Otter Creek ESB (Extra Special Bitter) | Otter Creek Brewing

Otter Creek ESB (Extra Special Bitter)Otter Creek ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
67 Ratings
Otter Creek ESB (Extra Special Bitter)Otter Creek ESB (Extra Special Bitter)

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 01-18-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 62
Reviews by atsprings:
Photo of atsprings
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass leaving a razor thin off white head that diminished within 15 seconds. Aroma was almost non present. That being said, this beer actually tastes pretty good. The bottle says it's brewed just for the spring. I found this beer in late January. Listed as bottled om 03/06/08. I guess it means March 8th 2006. If so, this beer has held up rather well for that long, non bottle conditioned, at such a normal alcohol strength. I consider this a good nightcap beer, and that's just what the other 5 bottles I have will be.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich clear bronze color with a thin quickly vanishing white head good color clarity but not much head atop.Faint bready aromas alog with some butteriness and that ESB fruity character but it all seems a little faint,a quality ESB flavor wise quite bready and lightly sweet with some buttery tones and toasted grain and fruit with a herbal even a little spicey hop finish wich was nice to balance it out somewhat.A tad thin but flavors are very nice and almost spot on for a good ESB,very quaffable and Iam sure would be a pleasure on the engine.

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Photo of Todd
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Released out of its 12oz brown bottle with twist off cap, this brew pours a bright coppery-color crowned with a thick, pure white foamy head with excellent stick to the glass and retention. Aromas are soft, with fruity, toasty and floral notes the pull the senses in. Mouthfeel is smooth, with an even texture across the palate. Toasty, biscuity and grainy malt flavors mingle with a mild sweetness, hint of buttery caramel and some wood in the linger. Hop character is slightly coarse and spicy, with a leafy edge and oily back. Sharp bitter flash with citrusy tones of orange and rind. Fruity esters suggest young strawberries with a hint of alcohol. Drying and long finish with hop oils, biscuity and grainy tannins hanging in the palate.

This is well constructed ESB. While the beer’s bitterness is showcased, this ESB is very balanced and highly drinkable. Definitely give this one a try. Pair it up with an aged Gruyère or Emmental cheese, or mixed green salad with sliced radishes and thickly shaved Parmesan.

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Photo of bpfrush
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears copper amber hued nice chunky cream orange tinted head leaves nice even lacing. Aroma...English hops standout, mineral character present with a citrus grassy tone malty biscuit backbone. Taste has a good mix of bredy yeast notes solid bitterness and citrus and grassy hops malt layers are very impressive nice balanced ESB. Mouthfeel has a medium bodied ale even slgiht sticky texture but clean overall. Drinkability is classic style well represented by these Vermont brewers great beer.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Otter Creek ESB

Appearance- hazelnut brown with very little head.
Smell- biscuit/ bready malt with slight earthy hops.
Taste- oily earthy hops, with a metallic malt flavor.
Mouthfeel- bitter and metallic at first but the earthy (wood/ leaf) hop flavor take over the back half.

Overall- A big let down. The metallic flavor that overpowers the malt almost ruins this one. I'll look for it on tap so I can re-review.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper brownish color with an off white creamy head 1.5 finger head. So clear I can see the sweat on the opposite side of the glass. Smell is full of sweet barley and creamy toasted malts, with light floral and leaves. Taste is nicely rounded. Begins sweet and turns to a nice even bitter tingle. Hops are light and refreshing and the malt is sweet and full. Smooth mouthfeel, nice sized medium body and nothing but really drinkable.

A very quaffable, good session beer. Certainly a good one from Otter Creek with a nice English feel to it.

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Photo of weasbri
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice coppery color with a good head of foam leaving a good lacing along the glass. I get a decent floral hop aroma, with the malt coming through as well.
The first sip brought me back to my last trip to England and trying the bitters there. Not the same thing though, I realize. The hops soon came through much more aggressively, with a good bit of a bite, but were well balanced all in all.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz Bottled 2/9/06. consumed 5/26/06.

