Thames Welsh ESB | Felinfoel Brewery Co.

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Thames Welsh ESBThames Welsh ESB
121 Ratings
Thames Welsh ESBThames Welsh ESB

Brewed by:
Felinfoel Brewery Co.
Wales, United Kingdom

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 05-01-2002

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 121 |  Reviews: 107
Reviews by Baileyuk:
Photo of Baileyuk
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Not too much head, pours a murky brown with a hint of redness. Lacing was very good. Head retention (from what was there) was poor.

S - At first I thought it was more of a ciderish apple smell. After a few sniffs it sweetens up a little into more raisiny tones.

T - It did not taste great to me and ESB is one of my favorite styles. Raisins are definately more prominent in the taste, maybe some caramel in there too. Their is a bitterness in the taste that is not that pleasant. Not a total put off but not great.

M/D - Full bodied, fairly heavy on the mouth. It is an okay beer, not one that I would revisit. I am always excited when I crack an ESB and this was a let down.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep amber with a almost creamy-like head,aroma is juicy fruity like apple cider almost with some nice biscuity malt in the background.Taste is on the sweeter sice some caramel malt with a nice cider hint maybe some brown sugar in the finish.Medium bodied with alot of complexity I think a real fine example for the style,although a little high in alcohol for a session beer but I could sit and have a few.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one had a moderate head that left some lacing on the inside of my glass. The body was a dark brown in color and very pretty.

Smell – This has a sharp, English bitter kind of aroma. There is some light toast in here along with some noticeable citrus.

Taste – The nice toast is really good at the taste. It’s burnt and bitter with a biscuity compliment. The flavors grow as the night goes on and the beer warms.

Mouthfeel – This is almost medium-bodied. The bitterness starts off easy when the beer is cold but ramps up quickly. By the end of the glass it seems almost too much. There’s a slight tingly sensation in the mouth at the finish as well that reminds me of the feeling you get when tasting rising yeast.

Drinkability – This is a “no frills” ESB that will neither impress nor disappoint. It’s not a session beer by any stretch but a good drinker nevertheless.

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Photo of merlin48
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Fuller's pint glass from the 16 oz bottle. Pours a dark cherry mahogany, with an ample beige head. Leaves behind plenty of delicate lacing. Nose is caramel and butternut, with a hint of brandy. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, tart, and moderately carbonated. Taste is where it gets interesting. I got slapped in the palate with red apples and raspberries. As the glass warms, the nuttiness emerges to match the nose, as does some welcome bittering. The high abv becomes distinctly apparent toward the end. Finishes dry and a bit oily.
A very complex ESB here. Just a little too much going on here for the style. I doubt that I could finish a second one at a single sitting because the finish is not nearly as appealing as the start.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good representation of the style, darker almost brown pour, tea aroma. Toffee, tea, bitter feel to the beer. Unique hopping. Malt presence ample. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel reveals more biscuity feel with the astringent bitterness playing off of it. Quite drinkable, reasonably priced, highly recommended if you're into this kind of thing.

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

An ESB like no other to my palette.
Pours a dark cherry-amber with a gorgeous 2 finger thick tan head that melted very slowly to glass sticking lacing.
Aroma was slightly fruity (dark fruits) and a little earthy like loam.
Taste is almost a chewy wine-like fruit taste that melds to lightly sweet malt and then a light dry earthy hop finish.
The wine-like fruit taste carries through to the aftertaste drying your mouth like wine would and leaving the same sort of aftertaste.
This was very unusual for any beer to carry off the wine impersonation this way, but I think Welsh does it very well.
Upon trying two more of these beers at a later date, I felt compelled to lower both the taste and drinkability ratings I had previously put up. The red wine-like fruit taste comes across more like vinegar in these two bottles than I had noticed before and it's not pleasant at all.

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Photo of cokes
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany. Perfectly clear under a khaki cap.
Nose bursting with raspberries and black cherries all drowned in a butterscotch pudding. Malty as hell. A bit different for an ESB.
Taste follows suit. A right jab from the cherries and a left hook from the berries. Huge! Especially right away. Caramel creeps in, as does buttery diacetyl. Hard toffees in liquid form. The middle is just a fracas of competing yet complimentary hues. Roasty, toasty, nutty, fruity, buttery, bitter. Whoa! Hops gain a footing and ride this out with lemon rinds and bitter herbs. The only thing that keeps this from udder sublimity is the lightly distracting, medicinal, estery alcohol. But don't let that deter you.
Carries a medium-full body that borders on chewy. This is a robust beer.
Akin to an old ale married with an ESB. Highly unique, malt-driven and tasty.

