HotShot ESB | Great Divide Brewing Company

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HotShot ESBHotShot ESB
169 Ratings
HotShot ESBHotShot ESB

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 01-06-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 169 |  Reviews: 156
Reviews by JudgeRoughneck:
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.99/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There is a rediculously huge head on this baby. It is bright-white, whipped, sculpted into ridges, pushin out of the glass, and though probably completely out of place on an ESB, is sexy none the less. It leaves a thick and sticky lacing, though it isn't goin anywhere, it leaves a thick and sticky lacing and a bouquet of sugary biscuit malt and floral hops.

Fruit notes bubble through super-fresh biscuit malt with a slightly metallic moment and big bitterness in the finish. Fruity, tangy, hop flavors with light alcohol notes highlight the bitter end. The mouthfeel mid-bodied with bouncy carbonation.

This is a bit sweet for my tastes but is an excellent example of the "ESB" they make out west which is a far cry from its English cousin. It actually lives up to its bitter name and is almost a malty, bastard pale ale. I like this style much better most days, find it quite refreshing and am glad to have found a nationally distributed example. My only complaint is that it is a little too "big" for the style.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pretty light for an ESB a lighter copper color with a nice one finger white head,the aromas are a little different for the style to me as well somewhat earthy and nutty not much sweetness somewhat raw.Again the flavors seem to go hand in hand with the aromas of this ale very raw and earthy but a nice herbal hop presence shows itself in the finish.This beer is better than average but seems a little off on flavors has more of a nut brown type earthy rawness and an English ales herbal finish.Not bad but Iam thinking I likely wont search out for it again.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This hot shot poured a clear and bright light brownish-orange in color with a nice, white head that left good lacing.

Smell – There’s not a lot of aroma here, but I can pick up some heavily-toasted malts and some light English-style yeast.

Taste – The malts are straight buttered toast with brown sugar and a bit of bitter yeasty flavor.

Mouthfeel – This is short of medium-bodied and very smooth with light carbonation.

Drinkability – I’ve had a lot better, but this did go down quickly.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.8/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Thick, creamy head that lasts forever. How does GD do it? Bright amber color.

Aroma: orange and Amarillo hops, English yeasts, nutty malt.

Taste: Tomato soup, buttered bread, toast, cinnamon. Not enough malt. More like an American Amber than an ESB.

Mouthfeel: Not bitter at all. Strange for an extra special BITTER. A bit sweet and creamy. Nice carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable but not as an ESB.

Notes: Good beer in general, not very accurate for the style.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a nice dark amber, copper color with a half inch of off white head on top that falls to a ring around the glass rather quickly, while leaving strings of lacing. Aromas of a somewhat fruity, doughy caramel maltiness alongside a nicely integrated citrusy (cascade?) hop aroma. A touch toasty and put together well.

First sip brings a toasted grainy maltiness with caramel accents. A touch fruity, it segways into a citric hoppiness midway through the sip. Goes down smooth with a mellow bitterness on the finish. A touch doughy...nice beer overall.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Plenty of carbonation works well in this brew. Definetly a drinkable brew, it would make a good session and could serve well as a crossover brew for those new to craft beer.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gigantic, monsterous head fills 75% of my glass and billows out over the lip, looking like a root-beer float. From what I can see of the body, it looks like your average darker-golden pale ale.

Scent is of grains, and a little something else that's odd. I cant quite put my finger on it.

Like the other Great Divide beer I just had (amber ale), this has an even more noticeable copper/metallic aftertaste. There is a slight hop bitterness as well - a little less bitter than a pale ale. Not very impressive.

The metallic copper aftertaste is very noticeable and seems to constitute most of the mouthfeel.

Pretty much a letdown. Not a beer I'd really want to have again.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.36/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a slightly hazy golden-amber. It has a huge and craggy whitish-orange head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is grassy bitterness with a little sweet caramel malts and a little DMS.

The flavor is toasted biscuity malts and toffee with some sweetness and DMS popping out as well. It has a big grassy bitter finish that lingers in the aftertaste. It's medium to light bodied and a little watery.

Overall, surprisingly bitter and unbalanced for an ESB. It's still decent though.

