Victory ESB | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
88
very good
42 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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
Reviews:
42
Ratings:
86
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
18.55%
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 86
Photo of letsgopens
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on cask at Victory Brewing, this selection stands very cloudy/woody peach with some nice golden highlights. A thin rim of off-white bubbles hang around the surface of the brew. And of course no real head on this cask selection.

Dim but malty with a bit of spice and tanginess. Fruity and yeasty with a hint of toastiness and toffee. Just a hint of dim hops floats about. Not terribly pronounced in the aroma department.

Dim with some mellow yeasty fruit. That familiar mellow crystal malt character is present along with orange and lemon. Very similar to the nose; dim and rather uneventful. Reasonably flavorful I suppose.

Soft and smooth but also rather dull and matted; and not just do to the cask conditioning. The finish brightens up a bit but not much. I think this selection just doesn't lend itself well to cask.

 834 characters

Photo of corby112
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Draft at Kraftwork on 2/17/11.

Pours a clear golden amber/orange color with dark golden orange hues when held to a light and one finger frothy white head that quickly fades into a very thin lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Slightly earthy hop aroma but the nose is dominated by a sweet malt character. Hints of earthy pine and very faint sweet citrus balanced by toasted caramel malt, rye and biscuit.

Medium bodied but fuller than expected with a hop forward flavor that lingers into a dry finish. This is quickly countered by a strong malt backbone with hints of caramel and biscuit. Although this is decently balanced, the hops are the star here with a lingering bitterness and dry finish. The ABV is decently masked but this beer is still a bit harsh.

 755 characters

Photo of psugrad98
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Medium amber in color, clear with moderate head andr lace. Very hoppy with slight carmel pinch. Taste is rich and biting with slight alcohol flavor. Hop flavor reminiscent of sour apple with floral hop bite.

 207 characters

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I felt this beer was solid, but nothing special for an ESB. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this, but I would have again if available.

It was an amber color with a haze. Tasted nice, but not as strong enough for the style in my opinion. Not enough hops. Not enough flavor. It seemed like a milder version of the ESB's I've tried. On the plus side, it is smooth and drinks easily.

 385 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think that I would have been more impressed with this beer had it been on the hand pump instead of Hop Devil or Milltown Mild. It does have a nice herbal character that works well with this slightly hoppy take on the style. Still, i was more impressed with several other beers I tried during my visit.

 303 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty aroma that is accompanied by a mild hop scent. It's light, but still packs a malty punch. The taste is decent. It has a grainy pale and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry with a nice hop flavor. It's an easy drinker even at 6.25%. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It's not my favorite ESB, but it'll do in a pinch.

 545 characters

Photo of Boto
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Victory. The beer is a rich copper color. Excellent hop aroma. Maybe even some floral traces in the nose. Medium-full, well balanced malty taste. There is also a pretty good shot of hops in it. Very smooth to the palate. An excellent Quaff!

 252 characters

Photo of gdfan47
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a nice inviting brown with a little bit of head, and a little lacing
S- malt, hops, fresh smelling in general some faint sugar smells
T- very nice, the hops are there, you can really taste the bitterness of it, works out really well on the cask
M- Cask beers are just tasting better to me, like the uncle teddy's I really like this on the cask, refreshing and really able to taste the hops and the malt
D- very good, still low enough abv to be a session beer

a solid ESB,I think I dig the Uncle Teddy's more... but ill reach for this one again

 548 characters

Photo of Nickls
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Poured with a nice frothy and bubbly slightly off-white head. Great lacing throughout the sample. Deep, dark brown color

S - Sweet malt/prune-like aromas. Hop bitterness is not present

T - Deep, rich maltiness, dried fig flavors stick out. Dry hop bitterness finish

M - Medium MF, and nearly mouth-coating. Very little carbonation for the style, but not anything that detracted too much

D - Not nearly as drinkable as other ESB's that I've sampled. This is mainly due to the lack of hop bitterness to balance out the malty richness.

Overall, definitely within the style, but leaned a bit too heavy on the malt side of the equation. Could have used a bit more hop bitterness, but still a very good brew. Try it if it's around.

