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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

333 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 333 | Reviews: 174 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce can pours a hazed honey amber body with a small offwhite head. The head has some staying power and leaves some attractive patchy lace.

Aroma is subtle, with faint notes of toasted biscuit, caramel, and spicy hops.

Medium body is nicely carbonated.

Taste has a dominant spicy and earthy hop bitterness. Toasted caramel malt and a vague hint of ripe pear provide a nice balance.

Nicely put together and spot on for style. Very sessionable.

Serving type: can

09-05-2009 23:55:33 | More by merlin48
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good ol' can of frosty goodness. Poured out into a nice Maredsous tulip glass a deep amber with copper edges. Thin tan head.

Woody caramel in the aroma. Changes into a sweet malt with the wood resins kicking in at the finish. Tad harsh drinking brew, not as smooth as I would have liked in this brew, but still a fairly proper balance.

Overall, a decent ESB, and nice to see a canned version of it. But unless I need a can, I'll stick with the local (STL) versions.

Serving type: can

01-22-2010 01:08:23 | More by Vancer
Photo of morimech
morimech

Minnesota

3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with two fingers of white head that had good retention. Not as dark as I would associate with an ESB. The head settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. The first thing I noticed about the aroma is the mint. I did not know Galena hops had that characteristic. I also noted some earthiness, citrus, and caramel as well. The flavor is really earthy and bitter. The malt does not give enough input into the flavor. Any sweetness is quickly overpowered by the hops. Not that good of a flavor for an ESB. Not a fan of the single hop profile here either. Good body and a nice soft carbonation that seems really good for the style. This beer nees some tweaking to take into the good category. Still worth a try plus it comes in cans.

Serving type: can

07-18-2010 18:43:38 | More by morimech
Photo of cdwil
cdwil

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -2%

12-29-2011 20:39:49 | More by cdwil
Photo of BMart
BMart

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -16%

12-16-2013 15:22:56 | More by BMart
Photo of williamjbauer
williamjbauer

West Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -2%

03-16-2013 03:18:12 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into DFH pint glass. Appears a clear orange with 1 cm of white head that dissipates quickly. Decent lacing left behind. The aroma is heavy with earthy hops along with notes of pine and cedar. The taste is somewhat subdued with mild earthy bitterness followed by caramel malts and a bit of sweetness on the finish. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. Overall, there is a decent amount of flavor in this brew but it does not stand out as being particularly tasty.

Serving type: can

04-23-2012 07:46:48 | More by homebrew311
Photo of emmasdad
emmasdad

Colorado

3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a shaker pint. When I popped the tab the beer rushed out of the top and down the sides; WOW, a gusher. Medium gold color with some off-white foam. Somewhat bready and sweet, with no real hop character. Pretty disappointing actually, after some of the beers I've had from Ska.

Serving type: can

05-25-2010 23:12:49 | More by emmasdad
Photo of birchstick
birchstick

Colorado

3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a clear copper color with a billowing white head

S - smells of piney hops and loads of caramel hops. Spot on for the style with a little more hop presence than normal

T - Some caramel and bready malts are followed by a piney hoppy bitterness. I was hoping the smell would translate to the palette a little better (this is way more malt than hop forward), but oh well - this is still very good.

M - big and full and goes down smoothly...nice

D - this is a pretty good ESB. I don't know if I would particularly seek this one out, but I know I will buy it again at some point.

Serving type: can

10-27-2010 00:45:25 | More by birchstick
Photo of Jspriest
Jspriest

Pennsylvania

2/5  rDev -44%

11-14-2011 17:48:54 | More by Jspriest
Photo of crobinso
crobinso

Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -9%

04-05-2012 00:01:47 | More by crobinso
Photo of nickd717
nickd717

California

3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Pours slightly hazy golden with a gigantic lacey white head.

Aroma is very bready and mildly floral. Decent, but not too appealing.

Flavor is okay, but a little off. Lots of sweet honey and pale malt, maybe a little too much, with light floral hops.

Pretty nice palate, medium-bodied and crisp with a hoppy bite.

Overall though, a middling beer. Not great for the style. Drinkable at least.

Serving type: can

04-05-2010 21:47:52 | More by nickd717
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Light copper.

Canned.

Juicy and Fruity aroma with notes of flowers, medicine, toasted bread and melon.

This is a pleasant ESB.

Very fruity and well balanced with notes of caramel, herbs and flowers. Nice malt backbone and a nice hop selection.

I like this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2004 05:38:58 | More by Crosling
Photo of aztraz
aztraz

Sweden

3.75/5  rDev +5%

04-27-2012 17:42:18 | More by aztraz
Photo of atsprings
atsprings

North Carolina

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

Poured from the can a cloudy copper brew with a mid sized off white head. Aroma was mild with caramel malt and earthy hops. Taste was also caramel malts and earthy hops, decent balance. The beer is light on the palate with decent carbonation. This is a drinkable beer, but far from the best.

Serving type: can

03-08-2007 02:29:35 | More by atsprings
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

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

I found this 12oz aluminum can at the Binny's store in Plainfield, IL for $1.49. They do have a best by date on the bottom rim of the can, but you'll need a magnifying glass to read it. Mine says Best by 12-23-11, so it's plenty fresh. There is also a pair of dancers on the can with the words "Lip up fatty" above them. I have absolutely no idea what that means.

