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Theakston XB - T & R Theakston Ltd.

Not Rated.
Theakston XBTheakston XB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

102 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 102
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 9.33%
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sommersb


4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 11-29-2011
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Tulip pint
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

Pours a bright, clear copper color, with a small off-white head. Lacing is very good; head retention is OK. A fair amount of bubbles can be seen in the glass.

Aroma is very nice - rich and malty, with some fruit notes and sweetness.

The taste features spices, although I can't put my finger on which ones. Big malt presence here with caramel flavors. Fruity, with a light bitterness as well.

Feel is smooth and easy drinking. Body is medium with carbonation in the medium to high range. Balanced well, as it is neither too sweet or bitter. After taste is of toffee and caramel malts.

Overall a great, refreshing beer I'd look forward to having again.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 05:06:54 | More by sommersb
Photo of JAHMUR


4/5  rDev +6.7%

11-25-2011 20:30:42 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of snpub540


3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice clear amber hue with a 1 finger khaki head that was very sticky but slowly faded. Great lacing on the glass.

Caramel bready malts and some fruitiness make up most of the nose but there is some herbal and floral hop notes in the background.

Taste is mostly bready and sweet. Slightly fruity but no alcohol what so ever. Barely balanced hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is slightly watery and I'm wishing for a little bit more carbonation from this one. Overall its a flavorful easy drinking beer that could use a touch more hop flavor and bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2011 19:44:03 | More by snpub540
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two-finger cream head that fades very slowly leaving a very good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose and flavor is a smooth caramel, expecting a lot more hops. $2.85 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 23:05:06 | More by jdhilt
Photo of jlindros


3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2011 12:55:44 | More by jlindros
Photo of jkrich


3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a new item at a Louisville, KY liquor outlet. Undated brown bottle: poured a clear amber-brown color with a quickly fading off-white head.

The aroma was quite pungent with a dark fruity aroma much like a wine with some solid malty sweet coming through.

The flavor begins with a mild, fruity and dry taste with subtle hop bitters following through on a solid malty backbone. There is the faintest hint of butter in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is soft and rounded but a little too thin. Carbonation is subtle, much like most English ales.

Another solid offering from England. After all the ubiquitous American pale ales I have enjoyed, it is nice to try the original. This is good, but certainly not my first choice when seeking out a bitter.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 00:18:22 | More by jkrich
Photo of BeerLover99


3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: rust orangy/shiny body, trace white head,
patchy/solid lacing

S: big nutty, faint green apples,
caramel/toffee, grassy malt

T: apple, nutty, earthy/grassy malt, light bitter crisp finish

M: light body, dry crisp mouth

O: Lovely English ESB, not the best, but a
fine session brew and grand gateway for
newbie to English Ales.


Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 16:41:42 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of Bouleboubier


3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A decent bottled strong bitter.

Autumnal reddish-amber and clean look. Sports a small head on the pour but maintains a sudsy swirl til the last sip.

You have to stick your nose deep in the glass to capture the soft estery, perfumy, flowery-hoppy, and light sweet malt aromas it offers. Pleasant yet restrained.

A nice med-light bitterness shows first, growing as it warms, balanced well with its fairly bland malt flavors, depth lacking. Leaves a rounder, light-toasted malt aftertaste, estery in the very end.

Surprised by its degree of spritz, almost sharp, dry and a little thinnish. But what light, subtly round malt body it had underneath, however, thankfully brought enough balance to it to keep it palatable. Certainly clean.

I hate to suggest that it tastes like it was 'thrown together' or hurried through the process/production, despite some nice balance overall between the bitterness and the malt sweetness/presence. Better as its warms but, nonetheless, it lacked the depth and character i was hoping for.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 17:03:51 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of Luigi

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with a one finger head that is off white. The retention nice cause it stays around throughout the life of the beer.

Leafy very English hops. Something I am not used because of my love of American style hop. Yet I had to take a step back and enjoy the spicy hops and malty back bone. Caramel malts, slightly sweet mixed with bitter spicy hop and a mild smokiness. Nothing is over done. Just very English, and to be honest a nice change from the (don't get me wrong I love them) over hopped American Ales.

medium bodied and smooth of the palate. Light carbonation

This ESB could make a good session beer and it is a great ale to use as an alternative from the sometimes very hoppy American Ales. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 06:33:49 | More by Luigi
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. had a copper color and a clear texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A very malty aroma, with hints of hops as well.

T: Tasted predominantly of malt and a little bit of malt. Not a particularly dynamic flavor, but it is likable enough. It does what an ESB should do.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry, crisp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A solid, but not necessarily mind-blowing beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 13:07:02 | More by avalon07
Photo of DoubleJ


4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dinner is ready, and so is a 500 ml bottle waiting for me. On to the beer:

Lovely amber orange color with reddish hues and a thick sopay head on top. Retention is good, and its aroma is a mix of esters, buttery tones, and toasted malts. A light pinch of bittering hops gets noticed underneath.

