Steel Wheels ESB | Blue Mountain Brewery

Steel Wheels ESBSteel Wheels ESB
BA SCORE
3.79/5
146 Ratings
Steel Wheels ESBSteel Wheels ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Blue Mountain Brewery
Virginia, United States
bluemountainbrewery.com

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by argock on 09-05-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#17,619
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
146
pDev:
11.61%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
16
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 146 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of bruceblizard
4.99/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best Virginia beer. Smooth, hardy, malty entry and bitter finish. Refreshing and warming simultaneously. Nutty flavor beautiful golden brown color and lots of caramely head for a canned beer. Would buy this by the case and could have as my only beer with no problem.

 266 characters

Photo of Chris-86
4.96/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of fulnlsn
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of motovatin
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of zuter
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of woodychandler
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Rumor has it that Blue Mountain may be backing off of their CANned offerings and that would be a shame. I have had this CAN in abeyance for a while, trying to get a pic approved. It finally required my acquisition of a tripod (!), but all is now in readiness. Nobody ever said that The CANQuest (TM) is easy!

From the CAN: "Real Virginia Beer"; "Demand Fresh Beer: Check my butt to mke sure I'm not older than I look."; "Drink the good stuff."; "The music of The Steel Wheels and the beer from Blue Mountain are both original and handcrafted with inspired Ameri[CAN]a flavors from the heart of Virginia. Our collaboration E.S.B. draws from the past with British Crystal malts and Scottish yeast, but uses Ameri[CAN] hop to put our own stamp on the creation. Take time to drink slowly and listen truly. Wherever you are, get ready to sing along, to harmonize. Maybe even get up and dance."; "Hear the Steel Wheels at www.TheSteelWheels.com, or meet them soon at a show to hear the music as they love to share it: live, kickin' and real."; "Virginia's first craft brewery in a [CAN]"; "Pack it in [,] pack it out".

I wanted to make an allusion to Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle with You" or something about a trifecta wheel combination, but when their website allowed me to listen to some of their music, I decided to go with their "Winter Is Coming" as accompaniment. Music and beer, another winning CANbination!

At long last, the Crack! occurred and thanks to yet another brimful craft CAN, I incurred a spritz of beer across my fingers. I liken it to a happy puppy eager to come out and play. The band and I celebrated with an inverted Glug that created a quick pseudo-cascade and easily two fingers of dense, light-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a distinct caramel malt sweetness underlain by a grassy hoppiness. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was unexpectedly more bitter than the nose had led me to expect. I really liked the way that the hops and malts interacted on this one, with neither overwhelming the other and making for an eminently quaffable beer. It had a dry biscuity maltiness and a grassiness that made for a very dry iteration of the style. Finish was quite dry and an unexpected bonus for me as I was expecting yet another sweet ESB. I really hope that the rumors are unfounded as I would love to have some more CANs of this one!

 2,445 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Zaktcc
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Canned prior to summer of '14 (date not listed on can - bought single)
A - Pours a dark cedar color which is fairly transparent. ! 1/2 finger head with good retention and some lacing.

S - Very pleasant aroma. A blend of sweetness and booze. Hints of coffee, caramel and even hints of bourbon or something are present. A great blend of aromas that is fairly complex to the nose.

T - Flavors line up right on par with the scents. Caramel malts are present, vague hints of coffee, vanilla preset as well. Like the scent, the taste is fairly complex but a great blend. Very enjoyable.

F - Medium bodied, with no notes of carbonation present. Very smooth with a crisp aftertaste.

O - Was not sure what to expect from this beer but I am highly impressed. I wonder if the aging had anything to do with the complexity of the aromas and flavors but an awesome beer overall.

