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 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.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like most FF beers, you must get this when it's been fully fermented in order to properly judge/'appreciate' it. The 'ESB / Amber' tag is actually quite apt for the taste - and leaves my mind-palate in confusion as to what to approach this as. I lean toward ESB.

Flavor and feel - mostly ESB. It has English ale qualities similar to, though I'd stop short of suggested 'much like', Fuller's London Pride, though they could've been modeling it after their ESB. Flavors of old/oxidized fruit, diluted brandy (brandy, on-the-rocks? with the ice having melted a little?), and dried diner pancake syrup. Bitter (hop and or orange peel), nutty (as in nutshell?), malty (like B-grade sweet biscuit - Munich?)

Amber influence maybe in the color - which is somewhat lighter than the average ESB. I'm stretching this. A grainy, pale, mid-sky-sun orange-yellow. Sports some of the hop presence in the aroma or flavor which I've come to associate with most amber/red ales.

Pours with a weak fizzy head, though it doesn't drink flat. The feel isn't all that bad, overall - fairly clean and dry. Add some faint vegetable notes in the aroma, and that's basically it. The one time I got this on tap, it was pretty good - tasted more like an ESB. Maybe that's the way to go. Gotta let this warm up in the case of this bottle - nasty when cold. Mixed-up nonetheless.

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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

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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.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.72/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours amber with a small, short lived head, light carbonation. Aroma of sweet caramel, piney hops and ripe fruit. Flavor is similar with addition of some citrusy notes. Medium, slightly tangy body. Medium, dry, but not very bitter finish . Overall nice brew.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lighter shade of amber with a thin white head that leaves nice lacing. The flavor is heavy on the esters upfront, along with some caramel and toffee, biscuit, red apple and orange, earthy and floral hops and a touch of alcohol. The flavor is also full of esters upfront, along with some caramel and toffee, floral hops, biscuit, minerals and a hint of alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium and drinkability is really good. This is a pretty tasty interpretation of an ESB, more authentic than most americanized versions.

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

appearance: golden, amber, reddish

smell: loaded hops and citrus aroma, carmamel bread aromas

taste: balanced and very hoppy for a esb. nice toasty caramel malts

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: fantastic brew. great food beer. nice american take on a esb

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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.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rounding out the flying fish variety pack...

Poured into a standard pint glass, presented with a nice off white head and great amber color, good lacing of the head.

Smell is a bit mild caramely malt sweetness with mild hop undertones.

Taste is a well balanced mix of malt and hops. the malt presented as caramely, slightl roasted and grainy/bready. Hops were understated but provided a nice bitter balance.

Mouthfeel is solid, flavors equally through, maybe a bit on the top of the tongue but the bitter hop and sweet malt intertwince nicely.

Very drinkable, really wonder why I don't pick up more flying fish.

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Photo of kbanks13
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. into a pint glass

Pours a copper-ish bright amber hue with a one finger cream colored loose head that disappears quickly to leave a light ring of foam and moderate lacing. Smell is loaded with caramel malts with a backing floral hoppy-ness that is somewhat nicely balanced. Taste lives up to the nose, nice sweet malts with some decent hops cutting through, but not overpowering. Lingering nutty taste with a sweet finish. Light body with moderate to high carbonation. A nice refreshing beer that is good and simple, with enough bitter hops to have a flavor without being too hoppy. Are there better examples of the style? Sure. Is this still something that I would want to keep in my fridge when I want a solid beer for about any occasion? Definitely.

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Photo of etownrizzo
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Brew poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Reddish/amber color with a respectable white head of about a finger's width or so. Lacing was sticky and clung to the glass well as the beer was consumed.

S- A bit of maltiness and a definite fuggle hops presence. Nothing overwhelming here in the aroma.

T/M- Slightly malty and just a bit hoppy. Only a hint of bitterness making it neither extra special or bitter. Smooth and easy to drink. The medium body of it goes down well with a bit of earthiness that hangs on the middle to back of my tongue after swallowing.

D- Easy to drink and a good choice for hanging out with some friends while taking in a game or a bbq. The brew didn't blow me away by any means but it's still much better than most mass produced domestic ales available here in South Jersey.

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Photo of tjd112
4.27/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation - Poured into Flying Fish Pint Glass

Appearance - Copper hue with half-finger white head, well retained, lacing is average

Smell - A lot of sour apples with some breadiness

Taste - Very caramel/toffee taste with some muted sour hoppiness

Mouthfeel - Light to medium bodied, dry finish

Drinkability/Overall - Preferable to the similar styled River Horse Special Ale

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Photo of Seanibus
3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pleasant and insubstantial. A decent session beer, but little more.

