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Anvil Ale ESB | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Anvil Ale ESBAnvil Ale ESB
Very Good
677 Ratings
Anvil Ale ESBAnvil Ale ESB

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 03-10-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 677 |  Reviews: 333
Photo of wesley14
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of prototypic
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anvil Ale ESB pours a really nice scarlet stained copper color. It’s mostly clear. A little light reveals really nice orange and reddish highlights. It’s topped with an off-white head that stands a little over a finger or so tall. Retention was definitely on the shorter side. Lacing was definitely on the sticky side, leaving a really nice web of lace trailing down the glass.

The nose is a little weak in the aromatics department. It needs more strength. The malt base smells like a mix of light caramel and toasted malts. It smells a little sweet. Hops are definitely in the mix. They definitely seem English. They’re a little fruity, but feature some grassy and Earthy notes. There’s a strong bready or yeasty scent that’s prominent throughout. Alcohol is masked extremely well. I’m not getting much at all in that department.

The flavor is impressive. It is a little sweet up front. Caramel and toasted malts anchor things down nicely. It’s a flavorful malt base. Yeast is relatively strong and has a bread-like flavor to it. It works well and complements the malty flavors nicely. There are some nice hop flavors. They’re a little citric and grassy. I have no idea what the hop profile is, but it definitely seems like some form of English hops. They provide just a slight bitter flavor. Alcohol is buried and is not noticeable at all. Finishes yeasty and a little malty.

The body is on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is active, but isn’t buzzy. It really has a pretty good mouthfeel. I won’t have any problem finishing off this bomber. It is easy drinking.

Anvil Ale ESB is a really nice release from Alesmith Brewing Company. It really is a tasty representation of the style. If it has any shortcomings, the nose could use a little more strength. That’s about it. It’s impressive otherwise. Definitely worth checking out.

 1,867 characters

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is almost clear dark copper, with golden highlights. A huge tan head leaves medium lacing, and is overall quite a nice looking beer.

Smell is lightly spicy and fruity, faint earthy hops and warm and mild caramel malts.

Tastes is a bit understated however, all around. Malts up fron, hops on the finish, gaining some tang as is warms.

Feel is thin, but not fizzy, smooth, with a watery wet finish.

While I can smell and see some great quality, the flavor isn't as big as I feel it could be. Or, it just might not be my thing, but when I think "bitter", this isn't it.


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Photo of Mister_Joshy
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of mattknueven
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Lawnboy33
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of angrybabboon
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 5/9/12

Appearance: Dark copper/amber, pours clear - creamy, foamy off-white head to start, leaves a nice ring and spotty lacing

Smell: On the mild side - caramel malts, toffee, and dry, toasted biscuits - a touch of hard water, but not excessively English - a coffee ground-like roasted character, some dark fruit, English hops, nicely balanced

Taste: Easy drinking and tasty - caramel malts, pale malts, toasted biscuits, bread crust, toasted grains, slightly roasted malts, toffee, some hints of dark fruits - on the dry side, a nice level of sweetness - English hops with a touch of grass - slight minerality and hard water, but it's more subtle than in your face, and I approve

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, excellently carbonated, super drinkable

Overall: A remarkably drinkable ESB

While the aroma and taste are not overwhelmingly exciting, this beer is absurdly quaffable, especially for the style. I was not necessarily planning on drinking this bomber in one sitting, but it's definitely going to happen.

 1,035 characters

Photo of ycortez
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz capped bottle into a nonic tumbler- pours a surprisingly dark copper/red (almost mahogany) with one finger of beige head, which holds its own for a while and leaves some sticky lacing.

Smell is mostly comprised of toasted malts and hops. Some caramel, a little orange, something a little earthy.

Tastes great- definitely a lot of toasted malt, which comes through pretty strong at first (reminiscent of a dry stout almost), followed by some caramel malt sweetness, punctuated by an earthy hop bitterness. Finish is very nice, long, semi-sweet/semi-dry.

Mouthfeel is great- medium body with moderate carbonation. This is an exceptionally crafted beer and great complexity of flavor for such a drinkable, low ABV beer. Buy it if you see it!

 763 characters

Photo of JasonB
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice looking fluffy slightly tan 1 finger head that fades fairly slowly and leaves decent lacing as it does. The beer is a mostly clear darker amber toasty ruby reddish colored beer, with lots of bubbles rising up to reinforce the head.

Nose emits an herbal earthy grassy hop aroma, lightly floral, fairly grassy, with hints of herbal notes, light malty aromas with hints of toasty reddish malts, but that's about it.

