Theakston XB - T & R Theakston Ltd.

Not Rated.
Theakston XBTheakston XB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

57 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 113
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 6
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Theakston XB Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 57 | Hads: 113
Photo of FLima
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Amber copper color with a thin head with short retention.
English tangy fruit aroma with hints of toffee, plums, biscuit and mild earth.
Flavor with notes of English hops, fuggle alike, toffee, tea leaves, plums, apples, lemon and fresh grapes. Hints of chocolates, grains, cola and minerals. Dry aftertaste with a rounded bitterness.
Bordering medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Easy to drink fruity ESB, with decent complexity though. Good balance between English hops and fruitiness. Not exceptional or unique, but still pleasant. (540 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear tea color with a proper head that leaves a respectable amount of lacing

Smell: Plummy, with caramel apple and earthy tones

Taste: Fruity, at first, with plum apple tones melting into toffee; earthy bitterness builds in the mid-palate but fades, after the swallow; the finish is grainy and slightly sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not quite at the ESB level as this is more sessionable, it is,nevertheless, a pretty good beer; I would like to see the bitterness raised a notch but that may be a function of the age of the bottle as the bottling date is in a code I cannot discern (640 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml into a tulip.

pours a dark orange/brown with a nice head with great lacing. the smell is big on toffee and malts...nice actually! taste is slightly bitter...toffee not very apparent. kind of "plain" but expected for the style. easy drinking and tastes like a higher ABV than it is. toffee comes through slightly on the finish. medium bodied with mild carbonation.

overall enjoyable. obviously not a world beater here but good. (435 characters)

Photo of Cresant
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
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. (414 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
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. (1,121 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (456 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (505 characters)

Photo of WissBrauSean
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer poured a clear light brown to amber colour with a nice foamy one finger head that lasts as a full ring around the glass and leaves an nice woman's bottom pattern on the glass. I made sure that I poured this at about 55 degrees F from the bottle into the standard pint glass.

The aroma comes off to me as straightforward caramel malt sweetness with some hints of fruts (diacetyl) and not much else. My nose is stuffed so that is a hindrance. Dang sinusitis.

The taste is of caramel malt when it hits the tongue and as it rolls across towards the back the carbonation brings a nice hop taste to the top. I think that may be the bramling cross hops and they are kind of earthy and nice. The hop flavour then becomes a little bitter on the back of the tongue and leaves you very lightly dry. This is well balanced for sure.

Mouthfeel is well balanced between sweet and hop dry and a light to moderate body. The carbonation is also light to moderate and the finish is slightly dry with a hint of black pepper.

Overall, I would have to say that this is an excellent ESB! Without looking at the ratings I would have to say that it is approaching world class. I was a little disappointed in the thinness of the body, just a little more would have set me off! But it is definitely a beer to recommend and drink again! 4 out of 5 would be the very least that I would score this beer as! (1,389 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that fades to nothing. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with a wood-like flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but quite subdued, especially in the flavor. (510 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (1,588 characters)

Photo of pkalix
4.67/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

darker orange with very little on top and weak lacing down the sides.
smells very nice, malty. tastes the same- very good malt flavors, but i dont see where the 'bitter' comes in. this is just a really nice tasting brew.
but i suppose it ought to be a nice tasting brew at such a low abv. heck, even coke and pepsi taste good, right? i learned that lesson before and keep forgetting it- if it does not list the abv then it is a very low abv because it doesnt have to list it. i love a refreshing beer and i love the way the brewer can tweak a taste with additions and subtractions. but if i wanted a nice tasting beverage, and i wasnt concerned with abv, then i would be drinking iced tea or pepsi, right? i believe the ability to draw a great tasting beer with the abv sidling in with the flavors is the goal and it is what sets aside the duvels and the doppelbocks from the buttweisers and miller lites, no? so in judging this brew, i did give it good marks for taste, etc because i compared it to big sellers like the buttweiser, but the accomplishment is really in the duvel. because one can only drink so much beer in one night before he either begins making repeated trips to the urinal oe he compliments it with a nice whiskey. (1,234 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
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. (379 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Modest starting head that dies to a single layer of minute bubbles. Little lace. Cloudy, brown color.

Strong sweet caramel aroma. Very candy like.

Leans to the sweeter side. There's a touch of hops that doesn't quite balance this beer. Neutral body with a higher than expected carbonation for a British brew. Strong caramel aftertaste. (339 characters)

Photo of damndirtyape
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (1,198 characters)

Photo of rangerred
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass

Pours a slightly hazy light brown with a one finger white head. Pretty good lacing.

Aroma of dark fruit, caramel, and toasted malt. A nice dark breadyness comes through too.

Flavor has quite a bit of dark bread with more restrained fruity flavors. A healthy dose of toffee and caramel and some tartness. Carbonation is quite high in this leading to more of a sharpness compared to other ESB's I have had.

Overall, a good beer but not nearly in the same league as Fullers ESB. Not really something I would seek out again. (555 characters)

Photo of fx20736
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
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. (259 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, deep caramel color with orange highlights and a rich half inch cream head that leaves little lacing and lingers as a solid layer of foam.

Fruity hops, almost reminiscent of artificial cherry mingle with a moderate toasted, bready malt aroma. A bit of caramelization provides a nutty note that accents underlying floral hops.

Caramelization and big toasted, bready malt form the backbone of the flavor profile, with light citrus notes of lemon and a bit of floral hops leading into a somewhat bitter, dry finish. The malt lends a buttery, nutty touch in the background.

Body is moderate, with moderately low carbonation and a bit of astringency.

Very balanced beer. Both the malt and hops are complex enough to add intrigue without overtaking the flavor profile. Significant bitterness lends a dry finish that makes you want another sip. (855 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of a clear, copper-brown body. The foam settles fairly quickly and leaves decent lace.

S - Toasty brown malt, toffee, red apples, and plum.

T - Light, sugary malt up front with bready notes and a hint of toffee. Some light fruit notes in the middle with a touch of caramel. Finishes with more red apple, toffee and light hop bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Lots of rich malt flavors and a great, fruity yeast profile, but I find the hop character to be too weak for the style. The finish is completely dominated by the malt and lacks any of the bitterness that usually characterizes an English Bitter. Still, it is a flavorful and enjoyable ale and I can't complain that much about it failing to fit a style that it may not even have been intended to be. (867 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter. Beer is amber / light brown and clear with an thin off white head of medium sized bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly malty but a little hoppy.

Beer is medium to light in body, mildly bitter, nice finish, an average to slightly above average ESB. I might have it again but I won't go out of my way. (340 characters)

Photo of wedge
3.62/5  rDev -4%
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. (402 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
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! (548 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $6.50 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Moderately hazed, darkish amber in appearance with a small, brief, white head despite an enthusiastic and engaging pour.

Smell: Toffee flecked biscuit tops with a thin whiff of fruit from a bag of trail mix with a top note of earthy, green herbs.

Taste: Toasted biscuits with curt pop of toffee sweetness. Hint of dried apricot prior to the earthy, staunchly herbaceous English hops, though with a subtle bitterness. A shrewdly dry, herbal finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-low carbonation.

Overall: A sufficient though outstanding English ale. (629 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (642 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (274 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev +4%
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. (778 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Theakston XB from T & R Theakston Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.