Naughty Hildegard ESB
Driftwood Brewery

Naughty Hildegard ESBNaughty Hildegard ESB
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #1
Ranked #2,127
4.25 | pDev: 7.29%
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
Naughty Hildegard ESBNaughty Hildegard ESB
Notes: Brewed to honor Hildegard Von Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine nun who allegedly was the first to record the use of hops as an ingredient in beer. While this is open to debate, we like Hildegard's style and we can't imagine a beer without hops. This extra special bitter has lots of hops- Hildegard would be proud. We are! Cheers Hildy!
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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 142 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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LeBron_James from Canada (ON)

4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From Driftwood's Swashbox 8 pack thing.
Pours dark amber with an amazing full head. Leaves tons of lacing.
Smells a LOT like Fresh Squeeze by Deschutes. It smells like an IPA for sure. Lots of hops, tons of fruity and floral notes, some nice malt here too.
The taste definitely follows the nose. Super hopped up and pretty great. Tastes a LOT like an IPA and actually super similar to Fresh Squeeze. Tons of citrus fruit from the hops and some earthyness too. I really like this beer a lot but I can see why people are saying it's more like an IPA than an ESB.
The mouthfeel is very nice, carbonation is perfect. It's a little on the higher side but works great for this beer.

Overall this is a great beer. I like it a lot and would like to see Driftwood come up with another ESB (maybe more traditional).

Mar 14, 2021
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altstadt from Canada (BC)

3.16/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear dark amber color. The head was a light tan and made of larger sized bubbles. It left a lot of sparse lacing on the glass as the head quickly dropped down. There are very few bubbles rising in the glass, mostly larger bubbles.

Mostly a vegetable hop scent with a tiny bit of barnyard that quickly faded away. Swirling the glass kicked up a stronger barnyard.

Mostly vegetable hop flavor with a medium bitter level. It is actually quite bitter for an ESB. Half way through, a floral hop flavor pops up. Some malt underpinnings get stronger as it warms. There is a light barnyard throughout. The aftertaste is mostly the hops and bitter.

Some light tongue tingling; more than would be expected from the visual carbonation level. Doesn't foam up much.

This is much more like an IPA than an ESB, so not very true to style. My notes from a couple of years ago describe a floral hop scent and make no mention of the barnyard. The aggregate rating now is more than a point lower than what I recorded a couple of years ago.

Mar 11, 2020
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TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An absolute surprise of a beer - ESB - a rarity in itself.
This pours a mildly hazy/chill hazed caramel orange-amber with creamy pale tan head.
Aroma jumps out with a floral piney hop on caramel malt backbone and some citrus - orange, tangerine.
Taste starts with a malty caramel sweetness that transitions into notes of orange, floral hops, and piney bitterness (actually made me think of Troeg’s Nugget Nectar).
Medium mouthfeel with active carbonation leaving with a deliciously refreshing piney bittersweetness - IPAish ESB.

Dec 16, 2019
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patre_tim from Thailand

4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper orange with light haze and carbonation. Topped with 4 fingers of light beige head.

Smells of orange, toffee and a hint of evergreen.

The taste follows the nose.

Medium body with little carbonation.

I got this near Windermere, BC, and am drinking it in Radium Hot Springs, Aug 21st, 2019.

Aug 21, 2019
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kemoarps from Washington

4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Rich amber body with a light chill haze. Maaaaassive soft pillowing head. As it languidly works back towards the liquid it concentrates into a powdery soft appearance and clings to the walls like spray in insulation.

Nose is a nice balance of malts and hops... lightly bready and sweet caramel with maybe some spice and a bridge between all that and some earthy and lightly nectar-floral hops.

Similar impression on the tongue. Toast and almost rye-like spice with toffee in a rich vein meet with a surprising amount of bitter earthy/grassy/floral hops. Big pine bitter finish.
This is heavily hopped for the style, but that's warned on the label. You could make the argument that this could easily be a big midwest or west coast style basic IPA and I wouldn't argue, but it's labeled an ESB and it's damn delicious.
Smoothe with appropriate carbonation and very easy to drink despite the big pine bitter ending.
Irregardless of style guidelines, this is a fantastic beer and I'm really glad I picked it up when I was in Vancouver. I will gladly snag another any time I'm up there.

Apr 15, 2019
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Beersnake1 from California

4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from can at fridge temp. Pours golden yellow with little tan head. Nose is resin, wheat, spice, coriander, and citrus peel. Taste is awesome. Super piny - lots of aromatic pine, tree sap, citrus peel, and a bit of vanilla. Really nice. Mouthfeel is light and dry. Overall, a really nice IPA.

Mar 24, 2019
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grover37 from District of Columbia

3.61/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint at Beer Bistro in Toronto. This is not a good beer, not sure why it rates so highly. Very confused between ESB and PacNW IPA. Way out of style (way too hoppy) and not a very good IPA either (way too sweet and caramelly). I don't appreciate it for what it is, though I could see people liking it.

