Schlafly Winter ESB | The Schlafly Tap Room

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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

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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 327
Photo of GossageBrewery
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ESB poures from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poures a hazy golden color, produced a average white head, decent retention and it left behind a very nice amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma of the ale contains malted grain and caramel. Medium bodied, foundation of malted grain, sweet caramel and citrus/herbal bitterness. Well balanced in my opinion, a nice session beer.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a stiff creamy head that stayed for some time there was limited lacing and an amber hue.

The scent was a little too subtle. I might have detected cinnamon, nutmeg and malt but it was a struggle to find these notes.

The taste was a perfect winter variety. Cinnamon and nutmeg with a sweet malt backdrop the taste was well placed and well balanced. Very nice subtle tones this drank easy with little heaviness in the finish.

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Photo of Profchaos20
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a nonic pint glass. Bottled 11/5/12, reviewed 12/23/12

A - Pours a cloudy amber with a one finger head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing.

S - Sweet caramel and toasty malts upfront. Light floral hoppiness, hints of fruit, molasses, bread, and yeast.

T - Sweet and malty upfront, hint of hoppiness in the middle, finishes slightly bitter. Balanced, some fruity esters not as much going on in the flavor as the aroma.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Smooth and drinkable, almost has a refreshing quality. Would probably be great on tap or hand pump.

O - A tasty brew but the flavor didn't quite match up to the aroma. Would definitely get again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the brewpub in St Louis, reviews from notes.

A: single finger head with nice lacing on a slightly hazy copper body.

S: caramel malts, hint of brown sugar 

T: malty for what I have experienced for the style with caramel, light earthy hops, hint of citrus sweetness.

M: medium body and light to moderate carbonation. Semi dry finish.

Overall: malt forward for the style by my tastes and definitely full flavored whereas many of these are watery.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from cask into nonic pint at the taproom in stl. Pours a murky burnt orange with thick white foamy head. Really sweet malt and lots of hop aroma. Taste is citrusy hop with sweet malts. Bready and mild. Smooth as silk. Really great brew and im sure cask makes this a bit smoother than bottle.

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Photo of tito42
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to an imperial pint. Bottled on 11/08/2011.

A: Hazy, light chestnut with some lemon yellow hues and quite a bit of particulate. Nice foamy, lemon-tinted head.

S: Biscuity malts, rye, lemon peel, and hops.

T: Well balanced between toasty and nutty malts up front, squeezed lemon, spice, and a touch of diacetyl in the middle, and a nice hoppy finish with a nutty aftertaste.

M: Very smooth and medium-bodied, with a bit of sharpness to the hops finish that doesn't linger too long.

O: A very enjoyable beer, and a nice representative of the ESB style. I'll be picking this up again next winter as it is readily available locally.

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Photo of abrand
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at local bar.. Poured into pint glass.

This pours a hazy golden color with not much head. Some lacing is on the glass. Some visibility through the pour. Smells of lemons, soap, some hops as well as floral notes. Not overpowering but enjoyable. Taste is pretty smooth. Nice hop presence with lemons and doughs up front. Mouthfeel is fairly thin with mediocre carbonation from the tap. Overall this is a decent brew. Definitely sessionable.

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Photo of daledeee
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wanted to try this before winter ended and it was gone. So far I have had good luck with the Schlafly brews.

It poured a dark clear gold with nice white head and great lacing.

Nose is not real strong but has hints of malt.

Taste is nice and malty with some sweetness. Also some kind of a blend between orange and dark fruit for lack of better words. Very crisp and refreshing. A nice beer and very easy to drink.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, bright orange with a creamy 2-finger head that reduces quickly but leaves some wet, soapy lace even at the end of the brew.

The nose is malty, fruity and juicy all around, with fresh bread, orange and syrupy apricot aromas joined by touches of peach and hints of red berries.

Palate is medium bodied with bready malt and an instant hit of mandarin orange juiciness. A bit of estery white raisin is joined by the moderate hoppy bitterness, which is both earthy and spicy, while a little flourish of alcohol kicks off the finish- mildly bitter and juicy with vaguely tart flavors of unripe tree fruits and citrus rind.

Very delicious overall. The breadiness, fruitiness, earthy hoppiness and touch of booze near the end make this seem, to me, pretty damn spot-on for the style.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pi in DC. Served in a nonic pint glass.

