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)

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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 573 | Ratings: 643
Photo of basscram
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice gold dark yellowish color. orangish. Head is slim, lacing down glass is minimal. Smells of spring flowers and a tad hoppy, but not too much.

Taste is very light for a sierra nevada. I notice their hops taste in this. As all the beers I've tried from them, I notice they have a similar hops taste. It has a honey and slight grass taste to it.

It feels very good on the tongue as well. I could really drink more than one of these and say I enjoy it.
I have to say this is a tasty esb! Recommended.

As the beer goes down the throat, the bitter taste comes through as you breathe out.

 599 characters

Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks absolutely delicious. Great head retention and ir pours a nice hazy copper, perhaps dry hopped hmmm.

S- Smells of sweet malt and citrus hops. Very nice.

T- Very citrusy with some good bittering hops as well. the flavor is excellent and this goes down good. well balanced though and not overly hopped.

M- perhaps a bit too carbonated but is great, medium bodied and very refreshing.

D- this is a great ESB, different enough from their Pale ale and is probably my new go to SN when I can't get torpedo. Man this is good.

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Photo of marcpal
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Went a little over the top today at the store and was in a SN mood with the good weather. Got packs of this, Torpedo and the Pale Ale.
12oz bottle poured into Dogfish shaped pint glass.
Bottle Graphics: 4/10

A: Orange amber with a light filmy foam on top, not too much but super lacing.

S: Sweet malts and adjacent hops. Bready and toasty like a red or amber ale. Modest yet flavorful aroma.

T: Slightly more hops and bitterness than the aroma leads. Relatively crisp flavor with the breadiness coming to the front. Whatever style it is, I would like the hops to come more on the balanced edge, I have to seek them out in the taste as I drink through it. Slightly too much sweetness.

M: Moderate mouthfeel in all ways. Tight and crisp.

D: Pretty high, pleasure to have with a bag of chips or walking down the Vegas strip. Mild enough to go down like water. Not SN's best, but still tasty.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a: Ambery orange in color, with a slightly off white head and a bit of lacing.

t: Earthy/grassy hop notes, with a sweet malty backbone.

m: Medium body, slightly big bubbles.

d: Excellent session beer - not very heavy or overpowering. I usually go for something with a little more pronounced flavors rather than something I can drink a lot of, however.

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

Poured into SABL glass.

A. Thick 2 finger head. Head has nice retention. Nice lacing left on glass. Orange/amber color.

S. Citrus grassy hops. Slightly sweet malt smell.

T. Very nice balance between the grassy hop flavor and the sweet caramel malt.

M. Medium bodied. Adequate carbonation.

D. A very easy drinking beer. Nice balance in this beer. Could of had more hop bitterness. Still a very good session beer.

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Photo of robbyc1
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful off yellow tight head, clear medium brown look. Great lacing all the way down.

Hops on the nose, some malt, ok. Not as hoppy as I expected from this company.

The flavors are spring hops, piney, a nice malt backbone with bready taste, balanced finish, an easy drinker could have a few.

Mouthfeel is mild heavy, round, good carbonation, very drinkable, one to have around all year.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic, E.S.B. is a burnt gold with a fluffy white head that leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is leafy, citrus hops, bready malt, not as hoppy as their other pales, but nice.

Taste is a little more SN, with the citrus hop notes coming through nicely, more of a sour citrus rather then resin or bitterness, goes well with the clean maltiness. Fine spring beer, reminds me a lot of Ninkasi's Spring Reign.

Mouthfeel is avg, some crispness tempered by the malt, medium light body.

Drinkability is pretty good, nice clean bread notes, some hops, but just nothing that is wowing me. But I'd have it again.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This take on the ESB pours an attractive, hazy amber with a decent beige head that leaves a little bit of lacing.

The nose doesn't surprise me, quite a bit of aromatic floral and citrus hops, with a little bit of bready malt, especially as the beer warms up.

Taste is solid, and lives up to the "B" in ESB more than most, lacking the balance that I was hoping for. It has some hearty bready malts, but they get drowned out by the citrus at the beginning and the bitterness at the end. Feel, however is just right, nice medium-full body with a slick, oily texture that keeps the flavors swirling.

Not Sierra Nevada's strongest effort in my opinion, but I'll probably pick up another sixer of this next spring. There aren't enough good ESBs out there, and this one is worth getting again.

 789 characters

Photo of BirdFlu
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

certainly bitter.. with a floral hop presence moreso than any fruity, citrus hop. flavor follows with a crisp taste, accented by assertive carbonation. there is a bit of grapefruit and lime in tehre, but, again, the hops are largely of a floral character. slightly acrid aftertaste is a bit unpleasant. appearance is a nice auburn copper-orange with white foam. mouth is more full-feeling than you might be expecting.

