Schlafly Winter ESB | The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Winter ESBSchlafly Winter ESB
Very Good
327 Ratings
Schlafly Winter ESBSchlafly Winter ESB

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Winter ESB (Extra Special Bitter) may have the word “bitter” in its name, but the key to this style is balance. The combination of malts and hops creates a toasty, fruity flavor. Our ESB is dry hopped with a US grown hop varietal called Williamette, which has a pronounced spicy, lemon flavor.

In the early 1970’s, brewers in London and the south of England expanded the range of beers available in pubs, reacting to the wave of European lagers moving into the British pub scene. In addition to the ordinary bitters and pale ales, brewers developed recipes for stronger premium ales like ESB, special bitter and special pale ale. These beers contributed to the English traditional ale revival of the 1980’s, making their way into the beer portfolios of many American craft breweries.

30 IBU

Added by maxpower on 01-09-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 327 |  Reviews: 157
Photo of ericwilson54
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of dav
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Illtryit
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled with love 11/23/2011

A 1inch head caps this perfectly copper colored and hazy brew. Very appealing to the eye. Sweet lacing left behind.

You can smell the hops, but its a pretty faint floral aroma.

Very drinkable. Flavor is slighty bittered by the hops. Follows the nose.

THe overall feel is where this beer loses me. Just not enough body. Thin and watery ending after a promising start.

Again, this is a very drinkable brew. Just not quite hearty enough for me. More like a summer drink as i could see myself drinking four or five of these pretty easily. 6.2% abv is a bit deceptive. I'd have guessed 5% or less.

 626 characters

Photo of drn
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of bigred89
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Steedee
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Funny.... this beer is nothing special, yet so good...
It might not be fair, but one of my beer judging rules is if the beer tastes good after finishing one, and starting another, and another, and another, and... you get the point....
This is a beer I can crack open several in a row without worrying about after taste burn out, or feeling full.
Color is light amber, head is almost non existent, but there are bubbles and carbonation is medium to high.
At first taste it seems highly hopped and bitter, but as the taste lingers in my mouth I can really pick up on the toasted malt flavors... sweetness... very well balanced...with the bitterness lingering in the background.... then all of the flavors slightly fade away into a great tasting beer with almost no after taste.
My only knock would be a mild sour flavor, but nothing that would make me complain.
Good beer!
And by the way, its great with food too.
I will get definitely get pick this up again.

 958 characters

Photo of lokiikol
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of captainbearcat
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of paxchristi
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Caterwaul
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at a local beer bar, served in a tiny snifter. Beer is amber, clear with a big off white head of small and medium bubbles, decent retention, some lacing moderate carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is sweet, mildly hoppy, mostly malt.

Beer is light to medium in body, mildly sweet, a little spice perhaps, mild hops, not bitter at all, an interesting little beer, I may have it again but I won't go far for it.

 414 characters

Photo of Skycarp33
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of mdvatab
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of seth72104
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of mikeborglum
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

color is hazy, orange to amber, minimal head, white foam; very light mild aroma bread, citrus, dough; complex taste light sweetness, medium bitterness, lightly sour; light to medium body, thin feel, creamy, soft carbonation, bitter, long finish, excellent on the palate with lots of flavor in the finish. This beer gets better with warmth.

 339 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Come to find out that the on-tap beers served at the Taproom are brewed AT the taproom, different from the bottled beers sold from the bottlewerks. Although the recipes are essentially the same, supposedly they are "slightly more heavy handed with the hops" at the taproom's brewery location. Interesting.

Last time I reviewed this beer was from last year's batch in a bottle. This review will be the 2011 batch from the taproom and on tap.

Copper colored and clear with a great head and excellent thick sheets of lace.

Smell is hops and malts in a great balance, with a touch of spice.

Taste is a touch fruity with light but notable spices. I like that it DOESN'T taste like pumpkin pie; too many winters are over spiced, this one is not. Malts and hops are well blended and you can surely tell that this one is fresh. There's a great caramel malt finish.

Body is light and crispy with plenty of tangy carbonation. Easy to drink, leaves you wanting another.

 965 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with a smooth, even, head of white on top that faded off after a couple of moments. Light lacing was left by the side. Aroma is bready, hints of caramel and grassy notes and warming brought out tons of grains. Light, crisp and clean taste, light grassy hops and a smooth even caramel malt base made up the bulk of the profile. Light body, nice carbonation and a smooth even and clean finish

 405 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled with love on 12-28-2010 (from the label). Poured into a Duvel tulip. Slightly hazy light copper body with a two finger off-white head. Leaves a little lacing dripping along the glass.

Interesting aroma. A little citrus hops, a little floral, some apple, a touch of apricot, all blended with a solid dry, malt base. Cool.

The flavor is more semi-sweet caramel-like malt in the primary taste. Good blend of the other flavors, and the hop flavor is muted and not too bitter. Some notice of the mild citrus flavors as well.

