Anvil ESB | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Anvil ESBAnvil ESB
Very Good
680 Ratings
Anvil ESBAnvil 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: 680 |  Reviews: 333
Photo of ballewblake
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a magic hat pint glass.

Dark copper brown in color, one finger head. Good retention and lacing on the glass. Light aroma of hops, but nothing is standing out and in your face. On my second pour from the bottle, first time down had the bittering hops, either they killed my palette of I needed to drink so water, not getting them anymore. Really smooth beer, medium carbonation, easy to drink without over complicating it. A good esb.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark chestnut with an orange tinge and a nice tightly beaded head that fades to a thin cap. Nice gentle aroma of biscuity malt, soft minerality, and light citrus flavors. The taste is similar and pretty soft. There is also a bit of slightly grainy sourness on the end. Mellow and correctly carbonated, this is decent for the style, but not anything special.

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Photo of gford217
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours clear amber with a hint of red with a small off-white head that dissipates quickly to a ring with little lacing. The smell has citrus hops up front with a bready malt background and some fruity sweetness in there as well. The taste really caught me off guard with an immediate tongue-tingling bitterness that actually has a noticeable lemon tartness to it. There is a strong spiciness toward the finish as well with only a hint of the bread behiind the massive bitter kick. The mouthfeel is crisp and clean with a strong carbonation that accentuates the tartness. The drinkability is limited a little by the bitterness, but this is a decent bitter and a very unique offering from AleSmith.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to srandycarter for the bottle!
Pours a light brown/orange blend with some slight haze and a decent white head. Smells of some light toasted malts, bread, and yeast. Light aroma of some piney hops, but not much.
Nice full flavor with some bready malts and a decent bite on the finish. Good session beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

A- Pours a dark orangish amber color with a nice creamy light tan head.

S-The aroma is pretty balanced with toasted malts and citrusy hops. Nice aroma, but it is a little faint and would be much better if it was a little stronger.

T- The taste like the aroma is very balanced between the malt and hops. Also like the aroma, good flavor but I would like a little bit more of it.

M- The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. Very nice.

D- Overall, AleSmith Anvil ESB is a solid beer that is worth a shot. Recommended.

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Photo of hooliganlife
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I love ESB's and I love Alesmith so I figured the Anvil ESB would be amazing. I was sort of let down I guess. Poured from a 22oz into an imperial pint glass. the bitterness was well hidden and I really never found it. Most domestic ESB's rival their English counterparts. This was very light, in flavor, and in body. No real hop presence for me, very little malt. Overall, I was not impressed really.

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Photo of paytoplay
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask at Ritual in SD, fantastic brew out of Cask. Was at the brewery picking up some 08 Summer Yules and learned a bit more on how they prepare a beer for cask conditioning, thanks for that info Alesmith! Must like the bottle but better texture, head was solid and a bit tan. Very very easy to drink.

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Photo of FreightTrain
2.83/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a copper penny color with a big three finger white head.

Smelled grainy with a whiff of hops.

Taste was watery and sour. There was a strange sweetness somewhere at the back as well, but the overriding flavor was sourness with a shot of oily hops. The flavor didn't really blend or compliment each other at all. Definitely not appealing.

Mouthfeel was very watery. Not nearly enough body to this beer, even for the style.

I guess it was drinkable since it was so light. The problem would be in the desire to drink more of it.

There are many good ESBs out there and unfortunately this outstanding brewery doesn't make one of them.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained via I Want That BIF 4 from tayner. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, scant layer of swirly small bubbles over the slightly cloudy reddish amber brew. What head there is remains, with sticky, lasting lace. Aroma is grain husks, which flow right into the flavor, with the maltiness being balanced in the middle by a sedate hopping. Mouthfeel is soft over the tongue, and drinkability is very easy. Another nice offering from Alesmith.

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Photo of gabeerfanswife
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Though gabeerfan reviewed this right before I did I have not read his review. The first bottle we drank must have been bumped on the suitcase ride home from CA because it was FLAT and not worthy of rating. This bottle is much different.

Bottle conditioned with yeast in the bottom. We split the bottle and poured it into two pints.

A: Looks a tad bit lighter than your Fullers or other English ESB. About a 3/4 inch head that receded down to a thin foam-more than lace. Starts out very opaque but clears up some as the beer settles. I poured the last inch or so of the bottle into a taster glass for shits and giggles. Very opaque. Not surprisingly this little bit looked like a Weizenbock (but did not taste like one!-ick- and I know you are not supposed to drink it).

