Arcadia Lake Superior ESB | Arcadia Brewing Company

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Arcadia Lake Superior ESBArcadia Lake Superior ESB

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Name was changed to Thunder Trail ESB ~2012, though the recipe is the same.

Added by Wildman on 10-03-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 60
Photo of beermanbrian
1.5/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle opened with an explosive burst of carbonation. First glass poured all foam. Managed to get about 8 oz of beer in next glass with the rest overflowing foam. The head is big huge bubbles (like soap bubbles) not the nice thick foamy head you would want. It leaves behind sticky clumpy lacing that is not attractive at all. Beer is cloudy brownish amber color. Overwhelming amount of carbonation bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Lots of floaters in this one too that settle to a fine film on the bottom of the glass. This is just a mess of a beer appearance wise. Smell is metallic and harsh. Taste, what isn't covered up by the carbonation, is also metalic and earthy. Not pleasant at all. I don't rip many beers but this is just a mess in every way. Not impressed at all and you would have a hard time convincing me to try this one again. Poured most of it down the drain and it ruined the taste of the next 2 beers i had.

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Photo of COR8RFAN
1.75/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Photo of Mitchster
2.43/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Brewed with Pale, Carapils, Crystal, and Chocolate malts. Hopped with Fuggles and Willamette.

OG=1.059, 5.5% ABV.

Honey and copper colored, moderately carbonated for this style, pours with a slight chill haze and forms a rocky white head atop medium sized bubbles, leaving rings of lace to the bottom of the glass. Head thins out rather quickly. Aroma is disappointing; noticeable diacetyl with toasted malt, rubbery hops, cardboard and fusel alcohols. Has a wet, rubbery mouthfeel with an initial hop bite giving way to a sweeter, thin aftertaste. Tastes like it was fermented too warm, as the fusel alcohols make me feel sick. A burp reeked of sulfur. A blah beer. Diehard fans of ESB may like this much diacetyl, but I'd take a Redhook over this any day.

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Photo of nicholasofcusa
2.63/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$1.33 for a single at Trader Joe's
Best Before July
Pours an amber color with very small head that quickly dissapates to ring around the edges. Smells of fruit (citrus, berries) and sweet malts. Medium mouthfeel, somewhat thinner than the few other ESBs I've tried. Earthy, slight grapefruit taste with lasting bitterness. Nice balance between hops and malt. Certainly nothing special about this one. Tastes more like a Pale Ale than ESB imo. Dissappointing. Glad I just bought one.

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Photo of jackndan
2.65/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lake Superior ESB, from Arcadia sampler: Copper beer, with minimal head, and what was there was kind of foamy. Kind of a brassy aroma and taste, with burnt malts that were very dominant, and not all that tasty. The hops were understated, and tasted a little flat. Not worth it.

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Photo of walleye
2.86/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

from the bottle. poured a dark copper with a off white head that left a small amount if lacing. aroma hops grapefruit and oranges, caramel malts. flavor not mush going on but did get some toasted malts, and caramel was looking for the hop bitterness but I couldn’t find it in this bottle. but it was a drinkable beer.

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Photo of PatYoda
2.91/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy Orange with a dying head. Smells metallic and a little sweet. Taste is a little better. Creamy sparkly mouthfeel brings along some malty sweetness and a fair amount of bittering hops to balance. This is nothing groundbreaking, but I'd drink it more than once.

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Photo of tavernjef
2.91/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy peach-light copper color with golden hazy edges, firm finger high head of off-whiteness, good lacing in sheets and fine spotting. Aroma is of highly sour dough sweetness, nearly lambic-like with some barnyard funk which calms down after it warms a bit where it becomes more soft and toasty but that sourness of old white grapes and pale and stale orange skins keeps its presence felt. Way off in the nose. Taste is unique and pehaps not quite fitting what I would think of an ESB. Soft grains, bread crusts, floral hops, toasty middle lingering partially into the finish where it drys out with some smokey malts and corn flakes. A bit of the souring quality from the smell leaks through in certain areas which kept this from being any better on my palate. Feel is just shy of a medium body, overly sweetening with that grasp of sourness that just wasn't doing it for me. Texture was a bit weird to match flavors with as it was lambic/saison-like. Not nearly an ESB as it seemed like some blended version of a saison and a bitter.

