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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,845 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,845
Reviews: 828
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.37%
Wants: 21
Gots: 155 | 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: 1,845 | Reviews: 828 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of karst
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Redhook ESB copper-colored ale's complex balance between the bitterness of the hops and the sweetness of a heavier caramel malting from blend of two-row Klages and Caramel 60 barley malts. Citrus aroma from a late addition of Willamette and U.S.-grown Tettnanger hops. This balance and the nice bitter finish help it pair well with grilled meats and many meals. Availabile in 48 states after hooking up with AB which holds 1/3 of Redhook.

Picked up a 6 pack last Christmas in W. Va.and this was the last bottle. Apparently it has a great shelf life when kept cool.

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

Redhook ESB

On tap at Applebee's. Owned by AB- thats why.

Appearance- orangy/ red with a mediocre head that doesn't hold up well.
Smell- slight fruity/ citrus hops.
Taste- light citrus hops. Watery.

Overall- a decent offering when surrounded by bud, miller, and coors. Wouldn't purchase a 6 of it but wasn't disappointed.

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

The "ESB" in this beer's names supposedly stands for Extra Special/Strong BItter, but it's neither especially strong nor especially bitter. In fact, it's kind of mild -- a pleasant, slightly fruity ale that pours out a deep reddish orange and goes down easy. Carbonation is light, and the head dissipates fast. Overall, I'd rate this beer as above-average; not one of the great ones, but pleasant and satisfying.

PS: The bottle I tasted for this review was bottled on 11-30-2004 and consumed on 2-18-2005.

Photo of Frozensoul327
2.58/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured out to a very light orange color, with a short lived white lacey head that quickly disappeared. Odors of oranges and fruit with a touch of hops. Kind of reminds me of a weak ale, even mouth feel with flavors of bitterness, malt and hops. Has a watery quality to it, that is not all that undesireable in a brew of this nature. Nothing special, but in no way a short coming. Worth a try.

Photo of clemtig76
2.85/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Born on date 12/07/04. In my opinion, Redhook ESB has really gone down hill since being aquired by AB. Very faint hop aroma that used to dominate this brew. Pours a pale amber brown. Very little hop bitterness that I remember when it was packaged in stubby brown bottles. I won't waste my time with this one again.

Photo of scubahood
4.35/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite breweries!!!.

Label says bottled on 12-27-04

Pours a great light amber color. Not a lot of head. I've had it right from the brewery and the head retention doesn't compare to that.

Smell: Classic hop aroma that isn't overpowering. Compliments the slightly sweet smell.

Taste: Starts with a malty flavor and light to medium mouthfeel. The beer ends very hoppy and the aftertaste remains bitter in a great way.

This is one of the best readily available beers that I have ever consumed. I recommend it for a great session beer that is very easy to drink. Also, it is an amazing deal for the price. A keg of ESB a day keeps the doctor away! [Well maybe not but close..] : )

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

Appearance: Beer pours a nice yellow/orange like a dark gingeale.

Smell: It has a nice clean, bitter odor. Some sugary after thoughts, but it might be influenced by the ginger ale appearance.

Taste: Smooth, mild bitter flavor. There is a special bitter in there - my friend Ben and I agree that it has a dry, metalic bitter. In a good way mind you.


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

Pours a clear pale copper, that aspires to be almost colorless. No head to speak of. Aroma is that slight metallic scent found in British Pale Ales mixed with the faintest hint of hops and a slight scent of malt.

Taste is slightly bitter, with a weak malt presence up front and a nice clean hop finish that is more akin to a pale ale than an ESB, so in this regard it comes short. It kind of tastes like Bass with more malt. Quite carbonated. Body is a bit thin and in general it's like drinking semi flat beer soda. Not bad beer soda, but soda nevertheless. It's good, but I wouldn't want to make this a session brew. Only in a pinch, and only if they didn't have Sierra, which would be impossible if they had this and not that.

Photo of twelvsies
2.5/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

There's a chance that something could have been wrong with this sixer, but the date said that it wasn't bottled too long ago, so go figure. Typical appearance, amber color, nothing particularly outstanding so I won't waste any space. Smell is pretty non-descript. A definate hop profile. Fruity, citrusy maybe, and a tad buttery or oily or something. Also a little metalic and dusty, but not in that desirable saison funkyness way if you know what I mean. That metalic smell definately comes through in the taste as well, and kind of takes away from the whole experience. Too watery for sure. Watery watery watery. I really hate to bash a beer, but this one really didn't impress me at all, and before my beeradvocate days I remember having a liking for Red Hook, but I really wouldn't want to go back to this one.

