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Schlafly Winter ESB - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Winter ESBSchlafly Winter ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

155 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 155
Hads: 323
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 18.42%
Wants: 6
Gots: 30 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 155 | Hads: 323
Photo of maxpower
4.97/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Man this is it, orange-amber color, fluffy white head that leaves a nice lasting lace. Sweet malt aroma, soft and creamy mouthfeel. Medium-Full bodied, very balanced with a taste of rye and caremel. The hops really stand out in the end. This is best one this brewery has to offer.

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Photo of dtreindl
4.81/5  rDev +26.6%
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.

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Photo of budgood1
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out a clear dark amber. a big fine foamed head leaves a great deal of lace. aroma of citrus hops and earthy, smoky caramel malts makes for a wonderful nose. full bodied. big tastes of malt and juicy hop... the touch of rye adding a nice complexity. finishes hoppy, leaving lots of juicy bitterness dancing in the mouth. this is a damn fine brew. balanced. unbelieveably drinkable. the level of hops pleasantly surprised me. a beer worth seeking out!

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Photo of nogoodreason
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re - review.

Every winter I drink several cases of this gem. I love this beer, I really do. It must, must be served much warmer than it would be coming straight from your fridge.

It pours a khaki-amber with a smooth white head that clings stubbornly to the glass. Carbonation streams constantly to the top. Nose is of smooth, toasty malts, a subtle earthy, spicy hop and slight peachy sweetness..

In your mouth it's full-bodied, and creamy smooth with rich, malty depth peppered with a slight rye twang and lush, spicy hops. As it warms it's more or a malty sweetness followed by the omnipresent hops. The malt presense takes on a distinct aspect of peaches as it warms a bit. It's a fairly hoppy beer, not quite IPA hoppy but still rather enjoyable. The smooth toasty malt presence sticks around quite some time after the finish and the dirty, spicy hops build until the beer is gone and you crave another.

An excellent brew.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Originally sampled 4 January 2003. Exquisite clear amber color w/ a long lasting off white head. Slightly sweet nose, the flavor begins malty & finishes w/ a nice balance of hops. This is an excellent ESB; it's a great example of the style. Lots of flavor, but quite drinkable.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours decently for a finger thick head, and has a copper colored body that is cleanly filtered.

The aroma is lemony and arid. There are tea characteristics, as well as sweet toffee.

This brew has a good tea like flavor typically found in ESBs, along with slight tobacco and still room left for toffee sweetness.

This brew feels medium in body, and has a good smooth crispness. Very satisfying to the palate, which is left refreshed.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a caramel-copper color. A cream colored head leaves nice soapy lacing.

The aroma is slightly hoppy, but spices, fruit, and sweet caramel come through making a lovely bouquet.

The taste starts out with sweet caramel then shifts into cinnamon spices before ending with tart fruits. So well balanced.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, refreshing.

Overall, I just love this beer. Lots of variety in the palate, and not overloaded. Still a good ESB regardless of the month. Maybe my favorite Schlafly offering ever.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled with love on Oct. 24 2006, four days ago. Pretty good turnaround from brewery to shelf.

Pours a nice clear amber color with a two finger off white head. Good retention of the head and good lacing as well.

Smell is of floral hops and citrus hops as well as some carmel sweetness.

Taste is of floral hops and plae malt. Pretty hoppy, probably should be a little more balanced, but I like it. Also some rye is present.

Mouthfeel is very good. Pretty smooth and medium to full bodied.

This is definitely a very drinkable beer. One of my favorites of their offering.

*edit* as beer warms, taste of alcohol is definitely present. Still stick by my initial review.

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Photo of everythingiszen
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of Jdmpolk
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A golden tan with a misty head, with hints of oak color where it is darker.

S- Very basic smelling. A almost discernible mixture of orange and malt and floral.

T- Bright and basic at the same time. Malt flavor is dominant with an almost orange blossom honey flavor in the back. Hop bitterness brings up the rear.

M- A conundrum or crisp and malty with the malt blanketing your pallet, but not in an offensive way. There is an almost syrupy thickness as well.

D- Very drinkable , each sip brings something new either malty, sweet, or bitter.

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Photo of Jayli
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was served a burnt orange/copper, slightly hazy. There is a nice pillowy white one finger head that retains well. Nice wispy lacing the whole way down. Nose is of sweet caramels, some roasted malts, and a bit of spice. Taste is fantastic. Malted backbone on this beer gives is a nice strong feel - pretty full bodied. There are definite spices and hops present. Slightly hoppier than I anticipated but was so well balanced with the malts! Mouthfeel is outstanding, smooth with a good kick, full bodied - perfect amount of carbonation. This is a great beer!