Medium mouthfeel and very enjoyable. Another great beer from Schlafly.

 601 characters

Photo of Jdmpolk
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A golden tan with a misty head, with hints of oak color where it is darker.

S- Very basic smelling. A almost discernible mixture of orange and malt and floral.

T- Bright and basic at the same time. Malt flavor is dominant with an almost orange blossom honey flavor in the back. Hop bitterness brings up the rear.

M- A conundrum or crisp and malty with the malt blanketing your pallet, but not in an offensive way. There is an almost syrupy thickness as well.

D- Very drinkable , each sip brings something new either malty, sweet, or bitter.

 549 characters

Photo of Shrews629
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Hazy, copper/amber color with a full, creamy, off white head. Decent retention and ok lacing. Some burnt orange and yellow highlights at the bottom. Looks suitable enough.

Smell - Some touches of grapefruit and orange citrus. Some slight floral notes. Picking up some caramel also. Some breadiness and biscuit appears in the middle. The malt is more pronounced than the citrus.

Taste - In the taste, I received some nice malt flavors. Caramel. Pickied up some of the sweetness with the bitterness from the citrus. The malt seems to be more prominent. I also detected the flavors of the rye.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Mostly dry and crisp. Left a decent amount on the palate. A touch of the alcohol burn or warmth at the very end.

Drinkability - This is a nice little beer I think. Easily drinkable and solid. I could handle a few of these with ease. Like most, this brew really shows its characteristics after it warms a bit. Could be enjoyed both in the Fall and in the Winter.

 1,002 characters

Photo of DCon
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer came from a 6-pack at a Dierbergs grocery store in Chesterfield, MO. Poured into a Bud-Light Pint Glass and enjoy 3 of them back to back. (The beer bottle is now Blue instead of the Brown/Redish color on this BA Winter-ESB page...)

Appearance- Ale is orange and clear with Half a finger of head.

Smell- Very hoppy. I believe just from the smell that this should definitely be their Pale Ale instead of their ESB...

Taste- As I suspected, extremely hoppy with bitterness of course. Flavor is just right, a real Pale Ale but not true to the label.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, and has the after effects of an IPA almost. So strange how different I thought this beer would taste and feel than what is labeled and portrayed.

Drinkability- Once again, wondering why this is a Winter ESB Ale? It should be their Pale Ale and I would drink this weekly! Such a great beer. I split all six with a friend in two hours and will have again at the Wolf Public House in Ballwin, MO.

 978 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured golden color into a snifter. Once there it was more amber colored, transparent with a nice 1.5 inch white head.

S - Muted dry hops and rich malt. Grapefruit and a bit of pine on the nose.

T - Spicy and sweet. Great combo with a low profile of bitterness throughout. Finished clean. Great balance overall.

M - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

D - Great ESB. The rye comes through nicely and spices it up almost perfectly.

 449 characters

Photo of Samalamahamdam
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look - Amber Honey, some particles in suspension, retains a thin head and laces the glass.

Nose - light, mostly malt, slight hop background

Taste - caramel malt up front, hop bitter on the tip and back of the tongue,

Mouthfeel/drinkability - good carbonation and flavor that doesn't linger too long.

Make this your first if you are going to try a large hop beer at the same sitting.

 388 characters

Photo of wspscott
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in pint glass
bottled on 11/02/2010

A: Light copper, almost golden color, crystal clear. A very thin white head leaves almost no lace.
S: Sweet and fruity, lots of yeast character, smells "english"
T: Sweet malts, light caramel, some toast or light biscuit, there is a hoppy bitterness hidden underneath all of the malts, but not a lot of hop flavor. I like the grain combination, but would like a little more hop flavor, I would guess that this would work well with some dry-hopping.
M: Low level of carbonation, just right for an ESB, a round mouthfeel that may be due to the rye. A slight tingle to the tongue. Slightly drying, not tannic, but some of the same feeling, I assume this is the rye working.
D: A very nice beer, it sort of works as a "winter" beer. Not huge like a RIS, but feels very season appropriate if you are in the mood for a pale ale. Definitely worth trying.

 898 characters

Photo of champ103
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear orange/golden color. A one finger white head forms, and recedes in a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: Citrus and lemon hops. A bit of bitterness as well. Some sweet malt aromas as well. There is some spicy aromas lingering.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of hops up front. Mostly citrus, lemon, and grassy hops. Sweet caramel malt. Some cinnamon and vanilla to let you know this is a Christmas beer.
M/D: A medium to full body that is well carbonated. Creamy and smooth. Easy to drink. I can quaff several with ease.

An enjoyable winter ale. I don't really see how this is an ESB, but it is still good. This reminds me of New Belgium 2° Below with the cinnamon and vanilla. Which is a good thing, but not really to style. Still I really enjoy it, and something I would recommend.

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Schlafly Winter ESB from The Schlafly Tap Room
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 327 ratings
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