Dark Star Brewing Company Limited

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English Bitter
Ranked #14
Ranked #16,350
3.9 | pDev: 11.03%
Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Notes: An extremely clean-drinking pale golden ale with a strong floral aroma and elderflower notes from the Cascade hops. This beer is full-bodied and full-flavoured yet gentle enough to make it a favourite session beer.

50 IBU
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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 77
Photo of Spike
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Clear, caramel colour with several streams of bubbles rising to a thin, short-lived head. Sweet malt nose. This is a nicely balanced, malt-forward, English golden ale with a heft of citrusy, Cascade hops. Mouthfeel is slick and slightly oily. Bitterness is light. A fine example of an easy-drinking, low ABV, summer ale. Not complex, not remarkable, but good stuff.

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Photo of JamFuel
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On cask at Akkurat in Stockholm.

Pours a clear yellow with some fine, soapy head.

Smell is hoppy and crisp with notes of citrus and rye.

Taste is floral and hoppy, very clean and crisp, with notes of citrus, rye and a solid, yet balanced bitterness.

Mouthfeel is real ale, soft and smooth with little carbonation.

Overall, a great summer beer, super clean and refreshing.

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Photo of LondonTavernTours
4.84/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a beer that will get your attention pretty quickly; that is, if you like a hoppy taste that is not overpowering. At 3.8%, this is a very suppable pale ale that hits the mark. Dark Star are well renowned in the UK for brewing hoppy style ales, and this is one of their best ever.

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Photo of tigg924
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a cask. Pours clear gold in color with one inch head. Taste is pear, lemon and chardonnay. Light bodied, moderate carbonation and bitter. Lovely beer. Fruity, English and tasty. Reminds me of Trilliums Dialed In. Would get again.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours clear pale-ale-gold with a smallish head that leaves minimal lace. Nose is not big, but pretty nice for such a small beer. Certainly citrusy/grapefruit, but also a bit of classical British hops with a little cardboard going on. Taste is actually pretty damn nice for 3.8%. Crushable for sure, but nice flavor. Clean citrus, a bit of tea, and really nothing off at all considering there isn't much to hide behind here. I wish they would teach other breweries how to make their low ABV beers this full flavored. This brewery has hit on every beer I've had so far.
Edit - sad to say, this beer has had a mild off flavor on the finish both of the last two times I've had it on cask (different locations). I've got to take them down a notch on the score.

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Photo of vinicole
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask. Straw to light amber. Very little head.
Citrus and floral hops.
Taste follows the smell and is balanced by some subtle malt.
Soft feel from a cask dispensed brew. An easy drinker.

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Photo of jonb5
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pint at the Hope Carshalton.

A: Golden, an initial haze cleared up to leave a clear beer, small head, a decent amount of lacing clung to the side of the glass.

S: Strong hints of grapefruit.

T: Sharp bitterness combined with hints of lime and grapefruit.

M: Smooth, minimal carbonation, slipped down quite well.

O: Lot’s of character and subtleness, outstanding session beer.

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Photo of hopley
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

• Look – 4.25 – Gold color and clear, 1 inch head that fades to nothing except a little layer on top and leaves sparse but artful lacing on the side
• Smell – 3.5 – Couldn’t get much smell but did smell fresh – more like a lager
• Taste – 4.0 – Bitter – just about right for an IPA.
• Feel – 3.75 – Light mouthfeel
• Overall – 4.0 – Enjoyed this beer but didn’t find it overly exciting as I’m more used to IPAs in the 6% - 8% range with a bit more body - but this one may be the carbonated, bottled version of what I’ve had on pulled on tap in Brighton at room temperature – prefer it that way.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Harp.

