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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,747 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,747
Reviews: 821
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.66%
Wants: 20
Gots: 106 | FT: 1
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: 1,747 | Reviews: 821 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tone77
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is primarily of hops. Taste is also a bit hoppy, but not to much, good flavor. Feels light in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a fairly good quality beer.

tone77, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of rfabian
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler it produces a nice 20 mm head that leaves some lacing. The appearance is light amber and very slightly cloudy. There is a slight aroma of spicy hops and malt. The taste is malty with moderate bitterness that comes through in the finish. It feels moderately bodied with moderate carbonation. It's a refreshing and drinkable ale.

rfabian, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of 4theluvofbrew
1.8/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I had had this beer b4, so shame on me 4 getting it again...I was looking for a 12-pack, and this was the only thing that caught my I. it is NOT an ESB! I don't know what it is...maybe a bad honey brew or something...? It has no bitterness whatsoever. RH's IPA is terrible too, so stay clear of their beer! I love true ESBs, so if anyone knows any good ones that I can get in New England, please let me know thanks!

4theluvofbrew, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of spencerw
2.98/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my old man's go to beer. I've had it several times but have never thoroughly thought about what it was I was drinking so I wanted to give it another go.

A- Pours a light bronze color brew with a one inch finger head that disappeared quickly.

S- Nice malty aroma, nothing too heavy. Very little hop note. Nothing like other ESB's I've tried.

T- Tasting a good blend of caramel and hop bitterness. The hop flavor is the more dominant flavor at the tail. Nothing to get real excited about.

M- Malty, light-medium body and very crisp.

D- Very refreshing and clean. This beer would make a great session beer. A very light ESB. I will for sure buy this beer again and add it to my round of go-to's.

spencerw, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of jbone78
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I usualy pick this one up a few times a year.

A- Pours a slight hazy yellow with nice finger of two head. Dissapears quickly.
S- I am not a good smeller, but there is a nice malty aroma.
T- Tasting a good blend of caramel, light hop character and hop bitterness. The hop flavor is the more dominant flavor, which I like.
M- Very sugary and sticky. Malty is probably a good word, but sugary might be the best.
D- I have enjoyed this beer for years and I will continue to enjoy it for years to come.


jbone78, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of ImusBeer
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought these while out on a camping trip to Deerlick Astronomy Village with the brother.

It had a golden honey color, clear wtih about a finger of head that died away quick. It did have slight lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell was all pine hop, maybe a bit of citrus. The taste was also heavy with pine and bitterness at the finish.

The light mouthfeel along with some bitterness in the background made this a very drinkable beer.

ImusBeer, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of BDJake
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have drank this beer extensively throughout the years, and it was an early favorite of mine- out of my bottle cap collection at home, it is one of the most numerous types I have, even more so than the hordes of cheaper shot that my friends always bring over. Had it out of the bottle and on tap countless times, but for the sake of the review, I'll talk of my tap experiences:

A- Nice golden amber, with reddish hints in places of low lighting. nice light colored head when poured properly, with some light lacing and small bubbles throughout the drink.

S- Very inviting mix of trademard Redhook hops and bitterness, with a small hint of the malts coming through, kind of between what you'd expect from a decent red or pale ale.

T- Bitter as advertised, taking full advantage of the vast selection of local hops and barley malts, and somewhat dry with a lingering aftertaste.

M- Dryness with light carbonation, becoming richer and thicker as it warms.

D- Fairly decent, lighter than you'd expect from a more bitter beer but easing it's way down the throat. Above 50 degrees however, it becomes much harder to drink down.

Overall it's pretty enjoyable, and fits almost every social situation rather well in just about every season. The one time I did not particularly enjoy it was last summer down in Vegas when I picked up two 12 packs for $5.37 each at the Shoppette on base in Nellis. I was fixated on the killer deal, but quickly discovered why it was on sale down by our pool, after the ice melted in the cooler bag the beer became too thick for constant drinking when it warmed up. Served at the right temperature, however, it is rather sessionable, and a perfect beer in the Pacific Northwest.

