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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.
very good

563 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 563
Reviews: 312
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 42
Gots: 26 | 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: 563 | Reviews: 312 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SethB2
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Tulip glass

Beer pours a cloudy amber color that indicates it could be dry hopped. Also, it has a small head despite an agressive pour. Head goes down fairly quickly leaving a bit of lacing in its wake. Smell is suprisingly light. Some malts and a citris hop profile, but not in big quantities. Taste, wow, I wasn't expecting it to be this good. Tastes like a well hopped brown ale. Smoky malts make the first impression, followed by a nice hop profile, but not over the top. Very smooth and well balanced. Mouthfeel is pretty full despite the low abv, and the drinkability is also nice. I wouldn't mind having another. Not at all.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sort of rusty, dirty mahogany hue with a dirty white head that disappeared pretty quickly.
Aroma had a caramel base sprinkled with some darker citrus notes, pretty subdued overall
Flavor was soft caramel with some orange and a subtle spicy hoppiness
Mouthfeel was only distrating note for me, just too soft and light, not much body, especially for style.
Drinkability was fairly good with a little more body and some heft in the bittering department it would be excellent. As is it is a very drinkalbe brew but not a full-on ESB for me.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark amber orange in the glass. An aggressive pour was required to generate a half finger course head that melted to a surprisingly thick, sticky lacing.
Aroma of orange pez, florals, and a lightly bready yeast hits the nose.
What a wonderfully balanced taste! Fresh sweet citrus fruits, bread, then a 'first sweet, then bitter' drying hops.
Mouthfeel is exquisite fine carbonation with a sort of thick and creamy feel from the sweet malts.
Aftertaste is a bright and crisp hop drying.
Delightful summer ale....so fresh tasting and very quenching.

Photo of Jredner
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mild ale sweetness amd wholesome bready notes in the aroma. Orange/amber body with a wispy oil slick of a head. Grain-tinged fore is mild on the tongue with an equally mild hop profile. very grainy feeling and tasting and that invokes bread some biscuit and a general heartiness to the beer. Thicker feel than many ESB’s I’ve had and good overall flavor intensity.

Photo of thaichile
2.68/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. Pours a clear amber with not much head. Very little carbonation. Scents of apples and hops on the nose. Roasted, carmelized, slightly coffee flavors mixed in with bitter notes that continue into the finish. Thought the roasted flavors overwhelmed the fruit and predominated the taste buds. Bottle courtesy of Zorro.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling a room temp bottle poured into a pint glass. The brew is courtesy of watermelonman. Thanx!
The beer pours a bright clear chestnut with a soft fluffy off white head of 2 cm foaming up easily. Aroma is a mix of caramel and some red fruit like grapes and a hint of herbal and grassy hops. Very well balanced.
First sip reveals an average body with soft mild carbonation.
Flavor starts fairly sweet with caramel and red grape again like nose. MOves to a bit of bread, biscuit in the middle and finishes with a drying grassy hop bite that lingers on my palate for a bit.
OVerall a very nicely balanced beer that is easy to drink and well crafted. I would enjoy drinking a few of these in a sitting.

Photo of BeerManDan
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When poured, it was a medium orange brown in color with no foam or lace. The smell was of lightly roasted malts and mild hops. The taste was the same a the smell, but lacking any quality of taste. Like I said, a weak and flat taste of malts and hops, with a hint of spice and fruit. This is not what I expected with Alesmith. So far, this is the worst beer that I've tasted from Alesmith. Not impressed.

Photo of scottoale
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 22oz. bomber with silk-screened label pour a copper-orange darkish ale, with a head of off-white. The 1/2inch head vanishes quickly, leaving only dots of lacing, the carbonation is mild, but there.

Full, nutty roasted malt aroma that leads to a mild sweet fruityness of citrus that turns toffee and and malty. Smells quite tasty.

Indeed, it's very tasty. Tastier than it smells, this stuff is full bodied, malty rich, yet pefectly balanced by the hops. It's got a roasty, nutty flavor thats malty delicious and tames the sweetness to the likes of a light honey and a perfect light hopping to bitter clean the finish...smoooth.

While for an ESB, one may think extra bitter, not quite so as the S comes into play. Special, smooth sessioner, is what I get from this one, great flavor...YUM.

Give it a try, I was plesantly suprised by this "not one of their bigger beers" from AleSmith...cheers.

Photo of JayTheFinn
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was delighted to find this one at the Cap N' Cork in Los Angeles since I'd never tried an Alesmith product before, but had heard very good things about them.

Pours out a nice solid golden orange with a quickly evaporating white head. Very little bubbles.

Smells orangey. It was a general citrus scent, but orange popped out most in my mind.

The taste that first hits you is that citrusy orangey flavor, then a smokey characteristic creeps up in the end.

