Hargreaves Hill BA Double ESB


“This Ale is an Imperial version of our ESB that has been aged in VSOP Brandy Barrels, and Bourbon Barrels before blending.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Murky deep amber kind of affair with a thumb of frothy off white head capping it off. Reasonable retention but scarce lace left on the glass.

Aroma: It’s pretty cool that they could even get their hands on ex VSOP barrels to begin with let alone use them for a Double ESB. It’s a risk we’re impressed by and it does actually work well. The distinct notes of baked apple/candied pear, vanilla and fresh apricot blend well with the sweet, bready/toasty and earthy notes of the ESB. Also some light florals and musky tones peeking through too.

Flavour: Again, lots of fruit, lots of sweetness and syrupy/sugary goodness but not a whole lot of balance unfortunately. We feel they’ve got a bit carried away with all the ingredients and it’s all sort of cancelled each other out. Galaxy and Mosaic hops (as brilliant as they are) are probably a bit too fancy for this style of beer and the bourbon gets completely overshadowed by the VSOP. Not to mention the classic ESB notes are hide to locate.

Mouthfeel: Nice weight to it. Smooth and rounded, slightly lifted Co2, medium body. The 9% ABV was very well hidden.

Overall: We rate Hargreaves Hill highly and we really wanted to like this but it just didn’t cut the mustard. Big points for securing ex VSOP barrels but it all felt out of sync as a whole.