Belk's ESB | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Liked This Beer
3.78 w/ 545 ratings

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Inspired by the classic “Bitters” from Great Britain, our Belk’s ESB is an innovative take on the style. With a deep, golden hue and big malty foundation, the spicy, herbal hop aromas and crisp, bitter bite give a West Coast flair to this classic recipe.

Formerly Boont ESB.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-25-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 545 |  Reviews: 356
Photo of JupiterJesus
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of Thothamon
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of ShuliShake
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of hoeg0015
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of Nightrain87
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of envinoveri
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of amstelcat
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of AaronRed
4.76/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best bitters.

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Photo of egoinski
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of jonnylieberman
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my snifter. Perfectly orange in color. These slots right in between a pale ale and an Amber. Slightly clingy off-white lacing with tiny bubbles.

Smell: Orange, pine, hops, tangerince, vanilla and lemon. Cascade hops mixed with malt. Yum.

Taste: Excellent blend of malt, hop aroma and bitterness. Balanced! Delicious initial sweetness and hop citris is cancelled out by the deep--but not harsh--hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is ideal! Thick and full, but not too full. A perfect weight.

I would like to try to drink 10. I think the 6.8% might get in the way.

Notes: A true California great. This beer should be more well known, especially to my BA brethren. Just an excellent all around beer that seems to score a bit too low around here...

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Photo of Dray
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of Ego
4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am an admitted ESB lover. this is a striking attempt by an american brew at an english favorite (fullers, adnams anyone?). The difference here is the hops and carbonation signature. Where a lot of ESBs may seem "flat" to a lot of people this one certainly is not. It has the classic ESB flavour but more bite on nose and pallate, more american I suppose. Excellent lace of head on the glass, smells like it tastes and yet after leaving it out for awhile smells like a clasic brit ESB. Beautiful color, amber/brown mixed hue, though very clear. This is an american take on an english standard. The english types tend to lack the bite this does.. so imagine your sierra nevada pale crashed a fullers party.. and you have this brew. If you leave it out to breathe (for 15 min at least) it settles more into a traditional ESB all around but still has a better hop signature than most ESBs. Hop lovers will love this out of the 12 oz typical bottle as is and immediate, ESB lovers/traditionalists should let it sit for a while in a snifter before imbibing to enjoy it fully. Recommended. (note this is a 6.8% brew... barely noticeable in the taste)

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Photo of Shiredave
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just love this beer and have for years. Hazy, orange amber color, thick light tan, almost gooey head that clings like Arabic letters and covers the beer for the duration. Served cool; @ 60 deg.F so the aromas come thru better, malty vanilla and honey mix with citrus and floral hop. First sip is lush and smooth, toast and butter flavors segway into strong hop bitterness, my only fault with this beer - that the sweet full mouth feel dissapears quickly as the hop flavors sharply beat back the malty body. The balance is there, it just teases you so you take another sip to explore what just happened in your mouth again. I never have quite figured it out but I love trying! Exceptional hop bitterness lingers so you have to stay with hoppy beers that evening because nothing else will satisfy. Most definatly a West Coast version of an ESB. Show me a better one. Im willing to learn.
If I had only 1 beer to drink, this one would be in the running. But what a horrible thought that is!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Big-looking brew; it is a very rich caramel hue topped with an ultra-persistent tan head, leaving large lace rings on the glass as the beer drains.

S - Aromas of biscuit malt, toasted barley and buttery sweetness are a bit too prominent to be called subtle, but they are balanced deftly enough to be labeled sublime. The herbal hops impart a slight tea-like impression, and there are also hints of cocoa and hazelnut. Great nose.

T - The taste is even better than the nose. The buttery-biscuity-toastiness is present, but in a supporting role as compared to the olfactory. Leading the way are general notes of hazelnut, pecan, caramel-toffee, milk chocolate and black tea, but again these notes range between subtle and moderate.

M - Rich and expansively creamy.

D - Exceptionally drinkable; a very fine brew.

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Photo of rembrant
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

hazy gold with a lush 2 finger off-white head Really makes a mess of the glass with lace,film,hop oils etc.

Aroma Caramel,grain,and maybe the most pineapple scent I have yet encountered.

Flavor typical of this brewer,her's an elegant beer that's not in any way extreme yet is no copycat,has it's share of depth and complexity with a balance that enhances the flavors while not neutralizing them.
The lead is caramel but it never gets real sweet a sort of English yeast and a dry woody-grassy hop weave with the malt annd grain elements and some spice notes flicker.
There's then a smooth shift to the hop side with that pineapple element there and a bit of pine-spruce at the tail end

Anderson Valley distributes over a wide range and their basic 5 beers have been solid for 20-25 years. While this has been around forever and I probably had my first Barney Flats Stout about 20 yr ago,this is my first taste of the ESB's got something special.

Mouth That haze,that intense lace,hints that this has a lot of stuff in it even if it's not dark. Indeed,I'm impressed a lot by the creamy mouthfeel. It's got wetness and substance. The carbo is spot on. the aftertaste is lingering,tasty,and classic while not being a "been there/done that.

drinkability Major. You could spend time with a few of these. This has a special touch of "beerness",has a nice showcase of distinctive hops,but has a quality sort of like a top lager (Elliot Ness) where the malts ,grain,yeast,add depth and the malt side tempers the bitterness enough to allow loading up hop flavors while the whole keeps some balance.

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Photo of jfindley
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a great beer overall and is a good session beer in my opinion. There is a lot of fresh hop aroma and flavor up front but underneath that there is a nice malt nose. So overall it has nice balance.

Although I enjoy this beer a great deal I think some people might not think it true to style as it is definitely a West Coast style as opposed to a true English style ESB. It is possibly a little lighter in color than might be expected in an ESB. But these 'faults' are extremely minor.

One thing I will credit the brewery with is that there is a slight chill haze in this beer. While many might think that's a fault I commend the brewery for not filtering their beer to death. It's a much more natural looking and tasting beer.

Now I see my glass is about empty so I need to go to the basement and get another pint...


P.S. As others have mentioned, this beer is actually named Belk's ESB and not Boont which is AV's amber. It has been reported.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.54/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomba from half time

hazy pumpkin orange with lots of carbonation and a velvety pillow of hilly froth on top. solid sheet walls of lace. clean, woody aroma is offset by raw, grassy hop notes. mild and fresh nose. some final honey accents make me want to dive right in to a pool filled with belk's esb. bitter malt flavor contains a big spiciness evocative of freshly shaved nutmeg. hops stick to the fruity side, bringing some orange zest and banana into play.

still maintains a nice, clean balance, lighter body, and through the roof drinkability. while this is not the jesus christ of esb's, it's a good find and worth a buy. certainly must be smokin hot on tap.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It looks like this is going through a name change to Boont ESB...I suppose to fall in line with the rest of Anderson Valley brand names.
Poured a beautiful clear amber orange with a nice cream colored head that melted slowly to a full lace.
Smelled of fruits, malts, and mostly bread...biscuity bread yeast. Hmmm.
Taste faintly of citrus but not strong..very faint, blended nicely with sweet malt and finishing in the mouth with only a slight hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is full of tiny carbonation with only a faint alcohol warmth to the back of the throat as you swallow.
I served this beer a little warmer than would be expected...probably close to 60 F.
I found it creamy with delicate blending of flavors and very satisfying. I think I could session this or at least go through a picher with no problem

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Photo of Zonian1
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Brolo75
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of vhmf1978
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Beermazter310
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +19%

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Belk's ESB from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 62.8% out of 100 with 545 ratings
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