Equilibrium ESB
Nickel Brook Brewing Co.

Equilibrium ESBEquilibrium ESB
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #196
Ranked #38,776
3.66 | pDev: 10.93%
Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada
Equilibrium ESBEquilibrium ESB
Notes: Balance is finding the point between two opposing forces for a more desirable outcome: Equilibrium. We crafted our Nickel Brook Equilibrium ESB with balance as the primary objective. You'll find the caramel malt character and full body you expect from an English-style Ale, balanced with a generous dose of hops that gives Equilibrium a distinct fruity flavour and mild level of bitterness. Find your Equilibrium today!
Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 52 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Mysticmage
Mysticmage from Canada (ON)

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from can into a tulip. Pours orange amber with minimal collar here. nose is typical for red ale -coffee and burnt caramel. Taste is ok nothing too complex here. Was hoping for more.

May 20, 2018
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eberesford from Canada (ON)

3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours deep amber with a slight haze, a moderate head and lacing. Aroma: citrus, bubble gum, honey. Flavour: slightly tart, toffee, honey, bubble gum, slightly grassy with s bitterness that lingers. Long mouth - a flavour that lingers over slightly effervescent carbonation.

Sep 19, 2017
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josanguapo from Spain

4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From Labirratorium. In Ikea's pint glass. At lunch, with rice soup + chicken in sauce. Smooth, with plenty of delicious toffee and a perfect level of strong bitterness

Aug 11, 2017
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Jeffo from Netherlands

2.37/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this at the LCBO this past summer

From a can into a snifter
IBU: 43
Hops: Magnum, Admiral, Brambling Cross & Cascade

APPEARANCE: Pours a big, 3+ finger, looser, fizzy and foamy cream head with great retention. Opaque burnt umber with piles of carbonation. Head eventually fades to a full thick foamy cap leaving some foamy lacing on the glass. A full cap remains until the end leaving some foamy lacing on the glass as it empties. Lots and lots of carbonation everywhere.

SMELL: Pale malts, toffee, some bubble gum and earthy hop notes. Some grainy aromas on the nose as well.

TASTE: Grassy flavors with pale malts and toffee up front. A slight tart note with bubble gum at the swallow. A bold and lingering finish of toffee sweetness, bubble gum, grassy hop bitterness and some grainy malts.

PALATE: Medium body and very high levels of carbonation. Overly airy and carbonated on the palate. Goes down foam with a big belch and finishes dry. Some bitterness lingers.

OVERALL: This was mediocre at best. Too grainy and a hint of tartness in the flavor profile, while the carbonation was simply off-putting. These guys normally do nice stuff, but this one was a rare miss. Pass on this.

Aug 29, 2016
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DaveBar from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the brewery but can't pin down the exact cost. Imagine it's in around that $3.00 mark or so for a 473ml can. Served at 5deg C in a draught glass

A- Open well and pours a 1" high off white head that is gone within a minute or two. Medium brown colour and filtered clear

S- Nice malt. Slight citrus.

T- Malty good. Enjoyable bitterness and mellow hops. Slight spices like cinnamon but very little. Just a hint. Nice blend. Well melded.

M- Dry and crisp. Creamy going down

O- Very good brew. Nice balance and easy drinking. Will buy again!

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with...... Good 'ol fish and chips! An English style brew for an English style old time dinner.


May 10, 2016
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Jadjunk from Georgia

3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"Balance is finding the point between two opposing forces for a more desirable outcome: Equilibrium. We crafted our Nickel Brook Equilibrium ESB with balance as the primary objective. Equilibrium has a great malt character and full body that you expect in an ESB. We balance it with a generous dosage of hops that gives Equilibrium a distinct fruity flavor and appropriate level of bitterness." Brewed in the style of an Extra Special Bitter (ESB), available in 16 oz. tallboy cans as part of a sampler pack.

Poured from a 16 oz. can to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a foamy frothed head of a pastel-white tone over a mildly hazy bright copper body with very light carbonation and high clarity. Retention is average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) Biscuity malt body with soft nutty and grainy character, with an understated sweetness, and a very fruity yeast presence, clean and lightly bitter. 3.5

(Taste) The flavor largely follows the nose, with a biscuity, nutty and moderately dry malt profile, complete with a clean but juicy fruity yeast profile. Altogether, it's an enjoyable and very drinkable ESB with quite a bit of dryness to it- the hops are a bit too faint to pick up much on them. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly oily, clean, very dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a mellow frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, shy of medium overall. Balance is slightly nutty bitter and dry malty over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters to note. 3.75

(Overall) ESB isn't always my favorite style, as I don't often find the balance they seem to tout, with there generally being an understatement of sweetness and a dryness that ranges from spot-on to distracting. The dryness of this ale is slightly above what I'd consider balanced, with the nutty and fruity characters of the yeast drying things a bit, but the cleanliness makes it a very easy-drinking beer. Altogether, I'd place this somewhere in the middle of the road for ESB beers. It's probably not worth going out of your way to buy a variety pack just to get to sample this one. 3.75

Better Bitters Brewing Co.'s
Equilibrium ESB: Extra-Special Bitter

Jan 24, 2016
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473 mL can included in their current sampler pack; one of two beers contained within that I've not yet reviewed. Packaged Jun 30 2015 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a foggy copper-amber colour, generating one centimetre of foamy, smoker's-teeth-yellow-coloured head. It fades away fast, leaving behind few remnants - a sickly-thin collar of bubbles here; a few wisps on the surface there. The aroma is relatively subdued in nature, offering up notes of doughy, biscuity malts and some toffee sweetness, along with hints of toasted nuts, candied citrus, red berries and earthy, leafy hops.

