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Alaskan ESB - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB

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

183 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 183
Reviews: 87
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 9.92%
Wants: 9
Gots: 17 | 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
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Ratings: 183 | Reviews: 87 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back an Alaskan Brewery 6 pack with this beer and the Pale Ale, IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Amber Ale, and Summer Ale. The ESB is a solid, sessionable beer.

Pours an amber color with a pillowy big white head (on a hard pour). Leaves some lacing.

Smell and taste is of biscuity malt. This is a simple but tasty treat.

The ESB is crisp and smooth, rich enough mouthfeel for the style. There is a slight bitterness in the finish that balances everything out. Drinkability is really good. This is a good tasting beer that goes down real easy. An ideal session beer and a good transition from swill to a well constructed beer with an actual flavor!!!

JayQue, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of wspscott
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: fluffy off-white head, lots of lace, crystal clear, copper colored
S: slightly fruity yeast and a hint of malt (maybe biscuits)
T: bready malts, with an English (fruity) yeast flavor (no idea if this is a different yeast than the Amber, maybe higher fermentation temps).
M: crisp, with a little too much carbonation for the style if we were in England, since this is America not unreasonable
D: Very nice beer, not overpowering. Thank you, I will have another :)

wspscott, Jun 21, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is an excellent concoction by AK. It has incredible hop flavor, and all the bitterness the hopheads like. Pours dark yet transparent amber, with good carbonation. I like the initial hop taste that really kicks your ass! suprisingly drinkable for an esb, many will mistake it for an IPA aside from the color. The finish shows a little malt but still very hoppy. Great brew.

AKBelgianBeast, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

BEERchitect, Dec 07, 2007
Photo of tonistruth
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- dark copper with read hues and a 1/4" white head, little retent, quick dissipating white film lacing

S- herbal, floral, buttery, and malty

T- rich, buttery and toasted malts with suggestions of fig and baked apples up front with earthy hops taking the finish, nicely balanced brew with strong profiles

M- slick and well carbonated medium body with a drying finish

D- richness of brew my make it hard to session, but absolutely delicious beer and an fine example of an ESB

tonistruth, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of SargeC
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep, brown-gold with a golden-tan head.

Smell: Bold hop presence, vanilla, oranges.

Taste: Nice wave of smooth malt goodness. Sweet foundation with a touch of hops.

Mouthfeel: medium body. Smooth, waxy quality.

Drinkability: One of my favorite Alaskan brews. Perfect balance of boldness and drinkability. Makes a great beer batter and compliments Alaskan seafood perfectly.

SargeC, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last of a six pack purchased at BevMo in Redlands, CA, approximately July 2007, consumed in September of the same year.

Pours a pretty orange-copper into an imperial pint glass, A fairly small head wuickly turns to thin wisps of bubbles ringing the glass.

Aroma is sweet, malty caramel and toffee. Slight metallic notes.

Flavor is a moderately rich, malty goodness with solid brown bread grains, underlying sweetness, and a kiss of hop bitterness to sit atop the beer. More malty than bitter- never understood the name of this style!

Overall a nice example of the style, and easily drinkable.

Dukeofearl, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of deathonthemounta
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

deathonthemounta, Sep 18, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
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

Gueuzedude, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of bennetj17
3.6/5  rDev -6%
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...

bennetj17, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of BeerRun13
3.6/5  rDev -6%
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.

BeerRun13, Apr 28, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
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

brentk56, Apr 07, 2007
Photo of chrisms86
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

chrisms86, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of RJLarse
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a six-pack of Alaskan ESB on a trip to Seattle. Poured into a pint tumbler.

Pours a nut brown color, clear, and mildly effervescent. The head is thin and dissipates quickly to a spotty film across the surface of the beer. The foam hardly laces the side of the glass while drinking

The smell is pungent and acerbic. The beer has a sharp smell of bitter hops and some yeast.

The taste is also bitter, but not unpleasantly so. The taste of malt is hardly present, this one is all about hops, bitters, some yeast and a lightly sour flavor. The aftertaste lingers and is also mildly bitter, but pleasant.