 896 characters

Photo of KevinGordon
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of bubseymour
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of lillitnn92
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of nofunyons
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of ZachKelly
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of wvbrewcrew
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of mikepcarney
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Tacoboomerang
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of wrightst
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of IPhantom
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Arithmeticus
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured chilled in ale glas chez White

A: dark amber, one-finger head (creamy), good carbonation, excellent lacing
S: malty, darker roasted malts; opens up nicely
T: like a hoppy bock; very malty, complex brown sugar, horehound candy; resinous

A very good beer, but astringent and loud

 286 characters

Photo of TongoRad
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

First off, the nose is very English in nature, and absolutely gorgeous. Lots of fruit comes out right away (berries and dried apple, primarily), but it's woven so beautifully with toasty malt, caramel, nuts, and a just enough floral hops to give it a certain lightness. The mouthfeel is moderately full and smooth, while there is just enough bitterness to keep things in check and not an iota more. Mostly caramel dominates the palate, but the finish is surprisingly dry (!!!), with the toasty malt and flowers lingering on the finish. Hell, yes! They got the finish right, and drinkability is off the charts! Everything about this beer is so harmonious and well put together. This has been a genuine pleasure to drink- I look forward to getting it again, and whatever else I can find by this brewery.

 801 characters

Photo of Cyrion
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a common shaker pint. Has a 'best before' date of one month in the future. Better get cracking.

Appearance: Pours a dark gold (too yellow to use the words 'amber' or 'copper') that is very clear. A one inch creamy head dissipates reluctantly, leaving concentric rings in the glass.

Smell: It honestly smells like sugar cookies. Macaroons. Must be a cookie aroma with sugar and caramel. The malt is kickin', but I'm wondering what lies beneath. No hint of alcohol or hops, strangely.

Taste: Wow, a delicious drying malt taste. Bready, caramel sweetness in front, as gleaned from the aroma, followed by the hops. Wish I could elaborate more on the hops, but it's a pleasant mid-palate earthy flavor that is a reasonable reproduction of a strong bitter. Drying on the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium, with no alcohol taste. Appropriate for an ESB with an ABV of 6.5%.

Overall: I'm pretty skeptical of English reproductions, as so few American beers live up to the hype, but this is a truly delicious beer. Slightly more hoppy than an English ESB, but not nearly as bracing as other reviewers may say. Balanced and drying, leaves you thirsty for another. Best ESB I've had in a long, long time. I'm adding this to my very small stable of go-to beers.

 1,265 characters

Photo of msquared36
4.14/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a thin white head.

Aroma is fantastic. Strong floral scents.

The floral notes are very pronounced in the taste as well. Also noticed a hint of pineapple. Crisp, dry finish.

Decent carbonation. Nothing special buts works for the beer.

This is a very good beer. Refreshing and drinkable but with nice complexity and heft. Ranks right up there with the English ESB's.

 384 characters

Photo of bbeane
4.14/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml caged and corked bottle dated best by June 2014

A- Poured into a tulip glass. Starts with a large white head with good retention. Beer is dark copper in color, crimson when held up to the light

S- Lots of sweet malt with a hint of hops

T- Nice caramel malty sweetness, with some hops coming through in the finish

M- Medium body with light carbonation

O- Definitely a quality beer. I'll drink this again in the future

 441 characters

Photo of OldSwampy
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color reddish copper, translucent, with a thin cream head. Nose pleasant edgy hops, hints of rock dust, over smooth malt aroma. Taste as promised by the smell: smooth, with slightly sweet, nutty malts interacting politely with the hops, all well integrated. Could be bigger, but is fine as is. Mouthfeel lean but firm with lightly creamy wrapper. All around, a nicely balanced and very enjoyable beer. I'll look forward to having another.

Can bottom stamped "BEST BY 5 / 7 / 16" poured into a glass.

 500 characters

Photo of superspak
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into pint glass, best before 6/2014 stamped on the cork. Pours lightly cloudy reddish copper color with a 2-3 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with incredible retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts the whole glass. Dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a lot of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, pear, raisin, apple, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, floral, grass, light pine, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity ester notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, toast, biscuit, pear, apple, pepper, floral, pine, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toast, biscuit, light fruits, floral, pepper, light pine, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance of malt, hop, and fruity ester flavors; with good robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a moderately creamy and crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent ESB style. All around great balance and complexity of malt, yeast, and hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,350 characters

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Steel Wheels ESB from Blue Mountain Brewery
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 146 ratings
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