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Theakston XB - T & R Theakston Ltd.

Not Rated.
Theakston XBTheakston XB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

108 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 108
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 9.36%
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: 108 | Reviews: 57 | Display Reviews Only:
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
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.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 14, 2011
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!

NeroFiddled, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of MrKennedy
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

MrKennedy, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of sommersb
4/5  rDev +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.

sommersb, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +7%

JAHMUR, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of snpub540
3.48/5  rDev -7%
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.

snpub540, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

jdhilt, Nov 10, 2011
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.

jlindros, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of jkrich
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

jkrich, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of BeerLover99
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

QUITE NICE, NOT A MUST HAVE!

BeerLover99, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.48/5  rDev -7%
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.

Bouleboubier, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of Luigi
4/5  rDev +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!

Luigi, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +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.

avalon07, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev +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.

DoubleJ, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Halcyondays, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of micromaniac129
4/5  rDev +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.

micromaniac129, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of Brad007
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Brad007, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

OtherShoe2, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of pleasewearpants
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

pleasewearpants, Aug 27, 2011
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.

Zorro, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of seanyfo
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

seanyfo, May 02, 2010
Photo of rockyfire
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

rockyfire, Feb 25, 2010
Theakston XB from T & R Theakston Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 108 ratings.