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

Full Sail EquinoxFull Sail Equinox
Liked This Beer
3.94 w/ 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 36
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 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 russpowell
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light copper with a fluffy 3 fingers+ light tan head.Good lacing & very good head retention

Smell: citrussy hops & not much else

Taste: Grapefruiity hops & then malt fruitiness. Finishes wet, fruitty & hoppy (some pineyness)

MF: Nice carbonation, maybe skewed a little to the hoppy side for the style, but that's a minor nitpick, otherwise balanced

Pretty drinkable & quinching, At more afforabable price this would be a solid part of the spring/summer rotation, pity

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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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Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown with a "enjoy by" date clearly marked.

Appearance: Copper hued amber with a delightful sticky lace.

Smell: Ripe fruit, grain and fresh spicy hop.

Taste: Very smooth with a medium body ... nice full malty mouthfeel. Hops are aggressive with a pungent / semi coarse bitterness. Quick flash of malt with a handful of pale and crystal malt flavour. Oddly enough it does have a faint licorice note within the grainy, hoppy and fruity flavours. Hops linger everlasting into a long drawn-out drying finish along with a grainy taste.

Notes: Great stuff went superb with bbq pulled pork, red beans and dirty rice. Very drinkable ... close to being addictive as an after work beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.67/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/23/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle. No freshness date listed. Poured into my Full Sail pint glass.

Appearance- Orange hued coloring in the pour. 1/2 inch white head. Light rim sticks around for the entirety. Light spotty lacing left behind.

Smell- A great mixture of toasted caramel malt and pine scented hops. Smells like this one is going to be nice.

Taste- Indeed it is. Great malt taste and texture. Pine ridden hops assualt the taste buds and leave a nice bitter lashing on the tongue. Not to bitter, but just right. The malt blends perfectly with the hops.

Mouthfeel- Perfect carbonation level and a nice bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Pretty sure this is the best ESB I have had hands down. Anvil comes pretty close though. Could even pass for an English style IPA. Quality stuff and definitely sessionable. Looks like I'd better get a few more of these while I can.

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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 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 afsdan
4/5  rDev +1.5%

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 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 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 Gusler
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Personally Full Sail, is a favorite brewery, whose beers always seem to please, just great everyday drinkable beers that "NO" matter which one you pull off the shelf will most certainly be a pleasure.

A nice deep amber to copper color on the pour, the head impressive in size, frothy, lace adequate enough to conceal the glass. Nose is lightly floral, malt, crisp and lemon-lime fresh. Sweet malt start, the top middling and the finish spicily hopped, stinging in its acidity, dry long lasting after taste.

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

Appearance – This poured a light, brownish-orange and was very clear. The white head came up just right, showed decent retention, and left some lovely Belgian lacing on the inside of my Maritime pint glass.

Smell – The toasted malts and light yeast are covered in dirt. This is a raw, dried leaf and soil mix that really wets your appetite. The moderate sweetness is like a mix of liquid malt and caramel.

Taste – The toasty malts lead the way at the taste. They are very powerful without being too big or full, which is important for a sessionable style like ESB. The sugary finish is very light.

Mouthfeel – This is a solid medium-bodied with a bitter but not overly powerful body.

Drinkability – A good, all around, ESB session ale. It would be a great one to introduce someone to the style. It’s bitter but not over the top and the toasted malts are just right. I mean, this is a very good standard for a newbie to experience what we mean by, “toasted malt flavor”.

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

New Brewmasters Reserve release 2006.
Nice looking beer, clear amber with a great looking frothy /bubbly off white head, that sticks around, afterwards lashings of lace.
Very English style malty aromas backed up with very untypical NW hops ( for the style), but good and fresh none-the-less.
Quite a good job on the taste of this it has very English characteristics in the malting but throws in a bit of American hop enthusiasm, giving a nice bitter twang to the beer, big for an English ESB.
MOuthfeel was odd it started off really nice then sort of lost its way in wateryness..the nice bitter after taste saved it however.
A nice beer sort of a hybrid in my opinion between an ESB and an American Pale..though for me the ESB characteristics edge a win.

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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 DogFood11
4.56/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Forms an attractive fluffy white head that leaves lots of spider web lacing. Light copper in color, almost pale aleish in color and appearance.

The smell is glorious, a large hop presence, leaning towards the fruity, citrusy side of things. Malts are laid back, also leaning towards the fruity end of the spectrum. This is definately a unique ESB in the grand scheme of things. Not quite as balanced as its sister brews and leaning towards the namesake "bitter". I get even added bitter qualities from a slightly roasted malt goodness.

Notes: This is arguably the best in the style for my money. Hell take style completely out of the equation, this is a kick ass offering. I wish I had picked up more bombers, but next time I see it, its all mine...

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Photo of mentor
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Consumed around the spring equinox and review today from notes. A memorable beer, perhaps a british IPA, that I enjoyed greatly.

Pours a two-finger cream-tan head that settles to a low clingy layer. Almost perfectly clear bright copper liquid. Smells earthy oranges, fragrant like flowers, lemon balm. Quite hoppy, but accompanied by a sweet malt. This malt rides the more aromatic flowery character in a very enticing manner.

Tastes hoppy. Very floral with some co-ho edge. Woody, yet citrusy. Is this british hops? Malt sweet mixes well with the hops, but is clearly the undertone. Relatively dry with a touch of iron in the flavor. Md to Md-light in body and modest carbonation. A real pleaser on the palette. Not a killer that gets me wanting to fly to the brewery to try, but, *damn* it was a nice beer to put down. I rarely buy the same beer twice, but this is one I can see getting again and maybe again. Judged to style, this beer is incredible. Judge to preference, this beer is really really good.

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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 IntriqKen
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orange amber with a full 2 finger head that melts to full lacing.
Aroma is sweet malt...nice malts, not too sticky with a slight bready yeast afterwards.
Taste is immediately bitter from the Target an Saaz English hops...very different than I am used to with the NW hops. A smooth malt sweetness follows and then finishes with citrus drying and bitterness.
Aftertaste is lightly citrus peel
Very quenching and would enjoy several of these (and maybe several more) on warm to hot days.

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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 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 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 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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Full Sail Equinox from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 76.3% out of 100 with 38 ratings
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