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Barons Extra Special Bitter - Barons Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barons Extra Special BitterBarons Extra Special Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

54 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.92%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Barons Brewing Company

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: vancurly on 10-01-2006)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Bonhoeffer:
Photo of Bonhoeffer


4.65/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic. This one is following up a bottle of Lakefront's ESB, and this one is in a completely different league. Very rich. The caramel notes are perfect. Nicely balanced with Noble hops. Very drinkable and just spot on for the style. Barons beers just hit Birmingham today, and i think i may be going back to this one somewhat regularly. I hope some stores near me choose to stock it, as this one came from Vulcan downtown.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2007 22:32:10 | More by Bonhoeffer
More User Reviews:
Photo of imperialking


4/5  rDev +12.4%

01-09-2012 00:15:19 | More by imperialking
Photo of rab53


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

11-25-2011 03:40:41 | More by rab53
Photo of Stew41


3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Barons’ tries to have foot in a number of camps but it doesn’t really nail either. Holds itself out to be a micro yet the beers are contract made, or at least started out life this way. It has a go at some very interesting interpretations (Black Wattle etc) yet punches out some rubbish like the Pale Ale. The ESB could have been a shocker but I thought it was a credible interpretation.<br><br>Great to look at; dirty tan with a decent head. Nose shows nice caramel malts with just the right whack of sugary sweetness. Palate structure is pretty good; soft creamy feel (still plenty of bubbles compared to the ’norm’) with an authentic kick of suble bitterness and equally subtle malts.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2011 09:39:22 | More by Stew41
Photo of Knapp85


3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours out as a copper color with a tan foamy head. There isn't a lot of lacing here. The smell of the beer has a earthy bitterness to it that's very light. The taste has a decent bitterness but nothing too spectacular. The mouthfeel was on the lighter side, with an average amount of carbonation. Overall I had this a long time ago and never wanted to grab it again so it was fun to try but isn't something I'll be buying again anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 22:33:36 | More by Knapp85
Photo of BeerAdvocate


3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine July 2007.

Here's an Australian brewer's take on the malty-but- hoppy English ESB, brewed with English malts and four English noble hops.

Hazy dirty-peach color, topped with a nice white lacing that's got some stick. Aroma suggests sweetness with musty undertones, a soft apple note and berry- like esters. Medium-bodied, a bit smooth on the palate initially, with a coarseness emerging from a flash of carbonation and a semi-citric hop bite. A bit grassy at times. Sweet maltiness with a caramel backing and toasty notes. Earthy. More esters with a touch of fruitiness and a biscuit-dry finish.

Although the malt and hop profiles are in line with the ESB style (malty backbone, moderate hops), there's nothing overly exciting going on here. The beer seems to lack a certain refinement that would make this something you'd want to go back to. Good candidate for cooking.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 20:02:50 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Cs1987


3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Amber, paler than expected for an ESB. 2 fingers of head with good retention.

Smell - Caramel and hops. A little milder than expected.

Taste - I was worried that a beer that is priced on par with some of the typical Carlton/Lion Nathan crap would be undeserving of the ESB title, but this is certainly strong enough to fit into the style. The earthy and quite bitter hops are the first thing you'll notice, but they are well balanced with caramel flavour provided by the malts.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, good carbonation and texture.

Drinkability - Pretty drinkable for an ESB.

Overall - One of the best value for money beers in Australia, even though it is not up with the best ESBs.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 11:26:30 | More by Cs1987
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to triple5 for this one. Shared half of it with my wife during our supper, homemade pizza.

Poured from a 330ml. bottle, best before Jan. 5, 2010.

Appearance: Pours a super clear copper body with a thick head that gradually recedes to a 1 finger head.

Smell: Very faint floral notes. My wife says it reminds her of nectar soda but it's all quite muted.

Taste: Better IMO. A predominant malt character with a very low hop proflile and some grassy notes. A little bit of tangerine or nectarine in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rather low carbonation with a medium body. Decent enough and feels rather good in the palate.

Drinkability: Alright i guess. It goes down fairly well but it's not something i would pick up on a regular basis.