BDJake, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of jmbranum
4.33/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on a trip while in Seattle, WA

I had Redhook ages ago and wasn't that impressed with it then. But I'm trying it again while visiting a friend and it is a wholly different beer than I remembered.

Nice light amber colored brew. Inviting aroma. Flavor is a good balance, but definitely hoppier than expected. Nice, clean fresh flavor with a good malty backbone.

This is a hop-forward beer but not bitter. Just a good balanced brew all around.

I like it. I'll get this again. Definitely a good session beer.

jmbranum, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice golden color. Good head that lasts with a lot of bubble activity.

Sweet smell, lots of malts and a little bitterness.

The taste is much like the smell, though it can taste a little watery at times. It would be quite nice if not for the watery sips.

It feels rather nice in the mouth. Smooth if not a little light. Nice bubbles.

Not a bad beer overall, but there are plen ty of things I would rather drink. Great for the price, though. Could be a nice introduction to the style.

RomaniIteDomum, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of minnunderground
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pilsner glass. Pours a clear golden red color. Smell some caramel citrus hops n malt combo. Tastes pretty good for the first few drinks. Some balance of hops and malt but in the end nobody really wins. Overall pretty decent but I would only drink these once and a while.

minnunderground, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of redzone3120
2.38/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Pours a medium brown color with a slightly golden tinge to it. The head is a low bubbly brown color and disappears quickly.

S - The smell is mild but has a hoppy note to it. Almost has a smokey scent mixed in with a possible fruit.

T - Tastes like an Indian Pale Ale with a lot of hops. Has a little bit of a caramel taste but its masked with a little too much bitterness. The aftertaste is crisp but the bitterness lingers a little too long.

M - Has a sharp bubbly feel in the first sip which fades to a smooth medium-light body. The carbonation is well balanced and dissolves into the flavor.

D - An enjoyable beer but is a bit too bitter for my liking. Goes down well for the first brew but not quite smooth enough for more than one at a sitting.

redzone3120, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of kaseydad
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was brought a dark copper colored ale with a head..which lingers. Nice lacing on the glass if you like that.

Slight hoppy aroma with more of a candy-sweet aroma.

Taste consists of hops and and lingering bitter aftertaste that is pleasant.

Very easy drinking. Multiples are encouraged.

I must say the first time I tried this beer I hated it...but then I became a "beer snob" and drank it in the right context and can now fully appreciate the beer. This night it rocked and when all else looks bleak on the menu, I'll turn to it if it's available.

Not world class, but worthy of an unbiased try.

kaseydad, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of jkdrummer
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice foamy head that disappears into thick rimmed lace. Dark golden color, nice carb. Not much for aroma. Initial taste is sweet malt with a hoppy bite afterwards. Caramel and malt. Not the Red Hook of 1992 but an ok ale good for those just getting into micros.

jkdrummer, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short off-white head that fades very quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, citrus, hops and lightly roasted malts.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel and citrus. Then there's a strong hops bitterness that comes in and brings some balance. The malt character is a bit on the thin side for the style but provides some substance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, not the best representation of style as there's a little too much sweetness for a typical ESB, it's not a bad beer but there are several others in the style that I would pick first.

TheManiacalOne, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of bsp77
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Clear amber-orange with thin head that leaves some light lacing.

Smell: Smell is faint but detected caramel, biscuit, fruit, light hops.

Taste: Clean malty taste, with a mixture of bread, fruit and slightly sweet caramel balanced by a light hop bitterness, that somewhat carries over to the aftertaste.

Feel: Moderate to high carbonation (a true ESB would be lower), medium body, slightly dry finish.

