ESB | Legend Brewing Co.

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Very Good
23 Ratings

Brewed by:
Legend Brewing Co.
Virginia, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by hopsaplenty on 01-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 |  Reviews: 21
Reviews by bgildea:
Photo of bgildea
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark copper almost amber color with very little head that disipated quickly and left little lacing.

S: No real strong aroma from the beer. Hints of sweets come through along with some earthy tones of nuts and barley.

T: The beer starts with a nice sweet flavor that almost has hints of cherry in it. The flavor moves onto the a more balanced sweet to bitter flavor and finishes with a nice bitter flavor of hops and barley. Overall nice blend of flavors.

M: Pretty thin beer, but I wasnt expecting a lot of chew to it.

D: The beer is very drinkable. The bitter finish really balances out the initial sweet flavor to make it a very drinkable beer.

Overall: Overall the beer was pretty good. I found the balance of flavors to be good and made up for a lack of aroma before tasting the beer. Its definitly drinkable, and I would recommend any beer drinkers taste this one.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of apbarwood
2.96/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Burnt amber color with no trace of foam yet a moderate amount of carbonation. Slight malt aromas and a subtle hint of caramel apple. The aroma is pretty weak and doesn't give too many impression of what to expect. The taste is slightly fruity up front with flavors of red apple with a moderately malty underpinning. It finishes with a metallic hop note that lingers for a bit. Medium bodied with decent balance and a nice smooth drinkability. Unfortunately there just isn't enough to this beer to make it worth a solid rating. It's not awful, but it's not all that good either. It's more or less to style but I think I'd be a lot happier with a more focused and robust flavor. Stronger malt all around would have made this beer more enjoyable.

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Photo of asabreed
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a pint glass. 7% ABV. This batch just came out recently. Definitely not retired.

Appearance: Huge pour and billowing white head with minimal orange or red highlights, though it settles down not quickly, but enough where the head never gets to that point again, even with subsequent pours. But the first was phenomenal, and left much to admire as I watched it dissipate toward sipping level. Color's more of a lighter red with copper and good carbonation bubbling toward the top.

Smell: An awesome meld of biscuity, bready, and buttery aromas, green apple, cherries and strawberry, toasted grain, earthiness, and more orange zest and citrus as far as the hops go. Much is present with much complexity and a hell of a balance.

Taste: I could see how many could be turned off by the fruit here: the green apple, strawberry, and cherry, mixed with, like the aroma, the toasted grains, caramel malts, diacetyl, and citrus from the hops, but the reason why I'm so impressed is for my palate it's working very very well. I never thought such flavors could be put together, since usually in ESBs I'm looking more for the toasted grains and caramel malts, maybe with some fruit in the mix. But this takes it to higher levels, and everything's working so damn well here.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and warranted, and feels like a worthy medium-bodied beer, where the carbonation's right, the flavors do a nice job of commingling on the tongue without being cloying because the brew does such a nice job of coating.

Drinkability: One hell of an ESB, and one of my favorites I've tried from the last few years. It seems like lately Weyerbacher and Legend for me (Yes, two vastly different breweries in different states) can do no wrong. Somehow the TLC they're putting into the beers is clicking with me, and this one is no different. From first semi-cold sip to last room-temperature swallow, this one's all there, for a style that's been done to death in a field of mediocrity, and thankfully, this one's vastly different. Apparently Legend's got a Quad on draft soon for the 15th anniversary, and I can't wait to get down there and try it. Hats off.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Picked this one up passing through Richmond back in February.

Pours a clear, brilliant looking deep ruby with a finger of foamy eggshell colored head. Solid retention flares up well, throwing creamy spotty lace up on the sides of the glass. English hops pretty much dominate the nose, with leafy and spicy aromas mixed in with citric tang and some beefy smelling breadiness underneath.

The taste is a smooth mix of spicy bitterness, citrus notes, doughy grains, and caramel. Finishes dryly bitter with some alcohol warmth. Nice full flavors and balance to this. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an extremely fizzy feel up front that then smooths out into a creamier carbonation in the back. The shaprness up front goes well with the bitterness in this but the overall profile does contain a good bit of alcohol beef.

Solid ESB here. While the 7% ABV is certainly within the range for the style, it's definitely on the upper end, which unfortunately isn't usually were I like it and this kept the drinkibility down for me. If this had been in the 4-5% range, this may have been one of the better American brewed ESBs I've had.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into nonic.

Very clear and very deep amber hue, with glowing light amber highlights. A thick two finger head slowly settles to a thick cap with tiny bubbles embedded in its surface.

Sweet and sugary aroma, a little sweeter than I expected, with a little bit of caramel. The hops are slightly muted, only giving a slight grassy aroma.

