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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 Monkeyknife


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

Poured from a bottle an orange-red color with a thick white head with moderate lacing.

Aroma is a combination of some spicy hoppiness combined with some sweet malts.

Taste has a malty flavor over the top of hops at the finish.

Mouthfeel is light with an oily slickness and a moderate carbonation.

This is an easy-to-drink ESB from Redhook.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 04:51:32 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of kjloewe


4.43/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Redhook ESB Is THE TASTE OF SEATTLE, WA ! reminds me of home. It's in tough competition with Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. At one time, Redhook ESB was voted the best drink on the Washington Ferry System along with a Maple bar doughnut on a Friday afternoon ferry ride ! Wonderfull..
The Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, WA is across the street from the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and the Columbia Crest Winery..A WONDERFUL place to RELAX !!!

Serving type: nitro-tap

12-22-2007 03:15:36 | More by kjloewe
Photo of aquaderek


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

Being originally a Seattleite, I came of age drinking redhook when it was one of the first breakthrough micro brew which brought craft brewing to the mainstream. I digress, poured into a tasting glass from the bottle. A reddish gold color with a head which dissipates to a lace quickly. Hoppiness is the first thing that grabs me followed by sweet maltiness. The taste follows the nose, except the malty characteristics are slightly more pronounced. Good beer, I don't know if it has changed over the years, definitely like it on tap better and I like the look of the original bottle much better.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2007 03:11:09 | More by aquaderek
Photo of Biscuit033


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

A: Clear, light golden-orange with one finger head that dissapates quickly.

S: Heavy nots of malts and bread but also very noticable pine and copper.

T: Sweet malts, bready, and just a touch of hop bitterness.Very slight perceptable fruitiness.

M: Carbination pop the tongue and lingers with the metallic hop bitterness.

D: Easy to drink but much more drinkable beers in the style especially considering the ABV.

I would have liked a bit more fruitiness to balance the wonderful maltiness of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2007 21:38:44 | More by Biscuit033
Photo of FacistCannonBall


3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single bottle in the discount basket at my local store. Poured into a pint glass. Maybe it was because I paired it with my wife's amazing spaghetti and meatballs, or because I compared it to a bottle of Full Sail ale that did nothing for me, but I really liked this beer. I don't mean loved but liked... a lot. The hops were nicely present on the nose and well balanced with the nice malt flavor and decent carbonation. I didn't sit and contemplate the beer with a pen and notebook at hand; I drank it with my pasta dinner and enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 18:30:46 | More by FacistCannonBall
Photo of coasterfreak75

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour is light copper/red with a two finger head that quickly dissapated to a thin white ring around the top of the beer, left nice lacing on the glass. Medium hop spice in the nose, more like an American IPA than an ESB to me. The drink starts with a light sweetness hops come in mid mouth the finish is a lingering hop oil to clean. All and all a quite refreshing and tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 23:41:03 | More by coasterfreak75
Photo of meechum


3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Taco-Mac..

A - Poured a nice amber to caramel color into a pint tumbler with a nice head that fell slowly leaving a decent lace down the glass

S - Mostly a bready/biscuity malt flavor with a nice herbal hop balance

T - Much like the smell, this starts off with a nice little bitter bite moving into a much stronger malt statement and then finishing off with a balanced hop finish

M - A little on the slick side but with nice carbonation..overall pretty good

D - A little high on the ABV side for me to want to session..but certainly wouldn't mind quaffing more than one pint of this in an evening at all..good stuff

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2007 03:25:36 | More by meechum
Photo of Lupe

New York

3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear copper in color, with a thin off-white head that leaves behind a decent amount of lace.

Aroma of floral and grass hops dominate, and allow toasted malt and caramel to peak through.

Hop bitterness up front leads the way for sweet caramel and toasted grain. Lingering citrus hop bitterness. Malt sweetness comes out more as it warms. Well balanced, clean and crisp.

Medium in body, and smooth with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink.

A nice beer to have around. Lacking complexity but solid.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2007 19:59:19 | More by Lupe
Photo of dnichols


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

I sampled a 12 ounce draw served in a plastic cup at a WSU football game pre-party in Pullman, WA.

A: I poured a cloudy golden amber with an orange hue with an off-white moderate head that receded to a slender cover.

S: It was heavily yeast driven giving off an aroma reminiscent of a bread dough while it is rising prior to baking. There was also a less pronounced aroma of grassy hops.

T: It initially gave me a burst of creamy sweet malts with a strong hop bitter backside. The sweetness of the malts became more pronounced later in the experience as the brew warmed. The bitterness did not rule the flavor being well balanced with the malts.

M: Medium body with a lingering sour bitterness that diminished the enjoyment of the brew.

