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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.
BA SCORE
81
good

341 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 341
Reviews: 175
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 14
Gots: 19 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 341 | Reviews: 175 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this one.

Pours a very nice cloudy golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus creamy head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slightly bitter, with some slight spice. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, with some slight spice. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad brew.

10-15-2008 00:13:33 | More by Wasatch
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev +4.8%

Pours a light copper color with a white cap. Aroma of stewed hops, mineral and wet dog. In the taste, toffee, herbal hops, butterscotch. Mild but persuasive bitterness adds a good character to the taste. Medium to light bodied, medium carbonation with good retention. Overall, this is a nice little esb, that actually packs more of a punch than most.

09-13-2013 22:27:13 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of afsdan
afsdan

Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -2%

03-21-2014 02:41:49 | More by afsdan
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%

Poured a medium copper hue with a three finger creamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a forward herbal hop with a soft doughy malt.

The taste consisted of a soft malt, some metal and a dry herbal hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the thinner side of the style.

Overall a tasty and certainly hop forward ESB.

06-04-2009 01:16:59 | More by plaid75
Photo of LXIXME
LXIXME

New Mexico

4.03/5  rDev +12.9%

I poured this from an inch or so above the glass, I like doing this, in that beers seem to release a better or fuller aroma this way and also it allows me to sit and watch the head settle into it's lacing and with beers that have a nice aroma and look, it's just simply fun to watch and build a little anticipation of whats to come. Anyway, back to this particular beer, it pours a big off white if not slightly tan head that settles nicely into a pretty nice lacing above a clear copper golden colored beer.

The aroma of this beer is a quite nice roasted caramel malt slightly on the sweet side with a slight influence from the hops in a slightly bitter and pine influenced background.

The aroma is transferred very well throughout the drinking of this beer, more sweet roasted caramel malt with some notes of bitter pine to almost citrus hoppiness coming through. This follows through very well in a dryish aftertaste with some caramel notes throughout.

I really enjoyed this beer for some reason, even though I kinda been taught that bottle beer is better, I can honestly argue that with beers like this coming out of a can.

08-29-2011 22:38:12 | More by LXIXME
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.53/5  rDev -1.1%

A little darker than most esb's I've had this one came in a hybrid orange and dark amber. Caramel and a tiny amount of hops in the aroma.

Taste, pretty good, some bitter and hops, really couldn't differentiate this between an esp and a pale ale. Citrus hop, pale and caramel malt flavor, seems like a pale to me. Very well carbonated. A decent brew, nothing groundbreaking, maybe not dry enough to be a true esb, but I've always found esb's to be like pales with less hops.

04-28-2011 18:56:15 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +11.5%

A - dark orangish amber with a thick, dense, big, off white head that has great retention

S - bread, birthday cake, sweet, grapefruit, pineapple

T - bread, faintly sweet, light toastiness, faint caramel, pineapple, grapefruit

M - smooth, medium bodied, lightly carbonated, thins out a good deal over time

This is an interesting ESB. It has a rather bready, bold, forward malt character. It has a very citrusy hop character. It's also a bit sweet and not bitter at all. It's incredibly drinkable and incredibly refreshing. This could probably pass for an APA for most breweries. It's worth looking into.

06-19-2012 22:00:48 | More by tdm168
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +8.7%

Picked this on up at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC.

Pours a clear orange-ish amber color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of bitter hops and nondescript fruit sweetness.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The sweet malt flavors are at the forefront with light amounts of fruit sweetness. The fruits seem a bit easier to pick out in the flavors - mostly berries with hints of pears.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness with good carbonation, pretty smooth.

Drinkability is good. I'll have no problem finishing one, and could have a few of these in one night. This could be a nice session beer when trying to get away from IPA's and APA's.

Overall this is a solid beer, though it's nothing to write home about. Still, it's worth picking up if you see it around.

03-06-2009 02:26:07 | More by glid02
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a clear, copper color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of pale malt, pale hops, citrus hops, slight sweet malt, hint of wheat, and hint of spice. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale hops, citrus hops, sweet malt, pale malt, and hint of wheat. Overall, good complexity and blend.

08-17-2010 14:27:59 | More by Tone
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

3.5/5  rDev -2%

The disembarks the 12-ounce can a cloudless amber with a portly light tan head that is frothy in texture, after its eventual demise the lace forms an obfuscating sheet upon the glass. Nose is fresh fruit, sweet malt, crisp and clean with the start sweet and the malt profile adequate, the top is middling in feel. Finish is mildly acidic and the hops personable in their spiciness, aftertaste is quite dry and long lasting, a decent drinking beer and would make a fine session beer.

03-19-2005 00:03:21 | More by Gusler
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.33/5  rDev -6.7%

12oz can, mixed 12 pack from Binny's in Schaumburg

appearance: another great pour from a Ska can into an imperial pint - cloudy copper body, fluffy full white head with strong retention

smell: fresh cut flowers, toasted grain, light hops, lemon zest

taste: kind of a flat flavor profile - flowers, sweet malts, grain, lemon, taffy.

mouthfeel: a little dry, medium-light

drinkability: fine

10-10-2010 23:43:21 | More by dirtylou
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%

Hardly any bubbling, light head, but a little sticky lacing on my glass. A preety average looking English ale. The aroma is a light bread carame and pale malt ith some subtle hops. The taste is just as Engihy subtle. You can taste the malts the best, but their not heay or bland. Just enough to notice the malts and hops. So you can keep driniking this beer over and over again. Smooth malt and hops, with a tangy and sticky finish that tays on the tongue fr quite some time.