 417 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 4/22/2009 (Draft at Flying Saucer, Houston, TX):

Pours a reddish color body, clear, with a small creamy off-white head, diminished. Aroma of British bitter, maltiness. Some nuttiness. Some British hoppiness too. Malty nutty biter taste, pretty tasty. Some English malty taste to it too.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Amber with a respectable head.

S: Bready malts with a hint of fruitiness.

T: Biscuity malt with a generous dose of hops. Like pretty much every SN beer ever.

M: Medium-bodied. A good amount of carbonation.

D: A pale ale with a higher than average hopping rate from SN? Stop the presses! Not bad, but it's not distinctive enough for me to seek it out.

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Photo of arizcards
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single in mid-March at Total Wine and More for $1.19.

Beer poured amber-orange with a nice off white head. Nose is malty with hints of floral hops. Taste has a hint of biscuity malts and finishes with a blast of west coast hops with a slight hint of apple in the background. Mouthfeel is good, medium bodied with a lively carbonation level. Overall drinkability is good. This seems more like an APA but it is quite drinkable nonetheless!

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Photo of JamesP123
3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a mug.

A. Pours a hazy dark amber color. The head is 2-3 fingers and slightly off white. A very good looking beer

S. Smell the malty sweetness, not much hop presence, has a little citrus/sour nose. Smells light bodied, not a whole lot coming through.

T. Taste a little roasted malt. Get a mild amount of hoppy bitterness. Not a spicy flavor, a light hop presence but it's definately there. Aftertaste is a bit dry as the bitterness sissapates quickly. A bit of sourness at the end.

M. Bottle says its not filtered and you can feel little particles roll across the tongue. Mild carbination. Medium bodied.

Overall a very drinkable beer. Roasted Malt up front followed by a bitter almost nutty finish

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Photo of philbe311
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - An eventful pour quickly settles, leaving a huge three finger slightly tan rocky batter-like head... Sparse quick paced carbonation... Radiant orange amber color with a faint reddish hue... Thick rich lacing... Great stickiness on the sides of the glass...

S - Mellow and mild... Lightly toasted malts... Sweet citrus... Apple... Faint floral scent...

T - Sweet caramel... A mix of citrus and piney hops... Biscuit... Apple... Earthy highlighted by floral and grassy notes... Orange zest... Burnt pretzel...

M - Medium to full bodied... Creamy and bitter... A tad of biting carbonation on the tongue... Slightly oily texture...

D - An interesting take on the ESB style as it's traditional mixed with west coast hops...

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

Great looking beer out of the bottle and into an ale glass. A substantial head with lacing down the glass. The smell is really nice with malt sweetness and lots of hoppy, citrusy notes. The taste rocked with malt sweetness competing with pleasant bitterness from the hops. The beer tasted fresh and inviting. It is a big beer but still can be put down a few at a time. Like this beer a lot.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have come to expect alot from Sierra Nevada because every product I've tried is always fresh, flavorful, and true to style.

Poured into a Duvel tulip this beer has a deep copper tone with decent translucency but definately not clear - I love that about Sierra Nevada. The white rocky head dissapates to a very thin lace with pockets of rough bubbles on the edges of the glass.

The smell is a bit like a Scottish Style ale with huge malt, very light hops, and a sweet tangy aroma that teases the senses for the beer below. There's just not enough going on here for me.

The first taste is rich creamy malt (almost like hot breakfast cereal only cold and very smooth). The scottish style continues as the silky malty goodness rolls into a light hopesk floral flavors that really work. There is a taste of sweet corn, green apples followed by tart white grapes and then finishes dry which is a bit unexpected.

Mouthfeel is really rich compared to the look. There is definately a bit of dexitrose or maltose in this beer as the richness is not lost even at cooler temperatures (re: 40 degrees right out of the fridge). The bottle claims that the "unfiltering" is what gives this beer its mouthfeel but I would say that the unattenuation is what did the trick. This beer is 5.9% and could have easily made it to 6.5% under the right conditions.

As far as drinkability is conerned I would say that this is the ultimate. I could literally drink this beer from sunrise to sunset and not complain. ESB is flavorful, light but rich tasting, and would make for a great cross-over beer OR a great session ale.

