Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Alaskan ESB - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

85 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 85
Hads: 202
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 12
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 08-20-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alaskan ESB Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 85 | Hads: 202
Photo of Ragingbull
2.72/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark amber or light brown in color. It has an autumn orange type of hue similar to some wood furniture you see. Some prickle and little to no head. Malty nose with a faint hint of hops. The attack is clean, but then the flavor hammers you with a strong bitter nut flavor. The nut and the bitter would be fine in the correct proportions and balance, but it seems that the nut overpowers the bitter and I don't feel that its a good thing. The aftertaste is consistent with the flavor. It sort of reminds me of when you get the nuts in the mixed nuts around Thanksgiving that are dried, or gone bad and they give a huge tart flavor that dries the mouth. I am appreciative that my father hauled this beer to me from Alaska, but its not my favorite of those he brought me.

 767 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
3.09/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No but al-ask-ya later. Pours a crystal clear amber color with a light orange-red hue throughout. A fizzy white head that hid to the edge of the glass and stayed there. Decent lacing.

The nose is limited. A mostly caramel malt backing with some lighter nutty and complexity. Not much on hops but some minimal earthy notes. Would like a bit more hop character. No yeast character, has more of a cleaner US version. Would like to see a bit more English character overall.

The taste is a bit more on style versus the nose but still looking for more. To start the grain comes out with lighter caramel and nutty notes. There is a boarderline astringency thing up front but this is hidden by the hops. The hops come out with a light piney and flavor hop flavor. Some minor earthy notes but light. Some fusel note which is odd for the ABV.

The body is odd. Some sweetness up front but finishes dry. Carbonation is light but good for style. Overall I would like a bit more English character in the malt, hops and yeast. But still an easy drinking beer.

 1,047 characters

Photo of profzoom
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I just moved to the Northwest after living in the Midwest my entire life, and am very excited to venture into a new region of microbreweries!

I began with the Alaskan ESB. It pours a lovely copper brown color with an ivory head. The aroma is nice and subtle; a faint hoppy sweetness. The taste is also pleasant, but not spectacular, a mild bitteress with quite a bit of carbonation.

All in all, a very nice brew that's getting me excited about what the Northwest has to offer!

 482 characters

Photo of deathonthemounta
3.26/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

clear orange amber with a good looking head of yellow foam.

a slight smell balanced between non varietal hops and malt, a little metallic twinge.

fizzy carbonation on the tongue, bitter hops up front, a metallic astringent flavor with the the hops there...good malt balance slightly lingers. Not a lot to say about this, it is a good example of the style and certainly a sessionable brew.

 391 characters

Photo of chrisms86
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I must say I was a bit disappointed by this ESB. The smell is very hoppy with a taste to match, with the hops creating a pleasant bitterness with a tangy sour flavor to match. A good taste but one-layered. The bitterness and the sour is all you get and any deeper search for taste yields nothing. The mouthfeel is bubbly, like club soda. Its weak mouthfeel lends itself to being an easy drinker, a positive aspect of this brew. Nothing horrible but you can certainly do better as far as the ESB style is concerned. Worth a try, nothing you'll find in my fridge quite often though.

 580 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one poured a nice, frothy, pitting head that went down nicely and laced the glass. The body was orangish-brown and a little thin, though.

Smell – Nice, bitter hops greet the nose along with a light, balancing malt aroma.

Taste – The hoppy bitterness is indeed balanced by a lightly-toasted malt. The hops are quite nice, but the malt tastes a little grainy and cheap. Otherwise, this one came together quite well. The finish is a sweet, orange-type of rind.

Mouthfeel – Light to medium-bodied with no carbonation.

Drinkability – This was much better than the Altbier attempt, but average still the same.

 638 characters

Photo of ChicoraBoy
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice hops aroma - floral, herbal, some oil/grapefruit. Orange-amber clear w/off-white small head. Palate is med watery w/med hi carbonation. Starts slightly sweet w/decent malts. Big hops flavor but mostly hi level of bittering. Some alcohol, bland sugar. Bitter finish & after. Refreshing.

