Sean’s Sips – Breckenridge Brewery Well Built ESB


  • Style:  Other Strong Ale
  • ABV:  7.8%
  • IBU:  55
  • Color:  Copper
  • Hops:  Target, Fuggle, and Northern Brewer
  • Malt:  English Pale, Amber, Crystal, and Roasted Barley
  • Yeast:  Scottish Ale


Originally brewed as TWENTY, Breckenridge Brewery’s 20th Anniversary beer, in 2010, Well Built ESB is now released about every 3 months and only available in Colorado.  This is the first beer in the ‘Well Built’ Series, all of which will be aged in Stranahan’s barrels due to Breckenridge Brewery’s exclusive deal with the Colorado whiskey-maker.  Well Built ESB was created by aging their Small Batch ESB in Stranahan’s barrels for 6 months.  The brewers are still debating which beer should be the next in the series.  It seems to me that a Well Built Vanilla Porter would taste pretty damn good.  What Breckenridge beer would you like to see thrown into some Stranahan’s barrels?


Aroma – Surprisingly mellow considering how long it spent in Stranahan’s barrels.  Whiskey, vanilla, oak, caramel, and a hint of malt.

Taste – Whiskey dominates, leaving little room for the maltiness of the ESB to come through.  I can definitely distinguish the Stranahan’s component, compared to other whiskey or bourbon-aged beers.  Starts sweet with notes of vanilla, oak, and toffee with a pretty dry finish.

Drinkability – Barrel-aged beers can range from pretty mellow to a slap in the face depending upon the type of barrel and the length of time spent in said barrel.  Well Built ESB brings a huge amount of Stranahan’s flavor without the stereotypical whiskey “bite”.  However, this may not be the beer for you if you’re not a big whiskey fan.

Verdict – I’m a fan of just about any beer that’s been hibernating in Stranahan’s whiskey barrels.  That being said, I wish there was just a little less whiskey flavor to allow more of the malt profile of the ESB to shine through.  Definitely a fine tasting beer.


[Disclaimer: I realize that I am in no way qualified to judge beer… so I’m not.  The goal of this post is to introduce you to a local beer that I think you’d enjoy.  It’s fine if you don’t agree with me, just don’t post angry comments about how you can’t believe I didn’t taste bubblegum, clove, and/or hot dogs in said beer.  I should also say that this bottle was free.]

About Sean Buchan

Sean is a Physical Therapist and Photographer living in (and loving) Denver, Colorado. He enjoys shooting just about anything but his true passion is capturing the craft beer culture here in Denver. If you enjoy his photographs check out Beertographer.

  • Brew Trek

    I found the opposite true, not enough whiskey taste. I don’t know if they aged Twenty longer, or if they tweaked the recipe for Well Built, but it seemed to me that Twenty had more depth with the whiskey perfectly complimenting the beer.

    I really like Well Built though. Serving temperature definitely has a lot to do with how much whiskey bite you taste; the more it warms up, the more the whiskey tones come out. Thanks for the review, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!