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

A really nice brew...
Clear copper, firm, tan head with great fortitude, malty/fruity scent that was slightly subdued, full flavored, not as aggresively hopped as others, which I enjoyed, very satisfying, well balanced, deserves it's popularity, I'll buy it again

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

Light orange brown color. Large head initially, but it fades fast. Sweet malty aroma which improves as the beer warms. Malty taste with a touch of caramel and honey. Decent hop presence as well. English character. The high carbonation detracts slightly from the drinkability.

Nice pale ale, but nothing too exciting.

Photo of hero27
2.96/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pale amber-orange color into the glass. I was actually impressed with the head retention because it seems to be a fairly light ESB initially.

Smell: Nothing too distinct here. A touch of citrus, a bit of grassy hops...but surprisingly faint.

Taste: Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't blown away by the taste. ESB? Call me crazy, but it reminded me more of a Pilsner or Lager than anything..wasn't very bitter either.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin..but I'll give it this..the carbonation is good, it's definitely crisp, and hell, it's even refreshing. It's lack of any complex taste or characteristics at least lends well to drinkability and mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Good drinkability because it does go down rather smooth and is a nice thirst-quencher if you reach into your fridge and happen to grab one. Drinkability is the best aspect of this brew, but it is not a "bad" beer overall..just lacking in typical ESB qualities and any real defining character. Pretty run of the mill.

Photo of Tang07
2.81/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Redhook IPA is one of my favorite beers, but for some reason Bud, Redhook's distriuting partner(note the Born/Brewed on date) doesn't have as many places carry the IPA as the ESB. The ESB is pretty ubiquitous, while the IPA is a bit harder to find.

I was in the mood for a Redhook product, while I'm not a fan of amber ales, I recall the beer being OK.

I had a few last night and they just weren't that exciting. They look great. Great amber color, a nice head develops when poured, but the smell is weak, the flavor is not what you'd expect from an ESB. It wasn't bitter at all! There was a mild flavor. Certainly nothing to get excited about.

Don't get me wrong. I'll drink the rest of the sixer, I just remember this beer completely different than what I had last night. My brewed on date was from about a month ago, so I isn't old. I'm on the east coast so maybe travel time ruined it. It just tasted a lot more boring than I recall.

You can drink lots of them because there is not much to them. I'd certainly rather drink these than a macro, but I don't think that I'll be buying it again unless it's on sale or something.

I guess I know why BA frowns upon rating from memory.

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

Very nice, rich apricot-orange color body pulses. A creamy off-white bubbly head falls quickly and leaves almost nothing behind. A thin rim of cream.

Nose is practically imperceptible, with some alcohol whiffs and pungent malts and a little cinnamon.

Taste is not too spectacular. A fizzy grape malt body and solid, nutty notes. Cinnamon. Smooth, nutty aftertaste. Refreshing and highly drinkable. Very fizzy mouthfeel, a little strange. Bitter -- but strangely bitter -- hops there, too.

I find that I prefer to drink Redhook out of the bottle. Can't explain that.

Photo of moocey
3.27/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz longneck into a 24oz pilsner glass. I just dumped it in there so I've got about 3 inches of head.

Appearance - Standard amber. 18 degrees maybe? It looks a bit too filtered, though not too shabby.

Smell - Not bursting with aroma, but what's here is pleasant and malty.

Taste - Sweet malty and biscuity up front followed up by a slighty hoppy and pleasanty bitter bite at the end. This isn't anything special, but it's tasty enough as a session beer to have around - if it cost a bit less.

Mouthfeel - Substantial enough. Not disappointed, not impressed.

Drinkability - Yes. Heck of a session beer. Not something you want to sit down and analyze, cause there's not a ton of flavor. But it's a good beer to enjoy whilst doing something else that's engaging. This might be a good transition brew to give your BMC friends.

Photo of Truh
2.44/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Went Ballard-up with this one on 8/28/2004. 16-oz pint pour at Legends Pool Hall in Portsmouth, NH.

