GABF 25th Year Beer | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

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GABF 25th Year BeerGABF 25th Year Beer

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
An ESB (as stated by the brewery) brewed by Charlie Papazian at Boulder Beer to celebrate 25 years of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Added by TastyTaste on 08-26-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 91
Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Dan, served in a Bruery tulip. Not bad for an old ESB. Beer is copper and clear with a thin off white head of small and medium bubbles, some lacing.

Aroma is sweet, mildly hoppy, mostly malty.

Beer is medium in body and sweet with this sulfur grindiness to it that fills out the palate nicely. It is strong but not overwhelming and the finish is nice. I enjoyed it somewhat, not my favorite or favorite style though.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.69/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From 10/02/11 notes. Shared with some friends, poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip.

a - Pours a dark orange-copper color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bready malts and caramel malts, and lightly musty notes.

t - Tastes of bready malts, caramel malts, light hops. Lightly musty again.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation.

o - Overall it has held up decently, but seems a bit faded. Lots of bready and caramel malts. Wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of mdbf79. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours a fairly-clear golden-copper color with a small white head. Touch of lacing and a bit of a collar. The nose has a bit of bready malt and light caramel with some earthy hops. Hops to the flavor with a good bitterness and light bread. Medium body and good carbonation. Dry finish. Good.

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Photo of melitameister
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just consumed one of three remaining 22 oz. bottles of case of GABF 25th Year Beer. Cellared for over five years, this strong bitter is still delicious.

Nice American hops and fruit aroma with no off fumes coming off clear amber brew in special glass with a perfect dense, creamy head with plenty of nice, sticky lace. Complex flavors closer to a fine American IPA than a British style bitter.

Can't wait to suck down the last two.

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

A- Apple cider brown, moderately turbid, some off-white head with little retention/lacing.

S- Hoppy--some citrus and some pine. One-dimensional, but enjoyable.

T- Nice balance of bittering hops and caramel malt. Maybe a little coffee in there too. Definitely a good bitter. Nice balance here. Simple, but good.

M- Creamy, thick. Sticky finish.

D- Good stuff here. I'm glad to try it and it's definitely a big beer with some good flavor. Goes down well.

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Photo of kinger
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Discounted bomber for $2 I eagerly grabbed it and am glad that I did. Good hoppy aroma with ample scents of grapefruit and oranges. Copper pour with an orange tint. Medium fluffy white head with medium lacing along the glass. Bitter on the palate and oh so refreshing. There is a medium fullness to this with an easy finish. Outstanding taste, the citrus hop flavors are more dominant here compared to the nice aroma. Hearty malts mixed in creates a nice tangy taste of grapefruit and pine.

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Photo of kkosmoski
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served into a tulip glass after pulling out of the fridge and sitting at room temperature in the bottle for about 45 minutes. Beer temperature at time of review is 56F. After some reading up on this beer, it looks to be around 2 years old, which could be a positive or a negative - I'm about to find out. Appeared burnt golden/light amber in the glass with a miniscule head that formed a small ring around the outside. I was hoping for a more substantial head. There is an ever so slight haze to the beer. Aromas are of light toast, orange zest, and biscuit. Flavor starts off fruity and eases into a toasted, slightly oxidized malt profile. The finish has a lingering British malt character coupled with some fruity bittering. The mouthfeel is very crisp and powdery with a dry finish. The carbonation is prickly but not out of control. This is a very smooth drinking beer with some nice British characteristics. It does feel a bit heavier than a normal strength ale, but I found it very drinkable. I think I held on to this a bit too long and tasted it past its prime. Though it still displayed some very nice qualities, it tasted very similar to some imported ales that have sat on the shelves probably a bit too long. It is probably the most authentic English tasting ale brewed in America that I have ever had. Overall, I did enjoy this beer, though I'm sure it was much better as a youngster.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark, coppery orange with a thick lustrious foamy white head that had very good retention and left a nice sheet lacing.

S: an assertive hoppiness, citrus, fresh pine and floral notes along with a lingering maltiness.

T: A nice bountiful boutique of floral hopping starts things off with some spicy saaz adding some spiciness and highlights. A nice malty backbone gives this some substance while some grapefruit and pine lingered on the finish.

M: light-medium, moderate with a decent carbonation. Leaves a nice hop tang afterbite.

D: Good drinkability, smooth, wont blow you away but enjoyable.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle purchased from Super Saver in Somerville for $2.99... "Limited Edition Single-Batch Brew" on the front logo sticker...
Pours a bright-orange, nectaringe color with no head at all and no lacing either...
Strong, citrus aroma with noticeable hops and vanilla...
Taste resembled the smell, with a nice suggestion of hops, caramel, vanilla, florals, and tangerines...
Watery, loose, light, subtle mouthfeel with not much going on... Easy drinkability with no alcohol detectable at all...

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Photo of Lupe
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright golden orange with a bit of haze. Big dense white head that has good retention, and leaves nice rings of lace.

Hoppy aroma of citus, pine, and floral notes. Bready malt is also present with a hint of spice.

Starts off with lots of citrus and floral hop flavors. Toasted grain and bready malt comes on to balance things out and adds a touch of sweetness. A light fruitiness is also present.

