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Oliver's ESB - Pratt Street Ale House

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Oliver's ESB
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very good

28 Reviews
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Reviews: 28
Hads: 46
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 8.96%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pratt Street Ale House visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gavage on 10-07-2003

A special bitter with a dark amber color and smooth body. It has a good malt to hops balance and is fairly high in alcohol. Chosen by Michael Jackson for his book "Ultimate Beer".
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Hads: 46
Photo of Hoptometrist
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served into a shaker glass on cask at Pratt Street Ale House.

A-Ruby reddish color with nice finger of creamy head. The lacing was pretty spectacular, coated the whole glass without hardly any holes in the lace.

S- Malty aroma

T- Malty, bready, with mild fruity hop bitterness towards the finish

M- Creamy and smooth, finishes dry

O- Very creamy beer. I have only had a couple other ESB's, but this one takes the cake. Great balance and highly drinkable beer.

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Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on cask at The Wharf Rat in Baltimore:

A - Reddish copper, hazy, creamy head.

S - Light roastyness and herbal hop scents.

T - Toasty malt backbone with carmel hints. Well balanced with bold herbal bitterness.

M - Medium/Heavy bodied, creamy smooth.

D - Enjoyed this very drinkable.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Pratt St. Ale House on 11/20/10.

A - Beautiful cask pour revealed a reddish, copper-toned liquid with deep amber hues and a solid finger's worth of creamy froth on top that retained brilliantly and deposited spotty lace around the glass.

S - Aroma blends light noble hops with a biscuity malt character and toasted bread notes as well as a hint of herbal, tea-like hops.

T - Toffee and caramel comprise the sweet malty base of this ESB. However, the hop character isn't bashful here, and boasts a fairly bold slap of grassy, herbal bitterness. Finishes with a hint of toasted grains.

M - Smooth and full-bodied, this is a creamy, robust ESB with a very pleasant mouthfeel. Finishes bittersweet on the palate.

D - Great straight-up British style ESB that really shines on cask. This is a full-bodied ale with a nice hop presence and really creamy texture. This one delivers the whole package.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. On cask at Pratt Street.

Pours a moderate caramel color with a white head and a good dose of lacing. Nose brings some light woody and earthy hops as well as slight caramel and toffee. Taste is the aforementioned toffee and caramel as well as slight hops. Good creamy feel with a nice body. Drinks really well and is a nice American ESB.

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Photo of dball
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Oliver's ESB pours with a beautiful robust amber color and a full and creamy head. It is as good as any ESB I've had. I'll certainly get it next time I'm at the Ale House before a game. It is a mildly hopped fully malted beer that goes down remarkably smooth and brings a smile. cheers to Buck's Birds.

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Photo of sjflynn
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Churchkey in Washington, DC.

A - dark amber with a creamy white head, decent lacing

S - malty nose, a lot of caramel and some earthy tones

T - Roasted malt and caramel, not as bitter as I was expecting. The alcohol makes itself known but isn't overwhelming.

M - Smooth and balanced, not too thick. Hardly any carbonation after coming out of a cask.

D - Had three of these over the course of an evening and could have had a couple more, this is a very drinkable beer

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Photo of Deuane
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Hazy deep copper with a thin white head that held on and reduced to a thin cap and left spotty lace.

S-Light toasted biscuit, a hint of sweet caramel and faint spicy, herbal hops.

T-Toasted biscuit up front with some dry nut like astringency. Light spicy hops in the drying finish.

M-Medium-light bodied fairly creamy, soft and quite smooth. Drying finish with nut like astringency.

D-A little light on the aroma and palate but this one builds into a nicely dry, spicy brew. A pleasant and very easy drinking ESB. Well done.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I actually wish I had this on the CO2 tap, but it was good - reminds me of the classic British pub bitters I have had in England. It is not, however, something wildly innovative - just a solid pub drinking beer.

