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Dragonmead Sir William's ESB - Dragonmead Microbrewery

Dragonmead Sir William's ESBDragonmead Sir William's ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

55 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 13.3%


Brewed by:
Dragonmead Microbrewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 37 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of srv33
srv33

Michigan

3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown into my tulip glass with a quickly dissipating head and decent fine lacing. Scent of apples, malt, and coffee, an interesting combo. Taste is a good balance between bitter hops and a decent malt backbone. Mouthfeel is medium light with little carbonation. Overall a good brew but nothing to get too excited about, my least favorite of the Dragonmead brews i've had to date (Under the Kilt and Final Absolution, both fine beers.)

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2013 02:43:59 | More by srv33
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Loud crack upon opening yields insanely high carbonation into the glass, this took a while to pour. Pours hazy dark reddish copper color with a huge 2 finger fluffy off white head with insane retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass, with a ton of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, raisin, toffee, toast, bread, floral, and herbal hops. Pretty nice aromas with solid strength and balance. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, bread, light pine, floral, herbal, and earthy spiciness. Decent amount of earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, raisin, toffee, bread, light pine, and earthy spiciness on the finish for a short bit. Solid balance of flavors and fairly robust feeling for 4.8%; zero cloying flavors on the finish. Quite dry on the finish as expected from the high carbonation. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a lightly creamy and very crisp mouthfeel that is ok. I swirled a lot of the carbonation out of this one on purpose. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a solid ESB. This was probably infected, but the taste didn’t seem to be affected that badly. In the end it was pretty tasty, I had no problems finishing the glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 07:40:17 | More by superspak
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one looks a bit too dark to me, and the nose strikes me as straight up apple juice. The flavor is decent, I suppose. A bit too tangy sweet with a higher grain tone than I would be expecting. There is a creamy aspect to it, which makes it a bit more pleasant. Kolsch seems a style that not many American breweries can really pull together. This one is, okay. A bit too heavy, but a decently drinkable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2012 18:04:53 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 6/19/2010. On tap at the brewery. Pours a slightly hazy brown with a small white head. Aroma of light fruits, caramel malt, and bready, sweet malt. Flavor of sweet fruits, jam, nutty malt, and toasted malt. Palate is a little weak, almost juice-like. Rather sweet by the end of the glass. This one was ok.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2010 23:14:52 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of bierenutz
bierenutz

Michigan

3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a clear brown color with a finger thick head and nice lacing on the glass.
S-Roasted malts and a grassy/earthy hop aroma.
T-Burnt malt taste with a bitter hoppy finish and smokey afternotes.
M-Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. There was a dry feel left in the mouth.
D-Fair overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 01:49:09 | More by bierenutz
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1

Minnesota

3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a slightly hazed deep tea color of brown and red. Zero head to speak of. Slightly malty smell but other than that not a whole lot going on. Very clean aroma. The taste is slightly matly with a nice hops taste at the end that lingers. Overall a very clean semi full bodied esb that is decent. Medium mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2010 18:54:38 | More by kbutler1
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a nice, fruity, slightly malty aroma that is not strong but invites a taste. It pours an attractive clear mahogany with a thick and fairly persistent white head. Flavor is malty and a little fruity with a little hop bitterness and a cider-like undertone. Texture is lively and quite fizzy, leaving behind a nice tingle and a hoppy, woody finish.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 21:44:18 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a magnificent head that sticks and curtains the pint glass

Smell: Fruity, almost "Juicy Fruity" character; not picking up too much hoppiness in the nose

Taste: Sweet toffee flavor at the outset, with a growing fruity character; some earthy hops kick in by mid-palate, but the finish is dominated by the sweeter aspects

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body; way overcarbonated

Drinkability: Marred by overcarbonation and a lack of balancing bitterness, this is a disappointing effort

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2010 22:33:40 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another gem I received as an extra recently. I was thrilled to get a hold of a good portion of the lineup here and decided to start with this one. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 06/02/2009.



The pour was very nice. Rich amber in color with a light brown, mineral like look to it. Smooth, even head of creamy white capped off the top quite nicely at a height of an inch and a half before settling down into a nice firm layer that stayed throughout. Light aroma of citrus and green tea. Hints of a mineral like quality wash across the tongue at first before a chewy tea like flavor takes over from there on out. Smooth, sweet caramel note in the finish wraps it up nicely while overall the light feel and nice light carbonation made for a very session able addition.



Not bad at all here. It was more in the traditional vein of the style for me, but I have to admit it came across quite well. I would have no issue at all with trying this one again.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2009 00:23:28 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of paco1029384756
paco1029384756

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper color with a short white head.

Scent of caramel, fresh tobacco, and a bit of earth. A nice malty scent, surprisingly full considering the ABV.

