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 DCon
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Samalamahamdam
4.18/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of wspscott
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of champ103
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
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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Photo of bbkd3b
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah, Saint Louis Brewery... Let's get right to it, then.

A - Pretty color in the body. Looks like liquid gold (actual gold, not oil). It's sort of shimmering, too. Virtually no head, but it makes up for it with great clarity and a decent ring of lacing. Mild carbonation, but it's an ESB, so there you go.

S - Sour fruits... Lemon has quite a presence. VERY mild sweetness with a thin layer of hop bitterness.

T - Hm... Bitter hops are mixed on an even level with the lemon until it reaches the back of the tongue, where it become much more bitter. Malt presence is minimal. Not a lot of variety, but I like the flavor.

M - Light, easy body with a good, prickly carbonation. Finish is clean and it goes down easy. Not bad at all.

D - It's easy to see the appeal of this beer. Nice and simple.

Overall/notes: The brew is well constructed, and pretty much straightforward. It's far from my favorite Schlafly beer, though. The tartness of the whole drink was really surprising. It felt kind of rough around the edges, but it's still appealing enough for me to go through a couple without complaining... Which is exactly what I did.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours decently for a finger thick head, and has a copper colored body that is cleanly filtered.

The aroma is lemony and arid. There are tea characteristics, as well as sweet toffee.

This brew has a good tea like flavor typically found in ESBs, along with slight tobacco and still room left for toffee sweetness.

This brew feels medium in body, and has a good smooth crispness. Very satisfying to the palate, which is left refreshed.

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Photo of rpardon7
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a coppery amber hue with a tight white rocky head that subsided into lacing for much of the beer.The smell was dominated by the smell of wet sweet malt and a small amount of floral hops. Taste is dominated by the sweet malt and to be honest there isn't as much hop as I was expecting for the ESB from Schlafly. Mouthfeel is smooth and quite not overly carbonated a tad on the slick side. Drinkability is very good for this beer it is a very easily sessionable beer.

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Photo of soju6
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a reddish-copper color with a decent head that fades to lacing It has a pleasant grain aroma mixed with light caramel. Taste is slightly sweet with just enough bitterness. It has a medium body with a dry finish. This is a well balanced brew that does not overpower. It goes down very smooth and is easy to have more than one without even thinking about it

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle tried 10 Apr 2010 (a little long in the tooth but kept refrigerated since purchase).

Served in a Lakefront shaker pint. Small tan head. Medium carbonation. Clear deep honey red color. Aroma is light, caramely, slightly oxidized. Sweet and malty, almonds and then a sour fruity finish. Some bitterness upfront that fades through the middle but lingers a bit. Medium light body, moderate alcohol. Pleasant mouthfeel.

Would get this again to try fresher, but not bad even with the age.

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Photo of bnes09
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper-orange color with a billowing head. Retention is excellent and lacing is frothy and appealing.

Smell is sweet and reminiscent of apricot and lemon. Very inviting!

Apricot comes through in the taste right away. A modest hop bitterness follows with hints of citrus and pine. I like that this beer does not have too much hop character but just enough to keep it interesting. Malt finishes it off with a hearty flavor of buscuits and rye bread.

Medium-bodied ale with mild, tingly bubbles. Has a definitive drying effect at the end.

Drinkability is high with this one due to the drying effect it has as well as the conservative amount of hops. Quite an impressive ale with lots of interesting flavors going on. Very refreshing during the winter months (or any time of year for that matter.) Well done!

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives with a clear copper color and a modest head that leaves some lace behind

Smell: Wafts of caramel and a hint of grain

Taste: The caramel flavor dominates the profile from start to finish, with just a mild herbal bitterness that arrives by mid-palate to offset the sweetness

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More of a Winter Warmer than an ESB; I might have rated it higher as a Winter Warmer but I was really looking for the bitter balance of an ESB that just wasn't there

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Photo of boatshoes
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this in an awesome package of generosity from rsyberg01 as a received in the recent holiday sponsor a BA. Thanks again Ric!

Appearance- Pours a darker shade of amber with about a half finger of beige head sitting on top. Dies back pretty quickly but leaves a coating across the top of the beer that lasts throughout. Lots of beading and some mild amounts of lace left.

Smell- Fairly muted nose with a mixture of sweet malt and some piney hops showing through. Somewhat understated.

Taste- Very mild. Lots of sweet caramel and bready malt showing through initially. However, a fair amount of balancing piney bitterness shows through on the finish. Pretty straightforward and not the most impressive example of the style I've had but nice all-around.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is good and adequately carbonated. This one is a little strong to session, and I find the flavor a little to lacking to drink too many, but it did go down easy.

Overall, an unoffensive and fairly easy drinking beer. Not my favorite ESB however, and I would have hoped for more in the flavor. Nonetheless, nothing really off about this one.

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Photo of Jeebs
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

120z bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: The beer pours an orange copper color with about a 1 finger head that leave nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Smells very sweet and fruity to me, seems like cherry and malt.

T: Starts off with a malt sweetness, then blends into a grapefruit citrus flavor, and ends with a spicey hop bitterness. From the smell I was expecting some cherry, but it hit me with grapefruit instead.

M: The mouthfeel of this beer isn't anything to special. Medium bodied, low carbination with a dry finish.

D: Drinkability is good for this beer. Good flavor with a dry ending that makes you want to keep drinking more.

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Photo of TheMightyGUEST
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a 1pt mug.

