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 BedetheVenerable
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Classic Schlafly 12oz brown pop top...the ditty on the bottle says this brew contains a small amount of rye as well...clearly marked "bottled with love" date of 11/24/08.

Appearance: This beer pours a dark golden color with a slight orange tint and the slightest haziness. The cap is white, fairly fluffy, and has good retention and leaves nice chunks of sticky lace.

Smell: Nice ESB-style mix of malt and hops, but the hops tend to dominate here...they're earthy and pungent, yet delicate at the same time...there's an incredible freshness to the hop character, much like hops right out of the light barrier bags I use to homebrew

Taste: Awesome balance between malt and hops. The malt character is bready and not overly sweet, and the hops lend a medium bitterness and a very nice earthy twang on the finish...this finishes somewhat dry and crisp...simple, straightforward, and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied

Drinkability: I dunno the abv, but this could be sessionable

Conclusion: This reminds me of England and all those English beers (I was something of a novice and not a true BA at that time) that I couldn't remember the names of once I got home, but the impression of which I'll never forget. This beer is like a trip to a Yorkshire pub...classic English ESB...I know this is utter blasphemy, but I like it better than Fuller's by a wide margin

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Photo of Tone
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color. 3/4 inch head of a white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, grass, slight fruit, and a hint of spice. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with a low carbonation level. Bitterness in noticeable. Tastes of sweet malt up front, then strong grass flavors, then there are nice floral hops with a slight fruit finish. Overall, well balanced beer that was easy to drink and full on the palate.

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Consumed 10 months from bottling date.

Light copper color, foamy one-finger head.

No initial aroma of note. Unable to detect the "plenty of hops to balance the sweetness" as indicated on the label.

Clean finish with a touch of sweetness. Pedestrian for a winter ale - lacked the complexity and robustness I come to expect with this style.

Easy to drink, to a fault.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One and one-half fingers of white foam on a dark golden body with burnt orange trim; moderate lacing is a plus. I smell apricot and lightly toasted malt and, despite persistent coaxing, little else emerges. Caramel joins apricot in the taste, yet the flavors are...meek, just like the smell. It isn't just that the flavors of Winter ESB--whatever the hell that is--lack gravitas; they lack even decent presence. No component takes charge to define the taste. The mouthfeel is a saving grace for Winter ESB, creamy and smooth, quite nice texture.

When I had this, I felt that it smelled and tasted somewhat like Schlafly's Kolsch, just a tad maltier and darker in color. I don't think that's too far off. I expected some spice and malt heft with the moniker "Winter" preceding ESB. The ESB part I get and it isn't bad. The Winter part mystifies and disappoints me. I'd beef up the malt and spice considerably. That would get it rocking. As it stands, it's just OK.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a willy

A-Nice light amber no read head or lace to speak of.

S-Notes of hops, honey and malt with minor bitter citrus notes

T&M-Great flavor good malt/hop balance with a very nice bitter finish, nice mild ESB. Medium body pretty thin in the mouth.

D-Nice and easy to drink this is one i'll look forward to grabbing a 6 of at least once a year

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Photo of naterock
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a dokel with a one finger head. Deep Copper and crystal clear.

smell is rich barley, Pale malt and just a kiss of hops.

taste is smooth, malty and rich, Well rounded and balanced. Nutty and slightly citrusy hops in the finish.

mouth is medium and smooth, crisp. Highly drinkable, just a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of jcompton
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into a Schlafly pint glass...

appearance: pours a nice amber color with i good 2 fingered head.

smell: a small amount of hop and rye sweetness

taste: the rye flakes are strong up front, mellowing to a moderate amount of hop bitterness that stays on the back of the tongue. the rye is the breadwinner of this brew, and i'm a big fan of rye beers

mouthfeel: this beer is not too thin, too carbonated, or too heavy. a nice drinker

drinkability: this is one of my stand-by session brews when available. i can easily put back a few and not get tired of it. too bad the abv isn't posted...