Feels absolutely smooth in the mouth with almost no carbonation noticeable.

Quite a drinkable number, though it might be a little too sweet for some.

Photo of HimerMan
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - poured into a pint glass.

Great color - a dark golden honey/amber with a minimal head and mild hop aroma in the colder temperatures.

Taste - very nice bitter; but not overly bitter or sharp with no alcohol presence in the flavor. AleSmith does an excellent job with alcohol to content/maintaining top-notch flavor.

Smell is mildly floral; clearly more evident in the warmer stages of this beer.

Definitely a drinkable beer - easy going down, and great with most dinner foods - pizza and burgers, especially.

Enjoy it - Great Brewery/Great Beer.


Photo of Citadel82
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this gem at Wild Oats in Scottsdale, AZ. what a rare treat this was. I was out hiking in the desert all day and got back to the hotel in time to order room service. They asked if I needed anything to drink with my meal and I said no thanks...I was already supplied with some of this brew and some Alaskan Smoked Porter. Great brew this one. Nicely balanced, clean on the palate deep chestnut and faint carbonation. A great session brew.

Photo of Rezzin
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep copper with a fluffy white head.

S - Sweet and biscuity with a little fruitiness in the nose. Hop aroma is minimal. Smells a little spicy.

T - Brown sugar sweetness with a slight fruit kick in the front. Easy bittering in the back.

M - Almost creamy mouthfeel to me with a drying finish. Ok, maybe not creamy... medium mouthfeel I guess. Carbonation is on the low side but it's just enough to keep things alive.

D - A very drinkable beer. Session beer for sure. I'd buy this again.

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bomber that I purchased on my trip to SoCal a few weeks back. Pours a deep clear copper; frothy head that dies slowly and leaves lace in its wake as I drain the glass. Sweet malt and hazelnut in the nose, and subtle smattering of hops. Flavor yields one of the most balanced brews I've ever sampled. Dry, toasted biscuity malt up front, balanced perfectly with a very mild bitter finish...orange peel and blueberry linger in the aftertaste, ever so sweet. Carbonation is very light and tingling and the beer manages to be quite smooth on the palate, though has enough before it gets anywhere near "creamy." Relatively low ABV plus the aforementioned balance and deliciousness make this one hell of a session beer. Alesmith, please send kegs to PA.

Photo of Bcant
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a silk screen label, poured into a 0.5L stein. This is a bottled conditioned beer so I left about ½ at the bottom to keep the sentiment out of my glass. This ESB is a rich caramel color with medium white head made of small bubbles that dissipated but kept a nice thing rim of foam around the side. Understated aroma with notes of maple syrup, plumb, and faint hints of bitter citrus. The flavor is a rich bled of caramel and bread crust, apples and leaf tea which finishes with a medium bettering hop-profile. It is very well balanced and a very good American example of this classic British style. The mouthfeel is soft and full, almost creamy but not too viscous. Good drinkability, consistent with the style; a good session beer.

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.

Photo of baiser
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper colour, with a wonderful creamy white head. Toasty, sweet and very fresh. Very fruity and herbal. Medium bodied, nice fluffy mouthfeel, muted carbonation and great drinkability. Very smooth and extremely drinkable. Very nice and flavourful ESB.

Photo of Tupperwolf
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a tarnished dark copper color into my nonic glass wih a fluffy head of teeny tiny yellow-white bubbles that fades to a clinging concave ring.

This has a pretty good scent for an ESB; A carmally, malty, sugary-sacharine smell that's not very big, but is bigger than a lot of ESBs.

The taste hits with a few quick malt bursts that remind me of pineapples and rum; There's some clove and spice, followed by orange rind, yeast, and nice hop oil flavors, nice and tart on the back of the tongue. The sweet smell combines with the tart flavors to make a really delicious brew. Pretty darn good.

The carbonation almost stings my tongue, which is good, because the slightly hoppy aftertaste brings out the best of the sugary malts and rounds out the flavor with flying colors. Drinkable, you bet! Viva la ESB!

Photo of Realale
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper red. Extrafine just off-white head sits and stays at a solid 1/4" leaving good lacing. Really a beautiful beer - looks like it was poured for a photoshoot for an ad or something . . .

Nose is caramel maltiness mixed with citric, spicy hops. The hops quickly take over, and the caramel drops into the background to join a lovely fresh-baked bread and crackery malt aroma. Touch of earthiness comes out as it warms.

Medium-light in the mouth, and blessedly unscarred by too much crystal. Instead it's bright citrus and mineral flavors that take the lead, which are quickly followed by a big whack of solid maltiness. The hops add a touch of complexity, but really don't make themselves apparent until the finish. The finish is of decent length with the hops and mineral crispness eventually bringing things to a very pleasant end.

