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Tomos Watkin Old Style Bitter | The Hurns Brewing Co.

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Tomos Watkin Old Style BitterTomos Watkin Old Style Bitter
34 Ratings
Tomos Watkin Old Style BitterTomos Watkin Old Style Bitter

Brewed by:
The Hurns Brewing Co.
Wales, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A rich red premium cask ale produced using pale ale, crystal and wheat malt. A full fruity/citrus hop flavour of willamette and fuggle with the light aroma of goldings.

Bronze medalist at The GBBF 1999 and runner up in The Champion Ale of Wales 1999.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-03-2005

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 23
Photo of emerge077
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

New brewer, new country, Wales. Here goes...

A lot number and time appear to be printed on the neck "L0276 01:44".
On the price tag there's "05 11" which may be a received date... hmm.
Back label says "Imported by Cloverdale International, Algonquin, IL".

Open the bottle and whiffs of oxidation waft out. Bummer. Malty and bready with telltale mustiness and cardboard. It's color is actually nice, a dark saturated reddish auburn, with a half inch of tan foam on the surface. The foam dissipates to a skim, then to a bare circle around the edges of the glass.

Taste is malty and bready with some fruit qualities, raisin and apple, some tangy astringency though. Oxidation is present. Mellow cask-like carbonation level. Hope to find a fresher bottle of this down the road to re-review, if in fact it's still imported.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy apricot color with a decent head that splashes the sides of the pint glass with lace

Smell: Stone fruit and a bit of toffee

Taste: Opens with a nicely balanced malt and fruit element, with some caramel and nutty flavors that are offset by a hint of apple cider flavor; after the swallow, an herbal tea character that is interesting; also a bit of malted milk, honey and a hint of earthiness at the end

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A decent drinker; wish this were more widely available

Thanks, BuckeyeNation, for the opportunity

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Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice after work beer here.Poured into a imperial nonic a dull slight hazed copper/bronze with a thinner white head.Malt dominated aromas to be expected,caramel/biscuit and fruity esters with a hint of brown sugar.True to stryle the beers nuances came thru more as it warmed a little,toffee and caramel dominated the fklavor profile with just a light smack of leafy hop in the finish.A big time quaffer,light but flavorful,a nice bitter.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ripe kumquat with nothing but the occasional bubble disturbing the perfect clarity of the liquid. The modest cap is a lovely shade of orange-tinted ivory and has a sticky, bubbly texture that is mirrored in the copious amount of lace that finds its way to the glass.

I expected the nose to be more hoppy. I also expected it to be more citrusy and less earthy. For the record, Willamette and Fuggles were used for flavor and Goldings for aroma. A metallic character doesn't ruin things, but I could certainly do without it.

I'm pretty sure the earthiness is due to malt rather than hops. The darker than usual color of the beer is further evidence that a fair amount of non-pale malt is in use. Ah ha! A quick scan of the label tells me that crystal malt accompanies pale and wheat. That's too bad because I think ESBs should be hop showcases. Others may disagree, but then this is my review.

Tomos Watkin OSB is balanced beer, more or less. The nutty, lightly sweet, mildly caramel-like maltiness is complemented by a herbal, grassy, cold tea hoppiness. The metal from the nose comes across as a pleasant, hard water mineralicity on the palate. It all adds up to a better than decent ale that is probably best drunk straight from the cask in Swansea rather than from a bottle in Des Moines.

There isn't a thing wrong with the light-medium mouthfeel. Given the style, it's right where it needs to be. They've even done an admirable job with the lightly tingly carbonation. It may not be overly cask-like, but it's fine for a bottled product.

Old Style Bitter isn't the ESB of my dreams (lose the crystal malt), but it's enjoyable beer that grew on me from first sip to last. I'd like to see more U.K. brewers exporting their wares to the U.S. As long as they're reasonably fresh when they get here, as this one seems to be. Iechyd Da!

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Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a creme head. Flavor profile is definitely bringing some bitter. Not much beyond that. Just an earthy and somewhat citric edge. Feel is about typical. If you're going for this beer, you have to realize what it is. This is an English Bitter, so there are going to be some interesting and unique qualities going on that you have to focus on and appreciate. Overall it is decent. More of a sipper to me than anything else. Nice to try, but moving on.

