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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,673 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,673
Reviews: 817
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.37%
Wants: 18
Gots: 73 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,673 | Reviews: 817 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bockrules

New Mexico

4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a perfectly clear amber-brown with few streams of bubbles. Nice one and a half finger tan head. Head falls apart 2/3 down the glass. Leaves marginal lacing.

S - Very pleasant, balanced smell. Earthy hops against a sweet caramel malt background.

T - very complex up front with hops, alcohol and sweet tones all making an appearance. Very biscuity and balanced body with just enough earthy hops to make it interesting. Smooth and balanced finish with only slightly more hop presence. Leaves a lingering biscuit aftertaste before hop bitterness slowly kicks in. Very well crafted ESB.

M - Nice and chewy with low carbonation and a medium body.

D - A highly drinkable ESB, with great balance and a good natural taste.This is a subtle beer, that deserves appreciation. For some reason, I didn't like this as well the first time, but this is a standard ESB that I will definitely come back to in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 08:53:11 | More by Bockrules
Photo of colts9016


3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: There is a nice amber hue that had a nice one finger head. As the head dissipated it left some lacing on the glass. The beers clarity is mostly clear with some hazing.

Nose There is a nice toasted malt, with esters, and citrus. There are notes of yeast and honey.

Taste: A malt complex that is backed up to a nice hop overtone. There is a sweet hint with esters, and citrus.

Overall: I was surprised by this beer. It is a nice and easy drinking beer. The mouth feel is astringent, and the finish is bitter with it lingering on the palate for a few moments. I think that beer has some balance to it. The beer is average, not great but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 23:04:27 | More by colts9016
Photo of KOPBeerDrinker

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Copper in color with a 1" fluffy white head. Left a fair amount of lacing as it subsided.

Smells of hops, caramel, with some biscuity notes.

Tastes of bready malt with hops in the end. Can't distinguish too much here, though I do like it.

Mouthfeel is medium with a crisp finish. I could drink a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 02:40:19 | More by KOPBeerDrinker
Photo of pittvkyle7


3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A bright clear orange with a of redness. Short lived white head leaving just some lacing on the sides.

S- A quick shot of citrus hops, grapefruit and lemon but fades to sweet caramel malts.

T- Up front hop flavor, not bitterness, kind of vegetable like but still citrusy. A very thin flavor, and a out of place harsh bitterness quality after swallowing. The beer has the right amount of IBU's they just are not well placed.

M- Light body and good carbonation.

D- An easy going beer. not bad, easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 18:41:30 | More by pittvkyle7
Photo of cvfish


2.78/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - poured a hazy orange color that produced a fizzy white head that disappeared quickly and left no lacing

S - bready malts, nothing more

T - some bready malts, some fruits, but nothing great

M - medium bodied, lots of carbonation

D - not something i would look forward to drinking again

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 02:27:24 | More by cvfish
Photo of Beernoisseur


3.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a decent brew. More like an amber than an ESB. Not a whole lot of bitterness there. It's mild in bitterness, but the balance is good. Pours a beautiful clear copper color. there are some citrusy notes on the nose, and in the taste, maybe cherry and grapefruit?

Good beer. Really drinkable. Not especially bitter, but oh well.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 05:58:07 | More by Beernoisseur
Photo of KBomb


3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highly carbonated red amber. Small head disappears pretty quick. Light aroma--some biscuity notes, a touch of grapefruit citrus. Taste is mild; light bready sweetness balanced by slightly bitter hops. The only thing interesting about it is a whisper of spice and chocolate in the background, but mostly its just a plain kind of ale. Maybe more like an amber ale than an ESB. Simple and unremarkable, but nothing particularly wrong with that. Fairly smooth and quite easy to drink.

I'm currently visiting family way out in the sticks. Kind of a craftbeer wasteland, but I was satisfied to find this on tap at a local dive. It was decent enough to drink when your other options are swill. Its a good reliable standby. I might even suggest that the ESB that comes from the Washington brewery is better than the stuff that comes from their New England brewery. I'd also say that Redhook ESB is another good gateway to craft beer for the novice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2008 00:56:37 | More by KBomb
Photo of Mistofminn


4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from "Redhook Greatest Hits" box.

I'm re-reviewing this one because my previous score (3.0 2.5 3.0 3.0 2.5 Overall 2.85 C) was from a time when I hated this style. I feel the score I gave it was very unwarranted, so I'm giving it my updated score.

