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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

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

1,568 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1568
Reviews: 815
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.37%


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)
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Ratings: 1,568 | Reviews: 815 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Mojo
Mojo

Alabama

3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass

A - crystal clear deep amber with a lingering one finger head and good retention.

S - very grassy nose with a grain quality

T - sweet caramel malts dominate up front following by a mild bitter finish

M - average thickness with decent carbonation.

O - This is a good beer and it is very easy to drink. My problem is that it is sort of wimpy. Dial up the malt profile about 50% and the hop profile 100% and it would be a winner. As it is it's just another average easy to drink beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 05:05:50 | More by Mojo
Photo of Shindelins
Shindelins

Colorado

4.53/5  rDev +32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is special. The Red Hook medicine bottle look is so fitting for the thick sweetness of this beer. I agree with how many have already noted it is a beer you want on a hot summer day and how session able it is. It's a more modest ESB, but it still defines the genre in its principle tastes, yet I've never had a beer quite like it. It's my favorite beer because there is not a beer that I enjoy have one after the another more than this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 03:06:24 | More by Shindelins
Photo of scotorum
scotorum

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a; Clear amber with an inch and a half tall white head which receded to even surface foam and patchy lacing.

s: Alcohol and sweet malt.

t; Oddly the alcohol hits the palate first, followed by the medium caramel malt. Some bitterness for balance.

m; Light to medium. Quite smooth.

o: A pretty good ESB, not as tasty as some but ok at least as a meal accompaniment. First impression was that this tasted more like beer than most beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 02:11:05 | More by scotorum
Photo of Act25
Act25

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Red hook not my cup of tea, despite being rather tea like. I do like Winterhook.
A: Brass, dark copper color with almost no head, and rising pin point bubbles, a tiny lace. Date = 10-13 in 3-14
S; Nose is barely present. Pale malty, caramel, a little fruit, but like a flavored soda water.
T: Best facet of this beer and it gets better as it warms. ESB is a session beer, and so too is this.
MF: "quinine-like" one review wrote - and I agree - it's a tea/ soda like experience, too thin for this reviewer.

Mid-pack at best.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 21:16:35 | More by Act25
Photo of Premo88
Premo88

Texas

2.3/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into nonic

L: gold-amber ... 1/2-inch head off a hard pour, white foam, little stick or lace; brew is clear with just a bit of haziness to it, still easy to see through

S: corn, medicine, sour grain

T: corn, grain, sour grain; toasted barley, some bitterness that often feels more like medicine than hops

F: solid, very drinkable

O: major dissapointment ... there's nothing English nor ESB about this brew; it tastes like a corn tortilla chip dipped in Nyquil ... as macro-brew tasting as any "craft" beer I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 07:48:40 | More by Premo88
Photo of microbrewlover
microbrewlover

Pennsylvania

3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This brew pours a golden color, almost completely clear with a small white fluffy head and strong carbonation; moderate lacing.

The smell is musty, sweetbreads, sweet malts, and a little piney. Light fruits and maybe nuts.

If the taste followed the nose it would be great but sadly it does not. The taste is musty and a little sweet with mild hop bitterness on the back end. There is a slightly oily, piney and musty aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is chewy but oily on the back end as some hop oils are left on the tongue after swallowing.

Overall, this is not a bad beer, just not a great one. If the taste followed the nose more it would be better. It is kind of plain, but sessionable. I could drink several of these on a hot summer day. I don't hate it but I don't love it.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 21:07:13 | More by microbrewlover
Photo of samtrillo
samtrillo

California

3.86/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours like an IPA. Give it some head and it'll be just like you're at a bar.

S - Smells like a liquid forest.

T - Malty sweetness with some hops. At first you think the hops will be the predominant taste, but the brown sweetness takes over sip after sip. Good for what it is, though.

M - Goes down smoothly. A bit much on the caramel for me.

O - A quality ESB. If you are enticed by IPAs but don't want as much bitterness, start here! Won't be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2014 08:01:11 | More by samtrillo
Photo of BeerWithMike
BeerWithMike

Nebraska

3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampling right now on 1/6/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in mu beer cooler and poured into a pilsner glass.

