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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

104 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.66%
Wants: 28
Gots: 14 | 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:
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 added by: canucklehead on 10-13-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 46 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joefinnigan15
2.85/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: can, poured into glass. One and a half finger head. Red/orange colour, very nice. 

Smell: hops. (I assume that's what the smell is, reminds me of I'll scrapper or flying monkeys netherworld. 

Taste/Feel: a lot like lil scrapper, very bitter. Not a fan of the bitter beers, so this might be slightly biased. Creamy, more drinkable than most bitters i've had, but can't taste much flavour past the bitterness. 

Overall: Decent, not that drinkable for me. If you're not a fan of bitter, not for you. If you are, try it.

Photo of Gobstyle
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of liamt07
3.23/5  rDev -20%
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 cbnz
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of Jeffo
3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one from kjyost in a recent trade. Cheers!

From a 355ml can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with good retention. Head is a touch loose perhaps, but fades slowly to a nice, full wisp. Clear burnt orange in color with a few floaties and no carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Quite hoppy for the style. Citrus and orange notes, lemon, and some toffee malt aromas. A touch of butterscotch as well, but this is quite hop forward for the style. The ESB is there, but it's more of a hoppy ale than anything. Still nice, however.

TASTE: Taste follows the nose, but the malty sweetness makes a better showing here. A touch of toffee up front, but unfortunately a little empty in flavor before the swallow. The flavor picks up afterwards with more toffee, butterscotch, dark bread and soem light floral notes at teh finish. Bold and persistent aftertaste os sweet butterscotch, bread, and some floral hop bitterness.

PALATE: Lighter body and higher levels of carbonation. Light on the palate, too light really, a bit airy going down, and finishes a touch dry on the palate. Too light and carbonated for the style.

OVERALL: This was nice, but a little too hoppy for the style perhaps, especially in the nose. It's like this one wants to be an IPA but unwantingly got "ESB" stamped on it. The palate needs to be stepped up as well. Still, and enjoyable beer, but in the name of honesty, I think I'll stick with their IPA from now on. Especially if I can get their imperial IPA again. Cheers!

Photo of souvenirs
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of Caudalie
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of EnemyWithin
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

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 spinrsx
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
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 604growler
3.64/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-Tap at the Whip Nov 16, 2009

Drinkable, very nice purely hoppy alternative to the Central City IPA. The ABV is 5.6 not 6.5 as stated above, so it's nicely sessionable, available in BC and tasty, and will do in a pinch when the Central City IPA is not available or too strong.

Photo of Hornet2003
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap at the Alibi Room...March 1, 2009

Part of a 4 glass taster.

Appearance: Poured a smooth copper coloured orange. No head retained but some on the pour.

Smell: I can smell some hops and quite a bit of caramel. The hops are grassy and the caramel is, well, burnt-sugar, like caramel should be.

Taste: Quite a bitter beer, obviously. This tastes almost like Central City's Red Racer Pale Ale. Lots of hops and some great sweetness at the end. The caramel taste is almost of candied yams on Thanksgiving.

Mouthfeel: Such a smooth beer. It's velvety and pleasantly prickly on the tongue. The bitterness is definitely apparent at the back of the tongue.

Drinkability: Smooth and full bodied, this would make a great beer enjoy on a hot day by the beach.

Overall: Personally, I would rather have the aggressiveness of the Empire IPA, but for what it is, the ESB is very enjoyable and delivers what it should.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
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 Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
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 1stOffender
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Mlkluther
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Piney hops for an ESB. Good but not great.

Photo of VonDooom
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of LazyL
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
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 spycow
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Groulxsome
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of MylesMac
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance:
Two finger head that quickly fades. Really nice lacing

Smell:
Earthy, floral, orange peel

Taste:
Piney hops, orange peel, some faint bready flavors

Mouthfeel:
Dry, medium light body, medium high carbonation

Overall:
Lots to offer in the smell department but couldn't get a lot of flavors other than the piney hops. Appearance was really nice and mouthfeel was decent. Would definitely drink this one again!

Photo of kjyost
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can marked H1110 (Aug 11/ 2010, perchance?)

Pours a crystal clear amber orange with a nice frothy white head, clearly this thing is loaded with crystal malt. Leaves nice lacing. The aroma initially hit me as fruity with an underlying breadyness. Morphs quickly to a bit of caramel with an earthy hop spice. The beer is well balanced between the sweetness and the IBUs. Can't find the info on their website, but the bitterness never really hits you although the hop spice is definitely there along with the earthiness. The beer is too prickly in the mouth for my taste, but a good drink...

Photo of BasementBer
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
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 CalgaryFMC
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a pint glass, Red Racer ESB is quite dark ... Looks like dark orange to brownish honey with a moderate amount of off-white head. Aroma is very assertive from a hops standpoint, mixed citrus (orange, tangerine, lime) and a caramel nutty sweetness to provide some degree of balance. This is certainly a hops-forward take on the ESB style, although there is a nutty, toasted malt character as well that does not need too much effort to ascertain. Mixed nuts (walnut, hazelnut), oil seed, and brown bread underlie a decent bouquet of floral and citrus-flavored/orange breakfast drink evoking West Coast hops ... Citrus rind and some mellow pine take the lead but the malts do add a toffee character that keeps things anchored within stylistic guidelines. Body and mouth feel both comfortably in the middle. Hopped like an American pale ale but with the malts of an English ale, including some classic earthy English hop character as well. Well-crafted but clearly North American influenced. Worth tracking down.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Central City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.