Skein of initial head with lacing, though that disappears quickly, likely due to improper rinsing of the glassware. Amber and lilting gold to hue with some constant action, though difficult to discern in the poor lighting of the joint. Soapy, droopy malt and rancid pork rinds to bouquet – perhaps unclean lines? Challenged malt to taste with only suggestions of bitterness; however, after warming some bitter character did manage to power its way through. In the end, simply cannot recommend this as a result of its dreary all-around profile.

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

It poured a slightly burnt orange/amber in color without any head to mention. The hops were very much present, but they did not linger too long into the aftertaste. Not as bold a hoppiness as I find myself liking lately, but I was not displeased in any way. Definitely would make a good session beer. There were also hints of citrus in the taste.

Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.52/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Definitely a great backup beer... It is a nice American ESB... not extreme, but a decent example of the style IMHO. It has a nice full malty, extremely hoppy flavor that I find extremely refreshing. It is not my first choice among readily available beers, but it is a strong second and it's only drawback is that I prefer other styles of beer. That said, when I am in the mood, I am more than willing to enjoy this fine beer!

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

Color is light amber, really weak head that disappears almost immediately. Smell is hoppy, with hint of citrus, but seems fairly mediocre. Taste is pretty hopped, with a strong citrus flavor. Citrus taste might be just a tad bit too strong for me. Still, I enjoyed Redhook ESB, it isn't great just very good. I haven't had any ESBs before, but I could see this being a good introduction to the style.

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

This beer poured an amber, that wasn't very dark and you could see through it. It poured a fairly sizeable head that stayed around with some lacing left on the glass. It's aroma was similar to other esb style ales but with a slight citrus to it. The taste was a little bit of a let down as it wasn't as bold as I expected but not bad by any means. I did like the hops bite that these type of beers are known for. An altogether good beer, I could see my self sitting down and drinking a few.

Photo of pgroove
4.6/5  rDev +34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Probably the best mass-produced bitter easily found here in the states. You can get it pretty much at any supermarket or liquor store on the west coast. I guess they call themselves a micro-brewery even though they have a nation-wide distribution. A very good brew--its actually my default when I don't feel like being experimental or if I'm at the local ralph's.

For some reason it's not rated too well here and I have a few ideas on why that might be the case. It is nothing unique, that is for sure, and there are many better beers to be had. However, I strongly feel that the popularity of this beer is a huge step in the right direction for the state of beer consumption in the US. In a country where Bud and the Silver Bullet reign supreme, for a beer like this to become so popular and have such a wide distribution is really quite significant.

Photo of TagoMago
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clean, clear golden-red. Pours with decent head - lacing present.

Aroma: Strong, citrusy hop punch upfront with some citric fruitiness. There are also some diacetyl notes present, which hide behind a faint graininess.

Taste: Smooth and medium-bodied. There is a raw, bitter, upfront hop-punch. There is also an intense citrusy, almost grapefruit-like taste present. The finish is dry with some graininess

Overall: This is a little too raw and harsh on the palate for my tastes, though overall is a decent beer and is worth a try. It presents a very good example of its style, too.

Photo of kbub6f
3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

There's one inch of yellowish-white-tan, dense, pillowy head on top of the clear, amber body. A slight red-pink blush. Runny spots and bigger structures of lacing. Nose is reminiscent of grape soda (really). Fruity grapes again in the slightly metallic front. Middle is thinning, with some tangy malt. Finishes nicely nutty, hoppy, bitter. It's not bad. Nothing really special: more like a plain American micro amber.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a nice dark amber color with a persistent thick head which left plenty of lacing on the glass as I drank down the pint.

The nose seemed a bit light - some hints of hops and barley but not as thick as I would have expected. The taste on the other hand, was quite nice - all the malty, fruity complexity of an amber ale with a bit more of a hop bite at the end. I'd certainly describe this as a "dry beer with body" The feel on the tongue was nice and thick with the carbonation mixing with the sugars to give a real feeling of substance.

As far as drinkability goes, it's a very nice beer but a bit outside my style preferences... If you're an IPA drinker (or even a PA drinker) this has plenty of that nice hop crispness with the added bonus of a very nice complex malt taste with a respectable body. I'd certainly seek this beer out again but I don't think I'd ever drink more than one in a day...

Photo of bignick
3.16/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a very nice amber color with an impressive head. I was not quite as impessed with the taste. It is a malty taste, with a very mild hop taste. It does not have quite as full a body or as rich a taste as I would have expected with an ESB. Do not get me wrong, it is not a bad beer. It simply unimpressive, like many of Redhook's offerings.

Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,845 ratings.