Full Sail Equinox | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Full Sail EquinoxFull Sail Equinox
38 Ratings
Full Sail EquinoxFull Sail Equinox

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 04-10-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one came in a mixture of yellow and light orange. Good 3/4" white head. Aroma was a very pleasant Cascade floral hop aroma, one of the best I've come across in an ESB.

Taste hit the bitter notes, but still had that floral C hop edge. A little stronger than traditional ESB's, a little more bitter, a little more hop mouthfeel even if with old school new world hops. So it wasn't exactly within BJCP guidelines, but it was an almost Americanized, imperialized version of ESB.

Extremely dry pale malt going on here, great dry finish. Ample carbonation all the way through, although it helps when the beer is so drinkable you finish it quickly. The citrus/grapefruit notes all the way through were consistent. Possibly my favorite Full Sail beer of all time.

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Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of klmcmachen
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another from the long lost awesome seasonal series of Full Sail.

A faint orange and auburn color to it, average head, exquisite floral hop bitter aroma.

Taste, very bitter, but more hop mouthfeel than almost any esb I can ever recall having. Finished so dry and crisp, another FS beer that was light, yet so full of hops and bitterness. Grapefruit, lemon and pepper, this one was kind of like a half imperial version of their pilsner, many of the same flavors, just a little amped up (bitterness especially).

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Photo of magictrokini
2.88/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Full Sail may be one of the more erratic brewers. It is so hit-or-miss it is unbelievable. This beer is a perfect example. Their IPAs tend to be on the English side, so I thought their ESB would be fantastic. Wrong. Copper pour with a decent white head. Malt, caramel, and a floral/citrusy aroma. Bitter, metallic bite with some toffee and caramel. It is sour in the finish, almost starchy. Sadly average.

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Photo of Maudite
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found at Roxies Deli on Shattuck in Berkeley.

A- Creamy, off-white head, one thick finger full. No lacing at all, but head stayed for the whole bottle. Body was a rich orange color with a very slight haziness to it.

S- Great nose on this beer with many aromas from wet grass, fresh cut/wet wood, flowers, to a peppery spiciness. Nothing muddled, all very well distinguished. Well crafted beer with a great hop profile. So far, so ESB.

T- A grassy hop bite, a sweet, yet dry, maltiness. Very bitter and sweet, simultaneously. An almost honeysuckle floral quality, a sticky bitterness reminiscent of tree sap, and an aromatic pepperiness akin to cardamom. Very delicious ESB. Perhaps not the best ever, but definitely high in the ranks. Certainly worth everyone trying once or twice.

M- An interesting juxtaposition here... It drinks like a creamy, pasteurised beer, yet it's also acidic. It is sweet and sticky, yet bitter and dry. An intriguing and enjoyable mouthfeel.

D- A great beer to go with a meal, a hot day, or drink it close to room temperature on a breezy, cooler evening like my wife and I did. Really good at 50+ degrees.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 pulled from the basement cooler.. shared with a coworker (we SWEAR this is the last brew tonight!). I purchased this brew at either New Vintage or the Coop, but I think this one came from New Vintage (it still has a $3.99 price tag on it.) My half poured into a shaker pint.

HUGE 3" head that just keeps coming.. need to let this one settle down more. Copper colored brew... clear with little floaty beasts that look like a lava lamp.

Big maltiness with lite floral hops.. pronounced yeast fruity esters.

Good balance .... malts and bitterness battle for sure.. not much hop flavor... but what is minerally.. reminds me of a Flintstone vitamin.

This was a much better/great American ESB when fresh, but a little age has done no good.. nice body, but out of control carbonation... notes tell me I "really" liked this one fresh.

I sat on this bottle for way too long... good beer but most of everything special is now muted and the carbonation has reared an ugly head... no pun intended.. too long in the cellar made this one way overcarbonated.

Off of notes, this ESB is much better than Bridgeport, Deschues, .. but not better than Alaskan... etc. I pretty much always like the Full Sail Brewers Reserve... I am balancing this review from 3xnotebook reviews with tonights' tasting... 7-8 months ago, and this one would have been a high 4.3-4.4.

