Stone Cat E.S.B. | Ipswich Ale Brewery

38 Ratings
Read the review

Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, 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 BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 31
Reviews by JimmieFrisbee:
Photo of JimmieFrisbee
4.07/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle I got from a beer of the month club.

Color is a strawish brown, filtered and clear. Thick, just off-white head with good retention and nice lacing all the way down.

Nice malty smell, offset by a subtle hoppiness -- smells a little bit "darker" than my eyes tell me the beer is.

Taste is about what the smell would lead me to believe it was going to be, with earthy hop taste present but not overpowering the malt. The hop taste lingers for a little bit after each sip.

Mouthfeel is good. Not overly heavy, but definitely substantial and not watery.

Drinkability is very good. I could definitely have a few over the course of a night or with dinner and not get sick of the taste as it is not overpowering, yet certainly not bland. The little bit of hoppiness in the finish makes me want to go back for another sip.

With somewhat limited experience with the style, it about what I expected in flavor but may be my favorite example of it, whether or not it is the "best" of the style I have tried. Something I would buy again for a night with friends if it were readily available, but nothing something I'd go terribly far out of my way to look for.

 1,182 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date or info about the beer.

Appearance: Hazy orange brown, the head retention is great with rings of lace left sporadically after sips.

Smell: Caramel malt smell and a bit buttery in the nose, fruitiness and toasted husk in the back.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Light on the carbonation but enough to produce the head, crispness lacks and all that seems to be there is a slick creaminess. Steely caramel, toasted husk and an all around sweet malt character seem to hold their ground. Touch of fruitiness and buttery diacetyl lay down in the middle yet the modest hop bitterness seems to clean up most of it.

Notes: An ok ESB, in comparison to Fuller’s not even close … and that is pretty much what every brewer should be going for. Oddly Mercury Brewing owns the Ipswich brand, Ipswich ESB is the best domestic ESB IMO yet I think they stopped brewing it. Go figure.

 909 characters

Photo of bpfrush
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of argenti44
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank 2 in a large frosted mug. I received them in my beer of the month Christmas Present I received from my kids.

It poured an amber orange color with an off-white 1" head that maintained well. Left a nice lace along the glass.

The smell was not overpowering I did get an earthy note as I drank it the longer I enjoyed this. I did smell a light hop note.

The taste was very light and balanced. It's low ABV made this a great beer to drink while watching the game or a great flick.

It had a dry feel up front and a creamy finish in the end where the malt an hops combined well to let me know I was drinking a craft beer and not some swill from the local stop and shop.

Again I could drink this like a session beer due to the low ABV. Not to overpowering goes well with a sophisticated meal just as it goes well with hot dogs at the game.

 845 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on October 19, 2010. The pour is orange-copper in tone but fairly cloudy with a long-lasting half-inch foamy light tan head. The aroma is chock full of toasted malts and bread. The body is in the medium range. The malts seem diluted by a floral hoppiness in the taste so the overall character is more like an IPA rather than an ESB.

 340 characters

Photo of DAllspaw
3.74/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lighter amber color than expected from the style, white head.
First notice more of pale ale aroma than expected from ESB, less bready (citrus, pine etc). Nothing overpowering in the taste, but nothing off-putting as well, this would make a fine session beer.

 259 characters

Photo of campfirebrew
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of ovaltine
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.94/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I figure if I'm going to run the Stone Cat sponsored 50 miler in November I mighnt as well try some of their beer.

Pours a cloudy caramel color with a decent white head. Retention is ok and leaves a bit of lacing but it doesn't stay for the whole beer. Smells like cider, and orange marmalade.

Beautiful mix of a fall fruit bouqet and a rolling tea-like bitter. Hints of cocoa. Balanced.

Probably not hoppy enough to be an ESB and more of a B or even a PA. I like it just he same.

 485 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, grassy hops and a touch of citrus.

T: The taste starts out bready with a hearty malt character and flavors of caramel and nuts. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in to provide a good balance. There's some background citrus flavor as well. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

 733 characters

Photo of BeerBoss
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle in a chilled glass.

A: Has a deep amber/brown color with a bit of cloudiness

S: A malty aroma with hints hops

T: Clean on the tounge. Has a semi sweet front with a bitter yet pleasant finish.

M: Feels good on the tounge.

O: A very drinkable beer. Nothing exceptional, but very drinkable.

 315 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Cat E.S.B. pours a slightly hazy amber color with vigorous streams of bubbles rising to the surface. A frothy off white head sits on top which leaves quite a bit of lace in netted patterns on the side of the glass.

The aroma is somewhat fruity with some caramel malt mixed in. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate with a fizzy tingle on the middle of the tongue. The flavor is malty with notes of caramel and toast. Some fruity notes move in at the middle and it finishes with a floral hop flavor. Once gone some of the caramel malt flavor lingers on the palate.

This ESB has a well balanced flavor and is quite drinkable. A good everyday beer.

 673 characters

Photo of zrab11
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a nice amber color with a small head and good lacing

S- Aroma has grass and carmel in it also some hops and citrus r coming through

T- Has a malt/bready begginning and then moves to a carmel taste in the middle followed by some funky bitter grassness

M-Light to medium bodied with good carbonation

D-OVerall i thought from the smell i was going to love it. but it had a werid bitter grassy taste that i didnt like. ive had a few Esb's and this one im not a fan of.