AP: Smokey amber color, oranger hues in direct sunlight. Pours a thin quick-lived head. medium body.

smell: Very sweet, citrusy, hoppy.

Taste: plenty of bitter hops, yet just enough malty sweetness. Doesn't taste nearly as fruity as the smell will lead you to believe. Sweet orange flavor with some tartness. Pretty well balanced overall.

MF: The Citrusy hops really pops on the palate, feels very refreshing, but a bit bitter in the after taste. not bad though.

Goes down dry and clean, the battle of bitter and sweet rages from the first sip to the last.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a orange copper color with a 1 1/2 finger tan foamy head. The smell has some citrus scents as well as malt sweetness and hops.although the smell is a little light. The taste has some sweet malt with some carmel with a finishing of bitter hops. The flavors are very refreshing. The m/f is light with the flavors being well balanced. This is a damn good beer. Cheers.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Otter Creek's seemingly bottle-conditioned ESB pours a mostly clear orange-amber body beneath a short cap of frothy ivory foam. The head retention is good, and it leaves some nice areas of thin lace about the pint. The nose offers bright, grassy and leafy hops, and a sweet dollop of caramelish malt. The body is medium, and its very fine bubbled moderate carbonation gives a light tingle to the tongue before warming to become soft and smooth. The flavor is richly caramelish and biscuity upfront with a thread of yeasty fruitiness. The bitterness steps in, and leafy and grassy hops appear across the middle. Bready and toasty maltiness lingers in the finish along with some leafy hop notes and a solid bitterness. Well done! Quite drinkable!

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Photo of tempest
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, but a bad ESB. The flavors are too sharp and rich, not subtle, creamy, and smooth like I'm used to. It tastes nutty and a little grainy. It's still fairly easy to drink, but mostly just tastes like an odd American amber. Avoid this one if you like your ESB's true to form, otherwise its not bad.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of silver0rlead
4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber with a thin off white head that dissapates quickly (perhaps my pour was insufficient?). The aroma definately kicks it up a notch, with a nice caramel sweetness upfront, along with fresh floral and slightly citrusy hops, toasted bread, a touch of diacetyl, fruity esters and biscuit. The flavor starts off with toasted bread and biscuit, along with some smooth caramel, slight buttery diacetyl presence, mostly floral but some citrus hop flavors, fruity esters and a hint a alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with an even textured carbonation that doesnt interrupt. Drinkability is excellent. Overall a very nice beer from Otter Creek, to me this could replace fuller's esb when money is tight (being around 3 bucks cheaper a six pack at least).

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Photo of Franchise
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This offering from Otter Creek pours a bright, clear, and clean amber orange color with some small carbonated bubbles in the glass. The nose of this brew is like herbal tea, some spicy fruit aspects come out but not heavy in nature just pleasing to the nose. The taste is a bitter blast of fruity oily hops. It then moves to a solid malt backbone for sweetness which really balances the beer. Very nice ESB best I've tasted in awhile.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber and mahogany color with a moderate ecru head with some quality lace on the glass.
Aroma of caramel some tart/sour fruit notes and some really herbal hop notes. Hint of roasted notes as it warmed a bit.
Flavor of caramel, lightly roasted nuts and some fairly aggresive but lighter bittering. Well-transitioned and balanced.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and again the balance between sweet malt and herbal, earty hop notes is spot on.
Drinkability is fairly high, very well made beer and right along with the style.

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Photo of wedge
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper-amber with a thin creamy white head...virtually no carbonation. Aromas are toasty and fruity - earthy and bready overall. Malty bitter flavor - a little metallic. Leafy hops are a little rough around the edges, more breadiness in the mouth - a little grain in the finish. The taste leaves a lingering trace of sweetened citrus. Medium mouthfeel with a dry, though slightly oily finish.

