Extra Special Ale (ESA) | Yards Brewing Co.

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Extra Special Ale (ESA)Extra Special Ale (ESA)
639 Ratings
Extra Special Ale (ESA)Extra Special Ale (ESA)

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: 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.

Added by stirgy on 12-01-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 639 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of mooseo
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Dark brown-mahogany with a small off-white head.

S - Sweet toasted malt, light dark fruit, nuts, and herbal spice.

T - Bready and nutty malts, earthy hops, and subtle dark fruit. Caramel, yeast, and slight spice. A tad bitter on the finish, with more toasted grain and nuttiness coming through.

M - Exceptionally smooth and silky. Medium body, average carbonation, somewhat dry finish.

O - This is a nice beer full of malty goodness. A slight bitter hop character tames the sweetness. Very soft mouthfeel. A good beer to sit back and relax with. It would be easy to drink a few of these in one sitting.

 636 characters

Photo of brheuer
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of MikeMcCl
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of mactrail
3.01/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Large and malty. Great big flavors of juniper, resins, dank malt. Tastes like it's been sweetened and spiced, like some kind of holiday grog. Tastes good at first sip, but gets weirder as you drink.

Served in a big English imperial pint nonic. Pulled from the fake hand pump. Plenty of carbonation and a nice sudsy foam, with lots of lacing in the glass. No aroma to speak of. Winey and tastes like some new kind of Long Island Iced Tea. On the cask at Local 44 in Philadelphia. Interesting but I don't get it. [Transcribed from notes written on 05/30/2012 visit.]

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Photo of garuda
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Deep copper, hazed, white cap has good retention with some lace.

S/T - Sweet bready caramel, toasted malt base balanced out with some bittering pine hops in the finish. Touch of spice.

M - Medium body, lower carb level, stays smooth, finishes clean.

O - Nicely brewed to style, easily drinkable, pleasant flavors.

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Photo of GratefulJack
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of khargro2
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of wonothesane42
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of doc17325
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of VaporDome
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of dbl_delta
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from cask into standard pint glass at standard tap in Philadelphia. Pours a nice see through brown golden with creamy head. It looks awesome...but how can a brew poured from an engine look bad...
Smell is strong noble hop and nice sweet malt. Taste is smooth easy hop and malt. So smooth and drinkable. Really nice brew on cask. Just not sure how it would translate to bottle...very worth it from cask.

 409 characters

Photo of cwelder
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of dan027
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of CraftBeerGuild
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of WDJersey
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of gr0g
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Review from notes taken on 01/15/2012.

Dark mahogany in color with a one-finger white head. Some lace curtains are left behind. Aroma is primarily of caramel and toffee notes from the malt, while a floral hop note backs them up.

Toffee malt and fruity esters on the palate. Hops contribute a a pronounced bitterness, but one that's well below IPA levels. A slight solvent presence on the finish detracts from the experience. I think I'd pay a little extra and pick up some Fuller's ESB over this.

 498 characters

Photo of gnikola
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of brez8791
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of FishFrank
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of FrankShirley
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Peyton5410
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of cbutova
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a few bottles of this out of my variety case so far. Yards is a solid brewery most definitely.

A- Poured into a pint glass with a very dark red, brown-looking body. A small light tan head forms to about a finger in size with decent retention. The foamy, creamy cap ends up with nice thick ring leaving nice webs of fairly thick lace.

S- This beer certainly has the feel of an English Ale. An interesting toasty, nutty and roasted malt profile is inviting. The yeast gives a nice dark fruit aroma along with bread and spice notes.

T- Fairly malty and yeast forward here too but the hops join in on it all. Dark fruits with a very slight medicinal taste are the main flavor I get along with a mix of yeast bread, spices, raisin, toast, roasted malts and some buttery caramel malts. Hops give off that European herbal, spicy and floral taste.

MF- Moderately thick body with a creamy and smooth overall consistency. Moderate level of carbonation with a silky feel. Slight spicy bitterness on the palate in the finish.

A fairly solid ESA/B but the dark fruit seems to get a bit more medicinal feeling than I would like it to be towards the end of the experience. Still another addition to a solid Yards lineup from what I have tasted.

 1,238 characters

Photo of Darkapocalyptica
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Extra Special Ale (ESA) from Yards Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.71 out of 5 with 639 ratings