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Photo of merlin48
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber body with a generous beige head that is three fingers tall in my Fuller's pint glass. Very good retention and some massive patch lacing all over the glass.
Aroma: Hops begin floral with a hint of grapefruit. Toffee maltiness is also assertive.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with ideal medium carbonation.
Taste: Very well balanced, slightly on the hoppy side. Toffee and caramel malt sweetness reside underneath. A good bit of APA character, as other reviewers have noted, but very tasty. Some bitter pine cone on the finish.
Drinkability: I like this one a lot. Not precisely to style, but one I would like to keep on hand for its excellent drinkability.

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Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, month and week bottled marked on label. Pours orangy amber, clear, with a moderate white head. Some lacing sliding down the side of the glass. Nose is moderate piney hops and a smidge of malt. This bottle, is fresh and the caramel malt and pine/citric hop notes come out nice and clear. Well balanced Brit style ale. Pleasant quaffer, decent sessioner. worth a try.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped cap.

Deep medium amber color with some haze. 2" white creamy head dissapating fairly quickly to a thin layer od foam

A big honeyed malty aroma,fruity,bisquity with a good amount of grassiness,some floral notes and some faint pine. The aroma was a bit on the faint side except for the honeyed malt aroma.

Nutty,carmelly,fruity with sugaryness,piney/grassy.A clean mid taste that finishes with a sweet citrusy taste thats clean and tangy.Good tatse and a good balance.

Medium body,smooth and creamy with some nice tangyness. Enjoyable,a bit filling. Would drink a few, but not an all nighter.

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Photo of Dizzy
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured transparent amber with a creamy off white head. Great head retention and lots of lacing on the glass. Hops stand out in the aroma with malts in the background. Tasty carmel and bread like malt flavors, little hop flavor, but significant bitterness which builds with each sip. Medium bodied, carbonation on the lighter side. This would make a good session beer with its lighter alcohol and mild flavors.

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Photo of ADR
2.75/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clearish, a little darker than normal amber. Head has a yellow tinge, generates some different bubble sizes but flattens to under 1/4 of an inch. Laces in sparse dots and spidery tracks. Orange-ade aroma, not very pleasant, limited malt, slight spice of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is lightish, carbonation average for beers in general. Whatever is going into the formula here, its not much in the ESB category, distinctly orange hops (Centennial plus Amarillo and aroma? maybe) but with a watery impression and not a lot of barleymalt backbone (slightly doughy, but not enough). Sheesh, this is thin and like a watered-down iced tea in lots of ways -- not good to my mind.

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Photo of skillerified
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper-red in color and sharp clarity. Can get a little yellow as it moves through the light. Half finger tanish head fades to a foamy cap. Some lace.

Fruity and floral. Sweet fruits, non-citric. Some caramel. Maybe slightly buttery and with a little biscuit under that. Could be stronger and more distinct, but it's not bad.

Buttery flavor hits big on the palate. Tasty and sweet. Some caramel and a definite biscuity, grainy flavor. A mild grapefruit bitter bite on the finish. Medium body. Nice mild carbonation hit. Reasonably well balanced.

An easy drinker. Good flavor for a session brew. Goes pretty great with pizza too. Rated better than I expected it to as well. A modest everyday brew.

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Photo of zjungleist
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellow/orange with a fat head. Smell is pretty complex and hoppy, going from grassy, herbal, fruit/citrus, plus some nice malts. The flavor is sorta off for the style I think. I got a lot of grassy and grapefruite notes. Nice over all flavor, and pretty average dry mouthfeel. Some how I ended up thinking of this more as a weak IPA than an ESB. Not bad though.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled late January '06, the carbonation was just dying to be released as the bubbles formed a tall crown over the top of the bottleneck before I could even pour it. Got a similarly willful head with some huge bubbles, on top of a burnt orange/amber color.

Aroma is pure, clean, airy hops with a delicate caramel maltiness running underneath. Takes on a seductive candy-like sweetness as it warms.

Flavors tightly swirl together fresh hops and caramel maltiness, with a white grape fruitiness in the background. Nice, but it isn't as assertive as it should be. Either the hops or the malt (or preferably both) should be speaking louder if this wants to be a great ESB. Still, it's a nice flavor, just not as bold, interesting or purely delicious as so much other Great Divide stuff.

It's well-carbonated, but somehow too fluffy and airy in the mouth.

While this is enjoyable and drinkable to a satisfying-enough degree, something seems missing. It's just a little bit timid, especially when compared to the better ESBs out there. Stick with G.D.'s Yeti or Hercules instead.

