Theakston XB - T & R Theakston Ltd.

Not Rated.
Theakston XBTheakston XB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

112 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 112
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 9.36%
Wants: 5
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
T & R Theakston Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-29-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (7) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 112 | Reviews: 58
Reviews by damndirtyape:
Photo of damndirtyape
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

1pt, 0.9oz bottle poured into a Tulip stout glass. Date stamp is L134 KE 16:12. Some tiny amount of sediment came along with the pour.

Appearance: Hazy copper. Off white head, about 1/4" thick upon pouring which died back to a thin but persistent skin across the top. Lots of persistent islands, strands, and sheets of lacing. Good looking ESB.

Smell: With a swirl, caramel malt, hints of fruit (plums?), and maybe some herbal hops. Otherwise quite mild in aroma, even as it warms up.

Taste: Caramel malt, hint of butter and toffee, metallic notes, British bitter finish which is clean and not lingering. Not really amazing in flavor - just simply there.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation but a bit watery.

Overall / Drinkability: Overall I've had better ESBs with more impressive aromas and flavors, but it is well balanced which is the feature of a ESB. Very drinkable. Went very well with dinner (pesto covered Mahi Mahi and basmati rice) and is quite drinkable...it's nothing special but very easy to knock back. Maybe this is its charm - just enough flavor and appearance to be enjoyable, but nothing amazing to slow you down in drinking more. I could see having another if it was offered.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #58 (November 2011):

LOOK: Mildly hazed amber

SMELL: Ripe plums, herbal, woody, grassy, toasted grain, toffee, chalky yeast

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, medium body, semidry, toasty, faint toffee, grainy, overripe fruit, buttery, mild alcoholic esters, dried grassy finish

Saying “session” would be the easy way out, as this ale is much more than that. Complex, as layers peel back each minute it gets warmer. A prime example of the style that sets the benchmark pretty high for brewers. A delight to throw back!

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2014. Picked up from a B&M store not too long back. A local brew with heritage...

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear coppery-brown colour with light carbonation. Forms a decent head of frothy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or so before disappearing. Aroma of caramel malt with hints of stewed leaves/veg, fruity ale yeast and cardboard. Dry and dull.

Tastes of caramel malt with a mild, dry finish. Notes of stewed leaves, caramel, mild grain, fruity ale yeast, faint grass/hay and cardboard. Well-attenuated, followed by a subtle bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, dry and tingly, with decent carbonation and good body. Slightly astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of stewed leaves, cardboard and mild fruity yeast.

Meh, pretty bland and uninteresting. Looks OKish, with an aroma/flavour of caramel and stewed leaves. Body is alright. Perfect example of the type of traditional British ale that lacks character. It's well made and there's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but it doesn't command your attention. Nowt special - no need to seek it out.

Photo of chinchill
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy copper with a decent bubbly head.
Medium-Light body.
The flavor is similar in quality but much stronger. Fine fruity, malty flavor.

Photo of rastaman
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Sweet toffee/caramel malts, and a silky smooth palate, pretty easy to drink, but not really my cup of tea, but not bad. Probably too sweet and smooth for me, lacked bite/bitterness on the finish, and nothing much was happening after the sweet malts at the start (Cask -GBBF 03')

Photo of tdm168
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a thin, soft, white head that has decent retention

S - toffee, caramel, sweet, a bit sugary

T - toffee, bread, caramel, faint sugar, sweet, faint bitter finish

M - a bit crisp, medium bodied, sticky

This isn't a bad beer. It's smooth, flavorful, and highly drinkable. It's a bit malty at times, but a slight bitterness adds some balance. It's worth a try.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Theakston XB
12 oz. bottle, $2.03 @ State Line Liquors, Elkton MD
Code date illegible

Theakston XB. You can't really get any more English than that, can you? It's one of the old classics.

It's an "extra" bitter, clocking in at 4.6% alcohol by volume. The dark amber colored body appears almost russet brown while sitting atop the bar; and the frothy, almost light tan foam leaves dozens of tiny spots of lace across the glass with each sip you take.

In the nose you find yeasty fruitiness that includes apples, a bit of red grape, a touch of some dried dark fruit, and a suggestion of spice. It's malty as well, with a bit of dark caramel and toffee. Finally, a light whiff of floral and grassy hops rounds it out.

The flavor very much follows the nose, but you'll also find that there's a light touch of mineral character to it; and more hop flavor than you might have expected. It's moderately bitter, leaving it well rounded and very drinkable. Some malt lingers in the mouth in the aftertaste, but the bitterness, mineral character, and leafy, spicy, and herbal hop notes dry it nicely.