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Photo of brentk56
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with an obnoxious head that overflows regardless of how carefully I pour; leaves nice lacing behind

Smell: Bready malt dominates the aroma with a vague fruity hop element

Taste: Starts out with a bready flavor that builds in relatively mild pithy citrus elements by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is an earthy hop flavor with some citrus that is very nice; at the end, however, a grainy, lemony roughness mars what had been a pretty good start

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This beer is standing on its last legs and I think that the disagreeable flavors I encountered are the result of some oxidation

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Photo of loren01
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy orange color, good sized bubbly white head, good lacing down the glass
S: Smells herbal, sweet, spicy/peppery scents
T: Slight maltiness, with an dry bitter citrusy aftertaste. Same as smell peppery spiciness taste as well.
M: Medium bodied, dry finish
D: Damn good ESB, would for sure buy this again

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Photo of Mark
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really liked this beer. To start with the medium amber color was tooped by a off white head that retained very nicely, intricate lacing adorned the glass. Subtle hoppy aroma, citrusy hops were very reminiscent of Special London Ale by Young's. as all of you know this is fine by me. Excellent creamy and substantial mouthfeel, good drinkablity as well. went well with dinner. A beer to be a regular for me as long as I can find it.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear dark golden in color, nice carbonation, nice head, some nice lacing afterwards. Scents of sweet malts, hops, slight citrus, and spices. The taste of hoppy and nice and bitter, slight dry finish with a nice bite. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, very good example of the style.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
3.16/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad brew in general, but definitely not my favorite ESB.

A - Nice looking hazy gold/orange body with a decent head.
S - There's a lemony citrus smell here. Not bad, but not overly pleasant either.
T - The taste is grapefruity. Little too sour. I don't totally dislike the flavor, I mean, there's some yumminess too it, but it's just not 100% agreeable.
M - The bitterness rolls about for a bit, but it's not very strong.
D - As much as I complain about the taste, it's still a drinkable beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber of the 2006 brewer's reserve. Very good and well malted ESB. Its for sipping and sharing. Golden amber colour. Smooth.Hoppy and piney aroma. This is a mix of hops, and while citrus, there is some British hop in here. Refreshing.Drying finish

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Photo of AlexJ
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber rust brown with a dense head of wheat hued froth that laces nicely.

Aroma is fruity malts, scorched caramel, light floral and citrus notes, and hints od powdery cocoa.

Flavor has great fruity malt notes of toffee and brown bread with a perfect balance of almost spicey herbal and floral hops with a touch of grapefruit. Chewy.

Body is medium, with a slippery texture and a chewy, meaty mouthfeel. A balanced and quaffable ESB.

--props to GClarkage for the gift!

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice head. Light amber. The color immediately gives this beer away to me. It doesn't have the darker tones that mark the appropriate malt tones. And that's the main flaw of this beer.

The hops profile is nice and seems to be spot on. I believe they are using a mixture of British hops. Malt profile is too thin. So is the mouthfeel.

Many thanks to blitheringidiot for picking this up for me while on his travels.

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Photo of Gavage
3.41/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear yellowish orange in color. Short 1" head falls quickly to surface spots.

Smell: nothing discernable by the nose.

Taste: mild maltiness, soft caramels, pears, and a decent floral bitterness.

Mouthfeel: smooth and somewhat dry. Very short aftertaste. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: the flavors were a bit subdued, but this grew on me a bit as it warmed. Worth a try, but the aroma needs a kick in the pants.

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Photo of rowew
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz bomber. Bright yellow label - Brewmaster's Reserve 2006.

Appearance: Rough pour leads to a very big head - nice body to it. Color is orange with a bit of haze. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Spicy hops and a bit of sweet malt. Very appetizing.

Taste: Nice full mouthfeel with just a bit of brightness from the carbonation. Starts off very peppery and hoppy, then the malt comes in to balance things out.

Overall impression: Very nice - sessionable, and interesting enough to keep you coming back. Nice example of an ESB - I would love to see this become a regular.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A rare 22ounce brown glass bottle Bomber from Full Sail, sealed with a black and silver logo’s crown cap. Single obverse label which has a yellow background with a light blue centerpiece design. The word ‘Equinox’ is written in white inside a green band that crosses the middle. Listed as an ‘Extra Special Bitter’, 5.7% ABV and a ‘Brewmaster Reserve 2006’, so I figure this must be a seasonal special given both the name and bottle size.

Appearance: Amber body with a lovely brilliant brown clarity. Light tan colored head stays at 2” to 3” thick for some time, as it collapses it leaves a fantastic looking crusty surface whilst lacing the edges of my Tankard. Middling conditioning. A lovely looking brew.

