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ESB | Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company

very good
23 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company
Australia | website

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jarmby1711 on 02-29-2008

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 29
Reviews by juju7:
Photo of juju7
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was really looking forward to this having heard so much about it. Not sure how old it is as there is no best before or bottled on date. This may explain why I don't see those big passionfruity hop aromas others have mentioned. Certainly a little more hop aroma than I'd expect from a beer labelled ESB but nothing to be thrown off by. A murky, deep copper and a tight head. Bitterness is really there along with some solid caramel malt backing. Quite full and upfront. Finishes long dry and that bitterness seems to hang around for bit. Pretty damn good. A tasty beer for when you're in the mood for a UK style ale that's fresher than the actual UK ones we get.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.64/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange/amber with a quickly fading head.
Nose shows a fair whack of hops, quite piney, spicy, resinous and earthy, along with a hint of tropical fruit. Underneath is a nice load of crystal malt.
Similar flavours but with an aggressive bitterness that shows up early in the piece. Could be an IPA really: enough caramel malt, enough juicy and resinous hops, all followed by a bold bitterness. Finishes a bit sharp.
Carbonation is suitably high.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hargreaves Hill ESB is a weak flavoured but pleasant beer. Not much more to say.

A: Clear orange colour and a nice 4 mm head that lasts ok. 4

S: Grainy aroma. Not much going on, really. 3

T: Grainy with earthy malt and some subtle fruit hop flavours. It's weak, but pleasant. 3.5

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 3

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Photo of spicelab
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt Amber, not a great deal of carbonation, however a resilient minimal almost gold head remains throughout.

Guava, Peaches, fruit slushies, a touch of lime. Wow, the candied toffee and treacle is big! Awesome stuff.

Caramel malt and marmalade bombard the front palate, fruit builds later with the bitterness, which is, um, pleasing.

Surprisingly full bodied for the ABV, drying and bitter in agreeable proportions.

Drinkability is high without a doubt. This epitomises what Australia does well. Only real criticism is elements aren't as balanced as they possibly could be.

 579 characters

Photo of joecast
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy golden, medium/low carbonation of many tiny bubbles. Thin off white head.

Aroma of sweet malt and some spicy yeast character. Very light earthy hops. Label states new world dry hops but can't pick em to be honest.

Taste is a lot more smooth with nice malt character and good bitterness. Quite enjoyable.

Interesting. A drinkable beer with nice balance and enough body.

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Photo of VinoBeer
3.22/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A let down considering the reviews of others on this site. Poor head retention with little lacing. Earthy musty nose with some floral hops and orange. Crystal city in the mouth that is kind of checked by bitterness but in the end is all a bit of a mess really. What a shame, not the worst beer around by any means and 15 years ago it would have been a leader in the field. Now it is a beer that is trying to be big and bold but is merely a glass of confusion.

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Photo of Macca
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a murky dark golden colour with a thin covering of fluffy slightly off white head.

First aroma hit is resinous hoppiness. Behind that is some tropical fruit - pineapple? A vague maltiness.

And on the palate: well there's the malt and a whole world of hops. Much hoppier than I would normally expect from an ESB but in a good way.

A good whack of bitterness.

A very nice beer but I think some might be surprised if they were expecting something more in the vein of Fullers. A lot more American influenced.

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Photo of DocDownUnder
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very good ESB, though it bordered a Pale Ale due especially to a missing biscuit-y malt flavor. Strong fresh hop aroma, and enough bitterness to pair with some spicy foods (tonight was spicy pork po' boys). I would definitely drink this in larger quantities.

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Photo of mulder1010
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ML poured into a Tulip. Retired??? Guess not
Thanks to Triple 5 for the beer

A-- Poured a hazy orange amber color. Some sediment in the pour. Off white one finger head that has some decent life, couple of minutes, before becoming a good layer of film. A little bit of spotted lacing.

S-- Carmel, candied Orange, passionfruit, and a small bit of grapefruit. Nose gets stronger as the beer warms up. Candied orange smell gets bigger.

T-- Carmel, Orange, and ripened grapefruit. Taste buds say this is a Pale Ale, not an ESB.

M-- Creamy but but a big and rich taste. Medium carbonation. Grapefruit gets more aggressive in the mouth. Good amount of carmel sweetness to go along with the grapefruit.

D-- Easy to drink and can not get tired of this beer. One of the best produced in Australia. Probably closer to an APA than ESB but does it really matter. Good beer either way and has a lot going on for a lower end ABV (5.2%).
So glad that they finally bottled this beer. if it can only get up to Sydney.

 1,011 characters

Photo of kol89
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look - Amber/Brown

Smell - Light Hop aroma, not overpowering but nice on the nose

Taste - A nice balance between the hop and malt flavours and bitterness

Feel - Smooth in the mouth, fairly light carbonation

Overall - Just a nice drinkable beer that is well balanced

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.

