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Full Sail ESB - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Full Sail ESBFull Sail ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.

78 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 78
Hads: 230
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 22.85%
Wants: 5
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 12-28-2011

'A nicely balanced small batch bitter concocted by our own Barney Brennan, featuring five different specialty malts and aromatic Challenger hops'

35 IBU

Originally a pub-only beer, Re-released in January 2012 as part of the Brewer's Share series.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Hads: 230
Photo of CheezyBlaster
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've skimmed the previous reviews, and I'm surprised at the amount of people saying "this is sessionable". It's 6.5%! This is not a session beer.

Anyhow, I loved this take on ESB. A bit Brit with a slight American/West Coast twist. All Challenger hops brought out some sweet earthiness, and added to the authenticity. Mild orange and creamy feel/flavors, lovely malt presence. Beautifully balanced, a bit more bite on the hop end than I would expect, but still just so smooth and drinkable. I do wish these were available in 6 packs . . . or on cask??? Heheheh.

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Photo of meeekyh
4.57/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like beer that is priced below the competition, which is what made this one stand out. Full Sail is rather famous for their ability to produce a very good product without producing a price tag to scare us away.

Great label. The initial smell is that of spicy hops. The ale pours to reveal a dark amber color and sparkling clarity, topped with a light tan head that displays both a foamy appearance and a remarkable staying-power.

The smell is thick and dark, yet rising, with fruity esters and toasty malts. My direct comparison to barleywine (another review) is in the semblance of this beer to Bigfoot from SN in Chico. I will presume the grain bill is similar, and the yeast. As for the hops, I was floored by the initial hit of spicy, floral goodness, and am pleased that it continues underneath the malt column that is the backbone of this ale.

Taste is full, balanced and round. There are tropical and dried fruits. There are also the charred-wood-caramels of aged spirits. The bite from the hops is clean and sharp without taking the star roll.

The feel of this ale is both silky and crisp. Carbonation is well suited to carrying the nuances of this ale across the palate and into the olfactory. The finish is sweet and the aftertaste is slightly like dried fruit and a bit like melon, with sweetness and a bit of tart dryness.

This is a beer worthy of re-visitation. I love the price-point (under $5 for the bomber), the flavor and nose are both complex and balanced, while the overall feeling one is left with is that of both satisfaction and of getting away with something.

Kudos and slainte!

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Photo of Bfarr
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper with thin tan head and no retention. Clean malty aroma with a light lemon zest aroma. Sweetness followed by hop bittering to quick clean finish but even a slight linger afterward. Caramel and nutty with light toffee and alcohol notes. Good body and fairly crisp.

Good drinking with simple complexity (oxymoron?). It’s really a deceptively simple beer that can be an easy drinking spring day beer or a good sipping, clear flavored beer to be enjoyed slowly. Nothing gets lost or muddied and is enjoyable form beginning to end.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bouight a bomber of Brewer's Share ESB in a grocery store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a hazy dark orange color, with a modest white head.

Smell is faint, a sweet bread scent with a little fruit aroma along side.

Taste is a caramel bread flavor, with a little bitter fruit flavor on the finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium body for the style. Not at all cloying.

All in all a good brew. Caramel sweet with a mild hop flavor. Very drinkable.

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Photo of scootpolute
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint, 6 FL OZ. bottle into tulip glass.

A - Pours burnt, orange, with a nice off-white head...- some good lacing.

S - Malts, bready tones with,Hops and the faint...

T - Smooth...good balance of malts and a nice bit of hops, then ending with bready bits...and some hints of pine spice...

M - Good carbonation... There's a good fullness. Present, but not 'too' much hoppy/or sweet flavors...The final pine/spice balances the beer out pretty well...

