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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
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 43 | Show All Ratings:
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 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 chickenm
chickenm

British Columbia (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2010 06:18:23 | More by chickenm
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 stagger
stagger

Alberta (Canada)

4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

10-06-2009 01:43:09 | More by stagger
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 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
Photo of djoprahwinfrey
djoprahwinfrey

Manitoba (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A : a dark amber pour with 1/2 finger of white head which dissipated rather quickly leaving a thin lace

S : lots of hops, fresh pine, some mango, quite floral

T : very nice, potent pine and hops, caramel malts, some orange/grapefruit citrus, a slight bitter finish

M : big body, higher carbonation, creamy and crisp

O : very tasty beer! this has a similar character to the red racer IPA but this seems more relaxed flavor/aroma wise, perhaps better balanced or 'better refined'. i would have a really hard time choosing one over the other as both are excellent!

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 10:46:21 | More by djoprahwinfrey
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 papat444
papat444

Quebec (Canada)

4.4/5  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.

Serving type: can

01-08-2012 01:56:16 | More by papat444
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  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.

Serving type: can

12-24-2011 20:07:23 | More by woodychandler
Photo of eat
eat

Quebec (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: can

12-14-2011 06:23:51 | More by eat
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 tbeckett
tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

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

Can thanks to biboergosum. Cheers man.

A - Pours a medium brown colour with a giant four finger head of an off white hue thanks to my crazy pour. Head looks like it has some loose bubbles but staying power. Good carbonation and definately hazy. Sptty lacing with bubble bath-like notes along the sides of the glass and a head retention at half a finger you'd expect from an ice cream float.

S - Really piney with a little crackery malt. Prickly pineapple. Definately a hopped up ESB to come.

T - Great sweet caramel and bread with pinesol hop, aka tons of pine and some citrus with a bit of soapy character. There is some strong earthiness too. But the hops are fruity and piney. Drinks more like an IPA. Less balance than a typical ESB, but you notice the malt body representing quite a bit.

M - Carbonation could be a little strong for the style but it works, body is right at medium with a definite bitterness and astringency.

O/D - Probably not to style, yet the west coast interpretation work well for me. The malt and hop profiles are changed up a bit, but it still works its way into the ESB mold - really fruity from both malt and hop and just being a joy to drink. Another good one from Central City.

Serving type: can

08-30-2011 00:21:11 | More by tbeckett
Photo of Seanstoppable
Seanstoppable

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring into a glass results in a hazy darker amber. Somewhere between a regular amber and caramel. Plenty of fluffy white head that leaves lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell is hoppier than a regular ESB, but oh so good. Hops are a bit piney in nature.

Taste is awesome. Plenty of piney flavor from the hops, with some nice smooth malty background. A decent core bitterness throughout the entire drink. Technically off balance for an ESB, with the hops being more dominant than the malts, but many is it tasty!

I won't lie, while this was available locally, I bought a six pack whenever I stopped by where it was being sold. My favorite Red Racer beer overall.

Serving type: can

07-30-2011 18:54:35 | More by Seanstoppable
Photo of evlu1441
evlu1441

Alberta (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Serving type: can

06-19-2011 20:30:31 | More by evlu1441
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 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
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Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Central City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.