Exile ESB | Evolution Craft Brewing Company

73 Reviews
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Exile ESBExile ESB

Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
48 IBU

Added by lackenhauser on 05-02-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 217
Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Nice bready malts with just enough hop balance. A nice, lighter version of the style that is good for warm weather. I have had better in the style, but this is certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark but clear amber. Great tan head an excellent retention.

Sweet caramel and bready aroma. Light floral notes.

Very malty and sweet. Toffee, Hawaiian bread. Herbal.

Very smooth mouthfeel. Soft body with moderate carbonation.

A very good esb. It lacks in hops, but decent flavor.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Label says "Exile Red Ale".

A: Pours a rusty copper color. The head is a finger high, and off-white in shade. Retention isn't particularly good, and the head's texture is bubbly (almost like soda, but not quite). No lacing is left behind.

S: Very caramely, and also rather nutty. There's also some welcome spiciness from the hops - I'm glad this won't be a total malt bomb. Every so often, some brown sugar hints will pop up. I really think this could use a few fruit esters to take this one over the top.

T: Again, the primary flavor is caramel, and a ton of it. It's moderately well defined as well. Just a touch of earthy hops on the finish. Really simple (again, I'm missing some fruit esters to really make this one work), it must be said. It does an acceptable job of working with what it has, though.

M: I am SO glad this beer is well attenuated and dry. After a while, some sweetness does linger on the palate, but it's hardly enough to make this a chore. It's fairly creamy on the palate, without overdone carbonation.

O: I was torn trying this beer: I like Evolution, but then I realized "lol, ESB" and passed it up time after time. Well, after finally giving this a chance, I can now say that this is an okay example of an ESB - that fact I actually half-like this is a minor miracle (take note, I *don't* like ESBs). Still, there's a good chance I'm going to forget about this beer a month from now.

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Photo of u2carew
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz longneck
A) Pours with a finger thick head that is tight, beige in color. Clear copper colored body.
S) Earthy sweet hop aroma. Slight bit musky.
T) A bit on the malty side. Caramel. Hints of alcohol in the finish.
M) Medium-light body. Dry and tannic in the finish.
O) A bit too malty for an ESB. The body is fine, but the taste is a bit thin.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.34/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Hazy, reddish-brown brew with maybe a finger's width worth of off-white head. The head fades pretty quickly, but leaves a thin layer on the top of the beer.

S: The aroma is fairly straightforward, sweet caramel malts, a bit of yeast, and a fair hit of woody hops. Not too complicated, but very pleasant.

T: Starts off strong, with a lot of sweet caramel malts, some notes of dark fruits, raisins. The finish has little bit of hops bitterness, a kiss of pine, but is largely non-existent. The back-end of the beer doesn't stand up to the front, and it leaves my palette wanting.

M: Moderate body, moderate carbonation. Slightly watery and oily.

O: the beer starts off strong with straightforward aroma and a nice pour, but just doesn't deliver. The overall impression is that the beer is unfinished.

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Photo of weller1js
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: pours a slightly hazy, brown-orange, lightly carbonated, beady head that dissipates quickly, no lacing

S: mild notes of toasted malts and crisp bitterness

T: begins very clean, malt characteristics provide a good foundation for the bitter hops notes that present themselves throughout the middle and finish--bitters are predominant yet not overpowering, even lingering with a light syrupy-like sweetness.

O: worth a try, its attributes come together rather well, but overall it could come off as subdued for some.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Exile ESB is an ESB. A boring ESB (i.e. it's to style).

A: Brown colour and a 3 mm head that fades pretty fast. 3

S: Grainy. Yeasty. 2.5

T: Malty with some bitterness through the middle. The finish tastes... brown. 3.75

M: Low carbonation. To style. 4

O: 3.5

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Draft, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a hazy, golden yellow, with two fingers of white foam that topped the beer, but quickly dissipated into a quarter of a finger of head that completely covered the beer. Very surprising appearance as most ESBs that I’ve had haven’t been hazy at all, much less this hazy. There must be a higher amount of yeast in this ESB, than are usually found in other makes.

Aroma: Actually not much of a nose on this beer at all. I do get a little bit of citrus and hay, and maybe a slight hint of bubblegum.

Taste: Very interesting. Very good, though hard to describe. There is some yeast, which gives some clove and banana, but thank god, no bubblegum. There’s also a slight, very slight, hint of citrus. Unlike other ESBs that I’m used to, there’s not much malt coming through.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy, like an ESB should be with some nice carbonation.

