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Phoenixx Double ESB - Real Ale Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Phoenixx Double ESBPhoenixx Double ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.

126 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 126
Hads: 309
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 12.4%
Wants: 7
Gots: 41 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TPoling on 12-31-2005

"Double ESB", Rotating/Seasonal
View: Beers (46) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 126 | Hads: 309
Photo of kojevergas
2.02/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

"Double ESB." "Extra special bitter ale." Okay; expectations are very low. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninteresting label art and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop and served into a conical Pinthouse Pizza pint glass in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. "Best if consumed by this date 07.01.14."

Served slightly chilled. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of white colour. Fairly thin. Lacks creaminess and frothiness. Complexion and consistency are lackluster. Head retention is about average - ~2 minutes.

Body colour is a transparent translucent copper-brown of below average vibrance. No yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it doesn't look like much. Far from unique or special. Appears adequately carbonated.

Sm: Caramel. Toffee. English biscuit malt. Diacetyl/slight buttery character. Light breadiness. It's on the sweeter side.

I don't notice an overt hop profile. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

It's an inoffensive aroma of below average strength. I can't say I'm looking forward to this one much.

T/Mf: Buttery. Caramel. Toffee. English biscuit malt. That's about it. Painfully simple, with an obnoxiously shallow depth of flavour. It's not all that well balanced, nor is it cohesive. Not a gestalt build. Lacks any complexity, subtlety, intricacy, or nuance whatsoever. I'm not liking this much at all.

Below average duration and intensity of flavour. It's pretty boring.

Mf: Buttery, coarse, and weirdly dry. The buttery character really drags this beer down. Well-carbonated. Medium bodied. Good thickness. Poor presence on the palate. Should be softer, creamier, and pleasing, Poor execution. The texture does not suit the taste well.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or rough.

Dr: I'll finish this bottle with effort on account of the low quality. I wouldn't recommend this to friends. It's yet another unenjoyable American attempt at an ESB . Hard to drink. I don't know what "double ESB" is supposed to indicate, but this is pretty terrible.


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Photo of TMoney2591
2.73/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Thanks to jl28r1 for this bottle!

The extra X means this stuff means business. It pours a hazy sunset amber topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises toffee and grass. That is all. The taste holds notes of caramel, burnt grass, musty wheat, and a kinda meek snap of orange-peel bitterness. Ask m'lady sitting next to me while drinking this: my face went negative pretty quickly after this stuff was put on my tongue. Now, I don't wanna exaggerate: It wasn't god-awful, just unpleasant. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somehow nearly chewy feel. Overall, I did not have a good experience with this beer. The flavors seemed rather sideways, and everything was just too...I guess big would be the word here.

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Photo of LXIXME
2.79/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A lot of sediment is suspended with the rich honey reddish amber colored ESB. A medium white head settles into a pretty small lacing on the edge of the glass with a nice little bisquity dome in the middle of the glass.

A very light sweet malt aroma dies out as the beer sits between drinks.

A lightly bitter hops taste is blended well with a light sweet caramel malt.

A light almost bitter dry aftertaste on this medium bodied double.

I wasn't really impressed with this as a double ESB, but what the hell do I Know.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.91/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to texasclimber for the bottle.

Pours light brown with a 2 finger off-white head retaining about 1/2 finger with good lacing.

Smells of toffee and rich bready malts with a little bit of hop spice character.

Flavor is similar although the hop spice character turns into a dirty flavor. The grainy chewy bready malt is presence, but there's a bitter earthy presence that is completely off putting.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side with medium carbonation.

This one had some off flavors. Really didn't enjoy it much. A below average beer in just an average style.

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Photo of phillipzayas
2.91/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice rich dark appearance. Ok, head on the beer.

S - Smelled a bit musty to me. Maybe I got a bad bottle. I didnt pick up any kind of hop or malty aromas. I just got that musty aroma. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt since I am going to assume a bad bottle.

