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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

1,709 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,709
Reviews: 818
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.37%
Wants: 18
Gots: 86 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed in the style of a traditional British ESB (Extra Special Bitter), we’ve been making ESB continuously since 1987, and it’s now the benchmark for the Amber beer category. Despite having “bitter” in its name, Redhook ESB is really not that bitter at all. This brew is all about the balance of caramel malt sweetness completed by spicy, citrusy hops.

28 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-30-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,709 | Reviews: 818 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jifigz:
Photo of jifigz
jifigz

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev +2.1%

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

The appearance of this beer is a nice copper orange color with no real head or lacing. This looks pretty average in the ESB category and there is nothing really making it stand out. The smell is sweet, fruity and malty. There is a candy sweetness in the aroma. The taste is good and malty and sweet. There is just a touch of bitterness in their to balance out the malty backbone of this beer and everything seems to be pretty well in check. The flavors range from caramels to burnt sugar, and from fruity hops to a metallic twang that seems just a tad off. Not bad though. The mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is nice and rather low for the style and it feels creamy in the mouth.

Not a bad ESB for a company that can be bought just about anywhere. I am not big on Red Hook but this isn't too bad.

04-10-2012 16:21:26 | More by jifigz
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.23/5  rDev -5.3%

Pours a deep golden/amber color with a light somewhat fizzy head,aroma is lightly sweet but not much there.Taste is malty and a little nutty with some caramel tones,the best part of this beer is the taste.I have had this beer many times hoping it would be better but it never is.At one time I guess this was top-notch.

08-06-2003 13:25:42 | More by oberon
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

3.45/5  rDev +1.2%

Appearance – Thin and orange in the body but with a monster head that foamed up easily, lingered for a while, pitted like volcanic lava, and covered the inside of my glass as it went down.

Smell – Grassy hops fill the nose of this ESB. I can pick up some faint sweetness, like cheap sucrose or something, but otherwise things are pretty bland.

Taste – The hidden (at least, hidden to me) malt comes out substantially in the taste along with some decent, light fruiting. The citrus hops supply some bitterness, but nothing to write home about.

Mouthfeel – Very refreshing and thirst quenching. The ale is definitely medium-bodied and somewhat smooth.

Drinkability – This is the beer’s strong point, IMHO. I don’t know if I’d call it a “strong” bitter, but the presence of bitter hops along with a decent malt backbone and a non-offensive fruity sweetness makes this well balanced and an easy drinker.

10-30-2003 02:51:51 | More by RoyalT
Photo of ExtraStout
ExtraStout

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -12%

Aroma: Smells like fresh bread, with some mild hops mixed in.
Appearance: Golden amber, make that orange, with some chill haze. Active head died down to a moderate white thin cover.
Flavor: Balance is on the hops (it IS an ESB) but some of the sweet malt peeks through. Guessing they went heavy on bittering hops, light on aroma hops. Overall taste is clean, but I noted a slight metallic twang deep in the first aftertaste, but was hard to find a second time. Hops don’t overpower the taste, but linger in the aftertaste deeply.
Mouthfeel: Light, with a carbonation prickle.
Overall Impression: A moderately good beer. No major flaws, but just not very lively. Drinkability isn’t bad, doesn’t slow you down, doesn’t invite you back for another.

01-30-2012 02:41:42 | More by ExtraStout
Photo of tbryan5
tbryan5

Louisiana

3/5  rDev -12%

01-20-2013 23:49:22 | More by tbryan5
Photo of SIRIUS2
SIRIUS2

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev +8.5%

At first pour, I wasn't sure what to think as the aroma, though complex, wasn't very aggressive at all. The first taste wasn't incredibly aggressive either. I took a long pull and mulled it and found what makes this ale special. For a "bitter" this is an exceptionally smooth and balanced ale. It's smooth drinking and I appreciated the depth of flavors more and more with each swig.

