Phoenixx Double ESB | Real Ale Brewing Company

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Phoenixx Double ESBPhoenixx Double ESB

Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Double ESB", Rotating/Seasonal

Added by TPoling on 12-31-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 316
Photo of jamie2dope
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I do not try ESB very often, but imperial ESB? I will try that. Thanks to Mar for adding this as an extra. Copper in color, with about a half inch of white heading, this looks like a rustic type. Nice hop profile comes through in the nose, along with some sweet grains and light fruit. The malt is more forward in the taste, and steps forward to overpower the hops a bit. Besides that, there is some good biscuit like flavors, and a bit of pear too. Mouthfeel is on the medium side, and really does not taste boozy at all. If you told me that this was a regular ESB alcohol wise, I would have believed you, so kudos to the, for hiding the higher ABV so well. Good stuff here from Real Ale. Cheers

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Photo of mjurney
4.48/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Deep copper color, a little chill haze. Good amount of carbonation. Thick off-white head.

Caramel, toffee, semi-dark roasted, spicy hops.

Caramel, toffee, semi-dark roast, hint of nutty. Hop bitterness is medium, spicy/piney, maybe a little citrusy. Finish is bitter-crisp. Medium bodied, crisp, easy drinking.

It's an outstanding ESB!

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Photo of Premo88
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz. pint glass on tap at Hay Merchant (in February 2013)

L: red; fantastic lacing

S: hint of sweetness; lots of yeasty grain

T: bitter up front, good sweet malt finish like an ESB should have

F: solid overall, not overbearing

O: good enough that I'll need to try this again next winter season when it returns

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. Thanks Dajtai007, for including this extra!

A: Pours a dark copper hue with great clarity, and fine carbonation. Head is off-white, to eggshell in color and retains very nicely. Lacing is sticky, and dries rhick on the glass.

S: Faint, nose, but very malt-forward. Caramel and biscuit are most prominent, along with some fruity notes from the yeast. Hops linger in the backround with a floral aroma.

T: Like the smell, but oh, so much more! Caramel and toast, along with a hint of toffee and raisin. Almost a slight woody character as well. Alcohol lends a bit of warmth in the middle, followed by a crisp, floral hop finish.

Notes: Phoenixx is a stellar beer of this style. Very well-balanced and full-bodied, with a complex flavor profile. I could almost mistake this beer for a session brew, despite it's ABV. A rock-solid brew, and one that I wish I had more of.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pint at Billy's on Burnet.
Apple cider in color and clarity. Fair head retention and fair amount of lace. Bready malt aroma. Flavor has elements of apples, bread crust, and hazelnuts. Medium carbonation and body. Strong non aromatic bitter back end.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled longneck into a 12 oz. shaker. Best by date 8.16.12.

Look- Clear amber-brown with two fingers of fairly dense off-white head. Good retention, nice lacing. Some suspended particulate visible.

Smell- Very, very faint. Hints of biscuit and vanilla, perhaps cream soda.

Taste- Toast and light herbal bitterness. Very one-dimensional, but it's uniquely tasty as well. Malt flavor similar to toasted sunflower seeds. Again, where are the hops? There's definitely a touch of clean bitterness, but if you're going to call it a "Double Extra Special Bitter", there should be something moderately bitter about it.

Mouthfeel- Crisp, clean, good quench factor. Medium body. Very drinkable. Probably the best thing about this beer. You'd never know it was over 7%.

Overall- It really comes off like an Alt. Well balanced, exceptional drinkability. It's got something of the "imported English-y" character, but I would expect a fresher/domestically produced beer to taste... well... fresher. It's certainly a good beer, and I hate to knock it, but it seems like (from my perspective) they are attempting to mimic the "spent three months in an unrefrigerated cargo container" flavor common to most import beers- I'm sure it comes down to customer expectations. That being said, it's very reasonably priced, pretty darn good, and I'll certainly pick it up again.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one as an extra in a trade with atxdelivery. Thanks a lot!

Appearance: Phoenixx pours a slightly hazy amber color with copper highlights, and about a finger of white head. Retention is not great, and neither is the lacing.

Smell: A bunch of caramel and biscuity malts are present on the nose. This is definitely the predominant smell for this beer. Also I get some herbal and floral bitterness to balance things out a bit. Nothing real complex.

Taste: Caramel and biscuity malts are very prevalent up front. On the back end I get a good deal of herbal and floral bitterness. The finish has some lingering bitterness that is mostly herbal.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is a bit over medium bodied with a good deal of carbonation. Reasonably smooth drinking. Overall, it's a pretty good representation of the style. Nice herbal qualities, and probably a bit more flavorful than most due to the higher ABV.

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Photo of JMad
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug...

The beer is a reddish, brown color with a thin, soapy white head. It smells of roasted caramel malt with some grassy and citrusy hop aromas. The taste is bitter and sweet with flavors of toffee, lemon and grapefruit. Phoenixx is medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation and a pleasant, lingering finish. Real Ale did good with this one, it's very balanced between the malt and hops, I could drink this all the time.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on cask at Anvil in Houston.

