E.S.B. | Broad Ripple Brew Pub

very good
15 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Broad Ripple Brew Pub
Indiana, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by zerk on 10-24-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 35
Photo of Generik420
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is definitely the flagship beer at the Broad Ripple Brewpub. It won a gold medal at the GABF in the early/mid 90's, and it what really propelled the brewpub to fame at that time. Beer pours a nice deep copper color with a thin off white head. Head dissapates quickly. They pour 20oz imperial pints, and give you a very full measure. Taste is outstanding. Strong malty backbone with a nice crisp finish. Definitely has some sweetness present and very mild bitterness. Body is between light and medium, making it a very easy drinking beer. This could easily be a great session beer that doesn't seem to grow old on the palate.

 629 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - It pours in an exceptionally picturesque manner. Never have I seen a cask beer look so good. The brown body proudly boasts a generous crown of off-white frothy head. I am astounded.

S - Amazing, fantastic, beyond superlative. Delectable notes of cocoa and vanilla mingle with a rich maltiness and a bright grassy-leafy hop bitterness.

T - This beer is loaded with complexity and subtlety; it is also the picture of balance. The earthy, leafy, grassy and resiny hop is very forward in the mix, but the malt is ample and sturdy. Notes of rich malt meld into nuances of vanilla and cocoa, and the hop segues from bitter to more herbal as the glass empties.

M - Velvety and luxurious, with ample brightness and effervescence. The best cask I've ever had.

D - I would drink many a pint of this if I lived in Indianapolis.

 825 characters

Photo of zerk
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A winner of the GABF gold medal in 1991, I knew this had to be the first beer I try from BRBP... copper with very little head that quickly dissapated and left almost no lace at all. Aroma was of carmel with fruity esters... a little bit of alcohol as well. Flavor began with a malt sweetness... some grainy flavors... floral hops flavors, then meduim bitterness to finish things off --- extremently well balanced. Carbonation is low-meduum, with a medium body. This is exactly what I think of when I think of ESB... and is my new favorite for the style. If you make your way to Broad Ripple, you simply MUST try this beer!

 626 characters

Photo of thedrewski86
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the best beer I had at Broad Ripple when I was recently there. This is a great example of a Bitter: hazy golden color, moderate lacing, great smell (biting hops) and the taste is amazing. Perfectly balanced malt and hops; not too bitter and just the right amount of fruity sweetness. This and their double IPA go great with fish'n'chips.

 346 characters

Photo of Jon
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/mahogany color with a frothy off-white head.

Caramelized malty nose with a hint of floral, earthy hops.

Very well-balanced flavor with notes of toasty caramel malt, toffee, herbal, earthy hops and a lingering, off-dry finish.

Superbly smooth mouthfeel with medium body.

This ESB drinks incredibly easily. A well-balanced ale with a great deal of character. The best everyday offering from Broad Ripple Brewpub.

 434 characters

Photo of goodbeer4cheap
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I style of beer I always have loved over the last 21 years and in a format that I would drink first in most places if it was available. Of the currently available beers of this style in my area, Sawtooth Ale (not the nitro one) and Fullers ESB are clearly it's only peers. When visiting other areas I buy ESB when I see it around. Still Broad Ripple has been doing this well for a long time and has kept it around because they do ESB good.

 441 characters

Photo of Viking
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper colored body, a very little amout of carbonation apparent in the body. Decent head, but retention is pretty weak. Nice malty aroma, with plenty of hops - floral and grassy. Smooth and very well balanced flavor. Very earthy and hoppy, with plenty of bready caramel malt sweetness. Smooth mouthfeel, with a nice oily hop finish.

 338 characters

Photo of BlackAngus
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the BRBP's flagship beer, a gold-medal winner in the GABF. And you can tell.

The appearance is slightly turbid, with a dark copper color. Carbonation is low, with little head, which is indicitive of the style.

Smell has a pleasant, earthy hop aroma, with hints of malt.

Taste is exceptional. This is the money-maker.

Mouthfeel is smooth, low carb, well balanced.

Very drinkable. I could drink this all day long.

