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Green Man ESB | Green Man Brewery

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Green Man ESBGreen Man ESB

Brewed by:
Green Man Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2006

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Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 377
Photo of mothmanscott
3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of mchegash
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Hazy dark orange brown, with a finger of off-white head.

Smell: Dark malts, slight fruit and hops

Taste: Dark, almost porter-like malts. Slight fruit, metallic, and hops.

Feel: Medium-full bodied, smooth and crisp. Medium carbonation.

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Photo of hman43
3.02/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Look: It pours black, but there is some that makes it through. It has a full head with lacing.

Smell: It has a strong malt aroma that features chocolate. There are some dark fruit aromas and hints of floral hops.

Taste: It has roasted malt flavors with chocolate, floral hops, and hints of fruit.

Feel: It has high carbonation with a moderate feel to is. It is moderately bitter on the palate.

Overall: It is a bitter finishing beer that highlights the malt backbone with some fruit and floral elements.

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On draft at Harrahs Cherokee casino. Poured a dark brown with little head. Smell was nearly indistinguishable, I don't know how else to describe it. Taste was alright but to be fair, I had just come from another brewery and enjoyed several top flight IPA's, so my palate may have been wrecked. So suffice it to say, this isn't a beer to follow an IPA. I'll give this another try one of these days.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Tried on cask 1/8/09

Copper brown color and kind of hazy. There was almost no head, and I believe this was the last of the cask left, which may have contributed to the low carbonation. The smell is wonderful, at least to me. Smells kind of like 'raw' beer, like boiled wort. Very sweet smell, and a bit estery, kind of like a tea smell. The taste is a bit woody, you can tell its from a cask. Tastes very sweet, without a whole lot of bitterness, but it balanced out the beer to keep the sweetness from being cloying. Tastes a bit like sweet tea, from the floral esters in the beer. The mouthfeel is nice and full. Though there was almost no carbonation. I actually started to like this beer once I got into it. There was good balance and drinkability, and I may have a second one or revisit it, but not something I'd want all the time. The esters were just a bit too dominant for me.

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Photo of VaterRoss
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on-tap at Pandora's Pies

Appearance is a clear copper with a small white head that goes down to a film. Smell is of a nice mellow caramel malt with some light skunk. Overall not a huge nose. The initial taste is the funk/skunk that was just noticeable in the nose, it is far more prominent in the taste. After the unpleasantness, some of those nice English malts come through followed by some light hop spiciness. Well balanced. Mouthfeel is medium in body and carb.

This is an ok beer, the funkiness almost ruins it but it is just barely saved by the nice malt. If it didn't have the funk this would be in the 3.5-4 range. One cannot help but to compare a beer to the epitome of its style and this one simply does not match up to Fuller's.

notes: I have a suspicion that this keg is old as the location (college town) suggests to me that an ESB wouldn't be the most ordered beer, also, the keg kicked soon after.
from notes 1/31/12

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Photo of drperm
4.71/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I liked this beer on tap at Jack of the Wood ok, but having it cask-conditioned at Brewgrass has changed my life!

Regarding the appearance, it pours pure foam into the glass before settling into a shimmering raw umber. It sits poised with good posture, laced with a delicate doily of white foam.

As it approaches the nose, an aroma of freshly-cracked roasted barley awakens and caresses the olfactory. This flows seamlessly into a melange of fresh hops and a nostalgic hint of summer meadows untainted by industrialism.

The taste is creamy-smooth, roasty, and above all mellow: mellow like the quiet sage who only speaks once a month, but when his mouth opens pure poetic wisdom spouts forth.

As it tickles the tongue and continues its journey, it leaves a calling-card: more mellowness, richly smooth. I could make sweet love to this brew all night (or day!) long.

Overall: Have I mentioned yet that I think I'm in love?

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Photo of JimKal
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Sticks and Stones in Greensboro, NC

Draft poured a dark brown into a pint glass. Minimal head with OK to thin lacing. There was minimal carbonation as well.

Taste had a hint of chocolate but other than that it was quite balanced.

Mouthfeel was smooth as with most ESBs.

This is a nice beer if you like ESBs and I'll order it again when I see it on tap.

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Photo of Griffin2
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- dark brown with a nice white head.
S- Roasty smell.
T - very nice beer. Seemed like a light version of a porter.
F- medium carbonation.
O - very easy drinking beer.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.71/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very dark amber color. Has a small white head. Has a grainy, hoppy smell to it. Taste has the perfect mix of malts. It gives a nice roasted taste to it.

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Photo of ncfranklin
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Jack of the Wood

A: Deep amber. FInger tall beige head.

S: Pine, grass, some caramel.

T: Follows the nose. Grass with some bitter upfront, hoppy floral inbetween, backbone of caramel malt.

M: Good medium body, not too much carbonation, some slight dryness on the finish in the tongue. Refreshing.

D: A very quaffable ESB.