Overall: This ESB is surprising in how much like an ESB it’s not. That being said, it’s a tasty beer. Very sessionable, and pleasant, but nothing special either.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into crystal mug , the color is a medium gold with a creamy tan head building about two fingers high. Good lacing.
The smell is mostly caramel and malty notes, some fruit in the back.
Taste is actually a bit more fruity up front than expected. Some citrus maybe little orange. Than the caramel and malt flavors take over, being fairly balanced in the end by a little amount of more bitter hops.
Very drinkable every day beer!

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aroma comes off as deep caramel with a few herbal notes. Very malty, almost reminiscent of a scottish ale.

Appearance actually looks like it smells: Caramel. It has that deep caramel gradient, almost no head and little lacing around the glass.

Flavors are good, but taste a little burnt, like toast - or rather like caramel on a burt cracker. It has a nice herbal spice quality on the finish that actually rounds it out nicely.

Moderate carbonation and a body on the thicker side of medium with a dry finish. Overall this beer is good, nothing stands out about it being great though. Its my first Evolution beer and I've heard good things, maybe I just chose the wrong beer for my first one.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Has a dark orange brown color and quite murky. Very carbonated out of the bottle requiring a quick pour, but head was 1 finger.

Smell - Some floral and spicy yeast notes.

Taste - lots of caramel and malt backbone to this beer. Not very "strong bitter" as the name would imply at all. It works just ok for my pallet.

Mouthfeel - fine

Overall - Nothing really great here. It has a flavor profile that I'm not in love with but I could drink a few none the less.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.32/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dirty copper penny color with a powdery dusting on the top.

S: Very floral hoppy with a dry yeast and some doughy malt aromas

T: Definitely a very floral forward ESB. Some of the flavors are slightly cidery and stale tasting, which is my general feeling of most ESB ales.

M: Light and a slightly tongue stinging level of carbonation although none appears visibly in the beer itself.

O: Its ok. Nothing great, but something that might be sessionable if it were at your local bar. I think the cidery flavor really is a little too pronounced for me to enjoy it fully.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - sort of a flat dull reddish brown with a tiny little head that dissapates quickly.
S - bready nutty malts with a hint of butter.
T - a mild sweet with a touch of bitters followed by a surprising diacetyl aftertaste.
M - light carbonation, smooth, and a bit dry in the finish.
O - I've tried only a few ESB's. I don't know of anyone who is immediately taken by the style but this one is interesting enough.
I'd have this ESB again but probably not on a regular basis.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle as a trade with a co-worker

Pouring this into a pint glass reveals a surprisingly murky, darker amber colored liquid, topped with a 1/2 inch cap of creamy, off-white head that sinks to a thin layer, but still retains well; a bit of soapy lacing. Aroma of grains and pretty much straight up homebrew wort. Taste of bready grains, caramel, with a touch of citrus pith, and some nice herbal hoppage. Pretty light and easy-drinkin', light-medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, slightly bitter in the aftertaste. Nothing spectacular, but still pretty nice overall.

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Photo of beerismysavior
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Caramel, small fruity phenol detection, bready, malty. Robust fermentation? Smells like a beer with high yeast flocculation. Wondering which strain.

Apperance: Bright, reddish orange, with a soft white head. Lace dissipates rather quickly, but this seems appropriate for the style. After all, an older Englishmen of the south wouldn't care for too much foam atop his beer.

Taste: Mild caramel, toasted chips, wholegrain bread.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation; I would prefer this beer with a bit less carbonation. This seems a tad too bitter without the complete smoothness to back it up. Tiny alcoholic hotness lingers in the cheeks after a few sips.

Overall: Pleasant beer, but not a benchmark for the style. Didn't make me vomit after playing in a soccer game, good sign.

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Photo of beer2day
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Specific Gravity.

Light red/gold color with 1 finger medium cream head. Nice retention but weak lace.

Strawberry licorice, lots of malt, and weaker caramel all come to mind from the aroma. Good mix.

Licorice carries over to the taste, with good malt body and a raw, sour finish. More sour than bitter.

Decent offering, but not one I'd get again.

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

A - A hazy amber color with a thick off-white head with adequate lacing.

S - Smell of malts (caramel), very light hops, and spices. Some citrus notes as well.

T - Malt flavors such as caramel are present. Some citrus and herb notes as well. Doesn't really taste like a traditional ESB.

M - Medium bodied, with good carbonation. Relatively smooth tasting.

O - I found Evo's Exile ESB to be a drinkable and enjoyable beer. It doesn't really taste like a traditional ESB, but definitely has some of the characteristics of the style.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this one down in Rehoboth on a vacation that I was on there. I hadn't ever heard of the brewery so I figured I'd give them a try. This was the only brew I could get at the time from EVO so I ordered one up. The beer poured out as a copperish gold color with a thin white head on top. The smell was malty and had some sweetness of caramel to it also. The taste of the beer was malty, dry and bitter in the finish. The mouthfeel was on the lighter side, nothing too impressive. Overall this brew was decent, I didn't hate or love it but I would probably drink it again.

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Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at buckley's, deep copper pour, 2" white head, good lacing. The aroma is bready, malty, nutty and a good amount of sweetness. The taste follows the nose, lingering bitter finish. The body is light medium, good carbonation. I really enjoyed it, it was easy drinking and it went well with my steak.

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Photo of HosP
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Believe this is my first review of this style. Poured 12 oz into pint glass.

A- Pours amber in color with lots of haze to it. Thin white head with small amount of lace left on glass.

S- Lots of malt aromas come from this. Roasted caramel mainly at first. Some bready notes mixed in as well. Not much in the way of any hop aroma.

T- Sweet caramel malt flavors up front. Stays from the beginning to the middle. Faintly toward the end some piney hop flavors show up. Bitterness starts in the middle and builds bigger towards the end.

M- Medium body, good carbonation. A little dry in the mouth.

O- When thinking of a bitter beer, I typically think of hop heavy in flavor. This was heavy in the malts and light in hops. Not my cup of tea. Still not bad, just wouldn't drink it again... unless someone sent it to me!

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Photo of brentk56
1.97/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Another gushing pour of an Evolution beer; after several minutes, a reasonable amount of clear amber liquid appears; special bonus - great lacing

Smell: Oddly, it smells a bit like lemon meringue pie, with cracker malt and tart lemon elements - not bad, but not exaclty what I would seek out in an ESB

Taste: Hard to describe the herbacious blend of cracker malt and hops gone rancid that this beer lays down on the old taste buds

Mouthfeel: Medium body but poorly carbonated

Overall: Too bad it doesn't taste like it smelled, as this is a phenolic, herbacious mess of a beer

Thanks, smokeypeat, for the opportunity

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Photo of droomyster
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper body with a good amount of carbonation supporting its foamy head. Enticingly rich malty aromas of caramel and toffee hit me right off the bat, along with a subtle earthiness that's very appealing. The caramel notes are extremely prominent, and the overall impression is that of a very sweet beer. Toasty malts take a backseat to the more sugary and fruity notes. The hops are more complex on the palate than the nose would suggest, with herbaceous and faintly citrusy notes coming in, but never quite balancing out the malts. This is certainly one heck of a tasty beer, but it's lacks the balance that esbs supposedly aspire to. Overall, as long as I ignore its supposed style, I like this quite a lot. It's extremely flavorful and as pleasurable to drink on its own as with food.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

eep orange amber. A very dark color which took me a little by surprise to be honest. A very nice three inches of head formed on the top in a good light tan to off white color. Great retention had this thing hanging around for what seemed like forever. Some sediment actually poured out of the bottom and graced over the top of the foam at the end. A very hazy and cloudy brownish amber this was and it had a very full look to it. A very nice aroma of deep caramel malts was the first thing I noticed. A nice subtle hoppiness as well, though sweet. The flavor was very full, almost a hoppy scotch ale of sorts. Very big with a grainy and chewy kind of feel to it. Medium body with ample carbonation led to a great rich feel and this was just a superb drinker

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Photo of thain709
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a semi-clear, copper body...the head was small and white in color...it settled into a very thin cap...some light lacing was left

S - The nose was dominated by sweet caramel and a slightly toasted presence...bready notes and some dark fruit also lingered

T - All of the components in the nose can be picked up on the palate...the sweet caramel pairs with the underlying dark fruit to create a nice profile...then the beer get grainy towards the middle...the finish brings out an dry, earthy flavor

M - Medium...finishes dry with just a touch of sweet

O - A middle of the road ESB...I like Evolution's Lot 3 so I will be giving these guys another shot

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap while visiting the Eastern Shore of Maryland:

The beer appeared a nice clear copper color with a nice creamy white head that faded too quickly, but did leave a little lacing. The aroma, was as expected, a nice caramel and biscuit flavor with a nice hint of citrus hops that ultimately ended in a nice balanced finish. The taste was good, well balanced, a nice malt body, biscuit with a light hop. The beer had a medium mouth feel, I found it very easy to drink. Overall, a nice beer, nothing special, not complex by any means, but a well done beer.

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Exile ESB from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 217 ratings.
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