Pours a moderate caramel-copper color with a good white head and some nice lacing on the way down. The nose carries a nice bit of floral and earthy hops with some light breadiness behind that. Flavor was nice and hoppy and had a good backbone, though the latter wasn't too heavy. Light-medium body with a semi-dry finish. Quite good.

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Photo of TheCondor
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I grabbed this as part of a create-a-case at teh store the other day. I like winter seasonal beers, I like bitter beer, so what's not to like about this?

Appearance - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Poured almost an orange color, quite hazy and difficult to see through. We're off to a good start here. One can easily see the particles floating around in the beer. Decent head, little lacing.

Smell - Nothing special here. Gives an aroma of fruity and floral. The face that it pours orange and smells floral is not lost on me.

Taste - The smell and appearance of the beer match the taste and the style. Strong grapefruit flavors throughout, only a hint of bitter at the very end. This brew is exceptionally fruity on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation, which is what it's supposed to have. I really didn't like the sickly sweet aftertaste though. It didn't make me want to drink the rest of the beer. It was like drinking Mountain Dew when your mouth is really dry, with that stickiness.

Overall - This beer does match it's style well. The only problem is that I am not a big fan of the style, at least in the ESB's I have drank so far. I thought the fruit flavor was a little overpowering, although I am sure some find this to be a redeeming quality. Enjoy it for what it's worth, it's not bad.

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Photo of Beasticles
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at a local bar. Business trips are weak, while microbrews win big.

A- hazy as a mo facka. Head breaks into curd-like clumps with heavy cream texture.

S- lemons, pine and yeasty sourdough.

T- see smell. Lemon/light citrus sits on top throughout. Yeast has a big spicy pepper presence.

M- smooth and easy with a faint afterglow

All in all, solid microbrew. Think I'll have another.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This ESB was served in a shaker pint.

Appearance- The body is a golden-copper with almost no foam to talk about. The carbonation is also really sporadic and fast to rise. This is pretty meh.

Smell- I can certainly detect a more floral and slightly fruity charcter, but it is too soft. There is no reason it cannot be stronger.

Taste- Whoa, there is so much more grapefruit right away. The biscuit malt and slightly floral character comes out after that. It finishes with more passion fruit and more sweet malt.

Mouth feel- This has a light to medium body and is a little too fizzy. I have had other ESB's that were a lot creamier and more enjoyable in this respect.

Overall- With this beer, it is good that the flavors are the most impressive part. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience.

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Photo of rundocrun
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A - has a finger of white foam with tight bubbles. Good retention and lots of lacing. Body is tawny amber with lots of bubbles drifting up and an interesting suspension of tiny white flecks. Not sure if this is yeast, hop particles or minerals they added to the water during the brewing process.

S - smells of caramely malt, mildly piney hops, and crisp esters.

T - flavors of light sweet malt and a distinct slightly sour bite are first noticeable. Citrusy and resinous hop flavor accompanied by mild bitterness. Finishes sweet with a bit of mineral tanginess.

M - thin to medium body with good drinkability. They hit the right level of carbonation for this brew too.

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Photo of TippySelenoid
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

It's a copper color with a white head. Better than average head retention, decent lacing.

It smells like bittering hops and malts.

It's got a big hop bite that is mildly grassy/herbal. That settles down into a nice malty smoothness. This beer has a nice sweetness that isn't cloying.

It's got a crisper carbonation than I expected, it's medium-to-light bodied.

Overall, this is a pretty good brew, one of many from this fine brewer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A wonderfully forming off white head three fingers and very clumpy. Solid almost sytrofoam cap, sitting on a slightly hazy body of a real nice copper orange amber.

Nose is a great aromatic of hop, fruity marmalade and a nice solid malt backbone. This smells delicious!

What a creamy mouthfeel and texture. Palate is all over the map in many places though. Malty backbone, finishing with a little bit of banana. Mid palate hits with a fruity marmalade quality with a hint of stinging carbonation. Pretty balanced in tastes, but also... being all over sort of not melding that great together.

Overall I actually really like this, but it's sort of not what I expect in this style. It's an excellent beer no question and I'll have it again someday.

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Photo of Illtryit
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of Steedee
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of mikeborglum
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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

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Photo of FanofHefe
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of Jdmpolk
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of Shrews629
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Schlafly Winter ESB from The Schlafly Tap Room
3.8 out of 5 based on 327 ratings.
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