Pours clear with a medium head, though it drops fast and leaves no lacing. The aroma is slight and a little sour, with an overripe hop edge. The flavor is sweet and malty with a piny, herbal hop character. There is some honey and clover, with orange and apricot. The mouthfeel is a little thick, with little bitterness clinging on the end.

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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.

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Photo of AdamMY
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is nice, but I'm still having problems getting a good head on these beers.

The aroma is good, with a slight hint of sourness to it, but other than that rather like rising bread dough.

The flavor is actually quite nice, lots of grains and malt, that leads way to spices and other fall flavors in the finish.

The mouth feel is smooth and creamy with just enough viscosity to stick to your palate and let your senses enjoy all the lingering sensations of it.

I also think this is an incredibly drinkable beer.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.72/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a cloudy medium copper with a light white head that only rises about a finger but is gone right away. Lacing is ok.

The aroma is super sweet with lots of apricots, and a little notes of toffee and nuttiness.

This beer is actually pretty complex. It starts off pretty sweet, a big hit of candied sugar, like a Belgian. Then a hint of tye. After the sugar its pretty dead, then as you awallow you get a slight bitter finish.

The feel is ok, a little on the light side without much on the palate.

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Photo of confer
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was our February selection in our BOTM club.
It pours a deep gold with blotchy head remnants. I've seen this look before and it's neither bad nor good.
Aroma is very light and all I got was minimal hops.
Taste has a stale malty start and a slight hoppy finish. I would expect a bit more from an ESB.
Carbonation is low. This is an Okay ESB. I wouldn't turn it down but there are so many others that I would go to before the Flying Fish.

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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.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another beer I have the pleasure of consuming thanks to jwc215.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours a opaque, reddish copper with just an inkling of a head which quickly dissipates into nothing leaving no lacing. The nose is interesting. There is a definite spicy pepper note, almost like a rye aroma, mixed with caramel, citrusy hops, and confectionery sugar. The flavor isn't as interesting. The spiciness found in the nose is completely none existent in the flavor profile. I find this beer a little overly sweet, with the caramel malts and powdered sugar coming through. There is a hint of breadiness in the finish. Only a slight grassy hop flavor can be found. The mouthfeel is, well, just a bit sweet for me. Its kind of sticky sweet. Light bodied with a medium carbonation. I think having ESB in the name is a bit of a misnomer. While not a beer for me, I could definitely see giving this to a couple of my non craft friends to enjoy.

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Photo of magine
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel glass.

Pours a very thin, amber colored brew with no head (white lace skims the top). No lace.

The brew smells of sweet bready malt. Slight floral hop smell.

The brew tastes sweet and malty, has a slight carbonated mouthfeel as well. Has a bit of caramel in the flavor. This is a pleasent tasting brew, although a bit ho-hum.

This brew is drinkable; wouldnt offend anyone. Casual beer drinkers would enjoy this brew if you had it at a party. This brew for me though is decent, but is lacking in all the things I look for in brews.

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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 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.

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Photo of deanhead
3.74/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

amber colored with no head. Adequately carbonated, but head reduced to nothing.
Aroma is nutty, and bready with hints of butter.
taste is sweet, and biscuity with some hints of diacetyl
medium bodied fairly easy drinking beer. Disappointed with the head retention of these beers so far.

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Photo of schmitter
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured a slight amber with a pencil thin head. Smells hoppy and like a marzen. Actually looks like one also. Taste is a toasty/caramel. Not much lacing to speak of, but is smooth and pleasurable. Tastes great, second best flying fish (# 1 is exit 4). . I think i'll have another.

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

Moderately chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear dark amber/gold color with a ½" light off-white head that recedes leaving behind a ring of foam around the liquid and patches of foam on the liquid. Periodic sipping leaves a nice pattern of fine lacing.

Smell: The aroma contains elements of caramel malt and flowery, spicy hops. While not particularly complicated the aroma is quite pleasant.

Taste: The flavor contains some roasted malt with some moderately strong bitter spicy hops. Neither the malt nor the hops dominate here and again the flavor is as expected from the aroma. The flavor is uncomplicated and is pleasant.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of this beer is light to medium bodied with a bit of creamy softness from the carbonation. The finish is moderately long, begins in malt sweetness and finishes with the dry spicy hop bitterness.

Drinkability: This is a pleasant, nicely made beer to be taken on its own. I could easily drink more than one and I could see spending an evening of drinking this beer along with good conversation among friends.

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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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