 477 characters

Photo of soriondee
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of konabrewer
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While talking with the best beer delivery driver in the world, Tom Brennan, I enjoyed this ESB at the AoBF.

It really impressed me. I had not had one is several years and enjoyed the lingering aroma of citrus and earth

Mild malt character spread throughout the taste with a balanced bitterness.

The mouthfeel was nice with moderate carbonation bubbling in my belly

So drinkable.

I will certainly find this one appealing during the cooler spring evenings and fall days

 483 characters

Photo of twenty5
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of joshlara
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this 6 pack out randomly while visiting Boston area. No freshness date. Pours the usual amber color, my wife said it reminds her of sun tea. Produces a thin head and lingering collar. Aroma of sweet caramel, slightly metalic. The flavor is dominated by sweet caramel malt but does have a floral bitter hop finish. Light to medium bodied, this is a well balanced beer. After dinner I usually grabbed this first before having an IPA or stout. It didn't ruin your palate but had enough flavor to appease the taste buds and start off the night. Would I buy this again? Probably not as there are great beers to be had, but a decent ESB nonetheless.

 650 characters

Photo of mschofield
3.76/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery dark amber, topped with a two finger ran head. Leaves rings of lacing behind.
Caramel and earthy aroma, the aroma is too weak, not much going on and isn't very strong.
Nicely bitter taste, caramel, burnt orange, pepper, citrus zest, and a lot of toasted malt.
Medium bodied, a good drinker, good session beer.

 328 characters

Photo of waughbrew
3.27/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A clear reddish orange with a light tan head that settles to a skim, but laces well. Smell is dark cherries, light alcohol, herbed and spiced toast, blackberry seeds. Flavor is a 50/50 balance of nutty toasty malt and earthy hops. After a second an annoying metallic compound creeps in and takes away from what is otherwise a great brew. Good medium feel. Overall ok - doesn't really impress me but it is a tough style.

Something puzzles me about the aroma - I keep saying to myself "rauch malt. no way, its a fermentation product. no....etc." I wish I could place it.

 571 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tumbler.

Murky copper/light amber in color. Quickly receding white head that settles to a thin sheet. Slowly-falling, webbed lacing with decent strength.

Mildly musty caramel and light toffee; toasted biscuit. A strange off-sweetness with a bit of spice.

Solvent-like lemon over an airy toasted malt character. Mild tones of richness; caramel. Spicy, earthen floral hops with a rather bland flavor profile. A dark bitterness followed by a spicy, tea-flavored aftertaste.

Medium bodied; dry, filmy, and spicy. An all encompassing bitter dryness.

A drinkable but off-flavored bitter. Decent but not a beer I'd return to.

 668 characters

Photo of OldYoda
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As with others, courtesy of my Beer of the Month club.

Appearance is decent, pours a slightly cloudy light amber with a minimal head and no lacing to speak of.

Smell is very faint and really doesn't say much to me. Some malt, no hops and that's about it.

Taste is ok - malt but not too sweet. Like the smell , this is just kind of faint and not much to it.

Mouthfeel is ok, finished better than it starts and leaves a clean bitter feel. A little watery.

Drinkability seems fine although I can find no information about the ABV anywhere on the label.

Not the best ESB I ever had, but very drinkable and certainly not the worst.

 632 characters

Photo of horshack7
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a hazy copper color with a thick and creamy head about one inch.

Aromas: Nice hop nose to it. Slight dried fruit notes along with sweet smells from the malts.

Taste: It starts off with a crisp mouthfeel with a nice hop bite. Minor dried fruit notes but not too fruity. There is a little bit of sweetness. It certainly fits the style of the beer.

Notes: This is my first offering from Mercury brewing and this one is a winner.Cheers

 456 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.37/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Dark amber. Very nice fluffy white head. Great retention with good lacing.

S - Mild citrus, orange. Some malt. Left me wanting a lot more.

T - Very little up front. Dry feel with a pine bitterness. Somewhat dusty. Malt backdrop.

M - Dry throughout the drink and the finish. Medium body. Mild pine on the backend.

D - Taste isn't great and the almost dusty dryness wasn't particularly inviting.

 402 characters

Photo of Jimbo87
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: fairly clear copper with big pale head.

Smell: Sweet fresh barley and some nice hops.

Taste: Some toastiness. Dry. Nice slightly earthy hops. A bitter beer.

MF: carbonation lower than average and slightly thin.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable beer.

 264 characters

Photo of porcelli426
3.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a pilsner glass at a little cooler than cellar temperature

A- Hazy deep red color with hints of orange, nice copper. A solid finger of head

S- Fairly strong hop smell but it's not too prevalent

T/M-Right off the bat is a strong bitterness complimented with nice hoppy notes. Slight citrus on the back end. Medium mouth feel

D- This is a really nice beer. I don't usually care for ESBs but this one balances the bitterness well with taste.

 461 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Stone Cat E.S.B. from Ipswich Ale Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 38 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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