13 Rebels ESB | French Broad Brewing Co.

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13 Rebels ESB13 Rebels ESB

Brewed by:
French Broad Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierguy5 on 05-18-2004

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Reviews: 102 | Ratings: 243
Photo of CBlack85
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass

Pours a hazy amber/copper color with a small unimpressive white head. Very little lacing

Very light, subdued nose that consists mainly of toasted grains and bread, although there are some slightly fruity aromas floating around in there. There is also a very mild pleasant hoppy aroma that is mainly grassy in nature.

Like the nose the taste is very mild and subdued. There are some grainy and bready malt flavors, with an odd mixture of sweet fruityness and bitter hops. medium-light bodied, moderately carbinated, easy to drink.

All in all it is a decent beer, not outstanding, but decent. So far my least favorite of the French Broad beers that I have had

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Photo of jrallen34
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a dark orange with a hint of amber. The head is light white with light retention and lacing.

The aroma is matly not a sweet citrus, just sugar malts with a hint of alcohol.

The taste is very watery with just a little bitter. This is very boring.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a nice copper color with a decently think white head.

S-Mostly malty and kind of sweet. No real hop presence noted.

T-Malty with a touch of hops and leaves a lingering bitter aftertaste.

M-Pretty creamy with some carbonation.

D-Session beer all the way.

Overall, I was disappointed. I thought it would be much hoppier. Honestly, it tasted a lot like Fat Tire. I would pass on drinking this again unless there were no better options.

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Photo of Tiklmelmo
2.89/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Very murky burnt orange to reddish brown. Fairly foamy...not a particularly pretty beer.

S - Slightly musty bready caramel malt. Something odd in the aroma ... not bad but nothing special.

T - Bit of a mess of flavors here. Toasty malt with hints of chocolate and then some fruitiness and crispness from the hops as well. Comes across a bit jumbled. Not very cohesive flavors.

M - Thin and bubbly where some of the more roasted malt flavors could stand to have some more body behind them.

D - Light and refreshing, but a bit too odd to drink too much of.

Not very impressed here...definitely a lot of flavors happening, but they all tend to clash with each other. I've had any number of better ESBs.

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Photo of drunkboxer1
4.27/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the second time I've had this, the first time was a few years ago out of a growler, and this time its out of a bomber. Pours a hazy brown/copper. Thin head. Smells faintly like sweet malt and caramel. Earthy flavors from the hops are very prominent with a warming sweetness and mild alcohol. Fairly malt forward and really on target for the style I think. I feel like a lot of other breweries overhop their bitters, which doesn't really make sense to me. This ones an exception.

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Photo of gosurfobx
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber. Beers pours a hazy dark golden color with a 2 finger head. The nose has malt, fruity esters, and some hops. Taste has upfront malt with some background notes of banana and apple. The backbone of this beer is a delicate hop flavor, that is not overly aggresive. The mouth is nice with a medium level of carbination. A good and very drinkable ESB.

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Photo of n00tz
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a tall stein.

A - Dark Amber body, lightly carbonated, thin beige head without lacing.

S - Florals and bread, malted sugars. Smells good!

T - Huge malted flavoring introduces a quick bread then a finish with softer sweetened piney hops.

M - Light body, steady carb on the tongue, and a malted hops that sticks with the palate.

D - moar plox. very enjoyable E.S.B. hits the style on a sweet note. worth sharing.

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Photo of ectomorph
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a tall Moon River Brewing mug. No best by date noted.

A - Clear mahogany/dark copper base wearing a foamy light tan head with big bubbles that lingers forever it seems.

S - Nice malty sweetness with a floral hop background. English hops.

T - Big malty monster with honey and biscuits. A slight hop bite in the finish but this brew is sweet and clean. Classic for the ESB style, nothing crazy, and that's good.

M - Light body, great carbonation and head retention. Clears the palate with little/no after taste.

D - Very high. Can be paired with anything and consumed all day and night.

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Photo of maximum12
4.17/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to gford217 for this bomber, along with three other from French Broad. The first was one of the better kolsch's I've had, so I was looking forward to this one.

Amber golden and such & so forth. Smell is oddly hopped, forest fire, mixed with a faint background of acrid bitterness. Never smelt anything like it.

Never had a beer like this. The taste is over-ze-top burnt toast, & not just the toast, but more like the black stuff you scrape off when your kid moves the lever too far to the right. The caramel biscuit is burnt too, & the hops are muted, coming in a distant third, just to add another layer of dryness to a pile of dry on the tongue.

Luckily, I love burnt stuff - toast, pizza, brats, dinner rolls, I always felt the darker the better (my wife often says "THAT one is for you..."). 13 Rebels fairly rolls down my throat & leaves my yearning for another sip, right away.

Very, very good beer! I can see how this would not appeal to everyone, it's unique & quite a bit off the beaten path. I'll be sad to see this glass go, & it's moving off at quite a pace.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber into nonic.

Dark amber, bordering on copper. Slightly hazy from tiny bits of sediment floating in the beer. A two finger off-white head slowly settles to a thin cap, with a thick bubbly rim along the glass.