Taste is quite malty as well, there is a very faint hop presence with some caramel and a hint of tobacco. While not my favorite style, this is pretty good.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2009 00:13:00 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Single from Siciliano's.

Poofy head that billowed up to the lip of the Duvel tulip, leaving random lace all around. Very dark brown, nearly opaque.

Toasted malt aroma with some vegetal notes.

Rough but sweet malt, mild green apple, earthy plant matter, with an astringent feel that tends to distract from the overall experience. Medium bodied, dry roasty aftertaste. Drinks ok, but it lacks a certain something to make it unique. I'd try it again on tap before fully passing on it.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 01:27:08 | More by emerge077
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle.

Dark, cola brown body. Thick, frothy, lacy, dirty khaki brown head. Maybe the darkest ESB I've seen. Caramel malts on the nose, with hints of fruit. Decent floral, herbal hop aroma. Toasted malt flavor up front. Herbal bitterness as well. Becomes more roasted and chocolatey with hints of plum and a minerally twang. Herbal bitterness returns for the finish. Not bad. Moderate body with a lively feel. Nice session beer (although the price is a little steep...$2.50 per 12 oz.).

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 23:19:44 | More by alexgash
Photo of Reneejane
Reneejane

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just loved this beer. It poured a rich brown color with a great fluffy head that retained quite well over time. It had a definite hop flavor, which was predominated by English hops. The malts balanced out the hops nicely. The malt flavor was not sweet but rather distinctly smokey. It wasn't a very strong smoke flavor, just a slight nuance that created a satisfying character in the ESB. The beer finished with a refreshing bitter final note.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2008 03:44:59 | More by Reneejane
Photo of zdk9
zdk9

Texas

2.68/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a rich mahagony color with just a faint whisper of foam on top, no lacing.

S- Sweet malt, carmely, with noticable diactyl. Not much hops

T- Same as the smell put slightly more powerful. Sweet carmel malt with diactyl. Where's the hops? Can't seem to get much bitterness out of this one even with some forceful tasting over the back of my tongue.

M- Good thick syrupyness, I do enjoy this aspect of this beer.

D- Not a great taste of smell. The really only redeeming quality is the good mouthfeel. I'm left unimpressed.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 04:05:31 | More by zdk9
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest bronze with an infusion of rustic orange. I've seen brown ales that were lighter than Sir William's. The head is malted milk beige in color and develops into a slope-shouldered mesa of creaminess as it melts. An abundant amount of abstract-patterned lace puts the capper on an attractive appearance.

There isn't much going on with the nose. I can appreciate the toffee-like aromas of the crystal malt, but the Galena and Fuggles hops are in the background. Way in the background. If they manage to creep into the foreground with warming, I'll bump the score accordingly. Edit: they do and I have.

This Dragonmead offering tastes like it looks. That is, it tastes like a generously hopped brown ale rather than the stated style. I can't think of too many ESBs that count heavily toasted bread (maybe even brown bread) sprinkled with cocoa as a member of the flavor profile. I'm not saying that I don't like it, I'm just saying that it's different.

After an initial flash of sweetness, the bitterness comes rolling across the tongue and lingers through the finish. More hop flavor would be nice and would probably be present were it not for the light roastiness of the malts. An ale yeast esteriness (which comes across as a tangy fruitiness) adds yet another dimension.

The mouthfeel has no real weaknesses and no real strengths. In other words, I didn't notice it until I went looking for it. More heft would be good, but it isn't essential given the ABV and the style.

Sir William's is a different sort of ESB. It's probably the darkest one that I've ever had and takes some getting used to as a result. Balance and drinkability are highlights. There aren't really any lowlights. Dragonmead can't compete with Michigan's best breweries, but from what I've seen so far, they're more than capable.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2007 14:10:14 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Lexx
Lexx

Illinois

3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at Goodrich's in East Lansing.
Pours a clear, coppery amber color with a light tan foamy head. Light, spotty lacing.
The first thing I thought of when I smelled this one was muffins. It has a scent reminiscent baking bran muffins. A bit of grassiness and caramel.
The taste is grainy, almost resembling hay, with a bit of caramel, with just a slight bitterness in the finish. This was alright, quite easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2007 22:29:48 | More by Lexx
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Lexx for picking this up in Michigan!

Pours a slightly hazed red/brown, quite dark, bit of protein floating around, thick tan head forms, nice lacing, solid layer. Smell is sweet, caramalized and grainy, grass, citrus, bit of floral, very banana bready, pretty nice. Taste is sweet, malty, bit of grain, light roast and floral, watery flavour, bit of grassy bitterness in the finish, although quite weak. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, smooth and easy to drink. Flavour is too thin, but otherwise pretty decent to drink. Thanks Alexa!

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2007 22:24:21 | More by Viggo
Photo of enfield249
enfield249

Michigan

3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown, head towards black. Darker then I have seen a lot of ESBs. Not much head to speak of, but some lacing.

