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ESB Amber - Saugatuck Brewing Company

Not Rated.
ESB AmberESB Amber

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

93 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 93
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 14.66%
Wants: 0
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Saugatuck Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: david131 on 07-20-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 93 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon
3.55/5  rDev +2%

Poured into a plastic cup at the Tigers game a nice looking deep burnt orange with a thick head that never really settled completely,it's been awhile since I had a beer in a plastic cup I admit.Aromas were of bready malt and caramel mainly,a bit of toast and fruitiness was there as well but on the lighter side.Simple straitforward flavors of caramel/toffee and lightly toasted bread with faint herbal hops in the finish.Enjoyable at the ballgame but not anything I would really seek out to be honest.

oberon, May 13, 2014
Photo of TMoney2591
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Not sure if the Brits would make such a colorful distinction, but you never know with those crazy foreigners... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear copper topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises biscuit, light toffee, and the vaguest possible sense of grass. The taste holds notes of sweet caramel, sharp dirt, and earthy greens. There's a strong bitterness from the earth and dirt, and it clashes painfully with the caramel's sweetness. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, this was a decent idea, but it seems that execution lagged a bit behind aspiration.

TMoney2591, Nov 01, 2012
Photo of emerge077
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%

Trying the Saugatuck lineup and 0-3 so far, hoping this is the one that turns it around. Maybe. Single bottle with "2262 B2 0114 " printed on the bottom of the bottle.

Poured into a Bells tulip, the color is a deep copper and clear enough to read the text on the opposite side of the glass. A finger of foam on the surface that recedes to a floating island of skim in the center, leaving behind a drippy halo of lacing in the glass. Looks pretty nice so far.

Grainy barley aroma, cereal grain, some mild apple, pretty on point for an ESB.

Flavors of mildly toasted malt, light apple and a mellow hop bitterness in the dry aftertaste. Light to medium bodied, easygoing feel. No flaws, pleasant overall, would drink again. Finally, a decent beer from Saugatuck...

emerge077, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

imperialking, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of superspak
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours fairly cloudy orange amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduced to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, orange zest, apple, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, orange zest, apple, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and toast/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, light nuttiness, orange zest, apple, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and toast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good ESB style. Good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

superspak, May 28, 2014
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Gonzoillini, Aug 03, 2013
Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

dmorgan310, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Zaphog, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of scruffwhor
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%

Really nice craggy head and super thick layer of foam that leaves a nice little foam-stache on your upper lip. Great copper color and foam stickage. Nice bubbling too.

A little lemony toasted crackers with some biscuit mix. An airy aroma for this style of beer. A little sweet at times too.

Palate is a little thin from start to finish. Maybe somewhat oily. Taste starts with toasted bread crumbs and a little biscuit. The hops add just a hint of lemon zest. Malty, a little citric and zesty. Not a bad session beer for me.

scruffwhor, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of Brenden
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%

This beer is a red-orange color, fitting within the range for either ESB or amber. The small off-white head doesn't look strong but takes longer than expected to fall. The moderate lacing is another surprise.
The smell is mainly of toast and caramel, very much like a Marzen. There's a hint of hoppiness, but it's mostly about the malt backbone.
The taste is similar but different in key ways; it's also interesting, as a nice caramel sweetness that may be the strongest and sweetest note of caramel I've had in a beer, along with a strong note of toast, meets leaf and pith. The sweetness and the bitterness work together without clashing, and it makes for some depth.
A good, strong medium body that leans light so as not to give too much heft to this lighter styled beer also maintains a firm crispness without giving up smoothness.

Brenden, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of enelson
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

enelson, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -13.8%

smartassboiler, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of tommy5
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

tommy5, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of Gatordaddy
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Gatordaddy, Nov 22, 2012
Photo of birchstick
3.2/5  rDev -8%

Pours a chestnut orangish brown color with a nice looking head. Nose is caramel malts and citrusy hops. Taste follows suit - citrus flavors upfront move to caramel and bready malts. These give way to citrusy and grassy hops with a slight bitterness. Mouth is creamy and smooth. Overall this is a decent amber/esb. Not as floral or hoppy as a regular ESB, but then again this wasn't supposed to be a normal esb. Not offensive but nothing that makes it stand out in my mind.

birchstick, Aug 19, 2012
Photo of StoutHunter
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%

I picked up a bottle of Saugatuck's ESB Amber last week for $1.49 at The Lager Mill. I was reading the newest issue of The Michigan Beer Guide and it said that the ESB Amber was named the best ESB in the Midwest, so I thought I should pick up a bottle and give it a try. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label looks OK, its got an old classic looking family photo on it. It poured a nice light amber color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thick layer that stayed till the end and left some nice sheets of lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with lots of sweet malts that had a dark bread like aroma. There was also some fruit aroma with a light amount of dark fruits. I got a light amount of earthy and herbal hops. The aroma is pretty malty for an ESB.

