Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer) | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer)Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer)
Very Good
643 Ratings
Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer)Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer)

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 01-09-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 643 |  Reviews: 573
Reviews by Morgoth:
Photo of Morgoth
4/5  rDev +4.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of my favorite styles from one of my favorite breweries it has to be great right?Poured into a standard pint glass clear copper with a bit of deep orange tint a white 1/2 inch white head atop that left broken lace as it settles pretty slowly.The aroma although packing a decent citric hop presence doesnt really hammer it home a little English biscuity malt presence and some iron as well but really it fades quickly,like a few others have noted the beer doesnt pack a whole lotta punch actually pretty mild.A mix of caramel biscuit malt and grapefruit-like hop flavors meld well but they just dont hit hard enough,a tad watery in the mouth and it seems to take away a little of the flavor.Hmm I thought it might be better its flavors are good there just isnt enough punch in my opinion.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is another Sierra Nevada beauty shop. It is a nice and solid orange-brown in color with a terrific, full, slightly off-white head that rose on an easy pour, showed great retention, and left a solid lacing film on the inside of my glass. Just gorgeous.

Smell - The sharp bitters jump out of the glass. It smells like bitters that bartenders use to make mixed drinks. I can pick up some light hopping and a heavy malt base as well.

Taste - The bitter malt is incredibly intense at the taste, much more so than I was led to believe from the nose. There's a good leafy character to the flavor profile and yes we do have some mild pine for balance, but it's the rich malt flavor that defines this ESB.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied and quite bitter. This is not that English-style bitter that is full of yeast and super sessionable. This bitterness is smooth but firm and to the point.

Drinkability - This is a quick smack in the back and not for the uninitiated. If you are looking for an ESB that defers to the Mild style of sessionability than get something else, but if you want a firm, solid, very bitter Bitter than this is hard to beat.

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Photo of ricke
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, amber color with brown hues. Medium sized slightly beige head that settles into some lacings.

S: Some citric and peppery hops, floral notes, fudge, earth and boiled vegetables. Nothing spectacular, and rather week smell, but still kind of good.

T: Not very powerful, but again, it's still quite good. I was afraid that there would be lots of flavors of boiled vegetables (considering the smell), but that wasn't the case. Tasty citric hops quickly develops into a flavor of sweet malts with a gentle caramel character. Some grains, fudge, earth and boiled carrots (but as notes above, the taste of boiled vegetables is neither strong or irritating). Diacetyls are present, but restrained. The finish is gently bitter with bready malts, grass, peppery hops and just a hint of minerals.

M: Moderate body, quite smooth. Very low, almost too low, carbonation.

D: Not bad at all, easy to drink and quite refreshing. I could definitely see myself drinking this one again.

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Photo of hopsleeroy
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The ESB poured a very nice amber-a little darker with some copper in it that the usual Sierra Nevada offerings. Decent head retention-look good in the glass. Smell was West Coast hops-piney a little grape fruit floral-you know what I mean. Flavor was malty, bready, and a bit of caramel with the hops balancing out. Put on the back of the mouth on the swallow there was on odd flavor to me. Something didn't mesh-almost a soapy kind of flavor. Each sip was good on the front and didn't taste so great on the backside. Big Sierra Nevada fan but not a huge fan of the ESB.

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Photo of Dmann
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My new session brew for the spring/summer! Poured a nice slightly hazy bronze color with a nice white head that laced my glass nicely. The smell was quite tosty and inviting with a nice mix between the malt and the light citrus smells of the hops. Taste and mouthfeel were spectacular! Both toasted malt and a nice dry citrus hop hit the palate at the same time, coupled with perfect carbonation and a slightly thinner mouthfeel(in a good way) than I was expecting and this beer is a winner!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle pours into my glass a nice hazy copper/amber with a touch of red in there as well. A half inch of creamy white head rises and falls, leaving patches of lace in its wake. Aromas start off with crystal malts, somewhat bready with a caramel ribbon underneath. I get a slight fruity profile that moves into a bold earthy, spicy hop nose. Green and resinous afterthoughts.

