13 Rebels ESB - French Broad Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
13 Rebels ESB13 Rebels ESB

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BA SCORE
81
good

100 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 100
Hads: 226
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 4
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
French Broad Brewing Co. visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierguy5 on 05-18-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 100 | Hads: 226
Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy light amber in color and poured with a thin white head that has good retention properties and never completely disappeared. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are fruity aromas of apricots in the nose along with some hints of bready malts and grassy hops.
T: The taste has flavors of bready malts and fruits; there is a slight amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is easy to drink because of its low alcohol content; the sweetness provides for an interesting taste. (668 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy amber color, no head (and cannot jiggle one up) and no lace

Smell: Modest stone fruit aroma with a touch of earthy hops

Taste: Caramel and stone fruit flavors up front with an earthy hoppiness appearing after the swallow to complement the sweeter flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Drinkability: Very nice flavor profile, although closer to a Best Bitter than an ESB; could stand a bit more malt and hops to take it to the next level (499 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good ESB. Very clean and easy on the palate. Aromas are bready and biscuity on the malts end and pleasantly herbal and floral from hopping. Color is solid copper with moderate carbonation and and off white persistant head that laced well. Tastes biscuity and toasty without becoming yeasty. Mildly grassy and piney with a floral, spicy roundness to the taste. The body is medium but softens (without weakening) into the finish, leaving a pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. Very clean brew. (495 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shiny copper penny with a fair amount of orange as well. Several steady bubble streams lead up to a thick slice of foam the color of fire-toasted marshmallows. As it descends, the cap leaves an attractive collar of lace that is gradually turning into shredded sheets. Good looking beer.

The nose is more toasted grain-like and earthy than I usually like. It would be great if the hops (East Kent Goldings, among others) were more prominent. Hopefully, they'll make more of an impact on the palate.

13 Rebels ESB is the first Frech Broad beer that hasn't impressed me. It isn't bad, it just isn't as delicious as Rye Hopper and Altbier. The short version of the flavor description is that the beer tastes like it smells. When did I ever settle for the short version in a beer review?

Balance is more or less achieved in terms of sweetness versus bitterness. However, even if they aspire to be true to their English roots, most American-brewed ESBs are hoppier than this. 42 IBUs seems overly generous. Malt flavor versus hop flavor, on the other hand (and unfortunately), favors the former.

The flavor profile includes toasted whole wheat bread, baked peanuts, woodsy herbs and bitter tea leaves. Munich malt (a guess) wasn't a good choice since it overpowers the hop flavor that should be showcased in a beer of this style. The silver lining in this only slightly dark cloud, if FBBC chooses to take it, is that improvement is but a malt bill tweak away.

All things considered, the mouthfeel is above average as well. It's at least medium for the style, only faltering a fraction on the somewhat loose finish. A few more well-buried bubbles would fix it right up.

French Broad Brewing is a credit to the state of North Carolina. That said, 13 Rebels ESB is not one of their better efforts and is not a beer that I would buy a second time. Coming at it from a different direction, most craft breweries would kill to have a 'worst beer' that's this good. (1,958 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the pleasure of trying this one on tap at Mellow Mushroom in Asheville tonight. Ordered as my second beer and served in a pint glass. This one was consumed on 11/08/2008.

The pour was relatively decent with a very hazy and cloudy yellow hued amber. Some light carbonation could be seen streaming up inside the glass. A small head of maybe an inch was present on first pour, but this quickly subsided and left a bare top.

The aroma was light, a mixed bag here of light grain, some touches of bitter hops and a light, somewhat grape like fruit aroma. Not much carried over to the flavor as it came off a little bland to me to be honest. Light grain and a bready malt like flavor coming through, but the hops were too muted. Almost watered down in their nature. Mellow finish on this one left almost no flavor at all and really just was less then inspiring to be honest.

Overall it was decent, ok maybe, but nothing i would really go after again anytime soon. I have had worse though, and much better as well if I am being honest. (1,035 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this before the Pop the Cap event over at Barleys Taproom yesterday.Pours really light for an ESB I think,a lighter copper shade with not much head to speak of,aroma of fruity malt with a touch of caramel.Taste hit the style better than the appearance nice biscuit malt and big fruitiness with a touch of hop to let u know its there.A decent rendition of an ESB,I have had better but this was solid. (403 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lightly hazed, mahogany-hued body with a thinnish, whitish head.

Smell: Aroma of toasted bread crumbs marked by notes of English hops and caramel (though light) and fruit (though even lighter).

