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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 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 jwillcourt
3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a cask at the Draught House into a Real Ale souvenir pint glass.

A - Cloudy, cider color. There is little or no head, with a few spots of large bubbles. There is no visible carbonation or lacing.

S - Slight smell of caramel malt, but mostly a strong medicinal hops smell.

T- Follows the smell. There is a slight caramel malt flavor but it is immediately overwhelmed by the medicinal, bitter hops. The hops provide some spiciness in addition to the bitterness.

M - Lighter body than I expected. Very little carbonation. Slight grainy feel. Little residual mouthfeel. Keep in mind this was a cask.

D - Well, I finished the pint fairly quickly and enjoyed it, but I was ready to try something else. The alcohol feels and tastes stronger than it really is. My palate was pretty skewed, which is something to keep in mind if this is not your last drink of the night.

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Photo of AlexMunse
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured at 53 degrees into a 21oz imperial pint glass.
Appearance is a dark brown with a little head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing. Darker than I thought it would be for an ESB.

An interesting smell for sure. Pleasant, with hints of roasted...something. I cant quite put my finger on it. It almost reminds me of what my house smells like when I'm home brewing.

The taste is a letdown! It seems very light and watery. Its not at all what I expected. What little taste there is, is good though, its just not what I expected.

The mouth is very thin and theres not much carbonation. Also dissapointing.

As far as drinkability goes, I would say this is a sessionable beer, but I would rather have something with a little more "oomph!"

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Photo of allengarvin
4.24/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The new bottled version--only had on tap before now. Appearance is a dark, murky brown with but little head, but it has nice lacing despite this. Lots of malt in the nose, with hints of dark fruit, and a load of resinous hops. Good flavor as well, starting sweet, with light caramel, a touch of roast, giving way to lots of grassy, resinous hop flavor. Bitterness doesn't seem as high as it used to be, but it makes a good balance. Finishes a mix of sweet and bitter that never quite dries out.

Excellent beer from Real Ale. Too bad it's a limited released. This supplants their Rye as a favorite bottled offering, for me.

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Photo of elniko
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into SA perfect pint glass.

A: Rich amber coloring with nice off head and some heavy lacing. Quite good looking.

S: Quite hoppy with the nice toffee malt tones backing it up.

T & M: Nicely balanced, mouthfeel just a little thin. Bitter throughout with a nice somewhat fruity finish.

D: A very well done brew and quite drinkable for an ESB. Kudos to Real on this one.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark for an ESB. Nice head, dark malts in the nose with some hop love too. Aroma and taste are very similar, mild chocolate notes with raisins and faint toffee. Worsens as it warms and becomes borderline unpleasant. Average mouthfeel, nothing special or standout. Lacking compared to other fine examples, what do you expect from a mediocre Texas Brewery trying to brew a European classic? Good beer overall, nothing to seek out.

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Photo of fjordhook
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this beer, so I was excited to finally find it at the Central Market in Ft Worth. Pours with a dark amberish color, almost brown. The head was fizzy, very light, and it dissipated quickly.. faster than I expected anyways. It smells nice, a good blend of the hops and malts. Nothing too fancy. At first I wasn't a big fan. I had a few the other night and didn't appreciate the taste, but after giving it a second chance and writing this review it has grown on me. I've always loved supporting Real Ale and I've enjoyed both of their seasonal beers so far. I can't wait to see what is next.

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

Has a nice copper color, and a decent little head.
Smells of hops with a little something extra... maybe some greens?
Tastes like some serious hops, nothing real floral but bitter mainly.
I really enjoy this beer since it does not follow the plain and boring that many other breweries do for winter.

I cant wait for next years!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copperish color with a white head. The aroma is hops with some toffee and biscuit malt. The flavor is earthy hops along with caramel malt and toffee. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation. Another good seasonal beer from Real Ale that was recently released in bottles for the first time.

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Photo of greenpumas
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There comes a time when one walks into their favorite store expecting to purchase another one of their go-to brews and, instead, finds a jewel. Today, folks, was my day.

A: Copper-brown body makes way for a very thin, yet ever-present head. Lace on this beer is above average considering it's overall ABV

S: Slight hint of phenols coupled with a unique sweet and sour sort of scent. Very different from a run of the mill ESB.

T: A bit thin. I need more up front flavor to pair with what I am smelling. Though it does taste like it came straight from a cask, I need a bit more body with an ESB.

MF/D: Certainly a "session" brew, Phoenixx comes up a bit short on body for me.

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Photo of sayerofthelaw
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The new Real Ale seasonal, a double ESB.

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

A - A very pretty dark red. About a 1/4 inch off-white head that gradually dissipates, this beer leaves a lot of lacing down the glass.

S - Mostly just hops for me, but a nice smell that is mildly fruity.

T - Well, its hoppy, but not overpowering. There are some ild caramel malt flavors that combine well with the hops. Overall, it isn't bitter.

M - Good carbonation in an overall smooth mouthfeel.

D - Not sure if I would call it sessionable, I would imagine the hoppy notes of the beer would build up on the tongue after a few of them.

Overall, a decent beer. Not nearly as bitter as some ESBs I've had.

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

On-tap at the Austin Flying Saucer.

Served in a Flying Dog pint glass a rich, rosy copper color with a caramel core and a lively carbonation level. Excellent retention to the khaki head, which manifested itself as a thin, rocky patch of bubbles that left behind a few splotches of lacing. Great aroma, too, with succulent toffee malts and powdered chocolate balanced perfectly by a resinous, almost medicinal hop presence. Took a few swirls to really get the nose acclimated to the aroma, but well worth the effort.