With enough character to keep it interesting beyond a pint or two, and just 4.6% abv, it makes a great session ale. Nicely done!

Photo of MrKennedy
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from Warners at the Bay, poured into a Samuel Smith's nonik style pint glass.

Pours a copper colour, with golden edges. Clear appearance, no haze whatsoever. Off-white head of foam that measured two fingers and rested at a centimetre, lacing sporadically.

Smell is enticing. Bread, malt and a very light coloured honey aroma all stay round for the entire tasting.

Taste has some flat spots, a little watery at times. However, it is based around a nice malty, bread character with some sweetness.

Mouthfeel is decently bodied with a quite dry finish.

A very decent English ale, crazily sessionable. Disappointed i didn't stumble across this in an entire week in Yorkshire.

Photo of pleasewearpants
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Makes me want to go on a fox hunt.
Smells, looks, and tastes British.

Deep copper color with extreme clarity. Nice tan-tinted head. Aroma is very rustic, with caramel, oiled boot, and hearty bread notes. Good carbonation accentuates the caramel and wood flavors. Finishes clean with a slight malt aftertaste.

Very pleased by this one. Would like to check it out on cask some time.

Photo of Bung
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pint 0.9. bronzy pour, thin layer of white head. Just a little left sticking to the glass.

Aroma, Mostly toffee, some toasted malt.

Taste, Malty caramel, lightly toasted malt. Some leather and tea. Mild English hopping. White grape or yellow raisin. Some woody chocolate as well.

Heavy side of light bodied, good level of cabonation keeps this mostly sweeter brew drinking pretty easy. I bet this is really excellent on draft. Good English session brew.

Photo of puboflyons
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped: L142-KE--02:42. Sampled on June 27, 2013.

Looks like a British Bitter with its medium amber pour and long lasting off-white head that leaves lacing on the side.

The aroma is bold with caramel malts, butterscotch, and sweetness with a milder hop note.

The body is creamy and in the medium range.

The taste is full of sweet sugary malts, caramel, toffee, and the like with only a modest bitterness at the end. This is something that I would quaff down in a British pub.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a small head.
Nose shows floral and earthy hops with toffee, caramel and bready malt underneath.
Similar toffee and caramel as flavours along with the floral hops and peach blossom. Unfortunately the finish is slightly metallic.
Body feels a bit too heavy.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a reddish/copper color with about a half inch off-white head that didn't stay around for too long. There's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is sweet and fruity, it smells like dried fruit, nuts, toffee, apples, caramel, and bready malt. The brew tastes mostly like the aroma, it tastes like toffee, red grapes, toffee, caramel, dried fruit and bready malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick with moderate carbonation. I think this is a solid brew, it's certainly worth trying for $3.49 a bottle. I thought it was a nice surprise, it was better than I expected it to be.

Photo of wedge
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear deep amber under a small head that settles to a considerable bubbly ring. Fruity English yeast esters are well balanced with a toffee and bread malt base. More of the same with the flavor...lightly sweet malt, black tea, leather, honey, spicy/floral hops, and more fruity esters. Medium bodied and light on the carbonation. Drying with a delicate tartness. Nothing particularly special, but nice.

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy rusty copper in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger-high light beige head that quickly died down, leaving lots of lacing down the sides of the glass and a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of fruity yeast and nuts and toffee from the malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and is quite malty with notes of apples and sweetness. Only hints of bitterness are noticeable towards the finish, although there are enough hops are enough to help balance out the malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink, well balanced and very sessionable. It doesn’t seem to be to filling or heavy on the palate.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 500ml bottle, drank two weeks after its Best Before Date. I really must cataloge my beer stash one day.

Poured into a Batemans half pint sleeve and my new La Chouffe tulip glass.

Good looking deep amber colour with an off white head which fell away to a wisp and then to a thin collar around the glasses.

Treacle and toffee aroma, pleasant more than sicky sweet.

Good bitter sweet taste, typical good quality English Bitter. The molasses from the aroma are also in the taste and mouthfeel, they hang around a while.

You must remember that most British Bitters' tend to lack a rich heavy mouthfeel, this is no different. Overall, not bad at all.

Photo of tzieser
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

porued from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

a: pours a light brown color with a slight haze. fairly small white head that leaves a very small lacing around the sides of the glass for a a while. probably should not have served this as cold as i did, but it still looks good.

s: malt-forward aroma with notes of caramel and toffee-like nuttiness. nothing groundbreaking here scent wise, but it's solid.

t: starts out with lots of sweet malt flavor quickly followed by subtle earthy hop flavor. perfectly balanced.

m: smooth mouthfeel.

fantastic bitter; definitely one of the better ones i've had. i'd love to try this on cask sometime. too bad i'm too far from the UK

Photo of fx20736
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served cool in a nonic.

