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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: 40
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
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle.

Clear amber in color with a small light tan head.

Aroma is pretty mild, with a caramel like malt coming through primarily. A grassy/herbal hop scent was also present, but faint.

Taste is similar in that the malt is predominant. Hops are stronger than in aroma, but still take a backseat and show up mainly in the finish and aftertaste. Hops are grassy in character and malt comes across as sweet and bread-like.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, with fairly low carbonation. Very refreshing.

A great ESB, but not my favorite beer since I am a bit of a hop head. Scores are more reflective of stylistic accuracy rather than my personal preference. Easy to drink, would session quite well.

Photo of dogfooddog
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this bottle-conditioned beer served at 50f. Active tan head, does not poor completely clear but the bottle arrived just yesterday so some handling involved...

nose is typical english bitter or esb, a bit floral but it reminds me of a beer in particular I have had from the UK which I cannot recall right now (I think it is a recent bottle of 1845 which I thought was too floral). Very attractive overall.

taste is subdued - mild maltiness and moderate (normal) proportional taste of english hops. At 5.5% this is almost sessionable by US standards, and it is something I would be happy to drink in quarts given the occasion.

Very pleasant english ESB, true to style and a very nice product indeed.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the first beer I've tried from AleSmith, thanks to dogfooddog. Tastes like it's straight from jolly olde England. The beer pours to a nice coppery amber color. Very little head. I wonder if it has anything to do with this beer being filled damn near to the cap. Still a nice carbonation. No lacing.

Sweet caramel malt aroma. Almost biscuity with a very small hint of buttery diacetyl. Some English hops varieties in the nose. The flavor carries along quite nicely from the nose as well. Very smooth and easy to drink. It's about right on for what I'd expect from an ESB.

Medium body with a light tingle of carbonation. Lingering caramel malt flavor with some fuggley bitterness as well.

Photo of clickpush
4.31/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: 22oz bottle to pint glass. About a half inch of tan head caps an orange amber body. Lots of big bubbles playing in the beer, agitating the head as they reach the top. Head descends slowly and leaves excellent lacings behind.

Nose: Herbal & leafy. Some caramel, too, but too faint. It smells good, but everything is too indistinct.

Mouth: Excellent. Sweet honey flavor up front with a bitter, grassy finish. The hops are really herby and fresh from front to back. Tastes kind of like tea and honey, with a bitter roasted finish. Mouthfeel is superb, running enjoyable carbonation from front to back, as well.

Photo of loving44
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown copper with a bubbly white head that dissapated quickly for me leaving a thin white pinstripe ring around the sides of the glass.

Smells of rich biscuit-like malts along with some hop aroma. A thick aroma that fills the nose.

: rich and very malty with an herbal finish, slightly bitter. perfectly balanced!! This rocks!

full bodied mouthfeel that coats all parts of the tongue.

This beer is insanely drinkable and refreshing... I could drink this one all day and it's so flavorful I am very tempted to. This is a great beer from Alesmith and I will seek it out again. If you're looking for a nice mellow change of pace from those hop bombs, look no further... this is one tasty easy drinking beer!!

Photo of tonistruth
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- 1/4 off white head, little retent but settles to a nice ring that never goes away. Lacing is silky on the glass. Light copper color with auburn hues coming through with the light. Yeast particles can be seen

S- malty sweet, floral, fruit

T- light sweetness lingers in the background throughout, floral and herbal flavors, as well as a bready, buttery, and fruit flavors. Hint of carmel as brew hits palate, tea like at finish, with a sweet buttery floral twang in the after. Flavor increasing better as warms.

M- sikly smooth, coats palate, thin light body, nice level of carbonation

D- mellow, well crafted. This would go well with a cheese and cracker snack or at a relaxing dinner. This brew now has me wanting to dig into this ESB style some more. Delightful.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very clear copper with tight laced bubbles throughout the glass.

S - Caramel and biscuit maltiness balanced by a bit of spice from the hops. The aroma is somwhat faint and would be much more enjoyable if it was stronger.

T - A very good balance of bready toasted malt and a nice light spicy hop bitterness. It is very smooth but does nothing to stand out.

M - On the thin to medium side with the perfect amount of carbonation.

D - This is one of the easiest drinking beers I have had. If only the aroma, taste and mouthfeel stood out a little more this would be very impressive.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask conditioned at Alesmith's Barrel Aged Old Numbskull release party.

A: Pours a juicy dark amber with the protypical waterfall effect. Head was a full finger of tan, creamy bubbles

S: Caramel, floral hops, touch of citrus and some toasted grains

T: Caramel with sweet round red fruits. Crisp citrus hops play dramatically with the soft malty backbone. Slight bit of dried cocoa and nuttyness in the finish.

M: Medium body and oh so creamy.

D: Not a bad ESB but certainly not my favorite style or Alesmith beer. The ESB probably would have been my least choice to throw on cask but who am I to complain :)

Photo of cerveza5150
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought at BevMo in Redlands, CA. This is usually one of my favorites, but the last few batches of these from BevMo have had almost 0 carbonation. Maybe it's just a bad batch of yeast, I don't know...

Overall, very drinkable and a great session beer!!

