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Schlafly Winter ESB - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Winter ESB
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very good

275 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 275
Reviews: 147
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 6
Gots: 13 | 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:
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 added by: maxpower on 01-09-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 275 | Reviews: 147 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Yetiman420


3.1/5  rDev -18.4%

Consumed 10 months from bottling date.

Light copper color, foamy one-finger head.

No initial aroma of note. Unable to detect the "plenty of hops to balance the sweetness" as indicated on the label.

Clean finish with a touch of sweetness. Pedestrian for a winter ale - lacked the complexity and robustness I come to expect with this style.

Easy to drink, to a fault.

02-08-2009 04:08:41 | More by Yetiman420
Photo of Gehrig


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%

One and one-half fingers of white foam on a dark golden body with burnt orange trim; moderate lacing is a plus. I smell apricot and lightly toasted malt and, despite persistent coaxing, little else emerges. Caramel joins apricot in the taste, yet the flavors are...meek, just like the smell. It isn't just that the flavors of Winter ESB--whatever the hell that is--lack gravitas; they lack even decent presence. No component takes charge to define the taste. The mouthfeel is a saving grace for Winter ESB, creamy and smooth, quite nice texture.

When I had this, I felt that it smelled and tasted somewhat like Schlafly's Kolsch, just a tad maltier and darker in color. I don't think that's too far off. I expected some spice and malt heft with the moniker "Winter" preceding ESB. The ESB part I get and it isn't bad. The Winter part mystifies and disappoints me. I'd beef up the malt and spice considerably. That would get it rocking. As it stands, it's just OK.

01-27-2009 04:43:12 | More by Gehrig
Photo of SpecialK088


4.08/5  rDev +7.4%

Poured from a bottle into a willy

A-Nice light amber no read head or lace to speak of.

S-Notes of hops, honey and malt with minor bitter citrus notes

T&M-Great flavor good malt/hop balance with a very nice bitter finish, nice mild ESB. Medium body pretty thin in the mouth.

D-Nice and easy to drink this is one i'll look forward to grabbing a 6 of at least once a year

01-11-2009 02:56:35 | More by SpecialK088
Photo of naterock


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

poured into a dokel with a one finger head. Deep Copper and crystal clear.

smell is rich barley, Pale malt and just a kiss of hops.

taste is smooth, malty and rich, Well rounded and balanced. Nutty and slightly citrusy hops in the finish.

mouth is medium and smooth, crisp. Highly drinkable, just a very enjoyable beer.

01-11-2009 02:42:14 | More by naterock
Photo of jcompton


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

poured from a bottle into a Schlafly pint glass...

appearance: pours a nice amber color with i good 2 fingered head.

smell: a small amount of hop and rye sweetness

taste: the rye flakes are strong up front, mellowing to a moderate amount of hop bitterness that stays on the back of the tongue. the rye is the breadwinner of this brew, and i'm a big fan of rye beers

mouthfeel: this beer is not too thin, too carbonated, or too heavy. a nice drinker

drinkability: this is one of my stand-by session brews when available. i can easily put back a few and not get tired of it. too bad the abv isn't posted...

01-07-2009 02:18:08 | More by jcompton
Photo of echdk3


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a mug

A_Glowing orange color, very translucent, bubbly white head, very inviting. Nice light lacing

S_Strong citrus hoppy smell

T_Wonderfully warming citrus, ultra hoppy, flowery dark aftertaste, very great

M_High carbonation, mouth-washing feel

D_Very hoppy and flowery, slow drinker

12-28-2008 05:17:53 | More by echdk3
Photo of russpowell


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent amber with 3 fingers of tan head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Apricot & not much else

T: Slight fruittyness, chalky dryness & leafy hops up front. Orange peel & leafy hops as this warms. Finishes dry, a bit of sulphur, apricot & a touch of honey

MF: Medium bodied with slight carbonation. Good balance

Drinks easy enough, nice intro to the style

12-26-2008 13:44:42 | More by russpowell
Photo of SmithwicksNut


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

A: A cloudy amber beer with a terrific white head. Lacing showed on every drink. I love that about a beer.