Jun 06, 2018
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HipCzech from Texas

4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 650 mL bottled (“bottled on Oct 23, 2017”) poured into a small nonic glass.

Appearance: Bright, clear copper with a dense, cappuccino foam head and thick, sticky lace.

Smell: Biscuit caramel malt, mango, wet rocks and slightly dank pine.

Taste: Slightly grainy, toasty malt with toffee, mandarin oranges, pine needles and earthy notes. Nicely balanced with good fruit notes and just enough bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, creamy feel and lighter carbonation.

Overall: A decidedly West Coast take on ESB with juicy hops kicking up the fruit notes usually provided by estery ale yeast.

Nov 24, 2017
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jrenihan from Canada (ON)

4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice nose, a mix of biscuity caramel malts and citrus and pine scents from the hops. The nose is a good indicator of the flavour, which is hoppy but very much balanced by a strong biscuit backbone. Mildly bitter. Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. The boost of hops make it a fairly nontraditional ESB, but that works in its favour.

Apr 18, 2017
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leaddog from Canada (AB)

4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a warm amber copper with three fingers of foamy cream coloured head.

Smell - floral and leafy hops, caramel malts, and tropical fruit (mango).

Taste - Starts off with bitter floral and leafy hops. The caramel malts come through next followed by the tropical fruit (mango). There is also pleasant orchard fruits present in the taste primarily apple and plum.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied light to moderate carbonation. Finishes smooth with the hops lingering.

Overall - A well crafted ESB. I was surprised with the nice bitterness from the hops in this brew. The malts added a nice balance to the brew which makes it very drinkable and refreshingly bitter. A unique and stand out brew from the folks at Driftwood.

Mar 06, 2017
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dillybarrrrr from Canada (BC)

3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Naughty Hildegard from Driftwood Brewery. 6.5% Poured into a pint purchased at 6.99
Picked up because my co-worker wasn't a big fan so thought I had to try aha.
L: Not quite amber but not quite golden, right in the middle of this spectrum. Poured a perfect head and has light thin lacing, doesn't stick around long. 4.5 for the head and intriguing color
S: Piney. Hops come through first and foremost.
T: Where is the bitter? The hops are nice, I mean it has a kick of bitter but very little. I feel like the malt and yeast comes thru more than the bitter which is unfortunate. Green apple touch.
F: Definitely medium bodied, not super smooth but not thick. Hops stick around in your mouth.
OV: I mean I'ts good and drinkable, would I pick up another? Probably not. very mediocre :S

Feb 23, 2017
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Bunman3 from Canada (AB)

4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oh me oh my. I love ESB and this hopped up version is absolutely smashing. It's gorgeous and naughty, what every mysterious nun should be. I will definitely be seeking this one out every chance I get!

Jul 11, 2016
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MaltyPythonsHopCircus from Canada (BC)

4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fluffy white head that lingers. Very fresh hoppy aroma. Hints of tangerine and pine. Flavour is doughy, slightly sweet and English malty. Hops come through as fruity almost pineapple like. Mouthfeel is slightly chewy. Excellent ESB

Jul 11, 2016
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hotmailmsn from Canada (BC)

3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

6.5% abv, N/A ibu, 650ml bottle (bottled on June 03, 2016)
A - clear copper with one finger off white head, fade fast.
S - green apple, mango, guava, citrus, caramel, butter milk biscuit, mineral, spice.
T - mild carbonation, smooth, medium body. toasted bread, liquorice sweetness, northwest english ale, with well balanced maltiness n following bitterness (direct, simple, intense, right on point). long lasting but not overpowering.
O - its really delicious, fruity on nose, sweet, malty, hoppy on palate. unique blend of IPA (for me) and classic english style. no ESB similar that i have tried before, it has fat tug malt character, which most driftwood beers have it, and thats y i like their brews so much. first naughty hildegard i have, and i am going to get more!

Jun 21, 2016
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Hat_Fulla_Beer from Canada (AB)

4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

Pours a clear medium copper with one finger of off-white head that leaves melting honeycomb lace as it recedes.

Smells of sweet baking bread, roasted apple, orange rind and pine resin.

Tastes of more bready caramel malt and citrus rind, soft pineapple and melon, and more pleasantly dank piney hops.

Feels round and fuzzy. Sturdy middleweight with frothy carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Highly recommended. Very good west coast bitter.

Jun 18, 2016
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headlessparrot from Canada (ON)

3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I can tell from the first sip why this is rated so high on Beer Advocate's top 100 Canadian beers: it's awfully hoppy, and awfully "West Coast" for a traditionally English style ESB. I wonder about the style designation, in fact.

Cloudy orange. Slight head that fades quickly. Some dank, piney flavours, maybe a bit of citrus pith, bitter black tea, and then big malt. Crystal, slight caramel. Bitter leafy greens, more tea in the taste, light biscuit. Low-moderate carbonation, but a fairly heavy body.

A very well-made beer (as is everything Driftwood touches, if we're being honest), but not really in my own personal wheel-house. And arguably mischaracterized--this could just as easily be an English-style IPA as an ESB.

