ESB Special Ale | Ska Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
81
good
402 Ratings
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ESB Special AleESB Special Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States
skabrewing.com

Style: 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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
402
Reviews:
184
Avg:
3.58
pDev:
12.85%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
33
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 402 |  Reviews: 184
Photo of scruffwhor
3.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Hardly any bubbling, light head, but a little sticky lacing on my glass. A preety average looking English ale. The aroma is a light bread carame and pale malt ith some subtle hops. The taste is just as Engihy subtle. You can taste the malts the best, but their not heay or bland. Just enough to notice the malts and hops. So you can keep driniking this beer over and over again. Smooth malt and hops, with a tangy and sticky finish that tays on the tongue fr quite some time.

 475 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Full notes taken to my phone at Morefield Campground, Mesa Verde National Park, CO.

A- The second ever canned microbrew is poured into a goblet with a fairly clear golden orange body. A frothy white head builds on the beer to a finger. Head retention is decent and a foamy ring stays behind. Lacing is a mix of spots and streaks.

S- Malty overall but the hop presence certainly makes itself known. Toasted, toffee and light caramel malts. Hops lend herbal, grassy and spicy qualities.

T- Lacks the sweetness I find in many ESBs but still packs malt flavors of caramel, toasted nuts, toffee, sweets and cereal. Notes of light fruits, slight raisin and bread throughout. Hops on the back end bringing grassy, spicy and earthy notes. Overall balanced between all of the above with each aspect taking precedence at times.

MF- Fairly light end bodied with a moderately high carbonation. The overall texture is creamy, just a bit chewy and foamy. Finishes with medium bitterness.

Malty but plenty of hops to balance it and at times the hops take over. A nice interpretation of the style with ample malt flavor lacking an overriding sweetness.

 1,141 characters

Photo of crobinso
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Suds
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a can, t his is a pale amber with a very thin, quickly dissipating head. The smell is a nice balance of malt and herbal hops. I love the malt backbone of most ESB's, and this one has a solid malt flavor, but the aroma could be better. The hops form a great balance, and the beer is of medium body. Nice, but not great.

 327 characters

Photo of barnzy78
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A little darker than most esb's I've had this one came in a hybrid orange and dark amber. Caramel and a tiny amount of hops in the aroma.

Taste, pretty good, some bitter and hops, really couldn't differentiate this between an esp and a pale ale. Citrus hop, pale and caramel malt flavor, seems like a pale to me. Very well carbonated. A decent brew, nothing groundbreaking, maybe not dry enough to be a true esb, but I've always found esb's to be like pales with less hops.

 474 characters

Photo of jrallen34
2.16/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I drank this from the can into a pint glass.

The beer is medium clear gold with a decent white head, good lacing and retention.

The aroma is light hops.

The taste is really bad, all bitter, like a scotch ale with some very weird aftertastes. Mouthfeel is heavy but not drinkable.

 282 characters

Photo of MSandahl23
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

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 Hellpop65
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this on up at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC.

Pours a clear orange-ish amber color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of bitter hops and nondescript fruit sweetness.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The sweet malt flavors are at the forefront with light amounts of fruit sweetness. The fruits seem a bit easier to pick out in the flavors - mostly berries with hints of pears.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness with good carbonation, pretty smooth.

Drinkability is good. I'll have no problem finishing one, and could have a few of these in one night. This could be a nice session beer when trying to get away from IPA's and APA's.

Overall this is a solid beer, though it's nothing to write home about. Still, it's worth picking up if you see it around.

 880 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The disembarks the 12-ounce can a cloudless amber with a portly light tan head that is frothy in texture, after its eventual demise the lace forms an obfuscating sheet upon the glass. Nose is fresh fruit, sweet malt, crisp and clean with the start sweet and the malt profile adequate, the top is middling in feel. Finish is mildly acidic and the hops personable in their spiciness, aftertaste is quite dry and long lasting, a decent drinking beer and would make a fine session beer.