T - Not bad, but I just couldnt get around the musty aroma that imparted itself a bit in the flavor. I definitely picked up the nice hoppy flavors. I am giving it a 3.5 out of benefit of the doubt.

M - Ehhh....thats all I really feel like saying. Left a bit of a funny aftertaste in my mouth.

I am going to have to try another one. I think this was somehow a bad batch. I like Real Ale products, but this was just sub par for them.

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Photo of abeerwiseguy
2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Phoenixx Double ESB from the Real Ale Brewing Co. in Blanco, Texas. The 12 oz bottle I sampled had a date stamp of 7-29-13. No ABV on bottle but BA reflects it at 7.2%.

I spent a good deal of time in In the UK in the late 1970's and acquired an appreciation of this type of beer. It is actually a pale ale and the locals refer to it as "give me a pint of bitter" when ordering at the pub. The typical bitter has an ABV of 4 to 5%. The ESB designation or Extra Special/Strong Bitter simply reflects a higher ABV usually more than 5%.

Poured into a pint bar glass it was an orange tinged dark, amber with two to three fingers of thick head that dissipated quickly but left lots of lacing.

Had aromas of hop spiciness with very slight caramel sweetness.

The flavors are mixed with bread, malt, and caramel and are rich with promise but the finish is not well rounded in terms of flavors but along with a typical bitter finish it had an unwelcome, funky aftertaste.

The beer has medium body with light carbonation.

Overall I gave this beer every chance to measure up to my expectations of the many pints of "bitter" I have consumed in the UK but it fell short. I let it warm up to get the full flavor and I even got a second six pack to check just in case the first was skunked. Same results.

Overall this beer is drinkable but does not measure up.

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Photo of Crispy34
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer when a Real Ale Rep stopped by and dropped off some of their beer. I poured it into a pint glass, of course.

A:Honestly, this beer has a lot of crap in it. It is not a tame beer. The color is a thick bronze.

S: I really didn't catch much aroma from this beer. I kinda figured that could happen with an ESB.

T: The taste is alright. It is not awesome, and it is not bad. I find it to be a decent beer.

M: For how thick this brew appears to be, I find this beer to be pretty light. I like how there is no crazy aftertaste/ feel left in my mouth.

O: I have always supported this beer, cause I am partial to ESBs and to beers made in Texas. I have found that if I was going to buy any real ale beer for myself, it would be this one... Fireman's four is over rated.

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Photo of THECPJ
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: copper brown orange with a 1 finger off white head

smell: very little aroma, slight corn, malts

taste: not a whole lot going on here. malts, little hops

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: not exactly what I would call Extra Special. But hey I like trying out new breweries.


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Photo of Xadoor
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The lastest offering from Real Ale and a new selection on-tap at the Gingerman in Houston. Not sure what a "Double" ESB is. It was an amber colour in the glass and rather cloudy. Thick, sandy coloured head that lasted a long a long time and left a lot of lacing in the glass. Aroma was light, but grassy and floral. The flavour was very earthy, it reminded me of wet cork. The finish was dry and bitter, but those earthy tones carried over into a lingering aftertaste.

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Photo of UTCengOwl
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought a sixer of this at Central Market. Gotta support Texas breweries. Served in a Great Divide balloon glass.

The beer is a clear, deep brown with orange notes. The off white head isn't impressive, though I remember it being a bit better in a previous pour.

The nose is mostly caramelly sweet. Some lint pine hops and a medicinal tinge that goes along with the fruitiness. I could go without the medicinal element.

The taste is sweet, borderline cloying. There's a slight hop presence and a fruitiness that goes along with it. Unfortunately, that fruitiness is at times medicinal. I'm not a band aid fan. This could have used a bit more care and a bit more subtlety in almost every way.

Overall, I'm not a huge fan of Real Ale and this offering didn't help that impression.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

A: Pours a clear brown with a small white head with moderate retention and minimal lacing.

