Great beer after great beer! My life is awesome! Ha ha! This is one of my favorite beers and definitely a style that I can relate with. ESB stands for extra special bitter, but these bitters are not bitter at all, they are more balanced than anything, malty sweet with a higher ABV and only the faintest of bitter at the end. The malts can be tasty and fruity as well as the beer having a slight diacetyl taste (butterscotch). So this beer class is Extra Special/Strong Bitter.
The bottle is very nicely designed and is hearty and reusable for homebrewing. Cheers!
The beer itself pours a beautifully clear and deep amber with a thin tan head that almost completely dissipates but lasts as half a ring around the glass and leaves very little lacing to mention.
The aroma of this beer is really nice and fits the description of the beer perfectly. It comes off as caramel malty with fruity esters of apple, cherry, and grapes and a very slight butterscotch there are some earthy notes as well, but I am not sure if that is yeast or hops, but it's barely imperceptible to me either way. If I hadn't read about it some I would not have known what to call it because it is so faint.
The taste is mostly that of caramel malts with maybe some molasses but it starts off as mildly tart, moves to the caramel and molasses with very light butterscotch and then as it reaches the back of the tongue and afterward it is mildly bitter. It's so incredibly balanced and not overly sweet in the least as you might perceive from the aroma.
The mouthfeel is different it tastes sweet but is actually slightly dry and the body is midrange with a light to medium carbonation. Many people review this as under carbonated and I suppose it is, but if it were higher, I think the balance would be off and the slight bitter finish might be over the top. Finish is definitely on the dry side.
Overall, I have to say that this is a top notch ESB. I do need to drink more as I have only had a handful of others and this is probably the best that I have had save for some local boys Yards that make a mighty mighty fine offering and I can't wait to try theirs! This beer is world class for sure and it will garner a solid 4.25 or better from me! It is so easily drinkable and the only thing that lets me down in the least is that I don't taste cherries like in the aroma. Big whoop!
This is a great beer to transition from that crappy swill water that the big boys offer so get off your azz and drink something worth while instead of wasting time, effort and calories on pure garbage. Life is too short for that!