 290 characters

Photo of tavernjef
3.42/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from a trip to Cordova AK June 2002

This is really one of the only brews by Alaskan that I didn't enjoy all that much. Color is a lighter amber, thin off-white head faded leaving minimal light spots of lace. Very acidic flavor and bite, bitterness should be sweet and nice, this had a taste of generic aspirin in the finish that I just didn't like. I highly doubt it was a bad batch cuz all the others I had by Alaskan were great. Had a good smell of floral sweetness and light malt but that didn't carry over in the taste department for me. I've diffenately had better ESB. But ESB's are not my forte'.

 612 characters

Photo of beerguy101
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light brown color, medium head. Aroma is malty and a touch sweet. Roasted malts, medium hops. There is a smokiness to this beer. Nice malty character pervades this beer. Some malt sweetness. Finish is very smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, malty with some sweetness. A very complex flavor to this beer.

 307 characters

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

From a 12 ounce bottle, it pours a deep gold with a an off white head that leaves just a bit of lace. Hops dominate the smell. Malt sweetness is just noticeable under a hop bitterness that is especially pronounced at the end. Mouthfeel and drinkability are more or less par for the course for an ESB. Overall, it's a decent brew but nothing distinguishes it.

 358 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and nut aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, caramel, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice malt forward presence all around.

 513 characters

Photo of DogFood11
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a chalice it forms a 1 finger spectacle never to be seen again. Fine carbonation. Deep Penny Copper.

Its like a balanced IPA. Imagine a large IPA with 3 times the malts and you have a something to draw upon. Tons of leafy hop characteristics combined with a significant toasted malt build and you have an outstanding ESB. Caramel sweetness is light.

Notes: Hell yes this is an above average ESB, borderline greatness. A bit more depth and this would be 4+. Good stuff.

 486 characters

Photo of jsprain1
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- Red copper color. Head is one finger tan colored, with some lacing.
S- The aroma is a bit of grapefruit and a bit of toast. Fairly citrusy all the way around.
T- A good flavor to it. A bit of sweetness gives just enough to counter balance the assertive grapefruit and citrus hoppiness. There is just a touch of steeliness in the finish.
M- A bit light in the body. Medium-assertive carbonation.
O- A decent beer. Nothing extraordinary, but it's worth trying.

 461 characters

Photo of mnredsoxfan69
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep red amber with 1 finger of moderately lasting foam. Nice lacing on the tulip glass.

The smell is lightly citrus, grapefruit especially.

There's a taste of dark malt buried under the strong grapefruit peel of the hops with a little bit of sweetness in there as well. Strongly bitter, long on the palate.

Good carbonation, not too fizzy, medium light to medium bodied.

Overall I rate it as good, but not great. I've tried it and can now move on to something else.

 480 characters

Photo of Auraan
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear reddish amber with a thin ring of white that left no lacing. It looks decent, but not spectacular. Scents of caramel, fruity esters, apple, tea and some floral hops. A nice, appealing, pub ale aroma, nothing too complex, but balanced and inviting. Taste begins with some nice caramel malt before moving into floral hop bitterness that is sustained throughout. There is also a distinct herbal hop flavor and some pine resin. A bit of grainy malt on the finish and aftertaste, along with bitter hops. The overall flavor is rather bitter for an ESB, but it's not bad, a little more sweet malt would make it better though. Mouthfeel is light bodied, lightly carbonation and semi-drying, with a bit of a soapy feel. A good session ale mouthfeel that makes you want to another sip. Overall this is a good ESB, with a nice aroma and mouthfeel and a good, albeit bitter flavor. If it was a little less bitter it would be better, but it's not bad.

 953 characters

Photo of rkhaze
3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an light orange/amber color with a madium sized beige head. Poor retention and not much lace.
Classic ESB aromas. Sweet malt, caramel, some tropical fruit and a smidge of tea.
Sweet, slightly grainy malt taste. Caramel, fruit and a nice hop bitterness in the finish.
Light bodied with a thinnish, almost over-carbonated mouthfeel.
Goes down easily but not much here to hold my interest.

