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Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer) - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer)Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

634 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 634
Reviews: 570
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 9.16%
Wants: 4
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Spring

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

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 01-09-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 634 | Reviews: 570 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A well-malted ESB, with light grapefruit colour and a generous initial ivory head. Some hop aroma,centrally Fuggles, very toned down compared to your west coast IPA. Drinkable, middle mouthfeel. I have had bolder ESBs. Teeth sensitivity afterwards from hidden hopness.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2008 04:57:03 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass and produced a 3/4 inch fluffy white/yellowish head that disappeared quickly but left a little lacing behind. The color was a moderately deep copper color and was very clear. I would give it more points but there was so little head retention.

The smell was nice but very weak. It was of british malts and possibly some yeast but there wasn't much of a nose on it. The taste was pretty big for how little it smelled like anything. It had the typical ESB bitterness and there was plenty of pale malt balancing everything. There was a touch of hop flavor and it blended very well with the other flavors present. Its hard to tell what malts are used in achieving that nice color.

Very drinkable beer if you want something with a bite but not over the top. Very well rounded, would like to have it on tap sometime.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2008 05:35:36 | More by t0rin0
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +4.7%

12-02-2011 22:46:30 | More by djrn2
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright apricot that becomes incandescent apricot when backlit with morning sunshine. The firmly creamy cap looks fantastic. It's lightly toasted marshmallow in hue, and is almost as sticky, depositing loads of high-quality lace.

The nose is true to the style in that it features lightly toasted malt and herbal-citric hops. The fact that Sierra Nevada has decided to use American hops as well as English ones is defensible, since they're an American brewery and this is an American beer. A lack of power and personality keep my enthusiasm in check.

Early Spring Beer is not as good as expected. There's nothing wrong with it, it just doesn't reach out and grab me. Maybe because it's balanced to within an inch of its life with regard to malt and hop flavor. That isn't always a negative, but it seems to be in this case.

The malt backbone consists of sugar cookies and toasted caramel notes. The English hops (Challenger, East Kent Goldings) hold sway, though the brighter and more citric American Crystal hops contribute as well. Orange and pink grapefruit are especially prominent. On paper, ESB should be very good. In actuality, it's merely pretty good.

As they almost always do, the boys from Chico deliver the goods when it comes to the mouthfeel. It's medium-full for the style, with a firm creaminess and an ideal amount of carbonation.

Sierra Nevada ESB is a welcome addition to the lineup of one of America's finest, and most widely distributed, breweries. I hope they continue to tinker with the recipe because the potential for something extra special is definitely there.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 15:32:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +4.7%

11-25-2011 18:12:56 | More by nmann08
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked this one up at Whole Foods today along with a bit of Pizza. I figured it had been long enough without me trying it so in I went. This one poured a nice orange colored amber, a bit on the light side, but crystal clear. Very nice carbonation was evident with tons of bubbles springing up from the bottom of the glass. Nice rich head of white foam, perhaps three fingers deep was clearly visible from the top and slowly faded and left behind just a touch of side glass lace.

The aroma was full of hops, which I fully expected, but it was nicely done, and quite light with a nice grassy feel to it. Light grain and a touch of pine rounding it out nicely. The flavor for me was very similar to the Pale ale, which is a very good thing to be honest as that is a fantastic beer. Light hops that overode a light grain front. Really well done I have to say. Nice slightly citric taste to it, but much more earthy then I was expecting. Very nicely done. Nice dry finish and crisp clean carbontion just capped off an extremely sessionable ale.

Though I cannot say this was one of my favorites, it is definitly solid as everything they make really is. I will now go out and purchase a sixer of this, its totally worth it.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2008 01:31:07 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a copper colro ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma of dry English-style malt with some citrus hops. Taste is also a mix between some dry caramel tasting malt with some west cost hops which provide a citrus bitter finish which clash against the malt. Average body with some good carbonation. I cannot say I overly enjoy the mix between the malt and the hops and this is definitely not the best from a usually pretty good brewery.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 18:34:59 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From old notes.

A: The pour is amber-orange in color with a large white head and some streaky lacing.

S: Very crisp on the nose. Clean citrus hops, toasted malts, and a nice clean breadiness. Some yeast notes to it as well. I also pick up some floral hops and maybe just a touch of grass.

T: Decently bitter with good citrus, floral, and grassy hop flavors. Clean bread and toasted malt flavors to go along with the hop profile. A touch of yeast and slightly dry on the finish.