Pouts dark hazy copper with incredibly tight dense head. No real aroma but flavor is toasted and malty, little hop character. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on cask at Churchkey in D.C. Served in a goblet. Beer is brown with a thin white head. Completely clear, no lacing and low to non-existent carbonation.

Aroma is reminiscent of butterscotch. I know this is a well known off flavor but this is really kind of pleasing, burnt sugar / caramel aroma without being annoying or overwhelming. There may be a slight alcohol aroma in this beer.

Beer tastes woodsy, thin slightly bitter, and really sweet. The smell accurately matches the flavor. Its a little too "sweet" for my tastes. I put "sweet" in quotes because often what people describe as sweet in beers is a malty character that isn't like sugar water.

Beer is also a little thinner than I expected. The cask could have something to do with this but I'm giving it a slight deduction because of it. Drinkability of this beer is about as high as an ESB can get. I would recommend it.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Shimmering amber color, frothy creamy white cask head, great retention and lacing.

S: Full scented roasted nuts and carmel, faint hops.

T: Full flavored roasted nuts and carmel. Biscuity. Nice hop flavors.

M: Creamy, smooth, soft, great cask carbonation.

D: Excellent ESB, one of the tops in the style.

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Photo of beerman207
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the Pratt Street Brew Pub on tap

A - Dark Red with a white head that lasts a while which seems to be standard on all of their brews - very nice.

Smell: Nothing special in the nose other than some prominent malt and a faint pine smell coming through.

Taste: Definately towards the biscuit side on the taste with some mild hoppiness. The company I was with said it was a VERY bitter beer. For a BA, it's quite mild though. There's a nice sweet finish. Overall a great flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy

Drinkability: I could have had a few of these with no problem whatsoever. Excellent local beer.

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Photo of Aenema
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear, dark mahogany while retaining a thin white film of a head with lacing that covers the side of the glass.
Smell - Malt, but not much depth or character to the nose.
Taste - Firm bready malt backbone with a well balanced bitter hop finish.
Mouthfeel - Creamy, smooth and well-carbonated.
Drinkability - Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber touched brown. Malty caramel nose. Thick character with a leafy bitter tone. Caramel thick malt character holds sway over everything. Smooth feel. Carbonation is mild with a larger bubble than the Best Bitter had. Nice one here, but a bit more robust and heavier than the Best Bitter (which I've decided I prefer more.)

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Photo of PhillyStyle
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass:

A: Poured a clear amber color with a very light white head that was retained for an adequate length of time.

S: Aroma was very earthy with some hints of hops and malt. Nothing outstanding about the smell, but not bad.

T: The taste was excellent. Good malt and hop balance. Not much more needs to be said about it, just an excellent flavor.

M/D: The beer was very creamy and smooth with a medium body. The beer is highly drinkable. I would have had a few more but there were others on cask that night, but I would go back for this beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazed amber/copper with a thin white head that leaves some lacing.

The smell is of caramel and herbal notes.

The taste is of caramel with herbal notes with some sourish fruitiness mixing into the bittersweet balance. Yeast is there (Ringwood?) though subtle. It has a dry-ish finish.

Light-to-medium bodied, with a touch of watery thinness.

Not bad, though personally I preferred the standard Bitter. Nice enough balance and is certainly drinkable/sessionable.

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Photo of John_M
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask at Frisco's the other night.

The beer pours a solid amber, copper color, with a very nice creamy head and good lacing. This beer has a very attractive, impressive nose, consisting of roasted malt, apples and cherries. The beer is quite flavorful for a low abv. (relatively low) ESB. It starts off fairly sweet, with very nice flavors of roasted malt, apple again and cherry (in other words, the flavors on the palate replicate the nose). The beer has a nice creamy mouthfeel, and comes across as quite drinkable. There's a touch of dry, bitter, hoppiness in the finish, which is also quite nice. Quite well done.

This is a very nice ESB from Oliver; one my favorite beers made by this fine local brewery.

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Photo of cichief
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on cask at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Poured a hazy, amber color with a thin, off-white head.

S- Smells of hops and earth.

