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Dragonmead Sir William's ESB - Dragonmead Microbrewery

Not Rated.
Dragonmead Sir William's ESBDragonmead Sir William's ESB

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BA SCORE
82
good

58 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.06%
Wants: 3
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2002

Another fine example of the English style. This Bitter is more robust than the best bitter but still with an excellent balance between hops and malt. Pale Ale Malt along with Aromatic and Crystal malts combine with the Galena and Fuggles hops to create a sure-fire favorite.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 37
Reviews by Lexx:
Photo of Lexx
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice medium bronze with a very tight one finger head that settled quickly leaving a light sheet of lace behind.Lighter aromas of caramel and brown sugar with light herbal notes that became more noticable as the beer warmed,spot on ESB flavors let me tell yah,juicy fruity and sweeter caramel malt that intertwines with a big drying herbal hop finish.Wow a great ESB spot on and oh so quaffable,would love to have on cask..

Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper with a dull white head that kicks off small specks of lace.
Aroma of wheat bread, cracked grain, some pale malts and an earthy herbal note.
Flavor is dominated by blanched pale malt, light caramel and toasted biscuit. Taste is somewhat cut short.
Mouthfeel is smooth and malty with a subtley, mild, herbal hop finish that has a sharp jolt of gritty bittering right at the end.
Drinkability is very solid. Bit bland for an ESB on the front end but all the other characteristics are very pleasing.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of srv33
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
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.)

Photo of trumick
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark red color with a huge off white head and lots of lacing all around.

Scent is carmel malts and spicey hops.

Taste starts off with a nice carmel malt base, buiscuty and a very nice spicey hop finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, refreshing with just the right amount of carbination.

Drinkability is above average. This is a beer that I could put away all night long. I would buy this beer again if not for the price.

Photo of GbVDave
2.81/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a decent ESB, and so far it is the best of the Dragonmead beers that I tried, in my opinion. Pours a little bit dark, but still fairly clear. A nice nutty brown amber color with a thick off-white head that recedes to a centimeter and stays there, thanks to a good carbonation.

The smell is nice. Has a high fruity ester profile. A bit grainy along with some spicy hops. Definitely not an American hop strain, as would be expected for this English style.

The taste also has a slightly high ester profile with hints of candy apple and berries. Nutty malt profile with a gingery brown sugar finish. Also has a mild sourness to it that gives me the feeling of a good cask ale on the brink of turning (right when it's at its best). Almost seems like a brett flavor, like an Orval. This mild sourness works perfectly with a subtle dry, bitter finish from the hops. The more I drink it the better I like it. It's about time I found a beer I enjoy from this brewery, and I'm not entirely sure if the sour brett flavor is intentional!

If so, damn good stuff. A bit odd at first, but it grows. I will have to try another sample in the future, but I will probably avoid the other Dragonmead beers I've already had. Like all the rest of their beers I've tried, this tastes like an extract homebrew, but I'm really loving it.

Photo of zdk9
2.68/5  rDev -25.6%
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.

Photo of ppoitras
4.82/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity... Has a "12 16" sticker, maybe brew date, maybe not.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Head fades slowly, with ample bubbly tan lace. Aroma is dry grain husks, light fruitiness. Taste is has the same malt doing a little dance over the tongue, with a light hoppiness that makes its presence known, but doesn't shout out its name, and then revisits in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth, and drinkability is incredible. Wish I could keep revisiting this one...

Photo of Reneejane
4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
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.

Photo of granger10
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Starting my ESB day out with the most expensive and I believe will be the most "English" ESB on the lot.

Pours a hazy copper color with some light auburn hints on the sides. Medium tan head rests atop the glass. Modest to moderate lacing.

Aroma is a bit herbal and earthy at first but then takes on more of a fruity sweet character. Finally it gets really bready and buttery. In the end I'm left with a burnt toast kind of smell. Odd.

Taste is definitely malt dominated. Lots of nutty, caramel maltiness in there. A robust slick taste comes out. Some bready notes and butter notes are in there along with an herbal earthy aspect. The finish is almost vinous but I would say chocolatey even. Quite different.

