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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,825 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,825
Reviews: 824
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.66%
Wants: 19
Gots: 130 | 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:
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: 1,825 | Reviews: 824 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pumarocks
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I recently picked up this beer at a local Target of all places. It has a wonderful amber color. The head is great and hung around for a very long time. I dont know why they call this ESB. There is little to no bitterness. It has a malty flavor and a decent mouthfeel. I drank this beer with some mild cheddar i picked up from the kroger deli. What a great combo! The cheese really brings out the flavor in the beer. This could be the gateway ESB, I now want to try others.

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

A crystal clear, rust hued body with a solid finger of wet, cream colored head and an already nice lace trail. The clarity does reveal a mass of carbonation bubbles travelling headward. Nose is doughy and malty with a little bit of hop balance but nothing too impressive.

A swig reveals my worst fears founded about the carbonation, with it too active up front particularly. The aftertaste is marred by a metallic tint. Otherwise, you have a par for the course ESB with a strong malt backbone, moderate hopping, and a nice, smooth texture. Drinkable but far from essential.

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

On tap at the Eagle Street Grill and Pub in St. Paul.
Served in standard pint glass, clear golden / reddish color with a white head that reduces to a thin cap, this strings of lace. Slightly fruity aroma with lots of citrus hops. A bit of caramel also present. A very creamy and smooth flavor. Malt sweetness combined with hop bitterness. Grapefruit in the taste, with sharp bite in the finish. Very nice sessional ESB.

Photo of muffguy4beer
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear dark amber in color with decent white head.

Smell: Malt right off the go then come a little hops. Nothing too potent but pleasant none the less.

Taste: A fairly balanced ESB. Starts off a little sweet then a nice mild bitterness fills the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, creamy and smooth.

Drinkability: Not the best ESB I have sampled but a nice attempt. I would definitely order this one in a bar/restaurant and occasionally pick up a sixer from the package store. A good entry beer into the style but it is a fairly easy style to enjoy with a short learning curve so don't dwell on this offering too long. If you are going to dwell on an ESB I suggest fuller's.

Photo of beerphan
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle -> goblet
bottled on : 01 24 07

Pours a clear coppered amber with a small thick white blanket of a head. The head fades quickly to scattered soap suds, but leaves behind some nice lacing. Carbonation appears low.

Nose: Malty nose, some bread, caramel, of something that smells of oxidation

Week flavor, some sweetness from pale malts, but very little in hop flavor, or bitterness for that matter. Lightly bittered on the finish but like the rest of this brew, pretty weak.

Mouth is bigger than expected but end slightly metallic.

I got a free sample from an AB rep friend, so i'm pretty happy i didn't spend any ching on this brew.

Photo of WAP
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light copper color with a thin, quickly dissipating head. The smell was reminiscent of stale bread with some faint fruit odors as well. The taste is a defined improvement on the smell -- sweet, light fruit malts with a bit of an earthy hop backing. Not spectacular in any way, but a well-flavored, balanced brew nonetheless. The mouthfeel is smooth with nice, fine carbonation. This is actually quite drinkable. I was pleasantly surprised -- the first time I tried this beer I did not like it all, but I find it pretty tasty now.

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

pours orange amber color with a large egg shell colored head that fades to a covering on the beer and moderate lacing. very slight buttery aroma with some toasted malt and some caramel present. sweet malty caramel just covering the hop finish. mouthfeel is smooth and balanced with good carbonation. maybe not the best but a good session beer.

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

Poured a light amber with a thin diminishing head. The aroma was of weak amber malts with a slight hop backbone. The taste was decently balanced, just not that far above average. The beer is a good textbook example of the style, it's just not anything spectacular. It is enjoyable for the price if your in a pinch or if the place your at doesn't have anything better.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a clear light copper colored hue with a generous head. Lacing is minimal to medium throughout tasting. Smell is of weak hops (citrusy) with an overpowering scent of butter/vanilla that comes from the malt. Taste is quite smooth with a slight hop bite. Malt seems to be most present with this ESB. Tastes of vanilla/caramel is present as well. Carbonation is quite powerful which seems to take away from the beer. Aftertaste is a bit unpleasant as well. I normally enjoy ESB's, but Red Hook is definitely lacking on this one.

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

From a bottle purchased at the local Safeway in Eureka, this poured an attractive light copper color with a nice white head that faded fairly quickly and left decent lacing. Nose is mostly hops with some citrus. Mouthfeel clean and crisp, and favor is malts and a nice bitter hops. Finish is just about right for a bitter with just the correct amount of bite. This is a great middle of the road beer that should please people who like brews to be uncomplicated.

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

Poured pale amber with an inch of grainy white listless head. Aroma is mild, with a little hops and malt. Taste is also pretty mild. I would call this a light pale ale, not an ESB. It's not bad -- but it's not great either. A nice refreshing and easy to drink beer. But it's a mild pale ale. For a taste of sublime ESB, try Fuller's.

Photo of JDK
4.33/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice amber color with a 1 finger head.
Some lacing on the glass that clung to the side for a short while
Smells nicely of hops, slightly sweet with mild citrus
Some carbonation that lingers on the tongue
Very nice taste that lingers for a few moments.
Could easily drink a few of these in one setting

Photo of ccrida
2.53/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass, it is a bright copper with a small off-white head that quickly dissipated, leaving very little lace. The aroma is slight, a bit of toasted malt. The taste is similar, pretty one dimensional with the toasted malt, although some hop bitterness and lots of minerals on the finish, leaving an almost lagerish aftertaste, and mouthfeel as well. There was nothing about this beer that would make me want to drink another, although it wasn't particularly bad, just not that good.