Pours a nice amber in color with a very thin white head. Some lacing is seen with each sip. Lots of bubbles streaming up from the bottle of the glass. The aroma is of grains with a light fruity aroma as well. The taste is actually mild and not bitter as I was totally expecting for this one. Very surprised for sure. No bitter or harsh finish as I thought when first opened. Goes down pretty easy. Tastes like a good ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 22:58:09 | More by BeerWithMike
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

2.9/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, light amber with a fine beige cap. Decent head retention. Aromas of grain, fruity and earthy hops, biscuit malt, mild overall. Medium to low bitterness, balanced to the sweet side, a bit of fruity, spicy hop character, mineral finish with a hint of lemon. Slightly coarse. Light bodied, average carbonation. Pretty average overall.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 00:13:35 | More by DrJay
Photo of a0lbudman
a0lbudman

Alabama

3.86/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-hazy amber color with an off white head that leaves a great lace on the glass
S-hops is high, but as the head fades the malt aroma takes over with hints of caramel
T-caramel malt sweetness that gives you a good hop bitterness in the aftertaste, but the malt takes back over in the finish
M-medium body and low carbonation
O-this is a very drinkable beer. Good beer

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 02:12:34 | More by a0lbudman
Photo of mattLummus
mattLummus

Tennessee

3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This one is okay, but not great. Deep head but lacks much of an aroma. If anything its a little nutty. Decent carbonation but light body. Taste is rather bland actually without any noticeable finish. Could definitely choose a better beer by Red Hook.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 22:53:13 | More by mattLummus
Photo of tippydog666
tippydog666

Washington

4.99/5  rDev +46.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm new to Beer Advocate since I just turned 21. I live in woodinville,wa where Redhook has a big brewery so I've been waiting to legally try them out for a long time. I really like the EBS By Redhook. Nice beer to sip and relax, I buy them in pints and will go through the pint in about 35 to 40 mins. It has a warm bitter taste with just the right amount of boldness. A very smooth beer but not creamy. I highly recommend this beer. Only $2.69 for a pint of good beer, it's pretty much a steal!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 09:12:54 | More by tippydog666
Photo of TheBeerDog
TheBeerDog

Texas

4.21/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Just polished off my first six-pack of this beer over the past week. I'm very surprised by the lukewarm ratings and reviews. I think it's an excellent beer, well balanced, and very enjoyable. In fact, it inspired me to attempt to homebrew a clone of this beer. If it comes out anywhere near as good as this beer, then I will be a very camper in 4-5 weeks from now.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 22:37:22 | More by TheBeerDog
Photo of ssteakley
ssteakley

Washington

3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I was pleased with the first taste and a bit surprised. This is a beer you car take to the party And share and everyone will be glad you did. This is a well rounded beer for all those weekend occasions, a tailgate, or even a baby shower where the guys are invited.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 03:55:56 | More by ssteakley
Photo of Nugganooch
Nugganooch

California

3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle from the variety pack – Dated Mar. 5, 2013
*notes taken 06/08/13

A: Dark caramel color body sits mostly clear in the glass. Fizzy head of thick taupe foam is quite active only holding form for a minute or so. Some slippery remnants of lace with low cling.

S: Smells of bready malts with a bit of stone fruit pronounced esters coming through. There is a light herbal hop note and a real mineral like quality to the aroma. Aroma seems pretty fair for the style.

T: Tastes offers a nice foundation of bready malts with some understated caramel sweetness and hints of apple or pear like fruity yeast esters. There is a distinct mineral water flavor with a dash of herbals and pine mixed in. Moderate to low levels of bitterness as to be expected with alcohol completely masked. Clean finish. Nothing particularly wrong here but a little pedestrian for me.

M: Lightly on the thin side with a moderately filling body. Soft creaminess provided by the carbonation. Low to moderate bitterness. Touch watery on the finish.

D: A decent ESB and nice job of staying true to the style. Nothing particularly flawed however nothing very stand out either.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2013 18:27:19 | More by Nugganooch
Photo of IchLiebeBier
IchLiebeBier

Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Bright amber/gold; medium frothy head, long lasting, effervescent

Aroma: malty; bready; grassy; light citrus

Taste: Juicy, creamy malt on start that flows to hoppy citrus in the mid; finishes slightly dry; smooth and refreshing, but not complex; drinkable, though

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 22:04:49 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of Kooz
Kooz

New York

3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very light orange color with little head leaving no lacing.

Smells hoppy right up front, then fades to a mellow sweetness. Appetizing!

Bitter and sweet at the same time. This beer has a slight bite to it, but finishes sweet, and there's a sweetness throughout.

Decent mouthfeel. RedHook has come a long way, but it's not quite up to BBC or Dogfish. This beer has some body, and its crispness is nice, but something isn't clicking here.

