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Thames Welsh ESB - Felinfoel Brewery Co.

Not Rated.
Thames Welsh ESBThames Welsh ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

119 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 119
Reviews: 106
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 4
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Felinfoel Brewery Co. visit their website
United Kingdom (Wales)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 05-01-2002)
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Ratings: 119 | Reviews: 106 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this bottle at The Royal Mile, an authentic British Pub in the heart of Downtown Des Moines, believe it or not. They had plenty to choose from (see my beerfly review), but this bottle caught my eye in the cooler behind the bar.

The color, from what I could tell in the dimly lit bar, was a roughly equal mixture of red, orange and brown. It was also a little hazy. The head was light tan, soft and left a respectable amount of lace in sheets and rings. The aroma wasn't all that impressive, partly because the beer was served a little too cold. I did pick up some caramel malt, but not much else.

I hate to repeat what's printed on the label, but this beer really was fruity and (caramel) malty. The most recognizable fruit was apples; apple cider more specifically. I also appreciated white grapes/raisins. The flavor profile was a wonderful mixture of malt and hops, sweet and bitter. The finish was long, fruity and bitter-dry. A creamysmooth body was a definite bonus.

Thames Welsh ESB is good beer and is one of the best of the style that I've had yet. The bottom of the glass came very quickly and I enjoyed every last drop.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2004 23:03:23 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ice tea brown cloudy body with a small head; surprising amount of lacing

Smell: Not much on the nose; a little bready if I try hard to sniff it

Taste: Wow is this malty! It tastes like malted milk mixed with beer; very sweet with toffee and caramel elements and an underlying chocolate malt flavor. Not much in the way of balancing hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a bit of carbonation

Drinkability: Although I was surprised at the lack of bitterness, this beer is very drinkable. Just not what I was expecting from an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 18:14:47 | More by brentk56
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

2.7/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First try having this one. Looks brown and muddy. Slightly on the purple side. Pours a light tan head that fell to a trace. Smells malty sweet with prunes, toffee, and caramel. A bit sour and bitter smelling. Tastes toasty, bready, prune-ey, and toffee like. Bittered nicely for flavor and balance. Heavier body than I would expect. Almost thick and cloying. A bit metalic in the finish. Finishes sweet and tacky. Could have beer a Wee Heavy rather than an esb.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2005 16:44:36 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clouded body the color of fine, aged leather. Modest-sized head of large, dissipating suds.

Smell: Cut hardwood planks layered with sweet-scented caramel and toffee and a good whiff of holidaytime fruitcake splashed here and there with bottled bitters.

Taste: Lightly toasty, nutty, even woody maltiness with a big boost of candyish toffee sweetness. Noted fruity esters tasting of figs and tart cherries. Herbaceous, resiny hops with more than enough bitterness to ride out until the dry, mineral-hinted, earthy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Low carbonation.

Drinkability: A good, decent Welsh ESB and a pleasant early-evening brew, though there are a few others I'd sooner reach out my grubby hands for.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2010 21:04:22 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep amber with a almost creamy-like head,aroma is juicy fruity like apple cider almost with some nice biscuity malt in the background.Taste is on the sweeter sice some caramel malt with a nice cider hint maybe some brown sugar in the finish.Medium bodied with alot of complexity I think a real fine example for the style,although a little high in alcohol for a session beer but I could sit and have a few.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2004 00:18:40 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, deep amber with ruby highlights and a creamy light tan head that drops shortly but keeps a good collar and leaves some OK lace. The aroma offers a distinct caramel maltiness, some very nice fruitiness (soft ripe berries), and a minor acetone (lacquer-thinner type aroma probably due to high fermentation temperatures). The acetone can be distracting at one point or another, but overall it's not so bold that it ruins the beer. In fact, part way through the pint I hardly noticed it. I don't think that I could ever find it endearing... but it wasn't completely off-putting. The body is light/medium with a fine and gentle carbonation that leaves it nicely creamy in the mouth. Very smooth. The flavor mirrors the aroma with some very nice dark crystal maltiness and an almost wine-like fruitiness . There are some very light hops in the flavor, but it's mainly balanced towards softly sweet maltiness propped by underlying hop bitterness. It finishes dryish with a mild, almost wine-like fruitiness (which may actually be coming from a combination with the light note of acetone) as well as some light grassy hop. Fairly nice overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2002 18:43:34 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation - poured from a brown 16.9 oz bottle lacking freshness date into a snifter at 50 degrees.
A -A deep hazed amber almost nutty brown with a frothy pale head that allows generous amounts of lace to collect.

