Green Man Brewery

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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #122
Ranked #37,255
3.71 | pDev: 12.13%
Green Man Brewery
North Carolina, United States
Notes: A malty amber ale boasting rich toasted and caramel flavors, Green Man ESB is one of our award-winning signature brews. Our blend of authentic British malts and hops creates a nutty aroma, full body, and a sweet finish. Prepare yourself for a truly exceptional interpretation of a traditional English style.
Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 458 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SaltofOH
SaltofOH from Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle best by 3/30/20. Oops. DFH Tulip.

A: pours a clear dark copper red. Half finger of off white head.

S: smells like an English barley wine. Cherries, malt, candied orange.

T: arrives sweet, with a malty, cherry/ floral, middle and an earthy, floral, bitter finish.

M: medium to full bodied, modest carbonation, but surprisingly clean for how malty it is.

O: one of the better American ESB’s I’ve had, but not the best. A touch on the heavy side, just a tad too sweet. Perhaps unfair because it was so far past date.

Jun 21, 2020
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rayzor21 from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Superb. The best of it's style. Perfectly balanced. No off flavors or aromas that often accompany ESBs. Smooth, medium-bodied, toasty with no harshness, caramel (but not too sweet), and very slight hints of black tea. The only problem is I have a hard time finding it.

Jun 03, 2020
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Tilley4 from Tennessee

4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolute classic...

The beer I want to drink while watching futbol and football...

Easy drinking....smooth as silk... touches of sweetness...creamy...

I love this beer.... an amazing standby that should grace every person's fridge at some point...

May 31, 2020
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EndeavorUK from South Carolina

2.52/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Glass bottle into a clean pint glass. BBD: 5/31/20.
Poured a nice amber colour. Decent head of foam that quickly fades.
Not much of aroma. Pine needles maybe? I'm just not sure.
The taste was slightly sweet but not at all obtrusive. The IBU was 50 if I am not mistaken
I'm not sure how to describe the mouthfeel. Perhaps a bit buttery or biscut if that makes sense
Over all a very well crafted ESB and worth it. The price was around $10.99 per six-pack but a good choice. I'd give ESB from Green Man a solid A.

May 23, 2020
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davedog_7 from Georgia

4.55/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Love this one, and is one of my go-to's when I visit Asheville.

Complex enough to be unique, but easy-drinking enough to have several in a sitting.

I either can't find them, or they don't make them in bottles anymore, it seems. Regardless, I almost always buy a 6-pack if I come across one, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys ESBs, or balanced amber ales.

May 22, 2020
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pubscout from New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Green Man’s ESB is a classic example of a British Extra Special Bitter—malty, toasty with a nice, subtle nuttiness. A malty nose and a smooth mouthfeel make this 5.5% beer a solid session choice!

Jan 09, 2020
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teromous from Virginia

3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the front of the bottle, near the bottom of the shoulders in yellow ink dots: "ENJOY BY 07/27/19...2123"

Appearance: The beer is a dark copper brown color with a short off-white head. Good retention and clarity.

Aroma: There is a faint aroma of toasted nuts along with some tea leaves and a very light burnt carbon aroma.

Taste: Toffee and a hint of caramel come through first. There is a light tea presence to the beer and a bit of a spicy herbal flavor.

Mouthfeel: it feels mid-upper light bodied with a hint of texture. Carbonation feels a bit high but enjoyable. Bitterness is spot-on.

Overall: The beer was enjoyable. It had a nice complement of flavors and the bitterness did a good job of underpinning any derivative sweetness. The beer felt over-carbonated, and while that didn't do any favors for the mouthfeel, it seemed to drive the aroma and flavor forward. I would drink it again and while it wouldn't be the first ESB I recommend I would say it's worth trying.

Apr 27, 2019
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Foyle from North Carolina

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass. 1" off white sudsy aroma falls quickly, mild lacing. Hazy amber color, plenty of carbonation clinging to glass. Aroma is nutty, rich roasted malt, raisin, plum, a bit of citrus. Mouthfeel is medium and slightly astringent. Flavor nutty, caramel, toasted bread, dark fruit, citrus. Overall: very good but the flavor fell a little short of what the aroma led me to expect.

