Extra Special Oak (ESO) - Element Brewing Company
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Ratings: 94 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
4.2/5 rDev +11.4%
Appearance: Pours a cloudy apricot nectar color with a foamy head that leaves some impressive splashes of lacing behind
Smell: Malt and oak forward, with shortbread, earthy hops and vanilla/oak
Taste: Sweeter malt flavors, up front, with shortbread and toffee followed by a slightly lemony/earthy hop in the middle; the barrel builds after the swallow, bringing oak, vanilla and marshmallow to sweeten up the finish
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation
Overall: Pretty good stuff for a sweeter style ale; like the balance and complexity
04-12-2013 22:24:05 | More by brentk56
4/5 rDev +6.1%
Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey.
A: A fluffy 1 finger head fades at a medium pace over the crystal clear toasty amber orange color.
N: Different than I expected from the appearance, some malts, dark malts and even a little roasted barley, touch of smoke, a slight tangy aroma, little oak and wood, strange musty earthy spicy hop character.
T: Smooth, creamy, lots of malt flavors, toasty malts, dark malts, some creamy chocolate milk and malt even, a little malted milk ball flavor, a little whisky flavor that comes out more as it warms, a little hop bitterness too. Lots of wood esthers with oak, some musty flavors too. A hint of smoke.
M: Semi thick, smooth and creamy, lower but decent carbonation.
F: Mostly dry with a touch of lingering sweetness, some minerality, slight bitterness, creamy flavors are there too as it's just starting to get the nitro feel. A little chocolate again, with a lot more wood esthers, oak and whisky late on the finish, coming on stronger as it warms. There's also a little weird bitterness that won't go away either.
07-14-2010 20:29:00 | More by jlindros
3.99/5 rDev +5.8%
a fun little beer here, very flavorful for an esb, lots of vanilla, lighter malts, and a toasted caramel sweetness towards the finish that is really nice. its oaky in a different way, this isn't in wine or bourbon, its new oak that still has a lot of its pop to it, sappy and full of flavor that's earthy and sweet, not tainted like some other alcoholic beverage. the wood goes great with the vanilla sweet malts and the effervescent carbonation makes it drink a lot lighter than it is. sweet flavor but does not stay sweet, the wood and English malt take over in a drying way. a light amber colored liquid that stays light even as it warms. a beautifully crafted beer rather fairly priced for what it is, about 10 bucks for a big bottle. get it if you can.
10-06-2013 22:45:28 | More by StonedTrippin
3.78/5 rDev +0.3%
From 10/06/12 notes.
a - Pours a clear amber color with one finger of fluffy off white head and moderate carbonation evident.
s - Smells roasted malts, toasted malts, some vanilla, and oak. Also some bready and burnt malts, and some earthy notes. Nose is nice and malty, and the vanilla from the oak is nice too. Barrel element seems heavy here, but I like it.
t - Tastes of roasted malts, cream, vanilla, toasted malts, light sugar, light sweet fruit, oak, and burnt malts. Nice, though not as good as the nose.
m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Smooth, and pretty easy to drink.
o - Overall a nice strong ale aged in oak barrels. It has some vanilla to it from the barrels which I liked. Not sure I'd want to drink a full bottle by myself, but splitting it with someone this winter would be nice.
10-19-2012 18:28:52 | More by mdfb79
3.8/5 rDev +0.8%
This is one beer that's hard to get into. The cork girdle is tightly wound; it takes awhile to remove. The cork is very secure in the bottle. I'm expecting a huge pop, but there is only a solid "poof" when the cork is removed.
Copper-amber color beer and clear. Good starting head which leaves lots of intertwined lace. It settles smoothly leaving a knoll of a dome froth.
Smell: First thought is earthy like fresh tilled soil. Second thought is moderately toasted malts. Third thought is metallic, particularly iron.
Quite British in the taste--lots of round malt flavor up front. There's an element of light brown sugar on the tongue. Good caramelized malt (crystal?) which lends itself to a rich body. I'm used to "oak" as coming across as buttery. I think the oak element (no pun intended) is understated. The carbonation is understated. Good (but subdued) hop finish. The aftertaste is short.
Indistinguishable from the classic English ESB, except for possibly a higher alcohol level. That's nearly imperceptible but I wonder.
07-05-2010 21:54:08 | More by smcolw
2.29/5 rDev -39.3%
A: Poured a copperish color with a lot of fizzy bubbles which quickly disappeard leaving no lacing.
S: Off. I smelled a little bit of rubber and some butter with a little oak, vanilla and toffee
T: Initial astringent alcohol with some rubber like notes, vegal at times, sordove green and young. The only saving grace for this beer was the booze and vanilla and toffee
M: Harsh. Medium bodied. Stinging sticky boze, felt thin and overcarbonated for this style. Rubber and funky notes.
O: Should have never been bottled. I detect some spoilage here.
10-19-2013 17:21:31 | More by barleywinefiend
3.2/5 rDev -15.1%
750ml bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Cool informative paper wrap, corked and caged.
