St. Charles Extra Special Bitter | Wynkoop Brewing Company

20 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Wynkoop Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 06-05-2004

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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 49
Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Served on-draught into a taster glass at Wynkoop. Reviewed from notes. Cost was $1.00.

A: Pours a two finger head - somewhat thin - of nice foamy froth, hardly any cream, and good retention. Body colour is a nontransparent dark copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Buttery, with toasted malt, very light subtle hop hints, tea notes, and clean malts. Maybe even a bit of yeast. A delightful, pleasant, inviting aroma. Spot on for an ESB. A mild strength aroma.

T: Buttery, with cream, heavy toffee, maybe truffle, and light backgrounded toasted malts forming a simple foundation. Strangely built. Popcorn-esque in its buttery character. Maybe even some candy corn. Decently balanced. Certainly different.

Mf: Buttery, overly smooth, and too wet. Somewhat watery. Slightly undercarbonated. Light, weak and thin. This needs work.

Dr: Drinkable but strangely built. I wouldn't get this one again.

Low C-

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice casked esb. pours a rich copper color with a classic one inch white head. smells extremely malty, english style, biscuity, doughy, even pretzely. flavor is more balanced the nose, but this is still a malt feature. mild bittering hops in the finish. feel is good from the cask, but this one seems too light on the body for an english esb. body is lighter than medium, but the feel is still smooth from the cask pump. overall one of the more sessionable interesting beers at wynkoop, and one i, sure i will end up drinking again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger head with excellent retention. Little lace. Dark amber and clear.

S: fruity and malty taste.

T: toasted malt, some hops with a sweet corn finish

M: medium body and casked conditioned.

Overall: I think it is tough to find a ESB that tastes the way one should. Its also a hard genre to build your palate for. This seems to be a decent example. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at their brewpub

Poured a medium brown color, with a nice white head that receded to a thin layer after a few minutes. Grains and mild malt sweetness in the aroma, toasty, woody, with a subdued hop earthiness. Taste was similar, mild and smooth, not overly flavorful, but still pretty good. Light-medium body, and generally easy to drink.

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Photo of blackie
3.01/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: standard pint serving, the beer is a medium amber in color with a light haze, retaining a layer of white carbonation

s: grainy caramel malt aromas upfront, sweet red apple, yeasty output of the woody variety, some subtle toasted grain aromas, hops very mild and earthy

m: medium slick body with very little carbonation, mostly flat

t: starts with sweet crystal malts and some slight toast flavors, grainy, sweet apples, woody yeasty notes, hop flavors light and earthy - not providing any balance to the malt sugars

o: just an okay esb overall, the flat body certainly doesn't help things and the aroma/flavor profiles are fairly tame and sweet for my preference

draft at the brewpub

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Photo of champ103
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy red/orange color. A two finger beige head forms that gently recedes to a ring. Light lace is left behind.
S: Citrus, floral, grassy hops with caramel malt for balance.
T: Follows the nose. Citrus, floral, and grassy hops. A light bitterness. A sweet caramel malt for balance again.
M/D: A medium body with a crisp carbonation. Very dry as well. Easy to drink. I can quaff several of these in a sitting with ease.

I really enjoyed this. Not a tradition English ESB. More of just an APA. Though still something that I would recommend for just the enjoyment of drinking a good beer. Rather than judging a beer to be inferior because it is not to style.

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Photo of Reneejane
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer was amber/brown with a white head. As the beer was drunk it left lovely lacing all the way down the glass. The beer was slightly hazy. The smell was hoppy from a dry hop or probably fuggles and cascades? The taste was roasty with a bit of fruitiness. It had good body. I think it might be Burtonized as well? Overall I thought it might be just a smidge too roasty.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this at Wynkoop on 4 Feb 2009.

Clear brown color. Minimal brown head. Minimal carbonation. Moderate malt and caramel aroma. Starts fairly bitter with a touch of light caramel. Light body, almost watery. Some earthiness in the finsh. Alcohol seems fairly high.

Overall not bad but nothing to make me come back to it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

GABF '08 at the Brewery.

This beer seems to struggle with similar balance and body issues as most other beers that I tried during my visit. The malt character comes across sweet, confectionate, and sometimes worty. Hop character is quite mild and takes on a grapefruity character, not flowery or piney. The body seems high although the beer has a watery feel as well. Finishes with a dominant emphasis on the malts. This may be my least-favorite beer that I had at the brewery.

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Photo of JamesS
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark copper color with great head and lacing. it has a nice light hoppy scent, not as strong as I'd like, but good. Nice taste, slightly hoppy, light and refreshing, but also felt a little watered down. Nice and smooth, but mostly because of its watered down feeling.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

St Charles Place...Monopoly? Served as a very clear ruby red color with a soft white head. Not much head retention, typical for Koops, and next to no lacing. Served warm, a tad cooler than room temp.

The nose is sweet with malt and noticeable Marris Otter notes. Some minor crystal malts as well. A very distinct house yeast with a minor DMS notes. Some drainage notes that are light and hint at infection. Hops are light with just a hint of earthiness. My wife got some hints of mint but I missed that one.

The taste is close to the nose. A sweet malty presence with English pale and the caramel coming out a bit more than the aroma indicated. Some off yeast notes again with a noticeable DMS flavor. Hints of veggi but nothing over powering. No real bitterness which leaves a sweet malt flavor kind of overpowering. There is a more floral and earth hop finish.

The body is moderate to light but cloying because of the sweetness/limited bitterness. Carbonation is lacking if not non-existent. Overall not bad but some off yeast flavors and why is it always served so warm?

