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Anvil Ale ESB - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anvil Ale ESBAnvil Ale ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

550 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 550
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.31%
Wants: 41
Gots: 22 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 550 | Reviews: 311 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by garthwaite:
Photo of garthwaite
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica. Appeared a deep copper with a sticky white head that converted to a creamy ring & left an intricate web of lacing down the pint glass. Earthy hops, caramel malt, & sweet fruit in the nose. Rich malts everywhere...loads more caramel with toasted almonds & toffee. Fantastically balanced by spicy, peppery, in-the-ground floral hops. Beautifully balanced, seriously complex ale (especially for a fairly low gravity brew). Medium to light bodied, almost airy in the mouth. It was tough for me to have just one of these, what a treat. Without a doubt, one of the best ESB's I've had.

garthwaite, Sep 03, 2004
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been wanting to try this for going on three or four years now,after having it I feel maybe a little underwhelmed.Poured into a imperial nonic a slight hazed copper/bronze with a creamy-like light tan colored one finger head that left broken rings of lace as it settled into a creamy mass.Aromas are the best trait of the beer,the sweet caramel really burst out at ya,juicy fruitiness,and leafy hop provide the other elements.Seemed just a tad watery in the mouth,not earth shattering but it wasnt quite as rich as some others of the style in my opinion.Nice flavors but it seemed to miss a punch in the finish,starts out fruity and deeply caramelly,a pretty good shot of leafy hop rides thru the finish,the water gives that certain sulpheric element that Iam not overly fond of.Its a good ESB, but there are better American versions,I like a big bready malt character to mine.

oberon, Aug 07, 2010
Photo of RoyalT
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This ESB was brown in color with a nice orangish hue and showed only a modest head on a somewhat aggressive pour.

Smell – The brownish malts were lightly toasted and came with some good floral notes. I could also pick up some English toffee.

Taste – The rich caramel and toffee came out bigger at the taste. The malt flavor was heavily-toasted and came with a light hop balance.

Mouthfeel – This one is light to medium in the body with some big sweetish notes at the end. The bitterness was even if a bit understated.

Drinkability – This is a great session beer that came across as a bit “bockish” but went down well.

RoyalT, Sep 10, 2004
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.93/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Very minimal bright white head turns into a small blotch near the center of the pint. Beer is hazy, and the color of well used brown surgical tubing. Sorry that was wierd, deep butterscotch I guess. Nose is very sweet caramel and a faint hoppyness.

Taste is very simple, just swirling sweet mid-spectrum malt with a citrusy hop bitterness, and slight yeast near the finish. This is a good ESB, but too sweet. Mouthfeel is right on if it had just a touch more carbonation.

JudgeRoughneck, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of equinox1
4/5  rDev +2.8%

equinox1, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of warnerry
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep red (more red than amber) with two fingers of soft light brown head. Leaves a ton of lacing behind.

Smell is slightly bitter with caramel malts but not much else.

Taste starts with bready malts and a faint hop presence. Not overly complex, but pleasant tasting and style appropriate.

Smooth, velvety mouthfeel, though carbonation seems a bit low.

Overall an easy drinking ESB that is well made, but not something I would go for that often.

warnerry, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of dill
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

served on tap in a pint glass

A: copper color with an oatmeal-colored head.

S: some fruits with a bit of a sweetness.

T: really easy to drink with a light carbonation. mild bitterness with a bit of yeast.

M: mild carbonation with a slightly creamy texture.

D: this one is really easy to drink. it was gone before i knew it. i'll definitely look forward to trying it again.

dill, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of megamass
3.5/5  rDev -10%

megamass, May 18, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz brown bomber, white silk screened label with no freshness date.

Appearance: Lush creamy looking off white lace. Red tarnish copper colour just about glows, real decent clarity from the yeast that has dropped well with the bottle conditioning.

Smell: Fruity with a mildly coarse herbal hop aroma, bit of lightly toasted grain and caramel in the nose also.

Taste: So damn smooth with a creamy back, carbonation is moderate but tight and textured. Big juicy fruit and bitter herbal hop twang, little bit of caramel and biscuity grain on the palate. Hop flavour is soft and nearly floral with woody undertones. Fruity with traces of ripe blood orange and rind, yeast is there yet more neutral than anything else. More caramel comes through when the beer hits cellar temp with a long grainy and leafy hop finish.

Notes: Do this beer some justice, serve it at cellar temp and in a big mug to give nice firm pouring. Highly drinkable with back and forth flavours from the malt and hops. Right on target for the style, back and forth of hops and malt … this one is a keeper.

Jason, Mar 10, 2002
Photo of merlin48
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many thanks to IntriqKen for this 22 oz bottle. Pours a hazed copper amber body with a small beige head. Scattered lacing left behind. Aroma is malty caramel and toffee, floral hops, appleskins and some orange esters. Velvety medium body with an English feel from the conditioned water. Taste is malty with toffee and caramel, balanced well with an English style floral hop bitterness. The apple skin presence from the aroma shows up in the taste, as well, joined by some pear. Slight metallic note from the water lends a Burton-On-Trent feel. Very nice! A very well constructed, California brewed ESB in the best English tradition. Very sessionable.

merlin48, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of tigg924
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: red-brown in color, 1/4 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: caramel, toasted malt, and citrus hops--really liking the smell

Taste: caramel, notes of chocolate and nut, light citrus and earthy hops--sometimes this takes on the taste of a Tootsie Roll.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet with light bitterness in the background

Overall: Nice, complex, and malty ESB. I scored this according to style and this is probably my favorite in the style. If nothing else it is my favorite bottle from AleSmith in this bottle size. I will get this again. If not marking to style, this would probably be about a 3.8.

tigg924, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of JupiterJesus
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

JupiterJesus, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of mattster
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened 22 fluid ounce bomber bottle, poured into nonic glass.