Taste: Lightly sweetish toasted malts with a touch of dry caramel. Slight fruitiness. Earthy, lightly herbal English hop character with a medium-plus bitterness. Finishes fairly dry with a recurrence of bready malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, a wee bit thin for my liking. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A worthy attempt at the style and an okay, perfectly drinkable beer. Personally, I'd prefer a slightly bigger body and greater inclusion of caramel flavor, but, again, that's just me. (704 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper colored with a finger of cream colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Pears, doughyness & mineral/sulphur hop notes

T: Fruittyness, mineral hop edge, sulphur & slight diacehtyl sweetness up front. Butterscotch, some grapefruit & herbal hops as this warms. Finishes crisp, dry & slightly cloying

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation & decent balance

An alright ESB, a few pronounced flaws hold this one back (436 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a crystal clear golden orange to light amber in color with some orange highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dense foamy white head that reduces to a medium thick medium sized patch of medium bubbles, a very thin film that covers the remainder of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate amounts of bready malts with some light notes of apricot. There are also some faint hints of grassy hops.

T: Moderate amounts of bready malts with some lighter amounts of light fruit (apricot) sweetness and light amounts of grassy hops. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish with light amounts of lingering.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with a very light hint of dryness in the finish.

O: Easy to drink, with a nice flavor and a low ABV - a little sweeter than other offerings in the style but definitely one to try (or have again). (1,048 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mikesgroove for sending me this bottle.

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of citrus, with some orange and lemon notes. There is also a strong biscuit malt component. The flavor is fairly malt heavy, with both biscuit and toffee. There is also some bitter orange character and a little bit of bitterness. Easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (412 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +27.1%

One of the overlooked CANtributors to The CANQuest ™ is one of my local beer people, soon (eventually) to be a “Character” in my column – Justin C. He does a good job of looking out for new and different CANs for me in his travels and this is one with which he recently returned.

From the CAN: “13 Rebels ESB Ale is an Ameri[CAN] interpretation of Britain’s Extra Special Bitter.”

I would love to know the story behind both the beer’s name and its label, but it was time for more important things, like the Crack! I love a brimful CAN and when this one revealed itself, I was ready to go. I initiated an inverted Glug, leading to a near-rebellious two-plus fingers of dense, tawny head with good retention. I sat back as the battle raged, sticky lacing appearing in the wake of the fighting. Rebellion should not be without casualties. The first rule of The CANQuest ™ is to talk about The CANQuest ™. Color was a slightly hazy Amber (SRM = 7.3, thanks to the brewery for providing that bit of 411). Nose had a grassy honey-sweetness that really put me more in mind of a lager. Mouthfeel was medium and although I was still getting that honey flavor, it was accompanied by an earthy maltiness and an intensely grassy hoppiness (IBU = 42). Holy rebelliousness! I CAN drink this all day! The grassy bitterness was offset nicely by the biscuit maltiness on the tongue. It was on the finish that it really came together, though. It was like summer in the country with biscuits and honey after mowing the grass. I really am a fan of this one and wish that it were more widely available. (1,604 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: hazy orange in color with a short 1" head. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel and a mild fruit sweetness are all you can pull out of the glass by the nose.

Taste: caramels, red apples, black plums, and a mild bitterness create a simplistic but well balanced beer. The is a slight bready quality to the beer too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp at the start, smoother at the finish.

Overall: a decent easy drinking ESB. Nothing to blow you away but it hits the spot. A few of these can be consumed in a session. (534 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at World of Beer at North Hills on 2/17/12

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark orange with a thin layer of soft, white head. The nose is mildly citrusy and has a big toasty aroma. The flavor is pretty one dimensional with big notes of burnt toast with just a hint of citrusy hops for balance. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with decent carbonation.

This in my opinion was a pretty mediocre beer. It's one dimensional and that one dimension was burnt toast. The hops were noticeable but were unable to tame the intense malt character. I probably won't have this again. (592 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm. Well, this is definitely an American style ESB. There is the typical nuttiness and dry biscuity malt, but also far more hoppiness than usual for the style. That being said, it works here. Unlike Ding, I won't be hung up on the style parameters here and simply enjoy the beer for what it is. Pouurs a nice coppery color, but the head fades a little too quickly. Nice slightly nutty aromas with some of that biscuity malt and some earthy/spicy hops. The taste, to my mind, nicely balances the classic ESB flavors with a nice, and surprising, jolt of hops. They by no means dominate the beer, but merely add another dimension and take the beer into a more indeterminate style. Good carbonation, and a very nice drink. (720 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Barley's, Asheville, NC.

Poured a medium copper hue with a two finger dense frothy head. There was very good lacing and retention.

The smell featured toasted biscuit malts and herbal and slightly piney hops.

The taste was extremely well balanced with a sharp toasted breadiness complimented by a clean herbal hop.

The mouthfeel was clean with a vigorous carnonation.