Nose: Soft toasted malts ably support the crisp hops which bolster the nose. A lovely bracing set of odors

Taste: Toasty malts and background fruits lend a very ESB character, but this is improved yet further with a scintillating hoppy finish. Bitter ending is nicely balanced. Crisp and hoppy with a very moorish quality. Dry with some grain and a hint of yeast in the ending. Oh my, this is just so perfect. Probably the best American ESB that I have had to date.

Mouthfeel: This is a big boy for sure, no weakness in the Mouthfeel at all, and a full-bodied torso which has a familiar malt backbone and a refreshing hoppy texture in the bitter finish. Sublime conditioning levels.

Drinkability: A high end libation that expertly melds the Drinkability of an English style Premium Bitter whilst infusing some hoppy character and a bolstered strength. It is all precision assembled. Runs like a fine watch.

Overall: Excellent, a superb and faithfull, yet creative, ESB which has a gorgeously infectious American slant, in so much that it is hoppy, but….and here is the good news, it is not an ‘over the top’ American slant or hoppiness, as is so often. In the case of Full Sail Equinox the American slant is very tastefully done, supremely molded and fused into the base of a very drinkable rather classic ESB. I love this brew. More please!! But why do I have an awful feeling that this may not be available again. Damn it should be though.

Highly Recommended!

…and it only cost me $2.99 for the Bomber at BevMo in Huntington Beach! Bar-gain. Stock up on it.

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Photo of SethB2
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dirty unfilted brown looking beer with tinges of orange. Nice head on the pour that settles down after a bit, leaving my glass looking destroyed by the lace. Very nice.

S - Bitter with a spicey kick to it too. Maybe from a noble hop, but for me it is hard to place exactly. It is also peppery, with adds a nice component.

T+D - Good stuff. Definitely bitter, and a tad sour, but not for the usually hoppy reasons. The peppery characteristic is there as well, and it blends well with the carbonation for a nice mouthfeel. As expected, it finishes a bit dry, which I like a lot for this beer.

D - Awesome. One of the best ESBs I have had to date.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks mike. this esb is delivered in a simply-illustrated bottle and pours heartily with no frills. the maniacally active reddish-orange body maneuvers briskly beneath the pillowy, softly-dimpled head. one whiff and i'm questioning the categorization of this beer.. i'm getting alot of fruity hops and pungent yeast. reminds me alot of the boulder pale ales from first sensory contact. time allows some brown sugar coated malt sweetness to tweak the nose. that's ok. hoppier than i would have expected by leaps and bounds.

diving through the foam gives me a nice cream 'stash. initially peppery and dry with a crusty, bready english malt flavor. ok, here's the esb flavors i know and expect. hops are certainly there and add more bitterness in the absolute west coast finish. something concentrated and dirty, yet sticky sweet, like dried fruit, resides here. remarkably, the brews finish is pure earthy husk cemented in caramel brittle. sure, some citrus rinds contribute a certain something but this beer reeks of old-school influence.

at first, i though i was drinking an xpa. deceptive, yes, but flavorful overall. only complaint, really, is perhaps a little overcarbonated. otherwise easy drinking, full of flavor and very fresh. recommended esb.. something different.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Simple print label touts employee owned brewmaster reserve 2006.

Released in a glass with a bright amber orange clear hue containing a few rising bubles to an ivory skim island of foam settling into a collar leaving drippy lace in the glass.

Nose says ESB alright! Just a dose of sweetness from a malt profile and a balanced hoppy fruitiness. Lightly toasted malt with a hint of caramel and a touch of lemon.

First swigs: Light crisp fruit and a well balanced malt meets fruitiness. Initial lemon grass clean zest with a touch of grainy malt framework. Gentle touch of soapy floral hops and a hard candy malt.

Feel is dry and well hopped with a lingering floral soapy finish.