This ESB pours a lightly hazed, copper-amber color, and is topped by a thick, creamy, beige head. The aroma is citric and malty, which gives an impression of orange cream. There are caramel and bready notes, grassy hops, and an almost cinnamon-like spice.

Mildly sweet, bready and toasty malts upfront move into a lightly-citric center. The finish has a rough, hoppy bitterness and a slight spiciness. This beer is smooth and creamy upfront, but moves into a rough, coarse finish.

I thought that this was an amazingly balanced beer.

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Photo of beergod1
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper color with a nice foamy head. The aroma is sweet, fruity, light fruity hops. The flavor is smooth, spicy and light naturally fruity flavors, earthy, toasted malts, slightly hot. A great example of an English Strong Ale. I have been getting some brews in trades from Real Ale, and I have been pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of obrike
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A sixer at Round Rock Specs for 4.99? Sign me up...i bought two.

Poured a dark orange/brown amber in my pint glass...a decent head that left lots of good sticky lacing throughout the drink.

Not getting much here on the scent...maybe some caramel malt, but little else...not sure if this is the norm for the style or not.

Big toasted malt on first taste...some dark fruits. Bitterness lingers a bit...a bit dry too. This is certainly not what I would call a refreshing beer. A bit too dry and biscuity. I can see this being a one and done winter warmer type of beer, but not recommended for a hot day.

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Photo of climax
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed several months after drink by date***
Found it hiding in the back of the fridge, oops. If the overall outcome seemed dismal because of this, it would have been deleted. However, this was not the case....

The color was a caramel brown, very cloudy with a large tan head leaving an impressive lace decoration.

Nose is bold, and balanced well. The hop intensity is probably subdued a bit due to age, but it still delivered. The sweet and toasty caramel backbone sat proudly behind earthy/citrus hop notes. Ripe fruit and cinnamon flavors surfaced as it sat.

The flavor was very spicy. The hops come through even more in the taste, with grassy and grapefruit flavors and a very dry finish. The malt is no slouch either. Roasted nuts and chocolate make up a flavorful, sturdy backdrop.

The body is medium with abundant carbonation. The finish is very dry, thus excellent drinkability. This was drank 3 months after the drink by date, which went against all instructions for this one. Didn't matter, it was still excellent. I would love to try it brewery fresh.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep, mostly clear copper color, barely a head, some spotted lacing.
Smells like some wheat and sweet malts, and some hints of tropical hops.
Tastes the same, with some pine, honey- like at times, and pleasantly bitter.
Smooth and medium. Creamy feel. Some bitterness.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

We purchased a bunch of Texas brews for Texas Independence Day (March 2nd, look it up) last week and ended up with several stragglers left over.

I like the label. Not a bad start.

Pours a dark amber color. Decent two finger head with nice sticky lace. The nose is hoppy but with a nice muted fruitiness to it. Pleasantly herbal. The taste has a faint bitterness to it, and is slightly medicinal, but is also mellow with a caramel maltiness. Slightly peppery in the finish. Mouthfeel is sturdy enough.

A totally drinkable beer in my opinion. I'm not entirely sure ESBs are the best beer style to "double" but I don't think this is a bad beer at all. I'm a fan of most of the Real Ale brews, and this is another solid outing by the gang in Blanco.

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

Delightful amazing beer.

Dark brown/amber beer. Short head. Very hazy (you can't see through the glass). Quite pretty when held to the light, almost glows.

Aroma is awesome. Some spices and maybe some licorice?

Flavor is rich but balanced. Malty with a fair bit of spice and hops. Nice alcoholic warmth (this beer is 7.2% ABV according to the brewery website)

Mouthfeel is nice and full with a nice bite.

Highly recommend this beer. I'm glad I listened to the clerk at Wheatsville Coop in Austin (where i bought this beer). His recommendation was spot on.

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Photo of Citadel82
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at the Whole Foods here in Austin whilst visiting on business. Pours a clear dark copper/amber with a thin creamy head that left sparse lacing. To all appearance a classic English bitter. The aroma is caramel and sweet malt with a whiff of alcohol. The taste is quite unexpected the blast of hops seems to utterly overwhelm whatever malty notes one would expect based upon the aroma. The taste is cracker up front with a strong floral/vegetal hop bitterness that fades into a long dry hop finish. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with gentle carbonation that is barely noticable. Overall a good find and a nice way to round out the night.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep copper color with a good sized head. Aroma is fresh, mild dry hops, very clean. Moderate lacing.

Taste is dry, toasty malt and a lot of hops. Very hoppy, almost to the point of a fresh hop ale. Some tea and dry malt flavors underneath but it's all hops up front, rather one-dimensional.

Mouthfeel is medium, clean with a bitter hop aftertaste. Good, if you like this style, but too dry to really session and strays far from a traditional ESB drinkability. Labeled as a "Double ESB," whatever that may mean.

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Photo of zdk9
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a crystal clear dark ruby- the color of a blood orange. A full finger of head puffs up and leaves circles of foam around the glass. A good looking beer.

S- Sweet malts. Some viniousness- like carmalized grape musk.

