4 Pines ESB | 4 Pines Brewing Company

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4 Pines ESB4 Pines ESB
33 Ratings
4 Pines ESB4 Pines ESB

Brewed by:
4 Pines Brewing Company

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 vancurly on 05-24-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 17
Reviews by doktorhops:
Photo of doktorhops
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a stalwart 4 Pines fan, like many of my mates are, they're alright - their Pale Ale is pretty passé what with the market being flooded (pun intended) with Pale Ales right now it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and their Stout was boring like an English county test match. So with hesitation, and a nod from the bottleshop attendant who said this ESB was "decent" here we are.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Presents a deep rust coloured clear body with a thin cream lacing on top. Reminiscent in appearance to the more flavourful ESB's out there so that can only be a good thing.

S: Rich toffee hits the nose straight off the mark, with notes of caramel, golden syrup and background hints of earthy/herbal hops. The malt is a bit extravagant in the aroma, not that there's anything wrong with that.

T: A big fat malt base of toffee, caramel and sticky date launches this brew into the sugarsphere... yet it manages not to cloy or over dominate the flavour. The hops come in earthy and medicinal herbal which balances it out quite well. A bold well-structured ESB overall, which is a surprise from the usually timid 4 Pines.

M: Mid to light bodied with medium carbonation and a hint of hop oils thrown in. The only criticism here would be a little over-carbonation for this style.

D: If you like ESB's that are more sweet (malt driven) than bitter (hop driven) this is a fine example, the fact that it can manage to be this sweet and not cloy is admirable and a challenge that even Belgian brewers struggle with. Price-wise at $6 a bottle it is sadly (for us Australians) in the realm of "average" beer prices. It seems as though 4 Pines have cast off the shackles of trying to make a beer that pleases everyone (i.e. boring) and have managed to make a beer that pleases me (i.e. interesting), good work 4 Pines [insert slow clap].

Food match: Not being a cheese lover, but prejudices aside, I can say that this beer would excellently accompany a cheese platter (mainly the hard acidic cheeses). It would also suit a nice pheasant roast, with roasted sweet potatoes, fennel and red wine jus.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of warnerry
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Vanz
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber/copper with a small head.
Nose shows nutty sweet malt, bready notes, caramel. Quite nice!
Flavours include some of the sweet malt, but there's also a grainy note. Finishes a bit plain.
Carbonation could be just a little higher...

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Photo of tobeerornottobe
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Lovely deep golden colour and a good stream of carbonation.

N: Not very prominent, which is a bit surprising given the colour of this beer. Maybe some malty characteristics.

T: Wow, intense, especially after the nose, smoke and burnt rubber.

M: Very well suited to the style, full, but not overly so.

Overall, not exactly sessionable but a good take on the ESB style.

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Photo of Rwalford74
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of snowmageddon
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of magpieken
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Pintfinder
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

4 Pines, is a brewery that consistently produces exceptionally beers, their ESB is more than exceeds their lofty standard.

The Pines ESB has everything you want in a beer, the liquid pours a deep reddish copper colour, a little murky but still appealing.

Has a sweet toffee like aroma to it, with dried fruit like notes, very rich.

The taste is big, hits you right on the front palate. The aromas carry right into the flavours of the beer that sweet toffee flavour coming strong through the front and the mid palate, it then eases into a strong crisp bitterness, very pleasing.

4 Pines do a lot of good to great beers, this here is close to the top of the pile and I would put it at the top of the core range, goes on the you need to drink this list.

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Photo of Gusmotel
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of CaptainHungry
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PolarBear3
2.64/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A - Poured a dark amber colour with good off white frothy head that retained fairly well

S - Not much at all. Very metallic with a slight hint of sweet malt and candy sugar

T - Sweet malts, some caramel, toffee, molasses with a dry slightly bitter finish

M - Medium carbonation and medium body

O - Pretty average as a ESB. Not a lot of bitterness at all and is rather sweet for my liking.

 392 characters

Photo of braican
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of vancurly
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at brewpub.
a) Drop-dead gorgeous. "Coppery amber" they describe it as, but for me the colour is perfect. Thin off-white head
s) Caramel..needs to warm up a bit. Metallic hops, warming into pine notes.
f) As it smells... maybe the faintest wet-paper note, but not significant.
m&d) Nice drop, well balanced, drinkable in quantity.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a burnished bronze colour with slow but manifold carbonation. Head is thin, cream-coloured, retaining a thin crown and some nice thick lace being left behind. Great colour, otherwise pretty good too.

