1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Alaskan ESB - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

175 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 9
Gots: 12 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 08-20-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | 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  | next › last »
Ratings: 175 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2006 03:55:42 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 09:17:37 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glowing coppery orange with juicy tangerine peel edges; a tremendous color when backlit with even weak sunlight. The cap is pretty impressive as well. It's as much pale orange as beige and is large and frothyfirm. The foam comes to resemble a windblown mesa as it loses altitude and deposits quite a bit of lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

The aroma easily meets the bar set by the appearance. Alaskan ESB smells exactly like an American-hopped ESB. In other words: toasted, lightly caramel-like malt underpinnings with plenty of Pac NW hops providing the excitement. I love Cascade and Centennial and applaud their inclusion here. They definitely steer the beer away from its English origins however. A hop lover's ESB nose.

Not quite so wonderful on the palate and I'm not immediately sure why. There just doesn't seem to be that spark when the beer hits my tastebuds that makes me sit up and take notice. All of the pieces are in place and they fit together reasonably well, but someone forgot to add the magic. The whole is something less than the sum of its parts.

The maltiness is sturdier than was appreciated in the nose. I'm reminded of well-toasted, lightly spicy brown bread with a thick layer of bitter orange marmalade. There are also barely sweetened tea-like notes. What are normally grapefruit-intensive hops are blunted somewhat by the Crystal malt and actually come to resemble some of the English varieties. I might have guessed Fuggles and Chinook if blinded.

Bitter supercedes sweet at all points from beer entry to beer exit; more so as each mouthful progresses and even more so as the beer warms. For whatever reason--probably the increasingly aggressive bitterness--the magic has appeared and I like this beer quite a bit more than I did during the first few ounces. It tastes much more vibrant as it approaches room temperature.

The body/mouthfeel is acceptable, but a bigger, firmer, more confident mouth presence would be welcome. I find myself wishing for the slightest bit of viscosity... that never arrives. I usually like carbonation to be subdued, as it is here, but a little more zestiness would be a good match for the snappy bitterness.

All of the Alaskan Brewing Company beers are solid and drinkable, although with the exception of Smoked Porter and Stout, I've never been overly impressed. It took nearly the entire bottle to come to this conclusion, but Alaskan ESB is my favorite non-dark offering from this brewery. If you're looking for a good ESB with an American citric hop edge, your search ends here.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2006 19:09:01 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a sturdy head that nicely laces the pint glass

Smell: Solid caramel aroma with a hint of earthy hops in the background

Taste: Starts out with a strong caramel flavor with some piney hops that kick in, mid-palate; after the swallow, the hops turn a bit earthier and provide a nicely balanced finish; at the very ending a surprising bit of fusel alcohol makes an appearance that was not particularly welcome

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit of warmth down the gullet

Drinkability: Except for the alcohol jumping out at the end, this is a very nice ESB

Thanks, BeerRun13

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2007 20:55:56 | More by brentk56
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first beer that I had after getting off the plane in Las Vegas. This turned out to be a pure, simple, and very desirable beer. It pours a brilliant, sparkling copper / amber hue with a steady off-white head formation that laced well as the beer line fell. Moderate aromas of caramel malts, and ale-typical fruity esters. Mild fermented flavors swirl around the malts for a rich aroma, flavor, and feel. An herbal, pungent English hop character cleans the beer up a bit, while offering some complexity. The beer is very well balanced, not preferencing the hops nor the malts. The feel is also moderate, not too heavy or thick, but not watering either. Very easy to drink with a mild hop lingering and flavor. I certainly would not hesitate to buy this beer again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2007 19:52:42 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +3.9%

02-09-2014 02:16:02 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

02-01-2014 06:30:32 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alaskan's ESB is a well-crafted and finely balanced dark amber ale with a malty, caramelish nose and similar flavor (the malt is a bit more bready than the aroma suggests) that's peppered with piney/leafy/grassy hops and backed by a brisk bitterness. The appearance is quite nice with a clear copper body that reveals gleaming orange and gold highlights beneath a creamy head of antiqued ivory. It's crisp in the mouth with a medium body; and it's balance leaves it nicely drinkable. Well done!

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 21:21:39 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz short brown bottle with no freshness date. This bottle was from Liquid Solutions.

Appearance: A very appetizing off white head stands tall in the glass and leaves more than enough lace behind. The deep russet hue glows as it is brought to the light. A heavenly looking beer.

Smell: Some malt in the nose with a thick layer of semi-coarse hop and light fruitiness.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smoothness has some depth within the medium body, malt flavours flare out with suggestions of cake, caramel, toasted biscuits and bread crust. An ample amount of hops throws out a serious bitterness that tries to clean house, lingering flavours of citric rind and herbs are in the end. Finishes a tad on the sweet side with enough malt to keep things balanced all the way through.

Notes: I love big malty ales with a muscular hop character, this is one of them and a perfect pairing at lunch time would be with a roast beef on rye with horseradish mayo.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2003 10:35:23 | More by Jason
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Code of A082007, Sampled September 2007
Pours with a brilliantly clear, deep, ruby-red color and is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, amber-tinged, tan colored head that leaves some lacing on the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes. The beer has an interesting aroma of strawberries that I notice as I am pouring this brew into my tulip glass. Closer inspection of the aroma makes out that fruity note to be hop derived, though it seems more like a combination of candied citrus peel and berries than of the initial strawberry note. A herbal / pine like hoppiness is also here, and at time is fairly noticeable. This really has an enticingly hoppy nose to it; I am quite enjoying it. Sweet, caramelized malt sugar notes and toasty grain aromatics form a backdrop to the up front, more dominant hop character.

