1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

ESB Amber - Saugatuck Brewing Company

Not Rated.
ESB AmberESB Amber

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

95 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 14.37%
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next › last »
Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KaisersDaughter
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%

KaisersDaughter, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of amishbooze
4/5  rDev +14.9%

amishbooze, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of Hyouhoshi
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Hyouhoshi, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of HarmonMW
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

HarmonMW, Jul 08, 2012
Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Zaphog, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of Vlaminck
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Vlaminck, May 30, 2012
Photo of Extrajoker00
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Extrajoker00, May 30, 2012
Photo of jsisko01
3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a dark caramel amber color with an overbearing head.. I only poured half and had to stop because there was 3 inches of foam, that lingers for a long time.

Smell - Smells very bitter.. like a pale ale. Along with toasted malts and toffee.

Taste - Toasted malts and very malty, caramel, toffee, and very bitter in the finish. Also has somewhat of an herbal taste to it.

Mouthfeel - Has a thick body with a lot of carbonation.

Overall - This beer is ok.. noting great about it. It's basically like an offspring from a pale ale and amber ale.

jsisko01, May 12, 2012
Photo of chunkyboy
2.25/5  rDev -35.3%

chunkyboy, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of Rostie
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%

Rostie, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of dcevans
4/5  rDev +14.9%

dcevans, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of MIBeerRanger4
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on tap at the Lucky Stone Pub, that is the pub at Saugatuck Brewing Co.

They label this beer ESB, Amber. I find it to be quite on target for a traditional style British ESB. Color is a toasted honey/copper color. The smell is a bit muted but what is there is true to style. The taste is malt lovers dream! This would be a bit much if the "bitter" was absent but real nice hop flavors and a great finishing bitterness are nice to balance out the malt presence.

Overall this is a real nice beer, I like it quite a bit as a food beer. I can see this beer being a great pairing beer with things like grilled pork, cheeses, broiled seafood and a good salad pairing too!

I will certainly have it again.

MIBeerRanger4, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of StoutHunter
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

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 chicagobill13
4.28/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was visiting back in MI. I was in Canton, MI and found this beer on draft. I didn't know what it was I was little impressed. This is a very good beer. Not too many breweries i get overly excited about. New ones i should say.

Nice color and not much of a smell but that is nothing to what the beer taste like. This is a very well beer. I wish I could have too more back to Chicago on my plane but didn't want to check in luggage. I can't wait to try more of their beers. Cheers! \m/

chicagobill13, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of jkrich
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an undated 12 oz. bottle: slightly hazy, copper with reddish-brown highlights. The foamy white head very slowly dissipated leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma was faintly sweet and perfumy with a slightly odd and bitter like aroma.

The flavor had some sweet, caramel and butterscotch with a little vinous touch. Despite the malt heavy accent, the ale does remain refreshing with some hoppy bitterness coming through at the end.

The ale is medium bodied with a somewhat thick and sweet mouthfeel. The carbonation was rather restrained.

Overall, a nice amber that does have some of the complex characteristics of a British ESB. The ale was also very rough around the edges; far too many off flavors kept this from being first class.

jkrich, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of beveritt
2.78/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label depicts an old picture of 5 people sitting on a pier, partially colorized. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with a massive almost white head, enough that I only get a few ounces out and have to drink to prevent it from spilling. This finally settles to a still substantial cap of foam, leaving behind nice lacing. The beer itself is medium yellow with hints of orange and moderate activity. Some compacted sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Mild hop spiciness with an underlying biscuity, butterscotch malt.

Taste: Mild hop bitterness upfront with a distinct metallic twang. This is layered upon a malt backbone that is thin and insipid with only a hint of the bready caramel flavor expected. Finishes with an unpleasant sourness, an almost lacto bite.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is thin.

Drinkability: My second strike from this brewery. Can't remember if I have another in the refrigerator, but I almost hope not.

beveritt, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of Lillenk
2.78/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was nice. Dark brownish color but didn't hold a whole lot of head.

Smell was farily ok, but not much there.

Taste was a little lacking. Somewhat malty but then very bitter (but not a nice hoppy bitter).

Left a very strange overcarbonated mouthfeel, with a weird aftertaste. Definately would not drink more than one.

Lillenk, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of GRPunk
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a nonic pint.

A- 1/2-finger, khaki head quickly drops to a thin film that leaves good stick. The body is amber with light carbonation.

S- It has a ton of sweet malts with fruity, dark bready qualities. Lighter hops are herbal. It's slightly to the malt side of the spectrum.

T- Toasted wheat bread is edging toward a burnt caramel or toffee quality. Hops tightrope between herbal and citrus. Good balance. Initial malts are cleaned up with solid hopping.

M- Light carbonation. A little grainy. Moderate viscosity. Dryish finish.

D- Good. Definitely stradles the line between an ESB and an Amber. It's potentially sixer worthy as a party beer.

GRPunk, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of DoctorDog
2.78/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic. Thanks to beveritt for procuring this, and many other brews, during his recent travels.

A- Clear copper/amber color. Pours with a borderline explosive, massive, creamy light tan head, necessitating a multi-stage pour. Fades very, very slowly...incredible retention...impressive, if not to style. Massive globs of sticky lacing noted.

S- Bready, caramel maltiness. A bit of mineral-esque, earthy hop aroma.

T- Buttery, caramel malt. Difficult to pinpoint-minerally- citrus-peel bitterness. A bit cidery. Not terribly off-putting, but this mix doesn't exactly work well.

M- Moderately-light carbonation with a light-medium feel. A bit astringent and too dry.

D- Meh. Decently easy to drink...but with the unusual flavor....it just doesn't really work well enough to make me consider another.

Future outlook: Out of state one-off for me, which is just as well...

DoctorDog, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of david131
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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
« first ‹ prev | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next › last »
ESB Amber from Saugatuck Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.