 434 characters

Photo of Ricochet
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When I was new to microbrews, I went to any microbrew and tried the sampler, and usually ended up with the dark beers. I had never had an ESB at this point, and didn't really know what the hell it was. Well, the Cumberland in Louisville brewed one and I tried it, and shrugged. It was lighter, but I preferred thier pale and nitro porter.

So my friend and I were in the Broad Ripple, and I had thier dark beer, but he had the ESB because he was more experienced with beers. He said I should get one, so I did. That was it. I locked into it and drank nothing else when I went to the Broad Ripple. Period. It was the best ESB that I compared all others too.

This past weekend, five years with two years of being a BA later, I found myself at the Broad Ripple and ordered the holy grail of ESB's and well, it wasn't as wonderful as I remembered, but then, as I sipped, it became again, a great beer in my book.

It had a good head that stayed with the beer and was a cloudy yellow-grey appearence, almost like a mead. There was not much to smell, but the grains used. Not as pungent as a wheat or Hefe. Mouth was watery, not much bite, washed down clean with good foam , it was also served near room temperature. Taste was, well, very decent. It wasn't as hoppy as some American ESBs, it had a mild flavor with a slight bitter wash, but what made this beer was the flavor of the grains used. I could almost pick out the elements in this beer, and imagined that if I ordered an ESB in a bar in England, this is the pint I'd get. Very nice.

Well, ESB from Broad Ripple remains the finest microbrewed ESB with only Fullers ESB in bottles being the best I've tried. If you're at the BR, get one. Then, get another.

 1,721 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice ESB, it had a wonderful copper color to it, with excellent lacing. Nice malty scent, and a nice bit of earthy hops in the undertone. Good taste, nice and clean, with a bit more of a malty feel than most ESBs, with a wonderful earthy hop finish. It goes down smooth, quite a wonderful ESB.

 293 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark chestnut color, almost mohogany. Small, thin white head, not much retention or lace. Darker, malt almost a roasty aroma. Floral hop aroma. Good slightly caramel biscuit malt, followed by a fair amount of floral hop bitterness. Finishes slightly dry. Lighter body, low carbonation. This is another great session beer brom Broad Ripple.

 339 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a sampler: Pours a rich amber color witha medium light beige head. Decent lacing. The aroma is fairly malty, with caramel and hops also detectable. The flavor is not overly bitter, and it has a strong malt backbone. The finish is alternating malt and hops. Not too bad.

 274 characters

Photo of cnally
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

another beer for me. another reason to get divorced.

the esb is a radiant red with absolutely no head. what is it with me not getting any head?

bitter, sour aroma of grain and cabbage. I didn't say it was great.

the flavor is very good. it is a nice spicy hop flavor right up front which maintains its body until a bitter flavor kicks in. slightly fruity quality in this one as well, as well as a little grassy aftertaste.

thick, undercarbonated mouthfeel.

very decent brew here. more carbonation please, but that is my personal preference. great flavor on this.

 567 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a ½ pint glass)

A- This beer has a warm reddish-brown body with a thick snow-white head that last for a bit then fades to a thin ring around the rim. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The taste of smooth toasted malt has a very slight sweetness to it giving it a fresh taste with a light pine hops nose to follow.

T- The flavor of toasted malt is supported by notes of biscuit malt and a very light caramel note. The finish is a light smooth pine hops with a light bitterness that finishes pretty quickly.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft alcohol warmth when the beer warms.

D- This beer has some nice malt flavor with softer hop flavor. This is a nice session beer with good malt flavors supported by hops flavor.

 774 characters

Photo of schoolcb
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper colored and slightly hazy. Not much head to speak of. Aroma is malty sweetness. Big hop flavor and aftertaste, but it does not overpower the malt backbone. Hop flavor is a bit woody. Medium bodied.

The menu says this beer won a gold at the GABF. It is a good beer, but I have to say of all those I sampled I liked the Replic Ale (Cask-conditioned Scottish-80) better than the rest.

 390 characters

E.S.B. from Broad Ripple Brew Pub
4.16 out of 5 based on 35 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
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.