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Photo of echdk3
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a mug

A_Glowing orange color, very translucent, bubbly white head, very inviting. Nice light lacing

S_Strong citrus hoppy smell

T_Wonderfully warming citrus, ultra hoppy, flowery dark aftertaste, very great

M_High carbonation, mouth-washing feel

D_Very hoppy and flowery, slow drinker

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Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent amber with 3 fingers of tan head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Apricot & not much else

T: Slight fruittyness, chalky dryness & leafy hops up front. Orange peel & leafy hops as this warms. Finishes dry, a bit of sulphur, apricot & a touch of honey

MF: Medium bodied with slight carbonation. Good balance

Drinks easy enough, nice intro to the style

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Photo of SmithwicksNut
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A cloudy amber beer with a terrific white head. Lacing showed on every drink. I love that about a beer.

S: A little rye malt in the aroma with some flowery hop smells.

T; A very easy drinking beer with the rye malt on the tongue and the sweet hop in the back of the mouth.

M: A medium light bodied beer with medium carbonation. Clean.

D: this beer is a great session beer. One can drink a few of these and not get tired of it. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of elfcounsul
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this beer by accident. I bought a six pack of Schlafly Dry Hopped APA and somehow two bottles of this winter ale was mixed in. Nice reddish brown appearance, with good lacing.

The malt was apparent in the nose, but not at all heavy.

Nice smooth taste, some malt, and little bitter.

Nice flavor, goes good with food. It doesn't overpower the dish.

Will buy again. Good ale to have with dinner, with TV, Radio, checkers, or your friends.

No fancy labels, no clever names, just good beer.

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Photo of meatmallet
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper colored with a small head an a litle bit of lacing.

Smell: Malty and light. A little sweet but not overpowering.

Taste: Taste is great! Starts sweet and finishes a hoppy bitterness.Also has a dry lightly toasted malt flavor with a little pine as well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: To look at and smell its nothing special but once in the mouth its not bad.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - slightly hazy orangish amber color with that thick head that settles into a fine lacing

S - earthy hop aroma with a mineral-like malt backing

T - up front biscuity malt but then come the hops finishing strong on the finish

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a decent ESB and very sessionable - another fine beer from Schlafly.

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Photo of orangemoustache
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright copper with some light golden accents around the edge. The bone colored cap is light and fluffy and leaves some nice even lacing marking my pace with each sip. The nose is rye bread lightly toasted and buttery,with some light hoppy esters. The flavor profile is not nearly as bitter as I had expected,nor that flavorful either. It is good and not offensive in any manor of the word,I just expected something a little bolder in flavor. Subtle caramel and rye offset one another in a sweet and salty sort of way. Not a lot of hop,but just a touch of citrus keeps this interesting.An odd subtle spinach tang on the finish is unique and enjoyable,something I've never tasted before in a beer. The mouthfeel is velvety and course at the same time and is really where I think this deserves its highest marks. Not what I expected,yet very interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of BCK
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Bottle poured into pilsner.

Pours a nice copperish color, nice bubbling from the bottom with about a 1/2 inch head.

Smells nicely of spice and hops, nothing overwhelming here that I am picking up.

Maybe a hint of Citrus of some kind(orange?), with some really nice hops bite to it. Very nice bitterness to it.

Very smooth beer, with a bit of carbonation. Nice warming sensation as you drink.

Definately a beer that can be imbibed on a regular basis, although I would hesitate to drink to many in one night based on the 6.2% ABV.

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Photo of StargazerC
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Clear, medium red-brown color, soft white head that leaves a little bit of nice lacing

Nose - balanced malty with bitter; a little bit of mineral note too

Taste - good malt presence with a touch of bitterness. The rye gives it an earthy even woody flavor that goes well with the hoppy bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and effervescent with a clean finish.

Drinkability - Just enough robustness and average body allows to be easy drinking but with plenty of flavor.

Served in a standard pint glass out of a bottle. Temperature was a little warmer than fridge temp.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 11/15/2008 (Tap @ Pi Restaurant, St. Louis, MO):

Pours a clear red color body. Creamy white head, some lacing, lasting. Effervescent, malty aroma, some bitterness. Not a strong aroma. Grainy taste, sweet, with a sweet aftertaste. Fresh maybe rye-like. Watery palate. A nice hoppy taste. More like an IPA.

