Best Bitter

Glassware: Dimpled pint
  • England
  • Ale
  • ABV = 3.8 – 4.6% (Lower to normal)^
  • IBU = 25-40
  • SRM = 8-16
A lower-strength pale English ale with an emphasis on hop bitterness over hop flavour.


  • Colour^ = Gold to amber
  • Clarity = Good to brilliant

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Low to moderate; bready, biscuity or lightly toasty; often with a caramel quality
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity
  • Hops = None to moderate; floral, earthy, resiny, and/or fruity, if present
  • Malt = Low to moderate; bready, biscuity or lightly toasty; often with a caramel or toffee-like quality
  • Yeast = Moderate; fruity
  • Hops = Low to moderate; floral, earthy, resiny, and/or fruity
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Pronounced
  • Balance = Towards bitterness, but the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt, yeast and hop flavours

Dry finish


  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = Low, if served on cask; medium, if bottled

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pale ale, amber, and/or crystal/caramel malts; may use a touch of dark malt for colour adjustment
  • Yeast = British ale yeast
  • Hops = English hops are traditional
  • Process = Emphasis is on the bittering hop addition, not the middle and late hop additions for aroma/flavour

Historical Development:

Evolved from the English pale ale and IPA as a lower-strength, draught-only product in the late 1800s. Historically made with all pale malt, crystal/caramel malts became a popular addition after World War I and are commonly used today.

Commercial Examples:

Fuller’s London Pride, Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.

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