Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB | Stoudts Brewing Co.

673 Ratings
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Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESBStoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB

Brewed by:
Stoudts Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

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Ratings: 673 |  Reviews: 372
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite pleasant. Copper amber color. Quick and moderate head. Lasting lace.

Taste is quite exempalary for an ESB. Biscuity malt. Check. Caramel. Check. Balanced with noticeable hops bitterness. Those hops are also readily apparent on the nose, esp. once first poured. Slight metalic taste could be my imagination, since I noticed another reviewer mention it, but it fits in in a pleasant way. That taste I think is from the hops (?) and I've noticed it in the style before.

On further tastings, I may be convinced to go higher with the rating for the taste. But the score isn't as important as this: of the many ESB's I've tasted this easily, in my mind, is in the upper tier. It has the complexity only the best in the style can pull off.

Darn fine ESB which is definitely worth giving a try.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Deep translucent red/auburn (I see why it is called scarlet lady). Moderate frothy head with a big ring of lace clinging to the side.

Smell - The strong hop aroma typical of an ESB overpowers anything that might be underneath.

Taste - Not as bitter as I expected. The hop aromas are more prominent than the flavor. A subtle sweet hoppy taste initially that quickly changes to a moderate and pleasant bitterness. A malty character appears to round it out. Not bad. Nothing extravagant and devoid of anything repulsive.

Mouthfeel - Medium viscosity, frothy, not very drying for a bitter beer. Actually quite refreshing.

Drinkability - Very good. Unlike many ESBs I've had in the past, this one is not oppressively bitter, which makes the prospect of a second a reality as opposed to a hopeful fantasy.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber with a thick frothy head. Aroma is some caramel malts and a tang of hops, maybe some rye.

Taste is rich and malty with a hint of sourness, maybe some rye malts in the blend. Hoppiness is low but present, not much more than a vague fruity flavor. Soft malts all the way round, much of the extra special bitterness is absent.

Mouthfeel is medium, nice to drink. A decent ESB, even if it does lean more towards the malt. I could session this one.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served chilled in a bottle poured into a pint glass, it pours an amber color with decent 1 1/2" head. Retention and cling is nice and this brwe appears very clean and nice.

Aroma is of some hops, but a wheat and mild caramel maltiness is also detected. Nothing too exciting, but decent aroma. A little biscuit to note as well.

Sipping reveals a rather bitter hop flavor, backed by some slight maltiness toward the finish (swallow). The bitterness is not as potent on the 2nd sip as the first, and this is well balanced. ESB's are not especially my favorite style, but this is very drinkable due to the carbonation not being too overpowering and the bitterness of the hops is nice.

I would recommend giving this a try. Not my favorite, but like I said, I am just not the biggest fan of the style.

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Photo of Franchise
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a good ESB, this beer pours dark brown with a slight tan lace that lingers for awhile. The look of the beer is nice and clear, with a smell of toffee and nuts. The taste on the palate is sweet, malty, with some hop kick to it. I taste caramel, toffee, and nuts. I like this beer, I would def get it again.

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Photo of Naes
3.36/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a brownish copper color with a fleeting tan head. Some lacing does occur.

Its smell is hopy and bitter.

The flavor has a brown sugar quality. It starts off sweet and finishes with a hop kick.

The carbonation is good for an ESB, and is light in the body department.

This is an easy drinking beer. I could definitely drink this one again, but don’t feel that I will be purchasing it again.

Worth a try.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a nother brew that isn't bad, but still misses the mark a bit.

It pours a nice amber colour that looks very full. It is topped by a creamy head that leaves surprisingly little residue on the glass.

The smell consists of hints of caramel, malt, some fruit and a bit of wood.

Flavour-wise, this one didn't really hit the mark as an ESB for me, though it was still pretty tasty. Hop presence is felt though malt seems to dominate here, as earthy and woodlike flavours are littered throughout. It starts to go sweet for a second but moves back into a malt flavour. Alcohol flavour is surprisingly high here as well, leaving a warm feeling in the throat. Mouthfeel is average, with the body being a bit overcarbonated for me, which cut into it's smoothness.

As mentioned, this one isn't bad, but needs some tinkering. I've had better from Stoudt's.

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.42/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a nice reddish copper with a thin, near beige head that leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The smell is a pleasent mix of spices and sweet, sticky malts balanced by floral, citrus hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is just the average bitter taste of english style beers, without any complexity or depth, and a huge lack of balance. The flavors that are there aren't bad, but just aren't anything special in any way. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery.

Drinkability and Overall: This is about as average of an ESB as possible. This is not a hard style to make complex or fun, and this one just doesn't stand up to the test. Stoudt's hasn't been impressing me as much as they used to. It's either the fact that these beers are brewed in Adamstown now instead of Fredericksburg, or my taste in beer and my palate has matured. Let's hope it's the latter.

