Thames Welsh ESB | Felinfoel Brewery Co.

121 Ratings
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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 AtLagerHeads
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good across the board, this is one fine drinking ale. The look is of a deep ruby dark amber almost to mahogany in shading. A small cream colored and creamy head leaves mild lacing down the glass as the malty and fruity aroma fills the nose.

Full rich fruit malt flavor fills the palate and the creamy mouthfeel finishes more crisply than would imagine as the first taste is sampled. A very lovely and drinkable brew, this is easily a fine session brew.

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Photo of BeerBard
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very well-balanced ESB. Clear "root-beer" brown with a small head and little smell but rich toffee malty mouthfull balanced with a perfect amount of hops with a pleasant aftertaste. A good choice for drinking on its own or with a rich meal. A fruity/malty ESB. Just as good at 70 degrees as chilled.

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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 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 TheDM
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured a medium head of fine to medium sized light brown bubbles and a very pretty dark brown almost opaque body. It has floral aroma and an initially smooth flavor that builds very strong finish, very bitter. It has toffee and caramel notes with little lacing. Its flavor smoothens out with time and gets better in the aftertaste.

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Photo of marc77
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear garnet hue. Almond white head settles into a thin, creamy sticky layer that leaves lace. Nutty, brittle esque malt with smooth toffeeish caramel dominates the aroma. Mellow figgy esters and butterscotch diacetyl. Signature, if not understated ESB aroma. Brief surge of burnt biscuit sweetness initially in flavor yields to an earthy, leafy, tobacco like hop flavor along w/ rounded notes of oak and an impression of salty, licorice laced Fisherman's Friend. Medium lovibond caramel malt emerges mid palate concomitantly with bready malt lending a syruped biscuit suggestion. Moderate in body, and both light on the palate and agreeably smooth in mouthfeel. Hop bitterness is constant from start to end, and as malt sweetness fades, it emerges and lingers well into the dryish, transiently sweet cracker like finish. Thames Welsh is not quite as well rounded as other ESBs, but is quite flavorful and enjoyable nonetheless. It's tasty, but unfortunately becomes slightly metallic as it breathes. Almost delicious.

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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 mzwolinski
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice, hearty, English looking bottle, for a fairly hearty ESB. The pour is cherry red in color, with a thin light tan head which leaves some (though not much) lace. Aroma is malt dominated, caramel like with hints of fruit and a bit of an alcohol nose which subsides over time. Malt dominates the flavor as well, lending a caramel/sweet toffee flavor to the beer, with a mildly bitter finish and a reassertive fruity sweetness to the aftertaste. Medium-bodied with a slightly dry finish, this beer is a bit under-hopped (the variety used is more grassy/floral than anything, and used in insufficient qualities to stand up to the malt as they should in an ESB), and there's a noticeable alcohol flavor which can be a bit distracting and first (though not suprisingly, I suppose, it is much less so by the time you near the end of this 16 oz 6.5 abv beast!). Still a decent beer, good for a session.

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Photo of avylover
3.89/5  rDev +4%
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 bditty187
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
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 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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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 Gusler
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Being that I’m a “Beer Obsessed Lunatic”, that’s a quote from a former “lady friend”, I keep on hand several cases of beer that I like when I don’t feel like sampling new beers, or if I’m a bit under the weather as it were. Thames Welsh ESB along with “Optimator, Salvator, and many others falls into the category I call “Stable Beers”.
A pulchritudinous deep cherry red with a portly head and a creamy texture that is survived by thick sticking sheets of lace, both a nice light tan color. Nose is dominated by the sweet malt, hints of ripe fruit, light hint of the hops, caramel, fresh and clean to the senses. Start has a nice malt presence and it’s also sweet with the top middling in feel to the taste buds. Hops are dominant in the finish, the carbonation moderate and the aftertaste long lasting and quite dry, and a real treasure that I sample quite often and well worth your effort to find and sample.

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Photo of jackndan
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
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 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 NeroFiddled
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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 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 Mark
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Probably a better cold weather brew but I was eager to try it. Ruby colored ale with a tan airy head, lace was good. Very fruity with a sweet caramel malt base. Excellent mouthfeel. Very unique tasting beer and just might be better next time.

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Photo of Wildman
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice dark amber color and left a nice light tan head that subsided but left some nice lace. An aroma of malt, carmel and some hops. The flavor was of carmel, chocolate and malt. This again strikes me as a rather sweet ESB, but is still a good beer.

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Photo of Viking
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brownish-amber ale. Nice frothy head, stacked about 1/2 inch over top of glass without 'overflow'. Head dissipates quickly, but thin covering of lace remains on top of the beer, and on the side of the glass. Rich caramel aroma and flavor. A bit of yeast and alcohol present in aroma. Very mild fruit hiding under caramel flavor. finishes with oily, bitter hop flavor (but not overpowering). Kinda 'chewy'. Nice refreshing brew, with a bit of a kick.

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