01-29-2008 01:56:07 | More by SIRIUS2
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

3.33/5  rDev -2.3%

An average interpretation of the style. The beer poured a dark brown color with a medium sized head that stayed around awhile as a thin layer of foam on top. The smell has hints of hoppiness but is mostly made up of sweet malt scents. The flavor is very smoothe and non-intrusive. The malt flavors overpower the hops quite a bit but there is still a touch of hops in there. I give this one high marks for drinkability since is tastes like a good session beer but not one I will be buying on a regular basis.

05-14-2004 10:27:51 | More by Dmann
Photo of markallmon
markallmon

Tennessee

4/5  rDev +17.3%

11-04-2012 22:39:29 | More by markallmon
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

2.48/5  rDev -27.3%

This beer was a pretty copper color, with a very small head. It had a subtle sweet odor to it, but really didn't have much of a smell. There was a vague sweet taste, with a little hoppiness. The hops tended to linger, so the beer tasted bitter to me. It was mildly carbonated. Altogether, an uninspiring ESB.

01-29-2006 15:08:08 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of Kappakoosh
Kappakoosh

Texas

4/5  rDev +17.3%

12-26-2013 01:33:01 | More by Kappakoosh
Photo of equinox1
equinox1

Wisconsin

3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

10-04-2013 02:45:45 | More by equinox1
Photo of Lazaro
Lazaro

Florida

3.75/5  rDev +10%

01-27-2013 03:16:04 | More by Lazaro
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

2.83/5  rDev -17%

Presentation: Stumpy 12oz brown bottle with a stamped freshness date.

Appearance: Bright, clear golden/amber in colour with a creamy white head that reduces to a thin cream lace.

Smell: Fruity aroma with loads of hop aromatics (raw and citrusy). Light buttery-caramel (diacetyl) also lingers in the nose.

Taste: Ultra creamy and smooth on the palate. Malt sweetness peaks first with a nice fruity flavours and medium- to full-bodied texture. An assertive hop bitterness, with grapefruit, rind and salt flavours overwhelms the palate with a sharp bite, then settles with raw and earth flavours. Hop oils also coat the palate along with diacetyl/buttery-caramel, especially as the beer warms. Finishes dry, with lots of grain tannins.

Notes: The diacetyl in this beer is more than what you might expect, and can sometimes become too powerful for the style. The aftertaste is also a bit harsh on the palate.

08-26-2001 00:00:01 | More by Todd
Photo of muffguy4beer
muffguy4beer

Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -2.3%

Appearance: Clear dark amber in color with decent white head.

Smell: Malt right off the go then come a little hops. Nothing too potent but pleasant none the less.

Taste: A fairly balanced ESB. Starts off a little sweet then a nice mild bitterness fills the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, creamy and smooth.

Drinkability: Not the best ESB I have sampled but a nice attempt. I would definitely order this one in a bar/restaurant and occasionally pick up a sixer from the package store. A good entry beer into the style but it is a fairly easy style to enjoy with a short learning curve so don't dwell on this offering too long. If you are going to dwell on an ESB I suggest fuller's.

03-29-2007 13:36:39 | More by muffguy4beer
Photo of kbt5273
kbt5273

New York

3/5  rDev -12%

02-16-2012 13:57:42 | More by kbt5273
Photo of Doomcifer
Doomcifer

Rhode Island

3/5  rDev -12%

08-16-2014 16:49:50 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of Guden
Guden

Maryland

2.35/5  rDev -31.1%

A- A peach colored copper with consistent carbonation bubbles and a one finger white head. Minimal lacing and a slight haziness are the only off points.

S- Lots going on with fruit (papaya and berries), hops (citrus) and sweet caramel taking the front with pine and bread also coming in.

T- Blech! Now I remember why I didn't like this beer. Up front is an off putting odd dough mixed with butter like quality mixed with pine and a strong sweetness which doesn't balance, this is met in the middle with stale malty bread and the finish rounds out with aspirin bitterness and a lingering bad dough taste on the tongue.

M- Moderately light in body and carbonation this one goes past the tongue fairly easy but not enough to escape the taste from hitting it. Seems right for the style but doesn't help the taste profile.

