223366
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful burgundy color with dark brown streaks. A really gorgeous color with a light tan 3+ finger head. Perfect clarity. Beautiful lacing and pretty decent retention. I love the way this beer looks!

S: As far as aromas I get mostly caramel malts with some more raw grain type aromas. Maybe a little brown sugar as well as some fruitiness. The hops come out mostly in a spicy way.

T: Oh man, this is excellent. What a great ESB. Some caramel and rich malt. Just a hint of that graininess. The hops are definitely bitter and on the finish. I get a little of the dark fruit but not much. The finish is so clean.

M: Just spot on. Really rich and creamy. Low carbonation. Just wow.

O: Crazy. This was so much better than I thought it would be. Honestly I saw the labeling about world's best brewery so I assumed it wouldn't be great... but it is. This (for me) constitutes a pretty perfect afternoon drinking beer. Rich, but not heavy, with a good kick and easily quaffed. Love it

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Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real great ruby red just like the bottle says, of dark red ruby and brown color. Hues of mahogany brown toward the top and orange on the bottom. Head has about two fingers and a faint whipped light caramel color lots of retention. Some hazy bubbles stick to the side just under the head. Real nice.

Great toasting grains and dry ripping barley. Fruity sense a bit of dry figs and dates, with a good hop dry bitterness. Very nice and impressive.

Taste has a real nice balance. Crackery dry malt, mixing with a good roast AND milky sweet softness. Slightly thin body, maybe even a little carbonation, comes with still enough richness to coat the palate. Faint hints of dried out toffee on the finish. Nice coating rich faint dark sugar sweetness on the swallow and even some banana.

A real pleasant beer, I've been wanting this for awhile and glad to have finally tried it. Fantastic.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The legendary Adnams Broadside, haven't had this in about 6 years, a 500 mL pour,

A: Pours a deep reddish brown with a medium white head, good retention, some soft lace.

S: Gorgeous full malt character, with a lot of minerality, toffee, real nice.

T: Gorgeous (I feel redundant) malt flavour with definite notes of dark chocolate and walnut skin. Strong hop character on the back end, earthy with some grass. Nice balance.

M: Full-bodied, creamy frothy feel, big for its style, long aftertaste.

O: It was great to revisit this legendary effort. Still just as good as I remember it, well worth the $4 for a pickup, glad they came back to the States.

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Photo of smcolw
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good blanketing lace from the modest head. Deep copper color, nearly brown. Appears clear.

Very mild, almost neutral aroma. Mostly malty, slightly metallic.

The flavor is an improvement with some darker malt elements. There's not much hop in the finish and the aftertaste is short lived. The body is above average like a typical British ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When I think about ESB's, I think about a strong English balance of hops to malt with a passionate masculinity, yet restrained character on both sides to make the beer as drinkable as it is complex. Where a tug-of-war is expected, a symphony of flavor is delivered.

The anticipation of garnet and ruby stained ale is met with an absolute and resounding burnish brown ale with tawny copper and amber, but the beer is much darker than I expected. But the slow release of foam amounts to a dense and thick blanket of foam that consists of finely knit carbonation and caps the beer for a long, long haul. with each tilt of the glass, the beer's creme clings to the glass and laces with intricate patterns and rings with each drink taken.

Firm and stately aromas of bread, brown sugar, toffee, and pastry crust are met with fruity scents of dried and pitted fruits that span cherries, apples, apricots, pineapples, grapes, dates, and figs. A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg allow the well melded aromas to sculpt a notion of fruitcake and rum-soaked breads.

The taste is delivered with a delicious and moderate strength of toffee sweetness, toated breads starch, and fruity esters for a taste that's alive, vibrant, yet restrained. Lightly aged notes allow for a slight wine vinous character to stem from fruit and into the woody taste of hops that seem of pine needles, grass, and earthen soil.

Richly textured with it's creamy and understated carbonation, but it's release of creaminess is met with the most pleasant of toast dryness, hop bitterness, and mild alcohol warmth.

Although this ale is a bit toastier and richer in malt character than I'm used to in most ESBs, especially my benchmark- Fuller's ESB, this beer seems of a stronger mild ale or a hoppy and soft brown ale of England.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1pt, 0.9 oz bottle poured into a Tulip stout glass. No date I can interpret on the bottle, but there is a stamp which reads "1347 01:09".

Appearance: Clear deep copper on the table, clear ruby-red to copper when held up to the light. Persistent 1/16" thin off-white head across the top with some persistent strands and sheets of lacing noted.

Smell: When cold, the First Gold hop as indicated on the back of the bottle dominates the aroma, coming across as earthy with a hint of skunk. As it warms up, the malts come out to play, with some toffee and caramel notes mixing in with the Single hop aroma.

Taste: Quick bitterness up front, then moves into a malty middle which has some buttery and toffee flavors in there. The hop bitter finish at the end is notable, but not lingering - counters the malt middle nicely. A beer simple in flavor profile, but it works very nicely.

Mouthfeel: Typical English ale - some carbonation on the tongue, a tiny bit watery but still smooth. Nothing special.

