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: 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 643 |  Reviews: 573
Photo of Jeremiah_Nelson
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So sad this is a discontinued beer. I rank it as high as possible only for the fact I can remember the taste so vividly. It was the beer my father in law bought and we drank the night we came home from the hospital with my first child. Great memories.

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Photo of rrryanc
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of Durandal_777
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of oelergud
4.8/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stubby dark brown glass bottle with the classic SN label, this one with a parchment like background.
Clear copper body. Huge slightly off-white tiny to large bubbled head with good retention and clumpy lace.
Earth, yeast, hops and malty scent. Harsh pine with a swirl of caramel.
Damn good taste and so well balanced, malty sweetness up front followed by a resin hop rush that keeps gaining strenght all through the aftertaste but never quite looses it's malty backbone. Earth, hay, yeast and mulch.
Great mouthfeel, full body with lots of coating and a slick feel.
This is session brew all the way. This beer makes up for the short Celebration period we had in '07.


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Photo of RBorsato
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of baconman91
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of andebrice
4.72/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

ESB 2008 bottle. Just got this in the store so being a fan of both esb and sierra had to give it a go.

Poured room temp into a frozen mug (I really need to invest in some good glassware) shows a bright amber orange color with a white 2 finger head. The smell is sweet over ripe grapes a touch of nectarine a bit of grassy hops presents. The taste is excellent and very complex. I love the way this beer rolls over my tastebuds starting sweet malts fading due to the medium carbonation to a bitter piney hops finish and the mouthfeel leaves a nice sweet feeling all over my mouth, the bitter pine taste does tend to linger as more of a grassy aftertaste but my tastebuds feel so smooth and sweet then too that I dont tend to notice, or care. The carbonation is hit right on the money, not too thin and not to big, just enough to hit you with the hops when you need it. I would definetely drink this beer again.

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Photo of cyguyjg
4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I miss this ale. It was a great example of an American ESB. Slightly malty, the alcohol gave it just the right punch.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brand new ESB from Sierra Nevada pours a pure orange amber with some bright golden highlights. The snow-white soapy head takes a decent while to recede and leaves some spotty lace. Plenty of small rising bubbles can be seen as well. A nice deep color and a tall rocky head make for an attractive looking brew.

Bright and hoppy with a pleasantly sweet malt backbone. Citrus and honey with a hint of a bready character as well. The pleasant surprise really lies in the big bitter hoppiness. I've grown to expect a lack of hops in many ESBs but this one really delivers in the little green cone department.

Lively and bitter in the flavor as well. Citrus and piny hop character throughout with some more mild caramel malt that provides a nice sweetness and citrus: lemon and grapefruit. Good floral notes along with a faint nutty taste. The sweeter fruit really comes out in the finish; less lemon/orange and more of a tropical citrus and apple fruit feel. Very tasty and flavorful with plenty of hoppy bitterness; much more than expected in fact. Really tasty and well balanced.

Smooth and bright with a more matted buttery finish. Juicy with some lingering bitterness. Moderate carbonation and a medium bodied throughout. I would consider the drinkability very high do to the moderate ABV and a balanced, flavorful character. I expected a more mainstream ESB to be as mild or milder than many out there but this is actually one of the more robustly flavored renditions of the style I've had. Really excellent.

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Photo of harvester
4.64/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- This beer has a very nice Golden amber it pours really smooth kind of reminds me of pouring a union jack just tip that bottle back and let er rip leaves you with a nice small head that drops back down in the beer fast leaveing a nice lite laceing

S- has a nice grapefruit/orange smell kind of reminds me of a fresh harvest (I don't know why lots of people think this is like a celly )

T- At first I get a blast of malts with a nice lite hop finish. This is no hop bomb but very nice on the palet does not leave the back of my tounge feeling like it coated with pine cone sap

D- I think Sierra has done a great job on this years ESB I could sit and drink about 10 of these and top it off with an Ale Smith and call it GOOD

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Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was pleased to be one of the first to review this new first time offering from Sierra Nevada. After reviewing this beer, I hope this beer is as widely distributed as Celebration was.

Poured from a brown standard SN bottle into a pint glass.

A. Deep copper red brew with a healthy finger and a half head. Great lacing and head retention.

S. Just like most SN brews, hoppy. However the hops are different...earthy and grassy hops. Hardly a hint of the strong pine. The malt is evident and pleasing.

T. Much as it smells. These hops are different than some SN but all in all very pleasing. Unlike many "in your face" SN brews, the malt is balanced and leads to a great clean finish.

M. Creamy finish yet clean. Good carbonation.

D. I certainly hope this is a regular seasonal for SN! This is a great sessionable beer.

An American take on the English ESB. An ESB on hoproids!!!

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Photo of matt062286
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Rich golden yellow with a hint of red. Nice thick foamy head and excellent lacing.

Smell - Citrusy hops that are prevalent in most Sierra Nevada brews. Hints of pine as well. The malt really stands out in this one and really adds character.

Taste - To me, right off the bat, this one tastes like a Pale Ale, with a heavier shift to the malt side. I am admittedly not much of a "hop head", and this one tastes great. A perfect balance of light hops and malt. I can pick up a little of the English hops that are boasted on the side of the bottle, but the Chico hops are still the focus.

Mouthfeel - Pretty good amount of carbonation here. Very smooth texture and finish.

Drinkability - since the hoppiness is a bit turned down for a SN, this becomes an excellent session beer. After finishing the first bottle, I had no problem jumping into a second and third. The ABV is even a tad higher than the Pale Ale if I am correct.

Overall, my hands down favorite Sierra Nevada brew. Would love to be able to buy these year round.