Classic England all the way. Its toasty and estery flavor with a hint of strawberry and diacetyl are never overpowering. There seems to be a lot more flavor intensity than one may expect from a 4.7% brewed in the US. The mouthfeel isn't shabby at all, medium bodied and somewhat buttery.

I was glad to see Theakston back in the US market, and even more glad to try another of their products with my ribeye steak. Very pleasant ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2011 03:44:56 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Halcyondays


3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark amber, with a medium white head, good lace.

S: Quite complex with mandarin orange, spiced winter cake, almost a light barleywine feel at times.

T: Direct malt flavour, lightly sweet. Hop notes of lemon and grass make an appearance.

M: Light-bodied, crisp and pretty smooth.

O: The nose is inviting, but the overall flavour while good, isn't going to wow anybody. A good beer, but Fuller's ESB is still the class in this style.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2011 04:38:32 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of micromaniac129


4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rather nice looking amber ale when poured into a clear glass. Very clear, low carbonation.'

Has a nice size foamy tan head.

Aroma is of sweet malts and hints of toffee.

drinks rich and malty with a sutle underlying sweetness. Some leather notes as well as molasses but very sutle.

Drinks smooth and creamy some buttery notes.

A very good easy drinking beer.
I first had one right from the frig and that was bad move. First let this beer warm up say by half an hour before drinking. It's much better when left out to warm.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 17:15:22 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of Brad007


3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice shade of copper with a thick, frothy head into my glass. Been a while since I've had a proper bitter.

Sweet and flowery (?) in a manner that suggests something other than the style.

Sweet, bready malt followed by just the right amount of hops. Lots of flavor but nothing too special.

Buttery malt lingers with a touch of hops. Very solid. Carbonation is very good too.

A decent bitter from an actual British brewery? Are you nuts? This is decent regardless.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2011 01:10:05 | More by Brad007
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dirty penny copper with a white head that reduces to a ring of bubbles around the rim. No lacing.

Trying to get more out of this. Earth notes, some light fruit, minerals.

This one tastes of the remnants of overbaked breadcrust from breakfast. Browned crust, a touch of fruit (but what kind? date, fig?), maybe a bit of butter, but in the end, as your palate clears, the bitterness shines. Not overdone and non-descript (no rind or pine, just clean balanced bitterness). As your mouth clears, the beer dries out a touch and you get some malty notes, non sugared, on the tongue. Decent complexity here.

A bit astringent, medium bodied -- seems thinner than it really is.

A good drinkable brew. I like the character of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2011 03:49:10 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of pleasewearpants


3.93/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 22:51:49 | More by pleasewearpants
Photo of Zorro


3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 01:32:18 | More by Zorro
Photo of seanyfo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half pint served by the handpump at the Paisley Beer Festival

A- Nut brown copper body with a 1 finger head reducing to a crown. Poor lace

S- Butterscotch, toffee, rum

T- Butterscotch and a toffee sweet maltiness, hint of coconut - Wurthers Originals comes to mind! Faint hop bite underneath in the finish.

M- Low carbonation, medium body

D- Pleasant interesting flavour profile making this a drinkable brew.

Serving type: cask

05-02-2010 09:04:06 | More by seanyfo
Photo of rockyfire

North Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Deep amber color with a white head which fell away quickly.

Toffee aroma and sweet.

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

Not a bad beer at all.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 21:15:49 | More by rockyfire
Photo of fullsweep

United Kingdom (England)

3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

Nice, reddish color with a bit of brown. 1.5-finger, very foamy head emerges, with lots of carbonation bubbling up underneath. Almost looks like a nitro pour, but it's not. Those active bubbles are very appetizing for me personally.

Has a nice, rustic (earthy?) smell to it.

Very nice full-flavored ale with syrupy undertones, brown sugar, and a nice hoppy/citrus balance to it.

Awesome mouthfeel, just the right amount of carbonated bite.

Would definitely drink again.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2009 20:35:08 | More by fullsweep
Photo of jwc215


4.35/5  rDev +16%
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!

Serving type: cask

04-23-2009 01:51:56 | More by jwc215
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 20:41:22 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of kmacphail

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pored a slightly hazy amber-bronze colour with a slightly off white head that gave good retention.

The aromas were dominated with yeast and malts, a slightly citrus afternote.

These notes proceeded through to the taste. Again initially malty with a bitter hoppy aftertaste.

The body is a bit weak for a dark beer, too wattery.

A nice beer, but a bit too average to be among my favourites.

Serving type: cask

08-07-2007 17:42:26 | More by kmacphail
Photo of Daredevil


3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Theakston is famous for it's 'Old Peculier' but this is a worthwile 'bittter' alternative ... ruby colored, smoky, leathery however very pleasant tastes followed by a finish of fine hoppy bitterness ... another exceptional brew from Yorkshire ...

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 21:12:18 | More by Daredevil
Photo of GreenCard


3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2006 18:40:18 | More by GreenCard
Theakston XB from T & R Theakston Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.