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Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 500ml bottle, by Hurns Brewery, same address as above, but a brewery name change?

Drank on 25th march 2009, best before the end of may 2009. Poured into UK pint sleeve glass.

Bright and clear amber coloured body with a huge foaming off-white head. Plenty of carbonisation, well loads of bubbles rising through the beer anyway. Lighter in colour than I expected (old style bitter just made me think dark and musty).

Good malty, beery aroma. It may well be Welsh but it has all the hall marks of a good English Bitter, yeast and hops can also be sniffed as you drink this very pleasant beer.

Good flavours, of all things beery. This ale tastes like an ale, crisp, refreshing and clean. Wheat has been used, but I couldn't detect any, just malted barley on the grain front.

Very drinkable and one of the best beers I've had from Wales, ever.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a copper color with a 1 finger foamy light beige head that was sticky leaving a good solid rim lacing.

S: The nose was spicy with nutmeg, cinnamon and toasted caramel hints.

T: The initial flavor was sweet caramel with some alcohol spiciness (nutmeg, cinnamon). There was some dry pumpernickel bread hints, light toast, and a light bitterness as well. In the finish the dry spiciness comes through once again as well a light fruitiness of dried apples.

M: light, sweet, fruity, and softly carbonated leaving a slight sourness behind.

D: Average drinkability, not bad but nothing that would make me want to go out and buy again. Worthy of a curious try at best.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly, leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight malty nose. Flavor is malty, hints of sweetness. Mild bitter finish. $4.45 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of wl0307
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the Spar (a chain grocery store) in Church Stretton, Shropshire. Filtered, coming in a 500ml brown bottle. BB JAN 09, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: dark reddish amber to light copper in colour, with a nice-looking off-white foamy froth sustaining well. The fine carbonation flows constantly.
S: lightly metallic upfront, on top of fruits, plum jam and some earthy hops. Not so pronounced on the "citrus" note promised by the beer label (from UK and US hops); instead, a black tea-ish and brown sugary maltiness sneaks through the foam.
T: plenty of biscuity malts emerge from the very beginning, intertwined nicely with a floral hop flavour, while the rather light taste of citric sourness lags behind... The aftertaste packs some sour nuts and pines, with a very mild bitter palate (slightly chewy as well) in the finish.
M&D: fizziness comes quite light, on top of a medium body. This rather fruity pale bitter gets a pronounced floral and fruity influence of hops. The overall drinkability is just above average as shown by this bottle.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/26/08. Bottle. Pours a clear orange/brown with a huge tan head. Aroma of light fruits and toast. Flavor is quite fruity, with toast and marmalade. Very drinkable, tasty, and sweet. Enjoyable beer.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 14/20

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Offa
4.63/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful, subtle but highly complex bitter with a lot of great flavour.

Red amber, it has a medium-large pale tan head slowly shrinking to a permanent foamy top and leaving some weak lace.

The aroma is light winey fruit (plums, especally) with strong fresh bread and a hint of caramelized fruit.

The taste is sweet-sour fruit up front with light, zesty yeastiness, a lot of dry bread, especially in the finish, hints of leaves in the finish, hint of caramelly fruit and a finish that has very light bitterness and complex mix of dry leaves, toast, citrus, and black pepper, yet leaving a lingering aftertaste of caramelly bread and fruit.

This is wonderful, highly complex, with so much flavour balanced in it it's hard to describe it fully. It's highly drinkable.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at the Wine Gallery Kenmore for about $4. Poured into a British pint glass. Caramel brown and reddish color. Nice head retention. Ample carbonation. Smell was a bit hoppy and fruity, almost like apple. Had a nice malty flavor to it, with perhaps a slight twinge of pine noticed. It's a thin beer, as it's made that way. Got a bit of a dry cotton feeling in the back of the throat about three quarters of the way through the bottle. Low abv makes this an easy drinker. Maybe not an all night beer, but a few would be no problem.

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Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a 16.9oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Caramel tea colored with a creamy white head. Mostly clead but somewhat of a chill haze is formed.

Aroms is really bready and biscuity. Sweet and some dark fruits are apparent as well. Not sure I am liking the sweet caramel aromas of this one. I was hoping for something a little more blalanced, meaning not as sweet.