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Photo of JamesS
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very nice amber/copper color with some wonderful head and excellent lacing. Excellent scent, very deep with both nice attributes of malt and hops, a little sweetness and a little bitterness. Great taste, a well made bitter, the initial flavor is a good hoppy (English style) bitter that finished fairly sweet. It goes down quite well.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Classic Schlafly 12oz brown pop top...the ditty on the bottle says this brew contains a small amount of rye as well...clearly marked "bottled with love" date of 11/24/08.

Appearance: This beer pours a dark golden color with a slight orange tint and the slightest haziness. The cap is white, fairly fluffy, and has good retention and leaves nice chunks of sticky lace.

Smell: Nice ESB-style mix of malt and hops, but the hops tend to dominate here...they're earthy and pungent, yet delicate at the same time...there's an incredible freshness to the hop character, much like hops right out of the light barrier bags I use to homebrew

Taste: Awesome balance between malt and hops. The malt character is bready and not overly sweet, and the hops lend a medium bitterness and a very nice earthy twang on the finish...this finishes somewhat dry and crisp...simple, straightforward, and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied

Drinkability: I dunno the abv, but this could be sessionable

Conclusion: This reminds me of England and all those English beers (I was something of a novice and not a true BA at that time) that I couldn't remember the names of once I got home, but the impression of which I'll never forget. This beer is like a trip to a Yorkshire pub...classic English ESB...I know this is utter blasphemy, but I like it better than Fuller's by a wide margin

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Photo of 1fastz28
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a light copper color with a medium sized head. has a hoppy scent to it with malt undertoes. taste is really damn good. has a pleasent mixture of bitterness as well as a sweet maltiness to it. easy to drink, mouthfeel is nice and full and drinkability is high, one of my favorite winter beers

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Photo of Samalamahamdam
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look - Amber Honey, some particles in suspension, retains a thin head and laces the glass.

Nose - light, mostly malt, slight hop background

Taste - caramel malt up front, hop bitter on the tip and back of the tongue,

Mouthfeel/drinkability - good carbonation and flavor that doesn't linger too long.

Make this your first if you are going to try a large hop beer at the same sitting.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A wonderfully forming off white head three fingers and very clumpy. Solid almost sytrofoam cap, sitting on a slightly hazy body of a real nice copper orange amber.

Nose is a great aromatic of hop, fruity marmalade and a nice solid malt backbone. This smells delicious!

What a creamy mouthfeel and texture. Palate is all over the map in many places though. Malty backbone, finishing with a little bit of banana. Mid palate hits with a fruity marmalade quality with a hint of stinging carbonation. Pretty balanced in tastes, but also... being all over sort of not melding that great together.

Overall I actually really like this, but it's sort of not what I expect in this style. It's an excellent beer no question and I'll have it again someday.

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Photo of BCK
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Bottle poured into pilsner.

Pours a nice copperish color, nice bubbling from the bottom with about a 1/2 inch head.

Smells nicely of spice and hops, nothing overwhelming here that I am picking up.

Maybe a hint of Citrus of some kind(orange?), with some really nice hops bite to it. Very nice bitterness to it.

Very smooth beer, with a bit of carbonation. Nice warming sensation as you drink.

Definately a beer that can be imbibed on a regular basis, although I would hesitate to drink to many in one night based on the 6.2% ABV.

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Photo of cameraman
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light amber color with slight signs of carbonation in the glass. a small white head forms, but quickly dissolves away. A cracked roasted fragrance of barley comes out at first. That is followed by bread and biscuity scents anf finishing off with light cirusy and pine fragrances. The taste starts with a mild malt flavor, with a touch of sweetness. Then halfway across the palate, a mild citrus bitterness takes over, but does not overwhelm the palate. A medium bodied feel at the start, and gains weight as it crosses the palate, finishing much heavier than one would expect. This is a very good beer, the aroma and flavor are strong qualities in a bitter. Which makes this an excellent selection as session beer.

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Photo of bnes09
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper-orange color with a billowing head. Retention is excellent and lacing is frothy and appealing.

Smell is sweet and reminiscent of apricot and lemon. Very inviting!

Apricot comes through in the taste right away. A modest hop bitterness follows with hints of citrus and pine. I like that this beer does not have too much hop character but just enough to keep it interesting. Malt finishes it off with a hearty flavor of buscuits and rye bread.

