Organic ESB | Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

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Organic ESBOrganic ESB
383 Ratings
Organic ESBOrganic ESB

Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.42%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Organic E.S.B. (Extra Special Bitter) Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-22-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 383 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of charlesjwinkler
2.75/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of expatsteve
2.76/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Light copper-orange, certainly not as brown in tone as most ESBs. Medium clarity, brief 1/4 inch head that didn't linger or leave much lacing. Low viscosity.

Aroma: Coppery hops, with liht orange notes. Hints of chocolate and cocoa malts.

Taste: Biscuity, sour lime finish - not at all what I expected. Hops are balanced and malts develop over the course of a glass. Honey and chocolate notes in the malt. Yeast finish with pleasant bitterness to the aftertaste. Front and middle palates are a little lacking, and the citric acid finish seems a little oppressive at times.

Mouthfeel: Good fizz - not super smooth, but far from rough. Carbonation settles down over the course the bottle.

Drinkability: Not my favorite ESB, and not super drinkable - I'm hoping I got a bad bottle, as the tart finish was distracting and the beer lacked all the subtlety that I normally expect of ESBs as a style. There was definitely a nice set of flavors in there, but they often had a hard time coming through; more initially palate development might have helped here. I'm planning on returning to this beer, and will hopefully have reason then to adjust my review.

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Photo of chumba526
2.76/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appears hazy amber red in color with a small off white head.

It smells a little bread like and a little fruity and toasty.

It tastes slightly cinnamon like. I get a bit of a dirt like taste to the beer. There is also a chalky flavor to the beer. I get a bit of a bread like flavor to the bread as well. It tastes really odd. There is a very florial almost tea like hop flavor to the beer.

The carbonation is moderate low. With a bit of a smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability is ok. But it tastes a bit weird to me.

Overall an ok beer but this is not what I look for in an ESB it is ok but I will not buy this again.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.78/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another bottle from my favorite brewery tour. Copper pour, thin off white head that is below .5". Lacing and retention are decent though. Aroma imparts almost nothing but a mild undercurrent of breadiness and bitterness. Very miniscule, very far from robust.

Bitterness and cardboard are the heavy hitters in the flavor profile. Cardboard lacks any caramel or toffee notes. Kind of a headscratcher. A tiny bit of old closet mustiness. Copper + cardboard doesn't make for the best of beers. I've had better bottles than these, but even those weren't awesome by any means. There's just a void of hops in this beer, and even when viewed through the most stringent (I should mention the beer is also astringent, without hops, like it was dry hopped with cardboard and pennies) traditionalist viewpoint of an old school English esb.

Kinda hurts to give a brewery I really like a negative review. I think for some, the word 'organic' on the front is license to charge a bunch for an underwhelming product.

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Photo of Chaz
2.78/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dull amber in color, with notable chill haze. Creamy off white head settles rather quickly, leaving a ring of lace. Semi-sour, malt-driven nose. Malty and yeasty on the first sip – there’s something to be said for a “proprietary character” which is evident in many of Lakefront’s brews, and I don’t know if it’s a matter of compromised yeast strains, or the fact that they use a lot of the same malts in all of their brews, but the same character is present in both their ales and their lagers. It’s a sour, tangy, tinny, yeasty quality. The organic ESB has always struck me as the single best idea this brewery has come up with: a means to serve and cater to a very vocal and increasingly powerful segment of the consumer marketplace, that being the Organic Consumer. A fresh bottle of Lakefront’s Organic ESB beats the pants off the fresh tap of Stone Mill Pale Ale I had recently, and is about as close to style-specific as you can get, organic grains and hops notwithstanding. But this bottle is off: the sour, tinny, tangy yeasty quality I noted above is present here to an almost overwhelming degree. Sure there’s some malt sweetness here, and even a notable degree of hop bitterness, but what is this funky tangy weirdness? It can’t be a water quality issue – can treated Lake Michigan water produce such a quality? Someday I’ll take their brewery tour again (which is a great tour) and try this stuff fresh from the brewery versus a fresh bottle (hey, a guy can dream, right?) At any rate I will re-rate this again in the future after securing a fresher bottle, but even as it stands it's a better organic ale than the A.B.

