Anvil Ale ESB - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anvil Ale ESBAnvil Ale ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

317 Reviews
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 317
Hads: 603
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 39
Gots: 39 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 317 | Hads: 603
Photo of flagmantho
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a dimpled mug. I really loved the AleSmith Nut Brown, so I have high hopes for this!

Appearance: dark brown hue with a basically haze-free body and a finger of frothy tan foam. Head has decent retention and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. I like it.

Smell: nice, rich, malty aroma with a touch of earthy hops. Objectively, it's well-crafted and appropriate, but the malt character is really quite biscuity and it just rubs me the wrong way a bit.

Taste: much like the aroma, there's a good malt-hop balance here and this beer strikes me as very well-crafted, but the flavor choices in the malt bill are just not to my taste.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a big carbonation and a nice, big, mouth-filling creaminess. Bam!

Overall: I had high hopes for this beer. Its quality doesn't disappoint at all, but I'm really not a fan of this really biscuity malt bill. (902 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger head that has reduced to a small puffy layer. It is a copper brown color with some clarity and visions of carbonation coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: sweet and bready malts, biscuit, toasted oats, yeast notes, and some fruitiness.

Taste: chocolate, bready malts, grainy, slight bitterness, nutty, and some roasty and toasty flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, a little watery, light to medium bodied, a little chewy, and enjoyable on the palate.

Overall: Pretty solid ESB. Fullers and Hobglobin I have had a lot, but happy to add this one to the mix. (693 characters)

Photo of seand
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent amber with a fair amount of light tan head. A ring around the edge retains, as well as some spots of film on the surface, and there are some pretty good walls of lacing.

S: Sweet fruit and grain, with just a bit of malty thickness.

T: Mild caramel and brown sugar sweetness, with a fruit-like touch.

M: Medium to light body, medium carbonation; a little watery near the finish.

Overal, an enjoyable if not exception ESB. There's a decent chance I'll buy it again. (490 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, no bottled-on date, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights, produces a finger of tan head, nice retention, spotty lacing.

S- Caramel malt aroma complemented by earthy, herbal hops, nice mineralic water quality.

T- Similar to the nose with sweet caramel and bready malt, some herbal, earthy hops with a bit of citrus. The mineralic quality of the water works really nicely here. Has a nice finish of caramel and a bit of herbal hop bitterness.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, creamy feel.

O- A nice ESB, very tasty and extremely drinkable. (583 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (505 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (726 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Purchased in June 2012, but this could be old considering it's brewed in the Fall. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Caramel brown, chestnut color. About a half finger of light tan head. Looks to be good carbonation.

S: Smells nutty. Sweet malts. Some piney hops hops.

T: Nice ESB. Nice roasty toffee notes, on a mild scale. Bready malts. Some nice lingering hops still in there to balance it out.

M: Medium bodied brew. Low ABV I assume. (450 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anvil Ale ESB pours a really nice scarlet stained copper color. It’s mostly clear. A little light reveals really nice orange and reddish highlights. It’s topped with an off-white head that stands a little over a finger or so tall. Retention was definitely on the shorter side. Lacing was definitely on the sticky side, leaving a really nice web of lace trailing down the glass.

The nose is a little weak in the aromatics department. It needs more strength. The malt base smells like a mix of light caramel and toasted malts. It smells a little sweet. Hops are definitely in the mix. They definitely seem English. They’re a little fruity, but feature some grassy and Earthy notes. There’s a strong bready or yeasty scent that’s prominent throughout. Alcohol is masked extremely well. I’m not getting much at all in that department.

The flavor is impressive. It is a little sweet up front. Caramel and toasted malts anchor things down nicely. It’s a flavorful malt base. Yeast is relatively strong and has a bread-like flavor to it. It works well and complements the malty flavors nicely. There are some nice hop flavors. They’re a little citric and grassy. I have no idea what the hop profile is, but it definitely seems like some form of English hops. They provide just a slight bitter flavor. Alcohol is buried and is not noticeable at all. Finishes yeasty and a little malty.

The body is on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is active, but isn’t buzzy. It really has a pretty good mouthfeel. I won’t have any problem finishing off this bomber. It is easy drinking.

Anvil Ale ESB is a really nice release from Alesmith Brewing Company. It really is a tasty representation of the style. If it has any shortcomings, the nose could use a little more strength. That’s about it. It’s impressive otherwise. Definitely worth checking out. (1,867 characters)

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is almost clear dark copper, with golden highlights. A huge tan head leaves medium lacing, and is overall quite a nice looking beer.

Smell is lightly spicy and fruity, faint earthy hops and warm and mild caramel malts.

Tastes is a bit understated however, all around. Malts up fron, hops on the finish, gaining some tang as is warms.

Feel is thin, but not fizzy, smooth, with a watery wet finish.

While I can smell and see some great quality, the flavor isn't as big as I feel it could be. Or, it just might not be my thing, but when I think "bitter", this isn't it.

