Victory ESB - Victory Brewing Company

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Victory ESB
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very good

42 Reviews
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Reviews: 42
Hads: 84
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 17
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.25% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-22-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 84
Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask at he brewpub. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice ted copper with an off white head and plenty of lacing. Nose brings earthy, herbal, and floral hops plus a touch of caramel. The flavor adds in a tiny amount of citrus plus some mild bready notes. Floral hops prevail. Lovely feel with great bitterness levels. A really solid and fantastically drinkable beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with a smooth, even, head of white on top that faded off after a couple of moments. Light lacing was left by the side. Aroma is bready, hints of caramel and grassy notes and warming brought out tons of grains. Light, crisp and clean taste, light grassy hops and a smooth even caramel malt base made up the bulk of the profile

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask conditioned. Fairly clear with just a slight haze. Golden-bronze with an off-white head that holds well but leaves very little lace (may have been a dirty glass). The aroma is brightly hoppy with Goldings and a solid caramel malt backing. The body is medium with a gentle carbonation that gives it a very smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is well rounded with sweet caramel malt and a light hop flavor. The bitterness is softer, playing a supporting role in the cask version vs. standard draught. There's a soft, gently lingering maltiness in the dryish finish. Superbly enjoyable in this presentation. Not exactly a session beer at 6.2% ABV, but worthy of enjoying more than one in an evening.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on cask at the Brewpub in Downingtown, PA. Served at cask temp in a Nonic.

A -A cherry red juice color w/ thick ecru foam - the appearance is mildly hazed as expected.

S - Red fruit, mild spice and sweet, but subtle toasted malts - the aroma is amplified in the cask delivery making for a very inviting combination of grape-like esters and sweet herbal hop notes with only a hint of earthy aroms detected

M - The feel is mildly roasted w/ smooth creamy malt and yeast texture w/ slightly fruit and floral hop resin on the palate w/ mild biscuit middle and bone dry finish

T - The taste has a nice combination of fruity and spicy w/ mild yeast tinged and slight grapeskin-like tannic flavor w/ a mild apple and light almond nutty sweetness and hints of herbal resinous goodness in the finish

D - I was more impressed with this ESB both because it was served in cask format and that it was fresher at the brewery which makes a difference in English Bitters IMO - definitely one of the better examples of style

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Piper's Pub a couple weeks ago, I couldn't help but drink the hell out of the Braumeister Pils that was flowing at the same time. This one pours a copper amber hue with a light off white head forming nicely in my glass. Aroma has caramel malt sweetness, hints of cereal bread grains, and earthy herbal hop notes. Flavor continues the trend of caramelized maltiness with a hint of toasted marshmallow with creamy sweet dessert bread, enough hops step up to balance it out but this is very English hopping which works for the style. Earthy, herbal hops grace the palate with a light edge of citrus peel nothing heavy just a kiss that makes the beer very very drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample mellow carbonation level that works so well for this beer. Overall drinkability is high, I didn't guess this alcohol to be anywhere near 6% abv, quality American brewed ESB from my own experience that can be a rarity.

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Photo of WesWes
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty aroma that is accompanied by a mild hop scent. It's light, but still packs a malty punch. The taste is decent. It has a grainy pale and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry with a nice hop flavor. It's an easy drinker even at 6.25%. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It's not my favorite ESB, but it'll do in a pinch.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory ESB

Pours an orangeish copper color. Aroma of floral hops, caramel and orange citrus. In the flavor, herbal tea, citrus zest, and mild grassy bitterness from the hops. The malt/yeast foundation adds alot of toffee, butterscotch, caramel, and bread tones. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and well carbonated. Straightforward and very English in style, this is a worthy ESB with a good amount of flavor.

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Photo of corby112
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Draft at Kraftwork on 2/17/11.

Pours a clear golden amber/orange color with dark golden orange hues when held to a light and one finger frothy white head that quickly fades into a very thin lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Slightly earthy hop aroma but the nose is dominated by a sweet malt character. Hints of earthy pine and very faint sweet citrus balanced by toasted caramel malt, rye and biscuit.

Medium bodied but fuller than expected with a hop forward flavor that lingers into a dry finish. This is quickly countered by a strong malt backbone with hints of caramel and biscuit. Although this is decently balanced, the hops are the star here with a lingering bitterness and dry finish. The ABV is decently masked but this beer is still a bit harsh.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish red as opposed to reddish brown and had a decent head that died quick with minimal lace and a airy, clean aroma of some bread malt and touches of sweet caramel and minimal hops. A bitter hop taste first hit me, but then it smoothes out and is balanced thanks to some sweet caramel and bread malt (possible bitter chocolate or toffee in there). Good balance and finish, not the most flavorful ESB I've had but a pretty good one.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on cask in a pint glass

Appearance – Served an orange-copper color with a thin off white head. The head faded very fast leaving only a very light amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is biscuit in nature mixed with a bitter hop aroma of earthy and citrus nature. There are light spice and herbal aromas mixed into the nose as well which overall create an overall very pleasant aroma.

