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Oliver's ESB - Pratt Street Ale House

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Oliver's ESB
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BA SCORE
89
very good

45 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 45
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 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:
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 added by: Gavage on 10-07-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 | Reviews: 28 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

nmann08, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
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

brentk56, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
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.)

RblWthACoz, Aug 14, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Slatetank, May 20, 2013
Photo of drabmuh
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

drabmuh, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -0.5%

mendvicdog, Nov 16, 2012
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.

jwc215, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of Gavage
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Figure you enter an English style pub, you got to have the ESB. Nice looking beer - deep copper color with a foamy head. The aroma is alright, noting some floral and sweet tones. The taste was great, since this is served around 50 degrees the bitterness and malt were nicely balanced. There was some lacing on the glass as the drink was consumed. The tongue was happy with the smooth bitterness that lingered. Overall one of the better ESBs I have had.

Gavage, Oct 07, 2003
Photo of akorsak
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

akorsak, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

BillRoth, Mar 15, 2014
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.

John_M, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Boone757, May 24, 2013
Photo of IPAchris
3/5  rDev -25.4%

IPAchris, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of rfgetz
4.3/5  rDev +7%
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.

rfgetz, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of Brent
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pub that brews English influenced beers and offers an ESB on cask - no question what I had to try. Certainly did not let me down. According to the beer menu: "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.'" Who am I to argue with the great one? An interesting play of flavors. Beefy, caramel body, but very smooth, almost, but not quite, thin in the mouth. Alcohol made itself known, nearly crashing the party but being held back just enough. Went wonderfully with the shepherd's pie.

Brent, Mar 12, 2004
Photo of ffejherb
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

ffejherb, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of Deuane
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Deuane, Mar 08, 2010
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.

NJpadreFan, Jun 06, 2006
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.

Seanibus, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of jmz62565
3.9/5  rDev -3%
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.

jmz62565, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of Hoptometrist
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Hoptometrist, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of PhillyStyle
4.22/5  rDev +5%
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.

PhillyStyle, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of Wobbly
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Wobbly, Oct 13, 2013
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Oliver's ESB from Pratt Street Ale House
89 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.