Taste comes out malty at first, some caramel and plenty of toasty reddish copper malts, with a hint of sweetness and some juicy malts. Then hops again, but keeps from getting too bitter. A big grassy herbal hop flavor comes through, but not the Hedgerow herbal vegetative UK style herbal, a different one I can't really label otherwise. I like this one better than the U.K. style I'm used to. The earthy hops bring hints of fruit as well, and quite grassy almost hay like grassy. As it finishes it dries quite a bit with lots of toasty grainy speckled copper malts, a nice bitterness that doesn't overpower, and a bit more of the very grassy slight herbal hops.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bodied, tons of carbonation.

Overall not bad, better than I expected, I kinda put this one off for a little while as I was afraid it would have that herbal U.K. like hop that I don't like in most ESBs. Decent grainy malts, nice grassy hops, a bit floral, earthy, and tasty, without too much bitterness or sweetness.

 1,437 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: red-brown in color, 1/4 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: caramel, toasted malt, and citrus hops--really liking the smell

Taste: caramel, notes of chocolate and nut, light citrus and earthy hops--sometimes this takes on the taste of a Tootsie Roll.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet with light bitterness in the background

Overall: Nice, complex, and malty ESB. I scored this according to style and this is probably my favorite in the style. If nothing else it is my favorite bottle from AleSmith in this bottle size. I will get this again. If not marking to style, this would probably be about a 3.8.

 684 characters

Photo of ithinkimasofa
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of whatname
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of ghostwalker
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper body and tan head. Fits neatly and sweetly into my CBS snifter.

Nose is copper penny hops and malt. Subdued but still very pleasant.

Flavor is good, with the copperiness on the finish that I smelled before my first sip. Not sure if that's the hops or the malt, but it's a very nice US interpretation of my favorite UK style. Achieves a very nice flavor balance but avoids any hint of the characteristic UK butteriness.

Mouthfeel is slick and effervescent. Plenty going on for a lower ABV brew.

Overall is very good. Quaffable and tasty. Another solid brew from Alesmith.

 582 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Yep. That's a bitter." That's what struck my mind at the very start with this beer. And it's a pretty good one at that. Decent citrus and woody/leafy tones. I'll say that it seems mildly clogged and almost too thick on the body, but the whole thing does work. Can't really say it isn't worth trying. Naturally, I'd be interested to try this on cask.

 350 characters

Photo of kevgod
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of jrfehon33
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of grubefresh
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Massbmx
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle shipped to ATL from Escondido, CA

A - A cloudy amber, with 2 fingers of head, tons of sediment floating around in the beer, and yeast settling into the bottom of the glass

S - Dried fruit. Tangerine's and oranges. Definitely alot of citrus going on in the nose.

T - Light, fruity. Well balanced.

M - Full bodied, tons of carbonation, smooth

O - A damn good ESB. Alesmith hits every style that they attempt to the T. ESB's are not my favorite style, but if I am to have one, this is it. This beer grew on me as it warmed.

Since visiting the Alesmith brewery back in summer of '11, I am hooked to this brewery. Every beer is amazing.

 652 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at hawthornes in philly

Pours an opaque browned color with some lighter auburn hues. Crop of lightly tanned head rests on top, retaining well and leaving some spots of lacing on the glass.

Nutty and a bit sweet in the nose with plenty of bread crust and caramel. Soft touch of roastiness and some faint raisin.

Malty and full on the tongue up front. Somewhat robust with bread crust and a thick malt base. Bread crust with caramel and a faint touch of raisin. Decent amount of sweetness, but well balanced with the malt. Finishes clean with dark malt sweetness.

Medium body, decent carbonation, a little chewy and sticky on the tongue. A pretty drinkable, tasty beer, although I probably wouldn't have this too often.

 731 characters

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear. Deep, rich caramel color. Borders on mahogany. Crazy bright. Head is off-white and leaves a thin ring. Lively carbonation.

Smell: Toasted malts and bread crust. Faint dusting of minerals. Slight grassy edge. Some lingering caramel sweetness, but it's bready from start to finish. Hops run a touch floral, more herbal. Biscuits. Very mellow. Some roasted malts.

Taste: Bread crust cooked just a touch too long. Caramelized, cooked malts add a nice sweetness. Minerals from that lovely treated water add a nice earthy/gritty note. Hops remain herbal and dust citrus. So much toasted flavor. Nice roasted component to give it some depth. Fruity like apples and pears fused in to a super fruit. Very mellow.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth to say the least. A touch dry on the finish, but damn is it drinkable. Carbonation adds a lively backing.

Overall: A solid take on the style to say the least. The fact that it's American brewed is even better. Enough flavor to keep it interesting over the course of the 22, but it's never tedious. Drinks like a champ and then some.

 1,088 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color (similar to light maple syrup). Clear. Nice ascending head from the pour. Settles in lumpy fashion, leaving lots of webby lace.

Mildly earthy with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate. Good balancing hop to the nose.

Here is an ESB with a touch of Porter. Lots cocoa and spicy hop bitterness. The body is as one should expect for the style.

 352 characters

Anvil Ale ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 677 ratings
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