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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,778 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,778
Reviews: 822
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.66%
Wants: 21
Gots: 112 | 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: 1,778 | Reviews: 822 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of bill93063
4.3/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An excellent and affordable bitters in the tradition of English Extra Special Bitters like Fullers(which is arguably the best Bitters on the market). While not in the class of Fullers, it is far less expensive and for the money is a good example of an ESB. This one is also highly drinkable with a nice balance of hoppy bitterness and smooth malty notes, hinting at caramel and vanilla, highly recommended!

bill93063, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of wcudwight
2.63/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Mountain stream clear amber color. Thin fizzy off-white head. Lot's of carbonation bubbles climb to the top.
Not much going on in the aroma. Quite disappointing. Mildly earty, grassy and metallic. Kind of smells like some kind of metal burning. All of the formentioned aromas are really faint though and you nearly have to get your nose wet to detect anything.
Buttery caramel flavored with a mild metallic bitterness in the finish. It doesn't taste as bad as that sounds but I wouldn't call it good either. Mild and unoffensive is the best way to describe the flavors.
Light bodied with a kind of metallic feeling.
It's a beer to drink when there is nothing better available.

wcudwight, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of CHADMC3
2.4/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a deep copper to amber with a frothy off white head packed with dense carbonation bubbles that hangs around for a few minutes before giving way to a thin lacing.

Sweet caramel malt aroma, floral notes, but also something resembling bubble gum.

Slightly fruity and floral, not the traditional esb, possibly berry like, sort of like Blue Moon (?). Not much else happening for me.

Medium to high carbonation, medium body, possesses a certain bite on the back of the throat I cannot identify.

This beer is kind of like seeing Pamela Anderson nude for the first time when she's 42.

CHADMC3, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of smibroncos
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured a clear, yellow brown, with a short half finger off white short lasting head, little lacing on the glass.

S. Malt, caramel, hops, earthy leaves.

T. Carmel, malt, slightly sweet with a hoppy bitter finish.

M. Medium bodied lightly carbonated. This beer tastes better at colder temperatures.

D.I could drink a few of these on a weekend event.

smibroncos, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of illidurit
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy brown orange color with a nicely formed fluffy off-white head. Aroma is muted, of fresh biscuity bready malts and some orangey citrusy hops. Flavor is identical but even less robust. Some bitterness lingers on the palate. Decent body and drinkability but this misses the mark.

illidurit, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of Anthony1
3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into a tulip glass

pours a very clear, amber color. nice head, but not as much lacing. smells of hops with a hint of caramel. a decently smooth medium bodied beer. taste of bitter hops with some earthy flavors. not to specific or clear in its taste, but nice. nice dry after taste with not to much bitterness.

overall, nice beer, would drink again, but not among my favs

Anthony1, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

mikesgroove, May 16, 2009
Photo of donmonkey1
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance: light brownish amber, fairly quickly receding head with good lacing, O.K. carbonation

Smell: piney caramel

Taste: diluted mixture of caramel and alcohol

drinkability: I could manage to throw several back, but they're just not that great.

donmonkey1, May 12, 2009
Photo of minterro
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a cold glass mug

A: Light brown color, big bubbly pail head. Lots of little bubbles raising from the bottom. Spider web lacying

S: strong toasted bitter hops

T: Grainy malty taste, not very bitter untill the aftertaste. pretty creamy hints of honey and spice.

M: medium body, good amount of carbonation. Mouth feels weird after drinking it.

D: above average but noting special. 7.59$ for a six so its worth a try. I'm not going to buy it again, there are better for the price.

minterro, May 06, 2009
Photo of Ragingbull
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Light orange in color with little to no head. This beer is pretty still with no real carbonation or prickle bubbles. The nose is pretty plain and not much to behold. The attack is fresh and clean and its not until the flavor that the hops reveals itself. These hops intensify as the beer nears its finish. This is an easy drinking and pretty standard microbrew. Nothing spectacular but it probably won't disappoint too many people either. Worth keeping in the fridge and a good example of this style.

Ragingbull, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of merryjoulton
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gorgeous amber hue with a rich head that tops the brew nicely down the glass. Smell is pine, citrus, crisp hops. Taste is very hops forward and bitter, I searched for malt but could not find it. Mouthfeel is a great balance of just enough carbonation to compliment the hop bitterness. Drinkability is high for this brew.

merryjoulton, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of cdViking
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at Buzz Steakhouse on 4/18; on tap in pint glass.

Has a standard reddish/amberish color with a decent amount of good-looking white head. Smells pretty hoppy, with minimal subtleties. Taste is pretty standard; nice hop flavor, with slight floral undertones. A drink that I wouldn't necessarily seek out, but certainly enjoyable enough to have on tap when only crap is otherwise available. Low ABV allows for session drinking, too.

cdViking, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of dotsonjamesg
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this brew several times in the past few years. I always had it at restaurants or bars, never really sat down and had a session with it so I never had the opportunity to experience the brew. I wasn't planning on buying this brew when I went to the store right now but I saw a large display for the beer and below the display, it said "$3.99." How could I pass that up? I purchased two six packs for $7.98 flat, no tax. For twelve, glass bottle beers, that's a steal; especially half decent beer.