The malts have loads of caramel in them, along with a lot of toasty grain that carries a slight burnt flavor. The hops add a little bitterness toward the end. Full bodied.

This one almost tastes like a 60/- or 70/- Scottish Ale. A little toastier with a higher amount of caramel than I expected, and the hops were on the lower side. Not a bad beer by any means, but a little outside the style.

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Photo of CpnYates
4.26/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one of my favorite Legend offerings in 07 and it's good to see it back on the shelves again for early 09.

Apparently the ABV has gone up to 7.0 in the process.

There is nothing special about the look or smell of this beer, the pour is unassuming and cloudy- love the bottle though, its going to be strange seeing legend in sixers soon.

Edit: The second 22oz bottle poured a decidedly better, much clearer beautiful amber brown. Edited review to reflect the second bottle.

Where this beer shines is in the actual drinking (swallowing) process, once past your nose and onto the tastebuds this beer really opens up. So much spice, clove and apple- instantly puts you in the mood for spring. A wonderful tingling sensation as well.

Anyhow- seek this one out, and thanks to the great Kroger Bradenton Ave in Roanoke for stocking great beer.

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4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my trusty pint glass from a very fresh 12-oz bottle. The guy at the store said it had only been on the shelf a few hours.

It pours a very clear copper with about a 2-finger eggshell head from a semi-aggressive pour. What lacing there was tended to drip down the glass after each sip. Bouquet of crisp, fresh fruit (apple, berry) with a definite caramel undertone on the nose. The fruit was much less apparent in the taste, which was dominated by caramel malt & a well-balanced grassy hop profile (I think I recognize these hops from the Legend Hopfest back in the spring). Overall it comes across as a good balance between crisp and earthy. The hops are enough to give a nice clean finish to a fairly flavorful beer. Oh, and the 7% ABV went completely undetected throughout my tasting experience. Very solid offering that stands out from its comrades in the winter beer field.

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Photo of blackie
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: into my tyranena nonic, big 2" khaki head over a maple syrup colored beer, light retention

s: toasted grain and sugary buttered biscuit, earthy spice hops, malt balanced but well hopped regardless, toffee, red apple, a touch of booze, pretty aromatic

m: carbonation just under medium and a touch prickly, medium body

t: opens with moderately toasted grain, toffee, and a generally unwelcome but not too obtrusive buttery biscuit flavor that seems to be present in the other Legends I've had of late, earthy hop flavors precede a moderate bitterness...drying the finish, on the hoppy side for the style, a bit soapy

d: a good beer, but could probably stand to be cleaned up a bit

bomber from The Caboose, Vienna, VA

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Photo of richbrew
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of arguemaniac
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, slightly reddish amber with an initially creamy light-tan head that eventually reduces to a sprawling, generous lace. Toasted aroma. Smooth, rich caramel, a touch of restrained fruitiness and slightly roasted grain in the palate. A very mild hop bitterness is noticeable mostly in the finish, which is otherwise dominated by a bitter (perhaps even slightly astringent) roastiness. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with fairly mellow carbonation.

What I’ve come to expect from Legend: solid if not stellar beers. This one features a delicious and complex malt profile which includes a superb caramel flavor that is typical of Legend’s brews. My only complaint is an overly bitter roast in the finish, but even that isn't really too bad. Recommended.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this back from his recent trip to Virginia:

22 oz. bottle:

Pours copper with ruby-ish hues. A thin tan head leaves trailing lace.

The smell is of cherries, light caramel, some citrus and a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is perfumy, caramelish, with a cherry fruitiness. There's a slight touch of salt. Sweet malt gives way to a bitter dryness. It has a woody finish.

Carbonation a bit forward. Medium-bodied.

It does go towards an "English" character, though with an American "homebrew-esque" touch. Alcohol does show a bit, giving a touch of rawness to it. Still-in-all an interesting brew.

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Photo of chilly460
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear, deep amber, with lighter highlights. A thick two finger light tan head settles down into a thick cap.

S - Sweet aroma, toffee and caramel. The hops are pretty muted, more of a grassy or English style.

T - The malt caramel is prevalent, along with a lot of toasty grain that carries a slight roastiness. The hops add a little bitterness toward the end. I got a little cherry taste at times. Alcohol is a bit raw in this one, hits you in the back of the throat at times.

M - Feels quite full bodied for the style, this is their "winter warmer" and it shows in the body.

O - Probably a little outside the style for an ESB, but considering it's the winter seasonal for Legend, it works.

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Photo of Deuane
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep copper with a thin light tan head that held on well and left spotty lace.

S-Fairly strong spicy hop aroma with a touch of fruitiness and some caramel malt sweetness.

