ESB Amber Ale | Flying Fish Brewing Company

144 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 242
Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a reddish copper color with a cream colored head that faded away pretty quickly. The lacing doesn't really show up too well either. The smell has a lot of grainy malts on the nose and not too much in way of hops. The taste had a pretty good ESB flavor to it but wasn't as good as the real thing. The mouthfeel was light on this kind of felt waters down.

 377 characters

Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear yellowish orange in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high off white head that died down and left some bubbles on the surface and around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of fruity yeast and sweet caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of caramel with some sweetness and hints of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink and somewhat sessionable. I could definitely have a few of these in one evening.

 625 characters

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear amber color with a fluffy white head that descends to 1/4" and leaves occasional splotches of lacing

Smell: Fruity/caramel aroma with earthy hop tones and a trace of minty astringency

Taste: Fruity/caramel up front, with an apricot aspect, that is joined, mid-palate, by an earthy, woody bitterness that also has that touch of minty astringency from the aroma; after the swallow, the tail end is nicely balanced

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This one hits the style very well, with its only flaw coming from the astingent peculiarity

 614 characters

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.

 299 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy amber with a lightly frothy off-white head that drops fairly quickly to a standard collar. It does, however, leave some thin and spotty lace throughout the glass. The aroma is mainly of yeasty fruitiness and a sweet and toasty malt with some very mild grassy hops in the background. The body is medium with an exceptionally fine and gentle carbonation that leaves it quite creamy in the mouth. Very nice! All of the Fish beers seem to have a similar maltiness and this is one of them, if not the finest example. It's fairly rich, lightly sweet, grainy, caramelish, and softly toasty - almost wort-like with some mild diacetyl thrown in. It's clearly balanced towards maltiness although some mild grassy/spicy hop character appears towards the finish. The bitterness is obviously toned down to allow the maltiness to take center stage. It finishes semi-dry with a short lingering sweet maltiness that's backed up by some light hop flavor and residual bitterness. Although it's not what I expect of an "ESB", it is a nicely malty ale that's quite unique and fairly enjoyable in its own way. Worth trying.

 1,116 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.31/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle served in pint glass. Undated bottle but purchased at high turnover vendor (Total Wine) from a new display and consumed within days, so it should be fresh.

A - slightly hazy lght amber. Standard pour yielded barely enough head to cover the top, and this quickly disappeared. Tiny amount of sediment in bottle (added to pint).

S - rather average, at best.

T - nice malty taste with fairly even balance of sweet and bitter. More bitter is expected in an ESB but this had a minimal effect on my ratings

M - low carbonation; medium body

 551 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from NeroFiddled, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color with a reddish hue, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a decent lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty and nutty with spice, caramel a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is loaded with caramelized malt & nuts, some spice and very little sweetness as you would expect. The hops presence is decent and gets slightly stronger as you progress through the glass. The after-taste is mildly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, excellent representation of style, even though I wouldn’t typically choose this style, this is definitely one of the better ESB’s that I’ve had.

 868 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Welcome to Georgia (or, more specifically, Total Wine stores in Georgia), Flying Fish!

Appearance: Pours a clear, copper-amber body with, despite a hearty pour, only a thin, white head.

Smell: Lightly sweet-scented, lightly spicy aroma of irregularly-sliced, delicately toasted white bread topped with dried apricots, a pinch of lemon peel, and dusted with spice.

Taste: Pale malts marked with light bready, toasty touches to it and given sweet additions of toffee and honey candy. Fruity accents of ripe apricot but also some lemony citrus. Predominately spicy-minded hops with a soft, balancing bitterness. A rebound of malty sweetness pushes back through the spiciness and bitterness, though things finish reasonably dry for the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation with a minute prickliness to it.

Drinkability: Not the most authentic ESB on the block, possibly the reason for tacking "Amber" onto the label, though possibly for a less baffling name for those not familiar with the style. Still, it's tasty, easy-drinking, and sensibly light on the alcohol.

