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Schlafly Winter ESB - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Winter ESB
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BA SCORE
85
very good

309 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 155
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 12.7%
Wants: 6
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 01-09-2002

Our Winter ESB (Extra Special Bitter) may have the word “bitter” in its name, but the key to this style is balance. The combination of malts and hops creates a toasty, fruity flavor. Our ESB is dry hopped with a US grown hop varietal called Williamette, which has a pronounced spicy, lemon flavor.

In the early 1970’s, brewers in London and the south of England expanded the range of beers available in pubs, reacting to the wave of European lagers moving into the British pub scene. In addition to the ordinary bitters and pale ales, brewers developed recipes for stronger premium ales like ESB, special bitter and special pale ale. These beers contributed to the English traditional ale revival of the 1980’s, making their way into the beer portfolios of many American craft breweries.

30 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 309 | Reviews: 155 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of malprep
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of redleg411
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Hohnbaum
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of onansalad
1.42/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I was surprised by this beer considering the great balance and flavor of Schlafly's Kolsch style ale (one of the best American Kolsch-styles I've tasted). I've come to expect at least a touch of diacetyl in an ESB (and a bit more than a touch is acceptable in the style), but there is none here. What IS in this brew is a huge mouthful of hops - way more hops than belong in any low gravity english style ale. This is not an ESB; it's an an american "IPA" posturing with a fake accent. If you tried to drink this beer at cellar temps, the hops would saturate your palate so you couldn't taste any malt at all. That's not to say others won't like it. If your idea of craft beer is yet another IPA, you'll probably like this, too. Considering the shelves in my area are overflowing with IPA's, my opinion of this beer is almost definitely in the minority.

Photo of Boone757
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of pererfromtheinternet
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Kevin72
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Stephen_Woods
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dtreindl
4.81/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a very pleasant surprise! The flavor is different than anything I've tasted before. Best way I can describe this excellent ESB is: crisp with light fruit aromas and floral apricot finish.

Photo of myelo
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into pint glass on Jan 19, 2015 from a bottle with a bottling date of "11/04/2014". Thank you Schlafly for providing a clear bottling date -- why can't all brewers do this? I don't need to decipher some secret code to try and figure out how old my beer is.

Look: Hazy light amber with some sediment and tiny bubbles. 1 inch white head that dissipates leaving prominent lacing. A bit lighter in color than a typical ESB.

Smell: Fruity hops with a hint of lemon, lightly toasted malt

Taste: Sweet, lightly roasted malt, mild to medium bitterness, earthy hops

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium low carbonation, minimal ethanol warmth

Overall: slightly lighter, more fruity than most ESBs with a lighter roasted malt flavor. Very drinkable and nice, but not really a typical ESB.

Photo of everythingiszen
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/10/14, poured into american pint. Light toasted malt aroma, that just smells amazing. Medium bodied, lighter but not too light carbonation. Tastes like toasted malt and caramel, but leads with a semi-dry orange malt note. The orange note intensified with the beer coming to room temperature.

I could see that if you were die-hard conservative when it came to style interpretation, this wouldn't be the ESB for you. But I'm always interested in different takes, and this is a pretty good one.

5.8% abv.

Photo of Bierwolf
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured quite a bit cloudy with a lot of suspended yeast and such. Slightly off white foam that laced nicely. The cloudiness was a bit much for the style.

The aroma was more sweet and fruity than anything else. Not much in the hop area and a light malt aroma was evident.

Tastes more sweet than bitter, mildly hoppy, fruity with a dry finish.

Medium light body, slick and smooth

This is apparently an Americanized version of this style. I will say this is the only brew of this style that I have had but I would bet a weeks pay that I would find a better one pretty easily.

Photo of MattR2014
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not into this one very much at all. I have had better esbs

Photo of hmvalp
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of HattedClassic
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a alight white foamy head that dissipates very quickly. The beer itself is a clear orange brown. The color is unusual because ESB's tend to be a bit browner because of the malt focus.

The beer is hoppy with a very nice caramel malt note to balance it out. The hop note is more lemon than citrus and orange. The hop isn't too bitter and is actually a little bit sweet. The malt does a very good job working with the hops and creates a sweet yet slightly bitter beer smell.

The beer taste is very similar to the smell. The beer has a more hoppier and lemon taste than a bitter usually has, which overwhelms the malts. The malts still give a sweet taste but can barely be found in this beer.

The beer is extremely smooth and refreshing to drink. A light medium body and some biting carbonation give the beer a bit of texture.

Overall, a pretty decent ESB and great for the price. I really do recommend getting his beer at least once just to contrast with the Fuller's ESB.

Photo of briandaube
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Eagleyes
2.88/5  rDev -23.8%

I remember this beer being a lot more bitter last year and having a much better overall flavor. I'm not sure if they changed up the recipe or what but it was definitely better last year. Not much flavor, disappointed.

Photo of Mattyb79
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of brock125
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Mgm54
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of BigJim5021
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of JordanHageman
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of IpeeA
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of bigotecircus
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%

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Schlafly Winter ESB from The Schlafly Tap Room
85 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.