A little bit of caramel mixed with a slightly complex hop aroma, mixed with sweet fruit and a bit of orange citrus.

The flavor has a good amount of caramel in it, along with some highly toasted malts, with a slight cocoa presence. The hops are barely there, adding a little bit of a grassy flavor in the background. Full bodied. The overall flavor seems a little stale and papery.

Nothing horrible, but nothing outstanding either. It has maybe suffered from a little too much time on the shelf, but I think there's more to it than that. Worth a try.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shiny copper penny with a fair amount of orange as well. Several steady bubble streams lead up to a thick slice of foam the color of fire-toasted marshmallows. As it descends, the cap leaves an attractive collar of lace that is gradually turning into shredded sheets. Good looking beer.

The nose is more toasted grain-like and earthy than I usually like. It would be great if the hops (East Kent Goldings, among others) were more prominent. Hopefully, they'll make more of an impact on the palate.

13 Rebels ESB is the first Frech Broad beer that hasn't impressed me. It isn't bad, it just isn't as delicious as Rye Hopper and Altbier. The short version of the flavor description is that the beer tastes like it smells. When did I ever settle for the short version in a beer review?

Balance is more or less achieved in terms of sweetness versus bitterness. However, even if they aspire to be true to their English roots, most American-brewed ESBs are hoppier than this. 42 IBUs seems overly generous. Malt flavor versus hop flavor, on the other hand (and unfortunately), favors the former.

The flavor profile includes toasted whole wheat bread, baked peanuts, woodsy herbs and bitter tea leaves. Munich malt (a guess) wasn't a good choice since it overpowers the hop flavor that should be showcased in a beer of this style. The silver lining in this only slightly dark cloud, if FBBC chooses to take it, is that improvement is but a malt bill tweak away.

All things considered, the mouthfeel is above average as well. It's at least medium for the style, only faltering a fraction on the somewhat loose finish. A few more well-buried bubbles would fix it right up.

French Broad Brewing is a credit to the state of North Carolina. That said, 13 Rebels ESB is not one of their better efforts and is not a beer that I would buy a second time. Coming at it from a different direction, most craft breweries would kill to have a 'worst beer' that's this good.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lightly hazed, mahogany-hued body with a thinnish, whitish head.

Smell: Aroma of toasted bread crumbs marked by notes of English hops and caramel (though light) and fruit (though even lighter).

Taste: Lightly sweetish toasted malts with a touch of dry caramel. Slight fruitiness. Earthy, lightly herbal English hop character with a medium-plus bitterness. Finishes fairly dry with a recurrence of bready malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, a wee bit thin for my liking. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A worthy attempt at the style and an okay, perfectly drinkable beer. Personally, I'd prefer a slightly bigger body and greater inclusion of caramel flavor, but, again, that's just me.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes out of the bottle a clear coppery amber with a decent but not very persistent light tan head. Aroma is mainly malty with a good hoppy undertone and just a hint of apples and yeast. Flavor is malty with a good bitter undertone, not complex but still satisfactory. Texture is fairly smooth and a little fizzy. Not too shabby.

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

Poured from a bomber into my imperial pint glass...a hazy and heavy dark amber that produced a pretty off-white to oatmeal colored head. The head was soft and frothy looking that dissipates to about 1/16". Only subtle lacing.

It smells pretty malty with loads of fresh grains. Almost like a "green" barley smell, slightly grassy and similar to hay. Definitely a lite smelling beer. No overbearing characteristics.

Creamy flavored malts and herbal flavors persist, followed by a sweet aftertaste. There is a slight bitterness, but it remains for the most part calm and tame behond the maltiness of this beer. I still say it has more of a grassy flavor, and finishes like cotton candy.

Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. I experienced a tongue drying bitterness, but nothing like a hop bomb. A relatively smooth beer.

Actually pretty nice, no over powering characteristic to turn you off. Easy drinking, fairly simplistic but complex enough to enjoy. IMHO, I believe this would be an enjoyable session beer.

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Photo of dashirey
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up this bomber straight from the brewery on a recent visit to the Asheville area.

A - There is not much head on this brew after the pour and what was there was gone almost instantly. This "American interpretation of Britain's Extra Special Bitter" is crystal clear and copper colored with some faint hues of amber lingering throughout.

S - The smell from my pint glass is dominated by roasty maltiness. Some nuttiness in there too, but really not very impressed with the smell.

T - The taste is very similar to the smell. Toasty, roasty, bready, earthy, and malty. Additionally there is some spiciness coming through along with some caramel hints.

M/D - There is a pretty good amount of bite on the tongue from this one, but relatively low in carbonation which confuses me. Overall though very easy to drink. This would be a great beer to have on hand as an "everyday" beer, good but nothing special.

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Photo of koopa
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received in trade with Elli. Thanks for the opportunity to try this brew from your region.

Appearance: Iced tea to copper in color with a frothy 3 finger french vanilla crown that has nice retention and some lacing.

Smell: Very "macro'ish" if that makes any sense to ya?

Taste: Nice caramel malt and fruity malt combo. Crisp and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light in body with a nice amount of carbonation that leads to a crispness, yet a very creamy head. Would have scored a 4.5 if the body were a touch less light.