Overall / Drinkability: I suspect the simplicity of the one malt, one hop combination here would really stick out if this was on cask. Don't let it get too warm though - gets flat and a little too sweet towards the end. So with a full pint, I think one is enough to savor and call it done. Worth revisiting though.

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin yet dense beige head that died down but never completely faded away, leaving rings of lacing down the side of the glass.
S: There are aromas of earthy yeast in the nose along with notes of bready and grainy malts and hints of raisins.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a bit more fruity flavors, particularly as it warms up. There is a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink and is quite malty and flavorful for the style.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On cask at the Central Bar, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

Pours oxblood with a steady, creamy, white head. Sour grain and red pear on the nose.
Apple and tobacco leaf with spicy hops to end.
Light to medium, round and smooth.

Creamy with decent hops. A solid pint.
Considering this was pulled in a 'Spoons where a woman was retching at 4 in the afternoon, that's saying something.

Note: Labeled as 5.1%

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Photo of claspada
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are definitely not the strong suit of this beer. Slight toasted pale and sweet caramel malts. The earthy English hops are most prevalent but not "fresh" if that makes sense.

The tastes begin with a solid Marris Otter English pale malt backbone with complementary lesser caramel sweet maltiness. Hope soon join the picture; strong bitterness from the spicy and earthy English hops. Really one of the better/lingering bitter flavor profile of any English beer I have had lately. As it warms you get some nice English fruit yeast flavor contributions.

Mouthfeel is medium-full mouthfeel that makes the beer a pleasure to drink. Hops add a nice drying finish. Overall this is definitely one of the better English Strong Ales I have had in recently memory. ABV is well masked and the flavors and pleasant bitter finish make up for the average aromas. Recommended over the ESB from Adanams; both are good, but not revolutionary, but that is not their purpose.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Handpump halfpint at the Albany.

A: Clear orange-amber body under a thin off-white head that subsides into clumps and leaves light lace. Just fine.

S: Quite sweet and fruity, with caramelized plums and apricots coming to mind. No hops to speak of. Ok.

T: Maltiness up front, with the sweet candied fruits asserting themselves midway through. No hop flavors, but there is some bitterness on the finish that keeps it from being cloying. If you like your bitters on the sweet side, this is the one for you. Good stuff.

M: Standard cask softness, with the right amount of carbonation. very pleasant.

O: Not my favorite Adnams offering, but a solid beer all the same.


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Photo of popery
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark ruby with a thick, sudsy head of beige foam. Transparent, filtered. Good lacing.

The aroma shows a lot of fruity malt with raisins, prunes, toffee and toast. Some English hoppiness contributes a grassy, peachy note. Lots of sweet fruitiness.

The taste is sweet and malty. Lots of toffee, sweet dough and fruit. The hops get a bit vegetal but also provide more spice/grass/light stone fruit. Light bitterness keeps some of the sweetness in check, but it gets a bit cloying for me.

Mouthfeel is decent, though I preferred Southwold Bitter's mock cask feel. Carbonation is on the light side but pretty normal. Coats the mouth, for better and worse.

It's a decent ESB, but something isn't quite clicking for me. The fruitiness is a bit too all over the place, and the sweetness needs a creamier mouthfeel.

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Photo of fx20736
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a British Pint Glass. Served cool.

Deepish reddish copper with 2 fingers of a cream colored batter texture head which leaves scraps of lacing.

aroma of toasted malt and plummy fruit.

Chewy, viscuous mouthfeel.

malty, bitter with hints of burnt toast and plums.

Notes: tastes as much like a Strong Ale as an ESB. The bitterness, while not overpowering, clearly dominates this beer. It is a satisfying sipper.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden-copper body, fairly clear appearance, with a small, though sustained white head.

Smell: Fruit cake aroma of raisin pulp, dried apricots, and chopped red apples with a sweet-scent of caramel and bready malts.

Taste: Sweet maltiness at the start, with tastes of caramel, light treacle, and (English) toffee. Fairly bready throughout. Varied fruits. Leafy, lightly grassy hops with a medium degree of bitterness. Very slight chalky quality. Drying, malty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Light carbonation.

Overall: Fairly nice, balanced ale.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a beautiful root beer brown with a thick big bubbled but quickly disappearing cream coloured head.

Wonderful aromas of brewers mash, molasses, fudge, hops and malt, coffee and bitter chocolate.

The taste is no less complex with toffee nots with a sweetness running throughout to the bitter end where the hops bite with peppery teeth.

Chewy mouthfeel good low carbonation

A rich, fruity good tasting beer.

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Photo of rarbring
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A clear chesnut colored beer, ann off-white small head, little lacing.

The smell is rather modest, some nuts and pears.

Tasting initially of seet brown bread, then ripe apples and pears, modest bitterness.

Light carbonation, a refreshing/watery texture, a small body, a slightly dry finish.

Well balanced, no surprises.