 1,148 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

ESB Amber Ale is actually harvest orange with polished amber edges. The spongecake-like crown is toasted tan in color and has a quality look. As it deflates, an attractive necklace of lace is beginning to appear around the upper circumference of the glass.

At first blush, the nose is more malty than hoppy. On second, it's pretty well-balanced. The beer smells golden fruity, faintly toasted, musky and slightly spicy. This could be pretty good stuff.

Is ESB Amber Ale the new name for ESB Ale? The timing of the reviews for the two entries makes it seem as if the labels changed last fall. It's hard to believe that Flying Fish would brew such similar (and similarly named) beers. Their website lists only ESB Ale, so it may not yet be updated.

Flavor balance and sweet-bitter balance are probably this brew's biggest positives. The earthy nuttiness of Munich malt is appreciated, though not nearly to the extent as in an Oktoberfest. It adds another flavor facet for those who want to taste more than hops in their ESBs.

Magnum, Fuggles and Yakima Goldings hops provide a fruitiness (apricots and oranges) that tastes quasi-English. There's a hint of tanginess too, which adds even more interest. Unfortunately, the beer doesn't have that special spark that would allow the next highest taste score to be granted.

The mouthfeel has no major flaws. Nor minor ones. It's appropriate for the style and is properly bubbled. Drinkability (and sessionability) is on the high side if you have any interest whatsover in the style.

ESB Amber Ale is a solid effort from Flying Fish Brewing Company. It never really enters the stratosphere, but it does the job it was designed to do. Thanks to jwc215, my East Coast connection.

 1,726 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked up in a mixed sixer and poured into a shaker, this was one of about 9 new beers tried on this night.

pour is nice and even amber color with a slightly dark hint of color around the sides of the glass. nice white head has good retention and leaves a rocky and broken top in its wake. aroma is very complex, earthy hops, notes of light fruit, apples, peaches, apricots, an touches of citrus with mounds of fresh grass and grain. again very well put together.

more of the same as i work my way into the flavor. nice and clean with a very well rounded body an even profile. quick hits of hops, earthy malts and a nice and well balanced profile really come together very very nicely. overall a great little beer and really exactly what i was hopping for.

 758 characters

Photo of Jason
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown longneck bottle with the Flying Fish logo on the label, no freshness date.

Appearance: Deep slightly dark orange amber, nice clarity with patches of sticky lace trail down the glass from a well produced white head.

Smell: Clean aroma of fresh milled toasted grain, a little hay that has been in the sun for too long. Hints of caramel and leafy hop in the nose also but still clean.

Taste: Stable medium body, crispness lends a nice palatable texture, clean and refreshing. Big fresh burst of toasted malt and side of caramel. A little bit of juicy fruit from the fruitiness. Wood and earth flavours come from the hop flavour which also places a modest but cutting bitterness on the tongue. Finishes dry and full of toasted grain.

Notes: Decent American Brewed ESB, why not call it an American Amber Ale because that is what it is. Either way it is an easy drinking ale that is worth a try.

 927 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 5/15/10 notes. Had on tap at Danny's in Red Bank, NJ.

a - Pours a copper-amber color with an inch of white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of bready malts and wheat. Also has some sourness to it.

t - Taste of bready malts, wheat, yeast, and maybe caramel malts. Little bit of bitterness to it as well.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - An ok beer but nothing great. Not a lot of bitterness and the sourness in the smell wasn't great. Wouldn't look to have again.

 491 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.36/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber hazed hue with a nice foamy off white head elaves nice intricate lacing not bad at all let's do some tasting. Aroma: Caramel malts and hops interlace very nicely in the aromatics of this brew. Taste: Biscuit caramel malt sweetness represents with an undertow of flowery hops not bad at all similar profile to the Extra Pale which is a bit weird. Spices appear a bit stronger as the beer warms which catches me off guard , I guess the folks at Cherry Hill are using prepackaged spice and similar yeasts in each of their brews. Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a bit rough in this medium bodied ESB, becomes a bit cloying after awhile. Drinkability: Not bad not my type of session brew but interesting for an ESB not true English style in any way classified as a hybrid, it's ok.

