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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 bgildea
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Very nice amber color with very little head and very little lacing.

S: No distinct aroma comes across. Slight background of hops and slight sweet smell, but that's about it.

T: Tastes a little watery, with a nice amount of hops to it. The malts and hops flavor does linger around for a little while, which was nice.

M: Very thin beer, I was hoping for a little more substance and chew.

D: It's drinkable cause it's so light. But it doesn't wow me enough for me to want to get another.

Overall: Nothing too special about this beer. Great color, but the taste doesnt really do it for me. There is a nice malt/hops flavor that stays with you though.

Photo of mjw2808
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with about a 1 inch head that doesnt leave a whole lot of lacing. The smell is predominantly malt with some fruitiness, some grain, and slight hops. The taste is the same but I pick up an unpleasant metallic taste. Also, a little too watery for my tastes. Decent mouthfeel and pretty good drinkability. Not a bad beer, I dont regret buying a 6 pack of this by any means, as it was worth trying, but I wont be buying this beer again.

Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in my Sam Smith tulip at 48 degrees. 122809 pressed onto the label. Poured a slightly hazy, light copper with a loose, fizzy, one inch off-white head that quickly dispersed into a fairly consistent skim before settling into a swirl and a thin band around the shoulders. Some spots of lacing, but no legs. Nose reveals caramel malt up front with a suggestion of aromatic hops in the background, with the addition of some light, fruity esters dispersed in the mix. Taste consistent with nose - much maltier than I anticipated for the style. Starts out sweet upfront with some bitterness coming out towards the finish. Fruity quality reveals itself as the brew begins to warm, but is overshadowed by the malt. Mouthfeel is medium-light with an assertive, almost prickly carbonation that does a nice job of adding some crispness and breaking up the maltiness in the flavor profile. I was anticipating a less malty, more subdued brew with a little more hops presence; however, this was a fairly decent brew. Maybe not spot on for the style in my opinion, but not bad. Carbonation and malty backbone make it a little difficult to session though.

Photo of Daybis
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a golden/amber color. Clear, but my beer seemed to have a bit of yeast still in the bottle, but this is a good looking beer. The head was about a half inch tall and stayed around for a while with a good bit of lacing. Taste is very good, but the bitterness wasn't as extreme as I had expected. This has a good amount of carbonation and is very drinkable. It think this would have gone great with some hot wings and is a good beer to just sit on the back porch and enjoy.

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

On tap at Harris Crab House in Kent Island, Maryland.

Pours amber with a thick white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is malty, bready, some hops

Taste is malty and bready with a nice hop finish..the entire mouthfeel is a bit creamy and "buttery", if that makes sense. Body is on the lighter side of medium. Drinkability is good.

Photo of thedrewski86
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, thin white head with minimal lacing. Deep orange color with a slight haze. Smell doesn't reveal too much of the huge biscuity-malt flavor from this beer. Nice hop presence without being overwhelming; just right for the style. Great drinker, but I'm partial to the style.

Photo of alysmith4
2.16/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not impressed would sum up how I feel about this beer. It was decent, but definitely nothing special. Poured a plain brown color, with little to no head. Smell was of hay/straw and a little bit of pine. Tasted like grass and some toasted sugar, with some "dirty" undertones. I could drink this beer again, but it's not that great.

Photo of LucienDeRubempre
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Small head from a hard pour that disappeared quickly without leaving any tracery. Nice red-gold color, very clear and crisp looking in the glass. Little smell that dissipates as quickly as the head. Rich maltiness accompanied immediately by the bite from the hops. The thing I love about this beer is the great balance between malt and hops. Feels good in the mouth, a little on the richer, syrupy side. Very drinkable, keeps you coming back for more. This is my beer when I'm at Winn-Dixie at 11:45 after a concert and the only other choice is Sam Addams.

Photo of Tolnik
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this darker amber/wheat beer into a pint glass. When first poured into the pint glass a fair amount of head presented itself. However, the head soon reduced to faint wisps of lacing. The aroma is that of a sweat grass, slight maltyness and a hint of hops. The taste follows suit in the sweat grass, and maltyness. Leaving with a hop flavorful mouth feel. Overall a great ESB.

Photo of droomyster
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a small white head. Aromas are negligible but the taste is pleasantly malty, with woodsy notes and a slight but perceptible earthy bitterness. No corners, uncomplicated and easily sessionable if not particularly interesting. Probably my favorite of the major Redhook styles.