S: On the closed side, some toasted malt and some faint earthy hops.

T: On the boring side, with some toasted malt, light caramel, a touch of wheat, and a hint of coffee.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Not a whole lot going on with this one. Nothing bad about it, but for a 7.2% abv ESB, I was hoping for a bit more.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by twig86 - thanks, Derek!

Very hazy, deep copper color on the pour. A quarter-inch white head dissipates pretty quickly and leaves little to no lacing. Caramel and toffee aromas fill the nose and not much else. The alcohol is barely noticeable in the smell as well. The flavor has a little more depth with the strong caramel malt sweetness gaining balance from a dry graininess and toasty malt. The alcohol is pretty well-hidden. Not a whole lot going on here. Medium-bodied with a creamy texture. Finish is moderately sweet with only a hint of alcohol warming. Lack of complexity or anything really interesting keeps this from a high drinkability score. That said, it is easy on the palate, the alcohol is well-hidden, and there's nothing offensive about it. Overall, just a forgettable beer.

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Photo of charlzm
3.1/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed May 13th, 2012 at The Drafthouse, Austin, Texas.

Beer is a caramel, brass colored affair. A one-finger off-white head settles into almost nothing pretty soon.

Slight resiny aroma with a touch of sweet malt.

Caramel malts up front that could charitably be described as toasty and a strong bitter finish.

Very well carbonated. Prickly, even.

Nothing to go out of your way for, but a nice enough brew. It really is like an ESB turned up a notch, though that doesn't automatically make it any better than "good".

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Photo of mactrail
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark amber in the New Belgium snifter. Lots of foam and pleasantly spritzy mouthfeel. A medium body. Sort of a musty aroma.

Rather rich with lots of deep, dark flavors. A hint of licorice. Ends with a seriously bitter finish. A little buttery with a hint of something medicinal. The first few sips are pretty good, but the dark, tarry bitterness sticks in the mouth after a while. Lots of burnt sugar on the tongue but a dry finish. Hints of fruit, like canned pineapple.

Definitely a peculiar brew and it's one for the adventure seekers. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Pinkie's in San Angelo.

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Photo of zdk9
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a crystal clear dark ruby- the color of a blood orange. A full finger of head puffs up and leaves circles of foam around the glass. A good looking beer.

S- Sweet malts. Some viniousness- like carmalized grape musk.

T- Roasted and slightly burnt grains- sort of taking the harsh part of burnt and leaving the charred caramel part out. More malt character coming out as the beer warms. Warm wheat bread. Definitely a dirty character- hops? I'm not really enjoying the taste of this one to be honest.

M- Pretty bitter. Alcohol is more present than I would expect.

D- Overall this beer underwhelmed me.

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Photo of ranger7
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

L: Hazy amber. Off white head which dissipates quickly.
S: Brown sugar, syrupy sweet.
T: Not very ESB-like. It starts with smooth malt and ends bitter. Not a big fan.
F: Medium, then thin? Odd feel.
O: Not a huge fan. The smell and taste are very different. That, and it's inconsistent with the style. Better with food.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a warm ruddy brown, with a thin head that quickly recessed. Smell is of dark malts and a hint of hops. Taste starts with smooth dark malts, then in the second half if the taste I get notes of chocolate and coffee. Mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation. This I an interesting take on the ESB, but I am not sure if inwill re-visit it again.

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Photo of Riccymon
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours from the bottle a transparent brown color with a nice two fingers of head. Head dissapates after a bit, but some decent lacing sticks around. Nose is actually more like a pale ale than an ESB, with some grapefruit hops and a fresh-cut grass/alfalfa aroma. Vigorous swirling brings forth a little caramel about halfway through the beer.