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Photo of Fugazme
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a big, mountain head... a little too aggressive. Color is nice with a reddish/copper hue.
The head melted down and kept about 1/8 of an inch throughout.

Smelled malt. A sweet smell... some fruits and even evergreen. I picked up some light alcohol as well.

Taste is malty and average. Some slight hops are present and a bit of citrus. Doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on with this beer. I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers, but it might have to talk itself in, in the first place.

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Photo of bditty187
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from August:

Overflowing foam, there was over a fist full of white head… yikes! What liquid actually made it into the glass is very attractive, coppery with tawny influences. Slowly the head faded to something more manageable. The subsequent lacing was surprisingly sporadic. I can’t say much positive about the appearance, aside from the lovely color!

The nose is thinly malty with tropical fruit undertones. There isn’t much to this beer. I like the sweetness, I wish there was more hoppiness though. Hints of earth, wood (pine it seems), and melon rinds. Overall, the nose doesn’t say too much. I wouldn’t call the bouquet typical of an ESB but it is pleasant nevertheless.

The palate has a thin malt backbone, caramel, crackers, and toast. Hot alcohol notes! Whoa, where did these come from? I taste rubber cement and fruit candy. Melon notes try to play along. Woody at the finish, pine mainly with some earthiness as well. At least this ESB isn’t disgustingly clean. Sweet finish, messy aftertaste as it seems to be all the previous flavors smashed together. The palate is unremarkable.

Around medium in body, moderate carbonation, the mouthfeel is more cleansing than relaxing which might not be a bad thing. I found the mouthfeel to be respectable.

This ESB neither good nor bad… it is what it is. My label got messed up so I don’t know the “best by” date. Old bottle? Just flawed? Or maybe it is supposed to taste like this? Whatever. It is a decent drink but noting I’d seek out again. Nevertheless, thank you RedHaze for the sample.

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Photo of maxpower
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy copper-orange with a smal off white foamy head that doesn't last long, not much lacing either. Bready, buttery aromas, has butterscotch and bread flavors, it is medium bodied with a smooth and slick mouthfeel, finishes a bit sour, not all that great, where is the bitterness?

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.08/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Small white colored head tops a faded orange body that illuminates decently in the bar light.
SMelled small amounts of yeast, floral scents and lemon zest.
Tasted too smooth to be an ESB to flat for a pale and showed no signs of standing up for its style. Small amounts of honey with a little lemon and slight hints of malt and hops tried to show but nothing to write home about (so I wrote here).
Mouthfeel was abnormaly average and didn't impress. Overall i would have this again but I won't aske for it.

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Photo of marburg
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Darkish, clear copper color. Borderline brown. Thin white head dissipates rapidly. Carbonation is weak, and the brew is a little sloppy. Hardly an exemplary mouthfeel. Exceptionally earthy, bland aroma save some sweet bready fragrance. Flavor is sweet and dominated by the malts. A mid-sized hop presence, predominantly herbal, finishes the brew. Pretty easy, and not bad. But it's not a big winner either. You can get it some spots locally for 2 bucks a bottle at the bar. That's probably worth it.

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Photo of merlin48
3.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazed copper body with a small head that vanishes in seconds. Minimal patch lace. Aroma is buttery toffee with a hint of floral hops. Light to medium light body with high carbonation. Taste has a bready malt feel and some funky yeast. Minimal floral hops bitterness. Taste has a ringwood yeast note, for sure. Not very impressive.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Part of and Arcadia sampler: Copper color with an thin orange/beige head and minimal lace. Toasty aroma of malt and caramel. Flavor was malty and smooth, if a little weak. The finish was not as bitter as I was hoping.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber body topped by a small, but stubborn tan head. Great lacing effect down the glass. Nice aromas of malt with hints of the bittering hops. The taste is a bready and lightly hopped, more lightly than expected. The feel is a tad thin and under carbonated. Smooth, to be sure, but rather vacant of interest. Interesting but not impressive ale.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper color, average head, little lace, aroma was metallic.