Mouth feel is light and crisp. The beer is refreshing and easy too drink. It is a classic hop flavored beer.

This is a very drinkable beer, a full-flavored version of an American macro maybe, but it has a distinct character as well. It’s not a super beer, but an above average bitter just the same.

RJLarse, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Wasatch, Sep 22, 2006
Photo of watermelonman
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring to a deep and dark amber with a medium head, this looks very nice. The head is lasting well, and it left a small amount of lace.

The smell is strong and full of malt. The taste is smooth, starting with amber malts and finishing with just enough hops to pronounce themselves. The mouthfeel is slightly sharp, while drinkability is good.

watermelonman, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of profzoom
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
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!

profzoom, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Sammy, Jul 16, 2006
Photo of Phatz
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a transparent amber copper color with a decent of f white head and great lacing.

Smell: The aroma is toasty and malty with hints of caramel. The hops are very reserved but present as a light grassy attribute. There is also a hint of diacytel in the nose along with a slight smell of egg whites.

Taste: This is a very balanced beer with a nice toasty caramel malt flavor. There seemed to be hints of dough early in the flavor. There is a nice light hint of fruit along side a very bready body. As it warms the diacytel and a tea like character showed up more. I got distracted with my babies waking each other up and it did get a bit too warmed in the mid of my tasting. However, I was very pleased with the beer and found it to be very easy drinking. The orange-ish hops showed up more in the finish and the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Magnificently smooth mouthfeel that is near perfect except the medium body goes a bit limp through the center. Still, very creamy and quaffable.

Drinkability: Simply put, this beer is irresistible! Simple and yet elegant in that simplicity; this is a very well crafted drinking beer!

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Jul 11, 2006
Photo of ElGordo
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty copper-amber color topped by a half-inch or so of creamy tan head that exhibits some staying power. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, with a bit of tangy, fruity hops that become more assertive as the beer warms from fridge temperature. Palate is dominated by mellow sweet malt, accented slightly by some fruity hops and just a touch of English ale yeast. Body is just rich enough to complement the flavors without being too thick. I can see myself drinking a lot more of this.

ElGordo, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep, clear, reddish amber with a small head that disappeared rather quickly. Virtually no lacing even though the carbonation gave a very nice and full mouthfeel.
The aroma is slightly sweet, slightly leafy hops....neither overpowering.
The taste is a surprising balance of the malts and hops....you sense both equally and at the same time in your mouth with neither taking center stage.
Again, mouthfeel is full with a pleasant tingling sensation from the hops, carbonation, and alcohol.
Very drinkable....I could deffinately session this beer.
I think the lack of head may have been due to the pour coming from an older bottle. The tastes and feel held up wonderfully, though.

IntriqKen, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of Bitterbill
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle(room temp) a reddish gold with a large head of foam that dissipated slowly.

The smell is a sweet malt that has notes of caramel.

The taste is a very nice balance between the malt and hops..both sweet and bitter notes are there but they work so darned well together that neither one takes center stage and that's the beauty of this ESB. Yum.

Bottom line: A very solid ESB that I'll gladly drink more of and recommend.

Bitterbill, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of sulldaddy
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another bottle my bro gave me after his trip to Alaska. I am pouring a room temp bottle into a pint glass.
The beer pours a clear chestnut hue with a spongey, eggshell and orange rind colored head that fades gradually to a sturdy surface layer.
The aroma is a bit of caramel and then an assertive citrus hop presence takes over and dominates the nose. The hops are not overly sharp or pungent but just nicely present.
The first sip reveals an average body with very fine yet tingly carbonation.
The flavor starts with just a bit of toffee and even some mild chocolate that gives way to the same citrusy hops through the finish. The hops linger just a bit after the swallow leaving a bit of a tingle on the sides of my palate.
The beer is very smooth and easy to drink. I imagine this would be great as a session beer or with a nice BBQ dinner or even spicy thai food. Another tasty beer from Alaska!

sulldaddy, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

DogFood11, Dec 25, 2005
Alaskan ESB from Alaskan Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.