S - Fruity like cranberry or currant with honey or golden raisins and a subtle spice note with hints of light brown sugar and citrus.

M - Tangy fruity sweet medium bodied, full carbonation with a sweetish finish.

T - A very light hop woodiness is brushed away by a fruity full on English ale taste. Slightly dry at first with subtle caramel notes and a little spice that borders on peppery and a kind of gingery root flavor with a residual sweetness.

D - An easy drinking beer although not the best ESB and perhaps not entirely true to style. A tasty ale, though and has some interesting flavors and very enjoyable when it comes out of it's shell as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2007 02:56:26 | More by Slatetank
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +7.2%

11-28-2011 19:57:31 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick reddish brown. It's obvious there's very little carbonation from the uncapping, but with a bit of vigorous pouring I got a slight head of beige foam forming. It dissipates rather quickly but leaves some reasonable lacing. Decent English Ale type of look to it. It's just not terrible exciting.

Some nice caramel malt and sweet vegetative notes on the nose, almost like kumera, with a very faint hop resin note. The sweetness is predominant though, which is something of a shame, although it's a pleasant enough nose overall.

Light sweet characters on the palate, surprisingly dark, with a lingering umami character on the back palate. Some banana esters come through mid palate. Bitterness is extremely muted, just a light tingling of metallic hop residue at the very back. Mouthfeel is a little thin and flat, but despite that, you can still feel the carbonation, as minimally carbonated as this is.

Quite a disappointing brew. To my mind, it's very much a poor British ale style. Light enough in the flavour department to swill down, but certainly not enough interest for me.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2009 00:35:58 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy chestnut brown brew with a minimal head.

Smell is very fruity and fairly malty with a bit of herbal hop aroma.

Taste is malty and a bit sweet and more complex than expected. The major flavors here are the malt and the fruit. Each sip is the same sweetness and fruit that the first sip delivered. The bitterness is just enough to clean your palette for the next taste. The aftertaste is herbal hops and a lingering hint of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is quite good, this is a beer that you can sip all night.

This is a brew that is what English beer probably used to taste like before mass production and dumbing the beer down made Bass Ale taste like a 1/2 ale 1/2 Budweiser.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2005 02:54:59 | More by Zorro
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This ESB has been showing up on shelves in SoCal beer stores over the last couple months...or I haven't noticed this beer before. I got the Guinness pint glass ready to carry this, my first beer from Wales. On to the beer:

Clean dark amber in the body, it gets darker as you look more towards the top. The head is fluffy on top, and holding it's ground. Looks classy thus far. My nose doesn't get as much as my eyes do. More subtle to say the least...burnt caramel, burnt bread crust, cappuchino....roasted coffee...what's that doing there? More fruity as it warms. Me wants to drink.

It is what I would expect from the UK. Hard minerals, cappuchino, diacetyl, and a pinch of esters. I would like more maltiness in this beer, though this isn't bad as it stands. Like the aroma, the fruity esters, akin to red grapes, take over the flavor as it warms. Softly carbonated and medium in body.

For those who like fruity esters in beer, this is one to try. For those looking for a great overall ESB, Fuller's ESB and Wells Bombardier are better examples.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2009 05:55:39 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

12-05-2013 01:23:15 | More by BillRoth
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a rich mahogany color with fair head retention and lacing. On the nose this beer just smells great. One gets lots of sweet malt, but with overtones of sherry, cherry and wood. Really, this smells very much like a fine old aged ale. The flavors generally replicate the nose, but with a hint of rootbeer as well. The beer is medium bodied and it finishes with a bit of spicy zip. The abv. is very well disguised and this beer is quite drinkable.