Last swigs: Maybe...just maybe this is a touch too American hoppy to be a trad ESB, but ya won't catch me complainin'. A worthwhile ESB to check out and seek.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange amber color with a frothy white head that leaves some lace one the sides of the glass.
The aroma is rich a full of caramel malt sweetness with a touch of a citrussy hop aroma as well.
The flavor begin with touch of a hop bitterness that is both earthy and citrussy and then quickly segues into a rich maltyness that is a bit carmelly yet finishes dry. This allows the bitterness and a bit of a toasty I think it might be aromatic malt flavor to linger on the tongue. A great american interpretation of an ESB as the yeast character that one would find in a classic example of an English ESB is absent and this beer is very clean. A great brew to have but it is sold in 22oz bottles so it is pretty hard to have a session with this one. I would love to try this on cask as i bet it would be excellent. I would buy another one of these if the mood strikes me as this is a great beer though i think it is a one-off so get it while you can.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

aah, ESB, my first love going back to working at the Wynkoop, and seeing the bitter poured off a cask on top of the bar. Cool.
Pours beautifully, although a lighter amber with more yellow then I expected--although it's still on the orange side of the spectrum. A thick froth thins to a sheet of broken bubbles.
Smells great! Crackers and biscuits first; earthy hops followed by more floral herb.
Tastes less biscuity and more piney then it smelled. Still it's very pleasant. I'm feeling like I'm drinking strained valencia orange juice with more then a few not quite ripe fruits. i think this really deserves to be put in a cask, and pumped...
This is a wonderful American interpretation of ESB. I love it. It's really drinkable. These great hop swaths blanket the mouth with pines, and flowering orange trees, then you dive into an earthy flower garden of dried marigolds and calendula, violets and nasturtiums. At the end of the trip you find you're riding a smooth, lite malty base with plenty of barley character that was just pointing out the finer qualities of hops in the neighborhood. Highly recommended.

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Photo of beersabound
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Woohoo to Full Sail for this delight. This dark gold friend comes with a modest, tight, long lasting head and leaves great lacing on the glass. The aroma is of moderate spicy and citrus hops and a little bit of biscuit. This is easy to drink especially because of the creamy but light mouthfeel and finish that has hop flavor and is somewhat dry. The hop flavor and low level of esters go great together and allow the malt sweetness and light toasty flavor to be enjoyed. I could drink this all night for a few nights in a row. This is to style for sure.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.48/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fluorescent apricot with tangerine juice borders, a stunning color when backlit with late morning sun. The tightly-bubbled pastel orange mousse crown is great as well and leads me to believe that there's a generous quantity of hops onboard. I love the way it looks like a melted orange creamsicle in a glass, with the ice cream rising to the top. An impressive display of sticky lace is simply icing on a very good looking cake. Thankfully, I've run out of food metaphors.

The nose smells more than a little British ESBish to me. It must be the Target hops since the other member of the hop bill, Saaz, isn't all that evident to my nose. It's apricot and orange fruity above all else with subtle earthy and herbal elements as well. Since I like English hop varieties in beer of this style, this one is right in my wheelhouse.

Equinox is a full-throated roar of an ESB that is so hoppy that it would probably blow the scalp off the average English pub dweller. Welcome to America boys! While not as scathingly resinous as the best PacNW IPAs, it's one of the two hoppiest versions of the style that I've ever had the pleasure to consume. Again, I'm glad that Full Sail stayed somewhat true to the style's roots by using Target hops.

Saaz are much more involved in the flavor profile than they were in the nose. There's an impressively bitter lemongrassiness whose more outrageous tendencies are reined in by the fruitiness of the Target. It's a wonderful, collaborative partnership and an inspired choice on the part of the brewery. I've just realized that I haven't yet mentioned malt; an honest hophead mistake.

There's just enough toastedness to the pale malt backbone to identify this beer as an ESB. Even though the flavor provided by that malt is secondary, it's clear that there's a sufficient quantity of it, because the hops, while manic for the style, aren't harshly bitter or abrasive in the least. How many ways are there to say that this is an extremely well-crafted, joyously delicious beer?

No letdown in the body/mouthfeel department. I'm not sure how there could be with this amount of malt and hops. The former provides the full, creamy stickiness and the latter provides the tongue ruffling zestiness. Lightly velvety is as good a description as any. As if drinkability needed any help, the carbonation situation is absolutely dead solid perfect.

Equinox is Latin for 'equal night' and refers to the two days each year when the sun crosses the equator, thereby making day and night of equal duration all around the world. Screw equal. Equinox ESB is unashamedly hop-dominant and is the better beer for it. I'm not sure if Full Sail is continuing to brew this outstanding offering, but it'd be a damn shame if I never got the chance to drink this Extra Extra Special Bitter again.

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Full Sail Equinox from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 38 ratings
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