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Photo of donmonkey1
2.8/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Reddish-brown, like hazy tea. The head is good but dissipates too fast. Very little lacing.

Smell: Not enough to tell. Possibly the faintest smell of brown sugar. They need to man-up on the smell. I mean, where the hell is it?

Taste: A hint of hops in metal water. I'm really feeling ripped off. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ORGANIC BULLSHIT?

It's pretty fucking average.

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Photo of morimech
2.81/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear amber with a large, dense head that has good retention. Large amounts of lacing is left on the glass.

Right after the pour I can smell some hops. But then something goes off. Smells almost sour with a touch of diacetyl. Perhaps a touch of caramel malt as well.

The flavor is not very good. Too much diacetyl throws everything out of whack. Its flavor dominates everything else.

Has a solid body with very good carbonation.

I will pass on this one next time.

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Photo of Osiris9588
2.82/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Amber color, with a weak one finger white head. The aroma is of spicy hops and citrus, very zesty.

The flavor just seems off--all I taste is fruit and yeast, with a little burst of hops, and then an unpleasnt slightly phenolic finish. It just seems out of balance. It doesn't taste like the other ESBs that I have had either.

The mouth begins brightly, then just dies on the palate, lacking sufficient carbonation I think, and then finishes with the aformentioned aftertaste. Thus, the drinkablility is pretty low.

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Photo of waldoiverson
2.82/5  rDev -14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz into nonic

A: amber with moderate carbonation, soapy head, and light lacing

S: sweet sugary malt, lightly hopped green apple, toasted grain

T: very malty body with grassy hops, ritz cracker sugary overtones

M: overly sweet and juicy, no heavy body so missing something to justify the malt base

o meh, it's fine but all components are just a a tad shy of exceptional

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Photo of gonger
2.82/5  rDev -14%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A-Nice amber color. Good head retention. Leaves very nice lacing all the way down.

S-faint hops, forest smells (not unpleasant), sawdust, bread,

T-Disappointing-watery. A little bitterness up front, but no real bite. Subdued yeast and malt flavors in the middle, but falls flat at the end. No real aftertaste. I had to search for the flavors.

M-Creamy-smooth. Decent body. A little thin.

D-Not bad, not great. It won't be on my want list.

It tastes diluted. A little heavy on the water. I've tasted comparable 'kit beers'.

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Photo of ppoitras
2.83/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12ozer bought as a single from Oliver's Beverage, Albany, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" white head over the clear coppery amber brew. Thick head lasts very nicely, with tons of sticky lacing. Aroma is ample grains with light hops character. Taste begins with average malt levels, hits with a tart fruitiness in the middle, and then balances with some soft bitterness. Mouthfeel and drinkability are hurt by the seemingly out-of-place tartness in the middle. Made me not want to revisit this one.

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Photo of praufs01
2.85/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance –Hazy rusty water look with a frothy off-white head and light lacing.

Aroma – Very light bready malt smell.

Palate – Lively carbonation.

Flavor –Tea like flavor with a slight citrus tang and a dry finish.

Final thoughts – Clean and refreshing brew. Its good but not special.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
2.86/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

WTF is going on here? Thin and watery. A hint of tartness that has no place whatsoever in an ESB. Hops are hiding, and the malt is weak. Nothing extra, special, nor strong about this one. Lakefront just hit Bham with about 10 different beers. Maybe they should focus less on quantity and worry more about quality. I bought singles of a bunch of different ones; we'll see how the others hold up.

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Photo of JackieTH
2.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber-colored liquid topped by a short-lived cap of foam. Smell is lightly malty at best. Taste, similarly, is malt forward, biscuits, but mostly non-descript. Not particularly sweet with just a hint of floral hop. Mouthfeel is medium-light. Overall it's not at all bad, but really doesn't distinguish itself in any way.

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Photo of jeffmonarch
2.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice clear copper color with a light tan head that disappears quickly.

S - Slightly sweet. Not much else.