Mouthfeel is decent. Body is too thick and malty for my liking but there's a roasted character which is agree with and the moderate carbonation is spot on.

This beer was ok. Not really my type of ESB. It needs more hops really and less of a robust malt character. Plus the price was a bit ridiculous. I'm glad I only got a single.

Photo of SupaCelt
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This strangely exhorbitant bottle of beer purges a mahogany coloured liquid, not quite the shade I had expected, into my English pint glass. It formed a small cola tan head that subsided quickly. No lace follows behind. The nose is brown sugar, cinnamon, and sourdough. Almost like an elephant ear, but a bit more earthy. There goes that earthy thing again. Nutty. Oily smelling. Baked. Toasty. Nice. The taste is laid back. Pleasant brown sugar sweetness with a bready quality. The toasted characters come through well in the flavour as they did in the nose. This is a nicely balanced beer. The spice and sweetness profile contribute to a winter holiday feeling for me. This would hit the spot in the cold season. Mouthfeel lingers around medium. The drinkability is good, but would be better for colder periods in the year. What is the deal with the price? I am never buying another one of these. There are plenty of cheaper models that suit just as well or surpass this one in greatness. Seriously.

Photo of kohoutek
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with a sticker that seems to imply a brewed on or bottled on date. "1 09".

A nice mahogany beer with a beautiful initial tan, rocky head. This head turns quickly to lace and a nice layer of permafoam. This beer seems to be the slightest bit hazy. IMO, a good thing. . .I am not usually a fan of filtering.

The beer shares most of its aromatics as flavor components as well. A malty, graham cracker, biscuit, toffee backbone is met with a flinty, mineral yeast and calcium rich "dusty" water profile. Nice English hops throw in an added drying attempt. It's an herbal finish, but it can't match the malt.

Dragonmead did a great job of capturing the English hop and yeast aromatics, but this beer simply finishes too sweet. I keep thinking it seems a bit too rich and cloying to capture my interest or reach for another. A nice beer - and a favorite style of mine, but it provides too few magic moments for me to return any time soon.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with lighter amber along the edges of the glass. Light only makes it through on the edges. Two finger tan head which sticks around. Average amount of lacing left behind. Smells of sweet nut bread and herbs with a touch of sourness at the end. Taste is nutty and the malts dominate. Hints of sweet molasses try to come out but this nutty flavor won't let it. Some dark fruit (dates maybe?) show up in the end. But where is the bitterness? Barely any hop characteristics at all. Nice body and bubbly in the mouth but no bitterness at all. Not one of my favorite ESBs.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A well made ESB from Dragonmead. Pours out to a hazy brownish bronze color with a huge head of dense foam. Medium level of carbonation and rings upon rings of lacing. Aromas of malts and caramel stir in the nose. Taste is good; minor notes of spice blend with a roasted malt and hop character. Some traces of sweetbread in the end. Mouthfeel was far too boring for me, very watery and too thin. A touch of smoothness is noted, but is quickly washed away by the boring water-like aspect. Decent drinkability. If they could get some consistancy in the mouthfeel and make it a bit more noticeable, this would be a real winner.

Photo of superspak
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Photo of RedHaze
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of Viggo
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
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!

Photo of ypsifly
4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated 12oz poured into a pint glass.

Dark copper. Almost brown with a beady head of light tan that fllas to a few cm, but never goes away and leaves lots of wispy lace.

Caramel and a little toasted malt with some diacetyl in the back. The hops barely register as a bit spicy. Good clean aromas that show complexity and restraint.

Biscuits and caramel upfront quickly followed by a more pronounced hop presence that tastes bitter and spicy. The finish is rather dry but still retains enough of the malt for balance. Has a pleasant aftertaste that suggests crackers.

Smooth moderate body that is washed clean by the hops and good carbonation. Extremely quaffable.

Photo of brentk56
3.01/5  rDev -16.4%
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

Photo of dogfooddog
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of bierenutz
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Dragonmead Sir William's ESB from Dragonmead Microbrewery
82 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.