E.S.B. | Barrington Brewery & Restaurant / Berkshire Mountain Brewery

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16 Ratings

Brewed by:
Barrington Brewery & Restaurant / Berkshire Mountain Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-30-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 11
Reviews by jondeelee:
Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barrington ESB opens with a malty, yeasty nose that smells potently of rising bread dough and thick fresh beer wort: heavy grain aromas dominate (toasted bread crust, Grape Nuts cereal, wet wheat), tempered only slightly by light brown sugars and hints of some apricot and fig fruit esters, as well as small touches of citrus from the hops. The smell is delicious, coming across dark and brown, and demands to be tasted.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a surprisingly strong hop kick, grapefruit, light grapefruit rind, and some pine washing over the tongue in a medium strength not at all apparent from the nose. Soon afterward the malts move in, bringing rising bread dough, wet wheat, and sourdough toast crust flavors, as well as strong Grape Nuts cereal, and toasted nut flavors. A good thread of grapefruit rind bitterness runs through everything, playing nicely off of the yeasty malts. The aftertaste is a yeasty, bitter malt wash, heavier on the yeasty malts than the hops, though a good remnant of bitterness remains, and the flavors linger on the tongue for a long time. Mouthfeel is a dry medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is delicious beer, obviously having been crafted lovingly by someone who knew what they were doing, and wasn't about to skimp on the ingredients. The flavors are full and potent, and the transition from hops to yeasty bread halfway through the mouthful is one of the more pronounced changes I've encountered. Well worth trying.

 1,483 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.81/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #75 (April 2013):

While not expressive as the original ESB from across the pond, it’s still well above the average. Solid all around, complex but extremely drinkable … a fun quaff. Beer like this makes a visit worthwhile.

ABV: 0.0% ??????

LOOK: Orangey hue, mild haze

SMELL: Toffee, grassy, herbal, yeast, nutty, ripe apple, floral

TASTE: Smooth, some crispness, caramel, grainy, dried grass, buttery, apple skin, ripe plums, woody hops, wildflowers, mild biscuity grain

 542 characters

Photo of captainhowdy39
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass, the appearance was a burnt rugged orange color close to brown with a finger’s worth of white foamy head that dissipated at a decent pace. Mild stringy lace. The aroma had malty tones of caramel, toffee and mild chocolate. Grassy to earthy hops with a light tobacco leafy rawness. Subtle floral hops. The flavor takes all of those previously mentioned aromas to blend and adds a touch of spice. Lingering bready aftertaste with a mild finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a fair sessionability about it. ABV felt fine. Malts seem appropriate as they don’t leave any stickiness on my tongue. Overall, good ESB worthy of having again. Pass the fish n’chips.

 726 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy yellow and orang with a bright white head.
Aroma of some toasted bread, caramel and some herbal essence, maybe some herbal tea ?
Flavors of light citrus and a hint of caramel highlight what is a mostly a bland beer. Hint of nuttiness arises as it warms up.
Mouthfeel was moderate with some good herbal bitterness but didn't quite have the right balance for a really solid brew.
Drinkability was really average, just didn't have a good flow or transition of flavors and just was kind of dead on the palate.

 522 characters

Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The smell featured a moderate caramel malt with a good dose of citrusy hop.

The taste was very well balanced with an upfront sweet caramel malt that meshed nicely with the flowery, herbal and citrusy hop oils. A touch of diacytl. Very good doughy finish.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style. Lightly carbonated.

Overall a very good ESB. One of the best to date.

 493 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased at Domaney's Wines & Liquors, Great Barrington, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" off-white head over the amber brew. Head is reasonably resilient, with good lacing. Aroma is slightly malty, with a tinge of fruitiness. Flavor is upfront caramel malts, which quickly give way to a somewhat harsh bitterness. The harshness recedes as the drinking experience continues. Mouthfeel and drinkability both good, a nice session opportunity.

 478 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.23/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery today.

The pour is fairly attractive, burnished copper with a dense off-white head with good retention and some lace. The nose is a little off, with a copious whiff of butter along with a bit of a hop bite, minty and mildly leafy. I also get a little bit of toast and caramel, but on the whole, it's rather underwhelming. The palate is similar, opening with a little butterscotch and herbal hop flavor. The mid-palate has some caramel, but the beer is quite distressingly thin, lacking the body that makes a good ESB. The carbonation level is moderate, fitting for the style, mildly creamy. The finish is quite bitter, long lasting with an herbal character. While I did drink my 10oz, it's not something I'd drink again

 742 characters

Photo of Sam21
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Notched, "Purchase before January." Combined the original notes with new notes from a bottle notched, "Purchase before May." Both were purchased cold from the brewery.

Appearance - Copper orange body with decent clarity. Moderate off-white head with good retention. Creamy consistency and nice lacing throughout.

Smell - Lots of rich malt sweetness up front. Good caramel presence, touch of butterscotch diacetyl, and light fruity esters peaking through. Toasted notes sit in the background. Noticeable citrus hop presence. Good balance.

Taste - Rich caramel with very light fruity esters showing notes of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Toasted flavors balance out the fruitiness. The malt is doughy, sweet, and rich. The hops have a nice citrusy edge and give this beer a strong bitter bite. They really cut through the sweetness and stage their assault. Semi-dry finish with lingering bitterness and sweetness. There is some balance to this beer, although it could be better. The hops have a bit too much bite and wash out the malt's flavor addition.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, which could smooth out the flavors a bit more if it were more restrained. The brew is still smooth with a nice creaminess.

Drinkability - Smooth and balanced with a good malt profile. It is not hard to drink a bomber of this ESB, and it is a pleasant the entire way down.

 1,408 characters

Photo of Dicers
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of rorjets
3.87/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of vfgccp
3.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of redelephantdane
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank at the bar in great Barrington. i really enjoyed this beer and thought it fit the style

a - golden and slightly tawny, pretty clear, 2 finger head and little lace.

s - light hops at front, grassy with a little bit of bready malts

t - biscuity and clean, very balanced. reminds me of youngs or bombadier.

m - light and crisp, mild carbonation.

d - good session beer, felt the abv was a little higher than the norm for the style. definitely will get again.

 465 characters

Photo of kennyo
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle purchased at the brewery. dark gold with a head that dissapates almost right away. Aroma has a nice mellow malt and hop aroma. Decent drinkable beer. Flavor is malty/hoppy on the lower spectrum. It was one of the seasonal beers at the brewery and is probably a good session beer on tap.

 299 characters

Photo of jbrumberg
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of rousee
1.95/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Tough to give this a good score coming out of the bottle. On draught, I thought this hit the style pretty well and was decent. In bottle, I'm just getting too much diacetyl. Perhaps a touch of it is good in a style like an ESB but there is more than a little of it here. Lousy.

Dumping the rest of it now.

 306 characters

E.S.B. from Barrington Brewery & Restaurant / Berkshire Mountain Brewery
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 16 ratings
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