Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Thames Welsh ESB | Felinfoel Brewery Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
84
good
107 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Thames Welsh ESBThames Welsh ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Felinfoel Brewery Co.
Wales, United Kingdom
felinfoel-brewery.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
107
Ratings:
121
Avg:
3.74
pDev:
13.64%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
1
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 121
Photo of dedrinker
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

 325 characters

Photo of beerking1
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

 285 characters

Photo of jdmorgan
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

 816 characters

Photo of livingregret
1.87/5  rDev -50%
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

 864 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 889 characters

Photo of mortarit
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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 %.

 629 characters

Photo of hckyfn9999
3/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

 772 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

 293 characters

Photo of BeerSox
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 843 characters

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.

 349 characters

Photo of Greenfloyd
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
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

 645 characters

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.

 434 characters

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.

 482 characters

Photo of goschool
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part one of my ESB tasting tonight. Full Sail Equinox is up next.

Appearance: The pour is darkish copper topped by a 2.5" white head that fades, but never disappears.

Smell: The nose has dark fruits, toffee, and an oaky aroma.

Taste: Darks fruits- mainly cherry- come in up front, followed by damp wood flavor that reminds me of those spoons you use to eat malts at Dodger Stadium. The toffee and toasted malt finish is very dry.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but on the thinner side.

Drinkability: The wood was the only turn-off in this beer, but it's enough to keep me from buying more of this when Fuller's is readily available.

 636 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like the bottle and roaring red dragon on the label, I've always thought Wales has one of the world's most underrated flags. Pours a dark ruby with a thick creamy head that unfortunately didn't last. Nose is sweet malt, almost reminiscent of wine, with slightly sour fruit notes. Alcohol also present.

Very dry, bitter flavor thaat almost makes me pucker. Wood and dark fruit notes, almost like a port or sherry. Finish is again dry and a roasted, nutty aftertaste that turns grittty as it completes. Lacing is impressive and the taste does grow on me although it still isn't ideal. Mouthfeel is heavy and could stand some balance.

Interesting and different. I'll try it again but I might wait to see it on cask in its homeland, not sure if the bottle could offer much more. Not quite sessionable but if you like English style ale it is worth a go..

 857 characters

Photo of goochpunch
2.45/5  rDev -34.5%
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.

 568 characters

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.

 474 characters

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with tinges of cherry red. Frothy ivory head. Persistent lacing. Smells quite malty. Toffe and caramel, hints of plum. No hop aroma to speak of, which is odd.

Taste is very rich in toffe and dark fruit flavors. Raisin and spiced black currant. Quite fruity and quite sweet. Hops are impossible to pick out. Very sticky and rich. Not sure this is an ESB (not alot of bitter in this Extra Special Bitter) A decent enough ale though and a pretty good drinker.

 478 characters

Photo of PCaravan
2.4/5  rDev -35.8%
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.

 773 characters

Photo of veech
3.1/5  rDev -17.1%
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 blitheringidiot
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

 885 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 888 characters

Photo of HoustonTX
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Welsh ESB - Nice looking 16.9oz bottle, love the dragon graphic.

A - Poured a dark brown, with a creamy white large head. Excellent carbonation streams, and good retention.

S - Smells of faint chocolate, dried fruit, and toffee. Alcohol is definitely there as well.

T - Taste is quite unique, and it has a lot going on. Taste upfront has a lot of fruit notes going on. Dark fruit especially, grapes, and plums. With a hint of fig as well. Toffee and chocolate are there as well. Hop bitterness is mild, but balances nicely. Ends with a strong figgy bitter aftertaste. Strange, but unique. Mouthfeel is coating, and semi-dry. Drinkability is middle of the road.

A unique beer, and one of the most unique I have tasted to date. It's really a strange blend of flavors, but it's actually pleasent. This is not a session beer, but definitely one to be sipped and enjoyed. I recommend you try this one at least once.

 922 characters

Photo of sacfly
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9oz
Pours a slightly hazy brownish red. Low carbonation yields a thin head that quickly disappears. Aroma is fruity, malty. Just a hint of hops. Malty sweet caramel taste offset slightly by a mild bitterness. Sweetness sticks to the tongue and coats the mouth. Mild bitterness comes out well into the aftertaste.
Decent, but not quite what I am looking for in an ESB. A bit too syrupy and lacking enough balance of hops.

 426 characters

Photo of granger10
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Graydon's Crossing tonight. Looks purple reddish with a bit of mohagany in the middle. When it came there was not any head and the carbanation looked on the weak side, which isn't that bad of a thing really for the style.

Aroma is weaker to me but fruity with tea notes and a toasty toffeeish base.

Dark red apple skins come to the forefront. A bit of a lighter white grape character is there as well. More of a toffee, earthy base. Finish is hoppier or atleast less sweet, drier. This came out stronger as the beer warmed.

Really transformed from being apple cider fruity, caramelly sweet when cold to plum fruity, tea-like dryness as it warmed. Both flavors were intriguing and both solid. Either way it was quite nice.

 752 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe