Alaskan ESB | Alaskan Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
86
very good
205 Ratings
Alaskan ESBAlaskan ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
alaskanbeer.com

Style: 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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
205
Reviews:
87
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
9.82%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
26
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 205 |  Reviews: 87
Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

 272 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and nut aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, caramel, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice malt forward presence all around.

 513 characters

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first beer that I had after getting off the plane in Las Vegas. This turned out to be a pure, simple, and very desirable beer. It pours a brilliant, sparkling copper / amber hue with a steady off-white head formation that laced well as the beer line fell. Moderate aromas of caramel malts, and ale-typical fruity esters. Mild fermented flavors swirl around the malts for a rich aroma, flavor, and feel. An herbal, pungent English hop character cleans the beer up a bit, while offering some complexity. The beer is very well balanced, not preferencing the hops nor the malts. The feel is also moderate, not too heavy or thick, but not watering either. Very easy to drink with a mild hop lingering and flavor. I certainly would not hesitate to buy this beer again.

 766 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a sturdy head that nicely laces the pint glass

Smell: Solid caramel aroma with a hint of earthy hops in the background

Taste: Starts out with a strong caramel flavor with some piney hops that kick in, mid-palate; after the swallow, the hops turn a bit earthier and provide a nicely balanced finish; at the very ending a surprising bit of fusel alcohol makes an appearance that was not particularly welcome

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit of warmth down the gullet

Drinkability: Except for the alcohol jumping out at the end, this is a very nice ESB

Thanks, BeerRun13

 656 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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!

 494 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.6/5  rDev -7%

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.

 410 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glowing coppery orange with juicy tangerine peel edges; a tremendous color when backlit with even weak sunlight. The cap is pretty impressive as well. It's as much pale orange as beige and is large and frothyfirm. The foam comes to resemble a windblown mesa as it loses altitude and deposits quite a bit of lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

The aroma easily meets the bar set by the appearance. Alaskan ESB smells exactly like an American-hopped ESB. In other words: toasted, lightly caramel-like malt underpinnings with plenty of Pac NW hops providing the excitement. I love Cascade and Centennial and applaud their inclusion here. They definitely steer the beer away from its English origins however. A hop lover's ESB nose.

Not quite so wonderful on the palate and I'm not immediately sure why. There just doesn't seem to be that spark when the beer hits my tastebuds that makes me sit up and take notice. All of the pieces are in place and they fit together reasonably well, but someone forgot to add the magic. The whole is something less than the sum of its parts.

The maltiness is sturdier than was appreciated in the nose. I'm reminded of well-toasted, lightly spicy brown bread with a thick layer of bitter orange marmalade. There are also barely sweetened tea-like notes. What are normally grapefruit-intensive hops are blunted somewhat by the Crystal malt and actually come to resemble some of the English varieties. I might have guessed Fuggles and Chinook if blinded.

Bitter supercedes sweet at all points from beer entry to beer exit; more so as each mouthful progresses and even more so as the beer warms. For whatever reason--probably the increasingly aggressive bitterness--the magic has appeared and I like this beer quite a bit more than I did during the first few ounces. It tastes much more vibrant as it approaches room temperature.

The body/mouthfeel is acceptable, but a bigger, firmer, more confident mouth presence would be welcome. I find myself wishing for the slightest bit of viscosity... that never arrives. I usually like carbonation to be subdued, as it is here, but a little more zestiness would be a good match for the snappy bitterness.

All of the Alaskan Brewing Company beers are solid and drinkable, although with the exception of Smoked Porter and Stout, I've never been overly impressed. It took nearly the entire bottle to come to this conclusion, but Alaskan ESB is my favorite non-dark offering from this brewery. If you're looking for a good ESB with an American citric hop edge, your search ends here.

 2,572 characters

Photo of Jason
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
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 woodychandler
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It began with two finger's worth of rocky, medium-tan head with low retention, but a good bit of lacing. Nose had a good bit of caramel accompanied by a mild bitterness. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium with a bitterness softly tempered by a caramel/malt sweetness. Finish had the same commingling of bitter and sweet that I got on the tongue. In fact, as it warmed, I got a really pronounced biscuitiness on the extreme finish. A very good ESB and a beer that nicely offset their Amber.

 523 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle received in trade from BeerKangaroo, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a crystal clear deep copper color with a huge bubbly off white head that persists forever. Aromas of brown sugar and caramel with hints of dark dried fruit and bits of sulfur and earth. The flavor is what I expected from the aroma. Light dark sugary malts with bits of earthy hop light fruit and hints of sulfur. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick almost sweet mouthfeel. Nice drinker, not really my favorite style, but this is a well made brew.

 558 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

07/19/05- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA

Presentation- 12oz undated bottle. Poured into my Moose Drool pint glass.

Appearance- Amber pour with a 1/2 inch head and light lacing.

Smell- A lightly sweetened bready malt. Some hops are noticeable.

Taste- Just a bit sweet with a big hit of bitter hops. Very bready. Caramle toasted malt carries the beer.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation, bitter on the back of the tongue.

Drinkability- Very refreshing brew that I'm sure I will find myself having again in the future. Would be a good summer session beer while enjoying a camping trip.

 612 characters

Photo of a77cj7
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Chuckanut pint glass. Pours a medium to dark bronze amber with a fine one finger khaki head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel and light biscuit malt, light earthy nuttiness. Flavor is biscuit malt, tea, faint citrus with a light grassy hop finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A nice light bitter with traditional tasting malt and a bit more hops than traditional, but without breaking character. A worthy domestic take on this style.

 472 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice small head, lots of lacing throughtout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, hops, slight yeast, and slight caramel.

T - The taste is sweet/malty, nice caramel flavor with a little bitter finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Drinkable. A nice little ESB from Alaskan, would recommend.

 341 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of puboflyons
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 355 ml. bottle. Received in trade. Thanks BK. Stamped: 20-CO42214. Sampled on February 15, 2014.

It has a handsome looking chestnut/mahogany brown pour with decent clarity and a modest tan head.

This is meant to be an ESB and so I would expect some caramel malts and mellow bitter hops. But in this case the hops are quite floral and in my face.

The body is about medium.

There is a vague caramel and biscuit malt character in the early sips but the floral and grassy hop bitterness comes pounding in from behind and taking over everything. Hopheads would like it.

 579 characters

Photo of Karibourgeois
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear copper pour with lots of carbonation and an off-white one finger head. Initial taste is strong with flowery hop flavor. The bitterness is strong but not overpowering. Body has a slightly flowery/piney bitterness balanced with a toasted grainy malt flavor. Finish is dry and bitter.

 287 characters

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Alaskan ESB from Alaskan Brewing Co.
3.87 out of 5 based on 205 ratings.
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