Extra Special Bret (ESB)
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #284
Ranked #43,735
3.35 | pDev: 21.49%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Notes: This Extra Special Bitter beer is deep copper in color is with low hop aroma. It is dominated by malty sweetness and caramel flavors, with medium dry finish and high fruity esters.
Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 16 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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tectactoe from Michigan

3.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Kuhnhenn's brewpub in Warren. Don't be fooled by the name of this one, "Extra Special Bret (ESB)" -- the "Bret" is a reference to one of the Kuhnhenn brothers (Bret Kuhnhenn, duh) and NOT the brettanomyces yeast strain. That might make for an interesting/weird beer. This ESB pours the color of an old, old penny; dingy copper and swampy-brown when not in the light. The barely beige head settles quickly to a skin and leaves behind a few dabs of lacing.

Light and woody is my first impression of the aroma - almost slightly reminiscent of a freshly polished old bureau. Mild nuts are present as well, along with an even milder inclusion of some caramel and toffee sweetness, although this beer's aroma doesn't exactly scream "sweet" by any stretch of the imagination. Faint hopping is present in the background; kind of leafy and one-dimensional. Mild all around, in nearly ever sense of the word, but pretty on par for an extra special bitter, I'd say.

It's got must, it's got wood, and it's got nuts. Those are pretty much the three biggest proponents of the flavor profile, at least after taking the first few sips. Strong nutty and woodsy flavors up front that mesh with a much softer compound of dry and musty hopping. Caramel and toasted, bready sweetness is there, but much more mild than the aroma - and it was already pretty mild to begin with. I start picking up the lightest hint of cocoa powder about halfway down the glass, though it's still far from being sweet.

The finish, much like the beer in its entirety, is fairly mild and doesn't leave much residual flavor behind on the palate. Bitterness is low, though the hopping is certainly relevant to the beer - it spikes quickly up front and fades into naught before the conclusion. Thin-medium bodied, kind of slick and a little dry from the nutty flavors. Medium carbonation that helps the flavors pop a bit. Pretty solid ESB, though Kuhnhenn has many other things I'd choose before this. Definitely not a bad choice, though, especially if you plan on drinking a bit.

May 31, 2013
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.87/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Kuhnhenn. Served in a 5oz taster glass.

A - Off-white foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and minimal lacing. Transparent nut brown body.

S - Nutty, with light caramel, treacle, a hint of chocolate, and fruity English ale yeast.

T - The taste is similarly nutty, with a bit less sweetness than the aroma suggests. Some caramel, with light hints of apples and berry. A bit more toasty and bready.

M - Medium body, toasty, dry texture. Pleasant carbonation, and a crisp, clean finish.

D - A solid ESB. A bit less sharp or earthy than traditional English examples, but not overly sweet either. I'd probably pick Conundrum or the Dunkel over this if I had to drink a pint, but I wouldn't turn this down either.

May 29, 2013
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Pointman from Michigan

3.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok beer. Another one that I am not impressed with it. Very heavy, I expect ESBs to be lighter than this. It was heavy and just not memorable. Very big head and decent lacing. Nose was light.

It is drinkable, but with all the great beers at Kuhnhenn's, pass on this one.

Feb 12, 2011
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jrallen34 from Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at the pug, poured into a 6oz tasting glass...The beer is a dark copper that is too murky for the style. Lots of head but its light and whispy, doesn't look good...The aroma is dead, thought it was dormant but nothing arrives...The taste just sucks, my least favorite beer of the day. There is too much toffee that dominates, stale hops, just boring.


Jan 31, 2011
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plaid75 from New York

4.33/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at The Blind Tiger, NYC.

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a subtle citric hop coupled with a soft caramel.

The taste was extremely well balanced and consisted of a soft caramel, doughy malts and a vibrant hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a superior ESB.

Sep 02, 2009
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the brewery. Light body, very bitter, a bit of colour to it. I like casked ale, this was average but serviceable. No head. Apparently this is how they brew it, not the star of their lineup, i am sure they will try again. Good palate cleaner.

Jun 28, 2006
Extra Special Bret (ESB) from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 16 ratings