First sip brings a crisp, smooth bready, toasty malt upfront with crystal accents and a nice caramel backbone. Moves along with a mix of fruity notes and spiciness. The earthy, green hops come in as it flows down and bring with them a sturdy bitterness. The brew finishes clean and a bit dry with lingering spicy green hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is solid. Creamy, solid body with good steady carbonation throughout. A refreshing brew that also satisfies and goes down rather easily. Overall, this one didn't reinvent the wheel really and it sticks to the SN formula...but that formula works well and crosses over nicely to this well hopped ESB. This would make a good session when you want to take a break from the big citric hop bombs that are so widespread. Another good sesasonal, but I say bring back the Pale Bock!

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Photo of blitz134
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear with a golden hue, slightly red. Nice solid inch of off-white head that lingers for a while. Sticky lacing.

Aroma is a good balance of malt and hop, but leans more towards the hops. Some spicy and noble varieties show up. Light bready maltiness.

Good grainy, malty backbone in this one that supports a good mix of hops. A touch of citrus pith that is followed up with some earth English varieties. Not overly bitter, but definately a kick. Fairly clean with regards to the yeast.

Medium mouthfeel with an in-between residual sweetness level. A little crispness. Overall quite refreshing and a solid beer.

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Photo of ROBORB
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the flying saucer this beer was poured into a standard pint glass. This beer poured orange with a short lasting head. There are smells of citrus and caramel. The taste is a lot like the smell. The first sip has a subtle citrus hop presence and then it finishes with a nice caramel taste. This beer is a very nice surprise.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looking for 2008 Bigfoot, found this instead. Nice beer. Poured into a pint glass, it was a copper color with a very thick white head that left some nice lacing. The aroma was a little subtle for me, mostly just some grain. However, the malt became much more apparent in the taste, followed closely by some good bitter hops. The hop bitterness lingered for some time. This was a nicely balanced beer, would be happy to drink this anytime.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber color with a decent head that lingers. Smells of citrus hops and sweet malts, grass. Tastes is of light caramel, malty and slightly hoppy balancing the sweetness out. Very balanced and tasty. Prickly mouthfeel, medium bodied, crisp. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of merlin48
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a hazy apricot body witha respectable almond hued head. Generous patchy lacing clings to the glass. Aroma features toffee, toasted caramel, and a restrained hoppiness that is grapefruit with an edge of pine. Medium body has a lively and visible carbonation. Taste has a dominant toffee and caramel maltiness. Balancing hop bitterness is grapefruit and faint pine. Lacks the fruity esters and feel of a topnotch English ESB but is enjoyable and quite drinkable.

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Photo of mattster
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Opened 12 Fluid Ounce bottle dated 2008, poured into Nonic glass.

Pours a nice head of 2" with retains at about .75" of foam atop a copper colored ale with slight haze. Some lacing on glass.

Smell is of caramel malts, not much else on nose. Taste is of bitter hops with some malts. No citrus but a bit yeasty. Finish is OK, with some acidic tones. Mouth feel is somewhat disappointing, with a slight aftertaste.

Beer doesn't have the flavor I feel it should. Not a horrible beer, but average, at best.

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Photo of Byeast
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: slightly hazed amber hue, with a nice inch of offwhite foam.

Smell: Sweet and toasty malts show the most, with some red fruity esters and some citric hop edge.

Taste: Hops come first with an herbal and lightly citric bitterness, soon balanced very nicely by toasty caramelish malt and bready qualities, lingering malt flavor with a touch of the hops.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied,

Drinkability: Awesome beer to drink all night long, great seasonal brew, me likes!

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Photo of magictrokini
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very interestig take on the ESB. Pours clear gold with a short white head. Fresh, crisp aroma of floral hops, honey, pine straw, and perfume. Sweet malty taste mixed with the bittersweet citrus/grass hop tastes. Some soap, biscuits, lemon, and earthy malt as well. Its almost as if someone mixed an ESB with an XPA. Different.

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Photo of Kraken
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 3/6/09

I have been meaning to get around to this review for a while now and as this is the last of the 6er I figure there is no better time then the present. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz pint glass. Hard pour is greeted by a 1/8 inch of snow white head. Head falls quickly to a light skim leaving a patchy lace. Color is a faintly cloudy apple cider.

Nose- Very light caramel, mild biscuit. Nicely hopped. I wasn't expecting this level of hops. Muted citrus, grapefruit & lemon.

