beerbill (3616) - Laurel, New York, USA - APR 19, 2011
12 oz. bottle. Pours a mostly clear amber with a moderate off-white head that lasted through the first third of the glass and left a partial sheet of foam with each sip. Pleasant aroma of malt and not much else. The flavor is malt, somewhat dry, with a moderately bitter finish. As the beer warms a bit, there is a mild tangy metallic twang that develops. Other than that, no problems. ngeunit1 (1555) - Waltham, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 25, 2011
A - Pours a fairly clear brownish-red color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head has pretty good retention and laces nicely on the glass.
S - Aroma has some nice light fruit (apple) scents, almost like a cider. There is some nice caramel malts in the background to balance the aroma.
T - Starts off with some sweetness from both the caramel malts and the apple flavor. Touch of tartness, but not overbearing. Through the middle some deeper malts come through alongside some bread flavor. The finish has a touch of hops alongside the sweet caramel flavors which lingers for a bit.
M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Moderately dry finish and mouthfeel. Nice and smooth and only a touch watery.
D - Very drinkable. Maybe not the perfect balanced expected for an ESB (not enough hops), but overall very tasty. The apple flavor is really interesting and nice. jgb9348 (6196) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - MAR 1, 2011
Hazy amber coloured body with a copper glow and a very dense, thick tan head - full of large bubbles. Aroma of resiny hops, medicinal scents, malt, wort, yeast and a touch of sweetness. Medium-bodied; Strong resiny hops with a lot of piney and pineapple flavours at first with some herbal and grassy notes noticed towards the end. Aftertaste shows a good balance of hops and malt, some alcohol and a lingering hoppy finish - nice. Overall, a decent ESB, more along the lines of an APA, but still shows some good hops to some degree. I sampled this twelve ounce bottle purchased from Oliver’s Beverage in Albany, New York on 04-September-2010 sampled at home in Washington on 01-March-2011. bhensonb (15093) - Woodland, California, USA - SEP 26, 2010
Bottle from Half Time. Pours clear copper with a foamy 4 finger beige head. Aroma is floral/melon. Medium body with loosely foamy carbonation. Body thins as carbonation goes. Flavor is mild roast caramel with sort of floral sort of melon/fruit. Aroma good - flavor less so. Gets a bit peppery towards the end. I’m uncertain about this one. blutt59 (6562) - Dallas, Texas, USA - AUG 15, 2010
bottle, thanks to exiled, orange amber pour with bready fruit cocktail aromas, flavors of toffee and sour nuts, musty
TheEpeeist (3709) - Media, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 14, 2010
12 oz bottle. Clear amber with a thick meringue head. Nose is orange peel, candi and melon. Medium light with foamy carb. Taste is lemon peel, rose hips and green olive. Dry cardboard finish. Not a great example example of a style i’ve grown to appreciate. thirdeye11 (6160) - Dallas, Texas, USA - AUG 6, 2010
(12oz bottle thanks to Exiled) clear copper with a creamy bubbled head. Nose of melon, caramel, rhubarb and canned pears. Taste of rye, melon, rhubarb, and spicy with an oily finish that is also crisp. bu11zeye (13029) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - JUL 19, 2010
(12oz bottle, courtesy of Exiled) Pours a clear amber body with a medium cream head. Aroma of cocoa, canned pears, caramel, toasted marshmallow, and light coconut. Flavor of toasted grain, cocoa, earth, and caramel. mar (5409) - Dallas, Texas, USA - JUL 17, 2010
bottle thanks to exiled. poured a deep amber with a cream head. nose is fruits of all kinds, malts, and more fruits. not bad on the palate, flavor is passion fruit and oranges, nice finish. ChadPolenz (1804) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - FEB 2, 2010
To me, the Extra Special Bitter style of beer is just India Pale Ale but without the flavor. Both have strong hop bitterness to them, but the ESB doesn’t quite have the genuine taste of the IPA. Brown’s ESB is a good example of this as it packs a punch, but doesn’t have much else going for it.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer pours smoothly to form a huge layer of off-white, foamy head which lasts throughout the life of the beer, but does not leave much lacing (surprisingly). The body is a mostly clear shade of orange and brown with plenty of carbonation noticeable. The aroma is pungent with hops and malts, but isn’t particularly sweet or inviting. It’s almost grainy, in fact.
It’s hard to describe the taste of a beer like Brown’s ESB, because the only thing that comes to mind is “bitter” – and how! Yes, this beer certainly wallops the palate with its intense bitterness, but any genuine flavor takes a back seat. I noticed the faintest taste of caramel and some other malt sweetness, but there certainly wasn’t anything that stood out.
Still, it’s impossible to call this beer weak, and for that it deserves accolades. In fact, it’s so strong and hoppy it borders on being all-out salty.
Drinking this beer is no easy challenge. With its intense hop composition, this is a beer that doesn’t go down smooth and quietly. The mouthfeel is fairly intense and the actually finish is coarse and quite dry. The more experienced beer drinkers probably wouldn’t mind this at all, but then again, they’re probably the ones more likely to drink this in the first place.
For a beer with such a large amount of hop presence, Brown’s ESB is rather light at only 5% ABV. It won’t overwhelm or fill up the drinker and lends itself well to meals.
While it’s easy to criticize Brown’s Extra Special Bitter for being little more then pure bitterness, I have to admit there’s nothing really “wrong” with this beer. It’s got an intense palate without the bloated body and that’s respectable.
NOTE: watch the video version of this review at: