Joseph Formanek's picture

Judge's Review: 93 Rating - 14 Degree ESB by Bent Paddle Brewing Co.

June, 2018

14° ESB

Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

14 Degree ESB by Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is a well-crafted rendition of the Extra Special Bitter (ESB) style with a bit of an American twist. The balanced use of American-style hops in the hop bill to support the typical ESB style malt complexity works very well in this offering. This is being evaluated as a Category 11C Strong Bitter as per the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines.

Evidence of a fresh citrus, earthy and woody hop character is quite apparent in the aroma, with a background of base and caramel malt sweetness along with woody and light floral and cherry ester fermentation notes. The color is golden amber with fantastic clarity and a solid lacy small bubble slightly off-white head that lingers quite impressively. This is a beautiful beer and meets the style quite well in this respect.

The flavor features a moderate bitterness level on top of a caramel, nutty and toasty malt backbone. The fermentation character comes through more as American than English, with lighter esters rather than heavy woodiness. The overall flavor maintains quite well as the drink progresses, retaining a great balance between malt and hop character throughout the middle, finish and into the aftertaste. The body is medium, and the carbonation is at a moderate level.

14 Degree ESB is a well-made clean and refreshing offering without any real flaws that is quite quaffable and thirst-quenching and has enough flavor that allows for a very pleasant memory. Cheers and enjoy!