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hi. welcome to the cask.
Yes, this was my first time having a beer served from a cask. Great!
On a recent trip to Denver I stopped by the Wyncoop brewery... actually watching the Broncos on a Monday Night (pre-season) but I will get to the pub in a different review...
i sampled several of their brews...leaving the cask for last. Lets just say it wasnt my last...I stayed to sample it several times more.
The pour overflowed the glass with a rich white head. great honey-brown color and amazing aroma...extremely hoppy. Great taste and even better the second time around.
Cant wait to go back.

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Photo of ExMachina1
2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I had a pint of this drawn from a cask at the Wynkoop Brewing Co. in mid-August 2007.

Upon arrival the beer *looked* good--deep copper color with a lush, dense bit of foam on top. It was marginally cloudy, which is perfectly acceptable for a cask-conditioned beer.

The aroma of the beer was unimpressive but not offensive. Hops were lightly present but were not especially "fresh" smelling, and the esters and malt that typify this style were most definitely NOT present. Overall, I'd would describe the nose of the beer as being unstylistically "flat".

On the tongue, the beer continued to underwhelm and, in fact, offend. The malt foundation with its faint glimmerings of crystal, was simply not robust enough to support the rather aggressive bitterness. The mouthfeel was a similar story of thinness being over-challenged by the false-body of over-developed bitterness. Furthermore, the nice head that the brew started out with faded and the lacing on the glass was non-existent, again indicating that the protein-content of the beer was lacking.

Fortunately, the finish was clean and the carbonation and body were both low enough that finishing the pint was never a question (it would however be my lastpint of this beer!)

Overall--remove the excess bitterness and (ironically, for the literal minded), this beer becomes a nice bitters (or even best bitters). Conversely, in order to live up to the "ESB" characterization, Wynkoop needs to concentrate on increasing the malt character and body, as well as step up the ester profile by altering the fermentation process itself.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was served in a pint glass at the brewpub. It has a dark color with a nice head that is well retained. The aroma has nice gentle hops dominating it with a malty background. It smells very interesting. Upon tasting, the hops are up front with the malt following later as an ESB should be, but there's nothing too remarkable about it. It has a medium-light body with low carbonation that goes down well.

Overall, I think this is an enjoyable beer. I usually like a little more 'bite' to an ESB, but it's still a decent example of the style.

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Photo of ndekke39
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ordered on-tap at the Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver. Poured a very dark color, with deep red tones, almost like a red wine. Light floral aromas in the nose. Light taste of malt, with a late blooming hoppiness. Not as bitter as expected for this style. Light carbonation, good drinkability. Not the best of this style, although definitely worth trying out.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark Amber/Chocolate color, nice small bubbled head that persisted.
Good smell. The downstairs of the Wynkoop is non-smoking now so cig-smoke doesn't mask aromas. Malt, dark fruit, biscuit.
Taste was thin, yet had the characteristics of an ESB. I expected a bit thicker beer. To note: I had this beer right after the Monkey Fist IPA (not listed), so the 'buds' may have been tainted.

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Photo of jokelahoma
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper, almost garnet color out of the cask. Surprisingly tight head for a hand-pulled beer. As of the time I'm writing this, the head is at the five minute point, and is finally down to an eighth inch. Pretty remarkable.

Aroma is a good balance of hop and malt, with what I consider to be the usual "dusty" English hop overtones. I don't believe all the hops are English, but they seem to dominate the nose. There isn't any citrus that I can detect, in other words.

Good malt backbone is the flavor. The sweetness hits you first, but you quickly lose it in the bouquet of bitterness that follows. Not sure if they use any flavor hop additions in the boil, but if they do, they may as well skip it. I get malt flavor, then a bracing -- but not abrasive -- bitterness. I don't detect any caramel in this at all, and for sure no diacetyl is present (at least to my amateur sniffer).

Mouthfeel seems surprisingly light, as this beer appears to be more highly attenuated than many ESBs. You won't miss the body, though.

I believe this brew could stand to have a bit more character overall, but even as it is, it's an extremely drinkable beer that I'd definitely try again.

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Photo of mschofield
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich mahogany topped with a one finger tan head, leaves webs of lacing.
Roasty malt, grass and floral notes make up the clean and very fresh aroma.
Malt, dark break, grass, herb, caramel and a light nutty note fill out the taste.
Medium bodied, very smooth, with a very good drinkability.

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Photo of carln26
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first beer I had in my visit to Denver. I enjoyed having it off the cask. It poured a deep brown to mahogany. Nice creamy tan head with an excellent lace. This was the 1st taste of anything besides water I had that day, so maybe my taste buds and nose were particularly awake. I detected a delicate floral aroma, with just a hint of malt. When I tasted I experienced a great malty burst in front. In the middles of the drink there was light citrus hop bitterness. It had a long crisp finish. Light mouth feel of the cask. Very drinkable. Definitely a good choice having this from the cask.

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Photo of smcolw
4.26/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Neutral amber color, clear with excellent head retention that leaves beautiful lace on the glass

The aromas may be the only common place attribute of this beer. The nose is very subtle, meaning I couldn't detect most of the smells. I couldn't find any malt, but there was a slight raw, green hop aroma.

The beer is served at cellar temperature. The malt is light but there's great hop follow up--strong dry hopping. Where's the aroma? Puzzling. The aftertaste is complex with mostly bitter hop bite - very low carbonation.

Even with the vast array of choices, I'll be ordering another. Excellent!

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St. Charles Extra Special Bitter from Wynkoop Brewing Company
3.47 out of 5 based on 49 ratings.
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