Batemans XXXB | George Bateman & Son / Batemans Brewery

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Batemans XXXBBatemans XXXB

Brewed by:
George Bateman & Son / Batemans Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-18-2002

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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 139
Photo of Offa
4.92/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is, to me, another wonderful English ESB, balanced and well-rounded in character, with deep complexity.

Deep, bright copper, it has a very large light tan head slowly shrinking to a permanent, rich frothy top and frothy lace.

The aroma is rich, caramelized, toasted bread, hints of licorice, gingerbread, tea leaves, caramelized-fermented fruit (figs), and orange, with plenty of buttery caramel. It is complex, balanced, and wonderful.

The taste is similarly wonderful, fruity, spicey, peppery, with buttery caramel, toasted bread, citrus, a full-bodied malty sweetness just dominated but nice spicey-citrusy-leafy bitterness that takes over just at the finish, but leaving a sweet flavour to linger.

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Photo of diablo14
4.87/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

XXXB is without doubt the best English ale i've ever had. There just aren't enough good things I can say about it. If I was only able to drink this beer for the rest of my life i'd be more than happy.

Gorgeous deep amber color with a thick golden head that never quits. Big aromas of dried fruits, malt and a wonderful hoppy scent. Biscuity malt flavors with raisins, plums and a little orange. Traces of toasted nuts also. The finish has a little hint of anise spice. Spectacular hops bitterness that is dry but incredibly smooth. Rolls over the tongue like magic, and really awakens the senses. Firm in body, full in flavor and for all of its character its still highly drinkable.

There's plenty of English ales I love out there, and XXXB heads the list. It's everything you want the style to be, only better. This beer is so good, its one of those that you can remember vividly even if you haven't had one for months. The mere thought of it brings memories of the wonderful flavors and aromas, complex yet subtle. Absolutely brilliant.

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Photo of koolk
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong orange-burgundy in colour with firm carbonation and a tough thick head.

Top aromas of fruits, spicy malt and leafy hops mingle together seemlessly and very very plesantly.

Palate is long, thick, full and not overly bitter. Strong darkish fruit flavours come through (dried fruits perhaps?) with a decent spicy bitter kick, but again, nothing out of control.

A wonderfully balanced beer that is worth the asking price.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's too bad that so many American palates are spoiled on domestic version of hoppy ales that they cannot enjoy something traditional & English. This beer deserves far more credit than it receives.

Pours luxurious amber with slight brownish tint, with nice contrasting white head. Nose is rich with black tea aromas, caramel, biscuit dough, and fresh roasted walnuts.

Palate is rich with biscuit malt, walnuts, caramel, and a soothing herbal hoppiness to balance it out. It's not a hops in your face Pacific Coast pale ale. It has balance, and it's very drinkable. Underappreciated.

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Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a mahogany color and a somewhat clear consistency. What head there was dissipated quickly. Good lacing.

S: Smelled of malt, sugar, biscuits and a bit of spices.

T: One of the better tasting ESBs out there. Malt, caramel, biscuits and pepper. A stronger, more robust taste for an English beer, but definitely tasty.

M: A vibrant amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is an incredibly drinkable ESB with a lot of character and flavor. Very easy to like.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yes! Pleasure to have come across this ale stateside. Saw this brewery featured in Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter television series.

Hmm. If you've had a Fuller's ESB (or other British bitter, for that matter) - that's the smell. Mild, by American standards, but actually, this one packs a tiny bit more bitterness and fruitiness than a Fuller's, et al. I wouldn't characterize the bitter as "hoppy" per se - perhaps ever-so-subtly. But you must know what you're looking for in a bitter from the isle. This delivers. It's modestly fabulous.

The bitter character is fantastic. I really dig this utilization of hops. Getting some caramel notes and the fruitiness is in check. Artfully balanced.

Rich and smooth feel, solid stalwart body. Wonderfully bitter aftertaste that emerges glacially and inhabits every corner of mouth. Mildly peppery as well.