Pours a pleasant reddish bronze colour, with a fine and creamy head. Nicely clear in the body, although it sits heavy and still in the glass. Minimal lacing. Looks nice.

Sharp, pungent and a little earthy on the nose. A hint of acidity which doesn't sit so well with everything else, but it's perhaps balanced by a caramel sweetness. The earthy hops are good, however.

Taste is smooth with only a little sharpness, that comes across as a little bit metallic and medicinal, especially on the back. Some earthy tones, but not as pronounced as in the aroma. Not as good as the nose suggested.

Feel is surprisingly light, and the acidity adds a bit of sharpness.

It's drinkable enough. Not great, but not bad. In many ways it typifies off the generic and reasonably forgettable Aussie craft beer.

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Photo of tbeckett
2.75/5  rDev -28%

Photo of dansmcd
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Huge, soapy, retentive head. Clear amber body. Sticky globs of lace.

S - Mango, caramel, bread, yeast.

T - Again, sweet caramel malt up front, backed by bitter hop (galaxy?) finish. Good depth of flavours.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation. Crisp.

O - Great balance, full flavour. A top Aussie beer.

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Photo of ADZA
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First things first i love the revamp of this bottle/label it looks pretty classy,this brew pours a beautiful non see through light copper looking hue with nice carbonation that leaves behind a creamy one finger head that stays with sporadic lacing,the smell is really fruity with aromas of stonefruit,citrus and some caramel,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated with the stonefruit taste first on the palette followed by some grapefruit,orange zest,lime,toffee and finishes with a nice bitter kick that makes you want another sip and overall a very decent drop and probably one of this breweries best beers that i have sampled and will definately always have a place for in my fridge.

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Photo of admiral
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

An ESB with a hoppy bite to it

More dry and crisp compared to a traditional ESB.

Aroma and Taste of toffee, malt, caramel biscuit and a little bit of citrus, with the bitterness from the hops standing out at the back of the palate and in the after taste.

Nice and creamy mouthfeel with good head retention.

A very nice ESB - they have achieved what they set-out to achieve: an extra hoppy ESB (even though I personally prefer a little more malt/caramel in my ESB).

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Photo of Kornoms
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Refloosh
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of heygeebee
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper, one finger head. Subsides to a film quickly, carbonation bubbles initally there, also fades.

Aromas of English malts, apricot(!) - some lemon.

Taste is light, delicate, malt driven, some toffee/caramel and in line with ESB traits.

Mouthfeel silky smooth - could have a lot of these...

BUT - not at the price - one mark off overall - at over $7 per bottle cheap it ain't.

Would be very interested to do an A/B comparion with Punch and Judy

**** EDIT****

Next bottle in four pack.... hello American Pale Ale / IPA style!!!! All hops and in your face flavours and bitterness. Not a good second experience. Serious bottle variation. Sad.

Have not altered review scores.

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Photo of Stew41
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Certainly not an ESB as we know it and correctly picked here as an APA. Front palate has stacks of fruit and passionfruit from the yeast and floral hops. Malt played a more subtle role for me. Dry finish with plenty of hop tang. Really good beer and would surpass the Pale Ale, although to my tastes the 2 share some similar qualities.

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Photo of jarmby1711
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just love this beer. It is chock full of hoppy fruit with passionfruits leading the way.
It is lightly carbonated and not particularly bitter which mkes foe easy leisurely drinking.
Its darkish gold olour looks the part.
The sooner they get this in a bottle the better

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Photo of DrNo
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of XsoldoutX
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of brendan13
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at The Local Taphouse.
A - Poured a cloudy orange golden colour with 2cm of fluffy off white head that falls away fairly quickly.
S - Big stone fruit and citrusy hops hit the nose straight away. A lot more like a US Pale Ale than an ESB.
T - Slighty sweet bready maltiness backed up by the fruity hops.
M - Medium bodied with a fairly low carbonation and slight bitterness.
D - Perhaps not true to style but a great beer nonetheless. My favourite from them so far. I hope it stays on tap 365 days a year.

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Photo of Mosant
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had a 330ml bottle. Impressive beer. Very much like an APA cross with a bitter.
Appearance : pours as a nice golden tan colour with generous off white head and good retention and lasting throughout the glass to the finish.
Aroma: what a cracker. Considering this is an esb I was very surprised by the high amount of hop aroma. The Brewer says it is dry hopped with new world hops. I like it. There is good citrus tones coming out.
Taste: excellent for me. Immediate stringent hop bitterness from the front to the back of the palate and this stays with you in the mouth for a good while until you take your next sip. The bitterness flavour is dominated by citrus, mainly grapefruit. Good mouth feel with a dry finish.
Overall : a cracker. Very surprised. Not like any ESB I have had before. Glad I have another bottle. I'll be saving if for a special meal. Give it a try.

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Photo of danieelol
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

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ESB from Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.