Thames Welsh ESB | Felinfoel Brewery Co.

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Thames Welsh ESBThames Welsh ESB

Brewed by:
Felinfoel Brewery Co.
Wales, United Kingdom

Style: 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

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Ratings: 121 |  Reviews: 107
Photo of UnionMade
4.8/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hell yes, brother. This is a damn fine beer.
Pours very dark, almost a brown ale, with a light misting of head.
Aroma is very estery and malty, with a mild english hops background. Some biscuity malt aroma, with a moderate english hoppiness. Well balanced.
Flavor is huge and explosive, very malty and fruity with a great hops backbone. Wonderful appley/pear esteriness, with a solid floral hoppiness. Biscuity malts, with a touch of yeasty breadiness, particularly towards the end. Smooth dry finish. Lots of subtlely, medium to full body, light smooth english carbonation. I could drink this all day long. I'd love to try this casked.
A bit on the powerful side, for an ESB, but I'm not complaining.

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Photo of mempath
4.57/5  rDev +22.2%
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 matjack85
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Photo of kbub6f
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark brown/red and clear. A medium-sized, dark yellowish/tan head is coarse, noisy and leaves a few spots and arcs of lacing. The smell is MALTY! There's also a little tangy toffee. Mmmm. The front is malty, buttery and tangy leading to a full caramel middle. Finish is metallic when cold. Nicely bitter with some nuttiness. This is very nice when warm. Full. Malty. Fruity. I really like drinking this beer.

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Photo of RedBaron
4.45/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very complex British ESB from a good Welsh brewery.

This beer, long a favorite of mine, has a deep mahogany color, with an off-white head. It has a great nose, malty with a hint of nicely placed hops, and the mouthfeel is quite complex from start to finish. Fruity-ish, tawny, and residual, this beer loves to linger on the palette for some time, and coming in at 6.5% abv, it's just the right thing for a cold and frosty Friday evening in the Midwest, post-Thanksgiving, .

I really appreciate a good British beer that's as bold as this ESB. Kudos to our friends in Wales! I'd love to try a pint of this, cask-conditioned, someday...

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Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a rich mahogany color with fair head retention and lacing. On the nose this beer just smells great. One gets lots of sweet malt, but with overtones of sherry, cherry and wood. Really, this smells very much like a fine old aged ale. The flavors generally replicate the nose, but with a hint of rootbeer as well. The beer is medium bodied and it finishes with a bit of spicy zip. The abv. is very well disguised and this beer is quite drinkable.

Along with Fuller's, this has to be my favorite ESB from Great Britain. The beer is malty, sweet and spicey, and just very well done. One of the first beers to get me interested in English style ales. Very nice beer...

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Photo of Hampton73
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This amber brew poured with a smallish head that dissipated rapidly.

The smell is nice, fruity and malty and hoppy at the same time. Apples toffee and fuggles hops all at the same time. I like it.

The taste is more of the same, apricots, caramel, and toffee melded in to the hop flavor.

This is very good beer. Think I will have another.

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Photo of kernalklink
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not having much luck with ESB's, I was surprised by the complexity and craft of this brew. It poured a murky amber with minimal head and a very strong hard apple cider aroma with some malt on the end. Sweet friuts, champagne like alcohol presence dominated the taste, followed by a sweet malt and amaretto-toffee finish. Very interesting, very refreshing. The slight bittereness was perfectly balanced and contributed to this highly drinkable brew. A top of the line ESB in my book.

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Photo of bighoppymonster
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep amber, an absolute gorgeous colour. Thick offwhite head quickly settles. Sweet aromas, caramel most noticable. Medium body with a very slight metallic taste, a very malty bitter IMO. Hops not very noticeable, although it is well balanced. Rather drinkable. Overall a very pleasent and smooth ESB, and I am disappointed that I only purchased a single pint at the store.

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Photo of Morris729
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep mahogany in color with a mountainous tan head that very slowly recedes into a thick and heavy lace. Nose is dominated by buttery toffee with some underlying fruity notes (mostly apple). Medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Lots of caramel malt in the taste along with some notes of diacetyl and fruit and a trace amount of alcohol towards the finish. A very nice beer and certainly one that I’ll be purchasing again in the future.

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Photo of hotstuff
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
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 Shiredave
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love the big long neck bottle and the Red Griffon on the label. It sets the mood for something bold and Celtic. Deep orange / amber color, slightly hazed, strong aromas of spiced apples,diacytal and alcohols along with sweet burnt toffee. Well carbonated with a tan head that receeds to the perimeter in a creamy ring. Flavors are strong of caramel with a touch of maple and chocolate that meld amazingly into the solid hop flavor and bittering at the end. The seamless segway from rich toffee to earthy hop bitter is my favorite thing about this Ale. A bit rough around the edges maybe, but a great strong ale / ESB as it used to be. ( I presume...)

