A nice dark amber liquid with a fairly thin head, this brew is light on carbonation. After a few minutes I am only getting the odd bubble. Its very clear and clean looking with little to no lacing.
First aromas are warm white wine, malt, slight hints of acrid, burnt, well roasted malt its almost a burnt sugar smell. There's a smidge of earthy hop aroma.
There's a nice little effervescence on the tongue, its bitter and the alcohol hits the palate straight away with a wine like texture. Its smooth and glossy. The toffee malty flavours come through quite strong to meld with the bitterness and sometimes its like drinking a low alcohol bitter wine! Especially as the carbonation slows down. I can't decide if I'm enjoying this beer or not. It is flavours I'm not all used to and I find it challenging, but it leaves a pleasant mild after-taste that keeps drawing me back for another sip! The higher alcohol has slight warming effect and I can't really describe it as thirst quenching. This is not lawn mowing beer. This is evenings round the fire "God damn my feet are cold gimme an ESB" kinda beer.
All I can think of is how well it would go with cheese.
Damn it. I'm getting cheese.
So a little mild Camembert is pairing really well with this beer. As I linger over the bottle its warming up and I get more wine and sherry flavours that make this beer so very tasty when matched with food.
I don't know if English bitter would ever be my first choice for beer but I can see why its popular. I imagine this goes great with meals and the after-taste is mild and pleasant. Definitely something I'd like to try in its original climate.