T- Roasted and slightly burnt grains- sort of taking the harsh part of burnt and leaving the charred caramel part out. More malt character coming out as the beer warms. Warm wheat bread. Definitely a dirty character- hops? I'm not really enjoying the taste of this one to be honest.

M- Pretty bitter. Alcohol is more present than I would expect.

D- Overall this beer underwhelmed me.

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Photo of hoplover82
4.58/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just want to point out that this beer is way better in the bottle rather than on tap.

A-Pours a very inticing clear amber with a huge off white creamy head that has very good retention and excellent lacing. Outstanding appearance indeed.

S-This beer has lots of wafting, sweet toasted malt and bright fruity esthers. Some earthy hops come into play in the end. Beautiful aroma.

T-The flavor reflects the aroma very well but with a healthy helping of very clean earthy hop bitterness. And also the hops come through more in the flavor. Lots of sweet biscuity toasted malt.

M-Full and creamy is the body. And very smooth.

D-Very drinkable. I highly recommend this beer. I was suprized and expecting something dissapointing but got a wonderful beer.

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

Served on-tap at the Addison Flying Saucer. Dark copper pour with a sturdy beige head that lasted throughout the pint and left a little lace. Smell is light hops with a smidge of sugars and alcohol peeking through. Starts off malty and goes right into a gentle hop bitterness that lasts through a sufficiently extended finish. Medium body and a very drinkable ESB. One of the few of this style that I would gladly return to. This has some character.

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Just had a wonderful early afternoon snack of summer sausage, extra sharp white cheddar cheese and a pint of Pheonixx.... really hit the spot.

This beer certainly has a bitter finish, but not nearly as bitter as an IPA would be. A bit sweet but not much.

Color is copperish. This is a really good beer. The more I drink from Real Ale company, the more I am impressed. They really know what they are doing there in Blanco, Texas.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.41/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a slightly opaque reddish gold color that has a nice off-white head that is moderate, settles slow and leaves a faint lacing down the glass.

The nose is earthy in nature with bread, hops, pine, grass and camphor as the dominant traits with some moderate floral notes underneath.

The taste is pleasantly crisp, sharp and rich. There is a nice exceptionally dominant hoppiness that is buttery pine with some grass, bread and nutmeg in the mix with a mild medicine like finish that is well balanced on the bed of sweet to dry malt underneath.

The mouthfeel is surprising rich for such a style and really does a great job of delivering the complexity of the flavors to your entire palate.

Overall this is one of the better offerings from Real Ale, which is saying a lot. Real Ale is an accomplished brewery with some great offerings. I would put this in their top 3.

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Photo of ranger7
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

L: Hazy amber. Off white head which dissipates quickly.
S: Brown sugar, syrupy sweet.
T: Not very ESB-like. It starts with smooth malt and ends bitter. Not a big fan.
F: Medium, then thin? Odd feel.
O: Not a huge fan. The smell and taste are very different. That, and it's inconsistent with the style. Better with food.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to trader Air for this one

Pours a huge 3 finger off white head. Body is a dark copper in color. Head retention and lacing are great

Smell is of roasted malt, earthy hops, and very faint corn. Alcohol isnt detected. The nose is very restrained and boring

First taste is of slightly piny and floral hops. Copper malts and honey sweetness balance the bitterness throughout. Aftertaste is of bitter lime peel and slight alcohol.

Mouthfeel is good. Ample amount of carbonation, semi light body. Head stayed throughout glass and contributed to the beer

Drink ability is good. Semi sessionable, alcohol was hidden nicely. Wouldn't say that this is a run of the mill ESB but its nothing to write home about. Still nice to see more good beer coming out of Texas in bottles. Just wish more breweries would distribute outside the state.

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Photo of HoustonTX
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Phoenixx Double ESB

Was strolling down the beer aisle, when I spotted one of the most eye-catching labels I've ever seen. Reminds me of Stone packaging, yet, with more glossy gold.

Pours with a light burnt copper body, and thin lacy white head.

Smell is fairly unique, has a very fresh grassy hop profile. Reminiscent of wet hopping. With just a hint of buttery toffee malt backbone.

Taste is a mixed bag for me, and here is why.
It never provides really any sweet fruitiness, that I've come to love in my ESB's.
The hops are definitely there, but without sweetness, or a big malty backbone they appear one dimensional.
On the other side, it does provide a solid, enjoyable beer.

It starts out with an infusion of caramel/toffee/roasted malts. The malts don't produce much, but they do provide some what of a backbone. Creating a semi sweet dialectal note. Hops really take center stage near the middle and end. Providing a twisting of dry grassy florals.

This beer is no where near what I was expecting it to be. It's not a bad beer, but honestly it didn't deliver what it could have. The malts were a mess, but the hopping was pretty spot on for the style. I would have liked more fruity esters, malts, and or sweetness. The beer as a whole came off kind of flat and one dimensional.

Good effort, but unfortunately it falls short. Oh well, at least the packaging is kick ass.

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Phoenixx Double ESB from Real Ale Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 316 ratings.
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