S: very caramel and I am getting a tad bit of candy sugar smell. Almost like a less intense barleywine.

T: Good. It would be fabulous with fish and chips. Low on hops, high on malt. I am pleasantly surprised as it comes from Southern CA and up until recently many breweries there would throw excessive hops into every style.

M: This is odd because they advertise on the bottle that they do not use force-carbonation. However, this beer had no shortage of carbonation. Small bubbles-but many of them lasting for quite some time. Yeast doing its job.

D: very drinkable. And a solid effort at a real ESB from a non-british brewery. As with most beer it goes better with food. Happy drinking!

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Photo of gabeerfan
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark amber color with a thick rocky head that falls to a thin cap that never disappears.

Smells of grassy hops, with a hint of citrus. Also, some caramel roasted malts in there.

First taste is of caramely roasted malts with some earthy/citrusy hops. Hints of dried fruit appear as the beer warms up. Not as hoppy as one would expect from a West Coast brewery, but it's not a problem for me. The flavors are subtle, in a good way.

A little prickly in the mouthfeel. Pretty carbonated, good palate cleanser.

Pretty drinkable. Nice, almost sessionable ABV and good relatively subtle flavors.

I will say that I bought 2 bottles of this and the first bottle was not sealed correctly and had gone flat, but the flavor was fine. I've noticed other reviews talking of off flavors, etc. Alesmith may need to work on some quality control.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.27/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This pours a hazy dark amber with a 3 finger and still growing head of foam. # sips of the foam and it looks like it finally is going to settle down. Btw, the foam taste very tart fruity.

The smell is fruity with a lot of citrus and I get some malty tones.

The taste(of the actual beer) is a lot like what I tasted in the foam. Surprise. Citrus that goes from tart to just plain sour and I'm not getting a whole lot of malt here at all. Hey I love sour ales but in a brew that's supposed to be an ESB? I don't think so. Perhaps this is a bad bottle. Yeah, that must be it as I couldn't fathom this being what the brewer intended. Not being locally available, a revisit may be a long time coming...I'm pouring the rest down the drain.

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Photo of athensbeermaster
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beauty pours a huge head that laces all the way down the glass. The nose had a large fresh caramel apple scent mixed with a floral hoppy note. The taste: Starts with silky caramel that fades into a fresh apple rhine mixed with a spicy hop accent. The mouthfeel is med. body that leaves a long finish on the tongue. The drinkabillity is great low alcohol with a smooth malt driiven finish that leaves you thirstin for more. I can see why this brew is there flagship beer. There IPA has more complexety but for a ESB this a world class winner!

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Photo of mattster
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened 22 fluid ounce bomber bottle, poured into nonic glass.

Poured an amazingly large off-white head of 2" that held.

Smell is of hops with slight citrus notes. Hoppyness follows through on taste with a nice bitter notes. Slight citrus tones and a bit of earthiness.

Bubbles look heavy in this, but carbonation is pretty balanced on the palate. Nice finish, no aftertaste. I'll take another.

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Photo of halfP1NT
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to t0rin0 for this one!

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Dark amber in color with a huge, ridiculously thick, off-white head. Tiny bubbles are rising throughout the glass. Lots of thick lacing is left behind.

Smell is bitter hops right off the bat. Perhaps a hint of citrus. Then caramel, sweet malts, brown sugar, a little mustiness. Aroma is not very strong, but that mustiness becomes even more apparent as this beer warms.

Mild taste; caramel malts are nicely balanced out with hops. I also taste brown sugar. When I hold it in my mouth, I pick up on some dark fruits; dark cherry, dried apricot.

Lots of bubbly carbonation, tingly on the tongue. This a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of dill
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

served on tap in a pint glass

A: copper color with an oatmeal-colored head.

S: some fruits with a bit of a sweetness.

T: really easy to drink with a light carbonation. mild bitterness with a bit of yeast.

M: mild carbonation with a slightly creamy texture.

D: this one is really easy to drink. it was gone before i knew it. i'll definitely look forward to trying it again.

