Brewhouse ESB | Royal Oak Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
19 Ratings

Brewed by:
Royal Oak Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-18-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 11
Reviews by redmosquito:
Photo of redmosquito
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served with a thin white head, this beer was a clear dark amber in color. The beer had a sweet caramel malt aroma, with a hint of floral hops, and then a toasted bread finish. The flavor was similar caramel and toffee malts, with solid bitterness, and a nice lingering aftertaste. The beer was overall pretty good, and would have been a four if it had a little more body.

 371 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Bdorchy
3.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of schusterbauer
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an all around pleasant and agreeable brew. pours a deep amber color, smells of caramel, toffee, hops. taste is very well-balanced -- the malt profile supports a nice combination of caramel and buiscuit flavors, with a noticable hop bitterness rounding things out. mouthfeel is light, perhaps a bit sticky. drinkability is very high, and i'd imagine this would appeal to most beer drinkers, even those not accustomed to beers with this level of hoppiness. nothing mind-blowing, but a great beer to have at the brew pub while enjoying an evening out with friends.

 561 characters

Photo of tommy5
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of MichiganderHB
3/5  rDev -14%

Photo of TheBrewo
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This was served into a generic pint glass, on tap, at Royal Oak Brewery in Royal Oak, Michigan. It glowed a deep bronze coloring, but offered no real head or lacing. Clarity was cut only by a chill haze. The aroma gave notes of amber, pale, and sticky caramel malts, smoked peatiness, moss, light pseudo-oakiness, licorice, and plastic phenols. That flavoring was heavily malted up front, with bitter amber grit and metallic yeastiness close on its heels. Blending through the back was a finite blend of sweet banana esters, black pepper and clovey spice, coriander, mealy blueberries, white flour and white corn kernels, raw barley, medicinals, and sweet honey tea leaves. The body was medium, and carbonation was medium, but there was a paucity of frothiness or creaminess to it. The mouth was left feeling wet and salty, with no real pucker or dryness. The abv was appropriate, and this one drank easily enough.

Overall, we haven’t been able to get back over here for a while, but are always happy when we get a chance to see what they’re rolling out with. Through this offering, they are able to bolster a nice malt profile, with enough bitters and grit on it to justify the title of an extra special bitter. That said, it does seem to be just enough, without much more punch to it. We’d prefer that its flavors and aromas were a bit more dank and harsh, but they probably held up to keep it more marketable. As with many of their beers, it carries the typical brewery base undertones to it. While this is not our new favorite beer by them, it was hearty enough until the last drop.

 1,593 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice ESB. Poured out to a medium orange brown color with a trace of golden like color when held to the light. Aromas of light and bitter hops, with some heavy malt notes were well taken in. Taste was medium bodied and enjoyable; dark caramel malts and bitter hops blend together well, with some afterthoughts of earthy woods. Mouthfeel was appropriate for the style, with a touch of slickness and thickened consistancy. Drinkability is pretty good.

 450 characters

Photo of ahking
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a decent version of an ESB -- light brown in color with a tinge of ruby red, contrasting a small white head. A nice hoppy aroma rounds out a drinkable, carmel-malt character. This is one of the better ESB's I have had and I certainly recommend it.

 255 characters

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looked somewhere between amber and brown, without a whole lot of head.

There wasn't much to the smell, but I'd call it bitter-sweet. Flavor was a different story. Yes, it was bitter, but it worked so well. The bitter flavors complimented the sweet caramel ones well. I'm noticing a pattern at this brewery... a lot of lightly bitter caramel flavors.

It was a bit thicker feeling than it looked, but this worked well with the flavors. Finish was pretty crisp without much aftertaste. Easy to drink as well.

 508 characters

Photo of hopsolutely
3/5  rDev -14%

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

On tap at the brewery.

Caramel color in pint glass. This was a combination of bitter hops and malty caramel flavors, leaning towards the bitter side. Very drinkable, nothing overwhelming by any stretch. Not extraordinary or unusual, but a decent ESB that I thought fit the style very well.

 290 characters

Photo of proc
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ESB's are quickly becoming a fun style of beer to drink. They have a nice, light bitterness that combines with the malt to make for a very refreshing session beer to drink. This offering from the Royal Oak Brewery falls into that good session beer category. Pours out to a light brown in the glass with a decent head. There is a slight taste of caramel on the front with a light hop bitterness at the end.

 405 characters

Photo of walleye
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap, at the brewery poured, a dark amber, no head. flavor, malts, caramel some hops, hints of yeast. flavor malts , fruits almost like a apple with very little tast to it, caramel and just a hint of bitterness. not to bad of a beer. this is one of thre better beers I have had at R.O. brewery

 295 characters

Photo of bozebus17
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at the brewery.

Pours a clear dark red. There was no head to speak of.

Smelled a bit of sweet malt. There wasn't a whole lot else, this beer is not very aromatic.

The taste is of sweet malt. There are some roasted/toasted flavors near the end. There isn't a lot of bitterness to speak of. The hop flavor that is there is a bit earthy. This goes down pretty smooth. It is an easy drinker, but abv is a bit high to be a true session brew.

Overall this is a pretty solid ESB. It isn't too complex but it goes down easy. It went well with the brewery's asiago cheese dip. Very nice!

 598 characters

Photo of Jas45678
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.13/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of berserker256
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured it from my growler into a pint glass. It's a reddish-carmel color with a short-lasting off-white head. The smell isn't too abundant. Hoppy and not much else. This is one of the few beers that doesn't produce much smell but tastes pretty good. Taste like a decent ESB. Bitter, hoppy, and smooth. I like it. I'd get another growler of it. Especially for five bucks on Tuesday (plus tip). It's a good deal.

 412 characters

Brewhouse ESB from Royal Oak Brewery
Beer rating: 3.49 out of 5 with 19 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.