Hessian Smog | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

very good
15 Reviews
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Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A traditional Hessian ESB Brewed with an eye to the “not normal.” Enjoy this Revolutionary War-inspired recipe.

80 IBU

Added by Tilley4 on 11-06-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 68
Photo of rtepiak
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had at the brewpub...

in no way a formal ESB outside of maybe formulation... or case in point. the english yeast strain. carbonation is bit lazier but perfectly placed. a smaller head of one to two fingers that has a beautiful retention and doesn't really subside. in my opinion an excellent american extra pale with a new zealand hop to has a hint of passionfruit and a mineral and protein rich mix of grapefruit dryness. pour is yellow golden and rather cloudy. i'm not reviewing much these days but when i see something that is really exceptional and reviews that don't accompany it...

excellent beer. don't waste it on yourself if you are expecting something very formally an ESB.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served In pint glass at small bar division.

A: appears bright orange, translucent and cloudy, small amount of white head, sticky lacing

S: smells like candied tangerines and apricots, notes of bread crust and grass, light malts in the back

T: starts off sweet with candied fruit, notes of coriander and orange peel, there's a touch of savory towards the end

Mf: light bodied, low carbonation

O: "it's not normal" certainly applies here, very unique for an esb

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Three Floyds tulip pint glass at SmallBar Fullerton.

FFF showing some history chops with this name/style combo. The beer underneath pours a hazy amber-orange topped by a finger of tan-white foam. The nose comprises lots of orange zest, mandarin orange flesh, light coriander, and light wheat. It's an awful lot of orange-heavy citrus, but it works well enough without becoming unpleasant. Nice. The taste holds notes of orange zest, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander, light wheat, and cardamom. It's similar to the smell, but spicier. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly grainy, smooth-ish feel. Overall, a tasty, easily-drinkable brew. 'Nuff said.

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Photo of ahalloin
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a very cloudy orange fluid with sticky lacing that hangs on the glass as the beer is consumed.
The smell is quite interesting with big citric hop notes reminiscent of tangerine peel coupled with pine over a malty sweet body.
The taste matches up quite well with the smell. Formidable earthy bitterness from the 80 IBUs balances the sweetness quite well.
Mouthfeel is pretty good with low creamy carbonation. The bitterness is a little harsh and distracting though.
Overall a super interesting ESB with lots of hop character.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, this is the hoppiest damn ESB I've ever had.

Big grassy and citrus hop notes with some spicy ones in there as well. Strong dry bitterness on the backend.

The beer itself is a murky orange with a small whitish head. Below average lacing, but nice retention.

The body is pretty full. Strong carbonation works well.

Overall-- the standard FFF hop recipe scores another victory. It is hopped up with all the notes I'd expect from an FFF pale ale or IPA. Call this whatever style you want, it drinks nice an easy. I'm a fan.

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Photo of Chaney
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Brewpub.

A: Poured a very cloudy, pepper infused, orange color, with an inconsistently off-white head.

S: Lots of hoppy orange peel, which surprised me considering the style. Whoa....

T: I've had many ESBs in my day, but this one takes the cake in terms of shock value: It was like a melted orange popsicle, with added orange juice, pepper, hops, and a pinch of malt.

M: There was nothing transparent about this brew. It was creamy for sure, mildly splothy lacing-wise, and had a bit of alcohol warming to boot.

O: If this is an ESB, then I'm Albert Einstein.

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Photo of TroopScoop
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: burnt orange, and not totally clear, but not opaque. An interesting sight

S: pleasant combo of hops and malts. The kind I expect from an ESB

T: wow, lots going on here. Starts out with some nice malts, and finishes very strong. Some bitters, some citrus flavors, and somehow, I swear there's a little smoky taste as she warms up to room temp.

M: very different aftertaste as the beer warms. A very marked increase in bitter and smoky lacing. Near the end, it had a lot of after accents I'm not too familiar, or frankly, very fond of.

O: really interesting brew. I normally go bananas for ESBs, and although this doesn't hit my hall of fame, it was good.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at FFF and poured into imperial nonic.

A - Pours a mirky dark golden color, white head, thin cap, spotty lace.

S - Bitter hops, some citrus sweetness, slight malts. Not quite as hoppy as I was expecting from a FFF beer, which is actually a good thing.

