USB 5.0 | 21st Amendment Brewery

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4 Ratings

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by biegaman on 07-29-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 4 |  Reviews: 2
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Photo of codynevels
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a lot hoppier than I would have expected for an ESB. I suppose thats why they label it as an American style ESB. Twiggy kind of tone to it. As in the tree variety. More earthy and heartier than light and smooth. It's well made though. I'm always down for a lower abv brew that's more session ale than mind blowing hop madness. A pleasure to drink for a lunch stop at 21st.

 380 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at 21st Amendment, in San Francisco.

Although it was poured from draught, USB 5.0 seems to have about as much carbonation as it would being sampled from a cask; its surface is not foamy but instead looks dusty and leaves prints of lacing that resemble doilies. The classic, caramelly-brown beer shows perfect clarity but has so much highlighting that you might not even notice.

The brewery lists this as an "American-style ESB" so naturally I was expecting a lot of hops, but that's not at all the case. In true American fashion the portions are certainly larger (and louder) but it's the malts that they've super-sized, not the hops. This buttery toffee smell is actually quite classic, and loosely resembles something you'd serve with low tea.

Indeed, it tastes like tea biscuits, coffee cake and honeycomb toffee (think Cadbury's classic 'Crunchie' bar but with hardly any of the milk chocolate). There is a lovely sweetness to all this flavour but also a very modest (but perfectly capable) 35 IBU to keep things from getting too sweet. So too do the melon, grapefruit and pine notes that perk up on the finish.

Although it's called an 'extra strong bitter', this offering seems only about twice as bitter as standard fair. But the hops do lend a pleasant floral characteristic that you're not apt to find in most commercial ales and when it comes to this level of nuttiness, forget about it! Good luck! Even a lot of English bitters and browns don't contain this level of malty depth.

Although they've super-sized the existing flavour profile a little, 21st Amendment really didn't do much to change the classic English ESB - all of the style's characteristic drinkability remains firmly intact, as it should. Not everything has to be all about hops - not even a style with 'bitter' in its name - and I'm impressed that this Californian brewery actually knew that.

 1,886 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

USB 5.0 from 21st Amendment Brewery
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 4 ratings