Had quite a few bitters from the UK and this may be the most bitter. Up against many American versions, it stands up strong and can trade some blows. I'd be delighted to drink this again whenever.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is my first ale on this trip to England .... and it will be an experience hard to beat ....
the smell of starfruit and ginger cookies, taste of roast chicken on toast, and a very pleasantly bitter aftertaste make this brew a very interesting and well crafted one .... definitely one of 500 beers to drink before you die ....

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Photo of Thirsty2383
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first encounter with Batemans beer. Poured from distinctive 16.9oz bottle into a chalice glass.

A= Copper color w/ thin head, almost no lace.

S= Not as hoppy as I expected. Sweet and spicy scent.

T= Bitterness falls somewhere between most pale ales and ESBs I've tasted. Well balanced, not overwhelming. Mild caramel blended w/ fruity flavors. Refreshing.

MF= Medium-bodied, lots of carbonation.

D= Very drinkable, pub-style ale. Goes down smoother and cleaner than many American ESBs.

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Photo of Doiv
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a delightful golden ruby colour with a nice thick tan head, which lasts forever. The lacing left is easily noticeable.

The nose is hoppy, fruity, slightly bready, and has a little cinnamon backbite to tweak the olfactories into gear.

The taste is also somewhat spicy, with fruity and hoppy tones to compliment. It is also quite bready in taste, almost akin to scones.

The mouthfeel is excellent and the clean refreshment this pint provides makes it drinkable.

Top stuff Bateman's!

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured in a big wine glass at 57 F/ 14 C.

Bright amber color, head that quickly reduces to a ring, nice lace like cave paintings.

Nutty fruity grainy earthy aroma. Mild, but interesting and quite pleasant. Mainly straightforward grain and a surprising fresh melon aspect, with some earthy hops, and a bit of meat.

Tastes like nutty grain, with fresh honeydew and watermelon, mint, and earthy hop flavor and bitterness. An initial touch of fruity malt sweetness fades to a totally dry finish, with refreshing earthy tealike bitterness and mild astringency. Very well balanced, interesting, and quite tasty.

Pleasant texture, grippy yet smooth, but turns a bit watery. Extremely refreshing and drinkable.

Not just balanced, tasty, and refreshing, but interesting too. I enjoyed this.

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Photo of morimech
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear brownish amber color with two inches of solid head that had great retention. When the head does settle, it keeps a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Pleasant aroma of toasted bread, black tea, and citrus fruit. The addition of American Liberty hops threw me a little in this English ale but it compliments the beer nicely. I love the flavor of this beer. The malt sweetness is kept in check. Slightly toasted malt upfront before the hops add their flavors. The Goldings are detected first with some herbal and peppery flavor, then the citrus notes come in the finish. Has a nice rich mouthfeel for such a low ABV beer. My bottle says 5.0% ABV. Nice soft carbonation that is trying to mimic an ale on cask. Very drinkable with its low ABV and pleasant features.

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Photo of Mark
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This excellent beer was a clear medium amber in my Imperial pint glass. A white ,well formed bubbly head topped the nice looking beer and left sheets of visually pleasing lace. very earthy aroma with a sharp citrus taste. Solid malt base with fruity hops notably grapefruit and orange. Nice medium bodied beer that I enjoyed for it's smooth yet complex profiles. Another cask winner.

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Photo of EPortJake
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - rusty copper with a thin clinging head
S - sweet malt biscuit. Bizzarely, I get a hint of throat lozenge
T - malt biscuit, caramel with molases. Moderately hopped, but the farewell gives a peppery hop boost.
M - medium bodied and nicely carbonated.
O - the label descibes it as a "classic premium pale ale" but I look at it as more of a premium/special bitter. A favorite english tipple of mine since first tasting. Recommended.

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: nice deep coppery red. Good, creamy caramel head, average retention. Good lacing.

S: Malty, sugary sweet, wee toffee aromas. Raisiny & appley notes. This is poised to be rather exciting!

T: Malty, caramelly, sweet toffee, sugar. Some (little) hops. This is a true English ESB at its best. Not an American Pale Ale, for sure - waaay too well balanced. Brought me right back to the pubs of the Northern Lake District & Dales.

MF: Full, creamy smooth. Good English carbonation level.

D: I really, really enjoyed this one. A great pint to have with the chaps at the bar. Sooo English!