T-Aggressive spicy and fruity combo up front with a pleasant balancing sweetness from the caramel malt. Quite flavourful for sure.

M-Medium body, crisp with good lasting spicy bitterness.

D-A nice brew with plenty of spicy fruit hop flavour which fits the style but the 7% ABV is a bit too aggressive. A touch high for me to truly enjoy over the long haul.

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Photo of jsp2
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear and deep brownish red transparent pour with thick creamy head. Great smell of fruity aleness, perhaps oranges and apricots? There is also a sweetness in the aroma.

Fruity sweet maltiness with low carbonation, followed by bitterness.

This one is big enough on flavor to sip, but goes down very easy.

What a great brew, and great interpretation of the style. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of birderbeerer
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber, almost brown beer. Thin white head and lacing that quickly recedes.

Strong green apple scent. Also some caramel and lager malt scent.

Very sweet, malty taste with a sour, overripe fruit edge. Caramel and toffee malts, apples, pears, and overripe plums.

Good and interesting beer.

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Photo of nriech
4.19/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark caramel colored with ruby highlights, decent head that retained well.

Smell: Toasted malt, smelled almost like fruitcake, hop fruitcake.

Taste: Malty and hoppy at the same time. Toasty malts are very tasty along with the Golding hops. Alcohol is mildly present which is strange at only 6.5%. It tastes great and would be a welcome addition to the year round selections for me. I would put this up with the Legend Brown in terms of great taste and excellent profile of flavors.

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Photo of argock
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Purchased from Harris Teeter (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.99. Must have been unretired as I just picked this up this afternoon.

A: Stunning bronze-amber with 1-2 finger foamy oatmeal colored head with decent retention but no lace.

S: Herbal hops are most prominent, but caramel, pale and Munich malts are a strong contender.

T: A very unique, crisp, and clean tasting beer with exceptional herbal, floral hops with some spiciness combined with a solid caramel malt, cookie tasting base with a touch of salt. A full-flavored brew which really hits the ESB style right between the eyes.

M: Light-to-medium bodied as per the style with crisp but not overbearing carbonation and clean, short nutty, woody aftertaste.

D: Another exceptional Legend brew. These guys don't really make a bad beer, but they have several that are top-tier (ESB, Oktoberfest Lager, Lager, and Hopfest).

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Photo of Braudog
2.22/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle: Poured with a massive head of light foam. Orange-amber with a lazy effervesence. The fruity nose could attract a colony of fruit flies. Musty. Very caramel-malty with a suck-the-moisture dry finish of baked apple and moldy grapes. (#2659, 1/21/07)

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Photo of ElGeordie
3.05/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a couple of pints of ESB at the Capital Ale Housse.
Looks like it should: dark copper/amber with very little head that quickly disappated.
Very fruity / caramelly flavour but it didn't mask the alcohol which gave it a harsh aftertaste. Not a bad pint but a little strong for a session beer.
As a follow-up, I had a stinking hangover the next day. Very surprising after only 3 pints total - 2 of which were this ESB. There's something in this one that doesn't agree with me - I'll be avoiding it.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber with no freshness date - brewed with British East Kent Goldings hops. It pours a clear, medium copper with light carbonation and two fingers of khaki head that leaves little lacing. It is quite aromatic, tropical and cedary, with passionfruit, mango, raspberries, soapy hops, light alcohol and some sugary sweetness. It is a little harsh on the palate, with roasted/toasted/nutty malts, coffee?, strong piney hops, a medium, yet piercing bitterness, some alcoholic heat, and red berries (currant?, grape?) that contribute a Hennessy-esque character. The body is medium and drying, with tingly carbonation and a medium finish. Although tasty, it is not quite balanced enough and a bit rough around the edges.

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Photo of Justin23060
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured orange with an ivory head that didn't last but clung well.

S - Strong smell of fresh fruit and citrus hop.

T - Sweetness that leaves quickly finishing quite dry. Lots and lots of fruit. Pear and apple mostly. Alcohol is not masked well.

M - Adequate carbonation thats surprisingly sharp. Medium to full body (a little more than expected).

D - Somewhat drinkable... but with the unmasked alcohol thing I don't think I'd want more than two in one sitting.

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Photo of doerickson
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium amber with a thick pillowy head that's there for the duration.

Toasted malt and dark fruit aromas.

Sweet and rich tasting but not cloying. Bready malt and vinous flavors with a phenolic character late. Plum-like fruitiness. Hops are indistinct and hard to pick up.

Prickly carbonation with a mild alcohol sting.

This is a strong, Americanized ESB that borders on an Old Ale. At 6.5% ABV, one 22oz bomber goes a long way. Nice offering from a local brewery.

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ESB from Legend Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 23 ratings