Taste had enough bitterness and hopping to enjoy. Can't stand underhopped, esb's that lack bitterness. Not that this one couldn't have been better with more. No heft to the body though. Good enough. Good summer beer, won't be offensive to the majority of people not into craft beer.

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Photo of mntlover
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear medium amber color with a small tan head that doesn't last leaves some spotty lace.
Aroma is not great some malt lightly toasted, toffee mixed with herbal hops light skunkyness almost but not quite.
Taste is like the smell lightly toasted malt some caramel and toffee flavors mix with medicine like herbal hops that leaves a less then desirable medicine aftertaste. No real bitterness to be felt here just mediocre beer that is better then swill but not much else going for it.
Mouthfeel is light side of medium the carbonation adds the only zest in this brew.
Drinkability is better then swill but wouldn't recommend this one or desire to have it again not a good example of this style. Thanks to merlin48 for the sample.

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Photo of Peanut2074
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Sixpack595
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Copper colored with a thin, long lasting head. The roasty, malty aroma is nice. Flavor is bready and malty but there is an unpleasant metallic after taste. Creamy mouthfeel. Overall a fair brew. Not impressed with the taste, but if not for the aftertaste I could drink quite a bit of it.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Birreria Paradiso, Washington DC:

Appeared a brown or dark red with a nice off white head that was well retained.

The beer had a nice malt aroma to it, nothing special, but OK.

Good flavor, nice bitter malty taste, well balanced. Again, nothing special, I have had better ESB's but the flavor is average.

The beer had a medium body to it; it was smooth, creamy and pretty easy to drink. I have had better ESB's, but this one is perhaps slightly better than average. Overall, a decent beer, but there are other ESB's that I would pick up first when choosing the style.

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Photo of jayb
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a hazy brown color. very much resembeled iced tea in its coloring. There was also plenty of yeast sediment floating around inside the glass. The head came out to be an off-white color, midly thick, but settled down quickly. low to moderate lacing. a faint smell of citrusy hops, lemon pledge? maybe its the combo of citrus and a faint hint of alcohol, Not a bad smell however. Taste corresponded with the smell, citrusy and bitter, minus the pledge though. toward the end there came a slight roasted character. Mouthfeel was light to medium, but possibly on the verge of creamy. A rather dry beer. A fine beer, but not something ill stock up on. Give it a try. good stuff.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Copper in color, gets to about 3/5" white head, an aroma that I can only describe as a metallic almost aluminum kind of vibe.

Taste is replete with plenty of bitterness and earthy hops. This one brought them. The body lacked a bit of the heavier woodsiness I get in many esbs. I guess you could say this one was a little Americanized via west coast ipa dryness. You can pull all kinds of different things out of the malt, an almost rye like spice to it, a mild sweetness in reverse, like the colder it is the more you pick it out.

A decent beer.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a medium brown with lots of haze. Poured with a fairly large beige head and left good lace. Smell of slight caramel with citrus overtones. Taste is similar to smell but add the nice hop bitterness, not too much, in my opinion its just about right ( I'm not much of a hop head). Good drinkability. Not a summer lawnmower beer though. This would be good on a cold winters night, just to sit and sip. Not a great beer, but slightly better than average for the style - worth buying a sixer to keep around.

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3.39/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thickinsh looking light amber in color, creamy wisp of head. I cannot smell the beer.

This ESB is quite herbal tasting from beginning to finish. Aside from this central characteristic, it varies from start to finish. Early there is a grassy hop characteristic to accompany this. At the end there is a fizz that comes from nowhere in the swallow, and gives off the impression of Klarbrunn. Which i like, in a way. But this light herb juice thing, although a decent quaffer for me...this is an ESB, correct? I"m enjoying this, but thinking about a saison-like beverage.

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Arcadia Lake Superior ESB from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.47 out of 5 based on 64 ratings.
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