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Photo of Dusty278
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Copper gold with small head, slightly lingering lace.

A- Pleasing fresh hop aroma.

T- Nice malt and dry hop flavor. Great balance of sweetness, hops and a bit of pine.

M- Medium body with good carbonation and a little heat.

D- Great session beer. I wish it was around all year long.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, orangey body with a thin, white head.

Smell: Relatively mild aroma smelling of spice, dehydrated lemon peels, and a dry malt character.

Taste: Biscuity malts with a zing of caramel sweetness tacked on. Flavors of tangy citrus zest and spicy rye with a medium hop bitterness. Bittersweet finish, though definitely more bitter than sweet. Lingering hint of lemon in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation with a slight fizziness to it.

Drinkability: A enjoyable, refreshing Winter ESB for the middle of summer.

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Photo of JamesS
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very nice amber/copper color with some wonderful head and excellent lacing. Excellent scent, very deep with both nice attributes of malt and hops, a little sweetness and a little bitterness. Great taste, a well made bitter, the initial flavor is a good hoppy (English style) bitter that finished fairly sweet. It goes down quite well.

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Photo of JDV
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received as an extra in trade...I've forgotten who sent this, but thanks!
Pours a nice orangish color, mostly transparent with a lasting smallish offwhite head. Smell is fruity malt, sweet yet balanced and hearty nose. Taste is sweet and fruity flavor at first and then crisp, dry malt and light hoppiness to mostly balance. Very drinkable, mild and sessionable with a pleasant malt flavor and balanced well. Great session beer. Toasty, bittersweet, slightly tart.

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

A- Hazy copper gold with small white head

A- Moderate hop aroma with medium malt aroma. The hop aroma has a wonderful pine smell to it.

T- Nice malt flavor, slightly spicy. The spiciness perhaps is from rye. Great balance of slightly sweet caramel malt vs piney hop flavor and bittering.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation. A very smooth drink. Very slight alcohol warmth characters.

D- I always loved drinking this during cold St. Louis winters. It's not the same in the hot desert of southern california, but it does bring back friendly memories. A great drink, I'd have another anytime.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Liquor Barn. Decanted from the 12oz brown bottle into my tankard at cellar temp.
A - A gently hazed light amber w/ a reddish orange glow and an ecru head w/ smooth appearance that has nice volume after a vigorous pour. The lace clings well and the hazy appears to be hop resins not chill haze.

S - Earthy english yeast and slightly pine scented hops w/ a nice malt scent and very fragrant fruity esters.

M - The first taste is spicy w/ mild carbonation that is ample w/ mild sweet and fruity notes.

T - Both rich and tangy w/ mild citrus and gentle malt, resinous hops whcih have dry twiggy characteristics. The flavor is both citrus and stone fruit w/ subtle toasted caramel tinged malt. The peppery hop nature becomes more pronounced when warm yet the fruit taste stays strong w/ pine lingering until the last sips.

D - very alluring ale, nice nod to the English flavor. I could enjoy one after another

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is amber with a nice fluffy 2 finger head and good carbonation.

The smell is light yet hopy, a nice balance seems to be evident.

The taste is good, mildly hopy with a very good caramel malt. I'm liking this brew plenty, Thanks Vancer!

The mouthfeel is reall good velvety smooth rich and creamy, quite noticable, indeed,.

The drinkability is very good I would have more of this easy.

Prosit, MK

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Photo of tmitch75
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange color with creamy head and tons of lacing all around.

Toasty malt smell with some fruity hops.

Tastes similar but a little sweeter. The hops are still fruity but also a little piney and spicy. The rye is noticeable and distinctive.

Medium body is just right for the style.

Very drinkable. The spicy rye is a good addition to a style that I already like (I also like rye!). I could definitely drink this on a regular basis. Is Schlafly coming to IL any time soon?

Tasted on 3/9/08

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