ESB Amber Ale | Flying Fish Brewing Company

144 Reviews
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ESB Amber AleESB Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Flying Fish Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-20-2001

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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 242
Photo of ElGuapo
2.06/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

bitter bitter bitter. this did not go well with me. it was a struggle to take down. a bit hoppy with a flavor that almost made me gag. extra special...not at all

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Photo of bmills1608
2.16/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice Orange-bronze color.

Has a spicy sort of prickly nose, citrus like.

The first taste I noticed was orange-like (I think, hard to describe). Nice medium mouthfeel, solid malty sweet foundation with a citrus hop (but not overly so) balance. Has a perfumed quality to it. It has a unique, strange taste that I have seen described as earth or vegetal, and I think I agree with that. That taste is a negative in this beer, it lost a few points because of that. Once I really tuned into that wierd taste, it is all I can taste now. I feel it is a loose interpetation of an ESB (my benchmark is Fuller's) and definitely has an American Micro brew stamp on it. A ok choice.

Nice lace on the side of the glass.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.3/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a straw like color. Nowhere near amber. Thin white head that resides quickly. A bit earthy and biscuits on the nose but the smell is extremely subdued.

An oddly corny aftertaste. Dry finish. Extremely clean drinking. Some detectable sweetness upfront semi-bitter finish. Subdued and bland flavors. Drinkable but that's about it.

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Photo of marcpal
2.55/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap poured into American pint glass.

A: Amber tings with a very thin head and little lacing through the beer. Amber-copper color, half-finger head

S: ESB? Malts and sugar but dont really catch anything ESB like.

T: Dont catch the bitterness here, far too mild. Seems like all malts and fruit, no substantial hop bitterness. However, not bad tasting- just a bit bland and lifeless.

M: Thin with a crisp quick finish that leaves a bit dry.

D: Never been a fan of this one but willing to give many tries. The blandness really makes this one drinkable in a sense but just gets to taste waterlike over time though. FF other offerings better.

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Photo of John
2.6/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very little head that dissappeared in a hurry after a vigorous pour from the 12oz. bottle. Light copper color. Light doughy aroma with cooked vegetable smell. More veggies in the flavor. Light on the malt, not much backbone. Adequately hopped though. Probably the lightest ESB I've ever had. This one comes up short of my expectations of an ESB. More of a light session pale.

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Photo of donniecuffs
2.72/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an American pint glass. Copper hue, with very little head and bad retention. Definitely some biscuit, yeastiness, toffee, and maltiness in the aroma, with very little hop bitterness. The taste was malty sweet overall, with no hint of hop balance, very little carbonation (not surprising for this style), and medium bodied mouthfeel. You could certainly make a session beer out of this one, as there aren't enough pronounced flavors either way to offend the hopheads or the maltheads.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.73/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Kind of sweet for an ESB with a particularly uncomplentary hop profile.Pours clear and brown. Just a slight head and some spotted lace. Nose is all malts and I am left winderin where the hops might be hiding. They come out more in the flavor. However, they are not particularly bitter or potent and fail to provide much of any balance. The feel to this beer is fairly light and perhaps a shade slight of me considering it medium body. Overall, this beer does not strike me as all that close to style. Not overly impressed but appreciate the chance to try this brew.

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Photo of IPA17
2.75/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sat down at Andy's Corner to have a couple of pints after work and decided to have a Climax ESB and Flying Fish ESB. Started with the Climax and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then hit the beach for some Fish. The beer didn't captivate me with either it's appearance or aroma. The mouthfeel was mothing special either. At first, I was very disappointed with the taste, it lacked the fundamentals that make an ESB and ESB and that make a good ESB into a great one. After a bit, the taste did seem to grow on me but it still didn't come close to the Climax. .
The Fish was an average beer that I could certainly drink a few of with no problem. Problem is, I can think of other ESB's that I would drink before the fish.

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Photo of dsa7783
2.76/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Single, 12 oz bottle copped from Total Wine and More in West Orange for $1.79...
Impressive appearance was the result of a hefty pour, yielding a huge, foamy head that left strong lacing around the glass...
Pear and apple aroma, with noticeable sweet smells coming through...
Taste was very unusual and unrecognizable for the style... Tasted almost exactly like super-sweet applejuice, no bitterness here, just extreme sugars and candy flavors bursting through that seemed abnormal for the style and was not what I was anticipating...
Decent mouthfeel, but due to the hefty dose of sugars, the drinkability took a big hit...
Not recommended...