Sweet on the tongue at first but followed by some roast bitterness and chocolate. I am liking the roasty bitterness but still a bit more caramel than my liking. Plenty of biscuit flavor makes this one a nearly full bodied beverage.

Due to the sweetness, I dont see this as a top tier version of the style. A little less caramel would really be spot on. I guess I liked it but I dont think I will revisit.

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Photo of albern
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent, creamy, low ABV English Bitter. It pours a nice copper color, fairly clear, small but nice creamy and foamy head, some lacing and retention. The nose is sweet malts, some cracked grains, nothing memorable, but certainly in line with the style. The taste is quite sweet, moderately carbonated. This is a fairly uniform, unidimensional beer with some leafy hop presence, but mostly sweet malts. Most interesting is the labelling which tells you that the taste is "treacle" and the beer should be paired with vegetables, beef, etc. The symbols used on the label for this purpose are a hoot, and worth seeking out on that basis alone. Of course, they also tell you that the beer should be paired with friends ... how quaint! Not a bad beer, fairly fresh, light bodied, nothing special, but certainly characteristic of the style.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle poured into a tulip stout glass. While there was a digital stamp on the neck of the bottle, the numbers didn't obviously mean anything to me.

Appearance: Translucent orange-copper beer with a very light tan head. Poured an impressive 1/2" thick head initially, which died down to a thin head across the top with lots and lots of lacing all over the glass. Head comes back with a swirl and stays around a bit with still plenty of lacing.

Smell: Toffee-like malt with a tea-like hop smell. Very much like a classic bitter.

Taste: Toffee and caramel malt up front moving quickly into a bitter finish. Every now and then there is some nutty flavors in there...peanut, walnut? Can't place it. The bitterness isn't quite as tea-like as it was in the smell, more like an English bitter finish. Very simple in the flavor profile here, with the bitterness being most of the flavor once the sweeter malt moves out of the way.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation on the tongue with something sticking to the teeth, but otherwise just a hair thicker than water. Actually, quite a lot of carbonation for a bitter. Otherwise, nothing special.

Drinkability: After drinking this, I think it would be better with food. The carbonation does a good job cleansing the palate, and I think with the simple flavor profile, it would compliment food nicely rather than get in the way. By itself though, it's just okay. Maybe a lot warmer or on cask (less carbonation) I would enjoy it more by itself. Good looking beer though.

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Photo of Foxman
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours an almost clear classic amber with gold margins. A finger of uniform off-white head descends to patchy froth. Hyphens of lacing dash along the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, tasted malt and caramel are lightly sweet and fruity. A muted floral spiciness and a couple crumbs of biscuit swirl in the distance.

Upon tasting, and aptly understated malt sweetness denotes caramel and English toffee. The hops are subtly bitter and especially crisp, with a spiciness that goes just so. The middle mellows as yeasty biscuit and the merest touch of residual grain sweetness are dried by the lingering crisp bitterness of clean living hops in the finish. It's all about subtlety and the ensuing appreciation.

Light bodied, it flows with an easy gait and closes clean and dry on the palate.

I could say subtle ten times, and I wouldn't be overstating this refreshing characteristic. This is what I want when the extreme stuff is a bit much. It's crisp and clean, low-key, and nicely drinkable. This beer says session, right out of the OED. I'm thinking maybe a case would look real nice in my DBF.

 1,107 characters

Photo of Rwalford74
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of nick76
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is sweet and nutty with floral hops, yeast, caramel, toffee, and fruit. The appearance is hazy amber with a small head. The flavor is like the aroma but more bitter than expected. The palate is thin. Overall a pretty good example of the style.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.99/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a medium brown with a nice one finger head that fades to a small ring around the edge in a short while. There is no lacing to speak of. On the nose it's like a date or banana bread. On the tongue there is so much going on it's kind of hard to follow in a very pleasant way. There are apples and definitely raisin and other dark fruit notes right up front that lingers for a while, giving way to a really nicely restrained bitterness further back on the tongue that also sticks around. In the mouth it's a medium finish defined by a slightly prickly, again in a good way, slight carbonation. I can see myself sitting down for a ploughman's lunch with two of these. Really a nice beer that I bought on a whim because it was a style I've just recently come to enjoy.

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Tomos Watkin Old Style Bitter from The Hurns Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 34 ratings
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