Honey Hole ESB
Brewery: Spindletap Brewery
Style: Strong Bitter (11C)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: January 2019, Whichcraft
Packaged Date: 12/17/18
Consumed Date: 2/18/19
Details from the Brewer
Aroma – 9/12
Grainy English base malts are the prime aroma. They fill in at a medium intensity, bringing a slight bread crust character, cereal quality, and mild toast. This is joined by a low-medium sweetness, and marmalade character. There is a touch of citric fruitiness, and maybe a bit of apple ester. Low earthiness and slight paper notes as it warms.
Appearance – 2/3
Pours a deep orange/amber liquid. Decent clarity, with a slight haze. Fine off-white bubbles compose a head which collapses at quick pace.
Flavor – 12/20
Grainy bread hits the tongue first, followed by a bit of crust, and a nuttiness. A moderate sweetness brings out light caramel tones, and a touch of syrupy sweetness. Lower notes of apple esters join in with a slight stone fruit character. Towards the finish, a low-moderate bitterness comes out, bringing with it an earthy hop character. The finish leaves a slight fruity character, with a touch of bread crust.
Mouthfeel – 3/5
Moderate mouthfeel. The finish is oddly dry, and a bit watery. Low-moderate carbonation prickling the tip of the tongue. Very low astringency. Very little alcohol warmth.
Overall Impression – 6/10
This is a decent attempt at a bitter. Familiar English malt, yeast and hop character is present. No major off-flavors distract from a clean beer. The recipe needs some tweaking to live up to true British strong bitters (Fuller’s ESB). I’d expect the base malt and crystal malt intensity to be a bit higher. The finish’s bitterness is a bit too intense. There also should be a bit more yeast character present. The touch of oxidation could also be cleaned up.
Rating – 32/50
It’s always cool to see breweries putting out British styles. We’ve had a few bitters canned in Austin recently, and this is the first I’ve seen come from Houston. If only someone would try a mild now! I’m unclear if this beer actually used honey in it. If so, it could explain some of the deviation from the style. Overall, this beer did provide a nice sampling of British beer character, it was a just a bit out of whack balance-wise for the style.