O - This one is good...Although ESB is not my fav (IPA,Porters, & Browns are) this one works out well, comparable to well know Bass, or Red Hook ESBs/Bitters, but hard to compete with 'true' UK Bitters like Flowers, or perhaps Boddingtons...Probably 'WON'T' be looking for this one again, but not bad...Chasing-Cheers :~)

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Photo of coldriver
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber pours a cloudy deep amber with adequate head and lacing. Aroma is rich toffee malt with light floral and spicy hops. Taste is caramel and bready malt, spicy and grassy hops. Nice smooth clean mouthfeel. Nothing real special here but certainly nothing offensive. Not a bad choice for a good session beer.

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Photo of Gavage
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a very cloudy orange / amber color with a short 1/2" head that breaks down immediately.

Smell: caramel and a load of fruity sweetness is detectable.

Taste: grainy malt profile. Caramel, ripe fruits, and a hint of earthy tones arrive late. Decent bitterness here too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother towards the finish. Aftertaste is very short.

Overall: an easy to drink beer that leans a bit on the sweeter side, but is brought a bit into check with the bitterness. Sessionable beer.

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Photo of beertunes
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a clean, bright, gold color with 1/2 inch of white head that had good retention and low lacing.

The aroma was a very well balanced blend of sweet, grainy malts and nice floral hops. The flavors were pretty much the same, with the hops having a bit more noticeable of a presence. The body was clean and fairly typical, but had a somewhat sticky finish that I didn't care for.

The drinkability was pretty, I like a nice ESB and I'd happily drink a couple of these. Overall, a pretty nice brew. Full Sail isn't among my personal favorite breweries, but every so often they put out a brew I really like a lot. This is one of those brews. Try it when you see it.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

Look - amber in color, a little hazy, with about half a finger's worth of off-white colored foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell - mostly malty in its aroma, which seems to match what the label claims. Not much else in the smell.

Taste - surprisingly hoppy and bitter, but it's only surprising, not strong. The hops are tasted at the beginning, but the bitterness doesn't strike until the late middle. Oddly there doesn't seem to be much of a malty taste.

Mouthfeel - pretty well balanced, but if it leans anywhere, it might be on the watery side.

Overall - actually a pretty interesting beer to consider. Not a bad taste either.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Pours a medium copper amber, nice two finger very light tan head with good retention and lacing. Looks good. Aroma dominated by bready malt with surprising faint hop and Belgian spices. Flavor also full bready and biscuity malt with slightly citrus hops and light fruit. Finishes with malt, a nice hop kick and a bit of drying citrus. Nice mellow flavor progression and finish. Medium bodied with some creaminess. I really enjoyed this take on a ESB.

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Photo of DavidST
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. This pours a copper color with a nice off white head. The smell is a little malty, some bread and caramel malts, with a little hop presence. The feel is medium. The taste has a little bit of hop bite, the taste is of bread and caramel malts, a little citrus, some more bitterness on the way down, light bitterness though.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Nice, orange-copper color, almost like caramel with a slight haziness that hides the bubbles that spring up from the bottom of the glass. It is topped with a stark-white, quarter-inch head that settles quickly into a foamy cap. Sadly, there is not much lacing.

SMELL: The E.S.B. has a malt-forward nose with a big, bready smell. Some caramel creeps in as well and a swirl of the glass provides a strong banana aroma. A touch of spice and citrus is present as well, rounding out a very complex nose.

TASTE: A rich, sweet, malty caramel hits the palate right off the bat. Spicy and citrusy hops pull the taste buds through the middle of the sip while the finish is a pleasant combination of malt and hops that provides a slightly bitter rye-like bready flavor.

MOUTHFEEL: Creamy with a medium body and light to medium carbonation that allows this beer to go down way too smoothly. Spot on for the style although a little richer than other American versions.

OVERALL: This is a very easy-going, exceptionally well-balanced E.S.B. It is the strongest offering I have tasted from Full Sail so far.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up for $3.99 at Ben's on Keystone (aka Ghetto Ben's). Brownish color, dark red. Good size head on it, decent lace. Aroma lacked any cognizable lead characteristic, was pretty much just beerish.

