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Redhook ESB - Redhook Ale Brewery

Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,569 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1569
Reviews: 815
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.37%

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: 1,569 | Reviews: 815 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JesseMurdock


3.81/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a decent beer. It is an Extra Special Bitter, so don't go into expecting the hop character and depth of flavor of an american IPA. Pours a nice copper with a nice head that quickly recedes to a finger. Smells of malt with a bit of spice and toffee. Crisp and refreshing feel to it. A tasty malt character with hops and caramel in the background. This isn't an exciting beer but for it's style, it's a good beer. A good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 22:41:12 | More by JesseMurdock
Photo of DerAtomsmasher


3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Sits damn near in the middle of the X/Y axis of beer; hops are there, providing a black tea-reminiscent bitterness & beneath that, a ghost of shortbread-y maltiness. Easy drinking and nothing especially fantastic.

Easy to forget; this is my first bottle in some years - a reminder.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 03:39:00 | More by DerAtomsmasher
Photo of atr2605

New York

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

A-pours a orange copper color with a white head with low retention and leaves a small lace
S-sweet malt, biscuit, honey, low hop aroma
T-malty and sweet with a bit of the dry biscuit in the finish
M-medium-light bodied
O-Extremely drinkable and pretty well balanced. I am not very well versed in this style but I thought it was pretty well done

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2013 00:25:30 | More by atr2605
Photo of fstorey


3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served from a 12 oz. bottle in a pint mug.
A - Nice coppery amber color with a thin off-white head that quickly dissipates. Some cloudiness, not like a wheat beer but more than I expected. Not much lacing.
S - malty aroma with caramel and a little bit of walnut. The hops is there but definitely in the background.
T - modest flavor: mild sweetness from the malt
M - good creaminess, finishing with a slight powdery feel.
I like the flavor and mouthfeel so I would definitely drink this again. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 00:15:16 | More by fstorey
Photo of scot_chale


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

A- Dark gold/orange color, crystal clear with lots of carbonation activity, 1 finger of spritzy white head that fades slowly

S- light caramel malt and diacetyl esters, a bit boozy, but pleasant.

T- it's balanced very well, it's kinda malty, kinda hoppy, and has a slight alcohol feel. it's nice beer.

M- it's spritzy, medium-light bodied, and quite dry

O- i like it- it's not amazing, but it's a fair ESB. I'd consider this a session beer for sure. I could see myself ordering it in a bar, but i don't think i'd buy a six pack.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2013 00:18:02 | More by scot_chale
Photo of BigCheese


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

A: Clear copper, almost no head, no lacing.

S: Bready english malts, some toffee.

T: Taste is similar, some brown bread malt. Tastes very "red", definitely english style. Some tea like bitterness. Pretty bland/tasteless, though not offensive.

M: Thin body, high carbonation, a bit watery. Quite sessionable.

O: Nothing too fancy, reminds me of a Smithwicks or Killians. Not bad hangout beer but nothing that will blow your mind.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 02:18:23 | More by BigCheese
Photo of jimmah120


3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz no date, generic label

Look is a clear yellow-amber, small head that fades quickly. smell is light grain/spice. taste follows with a slightly bitter, semi sweet, spiced ale. feel is unremarkable and maybe a little slimy.

the best of the winter sampler sans the ipa. after the atrocious pilsner and amber this isn't half bad. this is a better amber than their amber.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 07:01:00 | More by jimmah120
Photo of mfnmbvp


3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, bottled on date reads March 21, 2012 so it's been chillin in the bottle for a nice 9 months.

A - Pours a cloudy orange color with no head whatsoever and no lacing on the glass.

S - I get a vague musty smell and maybe a slight hint of malts. Other than that, there is really no noticeable smell.

T - Tastes very similar to the Redhook Long Hammer IPA, to me the two are almost interchangeable, this one having the lower alcohol content. The taste is probably the best thing about this brew.

M - Kind of watery, the taste doesn't really linger.

