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Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) - Central City Brewing

Not Rated.
Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter)Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter)

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

106 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.42%
Wants: 31
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Central City Brewing visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: canucklehead on 10-13-2005

The use of crystal malt lends to this beer’s flavour and colour profile. Packed with hops from the North West and United Kingdom this is our original take on the classic English bitter.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 47
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of chickenm
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Central City brewpub. Pours a clear copper color with a medium white head. Aroma of citrusy hops and caramel malt. The flavor is fairly hoppy, but nicely balanced with the malt. Medium-light body with good carbonation, and a mild bitter aftertaste. Very drinkable, this makes a great session beer.

Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can, a single procured at Zyn in Cowtown. The label is replete with the standard Red Racer cutie, strikin' her pose as ever was.

This beer pours a clear, bright, and solid medium copper amber hue, with two chubby fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat bubbly beige head, which settles at pace, leaving some whipped-cream topping, and a nice thin wall of meshed lace around the glass.

It smells of sharp biscuit/toffee malt, pine resin, warm citrus (orange and lime, mostly) rind, a soft oily nuttiness, and further floral, weedy hops. The taste is more edgy biscuity graininess, a heady nutty caramel sweetness, toasted brown bread, lime and lemon peel, a certain mineral flintiness, and general forest floor hop esters.

The carbonation is moderate, just a flitting frothiness wafting about, the body a lean medium weight, and just a tad prickly in its otherwise unassailable smoothness. It finishes clean and crisp, the hops and crackery malt seeing to a lingering dryness.

A nouveau-riche ESB combined with all the proper West Coast IPA sentiments - big British maltiness, and some tethered, but well noticeable Yankee PNW hops. Quite drinkable, and patently enjoyable, for lovers of both styles, such as this guy (points both thumbs at self).

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I like this better than the IPA. Bang on for the style. This one from Zyn and listed at 5.6% Pours a ridiculous amount of foam and stays like that. Soft mouthfeel yet the bitterness is right there throughout the pint. Golden body. Very drinkable and some hops wafting in the air that invites you in.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - clear bronze, tall soapy off white head, some sticky lacing
S - strong herbal and citrus aroma, bready and peppery
T - herbal hops and bready malt up front, quickly moves to spicy lemon zest hop notes and rich nutty malt
M - strong carbonation, thin and a very tart bitter finish
D - strong hop flavour with plenty of malt balance, carbonated for easy drinking

Photo of stagger
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Alibi Room, as part of a three-round face-off between a number of different draft selections there.

In three rounds of four beers each, the ESB clearly came out on top, ahead of perennial favourites such as Red Racer IPA and Driftwood Farmhand. A well-rounded, extraordinarily favourful and balanced bitter, equally suited for savouring and sessioning. As fine as their IPA is, it pales (no pun intended) in comparison to the ESB.

If they can get this into bottles (correction: cans, I suppose) I'd drive across the border regularly to get my fix. Well done, Central City!

Photo of eat
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Almost clean and golden-amber in colour, finger of frothy off-white head.

Red Racer hops in an ESB? Lychee, guava, grapefruit, caramel. Smells more like their IPA than their pale ale does.

The nose has a ton of similarity to the IPA but the flavour here is different enough. The "Central City" hops are still perceptible but they switch it up a little here with some dark earthy bitterness in the foreground, overshadowing the fresh tropical fruit from the IPA. Lots of hops here to be sure but there are enough distinguishing features to know it's an ESB (lighter malt body and more prominent minerals). Fairly well-balanced with an enjoyable amount of caramel malt (including some roasted character), with the bitter finish winning out in the end.

Nice thick medium body with an active moderate carbonation.

This stuff is extremely drinkable. One of my favorite ESBs I've had. If you're looking for a lighter alternative to the IPA, pick this stuff up instead of the pale ale. I would totally buy this stuff if it were available here. ABV is pretty high for an ESB but I'd session it anyway. Really tasty stuff.

Photo of Rutager
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a clear deep amber with 2 fingers of sticky yellow head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell. Fruity, piney hops and a little malty caramel.

Taste. Bitter, dry and toasty malt. Grassy and citrus hop bite. Lasting, dry bitterness and a little alcohol.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium-strong, prickly carbonation.

Overall. Tasty, bitter beer. More hops than I expected.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.67/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt with solid citrus hops notes. Taste is also dominated by caramelized malt with some light residual sugar notes offset by some dominated citrus oriented hops notes. Boyd is light with good carbonation. Not really close to an Irish ale or and ESB considering the amount of hops in this beer but enjoyable nonetheless.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kjyost for this one.

Poured from can in to Unibroue tulip glass. Bottle date of H1110 - Aug 11, 2010.

A - Nice dark amber colour with one finger of thick foamy white head.

S - Bitter hops up front - some juicy citrus and earthy tones come through. A light sweet malt backbone rounds this one out.

T - Bitter hops with earthy notes and some slight citrus flavours. A nice sweet caramel malt taste rounds this one out.