Taste, a little bit of bitterness, more than the 35 ibu proclamation would leave one to believe, and its a nice bitterness that isn't grating on the taste buds. So these are Challenger hops? Tastes just like it could be an amalgamen of the usual suspect C hops used in a restrictive manner aiming for style v. hophead trendism. For imparting a discernable amount of bitterness, the beer remains smooth and easy to drink.

Some toffee and caramel malt flavors. Definitely not a flavor bomb type of beer, should be very pleasing to old timers who like tradition and mild flavors.

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Photo of videofrog
3.86/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 22oz bomber into an imperial pint glass. "Enjoy By" is on the back of the label, but the stamp is no longer present.

A: Really nice orange to reddish orange hue with a fluffy white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Piney hops and sweet malt aromas. Slight fruity esters from yeast.

T: Great balance of hops and malts. Piney and citrusy hop flavors up front with bready, grainy, and caramel malts.

M: Slightly thin mouthfeel, but spot-on for what I've had of other examples of the style.

O: This is my first Full Sail brew, and I enjoyed it. I like the ideas of single-hop beers for educational purposes, and the label indicated Challenger (UK) hops with 5 malts. Worth a try.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Strong aroma is malty with fruity, earthy and woody notes. It pours a clear coppery with a pale yellow-tan head of about average thickness and persistence. Flavor has a woody core with a fairly, but not fiercely, bitter overtone and hints of caramel, grass and horehound. Smooth, firm texture is quite fizzy and lively. This "initial pub offering" is worth an investment!

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Photo of HugePlume
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A Deep orange witha golden hue on the edges. Thin white head, dissipates quickly, only a moderate amount of lacing.

S- Let down here, advertised as having aromatic Challenger hops, they don't come through like I was expecting. They're there, but not to my expectation. Malt smells are stronger, and quite good.

T- Very good, intricate malt layers; bready and grainy. Nice sweet malt aftertaste too. Very tasty. Quite sweet for the style and it works great.

M- Nice feel, carbonation is spot-on for the style.

O- Well executed, nice to see an ESB as a special edition.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $6.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. The printed date near the Enjoy By section of the label is, regrettably, illegible.

Appearance: Very lightly hazed, golden-amber body with a finger or so of just off-white foam. A few smudges of lacing here and there.

Smell: Esters interlaced with hop accents smelling of spice, citrus, and dried flowers atop a bready, biscuity, crackery malt base given a flash of toastiness and a hint of light brown sugar.

Taste: Toasted bread slices and biscuit tops with lightly sweet hints of caramel light-colored brown sugar. Then, some moderate esters before the spicy, earthy, lightly hinting of lemon zest hop profile. Medium bitterness. Things dry out rapidly, in plenty of time for the lightly fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth, faintly creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: It's just a nice, balanced, tasty beer. Sometimes, it's a long, wearying road to finish off a bomber, but not the case here, as it was gone before I knew it.

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Photo of Aml42000
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Very appealing. Opaque copper with a thick, off-white head. Lacing all through the pint glass.

S- Gorgeous pine and citrus nose. Fresh and clean aromatics. Could sniff all day.

T- Brioche infused with grapefruit. Excellent, pure flavors. Balanced bitterness on the finish.

M- Good carbonation and it shows the angular aspects of a good English ale. Medium bodied.

O- A lovely pint at the pub. A bit heavy to be a session beer, but a very approachable easy drinking ESB. A wonderfully consistent producer.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured copper-orange with a trace of off-white head. Aroma of caramel, biscuit, and grassy lemon.

Moderate-to-lowish carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Bready caramel up front followed by a hint of banana, sweet lemon, and some lingering pine.

Nice blend of bitter and sweet -- very tasty and easy-drinking.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear deep golden/orange hue with a thin white head which quickly dissipates. Nose is very subtle with notes of fresh baked bread, caramel, and a touch of piney hops.

