Extra Special Oak (ESO) | Element Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
85
very good
38 Reviews
Extra Special Oak (ESO)Extra Special Oak (ESO)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Element Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.75%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jwale73 on 05-10-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
38
Ratings:
113
Avg:
3.8
pDev:
24.74%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
16
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 113
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

In the glass, this one had a clear, deep yellow hue with a thin layer of head on top. Not bad at all.

Aroma was oak tannins, vanilla, and apples. Other fruits were also present, but so subtle I could not discern between them. Almost tropical.

Taste was sweet, vinous, and slightly fruity. Light bitterness played around prominent oak flavors. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel was very good. Surprisingly dry for a beer with this complexity.

Overall this is a very good, well put together brew. Element brews cost a bit more than some, but they are definitely worth it.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Its name conjures up the image of a vanilla-kissed malty bitter. Sounds nice, but not exactly what I got with this.

Surprisingly voluminous mousse-frothy head for a bottle-conditioned English-style ale - replenished itself automatically. Peachy orange-rose color liquid, hazy - not as dark or as brown as expected for an ESB.

A whiff reveals a peculiar, particular woody quality looming over some rich fruitiness combined with a very lightly-toasted bready malt aroma. No booze, but perhaps some hop interplay with the wood.

What I didn't expect was the oak-aging to impart an unmistakably woody yet dank-old-newspaper dryness(?) (pretty sure it wasn't infection) which cut through the other flavors, kind of chopping down or leveling off the concentrated fruity esters and simulating a staleness in the malt.

Getting through the pint, the balance tips quite favorably toward the esters and malt, leaving me wishing they would just abandon the oak thing. I don't see what good it does. It has a great strong pale ale taste on its own. But that damn quasi-bitter, old 2x4, licking-a-tongue-depressor nuance never quite goes away. Astonished to see it measures almost 8% - doesn't taste or drink like it.

If you end up digging the overall buds offering, you'll also find it somewhat medium-full bodied yet somewhat light, easy to drink and refreshing. I thought it was alright - better maybe minus the above. I'd try it again w/o wood.

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Photo of nhindian
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle wrapped in paper and finished with a cork and cage, poured into a Southern Tier Imperial goblet. Bottle generously provided by apollokim, thanks Kim!

A - Pours a beautiful burnished copper color, with a lighter orange in the highlights and deeper mahogany in the middle. After opening it threatened to gush, but only reached the opening of the bottle before retreating. The head is huge and very active; easily 3-fingers worth and shapeshifts between thick foam and a cavernous, rocky terrain. The body is pretty clear, which makes it easy to see the rush of carbonation flooding this beer. Head retention is great, and the lacing is more so thick clumps of leftover head rather lacing. Great looking beer.

S - Upon first smell, I am getting a noticeable English influence here in the malts and the oak really accentuates its oakiness. I'm also getting a lot of spice and earthy tones. Overall a mild, but pleasant smell.

T - Whereas the nose is more mild, the taste definitely boasts a lot of flavor. The malts are thick and flavorful, adding more depth than sweetness, that leads wonderfully into the barrel flavors. Speaking of, this beer brings more oak to the flavor than almost any other beer I've had before, it is almost chewing on an oak trunk and eating oak sawdust shavings. It's an interesting and certainly unique flavor, and is strangely addicting. Not much hops going on here, and the finish is moderately long with a ton of residual oak flavor.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with moderate carbonation. Finish isn't as long as I would've liked given the different flavor, and it just kind of disappears from the palate.

D - Drinkability is high. Incredibly easy to put this down and the flavors keep enticing me back for more. The alcohol is non-existent and overall, just a finely crafted beer.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

Not too shy to show off its presentation of epic lacing and pale amber sheen. Oak, fruit, yeast tone, doughy biscuit and lemony hops are a great showing for an aroma. Heavy, silky smoothness. The malt and oak character intertwine so much and so deeply that they play off each other ... and compliment each other. Subtle hopping evens out the fruitiness that bounces around. Leafy. A drier side shows more toward the finish with oaky overtones and a lingering fruitiness. Yeah, the alcohol warms, but it's very delicate. A brush of greatness they have created on this canvas.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this beer at the Horseshoe Pub and really enjoyed it. Drinks almost like a Scotch or Bourbon vs. a beer.

Looks like a scotch. A dull clear brown color with no head nor lacing.

Aroma is full of tons of vanilla and wood...a slight sweetness in the background here.

Interesting flavor. This beer continues to intrigue me, as I drink it. Almost drinks like a light spirit vs a beer. Wood, caramel, vanilla, wood, caramel, vanilla, rinse.. Repeat. What's funny is there is as touch of a soapy quality.
It just hit me... Toasted coconut.

Slight carbonation but very smooth and almost velvety.

You have to take this one a little slowly and it seems better paired with a cold winter day. Or after dinner. But very nice...