 482 characters

Photo of cdwil
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of dirtylou
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can, mixed 12 pack from Binny's in Schaumburg

appearance: another great pour from a Ska can into an imperial pint - cloudy copper body, fluffy full white head with strong retention

smell: fresh cut flowers, toasted grain, light hops, lemon zest

taste: kind of a flat flavor profile - flowers, sweet malts, grain, lemon, taffy.

mouthfeel: a little dry, medium-light

drinkability: fine

 394 characters

Photo of aztraz
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of morimech
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with two fingers of white head that had good retention. Not as dark as I would associate with an ESB. The head settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. The first thing I noticed about the aroma is the mint. I did not know Galena hops had that characteristic. I also noted some earthiness, citrus, and caramel as well. The flavor is really earthy and bitter. The malt does not give enough input into the flavor. Any sweetness is quickly overpowered by the hops. Not that good of a flavor for an ESB. Not a fan of the single hop profile here either. Good body and a nice soft carbonation that seems really good for the style. This beer nees some tweaking to take into the good category. Still worth a try plus it comes in cans.

 763 characters

Photo of williamjbauer
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of thagr81us
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tr4nc3d for this one as an extra in a past trade. Served from can into a Dogfish Head Signature glass. Poured hazy yellow orange with a minimal white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, hops, and a slightly nutty note. The flavor was of only sweet malt and hops. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice ESB. Had a very well balanced flavor and nice aroma. However I feel the flavor and aroma was a little simple and not very complex. If there would have been more complexity to this one it could have been something quite special. Still a nice brew that I am glad I got the opportunity to try.

 710 characters

Photo of rawfish
2.44/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear dark amber with mild orange highlights when held up to the light. Yellowish head is small and sickly looking and peaks at one finger. Decent retention and lacing on the glass.

Whoa where's the bready malts here, smells more on the sweet side with molasses, toffee and a bit of cocoa on the nose. Add to that some citrus and apples with adjunct grain that gets in the way as well. Odd.

Not a fan of this. Medicinal hop bitterness has no balance and I detect flavors of grape skin, dark fruits and citric acid. The bitterness is rather persistent throughout the drink but the herb and medicinal hops drag on with the tartness. Grape children's tylenol syrup with burnt grains that ends bitter.

Rather well carbonated with a sticky mouthfeel despite being a bit thin. Lots of flavor for the thin body too bad it's not pleasant.

Ugh, the bitterness was there but not accompanied by any balance or pleasant flavors, I would contend that the malt is here due to the color and sweetness but there's no real mesh with the herbal hop flavors and odd citric notes.

 1,072 characters

Photo of AgentZero
2.19/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - It looks like a pretty normal beer, nice gold color with a good head and decent lacing down the sides.

S - I'll be honest, I'm not really sure what is going on here, smell some hops and spice, but this is not what I was expecting from a bitter, which I am a fan of.

T - I find this horrible. Too creamy, not a good take on the style, and the bitterness is lost in some sort of sweet, almost syrupy, taste. I find this to be fairly gross and am not drinking it after a few sips.

M - Good carbonation and goes down smooth.

D - Easy to drink other than it just tastes bad.

 578 characters

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 Fatehunter
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A finger a half of head on a hazy, dark straw colored body.
The aroma is a faint apricot and grain.
The taste has a strong malt presence with a good balance of bitterness middle to end. The finish is short.
Crisp texture with moderate carbonation and medium body.
An enjoyable ESB.

 281 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at AJ's in late July for $1.59.

Beer pours a honey amber color with a nice two finger white head that has sustained well. Nose is malty with hints of sweet fruit. Taste is of caramel malts with a hint of sweet fruit lingering in the background finishing with a very light hop. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, nicely carbonated and somewhat smooth. Drinkability is good. I am glad i recently picked up a sixer for my next tailgate. This makes for a nice session beer!

 491 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Solid honey-colored pour; sticky, white head with lacing down the glass. Light, sweet aroma, slightly spicy, slightly fruity. Nicely balanced malt and hop flavor character, closely following what the aroma hints at. Smooth, medium-bodied; clean and dry finish.

A well-balanced, very drinkable beer. Malts and hops mingle well together and offer a delightful, well-rounded beer for those looking for a fuller bodied ale.

 420 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

this is the only craft beer in a can that i can find in IL. and i was glad to find it

pours clear golden yellowish orange with a 1/2 finger white head that left no lacing

smells of sweet malts and grassy hops

taste is a decent balance of sweet bready malts and grassy hops - and a tiny bit of alcohol and metalic flavors come through

mouthfeel was a bit to flat for me - light body

drinkability is so so - i only picked up a single but the beer has a good full flavor just wish it had a little more life - i will check this out again

 539 characters

ESB Special Ale from Ska Brewing Co.
3.58 out of 5 based on 402 ratings.
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