Apr 12, 2019
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Can (enjoy by I think 7/27/19 (could be 2/22/19, but doubt it):
Pours a dark amber, leaning brown ale, with an off-white head that also has a lean - towards beige. Lacing is pretty strong (using an etched glass in this review).

Nose is sorta weak, mostly a toasted malt scent, though not an overly strong one. There's an allusion to some grassy hop notes. The taste follows up on the toasted malt notes, with a hint of weak coffee. The bitterness is fairly clean initially, balancing the malt influence as best it can. Its later start does allow it to last longer, giving an earthy bitterness with some grass influence.

A fairly balanced ESB that I think could use an extra little nudge towards the bitter side. The label also says "special amber" which is a tad odd - it's not as malty sweet as I perceive most amber ales. Either way, I think I could easily have this as a staple in my fridge at this point.

Mar 01, 2019
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jkrich from Florida

3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from undated 12 oz. can: murky brown with golden highlights with a quickly receding off-white head.

Very faint aromas of malt, leather and plum.

The ale begins refreshing enough with some zesy carbonation, complex malt and an aftertaste of candy with hints of molasses and plums (like the aroma). I think it could use a greater hop profile as the sweetness tends to overwhelm the palate and the body is a little too thin for my ESB. Overall, rather restrained but quaffable and refreshing.

Worth a try, though not my favorite of the style. I had to settle for a "5-pack" as the liquor store was missing the sixth can.

Feb 24, 2019
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle, thanks to my buddy Denis for this one! Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a slightly hazy amber color with about an inch off-white head that stayed around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice but weak, the brew smells like toffee, toasted malt, nuts, earthiness, raisin and dark bread. For the most part I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some caramel, apple and herbal flavors noticeable too. Mostly sweet tasting. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit coating and easy to drink with a good amount of carbonation. I liked this brew, although it is sweeter than most ESB's that I'm used to. Still, it's worth trying. I know I'd drink this again given the chance.

Dec 27, 2018
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Tone from Missouri

3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight caramel malt, and a hint of citrus hops. Fits the style of an English Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, caramel malt, hint of citrus hops, pale malt, hint of yeast, and a hint of wheat. Overall, weak appearance and simple aroma, but good body, blend, and feel.

Nov 15, 2018
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comrade_hanson from Georgia

4.71/5  rDev +27%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the first ESBs I've had and man, this style is really growing on me. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sweetwater branded pint glass. Appearance is pretty, if pretty run of the mill (amber colored, with a white head that fades to a small amount fairly quickly). Aroma however is extremely interesting. There's some earthiness/herbs from the British hops, and the malt background contributes a lot of caramel and raiseny notes. As for flavor, this beer is extremely, EXTREMELY pleasant. It's almost like a caramel covered piece of toast or a treacle tart with some burnt bitterness. Dark fruit and raisins also start to become apparent midway through the finish. The finish is a little sweet for the style, but still well balanced. The mouthfeel is fairly light, and carbonation is present, but not too zippy. All in all this was an extremely nice beer to drink, and I will definitely revisit this one if I see it again.

Aug 19, 2018
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BonnieTWM from Florida

3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My first experiences with an ESB, so here we go. Looks slightly hazy in the glass, a light rusty orange color. Pours a generous head that settles down into a lingering cap. Smells to me of caramelly, raisiny malt with pleasant herbal hops. Mouthfeel crisp but silky. There's the dark fruit/raisin hints again in the taste, as well as that caramel malt and some citrusy hop flavor. Maybe a little sweet on the finish for my taste but not bad - definitely a food friendly beer, probably good with fried foods like the classic fish and chips.

Jul 13, 2018
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superspak from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can into pint glass, canned on 4/20/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, plum, pear, apple, herbal, grass, light toffee, and yeast/toasted earthiness. A bit too fruity/yeasty aromas, but not overwhelming. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of toffee, plum, pear, apple, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Very mild herbal, grassy, spicy bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, light toffee/fruit, herbal, grass, and yeast toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately bready/grainy, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol for 5.5%. Overall this is a very good ESB. All around nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with the mildly bitter/drying finish. Nicely rich English malt complexity; with mild hop balance, and restrained English yeast fruitiness. A very enjoyable offering. Very well made for the style.

