Alaskan ESB | Alaskan Brewing Co.

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Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB
Very Good
206 Ratings
Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 08-20-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 206 |  Reviews: 87
Reviews by Bierman9:
Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I loved the appearance: great amber-copper color, big frothy head which shrank down to about 1/4" and hung around all day. Lots 'o lace! Nice hoppy nose, fairly strong but not overwhelming. Also the lemony notes I picked up in their Pale Ale. Sailed smoothly over the palate...good mouthfeel. Some mild malty notes to start, but mostly hops, and in a pleasant way! A lot more fruity/less bitter than I usually find in an ESB. Lemony taste finishes things... Good brew!

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one poured a nice, frothy, pitting head that went down nicely and laced the glass. The body was orangish-brown and a little thin, though.

Smell – Nice, bitter hops greet the nose along with a light, balancing malt aroma.

Taste – The hoppy bitterness is indeed balanced by a lightly-toasted malt. The hops are quite nice, but the malt tastes a little grainy and cheap. Otherwise, this one came together quite well. The finish is a sweet, orange-type of rind.

Mouthfeel – Light to medium-bodied with no carbonation.

Drinkability – This was much better than the Altbier attempt, but average still the same.

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Photo of Turbo
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Jason
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz short brown bottle with no freshness date. This bottle was from Liquid Solutions.

Appearance: A very appetizing off white head stands tall in the glass and leaves more than enough lace behind. The deep russet hue glows as it is brought to the light. A heavenly looking beer.

Smell: Some malt in the nose with a thick layer of semi-coarse hop and light fruitiness.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smoothness has some depth within the medium body, malt flavours flare out with suggestions of cake, caramel, toasted biscuits and bread crust. An ample amount of hops throws out a serious bitterness that tries to clean house, lingering flavours of citric rind and herbs are in the end. Finishes a tad on the sweet side with enough malt to keep things balanced all the way through.

Notes: I love big malty ales with a muscular hop character, this is one of them and a perfect pairing at lunch time would be with a roast beef on rye with horseradish mayo.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of off white head that fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: An earthy, floral, and well balanced aroma with hints of fruit and pine. Bready malts with hints of biscuit, grains, sweet caramel, toffee, cracker, yeast, and toast. Floral and earthy hops with hints of pine and grass. Subtle citrus hints of orange and lemon. Also some subtle hints of fig and prune.

Taste: Like the aroma, an earthy and floral taste with good notes of grass, pine, bread, and fruit. Bready toasted malt with notes of biscuit, grains, sweet caramel, cracker, yeast, toffee, and toast. Solid presence of earthy and floral hops with notes of grass and pine. Citrus fruit notes of orange and lemon zest. Also some subtle dark fruit notes including prune and fig. A pretty solid balanced taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a drying finish.

Overall: A very solid take on the ESB style. Good presence of bitter floral hops with some subtle fruit notes.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A darkish amber, good head retention and some sudsy lingering lace. Aroma of dark malts. This is a dark beer for a bitter, more aggressively roasty than the traditional examples. Hops are grassy and peppery and creep up on the finish leaving a sparkle in the mouth. Malts are biscuity and sweet and typical of Alaskan brews. Some wood/varnish flavors that are the low points of an otherwise very tasty brew. Mouthfeel is pretty good but maybe a little soapy. Pleasant lemony aftertaste. This isn't initally as easy drinking as some of the best bitters, but the aftertaste is very coaxing. It's a bit raw and unrefined but could be very suitable for warming the bones on a damp muddy spring day.

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Photo of moundbz
4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pleasant bitter, solid beer for me

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Photo of ADR
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear (but chill haze forms) bright orange-brown with a nice 1/2 inch orangish head of soft texture and one that foms delicate lace. Toffee aroma with a nice hop spiciness. Excellent long-lasting caramel malt, with a sense of sweet orange candy as a solid background. Floral and white pepper hops (Cascades seem tamed) with just a touch of balsam assertion near the end of the profile. Light and easy drinking, leaning more toward the British style rather than insanely hopped -- this is a drinkable and well-balanced product from the folks from way up north.

Source: Liquid Solutions

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Photo of chinchill
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%

12 oz bottle consumed in Redwoods Park.
4.3 4 4 3.3
Red-amber; clear; very good tan head; excellent lacing.
Has a layered, appealing aroma that mixes sweet baked grains with herbal/floral hops.
Flavor: Given the aroma, there’s a rather bold hop note and lingering, moderately bitter aftertaste. Fruity and herbal.
Feel: Lively medium-high carbonation. Medium body.
O: bold and hoppy for style.

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Photo of chrisms86
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I must say I was a bit disappointed by this ESB. The smell is very hoppy with a taste to match, with the hops creating a pleasant bitterness with a tangy sour flavor to match. A good taste but one-layered. The bitterness and the sour is all you get and any deeper search for taste yields nothing. The mouthfeel is bubbly, like club soda. Its weak mouthfeel lends itself to being an easy drinker, a positive aspect of this brew. Nothing horrible but you can certainly do better as far as the ESB style is concerned. Worth a try, nothing you'll find in my fridge quite often though.