 396 characters

Photo of Thrasher
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A darkish amber, good head retention and some sudsy lingering lace. Aroma of dark malts. This is a dark beer for a bitter, more aggressively roasty than the traditional examples. Hops are grassy and peppery and creep up on the finish leaving a sparkle in the mouth. Malts are biscuity and sweet and typical of Alaskan brews. Some wood/varnish flavors that are the low points of an otherwise very tasty brew. Mouthfeel is pretty good but maybe a little soapy. Pleasant lemony aftertaste. This isn't initally as easy drinking as some of the best bitters, but the aftertaste is very coaxing. It's a bit raw and unrefined but could be very suitable for warming the bones on a damp muddy spring day.

 694 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%

12 oz bottle consumed in Redwoods Park.
4.3 4 4 3.3
Red-amber; clear; very good tan head; excellent lacing.
Has a layered, appealing aroma that mixes sweet baked grains with herbal/floral hops.
Flavor: Given the aroma, there’s a rather bold hop note and lingering, moderately bitter aftertaste. Fruity and herbal.
Feel: Lively medium-high carbonation. Medium body.
O: bold and hoppy for style.

 410 characters

Photo of BeerRun13
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep orange/amber. Thin, filmy, off white head with bubbles from below.
Malty, somewhat nutty aroma, although slightly subdued.
Biscuity breadlike with some hop punch up front. Malty and hoppy balance is pretty good throughout.
Medium bodied and well carbonated. Bittering back with a hop bite at the finish.
This one's pretty good.

 350 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Thin head, clear amber color, moderate carbonation.

S: Clean nutty hoppiness present, not real strong, but decent.

T: Lightly tangy in flavor, nutty, lightly toasty. Finishes with a hint of caramel sweetness and a decent bitterness to pair.

M: Light to medium body, pretty unremarkable.

D: Light and easy to drink. It would definitely be alright if I had nothing else better. It seemed more like an American amber than a true ESB. Not bad...

 459 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle received in trade from BeerKangaroo, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a crystal clear deep copper color with a huge bubbly off white head that persists forever. Aromas of brown sugar and caramel with hints of dark dried fruit and bits of sulfur and earth. The flavor is what I expected from the aroma. Light dark sugary malts with bits of earthy hop light fruit and hints of sulfur. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick almost sweet mouthfeel. Nice drinker, not really my favorite style, but this is a well made brew.

 558 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small white head, very good grapefruit aroma, bitter more than malty but overall balanced. Decent nicely drinkable bitter, though a bit watery. A few days after expirey, though I wouldn't blame it on that nor on Liquid Solutions who shipped it with just a few weeks to go.

 272 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample in the Alaskan tap room. This brew is a lightly hazed copper color with a medium thin and foamy off-white head that diminishes steadily. Rings of lacing on the glass. Hops, citrus and earthy malt aroma. Medium-bodied and moderately bitter with hops, caramel and biscuity malt flavors. The finish is hoppy and lingering, with a touch of sweetness in the mix. Above average overall.

 387 characters

Photo of Reidrover
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz serving from a 6-pack from Fred Meyer in S.Salem. $6.99(6). Clear hazel nut brown colour with a large creamy thick eggshell white head. Hoppy aroma first..citrus,orange.papaya..not expected for style but nice .Slightly caramel malts in the back. Taste is more like style with the caramel malts taking a better place.Hops still there..PNW style. Its fine enough. Mouth feel is fine and the beer is medium carbonated. OK beer but not the best and the hops are not to style.

 477 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 355 ml. bottle. Received in trade. Thanks BK. Stamped: 20-CO42214. Sampled on February 15, 2014.

It has a handsome looking chestnut/mahogany brown pour with decent clarity and a modest tan head.

This is meant to be an ESB and so I would expect some caramel malts and mellow bitter hops. But in this case the hops are quite floral and in my face.

The body is about medium.

There is a vague caramel and biscuit malt character in the early sips but the floral and grassy hop bitterness comes pounding in from behind and taking over everything. Hopheads would like it.

 579 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Alaskan ESB from Alaskan Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.