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Photo of JDV
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich amber to maroon color with a light beige head. Smell was sweet caramel malt, BIG floral notes, fruitiness, hibiscus, and tea like flavors. Almost no noticeable bitterness, and flavors of hibiscus, tea, and some mild light malt. Interesting mouthfeel and flavor, and a great ESB overall. I like this, and it's very unique.

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Photo of charlzm
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on 12/01/07.

Deep ambery coppery color, slightly hazy, pours a moderate light tan head that thins to a creamy, fine ring around the edges after a while.

Beautiful sweet malt aroma with sugar/molasses notes and some fruits (from the yeast?); indistinct and fleeting metallic tang the only flaw.

Mouthfeel is slightly smooth and creamy. Yeast character is unexpectedly strong on palate for an ESB. Grainy, fruity flavors (sweet oranges, apricots) wash over the tongue before going down with a clean, fast finish. Traces of caramel as well. Slightly dry on the finish.

I love this beer.

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Photo of marcpal
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A big ol' 22 oz bomber poured a couple times into large DFH goblet. Flew back with me from Sandiego.

A: Poured out a bit over vigorously at the end and lots of the sediment got through, not good job on my part following instructions. Dark crimson with a decent off white head. Floaties throughout.

S: Bitter hops with a little roasted warming malt aroma.

T: Toffee and caramal with a good balanced hop bitterness. Not what I would expect from ESB with malts in the aftertaste after up front hops. One thing with this one is that its not over intensified but got a little blander as went on.

M: High on carbonation but quite creamy and chewy.

D: Through the roof. Keeps you interested and not overdone in any aspect.

Another fine AleSmith brew. Would love to have more of these - perfect session beer if only a little bland. Very Americanized version.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.84/5  rDev -27%
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.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a dimpled Pilsner glass, cause that is the only thing I had around at the time. Aroma is bready malts and lemonny hops. Some cinnamon too. Color is a slightly hazy light amber-brown. Lacing was excellent; the glass was a history of every sip taken. Inital flavor is a touch salty and then lightly sour at the finish. After taste is a bit prunny. Light to medium body with a creamy mouthfeel. Mighty refreshing!

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle, from BeerRun13

A: Pours a clear copper under a big creamy white head. Some lace clings to the glass with excellent retention.

S: Smells of sweet malt and tangy citrus hops, some toasted and maybe slight caramel malt.

T: Tastes of a tangy citrus and earthy hop, some toasted malt character mixed in, mildly bitter. Finish is a combo of the toasted malt and a tangy hop. Very well balanced.

M/D: Very easy on the palate, medium to light bodied, carbonation serves to present a creamy texture. Good drinkability, really nothing to complain about. Another winner from AleSmith.

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Photo of beeritron
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, amber color with yeast sediment floating around. Anvil has a big tan head with lots of little bubbles and effervescence. The head shrinks to a substantial covering on the surface. A nice lacing down the glass is present as the head stays on top of the beer all the way to the bottom. The smell is sweet with a pleasant yeasty sourness. Notes of caramel and roasted malts are present too. A nice hop aroma is there as well. The taste is sweet with a slight bitterness that balances well. A fruity taste is apparent with cherries being the one that comes to mind. This medium bodied beer fills the mouth and tickles the tongue with mini bubbles and a perfect carbonation level. Roasted flavors on the back of the tongue give Anvil a pleasant smokey/bitter aftertaste. This is one I'll be drinking again.

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Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an effervescent orange/caramel with 3+ fingers of rocky sand-colored head. Very good head retention & good lacing

S: Slight fruittyness & some breadyness. Fruttyness picks up as this warms up

T: Some fruittyness & then lemony & grapefruitty hops up front. Leafy, peppery & citrussy hops & some biscuitty malt follows as this warms. Finishes with some apricot jam & pears, plus leafy hops.

MF: Medium-bodied with low carbonation, skews a bit too hoppy for me

Drinks okay, I like my ESBs maltier, this one is just okay-good. I'm shocked, Ale Smith has made at least one beer that I'm not crazy about!

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle. Slightly hazy darker copper color. Thick rocky off white head. Good head retention, and a great amount of lace left on the glass.

Floral hop aroma, as well as some toasty, caramel malt. Nothing too complex. A bit of fruit, particularly peach and orange in the nose as well.

Very bready malt flavor, nice hints of caramel, floral, fruits and tea. So well balanced.

Medium body, with soft carbonation. Very nice. I could drink this all day.

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Anvil ESB from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 680 ratings