D- Not very drinkable, will not have again. There seems to be quite a bit going on here for an ESB but it just does not blend well and leads to a disjointed mess of a drink. There also seems to be some diacetyl that really ruins the flavor throughout.

01-27-2012 04:30:25 | More by Guden
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev +3.5%

This one ends up in my fridge once in a while, then I remember that it is good to have a “decent” brew around to keep things in perspective. The great clarity comes from the ultra filtering they do to increase the shelf-life, unfortunately it takes a bit of flavor out of the brew. Simple balance of malt and hops with an aleish like quality, clean a refresing. Not a bad brew at all, just not something that I go crazy for.

05-20-2004 00:13:02 | More by Jason
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

3.63/5  rDev +6.5%

I had never seen this in my area until yesterday, at a local Virginia, grocery. "Bottled on" date was only a month ago, and it was obviously a new arrival, not even chilled down in the store's cooler. Poured into a Redhook pint glass, it's a clear, shiny copper amber with a two finger offwhite head that retains well, and leaves islands of lace. Aroma is subdued, with caramel malt and a hint of fruity hops. Mouthfeel has medium to high carbonation, is a bit creamy and coating, and has a bitter hops bite. Taste is biscuity malt and bitter English style hops. Not very complex, and missing the nuttiness of a good ESB. This is closer to an amber ale in character, but not at all bad, and very drinkable. I had this on tap about 3 weeks ago, at Pazzo's in Lexington, Ky., and my notes from the draft tasting are virtually identical to this fresh bottle.

02-29-2004 10:53:22 | More by merlin48
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

3.38/5  rDev -0.9%

Nothing special here, a decent middle of the road brew. Not as hoppy as the style would suggest. Faint hop nose, English malt and semi hoppy in the middle, and a dud of a finish. This one really didnt do much for me. This brewery is a mystery to me, I think there beers have gone to the middle of the beer road lately..

02-01-2004 13:21:26 | More by Billolick
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

3.35/5  rDev -1.8%

Appearance: dark gold in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, toffee, woodsy

Taste: meadow, grain, toffee, light lemon and citrus hops

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, nice combo of bitter and sweet

Overall: Nice, complex, and malty with enough hops to add some balance. A solid, if not spectacular beer that is better than most of the rest of what I have had from Redhook. I could do a couple on a hot day but am in no rush to get it again.

06-03-2013 14:21:43 | More by tigg924
Photo of dcevans
dcevans

Texas

4/5  rDev +17.3%

11-27-2011 07:26:44 | More by dcevans
Photo of Meyers1023
Meyers1023

Texas

2/5  rDev -41.3%

08-09-2014 02:39:16 | More by Meyers1023
Photo of jakester
jakester

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +13.8%

This is from a sampler case I bought at The Beer Mart in Reading, Pa. I drank it in a pilsner glass. Expiry date clearly marked on the case, and bottled on date clearly marked on the label. YAY!

Pours a clear light amber with a one finger head of off-white foam. The head drops to islands and a ring, with splotches of lacing.

Aroma is faint crystal malt, lightly bready, and very faint floral hops. The aroma improves as it warms.

The first flavor is sweet bready malt, on the faint side, gentle hop bitterness, and a decent floral hop flavor. The aftertaste is sweet and lightly hoppy.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with soft carbonation. Finish is long and sweet.

This is a damn poundable beer. Malty, lightly hopped, and very clean. Yes, it's 25% owned by AB, I don't care. Objectively, it's a good beer, and I'll gladly have another.

10-29-2005 14:41:50 | More by jakester
Photo of Cavanaghty
Cavanaghty

Maine

3.68/5  rDev +7.9%

Served on tap while on the brewery tour at the Portsmouth location.

Appearance: Amber light copper color with good amount of white head.

Smell: Hops, maybe some sugars.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Light to medium bodied and smooth. Mild bittersweet gives way to a slight kick of just bitter at the end.

Overall: Drinkable brew, good for a year round beer that goes well with many foods. I always enjoy this one, but have had better.

08-24-2012 20:17:14 | More by Cavanaghty
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Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,709 ratings.