Along with Fuller's, this has to be my favorite ESB from Great Britain. The beer is malty, sweet and spicey, and just very well done. One of the first beers to get me interested in English style ales. Very nice beer...

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2008 17:36:39 | More by John_M
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark red/amber pour into pint glass. Off-white head of about a finger, diminished to a half-finger.
Smell of malt, coffee and hints of peat.
Taste was a bit sweet at first then a slight bite at the end, non-fizzy, smooth and creamy.
A good balance between hops and malt, with some herbal hints. Good for sipping.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2006 04:00:25 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good representation of the style, darker almost brown pour, tea aroma. Toffee, tea, bitter feel to the beer. Unique hopping. Malt presence ample. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel reveals more biscuity feel with the astringent bitterness playing off of it. Quite drinkable, reasonably priced, highly recommended if you're into this kind of thing.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2010 20:41:33 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Being that I’m a “Beer Obsessed Lunatic”, that’s a quote from a former “lady friend”, I keep on hand several cases of beer that I like when I don’t feel like sampling new beers, or if I’m a bit under the weather as it were. Thames Welsh ESB along with “Optimator, Salvator, and many others falls into the category I call “Stable Beers”.
A pulchritudinous deep cherry red with a portly head and a creamy texture that is survived by thick sticking sheets of lace, both a nice light tan color. Nose is dominated by the sweet malt, hints of ripe fruit, light hint of the hops, caramel, fresh and clean to the senses. Start has a nice malt presence and it’s also sweet with the top middling in feel to the taste buds. Hops are dominant in the finish, the carbonation moderate and the aftertaste long lasting and quite dry, and a real treasure that I sample quite often and well worth your effort to find and sample.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2002 08:55:29 | More by Gusler
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a mug. Had a little head that didn't last particularly long. Deep, dark color was a little too murky.

The smell was sweet and sharp. At first, it was hard to pin down.

You can really taste the sweetness of this beer. The apples give it an overly tart flavor, accompanied by a nuttiness. The main problem here is that it finishes very weak. It's sort of thin in that respect.

The mouthfeel was equally average. It didn't seem as though it had enough carbonation to sustain itself.

Overall, this is a mediocre beer. Not totally without some charm, but not strong enough to bring me back for a second round.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 16:36:30 | More by avalon07
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
Hopheadjeffery

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

08-13-2013 03:10:11 | More by Hopheadjeffery
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one had a moderate head that left some lacing on the inside of my glass. The body was a dark brown in color and very pretty.

Smell – This has a sharp, English bitter kind of aroma. There is some light toast in here along with some noticeable citrus.

Taste – The nice toast is really good at the taste. It’s burnt and bitter with a biscuity compliment. The flavors grow as the night goes on and the beer warms.

Mouthfeel – This is almost medium-bodied. The bitterness starts off easy when the beer is cold but ramps up quickly. By the end of the glass it seems almost too much. There’s a slight tingly sensation in the mouth at the finish as well that reminds me of the feeling you get when tasting rising yeast.

Drinkability – This is a “no frills” ESB that will neither impress nor disappoint. It’s not a session beer by any stretch but a good drinker nevertheless.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2005 03:59:00 | More by RoyalT
Photo of mrfrancis
mrfrancis

Kentucky

4/5  rDev +7.2%

06-25-2013 20:07:03 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of Haybeerman
Haybeerman

Colorado

3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark cloudy copper color. Had to force a head that poured white, but it didn't hold. Thin lacing slid down the side of the glass and faded.

S: Very sharp. Cherries, plums and other dark fruits, toffee, and soft oak aroma.

T: Consistent with aroma, darks fruits, mostly cherry, with a musty/woody flavor. Distinct (and delicious) toffee and toasted malt finish that is very dry and clean.