M: Medium in body with a moderate carbonation.

O: I really liked this beer and I wish that Sierra Nevada hadn't retired it. Really easy to drink and good clean flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 21:27:57 | More by womencantsail
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a darkened amber body with a full, frothy white head.

Smell: Sweetish, biscuity malts with a full spicy scent and notes of leafy herbs and citrus.

Taste: Sweet toasted, biscuit malts. Spicy, herbaceous, and citrus hop flavors. The medium bitterness is distinct, though in no way overbearing. Lingering spiciness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall, it's surprisingly nice and would be a fine choice for a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 05:37:08 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

01-23-2014 02:59:00 | More by jaydoc
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of my favorite styles from one of my favorite breweries it has to be great right?Poured into a standard pint glass clear copper with a bit of deep orange tint a white 1/2 inch white head atop that left broken lace as it settles pretty slowly.The aroma although packing a decent citric hop presence doesnt really hammer it home a little English biscuity malt presence and some iron as well but really it fades quickly,like a few others have noted the beer doesnt pack a whole lotta punch actually pretty mild.A mix of caramel biscuit malt and grapefruit-like hop flavors meld well but they just dont hit hard enough,a tad watery in the mouth and it seems to take away a little of the flavor.Hmm I thought it might be better its flavors are good there just isnt enough punch in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 00:22:48 | More by oberon
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very upset to see this has been retired. This beer pours out as a really nice copper color with a fluffy white head. Excellent lacing down the glass. The smell of this beer was fresh and very hoppy. Floral and citrusy, very good smelling brew. The taste is sharp and crisp, very hoppy and really refreshing brew. The mouthfeel was light and clean. Overall it's a real shame that this one is no more. This was easily one of Sierra Nevada's best.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 02:48:46 | More by Knapp85
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a hazy, copper color with good carbonation. It had a foamy, off-white, two-finger head that left rings of foamy lace.

S - It smelled floral and grassy. Also, notes of caramel malt.

T - It tasted very hoppy and bitter. Good roasted malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was really good but it tasted more like an IPA than an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 18:33:25 | More by zeff80
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

11-15-2011 19:27:12 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper in color with a finger of white foam. The nose is clean and mild with an earthy hop presence and a hint of toast. The taste mirrors the nose; very earthy, a bit of citrus and mineral. Biscuity malts come out in the middle providing a hint of sweetness, but this is otherwise quite dry. Very clean and crisp in the finish with a mild earthy hop bite.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2008 18:14:44 | More by largadeer
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

01-14-2012 19:35:38 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In typical Sierra Nevada fashion, they've taken an English style beer and made it all their own (well, ESB is not really a style, but that's a discussion for another time). And I'm not sure how, but it smells like a Sierra beer as it's got a touch of citrus to it. According to the website, the only American hops in it are crystal, which is a Hallertau derivative, and U.S. grown Challenger and Goldings. It's certainly not coming from the Goldings, so it must be the Challengers; and perhaps some yeasty fruitiness (although Chico is very clean, but perhaps it's been fermented warm enough to bring out some fruity character - ?).

It pours a clear amber-orange beneath a creamy cap of off-white. The head retention is good and it leaves thin walls of lace that erode into tiny spots and splashes as you progress.

The nose is lightly citrusy, floral, and grassy over a mild, slightly biscuity and straight-forwardly grainy malt base.

More of everything appears in the flavor, but the maltiness really spreads out. It's just slightly caramelish, expressing softly crystalized sugars amidst a more grainy base. And that grainy base also remains in the finish ...such is Maris Otter. The hops are more grassy, and leafy, but still floral and slightly citrusy. The citrus appears upfront, followed by a wash of maltiness, and then rising bitterness and leafy/grassy hop flavors. As it crashes in the finish, drying bitterness emerges, and with it grassy and floral notes backed by dusty, grainy malt.

The body is medium, and it's got a standard carbonation.

Overall, interesting and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 04:07:53 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now you know I must have some love for Sierra Nevada if I put the Green Flash IPA on the "next" list and opt to try this one first.

An early spring beer you say? Well. It's January you know. Oh! Global warming, right?

