1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dragonmead Sir William's ESB - Dragonmead Microbrewery

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

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

56 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.37%
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Sammy, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of brentk56
2.98/5  rDev -17%
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

brentk56, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

mikesgroove, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
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..

oberon, May 07, 2006
Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

emerge077, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.4/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

RblWthACoz, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of superspak
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

superspak, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of ppoitras
4.85/5  rDev +35.1%
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...

ppoitras, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of Viggo
3.3/5  rDev -8.1%
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!

Viggo, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of DrJay
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

DrJay, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
3/5  rDev -16.4%

TurdFurgison, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Cyberkedi, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of tectactoe
2.75/5  rDev -23.4%

tectactoe, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of alexgash
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
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.).

alexgash, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.23/5  rDev -10%
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.

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of GbVDave
2.8/5  rDev -22%
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.

GbVDave, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of CRJMellor
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

CRJMellor, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of brewcrew76
3.95/5  rDev +10%
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.

brewcrew76, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of granger10
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

granger10, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of Kerrie
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Kerrie, Feb 20, 2014
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Frozensoul327, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of kbutler1
3.23/5  rDev -10%
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.

kbutler1, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

MuddyFeet, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of paco1029384756
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

paco1029384756, Mar 29, 2009
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dragonmead Sir William's ESB from Dragonmead Microbrewery
82 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.