Medium-bodied ale with mild, tingly bubbles. Has a definitive drying effect at the end.

Drinkability is high with this one due to the drying effect it has as well as the conservative amount of hops. Quite an impressive ale with lots of interesting flavors going on. Very refreshing during the winter months (or any time of year for that matter.) Well done!

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Photo of Dusty278
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Copper gold with small head, slightly lingering lace.

A- Pleasing fresh hop aroma.

T- Nice malt and dry hop flavor. Great balance of sweetness, hops and a bit of pine.

M- Medium body with good carbonation and a little heat.

D- Great session beer. I wish it was around all year long.

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Photo of DCon
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer came from a 6-pack at a Dierbergs grocery store in Chesterfield, MO. Poured into a Bud-Light Pint Glass and enjoy 3 of them back to back. (The beer bottle is now Blue instead of the Brown/Redish color on this BA Winter-ESB page...)

Appearance- Ale is orange and clear with Half a finger of head.

Smell- Very hoppy. I believe just from the smell that this should definitely be their Pale Ale instead of their ESB...

Taste- As I suspected, extremely hoppy with bitterness of course. Flavor is just right, a real Pale Ale but not true to the label.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, and has the after effects of an IPA almost. So strange how different I thought this beer would taste and feel than what is labeled and portrayed.

Drinkability- Once again, wondering why this is a Winter ESB Ale? It should be their Pale Ale and I would drink this weekly! Such a great beer. I split all six with a friend in two hours and will have again at the Wolf Public House in Ballwin, MO.

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Photo of gpogo
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy copper gold with small white head

A- Moderate hop aroma with medium malt aroma. The hop aroma has a wonderful pine smell to it.

T- Nice malt flavor, slightly spicy. The spiciness perhaps is from rye. Great balance of slightly sweet caramel malt vs piney hop flavor and bittering.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation. A very smooth drink. Very slight alcohol warmth characters.

D- I always loved drinking this during cold St. Louis winters. It's not the same in the hot desert of southern california, but it does bring back friendly memories. A great drink, I'd have another anytime.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken on 1/12/05 from a 12oz bottle dated 10/27/04. Appears a fairly clear copper with about a half-inch of cream colored lace. Head dies down quickly leave minimal scatterings of lace. Aroma is full of sweet caramel malt and a good dose of earthy hops. Notes of pine and grain, probably the rye, mingle about. Quite a great smelling ESB. Sweet caramel malt gets the taste started before the hoppiness kicks in. Great bitter floral and earthy notes help tame the malt here. Citric notes are present as is the rye flavor. Ends with a bittersweet aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium and creamy, overall a lot better than expected. For the style I can’t think of one I have enjoyed this much. Very good stuff you should give a try, thanks nogoodreason for this treat.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Liquor Barn. Decanted from the 12oz brown bottle into my tankard at cellar temp.
A - A gently hazed light amber w/ a reddish orange glow and an ecru head w/ smooth appearance that has nice volume after a vigorous pour. The lace clings well and the hazy appears to be hop resins not chill haze.

S - Earthy english yeast and slightly pine scented hops w/ a nice malt scent and very fragrant fruity esters.

M - The first taste is spicy w/ mild carbonation that is ample w/ mild sweet and fruity notes.

T - Both rich and tangy w/ mild citrus and gentle malt, resinous hops whcih have dry twiggy characteristics. The flavor is both citrus and stone fruit w/ subtle toasted caramel tinged malt. The peppery hop nature becomes more pronounced when warm yet the fruit taste stays strong w/ pine lingering until the last sips.

D - very alluring ale, nice nod to the English flavor. I could enjoy one after another

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Photo of Bighuge
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale bronze. Thin and airy dirty white head. Retention is good as is the lacing left behind. Crisp hop aroma. Floral and distinct. Toffeish malt notes give the nose some depth. This beer does have a good amount of body for an ESB. Medium-full or so. Lightly carbonated and no signs of alcohol in the mouthfeel. The flavor lends itself to a session beer. Quite nice. The base malts are sturdy enough. Toffeeish and caramely. Hops add a very noticeable bitterness. One that is even noticeable long after the sip. Hop flavors are mellow. The beer has enough flavor that'd grab a few more if I had the chance.

Thanks for the ESB MarkJR.

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Schlafly Winter ESB from The Schlafly Tap Room
85 out of 100 based on 155 ratings.