Overall, I would recommend trying the Redhook Long Hammer IPA over this beer, but they are both decent. The IPA has a higher alcohol content and maybe some more flavor to it.

Redhook Extra Special Bitter ---3.5/5

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 01:03:32 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of mckenziac

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Redhook mixed twelve pack.

Appearance: Pours a translucent, dull amber color. Has a large, fizzy head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Has a faint, toasty smell backed by some caramel malts.

Taste: Has some mild, spicy hoppiness up front. Finishes sweet with caramel and toasty malts.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with an expressive carbonation.

Overall: A pretty unoffensive ESB. Definitely drinkable, something I could see myself drinking several of without really a thought. Nothing great, but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2012 01:35:34 | More by mckenziac
Photo of cyclonece09


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

Poured from a 12 oz glass into a snifter. Pours a dark straw color with a slight red tint with a small white head that leaves a little lacing in the glass. Smells of fruit and not much else. Tastes of grain mainly, not much bitterness at all, slight fruit flavor. Carbonation is fine for its light body and finish is smooth. Overall, a very average beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2012 02:37:21 | More by cyclonece09
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

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

A - Pours a clear light copper colour, thin layer of head with little retention or lacing.

S - Scent is quite mild, offering up only hints of caramel and some metallic leafy greens.

T - Thankfully the flavour offers up a bit more than the scent with a solid dose of musty caramel and leafy green hops. A sour citrus bitterness lingers alongside some toffee notes.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and touch of dryness.

O - Overall a tasty ESB, but a tad too mild for my liking. Much like their IPA offering, I feel as though they've held back a bit, making this mediocre. The flavour profile is there, it just needs a bit more 'oomph'.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2012 21:37:20 | More by andrenaline
Photo of N3rdM3t4l


3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown bomber into standard pint. Served cold.

A: half a finger of white head fell into splotchy cap but has a decent looking,I
ring around the outside. Very clear amber color with little bubbles rising to the top all over. Nothing amazing about this beers looks but for a pale ale it looks right.

S: caramel and sweet pale malt up front. A little bit of hops balances the aroma. Smells like a pretty good pale too.

T: I am not really a pale ale fan, simple beers are grest but I like something with a hearty specialty grain bill. Well here it goes. mmmm, opens with good malt flavor, transitions to a slightly sweet note I bet its the caramel malt, and finishes with a pleasant hop flavor. Not agressivly bitter like its american cousins but just enough to say "hey there is some boiled hops in me" but a lot of hop flavor. A little grassy and a little musty. Good stuff.

M: solid medium body, minimal carbonation and very smooth. A good beer for just drinking a pint or two while hanging out.

O:like I said, not a big pale ale fan. But if this is an average esb then I would love to try a good or great esb. Could be my exposure is mostly to NWPA and APA here in Oregon but I think I like me some English Pale

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2012 03:30:27 | More by N3rdM3t4l
Photo of micromaniac129


3.6/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has a thin white head sitting on top of a hazy amber colored ale. Not very carbonated.
Aroma is bready nutty malts with a hint of hops.
Taste finds the same, mostly malts here. Toffee and sweet caramel with some ceral or grain husk at end. Hops come into play towards the lending a bit of bitterness to counter the sweet malts.
Feels plain on the palette with a slightly bitter finish.
A good solid beer but nothing special although it is a tad sweet for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 10:32:12 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of Cavanaghty


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

Served on tap while on the brewery tour at the Portsmouth location.

Appearance: Amber light copper color with good amount of white head.

Smell: Hops, maybe some sugars.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Light to medium bodied and smooth. Mild bittersweet gives way to a slight kick of just bitter at the end.

Overall: Drinkable brew, good for a year round beer that goes well with many foods. I always enjoy this one, but have had better.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2012 20:17:14 | More by Cavanaghty
Photo of vkv822


2.98/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle : pint

Pours a clear, brown-orange with a fizzy, quickly dissolving head of off-white. Leaves no head at all.