T- The first thing I pick is a good amount of lightly toasted malts that have a distinct brown bread flavor that was pretty similar to the aroma. The malts also impart a very slight amount of caramel. The hops are on the lighter side and have an herbal flavor with a slight bit of fruitiness. The finish is smooth with a pretty light amount of bitterness and it and herbal hop aftertaste.

M- Smooth, semi dry, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had just the right amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was spot on for an ESB.

Overall I thought this was an OK ESB. It was a very smooth and sessionable beer that had just enough flavor to hold my attention. It had some pretty good drinkability to it, if I had another one I would drink it, I could see drinking a three or four of these in a sitting, it makes for a good fall beer. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, to me this is exactly what an ESB should be like, it had a good body with just the right amount of carbonation, this beer also looked pretty damn good. What I liked least about this beer was the aroma and the light amount of hops in this beer, the aroma was a little dull and pretty much all malts and the flavor could have used a bigger hop presence to help balance out all those malts and I think an ESB should have more then just a light amount of bitterness on the finish. I might buy this beer when looking for an ESB, but if Short's Autumn Ale is in season I would chose that over this beer every time, it doesn't have that stronger hop presence that I look for in this style. This beer is worth giving a try but expect it to be on the malty side and not as bitter as other ESB's. This beer was better then their porter, but I still felt like there was some things that could be improved like adding more hops to balance out all those malts. So far this is my favorite bottled offering from Saugatuck Brewing Company, but it falls short in being a great ESB. I don't think this is the best ESB in the Midwest, the people who voted for it must have not tried Short's ESB. It may have a stronger hop presence when really fresh, but with not bottling date on this bottle I have no way of knowing.

StoutHunter, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of CoryR
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

CoryR, May 28, 2013
Photo of krome
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

krome, Jan 18, 2014
Photo of david131
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%

A- A clear orange liquid with a thin, splotchy white head.

S- Citrus rind and caramel. Very strong in the citrus aspect.

T- Strong citrus peel and caramel. A bit of a homebrew aspect.

M- Very clean. Based upon the aroma I expected this to be astringent, but its rather nice.

D- Not a good example of the style, but it is tasty and drinks alright.

david131, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of I_BYE_MI_BEER
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

I_BYE_MI_BEER, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of jplopez21
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

jplopez21, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of ssimpson89
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

ssimpson89, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of jgunther71
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

jgunther71, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of Kerrie
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Kerrie, May 04, 2013
Photo of TheBrewo
3.21/5  rDev -7.8%

This brew was served from a bottle at the Eagle Tavern at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Poured into a smooth mug, it glowed a pumpkin amber coloring in the candlelight of the inn. No real head was produced other than a ring of white bubbles clinging to the edges of the glass. This subsequently left no lacing that was appreciated. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be active. The aroma gave the expected amber malts, with faintly sour brown malts to contrast, brown sugar, sweet banana, esters, licorice, grassy hops, and stark tinny metallics. Our first impression was that the flavoring showed a nice balancing ester sweetness to help cut the bittering and toasty amber malts, and all of their metallics. The taste began with sweet molasses, banana esters that gave the spicy but calming essence of cold banana bread, booze, harsh metallics, baker’s yeast, alcohol, and red apple sugars. The middle came to a peak with continued esters and banana breadiness, light coco chocolates, raw pine nuts, dried grass, bittered amber and adjuncty pale malts, light gingerbread spice, and icy metallics. Washing through the finish was a blend of walnut bitterness, candied cherries, flashes of coal, burnt caramel, bitter herbal malts, chemical phenols, and all the bittering metallics of amber mash and unsweetened lemon tea. The aftertaste breathed of licorice, faint buttery diacetyls, bittered amber malts, raw straw and barley, alcohol, corn, leather, brown sugar, and candied apple cloy. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. Each sip gave nice slurp and smack, with pleasantly creamy froth, giving a soft lick of a mustache. The mouth was left feeling watered and coated, with a bit of a puck, but with no real dryness to come. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its balance through the flavoring. This offering doesn’t kill you with the bitterness, but rather gives and interestingly balanced, and somewhat Belgian-feeling, sweetness from heavy banana esters. The aroma, on the other hand, is overly metallic. While this is noticed through the flavoring, again, the inherent amber malt flavoring, and pseudo wheaty crispness to the pale malts lend more to a warming blend and sip. This is a nice take on the style, but ends up being only decent in our book as a whole.

TheBrewo, Sep 02, 2013
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ESB Amber from Saugatuck Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.