Boy is it different this time around.

Color is orange-redish amber. Pour produces a nice thick one finger head that sticks around for a couple of minutes, eventually reducing to a thin layer that doesn't go away. Not much lacing.

The nose is packed with floral and earthy hops. Very pleasant smell. Granted, it is light and not as noticeable as I would like, but a good swirl will allow you to take a nice whiff.

Taste is very pleasing as well. Much like the nose, but much more prominent. Earthy and floral hops balance nicely with the malt. Pretty sweet if you ask me (you can take that both ways, both are valid).

Mouthfeel is light to medium with a crisp carbonation. The malt makes it pretty smooth. Very drinkable, I'll be coming back for seconds.

Definitely my favorite ESB to date. So far, most of the ESB's I've had are overly malty, this one is heavier on the hops, which suits me better. I'm starting to like Redhook more and more. Too bad I didn't see this the first time around.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 01:31:43 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of patobandito

New Mexico

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

I tend to drink this as most of my friends will by it, thinking its a 'good' beer. Its not bad, but there are better.

Pours a yellow-copper color, with a thin head, and very little lacing. Smells a bit like malt, with a tinge of bitterness thrown in. It tastes similar. More bitter than malt though. Its a bit on the thin side, as i have found most of Redhook's beers to be. Its a fairly drinkable beer, easy for session drinking.

Overall its pretty middle of the road.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2008 02:42:43 | More by patobandito
Photo of WakeandBake


2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber color with moderate white head. Sweet grains and bready aroma with little of the expected hoppiness for an ESB. Malty flavor up front with some bitterness on the back of the tongue with a rather dry finish - a little metallic too. Medium body, with mild carbonation. Drinkable for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 23:06:43 | More by WakeandBake
Photo of magictrokini


3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyable beer. Pours clear copper with a short off-white head. Caramel and crystal malt in the nose, with a little grapefruit. Actually tastes a little like a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but somehow smoother. Good blend of hops and malt flavors, less of the caramel and more of the crystal and citrus hops.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2008 22:10:14 | More by magictrokini
Photo of cswhitehorse


3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The Rhook ESB poured a light amber color with a 1-2 finger foam head that had a tight bubble formation on the top layer of beer that stayed for quite a while.

The aroma really smelled like a lager. It was a tad bit bitter on the back of the throat but not overly pronounced. It had more depth of character than a lager but not by much. It was spicy which separated it but malt profile was a tad bit in the background. Overall not my favorite of the ESB mold.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2008 02:15:55 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of tbeck


2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, bright orange with a tiny off-white head that dissipated quickly. Good aroma, very piney and hoppy. Taste was a let down, very little hops mainly cereal grains and tad bit of malty sweetness. Overall the taste was very bland. Decent texture with a good body. Flavor was very much lacking in this beer. Although the taste was more than a macro, it was bland for what is advertised.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 03:03:12 | More by tbeck
Photo of drxandy


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

12oz to standard pint. pours a coppery golden orange hue, off white head fades

smells of hop bitterness off the bat, malts hide behind, sweetness

taste is of bitter hops dominating everything followed by toasty malt, carbonation is good, dry, lingering finish, citrus, diacetyl-y butterscotch

mouthfeel is of a good weight, good flavors, lingering bitterness, and an overal decent esb; albiet not my favorite of all time

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 02:04:33 | More by drxandy
Photo of bmwats


3.6/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: An almost cloudy medium amber, medium-light bubbly head. Dissipates quickly, but leaves a little carbonation. Each time you drink, leaves an "age ring" in terms of lacing.

S: Not much in terms of smell. Slight, yeasty and a little spicy aroma.

T: Only lightly bitter taste, but enough to make for a good quaff.

M: Nothing special here either, but nothing negative either. As with most bitters, the flavor it does have sticks around a little bit, but not too long. It almost clings to the inside of the mouth.

D: Nice drinkability, especially if you're someone that doesn't appreciate a heavy brew, but does enjoy good taste. Refreshing.