Taste – The taste is biscuit up front as the nose would have predicted. In the middle some of the citrus hop flavor and spice then comes into to the tongue. The citrus loses ground fast but the spiciness gets stronger. In the end the spice flavors mix with the bread an herbal/grassy flavor and an earthy hop flavor to leave a bitter spiced flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – Typical for a cask beer this one was creamy in body and low in carbonation. It was nice and smooth and very drinkable.

Overall - The flavors of this beer taste and transition well making this one a very easy drinking bitter with a nice smooth feel and taste.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a darker brown with a full tan colored head. Good lacing present on glass.

S: Malty and sweet.

T: Bread bitterness from the hops up front and through the middle. Malts and maple sweetness to finish.

M: Body yet light enough to have few. Great feeling on the tongue - really creamy.

O: Well done ESB.

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Photo of Boto
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Victory. The beer is a rich copper color. Excellent hop aroma. Maybe even some floral traces in the nose. Medium-full, well balanced malty taste. There is also a pretty good shot of hops in it. Very smooth to the palate. An excellent Quaff!

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Photo of CrellMoset
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Casked Victory ESB, on tap at Capital Ale House, Richmond, VA, Midlothian location. Served in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: An abnormally dark brew with a foamy one-finger head, very cask-esque, complete with spotty, bubbly, sticky, cheesecloth-esque on the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Odd but interesting phenols, a handful of herbal hop notes, and brown sugar and caramel notes make up the bulk of the aroma on this one. A few light fruity notes buried in the mix emerge upon close inspection, sort of like apples and figs.

Taste: Incredibly toasty and malty, with a few stray phenols that come across as fruity though are also slightly medicinal. Bitterness is mild, as are a few buttery notes. Herbalness comes through as it warms, tobacco like. The maltiness here is provided mainly courtesy of toffee and light coffee notes, though there are a few stray dark fruits as well, as well as that crisp, glass-like, crystal malt taste. Balanced, as any good ESB should be, though perhaps more malty than hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and soft. Medium bodied, that nice low carb cask feel. A few sticky residual sugars and a slight hop prickle round things out.

Drinkability: A solid offering from Victory, and one I'm glad I tried. Strikes that perfect ESB balance, and the casking brings them out nicely. Though the hop and malt notes on their own aren't my favorite varieties, they do go reasonably well together, and I'd be happy to try this one again.

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Photo of aracauna
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think that I would have been more impressed with this beer had it been on the hand pump instead of Hop Devil or Milltown Mild. It does have a nice herbal character that works well with this slightly hoppy take on the style. Still, i was more impressed with several other beers I tried during my visit.

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Photo of John
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber/garnet color. Tight bubbled tan head. Lace is decorative. Aroma is medium toasted malt and juicy hops. Flavors are precisely balanced...perfect blend of malt and hop. The brew is not the least bit overstated, IMHO spot on for the style. Very English. Mouthfeel is light-medium. Victory obviously used some restraint when formulating this gem, choosing to be true to style rather than over the top. This would really shine cask time hopefully.

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Photo of pezoids
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I thought this beer tasted great. This could be a good session beer for me. It was a bit hazy from the cask but that is to be somewhat expected. The hops are apparent but not overwhelming. Very smooth and easy to drink in my opinion. One to seek out.

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Photo of nomad
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From a cask at the brewery, this time around it pours the same orange-burnt umber color, but much more hazy. Thanks to it being hand-drawn on the pump, the head was highly bubbly but incredibly sturdy, never wavering or receding imperial pint after pint. Some wet lace, sometimes.

Smells quite grassy, incredibly similar to wet fresh cut grass, with accompanying hints of herbs and vegetables. These recede to show a floral-toned grapefruitiness - strange, but these two opposing types of hop scents were mingled together. Interesting to say the least. Opens to notes of rose-water and tiny thick caramel sauce. Though it was beautiful and wide-ranging, its smell was a bit soft at times.

On first sip, all I could think was how American this ESB is this time around. Very big and bold hops, throwing up big flavors of grapefruit and florals, undergirded by a burning and bustling roastiness and snappy wood flavors (like those in Geary's HSA). So much bitterness surrounds the tongue, with vegetal bitters like endives or chicory as the profile settles back. There is a sizable caramel flavor underneath all the hop onslaught, but the biggest product of the malt is roastiness. It doesn't taste just "roasty" but melds into the hops, giving the bitters a further rough and toasty edge.

Though almost last to mention, one of the first and most impressive part of this ESB on cask was the mouthfeel: thick, soft, smooth, and full. Yet, it never felt too filling, and went very well with wings, a burger, and some fries.

