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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Ratings: 318 |  Reviews: 128
Photo of UMNbeerhunter
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Town Hall globe on 6/26/11. Bottle has a best by date on 07.26/11.

Pours a dark hazy amber with a huge head that leaves no lacing.

Smell is all carmel malt and zero hops.

Taste the same with tons of carmel malt sweetness and barley any hops. I was expecting more bitterness but it was abscent.

Mouthfeel is moderate but it does have a decent aftertaste.

Overall this is a one and done for me. I like it but when you say double bitter I expect bitter not an IPA.

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Photo of jale
3.61/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dirty copper with a dime of white head.

S: Sweet malt aroma and slight caramel. Just a hint of piney hops.

T: Sweet roasted malt upfront followed by caramel. Piney hop bitterness in the middle leading into a hint of citrus finish.

M: Heavier than I expected and somewhat sticky and a tad cloying.

O: Soild ESB. Would drink another.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

A: Pours a clear brown with a small white head with moderate retention and minimal lacing.

S: On the closed side, some toasted malt and some faint earthy hops.

T: On the boring side, with some toasted malt, light caramel, a touch of wheat, and a hint of coffee.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Not a whole lot going on with this one. Nothing bad about it, but for a 7.2% abv ESB, I was hoping for a bit more.

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

Pours a warm ruddy brown, with a thin head that quickly recessed. Smell is of dark malts and a hint of hops. Taste starts with smooth dark malts, then in the second half if the taste I get notes of chocolate and coffee. Mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation. This I an interesting take on the ESB, but I am not sure if inwill re-visit it again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottled poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Small off-white head tops a dark amber body. Clear and very dark. Not much lacing on this at all.

Smell - I don't get much hops. I get some pine aroma, but it's second to the malt, which is quite toasty.

Taste - Follows the smell. Not much hops up front. Goes right into a burnt toast malt flavor. Very bready. It's accentuated by a strong bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Heavier mouthfeel than I was expecting. Strong bitter finish makes it feel heavier than it really is as well. It's not really smooth or easy drinking at all.

Overall - Interesting take on an ESB. The flavors are overwhelming in a negative sort of way. Too bitter of a finish and the malts are too burnt tasting. I get that it's a double ESB, I just don't love how it comes together.

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Photo of dubinsky
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from Turfy. Poured from 12oz bottle into a Crate and Barrel snifter. Best by date of 8/21/11.

A - Pours a slightly hazy dark amber, almost like rust. A two finger foamy head tops the beer. The foam sticks to the edges leaving behind some huge lacing patterns.

S - Floral hops give way to a huge malty, biscuit aroma. Quite nice. Its not the hugest smelling beer, but it smells good.

T - The hops come out swinging hard but quickly yield to the huge biscuity malt backbone. I distinctly pickup the Munich malts. It has a well rounded bitterness with a sweet malt presence.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. Good bitterness in line with the style.

O - Although this is not a style a usually like, this is a great beer. I would buy and drink this again, often, if it was available here in CA.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy dark orange copper colored with a lingering, thin, whitish head. Little lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malts with a noticeable piny hop aroma. Light alcoholic smell as it warms. Subtle dark fruity character.

F/M - Bready malts with caramel and light dark fruits. Earthy resinous hops are not front-stage but noticeable with a moderately firm bitterness. Estery yeasty finish. Dry with a medium mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Slight astringency in the finish.

O - Ok, but the astringency and firm bitterness are distracting and its kind of a chore to drink this beer when it gets warm.

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Photo of THECPJ
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: copper brown orange with a 1 finger off white head

smell: very little aroma, slight corn, malts

taste: not a whole lot going on here. malts, little hops

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: not exactly what I would call Extra Special. But hey I like trying out new breweries.


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Photo of beeragent
3.36/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a medium copper, forming a 1/2 inch off-white head. Light spots of lace on the glass.

S - Caramel malt aroma and a hint of alcohol.

T - Heavy toasty malts coat the palate, caramel, and slightly grainy. A bit of spicey hops in the finish. Alcohol is hidden more in the taste than the aroma.