T - Light flavor with a malt taste. Some caramel. Light cirtus flavor.

M - Good carbonation. Light flavor. Really light flavor.

D - It's ok. I got it in a variety 8 pack and it's one of the better from lakefront in the pack but nothing special.

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Photo of jimmah120
2.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle brewed 3rd week of December.

Cloudy amber with minimal head. Smell is skunky grains. A slight sweet smell as well. Bitter character at first as you sip. Some sweet malts but mostly the rest is grain. Very plain tasting. Dry mouthfeel.

Overall I was a little disappointed in this one. Easy drinking and balanced but seems to be missing something.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.89/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Auburn, light, thin white head, smallish. Not much going on smell wise.

Taste was dull, lifeless for an esb. Needs more bitter, hops. Too much wet newspaper.

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Photo of KarlHungus
2.89/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This brew pours a clear dark red color. The head is one finger in height, creamy and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma...well, what is there isn't bad, it is just faint. If you try really hard you ccan smell dark fruits with a generic malty sweetness, but the extra effort it takes to smell the aroma is worth what you get in return. The taste is not unlike the aroma. Faint and underwhelming. Again it isn't bad, but there is nothing special about it. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium bodied, and is a bit watery. Overall, this isn't a very good ESB, and I do not plan on drinking it again.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
2.9/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ho-hum. Not unpleasant, but a truly forgettable beer. Pours copper with no head or lacing. The smell is very light with only a slight metallic note and a touch of dry malt. Bland taste with the faaintest tracee of malt aand hop flavors, but clean. Mouthfeel is okay, could be crisper or have more body. Boring, I finished the one I had, but no reason to go back for more. I know its a relatively light style, but there needs to be something else here. Drink a Fuller's instead.

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Photo of lurfMalderFulder
2.9/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of feloniousmonk
2.91/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: bright, amber/gold color, short, white head.
Aroma: clean, meaning, in this case, utterly empty.
On the palate, a brief tart sensation, from some assemblage of hops, and it's fast to fade. Some citric flavor, but faint.
Body is weak, texture is small, and a coppery feel dominates the flavor. Mouthfeel is smooth, to a fault.
I applaud the organic nature of the brew, but it doesn't enhance the taste at all, so I find little other reason to care.
Not a bad ESB, just boring.

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Photo of soju6
2.92/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark copper color with no real head , just a ring around the edge with some lacing.

S: Mild aroma of some malt sweetness bit of fruit and some grain.

T: Mild, almost bland flavor, with just a bit of malt sweetness and a trace of grain. No real bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body and smooth. Just not a lot here.

O: This is not what I expected in an ESB. I guess I'm just not in to organic beer.

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Photo of EPICAC
2.93/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lakefront's Organic ESB pours a clear amber copper, and is topped by a smooth, beige head that persists as a film. The aroma is clean overall. There's a bit of breadiness and some sweeter malts, but the hoppiness is subdued to just a hint of resin. The taste was disappointing: biscuity malts, moderate sweetness throughout, and light, herbal, resiny bitterness. This beer is light-bodied, with high carbonation and a thin feel on the palate. It's pretty easy to drink, but that's because it's lacking in bitterness.

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Photo of stakem
2.95/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color with less than a finger of head that has a slight yellowish tint to it. The head has almost no retension whatsoever. Lacing is nonexistant. Initial smell suprised the hell out of me as it was just like vinegar that eventually gave way to a more pine-like aroma. Taste is a little bitter upfront with the pine taste and a slight bit of citrus in there as well. Really a crisp finish with this and a lingering taste of the citrus/pine combo. Feel of this beer is quite light. Little to no malt presence here but picking up on a bit of grain/biscuit as it warms. This is just leaving me looking for something more in this beer, but it just isn't delivering.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color, small white head fades fast. Swwet carmel malts combined with a metallic tang and slight floral hops. Taste is very smooth and non-intrusive. Pretty bland, they should've called it Organic KOB (kind of Bland). Needs to be served warmer than I did (cellar temp), so maybe room temp? not very interesting, but not bad either.

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Organic ESB from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.28 out of 5 with 383 ratings