Smell is very hoppy. Lots of malt on there with English toffee notes and a slight sour metallic character. Lots of brass/copper and some lemon zest as well. Some honey as well, hiding at the back. Fairly strong, but also lacking in complexity; seems a bit one-tracked.

Very flavoursome. Heavy malt base with burnt sugar and brown sugar, some molasses as well. Lots of hops come through that are quite complex and almost wriggly in their flavour permeation. Earthy, with pine needle resin, some metallic notes and some woody character as well. Makes the finish extremely dry, very attenuated and maybe a touch short on the finish. But it's clean at least.

Good full feel, nice and sticky in the mouth but I really feel it's a bit too dry.

A very nice beer overall, and nice to drink. One of the better ESBs I've had.

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Photo of evianIPA
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Lucky Coq

Wasn't expecting much as:
a) Lucky Coq isn't exactly a 'beer destination'
b) Four Pines beers are too often conservative

So I was damn pleased when presented with reddish-brown glass topped with a nice beige cap.

I wouldn't have been too surprised if this beer offered little to no aroma, but I'll be damned, there's soft toffee and maybe even some stewed fruits such as quince.
The aromas carry over onto the palate, and the body is full, but surprisingly dry, making it effortlessly drinkable. Bitterness is in balance, and there wasn't a ubiquitous 'hoppy finish' to spoil things unnecessarily.

Overall, this one really impressed me. Almost so that I'd consider revisiting some of their other efforts just in case they've improved. But then I remember their 'Gin and Juice.' What were they even thinking?

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Photo of Soupbones
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep coppery bronze colour with a fine and filmy head of white. Lacing is great, forming down the glass in sheets. Lots of fine carbonation. Looks good.

Nose is minimal, with a light grain note amd some slightly floral hoppiness, but it's very muted, and it's certainly served too cold. Served by the brewer too, so no excuses. As it warms, there's a hint more maltiness to it, and it preempts the slight smoke character on the palate.

Taste is, indeed, surprisingly smoky - smoked cheese in particular giving a pleasant sweet but roasted hint. Light and clean otherwise with a pleasant coppery bitterness cleaning out the back. Very interesting.

A very drinkable ESB and a rather enjoyable one. The biscuity smokiness is a little odd, but otherwise it's a good example of the style.

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Photo of ColSanders123
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of hopnerd
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of life_of_agony
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of admiral
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

4 pines have hit a winner with this beer - superb!

aroma: caramel, toffee, plum with slight spice and wine

taste: toffee, caramel, raisin, plum, chocolate, bready yeast like flavours, caramel treacle with some slight wine and orange peel

Great taste with a number of flavours shining through. Very well balanced and enjoyable to drink. Has a decent bitterness kick at back of palate to compliment the delicious flavours in play. Impressed.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Can't believe I have not reviewed this one before but have had several times.
Reviewing more difficult than drinking :-)
Toffee and caramel and quite sweet , but all very integrated rather than one flavour element to the fore.
Solid stuff, if not exactly inspiring..... Better on tap at the pub than in the bottle

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Photo of SmashPants
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: a stumpy 500mL brown bottle with the standard 4 Pines craft label.

Appearance: a slightly hazy dark copper brown with limited carbonation visible. A decent off-white head lasts for some time with good retention and thick but sporadic lacing.

Aroma: a fairly soft nose, centred on caramel and toffee, with some heavy fruits and sherry. Nice.

Taste: the caramels and toffee carry through to the flavours on the palate, with raisins, heavy fruits and raisins backing up.

Aftertaste: similar to the Keller Door Oktoberfest beer, the aftertaste is a little saccharin. Still nice, but a bit intense.

Mouth feel: a well balanced feel - moderate body with again a moderate carbonation.

Overall: A quality small batch ESB - a good combination of malts and sweet fruits. A good slow sipper.

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Photo of stevoj
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the brewery. I love the finish on this one, nice lingering, sticky bitterness. Medium weight and slick, malt, honey in the aroma, taste brings the hops in. Well rounded

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4 Pines ESB from 4 Pines Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 33 ratings