Holgate ESB | Holgate Brewhouse / Keatings Hotel

36 Ratings
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Holgate ESBHolgate ESB

Brewed by:
Holgate Brewhouse / Keatings Hotel

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by vancurly on 01-25-2008

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of SmashPants
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: good quality 330mL brown bottle with stylish quality label. Nice.

Appearance: dark hazy copper in colour. A decent one finger of thick head. Good retention and a fantastic semi-lace.

Aroma: caramel malts are present with some earthy hops along for the ride. There are some great fruit esters also.

Taste: a wonderful combination of bread malts, port-style dark fruits and more of those earthy hops. This is just getting better!

Aftertaste: transfers brilliantly along the palate, with those earthy malt flavours.

Mouth feel: medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Suits the style.

Overall: Another from one of my favourite breweries. Very good example of an English bitter made in Australia. Very sessional, have a fear that it may be a little expensive though. Definitely worth it :) Update: as expected, it is quite expensive, at $95 a case (2012). Still nice, no doubting it. Just might have it every so often instead of all the time.

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Photo of dsolonenko
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of heygeebee
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/10 so not fresh.... but...

Aggressive pour yields a small head that fades quickly. Copper/Brown.

Aromas of England(!)

Taste is butterscotch, toffee, caramel, all rounded in with English hops and moderate bitterness. Delicately light.

Mouthfeel good, no real carbonation to speak of. Appropriate.

Overall, wish I had bough a six-pack. A great session beer I suspect. Very good find. Would love to have on tap off a hand-pump somewhere (Taphouse?)

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Photo of WHROO
4.09/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark ale coloured - amber, like a black tea, nice & clear. 1 finger head, with good carbonation.
S: Full on noble hops, grapefruit, perfume, lychee, citrus. Also some sweet breads & biscuit. But mainly perfume flower-citrus hops.
T: Again the floral hops shine through, grapefruit, with some grapefruit bitter aftertaste that linger nicely. A little dry & also a little sourness on the palate. Love the complexity.
M: Light, little carbonated on the tongue...& the sour bitterness keeps it alive after swallowed. Bitterness is quite full.
D: Very easy, the fruit floral notes made this feel like a classic US Pale Ale...I constantly thought Little Creature Pale Ale, & Moo Brew.
I could easily sit on this for a while - easy!

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Photo of joecast
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle 5%abv best before 9/12/09
all the necessary stats, plus some info on the back label. good start.

surprisingly clear for a bottle conditioned ale. nice copper color with a thin off white head. low carbonation.

big sweet malty/floral aroma. really gives you a good idea what this beer is about.

taste is a good reflection of the smell. good balance with some sweet malt and just enough bitterness for balance. lingering malt makes this a beer you could sit back with for a while, which is fine cause it was a bit cold out of the fridge and has markedly improved as it warmed.

overall, really happy with this beer. something i would not mind drinking on tap or buying again in the bottle.

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Photo of mungus
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of KalanM
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Andrewharemza
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with a small spotty off white head leaving a little lace. Aroma is caramel, grainy and faint grass. Flavour is sweet maltiness, caramel, grass, and light citrus.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper colour, bright but deep, with plenty of streaming carbonation. Head was initially fizzy and frothing, but it settles to a reasonably pleasant and fine film of off-white. Looks pretty decent and stylistically appropriate. Lacing isn't as sticky as it could be, although it appears in sheets, rather pleasantly.

Nose is pleasantly robust with lots of crisp hops, that almost bend a little towards the citric. Hint of tannins ensure it stays grounded in earthiness, however. Also a touch of roasted grains to give some depth. Very decent.

Taste is also quite well constructed, and stays pleasantly balanced throughout. Decent robust bitterness from the hops, with a structure of malt and roasted grain around it. Bitterness mingles pleasantly with the malt at the back to give a moreish nutty character. Crisp finish. Despite the abundant carbonation present in the body, the feel is pleasantly smooth and supple.

A very nice ESB, with plenty of character, and decent structure. Smooth and tasty, and very drinkable.

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Photo of LittleCreature
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - 4.0
An absolute monster of a pillowy head that despite gentle pouring, managed to half fill my glass. Thankfully this slowly receded to a more drinkable level which stayed right to the bottom of the glass. Deep copper in colour with good clarity.

Smell - 4.5
One sniff and.... mmm, this is going to be good! The aroma is fruity and hop driven, not dissimilar to some Belgian amber ales.

Taste - 4.0
With so much head, it is a good thing that the foam is extremely tasty. A good balance of malt and hop, both in terms of flavour, and sweetness/bitterness. Tastes of biscuity malt, bitter orange and grapefruit

Mouthfeel - 4.0
The carbonation is more akin to a Belgian style beer, that is, very lively. I suppose this could be seen as a negative by some, but for me it gives the beer an interesting personality.

Drinkability - 3.0
Higher carbonation means that this is not a great session beer, however tasty.

Excellent. This is truly a quality brew that leaves me eager to try the rest of the Holgate range. Not a textbook ESB, but a highly enjoyable beer.

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Photo of soju6
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewpub.

A: Seved a copper color with a nice head that slowly fades to lacing.

S: Aroma of Roasted malt, caramel, with some citrua and grain in the background.

T: Taste of roasted malt, caramel sweetness with some citrus and grain in the background. Nice bitterness and a quite dry finish.

F: Medium body, smooth and somewhat creamy and very nicely balanced.

O: Very enjoyable ESB. Worth checking out.

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Photo of Quartermaine
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall great beer. Look taste and feel are all pretty spot on. Packaged well and presents beautifully.

Smells sweet and biscuit/butter with a solid hope profile. Appearance is copper and clear.

