1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Theakston XB - T & R Theakston Ltd.

Not Rated.
Theakston XBTheakston XB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

105 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 105
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 9.63%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-29-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Theakston XB Alström Bros
Ratings: 105 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DaveRTP
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

DaveRTP, Aug 19, 2012
Photo of bumchilly25
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

bumchilly25, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of damndirtyape
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

damndirtyape, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of rangerred
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

rangerred, Aug 01, 2012
Photo of fx20736
4.48/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

fx20736, Jul 15, 2012
Photo of barczar
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

barczar, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

nickfl, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Mebuzzard, May 25, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

drabmuh, May 23, 2012
Photo of wedge
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

wedge, May 19, 2012
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
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!

BeerAdvocate, May 02, 2012
Photo of GreenMountainBoy
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

GreenMountainBoy, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of mikepcarney
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

mikepcarney, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

bluejacket74, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev +7%

mdillon86, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

CrazyDavros, Mar 01, 2012
Photo of Scout11
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Scout11, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

metter98, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of LJWalker
4/5  rDev +7%

LJWalker, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of Offa
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful English pale ale, although not quite up to the level of Old Peculier.

Deep bright copper, med-big pale tan head shrinks steadily to frothy ring, some weak frothy lace.

Aroma is rich, juicy caramelized fruit bread (like Kulich), toast, wet wood.

Taste is juicy, leafy jammy dried fruit, caramelized toasted bread crust, tea, hint of pepper. It’s very balanced with nice sweetness and bitterness, firm, lasting hint of mineral, a solid feel that is almost creamy-oil but lively. It has wonderful balance, body and character.

Offa, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev +7%

richbrew, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of markcycy
4/5  rDev +7%

markcycy, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of tzieser
4/5  rDev +7%
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

tzieser, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Do any beers balance better than a well crafted ESB? It's a shame that there aren't more available on the market. Though there's several ESBs out there, there are so few that are well made.

The beer pours a handsome and masculine garnet color with bronze low lights. A creamy yet dainty off white head provides an espresso-like creme that laces well on the glass with dispursed islands of foam and froath. Bright clarity puts an exclamation point on the stately appearance.

Malt, fruit, and hops all resinate with the olfactory sense at the same time and with the same intensity for a well integrated scent. Toffee, caramel, apples, dates, grapes, coffee, walnut, and spicy floral character and a backdrop of sweet breads. Very clean and characterful for a most appetizing aroma spread.

The malty, hoppy, and estery balance continues in taste as the deeply rooted malt character reveals deeply caramelized malt flavor, biscuit, brittle, butterscotch, and bread crust. Balanced with floral and earthy hops, the tea-like herbal taste develops into a smooth bitterness that offset malt sweetness effortlessly. Decorated with pitted fruits of figs, dates and then then with apple, grape, and plumb, the yeasty esters come alive to offer variety, complexity, and intrigue. Slightly spicy with alcohol and hops, there's more going on with the flavor profile than you'd think.

Medium throughout, the early malty creaminess receeds as the carbonation subsides and the minty-cool alcohols set in. Fleeting sweetness and growing bitternss assists in a semi-dry finish of malt and hops. An absolute effortless session!

Delicious and spectacular, this ESB sides modestly with the malts and will surely appease those with a sweet tooth. But the beer achieves nearly perfect balance and they make it look easy. Personal preference gives Fuller's ESB the nod, but this is no slouch.

BEERchitect, Dec 20, 2011
Theakston XB from T & R Theakston Ltd.
84 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.