A pale looking ale with a nice white head. Toasty and bitter with floral hops. Otherwise very clean, somewhat on the insipid side. Some tea leaves in there. Has a Saaz like Duvel quality, especially in the aftertaste. Towards the end the tartness wears off. Toasty finish. Excellent mouthfeel. English in character, although slightly lacking in any. 4 four being clean and faltless, just a little insipid for my liking. I like that it tastes like Duvel.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big Beer night and this kicked it off

a good looking pint pale amber, clear and full on thick white head

nice citrus notes on the nose

tasted like a fairly standard bitter, okay the hops were slightly turned up
but not that much

good easy drinking beer but considering just HOW good cask beer can be
and how distinct Original Boddies was in it's day and the biting brews of Dobbins a bit run of the mill IMHO

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Photo of sleazo
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A_Golden straw hue with a nice white cap. Plenty of lace

S_Mild aroma of toasted wheat and a bit of fruitiness

T_Taste is similar to the aroma but much stronger. Mild toasted wheat up front with a strong hop wallop at the end. Grass and earth notes predominate with a bit of pine.

M_Medium body w fairly aggressive carbonation which promotes the hippiness

O_very nicely done. On the stronger end for the style hop wise but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Handpump halfpint at the Harp.

A: Clear gold body beneath a finger of creamy ecru foam that towers above the glass's brim, recedes slowly, and leaves some solid lace. Excellent.

S: Hoppy indeed, in a spicy, herbal, piney kind of way. Very sharp. Some husky malt as well. Good, not great.

T: Starts out with spicy hops, then mellows out with a nice wave of dry, bready malt, and finishes with powerful bitterness. A little astringent.

M: Medium-light body, low carbonation. Ok.

O: I honestly expected more out of this beer, having had good experiences with other Dark Star offerings, but this one was only a little above average for a session bitter.


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Photo of Ruds
4.92/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hophead - the ultimate session beer!

I've had this beer many many times over the last 10 years or so.

If it's on at a beer festival with dozens of beers I've never tried before, I will always push some aside for a pint of Hophead - that's how highly I rate this beer

Light to golden blonde in colour and ordinarily little head, it refreshes the palate immediately with cascade hops tingling your tongue

You really can drink this all day (within reason and your own capability of course!)

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Photo of sfprint
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Wenlock Arms in London

A: Transparent dull gold, zero carbonation and just a little fuzz for a head.
S: A very mild, smooth, almost sweet hops. bitterness is very mild yet retains a powerful hop smell. slightly planty. slightly cat quality to is as well (but not in a negative way)
T: Mild, slightly sweet grassy hops, but so mild bitterness. Very hoppy,. pretty damn smooth and delicious.
M: Turns your tongue into a fine grain sand paper, , dry, softish and fairly smooth.
O: Great, easy going down and very tasty.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.36/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at 7 Stars in London. From notes.

A - Poured with a half finger soapy white head on a light gold body. Head gone fast to thin ring then nothing. No carb as to be expected. Bright. No lacing. Looks weak.

S - Mild. English hops with a little spice and lemon.

T - Slightly spicy and peppery hop. A little lemon and that English hop profile again.

M - Mild carbonation, very light body. Dry and slightly bitter finish.

O/D - Tasty, light, and hopppy. Pump clip read 'light and hoppy' which is exactly what this is. Refreshing, crisp, and highly drinkable. Better than BMC anyday. Easy drinker.

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Photo of stcules
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light copper color, english foam, quite beautiful and creamy. One finger.
Inthe smell, quite a lot of hop, malty notes, and grainy. Light background grapefruit. Citrussy. Pleasant and light.
Soft taste, again citrusnotes, pink grapefruit like. Anyway, good, good hop.
Good drinkability, quite dry,pleasant, drinkable.

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Photo of
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Charles Lamb in London.
Appearance - It is pale straw in the glass with a slight white froth, but nothing you would call a head.
The aroma is dominated by clean floral hops with a subtle tart fruitiness.
The taste is well-balanced but leaning toward hoppy, with fruit and citrus near the fore as well. It’s a little lower in alcohol but still very full-bodied. If I could get this here it would be my go to session beer.