Gets better as you drink it. Well balanced and easy to drink. Seems to be a good representation of the style...quite tasty. Pick some up if you can find it.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper, amber color. 1 finger head that slowly disapates. Spiderweb lacing. Crystal clear and a few carbonation bubbles rise to the top.
Smell is faint. Some fruit and maybe a sweetness. Can sweet be an odor anyway?
Nice mild fruitiness in the flavor. Citrus maybe. I also taste some green apple. The fruit flavors are balanced nicely by a caramel sweetness. This is a very balanced beer.
Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied.
A very drinkable beer that would make a nice spring session beer.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very crisp amber colour with a thin head that moves quickly to a lacing that leaves a small amount of residue on the glass.

The aroma has a nice swwet hop/earthy malt balance to it. Some floral notes are mixed in as well as a hint of butter.

The flavour is nice and echoes the aroma a bit, but is a touch more rubbery and earthy and dominant in its malt charateristics. Hops really don't seep through until toward the finish and even then are fairly faint and mixed with a bitter wood-like flavour. Mouthfeel is sharp and crisp and nice overall.

I enjoyed this one, but its a basic no-frills ESB. It's nothing to go out of your way for, but is a nice ESB option if you see it in the store.

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Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy copper hue with a one finger head. Little retention, but decent lacing.

The smell was very non-descript. A slight flowery hop aroma is present.

The taste is very very clean. A nice balance of light flavors, both malt and hop. A very clean and dry finish, with a nice light biscuit aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but very clean. There was good carbonation.

A very drinkable ESB. Not the best example, but certainly drinkable.

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Photo of geexploitation
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I didn't find this to be a very appealing example of ESB. I thought it was thin on body and imbalanced flavor-wise.

Pours a very pretty dark amber color, sparkly, bright and clear. Thick white head that sticks around a bit. The nose has some slightly sweet hops aromas and just a bit of dusty malt underneath, but the main theme here is hops. In the taste of this beer, those hops come way to the forefront, but in an acrid, almost sour way. The hop tastes are not balanced by a thick malty backbone, which is a travesty of beer construction -- something this acridly bitter cries out for malt contributions. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, not appealing, and drinkability... well, it's thin and not filling, but who wants to keep drinking something that doesn't taste good? Poor!

All in all I'm disappointed. Otter Creek has done some nice things in the past, but it should be back to the drawing board with this one.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper caramel with off-white head. Very light noble hops on the nose.

Very nice mix of caramel sweetness and floral hops. Pretty one dimensional, but nicely done and simple. Finished quite crisp. Medium bodied, clean and creamy. Very drinkable given these qualities. Straight up and simple without all the extraneous stuff US brewers tend to throw in.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
1.83/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear, rich, pretty copper color with a small white had that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is caramel malty with a big toasted nuttiness. Nice hop aroma.

Taste is caramel malty upfront wit some toasted nuttiness. A bitter bit appears with some hop flavor just before the taste becomes very metallic and unpleasant.. This beer just arrived at the store, so I know it's not old - but something is seriously wrong.

Medium-light body, mild carbonation.

Wow, what started out as a nice experience made a big turn for the worse. I can't possibly drink this. I had a few other people taste this to make sure I wasn't crazy and the reactions were all the same. Down the drain.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. Bottled on 2/14/06, Lot #1847.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear dark amber brew. Head recedes relatively slowly, with ample lacing. Aroma is wet grains, maybe a tad sour. Taste wonders what happened in the nose, because we've got nicely balanced malt and hops bitterness working together, with a lingering hops character. Mouthfeel is super-smooth, and drinkability is oh-so-easy, a session beer looking for an occasion.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper body with a light finger of white head.

Nose is malty and slightly bitter.

Flavor is that of a really good ESB. Biscuit malt up front. Fine bitter finish with English hops and a slight citrus flavor. The remarkable thing to me is, "No Butter!" I don't think that I have ever had an ESB without even a hint of butteriness. This is a fine and worthy ESB.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slight hop bite.

Drinkability is damn near tops. I love this style for it's quaffability and this brew is no exception.

A great brew! Otter Creek needs to make this one a regular product, it is the best brew that I have had from them. It is already pretty much gone from the stores up in NH, where I found this sixer.

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Otter Creek ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Otter Creek Brewing
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 67 ratings
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