GABF 25th Year Beer | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

GABF 25th Year BeerGABF 25th Year Beer
91 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 91 |  Reviews: 86
Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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 NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Boulder's 25th Anniversary GABF beer pours a hazy orange-copper body beneath a decent head of white froth. The retention is good and it leaves some really nice lace in its wake. The aroma is brightly hoppy and floral over lightly sweet and grainy malt! In the mouth it's smooth with a medium body and moderate carbonation. A gently caramelish malt combines well with leafy and floral hops in the flavor. Well balanced. Enjoyable.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy orange color with a thin off-white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very heavy with grassy hops. There’s a slight touch of citrus sweetness along with a distinct malt background.

T: The flavor is malty with a heavy hops character. Flavors of caramel and smoke start out, then the hops out and provide the “B” in ESB. This one is hoppy for the style, so I can see how it could be mistaken for an IPA. There’s a very mild flavor of sweetness. The after-taste is full of hops and smoky malt.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, easy to drink, slightly filling, I haven’t had too many ESB’s but this one is definitely the best that I’ve had in the style.

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Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think its great to see a beer in tribute the GABF and the style to the tribute couldnt be more American.Poured a clear medium gold with tight formed craterous 1/2 finger head that had good lasting power,very interesting aromas I have to say, piney with notes of overipe pineapple and pepper, an interesting twist and I like it, a slight noticable biscuit like malt sweetness underneath wich is more noticable on the palate.This is dry hopped with saaz and I think it lends a nice soft spiciness to go with the healthy dose of American in your face hop flavors I detect some Amarillos in there, Iam quite sure as well as some cascade, a big lightly sweet biscuit-like malt base really holds up to this large dose of hops keeping it is decent balance.Not sure what the alc% abv is but bottle says a high gravity brew.Wow its interesting and a little complex,I like it and will buy again.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
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 russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a 3 fingers sand colored head. Very good lacing & average head retention

S: Grapefruitty hops & hints of caramel

T: Nice malt foreground quickly surrenders to piney & citrussy hops up front. A little fruittyness fills in as it warms. Peppery hops also fill as the beer warms, along with a little alcohol burn.

MF: Medium bodied with good carbonation & very good balance.

Drinks pretty easy. Maybe a bit underpowered for the style, but only a little. This seems to me like mojo with a couple extra ozs of hops & few more lbs of malt. Not a knock, I like that beer

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brilliant kumquat with a sparse cloud of fine yeast. The jaundiced ivory cap is a nice color match for the beer and looks pretty good besides. It appears as if it'll be around for the long haul, as does the attactive array of sticky lace. GABF 25th looks exactly like an IPA. But then ESBs and IPAs are close cousins, so why wouldn't it?

The nose is just hoppy enough to get on my good side. Boulder will only reveal the identity of the hops used for dry-hopping (Saaz), not the hops used for flavor and bittering. It's obvious from one sniff that they've used some combination of American-grown varieties. Pineapple and mango are least at least as prominent as orange and grapefruit. I'll guess Simcoe and/or Amarillo, in addition to one or more of the 'C' hops.

I'm a little disappointed when it comes to the drinking; mostly because I detect a wee lack of malt, which translates into a lighter than expected mouthfeel and a shortage of flavor linger. A 7.6% Anniversary beer should be bigger and more full than this, I believe, even it's a member of a style that isn't usually known for bigness.

Barely toasted pale malt holds down the bottom end; there's no caramel that I can detect. The still tropical fruity hops are the focal point, as they should be in an ESB, but they fail to get the mouth party hoppin'. This beer isn't that old (five months?). Perhaps the hoppiness has taken a small hit since bottling. Adding more hops on the front end is the obvious solution.

As noted, the mouthfeel could be bigger. While it's acceptable for the style, some amount of chewiness would have helped in any number of ways. Drinkablility benefits, though, as evidenced by the fact that my glass always seems to be empty and the bottle is becoming rapidly lighter.

The Great American Beer Festival 25th Year Beer (to use the full name) is an ESB that is a few tweaks short of very good. As is so often the case, I recommend more malt and a lot more hops. If you have a bottle, be sure to drink it fairly soon. The hops are fading into the sunset as we speak.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.69/5  rDev -27.5%
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 rab53
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hops bump out on first cracking the crown. Very promising.

Clear amber/gold. Nice fluffy froth.