S: A little rye malt in the aroma with some flowery hop smells.

T; A very easy drinking beer with the rye malt on the tongue and the sweet hop in the back of the mouth.

M: A medium light bodied beer with medium carbonation. Clean.

D: this beer is a great session beer. One can drink a few of these and not get tired of it. Very enjoyable.

12-21-2008 23:22:53 | More by SmithwicksNut
Photo of elfcounsul


3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

Got this beer by accident. I bought a six pack of Schlafly Dry Hopped APA and somehow two bottles of this winter ale was mixed in. Nice reddish brown appearance, with good lacing.

The malt was apparent in the nose, but not at all heavy.

Nice smooth taste, some malt, and little bitter.

Nice flavor, goes good with food. It doesn't overpower the dish.

Will buy again. Good ale to have with dinner, with TV, Radio, checkers, or your friends.

No fancy labels, no clever names, just good beer.

12-20-2008 00:56:37 | More by elfcounsul
Photo of meatmallet


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Appearance: Copper colored with a small head an a litle bit of lacing.

Smell: Malty and light. A little sweet but not overpowering.

Taste: Taste is great! Starts sweet and finishes a hoppy bitterness.Also has a dry lightly toasted malt flavor with a little pine as well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: To look at and smell its nothing special but once in the mouth its not bad.

12-17-2008 00:16:57 | More by meatmallet
Photo of scoobybrew


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - slightly hazy orangish amber color with that thick head that settles into a fine lacing

S - earthy hop aroma with a mineral-like malt backing

T - up front biscuity malt but then come the hops finishing strong on the finish

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a decent ESB and very sessionable - another fine beer from Schlafly.

12-14-2008 01:55:24 | More by scoobybrew
Photo of orangemoustache


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%

Pours a bright copper with some light golden accents around the edge. The bone colored cap is light and fluffy and leaves some nice even lacing marking my pace with each sip. The nose is rye bread lightly toasted and buttery,with some light hoppy esters. The flavor profile is not nearly as bitter as I had expected,nor that flavorful either. It is good and not offensive in any manor of the word,I just expected something a little bolder in flavor. Subtle caramel and rye offset one another in a sweet and salty sort of way. Not a lot of hop,but just a touch of citrus keeps this interesting.An odd subtle spinach tang on the finish is unique and enjoyable,something I've never tasted before in a beer. The mouthfeel is velvety and course at the same time and is really where I think this deserves its highest marks. Not what I expected,yet very interesting and enjoyable.

12-13-2008 20:40:07 | More by orangemoustache
Photo of BCK


4.2/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

12-07-2008 04:38:59 | More by BCK
Photo of StargazerC


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

Appearance - Clear, medium red-brown color, soft white head that leaves a little bit of nice lacing

Nose - balanced malty with bitter; a little bit of mineral note too

Taste - good malt presence with a touch of bitterness. The rye gives it an earthy even woody flavor that goes well with the hoppy bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and effervescent with a clean finish.

Drinkability - Just enough robustness and average body allows to be easy drinking but with plenty of flavor.

Served in a standard pint glass out of a bottle. Temperature was a little warmer than fridge temp.

12-03-2008 21:53:31 | More by StargazerC
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%

Reviewed 11/15/2008 (Tap @ Pi Restaurant, St. Louis, MO):

Pours a clear red color body. Creamy white head, some lacing, lasting. Effervescent, malty aroma, some bitterness. Not a strong aroma. Grainy taste, sweet, with a sweet aftertaste. Fresh maybe rye-like. Watery palate. A nice hoppy taste. More like an IPA.

11-29-2008 15:26:50 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of Dusty278


4.15/5  rDev +9.2%

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.

08-20-2008 05:16:45 | More by Dusty278
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.8/5  rDev 0%

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, orangey body with a thin, white head.

