1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter)Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter)

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

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 8.62%


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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 43 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of joefinnigan15
joefinnigan15

Manitoba (Canada)

2.85/5  rDev -29.8%
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.

Serving type: can

07-09-2012 00:16:36 | More by joefinnigan15
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Serving type: can

06-05-2011 21:47:57 | More by liamt07
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
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!

Serving type: can

09-20-2012 07:15:06 | More by Jeffo
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

Serving type: can

10-19-2010 00:20:01 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Serving type: can

06-13-2011 14:10:58 | More by spinrsx
Photo of 604growler
604growler

British Columbia (Canada)

3.64/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2009 06:31:21 | More by 604growler
Photo of Hornet2003
Hornet2003

British Columbia (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2009 01:19:31 | More by Hornet2003
Photo of FondueVoodoo
FondueVoodoo

British Columbia (Canada)

3.7/5  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.

Serving type: can

09-30-2012 03:10:38 | More by FondueVoodoo
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: can

05-15-2011 04:15:37 | More by Sammy
Photo of LazyL
LazyL

British Columbia (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2011 03:11:41 | More by LazyL
Photo of kjyost
kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
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...

Serving type: can

10-12-2010 23:46:53 | More by kjyost
Photo of BasementBer
BasementBer

Manitoba (Canada)

3.85/5  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.

Serving type: can

03-19-2011 05:20:36 | More by BasementBer
Photo of CalgaryFMC
CalgaryFMC

Alberta (Canada)

3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 21:22:55 | More by CalgaryFMC
Photo of IronDjinn
IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

3.93/5  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.

Serving type: can

12-26-2010 21:21:59 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As with lager, ESB is a style I tend to get excited about when I see a brewpub pouring one. On-tap at the source itself, on to the beer:

Only a little darker than orange, with stringy lacing and solid head retention on top. There's toffee and hops in the aroma....it wouldn't surprise me if the hop bill is the same as it is in the IPA. There's pine as well. It tastes like the IPA, but a little less hoppy and clean, and with a littel more showcasing of caramel and biscuit malt. A little crisp in the mouth, medium bodied, easy going down.

Ok, it may not really be an ESB, but I liked it quite a bit. A hoppy red or IPA is what I would call it.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2010 02:48:35 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of oakbluff
oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can sample - pours a deep hued orange with an impressive frothy off white head. Nose-big punch of herbal and citrus hops. Taste- very hoppy, tropical fruits and a sweet caramel and cereal base. Not an ESB in the true sense of the style, but quite tasty anyways, although hops are somewhat out of balance.Drinkability is good as long as you really enjoy your hops. Body fairly light.

Serving type: can

09-11-2010 21:18:21 | More by oakbluff
Photo of DaftCaskBC
DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber with a 1/8" cream coloured head that dissipated extremely quickly.

S: Nutty and pineapple.

T: Hops, bitter apple, pine nuts.

M: Medium carbonation, average mouth feel.

O: Excellent go-to-beer. Better than average taste. This is the type of beer that makes for a good six-pack as I could easily see myself having more than one of these at a time.

Serving type: can

06-10-2011 22:51:47 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of marty21
marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper/orange with a big frothy off white head. Settles to a nice cap with a large, thick island of creamy foam in the middle. Leaves lots of thick lacing.

S: Very nice aroma of citrus and hops combined with a caramel/biscuit malt aroma.

T: Caramel/biscuit malt and a hoppy taste. Good balance.

M: Medium carbonation with a light to medium body. Goes down very smooth with a very bitter finish.

D: Another really tasty beer from Red Racer. This would make for a really good session beer if you enjoy bitter beers.

Serving type: can

01-02-2011 06:54:11 | More by marty21
Photo of McBastard
McBastard

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark amber with a finger of head. The head mostly disappears after a few minutes, leaving good lacing throughout.

The aroma is citrus and piney hops.

The initial flavors are grapefruit and piney hops, balanced out by a slightly malty, dry finish. Pretty hoppy for an ESB though. Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Finishes with pleasant tartness and astringency. Another tasty, well crafted ale by Central City.

Serving type: can

11-11-2011 02:24:53 | More by McBastard
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Serving type: can

07-11-2012 19:46:49 | More by jrenihan
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 9oz Pilsener glass. Poured a clean, clear, medium amber color with about 1/2 inch of khaki colored head that had very good retention and light lacing.

The aroma was very good, earthy grains and nicely even malts. Some gentle hop aroma around the edges added a bit of a tang. The flavors were pretty much the same, just a lot more fully developed. The grains and malt were nicely earthy while remaining clean. The hops provided just enough zest to keep the beer interesting throughout the glass.

The medium body was crisp, clean and smooth, with a pleasantly dry finish. Drinkability was very good, bordering on excellent, I could have immediately drank a few more of these. Overall, an exceptionally well built example of the style, a style which in the hands of many North American brewers just becomes "IPA Light". A must try if you see it, and worth some effort to obtain.

Serving type: can

01-23-2013 23:16:13 | More by beertunes
Photo of JCDenver
JCDenver

Texas

4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: can

04-18-2011 00:08:28 | More by JCDenver
Photo of LampertLand
LampertLand

British Columbia (Canada)

4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 00:24:15 | More by LampertLand
Photo of Fader
Fader

Alberta (Canada)

4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark amber, very appetizing look, slight head, decent lacing.

S - Very hoppy aroma, caramel on the nose as well.

T - Not what I was expecting, the hops are there, but are dominated the entire way by caramel and coffee flavors.

M - Very smooth, envelopes the taste regions, and leaves an appetite for more.

O - Red Racer has a taste, and they don't disappoint, it's crazy how a beer can be so similar, but be so different from the next in the lineup.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 07:40:39 | More by Fader
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at The Railway Club which is the only place other than Central City to get this beer. Gerry Lohin is the old Sailor Hagar's Brewmaster and his Empire IPA was the hit of the Hop Festival last March at Dix.

This is a first class ESB that echoes Elysian's version in its hop punch and balance. This beer was bigger and bolder than the R&B Hopgoblin that I sampled afterwards. Along with Steamworks and Phillips, Garry's beers are among the most progressive in BC.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2005 23:22:06 | More by canucklehead
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Central City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.