Barons Extra Special Bitter | Barons Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Barons Extra Special BitterBarons Extra Special Bitter
54 Ratings
Barons Extra Special BitterBarons Extra Special Bitter

Brewed by:
Barons Brewing Company

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by vancurly on 10-01-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 52
Reviews by istarilord:
Photo of istarilord
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber with a finger of lingering head. Not much smell, though a slight spice, clove?

Light baking spice on the first sip... good balance of bitter with maltiness. Light flavor of vanilla and apple on the palate.

Good mouthfeel, fairly smooth with light carbonation.

Overall a decent beer and drinkable. Fairly complex for an ESB.

 347 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine July 2007.

Here's an Australian brewer's take on the malty-but- hoppy English ESB, brewed with English malts and four English noble hops.

Hazy dirty-peach color, topped with a nice white lacing that's got some stick. Aroma suggests sweetness with musty undertones, a soft apple note and berry- like esters. Medium-bodied, a bit smooth on the palate initially, with a coarseness emerging from a flash of carbonation and a semi-citric hop bite. A bit grassy at times. Sweet maltiness with a caramel backing and toasty notes. Earthy. More esters with a touch of fruitiness and a biscuit-dry finish.

Although the malt and hop profiles are in line with the ESB style (malty backbone, moderate hops), there's nothing overly exciting going on here. The beer seems to lack a certain refinement that would make this something you'd want to go back to. Good candidate for cooking.

 907 characters

Photo of dacrza1
3.12/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice burnt siena light orange to dark brown from tail to head, with light white lacing that sags swiftly to marshy imbalance...a bit buttery in the aroma, lightly roasted toffee hints included; some fruity esthers--smells light and refreshing... a balanced, respectfully substantial presence--pleasant, crisp, and not extra oily or carbonated... malty presence asserts in the throat, while hops are notable between the teeth... a balanced, clean ESB with little character --but drinkable... reading Lew Bryson's Breweries of Pennsylvania, I can appreciate this beer a bit morethrough a point he champions--namely, that the more sessionable the beer, the more value it retains to the consumer... this beer flirts with flavor, enough for me to seek another in this sitting... not in the level of Barons lager, though...

 819 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barons- ESB

A- Hazy golden orange with a thick, sticky, heavy lacing head.
S- Buttery toffee malt with a touch of vanilla caramel.
T- Sweet caramel and toffee, buttery shortbread, and a light earthy/ leafy hop flavor.
M- Sweet and chewy malt dominates this 1. Dry finish with a buttery aftertaste.

Overall- Barons is new to my area, and this is the best Aussie beer (I haven't had too many) I've had to date! Good stuff here!!

 428 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A full head of ivory froth tops Barons E.S.B., holding well, and leaving walls of thin, stickly lace as it goes. The body is clear, and dark copper in color.

In the nose it's grassy and spicy with a strong mineral side over sweet caramel and biscuit.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied with a median, crisp carbonation.

The flavor reveals what the nose suggests, with plenty of sharp, grassy and spicy hops leading the charge. The malt steps in at mid-palate lending balance, and a solid bitterness makes its presence known. Bready, toasty, and biscuity notes arise. In the finish it's mineralish, quickly floral, and then grassy, finally fading to a residual film of lingering caramel.

A solid pint to say the least. Well constructed. Not overly done on the malt. A bit too much to be a session ale, but worth at least one.

 832 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a brownish copper color with an off-white head that possesses really nice retention and lacing qualities. The aroma is toasted malts, caramel, biscuits, toffee and citrusy hops. The taste is a touch of caramel malt, followed by a bitterness from the hops. For an ESB, I like a little more malt than what is present in this offering. Overall, a pretty decent brew but it is a little unbalanced for my personal tastes.

 462 characters

Photo of prototypic
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Barons ESB is clear and a nice looking copper/rust color. It's topped with a very light caramel colored head that stands a couple of fingers tall. Carbonation appears to be pretty active. It ate the head in a very short span of time. Lacing was on the lighter side.