Tastes of toffee and caramel. Biscuity with a mildly tart finish. Mouthfeel is a bit light on for my taste but not inappropriate.

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Photo of Macca
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a nice clear dark amber colour with slightly off white centimetre of head.

Fantastic malt aromas leap out of the glass. Some nice fruity hops as well.

Hops are more evident on the palate. Very well balanced between hops and malt.

Medium bodied.

A very good full flavoured brew.

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Photo of Stew41
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surely has claims as Australia’s leading ESB? Very faithful interpretation, particularly in terms of appearance and aroma. Beautiful toffee brown hues match well with toffee caramel malts and fresh passionfruit. The palate follows these lines but somewhat less expressive, in part due to some relatively high carbonation. Still, the palate has some very good creamy structure.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle, another offering from this brewery currently available only at selected Liquor Depot outlets in Alberta, i.e. the big ones that you have to drive way too far to get to.

This beer pours a crystal clear, bright bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves some nicely consistent bike chain lace around the glass as it evenly recedes.

It smells of bready, sweet caramel malt, with a touch of biscuity character, some nutty toffee, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more caramel and toffee malt, a shallow white bready/cracker essence, some edgy stone pit fruitiness, a twinge of bitter, juicy citrus, and floral, almost perfumed, earthy hops.

The bubbles are fairly sedate, just a wee tingle here and there, the body a decent medium weight, and mostly smooth, but for a slight clamminess. It finishes on the sweet side, the malt just to prevalent, and the hops, while fighting the good fight, just can't counter-punch well enough.

A tasty enough tipple, but lacking in certain ESB aspects - the biscuity, drying leafiness coming most hastily to mind. Nevertheless, a worthy gateway sessioner, I would imagine, if I didn't have to pay the local monopoly's import prices. Or, ya know, lived Down Under.

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Photo of admiral
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very good ESB - made close in nature to a classic English ESB

Aroma of malt, slight chocolate and caramel with some nice citrus to finish it off

taste: malt, chocolate, citrus, orange marmalade, spice, caramel and toffee with the big, classic, bitterness to finish it off.

Overall - not the greatest but solid nonetheless

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Photo of ADZA
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a semi see thru copper hue with average carbonation that leaves a fast vanishing half finger head with no lacing whatsoever,the aroma is candy lollies,pineapples and lots of hops,it has an above average mouthfeel which finishes quite smooth and easy to drink with a nice stonefruity taste that finishes with a nice crystal malt finish and only semi bitter but no overly bitter for my palette although not overly complex a very easy beer to drink.

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Photo of chogm54
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

330mL bottle. Ive found the other Holgate beers (pilsener, Mt Macedon Ale, temptress) a bit overrated and overpriced, but lets see how the ESB goes.

A - pours a thin white head than fades quickly to a thin white sheen, rust coloured, clear.

S - sweet, butterscotch malts with a bit whiff of dark fruit (raisins) and citrusy hops

T - a bit flat at first, then the caramel malts and slight spicy bitterness kicks in. Overtones of dark fruits (raisins, sultanas). Hint of roasting on the malts in the aftertaste. Slightly sweeter than a typical ESB.

M - low carbonation (although typical for an ESB), feels quite full bodied for this style, with a dry texture and slightly metallic finish.

O - pretty good, but Im not sure how the sweetness would hold up over several beers - it might get a bit sickly down the line.

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Photo of rjimlad
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite a competent bitter. Nice deep copper appearance. Short-lived head and no lacing. Aroma is caramel and toffee with some Fuggles fruitiness. Taste is similar. Caramel, toffee and some breadiness. Really good mix with moderate carbonation. I didn't find it too carbonated as did some. Mouthfeel didn't suffer. I did however, think that there is something missing on the mid-palate. Not sure what but could use a little more oomph as it seemed a tad hollow. The correct characteristics for style are there but I think it lacks a little guts just before the hops kick in. Still, I enjoy drinking this as I think Holgate make great beers.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bronze/amber pour with very small fine head.
Very hoppy aroma with a fair whack of citrus, some woody notes and tropical fruit. Loads of cookie dough and noticeable toffee brings it back into English territory.
Flavours are similarly malty, fairly sweet, but a prominent green, earthy hop note keeps it in check. A moderate, slightly harsh bitterness follows.
Low creamy carbonation with medium body.
Would have liked to see more carbonation, both for appearance and mouthfeel.

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Photo of dgilks
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Medium-high malt aroma with lots of caramel. The hops are present with their earthy character being very well integrated. Some fruity esters are present. Quite good.

Crystal clear copper colour with a moderately sized off white head. Retention could be improved.

Toasty and rich malt flavour is predominant with the earthy hops backing it up. Moderate bitterness. The flavours don't linger as well as they could but they aren't bad. Bitterness lingers a bit.

Medium-low mouthfeel with moderately high carbonation. I'd like the carbonation just a touch lower.

It's a well flavoured beer that is easy enough to drink. The carbonation could be improved but on the whole a decent drop.

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Photo of goom
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a schooner glass. Poured a nice amber-copper colour with a great head leaving creamy lace down the sides.

Nose is floral, spicy hops, biscuity malt, a faint metallic smell.

Not quite as hoppy as the nose suggests, lots of biscuit and caramel malt flavour, floral hops and still that metallic taste.

Good mouthfeel, carbonations is quite high. Perhaps a bit too much with the carbonation.

I was not overly impressed until I had this after a couple of lagers... took a few to get into but this is a solid beer, carbonation a touch high and a slightly disconcerting metallic flavour.

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Photo of junelim
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of artemh
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of hopspiller
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

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Holgate ESB from Holgate Brewhouse / Keatings Hotel
3.66 out of 5 based on 36 ratings.
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