AleSmith Brewing Company

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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #12
Ranked #13,540
3.92 | pDev: 10.46%
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 334 | Ratings: 682 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, I could not wait! – my “beerpatience” is short, and got the better of me, when it comes to good beer I cannot wait. The 3rd of the AleSmith beers I purchased this morning, has already been opened, and is now being demolished.
Anvil pours a dense red copper-color – so reminiscent of a famous English ESB I once knew, it’s uncanny. A small, tight, Guardian head, that makes no fuss, but stays with the beer to the 'bitter' end. A lovely milk-chocolate biscuit malt nose leads you into the beer. The entrance just screams Oats and Malt – with a warming biscuity smoothness that adds a great dimension. A very smooth drinking Malty ESB, that has a very English feel for me (no names). I would dearly love to drink this beer on Draft.
AleSmith Anvil = 100% Beer Fidelity.
Two Hundred Years ago, the people that make these types of beers, would have been high ranking members of English Medieval Society – I hope they are held in the same reverence in the US today.

Oct 19, 2002
More User Reviews:
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice light cream colored head and stay around for a while but ultimately dissipates. The beer itself is a clear dark amber that is close to a strong copper. The look is pretty good and seems inviting.

The beer smell is very good. The smell is very balanced between the hops and the malts. The malts are a strong bready and a really nice caramel note that mix well with the lightly bitter hop notes. The hop notes are a bit grassy but still very good.

The taste is very good. Despite having the same notes, the taste is a bit more malt heavy than the smell. The taste still has the bready taste but the caramel note is much stronger than in the smell. The hops are also a bit weaker but still detectable.

The feel is good. The feel is a little bit heavy but still good. The beer has a light biting carbonation and a medium body. The beer has a sticky finish to it and smooth feel.

Overall, a very good ESB and worthy of being counted as an example of the style. The taste and smell hit the right spot and while the feel is a bit heavy, it isn't off-putting.

Aug 07, 2015
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rowew from Colorado

4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber. Lengthy description of the style on the back, but no freshness info to be found.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy red orange color with a bit of haze. Medium sized head that fades, but leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt aroma dominates, with a nice amount of fruity hops in there too.

Taste: Nice smooth mouthfeel and low carbonation which seem appropriate for the style. Bready malt flavor, with quite a bit of hops balancing things out. Very smooth and drinkable.

Overall impression: Highly drinkable, and nicely reminsecent of cask conditioned beers. Very well done - wish I could get it locally.

Nov 23, 2005
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zestar from California

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

May 05, 2014
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berlinabb from California

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Dec 16, 2013
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neonbrown82 from Nebraska

4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the first beer I've tried from AleSmith, thanks to dogfooddog. Tastes like it's straight from jolly olde England. The beer pours to a nice coppery amber color. Very little head. I wonder if it has anything to do with this beer being filled damn near to the cap. Still a nice carbonation. No lacing.

Sweet caramel malt aroma. Almost biscuity with a very small hint of buttery diacetyl. Some English hops varieties in the nose. The flavor carries along quite nicely from the nose as well. Very smooth and easy to drink. It's about right on for what I'd expect from an ESB.

Medium body with a light tingle of carbonation. Lingering caramel malt flavor with some fuggley bitterness as well.

Oct 31, 2006
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Frankensteineken from California

4/5  rDev +2%

Feb 17, 2013
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Taologic from Oregon

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Mar 31, 2014
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beersarang from California

4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown red with a slight chill haze. Head is actually miniscule due to the tightness of the carbonation, thick collar and spotty lace is left behind.

Fruity malt aromas rise out of the glass, very British.

Firm malt profile consists of caramel and grain, hops are soft and blend in well with the malts, mild bitterness. Finishes almost dry with some grain and biscuit. Almost perfectly balanced.

Medium to full bodied with low but perfectly prickly carbonation.

I would buy this again, I respect Alesmith for perfectly replicating a British ESB with no compromises, no "Americanization" etc. Definitely an amazing brew, by virtue of the skill of it's crafters.

Nov 27, 2005
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Sound_Explorer from Washington

3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Jan 23, 2016
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With all the newfangled ales that microbrewers are churning out (hell, I even saw a beer with bull testicles in it), Its refreshing to see time honored recipes still making waves.

