ESB Amber | Saugatuck Brewing Company

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79
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129 Ratings
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ESB AmberESB Amber
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Saugatuck Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
saugatuckbrewing.com

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by gordavidson on 07-20-2010

BEER STATS
Ratings:
129
Reviews:
30
Avg:
3.37
pDev:
14.54%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
17
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 129 |  Reviews: 30
Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle, part of the Saugatuck mixed-pack.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with one skinny finger of weakly foamy, and mostly just bubbly ecru head, which leaves some layered mesa-top lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of semi-sweet bready caramel malt, a soft earthy nuttiness, a bit of wet ash, and faint leafy, weedy, and grassy hops. The taste is lightly toasted caramel malt, oily bar-top nuts, some muddled domestic fruit bowl sweetness, brown sugar, and more plain earthy, leafy, and slightly floral hops.

The carbonation is quite light and ineffectual for the most part, the body a solid medium-heavy weight for the purported style, and generally smooth, a wee hoppy astringency finally getting its wings. It finishes on the sweet side, from various grainy malt and fruity esters alike.

Much more of an American nut brown ale in bearing, than an ESB - the hops just don't cut it. Tasty for what it is, though, as long as you're ok with an overload of maltiness, which my tongue usually rears back at after one standard serving - so, yeah - one and done, I'm afraid.

 1,120 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying the Saugatuck lineup and 0-3 so far, hoping this is the one that turns it around. Maybe. Single bottle with "2262 B2 0114 " printed on the bottom of the bottle.

Poured into a Bells tulip, the color is a deep copper and clear enough to read the text on the opposite side of the glass. A finger of foam on the surface that recedes to a floating island of skim in the center, leaving behind a drippy halo of lacing in the glass. Looks pretty nice so far.

Grainy barley aroma, cereal grain, some mild apple, pretty on point for an ESB.

Flavors of mildly toasted malt, light apple and a mellow hop bitterness in the dry aftertaste. Light to medium bodied, easygoing feel. No flaws, pleasant overall, would drink again. Finally, a decent beer from Saugatuck...

 767 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of zeff80
3.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours fairly cloudy orange amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduced to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, orange zest, apple, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, orange zest, apple, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and toast/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, light nuttiness, orange zest, apple, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and toast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good ESB style. Good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,420 characters

Photo of oberon
3.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a plastic cup at the Tigers game a nice looking deep burnt orange with a thick head that never really settled completely,it's been awhile since I had a beer in a plastic cup I admit.Aromas were of bready malt and caramel mainly,a bit of toast and fruitiness was there as well but on the lighter side.Simple straitforward flavors of caramel/toffee and lightly toasted bread with faint herbal hops in the finish.Enjoyable at the ballgame but not anything I would really seek out to be honest.

 502 characters

Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of TMoney2591
2.73/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Not sure if the Brits would make such a colorful distinction, but you never know with those crazy foreigners... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear copper topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises biscuit, light toffee, and the vaguest possible sense of grass. The taste holds notes of sweet caramel, sharp dirt, and earthy greens. There's a strong bitterness from the earth and dirt, and it clashes painfully with the caramel's sweetness. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, this was a decent idea, but it seems that execution lagged a bit behind aspiration.

 682 characters

Photo of jgunther71
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of krome
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of Tone
3.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of strong sweet malt, caramel malt, yeast, alcohol, hint of hop, and slight dark citrus. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of biscuit, caramel malt, slight yeast, alcohol, hint of hop, and slight dark citrus. Overall, slightly too sweet, complex, tasty, and good appearance.

 498 characters

Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.54/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a pint glass. The appearance was a nice hazy looking amber to brown color. There was about a finger’s worth of foamy white head that once it dissipated there were some decent looking foamy rings. Carbonation was seen rising. The smell was bready and had some nice roasty caramel notes filling my nose. The taste was roasty and nutty bready sweetness with an in and out sort of caramel-ness. I didn’t get any aftertaste but the finish was actually quite smooth. The palate was fairly smooth and had a carbonation suited well for the ESB style as it had a somewhat creaminess running about it. Overall, I say this was a fairly good ESB worthy of having again.