This is a nice beer, I'm happy I had it, I'd have it again, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something to cap off a long day.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 01:51:17 | More by Kooz
Photo of StevenStevens
StevenStevens

Oregon

3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

My wife surprised me tonight by bringing me a "new ESB" for me to try.
I opened it almost immediately and it bored a golden yellow. I could tell, from lack of head, that it was very carbonated. The smell was very woody and a bit skunky.

I was surprised by the taste, as it wasn't looking good, from the look and smell. It drank well enough for an ESB.

I think the best review came from my wife, who said, "It's a beer." I agree. The Reddhook ESB is a beer. Not a particularly an over-the-top beer but it's drinkable. I'm just not rushing to the store to purchase another one anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2013 04:20:25 | More by StevenStevens
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2013 14:21:43 | More by tigg924
Photo of Why-P-A
Why-P-A

Maryland

3.34/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautiful, red amber color, this is one of the highlights of this beer.

S: Minimal aroma, not much detectable in the way of either hops of malt.

T: The flavor has much more going on that the nose suggests. Very good bready malt body matches the color of the beer. Hops are mild and in the background but their addition help to make this a well rounded beer.

M: Very smooth and drinkable, carbonation in the bottle is usually dialed as it should be for a large brewery like Redhook.

O: It seems like this beer has changed slightly over the years but still is one of the industry standards in the category due to it's lovely color, solid malt body, and subtle bitter finish. Redhook ESB is an easy drinking session beer prefect for any activity or season.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 19:22:52 | More by Why-P-A
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

One of the last from my foray into the Knickerbocker Hotel's cooler for which I will forever be ashamed. Don't do it to yourself!

From the bottle: "Original Ale"; "Liquid goodness since 1982."

My pour created a finger of bubbly, tawny head with decent retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep amber. The nose emanated a definite malty sweetness with an underlying pine-like hoppiness and it occurred to me that this could be fun. Mouthfeel was medium and the malt and the hops seemed to be having a wrestling match on my tongue to see which would emerge dominant. I am going to declare it a pleasant draw. I could not discern between one or the other, especially on the finish. I would totally enjoy this if they put it in a CAN. I liked it from the bottle, but I would be hard-pressed to choose it for away from home in this format.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2013 00:52:06 | More by woodychandler
Photo of JuicesFlowing
JuicesFlowing

Kansas

3.69/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a light amber color. A foamy white head recedes to a wisp with light white rings of lacing on the glass. The aroma is subdued, but toasty grains and a faint tea-like hop presence emerge. The beer tastes of toasted grains, biscuits, and caramel malt sweetness up front. Some floral and citrusy hops bring in balance on the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to light. Overall, this isn't world class, but it's balanced and complex enough to not regret a 6 pack.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 16:23:44 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of StJamesGate
StJamesGate

New York

3.56/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tawny pale body with creamy white foam that settles to film that laces.
Buttery toffee with tea leaf and some orange rind on the nose.
White fruit scone, a big apricot jam hit and orange and cedar hops.
Spicy finish and drying linger.
Light to medium, slight chew, round.

Biggest surprise about this is it does a fair job of reproducing the taste of Maris Otter. The hops hit is very EKG, too. But in the end it's too thin, veers form too sweet to too spicy as it goes cold to warm (extremes, rather than balance) and just doesn't hit the nuance of an English ale.

I could see where it hung around since the 80s, when there was nothing else like it (fresh, anyway) but this isn't anything more than average - as an amber or a special bitter.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2013 21:06:33 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of jaycle
jaycle

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Honey colored with a slight haze. A weak head with little retention and large bubbles.

S:oranges

T: fruit and floral, wheat finish. Very mellow. and Balanced

M: medium carbonation, thin feeling, dry finish

O: Good, but average. This was my first ESB, and from what I read, it is to be expected from this style. I enjoyed it, but there are just so many other good beers.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2013 02:12:59 | More by jaycle
Photo of GratefulEdd
GratefulEdd

Alabama

3.16/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a bright amber color light enough to see all the carbonation to come flowing up. One finger of wheat-colored head shows up and sticks around for the party.

Smell is very middle-of-the-road, walking the line between a piney hop and light malt roast. Nothing too over-powering but where it needs to be for this style.

Taste goes down as smooth as you would wish for a session-able ESB. A little biscuit-y on the tongue to start with, but a mellow finish that begs for another sip.

Mouthfeel goes along with the taste and smell. Very balanced, easy to drink down. I thought the carbonation would be a little too much for an ESB on the pour, but it mellowed out in the glass.

Overall this beer provides a good session beer. It doesn't overwhelm any of the senses but gives you enough to think over while the glasses are going down.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2013 20:40:19 | More by GratefulEdd
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Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,568 ratings.