Sharply hoppy aroma, bristling pine, some tropical fruit, but not a harsh hoppiness, just right. Dies down a bit too quick, though.

A flash of the bitterness on the palate, then thin. Big hoppy bite, with a messy flavor, none too coherent. Medium bodied, faintish finish. Bit too watery, methinks. Tidy bitterness remains alongside, a blend of sweet, succulent malt that turns dry, plus tangy citric fruit.

A drinkable brew, with enough hops to keep an ale enthusiast happy, to a point...just missing a lot that keeps it from being memorable.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
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 Gavage
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a crystal clear orange color with a 2" fluffy head that lingers a while before fading. Light lacing develops. No visible carbonation bubbles.

Smell: fruity and I noticed both pine & light floral bitterness.

Taste: malt levels are toned back and a bit bready, but there is a nice balance of pine bitterness, green grapes, grapefruit citrus, and fruit sweetness. Overall dryness with this beer. No noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied which is a bit light for the style. Lightly crisp and dry at the start. The finish is smoother and dry. The aftertaste is not very long.

Drinkability: Good drinking beer, as the bottle was very fresh. Worth trying for giving a congrats on the GABF turning 25.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
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 plaid75
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium hazy copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured an upfront oily citrus and sweet hop and a solid soft malt.

The taste consisted of of an orangy sweet and mildly peppery hop balanced nicely by a soft biscuity malt.

The mouthfeel was a tad tin and a bit astringent. Dry finish.

Overall good drinkability. A few gaps in the mouthfeel, but overall very sessionable.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
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 beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
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 jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
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 cjgator3
4.11/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orangish amber color with a small head that quickly dissapears into a thin white lace that encircles the glass. A nice hoppy aroma that is mostly citrus (grapefruit) and a bit of malt make up the nose. A very brief malt presence starts out in the taste and is quickly followed by a long finish dominated by the citrusy hops. The taste could have been a bit more balanced but it is still good. Overall, this is a pretty interesting brew that I would not mind having again. Recommened.

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Photo of weeare138
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to egajdzis/doppel07 for this...
Appears a hazy, light orange with a small off white head that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is piney, orangey, citrusy, highlighted by tons of bitter grapefruit in the aromas.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a really bitter grapefruit taste that is just too one sided and unbalanced.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, thin, and bitter.
I wasn't expecting much from this one and I didn't get much. It's just a run of the mill DIPA in my opinion.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a bomber of the GABF anniversary beer purchased at Spirits Unlimited and served in a seidel.

A: Color is amber to orange with small ring of head but good retention.

S: Nose is unmistakably piney.

T: Flavor is at first grainy before transitioning into a pine and citrus hop flavor. Finish is long, leaving a fresh tart taste on the tongue.
Taste is surprisingly assertive.

M: The initial grainy flavor is a bit unpleasant, as the hops need to dominate from start to finish.

D: Not the best DIPA but certainly serviceable.

EDIT: The beer has been reclassified as an ESB. My overall thoughts on the beer don't change, however the hop body is very assertive for an ESB. Because of this, the drinkability has been increased from a 3.0 to a 3.5.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy amber brew. Head lasts well, with heavy coating lacing. Aroma is dominated by piney and crisp hops character. Taste is lemony upfront, pine popping up in the middle, and a sweet yet bitter close and aftertaste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are better than average, but nothing overly noteworthy. Kind of a notch down from some of the other Boulder beers I've had of late, but still a good brew and an important milestone for the GABF.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good IPA head. A little doughy in texture and color. Great, hoppy amber hues, a little hazy. Good lacing as well. The aroma was a little resiny btu still flowery. Biscuits and hop gravy. A little spicey in the middle and a balanced hop and malt bitterness on the finish. A little stinky for a palate. Like semi off-setting pelletized hop aroma. But then again you can't taste if it's pellets or the real deal.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazed copper. Bubbly ivory white cap. Lacing is moderate in quantity.

Aroma: Lemony, perfumey, grapefruit rind, resinous.

Taste: Dusty, grainy, grundgy, but also citric and piney. Interesting flavor combo and really pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium body at best. Low carbonation. Alcohol is quite faint.

Drinkability: Nice enough beer. Easy to drink. Not overly bitter for the style, but tasty enough. Grade: B-

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Photo of Hellpop65
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

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GABF 25th Year Beer from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Beer rating: 3.71 out of 5 with 91 ratings
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