The appearance is nice, it foams well with a white frothy head and has a deep orange but clear coloring to it.

The smell is pleasant, wheaty and floral at the same time.

The taste is a rich sort of earthy taste with a little bitterness. There is a sweetness here, but it is subtle and takes a few sips to detect. Mouthfeel is pleasant and clean, lightly carbonated and it swallows clean.

Overall, this is a highly drinkable beer and a good way to warm up with friends on a winter night.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A mix of copper and light brown flow out the bottle. A good amount, 1.5 finger head. Smells like a lot of malt heavy midwest beers.

Taste isn't as sweet as most esb's I've had, tastes a little more earthy substantial instead of the sweet I've come to notice in my fave esb's.

Mouthfeel, begins to take on tobacco notes with the dark, almost doppelbock light feel to it. Remains drinkable, doesn't overwhelm the palate with a negative heavy effect.

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Photo of tetonka4kzoo
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A copper, amber color with a lacy head in a snifter.

Has a grainy, malty aroma. Aroma is mild and not overpowering.

A malty taste with hints of rye. This has a caramel sweetness and light citrus hops. The hops give a slight bitterness. Also has a slight spicy finish of pepper.

Well-balanced medium body ale with decent carbonation.

Thanks to Rob for bringing this up from St. Lous. I am not normally an ESB fan but this is an easy to drink beer and have good things from this brewery.

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Photo of emerge077
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a small tumbler this ESB pours a high-clarity orange with some spotty lace. There's a good skim across the surface, but it doesn't stick around forever. Warm and nutty malts in the aroma, some light citrusy hops also. Flavor follows suit with more balanced toasty malts and light citrus and bitterness from the hops. It dries out quickly, prompting more sips.

This was nice and fairly straightforward. Would buy again.

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Photo of OlRasputin989
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint...

A: amber brew with good clarity and a thick 2 finger white head of foam that leaves strips of lacing. good head retention.

S: strong cherry aromas, spices, brown sugar, roasted grains

T: sweet and rich malt flavors up front, cherry and brown sugar then roasted grain and good grapefruit peel and biscuity flavors from the hops, and some peppery spice in the finish.

M: a full body with a good carbonation. leaves mouth almost oily. has a warming effect, maybe from spices or the alcohol. finishes off dry.

Overall, a really easy drinker from Schlafly. Good complexity with a good balance.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at the Schlafly Bottle Works on Southwest Ave.

A - A Nice warm reddish dark copper hue with an off-white head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some nice lace.

S - Leafy hops and earthy tones with some nice grain sweetness on the back end.

T - Taste is of sweet caramel malt almost roasted with nice grassy and leafy hop spiciness. I can almost taste the leafy cones in my mouth. There is a slight bitterness but not overwhelming. Carbonation is on the low side but it still is very balanced. Nice all year beer really.

M - Medium body with lower CO2

D - Higher than some other ESB.

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Photo of BigBry
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Visited the Schlafly Tap Room on my latest trip to St. Louis.
Pours copper gold color, with a puffy beige head. Lots of retention and nice looking lace. Lots of malt smell, with a some nice hop spice. Not overly bitter, but the earthy hops taste great. Slightly sweet malt to finish. Medium body, cask keeps it from being too carbonated and perfectly smooth. Great balance between the malty sweetness and bittering hops. Slightly spicy, yet dry finish. Soft and smooth, rich and creamy, a great sessional, this is what I was hoping for in a bitter.
I could drink this all day long. Glad that my timing was right to catch it on cask.

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Photo of jsh420
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 11/02/09

pours clear copper orange with a 1+ finger head that left no lacing

smells of fruity/orange plus tangy english pale malts

taste is again tangy english pale malts with a good amount of fruit orange/peach

mouthfeel is nice and light with ample carbonation

drinkability is good - while not very bitter this beer is very tasty

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Photo of MTNboy
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is very mild with hints of caramel and toffee. Maybe some hops. It has a hazy brown body with lots of tiny bubbles and sediment. It had a rocky head at first that settled nicely and quickly. Overall, I would say this is a mediocre beer. It has a bitter taste that is more in the aftertaste than the primary flavoring. Nice malt flavor with some spiciness! The mouthfeel is smooth and pretty slick.

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Photo of bhalter8
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a slight haze to it (I know its not carbonation I see in there). About a one finger foamy, white head that leaves a bit of lacing around the glass. The nose is rather faint, hops may have faded a bit, as all I am left with is a bit of spice and malt. Taste is a well balanced caramel malt, with a nice zesty kick of spice, some piney hop is still there too. A pleasant light, creamy mouthfeel. A nice well balanced beer, I guess the spice is what makes it a Winter ESB, as it is summer, and I enjoyed this thoroughly.

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

Appearance is a orange/really light copper color and has a nice white head that has nice retention. Leaves lots of lacing down the glass. I can't quite put my finger on what the smell is. At first I wasn't impressed but after smelling it a few more times it smells not bad. Hint of spices, kind of bready? Taste is kind of bitter but won't turn you away from this beer and has a sweet taste to it as well. Not very hoppy but you can taste them sneaking out a bit. Really don't know what to say about the taste of this one, but all I can say is it's not bad at all. Like most Schlafly beers I've had it's not amazing but it's not bad or even average, it's good and worth trying. Also bottled on date was 8 months ago, don't know how well this ages but I would like to have tried it more fresh. None the less I still enjoyed it.

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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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