The nose could use a little more strength, but is pretty good overall. It features mostly caramel and toffee malt sweetness throughout. There are some secondary grainy and earthy notes. Hops are noted, but don't smell very strong. That's not very meaningful since nothing about the nose is "strong." But, I'd hoped they'd be more prominent. There's some good stuff here and it actually smells pretty good. More muscle could carry it a long way.

I like the flavor a little more than the nose, but not enough to bump the score. It is malty and a little sweet up front. It tastes like a mix of caramel and toasted malts. The caramel flavor comes through a little stronger. Hops provide a bit of a bitter punch and quite a bit of balance. It's actually very well balanced. There's a floral flavor to the hops that makes it a little earthy, and perhaps grainy. Finishes sweet and a little earthy. This is actually a pretty nice ESB. It has a nice all around flavor, but doesn't have anything that makes it extremely memorable. I'm actually not sure that I've encountered an ESB that does. Pretty good stuff though.

The body feels light-medium. Carbonation is active and slightly buzzy. It doesn't feel quite smooth, but it's not far off. A little more body and less carbonation would probably do the trick. Drinkability is good. This is a nice change of pace beer that goes down easy and has just enough flavor to get by. I really don't mind it at all and could handle a few.

Barons ESB's a pretty nice ESB. I wasn't expecting much and am almost really impressed. The nose could use a little work and it needs something to ramp up the flavor just a little. Maybe more hops. There's a suggestion that almost always works. But, it's far from bad as it is and is kind of enjoyable if you're looking for a low-key session beer. Definitely worth a try if you spot a bottle or two.

 2,140 characters

Photo of Bierguzzler
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this beer because it was one that I hadn't had before and I wanted something different. It didn't turn out to be as different as I expected it to (being from down under), but it was pretty good nonetheless.

Drinking it from the brown bottle, I couldn't tell much about the appearance, so I'll leave that for others to comment on. For now I'll just say it was average.

The aroma from the bottle-top was a little roasty and carmelly. I still wasn't sure what to expect, but it smelled to me like a beer high in alcohol content (I found out later that it was not).

The first taste was very good! Still anticipating a beer high in alcohol, I was very surprised that it did not taste like it. (I also found out later that it is considered an American Ale - from down-under?? How odd!). Anyway, it was good, and I could even imagine my wife drinking it! Chocolaty and full of flavor (roasted flavor) it felt great in my mouth and went down very easily - too easily? I could sense virtually no aftertaste. I'm ready for a few more!

 1,036 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed amber/caramel with 3+ fingers of fluffy sand colored head with flecks of brown at the top (yeast?) into my new sam adams pint glass! ( Thanks bros & boston beer). Very good head retention & average lacing

S: Biscuitty & fruitty

T: Fruitty (apricot) with dryness & golden delicous apples up front. Leafy hops surface as the ale warms. Finises with herbal, citirc & leafy hops & a hint of biscuitty malt

MF: Light/medium bodied with low coarbonation & good balance

Drinks pretty good, I could have a few of these before I had to move on, pricey here though ($9.00+ a sixer). I also believe this would pass easier as PA or IPA, due to the hops dominance

 678 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
2.93/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured a clear, bright, tangerine orange with a thin light beige head that quickly settled. Visible carbonation was light, almost non-detect.

S: light, almost neutral, with very little hoppiness or aroma. Digging deeper there was some light caramel, but that's all I could muster.

T: quite strange and odd, with almost sour berry flavor and a sour fruitiness of apple and pear juice. A sour lemon hop flavor with light dried caramel soon follows. Not really bitter at all hop wise but rather bitter malting wise. Not particular to style and rather disappointing.

M: light, slick with flat carbonation with some sour lemon hopping and sour malting gracing the tongue after the swallow.

D: Overall a rather unenjoyable drink, nothing worth looking forward to in the next sip. Not particular to style and unlikely this would get any better after more then one serving.

