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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

551 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 551
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: 551 | Reviews: 311 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Naerhu
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed this again on 27Jan05
Consistent results with initial review, only this time the floral notes on the aroma struck me as more pronounced. I also kicked the taste, mouthfeel and drinkability a half point each to 4.5 (which would be an average of the new and old scores).

Initially reviewed 13Dec03
This was an extraordinarily nutty beer, and otherwise reminded me of Fullers ESB. Amber copper opaque body with a thin head and amazing lace. Hop flavor is to complementary to the nut-bread malt back bone and not as bracing as many other reviewers state. The thin creamy carbonation was delightful. This was a great brew, had at fathers office in Santa Monica. Went wonderfully with food, but had enough personality to love on its own.

Naerhu, Dec 13, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lightly chill-hazed ruby-amber-copper color that is topped by a tan head. Aromas of caramel malt and subtle hop aromas. Perfectly carbonated for a beer called ESB, nice and light. Malty with some toasted malt/ biscuit notes. Lightly sweet in the finish, accompanied by a pleasing bitter hop finish. Pretty well balanced leaning perhaps a bit more to the hop side of the spectrum. A nice session beer, that I would love to sample from the cask. There is a very nice pleasing fruitiness that expresses itself as the beer warms up. I was very impressed by this beer, shows a sense of balance & subtlety that is too often overlooked by many American micros.

Gueuzedude, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of Mark
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This nice ESB pours a cloudy amber, head retention is excellent, and lacing is beautiful. Aroma is pretty mellow, with malt dominating. Very smooth malty taste profile with a touch of hop, very grainy too. Ultra-drinkable ESB from a brewer whose beers I have been very curious about. Very nice beer. Thanks to rkhaze who is a part of some great guys at the Whole Foods meat department I shop at.

Mark, Nov 08, 2003
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A decent appearance with a tawny amber body and a nice cream head and nice lace. The nose is light and gives off malt with light floral hops in the background. Mild flavoring with a decent balance but little bittering. The feel is fairly creamy with little crispness in the finish. Easily drinkable session brew as the "Liar's Brew" at the Liar's Club.

AtLagerHeads, Nov 02, 2003
Photo of winomark
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear amber color with a non-existent head.

Aroma: Little or no aroma. Can sense some hops, and some malt, but very minimal.

Taste: Very mild palate, almost not there until some malt in the finish. No hops apparent. Disappointing for an ESB.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery. No "meat" to it at all. Absolutely no carbonation.

Drinkability: A poor showing IMO from Alesmith, but I wonder if I got a bad bottle. There is no "born on" or "drink by" date, so maybe it sat too long on somebody's shelf. Might try again, but not likey.

winomark, Oct 04, 2003
Photo of elmocoso
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells great: A crisp citrus hop smell with a sweet malty background. very lively. cascade hops for finishing? kind of fruity and refreshing.

Not much of a head. a slight blanket of lace and a minimal coller around the edge.

Coppery orange, a little cloudy.

Great all around taste. Strong and subtle. malty sweet with a hop bitterness in binary opposition. the contrast is almost perfect. like sucking on a candied hop cone.

mouthfeel is lush and well rounded. great balance here and just a perfect beer for a hop head.

elmocoso, Jul 31, 2003
Photo of Rumrunner
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle
Pours a dirty transparent copper. Head starts off strong but disappears quickly. Not much lacing. The scent has a bitter fruit bite to it. Some lemon, a bit of hops and malt.

The flavor is a crisp lemon with a nice malt follow through. The bitterness is apparant and this is a well balanced ale. There is a fruit finish with a burst of crispness.

This ale drinks well and would be a fine session beer. I feel this ale could be a nice crossover ale for macro drinkers because it is smooth and not too strong. It does not overwhelm the palate.

