The strength of English Strong Ale

The other day I was drinking Little Bastard Ale from Stone’s Berlin operation. On RateBeer it is listed as an English Strong Ale, despite its rather low ABV of 4.7%.

Now although I’ve only tried a very small number of ESAs, looking back, none have them have been below 6% in terms of ABV. The RateBeer style guidelines state: “An ale of significant alcoholic strength, though usually not as strong or rich as barleywine.”

So is Little Bastard an exception here, or just wrongly classified as an English Strong Ale?

I would agree. An ESA should be more alcoholic than an ESB. Should the Stone beer be relabelled as ESB or as a Bitter perhaps. But then again, English Strong Ale is not a real style but rather a catch all for stronger English ales than are neither IPAs or Barley Wines… seeing as the style includes everything from Yorkshir Stingo to various Winter Warmers and other such beers.

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Sounds like a Golden Ale to me.

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Seemed a bit harsh for a golde.

If it’s golde and it’s an ale, then it’s probably a golde ale.

After reading reviews on various sites, it sounds like an Amber.

Classic Chestnut Ale.

This. As far as I’m concerned it’s just a home for things in the higher (in UK terms) abv range that don’t easily fit anywhere else. 4.7% seems distinctly low.