Joe Short brands his Autumn Ale as a London extra special bitter ale. ESBs are traditionally characterized by supreme balance between bitterness and alcohol content. Malt flavors tend to be more pronounced. That’s what you look for in a good ESB.
Autumn Ale is definitely bitter. It strikes my nose with a truckload of floral hops and caramel, a bit like Bell’s Hopslam. The frontend is fruity and malty but gives way to citrusy hop tartness. The malts hint of toffee. I get what they’re trying to do here brining in flavors associated with autumn.
An untrained tongue will only pick up the bitterness or will get lost in the somewhat watery mouthfeel. But even an experienced palette won’t find a the balance expected of an ESB. It is just slightly over-hopped.
Autumn Ale is an interesting beer and it’s close to being something special. But you have to love hops to love this beer.