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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

93 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 93
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 28
Gots: 11 | 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: 93 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Sammy, May 15, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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).

biboergosum, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

woodychandler, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

DoubleJ, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of liamt07
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

liamt07, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of beertunes
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

beertunes, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of wordemupg
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355ml can poured into pint glass jan3 2010

A clear reddish copper with some slowly raising bubbles feeding a thumbs width of beige head that slowly falls to a thin film leaving a few patches of lace

S some citric hops with some caramel, bread and faint pine

T again lots of hops but plenty of malt to go with it, slightly metallic with some toffee, good balance with this brew quite enjoyable

M full for the color and enough carbonation to give it some life

D very easy to drink and a well rounded beer, no complaints in any area

not what I was expecting after reading they use UK hops on the can tastes like high alpha acid hops too me (maybe I need to research this topic) this just seems like a toned down version of their IPA and that works just fine for this hop head

wordemupg, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

TheSevenDuffs, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of spinrsx
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

spinrsx, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of tbeckett
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

tbeckett, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of canucklehead
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

canucklehead, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of andrenaline
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a crystal clear dark copper colour, finger of off-white head with decent retention, nice sticky lacing and noticeable body carbonation.

S - Pine and cedar hops dominate, sweet citrus and a little bit of a toffee malt sneaks through.

T - The earthy hops come through, with noticeable bitterness, and some toasted biscuits malts sneaking through on the finish. The hops are less sweet than implied by the nose. Sour citrus bitterness lingers on the palette, but is not offensive and rather tasty.

M - Nice medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and isn't overly dry.

D - This is a new go-to beer on my list. Nice solid hop presence, and a tasty bitterness that lingers and keeps you wanting more. Highly recommended offering by Central City and a solid example of the style.

andrenaline, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of Rutager
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Rutager, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of IronDjinn
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

IronDjinn, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of Jeffo
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
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!

Jeffo, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of jrenihan
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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.

jrenihan, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of schopenhauerale
4/5  rDev -1.7%

schopenhauerale, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of bumchilly25
4/5  rDev -1.7%

bumchilly25, May 09, 2012
Photo of schnarr84
4/5  rDev -1.7%

schnarr84, May 24, 2014
Photo of joemcgrath27
4.28/5  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

joemcgrath27, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of papat444
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

papat444, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of chickenm
4.33/5  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.

chickenm, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Gotti311
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Gotti311, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of kjyost
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
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...

kjyost, Oct 13, 2010
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Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Central City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.