The beer poured a burnt orange/amber/copper color that turned light orange when held to light. The 1-finger white head lasted several minutes and it left tons of lacing.

The beer had a heavy fruit smell along with sweet caramel, malt, and even hops lurking in the background.

The beer was nowhere near as bitter as the name would imply. Instead, it's nicely balanced with sweet malt and caramel on one side, with mild bittering hops on the other. I don't know where all the fruit went that I found in the smell, but it wasn't noticeable in the taste. I liked the balance of flavors in here.

This is a light, spritzy beer with high carbonation. It also leaves a light, lingering bitterness after the swallow.

Very easy to drink with no trace of alcohol. I enjoyed this one.

Serving type: can

08-13-2011 10:00:15 | More by matjack85
Photo of Molson2000
Molson2000

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +19%

05-31-2012 00:06:38 | More by Molson2000
Photo of Redrover
Redrover

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this one on the recommendation of Travis the beer guy at the Downers Grove Sam's Wine & Liquors. I was going canoeing and needed a tasty beer in a can.

Poured into a pint glass, the beer is very hazy amber with a very stick beige head.

The nose is of lightly roasted malts, a hint of brown sugar and floral hops.

Nice crisp taste. It is slightly sweet with malty notes all backed by noticeable hops. There is a hint of nuts and some backend pine notes. This is a nice ESB!

The mouth is slightly thickish & is very smooth. Extremely easy beer to session that has both taste and character.

Thanks for the recommendation Travis!

Serving type: can

12-01-2008 21:22:50 | More by Redrover
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. can into my nonic pint glass. Appears a beautiful golden amber color with about two fingers of off-white foam. The head leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. Smells of sweet caramel malts, followed by biscuit and fruit (apple) notes. Taste is malty at first, followed by a nice dose of hops, more malts, and maybe some tropical fruit. Medium in both body and carbonation. Thanks to limesmut for this fine beer. It's not too often you see an ESB in a can. I would certainly drink this one again if I have the chance.

Serving type: can

06-05-2007 18:04:08 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of BretSikkink
BretSikkink

Mexico

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

Lightly tanned, frothy head over top of a clear amber-gold color. Decent lacing. The nose is quite floral, mostly on the hoppy side, with a hint of sweet malt. Lots of fruit here.

The flavor is similarly light and pleasant. Sweet overall with enough berry and citric fruit to make it interesting. Good use of a British yeast to add a little complexity, but overall it's pretty middle of the road. Not a bad session beer.

Serving type: can

03-15-2009 17:17:40 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of Falcone
Falcone

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +12%

09-30-2013 21:13:38 | More by Falcone
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13

Colorado

3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz can. Pours a hazy golden orange with a creamy white head that retain fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet corny caramel malts with some fruits and floral and metallic notes.

The flavor is sweet toasted caramel malts with some decent bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation, slightly watery.

Overall, a decent bitter with good balance of sweetness and bitterness. I don't normally care for the toasted/nutty notes but this one was better than I remember.

Serving type: can

11-12-2009 22:40:46 | More by Beaver13
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at AJ's in late July for $1.59.

Beer pours a honey amber color with a nice two finger white head that has sustained well. Nose is malty with hints of sweet fruit. Taste is of caramel malts with a hint of sweet fruit lingering in the background finishing with a very light hop. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, nicely carbonated and somewhat smooth. Drinkability is good. I am glad i recently picked up a sixer for my next tailgate. This makes for a nice session beer!

Serving type: can

10-21-2007 23:01:03 | More by arizcards
Photo of jazzyjeff13
jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

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

A 355ml can with a BB of Nov 2012, so it's a little out of date. Picked up from Trembling Madness in York a while back and stored in my garage. Hopefully it's still in good condition - I'm interested to see how an ESB made by a US brewer turns out. Lip Up Fatty...

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Can conditioned. A hazy orange-amber hue with medium carbonation and visible sediment. Yields a decent head of creamy white foam that lasts for a few minutes before settling as a surface layer. Aroma of grainy malt with hints of caramel, fruity ale yeast, faint sugar, earthiness and stewed hops. Slightly sweet, with subtle undertones of pine resin.

Tastes of grainy caramel malt with a dry bitter finish. Notes of caramel, mild brown sugar, fruity ale yeast, subtle pine, earthiness, husks and stewed leaves. A restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and slightly spicy, with decent carbonation and nice body. Somewhat astringent, with an aftertaste of caramel malt, ale yeast and faint pine.

A solid brew that goes down nicely. The aroma and flavour are primarily malt-driven, though a hint of hoppy pine makes itself known. The body is lovely and velvety-smooth. It doesn't quite fit the profile of an English ESB - the malt character is less fruity and complex than it should be and the aromatic hops don't match the style either. However, it is certainly very drinkable and well worth sampling if you should come across it.

Serving type: can

02-03-2013 01:20:52 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of jsh420
jsh420

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

this is the only craft beer in a can that i can find in IL. and i was glad to find it

pours clear golden yellowish orange with a 1/2 finger white head that left no lacing

smells of sweet malts and grassy hops

taste is a decent balance of sweet bready malts and grassy hops - and a tiny bit of alcohol and metalic flavors come through

mouthfeel was a bit to flat for me - light body

drinkability is so so - i only picked up a single but the beer has a good full flavor just wish it had a little more life - i will check this out again

Serving type: can

06-29-2009 23:39:31 | More by jsh420
ESB Special Ale from Ska Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 333 ratings.