Overall: An average brew that has just enough taste to maintain my interest but barely.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2009 23:49:39 | More by papat444
Photo of LittleCreature


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - 3.5
A gentle pour yields a finger of off-white head that quickly reduced to a thin layer over a bright copper coloured body. No sign of yeast, must not be bottle conditioned. Minimal lacing.

Smell - 4.0
Very pleasant and promising aroma; noble hops, sweet caramel and biscuity malt.

Taste - 3.5
It is immediately obvious that the boys at Barons have taken a literal approach to the name "bitter", because unlike the traditional English style (the strength suggests this should be more of a best bitter, rather than ESB) which is balanced, this beer falls clearly on the hoppy side. Malt backbone is not light, tasting of biscuit, toast and caramel, a little raisin-like fruitiness, hops are aggressively bitter, citric and herbal in flavour. Seems a bit muddled on the palate, overdone.

Mouthfeel - 3.5
Medium to full bodied, carbonation is more lively than more traditional examples.

Drinkability - 3.0
Marked down because the ESB is supposed to be a highly drinkable beer, which this is not. I would happily drink it again, but not more than one at a time.

OVERALL - 3.55
Possibly lower than the beer deserves, as it is seriously tasty and rather enjoyable (came close to getting a 4 for taste, which would have bumped it up to a 3.75). Barons make good beers, and this is no exception.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2009 06:41:14 | More by LittleCreature
Photo of dickroop


3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a coppery, dark, golden color, with a 1.5 finger foamy head that fades rapidly but leaves generous lacing. Lots of bubbles promise some fizz, and it looks appealing.

Smell - A little phenolic hoppy smell, a little earthiness, some hints of toasty malts... but not a lot of anything. Moving right along...

Taste - Pretty true to the ESB profile that I expect. Bitterness and malt sweetness are pretty well balanced, with bitter predominating a little, especially in the finish. Malt is toasty but indistinct. Hops are bitter but indistinct, faintest hint of pine, but no more. This is a well balanced but not exciting beer.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, pleasant on the palate, good carbonation, but some stickiness in the back of the tongue that detracts from the clean finish.

Drinkability - Easy to take but boring. Not my favorite style, so I won't get again. But worthy if that's all that's available.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 22:40:09 | More by dickroop
Photo of CrazyDavros


2.73/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours pale copper, with a good large head that shows great lacing but little persistence.
Aroma is lacking for an ESB, it has some resinous/piney hops and lots of caramel but is pretty light on.
Taste shows loads of caramel malt, but has some off-putting grainy notes. Finishes with a rather tame and boring bitterness.
Body is too watery.
Needs more hops!

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2009 10:14:47 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of istarilord


3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber with a finger of lingering head. Not much smell, though a slight spice, clove?

Light baking spice on the first sip... good balance of bitter with maltiness. Light flavor of vanilla and apple on the palate.

Good mouthfeel, fairly smooth with light carbonation.

Overall a decent beer and drinkable. Fairly complex for an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2009 09:05:11 | More by istarilord
Photo of laituegonflable


3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a burnished gold colour, transparent like amber, not much head promoted - maybe half a finger and beige, with minimal bead. Head retention is pretty good. Lacing is pretty slippery, but it looks like a pretty good bitter.

Funny nose; it smelled quite strong and pungent when first opened, there's less smell now. A lot of malt on it, rich with amber waves of grain, slightly caramelly and some tart vinegar acidity. Hops - possibly Fuggles, although that's a stab in the dark - coming through quite herby, with a basil and possibly parsley hit as well. Decent smell, but not excellent.

Taste is very malty with a chewy biscuity malt being quite prominent, hints of raisin and bready grain as well. Mid-palate gives off some decent hops, quite phenolic in character with a robust cough medicine or Dr. Pepper kind of twang to it. Slight citrus character at the end, but leaves with an earthy, gravelly bitter aftertaste. It's pretty good though, mouthfeel is quite full thanks to the malt and slick due to the low carbonation factor.