Light to medium in body, crisp and refreshing. Finishes clean. Easy drinking and smooth. Tasted a bit off when it warmed up a bit, by a solid brew overall.

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

Pours a cloudy golden orange color, nice carbonation, fizzy little off-white head, some sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is malty, slightly spicy, and a good dose of caramel. The taste is malty, bitter, spicy, and some caramel. The finish is dry/bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad brew, but hard to compare this to a Fullers.

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Photo of hero27
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Limited Edition, brewed to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Great American Beer Festival. Says on the label that Boulder Beer Co. was one of only 22 breweries at the first GABF.

Pours a slightly hazy orange/amber...modest head of off-white foam.
The majority of the aroma is hops with a slight acidic, citric twinge.
Dusty, toasted pale malts carry the majority of the flavor and add a good amount of sweetness, but the Saaz hops are not ignored and relay a nice floral hop taste.
Not sure what the alcohol of this baby is, but it can't be much more than 6% I wouldn't imagine. Slides down pretty easily even with the grainy malt texture. The light-medium body makes this one a pretty drinkable beer.

At $3.50 for a 22oz bottle of a limited-edition brew, I couldn't turn it down. Nothing spectacular for a one-off, but a decent ESB nonetheless.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. brown bomber into a shaker pint glass.
A: Glowing dark orange in color with some amber hues. Low carbonation visible. One inch of smooth head, light tan in color. Lacing is a light coat that slides slowly down the glass.
S: Overtones at first of earthy sugars and honey, perhaps some spiciness like ginger. Light notes of oranges and citrusy hops that linger a bit.
T: A crispy citrus hop flavor leads the way and remains throughout. Some sugars kick in towards the middle but fade before the finish. The finish is buttery and toasty, smooth and malty, but a tiny kick of the citrus hops is present in the aftertaste, too.
M: Mildly crisp throughout, with little alcohol presence. Bubbly finish, but the overall feeling is fairly dryish.
D: Quite good. I felt like I could go for more after this bomber, and the minimization of alcohol presence was much appreciated.
Overall, a solid beer. I would have had trouble classifying this by taste, but I see that this has been labeled as an ESB. To me it seemed like a cross between a bitter and an amber/brown ale. Certainly a unique brew, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have no idea about its availability, so I'd say if you see it, buy it!

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Photo of udubdawg
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber - Realized yesterday I had never tried this...probably too late to experience the beer as intended, but we'll give it a shot.

Pours a hazy coppery color, especially the second glass when I was only partially successful at keeping out the sediment. Head is off-white and foamy and lacing is spotting parts of the glass. Aroma is a bit subdued, but I suspect the age has something to do with this. Floral and citrus hop notes aren't bad, just muted after this long.

Flavor likewise suffers from subdued hops but is really quite good. Quite a bit of sweet biscuity malt here underlying the lemony flavors. No alcohol noted anywhere. Bitterness is quite light at first sip but seemed to build nicely as got into it. Body is a bit thin, and carbonation is very low - too low by the time I'm on the 2nd glass. Still, this a pretty tasty, drinkable beverage.

I suspect that I missed out on a pretty darn good beer, but what is left is still worth trying. It remains a good effort, and has lasted nicely for a 12-month old beverage. I might have to go get another before this is gone.
(I don't like reviewing a beer that wasn't as intended, but figured this might be helpful for those finding a dusty bottle or two on a shelf for the first time)

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Photo of umustdrink
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bubble amber or light mahogany color. Head is rocky and bright white colored. Strong lacing, sticking in thick sheets.

S - Sweet and bitter piny hops balanced nicely with malts, mildly caramely and kind of smoky.

T/M - Smooth and creamy texture, flavor starts with sweet and peppery malts, piny and citrusy hops, very bitter. Carbonation is minimal but there are some very nice hoppy bites in there. Finish leaves a nice lasting bitterness, which is slightly sweet.

D - Very easy drinking stuff with some nice intriguing flavors that will to keep you drinking. Pick it up if you can still find it.

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

this was a very good brew. i was hoping it would be a great one, but settled in at very good. all the good characteristics of a ESB. i felt the tast was very good but expected a bit stronger than it was. very drinkable.

i will look for more of this and more from this brewer.

suckem up and movem out!


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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy orange/yellow with a thick head – which quickly dissipated. The aroma is heavy of hops, but the malt is noticeable. The taste is bitter from hops, but has a nice malty undertone. The mouthfeel is full and seems to work well for this beer. Overall, this is a nicely balanced delight to drink – wish I had bought more.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very good beer. Been eyeing it for a while, but decided to pick it up (finally)

It pours a glorious amber with a head like no other. Serious head retention, serious lacing, holy crap! Why can't every beer look like this!?

It smells of raw hops. They say Saaz, and I believe it, but it has a lot of citrusy American notes as well. But that could just be the excessive alcohol. I'm not sure.

The taste is very good. Syrupy sweet from the malt, but delightfully balanced by the hops. A very good balanced beer,

The mouthfeel is full and rich . . .

And the drinkability is unparalleled.