DOA (584 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 5/9/12

Appearance: Dark copper/amber, pours clear - creamy, foamy off-white head to start, leaves a nice ring and spotty lacing

Smell: On the mild side - caramel malts, toffee, and dry, toasted biscuits - a touch of hard water, but not excessively English - a coffee ground-like roasted character, some dark fruit, English hops, nicely balanced

Taste: Easy drinking and tasty - caramel malts, pale malts, toasted biscuits, bread crust, toasted grains, slightly roasted malts, toffee, some hints of dark fruits - on the dry side, a nice level of sweetness - English hops with a touch of grass - slight minerality and hard water, but it's more subtle than in your face, and I approve

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, excellently carbonated, super drinkable

Overall: A remarkably drinkable ESB

While the aroma and taste are not overwhelmingly exciting, this beer is absurdly quaffable, especially for the style. I was not necessarily planning on drinking this bomber in one sitting, but it's definitely going to happen. (1,035 characters)

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz capped bottle into a nonic tumbler- pours a surprisingly dark copper/red (almost mahogany) with one finger of beige head, which holds its own for a while and leaves some sticky lacing.

Smell is mostly comprised of toasted malts and hops. Some caramel, a little orange, something a little earthy.

Tastes great- definitely a lot of toasted malt, which comes through pretty strong at first (reminiscent of a dry stout almost), followed by some caramel malt sweetness, punctuated by an earthy hop bitterness. Finish is very nice, long, semi-sweet/semi-dry.

Mouthfeel is great- medium body with moderate carbonation. This is an exceptionally crafted beer and great complexity of flavor for such a drinkable, low ABV beer. Buy it if you see it! (763 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice looking fluffy slightly tan 1 finger head that fades fairly slowly and leaves decent lacing as it does. The beer is a mostly clear darker amber toasty ruby reddish colored beer, with lots of bubbles rising up to reinforce the head.

Nose emits an herbal earthy grassy hop aroma, lightly floral, fairly grassy, with hints of herbal notes, light malty aromas with hints of toasty reddish malts, but that's about it.

Taste comes out malty at first, some caramel and plenty of toasty reddish copper malts, with a hint of sweetness and some juicy malts. Then hops again, but keeps from getting too bitter. A big grassy herbal hop flavor comes through, but not the Hedgerow herbal vegetative UK style herbal, a different one I can't really label otherwise. I like this one better than the U.K. style I'm used to. The earthy hops bring hints of fruit as well, and quite grassy almost hay like grassy. As it finishes it dries quite a bit with lots of toasty grainy speckled copper malts, a nice bitterness that doesn't overpower, and a bit more of the very grassy slight herbal hops.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bodied, tons of carbonation.

Overall not bad, better than I expected, I kinda put this one off for a little while as I was afraid it would have that herbal U.K. like hop that I don't like in most ESBs. Decent grainy malts, nice grassy hops, a bit floral, earthy, and tasty, without too much bitterness or sweetness. (1,437 characters)

Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +10%
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. (684 characters)

Photo of ghostwalker
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper body and tan head. Fits neatly and sweetly into my CBS snifter.

Nose is copper penny hops and malt. Subdued but still very pleasant.

Flavor is good, with the copperiness on the finish that I smelled before my first sip. Not sure if that's the hops or the malt, but it's a very nice US interpretation of my favorite UK style. Achieves a very nice flavor balance but avoids any hint of the characteristic UK butteriness.

Mouthfeel is slick and effervescent. Plenty going on for a lower ABV brew.

Overall is very good. Quaffable and tasty. Another solid brew from Alesmith. (582 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Yep. That's a bitter." That's what struck my mind at the very start with this beer. And it's a pretty good one at that. Decent citrus and woody/leafy tones. I'll say that it seems mildly clogged and almost too thick on the body, but the whole thing does work. Can't really say it isn't worth trying. Naturally, I'd be interested to try this on cask. (350 characters)

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle shipped to ATL from Escondido, CA

A - A cloudy amber, with 2 fingers of head, tons of sediment floating around in the beer, and yeast settling into the bottom of the glass

S - Dried fruit. Tangerine's and oranges. Definitely alot of citrus going on in the nose.

T - Light, fruity. Well balanced.

M - Full bodied, tons of carbonation, smooth

O - A damn good ESB. Alesmith hits every style that they attempt to the T. ESB's are not my favorite style, but if I am to have one, this is it. This beer grew on me as it warmed.

Since visiting the Alesmith brewery back in summer of '11, I am hooked to this brewery. Every beer is amazing. (652 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at hawthornes in philly

Pours an opaque browned color with some lighter auburn hues. Crop of lightly tanned head rests on top, retaining well and leaving some spots of lacing on the glass.

Nutty and a bit sweet in the nose with plenty of bread crust and caramel. Soft touch of roastiness and some faint raisin.

Malty and full on the tongue up front. Somewhat robust with bread crust and a thick malt base. Bread crust with caramel and a faint touch of raisin. Decent amount of sweetness, but well balanced with the malt. Finishes clean with dark malt sweetness.

Medium body, decent carbonation, a little chewy and sticky on the tongue. A pretty drinkable, tasty beer, although I probably wouldn't have this too often. (731 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear. Deep, rich caramel color. Borders on mahogany. Crazy bright. Head is off-white and leaves a thin ring. Lively carbonation.