Drinkability: Easy to kick back with this one. Nothing special, but it has become a trailblazer for the craft beer movement and you have to respect it for that.

bsp77, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of froghop
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours very clear amber-orange with a small off-white head, and great lacing.

smell is faint, some caramel, some citrus, some hops, and malt in the malt.

taste is crisp, a little watery, a little tangy on the tongue, caramel, citrus, and some malt, ends a little bitter.

froghop, Jul 25, 2009
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.

Sammy, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

This beer pours a light copper color with minimal head and no real lace to speak of.

Smell is first piney hops followed by a faint bready aroma.

Taste is more of the same. Some citrusy hops give me lemon and orange flavors. Only a hint of bready malt.

Overall, this is not bad. Perhaps with a bit more malt to increase the body it would be better, but really fine and sessionable.

bluegrassbrew, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of Schwab
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer has a nice amber color and pours with a little head that disappears fast. Carbonation is moderate and tastes well with the nicely balanced bitterness. Easy beer but leaves room for more. I like the other RedHook beers much better than their ESB.

Not sure if I buy it again.

Schwab, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of Spidey13
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Redhook ESB pours a clear copper color with a small off-white head the leaves a bit of lacing. The nose has some nice bready notes with hints of grassy hops.

The flavor starts with bread crust followed by some sweet caramel and a bit of spicy hops. There is some mild bitterness on the back. The mouthfeel is a bit thin. Carbonation is medium.

Overall, an easy drinking beer. Nothing too complicated.

Spidey13, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of endincolorado
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance- Nice, clear pale-amber with one finger of off-white head and decent lace.

Smell- Some light, earthy pale malts, crisp hop aromas. Crackery.

Taste- Toasty, caramelly malt. Crisp and fairly sweet. Earthy/light fruity hopas to balance.

Mouthfeel- Light-medium body. Crisp, and fairly clean on the palate. Good carbonation.

Drinkability- Refreshing and clean flavors, appropriate ABV. Would probably pair well with a wide variety of foods.

endincolorado, Jun 23, 2009
Photo of tatoodkelt
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a shaker glass.

A- Burnt orange. No head to speak of, just a thin white cap that left no lacing. Pretty active carbination.

S- Very muted, nothing really jumped out at me other than a faint metallic aroma.

T- Caramel, malts and a little sweet citrus hint.

M- Decently smooth, medium body.

D- Nothing exceptional here, easy to drink. Definitely an alternative to a macro though.

tatoodkelt, Jun 23, 2009
Photo of Briarscratch
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright orange with barely any head. Not much to the smell, all i get is grass and a little citrus. First is the carbonation, followed by a mild malty sweetness followed by a mild hop bitterness. Everything seems very simple in this brew. It leaves a bitter finish which I suppose is a staple for ESBs. A little body in the mouthfeel kinda hangs on the inside of my mouth. Easily poundable, I'll probably drink the whole sixer tonight.

Briarscratch, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of Brenden
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this one after I enjoyed SN's ESB, which really got me interested in trying more.

This one is a clear darker amber that pours a fluffy white head which dissipates a bit too quickly and leaves very little lacing.
There's a bit of a raw hops in the nose with a decent malt balance and some earthy element as well. It's clean but not especially strong. It's a nice aroma, though.
There's malt up front with a decent hops character to add some balance. Grapefruit and zesty citrus characters from the hops and that earthiness in the back are offset by a weird tint, almost saltiness, and a metallic tinge in the finish.
Body and carbonation are both moderate and this one's got a bit of a tingle.
There's something missing that could make this brew truly great (if they could work out the off-putting taints in the flavor).

Brenden, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of ATGHomebrewer
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Redish orange in color. Very carbonated. Dissapates quickly.

Smell: Smells predominantly of yeast, with some maltness smells.

Taste/Mouthfeel: A good balance of bitterness and maltiness.

Drinkability: Fairly simple taste, but very drinkable. I like this beer.

12 oz. bottle in Denver, Colorado

ATGHomebrewer, Jun 19, 2009
Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,747 ratings.