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Photo of oberon
2.77/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was happy to try it on the machine but once I did,not impressed.I asked the bartender if this was the ESB because it didnt have any qualities to it and it was.Poured a golden color with a slight malty aroma,the taste was bitter not a good malty,fruity balance.Just not impressed at all I must say.

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Photo of Chadbrew
2.88/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The color is a very pale pinkish orange and the head is a good two fingers of puffy white froth. The beer is brilliantly clear and the carbonation is a nice steady stream of constant bubbles.
The aroma is very yeasty and bready with a fairly good presence of hops.
I pick up a good bit of phenols and it is very estery also. There is a fair bit of bitterness in the finish that lingers for some time but the aftertaste left by the flaws are kinda hard to get past.
Light to medium mouthfeel.
Not very drinkable IMO.

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Photo of KajII
2.9/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

[Suggested Glassware: Nonic Pint]

The pour was a clear copper color with an average (1-2 finger) off white creamy head that was mostly diminishing down to a thin film with a small collar, thus producing poor spotty lacing.

The aroma was of a sweet bread malt and an earthy yeast with a note of caramel and a touch of dark fruit (cherries and plums).

The taste was lightly sweet and malty with a good dose of caramel throughout, with the finish being slightly fruity and lightly bitter yet still possessed a rather nice sweetness. The flavor only lasted a short while following the swallow, with a nice fruity malty taste left behind.

Mouthfeel was a step or two above light in body with a slightly watery texture and a somewhat mild carbonation.

Overall this was a pretty decent ESB that had a slight bitter ending, a sweet caramel middle and a very good drinkability...

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.95/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pale orange color with a thin white creamy head with very soft carbonation. The color is a little lighter then I expected per style.

S: On the nose are some light citrus notes, fresh oranges with a slight touch of honey-caramel sweetness. The hopping is light providing just enough of citrus tones to be detected.

T: There is a nice smooth caramel backing providing a malt smoothness similar to an octoberfest style beer with some good citrus notes and a touch of honey malt. Overall the flavor is moderately average, perhaps a tad sweet per style, and the hopping is light and comes off more sweet then bitter.

M: The beer seems to be filtered down to much depriving the palate and body of substance as like most of their other beers which is why it seems watery at times.

D: easy and light per style, but may disappoint due to lack of heartiness.

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Photo of WesWes
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours an amber color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is decent. It has a fine malty scent with a bit of bitterness to the nose. The taste is a little above average. It has a very intense malty flavor, but it is soured by a strong off-taste. There is something wrong with this beer. It tastes like it has an elevated abv., but it says it's only 5.5%. It is bitter and dry on the finish. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium/full bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This beer drinks hard. The flavor does nothing for me. I also need a little more carbonation here.

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Photo of Boto
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer is a bit of a coppery color. Somewhat of a head, but little retention. Slightly citric/hop aroma. A bit of maltiness to the taste. Tasty, but lacking the stronger hop characteristics of a true ESB. There are better ones are definitely out there.

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Photo of AlexJ
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Burnt caramel in color with a dense head of eggshell white that has light retention and lace.

Aroma is mushy, sweet malt with faint floral sweetness, toasted bread, and a dry peppery note that is out of place.

Flavor is quite similar. Quite malty and dextrinous, somewhat buttery, and the hops just don't work for me. Meh.

Body is medium, slick, and slippery on the palate. Drinkable but tedious.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Rich mostly hoppy nose. Good head and retention. Little off-white sheen over the brew. Light amber in color. Malty but not bitter enough for my taste. Decent mouth.... This was an average bitter.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear copper color with a small withe head that fades. Mild spotty lacing on the glass.

Aroma is light - some mild caramel maltiness and a hint of herbal hops.

Herbal hops upfront leading into a mild caramel malt taste and fairly stong bitter bite. Finishes bitter with a lingering hop taste and slight bland booziness.

