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Victory ESB | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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BA SCORE
88
very good
42 Reviews
THE BROS
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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
Reviews:
42
Ratings:
86
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
18.55%
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 86
Photo of Slatetank
4.27/5  rDev +7%
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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 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.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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 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 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.

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Photo of Mattysox
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of BeerDetective
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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 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.

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of bmills1608
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Victory ESB from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.99 out of 5 based on 86 ratings.
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