Poured into a DFH tulip, formed a 1/2" off-white head over the clear copper brew. Head recedes gradually, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet with an off-seeming vegetal tinge.
Taste starts with clean malt character, then find the off part of the nose again in the middle, then closes with a floral bitterness. Dry bitterness clings to the tongue. Mouthfeel is very soft over the tongue, but drinkability is limited for me by the flavor and aroma. Not quite liking this one as much as their other offerings which I have enjoyed.
09-06-2010 02:08:05 | More by ppoitras
3.48/5 rDev -7.7%
Bottle purchased from Wine & Cheese Cask in Somerville, MA.
Pours a very hazy dark amber color with a tan head that leaves decent lacing.
Smells of moderately sweet caramel malts with large amounts of harsh oak and lighter amounts of leafy and slightly floral hops. Also present are slight amounts of boozy medium fruits.
Tastes very similar to how it smells. Sweet yet slightly grainy caramel malts up front are joined by hints of toasted malts and large amounts of oak. Midway through the malts fade a bit and booze-soaked medium and dark fruits with leafy hops come into play, carrying through with the oak to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.
Overall the oak was really heavy and made the beer not enjoyable for me. I’d like to try the base beer for comparison as it seems like an interesting beverage, but the oak dashed any hopes of that.
08-15-2011 23:36:32 | More by glid02
3.65/5 rDev -3.2%
Description from the website:
This innovative ale, burnished chestnut in color, contains the malt characteristics of an ESB without the typical bitterness. Lighter carbonation highlights the oak-aged flavor and its enduring tones of toasted vanilla and spice.
Thanks to Thirstybird for breaking this one out. Poured with the appearance of sweet tea - no head, just a skim and a frothy band around the shoulders of the glass. Nose was somewhat subdued - light, fruity esters and a little malt. Taste consistent with nose - a little oak with some buttery diacetyl and a slightly grainy character in the mix. Mouthfeel is light-medium, with a smooth, even carbonation. An easy drinking brew. Not sure how style consistent it is, but definitely solid, interesting and consistent with the brewer's description.
05-10-2010 23:59:46 | More by Jwale73
3.98/5 rDev +5.6%
On-tap at Prime 16, served in a 25cl Duvel tulip.
A: Clear mahogany body under a creamy tan head. Ok retention, spotty lace. Not bad at all.
S: Very woody indeed, with tons of vanilla and coconut oakiness in front of some treacle, caramel, and toastiness from the malt. Quite nice.
T: Follows the nose pretty precisely, with wood up front, malt sweetness in the middle, and a bittersweet, vanilla-heavy finish. Perhaps a bit too sweet, but rich and enjoyable.
M: Creamy, gently-carbonated medium-full body. Pleasant.
O: I really enjoyed this one, although I wish I had checked the time before ordering it - happy hour had just expired, and this ~10oz beer rang up at $8. A bit steep for being under 8% and, while heavily oaked, not barrel aged. C'est la vie.
05-20-2012 18:07:28 | More by woosterbill
3.88/5 rDev +2.9%
Tried this beer at the Horseshoe Pub and really enjoyed it. Drinks almost like a Scotch or Bourbon vs. a beer.
Looks like a scotch. A dull clear brown color with no head nor lacing.
Aroma is full of tons of vanilla and wood...a slight sweetness in the background here.
Interesting flavor. This beer continues to intrigue me, as I drink it. Almost drinks like a light spirit vs a beer. Wood, caramel, vanilla, wood, caramel, vanilla, rinse.. Repeat. What's funny is there is as touch of a soapy quality.
It just hit me... Toasted coconut.
Slight carbonation but very smooth and almost velvety.
You have to take this one a little slowly and it seems better paired with a cold winter day. Or after dinner. But very nice...
10-03-2010 15:38:30 | More by Reagan1984
3.43/5 rDev -9%
750ml bottle into Delirium Tremens snifter. Thanks, wyllder. Bottled Feb. 18 2011.
A: Pours a dark caramel with a very active and fizzy (but very thick and frothy) off-white head that quickly bubbled away into a very very faint collar leaving almost no lace.
S: I get notes of English yeast, biscuits, lemony citrus hops, bread crust and a hint of caramel. Oak rounds out the entire nose.
T: Follows the nose with flavors of oak, yeast, lemon zest, and bread crust, but I also get some flavors of candied fruit. The finish is thick and a bit syrupy, and the alcohol is hidden well.
M: Fizzy carbonation, frothy tingly mouthfeel, and a slick medium-full body. A bit over-carbonated.
O: Not a bad brew but maybe not something I’d seek out again. Flavors weren’t anything outstanding and the carbonation was a bit much.
04-05-2012 03:23:47 | More by scottfrie
4.15/5 rDev +10.1%
Poured from a 750ml bottle into two pint glasses. Special thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist. Extra special thanks to jayli for this from our recent trade!
