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

very good
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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
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 -18.3%
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 -2.6%
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 +3.6%
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 -3.1%
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 -11.9%
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 +9.8%
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 +11.9%
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 +11.4%
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 +2.1%
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 +3.4%
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 -1%
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 +16.8%
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 +15%
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 +15.8%
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 DogFood11
4.56/5  rDev +17.8%
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 GClarkage
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
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 Tupperwolf
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark gold - amber with a thin, soapy eggshell head; It leaves thin, wispy rings of soapy lacing, fed by some rising bubbles.

The scent is somewhat lemony-zest malts and grapefruit hops, with a bit of bready middle.

The taste is actually rather bitter for a bitter, which tend to not be bitter (say that five times fast). The hops are rather fresh in this bottle, lending a grapefruity, steely taste that lingers. Malts are present, being of a zesty, light citrus and doughy quality.

Mouthfeel is smooth, somewhat snappy. It finishes with rather a lot of stickiness.

Final thoughts - an american interpretation that's a little heavier, more alcoholic, and more bitter than I like in my ESBs, but still good.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
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 mentor
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
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 russpowell
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
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 RoyalT
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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 kgotcher
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber, amber color with huge pillowy head. Great head retention with long fingery lacings. Aroma is sweet caramel and green apple with piney aroma hops, all the aromas are a bit too distinct, not very smooth. Mouthfeel is a bit dry with a medium body. Very little to no carbonation feel. Taste is a bit to the sweet side but still has a good amount of bittering and nice piney aroma hops. Overall it is hard to say on this one, the bittering and hops flavor was pretty nice but the malt flavor was lacking somewhat with a kind of green apple immature freshness. Not bad but I usually expect a bit more from Full Sail.

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Photo of edmundfitzoil
3.21/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a brown bomber bottle of this at Full Sail's pub at the brewery. I poured mine into my Baldwin-Wallace standard pint glass, and I found clear, copper colored beer produced a large, 1 inch plus of head during a standard, 45 degree to straight pour. A nice ring of thick bubbled, lacing left itself around the top ring of the glass. The beer's nose included a surprising amount of what I would consider skunkiness. Some hop presence lingered, but stayed in the background. The flavor too seemed to have a fair amount of skunkiness to it, but, proved to be fairly well balanced: light hops up front with a faint, soft malt back to it. The beer did have a distinctness to it, but within Oregon we have too many high quality bitters, including two from Rogue and Bachelor ESB from Deschutes, to reach for this rendition from Full Sail. The ESB style has quickly become one of my favorites as I have become increasingly more acquainted with it, but I found this beer's nose, and subsequent initial mouth fulls, to be unsatisfactory.

Notes: I picked this beer up from the brewery itself, and expected to find a bottle that was well taken care of, but I perhaps had receieved a poorly cared for bottle. While this may be the case, I chose to review the beer as though it was intended to be this by choice, for it was purchased from the brewery itself.

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Photo of freed
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

New and on sale. Pours a clear copper with a slight ruby hue. Foam dances on top and rims the glass, leaving a nice fractal lacing.

Aroma is earthy malt that's aged and funked an authentic amount. Milder hops provide a herbal accessory.

Taste is direct with a rangier yeast fruitiness and sour malt compliment. Hops give it a bitter edge, but are weaker on the flavoring. Thinner body considering the range of flavors, but makes for an easy drink.

I'd love to try this on cask, or even tap. The carbonation gives it just the slightest bit of dryness that detracts from the overall drinkability. Still, nice.

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Full Sail Equinox from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.87 out of 5 based on 38 ratings.
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