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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 snaotheus
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

 488 characters

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.

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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 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 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 Bobo77
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in a 16.9 fluid oz. bottle (about a pint?) at Global Market in Kirkwood, MO.

Other reviewers had said that it should have warmed a little to bring out the flavor, therefore, I decided to heed this advice and let it sit out for a little while.

A pour into my beer mug delivered a two finger head that was light brown in color. This soon dissipated into a thin layer of brown tinged foam. The ale's body appeared to have a rich brown color but when held up to the light was very much red.

The aroma was that of a complex, buttery, caramel sweetness. Thoughts of a candy shop come to mind. On repeated sniffs, a hint of alcohol burns through making its presence known. After a light swirl, toffee is apparent.

A sip reveals a thick, warming mouthfeel. Perhaps I let it warm too much, but that may have brought out more flavor (It would be a travesty to serve a beer like this ice cold.) Very sweet, candylike toffee flavor at first. If I swish it around a little there is a distinct medicinal bite of alcohol, not too surprising at 6.5% ABV. Aftertaste of breadcrust and it is here that the hops make themselves known. Lots of lacing is to be found on the mug.

I honestly expected this to be much more bitter than it was. ESB, to me at least, implies bitter but this beer is so rich and sweet that hops are downplayed. Obviously bitter can mean different things to different people. I am sure that the average BMC drinker would find this horrendously bitter, but unfortunately I was looking for something hoppy.

The reason that I was shopping at Global Market was becase I was craving curry. Global Market has a great selection of mostly Eastern European beers, they even carry Okocim Baltic Porter, but they didn't have any IPAs to go with my curry. So I chose the Welsh ESB as an alternate and ended up with something that I would consider more of a desert beer than something to pair up with spicy Indian cuisine. Still not a bad beer though.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark cloudy copper color. Had to force a head that poured white, but it didn't hold. Thin lacing slid down the side of the glass and faded.

S: Very sharp. Cherries, plums and other dark fruits, toffee, and soft oak aroma.

T: Consistent with aroma, darks fruits, mostly cherry, with a musty/woody flavor. Distinct (and delicious) toffee and toasted malt finish that is very dry and clean.

M: Smooth, but too thin for what I expected. Maybe had something to do with the lack of carbonation.

D: Admittedly I like ESB's so I found this beer pleasant and warming. In fairness, I want to read other reviews, try it again to make sure the bottle hadn't become flat somehow.

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Photo of froghop
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased at 99 bottles in federal way, washington.

pours a clear brown with a red tint, good lacing.

smell is of caramel, grain, roasted malts.

taste is creamy, malt, toffee, toasted nuts, a touch of grain.

overall very nice. it was very enjoyable.

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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 pinotboy007
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had never seen this before; very cool label so we gave it a shot.

A - nice light mahogany color with a modest head and rather decent lacing.

S - Rye bread, some hops, peat, cinnamon.

T/M - Nice! That rye bread comes forward with some light carbonation in support. A touch of what I would describe as "earth" and a bit o'leather and some toffee.

D - Quite drinkable. Not "knock your socks off" quality, but certainly enjoyable. Give this one a turn.

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Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
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...

 679 characters

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.

 382 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.82/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite a dark oak brew, no head per say, even with an aggressive pour. A semi-sweet aroma of root beer and molasses. The quaff is just as strange - sweet woody malt with plenty of doughy bread. Can't say if I ever remember tasting something like this.

Very different, but pleasant drinking brew. Easy alcohol of 6% could make this a drinker, but it has the damn import price of over $3 a 500ml.

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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 dedrinker
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep mahogany color with a tiny off-white head. Aromas of nutty, oaky, biscuit malt. Tastes fruity - apples, yeasty, with a slight woodsy sourness and some juicy crystal malt. Or something. Follow up smells and tastes are sugary, yeasty, crab-apples. I instinctively sense the presence of yellow jackets. My picnic is ruined.

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Photo of beerking1
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours medium brown and cloudy, with a small but lingering head. Aroma is fruity, with a strong green apple character, along with hints of malt and hops. Flavor is light crystal malt up front, followed by a hop bitterness and some more fruity character. Finish is butterscotch and hops.

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

This beer came from a pint bottle and poured a dark, opaque, almost cloudy brown. It had a small, cream colored head as well.

The smell was faint, but had some slight fruit aromas and perhaps even some winey notes as well. The taste had a lick of alcohol to it (being 6% and all) and a full taste with caramel malt and strong fruit flavors to it. Hop flavor is minimal, and I feel that the fruity tastes dominate. The mouthfeel is medium in consistency, with a medium carbonation.

All in all, the beer was surprisingly drinkable. It was gone almost as soon as I started it, and was a fairly well-brewed beer. Unfortunately, I feel that the fruitiness of this beer diverts it a bit from the ESB style. It's definately a unique beer, and being Welsh, I'm proud to have had the opportunity to drink it. Cymru am byth!

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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 Slatetank
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation - poured from a brown 16.9 oz bottle lacking freshness date into a snifter at 50 degrees.
A -A deep hazed amber almost nutty brown with a frothy pale head that allows generous amounts of lace to collect.

S - Fruity like cranberry or currant with honey or golden raisins and a subtle spice note with hints of light brown sugar and citrus.

M - Tangy fruity sweet medium bodied, full carbonation with a sweetish finish.

T - A very light hop woodiness is brushed away by a fruity full on English ale taste. Slightly dry at first with subtle caramel notes and a little spice that borders on peppery and a kind of gingery root flavor with a residual sweetness.

D - An easy drinking beer although not the best ESB and perhaps not entirely true to style. A tasty ale, though and has some interesting flavors and very enjoyable when it comes out of it's shell as it warms.

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Photo of mortarit
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I haven't had an ESB in a while so I spotted this one to have some variety in the fridge. Now it is time to par tay of this new experience.

Color: Quite dark it seems, red-orange-brown mixture, clouldy and swampy feel to it.

Lacing: tiny ring of head, non existance but lingers on though

Taste: Smooth,verysmooth, I am tasting carmel for the first time. I mean I see that people put it down on other postings but I never got the same result in noticing the carmel. Toffee is present too.

I think this is a Keeper for the ESB collection if your choice is to have a variety on hand. Very good and light on alcohol %.

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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 drpimento
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice beer! Poured with a medium head that faded to a steady light cover. Lovely mahogany color. Aroma is full: roasty, peaty, dark fruits like plums, raisins; molasses, malty. Flavor is same but some tartness from carbonation, bitterness from yeast, and booziness. Full body. Long finish.

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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 Hampton73
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
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 Greenfloyd
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This has got to be one of the heaviest six percent beers, body wise, that I've ever had.

This beer pours into a pint glass with a dark, unfiltered cider appearance, toped with a thick, light cafe mocha colored head. The nose of this beer has the strong malt tones to back-up my taste analysis. True to the style, the hop malt and hop flavors are fairly balanced, but the malt defiantly has a stronger showing. Raisin and sweet malted cereal dominate the palate, but the thick mouth feel is almost a bit overwhelming. Finishes with a light hoppy bitterness. This beer went well with roasted chicken, potatoes, carrots, and fresh bread...Enjoy

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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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