D: It was a well balanced and easy to drink ESB. The low ABV and moderate bitterness make it a good session beer.

Comment: I expected a more pronounced "bitter" experience. As the beer warmed the malts dominated and the beer became less bittery and more malty. Also, it was a tad over creamy for my taste.

Serving type: on-tap

10-28-2007 15:52:57 | More by dnichols
Photo of BBM

New York

4.08/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To be honest I have no idea what the difference is between this one and the Redhook from the state of Washington, but it was in this bottle so I suppose this is the one I'll review. This beer poured a slightly cloudy orange into the pint glass. There was a fizzy white head atop the beer, and little lacing. Aroma was sweet, bready, and slightly bitter.

I have to say I was impressed at how balanced and drinkable this beer was. The sweetness of the malt was in perfect harmony and balance with hops, creating a slightly bitter finish, but one that was certainly palatable, and enjoyable. Mouthfeel was smooth, not too carbonated, and clean. This is the definition of a sessioner, and one of the better American ESBs I've had. I was impressed by this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2007 15:39:09 | More by BBM
Photo of jmalex


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

About one year ago, I had my first ESB ever - Redhook ESB. I didn't plan it this way but this is my first taste of it since.

APPEARANCE: Pours an almost clear light amber with a one-finger high almost white head. It drops to an almost full surface coating and is consistently refreshed.

SMELL: The hops outweigh the malt in the aroma, though neither is particularly strong. The malt is sweet and light, and the hops are pungent and a tad resinous.

TASTE: A nice balance is achieved in the taste with the flavors echoing what is found in the nose. The finish has a bit of residual sweetness which cuts the bitter balance somewhat.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium light bodied with a very low carbonation. It doesn't sound too great, but it's much more appropriate for style.

DRINKABILITY: The definite high point of this beer. These would be a cinch to plow through in a night, and one hardly seems enough. Very easy drinking.

Okay, it's not a bad beer at all. It seems to hit the major traits of style without any pomp and circumstance. Worth a repeat buy if you're looking for an inexpensive ESB.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2007 01:31:28 | More by jmalex
Photo of kwakwhore

North Carolina

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

Nice gold color with a small white head which doesn't hang out for very long.
some hop in the aroma.
Biscuit malt flavors mixed with some hop and a lot of diacetyl. Too buttery for an ESB. As the beer gets warmer the diacetyl seems to break down into some unpleasant flavors and alcohol becomes more prominent and not in a pleasant way.
Mouthfeel is ok, nothing to write home about.
I used to really like this beer. It was a genuine ESB at one time, but now it's become something else, kind of dumbed down with too much malt in the flavor.
I wouldn't want more than half of one of these. I had trouble making myself drink that much of it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2007 13:31:52 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of LeftyBWS


4.05/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.
A: Glowing light copper color with a nice thick off-white head. Pretty nice yet foamy lacing.
S: Crisp hoppiness to it, slight citrus but mostly kinda oily and sweet. Subtle maltness as well, sweet and subtle caramel flavors.
T: Slight fruit and hoppiness at first, more bitter towards the middle. Slightly oily and citrusy hops that are quite crisp then smooth. Finish is somewhat sweet and grassy.
M: Crisp and clean throughout. Not too drying in the finish, either.
D: Pretty darn good. Sessionable; easy to drink and satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2007 03:53:53 | More by LeftyBWS
Photo of wesleyhighley


3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer has a dry smell that is also bitter. The beer itself was sweet and hoppy with a bitter aftertaste. The aftertaste kinda grew on you after you drank it, kinda like it was chasing the beer down the throat.

I can't say I loved it but I also can't say that it was bad. I think it definitely deserves to be rated above average, but to call it good might be a bit of a stretch.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2007 21:31:09 | More by wesleyhighley
Photo of rxdrewthejew


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

This has long been one of my favorites.

A: A light reddish-brown, maybe closer to amber, and quite hazy. Bubbly two finger head with a more solid top, leaving a significant amount of lacing.

S: (I have a cold) Sweet comes out with some very mild bitterness as well. Tough to smell much, though, in my current condition.

T: Fairly bitter, hops dominate the flavor. Sweetness and malt is quite subtle.

MF: Thin and very bubbly. Little to no aftertaste. Very little warming, the alcohol is masked well.