Poured an amazingly large off-white head of 2" that held.

Smell is of hops with slight citrus notes. Hoppyness follows through on taste with a nice bitter notes. Slight citrus tones and a bit of earthiness.

Bubbles look heavy in this, but carbonation is pretty balanced on the palate. Nice finish, no aftertaste. I'll take another.

mattster, May 20, 2008
Photo of Altenor
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Altenor, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of magictrokini
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker copper with a frothy cream-colored head. Aroma of malts and yeast. Taste is a lighter ESB, with a pleasant bitterness. Stong malt and yeast make for a crisp bite with an easy aftertaste. Doubles as a great marinade for streaks and brats.

magictrokini, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Biscuity malt aromas joined by light citrus, a touch of toffee, hints of chocolate
Pours a brilliant ruby garnet mahogany under a pillowy 3" reddish orange tinted finely bubbled foam cap that slowly descends and leaves thick lace.
Malt driven palate with biscuity malt, a touch of fresh baked bread crust, light fruit finished with a moderate, balancing earthy, spicy hop bitterness.
Very creamy medium body and medium very finely bubbled carbonation

pat61, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

bpfrush, Aug 15, 2013
Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tall Summit glass. Bottled on 06/13/13.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Solid three fingers of off white head which slowly fade into a thinner creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing clinging to the glass.

Smell: A nicely bready and nutty malt forward aroma with caramel and some earthy hops. Upfront bready and toasted malts with good hints of biscuit, sweet caramel, toffee, cracker, grains, yeast, nuts, oats, and some tea like hints. Decent earthy hop balance with some hints of grass and light pine. Subtle citrus fruit hints of orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Some light floral hints as well. Definitely an English smelling brew. Solid aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a bready malt forward taste with good notes of biscuit and caramel and some earthy hops. Toasty malts upfront with notes of biscuit, toffee, caramel, grains, yeast, cracker, nuts, and oats along with a tea like presence. Good presence of earthy hops with floral and herbal notes. Some grass and light pine is detected. Nice citrus notes of orange, lemon zest, and grapefruit. A very bready malt forward brew, but with a nice hop presence that brings some balancing bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth. Starts sweet and finishes fairly dry.

Overall: A pretty solid English style Bitter. Good biscuity caramel malt taste with a solid American hop balance.

MattyG85, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours looking and smelling very much like a west coast ipa. Coppery dark orange appearance, almost virgin white head, 1.5" in range. Aroma of hops hops and more hops. Even hoppier than Anderson Valley's ESB. Look for it, and you can smell what makes this ESBish, the yeast, the mild, mild peat.

Aroma is exactly mimicked in the taste. Same issues, maybe not as hoppy on the palate as in the nose, but still very plentiful. Delivers on the bitterness unlike many traditional esb beers. A little sweeter than any/most ipa's though. Throw in a reasonable amount of caramel and toffee for this one.

Pretty good, and still able to be purchased for $5-6 a 22oz, decent.

Beerandraiderfan, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured into my Aventinus glass after sitting out of the fridge for awhile allowing it to warm up a bit, forms a nice caramel tan head that compliments the deep plum ruby tone of the body nice and cloudy some yeasties floating around. Lacing chunky patches spread unevenly with each sip not bad. Aroma: Hops have a very herbal tone with some caramel malts seeking through and a mineral note to add as well a bit metallic but not in an off way. Taste: Fair mix of big flavors with a great amount of hoppiness that is almost tame due to the amount of malts used here perfect sparring match between the caramel malts and piney hops great balance is where this beer got it's reputation, not in your face flavor. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied mellow carbonation nice texture going down. Drinkability: The balance of flavors is what makes this beer great overall ESB fits the style while still adding it's own flavor.

WVbeergeek, Jan 17, 2004
Photo of NickyT
3.5/5  rDev -10%

NickyT, Sep 17, 2013
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a Nonic)
A- This beer pours a deep dark copper body with a slight dense thick light tan cream that last for a good bit and some microbubbles pushing to the surface.

S- The flinty green British hops have some earthy notes to them with a clean finish. As the beer opens there is a nice mineral note and a lightly toasted dry malt aroma.

T- The soft dry pale malt covered slightly by a papery green hop flavor that has just a hint of tartness to it and a mineral note in the finish with just a touch of husky grain.

M- The light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- The nice clean easy drinking session beer has a good hop profile and a nice fresh dry malt character to boot. Even though it was a large bottle it didn’t last long.

rhoadsrage, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of Auraan
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a nice deep amber with a one finger off-white head that receded to a nice ring off-white that left good lacing. Quite nice. Scents of sweet caramel malt, honey, light toasty notes and hints of grassy hops. Simple, appealing aroma. Flavor is toasty malt, a light sweet malt flavor, nutty flavors, earthy hops, moderate floral hop bitterness, slight toffee on the finish and aftertaste, also some grain husk on the aftertaste. A very good flavor, with a bit going on, but not too much that the beer is overwhelming. It remains extremely drinkable while having a pleasant flavor. Mouthfeel is light bodied, with moderate carbonation, fitting an English pub ale. Overall it's an excellent session beer, with a good aroma, flavor and drinkability and an excellent example of a classic British style.

Auraan, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of Fuzzycuffs
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Fuzzycuffs, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -10%

acurtis, Dec 31, 2011
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Anvil Ale ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 550 ratings.