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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,872 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,872
Reviews: 834
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.37%
Wants: 22
Gots: 180 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-30-2001

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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,872 | Reviews: 834
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. Medium yellow bubbly with bubbly head and leaving white lace trail. Aggressively carbonated, yet still a decent mouthfeel, medium bodied. A decent bitterness, serviceable ESB. Served too cold.Aroma was malty, and maybe it was a little too malty.

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Joe Jost's in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a clear copper color with a 1 inch puffy tan head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random spots and streaks of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt/grain and some fruity aromas. Taste is of malt/grain and a subdued fruit and hop flavor. Slight bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good ESB but the aromas and tastes are a bit subdued overall.

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -12%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at our local movie theatre. Glad they had this and not the IPA, as at least I got to try something different from them. I will say that this beer is not half bad and in the context of a movie theater or a ball park, I won't complain about running into this again.

Pours a light caramel-copper color with a faint off white head. The nose brings through some light caramel and toffee notes as well as some light earthy and herbal hops. The taste adds in a touch of citrus atop a bit of light bread. Some slight but noticeable bitterness resides within the feel. Drinks pretty well; I'd be willing to go for seconds.

Photo of metter98
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy deep yellow in color with amber highlights and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down and left large patches of bubbles on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of biscuit and toasted malts along with some hints of fruity yeast. The finish has some hints of sweetness and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and rather sessionable. There’s a good amount of malts in the beer, but it doesn’t feel filling.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: thin head with nice lacing on a clear amber body.

S: light malt and hops but overall weak.

T: nice full malt profile. subtly bitter in the finish. Grains and breads with floral hop notes.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Fairly good representation of the style. Not bad but not great.

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear medium amber body with a small head that fades to a collar pretty quickly

Smell: Mostly caramel malts with a hint of hops; clearly a touch of diacetyl

Taste: Bursts onto the tongue with a blast of caramel malt; eventually blends into a bit of bitterness to the finish; a bit sweeter than I would have expected, almost like an Amber Ale

Mouthfeel: A bit slick with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A pleasant, if sweet swill

Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Second sampling: As a brew there is really nothing to criticize, but as an ESB it reaks of blandness. Just use the proper ingredients and exercise proper brewing techniques for classic ESB's and the beer will turn out fine. It happens in homebrewing, so why do we accept less in commercial brewing. This ESB just lacks the differitiators than would make it a classic example. Show me some richness with breadiness and yeastiness. Show me a caramelly, toffee-ey maltiness. Show me a hop spiciness with English hops. Show me a clean ale finish. I'll be happy then, I promise.

First sampling 7-17-05

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Knapp85
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice looking amber color, the head was creamy and white. The la in was pretty good on the glass. The smell of the beer is grainy and has a nice sweet malt aroma to it. The taste has a good bitterness to it. The mouthfeel is a bit watered down. Overall I liked the beer and would drink it again.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.91/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brassy orange with polished brass edges, capped by a smallish head of pastel orange that isn't all that remarkable. It starts life at two fingers and is down to one within several minutes, dragging a pathetically short collar of lace in its wake. This is an okay looking beer that strikes me as barely better than average.

The nose, however, struggles to reach average... and fails. It doesn't have much gumption, even when I get my nose within dipping distance. The 'best by' date tells me that the beer is pretty fresh, but it doesn't smell fresh (what I can appreciate, that is). Mildly pale malty, faintly fruity and... uh... I'm thinking.

Things are a little better on the palate, but not much. Redhook ESB is too meekly flavored and reminds me of an ESB as envisioned by BMC: short on both malt and hops, and therefore, on taste. Does 'affilitated with' mean 'inspired by', I wonder? Just when the taste buds ready themselves for even a minor burst of *something*, the flavor fades away without having delivered the payload.

I'm not sure whether malt or hops have less of an impact. Given the 'quinine-like, divorced from any trace of hoppy flavor' bitterness that lingers long after beer has left mouth, I'd say that malt is more deficient. Underneath the bitterness, ESB is mildly sweet and somewhat orange fruity, but has the depth of the shallow end of the kiddie pool.