Very bready like quality with a touch of grape-nut flavor. Thick roasted malts with a touch of butter dominate the middle of the tongue. Decent sized body with a bit of chewiness. Slightly detectable burnt flavors add a nice balance to the richer flavors of the beer. The savory end of the brew is balanced well with a pine-like hop finish making the beer a well blended and clean drinker.

Good beer but this is something I would prefer in a 6 pack rather than a bomber size. Something I could put back a few of. Session worthy without the session availability unfortunately.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber color, decent head slowly falling to a bubbly film around the edges of the glasses. Carbonation looks active.

Lots of hops in the nose...heavy grapefruit, bitter citrus. This is coupled with notes of warm bread, rolled oats, black pepper, and white grapes.

The flavor offers caramel up front, followed by citrus, and ending with a cereal, oat-like finish. Rounding the beer out, though, is a nice, slightly pungent bittersweetness that really lingers. Somewhere in there, too, are notes subtle notes of banana, though not too prominent.

The body is nice and light, actually, even though there is a lot going on across the palate. The beer is drinkable, giving a slight astringency along the way.

Overall, a good , well-rounded beer...not a bad E.S.B at all.

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Photo of Docer
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: (4.0)
- Nice lightly cloudy honey amber/brown. Thick finger of white head settling to a little lace and thin blanket of head sticking around. Slight reddish hue to the beer as well.

Smell: (3.5)
- Smooth smelling caramel malts, with some lovely bread, roasty brown sugars, light alcohol aromatics, and some pine resin hop with a floral touch to it. Smell is a bit tucked away.

Taste: (4.0)
- Lovely sweet malts, bready caramel and brown sugars with a nice touch of esters. Subtle pine and fresh herbal hops balance it out well. This beer is super balanced and just the right sweetness for the style. Little earthy, yet zesty fresh.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Medium bodied with a great creamy texture. Slight chewiness from the bitter dryness, yet waters the palate in anticipation for more. Very good.

Overall: (4.0)
- This beer is solid and is something I will certainly be buying more of while I can. I would recommend you do the same. Solid balance, flavor, and sweetness, and doesn't contain Full Sail's flagship yeast character that so many of their other beers have. Certainly a nice change for them.

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Photo of Spectacularj1
4.52/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22 oz bottle into a 0.5L glass.

A: The beer has a clear amber appearance. Light foam and little lacing.

Smell: The beer does not have a strong smell, there are hints of malt and bitterness (though not hoppy).

Taste / Mouthfeel: Taste is great. It has been a long time since I had an actual Bitter beer. The taste is rather light, not too thick. Not heavily carbonated, but just enough. The beer is bitter on the back of the tongue bit it doesn't linger like an IPA.

Overall: This is a great ESB, perhaps the best I've ever had. Nice and bitter but not overly powerful. The beer is strong at 6.5% yet still feels very light and easy to drink. I would highly recommend this anyone who otherwise enjoys a strong pale ale or IPA.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a reddish dark orange with a very thin light tan head that fades almost instantly.

S - Sweet fruity malts.

T - Malty, slightly sweet.

D - Average body, good carbonation, sweet, but just about right here.

O - Hard for me to place, but it tastes pretty good.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from Lamb’s Thriftway in Wilsonville OR. $4.49 Love the label ..with the share motif, very nice. Also proceeds go to educational charity Dark amber/red ale with a very nice looking thick,creamy eggshell white head. Nice aromas of resiny and floral hops..balanced by caramel malts. Taste is very balanced between the hops and the extra chewy caramel/toffee malts..slight bitter after taste. Nice The mouthfeel is were ,for me,this really gets great..its so balanced ,yet so smotth,carbonation just right..slips over the tongue yet still leaves great sensation .Excellent. A tasty well balanced beer very English in its palate that i could drink a few of without doubt

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Full Sail ESB from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
84 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.