Overall: A real enjoyable pleasure! Got this "on clearance" for $2.49, wish I had bought a case, Really a taste of Northern England in a bottle. Excellent!

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pint, 0.9 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Caramel colored, small yellowish off white head that quickly resolves into only a thin covering of bubbles over about half the surface and a solid ring around the edge of the glass.

S = Heavy dose of caramel with light marmalade and just a hint of butterscotch.

T = Caramel, honey, fresh apples, even some bananas, fair amount of bitterness in the center of the tongue and into the finish.

M = Medium to medium-light body, just a touch more carbonation feel than I would like, good mouthcoating.

D = This is a very easy beer to drink and I could keep drinking them.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A copper, clear beer with quite a lot of carbonation for an ESB. A very small head that leaves a small ring on the side of the glass.

Smell of wood and caramel, biscuit and toffee. The wood is more like oak or at least fresh timber. A big fruitiness of the English yeast that brings marmelade, peach and nuts. There is a light hoppiness that smells English.

Taste is biscuity malt with oak and birch wood notes. The malt is also a bit caramellic and nutty. Together with the malt there is a great fruit attack with peaches and a bit strawberry. Bitterness is medium, but really nice and according to style. Mouthfeel is medium to thin.Aftertaste is dry and lingering bitter wood.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a brilliant copper hue with an eggshell colored head that settles quickly. Remaining is a thin film on the surface. Lacing is decent as well.

S: Bready malt and sweet fruits are present on the nose, with a sharp, floral hop character.

T: Malt is dominant in this brew, with hints of rising bread dough, caramel, and butterscotch. Floral, fruity hop notes give the beer a nice bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied, viscous and full of flavor. The finish is long and drying.

D: Overall, a solid ESB. I could drink this on an everyday basis.

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Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml brown bottle. No freshness info. is given on the label.
A: in a straight pint glass it pours a pale-copperish hue, with a thick and fluffy foamy head which slowly settles, leaving uneven sheets of lacing along the way; gentle streams of big bubbles.
S: as hoppy as malty upfront--semi-sweetish, almost candyish, biscuity malts with light touches of caramel are supported solidly by pronounced floral hops and beautifully tuned appleish aroma. A harmony in front of my nose, I must say.
T&M: delicious biscuity maltiness is intertwined with a slightly spicy, leafy hoppyness followed by lots of dried fruits, marmalade/ tangeine peel, licorice, a hint of (not sweet) caramel, and a profound black-tea like bitter-sweet aftertaste lingering towards the very last minute of tasting. The nectar on the palate is so tender and caressing, while a lively texture is retained throughout.
D: medium-bodied and very flavoursome, this is a truly lovely premium bitter. The bottled one I'm tasting now seems to be more pronounced in hoppyness than my last pint on cask which was predominantly malty. But as both versions are at 4.8%abv., I presume them to be of the same recipe? Both are very good though. Go, Go, Bateman's!!

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Photo of norwichboy
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear nut brown with a big frothy off white head which settles to a persisting collar. Lace coats the glass. To smell, it is not particularly strong but has a lot going on in it, with fruity notes (citrus, with some raisin and fig), biscuity malt and some spiciness (Ginger Nuts). To taste, mild toasted malt flavours on entry and mid palate with bitterness coming through on swallowing, leaving a long lasting bitter finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, with really good soft fine carbonation - it's hard to ask for more from this. Overall, this has a lot going on in it, although everything is done in a subtle way - it seems to need a bit of concentration to appreciate it's greatness.

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Photo of Pecorasc
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of the 1 pt. .09 oz brown bottle into a wine glass. Interesting ledge shape on neck of the bottle.

Medium to deep amber in color. Extremely clear. Low carbonation. Frothy, rocky head with all different sized bubbles that appear creep up the sides of the glass.

Aroma of toffee and butterscotch, subtle goldings.

Great toffee flavor (heathbar), carmel, appropriate diacetyl. The bitterness is restrained, but very balanced.

This beer has substance. Feels much more carbonated than it looks in the glass.

As far as drinkability, mission accomplished. One pint won't do. Could have drank 2 or 3.