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Photo of mempath
4.57/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a-deep red, like a barrel proof bourbon (i.e., Stagg, cream-colored suds, fluffy, thick, pleasant to look at...nothing watery here. as it goes down, the lacing is nice with little leggy islands among continents. a nice rorschach test if needed...

s-very pleasant. sweet, fresh berries, fresh cut hay field, almost floral

t-incredible balance of sweetness and bitterness...each melds to the other in a way that truly makes the whole greater than the parts. totally enjoyable, almost exceptional except it isn't extra bitter or sweet in either case. not a bad thing at all. there is complexity here that unfolds gently throughout the pint glass. a few sips later, i catch more sweetness...the bitterness evades even more.

m-there is something 'metallic' here, but not unpleasant or anything i consider negative. at least with this pour. it is neither thick nor thin. as the pint goes to below the halfway mark, i am sensing the nose elements initially experienced finally asserting in the finish: floral-berry notes. though not ever 'too' sweet, this is as 'sweet' as i care to get.

d-not really challenging, but more like intriguing which will make an accessible beer for those who stick with the norm...this is a world-class brew that can be thoroughly enjoyed by expert and novice. i prefer more of a challenge, but on those days i don't, this will serve me fine while still giving me much more than any unidimensional beer/ale ever could. highly recommended.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, deep amber with ruby highlights and a creamy light tan head that drops shortly but keeps a good collar and leaves some OK lace. The aroma offers a distinct caramel maltiness, some very nice fruitiness (soft ripe berries), and a minor acetone (lacquer-thinner type aroma probably due to high fermentation temperatures). The acetone can be distracting at one point or another, but overall it's not so bold that it ruins the beer. In fact, part way through the pint I hardly noticed it. I don't think that I could ever find it endearing... but it wasn't completely off-putting. The body is light/medium with a fine and gentle carbonation that leaves it nicely creamy in the mouth. Very smooth. The flavor mirrors the aroma with some very nice dark crystal maltiness and an almost wine-like fruitiness . There are some very light hops in the flavor, but it's mainly balanced towards softly sweet maltiness propped by underlying hop bitterness. It finishes dryish with a mild, almost wine-like fruitiness (which may actually be coming from a combination with the light note of acetone) as well as some light grassy hop. Fairly nice overall.

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Photo of cliff1066
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of surfadelic23
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After I poured it, I had to look at the bottle again to see if it was an ESB as it was a hell of a lot darker than I expected.
The head was an interesting dark color that did not last very long at all. Smell was malty/sweet and I didn't catch much in the way of hoppiness... which also fooled me... is this an ESB er whot?
Taste was initially dominated by malt sweetnesss with a very little bit of hops to cut it.
That being said, it did have a nice mouthfeel that made it much more drinable thatn the 6.5 abv would bely.
Would I try it again? On bottle probably not but on cask? Yeah, if such a beast exists.
Bonus points for the killer welsh flag on the bottle!

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Photo of DESTRO
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out a deep amber with an impressive head. lacing is thick and pleasing to the eye. the nose is malty, light spices and caramel. full bodied in the mouth, smooth...the flavor is full of sweet malt (once again caramels?), buttery, lighty fruity and a slight bite of alcohol on the finish. hops are underwhelming, they somewhat balance the beer but never really come out and make their presence known. this is also somewhat strong for what youd call a session ale, but it is tastey none the less and yes i could drink a few. not the best ESB ive encountered, but good.

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Photo of hammer09
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this on the recommendation of a friend. I expected something similar to Fuller's ESB, but was quite surprised by this beer's characteristics.

It poured a dark brown with a substantial head of almost 2 inches, diminishing to 1/8 inch within 5 minutes. Lacing was substantial with thick clumps of head clinging to the inside of my pint glass. The aroma was malty with a hint of spice. Taste was extremely sweet and malty with a mild bitterness, similar to a brown ale. Definite toffee flavor throughout. The beer did exhibit a few sour notes as I continued to drink it. Mouthfeel was very sticky with mild carbonation. This beer's sweet and sticky qualities limit its drinkability. Overall, a surprising brew considering it's style.

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Photo of jackndan
3.06/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thames Welsh ESB from Wales: In a thick brown pint bottle, with a red dragon on the label. A very dark brown beer, with a very strong, sweet aroma. There is a thick tan head that leaves very thick lace. Wow, the taste is extremely malty, very sweet, almost cloying. Not at all what I was expected, this beer is all malt, just a snap of hops at the end. Somewhat unusual, it reminds me of some porters I’ve had.

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Photo of bditty187
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dull, dark amber, translucent, creamy off-white head, smallish, dissipated quickly, some lace. The nose was weakly hoppy, malt was the focal point, semi-sweet fruit, toffee/caramel notes as well. Completely blasé taste, underlying hop bitterness mixes, only, fairly well with the malt combination, uninspiring (yet a good representation of the style). The mouthfeel seems ideal, moderate-to-low carbonation, a smooth and an easy drink.

I would not recommend this beer, nor would I discourage someone from drinking it either.

