Bay State ESB | Boston Beer Works - Canal Street

16 Reviews

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Works - Canal Street
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-18-1999

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 27
Photo of smcolw
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark gold with a bit of haze. Small head but it leaves some spotty lace.

Earthy and malty. Light hop nose.

Lots of semisweet caramel. There's a touch bitterness in the swallow. Full bodied and below average carbonation--a good combination for this style. An easy to drink ESB with some definitive malt sugars in the aftertaste.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a darker copper color with a slight head. Head doesn't lace much. Seems to be fairly transparent.

S-Floral hops with a perfect balance from the malt. The aroma is of the typical ESB variety. Bittersweet and pretty attractive. The intensity of the nose is lacking but the components are there.

T-Like the nose, very standard as far as the style goes. Florals combine with that memorable malty combination. Lightly nutty. Flower petals and light bitterness. Great balance. Not as coercive as I would like but it is decently tasty.

M-Light bodied. Crisp. Great feel. Feels more like a %4 ABV instead of a %6. Goes down nicely.

O/D-One of the better beers I had at the Beer Works. Again, not very intense or memorable but it was a nice little glass.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Missed my train and meandered over to Beer Works...

Translucent, dark auburn color with a bone marrow colored head. Lace is heavy up top and diminishes down bottom like a foamy jelly fish stuck to my glass. The bartender called me chief. I hate that.

Marmalade fruity esters and leafy hop spice. Toasty. Few scant whiffs of chocolate malt - I wonder if a pinch was used to darken up this beer?

Taste is toast and fruity esters. Swampy bitter lingers with the finish as does a moderate dryness. Full body sparkles with hop resin. Balanced.

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Photo of odietrying
2.61/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served on 4oz. sample glass.

A: Dark copper, clear, thin head and lacing.

S: Strong floral notes; I can already taste the bitterness, not my forte.

T: Namesake, very bitter in the back, and it lingers. Not very sweet, I would have preferred a sweeter malt.

M: Smooth mouthfeel, but under-carbonated.

D: Too bitter for my tastes; wouldn't want another.

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Photo of dananabanana
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark red-brown. Foam was pure white. Lacing is a fine coat.

S: Malty, sort of sweet. Indistinct.

T: Bitter hops in the back of the throat. Malt flavor dissipates quickly. Grainy taste develops later.

M: Chewy. Oddly refreshing.

D: Good, solid beer to start the night with. The balance is a little off, though.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very murky amber reddish brown. Nose is a very florally soft sweet. Slight wood character, from the cask no doubt. Flavor is pretty complex. Seems to be a bit of vanilla at the start. At least I got that on the first wave of taste. It quickly moves to a woody, earthy profile. Unfortunately I have to give the flavor a lower score because I feel like the only influence is the cask. Where is the beer's character? It just ends up being a woody mess almost. Cask beers can be nice, but this one seems to lack balance.

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Photo of argock
1.89/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on-tap

Looked promising with a pleasing copper color and thick, sudsy head. It was foreshadowing...

Something was wrong with this batch (or the glassware) because it smelled and tasted like soap. No sweetness or hoppy bite -- just soap.

Obviously when something tastes like soap, drinkability is hurt to some degree.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On-Tap 09/30/05 at the Boston Beer Works - Fenway in Boston, MA.

Brown in color with a decent beige head. A nicely done ESB with a fairly high hop aroma and flavor for the style. Hops seem to have an American almost citrusy hop character. Medium bodied and smooth. A nice hoppy ESB. One of the best Beer Works brews.

Per BBW website: Bay State E.S.B.
1997 GABF Extra Special Bitter
Pale brown and malty, this ale is an Extra Special Bitter, our version of a strong English bitter. Our E.S.B. is brewed with English malts and is dry hopped with Kent Golding hops, imparting a pronounced hop finish.
Season: all Color: light brown Alc./Vol: 6.0%

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber, bit the light pierces it way too easily around the edges. Thin bubbly head that dissolved completely. Nose was flowery hops with jsut a touch of citrus. The hop in the flavor were really the best part. Bittering enough to give some bice bite, but providing enough citrus tones to make the beer sweet. Malts provided a nice carmaelly, bicuity flavor. Mouthfeel was watery (norm for Beer Works) and was too light and thin for the style in my opinion.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This garnet brew was served with a finger of cream-colored foam. The brew relies upon its eye pleasing color and composition to entice, not the mild hop aroma. The flavors were balanced, but not outstanding. The flavors were predominately malt biscuit, with a thin but defined bite of kent goldings and a dry finish. It's quite in line with the traditional British style, but is not altogether impressive. The beer seemed a bit watery, but was pleasant and would be an enjoyable session brew. I wouldn't travel far to seek this one out, but if at BeerWorks it would be worth having.

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

Pours brown/dark amber, with a reddish amber tint around the edges, two finger creamy tan head. Leaves sheets of lace.
Aroma notes of pine/spruce, toast, toffee, grass, citrus, very hoppy aroma, it dominated the malt.
Good toffee taste, almond, fruity, and caramel. Nice bitterness.
Medium body - creamy feel, another good session beer from Beer Works.

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Photo of stegmakk
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looked a nice red....there was a lasting head and nice lacing...
Aroma smelled of caramel malt...
Taste was nice...Bitter hops and hint of sweet malt from start to finish...
mouthfeel was nice and slick...
drinkability was good...this was one of my favorite beer works beers (along with the oatmeal stout)...I could have just drank this all night...

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Photo of scottum
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very nice ESB. The bitter hops make tounge happy. A bit out a cirtus peel taste in there. A touch of sweet from the malts. But this is a hop beer through and through. One of the better local ESBs. I could drink this all night long. One of my favorite Beer Works brews.

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Photo of goz
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a small white head, good lacing. Aroma is light, mostly citrusy hops, with a slight maltiness in the back. Flavor starts malty & a little sweet, then ends with a good, long hoppiness. Very creamy and thick feeling in the mouth. Quite well balanced.

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Photo of Jason
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Medium bodied and perceptibly creamy from the nitro. Hops don’t play around and come straight in with bitterness and flavour. Surprisingly the malt billows up from the brashness of the hops and lay down a solid foundation of toasted grain sweetness. Semi-coarse bitter bite in the end with a citric grapefruit rind and full malted grain finish.

Hops are a bit forward so get ready for a hoppy brew. The malt and the nitro tame the hops a little and add to the drinkability.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: On tap.

Appearance: Tawny copper in colour with a thin creamy very light tan lace.

Smell: Aromatic hop all over the place with some fruitiness ... the combination gives somewhat of a tropical fruit salad aroma.

Taste: Puckering bitter hop, toasted/caramel malt flavours punch through yet the bitterness is still on top. A bit of grapefruit rind mixes with some more malt chewiness then slowly dries up and puckers even more with a mild saltiness in the finish.

Notes: Big on flavour, quite a bitter brew with a huge hop finish. This is one of BeerAdvocate's favourites.

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Bay State ESB from Boston Beer Works - Canal Street
3.66 out of 5 based on 27 ratings.
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