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Extra Special Ale (ESA) | Yards Brewing Co.

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Extra Special Ale (ESA)Extra Special Ale (ESA)
BA SCORE
3.72/5
Good
646 Ratings
Extra Special Ale (ESA)Extra Special Ale (ESA)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
yardsbrewing.com

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our first ever and most beloved brew, ESA helped establish a following for cask-conditioned beer in the United States back in the ‘90s. East Kent Golding hops give this English style ale a subtle spiciness, which compliments its strong malt backbone. Hints of chocolate and caramel round out this deep chestnut colored ale. Floral, earthy, smooth.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#29,478
Reviews:
273
Ratings:
646
pDev:
12.1%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
100
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 646 |  Reviews: 273
Photo of JA_26
4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the first local craft brews I had starting many years ago, so it holds a fond spot in my heart, but I've noticed some batch inconsistency with ESA. When it's on, it's really on - superb balance of malt and hops. But sometimes I've gotten an off batch - not just a bottle or two, but the entire six pack or case. Fortunately that's only happened twice so far in many years of drinking ESA. But when it happened it was really disappointing.

 447 characters

Photo of mynie
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is basically an older-school ESB only slightly Americanized. That is extremely something I enjoy.

Pour is brown and medium hazy with a nice head. They give you full imperial pints at the Yard's brewery.

Aroma is malt-heavy: toasty and nicely ashen. Not biscuity to toffee-sweet, like most English ESB's, although that works here because it compliments the dry, spicy goldings hops.

Tastes like it smells: malt-forward but with a lovely hop balance. It's a milder ale, and not particularly bitter even by the standards of the late 1990s when it was introduced, but it's still a fantastically brewed beer that's a delight to drink.

 638 characters

Photo of SeymourDunn
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Stofko1992
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BigMustyElbows
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BrewAskew
2.82/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Appearance
Pours to lacey buff head and clear red amber
Aroma
Sweet crystal malts and...bubblegum?
Flavor
Starts sweets ends tangy
Mouthfeel
Somewhat sugary and astringent. CO2 high for style.
Overall
Drinkable but heavily stylized. Not a true ESB.

 249 characters

Photo of kcc
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jbalintjr
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Smilsteen
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nick_perry
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orange color, rising bubbles, and a lingering ½ finger head. No noticeable aromas. A little bitter at first, transitioning to an interesting dank earthiness.

 159 characters

Photo of rcwilliamsjr
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Urk1127
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Furley80
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of wmcgar01
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

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

Crisp,well carbonated ale.great balance between the malt and hops which made it an excellent easy beer to drink

111 characters

Photo of thebeers
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear orange amber with a couple fingers of tan-tinted head.

Yeasty, bready aroma aroma and taste, with some sweet caramel malt character, a hint of spice (nutmeg or cinnamon maybe?) and a modest hop bitterness on the back end.

Medium bodied with a prickly feel. Nice, quality brew.

 287 characters

Photo of dfconnor
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of paulish
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tdm168
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.34/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia, PA.

This one pours a dark, slightly hazy amber, with a small head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like grassy hops, orange, caramel, and toasted brown bread.

This is one of the better ESBs that I've had. It's got a nice clean bitter finish, with grass and orange as the dominant hop flavors. There's a great malt backbone, it's nicely toasty and warm tasting, a little bit of not too sweet caramel, etc.

This is light bodied, with a very crisp mouthfeel, and a good level of carbonation.

They pretty much nailed the style here. It's quite wonderful.

 608 characters

Photo of madelf66
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dacrza1
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

DATE: September 2, 2016... OCCASION: much work was done today, of the spreadsheet variety... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint... dark amber, almost opaque body that evokes a black and tan... the creamy head, off-white and smooth, almost lactic... tough to see, but bubbly enough... nutty, caramel sweet, slightly buttery with some suggestion of citrus and hop... the first sip is sweet, soft, smooth and savory--easily can see how this "helped establish" a cask ale following... flavorful, caramel-empowered, malt-forward profile... the nuttiness is also pronounced, with a lingering citrus--orange, mostly , with grapefruit--with pear strengthening the flavor... glass lacing is thick, filmy and significant... a delicious, full-bodied ESB that finishes strongly and invites the next... at 6% ABV, substantial but drinkable...

 824 characters

Photo of jimscafs25
4.94/5  rDev +32.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of EMV
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Extra Special Ale (ESA) from Yards Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 646 ratings