T - There's some kind of off-putting smoke/herbal note that I'm not digging too much here. I guess it's suppose to be there, but I wish it wasn't. Bitter hops, herbal notes, malts.

M - Light body, good carbonation, oily hoppy finish.

O - Definitely an odd take on an ESB that I'm not so sure I really enjoyed. I love Lord Admiral Nelson, and this one just doesn't compare. Meh, just above average, but that's about it.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy golden color with a bit of a white head that left a little bit of stick on it.

S - Lots of zest and spice. Some grassy and earthy hops presence and a bit of honey. A lot more potency than your typical ESB.

T - Taste is about the same, with some fruity characteristics and hops on top of a bready malt backbone. Pretty light tasting and sweet.

M - Lighter side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Good beer, a little bit pungent, has some pretty strong flavors. Good stuff, was glad to have tried it.

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Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint at Map Room. Happy 19th!

Murky and orange, as it settles it becomes more of a slightly darker papaya color. Thin white skim, random arcs of lace. Broken skim across the surface.

Pungent and citric, grapefruit peel, tangerine. Super resiny and bitter...seems more IPA or double that. Burly feel, odd toastiness and super resiny, enamel melting bitterness. Different facets reveal themselves over time. Sometimes green, laced with hoppy vegetation, then ending with lush, pulpy citrus. Comes across pretty brash and super hopped. Body is big, with medium carb levels. Definitely scratches the hop itch if you've got one. Nowhere near an ESB, and nobody cares. It cures the hessian depression!

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Photo of DAllspaw
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at brewpub.

Golden/orange in color, very cloudy and solid white head, looks great in imperial pint glass.

Smell is citrusy and a grassy, some yeast notes as well, no real noteworthy malt in the aroma.

Taste is trademark FFF hops, nice texture to beer as well, not overly carbonated. Very easy drinking beer, great with brewpub food and look forward to them having again. Don't expect a standard ESB, the minute it's poured you know it's not, labelled as a hessian style, and since not familiar can't comment on trueness to style, but you shouldn't care, very nice beer.

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Photo of dlello2
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Map Room poured into a large tulip glass.

A – Caramel color. Not much head or lacing present.

S – White grapefruit, but not that sweet. Some spice we can’t quite place. Very clean, almost floral. Maybe saffron/juniper?

T – Very interesting. Wow there is so much going on here. Grapefruit, cloves, that elusive Indian spice. Very unique. Taste is sweet, almost tastes like a Belgian in the middle. Flowers and hops next, juniper again. Might be too many flavors. What a trip.
M – A little sharp on the carbonation. Smooth finish.

O – Looks and smells better than it tastes and leaves you. Definitely can’t drink all that much at one time. Very funky and not all that well balanced. Props to 3 Floyds for maybe the most unique beer I’ve had. Glad to have tried it!

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Photo of iadler
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at FFF Anniversary party.

A- Pours a slight hazy gold color with a thin white cap that leaves a few lines of lacing

S- Bready malt, peppery spice, citrus zest, and grassy hops.

T- Sourdough, peppery spice, freshly grated grapefruit and orange zest as well as some grassy and herbal hops.

M- Medium carbonation and low to medium body. Finishes a bit dry.

O- Interesting beer with some slightly sweet sourdough bread and fresh citrus notes.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at the xv party.
a: glowing hazy orange w/a diminishing whitish head.
s: somewhat muted (coulda been due to being in the crazy crowded tent). citrus (orange), sweet honeyed doughy malts and that signature fff note that i can't quite put my finger on-the house yeast?
t: same as above. medium sweet doughy malts with smooth fruity hops balancing it out.
m: perhaps it was an overaggressive pour, but i would've liked more carbonation in the beer. as such a bit slick. medium body.
o: would like to try this again.
Have had this a few times since. Good shit, maybe better than lord nelson. i hereby retract any aforementioned criticisms.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub...

Cloudy hazy dull golden appearance...

Hoppy aromas dominate over a malt base... Citrusy and piney in nature...

Superb blend of hops and malts here... Strange for an ESB to be this hop forward with the citrus but it works here...

A masterpiece from these guys again... Crazy brew for the style....

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Hessian Smog from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.04 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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