M: Smooth, but too thin for what I expected. Maybe had something to do with the lack of carbonation.

D: Admittedly I like ESB's so I found this beer pleasant and warming. In fairness, I want to read other reviews, try it again to make sure the bottle hadn't become flat somehow.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2008 01:47:21 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 16.9 fluid ounce chubby brown glass bottle with a thin neck. The label has a strong Welsh theme, the fiery red dragon passant on a white above green striped background. Labeled as Thames Welsh ESB (the “Thames” part is confusing I have to say, is that just the Importers stamp on this, and sort of lends an English flavor to the name though). In fact there is no mention at all of the Brewer, Felinfoel, on this bottle. The Importer Thames America Trading seems to get all the credit, unfortunately. Well this is definitely a product from Felinfoel, which I have heard pronounced in a variety of ways, but in Wales, I heard it delivered as “Vel-in-voel” with a soft “v” when locals were ordering one of the brewery’s other products, Double Dragon. Listed at 6% ABV on the bottle label (not sure why this is listed at 6.5% on BA).

Appearance: Deep red, slightly clouded, cherry red rosewood body hue. Cream colored head has a soft tan flicker to it. Mottled lacing covers the glass walls. Finely dissolved carbonation looks impressive with a gentle tip of the glass. Impressive head retention, start to finish.

Nose: Deep caramel malts with a toffee aspect to them. Hints of figs and dates also. Sweet dark fruits with a warming toasted aspect.

Taste: The toasted malts break through early, with the merest hint of a lightly roasted feel. Digestive biscuits and an oaky wet wood tingle in the centre blends well with dark fruits and a lovely toffee chewyness in the latter third. The back end has a ripe bitterness that is shaded by caramel and solvent angle that is hard to explain.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth palate, middling body with a soft carbonation. Nothing outstanding but this one never lets you down. The Mouthfeel runs in parallel with the flavors.

Drinkability: Rather drinkable in a simple way. But in the long run the solvent bend on the caramel toffee aspects detract from the Sessionability of this Welsh ESB.

Overall: I have spied this one a few times on the shelves but never picked it up before now. Felinfoel is not a well known Brewery, yet it was the first in Europe to sell canned beer in the 1930’s , it is still family owned and is now the oldest brewery in Wales, occupying as it does some gorgeous Grade II listed buildings. It is a long time since I tried a brew from Felinfoel, but this was rather enjoyable. Maybe I should have saved this one for a few more days until the start of the 2006 Six Nations Rugby Tournament when England play Wales on February 4th but maybe that would have been a little unpatriotic to have been drinking this whilst listening to the haunting tones of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau and rooting for England.

Iechyd da!

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2006 04:44:59 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany. Perfectly clear under a khaki cap.
Nose bursting with raspberries and black cherries all drowned in a butterscotch pudding. Malty as hell. A bit different for an ESB.
Taste follows suit. A right jab from the cherries and a left hook from the berries. Huge! Especially right away. Caramel creeps in, as does buttery diacetyl. Hard toffees in liquid form. The middle is just a fracas of competing yet complimentary hues. Roasty, toasty, nutty, fruity, buttery, bitter. Whoa! Hops gain a footing and ride this out with lemon rinds and bitter herbs. The only thing that keeps this from udder sublimity is the lightly distracting, medicinal, estery alcohol. But don't let that deter you.
Carries a medium-full body that borders on chewy. This is a robust beer.
Akin to an old ale married with an ESB. Highly unique, malt-driven and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2003 00:06:43 | More by cokes
Photo of wrightst
wrightst

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

07-07-2014 03:02:07 | More by wrightst
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice beer! Poured with a medium head that faded to a steady light cover. Lovely mahogany color. Aroma is full: roasty, peaty, dark fruits like plums, raisins; molasses, malty. Flavor is same but some tartness from carbonation, bitterness from yeast, and booziness. Full body. Long finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2007 21:21:43 | More by drpimento
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Thames Welsh ESB from Felinfoel Brewery Co.
84 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.