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Victory ESB | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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BA SCORE
3.89/5
Very Good
86 Ratings
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States
victorybeer.com

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.25%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-22-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#11,418
Reviews:
42
Ratings:
86
pDev:
13.11%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
6
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 86 |  Reviews: 42
Photo of random846
5/5  rDev +28.5%

Photo of Number3red
5/5  rDev +28.5%

Photo of Thirsty2383
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of robdip9
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of stirgy
4.62/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I thought this beer tasted great. This could be a good session beer for me. It was a bit hazy from the cask but that is to be somewhat expected. The hops are apparent but not overwhelming. Very smooth and easy to drink in my opinion. One to seek out.

 250 characters

Photo of boblinneman
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The third single hop ESB in a series. Enjoyed this years ESB more than the previous. Also the second time I tasted this ESB cask conditioned this year. The first time the cask was mishandled so the beer was quite hazy. This time the cask was great, the beer poured clear with only a slight haze. Perfect head when poured. Perfect malt and hop balance. Beer finishes with a crisp hop bite but not overpowering. As soon as you put your glass down you will crave another sip.

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Photo of BeerDetective
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a very nice ESB, one of the better ones I have had made in the States, or England. They got everything right but the balance between the hops and the malt, which probably mellows on cask. I really liked this beer and had two pints before moving on to other beers last evening.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a darker brown with a full tan colored head. Good lacing present on glass.

S: Malty and sweet.

T: Bread bitterness from the hops up front and through the middle. Malts and maple sweetness to finish.

M: Body yet light enough to have few. Great feeling on the tongue - really creamy.

O: Well done ESB.

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear Orange-Gold, with a three finger fluffy head that slowly settles atop the beer clinging to all sides the entire way down.

S: Metallic, fruit, and flowery hops with a strong backbone of sweet malts.

T: Citrus, flowers, and an earthy, metallic finish. There is a lot of malty breadiness balancing the ample hops. This is a fine example of the style.

M: Good creaminess in the feel. Tiny bubbles. There is a long tasty finish on this as well.

D: This would be a top session beer for me if only it had a bit less alcohol(on the brewery menu it said 5.5%). Great beer all around though.

PS - If you get the chance to go the Victory check to see if this is on the beer engine. This is a classic beer for the hand-pump and should be tried by all if you have the chance.

 776 characters

Photo of John
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber/garnet color. Tight bubbled tan head. Lace is decorative. Aroma is medium toasted malt and juicy hops. Flavors are precisely balanced...perfect blend of malt and hop. The brew is not the least bit overstated, IMHO spot on for the style. Very English. Mouthfeel is light-medium. Victory obviously used some restraint when formulating this gem, choosing to be true to style rather than over the top. This would really shine cask conditioned...next time hopefully.

 481 characters

Photo of purplehops
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from a growler filled at the Victory Brew-Pub taps.

This ESB poured a deep orange-amber with a light tan frothy head that left pleanty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is malty with notes of citrus and floral hops with a wee bit of yeast fruitiness. The taste starts with pleanty of caramel and vienna malt flavors balanced with a citrus bitterness and some spicy hop notes. The finish is very smooth with a great balance between the hops and the malt with neither flavor getting the upper hand. Aftertaste is hops as the clear winner. Not over powering but a nice subtle lingering bitterness that slowly fades away. The mouthfeel is very smooth with a medium body.
Overall a very nice ESB. Well balanced with just the right amount of complexity to keep your interest but not take over all of your thoughts. Worth taking my growler back for a refill!

 862 characters

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours very clear golden / amber color and holds an off-white head that holds well but leaves little lace. Slow but steady carbonation. On the nose the aroma of golding hops and some fruitiness. On the palate nice hop flavor, some fruity flavors; apples, with a bit of biscuity malt and a pinch of toffee. Mouth feel is a bit light, but I really enjoyed this brew…

 376 characters

Photo of nomad
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From a cask at the brewery, this time around it pours the same orange-burnt umber color, but much more hazy. Thanks to it being hand-drawn on the pump, the head was highly bubbly but incredibly sturdy, never wavering or receding imperial pint after pint. Some wet lace, sometimes.

Smells quite grassy, incredibly similar to wet fresh cut grass, with accompanying hints of herbs and vegetables. These recede to show a floral-toned grapefruitiness - strange, but these two opposing types of hop scents were mingled together. Interesting to say the least. Opens to notes of rose-water and tiny thick caramel sauce. Though it was beautiful and wide-ranging, its smell was a bit soft at times.

On first sip, all I could think was how American this ESB is this time around. Very big and bold hops, throwing up big flavors of grapefruit and florals, undergirded by a burning and bustling roastiness and snappy wood flavors (like those in Geary's HSA). So much bitterness surrounds the tongue, with vegetal bitters like endives or chicory as the profile settles back. There is a sizable caramel flavor underneath all the hop onslaught, but the biggest product of the malt is roastiness. It doesn't taste just "roasty" but melds into the hops, giving the bitters a further rough and toasty edge.

Though almost last to mention, one of the first and most impressive part of this ESB on cask was the mouthfeel: thick, soft, smooth, and full. Yet, it never felt too filling, and went very well with wings, a burger, and some fries.

