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Anvil Ale ESB - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anvil Ale ESBAnvil Ale ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

580 Ratings

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Ratings: 580
Reviews: 314
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 39
Gots: 34 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-10-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 580 | Reviews: 314
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am surprised I was able to finish a 750 over lunch, but I did. It is nicely done, somewhat bitter and not complex. But went well with various lunch dishes. Rather mild Malty and floral and understated fruitiness. Thanks Don for bringing back fresh from San Diego!

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin broken rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some earthy and herbal hop aromas. Taste is of toasted malt and some nice earthy, herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to t0rin0 for sending this bottle my way. Served in a Bell's tulip pint glass.

Pours a moderate brown-amber color with a good off-white head and a nice bit of lacing on the way down. Collar throughout. The nose brings some light floral and earthy hops. A bit of bready malt. Flavor has a nice bitterness mixed with light hop flavor and bready malt through the background. Really excellent balance. Light-medium body and a semi-dry finish. Really nicely done ESB.

Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Valhalla, New York, NY

A: The beer is clear but dark reddish garnet in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thick ring of bubbles around the edge and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of earthy hops and biscuit malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is earthy and malty and has hints of mineral water in the flavors.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied and slightly clean on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish leaves a little dryness in your mouth.
O: This beer seems more flavorful and fuller-bodied compared to other ESBs but it is still very easy to drink.

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a thick, foamy head that leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Musty caramel, overripe stone fruit, Burton-on-Trent water character, earthy hops and tobacco

Taste: Toasted bread and caramel, up front, followed by the overripe stone fruit; by the time mid-palate rolls around, the earthy hops and tobacco combat the mineral-heavy Burton-on-Trent water taste and it is those flavors that persist into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While I generally like the ESB style, I am not a fan of the Burton beers and I am afraid this one reminds me too much of its antecedents; well-crafted, just not to my taste

Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With all the newfangled ales that microbrewers are churning out (hell, I even saw a beer with bull testicles in it), Its refreshing to see time honored recipes still making waves.

Anvil ESB pours with a bright, light-gold color and the most modest of haze. A billowing ivory-white head races to the top of the glass with loosely knit foam that settles into a creamy blanket and scattering a spider-webbing of foam down the glass.

Thin caramel, biscuit and pecans start the show as the malts provide a most supple type of sweetness rounded by the slightest toasted grain character. Its dry taste is perfectly balanced with a floral hop nose and honeysuckle taste from noble English hops before developing into a spicy middle and a drying woodish bitterness to close.

Its light body is accented by its high effervescence that springs the ale from the tongue and ushers in a fast, snappy, and slightly iron-like finish. Mild minty warmth stems from alcohol along with a medium pepper note and slim hop-derived bite to close.

Anvil is an effortless ale that's well suited for near sessionable quality, but is sturdy enough for that decadent plate of bangers & mash.

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Naven: Poured a medium brown color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and some good lacing as well. Aroma of dry malt with some fresh lightly bitter hops. Taste is also well balance between dry malt with some very light sweet notes and a dry light bitter finish. Average body with medium carbonation. Overall, I thought this was simple without much complexity but well made to quench thirst.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bloodshot orange-copper loaded with fine yeast; a gorgeous, multi-hued constellation of colors when viewed through late afternoon sunshine. The pale caramel colored head has rapidly compressed to its current two finger thickness, but doesn't appear to be interested in falling any farther. Although there isn't much lace initially, subsequent pours result in a thick, crusty band at midglass.

The nose is balanced and would be much better if it was stronger. There's a firm, toasted malt base with orange fruity hops layered on top. I can't tell for sure which hop varieties are in use, but it smells like an Anglo-American effort to me; heavier on the Anglo. It's a decent ESB nose, no more than that.

Anvil Ale is solid, like the implement that it was named for. Still though, I'm not tempted to go with the next highest flavor score. The flavor profile is supremely balanced. A toasted whole grain breadiness is seamlessly integrated with an acceptably bitter, orange marmalade hoppiness.

This is pretty unchallenging beer considering who brewed it. I can't decide if I mean that in a good way or a bad way. It has no rough edges and is tremendously polite in the mouth. That makes it a tremendously easy drinker and a wonderful session ESB on the one hand. On the other hand, it has no standout qualities that really impress me.

