Heavy Seas 20 Years Storm

Review By Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier  

The Heavy Seas 20 Years Storm is a dark caramel color with a one finger off white head. There is an abundance of everything in this beer, including big aromas. Fig, prunes, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, the list can go on and on. On the palate, the beer accepts the challenge of its beer type–Extra Strong Bitter–and brings power while maintaining balance. It’s like a Top Fuel race car.

The Heavy Seas 20 Years Storm has a full body mouthfeel with frothy bubbles. On the front of the palate the beer brings Almond Joy-like characteristics with cocoa, almond, hazelnut, and even a subtle hint of coconut. On the mid-palate the bourbon characteristics begin to poke through as the high alcohol content warms your chest. The finish is rich with caramel and vanilla characteristics that remind you that the beer was aged in oak barrels. This beer is sure to warm the heart and calm the seas. See below for more about  ESBs.

Tansey’s Blind Rating – 91 Points

Beer Advocate – 87 Points 

Rate Beer – 87 Points 


Beer Selection – Heavy Seas 20 Year Storm 

Producer – Heavy Seas Brewing 

Region – Maryland, USA 

Style – Imperial ESB Ale, bourbon barrel aged

Preferred Glass – Snifter 

Hops – Warrior, Fuggle, Kent Goldings 

Malts –  UK Optic, Cara, Crystal, Chocolate Malts 

Yeast – Unknown

Alcohol – 10%

IBUs – International Bittering Units – 40

Food Pairing- Wild Boar, Venison, Lamb, Pork Tenderloin 

What is an ESB?

ESB stands for Extra, Strong/special, Bitter Ale. These beers are all about balance. Much like Top Fuel race cars, these beers are not only powerful, but there is a finesse and science behind them. ESBs are not really that bitter, but they do have higher IBUs from the abundant use of hops. However, these beers also have an abundant usage of malts, which balance out the bitterness from the hops. This is all tied together with a higher alcohol content. The key, again, is balance. ESB beers should be easy to drink with a lot of flavor and a dry finish that is neither too “boozy” nor too sweet. These beers are fun to pair with food, and with the help of a creative cook you can come up with some pretty great food pairings. Explore a little and send us your food pairing pics !

From the Brewery

20 Year Storm is our thank you to all of our fans and supporters througout the years. Winter Storm was the first beer in the Heavy Seas line of beers so we thought it would be fitting to brew up an extra-extra special bitter in it’s honor. It is a 10% ABV bourbon-barrel aged Imperial ESB, brewed with imported UK Optic malt along with English and American hops. Dark amber, it is rich in caramel malt flavors, possesses a subtle vanilla flavor from the bourbon barrels, is eminently drinkable with a firm balanced bitterness, and finishes with just a hint of roast from a delicate addition of Chocolate malt. It celebrates the bold, adventurous attitude that is synonymous with Heavy Seas Beer.                           http://hsbeer.com/brews/brew/20-year-storm