Rumrunner, Jul 21, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I originally sampled this beer on 27 May 2003. I am writing this review from my notes. This pours a nice copper color. It is smooth on the palate. In my opinion, this would be a very good session beer. It's nice, but nothing out of the ordinary. Given that other Alesmith beers are world class, this one isn't worth seeking out

jcalabre, Jul 20, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ESBs have never been among my favorite styles of brew, often too bland and unmemorable, but I give everything it's chance and soldier on, investigating my first Alesmith bomber...
Appearance: dull red color, fairly tight white head.
Aroma: slightly citric, fruity, but otherwise arid.
Taste: niiiiiice, and tangy, zippy, fruity, very much enjoyed.
Light to medium body, decent finish, good, tangy texture.
Sweet, fruity taste rings through and through the length of the large bottle's contents. A surprising treat, though I've heard so many good things about Alesmith, I shouldn''t have been shocked. One of the best ESBs to have met my lips! Big thanks to BierRiese for providing!

feloniousmonk, Jul 02, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is another excellent beer from Alesmith! This English style ESB pours a nice dark red-ish, copper colour with a creamy, off-white head. The aromas are of heavy hops, malts, alcohol, and a unique alesmith spicy-ness. The taste is similar to the aroma. This is a very spicy, hoppy and malty beer that is exceptionally balanced and drinkable. The mouthfeel is thicker than many of the 'so-called' American ESB beers, but right-on for an English interperatation of the style. The drinkability of this beer is excellent as well! A great ESB!

francisweizen, Jun 17, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium brown color. Medium head. Aroma is brown sugar and malts. A lighter bodied ESB. Malty and slightly hoppy. Well balance. Very tasty. More in the English style of bitter. Very drinkable. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

beerguy101, Jun 12, 2003
Photo of kbub6f
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought from the fridges at Gaslamp Liquor in San Diego, seven hours in my carryon, a couple of weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-70F.

A small, noisy head collapses fast. Lacing is spotty. The beer is a clear, deep amber with ample fine carbonation. Lots of swirly sediment on the final pour (the writing on the bottle says to pour carefully and leave the yeast in the bottle... I say screw 'em!).

The smell is caramel malty, a little tangy, with a hint of bitterness. The front is malty and a little perfumey. There's some fruit in there too. The middle is roasty-malty with some tobacco hops. It's quite buttery when warm. The finish is nutty and dry. It's hoppy with some chocolate. Alcohol is fairly obvious in the aftertaste along with a nice interesting apple quality.

This is one classy brew! It's almost casky. Creamy, smooth, beautiful.

kbub6f, May 29, 2003
Photo of BierReise
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not much of a head on this one with only slight lacing in the glass which sems typical of an ESB. Reminds me alot like Fullers ESB. Has that English thing going on just not as bitter as an English ESB. Overall nice tasting beer and another great ale from Alesmith.

BierReise, Apr 30, 2003
Photo of mzwolinski
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper in color, with a frothy, lacy, off-white head. Aroma is pretty mild, though with a bit of honey sweetness and herbal hops. Flavor is much the same, surprisingly sweet mid-palate for an ESB, though the hop finish balances things off nicely. I haven't much to say about this beer, really. It's tasty and very drinkable, but not as impressive and deep as I would expect from Alesmith.

mzwolinski, Apr 26, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber.

Appearance: Pours a color somewhere between dark copper and light amber that seems to glow on it's own. Crystal clear body with lots of carbonation bubbles. Capped with a thin, off-white head that is standard for the style.

Smell: The aroma is an amazing balance between the grains and hops. The grains are very fresh with lots of breadiness. There's a nice touch of fruitiness in there as well, most noticeably apricot. The hops are very leafy and green. Great aroma!

Taste: Very full flavored with the same balance from the aroma. Nice breadiness from the malt, and lots of firm bitterness from the hops. There's a faint hint of caramel and toffee. The hop flavor is both leafy and green, and fruity, with suggestions of apricot and grapefruit. There's a touch of an herbal note in there too. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a highly carbonated mouthfeel that's velvety smooth from being bottle-conditioned. Finishes dry and bitter.

Drinkability: Top notch drinkability! I could drink this one all night. The fantastic balance and bold flavors make this one bad-ass American-made ESB! Spot on for style...

Well done Alesmith! I wish this was available in the Midwest. More please...