Smell: Toasted malts and bread crust. Faint dusting of minerals. Slight grassy edge. Some lingering caramel sweetness, but it's bready from start to finish. Hops run a touch floral, more herbal. Biscuits. Very mellow. Some roasted malts.

Taste: Bread crust cooked just a touch too long. Caramelized, cooked malts add a nice sweetness. Minerals from that lovely treated water add a nice earthy/gritty note. Hops remain herbal and dust citrus. So much toasted flavor. Nice roasted component to give it some depth. Fruity like apples and pears fused in to a super fruit. Very mellow.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth to say the least. A touch dry on the finish, but damn is it drinkable. Carbonation adds a lively backing.

Overall: A solid take on the style to say the least. The fact that it's American brewed is even better. Enough flavor to keep it interesting over the course of the 22, but it's never tedious. Drinks like a champ and then some. (1,088 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color (similar to light maple syrup). Clear. Nice ascending head from the pour. Settles in lumpy fashion, leaving lots of webby lace.

Mildly earthy with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate. Good balancing hop to the nose.

Here is an ESB with a touch of Porter. Lots cocoa and spicy hop bitterness. The body is as one should expect for the style. (352 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A super deep ruby red pour, almost mahogany. Large dense light tan head sits on top. Fades pretty slowly, leaving some nice etching on the glass.

S: Caramel and toasted bread. Quite nutty, not unlike a brown ale. Floral with a bit of pine underneath it seems. Maybe even a little grass?

T: Nice nutty caramel up front along with the pine and the grass. Fades into toasted malt flavors.

M: A bit thin, this IS only 5.5%

O: Nice ESB, perhaps the best one I've had. Nutty and toasty like a brown, hoppy like an EPA, all while coming in at only 5.5%. (555 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bendurgin for the tick. Poured into a pint glass. There is a nice quarter inch off-white head atop a nice copper-amber body.

There is a lot of nice nutty malt in the aroma, with a touch of toast.

The taste has a biscuity flavor, but that leads to a grassy hop finish. The balance is perfect.

The mouthfeel is full bodied for the style, with carbonation that straddles between crisp and creamy.

This is pretty enjoyable. I like the great malty flavor. (464 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint. This one pours a somewhat dark chestnut brown with a rocky tan head that leaves some sticky.

The aroma has a nice floral hop bouquet with some nice toasty malts in the background. A good nutty aroma with a little bit of powder cocoa. More bitter on the pallet than I had anticipated. Nice piney hop flavors with a good nutty malt profile. Nice balance here.

The body is light with somewhat prickly carbonation. Overall a pretty tasty one. Real enjoyable. (476 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours somewhere between brown and ruby. Head is minute and not a consistent layer. Head leaves thin lacing stripes. Body is transparent.

S-Smells quite nice. A blend of both sweet and bitter. I am getting delectable floral notes and even a pronounced nuttiness too. Aroma falls within the lines of the style. I am excited to further my ESB knowledge via this brew.

T-Balance again. Initial flavors of sweet caramel and toffee. Behind the sweetness is a light nutty flavor. Then an earthy hop flavor that is moderately bitter kicks in and leaves a grassy finish. The finish is hoppy but the sweet malt is clearly woven around the hops. Quite a tasty brew.

M-Light bodied with nearly too much carbonation. The millions of tiny bubbles attack the surface of my tongue with little remorse. Still, a very easy to imbibe body.

O/D-Anything I have tried by Alesmith is a blast for me. Speedway Stout and their IPA are among the peaks of their respective styles in my opinion. This is an exceptional ESB. And $6 for a bomber is not a ludicrous price either. Success. (1,064 characters)

Photo of PeterIngemi
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a 22 oz with a couple of friends, poured into a boulevard tulip.

A- pours a toasted amber brown, with a one finger toasted white head, nice lacing, a good looking brew.

S- smells like black tea, and toast, a bit of toasty caramel, less hops in the aroma then I expected.

T- toasty bread, hints of caramel, not as much tea as in the aroma but tea notes are deffinatly there

M- creamy with medium/high carbonation, very drinkable, very tasty.

O- a very tasty very drinkable brew, I really enjoyed this. (512 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery.

App: Dark gold/amber color, nearly clear, with a nice cap of white foam and decent lacing. Good retention.

Smell: Lots of biscuity caramel maltiness, with a floral, grassy, piney hop note underneath.

Taste: Well balanced between sweet and toasty malt and a traditional English-style hoppiness, somewhat grassy, herbal, floral, a bit earthy. Really well struck between the two elements; sweetness and bitterness are both restrained and feel just right.

Mf: Very drinkable, almost a session beer (by American standards). Medium bodied, medium carbonation, smooth, just a touch creamy, but drinks clean, crisp, and dry.

Overall: Really tasty example of a style I used to drink a lot of but barely consider these days in the world of hyper-hopping. A nice change of pace, really well made, as, it seems, is everything Alesmith does. (857 characters)

Anvil Ale ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 317 ratings.