I keep telling myself that the metallic quality that was evident with my first mouthful will fade (any minute now... ), but so far it hasn't. The mouthfeel isn't that bad. It's well within the bounds of acceptable for the style, but lacks a decent cargo.

I love Winterhook, but the other Redhook brews (that I've tried) have been pedestrian at best. I was in the mood for a good little ESB this evening. Unfortunately, I didn't find one inside this bottle.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.21/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at the Red Robin tonight. It was the only thing really worth even trying. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, that was of course chilled. This one was consumed on 05/15/2009.

The pour was the best part. Rich amber color, nice dark hints around the sides as well. Inch of foam on top was a light tan color and settled down gently into a side coating, not bad with carbonation visible throughout the session. Aroma was light, hoppy, west coast ESB for sure as a light pine was easily picked up here. As it warmed though it almost totally faded and left me with a confused look. Same with the first taste, smooth, even carbonation left me looking for a bit more here. Light hops and grain with a smooth caramel mid palate, but it was all just a touch light for me to be honest, still though decent and very drinkable.

Overall while not anything to write home about it beats the pants off a macro anyday.

Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is amber/light copper with a creamy off-white head.

S: Some moderate caramel and toffee notes and a floral, earthy hoppiness. Not an overly intense nose, but it's an English style afterall...

T: Very bready on the palate with a pretty significant amount of hop bitterness. Again, the hops are primarily floral and earthy, and the sweetness is not quite as noticeable as on the nose.

M: The body is medium and so is the level of carbonation. The finish leaves a lingering bitterness.

D: I'm not an expert on ESBs, but I think this one isn't too bad. Sure, not perfectly to style (or maybe even close), but it's easy to drink and flavorful.

Photo of oberon
3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle purchased at Total Wine in Kennesaw, Georgia. Bottled: 05 05 08.

Appearance: Pours an amber body with a smallish, white head.

Smell: Malty nose laden with caramel tones and a note of grainy bread. Decent spicy hoppiness in the nose.

Taste: Maltiness tasting of a blend of grains and caramel with the faintest, and I do mean faintest touch of roast. Sip of cool spring water. Lightly fruity. Spicy, lightly floral hops with a restrained bitterness. Bittersweet finish with a minor touch of lingering fruitiness and spice.

Mouthfeel: Just barely medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Paired with the film "Karate Kid", though I'll refrain from singing the song that goes "you're the BEST around" to this brew. Certainly not the be all and end all of ESB's, but you can definitely do alot worse.

Photo of biboergosum
3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, procured at some random grocery store in rural Montana on Independence Day earlier this summer.

This beer pours a somewhat hazy, medium copper amber colour, with one finger of weakly foamy, and mostly just faintly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some low-lying, roiling sea foam lace around the glass as it quick abates.

It smells of mildly biscuity caramel malt, a touch of musty yeast, some sweet, indistinct orchard fruitiness, and plain earthy, leafy hops. The taste is pretty fruity right off the bat, the caramel malt tainted just so, with the earthy, leafy hops holding their own, that yeast from the aroma settling right in, and a small metallic edginess making me wonder if that slightly elevated alcohol is getting uppity, or what.

The carbonation is a bit north of the equator, in terms of pleasing to the palate frothiness, the body an adequate medium weight, a tad prickly (from whence?) in its blithely quotidian smoothness. It finishes rather off-dry, the fruity malt sparring still with the way-too mild hop offset.

A beer that falls into that particular no-man's land - well above BMC, sure, and definitely drinkable, but lacking in the roundness and fullness that would land it among the ranks of the crafty golden boys of the genre.

Photo of zeff80
3.57/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a copper/amber color with a small, off-white, foamy head. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and some floral notes.

T - It tasted of some sweet malt with a slight bitter kick.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay ESB. It served as a "gateway" beer for me in college that led to drinking better beer.

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Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,872 ratings.