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McNeill's Extra Special Bitter - McNeill's Brewery

Not Rated.
McNeill's Extra Special BitterMcNeill's Extra Special Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

114 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 114
Reviews: 93
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-03-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 114 | Reviews: 93 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Willytee3:
Photo of Willytee3
Willytee3

New York

3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour a light amber orange with one finger of cream color head. Large bubbly carbonation that recedes quickly. Little if any lacing.

Trace of smell is clean and crisp with slight Carmel malts.

High carbonation with a little bitter bite up front. OK mouth feel. Slight malt flavor through the sip. A little fruity essence not much, finishes bitter on the tongue and lingers. A little malty sweetness is present with nice balance to the bitter.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2012 04:17:02 | More by Willytee3
More User Reviews:
Photo of patrick802
patrick802

Vermont

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

05-04-2014 19:52:43 | More by patrick802
Photo of Noelito76
Noelito76

New York

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

01-25-2014 13:12:56 | More by Noelito76
Photo of scotorum
scotorum

Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Nearly clear dark gold, huge white head dissipated fairly quickly to surface foam and some lacing.

s: Strong pine with a curious fruit or spice undertone.

t: Pine hops forward, if I had not been told this was an ESB I would have taken it for a stronger than average American IPA. Much too hoppy for an English style ESB, likely to please hopheads. Surprisingly dry finish considering.

m: Light to moderate, good body.

o: Difficult to rate this because it's a good IPA, just not malty enough for a good ESB. Maybe this is the coming style given the popularity of IPAs: an "American ESB." Or maybe the new definition of "Strong Bitter" is "Hoppy Bitter." In any case it seems to me this beer represents a trend of more and more American craft brewers brewing out side the traditional style boxes.

Creatively speaking that may be very good, because it means an infinity of different tastes. But one consequence of that is that buyers can no longer rely on getting any particular ballpark taste from any craft beer described as in that style by the brewer unless they have already tasted it. I'm not objecting to McNeill's ESB, it's a pretty good brew. But in my style book, it's definitely not a traditional ESB.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 23:47:50 | More by scotorum
Photo of HRamz3
HRamz3

Pitcairn

3/5  rDev -21.3%

09-03-2013 13:18:05 | More by HRamz3
Photo of ZEB89
ZEB89

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +5%

08-20-2013 03:36:28 | More by ZEB89
Photo of jealmanzar
jealmanzar

New York

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

08-13-2013 21:07:06 | More by jealmanzar
Photo of OriolesFan1008
OriolesFan1008

Maryland

3/5  rDev -21.3%

07-06-2013 14:47:34 | More by OriolesFan1008
Photo of jaxon53
jaxon53

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

06-26-2013 23:48:08 | More by jaxon53
Photo of sammy806
sammy806

Maryland

2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

06-20-2013 04:10:16 | More by sammy806
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

06-04-2013 07:11:07 | More by Kelp
Photo of sacrelicio
sacrelicio

Minnesota

4/5  rDev +5%

02-13-2013 02:45:55 | More by sacrelicio
Photo of fuzzcherry
fuzzcherry

Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

09-23-2012 01:51:56 | More by fuzzcherry
Photo of Kerin
Kerin

Vermont

2.63/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

This beer is not my favourite. It's labeled as an ESB, but, um, it isn't. A fair amount of hops - it's hoppier than SNPA, and in spite of being called an ESB it has predominantly American-tasting hops. I think I'm detecting a fair portion of Nugget, Cascade and (I think) Newport hops, none of which are remotely English in profile. There's no earthiness here, and the only thing bitter-ey about this is the diacetyl... which is nuts. So, uh:

Appearance: Slightly below average. It'd be fine for an amber, but it's miles away from being pale. Cloudy, there's an insane amount of sediment in the bottle (and this is coming from a homebrewer.)

Taste: Not terrible, not great. This tastes like an aggressively average American pale ale, and the only distinctive thing about it is the elevated bitterness. No malt profile to speak of save a brief, well-rounded sweet tang at the end of the sip that gives way smoothly to...

Mouthfeel: There is so much diacetyl here I feel like I'm drinking this out of a theater popcorn box. The first couple mouthfuls were novel but by the end of the glass it's getting to be a Goddamn chore. I've had several bitters with significant diacetyl where it worked, but they all had less than this - and they also had less hop bitterness, and the flavor was therefore better integrated with the beer.

Overall, this is a disappointing beer - doubly so because a good ESB is so hard to find in the USA. I'll admit that I do have a very... defined idea of what an ESB should taste like (Fuller's) but this is so far outside the style that I don't know what they were thinking. Marketed as a Pale I'd probably bump the taste and overall scores up half a point apiece, but this mosaic of attributes doesn't work no matter how they're described. Pass, and I would have to think about it if someone offered me one.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 01:31:19 | More by Kerin
Photo of bigred89
bigred89

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

08-29-2012 10:34:55 | More by bigred89
Photo of RoryOMoore
RoryOMoore

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -21.3%

07-08-2012 04:46:37 | More by RoryOMoore
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours about the lightest color that I could still call brown. Head is thin, off white, retains well and leaves good retention.
S- The smell is pleasing but is a bit one-dimensional with sweet grapefruit.
T- The flavors are a bit more complex. Up front is a wave of grapefruity hop flavor, but some light caramel and toffee flavors fill it out. There also was a bit of lingering peach flavor.
M- Crisp, yet it finishes slightly slick.
O- A good bitter beer. It was easy drinking enough and was both interesting and balanced.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2012 03:18:22 | More by jsprain1
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

03-11-2012 01:39:15 | More by djrn2
Photo of MattyMcGovern
MattyMcGovern

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

02-25-2012 05:34:29 | More by MattyMcGovern
Photo of bennway
bennway

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +5%

02-16-2012 00:16:30 | More by bennway
Photo of dunix
dunix

Vermont

4/5  rDev +5%

02-11-2012 16:23:13 | More by dunix
Photo of UDbeernut
UDbeernut

New York

4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle aquired in trade with shcufj, best before Feb 2012.

Hazy copper hut with strong 1" head with beyond excellent retention. bread light flower, and yeast in the nose. Taste is well balanced, just basic malt and flower hop. mouth is light to medium bodied with plenty of carbonation to help.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 21:04:17 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of calmstock
calmstock

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +5%

12-03-2011 22:13:48 | More by calmstock
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +5%

11-28-2011 20:00:15 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of patm1986
patm1986

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +31.2%

11-18-2011 02:47:45 | More by patm1986
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
McNeill's Extra Special Bitter from McNeill's Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.