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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: 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 121 |  Reviews: 107
Photo of Offa
1.59/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This was not what I expected and seemed unpleasant and rather odd.

Slightly murky dark brown, it has a thin, pale tan head that dissipates quickly to essentially nothing.

The aroma is mostly baked apples and yeast with a aslight earthiness and a hint of alcohol like old fruit fermenting. It's ok, but not very good.

The taste is similar and mostly just old baked apples with a little yeasty bread, an underlying earthiness and a faint alcoholic quality of old, fruity cheap wine. It has little sweetness and almost no bitterness.

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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 drink....one 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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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 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 yelterdow
2.69/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served in an imperial pint glass at just over fridge temperature. Purchased at Ramsey Liquors. 16.9 oz. bottle, no freshness date.

Appearance- Looks like Fuller's ESB's brother... rich amber hue with a great, four-finger bone white crown that hisses and pops for minutes. No lacing, but the head is nice even when the ride is over.

Smell- Caramel malt and a sweet, alcohol-tinged toffiness come out of the beer first. A dark fruit bready character emanates soon after, and remains for the duration.

Taste- First, the caramel malt notes make their presence known... then the bready yeastiness, then a mild and short hop finish that leaves the mouth dry. Not as balanced and well crafted as Fuller's (the benchmark, IMO) but the elements are there. Unfortunately, I swirled and emptied the bottle into my glass which imparted a sour-ish, very detracting smell and flavor. If you try this, take my word for it and leave the last 2 oz. for the sink.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Very light and, frankly, boring. For an ESB, I want super-sessionable drinkability with active and rolling mouthfeel. This falls flat big time in the mouth and because of the harsh, sour notes in the taste, I couldn't do this again. Pass this one up in favor of some local bitters, if you're from the States of course.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.72/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First try having this one. Looks brown and muddy. Slightly on the purple side. Pours a light tan head that fell to a trace. Smells malty sweet with prunes, toffee, and caramel. A bit sour and bitter smelling. Tastes toasty, bready, prune-ey, and toffee like. Bittered nicely for flavor and balance. Heavier body than I would expect. Almost thick and cloying. A bit metalic in the finish. Finishes sweet and tacky. Could have beer a Wee Heavy rather than an esb.

 461 characters

Photo of jbone78
2.99/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This was new at my Beer store, so I got it!

A- Pours dark golden with a nice head.The head is actually very impressive.
S- hoppy smell also caramel. Very european smelling.
T- A little bitterness, the hoppyness is not all that floral. I like floral flavors.
M- This beer has a Newcastle aftertaste to it.
D- I drank it.


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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 hckyfn9999
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out of the bottle a deep, hazy, amber color along with some golden hues, with a very small, cream colored head that disappears quickly and leaves little as far as lacing is concerned. Aroma has a strong caramel pressence along with some green apple.

Initially, fruit flavors are predominant on the palate, specifically green apple, and almost a wine like flavor and almost a sourness, not a bitterness. These fruity flavors eventually give way to some strong malt flavor with a nice toffee finish. Honestly, I do not dig the wine aspects of this taste. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and full bodied which is nice, however, the wine like sourness combines with a pretty dry finish leaving the mouth feeling unpleasant. Not my cup of tea. I've had much better ESB's.

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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 veech
3.1/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm not sure if it was the overly yeasted flavors, or what but this one was pretty rough. I enjoy ESBs and several other English ales, but this one was not to my liking. Everthing in the taste was simply overwrought with bready yeast. I'm sure fans of bigger beers are more partial to this style, but it just wasn't my favorite. Not a terrible beer, just not a great one.

 371 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.12/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a mug. Had a little head that didn't last particularly long. Deep, dark color was a little too murky.

The smell was sweet and sharp. At first, it was hard to pin down.

You can really taste the sweetness of this beer. The apples give it an overly tart flavor, accompanied by a nuttiness. The main problem here is that it finishes very weak. It's sort of thin in that respect.

The mouthfeel was equally average. It didn't seem as though it had enough carbonation to sustain itself.

Overall, this is a mediocre beer. Not totally without some charm, but not strong enough to bring me back for a second round.

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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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Photo of ralree
3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Really dark red, seems to have a bit of sediment, tan head of about a finger, good foam. Decent retention, just a little lacing.

S: Dark fruit and sweet malt with just a hint of banana. Alcohol detectable, some floral hop flavor present.

T: Apples and cherries! Interesting flavor with a nice sweet tangy fruit, a toasty malt backing, and just enough hops to make you happy. There is a bitter bread flavor after swallowing that was a little stale-tasting. Bitterness stays around after swallowing. I would like this more if the fruit flavor stayed around. Alcohol is detectable, but bearable.

M: Half-way astringent, carbonation is good, medium-bodied. Slightly syrupy.