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Photo of ChowHound
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A burnt amber color with a dense head of firmly packed baby bubbles that produces a head of ample froth. Aroma is laden with caramel notes and toasty nuts. Mouthfeel is medium, flavor is sweet and then followed by enough bitterness to make this a good example of a real ESB. Great beer here.

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Photo of mentor
4.01/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to frnacisweizen for this one. Reviewed March 2005. Pours a 1/2 finger caramel fluffy head over a rust orange liquid. Opps, I poured the sediment into the glass, so it's faily cloudy. Smells quite hoppy with woody and citrus notes (KGoldings?). Some fruity esters carry the hops and I think I get some vienna malt, too. Tastes mild malt sweet witha mild tang in the middle. After the swallow, a fantastic fruity malt rises up my throat and hangs on the back part of my tongue. Wow, that was a neat experience. It's got some rougher hop character. Citrus and grassy. Not grapefruit like american hops...woody citrus and sour piney. THe bitter is more than I like in an ESB, but I'm a ho-head. It adds an interesting dimesnion. Mouthfeel is creamy and light. Not macro-swill light. It's soft with mild carbonation lifint any viscosity so the beer doesn't coat the tongue. Very nice. With searching, I guess it's medium-bodied, but appears less because of the creamy and carbonation gives it the experience of lightness.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On sale today at Spirit Haus, it was a good deal and I like ESBs so I thought I'd check it out. Surprised. It's not really an ESB, in my opinion. More of an amber really, but I'll review it anyway. Reddish amber copper color with a decent head on it (actually it fizzed right out of the bottle). Smell is pretty light but there's some nice doughy malty notes and some prescence of herbal hops, and a bit dusty. The taste is very mellow. Much as it smells, but the hops are even more subdued. Nice warm wheaty and barlyish flavor with a soft malty palate but not at all normal for the ESB style. A little toffee maybe, reminiscent of the English style ESBs. But like I said, if this was an amber I would be totally pleased with it but this beer isn't bitter at all. What's the deal?

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Photo of ski271
3.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ESB is a beautiful medium copper color with a thin, light tan, mostly diminishing head and some lacing early. The aroma is rather light, some toasted malts and a little floral hops but not as much as I expected from an ESB. There’s also some sort of herbal aroma that I can’t put my finger on. Taste is smooth and mild, more grainy than hoppy, but it has a nice crisp but short finish with a little bit of bitterness. Mouthfeel is very good, slightly oily maybe, medium body, soft carbonation, surprisingly good though. This beer isn’t anything that wow you, and I don’t think it is a good representation of its style. However, it is a well-rounded beer that is very inviting. I enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of wisnerd
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours nicely with a thin and delicate tan head. The red amber color is pleasing as is the odor. Taste is slightly bitter but not extra specially bitter, with a hint of sweetness and the hops rounded out well. The Scarlet Lady has a good consistency but is a little too bubbly, I like a woman who is a bit more reserved. This could be due to the bottle. Overall a solid beer with excellent value ($1/bottle but then again I live 30 minutes from the brewery). Goes well with a meal or on its own, and is a good choice in general.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12ozer bottle bought as a single from Oliver's Beverage in Albany, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head above the copper brew. Head exhibits reasonable retention, with average-to-good lacing. Aroma is sweetly malty, with little hops character evident. Taste continues in the same vein, with the balance leaning towards grain, an oddity for an ESB. Mouthfeel and drinkability okay, but in this brew's case the maltiness just limits the ease-of-drinking factor a bit. An acceptable brew that seems mis-categorized, but it's hard to switch when ESB is in its name...

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Photo of emericanchaos
3.57/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Color is a nutty brown almost wooden color. Tinges of orange around the edges. Auburn i guess would be a nice way to put it. Very little carbonation and very little head though i poured gently.

Smells of English beers. Malty smell of a Bass Ale with a dose of hops.

Truth in advertising here, tastes exactly how you would predict from the smell. Reminds me of Bass ale in the background with all the english malt but with a heavy dose of hops to give it a dryness that pushes the malt away.

Feels thick and sluggish in the mouth. Lack of carbonation is who i blame. I'm tempted to pour another to see if it's just this one bottle but as i said, i poured gently so it's unlikely that I'll yeild different results.

Easily drinkable. While the hops overpowers the malt here with a balance slightly more hoppy then a typical IPA it's not hoppy to a point where's it's too bitter. I'm a fan of hops but i don't think this is intimidatingly hoppy. My guess is much less malt was used in making this brew. Reguardless, i'm not so intrigued that i absolutely have to have another but it would be easy to make a night of it.

Basically, if you like Bass Ale then this should be a good choice. In comparison the Scarlet Lady is less carbonated and more hoppy then bass but strikingly similar for the most part.

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Photo of Gavage
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber to bronze in color with a 1/2" head. Some mild lacing develops during the drink. The aroma is slightly bland as only some malt is detectable. The flavor is bolder than the aroma, as toasty caramel, bread, raisin, and a hint of nut are up front. The bitterness is mild and not very noticeable.

