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ESB Special Ale - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ESB Special AleESB Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

363 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 363
Reviews: 177
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.17%
Wants: 14
Gots: 26 | 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:
Beer added by: Bitterbill on 10-26-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 363 | Reviews: 177
Photo of moarmare
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of atpca
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of gleemonger
4.58/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear organge yellow color with a super effervescent look and a large creamy white head that dissapates quickly, but leaves a small cap of head throughtout and some good lacing.

Grainy and sweet malts, with not much of a hop aroma. Very English from first impression, as it should be with this one. Light and refreshing smelling.

Like the aroma, very light biscuity and grainy malt taste, not as sweet as I thought it would be. Just a touch of some good citrusy malts to balance it out. Very nice for the style.

Light body with moderately heavy carbonation. Very refreshing and makes me want to sit out by the pool with a six pack of these for sure. Very creamy, which is a nice bonus.

I've come to really love this brewery and this was no disappointment at all, given the subdued nature of this style. They totally pulled it off as far as I'm concerned - it tastes very refreshing and very British from start to finish. I could easily drink this one all day given the desire. I don't understand the low marks on this one, frankly, unless people were just expecting something other than an ESB.

Photo of Goliath
3.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant clear amber color with a two inch off white head. Great retention and some lacing as well.

The aroma is alright, but a bit boring. It's somewhat reminiscient of a macro lager, somewhat. I get some grain, sugar, and caramel.

The taste is decent. A nice malt profile with notes of caramel and raw grain. It's slightly sweet up front with a subtle hop bitterness that lingers on the back end. It's definitely a nice little ESB.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated with a large and crisp bubble.

Drinkability is fairly high. Easily sessionable with presumeably low ABV and a nice flavor profile.

Photo of RDW
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of nzerbe
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of linnymtu
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of fishguyac
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of kkipple
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ahh yes, an ESB -- in a can! This is a first for me. Kudos to Ska brewing for doing something different.

The can pops open with a fizz and some beer leaps out; it can't wait to get into my glass. I oblige it and pour into a pint, and watch as a 2 inch tall frothy head springs up, then dwindles to a manageable half inch of light tan bubbles. The ESB is a hazy light copper that's has a surprising amount of little particles floating in it. Head retention is good and leaves a small amount of sticky lacing as the beer is consumed.

Smells pretty solid, albeit basic. Toasty grain and a metallic hoppiness blend with a solid caramel smell and a little bitter crispness reminiscent of mineral water.

I'm happy to report that the beer was nearly finished before I got around to taking tasting notes. It's a crisp, light, malty brew with a toasty character and just enough hop bitterness to make it palatable. Indeed, it's extremely drinkable, and the light body and fizzy, mildly sweet finish make it wonderfully quenching. I could have another of this, or 5 more... it just goes down like water.

Ska's now holds claim to producing one of the better ESBs I've had, and certainly the finest canned version of the style to date. Recommended for camping trips and hot summer days when a pilsner just won't cut it.

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.19/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Excellent white foam disippates into excellent white lacing on top of the beer. Beer is copper like all good ESBs.

Smell: Fruity molasses and caramel. Very syrupy. Heavy notes of vanilla.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Brown sugar in the head. Some raisins and other dried fruit in the background. Finishes with a spicy sizzle of black pepper. Feels a bit flat, but has enough body.

Overall Drinkability: I didn't expect a whole lot out of this, since ESBs normally don't wow me, but I would drink a few of these with no problem.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz bright red can; craft beer in a can! This is one of my first forays into this territory!

Appearance: Nice, slightly hazy dark orange beer, capped with a thick, sticky white collar which soon fades to a thick film.

Smell: Nice mix of bready, freshly-milled grains and (English, perhaps?) hops. This is fairly clean, with not a ton going on, I'm wondering if they perhaps used an American ale yeast versus one from across the pond? As the beer warms, a bit more character emerges, however; now I'm getting some nice toasty/biscuity malt and just a hint of minerality.

Taste: The flavor's more in synch with what I was expecting from this ale; it's got some light, almost crisp, steely caramel malt flavors, supported by a nice light/moderate hop bitterness which is kind of earthy. Also just a hint of butteriness in the background. Not a ton going on, but nice, balanced, and quaffable.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium bodied

Drinkability: Pretty high.

Conclusion: Nothing crazy-incredible, but one of the best beers I've ever had out of a can, and a pretty good take on the style to boot.

Photo of zimm421
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of ruckus232
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of rkarimi
3.47/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of ssjkyle
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of hopfacebrew
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz can to pint glass.

A - The beer pours a darker color than I expected: a dark orange/amber color with a 1 finger head with decent retention and lacing.

S - Not much to report. A sublte malt character but nothing really.

T - The beer has a nice bitterness and citrus hop character. Some nice toasted caramel malt flavors balance the well out fairly well. The beer finishes clean and crisp.

M - Medium bodied with a lof of carbonation.

D - Pretty drinkable.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 02-19-2011 02:58:20

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

picked up some down in the obx...

2 fingers of slightly off white foam, caramel/burnt orange hue, carbonation is active, head retention is good... lacing is spotty, pretty nice looking, you'd bang her... but you're not sure you would date her long term.

almost a little of that euro-heineken stank to it, brown herbal hops, the malt is there but is a touch less sweeter than I expect from this style, some old orange rind smell in there also. interesting but nothing to woo me or boo me.

taste etc...
Fuller's ESB was one of my first loves, and many times I am disappointed by what american brewers do to this style, usually they go over the hop top (while I love mad hops this is not the style to hammer imo), this is an exception, this is an extremely friendly beer for session-ing, it is light without being watery, it has that buttery/caramel hop finish with just some bitterness much like it's english counterparts, this really drinks easy.

if this was on tap at the local pub I would have it, it isn't the greatest beer in the world but man sitting around shootin the shite drinking this and BSing with buds ? this works.

Photo of DenverHopHead
3.42/5  rDev -4.2%
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!

Photo of EvanWilliams
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of JSchock7
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of illini4x4
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of ncvbc
3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An overall good experience from a beer I didn't expect much from. A dark amber in color with a nice head and good carbonation leaving some lacing. Smell was of caramel malts and a slight hop presence. Slightly fruity also. Taste was solid all around. Caramel is again present with a biscuity flavor that is well pronounced. A little bitter hop bite does well to provide good balance. Close to a medium mouthfeel and very good drinkability. I could definitely have a few cans of this one.

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4.5/5  rDev +26.1%

Photo of Sonofalime
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of lilsmizzul1225
3.5/5  rDev -2%

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ESB Special Ale from Ska Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.