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Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lightly hazy brass with a plump eggshell head.
Nose of wet flour, flowers, and oranges.
The malt begins toasted. Lightly nutty, and generally sparce. Fruitiness arrises via peaches and oranges. Sweetness is edged further along with notions of caramel and honey. Ebbs towards plain dough in the middle. Hopping is generally floral hued, lilacs and roses, traced with grapefruit and orange rind.
Medium built with a streaming (and sometime interfering) gas.
Fair little simpleton sessioner at the junction between an American Pale and a genuine ESB. It would have been better had it taken a stand in one direction.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant copper hue with a good-sized creamy, off-white head. Nose is rich, sweet roasted malt with a hint of citrus and a touch of fresh-baked bread. Palate is well-balanced between crisp, slightly bitter hops and assertive roasted malt. The hops take over towards the back of the mouth, leading to a pleasant, slightly bitter finish. Medium, creamy body holds substantial carbonation. A good beer if you want more than one.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of silver0rlead
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle with a dense, creamy white head that forms lacing all the way down the glass. A light Amber in color. From the arome you can discern exactly what kind of ESB this is, with a floral and citrusy hops aroma. You can immediately tast the hops in this one, very hoppy for a ESB ( at least compared to more mainstream ESBs like Redhook) with a piney and pehaps lemony bitterness along with a hop oil flavor that suits it well followed by a mild and subtle caramel malt flavor that is immediately replaced by a dry, bitter finish. The mouthfeel is smooth despite the hop bitterness and the drinkability is high for such a flavorful ESB.

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Photo of russpowell
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to copper color with a huge fluffy white head. Head retention and lacing average.

Smell: Loads of hops piney and floral smells, with malt n the background.

Taste: Hops on the intitial taste with malt sneaking in. Graininess and frutiness come through.

Fairly well balanced, more carbonation please!

Nice effort from Great Divide, not one of their best, but not bad at all.

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Photo of UncleFlip
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Foamed up out of the bottle soon as it was opened.

VERY strong off white tight head. Falls at a decent rate. Hazy honey colour underneath.

Smeel is of hops and orange juice. It's a very fresh smell.

Flavour is thinner and lighter than expected up front- very malty, a bit of caramel there. Oddly, the aftertaste is all about semi-sweet chocolate.

Carbonation hits medium up front. Liquid is there, but doesn't step forward to be noticed.

This one goes down easy, but some of the stranger aspects of the experience count against it in drinkability.

Be well

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Photo of matsputis
3.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - a wee bit cloudy. Amber in color. I bought a six pack and every one I popped open started slowly rising out of the bottle. When I poured them, the head would flair up - way over carbonated.
S - It had a solid hoppy smell with a malt backbone
T - Like other ESB's it reminds me of a mini-barleywine. This is mostly from the dark fruit flavors. They are more subdued in this, while the bitterness and citrus from the hops stands out. It ends with a malty sweetness.
M - I let the beer sit so the carbonation would calm down. Even after this it still had a fizzy feel to it, which clashed with the body.
D - It was pretty satisfying after it flattened out, especially towards the end.

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Photo of bashiba
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy golden amber color with a thick rootbeer float like long lasting and creamy head.

Smell has a minor metallic and mineral odor.

Tasty has a mild bready malt flavor but is quickly overpowered by a medicinal tinny hop flavor that dominates the taste, very out of balance.

Mouthfeel is slighty oily and slick.

Overall a pretty average attempt at an esb.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light reddish in color, average white head. Tacky lacing. Malts, citrus hops and some grain detected on the nose. Sweet malt based body, bitter floral hops mixed in as well; crisp and refreshing mouthfeel. The middle is mostly caramel malt based, with some toasted bread and oats. Very smooth and highly drinkable. Outstanding stuff.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't know if it's the batch, or what, but there is an unacceptable amount of foam with each pour. I'm not talking a big head, almost consuming half the glass. Goes beyond the effervescent aspect of a head...totally unacceptable. Make the beer flat.

Faint fruits, loads of unbalanced hops, what's going on here?

I'm am so thrown by this beer, that I feel my review is so incredibly biased by the fact that I may have a bad batch, if this is not the case, avoid this beer.

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HotShot ESB from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 169 ratings