Photo of nairb80
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured bottle into stien. The color was a nice copper tone that looked very tasty. There was about one finger width of head the disappeared in about 45-60 sec. The smell was nice and inticed my tase buds! The first sip went down smooth. I recommend and would buy again.

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

12 oz. brown bottle into Imperial pint glass.

A: slightly cloudy red-gold with a dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a bit of lace.

S: A little heavy on the hops. Not overpowering, but a distinct note of American hops that's stronger than the malt.

T/M: This one tastes more like an American pale ale than a British style. I really like it, but I think the American hops take away from the balance that is the key to the ESB style. Mouthfeel is refreshing.

D: I could drink this all day.

Photo of goochpunch
2.38/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours out a tangerine tinted honey color with a 1/4" head that is fed by a good amount of carbonation within the body of the beer. Stringy lacing. Nose is extremely toasty with a kick of citrus and herbs. A little medicinal. Flavor starts off with a metallic twang mixed with toasted malt and sickly sweetness. Hops don't offer so much in the area of flavors aside from a muddy bitterness. Ends medicinal and cloying. Mouthfeel is sticky and prickly all at once. I'll finish this, but I won't be buying it again.

Photo of mnj21655
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear copper color with a finger of off-white head and no lacing to be seen. Nice sweet malty aroma, faitly simple and doesn't quite indicate what is to come in the taste. Taste is initially of caramel malts, with a hint of spices. Bittering slightly piney hops quickly make their presence felt. Good mouthfeel, nice medium body and a good amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good. A relatively simple ESB but easy to drink.

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

Pours to a color of honey with decent carbonation. One solid inch of head is a even tan color that leaves a slight lace. Nose is soft and subtle but a nice mix of hops and nuttiness. Slightly bitter as it first touches the tongue but mellows quickly as the palate develops. Even yeilds a bit of soft sweetness. This is a testament to how tastes do change, I can remember not liking this one many years ago before I was an advocate. Mellow mineral feel on the mouth. Not hugely complex but easy to drink.

Photo of ghostmech007
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler

Clear amber coloring with white head that goes to a small lace.

Very nice nose to it. Loads of hops and fruity sniffs. A nice caramel wiff as well.

Super creamy and smooth on the palate but not what I was expecting after the smell. Almost a full bodied experience with a sweet and fruity punch. Hops are there in full force. Fruits really bite getting into the beer and finished with a stripped down flavor. Very dry finish with lots of malts.

Rather potent for the sytle of beer but the after taste is very dry to just make you drink more. You clever brewers!!

Photo of BeerSox
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into mug.

Super clear amber hue with a thin head. A pillowy cap is eventually formed.

Husky malt base along with some estery fruit and sharp piney hops.

Dusty grains along with balancing hops. Not the most bitter beer, but that's not what this style is about (even though bitter is in the name of the style). Thin, with some sweet candy like characteristics. The finish is clean with some of the citrusy hops hanging around.

Some of the flavor is missing in this one because of a filtering process. Still, it's a decent ESB, and one worth trying.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this pint on-tap at Malones Restraunt in Old Boston (Lexington Virginia). It poured a pretty, very light brown color. There was about one and a half fingers of head that produced very thin lacing. The retention wa also fast. The smell was very bitter and had a great hoppy blend. The taste was also bitter but not as well blended as the smell. A solid esb.

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

A: Translucent light amber with some short-lived white head. Lively bubbles.

S: Mild sweet malt and low hop profile. You get a whiff of citrus, but it's mild, subdued.

T/M: Nice plain malt backbone, bit of bitterness, but ESB is a style, not a descriptor. If you want big bitterness, look elsewhere. This is a pretty decent, malty, lightly hopped ale. Mostly sweet and fruity, tiny bit of citric bitterness at the finish. Mouthfeel is crisp, and carbonation is evident but not too fizzy.

D: Yes, and I think that's the whole point. This isn't a sipping beer. It's easy to drink, though not unique enough where I'd ever be in the mood for this (and only this) beer. Still, it's widely available, and there have been more than a few times when I've found myself in a smalltown hotel where the only gas station open late at night had nothing good in the cooler except this. Is often the best thing on tap at restaurants. A good, crisp, uncomplicated ale.

Photo of CpnYates
4.43/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is about the best beer offered on average in a 20 mile radius of my house, so its one i find in my refig. pretty often.

While watching the O State vs. Michigan game, I decided to crack open what has become one of my favorite "everyday" beers.
This is a light, refreshing beer that is everybit as appropriate in the middle of summer or the dead of winter.Or anytime in between.

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

Poured 2 glasses of this copper colored ale and both displayed about 1 3/4 fingers of head. They also lasted in excess of 2 minutes. Good lacing effect also as the foam and residue just coated the glass.

Did not get the smell I was expecting from caramel and hops but was satisfied.

Taste slightly better than smell with a more pronounced bittering due to hops.

About the same feeling in the mouth. Moderate lasting taste lingered for a short period of time.

Marriage of all components worked quite well giving this standard a good drinkability.

Photo of guinnessfan
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into Das Festhaus pint glass.

A: Dark orange color with big fluffy ivory head. Good retention and nice sticky lacing.

S: Slight malt with a prominent hoppiness.

T: Hops, not very powerful though. Somewhat bitter, as expected.

M: Slightly thin with medium carbonation.

D: Not great, but not bad. A solid choice if pressed for time.

Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,825 ratings.