 750 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish red as opposed to reddish brown and had a decent head that died quick with minimal lace and a airy, clean aroma of some bread malt and touches of sweet caramel and minimal hops. A bitter hop taste first hit me, but then it smoothes out and is balanced thanks to some sweet caramel and bread malt (possible bitter chocolate or toffee in there). Good balance and finish, not the most flavorful ESB I've had but a pretty good one.

 445 characters

Photo of mecell2000
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

ESB on cask at Victory Brewing Company's retaurant in Downingtown.

Milky white head ontop of a cloudy yellow body. Good carbonation that accentuates the smooth taste. Malty and hoppy all the way through, both in taste and smell. Finishes lightly with a citrus taste.

Victory's ESB is made from the base of previous batches of Old Horizontal and you can really taste it in the brew.

 384 characters

Photo of Chinon01
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Tea color with minimal spotty lacing.

Nose and Taste - Graham cracker crust, warm and orangy, grain and maple. Minimal hops in finish. Lacks minerality.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability - Mouthfeel is thinner but includes crispness and graininess. Drinkability is high due to cask.

 291 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory ESB

Pours an orangeish copper color. Aroma of floral hops, caramel and orange citrus. In the flavor, herbal tea, citrus zest, and mild grassy bitterness from the hops. The malt/yeast foundation adds alot of toffee, butterscotch, caramel, and bread tones. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and well carbonated. Straightforward and very English in style, this is a worthy ESB with a good amount of flavor.

 414 characters

Photo of jreitman
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich amber with a nice light beige head. Aroma was more subdued that I like in a ESB, especially considering some of the great ones I have had in the PNW. Sweet caramel malt and a slight hop bite comprise the majority of the flavors with not a whole lot else going on. The brew is very "by the book" when it comes to the style guidelines and doesn't seem to take any steps towards anything overly original. A good beer by Victory, but not my favorite ESB.

 455 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with a smooth, even, head of white on top that faded off after a couple of moments. Light lacing was left by the side. Aroma is bready, hints of caramel and grassy notes and warming brought out tons of grains. Light, crisp and clean taste, light grassy hops and a smooth even caramel malt base made up the bulk of the profile

 340 characters

Photo of scottyshades
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at the brewery

A: Pours a transparent copper color with a medium-sized white cap. Retention is decent

S: Soft pale malts give a light toasty note, hops give lots of earthy and spicy notes. Well balanced, and definitely English

T: The low carbonation + the cask makes this really English. Subtle hops and malts are nicely balanced. Hops are spicy, earthy, slightly citrusy. Malts are light, slightly bready, and balance well

MF/D: Carbonation is low, body is medium for the style. Finish is of spicy hops

 512 characters

Photo of maddogruss
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a pint of this at the Victory sponsored MBA night at Cloverleaf Tavern in West Caldwell, NJ.

A: Pours a nice, dark golden body with a white head with excellent retention and nice lacing along the sides of the glass and the top of the beer.

S: Smells of a slight sweet maltiness with bitter, earthy undertones.

T: A pretty bitter taste with a smooth, sweet malty aftertaste. Excellent taste overall because the sweeter aftertaste did well to balance the pretty strong, bitter taste.

M: A nice, crisp and refreshing feel overall that was fairly smooth.

D: A very drinkable beer. A nice, bitter taste with a smooth, sweet aftertaste. Combined with a crisp, refreshing taste makes this beer very easy to drink or a nice session beer.

 738 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Casked Victory ESB, on tap at Capital Ale House, Richmond, VA, Midlothian location. Served in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: An abnormally dark brew with a foamy one-finger head, very cask-esque, complete with spotty, bubbly, sticky, cheesecloth-esque on the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Odd but interesting phenols, a handful of herbal hop notes, and brown sugar and caramel notes make up the bulk of the aroma on this one. A few light fruity notes buried in the mix emerge upon close inspection, sort of like apples and figs.