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sort of a heavyweight ESB, with aspects of apple showing up throughout. In the glass it could have passed for unfiltered apple cider. The aroma was exactly like a caramel apple. Up front, moderately sweet, with apple cider and caramel predominant, and then darker fruit flavors pop in, prune juice the easiest to identify. Very full bodied, almost barley wine-like. I paired this with some strong herbed feta cheese and melon and was one happy camper.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was darker in color and richer in flavor than I was expecting for an ESB. It's a very dark brown with a tan head that dissipates rather quickly. The smell is malt sweetness with enough hop aroma and taste to earn the "bitter" designation. The first sip was a real revelation: malty sweetness with a bit of ripe fruitiness. The hop bitterness makes its presence known in the finish. The mouthfeel is fairly creamy and it's quite drinkable, though probably not a session beer at 6.5%. Pretty cool bottle, too: Very British Isle looking with a red dragon on a green and white background. Good stuff.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really enjoyed this atypical ESB. Pours a slightly hazy brownish amber with light tan head. Nose has black tea aromas with a suggestion of grape. On the palate the black tea comes through with malty sweetness, some off-grape fruity flavors, and toffee. Finish is sweet. Easy drinking. Wish it was more affordable for regular drinking.

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Photo of inebrius
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raisin bread, butter and hop marmalade nose. Thin lacy head on top a deep amber. A caramel malt base is cut with earthy English hops and mineral water. Quite a special and tasty bitter.

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Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
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 cokes
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
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 plaztikjezuz
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thames welsh esb, this is a very fine brew, it has some very familuar flavors.
pours a deep amber with some brighter coppery hues from the light filtering through the glass. the head was about a 1/4 thick and off white but quickly dropped into a few sray bubbles. the aroma is malty and thick, it kinda reminds me of john courage, pruney. the flavor is ver malt and smoth, little spicy, hint of grass, prune, fruity, carmelized malt.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very interesting and malty ESB, is all Welsh beer this good?

Pours a deep and hazy brown in color with a respectable off-white colored head. Nose is quite malty, wafts of chocolate and brown sugar abound. Taste is very smooth and rich, reminds me very much of cordial cherries, very nice indeed. Not much in the way of bitterness, but it isn't so sweet as to become cloying. Very tasty.


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Photo of gdogalishus
4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Mildly carbonated. Poured a dark copper color. Hints of red appear when held up to the light. Mild head, but good head retention as the trails stuck to the sides of the glass all the way to the finish.

A subdued, balanced aroma. Malty sweetness at first and then a bit of soft hop bitterness. Neither aroma overp[owered the other and they stayed balanced as the beer warmed in the glass.

Flavors of tofee, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Very balanced with a mild hop finish... the first thing that came to mind is "what a great winter to spring transition beer" for gently waning yourself from the dark alcoholic winter brews.

Definately recommended. I did rate the appearance low only because I think it is too dark for an ESB and had a slight chill haze. Most people don't care what it looks like as long as it tastes good... well the category is there so I have to consider it. Other than this minor flaw, a really good beer.

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Photo of EvilKeith
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ESB poured in to the glass a solid brown color with faint ruby highlights. The head was creamy and tan in color. The lace was spotty, but sticky.
The smell was sweet caramel malts, rich buttery toffee and freshly sliced apples. A caramel apple, if you will.
The taste was moderately bitter with tart apples, dark roasted and sweet malts.
Moderate carbonation and a medium body combined to give this a crisp, yet slick mouthfeel.
Interesting and quite drinkable.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber, very little carbonation -- almost flat, but that seems somewhat characteristic of ESBs. Little head, little lacing. Smells of toffee and caramel and nuts.

Taste is fairly sweet, slightly watery, toffee and a little banana. A little cherry, strong bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light and effervescent -- although I can't see the carbonation, it seems like it must be there.

Pretty drinkable -- overall, pretty mellow. Not too sweet, not too bitter, not overwhelming.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.04/5  rDev +8%
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 John
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby color, deep and clear. The tan head thins to a steady layer of foam and leaves patches of lace. Toffee, caramel and big fruity aroma. The flavors are a skillful blend of fruity (grapes), generous malt with hints of sweetness - more sticky caramel and toffee. The prevailing fruitiness lingers on the palette. Mouthfeel is slick with a medium body. Carbonation is moderate, creating a smooth texture. Alcohol creates a pleasant, warm glow. Hops are minimal, provide balance and a hint of spiciness. Two thumbs up...a fine ESB.

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Thames Welsh ESB from Felinfoel Brewery Co.
3.74 out of 5 based on 121 ratings.
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