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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

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 IllNate
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Rich copper colour. Finger of off white heat, decent retention. Subsides to web/lacing.

S - Great aroma on this. Rich English pale malt aroma mixed with a fairly prominent hop component. Citrus and herbal hops.

T - Taste follows with an excellent rich maltiness with good balancing hops (mostly citrus). Might be just a tad on the bitter side for an ESB (otherwise a solid 5).

M - Creamy and smooth with a good amount of bitterness.

D - Wonderfully balanced, really a great beer all around.

IllNate, Feb 19, 2011
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 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 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 marty21
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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.

marty21, Jan 02, 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 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 nighthawk
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

nighthawk, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of Long813
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Long813, Dec 12, 2010
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 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
Photo of oakbluff
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

oakbluff, Sep 11, 2010
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 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 604growler
3.64/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

604growler, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of stagger
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
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!

stagger, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of Hornet2003
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Hornet2003, Mar 02, 2009
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
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Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from Central City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.