Nov 07, 2015
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byronic from Canada (ON)

4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to @Corson for this bottle!

A dark orange poor with minimal head. Smells of a nicely balanced hops and fruits but with definite malt presence. At first not really what I expected drinks more like an IPA however as it warmed it became very interesting. Notes of different types of citrus presented themselves.

Aug 30, 2015
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle, always nice to have a mainstay in the Canada Top 100 just up and appear on the shelves of my local bottleshop of choice.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with two pudgy fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and rather fizzy ecru head, which leaves some patchy snow rime lace around the glass as it slowly sinks out of sight.

It smells strongly of varied orchard fruit (orange, apple, and underripe plum), biscuity caramel malt, further tropical fruit notes, mild florals, and a prominent wet stoniness. The taste is bready, doughy caramel malt, a lesser biscuity graininess, white grapefruit and blood orange citrus rind, bitter pine needles, sharp earthy and floral hops, and a wee twinge of alcohol heat.

The carbonation is quite frothy and fizzy, in equal and almost alternating parts, the body a decent middleweight, and generally smooth, those testy hops making a small dent here. It finishes well off-dry, the big grainy and caramelized malt still ably fending off that near IPA-esque hop incursion.

A tasty and interesting example of the style - it's big and hoppy, sure, but with a certain complex maltiness that leans towards the old-world English bitter side of things, all while the hops scream out PAC-NW. Once again, this aptly suits a brewer from Victoria, given the nature of that city's location and demographics.

Jun 30, 2015
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mtomlins from Canada (ON)

4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to FondueVoodoo for the bottle.

Pours a beautiful, slightly hazy, deep copper color with 2-3 fingers of off-white head, sudzy, with good retention and lacing. It smells of bread, toasted malt, caramel with a nice citrus and floral hop punch. The taste is similar featuring equal parts caramel, bready malt and earthy, cirtus hops and finishes drier with a bittering hop kick. the body is spot on, creamy but not heavy with good carbonation. An excellent example of the style.

May 29, 2015
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Svingjo from Canada (BC)

4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The first thing you notice from the beer is it's slightly opaque caramel colour. The opaqueness in part because of it's unfiltered nature. The citrus orange smell accents the obvious hop notes. These flavours come through on the taste as well as a balancing maltiness. The mouthfeel is slightly heavy and the bitterness lingers on the tongue. My overall impression is that this is a nice beer, however I was expecting a little more hoppy bitterness. It was still refreshing and probably more approachable to the general public then I was expecting.

Dec 23, 2014
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schopenhauerale from Arizona

4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650 ml bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Rich amber with a moderate, off-white head that dissipated with some lacing.

S: Pleasant, vegetal hops and sweet malt.

T: Big but well-balanced ESB - all of the malts and hops were there in force. Lingering bitterness, subtle alcohol.

M: Moderation in all aspects.

O: This beer is outstanding. It shows that you can make a well-balanced ESB that is still exciting. Another Driftwood classic - wish this one was year-round!

Jan 27, 2014
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SebD from Canada (ON)

4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice deep hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves some spotty lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of citrus, some grapefruit, pine resins, sweet caramelly malts and some breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some citrus and grapefruit upfront, piney resins giving off a nice bitterness, sweet caramel and some bready/biscuity malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-medium carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas. Such a well balanced beer and so hoppy at the same time. I could drink this all day, loving it. I think Driftwood might just be my favorite Canadian brewery.

Oct 15, 2013
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a relatively large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of earthy bitter hops with light dry caramel malt notes. Taste is also a well-balanced mxi between some earthy hops with some citrus bitter notes with a solid dry caramel malt backbone. Body is above average for style with good carbonation. Very enjoyable beer with nice earthy hops mix but not sure it has much to do with actual Bitter anymore.

Oct 04, 2013
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LampertLand from Canada (BC)

4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Driftwood Brewery 'Naughty Hildegard ESB' @ 6.5% , served on tap at HOPoxia'13 & a lot of 650 ml bottles purchased for $7 & a recent growler for $12 to start 2017 as it is a core beer now , 473 ml cans as of
A-pour is gold from the tap/bottle/growler to a clear dark amber in the glass with a medium size off-white head leaving a spotty lace along the pint/sampler
S-smell is big citrus , so many hops
T-big & strong tasting , yet so smooth , awesome ESB even with all those hops
MF-ok carbonation , good medium body
Ov-great 'local' beer , I've seen a lot of this naughty lady this winter , spring , summer & fall
prost LampertLand

Sep 05, 2013
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ZachT from Canada (BC)

4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional ESB.
Colour was a bit lighter than I was expecting.
Very hoppy aroma, followed by a strong but not overpowering bitterness. Finish is crisp and bitter, leaving you wanting more. At 6.5% its the perfect mix of alcohol and bitterness. I tried this one in a bottle and will be hunting for it on tap.

If you like ESB this is an absolute must.

Aug 26, 2013
Naughty Hildegard ESB from Driftwood Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 142 ratings