Jun 02, 2018
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jadpsu from Georgia

3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a Growler of this at the Lincoln Fill Station, less than a mile from the house. A new experience!
Pours a slightly less than clear amber with an abundant of white or tan head that proved to have pretty good retention.
AROMA: Toasty malts, sweet.
TASTE: Follows the aroma. mostly malts. Some caramel, creamy, smooth. Not recognizing much in the hop area.
This was nevertheless a very tasty beer that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Jun 01, 2018
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Crimson-RV from Tennessee

3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

aroma a earthy hops bread and slightly metallic fragrance. a low to medium hops taste with a malt balance and a lasting dry finish and a surprising carbonation, overall a very enjoyable beer even though a departure from the esb style.

May 01, 2018
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Das Biergarten. Amber body. Smells of bready malt and caramel. Faint grassy hop. Tastes of aggressive toasty malt and a little bit of caramel. Nicely bitter with some spicy hops. Medium body. Dry and a touch too crisp. I say that as if I'm some sort of authority of the line between amber ales and ESBs. Ha.

Mar 20, 2018
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SmokySignals from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Green Man ESB 12 oz. BB 09/13/19 bottle poured fast into Goblet...
Beautiful dark amber body, like a lighter brown ale. 1 inch head dissipates to thing ring and puddle of foam in center....

Aromas seem malty caramel and toffee
Taste follows the nose, plus with a balance that completes this choice ale perfectly. Brown bread, molasses, balanced
Nice enough mouthfeel and carbonation is spot on....put a head on it-it will taste even better as it warms.
Dry pleasant finish and just a prime example of a fine handcrafted nuanced beer.
If you like dark, rich, top shelf brew, it is a must have.
This is a good go to brew for many occasions, sessions and entertaining visitors.
Well received and many times enjoyed repeatedly, due to its subtle uniqueness. Visitors to the area who don't drink craft, love this brew. BALANCED, SESSION-ABLE. Great gateway/smasher

May 27, 2017
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DrainBamage from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly cloudy dark copper color with a nice lace of head. Smell has nice toasty malt aromas. Taste is just a tad bitter, but is fairly well balanced with the toasted malts. Overall a above average ESB.

May 07, 2017
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KTCamm from New Jersey

4.11/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12/30/15 from notes...pours rich dark amber brown. Heavy foam layers the side. Ready toffee nose. Taste is a rich toasty malt. Hearty. Caramels too. Really robust perfect blend. Excellent.

Dec 28, 2016
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NolaHopHead from Louisiana

3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Pours rich clean Amber color, thin white head leaves a little scattered lace. Toasted grain aroma, taste. Some nice piney bitterness in the finish. Semi soft feel

Nov 21, 2016
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mothmanscott from Georgia

3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear pale brown with a reddish hue producing less than a finger of shortlived, pale tan, frothy head that leaves little lacing. Aroma is toasted malt, roast, caramel, nuts faint coffee& cocoa. Not ESB like at all. Taste is toasty dark bread, roast and nutty notes, earthy hops & thin yeasty/malty fruity esters. The sip finishes with caramel, roast & nuts, fruit, some pepper with little bitterness. Afrertaste is malty, dry & astringent. Again not ESB like at all. Checking the Green Man Brewery website I found that they consider this their Amber Ale offering, which makes sense, but why the ESB designation on the label? The low bitterness is the result of 32 IBUs, also found on the website. With this said why does Beer Advocate list it as an ESB? Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low-medium carbonation, dry, creamy, silky with slight spice.

Oct 16, 2016
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JBowenGeorgia from Georgia

4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not much experience with the ESB style so can't really compare it to others. Tried this on tap at a restaurant that primarily had the everyday mass produced brews, this was their only oddball so thought I'd give it a try. I liked the appearance, dark copper amber almost clear, not much head and what was there dissipated quickly. Smells of smokey malt and chocolate. Taste is similar with a nutty caramel finish, more sweet that bitter. I enjoyed it, I frequent that restaurant monthly so it has became my beer of choice when there.

Oct 04, 2016
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown with a fingernail of tan. Moderate lacing. Chocolate malt is present in the nose. I taste chocolate malt with a hint of light bittering hops in the back of the palate. The mouth is creamy and smooth.

Sep 14, 2016
ESB from Green Man Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 458 ratings