Simply outstanding bottle-conditioned mouthfeel. Very soft, but enough to show off the mineral and hop notes without making them harsh or distracting. Masterful.

Just a joy to drink. This would easily be a favorite around my place were it more easily available. As is, it's something to look forward to when travelling through those areas where it is available. Great beer!

Photo of Troyone
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with a copper hue, minimal white head, and little carb movement.

Resinous pine wood malt smell dominates the hops aroma.

Lightly sweet/sour, mod bitter, and resinous malt taste with tea like hops in the background.

Medium bodied, watery texture, soft almost flat carb, and a light astringent/metallic finish.

ESBs are evidently not my preference although I like the option I would opt for something else.

Photo of germaniac
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber, with a tightly bubbled off-white head.

Smells lightly fruity- tart apple, with a malt sweetness.

Taste starts out mellow and smooth, with a nice sweet malt toffeeness that ends with a crisp hop bitterness that blends well with the faint flavor of apples that shines thru.

Being unfamiliar with the ESB style, I really have nothing to compare this to but my own tastebuds. From that, I can say Anvil is a smooth, crisp drinker with loads of hop and malt character.

Photo of carln26
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright amber color, very clear, this beer came from the bottle with a thin tan head. Wonderfully complex nose. Fruity with green apples, figs and light toffee. The flavor a light caramel note, followed by more of the fruit, red delicious rather than green apples. Silky, light mouth feel is a huge surprise. This beer would be incredible on a warm summer day.

Photo of IrishCowboy
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Just put one of these away and was clamoring for another.

The ESB style is one that is rarely mistaken for anything else and one of the most common characteristics of an ESB is a rich and bitter aftertaste and smell. Sometimes I find myself getting into the mouthfeel and flavor of an ESB just to find and enjoy the subtle aftertaste craft.

The Anvil Ale by Alesmith does not register a lasting aftertaste. To my amazement this characteristic of the beer makes it seductively more drinkable which is not what I would expect from an ESB.

The cloudy yeast gives this a rich dark amber glow and a very nice mouthfeel. Although I usually prefer a little bit more head and carbonation in my beers the ESB style has often utilized low carbonation and head to maintain a silky mouth play. The Anvil delivers this silkyness by a balance of low carbonation and head with little after taste to bring you a nice ESB brew that keeps asking for you to lift it to your mouth. Its the cleanest tasting ESB I've had and enjoyed it alot. I've rated it average on Mouthfeel since I can not really say it is above average in this department but that the average mouthfeel of an ESB, as opposed to a heavier viscous version, is appropriate for the delivery of flavor here.

Thankfully I know a place where I can get a bunch of these guys and I can only hope to see it on tap anywhere I go.

Photo of beersarang
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown red with a slight chill haze. Head is actually miniscule due to the tightness of the carbonation, thick collar and spotty lace is left behind.

Fruity malt aromas rise out of the glass, very British.

Firm malt profile consists of caramel and grain, hops are soft and blend in well with the malts, mild bitterness. Finishes almost dry with some grain and biscuit. Almost perfectly balanced.

Medium to full bodied with low but perfectly prickly carbonation.

I would buy this again, I respect Alesmith for perfectly replicating a British ESB with no compromises, no "Americanization" etc. Definitely an amazing brew, by virtue of the skill of it's crafters.

Photo of rowew
4.63/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber. Lengthy description of the style on the back, but no freshness info to be found.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy red orange color with a bit of haze. Medium sized head that fades, but leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt aroma dominates, with a nice amount of fruity hops in there too.

Taste: Nice smooth mouthfeel and low carbonation which seem appropriate for the style. Bready malt flavor, with quite a bit of hops balancing things out. Very smooth and drinkable.

Overall impression: Highly drinkable, and nicely reminsecent of cask conditioned beers. Very well done - wish I could get it locally.

Photo of audiojon
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I've yet to find an ESB as drinkable as this. This beer is the sole reason I visited the AleSmith brewery the following week and ended up being introduced to the rest of their fantastic lineup. Anyhow, on to the review...

Appearance: Very nice, standard for an ESB, orangey copper coloring, some faint yeast swirl. Some lacing, good head retention.

Smell: Whoa, big scent of hops, some faint fruit (apricot, peach perhaps) and some spicy alcohol aroma.

Taste: This is where the beer really starts to shine. A swish around the mouth produces some complex flavoring, but not so much to distract you from the smoothness of the beer, which leads me to

Mouthfeel: This beer encourages you to swish it around several times, float it over every tastebud, and eventually swallow, which leads to

Drinkability: So damn smooth, I could drink this every day. Anvil has become the ESB to top in my book, and holds its own against pretty much anything else as well. In my top 5, easily.

Anvil Ale ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 563 ratings.