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Alaskan ESB - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

192 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 10.16%
Wants: 9
Gots: 20 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alaskan ESB Alström Bros
Ratings: 192 | Reviews: 88 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kopfschuss
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Kopfschuss, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of cliff1066
4/5  rDev +4.2%

cliff1066, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of sprucetip
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

About time they made this again! It was the best of the lackluster year round beers when it was available. And though it's a better hoppy option, as mellow as it is, than their excuse for an IPA.

Nice looker. Copper, good clarity, and active. Head was modest, white and short lived. No significant lacing.

A bit of boozy esters, a touch of caramel, a bit of citrus, and some light earthy hops blend together well. Not over the top at all, but well balanced with good synergy.

Grainy, a little caramel, a wee hint of sweetness, modest but clearly discernible hop bitterness, and gentle earthy/floral hop flavor play well together.

Well carbonated, light side of medium body, a little bit of stickiness and some lingering hop bitterness.

This is a really nice beer. It's not big and or bold, but it has very nice balance and subtle complexity. As noted above, it has more and better hop character than that beer they call an IPA.

sprucetip, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Oxymoron
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

Oxymoron, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of Ragingbull
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
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.

Ragingbull, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of anchordrinker
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear, dark amber appearance, with very little head (on a relatively slow, careful pour).

S- Toffee/caramel malt aromas dominate with some citric, orange-y aromas in the background.

T- Toasted maltiness upfront and then fruity flavors that become increasingly bitter up to the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied, with a medium level of carbonation. Very clean and crisp on the finish.

D- Very drinkable, definitely one to session on.

anchordrinker, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of Dogbrick
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Dogbrick, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of hopdog
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks!).

Poured a dark amber color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of toffee, floral, toasted malts and caramel. Tastes of caramel, oranges, and toasted malts. Nice creamy and smooth body.

Notes from 11/27/05

hopdog, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

woodychandler, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
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 +7.6%
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 +9.9%
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 +7.6%
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 +8.9%
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 +16.4%
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 -1.6%
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 -15.4%
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 +6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 -1%
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 -14.6%
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 -2.9%
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%
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 +5.5%
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
Alaskan ESB from Alaskan Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.