Belk's ESB | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Very Good
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 545 |  Reviews: 356
Photo of gldnns
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of woodchip
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Lobina
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of everythingiszen
2/5  rDev -47.1%

Unbalanced. Too sweety-malty. Leads too sweet, becomes cloying by halfway through the pint. Wouldn't order again.

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Photo of hacker1892
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Azeotrope
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of ArmyATCBrewer
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Thothamon
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of Dsg10
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Ale pours a nice yellow amber hue with frothy white head and fantastic lacing. Nose of light
earthy/floral hops and light sweet malts. Taste is much like the nose with sweet malts up front
and light bittering hops to the rear with light alcoholic warmth coming through on the finish.
Very nice, but not as well balanced as most English ales of the same style. Almost imperial for
the style.

 397 characters

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Doomcifer
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Hopswagger
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of vhmf1978
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of NJBeer265
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of SaltofOH
2.83/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Last week I was excited to be the second review for this beer; now there are more than 500, and they go back some time. Damn you re-branding! Bottle from a mix and match sixer. No freshness dating.

Appearance: Pours a hazy ornageish-brown with a 1/2" light tan head. Very foamy. Very little visible carbonation. Lacing goes all the way down as I drink. The best lacing I have seen on a beer in a long while.

Aroma: Something is weird here. Yeast fruitiness and sweet malt. Touch of earthy hops.

Taste: Dry arrival, full-flavored, malty bitterness across mid palate then POW big bittering hop finish. Cloying at the end of the glass.

Mouthfeel: Midweight with significant slickness.

Overall: This is not an ESB. This is an IPA without aroma hops. I cannot imagine drinking more than one of these. Out of balance.

 818 characters

Photo of markdrinksbeer
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Necronomad
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of wrightst
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of MikeWard
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of bubseymour
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought this one as a single sampler. Surprised I live in Maryland and am the first one to write a review of this California brewers beer on Beer Advocate.

A nice clear copper beer with frothy 2 finger head and great retention. Smells great of caramel and malt. The taste is very "complex" (darn there it is). If you read the back of the bottle it discusses lilacs, white pepper, Bartlett pears blueberry honey and roses. Well I can taste some white pepper, honey and a crisp hop finish. It's a good beer and has a lot going on but the overall taste is, well, a little weird.

For an ESB at 6.8% its a little more to work through than most lighter ABV ESB's but its well crafted and very experimental. Tastes like something DFH would put out. That is a compliment.

Overall, I recommend everyone to sample this. Others may really like it. I enjoyed it but probably won't buy too often due to competition.

 904 characters

Photo of SmashPants
2.52/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: 355mL blue can with an antlered bear (assumedly the Anderson mascot).

Appearance: pours a hazy orange amber with a thin white head that drops pretty quickly, leaving some lace.

Aroma: some herbal and grass hops with unrecognisable malts, with wet cardboard and some pine. Not the greatest aroma ever. I checked the best before, and it's still in date. Either it has suffered light strike (unlikely as it is a brown bottle) or this is a real ordinary beer.

Taste: again some malt and grassy hops - certainly nothing special. Also very flat in flavour - if anything, I would call this beer quite boring.

Aftertaste: a bit more hop bitterness comes through on the finish, but this is still one very disappointing brew.

Mouth feel: a light- to-moderate body with mild carbonation. A bit lacking.

Overall: this is the second beer I have had from Anderson Valley (the first being their Amber Ale), and neither are even a decent beer, let alone worth the top-end boutique price. One brewery to scratch off the list.

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Photo of beer_bottle
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of John_Squires
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Belk's ESB from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 545 ratings