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Photo of Auraan
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear reddish amber with a thin ring of white that left no lacing. It looks decent, but not spectacular. Scents of caramel, fruity esters, apple, tea and some floral hops. A nice, appealing, pub ale aroma, nothing too complex, but balanced and inviting. Taste begins with some nice caramel malt before moving into floral hop bitterness that is sustained throughout. There is also a distinct herbal hop flavor and some pine resin. A bit of grainy malt on the finish and aftertaste, along with bitter hops. The overall flavor is rather bitter for an ESB, but it's not bad, a little more sweet malt would make it better though. Mouthfeel is light bodied, lightly carbonation and semi-drying, with a bit of a soapy feel. A good session ale mouthfeel that makes you want to another sip. Overall this is a good ESB, with a nice aroma and mouthfeel and a good, albeit bitter flavor. If it was a little less bitter it would be better, but it's not bad.

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Photo of SvenHayden
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I love Alaskan Brewery. I especially love ESBs. And although this beer is quality like everything else coming out Alaskan Brewery, it seems more like an Americanized ESB. Thats not a bad thing. Its just that what i love personally about ESBs is that they are so english in nature, and when done traditionally, they are a fun break from everything typical in american ales, yet palpable to an american palette. It is easy to think an ESB should be especially bitter because of the name, but historically ESBs were considered bitter just because they were so hop-forward for the time they came out. Most american ales already hover around the IBU level of a traditional ESB without trying to be hoppier. In-short this ESB was a little too hop-forward for me for an ESB.

BUT...still a quality-crafted, tasty beer. Keep rocking Alaska.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of watermelonman
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring to a deep and dark amber with a medium head, this looks very nice. The head is lasting well, and it left a small amount of lace.

The smell is strong and full of malt. The taste is smooth, starting with amber malts and finishing with just enough hops to pronounce themselves. The mouthfeel is slightly sharp, while drinkability is good.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A- dark amber color with slight carbonation. A finger thick head, light khaki-colored. Leaves some lacing and exhibits a good head-retention.

S- Piney, resinous hops blended with some bread and maltiness.

T- Earthy, grassy and floral, almost hay-like in the hop profile. Get some sweet malt, a hint of molasses, and some bread.

M- Pretty damn bitter, I'd say. Certainly towards the finish, an almost punishing bitterness lingers. It starts off much more mellow and works its way through a sweet, semi-creamy middle, before the hop blast. Pretty intense.

I am enjoying the beer and find it drinkable. I'd perhaps like a more pronounced aroma and malt presence, but the absence of these doesn't break the beer. It's good.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep, clear, reddish amber with a small head that disappeared rather quickly. Virtually no lacing even though the carbonation gave a very nice and full mouthfeel.
The aroma is slightly sweet, slightly leafy hops....neither overpowering.
The taste is a surprising balance of the malts and sense both equally and at the same time in your mouth with neither taking center stage.
Again, mouthfeel is full with a pleasant tingling sensation from the hops, carbonation, and alcohol.
Very drinkable....I could deffinately session this beer.
I think the lack of head may have been due to the pour coming from an older bottle. The tastes and feel held up wonderfully, though.

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Photo of Futbolmanby
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is an excellent concoction by AK. It has incredible hop flavor, and all the bitterness the hopheads like. Pours dark yet transparent amber, with good carbonation. I like the initial hop taste that really kicks your ass! suprisingly drinkable for an esb, many will mistake it for an IPA aside from the color. The finish shows a little malt but still very hoppy. Great brew.

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Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small white head, very good grapefruit aroma, bitter more than malty but overall balanced. Decent nicely drinkable bitter, though a bit watery. A few days after expirey, though I wouldn't blame it on that nor on Liquid Solutions who shipped it with just a few weeks to go.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alaskan's ESB is a well-crafted and finely balanced dark amber ale with a malty, caramelish nose and similar flavor (the malt is a bit more bready than the aroma suggests) that's peppered with piney/leafy/grassy hops and backed by a brisk bitterness. The appearance is quite nice with a clear copper body that reveals gleaming orange and gold highlights beneath a creamy head of antiqued ivory. It's crisp in the mouth with a medium body; and it's balance leaves it nicely drinkable. Well done!

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Photo of ElGordo
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty copper-amber color topped by a half-inch or so of creamy tan head that exhibits some staying power. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, with a bit of tangy, fruity hops that become more assertive as the beer warms from fridge temperature. Palate is dominated by mellow sweet malt, accented slightly by some fruity hops and just a touch of English ale yeast. Body is just rich enough to complement the flavors without being too thick. I can see myself drinking a lot more of this.

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Photo of Snow81
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of cliff1066
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Fatehunter
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a finger of head on a cloudy dark straw colored body.
The aroma is wet grain with mild lemon. Nice.
The taste is balanced moderate lemon bitterness with mild honey sweetness.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
This ESB has a great balance and is quite drinkable.

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Alaskan ESB from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.84 out of 5 with 206 ratings