Jake's ESB | Sly Fox Brewing Company

16 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by oberon on 05-26-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 34
Photo of Sludgeman
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Cask. Served in a nonic pint glass at Rustico/Arlington. $6.50 for a full pint.

Very quaffable, even though it’s a bit of a bitter ESB - 4

A - A very dark almost amber with a slight haze, small rocky off white head typical of cask beers - 3.75

S - Some sweetness in the nose, which does not match with the bitterness. But very pleasant and appealing. It certainly invites one to have a big gulp. - 4.25

T – Herbal bitterness, biscuits, whole wheat bread. -3.75

MF - Medium body with a dry finish that builds into a lasting bitterness. - 4

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Pours a light brown-orange color with a one finger white head. The head fades fast to leave a persistent film and a lighter amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is light and consists of a bready aroma with hints of a caramel sweetness. Mixed with these small are also a very light aroma of an earthy and pine nature.

Taste – The taste begins of a buttery flavor and hints of roasted malt and caramel sweetness. As the taste moves on the sweetness fades while the roast intensifies. Toward the end hop flavors of a pine and earthy nature start coming to the tongue. While they start out rather light, at the end they grow more intense and when mixed with the nice roasted flavors, a pleasant bitter roasted taste is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is above average in terms of it creaminess and thickness with a carbonation level that is rather average. It is quite nice for the style with the bitter hops, buttery and roasted flavors really given the chance to shine.

Overall –A pretty easy drinking and flavorful ESB with a nice creamy body and feel.

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Photo of thain709
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The body was a deeper shade of copper and it had nice clarity...two finger, creamy, white head...very nice retention but just minimal lacing

S - Very malty, sweet, fruity, minimal hops

T - Flavors are bumped up a notch from the nose...they actually become more balanced...again it starts off sweet with loads of sticky caramel...the middle of the beer brings some dark fruits into play adding a fruity sweetness...the middle-end is where the earthiness and hops come in...they actually balanced out the sweetness and add a little bit of bitterness to the beer

M - Medium bodied...smooth...the bitterness comes in a little late and has that earthiness flavor

O - This was a decent ESB...it started off sweet but ended up pretty balanced...would I drink it again?...probably if I couldn't find anything else on the brewpub tap list

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Photo of Seanibus
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A perfectly fine pub bitters - quite drinkable and sessionable, but nothing outstanding in itself.

Pours dark coppery with lots of head and carbonation clinging to glass. Aroma is malty, with a little caramel. Flavor is flat, straightforward and malty, with very little hop character. The mouthfeel is slick.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Got a growler from the beer engine at Bierkraft after a Sly Fox tasting.

A--Aggressive pour yields a rim of creme foam that dissipates and leaves some fat roe-like bubbles atop a dark, dark--iced-tea colored--body. Looks more like an amber lager, like Sam Adams or Brooklyn lager, than an ESB. Oh well, on to sniff...

S--The tea-like color doesn't carry over into the aroma. Some faint florals from hops and a touch of malt--well, no, more than a touch, but for a cask ESB? C'mon guys, you can do better than this. Sierra Nevada's ESB outta the bottle had more of a nose than this sucker. I get some biscuit, I get some wholegrain--yada, yada, a better, butterier presence would be nice. Very little in the way of orange, lemon, or grass. Maybe a slight tang.

T--Enh. Definitely an American take on the style. More like Red Hook ESB than Fuller's, which is not a compliment. Acrid, with too much bittering hops. Malt is overshadowed and not allowed to ripen in the profile before this biting attack of hops comes in. This is wickedly overdone in the hops department for the style and the serving style. Not real ale--more like bazooka ale. To the beer's credit, what grain you do get is solid, if unremarkable--none of that caressing butter or tang you get in a British version from the hand pump.

M&D--MF's excellent--creamy and consistent. Really nice feel off the cask. Drinkability's only OK, as it's just got too much bitterness to justify sitting down next to for awhile.

Wouldn't be bad out of the bottle, or faucet, but a cask reveals way too many flaws.

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Photo of Deuane
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Copper with a medium off white head leaving a bit oflae behind.

S-Light hops with a bit of malty sweetness and a bit of an earthy aroma.

T-Decent hop bite with a good balance provided by the caramel malt.

M-Medium-light body with a nice smooth feel. Welldone for the style.

D-Nicely done, and my two English friends thought so too. A pleasant,easy to drink ESB.

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Maryann for picking me up a growler of this.Thanks Babe!

I was in the mood for a ipa and the brewpub didnt have any that appealed to me so I chose the esb.

Now im not a huge fan of the style.Im always looking for that "one" beer to break me through and I think this beer may have.

Pours a clear brown body with a nice small white head.Not much carbonation going on there.

I smell some fruitiness and some hops.The smell is very good,really enjoyable.

Taste is sweet but not overly sweet with a strong bitterness at the end of the sip.Im was shocked that this was so bitter.Its a clean malty taste before the bitterness.

It has a nice mouthful,feels over carbonated.

This beer is a instant session beer for me.Im on my thrid pint and I still feel fine.I would have this again and thanks to Jake.Whoever you are.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at the Sly Fox Royersford brew pub into a regular pint glass.

