Brew Review – Full Sail’s ESB, a Pirate’s Review

Full Sail Brewing’s “Brewer’s Share” ESB

Arrg, today b’ apparently International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I thought I’d aloft a grog t’ review that had some nautical slant to it.  So I went t’ me liquor store and walked up and down the deck until me eye spied Full Sail’s ESB.

Sadly, I’m not good at talking like a pirate.  But luckily I do know a few beer loving scallywags, so I invited one over to help me review a beer from Full Sail Brewing, their “Brewer’s Share” ESB.

THEM:  “Brewer’s Share” is a program that Full Sail started in 2008 where they let their brewers loose to brew anything that strikes their fancy.  The brewer who brews the best beer gets it showcased as a seasonal both on draft and in 22oz bottles.  The beer I chose, ESB was the first in this year’s series and was released back in January.

Once I got home I was momentarily worried when I read the fine print on the bottle and discovered that ESB didn’t really mean Extra Special Bitter.  In this case the letters stood for Extra Special Barney

No, not that Barney (although to be honest I’m just glad you didn’t post up a picture of a purple dinosaur), but Barney Brennan, Full Sail brewer and winner of this round’s Brewer’s Share “throw down”.

However, that being said, the ESB was indeed a conscious effort by Brennan to get away from big hoppy ales and craft something more in line with an English ale.  The grain bill consists of five different style of malts which are balanced to 35 IBU with Challenger.  It is fermented to 6.5% ABV.


ME: The beer pours amber with a nice light head that slowly turns into a layer of thin bubbles. This is definitely English style ale, as the Centennial hop aroma is there, but light and accessible. The first thing you get in the taste is a nice caramel malt base with notes of biscuit.  There’s a sweetness here, but it quickly gets balanced by the spicy, citrus flavors from the hops.  The sweetness tends to linger to a slightly sticky after taste, but the over all finish is clean and crisp.

This is just a straight forward nice English ale.  The balance is really good, all of the flavors are there and it certainly doesn’t burn your mouth out like so many American counterparts.  This is a beer you could drink quite a few of.  I’d love to have it on cask.

PIRATE: ESB  pours wi’ a slight cloudiness like swab water, wi’ bout a finger o’ head that retreats into a nice film o’ bubbles across th’ top o’ th’ beer. Th’ color be a nice amber wi’ a touch o’ orange. Th’ aroma has a nice comfortable hoppiness about it.  This be indeed nay a West Coast hop bomb.  Th’  first sips show a nice caramel malt base wi’ a hint a breadiness.  Then  th’ hops come in wi’ a mix o’ orange/lemon citrus an’ finish wi’ a bit o’ spice.  Th’ astern be clean wi’ a slightly sweet, carbunculously  sticky aft  taste.  Tis a fine ale, in fact it may be t’ fine fer a rum swilling bilge rat such as ye self!

All of the Brewer’s Shares beers support a charity and for his, Barney chose The Columbia Gorge Arts in Education which provides visual, literary, and performing arts to local K-12 students.  Three other beers in the series released this year include an Alt, a Berliner Weiss, and yes, a malt liquor.

So as we say today, Arg, b’ time fer ‘nother grog.

I said….It’s time for another beer!

Oh, come on.  I know you’re dying to do it.



Author: Ed (The Dogs of Beer)

Beer Blog focused on Delaware & surrounding area. Drinker of beer. Writer of stuff. Over user of commas. Dangler of prepositions.

2 thoughts on “Brew Review – Full Sail’s ESB, a Pirate’s Review”

  1. Cap’n Ed!

    Well shiver me timbers and pour me a ration o’ rum! Twas a fine review of what sounds like a fine, and flavorful ale. Though I have not yet had a Full Sail grog that puts the wind in my sails, I admit that I have barely scratched the surface of their offerings. I will have to explore them further!

    Ahoy and anchors away!

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