D: Love this beer when hanging out with friends or watching sports, etc. Not nearly as complex as Fuller's ESB but a good flavor nonetheless. This is a solid, consistent beer that I could drink all night.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2007 07:13:39 | More by rxdrewthejew
Photo of armock

New York

4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came to me in a pint looked light amber with a thin head. It had a slight fruit and malty smell. I enjoyed the taste it was malty and a little bitter after taste. It has a medium carbonation that goes down pretty smooth. To me I think it had a great taste to it and could drink it for some time but it does get a little bitter.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2007 07:05:45 | More by armock
Photo of kmo1030


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

crystal orange-amber with little head.
grainy malty caramel and toffee dominate the nose. a little too grainy though. hint of citrus.
the taste is a pretty average ESB. it's got the malty caramel toffee and biscuit components and some balancing bitterness. it's fine, but it's missing some richness (for lack of a better term) that is usually found in a good ESB.
the mouth feel is fine if not a little on the thin side, with moderate carbonation.
a decent enough beer, but missing any distinction, that might bring me back to it or keep my interested. no knock on the beer, but it's just a little one demensional.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2007 00:49:11 | More by kmo1030
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

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

Pours a two-finger white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Slight hoppy nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor has some sweetness with hoppiness and the usual-for an ESB- lingering hoppy aftertaste. 12oz bottle $1.50 from Capitol Convenience Concord, NH.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2007 22:59:05 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Stimack

New York

3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew was included in the 12 mix pack from Redhook. The brew pours to a light brown color with a fair sized tan head. Seems to have pretty good retention and left a little lacing on the glass. The aroma seems to be dominated by malt, which lead to a caramel scent while also having a less pronounced hop smell. The taste is pretty good; malt flavors dominate with some fruit highlights. Fair hop presence, which gives it a spice like feel along with some pine like flavor. Over all this is a ok brew, not the highlight of the offerings but and all around good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2007 16:35:41 | More by Stimack
Photo of Mebuzzard


2.85/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

At a local bar with two each bud, bud light, coors light taps, this beer was the best choice of the bunch.
A reddish, straw colored body that, when first poured, produced a nice, semi white head of about 1 finger. The bartender kept pouring to force that head down the drain. Oh well.
Smells of slightly old malt, a bit sweet. Some earthy hints as well...mushroom? Served very cold, which no doubt affected this brew.
Taste is a bit sweeter than a Bud or the like. More robust, but still very light. ESB is not very appropriate for what I had. Still, it wasn't a bad beer. Easy drinking, didn't leave a bad or lingering aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2007 19:25:27 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of david131


3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A perfectly clear golden beer with some decent streams of rising carbonation. The head that sits on top is about a quarter of an inch, but it has some excellent retention and leaves some great lacing.

S- Some citrus. When I say some, I mean a very little bit. A decent malt backing.

T- Some bitter hops and some biscuity malt. Nothing special here, but this is a good drinkin' beer.

M- Kind of astringent, but at least it has a clean finish.

D- A good beer to kick back with and enjoy some pizza with your boys. Nothing special, but who cares?

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2007 00:59:23 | More by david131
Photo of reeder


2.75/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

a less than rich amber color. kind of watery looking.

malty nose with some citrus and a little bit of berries. a bit cheap smelling.

right away kind of a sourness. some malt. not much in the way of interesting flavors.

watery mouthfeel. a bit too much carbonation.

overall drinkable, but not a beer that i would choose given other non-macro options. i even let the beer warm up, as per the alstrom bros suggestion. This beer did not compare to even the standard bitters that i have tried in the UK.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2007 05:57:10 | More by reeder
Photo of jbsteiny


2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An orange amber, the initial two fingers of light orange head fad to a wispy covering. Some retention on the glass. Hop aromas are light and fruity; toasted malts; a bit of caramel. The smooth diacetyl butters up the smell, but it's too present on the tongue. A little oily, this is a very drinkable brew, but I don't think it really does credit to the style. I don't mind that it's simple, but it's not super flavorful, and I think there's too much diacetyl. Not bad, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2007 01:27:54 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of JamesS


3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wasn't sure I'd like a bitter, but a friend of mine had been telling me about them for a while, so I finally broke down and got a six-pack of Redhook ESB about a week ago. My nightly beer for most of the past few nights has been this. It has a very nice molten copper color. For a bottled beer it has good head and lacing. The smell is good, not great, but does give a pleasant hint of the hops. The taste is wonderful! It goes down smooth, has an excellent hoppy flavor without being overly bitter. If you want to try a bitter, it would be hard to find a better one that is easy to find.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2007 01:26:22 | More by JamesS
Photo of BMoney575


3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 8-25-07
Bottled on 5-1-07

Pours a clear amber, with a foamy, quickly fading white head. Sticky bubbles cling to the glass.

Smell is tame, not much there. Maybe some subtle floral hops.

Taste is plain, beery, but with a good hop/malt balance.

Mouthfeel is rather tart and astringent, becomes annoying.

Drinkability is good, but still just this side of a macro.

Overall, not something I'll probably drink again. This is the kind of beer that's good if there's absolutely nothing else.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 17:01:16 | More by BMoney575
Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,673 ratings.