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

12oz bottle. 2009 release. batch# 9008X1519. tasted in mid-late march 2009

clear, deep copper with amber tones. moderate, off-white head fades to wispy layer that replenishes with each sip. some lacing, improving to quite a bit in the second half of the glass.

aroma: blend of both lightly citrus/pine american hops and grassy english ones; toasted malt underneath, with hints of yeast fermentation and light esters.

taste: nice hoppy bite upfront, but not hop-bomb; mix of both american and english character. toasted malts underneath again, giving balance. touch of apple esters and flash of phenols. moderate bitterness that lingers into a faintly malty, lightly resinous finish.

not thin, but a bit astringent and resinous, with prickly, moderate carbonation.

a decent americanized ESB

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Photo of natasharai
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured with some foamy bubbly light tan head that dissipated to a thin layer leaving almost no lacing. The beer is clear orangish amber color.

Smell: Floral hops, light citrus hops, sweet caramel malt, and bitter.

Taste: Sweet floral hops, roasted malt, bitter hops, ending with a bittersweet alcohol flavor.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thin, very tingly on tongue from hops, bitter feel toward end

Overall: Decent drinkability if you like bitter flavors. The malt is present toward the beginning of the flavor but then fades and it becomes too bitter with nothing to balance it out. The hop characteristics are pretty light, and only present in the beginning of the flavor as well. Over all too bitter with not enough other flavors.

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Photo of Cresant
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Adams glass. 2009. The body was lightly hazy due to in being unfiltered. Golden amber in color. The mild head remained as a cap of foam.

Smell was earthy. Orange pulp. Rather subdued.

Taste was citrus and clean bittering hops. Mild grapefruit zest finish. Maris Otter fruity/nuttiness gives it and English twist.

Mouthfeel was zippy, medium in body. Very drinkable.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 release, poured into a pint glass.

Slightly hazy rust color (a little reminiscent of clay-bottomed silty pond water). Small cream colored head forms with modest retention but good lacing.

Pine and citrus-peel in the aroma, nothing potent or lingering.

Slightly slick then sticky mouthfeel (thinner than I expected for an unfiltered ale).

Cedar, malt, hoppy (though perhaps a little metallic) bitterness on the palate with a finish that alternates between spicy (peppery) wood/malt flavors and a mild yet somewhat stale astringency.

Less sweetness (no fruit or caramel) and bitterness than an English ESB, but more flavorful than Sierra Nevada's standard pale ale.

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Photo of Zraly
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy cooper with an off-white head. Fresh hop aroma.

Sweet, bready backbone complimented by bitter and earthy hops. Extremely well-balanced. Light to medium bodied with a dry finish. Smooth, crisp and refreshing on a warm Friday evening in Virginia.

I could drink several of these --- would make a lovely session brew. I think it would go great with a good pizza pie with thin slices of spicy italian sausage.

 414 characters

Photo of cpmau11
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada
Early Spring Beer 2009 (ESB)

Poured into a Stella Artois glass, Very nice head, creamy, close to two full inches. Body is a red-copper color, not fully transparent, but slightly clear, I think its unfiltered. Aroma jumps out at you from the moment you pop the bottle. Hoppy aroma with a hint of some kind berry. Great robust taste, hoppy flavor with some spices but not overwhelming. Slightly bitter yet smooth. Good mouthfeel, slightly warming to the palate. Alright drinkability.

Overall a great strong bitter beer from Sierra Nevada.

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

This is a really decent beer especially for hop fans. It has a slightly hazy and golden brown appearance. The smell is quite pleasant. A definite hop aroma, but its not overpowering. The taste is decent. The brew is heavier on the hops and light on the malt. The malt flavor disappears quickly and leaves the bitter hop flavor to linger. It makes the beer feel light and refreshing with a little kick at the end. Overall, a very drinkable beer. I will definitely savor some on a nice warm spring day.

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Photo of BigMike
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2009 ESB which according to Sierra Nevada stands for Early Spring Beer.

Poured from a 12oz. "stubby" brown bottle into a pint glass.
A glowing orange with three fingers of white head and good lacing.

Light malts and fruity hops are in the nose. Nose is suprisingly very light.

Taste closely mimics the nose. There is some roasted malt sweetness and grapefruit bitterness from the hops but all in all somewhat bland.

Mouthfeel is great. Light, creamy and crisp.

Drinkability is decent. I can see this being a verygood session beer in the springtime/summer.

I don't love this beer but i do like it.

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

Pours an orange amber color with a large head that dissipates quickly. Moderate lacing.
Toasted malt and caramel.
Starts off with toasted malt and caramel but then the bitterness kicks in. A bit like tonic water with a hint of lemon and herbs. I also get a bit of "salt" taste.
Medium body beer that has a slightly dry finish. Light fizzy carbonation.
Easy drinking simple beer. The bitterness slightly out balances the light sweetness.

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Sierra Nevada ESB (Early Spring Beer) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.82 out of 5 based on 643 ratings.
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