Palate- Light sweetness, followed by faint caramel and biscuit. Somewhat subtle grapefruit, not over powering. Pleasant bitterness, mildly sweet orange in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Active, light, very refreshing.

Drinkablility- Very Good. This is a very nicely balanced spring beer.

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Photo of bpfrush
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of far333
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apricot colored with a bright white dimpled and bubbly head, about a half-inch high. Head lingers long and leaves some fine lacing up the sides of the glass.

Aroma of understated hops and corn. Some biscuity malt and honey.

Sharp flavor of piney bitter, some citric rind and some faint malt riding beneath. Not overly complex, not too balanced. More bitter than malty, more piney than citrus. Something about the flavor that I can't put my finger on, but there's something in there that reminds me of a macro adjunct lager. Picking up some sourness as it warms.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy and round and rich, but is moderately carbonated, a bit slick in the finish, but rounds out somewhat tingly.

Above average drinkability, but not stellar.

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Photo of Gunnz
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber/copper in color, nice white head with decent retention. Leaves a nice lacy finish on the side of the glass.

Faint floral aroma, very nice malty and slighty hoppy nose.

Malty and hoppy, nice slightly bitter finish and after taste.

Smooth, medium-bodied mouth feel.

Definitely a beer I could have again, very drinkable. One of the better ESB's I've had in a while.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A dark gold color, good clarity. A negligible degree of citrus aroma.

Taste, very balanced, not super bitter or hoppy, a trademark of SN, but not overly malty or some funky yeast flava. A dry finish to a highly carbonated beer. Right in the middle of the road really in every category malt, hops, alcohol, citrus feel, etc. . ., this is a good 2nd beer of the day.

Got one of these left that has been aging over a year. Was it meant to be? No. But who knows, I'll revisit when I have it.

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Photo of whoneeds8
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out amber with one finger white head that disapates quickly, but good lacing all the way down the glass. Smells of fruit notes. Taste has a ginger feel, with a little hop bite to it. The mouthfeel is rather dry, but carbonation is perfect. This is a good drinkable, but nothing special.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel tinted ruby malts with a large deep beige head, rings of lacing settle with each sip. The combo of the English malt and American hops reminds me of the Boulder Beer Cold Hop in some regards. Pine, citrus, and herbal hop qualities with mild funky caramel malt presence. Flavor comes off much more balanced than I was aniticipating and before you know it the glass is nearly drained. Sweet with caramel and biscuit malts with a mild tartness finishes assertively hoppy with citrus and pine hops bringing a fulfilling resinous west coast hop buzz. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated bottle conditioned slightly hazed light slick hop oils noted as well great drinking Early Spring Beer. Drinkability overall satisfying and flavorful a beer that may even be available in West Virginia. I enjoyed it and like I said it disappeared quickly.

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Photo of WCBCFrank
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sierra's ESB pours a coppery amber giving way to a nice cloudy head - good lace in a pint glass. ESB is true to the style with good notes of caramel malt, slight hop bitterness and smooth finish.

For the novice: Good intro to ESBs, not as heavy a malt punch as the CLASSIC Fuller's.

Personally: Another consistent winner from the folks in Chico, CA.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one courtesy of daryk77 - much obliged!

Pours a light copper color with a dense one-finger off-white head. The head eventually recedes into a patchy layer of bubbles on top that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted grains with slight hints of citrus hop aromas.

Tastes similar to how it tastes. Buttery toasted grains up front balanced by light citrus flavors, ending with a nice bitterness a bit earlier than I was expecting.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness and smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This is one of the tastier beers in the style as it's not as one-dimensional.

Overall this was a tasty offering from SN that doesn't go too crazy with the hops. Worth a shot.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a slightly hazy warm orange body with a thin film of tan bubbles that is supported by a gentle carbonation of big bubbles.

S- The soft dry green herbal hops aroma has a slight bitterness to it but is still pretty soft.

T- The dry crisp bite of hops have some dry earthy greenness to them and a citrus rind pungent note follows. The finish is a soft bitter hop note. As the beer warms there is a dry biscuit malt note that comes through.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a crisp texture.

D The dryness of the malt really hides the great Marris Otter flavor but the hops have a good unique character that helps with the flavor. However the beer is pretty clean in flavor and the malt is even softer.

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Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 643 ratings