Photo of MotorBuffalo
4.07/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served up out of a big 22 from the mini-mart on the corner, in my girlfriend's "Sturdy Bitch" pint glass from the handmade bike show, past my beard, and down my gullet. Drinkin it now.

This here comes across like a half-and-half glass of caramelly British ESB and American pale. The caramel whuffs out when you crack the bottle, and it's there rolling across your tongue with the first taste but it doesn't reach up your nose and stuff some butterscotch up there like Fuller's'll do. There's some grapefruit rind hoppiness coming in under the candy-sweet malt that wouldn't be present in a British ESB, but is pleasant here.

It looks like I'd expect from a pint of extra-special-and-bitter too, a bright brass color tinted a little bit red. I think next time I'm at the Horse Brass I'll ask them to make me a pint of ESBB and see how that works out.

I think I could drink this all night if it were all that were available, and not be too unhappy at the prospect.

Photo of puboflyons
4.07/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle brewed in Portsmouth New Hampshire dated 111709 and sampled on January 21, 2010. The pour is an orange-amber color with nice clarity and about a half inch of foamy off-white head that diminishes eventually. The aroma is a nice mix of caramel malts and fresh hops in the background. It comes with a mildly bitter flavor enhanced by its dry hopped finish and a bit of orange or tangerine. It is a nice variation on the ESB style.

Photo of OlRasputin989
4.15/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into nonic pint...

A: Pours a light copper brew with a 1/2 to 1 finger head of fine white bubbles and decent clarity. head fades to a thin blanket of tiny bubbles.

S: Peanut butter, caramel apple, grassy aromas, almost hay like, grapefruit peel, a noticeable yeasty, estery aroma as well. However, aroma overall seems very light.

T: sweet and fruity up front(think apples and oranges) yet well balanced with the peanut buttery, caramel malty flavors. finishes with hop spices, yeast-like fruitiness of apples, caramel, biscuity with a hint of orange peel.

M: a medium bodied brew that adds to the drinkability, a little oily with a good carbonation that leads to crisp, dry finish

Overall, upon first impression I wasn't too impressed but after a couple I gained respect for this brew. While the appearance and aroma aren't impressive, the flavors are in good balance and fit the style well. A very drinkable beer as I could easily enjoy a few of these.

Photo of RedSpecial1
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear coppery with medium sized off white head that dissipates quickly.

Smells buttery with hints of caramel and bitterness too.

It tastes smooth with a little bit of hoppiness at the end. There's also a fair bit so caramel malt flavor as well. Overall pretty good, but a little watery.

This beer has a smooth mouthfeel, and I feel that this beer would be OK for a relatively cheap beer to drink for an evening.

Photo of rhinos00
2.43/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shakers pint glass.

A- Pours a hazy, orange amber color. Produced a thin half fingers width of white head. Quickly dissipated.

S- Has a malt background with a bready character. Slight sweetness almost gives it an aroma of iced tea.

T- Much like the aroma except I keep picking up an unpleasant, musty flavor in the background. Bit of hops in there as well.

M- Light bodied with some carbonation. Semi-dry feel on the palate.

D- I could see how this could potentially be a drinkable beer, however, the off flavors in this beer almost made me drain pour it.

Overall, after spending some time in Denver and the local brewpub scene, I definitely won't be wasting money on this one when I want an ESB.

Photo of bkeck33
4.17/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this beer from the bottle and was struck by the orange color and cloudy appearance. The head was strong, remaining intact almost throughout the duration.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fullness of the taste. It was citrusy, but not too much so, and its fullness was welcome in my palate -- not heavy at all. I've had several Redhook beers of late, and this is my favorite -- a great compliment to dinner or a satisfying stand-alone drink.

Photo of JustinJTisdale
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this beer at the brewery and was quite surprised because I recalled not liking it in the past. It was poured well tasty very bready with heavy hops in the finish.

Would I buy it again? Probably.

Is it something Im going to go out of my way to get.
Probably not.

If the opportunity ever arises and you find yourself at the brewery they sometimes have it in cask and that is a completely different story.