Photo of PhiloPsych
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I've only had a couple of ESBs and they are more watery than I like. This one is very drinkable, but the mouthfeel is not reallly what I prefer. The taste is well-balanced. The color is nice. It poured with literally no head at all. I don't know if that is normal for an ESB or not, but I was a bit surprised by it. There's not doubt that this is a quality beer, but it just isn't my favorite style. Still, since the taste is good and it is very drinkable, it would make a good session beer.

Photo of BlindPig
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Thin tan head. Cloudy copper/amber color. It had a very thing lacing, close to none.
S- Malty, light sweet/citrus hops. Also maybe a hint of caramel.
T-Malty first taste with light hops that sneak through. Hint of caramel. It was on the sweeter side. The after taste is light bitter bite with the taste of some citrusy hops. As you drink more the aftertaste you can taste the hops come through more.
M-Smooth and almost creamy. Light/medium carbonation with a medium body that was getting more to the full side.
D-Very good brew. Haven't had one like this before it was very nice brew.

Also want to say thanks to Peter for running a great company (AleSmith).

Photo of Deconstructionis
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't seen this one in a while. I don't know if they stopped making it or it's just the vagaries of East Coast distribution. this is an excellent ESB-- one of the best bottled versions I've had.

A barely tarnished copper that is quite clear for a bottle conditioned brew. Nice substantial head that holds up well. The aroma is less hoppy than sweet and grainy but the hops are there. and maybe a little caramel malt and crisp apple. The taste is relatively big and fruity but it's smooth and the hop bitterness cuts it to leave a clean refreshing finish. Nicely balanced. It has a very smooth texture, surprisingly creamy for the style. A most drinkable ESB.



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

Excellent. On tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA.

The appearance, appeared to be a light brownish perhaps with some orange in there but it was dark and hard to tell. Nice and clear, a little head cap which wore off fairly fast. Smell was of caramel malt and some hops.

This was not as hoppy as the other ESB's i've had, for example Redhook. This had generous portions of malt sweetness. On each sip it still contained a hop background, but malts were up front and very sweet. Very nice that you got both flavors in at the same time, but still contained the malt the most.

Mouthfeel was where it should be... on the lighter side, "moderatly light to heavy-light"

Drinkability was just great- A very solid beer by Alesmith. Best ESB i've had.

Photo of BeerRun13
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fairly clear, dirty amber color. A thin off white head leaves a little lace.
Malty aroma with a touch of caramel.
Much like the aroma plus a slight touch of Brittish Hops.
Lighter body. Low carbonation makes this one just right. A touch creamy and very smooth. Slight bitterness from hops.
A damn fine ale. I've only had a few ESB's, and this one is great. Very easy to drink.

Photo of Phocion
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into glass a very dark amber, with a small bubbly head which quickly faded into nothing. Very light lacing around the glass, and lots of large bubbles sneaking up to the top.

Sweet caramel-like malts and somewhat of a woody aroma. Somewhat of a citrus scent as well, mostly orange.

Very woody/earthy taste with a bit of a sour hops taste as well. Some caramel and a bit of malt, but the hops are barely detectable. I love ESBs and I love Alesmith, but despite my positive bias, this brew is not too impressive...

Feels light and watery with moderate carbonation.

Very light, with a bit of flavor. Easy to drink, but I can't really see why I'd want to. Next time I have a craving for an ESB I'll go for a Fuller's or Young's.

Photo of mentor
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle provided by OStrungT as part of BIF33. Thanks for the opportunity! Pours a one finger light tan creamy head over a nearly clear rust-amber liquid. Smells caramel and malty sweet. Toffee and some burn to the grains. Hops smell like tettnanger hops...which to me is earthy/greasy. Potently pungent hoppy aroma dominates over the grains. A touch of butterscotch and some pear esters. And a touch of oranges, which I think comes from the hops.

Tastes williamette hoppy. Very dirty earthy hops with an underlying malt sweet. There is a bitterness I'm not fond of. I can't tell if the bitter is from hops or failed malt. Malt tastes like rancid caramel and leaves a plastic aftertaste in my mouth. Some dry chocolate and biscuit qualities now that I'm giving a more detailed examination. Dry finish is grassy from hops without hop bitter. Very weedy rough. Toasted grain finish comes across almost as burned. This was not an enjoyable beer, IMO. Mouthfeel is creamy, yet md-light. Carbonation is mild and a thin layer of head hung around until the bottom of the glass.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back bottle blurb that explains the ESB style. Pours a ruddy amber aubrn topped with a thin scattered beige collar. The last pour is a slightly hazy. Spotty lace is left in the glass.

Aroma is a powerful scent for an ESB with a predominant aspect of woody cedar and even a bit of dry dusty pine. Some sweet residual sugars and a caramel base evolve.

First swigs: Dry and unbridled plain sun tea delicate basis with an even balance of malty rye and crisp hops. A near perfect mix for an ESB style. True to to form. A hint of lemony peel meets the plain brewed tea aspect. The cedar wood dryness is a treat that seldom is found but is often sought.

Lightly carbonated and delicate body. Soft on the palate. Almost buttery smooth with a crisp dry cedar finish.

Lsat swigs: Superb interpretation. Might be the best that there is true to form. Delicate buscuit and pancake with apple caramel balance.

Beer is good. Happy beeing.

Photo of SethB2
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
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
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
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
4.44/5  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 +0.5%
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 -30.9%
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
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
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
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
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
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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