Smell: Relatively mild aroma smelling of spice, dehydrated lemon peels, and a dry malt character.

Taste: Biscuity malts with a zing of caramel sweetness tacked on. Flavors of tangy citrus zest and spicy rye with a medium hop bitterness. Bittersweet finish, though definitely more bitter than sweet. Lingering hint of lemon in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation with a slight fizziness to it.

Drinkability: A enjoyable, refreshing Winter ESB for the middle of summer.

08-01-2008 14:56:55 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of JamesS


4.2/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

07-16-2008 12:22:50 | More by JamesS
Photo of JDV


3.48/5  rDev -8.4%

Bottle received as an extra in trade...I've forgotten who sent this, but thanks!
Pours a nice orangish color, mostly transparent with a lasting smallish offwhite head. Smell is fruity malt, sweet yet balanced and hearty nose. Taste is sweet and fruity flavor at first and then crisp, dry malt and light hoppiness to mostly balance. Very drinkable, mild and sessionable with a pleasant malt flavor and balanced well. Great session beer. Toasty, bittersweet, slightly tart.

06-30-2008 22:07:26 | More by JDV
Photo of gpogo


4.18/5  rDev +10%

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.

06-26-2008 02:07:24 | More by gpogo
Photo of Slatetank


4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

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

04-17-2008 19:18:38 | More by Slatetank
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is amber with a nice fluffy 2 finger head and good carbonation.

The smell is light yet hopy, a nice balance seems to be evident.

The taste is good, mildly hopy with a very good caramel malt. I'm liking this brew plenty, Thanks Vancer!

The mouthfeel is reall good velvety smooth rich and creamy, quite noticable, indeed,.

The drinkability is very good I would have more of this easy.

Prosit, MK

03-29-2008 23:46:01 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of tmitch75


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Pours a light orange color with creamy head and tons of lacing all around.

Toasty malt smell with some fruity hops.

Tastes similar but a little sweeter. The hops are still fruity but also a little piney and spicy. The rye is noticeable and distinctive.

Medium body is just right for the style.

Very drinkable. The spicy rye is a good addition to a style that I already like (I also like rye!). I could definitely drink this on a regular basis. Is Schlafly coming to IL any time soon?

Tasted on 3/9/08

03-14-2008 05:31:37 | More by tmitch75
Photo of SMark


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 55° from a 12 ounce bottle. A 'Bottled With Love on' date was on the bottom of the label. Three fingers plus of an off white head were produced from the pour. A lingering lacing effect was left on the glass as the head dissipated into the clear, amber colored beer.

I sensed more malt aroma than hops. There were no off odors and the combination of the malt and hops kept me sniffing away more than once.

This was smooth and not as bitter as I would expect an ESB. There was a little bit of bitterness on the tongue with a good grainy sweet taste developing.

The hops were more evident in the aftertaste once the beer had been swallowed. They found their way into the back of the throat and then exited through the nose. The beer stayed slightly bitter with a bit of syrupy taste at the end.

This was a comfortable beer with a good marriage of the hops and malt. It is smooth and easy to drink but could sneak up on you at 6.2%.

03-10-2008 23:34:16 | More by SMark
Photo of bigone4

Rhode Island

3.1/5  rDev -18.4%

Poured a clear light orange yellowish color. Decent carbonation. Thin one finger egg shell white color head that dissipated rather quickly. No real solid retention. Smell was rather light and malty slight hint of rye in the back ground. Mile scent of hop oil and a slight citrus touch. Hints of dough and a mild fold of caramel. Decent taste. Upfront caramel malt flavor followed by a nice hint of rye with a strong dry hop finish. Leaves a nice hop essence in the back of the mouth. Rather light bodied but also makes up for that in the nice after taste. Over all a very drinkable brew.

03-09-2008 21:24:55 | More by bigone4
Schlafly Winter ESB from The Schlafly Tap Room
86 out of 100 based on 275 ratings.