Schlafly Winter ESB - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Winter ESB
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very good

293 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 293
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 6
Gots: 17 | 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: 293 | Reviews: 148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SmithwicksNut
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of elfcounsul
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of meatmallet
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of scoobybrew
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of orangemoustache
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of BCK
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Photo of StargazerC
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Dusty278
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of JamesS
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Photo of JDV
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of gpogo
4.18/5  rDev +10%
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.

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

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

Photo of tmitch75
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of SMark
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%.

Photo of bigone4
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of jkrich
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle bottled on November 5, 2007. The beer poured an orange,clear light amber color with an attractive sustained half inch white head; nice prominent lacing.

A faint grapefruit odor was evident as soon as I opened the bottle; it almost reminded me of a fruity white wine.

This was a remarkably balanced, nuanced bitter with that slight grapefruity taste as well as an ordinary grape like flavor. A little bitterness lingers on the tongue. This ale's flavors are enhanced as the ale warms in the glass as more of the maltiness comes through with the hop bitterness. I am not sure I could detect the rye flakes the bottle label stated were in the ale. Perhaps this is what gave this ale such a unique flavor.

This is a solid medium bottled ale with an appropriate amount of fruity hop flavor on the tongue.

I expected a darker, more robust ESB as this was a "winter" ESB; but I was certainly not disappointed as this would make an excellent year round bitter. This brewery makes very solid beers.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear and bronze, creamy off-white head.

Nice aromatics, fragrant hops, perfumey, delicate, and deightful.

Crisp, malty, juicy, ending dryly. Bready malt, toasty, tasty.
Mild fruitiness in flavor, apples and berries.

Medium bodied, light finish. Goes down easy-peasy.

Absolutely drinkable, a prince of a sessioner. I could go through a lot of these, but, I only have the one.
Thanks, Will!

Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a burgandy/amber color with a two-finger, white head. No lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and some grassiness.

T - It tasted slightly bitter with a hop kick. A nice compliment of burnt toast maltiness and some caramel sweetness.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - An average ESB. It makes a nice session brew.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. The beer pours an amber/orange color with an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like citrusy hops, toasted malt, honey and grain/bread. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of pine and butterscotch. Mouthfeel/body is medium, slightly creamy with medium carbonation. Drinkability is good, the beer is nice and smooth and easy to drink. It has a good mixture of bitter and sweet, and decent balance too. Overall I think this is a good all-around beer. I'd buy Schlafly products more often, too bad they don't distribute to Ohio yet.

Photo of birchstick
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured from the bottle a pale orange, with a nice frothy head that stuck around for a little bit. It smelled of sweet kind of fruity/earth, then of hops. Very nice mouthfeel to it. Tasted of a nice blend of malts with hops at the end for a bitter aftertaste.
All in all, a good beer to have.

Photo of cameraman
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Photo of jar2574
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orangish beer, with whitish head. Large bubbles dissipate pretty quickly. More carbonation than an average beer.

Smells of booze and honey and hops.

Damn tasty beer. Sweet tasting, with a good blend of hops and malts that make it smooth upfront, with a nice little kick in the aftertaste.

It isn't the most exciting brew, but it's really enjoyable and very drinkable. One of those that you could enjoy all night.

Schlafly Winter ESB from The Schlafly Tap Room
86 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.