As for the taste, the hops were ripe-tasting and juicy, almost as if this were a fresh hop beer. Nice balance of toasted caramel and toffee malts with fruity yeast esters and a hint of that medicinal-ESB twang that added some pep to the finish. The medium body is perfectly carbonated and quite smooth given the style, making for an easy drinking ESB. Real Ale is churning out some excellent beer these days, and the seasonal offerings (Real Heavy, Lost Gold IPA, and now Dbl Phoenixx) are all worth seeking out.

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Photo of DeathbySexyBT
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep amber meets blood crimson. A finger and a half of head with excellent retention.

S: This beer started with a medicinal or chlorophenolic aroma that was quite off-putting. Fortunately, that died off after about 2-3 minutes. The smell from that point on was a very doughy caramel malt with a good hop punch. Once the hospital smell left, the aroma was splendid.

T: Diacetyl and alcohol hit on the front side. But, much like the smell, once you get a few minutes in this becomes quite tasty. Estery flavors blend nicely with the bitterness (almost burnt) caramel malt taste.

M: Medium body and good carbonation for style. This is a 'big' version of an ESB.

D: Happily, this is produced locally. Sadly, it is not bottled and a seasonal effort at that. I like this beer. There are better in the style, to be sure, but still a strong effort.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a 1 finger head with good retention. ruby red color..

smell is of caramel malts with earthy hops and mild fruity esters.

taste shows a little bit of hot alcohol. bitterness balances nicely. fruity esters and a hint of diacetyl with a caramel malt bitterness balance the beer.

mouthfeel is a tad astringent. carbonation is good though.

decently balanced big esb. give it a try

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 3/12/2009 (Tap @ Flying Saucer, Houston, TX):

Pours a medium brown colored body, clearish with a big creamy off-white head. Hoppy grapefruity aroma, very bitter and dry smelling. Creamy, hoppy bitter dry taste. Some strawberry maltiness too. Letting it warm up a bit for some more flavor...Some more flavor. Not too bad. Much more flavor. No aftertaste, it just fades.

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Photo of omnigrits
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is definitely *not* retired - had on tap at the Ginger Man in Austin, Feb 25th 2009.

Dark amber colour with a full off-white head that takes a long time to subside and leaves a thick film of bubbles resting on top of the beer with plenty of lacing.

Somewhat fruity in the nose with a vague hint of toffee, but the toffee comes across more on the tongue, along with that floral hop bomb. Very nice finish. A good body - if this beer was a movie star it'd be Ellen Barkin... but that's just cos I think Ellen Barkin's got a great body.

A very good ESB in my opinion and something I'd order several pints of in an evening.

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Photo of JonathanL7890
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The listing is WRONG! This beer is not retired. It is a Real Ale Seasonal.

On tap at the Dig Pub in Cedar Park.

Poured a dark amber into a pint glass with 1 inch of foam

Taste : carmel, malty, detectable hops. Very smooth.

Smooth silky mouthfeel

Finish is clean, easy to drink.

Overall, exactly as advertised. An ESB with more malt and hops but still within the style. Real Ale, you've made another excellent beer.

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Photo of JDV
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at the draught house. Pours a dark maroon color with a medium beige lasting head. Nice looking beer. Smell is fruity, hoppy, gummy, with big hop presence for the style. Not what I expected from something called an ESB or labeled as an ESA. Either way, extremely drinkable, fruity and hoppy but smooth with alcohol hidden well. Very nice beer.

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Photo of Norsebrew
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I went to the brewery and tried all the beers. This one stuck out the most from my trip. It had a wonderful hop infused taste. It wasn't hoppy enough to blow my socks off, but the blend of hops and amber malts was great. The aroma had a hop and carmel smell. Overall, I would not hesitate to buy the Phoenix again or order it at a pub. I even bought a T-shirt of the beer after the tour!

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

On tap at the Flying Saucer, Addison, TX.

Slightly hazy, deep amber/brown. Medium sized, creamy, ivory colored head.

Scent was mainly bread dough, with a touch of floral/herbal notes. Unpleasant medicinal aroma, which mellowed a bit as the beer warmed.

Bitter more than sweet, balances some as the beer warms.
Medicinal/phenol flavor picked up on in scent carries into taste, not very pleasant. Similar to the scent, this improves as the beer warms. An herbal/grassy bitterness is in the finish and aftertaste. Touch of caramel. Finally, roast notes - fairly mild, tie into the bitterness.

Medium in body. Low carbonation - could be increased a bit IMO. Fairly dry.

Not impressed at the start, but it improved considerably as the temperature increased. Nice balance, would drink again.

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Photo of Morris729
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange copper color with a creamy white head that fades into a sticky lace. Nose is dominated by fresh grassy hops along with a bit of a sweet nuttiness. Taste begins with some toasted malts, but the hops are the key players. However, the hops present themselves in a very earthy manner—more so than in just about any beer I can remember trying. This beer definitely improves as it warms—in fact, near room-temperature is ideal.

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

A flagship brewer of Ales in Texas whose quality continues to rise.

The Phoenix Double ESB is a unique offering from Real Ale but then again,
their beers are distinct.

This pours with a thick head featuring plenty of staying power and a bitter taste to follow on first "bite". Not much malt in the way of support so don't think of this being near an English ESB. Nice to fit in a session but not
one you'd repeat in the same night.

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Photo of kosmoraios
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth. Poured a murky brown into a 22 oz glass with a tenacious 1.5 finger head. The aroma was mainly of the hops, with some undertones of hazelnut and caramel. Taste was nice and bitter, heavy on the hops, with a malty toffee-like sweetness balancing the bitter, floral hops. There was some hint of a roasted-nut twinge to it. Mouthfeel was a bit phenolic, with a little bit of bite from the alcohol. Drinkability was average, meaning that it was worth a try, but not worth another round.

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