Photo of evlu1441
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This will be my second Red Racer beer review after the delicious IPA. I really enjoy an ESB as a style, so hopefully this doesn't disappoint.

Poured into a pint glass, it's a hazy amber colour with a lot of carbonation fizzling up to the top. The head is substantial and foamy, and it seems to be sticking around at about 2 fingers which is impressive.

The aroma is light. Slightly hoppy with a bit of toasty maltiness rounding it out. Very balanced, but not too intense.

Bitterness is the first aspect of the flavour that comes through as it hits the back of my tongue. I get some sweet notes as the rich toasty malt flavours come through. My mouth is fulled with some lovely hop aroma that gives way to some roasted malt flavours. I'm left with a hint of a citrus flavour.

Overall, I think this is a little to hoppy to call an ESB, but it is still an excellent beer! It is very much up my alley, and I'm sure I'll be grabbing a 6 pack of this again soon.

Photo of Mlkluther
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Piney hops for an ESB. Good but not great.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 355 mk can, part of a 6 pack. Pours out a deep burnished copper/amber, creamy loose-bubbled white head.

Dry toasty grainy malt, with herbal and spicy hops on the nose.

Dry toasty malt up front in the flavour, immediately eclipsed with dry spicy and herbal hops. It hits all the right spots rather tersely, but still well done.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, slick with moderate carbonation.

An assertive and enjoyable ESB, not quite as enjoyable as their Red Racer IPA, but this certainly holds its own within its own style.

Photo of papat444
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a mixed pack that my uncle brought for me when visiting.

Poured from a 355ml. can, canned Nov. 1, 2011 (Lot K0111).

Appearance: A brass colored body with 3 fingers of foam, a bit lopsided and with good lacing.

Smell: Biscuity, malty, hops and ripe fruit.

Taste: Only a few drops on my tongue and i taste immediately orange & grapefruit. Further tasting reveals the plush fruit mixed with some earthiness. Quite flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Gritty just a tad, solid with just the right amount of dryness & bitterness.

Overall: A well balanced ESB that exemplifies the style. One of the best of its class.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep dark clear amber poured with 1 finger of creamy thick head.After a sip or 2 the head calms to a thin cap of delicate bubbles.

S: Pine resin & grapefruit rind similar to the Red Racer IPA, but balanced out with caramelized sugar & malts. the IPA has a

T: Up front with hoppy pine resin but lacking the floral notes in the RR IPA. Some hints of toffee and malts.

M: Active carbonation pricks initially and then calms down. The body feels light and a little thin. With a reasonable show of malts in both the scent and the taste I was hoping for a thicker mouth feel

O: A hop forward E.S.B.typical of the Red Racer taste. If you enjoy the Red Racer IPA this E.S.B is akin to the masculine version of the IPA, with stronger pine and deeper malts, lacking the floral scent and taste.

Photo of spinrsx
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml Can

Appearance - Hazy amber colour with a large size frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some really good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, grass

Taste & Mouth - There is a slightly below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and a decent amount of hops. There is also a little bit of a citrus aspect, perhaps oranges. The beer finishes with a malty and hoppy aftertaste.

Overall - While this is a very tasty beer, I'm not sure it really fits the mold of a typical ESB. It basically tasted like a more malted and watered down version of their IPA. Anyways, I still enjoyed it.

Photo of liamt07
3.26/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can from mmurphy525, into a pint glass.

Pours an opaque deep amber with a huge, billowing offwhite head. Immensely sticky lace and retains a nice chunk of head throughout; fantastic like every other Central City product. Nose has some citrus hops, lemon and grapefruit, grassy, a distinct bready note that I can't put my finger on. Taste is grassy and some general citrus character. Again a weird note that I can only like to menthol at best. Some peach pits and vague grapefruit again. Not horrible, but confusing and off-style it seems. Decent mouthfeel, drinkable with a light medium carbonation. Flavours didn't do it for me in this one, and I suspect it's a product of age. I'd be willing to revisit this one to confirm/deny my suspicions.

Photo of JCDenver
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this one courtesy of Rutager, thanks again!

Got the tulip ready, cracked the top and bam, EXPLOSION. What was left, I am guessing about half, went into a tulip. It wasn't dropped, and any travel shock should have worn off, so I'm guessing it was just a gusher.

Poured a dusky orange with one finger of head, which stuck around for a bit and then dissipated to dense white lacing.

Aroma was of citrus, particularly a lot of grapefruit with a touch of lemon and a bit of bready malt. Really, really nice aroma.

Citrus flavors with a strong, malt backbone to balance the hops and a nice, bitter finish. Alcohol not really present.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and almost effervescent. Another great offering from Central City.

Photo of LampertLand
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Central City Brewing's 'Red Racer ESB' @ 5.6% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $6.50

A-pour is a nice gold from the bottle to a clear amber in the glass with a good size off white head leaving a minimal streaky lace

S-big floral & citrus , hints of pine resin

T-big bold ESB , nice start , decent bitter finish

MF-ok medium carbonation , medium body

Ov-good beer , ok ESB , will be my go to mainland 'ESB' while it's available

prost LampertLand

Photo of TCgoalie
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After having the IPA, this ESB confirms that Central City is a really good brewery.