T- A decent amount of malt, but not too sweet. Dry hop finish follows the earthy taste.

M- Smooth, not very carbonated coming from the cask. Medium body.

D- A good example of the style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a cloudy copper body that settles down to a haze, and a whipped egg white head that leaves sheets of lace on the way down

Smell: Modest earthy aroma

Taste: Starts with a touch of the biscuit; after the swallow, a nice fruity element apperas followed by an earthy/woody bitterness

Mouthfeel: Creamy texture with low carbonation

Drinkability: Smooth, rich and bitter - what more could you ask for in an ESB; this is a classic

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Photo of jmz62565
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a few before an Orioles game. This beer pours a dark coppery color with a medium tan head. Very nice looking. The smell was a little light,but you can still pick out a bitter hop citrus aroma. The taste starts with a creamy hop flavor and ends with the hop bitterness. A decent ESB. The m/f is light and very bitter. A good beer and a good job making this to the English style.

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Photo of akorsak
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a hand-pulled pint of ESB, served at The Wharf Rat in Baltimore. The ale is slightly chilled, but closer to room temperature.

Appearance: The ale has an amber to orange color. A dominant feature of the beer is the soft creamy head that results from the hand pull. Very classy.

Smell: There is not much of a hop smell here. The head gives a nice frothy milky aroma, but beyond that, not a lot stood out.

Taste: The ale is well balanced. First and foremost, the creamy head imparts a sweet taste on the ale. Behind that, an earthy hop flavor appears, giving a nice bitterness without going overboard. The malts are biscuity sweet, imparting a bread-like taste.

Mouthfeel: It's very difficult to go wrong with a hand pumped ale.

Drinkability: A little stronger that the Best Bitter (of which I purchased a growler), this beer is still quite drinkable and good for a pre- or post O's game tailgate.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wharf Rat/ Oliver's- ESB

Appearance- dark dirty/ muddy brown with a thick frothy head.
Smell- heavy malt. Earthy, like a mixture of tubers and earth.
Taste- thick and creamy. Heavy earthy malt and hops balanced nicely.
Mouthfeel- thick and smooth. Warm yet refreshing.

Overall- my first beer from Oliver's and a damn good 1.

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Photo of Terp96
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is very solid representation of an English ESB. Hand pumped from the Wharf Rat in Fells Point.

Deep amber hue with a great head for a hand-pumped pint.

Smells almost sour but with a decent hop profile.

Tastes very good. Has that distinct English taste. Almost metallic with a nice hop finish to back up the sweet maltiness up front.

Very good mouthfeel. Stays on the sides of your tongue. There is a subtle grain feel to this one.

Overall a very drinkable beer. Good for a long night of conversation in a great pub.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the handpump at the Wharf Rat, this is a light copper with a littly haziness, a big 2 finger creamy head, great retention, great lacing. Nose is a nice balance of malt and floral hops, slightly nutty. Taste is a nice slightly roasted malt, caramel, with an earth flowery hop balanced perfectly. Very simple but delicious. Mouthfeel is silky smooth, velvety and creamy. I think this is my favorite beer, i could drink this all day.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper/golden color with a malty/hoppy aroma (or is that just the surroundings?? that is the same smell that permeates the rat) This is an extremely well balanced beer with just a tinge of alcohol on the finish. Goes down wonderfully with the pub grub. Not too bitter, with no nasty aftertaste.

Of the four cask conditioned brews at the Camden Yards location, this was by far the best that I tried last night. They also allow their "friends" to serve this as well. You can get the ESB over at Bertha's, though they give it another name. They serve it just right there, too.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful brew, thanks to the hand-pulled wizards at The Wharf Rat. This dark golden bier, in all of its shimmering glory, was served at a fantastic 54 degrees, and not one degree cooler. Ahhhh...bliss. The aroma and flavor are omnipresent, and offer toffee and caramel goodness. A really special ESB, and one that I will have again the next time I am in Baltimore.

Zum wohl!

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Oliver's ESB from Pratt Street Ale House
88 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.