 788 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange amber with a small amount of head. Nose is extremely mild wood. Very little to it. Flavor is a woody bitter. Fairly prevalent tang on the tongue as well. Not really a complex beer, but certainly isn't lacking. Feel has an attacking carbonation. Decent liquid feel. Overall it is drinkable, but not one to rush to the store for.

 343 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light amber with an ample head that descends to a thin cover. Some traces of thin lacing sticks to the glass.

The smelll is of lightly roasted caramel with a slightly floral backing.

The taste is of caramel and toast with a floral/earthy balance. Malt accented but with some bitterness mixed in. Fairly dry in the finish.

It has a medium body though there is something thin about it.

Seems more like an amber ale than an ESB, though I can see some English characteristics to it. Overall, a decent, "sessionable" ale.

 526 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.64/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: bright, deep crimson color, nice 1/4" , bubbly, off-white head.
Aroma: clean and airy, with underlying fruit (grapes, cherries) that flowers, then crisply closes.
Taste: easy entry on the palate, very little standing out, with a swift, forgettable finish. Fruitiness detected in nose recurrs in the flavor, comes back taste after taste, although body and texture are fairly light.
A nice ESB, not bad at all.
Thanks to jcalbi for this one.

 455 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber color with a medium sized head. The aroma has a nice mixture of sweet, floral tones, and hints of fruit. The taste is less than expected from the smell, but still tasty. Some sweetness is nicely balanced with the hops, but neither is strong. This is a medium bodied beer that has a slight bitter and fruity aftertaste, but does not linger around for long. I found this very drinkable and definitely could be a session beer.

 442 characters

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks a nice amber-gold color with a short white head and thick lacing. I wish I could find this on cask or nitro, because it'd really rock with a creamier body. As is, there's a nice, smooth, caramel malt body with a touch of grassy/herbal hops in the aftertaste. Seems a bit sweet at first, but it slowly balanced by the hops. Overall, quite a nice session beer.

 364 characters

Photo of tone77
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a light brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is malty, some caramel. Taste is malts, up front, a touch of caramel, hops are present at the finish, well balanced. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

 269 characters

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.

 594 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.51/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, courtesy of a family friend's refrigerator. I think this is my first beer from New Jersey, so hooray. On to the beer:

Light copper/orange in color topped by a long lasting head with healthy rings of lace. Esters and diacetyl, espeically the latter, drown the nostrils. To taste, buttery toffee takes contorl at first. Then, some strong fruity esters merge with a hint fo strawberry. Burnt bread sticks around in the aftertaste.

A good ESB/amber...whatever you want to call it, though a touch out of round to make it an all-nighter.

 551 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.59/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, my 30th state reviewed,

A: Pours a hazy translucent copper with a mild white head. Average head retention, no lace.

S: Nice caramel like nose of Munich malt, almost has an Oktoberfest feel with a hint of sulphur and cove.

T: Munich malt dominates with just a hint of crystal. Nice minerality/salts, mild hopping with a light earthy finish.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy, mineral rich.

O: An odd beer, it says ESB, listed on BA as an American amber, but really comes off to me like an altbier. I enjoy the minerality, but the overall flavour especially the malt isn't making me go crazy. A nice beer, at the price, I'm happy.

 639 characters

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.

 306 characters

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.

 866 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- The bright clear copper body has a creamy meringue head of beige that last for a bit. There is a gentle carbonation of big bubbles popping to the surface.
S- The soft green hops give way to a mellow slightly sweet malt and cream note in the finish.
T- The light toasted malt note has a sweet honey malt hint that turns watery in flavor as the beer opens up. There is a brassy green hops that hits the finish but doesn't linger.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a fizzy finish that cleans off the taste.
D- The malt has some nice sweetness but the flavor soon fades and the hops are mostly just bitterness.

 641 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
ESB Amber Ale from Flying Fish Brewing Company
3.51 out of 5 based on 242 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.