 680 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of tommy5
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of enelson
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of pat61
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brilliant amber, fluffy ¾” offwhite head, excellent lace, malt aroma, not much else, pleasant, drinkable ale with a little light toffee, some roast malts but very light touch, nuts, light fruit.

 197 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.42/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really nice craggy head and super thick layer of foam that leaves a nice little foam-stache on your upper lip. Great copper color and foam stickage. Nice bubbling too.

A little lemony toasted crackers with some biscuit mix. An airy aroma for this style of beer. A little sweet at times too.

Palate is a little thin from start to finish. Maybe somewhat oily. Taste starts with toasted bread crumbs and a little biscuit. The hops add just a hint of lemon zest. Malty, a little citric and zesty. Not a bad session beer for me.

 527 characters

Photo of BDeibs
3.02/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of StoutHunter
3.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Saugatuck's ESB Amber last week for $1.49 at The Lager Mill. I was reading the newest issue of The Michigan Beer Guide and it said that the ESB Amber was named the best ESB in the Midwest, so I thought I should pick up a bottle and give it a try. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label looks OK, its got an old classic looking family photo on it. It poured a nice light amber color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thick layer that stayed till the end and left some nice sheets of lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with lots of sweet malts that had a dark bread like aroma. There was also some fruit aroma with a light amount of dark fruits. I got a light amount of earthy and herbal hops. The aroma is pretty malty for an ESB.

T- The first thing I pick is a good amount of lightly toasted malts that have a distinct brown bread flavor that was pretty similar to the aroma. The malts also impart a very slight amount of caramel. The hops are on the lighter side and have an herbal flavor with a slight bit of fruitiness. The finish is smooth with a pretty light amount of bitterness and it and herbal hop aftertaste.

M- Smooth, semi dry, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had just the right amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was spot on for an ESB.

Overall I thought this was an OK ESB. It was a very smooth and sessionable beer that had just enough flavor to hold my attention. It had some pretty good drinkability to it, if I had another one I would drink it, I could see drinking a three or four of these in a sitting, it makes for a good fall beer. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, to me this is exactly what an ESB should be like, it had a good body with just the right amount of carbonation, this beer also looked pretty damn good. What I liked least about this beer was the aroma and the light amount of hops in this beer, the aroma was a little dull and pretty much all malts and the flavor could have used a bigger hop presence to help balance out all those malts and I think an ESB should have more then just a light amount of bitterness on the finish. I might buy this beer when looking for an ESB, but if Short's Autumn Ale is in season I would chose that over this beer every time, it doesn't have that stronger hop presence that I look for in this style. This beer is worth giving a try but expect it to be on the malty side and not as bitter as other ESB's. This beer was better then their porter, but I still felt like there was some things that could be improved like adding more hops to balance out all those malts. So far this is my favorite bottled offering from Saugatuck Brewing Company, but it falls short in being a great ESB. I don't think this is the best ESB in the Midwest, the people who voted for it must have not tried Short's ESB. It may have a stronger hop presence when really fresh, but with not bottling date on this bottle I have no way of knowing.

 3,050 characters

Photo of Gatordaddy
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Brenden
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer is a red-orange color, fitting within the range for either ESB or amber. The small off-white head doesn't look strong but takes longer than expected to fall. The moderate lacing is another surprise.
The smell is mainly of toast and caramel, very much like a Marzen. There's a hint of hoppiness, but it's mostly about the malt backbone.
The taste is similar but different in key ways; it's also interesting, as a nice caramel sweetness that may be the strongest and sweetest note of caramel I've had in a beer, along with a strong note of toast, meets leaf and pith. The sweetness and the bitterness work together without clashing, and it makes for some depth.
A good, strong medium body that leans light so as not to give too much heft to this lighter styled beer also maintains a firm crispness without giving up smoothness.

 835 characters

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ESB Amber from Saugatuck Brewing Company
3.37 out of 5 based on 129 ratings.
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