Flavours are not your average delicacies, but it's smooth drinking as a bitter, and you know, it delivers what it promises. To be perfectly honest I think it could actually use more hops - the aftertaste is very bitter, but I almost feel like you don't actively taste the bitterness, you're just left with it as an afterthought. Still quite good though, certainly worth a drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2009 06:35:49 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of Bierguzzler


3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this beer because it was one that I hadn't had before and I wanted something different. It didn't turn out to be as different as I expected it to (being from down under), but it was pretty good nonetheless.

Drinking it from the brown bottle, I couldn't tell much about the appearance, so I'll leave that for others to comment on. For now I'll just say it was average.

The aroma from the bottle-top was a little roasty and carmelly. I still wasn't sure what to expect, but it smelled to me like a beer high in alcohol content (I found out later that it was not).

The first taste was very good! Still anticipating a beer high in alcohol, I was very surprised that it did not taste like it. (I also found out later that it is considered an American Ale - from down-under?? How odd!). Anyway, it was good, and I could even imagine my wife drinking it! Chocolaty and full of flavor (roasted flavor) it felt great in my mouth and went down very easily - too easily? I could sense virtually no aftertaste. I'm ready for a few more!

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2009 14:19:01 | More by Bierguzzler
Photo of prototypic


3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Barons ESB is clear and a nice looking copper/rust color. It's topped with a very light caramel colored head that stands a couple of fingers tall. Carbonation appears to be pretty active. It ate the head in a very short span of time. Lacing was on the lighter side.

The nose could use a little more strength, but is pretty good overall. It features mostly caramel and toffee malt sweetness throughout. There are some secondary grainy and earthy notes. Hops are noted, but don't smell very strong. That's not very meaningful since nothing about the nose is "strong." But, I'd hoped they'd be more prominent. There's some good stuff here and it actually smells pretty good. More muscle could carry it a long way.

I like the flavor a little more than the nose, but not enough to bump the score. It is malty and a little sweet up front. It tastes like a mix of caramel and toasted malts. The caramel flavor comes through a little stronger. Hops provide a bit of a bitter punch and quite a bit of balance. It's actually very well balanced. There's a floral flavor to the hops that makes it a little earthy, and perhaps grainy. Finishes sweet and a little earthy. This is actually a pretty nice ESB. It has a nice all around flavor, but doesn't have anything that makes it extremely memorable. I'm actually not sure that I've encountered an ESB that does. Pretty good stuff though.

The body feels light-medium. Carbonation is active and slightly buzzy. It doesn't feel quite smooth, but it's not far off. A little more body and less carbonation would probably do the trick. Drinkability is good. This is a nice change of pace beer that goes down easy and has just enough flavor to get by. I really don't mind it at all and could handle a few.

Barons ESB's a pretty nice ESB. I wasn't expecting much and am almost really impressed. The nose could use a little work and it needs something to ramp up the flavor just a little. Maybe more hops. There's a suggestion that almost always works. But, it's far from bad as it is and is kind of enjoyable if you're looking for a low-key session beer. Definitely worth a try if you spot a bottle or two.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2009 02:10:16 | More by prototypic
Photo of Tone


3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of hops, tart malt, some roasted malt, slight alcohol, and some slight raisin aroma. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with a high carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, sweet malt, some dry hops, slight roasted malt, and a strong associated dryness. Overall, a little too tart for my taste which makes it hard to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2009 02:47:51 | More by Tone
Photo of Reidrover


3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz single. Clear brown ale, small off white head, but good lace. Good English bitter malt aromas, very nice Again good tasty toasted maltiness, ,bitter/sweet ending. Very "leafy". Nice on the palate. Im going to have to declare this a very nice bitter ( not "ESB").
Nothing spectacular but well drinkable and tassty.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 16:43:25 | More by Reidrover
Photo of dacrza1

New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice burnt siena light orange to dark brown from tail to head, with light white lacing that sags swiftly to marshy imbalance...a bit buttery in the aroma, lightly roasted toffee hints included; some fruity esthers--smells light and refreshing... a balanced, respectfully substantial presence--pleasant, crisp, and not extra oily or carbonated... malty presence asserts in the throat, while hops are notable between the teeth... a balanced, clean ESB with little character --but drinkable... reading Lew Bryson's Breweries of Pennsylvania, I can appreciate this beer a bit morethrough a point he champions--namely, that the more sessionable the beer, the more value it retains to the consumer... this beer flirts with flavor, enough for me to seek another in this sitting... not in the level of Barons lager, though...