Medium body, decent carbonation.

A rather mediocre ESB - just tries hard enough to be completely forgettable. A litle too many hops, not quite enough malt, bland finish. Would probably not be difficult to mindlessly drink a few of these, if I were mindless enough to buy more than one.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Good carbonation so it pours with a good head that fades leaving some lace. Cloudy coppery color/ The brewer's description of a malty start and hoppy finish is correct. The six malts they use is clearly noticeable which is nice for an ESB. Smoother than I would expect in a ESB but the bitterness is there.

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Photo of AltBock
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Flying Fish American pint glass. This one poured a clear amber that had a 1/2 inch head of fizzy white foam. This fizzy head of foam quickly fizzled away into some bubbly islands, white bubbly rings, and a handful of white spots. The aroma was very mild with sweet caramel malts and some dried and burnt citrus hops. I could understand why they would be dried hops, but not dried and burnt. The taste was also mild and filled filled with toasted malts, dried juicy fruits, and dried out crispy floral and citrus hops. It was a light to medium bodied beer that had a nice crispy aftertaste of citrus hops. It was the mouthfeel that saved this beer. Overall, it was a nice mild well rounded ESB. This is one I wouldn't mind having again as long as I don't have to smell it.

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Photo of UncleFlip
3.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Gotta start noting who sent these things...thanks, whomever you are!

Honey colour, just a bit hazy. Thick just off-white head falls at decent rate, leaving sparse lace behind.

Smell is of oranges, a bit of hops, and just a touch of earwax. Har dto pick up on it. (My snotlocker may be shot...)

Flavour is bigger, lighter, and woodier than the smell implies. Starts sweet but not really malty, and thins out form there as a bit of hoppiness creeps in. Flavour actually rolls off at the end, leaving not a lot to go on.

Liquid is just the thick side of medium. The feel seems dominated by carbonation. Tight, and not quite overbearing.

Takes a hit on drinkability because it doesn't really hold my attention. After one, I'd like to move on.

Be well

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.1/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The body has a nice copper color w/ an amber head. The aroma has a rich malty start and features hints of caramel notes that develop into a smooth bitter hop finish. The bitterness is not overwhelming though. I thought it had a slightly dry finish. I’m new to ESB Ale all together, but my overall opinion is, that there is nothing really special about this ESB.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasted on-tap at the Dead River Pub in The Inn at Somerset Hills in Basking Ridge, NJ on 06/13/06.

Amber in color with a low but decent off-white head. Unremarkable caramel malt aroma and flavor dominates. Almost an all malt balanced beer here with hops being barely noticeable. Something didn't quite do it for me here ... Medium-light bodied.

More of an American Amber Ale than an ESB. I was surprised that the Redhook ESB I had afterwards was better ... total shock to my system.

Per FF website:
Malts: Two-row pale, Munich, Aromatic, and English Medium Crystal.
Hops: Magnum, Fuggles, Yakima Golding
OG: 14.3 P
ABV: 5.5%

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.13/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

flying fish used to be my favourite NJ brewery, until heavyweight came along. while their brews may not be as fierce as heavyweight's overall, they still produce some pretty solid brews. the esb, while not amongst their best, is certainly a solid, if only average, brew. it pours a light amber/orange colour with a moderate to minimal head that leaves a nice lacing but dissolves rather quickly. smells of caramel and a bit fruity, and the taste is immediately creamy and somewhat citrusy, i would say. again, as this was a fairly creamy brew, it was quite smooth and easy to drink and could potentially be a good session beer. i would have liked to have seen something a little bolder from flying fish, but this will do.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.13/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep amber with a thin tan head. No lacing to speak of. Smells lightly fruity and bready. Faint citrusy hops.

Taste is again very biscuity malt and light spicy fruit backed by a more herbal hops profile but still with hints of citrus hops too. Hops dominate the finish and the aftertaste. Mouth is medium bodied with an herbal hop aftertaste. Decent enough but something that I can't put my finger on keeps it from being great. Best I can figure is that it's the malt and hops don't quite compliment each other. Kind of American style hops with a British style malt.

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ESB Amber Ale from Flying Fish Brewing Company
3.51 out of 5 based on 242 ratings.
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