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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

543 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 543
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.67%
Wants: 5
Gots: 30 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Extra Special Ale (ESA) Alström Bros
Ratings: 543 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MONKandTUCK
MONKandTUCK

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

A - Deep golden hue. On draught it would be clearer and lighter, probably also carry more head. Darker than Pilsner Urquell, but much lighter than most Pale Ales.

A - Some malts, kinda fruity and vegetal. It reminds me more of a flower than what you think of when you imagine flowers. Definitely not bright and juicy, like American Pale Ales.

T - Buttered bread and a little honey, some sturdy hops. This is remarkably balanced and refreshing. The hops add some depth, but they're not harsh. There's a refined character about this beer. Then.... the finish. Wow, funky. Maybe it's this batch. Maybe it's something that goes unnoticed when this beer is chilled. But damn, there's something fierce that sneaks up in this batch. Ya know how athletes chew food for the taste, then spit it out? That's how I felt with this one.

M - It's no shrimp. Considering the ABV, this beer is substantial. But the malts are staight forward, so the beer is actually refreshing.

O - It was never gonna be stellar; however, this beer lost its opportunity to be my go-to-beer with the lousy finish. I'll try it again, but I suspect the bittering hops had a lot to do with that fresh-cut-lawn taste. gag.

04-14-2012 04:59:42 | More by MONKandTUCK
Photo of dreichus
dreichus

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

04-08-2012 05:36:26 | More by dreichus
Photo of jtierney89
jtierney89

New Jersey

2/5  rDev -46.1%

Nice garnet color with perfect clarity and a tall peach colored head. Slightly roasted malt on the nose with underlying earthy hops and dark fruit. Kind of complex nose, not over bearing but lots of scents. Bread crusts, toast with jam, buttered biscuit, smells like an english tea house.

Burnt slightly bitter malt up front. Body's on the lighter side, lots of carbonation. Tastes of biscuits covered in very jammy jelly on the mid palate. Finishes extremely dry but leaves a deep fruit after taste. The fruit presence is by no means big but in my personal opinion too big for the style. The bitterness employed primarily by the roasted malt though is very nice. Unfortunately the fruit aspects of this beer do not play well with the earthy hop finish or burnt malt presence. If it was gone I'd love this beer. Oh well.

Clean and dry, just that damn overbearing fruit.

04-04-2012 01:47:35 | More by jtierney89
Photo of microbrewlover
microbrewlover

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +8.6%

The brew pours a dark amber/brown color with a one finger khaki colored head which is retained in some form until the end. The is light lacing which also remains in the glass until the end. Good carbonation.

The smell is malty with carmel, light hay or grassy smell. Light floral hop smell too.

The mouthfeel if full, bready and a little chewy. Hop oils also coat the tongue.

The taste starts with malt, then a grassy, wet hay type of taste, which is not unpleasant. Then some carmel light toasted malt, bread the light orange tasting hops.

Overall, this is fairly well balanced. Yards claims this is their first ale and it is a good start.

03-29-2012 00:13:56 | More by microbrewlover
Photo of haddyhustle302
haddyhustle302

Delaware

3/5  rDev -19.1%

03-28-2012 18:07:36 | More by haddyhustle302
Photo of srw
srw

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.8%

03-25-2012 04:06:34 | More by srw
Photo of GreatPumpkin
GreatPumpkin

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

03-24-2012 12:49:09 | More by GreatPumpkin
Photo of Sailracer
Sailracer


2.5/5  rDev -32.6%

03-23-2012 23:10:11 | More by Sailracer
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +10%

Out of a firkin, at (The Bottle Shop) @ Local 44, in a glass.

Extra Special Ale came to me looking real nice out of the firkin. The color is a bold brown with light golden hues towards the sides up to the light. Rising bubbles with a off white dense head that stuck around. Smell is on the malty side with caramel and some faint pale malt. This fresh version brings out nice earthy hoppy appeal with some citrus. I've never had this as fresh before and it shows. Taste hits the spot, refreshing with a mix of malt a apparent English yeast strain, some nutty appeal and some earthy hops towards the end. It all melds nicely leaving me sipping more. Feel is mediumish with some bright bubbles felt on the tounge. After all the hubbub, the aftertaste is earthy and fresh and nice. I was pleasantly surprised in this one. A beer I always thought was sub par actually has class, it all depends on the serving type and freshness. Bottles of this would be a no go for me, as they degrade quickly.

03-20-2012 06:12:17 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of craig220
craig220


3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

03-16-2012 00:44:05 | More by craig220
Photo of chim52chim
chim52chim

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

03-13-2012 12:21:14 | More by chim52chim
Photo of dugly2ugly
dugly2ugly

Virginia

3/5  rDev -19.1%

03-12-2012 01:14:47 | More by dugly2ugly
Photo of StaindProject86
StaindProject86

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

03-10-2012 16:44:10 | More by StaindProject86
Photo of Bockerdoppel91
Bockerdoppel91

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

03-09-2012 17:56:03 | More by Bockerdoppel91
Photo of Fcip78
Fcip78

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.8%

Yards ESA is a Philly classic, one of the beers that got Philly on the map....The beer pours medium amber, topped with a modest white head. The head diminishes somewhat, yet retains throughout the entire pint. The aroma is perfectly malty, with some bready toastiness and some caramel notes. Tastes initially malty, toasted caramel with some biscuit notes - basically a classic bitter. A must have, especially in Philly. It is simply the beer that made Yards and Tom Kehoe famous.

03-07-2012 03:32:09 | More by Fcip78
Photo of JasonONeill
JasonONeill

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.8%

03-03-2012 02:10:36 | More by JasonONeill
Photo of ohcomeonthatsfunny
ohcomeonthatsfunny


4/5  rDev +7.8%

03-01-2012 15:54:29 | More by ohcomeonthatsfunny
Photo of Beer4Baltimore
Beer4Baltimore

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

02-29-2012 01:07:10 | More by Beer4Baltimore
Photo of cynical1027
cynical1027

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

02-22-2012 03:43:12 | More by cynical1027
Photo of saxclar123
saxclar123

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

02-20-2012 00:53:12 | More by saxclar123
Photo of sharpski
sharpski

Oregon

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

02-15-2012 22:07:53 | More by sharpski
Photo of anoctopus
anoctopus

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.8%

02-15-2012 00:58:14 | More by anoctopus
Photo of turdadactyl
turdadactyl

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -19.1%

02-07-2012 15:47:33 | More by turdadactyl
Photo of Chugs13
Chugs13

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

02-06-2012 04:09:49 | More by Chugs13
Photo of larybrew
larybrew

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

02-04-2012 23:00:31 | More by larybrew
Extra Special Ale (ESA) from Yards Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 543 ratings.