Surprised to see American Liberty and wheat listed as ingredients. Very fine ale, nicely done.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been looking forward to this one for awhile. I love a good English ale.

A: Fits nicely into my English Imerial pint glass. A beautiful amber. The head starts at 1 inch but dies fast. Carbonation is a little on the high end to make this a 5.

S: Toffee, biscut, and a some caramel from the malts. The hops are floral and tea-like. Faint earthiness and some mild fruitiness from the English yeast.

T: Tons of great English character. Biscut and toffee are the main thing I pick up. The caramel comes out as well. The hops are very nice and provide a tea-like flavor with a hint of spiciness. The beer finishes with some faint fruitiness and just a hint of butteriness. A treat for those who like a good English ale. Lots of flavor for a low ABV. Bitterness is spot on for the style.

M: Light bodied, crisp and clean on the tongue. Too much carbonation for a traditional English beer, but I can deal with it.

D: All around, a great example of an English ESB. Right on for the style. Very flavorful and quite sessionable. Why the hell did I only buy one bottle? I must get more.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle bought from GapWines, Belfast...

Poured a deep coppery orange / amber colour... light creamy tan head poured fairly thick then faded quite quickly to light layer. Light lacing... Sparse carbonation...

Aroma - Lightly toasted caramel maltiness, biscuity, nice juicy fruits (oranges, pears, figs, some raisins), some nutty sweetness, grassy, light spicy / floral hops, some bready notes, light cinnamon traces...

Taste – Nice juicy tart fruits (oranges, apples, light figs, some grapefruits), light toffee sweetness, definite nuttiness, spicy hop bitterness, some nutmeg notes, toasted bread, nice biscuitiness..

Feel - Initially sharp then mellows out....Medium body... Very very quaffable - a perfect session beer...

Overall - A world class bitter - one of my favourites... Recommended !!

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Into a British pint glass, poured copper-red with more carbonation than expected, two fingers of beige head, great retention, and good lacing. The nose revealed the traditional expected notes of apple, pear, biscuit, and malt. The taste began with toast, biscuit, toffee, and caramel, dissolving to the aforementioned fruity flavors, and then finishing on a bitter dry toffee note. Smooth, yet slightly spritzy medium body. Excellent session beer with a great flavor progression.

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Photo of spointon
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a very cool looking 16.9oz uniquely shaped brown bottle into a straight sided English pint glass.

A= This ale poured a perfectly clear dark copper color (I could read the label on the bottle through the full glass) with a 1" creamy tan head. The head was soft and quickly dropped to a broken skim, leaving just a few traces of lacing behind.

S= Aroma was full of sweet malt and some light fruity esters. Hops were earthy and mildly spicy to the nose. Some very faint oxidation present but nothing off-putting.

T= Very "English" in flavor. Nice caramel-sweet malts up front with some drier biscuit notes in there too. The hops were full and spicy but not citrusy like American hops. Some nice fruity flavors crept in and out of each sip, showing some faint apple and pear. Finished dry and fairly refreshing.

MF= This was on the lighter side of medium bodied with a big carbonation release that remained soft on the tongue.

D= This was my first ale from Batemans. I found it to be a very solid English pale ale, and could easily drink a few in one sitting.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown color, reddish in tint, with one inch of sticky tan head. Great lacing, great retention. This is the perfect look for an English bitter.

The nose is also top-notch, although somewhat muted by the sticky head. Peppery, earthy hops with a biscuity malt profile. A little bit of floral character in those hops as well.

Flavors of apple, spice, rye, pepper, toffee, tea, and biscuits. This is the run-down for the particular style. Well done. Smooth and easy drinking, although pretty bitter for an ESB - good for me. Malts are clearly English in origin, with lots of toffee flavors. Maris Otter and Crystal - sounds about right. Wouldn't have guessed the wheat..

The body is medium, pretty smooth, with enough carbonation to keep it feeling light and easy to sip. The finish is peppery with lasting hop oils, which is great. Robust, complex flavor. Beautiful.

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Batemans XXXB from George Bateman & Son / Batemans Brewery
3.85 out of 5 based on 139 ratings.
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