M - Medium bodied, a bit thinner than expected, and very clean. Low carbonation.

D - Malty flavor and overall balanced but leaning more towards the malts than hops. Not a bad beer but not really being a fan of ESB's, I didnt have much to compare this with.

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Photo of gford217
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from jefferz5000.

Pours a hazy caramel with a soid foamy head that recedes to a swirl along the top.

Heavy caramel malt sweetness with some toast and lit earthy hop bitterness. There is a bit of pine resin and medicinal character as it warms.

The taste has lots bitter hops up front, especially for an ESB. The caramel malts dominate the backbone with a more prominent biscuit flavor than in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is pretty full bodied for an ESB, prickly from the hops and with strong carbonation.

This is an amped up ESB to be sure and I wouldn't call it terribly drinkable for the style but it more complex than most, so I would certainly recommend it.

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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 jdense
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from Gabe's SAT, poured into new St. Arnold's shaker pint glass 4.21.11.

One finger white head, fairly quick dissipation with some lacing. Reddish clear amber body, some dispersed trails of carbonation rising to surface. Big dose of crystal malt in the nose, fruity, tropical hops, some bready malts for dryness. Taste mirrors nose, though the alcohol is quite prevalent. Medium-light mouthfeel, fairly dry finish for style. Too boozy for the style and my liking, unless you are a fan of Double ESBs (not sure if such a style exists or will in the future) a novelty worth trying once, but I won't be having this again any time soon.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Haven't had an ESB for over 3 years. Last one was from Saranac in a holiday mixed pack. 1.79 for a single, why not try this.

Appearance-Very deep copper with a 1 inch tan head. Head quickly dissipates leaving some decent lacing.

Smell-Sweet malty aroma. Also get some earthy tones. Kind of reminds me of an IPA aroma only a few days past its freshness.

Taste-Immediately feels like a Brown Ale off the bat with some sweet caramel and malt. Once the beer creeps to the back of the tongue you get some IPA characteristics nice bitter hop kick, very earthy. A nice bitterness lingers, very nice.

Mouthfeel-Very smooth beer. Nice carbonation, really pleasant. Pretty thin, but very drinkable.

Overall-This beer suprised me. Considering I haven't had an ESB in a long time and was able to really enjoy this one I applaud this beer and Real Ale. Not going to compare this to my "A" IPAs/IIPAs, but for a reasonable ESB It's great. Nothing from Real Ale has really wowed me, including this beer, but I will absolultely drink a few more of these while they are still around.

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Photo of thatlongname
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy medium amber color with a decent cream colored head. Seems to stick.

Smell: Some malts in the nose and some sweetness. I'm not getting much in the nose.

Taste: Some light malt tones at the beginning of the sip that makes it taste like toffee or caramel. Strong bitters to finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied low carbonation.

Overall: A pretty good beer. It's rather refreshing and has some bite.

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

Big thanks to Adouble for the local goody!

Pours a nice light mahogany color. Clarity is pretty good, there may be a hair of haziness to it. The collar is a nice finger and a half, light tan/off white in color. Retention was good, and the spongy, sticky lacing left on the glass was quite nice.

Slight bits of resiny hops, and touches of pine. Mostly, there's a big bready malt aroma with notes of caramel and candied sugar. Aroma is a bit sweet, but not bad.

Taste is a bit more bitter, than hoppy, which is nice. It's mellow, but definitely more intense than a typical ESB. There's a nice malt presence and backing, not too sweet, a bit caramely. The finish is a bit bitter and lingering. Overall, quite nice.

The feel is a bit thin, but there's a creamy texture to it, almost velvety. Carbonation is low, and could be a hair crisper.

Drinkability is solid. Nothings bad about this at all. It doesnt wow, but it's a nice brew to sip on!

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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 aeminter
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The head is off-white almost cappuccino in color, and has great retention. Light amber in color and very clear.

Nice hop aromas with some light fruity esters.

The flavors compliment the nose with balanced malts...up front malt sweetness with a balanced middle and pronounced hop bitterness at the end. The aftertaste lasts only about a minute. The carbonation is moderate-low. There is some alcohol warming, but this could be overemphasized by my empty stomach.