Pours a peach color with a decent head. The lacing is very good.

Smells of peach, pine, and orange make an inviting statement for this brew.

The solid bitterness consists of pine and orange creating a nice backing to this brew. Some additional tastes of peach and grapefruit round out the taste.

The mouthfeel is full with a lot of carbonation. Some stickiness comes through at the end rounding out a delicious drink.

This is an excellent beer in which a serious beer drinker could have several of. Central City is turning out to be one of the best Canadian breweries in the great north.

Photo of BasementBer
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As mentioned elsewhere for Red Racer, still struggling with the pinup cartoon logo on the can as a man in a man's world and also in man's beer world. But as a ginger I guess warming up? onto beer.

A: Pleasing caramel color with a head of large bubbles. Lacing is consistent. Centralized carbonation that looks consistent.

S: Smells great, but very similar to the pale ale which was not totally pleasing for its metallic properties.

T: Very tasty bittering in both flavor and aroma. Far exceeds the half cooked pale ale, style aside. Bittering is varied yet remains throughout and doesn't die off in a hurry.

M: Carbonation drives the bitter resins throughout the palate as one would hope from an ESB, a feeling to stick with you.

D: I would definitely comeback to this one as an ale to cut the grease out of your tastebuds. Gets right to the heart of things...too bad its in a can.

Photo of woodychandler
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my kind of Christmas Eve! I am watching the Rams/Stillers game on TV and thanks to my CANadian trading partner, BigBry, I have a new CAN of CANadian beer to add to The CANQuest (TM), plus it marks the return of my old buddy, Red Racy! Frequent readers of my salacious reviews CAN tell you that I am unabashed in terms of my redhead fetish and the boys in Surrey, B.C., CANada seem to be catering to me. Ride on, Red Racy and happy holidays to you, doll!

From the CAN: "The use of Crystal malts lends Central City's Extra Special Bitter its flavour and colour profile. Tempered with hops from the United Kingdom, this English bitter is an appetizer on its own, or a great accompaniment for any hearty dishes. 'Cheers!"

I had an exciting Crack & Glug as I was overanxious to see Red Racy and I nearly had an overflow as the head rushed up in the glass. The tawny head was the stuff of which dreams are made - three (!)-plus fingers topped by peaks resembling the top of a meringue pie or whipped cream atop an ice cream sundae with excellent retention. Red Racy never disappoints! Color was a deep-orangish copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a welcome piney bitterness, very appropriate for a home sans tree. The lacing that began to appear was going to require a jackhammer to remove. Mouthfeel was medium and the coolness of the hops was intense at first, but nicely balanced out by the presence of a malty sweetness. The finish was quite dry, breathtaking, literally, thanks to the intensity of the hops. Oh, Red Racy, I love you! Thank you for riding by on Christmas Eve 2011 and I look forward to more run-ins next year.

Photo of nighthawk
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355mL can with possible date code stamped on bottom of can.

Pours a nicely clear orange-y amber with a ton of visible carbonation feeding a firm, just-barely-off-white head. Good retention and nice lacing left down the glass.

Aroma has nice tropical and citrus fruits, much like their IPA, but turned down a notch or two, and tempered by some caramel and biscuity malts.

Going from the aroma, I was worried this might be just a milder, slightly bready version of their tasty ipa. There's some nice complexity here instead; yes those beautifully fruity hops are there in spades, but throughout there can be tasted a nice caramel and biscuit malt backbone, complementing the citrus hops with some fruity esters. Great balance of the sweet, but never cloying crystal malt and the bitter hops.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, with a nice little kick of carbonation to give a bit of verve to the finish.

Great balance makes for a wonderfully drinkable brew, I'd really enjoy having several of these in an evening.

Photo of Long813
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From: Premier Wine & Spirits
Dated: NA

A: Hazy orange body with two fingers of off white head. Retention is fine and leaves nice lacing.

S: Nice mix of citrus malts and bread. Nothing off the typical ESB

T: Fair in malt content, has a notable spice to it and a load of hops. Very pleasing.

M: Light bodied with high carbonation making for a frothy mouthfeel. Very bitter and dry finish.

D: A tasty ESB, not as malt forward as English styles.

Photo of LazyL
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brilliant dark orange with red highlights. Slightly off white small creamy head.
The nose is so so to me. I dont get alot here.
On the taste though there is a mild bitterness on the finish to balance the sweet malty notes at the front. Seems a bit heavy to me. So not my favourite, but a solid offering.

Photo of jrenihan
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is a cloudy caramel/toffee colour, with tonnes of off-white head. Good lacing.

Caramel and biscuit malt is upfront in the nose, nice complemented with grassy, floral hops. Some pine, a touch of citrus.

Taste follows the nose. Biscuity, caramel malt, with pine, citrus (orange) and grassy flavours. Nice.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. A bit chewy.

Overall, another good one from Central City. Seems to be a pretty reliable set of beers.

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Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Central City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.