Bottled DEC 15 2010
A: Pours a cloudy dark amber with two full fingers of creamy off white head on top. Retention was fleeting with the cap quickly dying off and leaving a thin skim and collar. Some droopy ropes of lace were left behind.
S: Aromas of rich toasty malt, light smoke, new oak, and spicy citrus hops. After it warmed a bit, I noticed an interesting aroma of vanilla bean and/or maple.
T: As above with a greater emphasis on the oak and smoke flavors. Some elements of spice creep in as probably a counterpart of the oak ageing.
M: Wonderful silky smooth mouthfeel that somehow leads into a finish of spicy spices and hops. A dry oakiness takes over at the very end and does a fine job of cleansing the tongue.
O: Very impressive. I don't usually gravitate towards ESB's/ESA's but the oak ageing (and this brewerys' track record with me) made me really glad that Jax sent this along!
05-22-2011 19:37:06 | More by GbVDave
4.1/5 rDev +8.8%
Bottle probably 2 years old.
A: Pours a reddish-amber with a big fizzy white head. Fades slowly, leaving no lacing at all. Common element of this brewery (see what I did there?). Oddly enough the second pour produced a solid wall of lacing. I'm not sure what to think about that but I did upgrade it to a 4.
S: Smells similar to an ESB. Toasted malt. Vanilla and oak. Swear I even get maple syrup.
T: Oaky for sure but not overpowering. Toasted malt and lots of bread. Some mild vanilla in the middle and through the finish along with some maple. Nice clean finish with just a touch of oak and vanilla that lingers.
M: Medium bodied and smooth.
O: Pretty much exactly as described. Tastes and smells like an ESB that's been oak aged but without the bitterness. Nice, clean crisp and balanced flavors. Relative simplicity keeps it from scoring higher but it's definitely a beer I enjoyed. Super malty and the drinkability is very high.
07-24-2012 02:36:20 | More by Dope
4.22/5 rDev +11.9%
Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):
Not too shy to show off its presentation of epic lacing and pale amber sheen. Oak, fruit, yeast tone, doughy biscuit and lemony hops are a great showing for an aroma. Heavy, silky smoothness. The malt and oak character intertwine so much and so deeply that they play off each other ... and compliment each other. Subtle hopping evens out the fruitiness that bounces around. Leafy. A drier side shows more toward the finish with oaky overtones and a lingering fruitiness. Yeah, the alcohol warms, but it's very delicate. A brush of greatness they have created on this canvas.
02-04-2011 02:14:23 | More by BeerAdvocate
3.3/5 rDev -12.5%
Poured from a cellar temp bottle into a large snifter. The beer pours a clear copper to chestnut color with frothy and loud eggshell white head of about 1 cm. Several small streams of bubbles rise to the surface. The head fades gradually with tight lattice and some large craters as it recedes to an edge layer and wispy islands.
Aroma is mild with some caramel malt and toffe, and maybe some red grape, but also very faint phenolic bandaid. This scent is very faint and not enough to ruin the nose, but I do get it, maybe Im just sensitive to that specific scent.
First sip reveals very fine yet tingly to almost prickly carbonation. Those little bubbles pack a punch!
Flavor is also mild, but malt driven with caramel and some dark fruit, red grapes I think. I also get a bit of brown sugar and general sweetness. The finish reveals just a bit of earthy hop note that actually lingers quite a bit and is actually a little bitter on the finish.
Overall the beer is very drinkable but not overly memorable. No flaws but Im not wow'd either. Worth a shot if you like english strong ales, just not as complex as I hoped when I bought the bottle.
04-07-2012 04:37:34 | More by sulldaddy
4.08/5 rDev +8.2%
a: This was a slightly hazy golden color with peachy highlights. It poured with a smallish, short lived head.
s: I found lightly tart smelling grainy biscuits, vanilla, and powdery fruit candy.
t: Toasted grainy crackers, vanilla, woodiness, leafy bitterness, and faintly floral fruit.
m: Soft body with gently prickly carbonation.
o: Unique is the best word to describe this. Everything I found in here was subtle and well incorporated. Thanks for the treat B and E.
03-08-2012 23:10:00 | More by DIM
3.98/5 rDev +5.6%
Extra Special Oak (ESO) pours a slightly hazy mahogany color, with a big, thick rocky head on top. The foam dissolves slowly to a sheet on the surface leaving behind a coating of lace on the glass.
The aroma is oaky with notes of vanilla and smoke. Caramel, bread, ripe fruit and alcohol are also detected.
Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry and smooth with an effervescent fizz. The flavor has nice oak barrel flavors, mixed with sweet malt and a touch of hops. It begins with oak, vanilla and smoke. In the middle caramel and toasted malt appear. It finishes slightly bitter with floral. Once gone the oak and vanilla linger on the palate.
A lot of barrel age beers I've tried taste more like bourbon than beer. EOS has a nice balance between the beer and the barrel.
07-31-2011 20:43:01 | More by WanderingFool
Extra Special Oak (ESO) from Element Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 94 ratings.