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Photo of bosox941827
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served hand-pulled at The Harp in London at cask temp in an imperial pint glass (is there any other way?).

A - Was REALLY surprised at the color; it is a clear yellow, almost like a classic pilsener or (dare I say it) a big American brewer. Very little head present upon handing over the pint.
S - A nice mix of malt and hops but not too much off the nose to be honest.
T - An American seeing the name "HopHead" might expect something different than this beer, and perhaps justifiably, as this really is more like an English bitter to me. However, taken in the context of the low ABV and the brewing location, that means a bit of pale malts at the front, and then a perfect balance of hops on the finish.
M - Very low carbonation (it's a cask ale) and a bit on the thin side.
Since drinkability category has been removed, I'll just note that you could drink this all night and be pretty happy; just a very well-made, perfect-for-sessioning beer.
Wish the appearance had a bit more "character" to it, but that's a fairly minor complaint; this is a great-tasting example of the English bitter style.

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Photo of paxton1978
4.97/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just wish I could give this a '10' for drinkability. Had on cask at the GBBF '10 and was the beer of the festival for me. Light, exceptionally hoppy and extraordinarily drinkable, this was a great treat since it's one that you can drink all day and still bursts with fresh hoppy flavour. Goes to show that big hoppy beers don't necessarily have to be booze monsters...

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Wenlock Arms, near Wenlock Basin, London.

Pours clear yellow with ringy white head. Resiny hop nose. Sourdough bread malts, a twiggy bitterness and citrus hops. Grapefruit pith leave. Light to medium, clean and a bit sticky.

As much hopping (both bitter and aroma) as you can fit into an ale without it being an IPA.

I'd love to have an American beer this low in ABV yet still this hoppy that I could quaff with impunity.

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Photo of gory4d
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Rattle N Hum last week. Presents with zero head, a clear, pale amber. The smell is straw, apples, and pine. The taste is grass, gooseberry, and a long, bitter, deliciously hoppy finish. There's no carbonation to speak of, but the mouthfeel is full and round. Incredibly easy to quaff.

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Photo of corby112
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hand-pumped at the Wenlock arms in northern London.

Pours a clear golden amber color with a frothy white head. Subtle hop aroma with slight pilsner malt presence. This is a very smooth drinkng beer. It is kind of watred down yet has a creamy characteristic with nice subtle soft hops. Crispy, refreshing nice dry finish but not very bitter.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the White Horse in Parsons Green. 3.80% abv, stamped pint glass.

Even, stable straw body. Generous white cloud and collar with lots of lace.

Stale lemon, pale malt, floral hops in aroma.

Palate is astringent, light, a bit acetic, on mild fruitiness and hop oil. Reasonably well balanced, although noble hop spiciness in the finish might be a bit overdone. Caramel cake, bitterness round out the finish well. Carbonation is a tad aggressive.

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Photo of fitzy84
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on cask at Moan and Dove. The appearance was definitely a slightly amber-colored gold color with a really bubbly head that extinguished quickly. The aromas were moderately potent of sweet citrus and hops. The taste had a bitter-sour balance going for it with vocal orange flavors. The thinness of the drink was enjoyable and light but I felt it did not have to be that watery. Overall, a simple but good drink.

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Photo of bark
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The colour is yellow with some hints of gold. The thin head is airy and white.

The smell is sweet with some notes of honey and lots of hops. It is bitter and a bit rough.

The taste is bitter. Lots of bitter hops, but in a very English way. More like an IPA than a Bitter. The malt is clearly in the second room here. Notes of beef stock and perfume-like esters. The aftertaste is a bit sour. It is rather short and finishes with notes of shortbread.

The liquid is creamy; the mild carbonation got some medium sized bubbles.

This beer was a bit if a disappointment: I found it unbalanced. Perhaps some American α–hops would have made it a bit better?

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HopHead from Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 77 ratings