Pours a clear golden amber with a nice creme head that is leaving some good lace. Minimally woody nose that brings just a minor earthy tone to it. Not much else going on besides that. Nice rounded flavor. Almost tastes like woody apples? There is a definite fruit tone there. Noticeable sweetness. Overall more earthy than any other defining feature. Feel is smooth with carbonation and the liquid is nice too. A pretty easy drinker, though there is a bit of an earthy edge. Nice production.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 16:08:07 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains citrus, caramel and some pale hops.

T: The taste is malty up front with flavors of citrus, caramel, nuts and some spice. There's a decent presence of pale hops bitterness that comes in quickly to provide some balance but it seems to lack harmoniousness. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, although it's not a style that I frequent, there are definitely other ESB's that I would pick first.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 04:28:38 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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

On tap at Acadia Cafe.

Lightly hazed amber hue, long lasting finger of foam.
Aroma of toasted malt, bread, notes of apple, citrus from the hops, more sweet than anything else.

All that arrives again on the tongue, more hops up front, a slap of bitterness, then fading back into toasty, caramel-y malt. lean bodied, with never ending flavor. Long finish.

Great session brew. Nice one.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2008 04:12:24 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-effervescent bronze with 2+ fingers of rocky pearl white head. Above average head retention & average lacing

S: Bready malt & citric hops

T: Biscuitty malt, citric hops (grapefruit & lemons). As this warms I get more citric hop action, dryness, a touch of honey & a whisper of grainyness. Finishes fruitty, with a nice spread of citric hops crispness

MF: Nice rich medium body with soft carbonation. Pretty fair balance

Drinks too easy, a pretty good Americanized ESB. More malt & fruittyness please

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 05:13:19 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy golden light amber with 2 fingers of billowy off-white head. Pretty nice looking retention that leaves just HUGE rings of sticky lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a well balanced and quite biting mix of light, tingling, earthy hops, citrus, and a sweet maltiness.

The taste is subtle earthy hops and tangy citrus, with a silky base of caramel sweetness behind it. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slick oily feel surrounded by a fairly smooth and creamy carbonation.

This wasn't bad. The earthiness of the hop profile and realatively smooth nature reminded me quite a bit of the spring time. This should work quite good as a flavorful and thrist quenching selection well into the summer.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2008 16:49:20 | More by Kegatron
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel tinted ruby malts with a large deep beige head, rings of lacing settle with each sip. The combo of the English malt and American hops reminds me of the Boulder Beer Cold Hop in some regards. Pine, citrus, and herbal hop qualities with mild funky caramel malt presence. Flavor comes off much more balanced than I was aniticipating and before you know it the glass is nearly drained. Sweet with caramel and biscuit malts with a mild tartness finishes assertively hoppy with citrus and pine hops bringing a fulfilling resinous west coast hop buzz. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated bottle conditioned slightly hazed light slick hop oils noted as well great drinking Early Spring Beer. Drinkability overall satisfying and flavorful a beer that may even be available in West Virginia. I enjoyed it and like I said it disappeared quickly.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2008 18:41:34 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cool into my Samuel Smiths nonic, picked this up at Quick six west on Thurs.

A - A light honeyed amber w/ a frothy tan cap. This ale instantly sticks to the glass and won't budge, it looks nice and inviting in the glass.

S - A very pleasing mix of malt w/ a noble English hop note. Very creamy aroma, slightly lactic w/ a hint of mineral odors as if this has calcium carbonate added in the mash.

M - So masterful in its balance - the textures are sweet, then spicy w/ slight grassy and piney hop textures.

T - The creamy flavors are nice at first, but become off putting as it is continually tasted. Not enough to spoil the delicious flavor overall, it is clean w/ a deft use of sweet fruity malt and English style yeast. The hops make this an excellent Western American tribute to the Special English style.

D - So good it shows that SN still has the notion that English styles that put them on the map or at least the American interpretation thereof is still alive in the brewhouse in Chico. I consider this a great product for those who want to experiment by trying an ESB. It is a style that deserves more focus and respect in these extreme high/low end abv/style times. I can say that I would drink this year round since it has such great balance - I have always loved Esb's since I had Fuller's for the 1st time almost 13 years ago.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2008 20:57:22 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark golden/amber color with a 1/2" white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, pale and light crystal malt scent along with a light hop aroma. It's refreshingly clean with a grassy hop presence. The taste is good also. It has a very bitter hop bite that blends well with a lighter malt bill. There is just enough crystal malt in there to add the perfect balance. This is one tastey beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good drinker. It's right on the money, style-wise.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 20:38:41 | More by WesWes
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Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 634 ratings.