The bottom-of-the-bottle-therefore-even-more-yeast pour doesn't add anything of value to the flavor profile; nor does the flavor change appreciably as the beer warms. The mouthfeel is medium with a nod toward light-medium. A little more heft and a few more bubbles are what I'd recommend if asked.

After the incredibly wonderful, delightfully delicious AleSmith IPA and YuleSmith DIPA, my expectations for Anvil Ale were sky high. Although it failed to meet those expectations, it's far from disappointing beer. In the final reckoning, it's a good example of the American ESB style and should appeal to a wide range of people.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a fine esb, which has the odd misnomer of being called bitter, when in fact these are sweeter, grain driven beers. perhaps in my case bitter has a very different, more diabolical meaning. it was brew that started as a celebration of a big win in the stanley cup playoffs last night, guzzling the sweet copper colored liquid right from the bottle in jovial preparation for what was sure to be a winnable game 7 forthcoming. to me it was a beer that would taste awful good out of the cup itself in a few more months. however, as the aromas of burnt sugar, english toffee, and old world ale yeast moved into flavors of maple syrup, candied apples, and werthers candies, the unthinkable happened. the home team gives up two goals in the final two minutes, and lost early in overtime, a situation that had less than a 0.4% chance of occurring. as jubilation turned to head in hands curses to the powers that be, and soft goaltending, anvil esb went from a celebratory quaff to a sorrow drowning full bodied sweet beer i almost resented as much as i liked it to start. and as a playoff beard that began on game 1 of 82 way back in early october fell hair by hair into an already dirty white sink and razor burn irritation set in, the final lukewarm dregs of this beer were of little comfort. this beer, like the play of my team, was good for some 95% of its performance, but it ends up middling by the end. an all too frequent collapse not only for my team, but for this underwhelming style. the parallels are too many to name. 22 ounces never experienced to much emotion, from the summit of the greatest mount, to hopeless dejection that will span the entire summer...

Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great thing to be trying a new Alesmith brew! This one poured a very vigorous deep orange amber. A very dark color which took me a little by surprise to be honest. A very nice three inches of head formed on the top in a good light tan to off white color. Great retention had this thing hanging around for what seemed like forever. Some sediment actually poured out of the bottom and graced over the top of the foam at the end. A very hazy and cloudy brownish amber this was and it had a very full look to it. A very nice aroma of deep caramel malts was the first thing I noticed. A nice subtle hoppiness as well, though sweet. The flavor was very full, almost a hoppy scotch ale of sorts. Very big with a grainy and chewy kind of feel to it. Medium body with ample carbonation led to a great rich feel and this was just a superb drinker. Overall I really liked this one. Much more full bodied then some of the ESB’s I have had in the past, this one really had a body on it and was very filling. Great hoppy finish and a very well rounded feel. A great ESB and a great addition to the Alesmith lineup, this one was definitely a keeper.

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood Brewing

A: The beer pours a dark amber color with a couple fingers of white head and some mild lacing.

S: Heavy on the caramel and toffee malts with some traditional English hop aromas. A nice earthy and floral hop character to this one with a hint of pine. Some mild cocoa and toasted bread, as well as some yeast, on the back end.

T: The flavor is similar to the aroma. Just a touch of citrus, but mostly floral and earthy hops with a mild bitterness to the beer. Sweet toffee, bread, and caramel hops with plenty of toasted character.

M: Medium to full bodied with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Like most Alesmith beers, really solid stuff. I could have used a little less sweetness, but the beer was still enjoyable.

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Carefully poured off of the yeast sediment it's only slightly hazy. The body is a standard amber color and the head is a short, creamy, light tan cap that holds well, keeping a thin and creamy 1/4" surface covering throughout the pint. Very nice appearance! The aroma comes on strong. It's sharply fruity and citrusy (orange, apricot, some lemon) over a sweet caramel and honey-ish malt - definitely attention getting! The body is medium with a lightly zesty carbonation that tickles the tongue. The flavor is a combination of fruity, citrusy (orange, grapefruit) and floral flavors from yeast and hops, married with a softly sweet and lightly toasty malt that's backed by a supportive bitterness. It finishes fruity but drying with some residual toffee-ish malt and swirling hop flavors. Very nicely balanced. Quite supple, and alive with bold flavors! Very clean and clearly well brewed. It's a bit of an American interperetation, and dare I say it, a touch one-sided (although that goes partly to the style)... but also highly drinkable. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +3.1%

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Anvil Ale ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.