Dark copper, thick toffee head.

aroma of grapes, nuts and rich toasted malt.

mouthfeel is thick and soft.

taste is rich, reminds me of eggnog, all the aromas are in the taste.

notes: this really good stuff, drinks like an old ale.

Photo of Cresant
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured this 12 oz brown bottle into a Sam Adams glass. The body was a hazy pale caramel color. The khaki head maintained for a long while.

The smell was of caramel apples. I swear I smell whiffs of fish!?

The taste was also of caramel apples. Fruity with a light tartness. Seems to be a typical English Pale Ale.

The mouthfeel was medium to thin in body with a subtle, smooth carbonation.

Photo of Zorro
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber to red colored ale with a good sized tan colored head.

Smell is earthy with medium level of butter aroma. Strange something in this smells like aqua velva aftershave, if you remember that stuff. Scents of chocolate and leather with some Balsa wood thrown in. Slightly smoky with a little ash scent.

Starts out dry and distinctly mineral in flavor. Gets a little sweeter as you drink it but this is one bone-dry beer. Slight flavor of oxidation, spent a lot of time on a ship. Medium bitterness level and hard water flavor that punches up the hops bitterness.

Mouthfeel is Average.

Overall this is OK but nothing real exciting.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, some citrus and honey and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty malt character followed by a mild sweetness from flavors of caramel, citrus and honey. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, not too filling, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to drink for a while but there are better beers in the style.

Photo of jwc215
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at King's Head, London:

Pours dark copper, near brown, with a tan head. Lacing sticks. It has a beautiful colour!

The smell is of toffee/caramel with an herbal/earthy spicing.

The taste is of toffee/caramel with orange, herbal spicing. Very well-balanced and delicious! It has a woody, tea-like, herbal finish.

It has a creamy, medium body.

This has a nice, subtle complexity. Malty but with a hop bitterness that mixes in well. Very drinkable!

Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice creamy 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with some lacing, clear dark amber color.

Nose is a bit surprising, nice and malty with soft complex almost decoction like, hint of creamy malts. Then light grassy hops, hint herbal, and just a bit of a lager like fruit and crispness.

Taste starts with creamy malts, again soft almost decoction complexity but not quite, hint of caramel and grainy almost toffee malts. Then fruits, hint of apple and almost apricot like, kinda like lager fruits. Finally hops, light fruity and some herbal grassy hops. Finishes a bit bitter, dry, more grassy touch herbal hops, a bit crisp. I could almost swear this was a lager.

Mouth is a bit lighter bodied, decent carb, creamy.

Overall nice, drinkable, nice soft creamy malts, light grassy herbal hops, drinkable and crisp, light lager like fruit. Tasty and unexpected.

Photo of woodychandler
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

How hard is it to put a price tag on a beer? For this one, it was enough to cause me to leave the premises before being 86'd. I will be hard-pressed to return to that venue until after an extended cooling-off period. It was a bottle, to add insult to injury. Bah!

From the bottle: "What's in a name? In our old brewery cellar in Masham, we have, for many years, distinguished the contents of one cask from another by using wooden blocks dipped in whitewash shaped either with a letter B or with an X. As we only had two blocks at the time and with our other beers limiting the options, we were left with either BX or XB. We preferred XB!"; "A classic English ale. The subtle dry undertone is balanced by the fruitiness of the Brambling Cross and Fuggle hops, resulting in a distinctly complex aroma and flavour. Enjoyed by beer connoisseurs all over the world."

I hate the designation "beer connoisseur", but I do like beer, so it was time for a pour. I had a nice two finger, fizzing, tawny head with moderate retention. Color was a deep-copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose was really fruity, like Juicy Fruit chewing gum in terms of sweet fruit. There was also an underlying malt sweetness, somewhat sugary. Mouthfeel was medium but the sweetness of the nose did not transfer onto the tongue. Instead, it retained its fruity flavor, but it was nowhere near as cloying as I girded myself to expect. Finish was semi-dry and I began to wonder how long they age this before bottling. This was very pleasant, but I wish that it could have been purchased under more pleasant circumstances.

Photo of GreenCard
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: copper, great clarity, spongey layer of off-white foam, good head retention

Aroma: lightly bready malt, faint whisp of brown sugar, herbally hops

Flavor: smooth malt sweetness rounded out by that "Theakston" quality (same as in all their beers... that very particular ester which must be from their yeast), hint of almond essence, very mild herbally hop flavor, finishes semisweet with little aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, mild carbonation, quite soft texture

to view more.
Theakston XB from T & R Theakston Ltd.
84 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.