Tasty stuff; as the name suggests, this beer's malt and hop flavours are well-proportioned. Some toffee sweetness is joined by a myriad of other flavours - mostly doughy and biscuity malts, with toasted nuts and orchard fruit following on its heels. The back end of the profile features tea-leafy English hops, accompanied by hints of orange citrus, grass and some earthy, roasted malt bitterness. The aftertaste is subtle, with hints of pithy grapefruit astringency lasting beyond the lingering malt sweetness. On the lighter side of medium-bodied, with restrained carbonation levels that gently agitate the palate, resulting in a smooth, slippery mouthfeel. Quite easy to drink; this should appeal on some level to the majority of English ale fans.

Final Grade: 3.9, a B+. Nickel Brook's Equilibrium ESB is an interesting take on this classic British style. It possesses a somewhat more profound bitterness than I tend to expect from this style - with the use of North American hops (e.g. Cascade) empowering it with a citrusy, earthy twist that complements the grassier flavours of the more traditional Euro hops. Throw in some toasty, nutty malts, and I find the combination to be pretty darn satisfying. If they market this as a single at a reasonable price, I could see myself occasionally selecting it over old staples such as Wells Bombardier or Hobgoblin. Definitely worth a look.

Aug 29, 2015
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peensteen from Canada (ON)

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy amber colour, ring of off white head, no lace really. Smell is malty and nutty, some caramel and toffee meets citrusy hops, a touch earthy as well. Taste is of sweet malt caramel with some toffee and nutty flavours, a very light toasted/roast at points, moderate hoppy bitterness, grapefruit with a citrusy-malty finish. Lightly carbonated, medium full body and lightly oily. A thoroughly enjoyable beer, the generous hop bill and the nutty-toasted malt flavours come together really well, something that I think would be great a great fall beer that would pair well with hearty comfort food, would love to see this available in single cans so I could keep a few on hand in cooler months.

Jul 30, 2015
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

473 ml can served cold into a pint glass. Purchased for about $2.85 CDN, as part of the Nickel Brook summer tasters pack.

Appearance - a cloudy honey brown colored beer is poured, with two fingers of frothy ivory head and great staying power. Plenty of visible carbonation towards the top of the glass.

Smell - clean subtle grain aroma with a hoppy presence, some citrus is definitely present too. Subtle yet very inviting.

Taste - starts a little sweet, caramel and grains in there, before turning to a fruity flavor with a sour cherry element in there. Finishes with roasted grain and a long bitterness, although not to the point of being excessive. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - smooth and quite creamy, medium body despite more ABV than usual in this style. Modest carbonation.

Overall - personally, I think this is a very good effort from Nickel Brook, hitting the right notes, with pleasant bitterness, a touch of roastiness and some fruit all mingled together in a way that is pleasing, thirst quenching, and representative of an excellent beer in the style. Definitely a winner.

Jul 24, 2015
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ESB (Extra Strong Bitter) looks extra sleek; polished garnet highlights and a fiery, bottom-dwelling flare lend a colourful glossiness to this otherwise glassy, non-transparent ale. Equilibrium also has a head like a sponge that appears to slowly be swallowing the glass whole.

It's difficult to describe an aroma that doesn't exist - or at least one that doesn't want to be discovered. It was apparent from the word 'go' there was no shortage of nutty, biscuity sweet flavour but it took a lot of swirling and warmth before these notes would willingly hand themselves over.

If only the aroma could be more like the taste. Whereas the nose has to work hard the palate need just sit back and that malty, caramelly flavour simply throws itself at the tongue. Traces of resin and citrus mop up quickly. This leafy, lightly fruity bitterness courses through the beer's veins.

Sadly everything ends at the swallow; the taste disappears so quickly you'd think it had somewhere more important to be. I'd love a little more time with the toasted nuttiness and candied grapefruit notes. I like my ESBs to be medium-full (emphasis on full) and this one is medium-light (emphasis on light).

'Equilibrium' is a good name for an ESB - it captures the juxtaposition between sweet malt and bitter hops that defines the style. The recipe could have done a better job at this, mind you, but it's a nice example all the same. Besides, Nickelbrook continues to get better and better so this one may improve yet...

Mar 05, 2015
Equilibrium ESB from Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 52 ratings