Appearance: Poured a dark copper/gold color with a one finger, off-white and slightly yellow head with little retention but some medium lacing on the glass.

Smell: The nose is fairly hoppy with some soft floral notes.

Taste: The brew has a nice balance between hoppy and malty bitterness. After the bitter bite, the brew moves in to a nice light malty flavor with some subtle notes of diacetyl. Not a whole lot of complexity here but it's pretty tasty, none the less.

Mouthfeel: I'd say its pretty good on the tongue. Not too thick but its definitely not light. Its fits well right in the middle.

Drinkability: Its medium body and character and slight hoppy bite make this brew pretty drinkable for just about anyone, even the big beer snobs like =) The brew was also nicely balanced, just as an ESB should be.

Oh and according to the bottle, the ABV is 5.9%



dotsonjamesg, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of Spikester
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber with a one finger white head. Modest amount of lacings. Earthy hop aroma. Taste is bitter earthy leather hops with a good amount of sweet malts. Has the ESB hop flavors spot on. Nice flavor profile for what could be deemed a macro product. Very good for such low expectations. About $2.29 per bomber. Good value.

Spikester, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of Rayek
3.6/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Sheraton North in Houston TX, of all places.

A: Pale amber with nice clarity and active carbonation. Soapy white head has above average retention and leaves nice rings of lace.

S: Straw and toasted grain, plus a bit of lemon and grass.

T: Malt hits first with a toasted bread like quality that contains hints of straw. Hops have a tart apple and lemon bitterness. Finishes with a faint lingering bitterness.

M: Medium body is slightly syrupy. Right amount of fizz.

D: Good session beer. Not the most complex beer on the block, but good with food and friends.

Rayek, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of JayNH
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a light clear copper color with a small foamy head. Minimal retention and lacing.

S- Just the slightest hint of biscuity malt. A bit fruity with a spicy hoppiness.

T- There is an almost artificial sugary sweetness to the brew. A bit of an earthy, tea-like hoppiness balances out the flavor.

M- smooth, body is on the light side.

D- OK.... Not a bad brew.... Just not a good one either. It just seems too sweet.

JayNH, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of Andreji
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hops are an american deal for sure.

no. 2 in my american beer tour this year.

Pour is decieving. cristal, impeccable very light red tone with almost no head and some discrete lacing, a thin aspect, not very convincing. it's good to be fooled by the beer.

Smell is like charred grass. a smokey-green feel, somehow. no sweetness to this- but it lacks some substance, and it does attack the nose when inspired too deeply.

Taste is good. it's abrasive. there's no sweet malty prelude. it's thin, but the hops are felt right off like sucking on a leaf, and they stay there for quite a while. the feel on top of the tongue is also sort of anaesthesic, like it's been burnt.

overall a good beer, but it still lacks a bit of substance and is somewhat thin. it is, however, surprising in how strong it is behind a deceptive façade. a decent purchase anytime.

Andreji, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of RickS95
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not much head; pours copper, slightly hazy, suspended particles.

Flowery hops in the nose. A slight burning, refreshing feeling in the mouth...it's definitely a bitter, but there is a complex sweetness in the taste.

The finish starts off with a subtle sweet taste before giving way to the gentle bitterness of the hops.

This is one of my favorite bitters. Would go well with salty snacks during a ball game.

RickS95, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of RiekerStarBrew
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to my pint glass, it displayed a light copper color with average clarity. The aroma nicely displayed the hops with subtle malt notes to support. The taste is well balanced between hop bitterness, flavor and a sweet barley profile. The mouthfeel is slick with a light to medium body. Due to this beers balance, I believe it is very drinkable and good choice for anyone looking for something a little more complex then your traditional pale ale.

RiekerStarBrew, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of RedDiamond
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm sure I've had this beer in bottles and on draught countless times over the past 20 years. But until I actually went to Woodinville and sat down for a pint at the brewery, I'd somehow managed to not form any substantive impression of it. A more deliberate evaluation shows the ESB to be remarkably fruitier than my memory conjures, with notes of cherry and strawberry that emerge and are quickly subsumed by a blasé yeasted overtone delivering the finish. It is flawless in its burnished copper color with a smattering of lather forming the equivalent of a 5 o'clock shadow across the glass. The aroma is of light bread crust.

Another serviceable but unadventuresome ale from this Anheuser-Busch affiliate.

RedDiamond, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of Yeastcakes
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes - 0.5L german glass, cellar temp
A - almost undetectable, some faint hops.
A - clear yellow-amber, very thin layer of head (almost non-existant)
M - light to medium body, medium carbonation.
T - Carmel maltiness, slight aftertaste on the roof of the mouth. Very little hop flavor.
D - Nothing really wrong with this beer, but nothing that gets me excited. Easy to drink

Yeastcakes, Mar 30, 2009
Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,778 ratings.