MJR, Apr 07, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.63/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice looking beer here. Dark reddish brown with a nicely sized off-white head. Leaves lots of lace, and head retention is pretty decent. The aroma features floral hops galore along with a healthy dose of biscuity and grainy malt. Quite nice. The flavors are even more impressive. Starts off with just a little bitterness, then goes to a nice biscuity maltiness. In the middle, the bitterness returns, showing more hop character. It's oily/resiny and slightly leafy. The leafiness increases in the back and in the aftertaste. Malt is a little sweet and grainy in places. The mouthfeel is very nice and smooth. Finishes with a final stroke of bitterness. One excellent ESB right here! Grab it if you can!

hyuga, Mar 21, 2003
Photo of Myk
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

orange in color, poured very not agressive, this beer still came out with a gigantic thick white, big bubbled head. suprisingly their was no sediment in the bottle, which from previous reviews i thought there would be. the aroma was alright, the head bubbles, kind of hid it, but what i got from it with a slightly fruity hop and rust mixture, it was in a clean glass. the taste itself was pretty good, malty with a nice hop bitter. highly carbonated, maybe too much even. fruity, little citrus, orange-ish. super creamy in mouth feel. still it had a slight metallic taste. the body was medium and left a nice aftertaste.

Myk, Jan 11, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

NeroFiddled, Jan 11, 2003
Photo of Murph
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly cloudy copper color with a perfect 1/2" tan head that sloslw sinks down to a nice film. Slightly bitter, earthy hops dominate the aroma with a nice backdrop of sweet malt. Sweet toasty malt is the first to land on the tongue as it smooths over the interior of the mouth and slides down the throat in all its silkiness. As the sweetness of the malt descends a bit the subtle hops emerge and provide just the right dose of bitterness through the slightly bitter lingering finish. This brew has a great balance and excellent medium body. Although no single characteristic stands out as being amazing or remarkably memorable the balance and drinkability of this brew make it special for its overall qualities.

Murph, Dec 30, 2002
Photo of mickeymac
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper color with a small but appropriate head for the style. The smell is malty with a nice hop background. Everything comes together nicely in the taste, which has currents of toasted bread and just a bit of fruity flavor. The malt flavor is well balanced when the hops hit the back of the tongue on the way down. It has a wonderful creamy feel and is profoundly drinkable. Who'd have thought that guys out of San Diego would be able to hold their own with the boys from Fuller's?

mickeymac, Dec 06, 2002
Photo of Gusler
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The pour a quite deep crystal clear deep amber to almost brown color, the head monumental in size, creamy in texture, the lace in thick glutinous sheets that cling snuggly to the glass. Malt dominates the nose, some yeast and light floral tones also noticed. Start is malt sweet, the top is middling, snappily hopped, droughty aftertaste.

Gusler, Nov 20, 2002
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, I could not wait! – my “beerpatience” is short, and got the better of me, when it comes to good beer I cannot wait. The 3rd of the AleSmith beers I purchased this morning, has already been opened, and is now being demolished.
Anvil pours a dense red copper-color – so reminiscent of a famous English ESB I once knew, it’s uncanny. A small, tight, Guardian head, that makes no fuss, but stays with the beer to the 'bitter' end. A lovely milk-chocolate biscuit malt nose leads you into the beer. The entrance just screams Oats and Malt – with a warming biscuity smoothness that adds a great dimension. A very smooth drinking Malty ESB, that has a very English feel for me (no names). I would dearly love to drink this beer on Draft.
AleSmith Anvil = 100% Beer Fidelity.
Two Hundred Years ago, the people that make these types of beers, would have been high ranking members of English Medieval Society – I hope they are held in the same reverence in the US today.

TheLongBeachBum, Oct 19, 2002
Photo of ZAP
4.88/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

nice copper color...bubbly creamy head..english malts on nose and buds...flatish/sweet mouthfeel with malt dominate..very slight smokiness on the nose..spicy..lovely soft, sweet, grainy taste...This is really something..an outstanding ESB...

ZAP, May 25, 2002
Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a light copper color, but there are very fine particles in suspension. Unlike I've seen before. Not a lot of head. There's some raw-hide hop aroma in this one. I like it. I really like this taste. Husky, grainy and a bit raw, but also smooth. There is a really mellow bitterness. This beer is really nice and easily drinkable. One of the best ESBs I've had.

Bighuge, May 18, 2002
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
Anvil Ale ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 551 ratings.