Harpoon Single Hop ESB (100 Barrel Series #31)

OK, it’s not brewed in England and it’s NOT a cask offering, and I could still be happy if it was taken down another 0.5% on the ABV, BUT, on the face of it this at least has the potential to help me out in my desperate and generally futile search for high quality ESB’s in the USA.
Let’s see.
Nice authentic color in the body with a deep, orange/amber hue. Head size is especially disappointing to me and the retention and lace should also be better for a beer of this ABV.
Nose reveals little, with a touch of fruit perhaps and some general, malty sweetness.
The tastes are too hoppy for the style IMO, and the bitterness certainly outstrips the nose in terms of what one might expect from the beers’ aroma. Some fruit upfront with a hint oif traditional biscuit malts and also a pleasing (and surprising) soapy nature – that was especially pleasing. However, the fruit soon gives way to the finish which lingers and is quite a grapefruit centered, bitter affair. Also unfortunately, the beer has a bitterness that builds which is NOT what I want in the style, in fact I really rather want the opposite. This subtracts substantially from the drinkability for me.
Not a bad effort, but I’m almost completely resigned to the whole, “high quality ESB” thing not ever happening in the US.

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05/12/2010
Format:
bottle
ABV: 5.8 %
Appearance: 3.5
Taste: 3
Mouthfeel: 3.5
Smell: 2.5
Overall: 3
Total: 2.98
Series Name:
Year:

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