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Photo of estonerook
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Delicious beer. Pours orang to copper with a cream head. I thought the nose was great on this beer as well as the mouth feel. I could drink seven of these.
I often complain that some bitters are incomplete and forget to include any maltiness whatsoever. This beer was very complete, and the hops leave a great nose and an even better taste. I could taste this beer for a while after finishing my last bit. Made me want another one.
To the guy who rated it a C-, I'll take the other bottle off your hands.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful appearance. Uniform carbonation supports a khaki firm head. Lace is coat like with a solid wall and rings. Deep golden body.

Fragrant hop presence leaning towards perfume. Crisp mouthfeel. If this replaces their IPA I for one will be happy. This is an excellent ESB and worthy of being said in the same breath with top ESB's around the world. Sharper than most, tastier than most, large hop bill and enough malt to keep it reasonable.

Notes: I'm going back to get a case. I'd love to see this as a year round offering.

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Photo of ptarmigan98
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of TrojanWheels
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of jongullotti
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of twelveinches
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of lilnicky068
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.49/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deep straw color with golden/honey/red hues. Great clarity. Pretty good head with decent lacing and just-okay retention.

Aroma hops out the wazoo. How delightful!

Crisp, clean hop edge on a softer biscuit-like malt body. Rounds out with near-perfect bitterness - it starts like I've just chewed on some astringent flower and then it whispers away leaving just enough to seduce me back. Every time I go back in for a sip the hop aroma hits me beautifully. The malt is just there enough to do something without being sweet or malty or roasty. It preaches its clean toastiness (reminiscent of, but subtler than the ever-toasty SNPA) mainly in the middle, after the hop aroma but before the hop bitterness. Occasionally I get biscuit in the finish. Medium body, decently carbonated.

Near the end I get some of that raspberry-like Chico yeast flavors and it's really starting to smell like SNPA.

The Verdict: Sierra Nevada really knows how to use the hops. This ESB is similar to the PA only with a little less malt and a lot more hop. That said, the balance is spot on and quite delicious. This West Coast spin on an ESB is a true delight.

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Photo of jmfc8237
4.48/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- A nice honey gold to amber gold tint with light carb. A nice clear head that quickly leveled off to a light foamy blanket with a good amount of lacing.

S- Has a earthy almost winter smell to it. Nice solid hoppy aroma and mossy underlining. I enjoyed the mixed malt aromas .

T- Light to mild bitter hop taste and has a bold piney finish.

M- Smooth frothy foam mouthfeel with a nice taste bud awakening aftertaste.

D- Very clean and crisp. A wonderful aroma and color. This is a deff. in my stable for the next few weeks. Wonderful for the changing seasons.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a deep honey with just the slightest bit of haze and a sturdy, frothy head that, once it recedes, leaves but a speckling of bubbles atop the beer and some very ornate lacing patterns on the glass. Aroma is very English. Lots of caramel, toffee, herbs, flowers, earth, and just a touch of citrus and butter. In the flavor, the malt carries a lot of the same caramel and toffee in the nose, but it has a brightness to it and never weighs down the palate. The hops kind of sweep in midway just to clean up any extra sweetness and add a very fresh feeling to the overall character of the beer. Lots of herbs and flowers with just a hint of come citrus and pine. Leaves only a slight bitterness in the finish, but mostly keeps the soft sweetness in check and helps dry things out overall. Has a little bit of a grainy tinge towards the end as well. Mouthfeel is about medium in weight, leaning slightly towards a fuller body. Carbonation is kept in check very well and gives this an overall smoothness. Very drinkable. One of the better ESBs I've had from the US or the UK.

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Photo of 2LBrew
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a S.N. pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Poured a copper color. Had minimal head to it. As I have a cold right now could not get the smell of it. I have to say that it was definitely a good beer from the taste of it. Smooth beer, no alcohol taste to it. Could definitely drink a couple of these before it would hit you. A little bitter taste after drinking. Not bad though. Good selection to add to S.N.'s lineup.

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Photo of dfried
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A clear yellowish toffee color, with a large pillowy white head that lasts extraordinarily well as a cap throughout the beer and leaves big chunky lacing. The aroma is sweet and caramelly with some light brown sugar notes from the malt. The hops are well rounded, herbal, musty and resinous, along with quite a bit of citrusy orange, grapefruit, and lemon. European but with and American zing at the end.

The taste was of toasted malt and dark sugar with a slight biscuity flavor. Quite hoppy for an ESB, an American style ESB, but not to the point of mistaking it for an IPA. More of the same hop flavors in the taste as in the aroma, cirusy orange and grapefruit, but resinous and lemony like a German or Czech pils. Medium to light bodied, very drinkable.

Overall: this beer is not all that complex but it is tweaked just right for what my personal taste buds want in a session beer. And I am always impressed when a bottled beer can hold the perfect head, it adds to the aesthetic value. It could have a touch less carbonation to be more true to the style I guess, but I didn't find it offensive at all, it just made me want one on cask.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange body, big fluffy just-off-white level head, and lively carbonation streams. Inviting lacing. Looks good.

Familar SN citrus and pine mixes with some lovely floral notes in the aroma.

Taste begins with a firm sweet malty foundation that graps hold of the tongue. Smoothly, gradually, a mix of bitter and fruity hops build on the foundation, and finally take control at the swallow. Not a big abrasive bite, but a nice nip at the very least. Hoppy aftertaste with a sweet undercurrent.

Smooth mouthfeel. Sessionable drinkability.

No, its not Fullers. Why would expect the folks who defined American Pale Ale, American IPA, and American Barleywine to not reinterpret another style? Nicely done, here's hoping this becomes a regular seasonal offering.

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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