The mouthfeel is smooth at the start and finish. The toasted caramel tones linger briefly. A decent brew that could be better with a touch more bitterness.

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Photo of Suds
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a beautiful, clear, amber colored liquid with a moderate tan head. The nose is dominantly of toasted malts. There’s a subtle hop floral-ness in the background, framed with a dough and cracker-like smell. The aroma is not particularly strong, but it’s solid and stable. The taste is malty and sweet, balanced very nicely with the hops. The toasted character stands out in the taste, with a little nut and fruit. It all comes together as a very drinkable beer. An outstanding session brew.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear red brown color and a tan, lasting head. Nose is dry cereals, roasted and edible.

Taste is even more edible than the smell. Roasted peanut shell and granulated grains, rich in flavor. Definitely nutty, like cashew butter, lined with bitter hoppiness.

Carbonation is pretty high, which I thought detracted from the excellent taste and lowered the drinkability.

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Photo of necoadam
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Town & Country in W. Springfield, MA.

Pours out a amber/copper color with some nice carbonation visible and stays with you a good amount of time. Smell consisted of malts mostly, some toasted aromas hung around in the backround. Some hops and citrus aromas hang around in the background as well, but faint compared to the other aromas. Taste was ok. Malts, toffee, and toasted flavors show up with some hops kicking in the middle and finishes on the dry side. Not a bad example by any means, but this needed a little more bitterness to it. Afterall it's called an extra special bitter. But not bad for a session beer.

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Photo of chilidog
2.63/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had to step back from this ESB and wonder, is this a bitter at all? And according to the bottle its brewed in Fredrick, Maryland for this Pa. brewer. Whats up?
It pours a creamy copper amber with a slightly tan, well carbonated head that fades quick. Lace in spots at best. The aroma is malty sweet with hints of strawberry. The taste is sweet caramel, toffee with a thick over the top buttery toasted malt. I find little to no bitterness or hop to balance this beer. I find the drinkability hard for its just too sweet. My score--not inpressed by this Lady.

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Photo of shapudding
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a great amber color. There is alot going on in that glass... millions of floater like sediment shooting around. This bottle was shared and the pourer did not think to even out the pour and we had a fun experience in that my glass caught the sediment and another was clear, the amount of yeasty taste was sooo different between the 2 glasses also. Lesson learned. Very balanced brew and very, very tastey and nicely sweet but not overly so. Juicey finish.

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Photo of mschofield
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red-gold, well carbonated with a two finger tan head.
Caramel, strawberry aroma, Perfume like - with a tinge of alcohol.
Perfumy floral taste "juicy", caramel, ok bitterness but not high enough for an ESB. Butterscotch, toffee and citric bitterness.
Medium bodied, needs to bring in some more bittering hop to equal the aroma and taste.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.82/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

NOTE*** I have tried this beer in two different glasses (6 beers total on different nights). A pint glass yields the best smell and flavor. This review is a summary of the six experiences, with beer #6 currently being enjoyed while typing.

Appearance: This beer is a nice copper color. It is cloudy enough that it is nearly opaque - light does effect its color but you can not see through it.

Smell: The smell is sweet and hoppy. As per the bottle, there is a floral aroma as well. All of these are subtle however.

Taste: I know that they classify this as an extra special bitter, but really, its not especially bitter. It is special in the flavors that accompany the bitter. Have you ever bitten into a flower before? There is a bitterness in this beer that accompanies the hops. I could be imposing it because mentally I'm processing the sweet floral smells, but I swear I taste the flowers.

It is very special. The taste has much grace. It actually starts off in the mouth very gently, almost a clean tasteless quality for about 3 or so seconds. (hey, that can be a long time). Once it has had a chance to sit on your tongue it starts to activate the bitter areas with the hops. It finishes with a sweet herbal/citrus aftertaste that is not overpowering. It is just enough.

Of the beers that came in my Stoudt variety case, this one is probably my favorite - or at least tied with the American Pale Ale.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.11/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a one-fingered bubbly head that goes quickly and leaves some lace. Clear amber color. Medium carbonation. Faint malty nose. Medium bodied. Starts with a slight sweet maltiness and finishes with just a hint of bitterness. $1.40 for a 12oz bottle

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew reminds me, in nearly every way of Harpoon Ale.
It pours a hazy copper color with a fairly fast fading white and a small amount of trailing lace.
A fruity and somewhat citrusy aroma burst out at first pour, but fades quickly. A grassy malt smell picks up where the hops leave off.
This ESB is not as malty sweet as is normally associated with the style, and that's a bit disappointing.
A mild lemony citrus taste mingles with a light metallic tang.
I would prefer a little more malt body and an additional dose of dry hops.

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Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB from Stoudts Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 673 ratings.
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