More evident malt and hop flavors than in a special or best bitter. Stronger versions may overlap somewhat with old ales, although strong bitters will tend to be paler and more bitter. Fuller’s ESB is a unique beer with a very large, complex malt profile not found in other examples; most strong bitters are fruitier and hoppier. Judges should not judge all beers in this style as if they were Fuller’s ESB clones. Some modern English variants are brewed exclusively with pale malt and are known as golden or summer bitters. English pale ales are generally considered a premium, export-strength pale, bitter beer.
Aroma: Hop aroma moderately-high to moderately-low, and can use any variety of hops although UK hops are most traditional. Medium to medium-high malt aroma, often with a low to moderately strong caramel component (although this character will be more subtle in paler versions). Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters. Generally no diacetyl, although
very low levels are allowed. May have light, secondary notes of sulfur and/or alcohol in some examples (optional).
Appearance: Golden to deep copper. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. A low head is acceptable when carbonation is also low.
Flavor: Medium-high to medium bitterness with supporting malt flavors evident. Normally has a moderately low to
somewhat strong caramelly malt sweetness. Hop flavor moderate to moderately high (any variety, although earthy, resiny,
and/or floral UK hops are most traditional). Hop bitterness and flavor should be noticeable, but should not totally dominate
malt flavors. May have low levels of secondary malt flavors (e.g., nutty, biscuity) adding complexity. Moderately-low
to high fruity esters. Optionally may have low amounts of alcohol, and up to a moderate minerally/sulfury flavor.
Medium-dry to dry finish (particularly if sulfate water is used). Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
Fullers ESB, Adnams Broadside, Shepherd Neame Bishop’s Finger, Young’s Ram Rod, Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale, Bass Ale, Whitbread Pale Ale, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Marston’s Pedigree, Black Sheep Ale, Vintage Henley, Mordue Workie Ticket, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Greene King Abbot Ale, Bateman’s XXXB, Gale’s Hordean Special Bitter (HSB), Ushers 1824 Particular Ale, Hopback Summer Lightning, Great Lakes Moondog Ale, Shipyard Old Thumper, Alaskan ESB, Geary’s Pale Ale,
Cooperstown Old Slugger, Anderson Valley Boont ESB, Avery 14’er ESB, Redhook ESB
What The Beersluts have to say:
Sorry buddies, we haven’t done a proper taste test on these beers yet!!