A perfect casking, represented well in the freshly punchy and dynamic hop flavors, and the impeccable conditioned mouthfeel. An interest step up from what I've experienced on draught, but so powerful it holds the drinkability back from being superb.

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Photo of scottyshades
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at the brewery

A: Pours a transparent copper color with a medium-sized white cap. Retention is decent

S: Soft pale malts give a light toasty note, hops give lots of earthy and spicy notes. Well balanced, and definitely English

T: The low carbonation + the cask makes this really English. Subtle hops and malts are nicely balanced. Hops are spicy, earthy, slightly citrusy. Malts are light, slightly bready, and balance well

MF/D: Carbonation is low, body is medium for the style. Finish is of spicy hops

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Photo of maddogruss
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a pint of this at the Victory sponsored MBA night at Cloverleaf Tavern in West Caldwell, NJ.

A: Pours a nice, dark golden body with a white head with excellent retention and nice lacing along the sides of the glass and the top of the beer.

S: Smells of a slight sweet maltiness with bitter, earthy undertones.

T: A pretty bitter taste with a smooth, sweet malty aftertaste. Excellent taste overall because the sweeter aftertaste did well to balance the pretty strong, bitter taste.

M: A nice, crisp and refreshing feel overall that was fairly smooth.

D: A very drinkable beer. A nice, bitter taste with a smooth, sweet aftertaste. Combined with a crisp, refreshing taste makes this beer very easy to drink or a nice session beer.

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Photo of Nickls
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Poured with a nice frothy and bubbly slightly off-white head. Great lacing throughout the sample. Deep, dark brown color

S - Sweet malt/prune-like aromas. Hop bitterness is not present

T - Deep, rich maltiness, dried fig flavors stick out. Dry hop bitterness finish

M - Medium MF, and nearly mouth-coating. Very little carbonation for the style, but not anything that detracted too much

D - Not nearly as drinkable as other ESB's that I've sampled. This is mainly due to the lack of hop bitterness to balance out the malty richness.

Overall, definitely within the style, but leaned a bit too heavy on the malt side of the equation. Could have used a bit more hop bitterness, but still a very good brew. Try it if it's around.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I felt this beer was solid, but nothing special for an ESB. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this, but I would have again if available.

It was an amber color with a haze. Tasted nice, but not as strong enough for the style in my opinion. Not enough hops. Not enough flavor. It seemed like a milder version of the ESB's I've tried. On the plus side, it is smooth and drinks easily.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours very clear golden / amber color and holds an off-white head that holds well but leaves little lace. Slow but steady carbonation. On the nose the aroma of golding hops and some fruitiness. On the palate nice hop flavor, some fruity flavors; apples, with a bit of biscuity malt and a pinch of toffee. Mouth feel is a bit light, but I really enjoyed this brew…

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Photo of letsgopens
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on cask at Victory Brewing, this selection stands very cloudy/woody peach with some nice golden highlights. A thin rim of off-white bubbles hang around the surface of the brew. And of course no real head on this cask selection.

Dim but malty with a bit of spice and tanginess. Fruity and yeasty with a hint of toastiness and toffee. Just a hint of dim hops floats about. Not terribly pronounced in the aroma department.

Dim with some mellow yeasty fruit. That familiar mellow crystal malt character is present along with orange and lemon. Very similar to the nose; dim and rather uneventful. Reasonably flavorful I suppose.

Soft and smooth but also rather dull and matted; and not just do to the cask conditioning. The finish brightens up a bit but not much. I think this selection just doesn't lend itself well to cask.

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Photo of jreitman
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich amber with a nice light beige head. Aroma was more subdued that I like in a ESB, especially considering some of the great ones I have had in the PNW. Sweet caramel malt and a slight hop bite comprise the majority of the flavors with not a whole lot else going on. The brew is very "by the book" when it comes to the style guidelines and doesn't seem to take any steps towards anything overly original. A good beer by Victory, but not my favorite ESB.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the Victory Brewery.

Deep golden color, mostly clear, with a thin fine head of less than one finger's width. Though not a large amount of foam, the retention lacing were very good, with lace all the way down the glass.

A very intricate mix of sweet malts and lightly floral hops with a sort of earthy undertone.

The malts rush in first with a sort of sweet, grainy, earthiness that slowly comes to balance on the tongue with the flavoring hops. The hops come on strong at the finish but continue well into the linger. This is a great example of using a lot of hops without getting stung with the bitterness. Carbonation was fine but abundant and lent itself to a somewhat creamy texture.

Very enjoyable and easy to drink. The hops were there in abundance but didn't blow me away right out of the gates like an IPA. The late bloom of the hops after the swallow was also very nice.

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Victory ESB from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.