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Photo of beerdown77
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been excited to try this beer for a few reasons: One, it's a local place and I appreciate that. Two, it comes recommended by a friend. This beer was good. I thoroughly enjoyed the intense hoppy flavor, which I was not expecting. It had a robust, natural element. I enjoyed the "rawness" and heaviness despite the fact that it is only 5.3%. Maybe there is power of suggestion in the name, but earthy and organic came to mind as well. I could have a few of these in a row and am looking forward to trying Green Man's other beers.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.22/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color. Presents with a roasted malty smell. Flavor is dominated by roasted malt with coffee overtones. More a brow ale than an ESB. Very disappointed.

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Photo of lastmango
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Root beer color with tan thin head. Faint oak/chocolate smell. Nice malty flavor with almost no bite at the end. Expected more bitterness.

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Photo of raszputini
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rock solid ESB. From the growler to the pint glass. Pours a light amber with thin whitish head. Green man malts are easily identifiable and this makes for a very distinctive taste, the malt is very similar to their IPA, but tones of caramel, distinct bitterness but reduced hoppiness provides the distinction. This is a very easy drinking brew and one of my favorite ESBs.

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Photo of sweett3k
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On a visit of the Local brew of Ashville, NC. Pours brownish orange into the pint glass with a quick head. Banana and coffee aroma. Smooth grain and barley malt. Some fruit notes. Think I will change up on my next order. Good selection here at the Bier Garten.

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Photo of jsausley
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass from the Boston, MA brewery.

Batch 1218, bottle 14154.

This beer has been one of my perennial favorites when visiting the mountains of North Carolina and the vicinity of Asheville where it is most commonly found on draft. The first time I had this beer was at the 12 Bones restaurant on the UNC-Asheville campus, served on draft with a delicious North Carolina barbecue meal. ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter but the bottle says "special amber ale." It comes in a beautiful bottle with a gorgeous smooth label that I couldn't help but run my thumb over.

A: ESB has a really dark reddish-brown color that is more transparent than translucent. It is rich in color like a fine, dark red wood. It did not pour a very noticeable head on my pour, but it could be due to the fact that I reviewed from a bottle rather than on draft. There was however significant carbonation bubbling deep within the beer, but you have to stare into its deep color to find it.

S: This ale is more flavorful than fragrant. It smells of roasted malt and coffee with a light hint of chocolate.

T: This is a wonderfully flavorful beer. The first sip is packed of roasted malt and coffee flavors and hits you hard with its boldness. It has a malty, nutty body a slight tinge of hops is somewhat sweet on the tongue. There are hints of herbs and earthy flavors and very little fruit or citrus. It is not a very bitter beer (32 IBU) and lacks a significant amount noticeable aftertaste apart from a slight bitterness.

M: Smooth and crisp but lacking carbonation. It is a very drinkable texture and smoothness.

O: Overall this is one of my favorite beers that I buy locally. It's rich and bold but not overpowering, which you would expect from a nice craft ale. I still prefer the Green Man IPA (which I have not reviewed yet) but I wouldn't turn down this lovely malty ale with its rich flavor and dark color.

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Photo of myelo
4.16/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Bearden Beer Market in Knoxville.

Hazy, dark amber color with thin tan head. Prominent bread, roasted malt aroma with mold floral hops. Taste is reacted malts with caramel, fruity sweetness balanced by mild bitterness. Medium body with mild carbonation. Very mild ethanol warmth.

Overall a great ESB, very smooth with strong, sweet malt.

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Photo of sweetwaterman
2.94/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I've head this on draft at their pub, but it was a while back and this is for the bottled version.

Appearance is fine. Slightly hazy brown. Not much head after pouring.

Nose is malt and caramel, but not much else.

Taste is ok for the style. On the sweeter side. Nothing off putting, but perhaps the short, slightly sour finish. No real depth, but nothing bad.

Mouthfeel is strangely viscous. Not exactly what I had in mind.

Overall it's fine, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of Fulkrum78
3.31/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on draft at Twelve Bones in Asheville, NC. Nice beer, with a great brown color and decent head. Not as much on the aroma side of things as I would expect, but that could have been part of sitting outside. I got a malty backbone to this, and not so much of the hoppiness that I would have expected out of an ESB. Tasty beer, just not what I had expected.

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Photo of PhillipJFry
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Has a nice amber color and little head retention.

s: Interesting caramel malts and some unique hops.

m: medium body and average composition.

t: Some hop flavors and a moderate bitterness. I wish there was just a bit more to this one.

d: Real easy drinking, like most Green Man offerings.

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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of dmbdusty41
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's funny, at first I was not impressed with this ESB, HOWEVER, through finishing the glass casually I learned to enjoy it. Maybe it was the brewmaster giving the history of ESBs or just grew to liking the beer, but I believe I could enjoy a few more of these. It's a nice caremely color, like a golden amber if that makes any sense. Mouth-feel is about what I expected from a beer of it's stature, but after a few sips/gulps I really liked it.

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Green Man ESB from Green Man Brewery
3.7 out of 5 based on 377 ratings.
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