A perfect casking, represented well in the freshly punchy and dynamic hop flavors, and the impeccable conditioned mouthfeel. An interest step up from what I've experienced on draught, but so powerful it holds the drinkability back from being superb.

 1,782 characters

Photo of Mattysox
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed two of these on cask at Fathead's.

This ESB pours a ruddy orange color, slighty hazy, with a half-inch of thick, frothy head which dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma was a little understated, with hints of caramel malt and banana at first, giving way to subtle hoppy tones. The tastes were much more expressive than the nose; great balance between the sweet malty presence and a pretty assertive hop presence. The best part of this ale was the robust, creamy mouthfeel and its super easy drinkability. Even at 6.25%, this goes down super smooth. I could definitely make this an occasional session beer. Another great Victory product.

 645 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on cask at the Brewpub in Downingtown, PA. Served at cask temp in a Nonic.

A -A cherry red juice color w/ thick ecru foam - the appearance is mildly hazed as expected.

S - Red fruit, mild spice and sweet, but subtle toasted malts - the aroma is amplified in the cask delivery making for a very inviting combination of grape-like esters and sweet herbal hop notes with only a hint of earthy aroms detected

M - The feel is mildly roasted w/ smooth creamy malt and yeast texture w/ slightly fruit and floral hop resin on the palate w/ mild biscuit middle and bone dry finish

T - The taste has a nice combination of fruity and spicy w/ mild yeast tinged and slight grapeskin-like tannic flavor w/ a mild apple and light almond nutty sweetness and hints of herbal resinous goodness in the finish

D - I was more impressed with this ESB both because it was served in cask format and that it was fresher at the brewery which makes a difference in English Bitters IMO - definitely one of the better examples of style

 1,024 characters

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the Victory Brewery.

Deep golden color, mostly clear, with a thin fine head of less than one finger's width. Though not a large amount of foam, the retention lacing were very good, with lace all the way down the glass.

A very intricate mix of sweet malts and lightly floral hops with a sort of earthy undertone.

The malts rush in first with a sort of sweet, grainy, earthiness that slowly comes to balance on the tongue with the flavoring hops. The hops come on strong at the finish but continue well into the linger. This is a great example of using a lot of hops without getting stung with the bitterness. Carbonation was fine but abundant and lent itself to a somewhat creamy texture.

Very enjoyable and easy to drink. The hops were there in abundance but didn't blow me away right out of the gates like an IPA. The late bloom of the hops after the swallow was also very nice.

 910 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of KevinTK
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of bmills1608
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is rather fruity, quite nice with some spicy hop notes, English herbal hops dominate a faint malt background. Color was reddish copper with excellent clarity, smallish tight bubbled head. Taste was wonderfully rounded. I nicely caramelized crystal malt start, lots of lively fruity esters, very lively in the mouth. The taste is very similar to the nose. Herbal/earth hops jump in the mix towards the middle and end and blend perfectly with the clean malt. Carbonation was a bit tight, a few swirls fixed that. Finished with a warm tingling bitterness. A really good take on the style, very nice, very balanced and off the charts drinkable. This would sell like hot cakes if bottled.

 689 characters

Photo of Gasp100
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear copper color with a thick off-white head that had staying power and left nice lacing down the glass. The smell was of sweet, toasted malts and light floral hops. The taste was crisp and sweet somewhere in between a real strong ESB and a killer Pale Ale. The mouthfeel was bitter and the hops seemed to take over in the end, but still nice and sweet as well. This brew is extremely drinkable (as our all Victory brews) and the above average ABV means that this brew can sneak up on you quick. This is one of the best all around brews I've had on tap so far --- surpassing SNPA as a fantastic daily or session brew. I'm not sure about being "true" to the ESB style purist, but this is like Victory's "Pale Ale" for me --- something they don't have in the line up... yet. This will do just fine and should be bottled as part of their main lineup.

 866 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask conditioned. Fairly clear with just a slight haze. Golden-bronze with an off-white head that holds well but leaves very little lace (may have been a dirty glass). The aroma is brightly hoppy with Goldings and a solid caramel malt backing. The body is medium with a gentle carbonation that gives it a very smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is well rounded with sweet caramel malt and a light hop flavor. The bitterness is softer, playing a supporting role in the cask version vs. standard draught. There's a soft, gently lingering maltiness in the dryish finish. Superbly enjoyable in this presentation. Not exactly a session beer at 6.2% ABV, but worthy of enjoying more than one in an evening.

 713 characters

Photo of tuowl74a
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BrettVache
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this wonderfully delicious treat a couple years ago at the brewery and it turned out to be the best I tasted there. Wish we could get it in Rochester New York. Fantastic from start to finish, and also paired well with my meal, wish unfortunately I can't remember what it was at this time

 291 characters

Photo of dwarbi
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

White creamy head. The beer is a light reddish color. Smells a little flowery. Does not taste very bitter at all. I can taste a hint of cloves. It has a zippy mouthfeel and this lingers for a little while. Very drinkable.
Yet another good beer from Victory.

 258 characters

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Victory ESB from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 86 ratings
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