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
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 86
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 nomad
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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 Gasp100
4.23/5  rDev +6%
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 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 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 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 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 dwarbi
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
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

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

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
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 purplehops
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
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 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 boblinneman
4.55/5  rDev +14%
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.

 480 characters

Photo of John
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
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 pezoids
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
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 NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
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 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

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
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