D: Drinks pretty well, but it's a little too rich for me.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick reddish brown. It's obvious there's very little carbonation from the uncapping, but with a bit of vigorous pouring I got a slight head of beige foam forming. It dissipates rather quickly but leaves some reasonable lacing. Decent English Ale type of look to it. It's just not terrible exciting.

Some nice caramel malt and sweet vegetative notes on the nose, almost like kumera, with a very faint hop resin note. The sweetness is predominant though, which is something of a shame, although it's a pleasant enough nose overall.

Light sweet characters on the palate, surprisingly dark, with a lingering umami character on the back palate. Some banana esters come through mid palate. Bitterness is extremely muted, just a light tingling of metallic hop residue at the very back. Mouthfeel is a little thin and flat, but despite that, you can still feel the carbonation, as minimally carbonated as this is.

Quite a disappointing brew. To my mind, it's very much a poor British ale style. Light enough in the flavour department to swill down, but certainly not enough interest for me.

 1,094 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Light opaque brown pour. There's a weird tea like aroma. Like more than hops, although I'm sure the tea like notes are derivative of the earthy noble Euro hops they likely used in this. Nonetheless, that was my impression.

Biscuits made with dark wheat taste sensation, some bitterness, like a dark sourdough nutty bread. The format leads to excessive pricing per oz, but if you could get these like in a normal 4 or 6 pack, it would be ok. I mentioned toffee and tea in the mouthfeel right?

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Photo of berserker256
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wish all beers came in big fat 16.9 ounce bottles. This one poured nicely into a pint glass (some left in the bottle). Dark carmel brown with sand-colored dense head that remains for a good while. Leaves lacing as the head retreats. Smells like bitter pine and roasted toffee, brown sugar and slightly chemically and grassy. Tastes like burnt carmel, bitter hops, astringent alcohol, and bitter aftertaste. It's just OK. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy and carbonated. 16.9 ounces is enough.

 490 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16.9 oz

ESB revealed itself to me. Displaying a deep amber colour with a moderately cloudy look. The head was not all that monstrous, but it was evident. Tan, dense headage that left some lace. No sheeting, but some hangers on to remind me. Carbonation seemed to be absent.

The smell was not extemely pronounced. A touch of the fruits, the yeast, the malt. Sweetness prevails. Certainly not overpowering.

Taste left me a sour fruit impression. I was expecting something way more bitter. If I gulped this stuff blindly, I would have never tagged an ESB label upon it. Slightly caramel. The label claims up to some toffee, but I just am not feeling the toffee aspect. Maybe through the power of suggestion. Maybe.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Again, the label says full bodied. Maybe this is a full bodied ESB. This is my first try at the style. So altogether, I taste no bitters and medium body. I guess I am skewed.


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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an eyebrow raising russet auburn which seems a bit dim for the style, but so be it, topped with a settled thin layer of beige bubbled cap.

Mild easy scents of airy balanced sweet hops and malty backing of delicate pie crust grain.

First swigs: Initially crisp red apple fruit start and dry finish. Middle hangs in there with a brisk hop dryness, a pear and cherry fruity center, and a sizzle of caramel & ginger ale finish.

Feel is sharp and crisp, certainly with a strong bitterness that rounds off the toffee aftertaste.

Last swigs: Red apple ginger ale ESB. Thanks Ken! ESB style is delicate. Few hit the mark perfetly, most have a flaw to one side or amother. This one just fell short on the true biscuit backing and instead pushed too much caramel into the fray. An enjoyable ESB, for sure that really demonstrates a dry finish.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of byrd
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Large foamy head that lasts a long time. The head becomes rocky, and eventually reduces to a thick frothy lace. Lots of carbonation can bee seen rising to the surface. The color is clear reddish-copper. The aroma is fairly light with perfumed hops. Some raisin and plum notes are also noticeable along with a slight vinous and woody quality. There’s definitely a good amount of hops in this brew, however, it’s different than other ESBs I’ve tried with a flavor that I’m not all that familiar with. The hops, that are quite bitter, come in quickly and last all the way through the finish. Some vinous and oak notes are also noticeable. Malts are fairly light in this brew, however, very slight fruity notes are there. I also am detecting some alcohol or rum notes. There’s amount of slight roasted notes that are also noticeable towards the end. Not bad, and a fairly drinkable brew, however, I’m not over fond of it – not enough to race out and purchase it again that is. Maybe it’s because I’m not that familiar with some of the flavors here. This one came highly recommended to me, but I was a little disappointed.

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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.

 529 characters

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 threedaggers
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of jzlyo
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of goindownsouth
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I came across this bottle at one of my local haunts and simply could not pass it up. This brew poured out a rich amber colour, and offered up a head that was respectably thick, for a while, anyway. The aroma was decent, slightly sweet and roasty at that. Not bad flavour for an ESB. This one is definately worth seeking out, should you have the means to do so.

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