Taste is similarly hoppy, and I found just a little watery grain in the finish. Phoenixx is medium-bodied, well-carbonated, and dries the mouth in its bitterness. I'm left a little disappointed not because the beer was awful, but because I wanted more caramel-malt goodness from this ESB, and less of an American pale ale.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark for an ESB. Nice head, dark malts in the nose with some hop love too. Aroma and taste are very similar, mild chocolate notes with raisins and faint toffee. Worsens as it warms and becomes borderline unpleasant. Average mouthfeel, nothing special or standout. Lacking compared to other fine examples, what do you expect from a mediocre Texas Brewery trying to brew a European classic? Good beer overall, nothing to seek out.

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Photo of diamondc
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Didn't really enjoy this beer on tap that much, but decided to buy a six pack ($9.49) for comparison and to hopefully be surprised. Best By 05/04/10.

A: Dark and murky with some good head. Every sip leaves another ring of lacing. Nice.

S: Shoe leather, moldy peaches, burnt paper, 90% dark chocolate, old pine tree needles, with some hot nuts in the mix. Quite baffling.

T: The hops are really aggressive here with some heavy, bordering on Pine-Sol flavor. Roasted malts clash with the weak fruit esters afterwards. Too astringent.

M/D: Kind of thin and watery. It is unlike any other ESB I've had where I got more of a fruity flavor. A rare 'miss' from Real Ale.

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Photo of beerdiablo
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A flagship brewer of Ales in Texas whose quality continues to rise.

The Phoenix Double ESB is a unique offering from Real Ale but then again,
their beers are distinct.

This pours with a thick head featuring plenty of staying power and a bitter taste to follow on first "bite". Not much malt in the way of support so don't think of this being near an English ESB. Nice to fit in a session but not
one you'd repeat in the same night.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep copper color with a good sized head. Aroma is fresh, mild dry hops, very clean. Moderate lacing.

Taste is dry, toasty malt and a lot of hops. Very hoppy, almost to the point of a fresh hop ale. Some tea and dry malt flavors underneath but it's all hops up front, rather one-dimensional.

Mouthfeel is medium, clean with a bitter hop aftertaste. Good, if you like this style, but too dry to really session and strays far from a traditional ESB drinkability. Labeled as a "Double ESB," whatever that may mean.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip, received this as an extra in a trade. Thanks! I love a good ESB, unfortunately this one didn't quite do it for me. Beer is copper and has a mild haze to it.

Aroma is a little caramely with a little buttery.

Beer is medium in body and creamy, no bitterness but a mild hoppiness on the midpalate, there is a mild oxidation on the finish, a little papery. Interesting but I've had better ESB and don't think this is a repeat.

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Photo of UMNbeerhunter
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Town Hall globe on 6/26/11. Bottle has a best by date on 07.26/11.

Pours a dark hazy amber with a huge head that leaves no lacing.

Smell is all carmel malt and zero hops.

Taste the same with tons of carmel malt sweetness and barley any hops. I was expecting more bitterness but it was abscent.

Mouthfeel is moderate but it does have a decent aftertaste.

Overall this is a one and done for me. I like it but when you say double bitter I expect bitter not an IPA.

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Photo of starrdogg
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque caramel color with a pretty substantial fluffy white head.

S: Smell is caramel, not too powerful though. If it smelled like this but stronger I might give it a higher score, it's a good aroma, just not powerful enough.

T: Right off the bat, this is a bit roastier than I was expecting. There's also a little bit of caramel sweetness (though not as much as I was expecting from the smell), and some bitter hoppiness in here. Not like any ESB I've ever had. None of the flavors are particularly strong, but the roastiness lingers more than the rest, so it stands out as the dominant flavor, which I don't think is really what's best for the beer.

M: Medium-bodied and carbonated. I think it would actually be better with a little bit thicker of a body.

O: Well, I'll give this one points for originality, I've never had a beer quite like this. Unfortunately it kinda ends up tasting like a watered-down porter.

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Phoenixx Double ESB from Real Ale Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.