Photo of jsh420
3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottled 09/23/09

pours golden copper with a 1 finger head that fades fast to a film and left some lacing

smells very sweet and of light citrus hops

taste is ok - bready malts are there with some cheap tasting grain but the hops dont match - they are not bitter they are fruity

mouthfeel is ho hum - light and not much life

drinkability - i doubt i ever get this again

Photo of kpoole25
2.75/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle to glass. Copper-orange color. Initially I got zero aromas, but opened up a bit after warming, smelled like fruity hops. Tasted pretty much like a run of the mill American pale ale. I didn't get the tangy or mineral of the English ESBs that i like, and what tastes like American hops just sort of made me question why they call this an ESB.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recommended to me by a coworker as one of the best beers he has ever had.

A - Yellow with a hint of orange.
S - slight malt but mostly hops
T - For an ESB (extra special bitter) or however they abbreviate it it really is smooth. Hops and malt go hand and hand together to make a tasty brew.
M - Light but also refreshing. It goes down like a regular ale but at almost 6% its awesome.
D - I would easily crush a six pack if I could find it cheap but around here at 11.99 a six pack I may be a bit weary. PA really need to get cheaper beer.

Overall better than I expect. This would be an everyday ale for me if I had it locally but for now I must wait for PA to ease the regulation.

Photo of whtguitarguy
2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I am not a fan of ESB's really. But this one made me a little more forgiving. Pours on the darker end of yellow with a lot of caramel hop aroma. Taste is only slightly bitter with a bit of hoppiness and maltiness. Unfortunately it was a little bit skunky, but still not all that bad. I would drink it again.

Photo of Kylito87
3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another Party Leftover WOOHOO!

Appearance- A hazy golden orangeish hue with a puffy white head. Beautiful lacing

Smell- some malt and earthy hops mostly there isn't much in the way of aroma here. In some cases mild aroma is better than something that is way to overpowering on the nose.

taste- Pretty malty and hoppy. It isn't as bitter as I thought it would be. It has some sweet caramel notes as well. I like that the hops take center stage in this one.

Mouthfeel- It is a little sticky but not to the point where it bothers me. It is a very smooth and easy to drink beer. It is a tad watery for my taste but it is still pretty good

Overall- I am glad I finally got to try this one. I am pleased overall. It is a pretty decent beer but I don't see how it is considered and ESB I was expecting a beer that used hops with very high alpha acid content which would in turn make the drinker have to take their time with this beer. It is not nearly as bitter as I would have expected but it is still a pretty decent beer all things considered and a great session beer.

Photo of genek
3.12/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked up a 12er of this guy for my buddy to try an ESB. served around 50 degrees in a pint.

Pours easy with a large head, settled down to about 2 fingers. Head was a solid white with fairly large bubbles while the beer is an orangy coppery color thats completely transparent. Very little action in the glass. Zero lacing and the head receded within seconds.

Tough to pick up any smells here, maybe the lightest bit of malt? Zero floral or anything else I can discern.

Tiniest bit of hoppiness, and some smooth almost caramely aspect at the end. very nice bitterness towards the middle and end, its pronounced but not overpowering. Personally think it could use a bit more, but I also love the ultra hopped beers so. I get a bit of maltiness at the end to which is great, fun to end on a sweet note.

This beers got a great feel. It slides down smooth, and its got a sticky factor in it that hangs around very briefly, like seconds after you've swallowed. Could use some playfulness maybe? But as an ESB it knows its job.

If this beer wasn't 5.8 percent I could be drinking it all night, goes down smooth and other than the slight stickyness at the corners of your mouth its fantastic.

This beer is a great one to pull out when your watchin the game with some buddies and a couple slices of pizza, I wasn't dazzled, but for sure will be buying this one again.

Photo of Frosty80
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours a light golden straw. sits a clear, burnished copper

Smell: hop aroma is very low, perhaps too low. caramelly, slightly grainy malt with some esters and a hint of diacetyl

Taste: very low hop flavor with a rich, grainy malt character. no esters. hint of diacetyl. finish is medium dry with a tiny bitterness that doesnt linger too long. a little DMS in there?

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium body with moderate carbonation

Notes: definitely tastes like a "cheap" version of the better examples. still not bad for someone looking for a strong english style pale.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: a slightly hazy orange-gold hue with one finger of ivory head. An attractive lace is left as I drink the glass.

Smell: aroma is quite sweet with some nice earthy hops present.

Taste: somewhat sweet caramel malt backbone with hops sitting atop: somewhat earthy, somewhat floral. Quite well balanced.

Mouthfeel: medium body, not a whole lot of carbonation. Pretty run-of-the-mill, though not bad.

Drinkability: a pretty solid session beer. I could definitely quaff a few of these, especially during a meal.

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