 875 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
2.76/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours pale copper, with a good large head that shows great lacing but little persistence.
Aroma is lacking for an ESB, it has some resinous/piney hops and lots of caramel but is pretty light on.
Taste shows loads of caramel malt, but has some off-putting grainy notes. Finishes with a rather tame and boring bitterness.
Body is too watery.
Needs more hops!

 356 characters

Photo of papat444
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to triple5 for this one. Shared half of it with my wife during our supper, homemade pizza.

Poured from a 330ml. bottle, best before Jan. 5, 2010.

Appearance: Pours a super clear copper body with a thick head that gradually recedes to a 1 finger head.

Smell: Very faint floral notes. My wife says it reminds her of nectar soda but it's all quite muted.

Taste: Better IMO. A predominant malt character with a very low hop proflile and some grassy notes. A little bit of tangerine or nectarine in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rather low carbonation with a medium body. Decent enough and feels rather good in the palate.

Drinkability: Alright i guess. It goes down fairly well but it's not something i would pick up on a regular basis.

Overall: An average brew that has just enough taste to maintain my interest but barely.

 831 characters

Photo of joecast
2.53/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

attractive clear copper color. very low carbonation hurts head formation/retention though. leaves a slight lace on the glass and only holds a slight film covering the beer.

can not believe this beer is only 4.7% abv. smells and tastes like its got an extra 1% or more in there. in your face malt aroma bordering on sharp estery alcohol. hard to pich through all that and find any hops. a bit disappointing.

taste has the same issues. the low carb would have me thinking its going to be pretty smooth and quaffable. unfortunately the dominating maltiness is a bit off putting. strange candy sweet aftertaste makes me wonder if i should take another sip...

anyway, maybe im being a bit harsh. its drinkable...just.

 716 characters

Photo of geexploitation
3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very clear, with a color that approximates apple juice mixed with tea. Little head. Aromas are a bit sharp at lower temperatures, but as the beer warms up it softens. The malts have a pronounced nuttiness, while the hops are earthy and bear just a touch of fruit. On the palate, malt and hops mesh well to create a juicy, almost tangy mid-palate with plenty of citrusy notes that are rather English in character -- it's more orange than grapefruit. Things get a bit minty toward the end, and the finish has a somewhat strange, but not entirely unpleasant, peanut flavor to it. Mouthfeel is good for the style -- especially after letting the beer warm, the carbonation has dissipated a bit, so it is full enough to make things substantial, but not so full that they get in the way of the English-style flavors on display. Overall, this is a decent ESB. Nothing incredible, but quite solid.

 894 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.23/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single, twelve-ounce bottle copped from Gary's in Madison...
Hands-down, one of the better ESB's I've ever sampled...
Beautiful appearande - pours a deep, dark, orange hue with a gigantic, full-sized foamy head that left an incredible amount of lacing around the edge of the serving glass...
Sweet, caramel-cream aroma present with slight hints of lemon and nuts...
Taste was loaded with bread and butter nuances, a nutty essence, slight vanilla, a tinge of sugar and caramel... True-to-the style flavor of a classic ESB... Up there with some of the best...
Good mouthfeel with an equally good level of drinkability for a 4.7% ABV...
Definitely recommended...

 659 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml/11.2 oz. bottle:

Pours slightly hazed amber with a thin lasting head. Some lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is floral and citric with a caramel background.

The taste is of continental/noble hops that impart a floral, citric/lemony taste. Bitterness stays just ahead of a grainy, caramelish maltiness that rounds it out well. Well-balanced finish.

Medium-bodied and very smooth and refreshing with a pleasant, fresh aftertaste (this is imported?)

Very drinkable - goes down smoothly - almost too quickly. My main gripe is that it is in an 11.2 oz. bottle - I would like to have had the other .8 oz to make it a full standard 12 oz. bottle. Good thing, though, that I can get it locally now - a solid, "sessionable" ESB.