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Photo of morebeergood
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle for $9.99 at Wine Nation in Millbury at the Blackstone Shoppes. Poured into a stemmed glass. Dark orange color, bordering on shades of burnt auburn. Not a lot of carbonation, but a nice sized head that surprisingly lasts for quite a long time. Smell has a subtle hint of wood and bourbon to its credit. Taste was very pleasant. It had a mellow bit of oak, along with hints of vanilla and caramel. Mouthfeel was on the thin side, but that would fit well with the style of an ESB. Drinkability was in the high range, as this beer was very smooth and tasty. The ESO was my first taste of Element Brewing, and if I can find more, I would certainly be willing to try another from this brewery.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A - Amber to light brown colored and fully translucent. Not much head. Not much sparkle Decent.

S - Definitely can smell the oak, a lot of malt, not much hops.

T - Brown sugar sweet, tangy, some hops. Doesn't taste particularly fresh - a little musty.

M - Mouthfeel is all over the place. Goes from sweet to bitter, back to sweet. From flavor to flavor. Little organization. Not a dry finish.

D - Pretty drinkable overall. Pretty light. Nothing is repugnant about it.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Cool informative paper wrap, corked and caged.

Poured into a DFH tulip, formed a 1/2" off-white head over the clear copper brew. Head recedes gradually, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet with an off-seeming vegetal tinge.

Taste starts with clean malt character, then find the off part of the nose again in the middle, then closes with a floral bitterness. Dry bitterness clings to the tongue. Mouthfeel is very soft over the tongue, but drinkability is limited for me by the flavor and aroma. Not quite liking this one as much as their other offerings which I have enjoyed.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey.

A: A fluffy 1 finger head fades at a medium pace over the crystal clear toasty amber orange color.

N: Different than I expected from the appearance, some malts, dark malts and even a little roasted barley, touch of smoke, a slight tangy aroma, little oak and wood, strange musty earthy spicy hop character.

T: Smooth, creamy, lots of malt flavors, toasty malts, dark malts, some creamy chocolate milk and malt even, a little malted milk ball flavor, a little whisky flavor that comes out more as it warms, a little hop bitterness too. Lots of wood esthers with oak, some musty flavors too. A hint of smoke.

M: Semi thick, smooth and creamy, lower but decent carbonation.

F: Mostly dry with a touch of lingering sweetness, some minerality, slight bitterness, creamy flavors are there too as it's just starting to get the nitro feel. A little chocolate again, with a lot more wood esthers, oak and whisky late on the finish, coming on stronger as it warms. There's also a little weird bitterness that won't go away either.

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Photo of smcolw
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one beer that's hard to get into. The cork girdle is tightly wound; it takes awhile to remove. The cork is very secure in the bottle. I'm expecting a huge pop, but there is only a solid "poof" when the cork is removed.

Copper-amber color beer and clear. Good starting head which leaves lots of intertwined lace. It settles smoothly leaving a knoll of a dome froth.

Smell: First thought is earthy like fresh tilled soil. Second thought is moderately toasted malts. Third thought is metallic, particularly iron.

Quite British in the taste--lots of round malt flavor up front. There's an element of light brown sugar on the tongue. Good caramelized malt (crystal?) which lends itself to a rich body. I'm used to "oak" as coming across as buttery. I think the oak element (no pun intended) is understated. The carbonation is understated. Good (but subdued) hop finish. The aftertaste is short.

Indistinguishable from the classic English ESB, except for possibly a higher alcohol level. That's nearly imperceptible but I wonder.

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Photo of u2carew
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Cambridge Common. Consumed 5/23/10.
A) Poured with a finger thick head. Settles with thin, creamy, and sticky lacing. Some haze. Copper on color.
S) Subtle caramel malt. Some mellow hops lingering the mix but not pronounced.
T) Up front- astringent alcohol a bit more defined due to the warm cask temperature. Oak cask has rubbed off on this one, definitely some woody characteristics. Hints of whiskey. In the finish light malt sweetness.
M) Smooth. Mellow creaminess. Medium body but a little thin. Alcohol effervescence.
D) For me just an average brew. The body is a bit thin. Overall doesn't taste much like a beer - more like whiskey with beer consistency sans the alcohol kick.

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Photo of ComputerBeer
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW, like nothing I've ever had before! Oak aromas without any hops in the nose. Creamy texture with a oak like never before finish. I can't tell is is a wine, port, whiskey, barrel? Some vanilla, spice, tannin. Has a alcohol wallop that you will not see coming. I had 2 of these at the bar and I was done. There is no booze or heat like you would expect from such a potent beer. Very well done.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Description from the website:

This innovative ale, burnished chestnut in color, contains the malt characteristics of an ESB without the typical bitterness. Lighter carbonation highlights the oak-aged flavor and its enduring tones of toasted vanilla and spice.

Thanks to Thirstybird for breaking this one out. Poured with the appearance of sweet tea - no head, just a skim and a frothy band around the shoulders of the glass. Nose was somewhat subdued - light, fruity esters and a little malt. Taste consistent with nose - a little oak with some buttery diacetyl and a slightly grainy character in the mix. Mouthfeel is light-medium, with a smooth, even carbonation. An easy drinking brew. Not sure how style consistent it is, but definitely solid, interesting and consistent with the brewer's description.

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Extra Special Oak (ESO) from Element Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.
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