A: A deeper amber brown color with a creamy off white head. Minimal lacing.

S: Slight hops on the nose with sweet malt and an earthy smell.

T: A little more hops in the taste than on the nose with a caramel sweetness with an earthy dirt flavor. The hops bitters in the end and lingers on.

M: Light to medium mouthfeel with really no alcohol taste and minimal carbonation. The beer feels easy going in the mouth.

D: Medium to high for me. I'm not the hugest ESB fan, but I enjoyed this one as a change of pace from my normal hoppy IPA. This ESB seemed to have a nice hop taste to it so I did enjoy it.

Overall a nice beer but it didn't really blow me away. I would drink it again, but I'll still grab a Phoenix or 113 when I visit again.

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Photo of dherling
3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear dark brown color, creamy white head. Not much in the nose, some slight hop and hone notes. The taste delivers malty sweetness, mollasses (just a bit), and some green hops flavor, but not as bitter as you would expect of the style. Finished bitter and lingering. The mouthfeel was a bit too carbonated for me. One of those where each sip suddenly develops its own head inside your mouth.

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Photo of DrJay
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a short, off-white head composed of fine bubbles. Sheets of lace were left behind as the beer disappeared. Pleasant maltiness in the aroma balanced by a bit of fruitiness and floral hops with a citrus accent. Medium bitterness with a solid malty, caramel backbone. Floral/citrus hop flavour with a bit of fruit and nut character as well. There's also a hint of toffee that lingers through the finish. Medium to light body and carbonation. The texture was nice, but there was a hint of syrupiness. Easily quaffable, fairly mild all around, and well done.

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Photo of nomad
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat in my imperial pint glass: a lovely dark amber with a tight tough foam head. Some lace through the session. Glowing and clear like a good ESB, sitting well in the glass it demands.

Smells of grass, dry straw, clover smoke, opening to spicy toffee and an earthy cherry scent. Nice range, had better, but definitely good. Very British with the large grassy hops.

The lick of caramel to start is wonderful, then falls into green, chewy hop oils, with fresh floral flavors dripping with Golding juice. Has a soft chalk dryness balanced by tasty bitters. Some small notes of fruit esters and roasty malt. In sum, just about all I ask from a good and extra special, to me, Bitter. Dead-on full mouthfeel with no carbonation - couldn't ask for much more in this department, except if it could be from a cask.

Almost balanced, easy, delectable, and drinkable. The purpose and joy of a good ESB, accomplished.

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Photo of stirgy
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured an ultra clear and “true” amber color. Like a bright and shiny gem. Good carbonation, small white head that thinned to a film after the first sip. The aroma yields pleasantly sweet caramel notes and some bitter apple/fruits. The taste is very pleasant, lively and flavorful. Bitter in the finish, but satisfying throughout. Nice balance of sweet and bitter. The malt body lurks just under the surface and the alcohol is hidden. I enjoyed it. Another fine beer from Sly Fox. They usually don’t disappoint.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice and solid ESB, which falls short of being very good or great. I got this in a sampler at the brewery. It didn't come with much of a head, but we'll let this pass since it was in a 5 oz. glass.

The only weakness in this beer was its taste, which honestly speaking wasn't too bad. First, the hops wasn't the type of hops I would normally place into a ESB. I believe it was Cascade or a similar style of hops. That's a preference thing, and I prefer a different hops.

The major flaw in the taste however was a lack of a malt flavor to balance out the hops. I didn't feel the hops was too strong. The malt flavor was definitely lacking.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, deep-copper colored body is capped by a short head of creamy white foam that holds well and leaves some spotty lacing about the glass. The nose is limited but suggests a mildly caramelish malt and some delicate hops. The body is medium; and it's lightly crisp in the mouth due to its fine, median carbonation. The flavor picks up where the aroma left off, and delivers the lightly kilned caramel malts promised; backed by a firm bitterness and some floral and grassy hops. It's very english in nature with the exception that it lacks a bit of fruitiness and delivers an "American" carbonation for the masses. I'd love to try this beer from a cask!

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Photo of bmills1608
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Color was a brown/amber, very clear, lots of carbonation bubbles racing to the top. Nose was restrained for the most part but I did detect the faint aroma of grassy hops. Perhaps served a bit too cold? Taste was, to me, astringent. Very little residual sweetness could be detected, which I happen to like. Otherwise, a solid ESB. Flavors of lightly roasted malt, caramel and soft hops keep the taste buds happy. I felt that the ale could have a little more malt "ooomf", it came off almost a little watery. Note that as the beer warmed a bit, things improved nicely. I really think the beer was served via tap just a bit too cold, muting any real distinguishing characteristics. That being said, I enjoyed it and would recommend it as well.

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Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber/brown color with a nice big sticky head.Smell was very malty and slightly fruity.Taste is malty and somewhat chocolaty with some fruity background,slighty dry finish to this big malty beer.Very impressive I had to get a growler of this one to bring home,really really liked this one.

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Jake's ESB from Sly Fox Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 34 ratings.
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