01-02-2008 04:35:18 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of bark
bark

Sweden

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%

The smell is mildly sweet with quite a lot of bitterness. Sweet bread, some fruits and hints of grass, flowers and touches of alcohol and butter.

The colour is amber with a touch of red (25 ECB). The liquid is clear. The warm beige head is finger thick and compact. It sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The taste is a bit bitterer than I am used to from British ESBs. Otherwise, I recall all the flavours from the “originals”: Some caramel, butter, sweet fruits, hay and flowers, some passing alcohol. Medium to full body. The aftertaste got bread-like flavours, some alcohol, fruits and bitter herbs and notes of dandelions and buttercups. The lingering aftertaste got malty flavours of French loaf.

The carbonation is strong but rather short-lasting with lots of very small bubbles. The liquid is semi-smooth.

A splendid British ESB with an very gentle American twist!

04-28-2011 18:38:23 | More by bark
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

2.1/5  rDev -41.2%

I drank this from the can into a pint glass.

The beer is medium clear gold with a decent white head, good lacing and retention.

The aroma is light hops.

The taste is really bad, all bitter, like a scotch ale with some very weird aftertastes. Mouthfeel is heavy but not drinkable.

11-05-2009 14:32:39 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

3.98/5  rDev +11.5%

This one pours from 12oz can a clear medium gold witha large head of foam that slowly shrinks to a fine layer with some lacing.

The smell has some caramel malt notes with some hoppiness in the background.

The taste on first sip has a strong caramel malt flavour that is sweet but not too sweet. There's also some grain up front with some hop bitterness moving in as I take further sips but the finish definitely ends up on the malty side. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and at times a bit watery but over all, the positives outrank the negatives for me. This is a good ESB.

Bottom line: I've had this one before and I'll have it again.

Edit: A bought another 6er recently and there's some nice fruity tones I did not notice during my original review. I'm guessing that these are fresher samples and man, the fruitiness combined with the delicious maltiness and just a slight bitterness near the finish makes this much more tasty. New scores implemented.

04-22-2007 15:24:39 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%

The ESB from SKA is a true English Bitter. The beer pours a orange copper with thin white head that leaves a spotty lace. The smell is english bittering hops. The taste is a light malt trying to balance against a english hops. The mouthfeel is a medium body with good carbonation. Overall it is a taste beer.

02-21-2012 03:01:20 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
Hopheadjeffery

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -2%

08-01-2013 15:25:55 | More by Hopheadjeffery
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%

Thanks to tr4nc3d for this one as an extra in a past trade. Served from can into a Dogfish Head Signature glass. Poured hazy yellow orange with a minimal white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, hops, and a slightly nutty note. The flavor was of only sweet malt and hops. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice ESB. Had a very well balanced flavor and nice aroma. However I feel the flavor and aroma was a little simple and not very complex. If there would have been more complexity to this one it could have been something quite special. Still a nice brew that I am glad I got the opportunity to try.

11-09-2010 13:06:32 | More by thagr81us
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -1.1%

Thanks to woodychandler for the trade.Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops and grains. Taste is a good balance of malts and hops, some grains. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this makes for a good quality beer.

09-02-2010 14:11:07 | More by tone77
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

2.15/5  rDev -39.8%

A - It looks like a pretty normal beer, nice gold color with a good head and decent lacing down the sides.

S - I'll be honest, I'm not really sure what is going on here, smell some hops and spice, but this is not what I was expecting from a bitter, which I am a fan of.

T - I find this horrible. Too creamy, not a good take on the style, and the bitterness is lost in some sort of sweet, almost syrupy, taste. I find this to be fairly gross and am not drinking it after a few sips.

M - Good carbonation and goes down smooth.

D - Easy to drink other than it just tastes bad.

11-05-2009 21:09:14 | More by AgentZero
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78

Illinois

3/5  rDev -16%

12-01-2011 03:04:17 | More by barnzy78
Photo of whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

4/5  rDev +12%

01-15-2012 04:43:56 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of blackie
blackie

California

3.53/5  rDev -1.1%

appearance: A big, fluffy off white head fills half of the glass when I pour...so I have to wait for it to recede before I empty the rest of the can. Moderate lacing is left behind. The beer is a hazy golden amber in color.

smell: There's a light and fruity grainy sweetness that is opposed by a mild but obvious hop aroma. I'm getting some hints of apricot, honey, and mild green herbs.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the low end of the high range, and the body a heavy light.

taste: The grain gives a mild sweetness that is reminiscent of summery fruits...apricot and peach maybe. Little hop flavor, but the finishing bitterness cleans and dries the palate perfectly.

drinkability: Well balanced, as an ESB should be, though a little lacking in character. Still, easily drinkable.

12 oz. can received from Zorro in BCG BIF. I wish more micros around here would can a beer for us outdoorsmen.

01-22-2006 00:28:18 | More by blackie
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.03/5  rDev -15.1%

12 oz can that I poured into a pint glass. Dark orange color and cloudy. Smell was malty. The taste was metallic, yeasty and not pleasant. The mouthfeel had a grittiness to it that I did not like. I hope this was an old one or something cause it was not good at all.

04-09-2007 16:32:50 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.68/5  rDev +3.1%

Nice to see an ESB in a can.

Peachy copper body with a thick, creamy, off-white head that crawls up the glass. Mildly buttery biscuit malt, light apple, and citrusy (orange, lemon) hops. Orange hoppy bitter (marmalade) on toasted bread malts. Pineapple. Slightly chalky and minerally. Some yeasty bread twang going on as well. Finish is drier and tinny with orangy hops and traces of toffee malt. Not bad. Moderate body with a soft feel.

03-24-2007 23:38:14 | More by alexgash
ESB Special Ale from Ska Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 341 ratings.