Overall a very good and balanced ale. (426 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
2.42/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this one from gford217.

22oz Bomber

This is my first BIG TIME GUSHER! What was left.

Pours a cloudy dark copper color, tons of carbonation, HUGE foamy off-white head, with lots of sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty with lots of caramel, and some spice notes. The taste is malty, slight spice note, and some caramel. Medium body. Not Drinkable, would not seek out again. Very dissappointed in this brew. (419 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, copper color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of caramel malt, sweet malt, hint of pale malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of yeast, slight hops, hint of tea, and a hint of sugar. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of earthy malt, caramel malt, sweet malt, hint of pale malt, slight subtle hops, and a hint of yeast. (469 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Generously provided by BRoss242 via Dance/Trance/EDM BIF. Thanks!
Slight haze, light copper colour with a thin skim of fine bubbles and a soapy ring from a hard pour. Spotty stickage, good retention for what's there. Fruity aroma with a fair bit of floral/spicy hops, quite malty and toasty. Bitterness sat just underneath the fruity character, malt sweetness provided balance mid-palate. Slightly bready, more toasty though, with an earthy quality. Medium bodied, average carbonation, decent texture with a bit of pop from the CO2 but not enough to overpower the mouthfeel. Good stuff overall, quite drinkable and nicely balanced. (631 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%

A big shout out to the legendary woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is bready, a bit of hops. Taste is also bready, some caramel sweetness, a touch of hops is present. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall, while I am not a big fan of this style, this beer was tasty and enjoyable. (360 characters)

Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this courtesy of Ding - much obliged!

Pours a clear orange-straw color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes pretty quickly into a patchy layer of bubbles on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of buttery toasted malts with slight hints of grapefruit aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells - though with more bitterness. The lightly toasted malt flavors kick things off, giving way to a solid bitterness halfway through the sip. Light hop flavors are there throughout, but dwell in the background.

Mouthfeel is good - good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I'm not a huge fan of ESB's to begin with, but I could have more than one of these.

Overall this was a pretty good beer - it doesn't go very far off of the path of a traditional ESB, but where it does it succeeds. (802 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a dark orange with a hint of amber. The head is light white with light retention and lacing.

The aroma is matly not a sweet citrus, just sugar malts with a hint of alcohol.

The taste is very watery with just a little bitter. This is very boring. (321 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a golden brown color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy, somewhat long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: An underplayed aroma of malt, grain, and a sweet element.

T: Tasted of malt, with a bitter finish. Slightly hoppy, grainy and fruity. Not a super-dynamic flavor, but good enough.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly made, drinkable E.S.B. (449 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
2.47/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

It's a funny thing, beer. You hear the name French Broad and you think to yourself "Gee, the brewers must either be hot or sexist pigs". And then you find yourself driving through Asheville and crossing the French Broad river. I guess not all breweries rely on gimmicks.

Pouring a beautiful golden orange with a dense, white head that recedes to a ring, leaving a little lace, this is a pretty nice looking beer. The nose, however, is rather unpleasant. Rather prominently hoppy in the English vein, this initially has a very noticeable soapy, mildly cleaning-solution like aroma. Once it breathes for a bit, it does become better, changing to a rather pungent EKG aroma. A mild toasted white bread-like malt sweetness is present as well.

The palate opens with a blend of the moderate malt sweetness and a rather big hop character. As with the nose, the hop character just isn't to my liking. Moderately soapy, intensely earthy, almost mineral-like, this is very, very green. Bitterness is on the lower side of medium, there's an almost resiny hop character here. Grain and yeast are secondary here, especially the latter. Medium-light in body with fairly high carbonation, this finishes with plenty of hop flavor on the finish. Decent, though not particularly enjoyable. (1,273 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes out of the bottle a clear coppery amber with a decent but not very persistent light tan head. Aroma is mainly malty with a good hoppy undertone and just a hint of apples and yeast. Flavor is malty with a good bitter undertone, not complex but still satisfactory. Texture is fairly smooth and a little fizzy. Not too shabby. (329 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle courtesy of BucketBoy. Pours a translucent copper with a quarter inch, loose, cream-colored head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually dissipates into a cluster of foam around the edges of the glass. Thick slashes of lacing were revealed during the tasting. Nose suggests toasted, light malt with a trace of fruit. Taste expresses quite a but of grain - somewhat close to a sour mash flavor, but not quite. It's also slightly tart with perhaps a trace of caramel malt and a light lingering bitterness between quaffs. The mouthfeel is the best aspect of this beer. Consistency is medium-light with a pleasant carbonation and a semi-dry finish. A decent ESB. Not my favorite example of the style, but quite respectable nonetheless. (744 characters)

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13 Rebels ESB from French Broad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.