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Photo of PCaravan
2.4/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm a big ESB fan and was quite pleased to come accross this one. However, I was dissapointed with this one.

It has a nice deep brown color but unusually hazy and no head whatsoever.

Strong yeasty smell in aroma masks any other smell to the point that they are not dissernable. Not necessarily a bad smell but not quite right either.

Tasting continues with the strong yeasty notes but also an intense nuttiness that is so strong it's to the point of astringency. Finishes with a lingering earthy hop bitterness that seems a bit out of balance.

Low (just barely noticable) carbonation leaves this beer seeming a bit thin but there is enough body to give it a bit of a chewy character.

Can't see myself drinking a lot of this beer. In fact, I wont by it again.

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Photo of dungaree
3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Has a copper color with a thin head. Smells of caramel, light alcohol, fruity sweetness, and toffee.

Tastes of caramel candy (yum), slight coriander, fruity (not sure which fruit), and toffee. Finishes caramelly with some gentle hops. Mouthfeel is thick, candy-like and slick.

Interesting brew. Looks unimpressive but delivers a good taste.

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Photo of drowland
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big bottle poured into an English pint glass. The pour is cloudy deep reddish brown with a 1.5-finger khaki head floating atop. The aroma is caramel and biscuits with a hint of fruit and a dash of bitterness. The flavor is sweet and fruity like apples with a dark roasty finish from the malt and the hops. This combination really reminds me of fresh apple cider. Medium-high carbonation that burns through the medium body to cleanse.

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Photo of hotstuff
4.23/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured a medium creamy tan head. It left excellent lacing on the sides of my mug. It was dark red in appearance. To me this brew had a sweet, fruity and spicy flavor to it. It had mild bitterness. I definitely could taste the alcohol in this brew. All in all, not a bad brew.

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Photo of goochpunch
2.45/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours out a dark caramel with a thin off white head consisting of uniform tiny bubbles. No lace. Big apple aromas followed by caramel, nuts, and a hint of diacetyl. Again, lots of caramel, nuts and apple in the flavor profile, but, along with the herbal hop finish, I get this strong yeast presence. It isn't a smooth fruity yeast flavor that I pick up, rather it tastes like the yeasty finish of a shitty homebrew. Would be real tasty without it. Gross. Moderate body, but a bit too fizzy. Very gritty on the tongue. The yeast is making this one a bit hard to finish.

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Photo of avylover
3.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep cloudy brown, with a small fizzy head. Nothing too impressive to look at, but it does look different than any other beer I've tried. Smells like brown sugar liquified. Very malty taste with a nice burnt malt aftertaste. Also some chocolate ice cream in there somewhere. Where's the bitter? Not too bitter IMO. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, pretty good overall. I could drink a few of these for sure...the alcohol is hidden well. Not bad

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Photo of BeerSox
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9fl oz bottle into pint glass. This is that stupid narrow neck bottle that makes a smooth pour nearly impossible.

Hazy dark copper hue with a tan one finger head that slowly settles to a thin cap. Rings of stringy lacing along the glass.

Sweet caramel like malts with a little bit of noble hops.

Dark grainy malts give a slight toffee taste, and the balancing hops provide a little bitterness. A little bit of dry fruit, spcifically raisin, is present. The taste has a bit of seasoned spice to it. Medium bodied with a little bit of carbonation gives it a slick feel. The finish is a mix of the toasty malts, a little bit of hop bitterness, and some diacetyl.

Not a bad ESB, seems pretty typical though, at least compared to American brews. I'm sure in the UK where it's fresh and local, this is a great beer. It's worth a try.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass and got a thin one finger head thinned out into an off white covering with some mild lacing. It has a very dark amber color and it's a bit hazy with very little carbonation. It has a strong sweet/caramel aroma to it along with hints of roasted chocolates and malts. It's smooth with a light body and a slightly bitter aftertaste with a slight alcohol twang.

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Photo of matjack85
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of livingregret
1.87/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

1pint bottle serving size

Appearance: It pours a muddy amber colour

Smell: After not being able to discern much of the smell i decided to read through some of the reviews. Upon testing again I did notice a distinct grape smell to the drink. There is also a toffee/coffee smell as well that lingers a little bit

Taste: Hmmmm....what can I say? I did not care for the drink. It reminded me to much of wine and had the same sort of "dryness" to is that red wine often does. There is a taste of grapes and there is some slight saltiness to it. This has a very wood/dark fruit taste to it

Mouthfeel: A very thick that when swallowed leaves the dry taste of a cheap red wine

Drinkability: I took 2 sips and passed it on to my fiancee. She likes it alright because she enjoys wine...I do not. It may appeal to others but it isn't my cup of tea

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Thames Welsh ESB from Felinfoel Brewery Co.
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 121 ratings