Good brew, but nothing transcendental about this. Nothing special as far as "atmosphere" is concerned, but does have a solid flavorful taste. Good for a light refreshing quaff.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 19:53:44 | More by bmwats
Photo of kickapoodude


4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a shame that the american market hasn't embraced the ESB...this is the only one that I have been able to find in the dairy state. After living in England for a while, I can say that it is a great tribute to the ESB...and if you plan on drinking it, let is warm for about 20 minutes. Pretty low alc. and lightly hopped. I have brewed my own, and this si a great style to get your wife into homebrewing.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2008 15:22:05 | More by kickapoodude
Photo of EnojysAnyBeer


3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Amber/gold transparent body. Ok head leaves little lace

S- Not much smell. Metallic and sweet

T- Taste is good with citrus and pine hop flavors along with sweet, mellow malts

M- Good medium, refreshing body but too much carbonation

D- Drinks fine for ESB

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 03:30:07 | More by EnojysAnyBeer
Photo of Cyberkedi


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

Color is a fairly typical clear amber; head is white, minimal, and not persistent. Aroma is fairly strong and as hoppy as it is malty. Flavor is fairly mellow and well-rounded, not complex but still pleasing, mainly malty with a nice nippy bitter undertone. Texture is smooth so it goes down the pipes easily. A good party brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 00:32:23 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of gpogo


3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Clear light copper with small off-white head. Head dissipates to a foamy covering. Leaves a nice lacing. Very lively carbonation.

A- Nice aroma, first thing that I really noticed about this brew. Very pronounced caramel malt with bready notes. Very slightly fruity.

T- Light caramel malt flavor. The slightly fruity nose is much more fruity in taste. Finishes slightly bitter and fruity.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation.

D- I honestly didn't expect something this great. A great beer for drinking anytime. Good flavor, not overly hoppy or bittered, rather balanced.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2008 22:30:04 | More by gpogo
Photo of kinger


3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Much better than I was anticipating. Had room for one more single during my beerrun, this one was only a buck so it was a good fit. Aroma is slightly sweet with some subdued hops, not very pleasant but not revolting either. Vibrant orange/amber colored pour, nice lacing, skinny white head. Crisp with a very easy finish, the taste tends to bounce right off the tongue. Rich lightly bitter hops sure come alive in the flavor, after the faint nose I was pleasantly surprised. Decent maltiness although a touch light. Solidly balanced, enjoyable ESB.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2008 00:59:02 | More by kinger
Photo of jdmorgan


3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an amber hue with a white one-finger head. Not a bad price from the store either.

The smell had a malty aroma with a bit of floral hops. The taste was led by a slightly sweet biscuit malt taste which lingered into the aftertaste. Also present was a medium hop flavor and medium hop bitterness. Malt taste was largely dominant here, with a few floral and caramel malt tastes to be found as well. Carbonation was medium and consistency was medium as well.

While definately a solid beer, this beer sort of had that "same ol' ale" taste to it and really didn't stick out as anything special. However, the quality far exceeded the meager price and was a good buy. Definately worth getting if you just want an all-around decent ESB or Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2008 00:37:34 | More by jdmorgan
Photo of KarlHungus


2.42/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a clear pale orange-amber color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into decent lacing. The aroma has some faint caramel malt tones, but they are hard to detect and there isn't anything else going on. The taste is of watery caramel malt. Like the aroma there isn't a much going on. The mouthfeel is watery and thin. Overall, this is a very pour example of an ESB if it can even be called that. I will not drink this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2008 21:49:52 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of Halcyondays


3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a very clear and clean looking light amber, with a light white head.

S: Standard caramel malt, with a light earthiness from the hops.

T: Malt mixed with a husky cereal grain flavour form the main flavour. Hops give a grassy note, the beer ends with a sugary finish.

M: Overall light-bodied, fizzy at times and watery.

D: A nice inexpensive beer right here, not going to blow you away, but quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2008 06:09:00 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of racer2k


2.95/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper color with a two finger head that quickly dissipates

S - Some malt, spice, and corn overtones.

T - Thin caramel taste with very little carbonation. Malt and light hops are present.

M - Low carbonation with a slight bitterness and a malt finish

D - Decent session beer with a nice interpretation of a craft brewed ESB

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2008 23:38:36 | More by racer2k
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coppery color and a mostly thin consistency. There was a fair amount of head and some OK lacing.

S: Didn't really have a very distinctive smell, though it did have a sugary aspect to it.

T: There was a mild malty quality, along with some caramel. Aside from this it was totally thin and ordinary.

M: An average amount of carbonation and a dry finish.

D: This is simply an ordinary beer. There's nothing that sets it apart from others of its style.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2008 14:05:21 | More by avalon07
Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,673 ratings.