HopHead | Dark Star Brewing Company Limited

68 Ratings

Brewed by:
Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 3.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-19-2003

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of paxton1978
4.97/5  rDev +27.1%
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...

 370 characters

Photo of Ruds
4.92/5  rDev +25.8%
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 TheLongBeachBum
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Presented in a straight sided Pint Glass at d.b.a. on a rather chilly and drizzly dark November night during a recent week long stay in NYC. Straight out of the Cask and dispensed through one of the Beer Engines at the end of the bar. Enjoyed a Pint of this with my fellow BA and Ex-Pat Sir Alex the Imbiber.

Appearance: Luscious golden body, clear with some residual milky conditioning, a good sign that, took some time to settle but this must have helped it form a nice looking tightly compacted white head when it did, which in turn must have contributed to its great staying power. Impressive soft carbonation and a fine presentation.

Nose: High strength aroma for a Cask Ale. Lots of fruity odors mixed in with a laid back but juicy hop character, cut grass and a very floral dimension, all of which is nicely balanced by some grassy tones and light hints of toasted malts.

Taste: As good as it gets; more lightly toasted bready malts merge with a supreme balance with an accent on grassy hops and a classic English Bitterness. Immense clarity of vision and a very refreshing crisp and clean feel. Bloody Hell this is a great brew.

Mouthfeel: The conditioning in the HopHead on the day I had the beer was very impressive. Obviously my pet bitch that US Bars so often mis-use or never use spiles properly is not the case at d.b.a. The talcum soft mouth feel mixed perfectly with the hoppy tang and fruity aspects of this one. Quite Simply – Perfect.

Drinkability: You what?!?! A straight 5. And its only 3.8%!!! Easily one of the most quaffable English Ales that I have had in New York. I am sure it is partly down to the fact that this was served “reet on form” and at the epoch of its cask prime, but a majority of the quaffability is down to its supreme balance.

Overall: A long overdue Beer Review that I promised my good friend Imbiber and the BeeryMatts that I would add, even though I don’t usually add them for Beers drunk in Bars, it took a while, but I make no excuse for making an exception in this case. This truly was and is a really great Working Class English Session Bitter with a killer hoppy twist.

Sampled alongside one of New York’s favorite Englishmen, and at the same time appropriately dedicated to another one. Is it really 25 years? Dr. Boogie could have got his Pension in England this year…….doesn’t seem right does it?

“You're just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You've got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It's all down to you, mate. Power to the People”
John Winston Lennon, 9-Oct-40 to 8-Dec-80.

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Photo of Rob-Allen
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great season beer. Strong on flavour but very drinkable

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Photo of spry
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Photo of gentlebubbles
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


Bright straw-yellow with low, fluffy head. The piercing citrus scent gives fair warning of the grapefruit, grapefruit, grapefruit. Nice juicy finish that sets you up for another one. Yummy, easy drinking.

They call it a bitter, but I'd say it's an excellent rendition of the juicy American IPA, like Concord IPA or the Bastard.

 342 characters

Photo of MatJones
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled on cask at the Beer Circus in Croydon, outside London, Nov. 2004.

This English Bitter poured a clear, dark golden color with white, sudsy foam that persisted and clung to the glass. The smell was nicely fruity and floral hops. A very nice, strong aroma. The taste was hoppy, floral and bitter with a light malt sweetness to balance. The mouthfeel was smooth and hoppy with medium-light body and low carbonation. The hoppiness lingered nicely in the aftertaste. This was a very good bitter, and would make an excellent session beer.

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Photo of wl0307
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I always went for a pint of this beer whenever I got a chance to visit the Evening Star pub in Brighton. Sort of got used to it when living down south. But it was not until moving to London have I really started to miss it... Happy to see it on draught at my local Wetherspoon's pub in East End London recently, praying that it'd be fresh and nice...

A: it pours a pale straw colour, with extremely tiny, fine bubbles in the liquid, and a very thin, white beerhead lasting well and leaving tight lacing around the glass.
S: white grapefruit-peel dominates the nose along with a semi-sweet, juicy fruity note, against a mild malty aroma. Overall the hop aroma is very assertive but not aggressive.
T&M: upfront is a mouthful of juicy, softly-citric hops (Cascade?), with very soft palate of malts underneath; reasonably lingering aftertaste of fruity hops and a hint of wild, high-mountain honey and pollen-like floral flavour on the tongue. Towards the end the hops gradually overwhelm the mouth, resulting in a kind of crisp bitterness b/w the teeth and tongue, arousing more and more thirst~~
D: overall it's a thin-bodied, balanced hoppy ale with almost full flavour; extremely enjoyable!

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Photo of
4.3/5  rDev +10%
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 StJamesGate
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
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 risenz
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KevinRailton
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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 stephenlee
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sfprint
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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 robotiks
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bosox941827
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
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 sephyrott
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jcarriglio
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of chickenm
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ChapelTom
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of IPeteA91
4/5  rDev +2.3%

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

Photo of paulys55
4/5  rDev +2.3%

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HopHead from Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 68 ratings
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