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Photo of jcurtis55
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this one on tap at The Plough in London. This is a fairly average ESB. It has a decent aroma of hops and fruit. The mouthfeel is light. Tangy taste but not much body there. More to the aroma than the flavor, but it was also served pretty cold. It did go pretty well with the fish and chips.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap in the Kings Head pub, Southwold, one of Adnams own pubs.

A great beer, bitter and complex, quite a sharp taste of hops though not such a refreshing obviously hoppy taste.

Perfectly complemented the fish and chips I also had. Will definitely order again.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle Pours deep copper with little head, but good lacing.

Aromas of toffee and malts, sugar, some pear.

Tastes well balanced, very smooth (very) and a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. Very creamy as mouthfeel, given moderate ABV. No noticeable alcohol. Toffee comes though as it warms.

Could go a few of these in one sitting. The malts are really quite nice as the beer progresses.

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

Picked this up at the biggest beer store in the UK, Beers of Europe Ltd. Clear mahogany, ruby red pour with two finger head, nice lacing and decent retention. Strong fruity, malty nose overpowers any hint of hops. The taste is much the same. Dark fruit dominates along with molasses and maple syrup with hints of nuts, vanilla, cherries, rasins, and just a touch of chocolate. I get a little hop bitterness on the finish, but overall it's a bit too sweet for my tastes which really hurts the drinkability. Not a bad beer, just not my cup of tea...

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Photo of xylophonica
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 50cl bottle into a tulip.

A - Dark, solid colour. Good finger or more of head. Lacing is great.

S - Sweet wheat and herbs. Coffee & toffee.

T - Fairly light, burnt cacao flavour at first. Rich chocolate flavours as well.

M - Very mild on the tongue. Slight carbonation and burnt flavours to keep the tongue awake.

D - Quite easy to knock back. Nice on a winter's eve.

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Photo of champ103
4.52/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at several places around Aberdeen. The Cask Version is 4.7% ABV.

A: Pours a chilled hazed copper/orange color. A two finger tightly packed head forms with excellent retention. Spicerweb looking lace is left all the way down the glass.
S: Toasted malt, toffee, and lots of fruit. Apples and pears are dominate. Floral hops linger. Really inviting.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of fruity flavors of pear and apples that are great. Floral and grassy hops are asertave and balances everything out. This finishes a little sweet with some very nice toffee. Excellent.
M/D: A medium to full body with good carbonation. So creamy and smooth. Not watery at all. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. I can quaff a few with no problem. I want to keep coming back again and again.

This is an excellent ESB. The ABV of this on cask is much lower than the bottle. At 4.7% this is still a little far outside the traditional session beer range, but much more manageable than what is listed here, and incredibly moreish. Overall, just a wonderful beer, and a perfect example of an ESB. Up there with Fuller's.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours murky copper with a small off-white head.
Aroma shows lots of malt, with caramel, sultanas, golden syrup, brown sugar and figs. Some earthy hops noticeable in the background.
Flavours are very powerful, with loads more caramel, sultanas, dried fruit, nutty notes, sharp alcohol and roasted malt. Old ale territory. Hops seem to show up more here than in the aroma and contribute to a lengthy, mildly bitter finish.
Smooth rich body with low creamy carbonation.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the White Horse in London. The beer was bright copper colored with a thin head that laced all over the glass as it emptied. The aroma was nice, difficult to compete with my benchmark for the style (Fullers ESB) but still very nice. Some fresh hops on top with a toasted malt background. The taste was similar, with some sweet and dark fruits (apples, plums, raisins) providing complement to the hops. The creamy mouthfeel from the cask completes the experience, a strong contender in the style.

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Photo of seanyfo
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

50cl bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- A mahogany/ruby red body with a 2 finger head that is creamy producing good lacing and retention

S- Doughy breadiness. toasted malts.

T- Bavarian Dunkel Lager like toasted malt flavours, faint plain chocolate

M- Medium body, creamy

D- A moreish malty ale. Lovely toasted malt backbone would go delicious with chocolate. Flavours remind me of a dunkel but with the british velvety texture of a creamy ale. Delicous!

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Photo of bartle
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper tone with a thick, frothy white head. Very clear glaze, no haze. This looks very appealing.

Caramel tones from the malt, very noble, almost minty hop characteristics. Some scarce lemon zest. A slight buttery aroma, nothing offensive. Very soothing aroma.

Very sweet caramelized malt sugars, slight warming sensations from the alcohol. Some light apricot flavours which finish with a herbal hop finish. Hay barrels, or a sugared wheat cereal and a touch of nut flavours. Vanilla notes over the caramel and bready yeast. A touch of astringency. Finishes very dry and soft noble bitter. As it warms the apricots turn to golden raisins and figs. Remains on a lighter side of toffee.

The body is full, moderate carbonation that is a little higher than I'd like for the style. Dry, some yeasty character, well attenuated, well crafted. Dry and no extra sugars on the tongue.

This is very refreshing. A clean representation of the style and I'd love to try this cask conditioned. All n' all: a great bitter.

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Adnams Broadside from Adnams plc, Sole Bay Brewery
3.88 out of 5 based on 277 ratings.
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