Drinkability: Would have scored higher if it weren't for the slightly macro taste and big macro nose. Very crisp with a nice carbonation and creamy crown.

This is a pretty good ESB and I'm glad I got the chance to try it.

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Photo of beer2day
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3.99 bomber from Gail's in Hickory NC.

Pours amber gold with a very thin head. No retention. Minimal lacing. Average carbonation.

Pretty big malt nose, but slightly off-putting. Very much in the style of an English bitter.

Hits slighty sweet, but immediately turns tart and bitter. Thin but appropriate for the style.

Not bad, but nothing special either.

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Photo of gabeerfan
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear amber with somewhat fizzy head that completely disappears rather quickly. Little bits of lace left on the glass.
Nice malty aroma. Lots of toasted bread, biscuit, and fruit. Herbal, slightly minty hops are present.
Malty flavors too. Again, lots of toasted bread, biscuit and fruit. Herbal, grassy hops play a big role too.
Medium bodied. A little sticky, but not resiny.
Quite drinkable. Flavors are good and the ABV is close enough to sessionable to make this a nice drinker for the evening.
It's hoppier than a traditional ESB, so it's definitely an American version. It's no substitute for a nice Fuller's, but at only $4 a bomber, it's a nice alternative.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm. Well, this is definitely an American style ESB. There is the typical nuttiness and dry biscuity malt, but also far more hoppiness than usual for the style. That being said, it works here. Unlike Ding, I won't be hung up on the style parameters here and simply enjoy the beer for what it is. Pouurs a nice coppery color, but the head fades a little too quickly. Nice slightly nutty aromas with some of that biscuity malt and some earthy/spicy hops. The taste, to my mind, nicely balances the classic ESB flavors with a nice, and surprising, jolt of hops. They by no means dominate the beer, but merely add another dimension and take the beer into a more indeterminate style. Good carbonation, and a very nice drink.

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Photo of nick76
2.96/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The aroma is odd for the style. It is grassy and paper like with some biscuits, fruit, and yeast. The appearance is deep gold with an amber hue and a large head. The flavor is like the aroma and astringent. The palate is thin. Overall this beer has some good qualities but the negative ones bury them.

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Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this courtesy of Ding - much obliged!

Pours a clear orange-straw color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes pretty quickly into a patchy layer of bubbles on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of buttery toasted malts with slight hints of grapefruit aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells - though with more bitterness. The lightly toasted malt flavors kick things off, giving way to a solid bitterness halfway through the sip. Light hop flavors are there throughout, but dwell in the background.

Mouthfeel is good - good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I'm not a huge fan of ESB's to begin with, but I could have more than one of these.

Overall this was a pretty good beer - it doesn't go very far off of the path of a traditional ESB, but where it does it succeeds.

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Photo of gford217
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Ding at the Brick Store.

Pours a crystal clear amber with a short-lived off-white head that recedes to a ring and leaves only traces of lacing.

The aroma has a clean bready malt presence that competes with an earthy hop presence - grassy with hints of lemons.

The hops hit up front in the taste but are fairly mild and gives way to the dominant bready malt backbone. The finish is crisp and clean with a slight hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation and dry and crisp in the finish.

This is a decent, slightly-hopped-up ESB that I quite enjoyed. Thanks Ding!

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Photo of gabe23
4.08/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep amber color with a rocky white head. Very nice lacing coats the glass.

S - Mild aroma of bread and sweet malt. Just a touch of earthy hops in the background.

T - Toasty and sweet, with just enough hop bitterness to balance things out. The finish is very clean. Not a lot of strong flavors here.

M - Creamy and smooth, but the moderate carbonation keeps it from being too heavy. Really coats the mouth for an excellent mouthfeel.

D - With the low ABV and mild flavor, I could put away several at a sitting. Nothing amazing with respect to the flavor or aroma, but this is a solid ESB that I'll likely buy again.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on 1/7/09.

Pours copper/read, with a moderately sized head. The bubbles are loose and fades to a thin head quickly. There is some decent retention and lacing, but it looks just about right. It smells of sweet malts, but lacks a real hop aroma. There is a bit of earthiness, and a tiny bit of a floral character. The taste is nice and sweet, like golden raisins. A bit of toffee and caramel but not overpowering. Not much in terms of buscuity flavors. Minimal bitterness, with an earthy spiciness. Nice and balanced without a hint of alcohol. No estery flavors. Good burst of carbonation, but not incredibly full. Very easy drinker. Even at 5.2%, I could see myself going through quite a few of these. I really enjoyed having it and would revisit it if the price were right.

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Photo of auburngrad82
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle of this into a pint glass.

A- Pours a nice amber with a white head that quickly dissolves to a ring of foam. Some, but not much, lacing.

S- Very light in the way of aroma.

T- The taste is nice, bready with a nice hint of pepper.

M- Nice, but not great body. The hint of pepper gives it a slightly warming mouthfeel.

D- Pretty decent, though not great, ESB.

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13 Rebels ESB from French Broad Brewing Co.
3.54 out of 5 based on 243 ratings.
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