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River Horse Special Ale ESB - River Horse Brewing Co.

River Horse Special Ale ESBRiver Horse Special Ale ESB

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BA SCORE
74
okay

160 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 160
Reviews: 134
rAvg: 3.17
pDev: 14.51%


Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co. visit their website
New Jersey, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-01-2002)
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Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 134 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tlinner
tlinner

New York

4.1/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber that would be pretty clear if there wasn't so much sediment floating around. And seriously, there's a LOT of sediment. If I swirl the glass, it moves as if trapped in Jell-O. The head is big and frothy and leaves behind nice lacing. The smell is very sweet. Melon, caramel, and something that's indescribable; like that smell of "clean" when you walk into a Wal-Mart. The taste is, again, very sweet. There's caramel, honey, light fruits, and there's that "clean" feeling again. It's actually reminding me of a really crisp apple when you first bite into the skin. The mouthfeel is slightly acidic, but pretty smooth overall. I'm puzzled by the less-than-average reviews of this beer; I really liked it, even though it certainly doesn't taste like any ESB I've ever had. Maybe it's that mysterious crispness that makes me enjoy it so much...wait a minute, after a second glass, I figured it out. Apple crispness? Caramel malt? It tastes like a candy apple!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 22:29:57 | More by tlinner
Photo of saccro
saccro

Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - straight-up amber. nice lasting head. good belgian lace. Cream-colored head. A little hazy.

S - very fruity aromatics from yeast. very little hop aroma. good bready malt aroma.

T - fruity. Tastes kinda like fruit cocktail (peach/pear). grainy aftertaste. delayed bitterness. no real malt flavor. Kinda average. Clean.

M - medium body. medium carbonation.

D - easy to drink. quenching. nothing special (despite name).

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2010 19:25:10 | More by saccro
Photo of aahynick
aahynick

Florida

3.2/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

45F in a pilsner glass

A- instant crazy foam, dark gold

S- mild spicy aroma

T- almost flavorless, after warming a lot, maltyness comes out

M - easy, medium body

D- I really liked the body on this one but with almost no flavor and a nightmare pour I'd give it a pass everytime.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 17:30:11 | More by aahynick
Photo of mrgrinch
mrgrinch

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Caramel brown with light carbonation. It was served in a plastic sample cup at the brewery, so I could not really get a good look at the clarity.

Smell - A sweet buttery smell.

Taste - Sweet tastes that fades to a bitter.

Mouthability - Thick and nice.

Drinkability - ESB is not my favorite style, but this one is one that I would try again if I was in the mood for such a thing. I did enjoy it more than the Ship Inn ESB I had earlier in the day.

Serving type: on-tap

07-31-2010 20:05:29 | More by mrgrinch
Photo of joshlara
joshlara

Pennsylvania

2.98/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first offering from this brewery. The bottle says it is an ESB style ale. Listed here as an amber ale so we shall see. Very disappointing appearance. The coloring is okay as it's a light amber burnt orange color but there is literally no head immediately after a strong pour and no collar afterwards. Butterscotch and caramel aroma. Tastes like the sun tea my wife makes during the summer. Almost spot on. Absolutely no hop seem to be present. It seems to be almost an unsweetened iced tea. Has a different flavor, caramel and diacytel. I guess more of an ESB than an amber ale in my opinion albeit an uninspiring one. Is drinkable but I would not purchase it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2004 03:45:36 | More by joshlara
Photo of HeroicDoses
HeroicDoses

New Jersey

2.58/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a midnight copper with a long lasting fluffy head. Looks pretty good in a pint glass. Smell is average at best...nothing to write home about. Has a caramel taste, but falls a little flat. Overall nothing really jumps out about this beer. Almost like you really have to search for it's character. In the end though it's not that bad, it basically comes off as just an average beer. To me River Horse overdoes it more often than not (Hop A Lot A Mus for example), but this beer does the opposite (it doesn't do enough). The finish is like eating an actual caramel...sticky and sweet. Would I buy this again? No. But would I say it's crap? No. It's just an average beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2010 01:49:08 | More by HeroicDoses
Photo of maximumsheehan
maximumsheehan

District of Columbia

3.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance:
Small head that faded quickly. Pours an orangey red color.

Smell:
Very sweet, honey comes through.

Taste:
Flavors are balanced, caramel and honey are prominent ones.

Mouth feel:
Carbonation is barely noticeable.

Drinkability:
Very easy to drink however it is very sweet so I didn't find myself wanting more than one.

Notes:
This is an ok beer that I would certainly drink if I was offered one. I wouldn't buy it. A previous review sums this beer up perfectly, forgettable.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 23:56:12 | More by maximumsheehan
Photo of sliv
sliv

Massachusetts

3.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I spent a long time staring at the beer refrigerators in the store down the street from me, trying to decide if I wanted something new or something familiar. I must have looked lost, since the owner came and recommended this one to me, as well as the Tripel Horse (to be tasted tomorrow…) I have had such good luck with his recommendations in the past, that I was positive this would be a worthy beer. However, on sampling I discovered that I didn’t find anything “extra” about this ESB except maybe extra mediocre.

Appearance:
This beer poured a thin, weak head. The head subsided almost immediately into nothing. Looking through the glass, I could see a faint haze swirling about in the honey-amber-copper color. I didn’t notice too much carbonation at first glance, but the bubbles were there…you just have to look for them.

Smell:
Right away I could smell light sweet malts. This beer has promise. Something metallic underneath, though. Not sure what it is. Bad 6-pack? Old beer? Bad water? Not a strong odor, but definitely there, lurking behind the nice malts.

Taste:
Very light taste in this beer. No single thing really stands out. Very basic light ale. The sweet malts are there, and the metallic smell is now a faint metallic taste, but not so much to overpower the malt. Very light aftertaste here. Nice finish. Seems very balanced.

Mouth feel:
Only a very slight bit of carbonation. I would have preferred a little more, so that you notice the beer is there. This is light and sweet, but not cloyingly so. These go by very quickly.

Drinkability:
This is a very easy to drink beer, but there’s nothing truly outstanding here. The metallic taste fades away after about half a bottle. I could definitely drink this one all night. I hardly noticed that I was almost finished with the second beer almost as soon as I poured it. This reminds me of a hundred other forgettable ales that won’t make you sick, and can be had again and again and again and (well, you get the idea)

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2005 02:26:36 | More by sliv
Photo of Amar
Amar

New York

3.35/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a pint glass but didn't notice much froth (becasue ESBs apparently have low carbonation).

Smell was sweet and really estery with strong fruity hints.

The flavor was slightly dissapointing: it was neither pronounced nor subtle. In other words, it wasn't there. You could easily sense the sweet undertones but it was very impossible to identify any flavors per se. This ale has such a light body and feels just like water especially right after you swallowed it. I had part of this ale with blueberry waffles and ended up appreciating it a little bit more but I wouldn't call this ale anything but slightly above average. So much for it being the flagship ale of River Horse!

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 18:46:20 | More by Amar
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River Horse Special Ale ESB from River Horse Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.