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

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

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

104 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.66%
Wants: 27
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 Seanstoppable
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of evlu1441
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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 DaftCaskBC
4/5  rDev -1%
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.

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 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 TCgoalie
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After having the IPA, this ESB confirms that Central City is a really good brewery.

Pours a peach color with a decent head. The lacing is very good.

Smells of peach, pine, and orange make an inviting statement for this brew.

The solid bitterness consists of pine and orange creating a nice backing to this brew. Some additional tastes of peach and grapefruit round out the taste.

The mouthfeel is full with a lot of carbonation. Some stickiness comes through at the end rounding out a delicious drink.

This is an excellent beer in which a serious beer drinker could have several of. Central City is turning out to be one of the best Canadian breweries in the great north.

Photo of JCDenver
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of Rutager
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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 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 IllNate
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
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

Photo of andrenaline
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of wordemupg
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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

Photo of marty21
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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).

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.

Photo of nighthawk
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of Long813
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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 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 oakbluff
4/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of chickenm
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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