ESB Special Ale | Ska Brewing Co.

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ESB Special AleESB Special Ale
401 Ratings
ESB Special AleESB Special Ale

Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bitterbill on 10-26-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 401 |  Reviews: 184
Photo of ArrogantB
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz can that I poured into a pint glass. Dark orange color and cloudy. Smell was malty. The taste was metallic, yeasty and not pleasant. The mouthfeel had a grittiness to it that I did not like. I hope this was an old one or something cause it was not good at all.

 266 characters

Photo of bks71
3.04/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

It's fine, but more IPA than ESB IMHO.

38 characters

Photo of bryanbrick
3.04/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra from CosmoHopHead, thanks Matt for a killer trade. I'll try and review more beers from the trade soon.

12oz can. No freshness dating.
Going to do the review by letters, my Girlfriend just texted to meet her at a bar after work. A rare occasion.

A-Nice big frothy head, stark white, on a tan hued gold colored beer

S-Not much here, simple aromas of charred malt and some tinny hops. Tinny in tone, not from the can

T-Most flavor is from the English styled malts. The bitter counterpoint doesn't really hold up. Quick to disappear.

M-Nice creamy feel with a sort of slickness to it. Feels almost synthetic, but not unappealing.

D-A beer for any place you want the ease of cans. Camping, Ball games, etc. But there are also a lot better beers in cans these days so?

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Photo of emmasdad
3.05/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a shaker pint. When I popped the tab the beer rushed out of the top and down the sides; WOW, a gusher. Medium gold color with some off-white foam. Somewhat bready and sweet, with no real hop character. Pretty disappointing actually, after some of the beers I've had from Ska.

 300 characters

Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.08/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a two fingered head but quickly dissapated. Amber hue.

Not much of an aroma. Just a little hops and malt. Maybe a little fruitiness.

Taste is good, although not much hop bitterness. up front malt character, some caramel and other malt flavors.

Pretty good carbonation, nice and creamy mouthfeel. Maybe a little less carbonated than a typical beer but it works in this case.

Very nice drinkability goes down very smooth and definately a good session beer. This is the kind of thing I wouldnt mind taking camping and sitting around the fire with.

 567 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.09/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of kpoole25
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can to glass. Orange-copper color, off-white head. Malty nose. Taste wise, it seems to hit the malt and mineral notes of English ESB, but the hops stick out as American style pale ale, it seemed to overpower the mix for me. Fairly drinkable but left thinking there are better alternatives.

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Photo of Brewsta
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Overall, a good beer to sit back with and enjoy on an overcast, cold Denver afternoon. The bitterness was fitting this style, although it might be pushing the limit for drinkability. The auroma seemed to disapate as the drink warmed in my glass and left a thin head.

I've had this beer in previous years and really liked the smoothness and drinkability. I was a little surprised at the level of hop bitterness that met my mouth, as I have had the impression, in the past, that this beer leaned more towards a English ESB. My mistake.

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Photo of dankster
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- clear amber with very little head

S- Malty, not much hop presence noted but some brew sugers are coming though for me.

T- smooth and flavorful. some candy notes like candy corn tasted. big malt and a small hops aftertaste

M-clean and clear. goes down well without coating the mouth at all.

O- Good example of a english esb. but others are better. i recommend trying if you like the syle. 5.7% abv hides good. good price too at $8 a sixer. Another solid offer from ska brewing.

 483 characters

Photo of mothman
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Sam Smith Pint Glass

Pours ½ finger of creamy white head. Color is a slight hazyed golden orange. Decent head retention, leaving some nice lace rings.

Aroma: Caramel and bready malts. Some dull hops are present as well. This reminds me a lot of a pale ale. Nothing special going on here.

Taste: I get a lot more hop bite here than I was expecting. Caramel malts and some citrus zest here. Now, it is reminding me more and more of a pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Some bitterness, but fairly smooth. Medium bodied with a well amount of carbonation. Ends with bready malt aftertaste, very dry.

Overall, not a very big fan of this esp. Reminded me more of a pale ale. Not something I would buy on a regular basis, but not something I would completely ignore.

 766 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz can into a nonic. Big thanks to pokesbeerdude for sending me this one as yet another outstanding extra in a trade!

A- Copper/amber color, and slightly hazy. Pours with 2+ fingers of tan/off white head, which fades slowly to a nice cap. Ample lacing noted.

S- Very light malty notes, and a slight mineral/metallic twinge.

T- Slight tea-like hopiness. Fairly grainy with muted sweetness. A bit of minerally / hoppy bitterness.

M- Moderately carbonated with a light-medium feel.

D- Fairly good. ESB's tend to not be the most interesting from a flavor standpoint, IMO, but an easy drink that could be sessioned.

Future outlook: Not available here, so moot...

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Bright Clear Orange with loads of carbonation along the sides of the glass and coming up from the bottom. Head is 1 finger in width and disappears rather quickly. Decent lacing along the sides

Smell - Yeasts, Floral Hops, Malts and Barley. Very simple aroma and not as rich as one might think. That's all there's really to say.

Taste - Floral Hops, Yeasts, Malts, and Barley. I find the flavor to be a bit unbalanced here with the Floral Hops being a bit too strong for my liking compared to the rest of the flavors. Aside from that, it's a normal tasting ESB

Mouthfeel - Light bodied and the carbonation is surprisningly mild and feels rather crisp

Overall - Nothing really special here, but if the Floral Hops and flavor overall had been more balanced out this could've been a really good ESB.

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Photo of fishkab
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of hiphopj5
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of cmbeddoe7997
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of crobinso
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of dradair
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of ahentz
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Hellpop65
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of DerwinWentworth
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of macsyrinx
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of timlyon
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Brewsed
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Mattias
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Piske41
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

ESB Special Ale from Ska Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 401 ratings