S - Can't get much off this, might be the temp. might be my nose.

T - Really good malty flavor, roastyness, and some bitterness that sticks around after you finish. Might be a mix of the roast and the hops. Not much creamyness.

M - On the full side for a ESB, but I like it.

D - A nice halfway point between a mild ale and a stout. A light stout, summer stout? Something like that.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2007 01:44:34 | More by enfield249
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear chestnut with no head off the pour. Malty aroma with a bit of roast and faint grassy hops. Mild bitterness with a clean malt character. Caramel sweetness throughout with a little roastiness towards the end. Medium/light bodied with lowish carbonation, solid texture. Pretty good stuff, smooth and easy going down.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2007 01:23:47 | More by DrJay
Photo of xav33
xav33

Michigan

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Dragonmead Sir William's ESB
12 oz bottle
Moderate pour in an English pint
Recent brewing, knighted 04/06

Poured a slightly hazy ruddy copper with a huge off white mostly lasting rocky head with fair lacing.

Smelt of strong toasted malt, wood, pine cones and light dried fruit.

Taste was upfront moderate roasted malt and light cocoa, pine and bland fruit followed by a moderately bitter woodsy long finish.

Palate was light bodied, slightly watery yet with a creamy feel at the same time (weird), lively carbonated

Overall, I've never had a beer that carried the smelt of wood so magnificently. Flavors are nice and original. Palate seems too watery though.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2007 06:45:28 | More by xav33
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

2.8/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Pours a clear reddish brown color with the faintest skim of off white foam. No lacing.

S: Yikes! Weird aroma of butter (not butterscotch, but butter). Some spicy hops shine through for a moment and then I'm hit with a heavy, oakey red wine smell.

T: More oakey butteryness that eventually fades and allows nice toasted malt and spicy hop flavors to pop through. Nicely dry and bitter hop finish.

M: Bitter and dry mouthfeel that feels just right for the style.

D: Aside from the strange aromas coming from this, this is actually sort of drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 00:24:44 | More by GbVDave
Photo of MuddyFeet
MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn, what a simply delicious session beer. Thanks to tangfoot for this bottle. Pours a deep and murky cherry brown color. Thick, frothey eggnog-shaded head that has as much retention as a cask ale. Nose is the only negativ as it is extremely subtle malts that I had to really dig into the glass in order to find.

Flavor is just front loaded with malts, peat and a wood essence. The malts just drip off the roof of the mouth and cling to the tongue and teeth they are so thick. Hops are a nice spruce-mint-ish that just balances all the sweet and earthy malts very well. Mouthfeel has a full body and is very juicy. I tend to use the word "juicy" to describe hops but this time I am using juicy o describe the malts. A six-pack of this beer would be a great addition to my Sunday football tomorrow.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2007 01:27:41 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear deep copper with with ruby highlights and a thin beige head with nice lacing.

S - Caramel, toasted malt, biscuit with just a touch of spicy hops.

T - Caramel,biscuit and a grainy taste up front with a dry, spicy, mineral finish. There is a slight spice but the hops are lacking somewhat.

M - Thin to medium and slightly watery with more carbonation than I am used to for the style.

D - Tasty beer but somewhat different in style from the more traditional ESB's I have tried. I enjoy the additional roasty malt in this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 20:50:22 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of dogfooddog
dogfooddog

Panama

3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this sample received today from MABZ, many thanks. I may have opened too soon, beer explodes out and dumps a fair amount of liquid onto the floor.

very sweet fruity nose, after the head subsides it becomes more malty. this is a good bit sweeter smell than most ESB/strong bitters I have had, cask or otherwise.

reminds me most of a suffolk bitter, bittersweet fruity notes upfront, with a malty background that remains subtle. in specific it reminds me of cask king & barnes and harvey's beers.

seems fairly typical for style, which is hard to find in the US. pleasant, very reasonable ABV, and well worth trying. given condition of the opening of the bottle, no idea if this is bottle-conditioned or not.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2006 03:45:45 | More by dogfooddog
Photo of RedHaze
RedHaze

Nebraska

3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased in Grand Rapids, MI.

Pours a fairly clear dark brown, with a very frothy two finger head that recedes really slowly to a thick cap. The subsequent lacing completely covers the inside of my glass.

Smell; his has a very fruity aroma, to go along with caramel malts, and just a touch of chocolate. The little bit of hops I detect in the aroma are earthy, and just a little bit spicy.

Taste; the malts definitely dominate, with caramel, bits of chocolate and slightly nutty. As with the nose the hops are on the earthy side, but also a touch floral and spicy. There's some hints of sourness on the finish, but that just seems to add an extra dimension to this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a decent drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2006 02:56:00 | More by RedHaze
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Dragonmead Sir William's ESB from Dragonmead Microbrewery
82 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.