Really good stuff. I'm not a lover of english beer, but I do like their malts. This blends english malts with continental hops and just the slightest hint of PNW hops (maybe?) to create one helluva beer experience. I dig.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clean amber with pumpkin highlights. Head started out very fizzy but settled down to a slight mass of greenish beige tinted bubbles.

S: Toaster crumbs, red apple, cooked carrots, herbal tea with a bit of tangerine.

T: Begins mildy fruity with notes of apple, zesty lemon and cheap OJ. Tame caramel and strong brown sugar come next with a smaller malt bill than I would have expected. Stray streaks of grains here or there but they’re lost in most of the other flavors. Good amount of citrus in the finish with timid orange, bitter grapefruit rind and more tangy lemon.

M: Medium body, fairly smooth with just a few nips of carbo sting.

D: Quite citrusy for an ESB. Good drinkability with an overall nice flavor. Not bad.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle of this with my buddy Mike. Reading the label, I was expecting some kind of big beer, thus desiring some company, but what we got was a pleasant, sessionable surprise.
Bright amber, topped with a puffy white head. Good sticky lacing down my glass. Mellow, malty aroma, bouyed with some bright, floral hop character. Kinda reminiscent of Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Must be the Saaz. Medium to full bodied and definitely malt driven. Solid toastiness, giving way to some pear and apple fruitiness and a moderately assertive hoppy finish. The balance is excellent. Very, very quaffable. Feels pretty substantial, but sips well. The hops have an air of the pacific northwest, but mostly remain on the european continent.

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

Sampled April 2007
Pours with an almost brilliantly clear, perfectly amber color and is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, light tan colored head that leaves some lacing patterns on the sides of the glass as it slowly subsides. The aroma has a nice hop character to it; lightly herbal, with some sweet citrus notes of orange peel, lemon zest and a touch of pity tangerine. A fair amount of malt character is here too, with notes of dry biscuit-like grain, a touch of caramel / brown sugar, but really this has a nice, full, fresh ground malt aroma, especially towards the end. Really though this beer has a hop focused nose, it is quite interesting how the citrus character moves from sweet to tart citrus notes as one takes in a draught of the aroma.

The beer rests lightly on the mouth, that is to say it is fairly light bodied, yet with a touch of fullness to it. Quite hoppy with a biting, zesty hop note that adds a bitterness from the get go. This bitterness lingers on into the finish. The beer is fairly dry, which really adds to the zippy, biting hop character. There are still a fair amount of citrus-like hop notes noticeable though, I just think that more might have been noticeable if the malt character was a bit fuller and a touch sweeter. Still that would detract from how light and drinkable this beer is. As this beer is, the citrus character leans towards lemon zest and tart grapefruit, with a touch of sweeter orange character around the edges. Despite being fairly dry, there is quite a bit of malt character present; I get a really nice, fresh malt character here (a sweet of biscuit notes, crusty bread, and soda cracker character), as well as a touch of caramelized malt character.

This is actually a really nice beer, it is quite well balanced. It is certainly hop focused (but not to the levels of most American IPAs), but has a really nice, subtly powerful malt character that mixes with and intermingles with the hop character. I am quite impressed with how much citrus character was pulled out of the Saaz hops, I always thought of them as having a lemon zest character, but this is a bit more than I was expecting (the ale yeast certainly contributes to this I am sure(. This is quite a nice beer, and it turned out to be a nice surprise as I was not expecting much.

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Photo of rowew
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, limited edition. Label talks about Charlie Papazian and the GABF history, as well as a description of the beer.

Appearance: Bright orange, a bit of haze to it. Nice big head, good retention. Looks a bit more like an IPA, but nice appearance.

Smell: Nice combination of hops and malt - some piney hops and a bit of spice, with a nice background of malty sweetness.

Taste: Very nice - well balanced. Starts off fairly hoppy, citrus and some resiny flavors. Malt comes on to balance things out, finishing just a bit sweet.

Overall impression: Very nice ESB - more hops than a lot of english examples, but still balanced out by the malt.

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Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nice head that leaves shards of lacing

Smell: Malty caramel aroma with a waft of grassy hops

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity caramel flavor and the caramel backbone persists throughout; the grassy hops start to appear, mid-palate and build, persistently, after the swallow, to provide a balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; unexpectedly prickly

Drinkability: An unusual hop bill for an ESB, almost tastes like somebody tossed a pilsner into the mix (it is, after all, dry-hopped with Saaz hops) but enjoyable, nonetheless

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger, white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving a some lace. Amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy/malty nose. Starts malty but hops are here making a more balanced to bitter finish. $5.15 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GABF 25th Year Beer is a distinctly flavourful bitter with a misty golden colour and a clean white head that lasts longer than expected.

When first poured the fruity bouquet is sharp with citrus tones and a wheaty note that fades into a pleasant yeastiness.

It drinks full with a light buttery flavor that melts into a welcomed hoppiness. The fruity bitterness gives way to a wheaty substance that reminds me of many Belgian style brews.

Overall very satisfying. This beer was better than I'd expected it to be. It certainly merits a second bottle.

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GABF 25th Year Beer from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
3.7 out of 5 based on 91 ratings.
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