Anvil ESB pours with a bright, light-gold color and the most modest of haze. A billowing ivory-white head races to the top of the glass with loosely knit foam that settles into a creamy blanket and scattering a spider-webbing of foam down the glass.

Thin caramel, biscuit and pecans start the show as the malts provide a most supple type of sweetness rounded by the slightest toasted grain character. Its dry taste is perfectly balanced with a floral hop nose and honeysuckle taste from noble English hops before developing into a spicy middle and a drying woodish bitterness to close.

Its light body is accented by its high effervescence that springs the ale from the tongue and ushers in a fast, snappy, and slightly iron-like finish. Mild minty warmth stems from alcohol along with a medium pepper note and slim hop-derived bite to close.

Anvil is an effortless ale that's well suited for near sessionable quality, but is sturdy enough for that decadent plate of bangers & mash.

Aug 21, 2013
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vkv822 from Oregon

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz : tulip

Clear amber red with a thick, foamy off white head with light lacing.

Toasty, biscuit malts with light caramel hints and mineral qualities and lightly earthy hop profile.

Medium body, with mild foamy carbonation.

A well done ESB. Enjoyable, though fairly standard flavor profile for the style.

Mar 19, 2013
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mpenske from California

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Jan 25, 2014
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MiScusi from California

4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. On tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA.

The appearance, appeared to be a light brownish perhaps with some orange in there but it was dark and hard to tell. Nice and clear, a little head cap which wore off fairly fast. Smell was of caramel malt and some hops.

This was not as hoppy as the other ESB's i've had, for example Redhook. This had generous portions of malt sweetness. On each sip it still contained a hop background, but malts were up front and very sweet. Very nice that you got both flavors in at the same time, but still contained the malt the most.

Mouthfeel was where it should be... on the lighter side, "moderatly light to heavy-light"

Drinkability was just great- A very solid beer by Alesmith. Best ESB i've had.

Jul 20, 2006
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stimulus from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear brown with a light beige head.
S: Caramel malts and light citrus.
T: Prominent caramel malts and a hint of toffee on the finish.
M: Light bodied, medium carbonation, and smooth finish.
D: An easy drinking, quaffable beer.

Dec 23, 2010
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the_encinitan from California

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Apr 18, 2015
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KarlHungus from Minnesota

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mar 06, 2016
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goalie33 from New York

4/5  rDev +2%

Aug 15, 2014
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Justdoit1234 from Minnesota

4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aug 28, 2015
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ommegangpbr from New York

4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells like... morning dew! A medley of fruits that contain beta carotene and/or vitamin C. Peaches, orange blossoms, apricots, tangerines...
Soft and refreshing to the nose.
The flavors reflect the scent some, but not with the same surprising and delicious impact. Still good stuff, but not what the nose may have led you to believe.
Mouthfeel could stand to be a bit more refreshing but it works out.
Easy to drink, that's for sure.
An enjoyable glass o' brew

Dec 22, 2008
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orangesol from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Feb 26, 2016
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Copernicus from California

4/5  rDev +2%

Mar 21, 2014
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SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

2.84/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to metallitone1 for this one.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Crystal clear light amber color with a very nice sized, white, bubbly head. Sporadic lacing and very nice retention.

The aroma was very, very subdued. About the only thing I could smell was wet metal. Possibly some mildly earthy hops.

Taste was a bit lacking as well. Not a whole lot of caramel or hoppiness or breadiness or anything. Slight bit of bitterness toward the end. Pretty weak overall flavor. A bit watered down and finishes quite dry.

I was expecting big things from this one. I have never had any Alesmith products and I have heard/read great things. ESB is one of my favorite style so I was a little disappointed with this one. Glad I tried it but I wont have it again.

Feb 20, 2008
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cosmicevan from New York

3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Swung by local bbq and craft beer joint, bobbique, for some lunch and a pint. Served in a glass mug. Brew is transparent brown w a thin creamy almost tan head. Nose is malt forward with a really nice crystallized malt caramel thing going on in the taste. A bit toasted. Easy drinker really nice example of the style, but on the earthier side of the spectrum. I wouldn't expected less earth and more hop from alesmith.

Jul 15, 2014
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paulish from New York

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

May 10, 2015
Anvil from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 682 ratings