 731 characters

Photo of Reidrover
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz single. Clear brown ale, small off white head, but good lace. Good English bitter malt aromas, very nice Again good tasty toasted maltiness, ,bitter/sweet ending. Very "leafy". Nice on the palate. Im going to have to declare this a very nice bitter ( not "ESB").
Nothing spectacular but well drinkable and tassty.

 321 characters

Photo of rjimlad
4.11/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A hazy caramel appearance with a rich white head that persisted to the end. The aroma I got was a bit soapy but there were some esters tucked away that were quite faint. The taste was brilliant though. Nice maltiness at first then a very long hoppy bitterness that lasted well after the drink was gone. A little bit of grapefruit in there and overall I was really surprised how much I liked this beer. It is so well balanced that it is one of the most drinkable Oz beers I've had. Definitely on my short list and pretty affordable too.

 535 characters

Photo of WHROO
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubbie...

Poured a hazy golden colour with a thin head, that didn't stick around for long however retained some lacing, & would slightly froth with a bit of movement. Tiny carbonated bubbles.
Aroma was a little faint, but pleasant & malty, not a real bittery/metallicy smell to it (which is a bonus for me) considering it is an ESB.
Taste did bring out the hops & bitterness as expected, but finished quite dry with some short lived bitterness.
Mouthfeel was medium with good body considering its only 4.7%ABV.
Funnily enough the publican told me this was the worst tasting out of the Baron range, I was very surprised just how easy & unharsh this ESB was.
VERY DRINKABLE & will enjoy the other 5 bottles.

 712 characters

Photo of tmitch75
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber color with ample white head. Falls to thin layer and leaves lots of lace.

Slightly sweet biscuity smell with some diacetyl. A pretty watery smell though.

Caramelly malt flavor with nice floral hop flavor but lots of diacetyl.

A bit too light but not enough to be a problem.

Certainly one of the better Aussie brews I have had, I'll definitely try there others if I come across them.
Tasted on 4/7/08.

 415 characters

Photo of Buggies
4.12/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy copper color. A quickly diminishing head, but what remains leaves nice big blotchy lacing.

S: A nice pleasant aroma. Smells sweet with a nice bit of caramel. There is also some sort of fruity aroma as well. Very nice addition whatever it is.

T: I thought this was a very good tasting beer. My first from Barons. A nice sweet roasted malt flavor with caramel in the background. Good balance. The finish is almost dry with just a hint of bitterness at the end which fades fast.

A pretty tasty brew. This was my first from Barons, and I'm pleasantly pleased. I can't wait to try more of their beer.

 614 characters

Photo of ECLyons
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the first Barons beer I have had and I am impressed.

Appearance: Has a nice dark amber color

Smell: The smell was very pleasing, but somewhat metallic

Taste: A very nice balance of bitter and malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Smooth, enjoyable

Drinkability: I could definitely have multiples bottles at a time

 312 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: lightly hazy orange with yellow highlights. A one finger head lasts a while. Light lacing develops.

Smell: some soft caramel is all that is detectable.

Taste: bready caramel, mild fruit sweetness, mild bitterness, and a hint of yeast. There is a graininess to the malt profile.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Dryness arrives late. Almost clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: there is that Fosters can-like flavor in this beer which is a turnoff for me. No great shakes here.

 508 characters

Photo of Tone
3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of hops, tart malt, some roasted malt, slight alcohol, and some slight raisin aroma. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with a high carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, sweet malt, some dry hops, slight roasted malt, and a strong associated dryness. Overall, a little too tart for my taste which makes it hard to drink.

 476 characters

Photo of bort11
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Smithwick's pub glass. From a hard pour, an impressively tall head that slowly recedes to a frothy cap. Thin specks of lace stick to the glass. Color is a clear coppery orange.

Smell is a sweet honey malt. Taste has a slight metallic bitterness. I think I'm just used to American hops, that this came off so different. Caramel malts can be detected in the back.

Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied and finishes clean on the palate. This is an OK ESB, runs very middle of the road.

 508 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Barons Extra Special Bitter from Barons Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.56 out of 5 with 54 ratings