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Photo of stageseven
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Ecrassipes for sending me this one as an extra.

Ar - good caramel malty aroma, more bready than fruity, some hops coming through with an earthy quality, and a little floral.

Ap - copper hue, off-white head that's very thin, but stays with a dusting on top through the glass. A little hazy but mostly clear. Leaves some lacing.

T - Caramel malt flavor right up front, with a surprisingly strong bitterness in the back. Earthy hop quality again in the flavor. Some breadiness to the beer as well. It's got a little phenolic quality, but not overwhelming or off-putting at all. Instead it adds a little complexity to it and keeps it from being at all bland.

M - Moderately low carbonation, definitely in a good range. Medium body, substantial feel to it. A little coating left in the mouth.

D - Good balance between the hops and malt in this one. I expected less hop bitterness, but I wasn't disappointed that it was there. Only a bit of warmth to indicate its strength, which took me a little by surprise. Overall a very good tasting ESB even if it doesn't really fall inside the style guidelines.

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

Thanks for sharing this one, Bobby.

A: The pour is a dark copper color with a soapy off-white head and minimal lacing.

S: This one pretty much just smells like toast and toasted malts. I was expecting a bit more hop character at least, but apparently I'm not going to get it. Maybe a touch of earthy and floral hops if you really strain yourself.

T: Like the nose, this beer is all about the toast/toasted malt. Mildly sweet but a fair amount of bitterness is present as well. Not a ton of hop flavor, either. Like with the nose there are just hints of floral and earthy hops.

M: Nice and medium-full in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: Nothing terribly bad about this beer, it was just a bit too one note for me.

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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 OakedCanuck
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass

The Phoenixx pours a reddish to deeper amber colour with good white head formation. The lacing was minor but sticky. Smells of pine, grapefruit, lemon and some minor herbs. Taste is very good bitterness but not over the top. Piney, grassy, some whole grains are mixed well with the citric aspects (lemon, orange, grapefruit). The mouthfeel is medium and drying, classic ESB. A very drinkable, dry, ESB. Very nice representation of the style.

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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 depechemode1983
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with orange red hues. Very thick foamy head with great retention. Lacing is good as well. In the smell there is a grapefruit bitterness along with some slightly toasted caramel malts to sweeten it up a bit. Ends pretty clean with nothing lingering. Taste is sweeter than the nose suggest. There is still the grapefruit bitterness but the toasty caramel notes come through a lot more with even more sweetness. Taste almost like an America Strong Ale just with a more toasted quality. Mouth feel is medium to full bodied with medium to high carbonation. Its a little up there but not quite. Feels good though. Not bad. Good flavors however pretty strong and with a substantial amount of alcohol. This is one that I will be picking up again next year.

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Photo of azdback
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my personally etched "dead man's hand" Marlboro pint glass. Beautiful dark burnt orange color. Creamy off white head. Sticky lace.

Smell is earthy, grasses, yeasty. Some burnt sugar smells. Not real hoppy or much alcohol.

The taste is better than the smell a bit. Much more hop in the taste. The sweet I'm still trying to nail. Maybe a candied orange?

Mouth is great. It is carbonated well. A bit sticky and sweet long at the end.

I had to remind myself that I am not reviewing a Double IPA, but an Amber( well Double Amber). So with my pallet so far to the left I had to reel it back to center and realize how good this beer is to the common non pallet wrecked man (or woman). Thanks to BgThang and turfy for this. Very enjoyable and recommended.

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Photo of bens0n
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear orangey/brown with a fair amount of off-white head that leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

On the nose its pretty subdued, not too much going on here. Can't really pick up on any hops, but there is a piney note to it.

Flavor wise it starts out mild with an earthy piney note then finishes with a bitter kick. It is light to medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. It has a slick quality to it and goes down easy and smooth. More of a sipper to me though, couldn't session this beer, alcohol is pretty prevalent in the taste for only being 7.2% abv.

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Phoenixx Double ESB from Real Ale Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 318 ratings.
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