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 03:49:23 | More by dacrza1
Photo of Blakaeris


3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy burnt orange with a modest creamy white head.

Aroma is biscuity caramel malt, tropical fruit and herbal hop.

Taste is similar to the nose with a biscuit malt and herbal as well as earthy hop. Some nut and a strong mineral character. Finish is bitter with mild citrus fruit notes and a yeasty sourness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall a drinkable ESB. Certainly worth a try. Flavors are slightly out of harmony, especially with the odd yeast notes.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 20:45:51 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of Buggies


4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy copper color. A quickly diminishing head, but what remains leaves nice big blotchy lacing.

S: A nice pleasant aroma. Smells sweet with a nice bit of caramel. There is also some sort of fruity aroma as well. Very nice addition whatever it is.

T: I thought this was a very good tasting beer. My first from Barons. A nice sweet roasted malt flavor with caramel in the background. Good balance. The finish is almost dry with just a hint of bitterness at the end which fades fast.

A pretty tasty brew. This was my first from Barons, and I'm pleasantly pleased. I can't wait to try more of their beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 03:01:35 | More by Buggies
Photo of Durge


3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of many favorable donations from fellow BA, Rubby (thanks!). This pours cold from the bottle to the pint glass with a pale copper color, clear. The head is off-white, starts nicely but quickly settles to a whiispy cover. Lacing is pretty decent, blotchy. The aroma is a sour mash, a bit sharp, sort of....bitter. Some nutmeg or allspice notable. The taste again lives up to its style, a bitter blend of brown sugar and malt and apple. At times it reminds me of bourbon without much alcohol. It's fairly aqueous, light and tangy fizziness that is pretty drinkable if you enjoy a fairly sour barage. It's a bit wheatty with a hint of cherry in the tartness. Seems to capture the style in its own way. Worth a try but not something I would want to drink a lot of in one sitting. Neat though.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 05:22:09 | More by Durge
Photo of zeff80


3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with very little carbonation. It had a pillowy, off-white, two-finger head that left some lace.

S - It smelled of fruit (cherry), caramel and a nice grassy aroma.

T - It tasted of mild grassiness and smooth roasted malt. It had a odd sourness that dissipated as it warmed up. Also, a little sour.

M - It was smooth and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a decent ESB. Barons has better products, but this is still very easy-drinking.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2008 22:34:29 | More by zeff80
Photo of joecast


2.48/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

attractive clear copper color. very low carbonation hurts head formation/retention though. leaves a slight lace on the glass and only holds a slight film covering the beer.

can not believe this beer is only 4.7% abv. smells and tastes like its got an extra 1% or more in there. in your face malt aroma bordering on sharp estery alcohol. hard to pich through all that and find any hops. a bit disappointing.

taste has the same issues. the low carb would have me thinking its going to be pretty smooth and quaffable. unfortunately the dominating maltiness is a bit off putting. strange candy sweet aftertaste makes me wonder if i should take another sip...

anyway, maybe im being a bit harsh. its drinkable...just.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2008 09:45:54 | More by joecast
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: lightly hazy orange with yellow highlights. A one finger head lasts a while. Light lacing develops.

Smell: some soft caramel is all that is detectable.

Taste: bready caramel, mild fruit sweetness, mild bitterness, and a hint of yeast. There is a graininess to the malt profile.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Dryness arrives late. Almost clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: there is that Fosters can-like flavor in this beer which is a turnoff for me. No great shakes here.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2008 23:11:33 | More by Gavage
Photo of ECLyons


3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the first Barons beer I have had and I am impressed.

Appearance: Has a nice dark amber color

Smell: The smell was very pleasing, but somewhat metallic

Taste: A very nice balance of bitter and malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Smooth, enjoyable

Drinkability: I could definitely have multiples bottles at a time

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 17:48:11 | More by ECLyons
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Barons Extra Special Bitter from Barons Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.