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

Extra Special Ale (ESA) - Yards Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Extra Special Ale (ESA)Extra Special Ale (ESA)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

578 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 578
Reviews: 262
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.67%
Wants: 7
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our first ever and most beloved brew, ESA helped establish a following for cask-conditioned beer in the United States back in the ‘90s. East Kent Golding hops give this English style ale a subtle spiciness, which compliments its strong malt backbone. Hints of chocolate and caramel round out this deep chestnut colored ale. Floral, earthy, smooth.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 12-01-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Extra Special Ale (ESA) Alström Bros
Ratings: 578 | Reviews: 262 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kylehay2004
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick circumferential lacing on a c;ear amber body.

S: musty earthy hops with caramel malts and a light citrus note.

T: very nicely hopped ESB with a full toasted and caramel malt base. Very flavorful for the style.

M: medium body and light carbonation.

Overall: Flavorful ESB, true to the style for sure.

Photo of rmartin11
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of terradactle
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of 57md
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of jman42
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed the bottle from the fridge thinking it was going to be a 2X IPA for some reason... As I poured, smelled, tasted, etc I figured out it was an ESB

A = Rich amber color. Nice fluffy off-white head that was pretty persistent. Lacing hung onto the sides of the glass even now that the level is 3 inches lower.

S = Thinking it was an IPA, I was wondering why I was noticing so much more of a maltiness to it. Some hop-inspired floral undertones, but the malts prevail.

T = The maltiness really comes through with a fair amount of an ESB's bitterness at the end.

M = Definitely not watery. Good body with the bitter taste lingering long after I swallowed.

O = Now that I verified it is an ESB, I'm quite impressed.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on cask in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a deeper amber color with a big off white head. Upon fading the head levels a moderate amount of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The nose is mainly of roasted malt, but mixed with it are notes of dark fruit (cherry and prune) as well as some light earthy hop aromas.

Taste – The taste begins heaviest of roasted malt with some sweeter caramel notes. As the taste advances however the caramel sweet fades and more hop flavors come to the tongue. The hop begins with just some more earthy like flavors, but then lighter floral flavors develop as well. In the end of the taste the roasty flavors and hop flavors with the lack of sweetness leave a slightly bitter aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the light to medium side with the low cask carbonation giving it the classic cask creamy feel. The smoothness of the brew really suits the roasty flavors as well as the more floral and earthy hop flavors and overall suit the beer quite well.

Overall – Easy drinking and a pretty good taste. A brew and one to try if you get a chance.

Photo of HopBrain
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of GWC
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of kingslotty
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Extra Special Ale (ESA)
Yards Brewing Co.
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
ABV: 6.30 %

LOOK: Dark amber colored brew with a fine clarity. Pours with a soapy off white head that leaves lace on the pint.

SMELL: Caramel, toffee, flowery hop, burnt sugar. Smells like an English session ale.

TASTE: Upfront sweetness of caramel and candy sugar. There is more depth of flavor with lightly roasted malts, toffee, tree nuts and mellow herbal hopping. Tea like hops with a mild but complimentary bitterness, this brew actually finishes a bit on the sweet side.

FEEL: Medium bodied ale, medium carbonation, malt flavor lingers into the finish but more or less clean example of English ale.

OVERALL: A pretty good attempt of the style, but hop character was a bit withdrawn and the malt sweetness was big. Almost could be considered a dessert beer, this would pair best with sweet and savory dishes.

Photo of muhler
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of TimoP
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Profchaos20
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of Bdel34
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of briandaube
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of IPAchris
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of JeffTheJuice
4.75/5  rDev +28%

Photo of jifigz
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

The beer pours a rich and deep caramel/reddish brown with a tiny head that lingers for quite a while. It left some lacing on the glass. The aroma is rich with candy sweet malts with just a touch of hops noticeable. The flavor is very well balanced between bold and robust malt sweetness with flavors of molasses and twizzlers noticeable that is very balanced with a delicate and lingering hop bitterness. The hops taste earthy and grassy but are mostly just noticeable through the bitterness. The MF is medium bodied and very smooth. Overall this is a decent "E.S.A" and quite enjoyable.

Photo of KAP1356
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of pearljam118
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Bigtimmy
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of Buggies
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I actually picked this out of the cooler thinking it was an extra pale ale. I was surprised when I poured it all the while in my head saying "extra pale my ass".

Either way, I like a good ESB so I'm not all broken up about the confusion. Nice aromas of malt and dark roasted grains. Also a slight fruity aroma as well.

Tastes really good. All the roasted grain goodness and a slight caramel tastes. Just a hint of fruitiness, but the roasted grains dominate. Nice sharp bitterness that lingers and keeps this from being too sweet on the pallet.

Very nice attempt at the style.

Photo of KimbarkBrewCrew
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Extra Special Ale (ESA) from Yards Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.