A slightly creamy mouthfeel, that has a touch of fizziness from the carbonation. The beer is quite quaffable, fairly light, yet substantial enough to be noticed as it sits in the mouth. The beer finishes with a solid bitterness as well as a menthol like herbal flavor, both of which contribute to a lingering astringency on the tongue. The beer is only lightly sweet (though I had a lemonade recently so take that for what it is), but has a rich caramelized grain character. There also seems to be a touch of toasted malt, almost even chocolate character here; this is fairly subtle, but adds a nice, extra dimension to the malt. The hops and malt combine to give this beer a nice fruitiness that reminds me of oranges, berries and maybe even raisins.

This is quite a nice beer; it is very quaffable and I would definitely be happy drinking quite a few pints of these (before I know it, my 12oz pour is gone). I really like the hop character here and how it combines with the substantial, yet secondary, malt character.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 21:47:56 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

07/19/05- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA

Presentation- 12oz undated bottle. Poured into my Moose Drool pint glass.

Appearance- Amber pour with a 1/2 inch head and light lacing.

Smell- A lightly sweetened bready malt. Some hops are noticeable.

Taste- Just a bit sweet with a big hit of bitter hops. Very bready. Caramle toasted malt carries the beer.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation, bitter on the back of the tongue.

Drinkability- Very refreshing brew that I'm sure I will find myself having again in the future. Would be a good summer session beer while enjoying a camping trip.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 19:13:51 | More by GClarkage
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It began with two finger's worth of rocky, medium-tan head with low retention, but a good bit of lacing. Nose had a good bit of caramel accompanied by a mild bitterness. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium with a bitterness softly tempered by a caramel/malt sweetness. Finish had the same commingling of bitter and sweet that I got on the tongue. In fact, as it warmed, I got a really pronounced biscuitiness on the extreme finish. A very good ESB and a beer that nicely offset their Amber.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2008 03:32:06 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red brown brew.

Smell is lots of roasted malts and some biscuit. Nice chocolate and tea scents to this.

Taste is mild and a bit fruity with a solid hop finish. Very pleasant with no roughness.

Mouthfeel is full.

Another pleasant brew from Alaskan, I don't think they know how to make BAD beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2004 04:11:05 | More by Zorro
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

4/5  rDev +3.9%

06-22-2014 20:11:52 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice small head, lots of lacing throughtout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, hops, slight yeast, and slight caramel.

T - The taste is sweet/malty, nice caramel flavor with a little bitter finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Drinkable. A nice little ESB from Alaskan, would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2006 00:03:13 | More by Wasatch
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

12-28-2013 22:28:54 | More by BillRoth
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

07-07-2014 00:29:52 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Latarnik
Latarnik

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

05-25-2014 23:40:39 | More by Latarnik
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a nice shade of scarlet red. A small creamy beige head recedes to a thin coating in seconds. Lacing is adequate. The aroma is about half and half between piney hop notes and caramel/biscuity malt tones. This beer displays some nice balance for the style and types of hops utilized (Centennial and Cascade). Hops impart some bitterness, piney tones and some rind qualities to a lesser degree. Malt provides a beautiful underlying and balance in this beer. Although bread like and doughy at times, the malt profile is primarily caramel. And very nice. Beautiful smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is low. Drinkability is high. It's been months since I tried a beverage from Alaskan and they have picked up right where they left off (in my mind). Very good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2002 18:16:56 | More by Bighuge
Photo of LXIXME
LXIXME

New Mexico

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

03-19-2014 21:54:31 | More by LXIXME
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Welcome back, old friend! It has been far too long.

An amazing clear deep copper produces a long lasting off white head that leaves behind beautiful lacing.... One of the prettiest beers ever.

Nose is big floral hops with some light grassy hoppiness... plenty of dry toast/dry caramel maltiness that helps balance but never smells sweet... perhaps a light fruity ester, but that could be in my imagination.

Flavor is very well balanced... dark caramel presence meshes well with the floral hops and some background earthy hoppiness.. significantly more bitterness lets you know this is of PNW origin and gives a nod to the Continental ESB's... With warmth a light nutty element arises and adds to the complexities.

Smooth with a light carbonation.

This is a great brew... Definitely "American", but still a great take on an ESB... Somewhere, DING is getting angry as I type this and he doesn't even know why. :-)

4.5/4/4/4/4.25

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 06:21:51 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of afsdan
afsdan

Colorado

4/5  rDev +3.9%

04-06-2014 00:41:14 | More by afsdan
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color on the pour is a limpid burnished copper, the head modest, frothy and the color a light beige with the lace a fine covering sheet. Nose is floral, buttery, crisp and clean, a real sniffer with the start sweet and full of malt, top is middling in feel. Finish has a delectable hop presence, acidity moderate and the aftertaste quite dry, and a real credit to the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2003 16:06:12 | More by Gusler
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev +3.9%

03-07-2014 04:44:13 | More by Derek
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 00:28:45 | More by johnnnniee
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Alaskan ESB from Alaskan Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.