Taste: Incredibly toasty and malty, with a few stray phenols that come across as fruity though are also slightly medicinal. Bitterness is mild, as are a few buttery notes. Herbalness comes through as it warms, tobacco like. The maltiness here is provided mainly courtesy of toffee and light coffee notes, though there are a few stray dark fruits as well, as well as that crisp, glass-like, crystal malt taste. Balanced, as any good ESB should be, though perhaps more malty than hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and soft. Medium bodied, that nice low carb cask feel. A few sticky residual sugars and a slight hop prickle round things out.

Drinkability: A solid offering from Victory, and one I'm glad I tried. Strikes that perfect ESB balance, and the casking brings them out nicely. Though the hop and malt notes on their own aren't my favorite varieties, they do go reasonably well together, and I'd be happy to try this one again.

 1,476 characters

Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. Not to bitter either.

 627 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask at he brewpub. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice ted copper with an off white head and plenty of lacing. Nose brings earthy, herbal, and floral hops plus a touch of caramel. The flavor adds in a tiny amount of citrus plus some mild bready notes. Floral hops prevail. Lovely feel with great bitterness levels. A really solid and fantastically drinkable beer.

 363 characters

Photo of rugbycritic
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a rare find for us here in WNY. A local here (Monty's Krown Lounge, Rochester, NY) had a selection of Victory specialties recently, and this one was in it.

Our benchmark for measuring ESB's always starts with Fullers, who most likely originated the style. I am happy to report, this is not a clone of Fullers, the Victory lads wen out on thier own in another direction.

Color is the expected lovely amber glow, slightly lacy on the glass, an excellent malt and hop balance, almost restrained. Allowing it to warm in your hand, which I know is a difficult task, will yield excellent results with the malt and hop flavors bursting forth.

I would recommend this with out reservation, unless that will get me a seat at the bar in front of the handle for more.

 772 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Piper's Pub a couple weeks ago, I couldn't help but drink the hell out of the Braumeister Pils that was flowing at the same time. This one pours a copper amber hue with a light off white head forming nicely in my glass. Aroma has caramel malt sweetness, hints of cereal bread grains, and earthy herbal hop notes. Flavor continues the trend of caramelized maltiness with a hint of toasted marshmallow with creamy sweet dessert bread, enough hops step up to balance it out but this is very English hopping which works for the style. Earthy, herbal hops grace the palate with a light edge of citrus peel nothing heavy just a kiss that makes the beer very very drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample mellow carbonation level that works so well for this beer. Overall drinkability is high, I didn't guess this alcohol to be anywhere near 6% abv, quality American brewed ESB from my own experience that can be a rarity.

 940 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on cask in a pint glass

Appearance – Served an orange-copper color with a thin off white head. The head faded very fast leaving only a very light amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is biscuit in nature mixed with a bitter hop aroma of earthy and citrus nature. There are light spice and herbal aromas mixed into the nose as well which overall create an overall very pleasant aroma.

Taste – The taste is biscuit up front as the nose would have predicted. In the middle some of the citrus hop flavor and spice then comes into to the tongue. The citrus loses ground fast but the spiciness gets stronger. In the end the spice flavors mix with the bread an herbal/grassy flavor and an earthy hop flavor to leave a bitter spiced flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – Typical for a cask beer this one was creamy in body and low in carbonation. It was nice and smooth and very drinkable.

Overall - The flavors of this beer taste and transition well making this one a very easy drinking bitter with a nice smooth feel and taste.

 1,036 characters

Photo of dmarch
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I wanted to skip over this because it's not quite as big as victory's other beers, but I'm glad I didn't. Amber in color with a fluffy white head. Excellent floral hop aroma. Taste is well balanced with a mix of hops and the caremel like maltiness. It's pretty much a hopdevil jr. Great as a session beer when hopdevil seems a little too strong.

 345 characters

Photo of pheurton
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1/2 gallon growler...crystal clear tannish-orange with a fluffy white head. detect mostly malts in the nose. this is an interesting ESB...at first very fruity, but the hops come in at the end to balance it out with a nice dry finish. full of sweet malt flavor, but not cloying in the least. hops seem to come out a little more as it warms. makes a tasty session beer. i wish they would bottle it.

 396 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Victory ESB from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
88 out of 100 based on 42 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe