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ESB Special Ale - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ESB Special AleESB Special Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

333 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 333
Reviews: 174
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 13
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co. visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bitterbill on 10-26-2003)
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Ratings: 333 | Reviews: 174 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a little weak for the style but still a very drinkable beer overall. The beer is a lighter orange with a fair head and a good amount of lacing. The smell is hoppy and sweet. The taste is subdued hops, as in the bitterness is not overwhelming. A good beer that is quite drinkable. I would have no problem putting back a sixer of these. And come Sunday at the Food City 500 I will likely do just that. It is nice to see some craft beer in cans for sporting events and the like.

Serving type: can

03-19-2007 23:46:51 | More by Enola
Photo of EvanWilliams


3.5/5  rDev -2%

06-24-2013 02:57:43 | More by EvanWilliams
Photo of JMad


3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured a 12 oz can into a tulip glass (it was the only clean one I had)...

The beer was a copper color with a thin off-white, soapy looking head. It smells a bit sour with hints of lemon and caramel. The taste has a lemony bitterness up front followed by a sweetness that is washed over by a biscuit flavor. There is a pleasant lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. It feels a little watery, the carbonation's ok and the finish is dry. This is an easy drinking beer with lots of flavor. I enjoyed it and would drink it again, it's well balanced and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2011 03:57:45 | More by JMad
Photo of zimm421


3.5/5  rDev -2%

09-28-2013 01:10:02 | More by zimm421
Photo of DoctorDog


3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz can into a nonic. Big thanks to pokesbeerdude for sending me this one as yet another outstanding extra in a trade!

A- Copper/amber color, and slightly hazy. Pours with 2+ fingers of tan/off white head, which fades slowly to a nice cap. Ample lacing noted.

S- Very light malty notes, and a slight mineral/metallic twinge.

T- Slight tea-like hopiness. Fairly grainy with muted sweetness. A bit of minerally / hoppy bitterness.

M- Moderately carbonated with a light-medium feel.

D- Fairly good. ESB's tend to not be the most interesting from a flavor standpoint, IMO, but an easy drink that could be sessioned.

Future outlook: Not available here, so moot...

Serving type: can

05-29-2009 03:09:31 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of rkarimi


3.5/5  rDev -2%

02-15-2013 22:06:58 | More by rkarimi
Photo of homebrewhawk


3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. can served in a shaker pint. Poured a hazy gold with a finger of white head. Sweet malt with some caramel in the aroma. Light to medium bodied. On the malty side with a decent amount of hop bitterness. A bit of sourness that was distracting.
A little hop bite in the finish with some malty sweetness. Fairly easy drinking.

Serving type: can

03-15-2010 15:31:40 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of LightnerLiquorKS


3.75/5  rDev +5%

12-26-2013 01:46:17 | More by LightnerLiquorKS
Photo of beeragent


3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz can.

A - Pours a medium gold, forming a thin white head that quickly fades. Medium spot of lace on the glass.

S - Light malt aroma on the nose, but nothing else is really noticeable.

T - Again, the malt takes the front with a light bready taste. Not much in the way of a hop profile. Kind of a let down.

M - Medium bodied. Low carbonation and clean finish.

D - Not being a real fan of ESB's to begin with, I found that I enjoyed this one more than most. Having said that, the hops just didnt seem to be present in this one, tasting more like an amber ale than anything. I'll have to come back to this as I explore the style more.

Serving type: can

08-24-2011 07:58:47 | More by beeragent
Photo of khiasmus

South Carolina

3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kkipple for the can.

A- Pours a hazy amber with a finger of white head that drops to a ring in moments.

S- Balanced towards hops, but with a good malt backbone that supports well, with hints of caramel and a very light breadiness. Somewhat faint aroma, but enjoyable.

T- Tastes like light hop-juice with just a hint of caramel thrown in. Hop flavor dominates, but the faint biscuity tone and caramel malt make it quite well balanced.

M- Medium-light body... perhaps a bit too light. Carbonation is medium-low, and a decent astringency is left behind on the tongue.

D- Quite quaffable. You could drink a LOT of this and still enjoy it. An above average ESB that's recommended. There are much better ESB's out there, but few that are this drinkable.

Serving type: can

07-30-2007 23:43:28 | More by khiasmus
Photo of ZenAgnostic


3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass. Bottom rim of can stamped BEST BY 03/16/11.

Appearance - Cloudy amber body. Pours two finger offwhite head with decent stick and good retention.

Smell - Spicy hops. Orange. Vaguely floral. Mild bodied.

Taste - Bitter. Mild to moderate body. Hoppy with zesty citrus overtones. Mild maltiness. Somewhat metallic.

Mouthfeel - Astringent. Medium bodied. Somewhat syrupy/sticky. Not refreshing, in other words. Lacks effervescence.

Overall Drinkability - Middle of the road. Doesn't shine. Off-characters aren't dominating, but are definitely annoying.

Serving type: can

11-06-2011 23:10:56 | More by ZenAgnostic
Photo of LittleDon


4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A pint served at Lady Falconburghs's in Durango.

Golden to slightly amber in color. Dense head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is lightly toasted bread with some lactose sweetness. Toasted grain front with light carbonation tingle. Maltly middle with bitter finish. Mouthfeel is a tad chewy, consistent with style. Very drinkable in anything but very hot weather.

Serving type: on-tap

08-21-2010 16:33:02 | More by LittleDon
Photo of Sonofalime


3/5  rDev -16%

11-17-2013 21:23:15 | More by Sonofalime
Photo of moarmare


3.75/5  rDev +5%

09-03-2013 12:36:48 | More by moarmare
Photo of ruckus232


3.75/5  rDev +5%

01-31-2013 02:01:05 | More by ruckus232
Photo of steamboatbrewer


3.5/5  rDev -2%

08-15-2013 03:46:49 | More by steamboatbrewer
Photo of siradmiralnelson


3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz can into Globe glass.

A. 2+ finger head. Golden brown color. Good retention. Thick lacing.

S. Malt, piney citrusy hops. Almost smells like pineapple. Some biscuity malt as it warms. Smells good although I would say it doesn't really smell like an ESB.

T. Taste is pretty much all sweet malt. Caramel malt. Not much hop taste or bitterness. A little bit of the hops come out as it warms.

M. Medium bodied. Pretty smooth. Fairly crisp.

D. Pretty drinkable beer. I think it is somewhat off style, but still good.

Serving type: can

01-30-2010 23:00:29 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of DenverHopHead


3.44/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can with a best by date of 7/12/14; into a tumbler.
Appearance - a sunset orange with no noticeable carbonation; a medium, foamy off-white head that leaves sticky rings of lacing.
Smell - sweet malts, a shadow of an earthy hop nose.
Taste - some bitterness from the hops up front, but pushed back by sweeter malts.
Feel - light body, with the bitterness from the hops becoming more prominent with each sip.
Overall - not my preferred style, but I like it enough and dig the fact that it is available in both bottles and cans!

Serving type: can

03-31-2014 20:37:30 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of linnymtu


3.5/5  rDev -2%

06-18-2013 22:30:20 | More by linnymtu
Photo of lilsmizzul1225


3.5/5  rDev -2%

12-22-2013 00:29:32 | More by lilsmizzul1225
Photo of tonistruth


2.73/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- dark straw with a bubbly off white head, good retent and some soapy lacing

S- oily, herbal, fruity (apricot, mango, peach)

T- buttery, herbal, citrus rind, some spicy hop, and a dry herbal finish

M- oily, light body with a dry finish

D- one of ska's better brews (IMHO) but still just decent, not as balanced as im used to ESB's being

Serving type: can

12-25-2007 20:28:49 | More by tonistruth
Photo of vwbus7

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +12%

07-14-2014 01:25:39 | More by vwbus7
Photo of mwa423


3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recieved as part of a CAN-tastic trade from woodychandler, I'm a fan of lots of other Ska products, so I figured their ESB was worth a shot.

A - Pours a hazy burnt orange with two fingers of sticky white fluffy head which doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. The beer isn't nearly as clear as I expected and the color leaves something to be desired.

S - Tiny smells of hops and spice, but pretty much all sweet malt

T - A lighter taste then most ESB, but a very well balanced malt hits the tongue and the tiniest of hop bites chases it down the throat with a pleasant malty aftertaste.

M/D - Mouthfeel is a moderate thickness with the perfect level of carbonation for style. The easy drinking flavor of this beer really is the highlight. This is a perfect beer when you want a simple and solid beer that is good tasting and you can keep enjoying over and over again.

Serving type: can

12-07-2009 02:55:19 | More by mwa423
Photo of kobeer


3.75/5  rDev +5%

07-23-2012 20:11:17 | More by kobeer
Photo of Hohnbaum


3.5/5  rDev -2%

07-26-2014 01:09:55 | More by Hohnbaum
ESB Special Ale from Ska Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 333 ratings.