A bit subdued, but some toasty malt, with light toffee notes in both the nose and palate.

Medium body, bubbly, slightly fizzy carbonation.

A decent ESB, basic flavor notes that are expected. An average beer all around, besides the disappointing lack of any head retention.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2012 08:59:30 | More by vkv822
Photo of CraftBeerTastic


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

Ba Review #204
Served On: 07/27/2012
Glassware: Dogfish Head Chalice
Labeled ABV: 5.8%
Date/ Code: 01/24/2012

Found this at Dewey Beach Liquors while visiting Coastal Delaware.

Look: Had a clear lighter copper color. The head was a patchy coating of foam. Carbonation bubbles were plentiful.

Smell: Light caramel, some spicy funk, clean grassy hops.

Taste: First was a light grainy caramel note. Then a quick bitterness. Then some faint roasted notes in the finish. That was about it.

This was a mediocre beer. I would probably compare this one to any of the quasi-craft brews out there. Like anything from Dundee or Stegmaier.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 18:46:34 | More by CraftBeerTastic
Photo of IllNate

British Columbia (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear gold/amber with froathy white head, good retention. Bready malt and a hint of caramel, hops a subdued, almost hidden, earthy and citrus. Clean tasting, up front light bready malt with a hint of something darker. Hops take a backseat, but are earthy in character. Mouthfeel is crisp, but thin. Doesn't have the body I was expecting. Overall, ok, nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 03:54:13 | More by IllNate
Photo of beergoot


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

A decent looking solid gold body (excellent clarity) with a decent creamy, white head. Light aroma -- a touch of malt and barely any noticeable hops. Tasting brings out a bit more of the malt character and a slightly hard-edged hop bitterness. Mouthfeel was pretty light, a bit too much carbonation (for me).

Only slightly above average, overall, in my book. Great appearance but falls flat as far as any distinctive, stand-out appeal in the taste and smell department.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2012 22:27:33 | More by beergoot
Photo of McNealc31


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

Pours a cloudy copper. Not much head at all. Nose has toasted malt and rather aggressive black pepper. The flavor is sweeter than I expected. Doesn't have a ton of flavor, but there is caramel, grassy hops, and black pepper. Very easy to drink as it's nearly finished and I am still figuring out the flavors. Finish is earthy and a bit on the dry side. A little bitterness, but not much.There might even be a hint of mustard in there.

A decent beer

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 00:18:29 | More by McNealc31
Photo of nach0king


2.38/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had an ESB for the first time (well, knowingly) quite recently and loved it. To my horror I completely forgot what brand it was. I bought this one hoping this was it. It wasn't it.

A: Meh. Copper, no head, no lacing, looked a bit flat - flat not as in lacking carbonation (I understand it's supposed to be like that) but just a bit... nothing-y. No haze, no settling, no nothing.

S: Liking it - got toffee apple and a bit of lemon butter off it.

T: Not as appealing, sadly. Some sweetness up front balanced with crisp apple, giving way to a bit of a sour - not bitter - finish. Not impressed.

M: A few tiny bubbles, other than that it's actually quite thin.

Won't be getting this one again.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2012 00:51:35 | More by nach0king
Photo of viverlee


2.95/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

STYLE: Extra Special Bitter

ABV: 5.8%

LOOK: No lacing to speak of, though the color is nice. Pumpkin, honey, butterscotch. A well-balanced look.

NOSE: Sour pineapple, cantaloupe, and peach. The sourness could be overripe dark fruit, maybe plums, but I’ll go with my gut here. It’s not bad per se.

MOUTH: Two initial reactions — hmmm and eh. It gets better, I think. There’s a distinctive and memorable flavor profile, just not one that I can wrap my tongue around. Toastier than I expected, fish oil, syrup, doughnut glaze. Yeah, you read that right.

BA Rating: 78

Hayward Abbey Rating: 74

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 03:54:58 | More by viverlee
Photo of ChrisPratz


3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice amber color with a fingers worth of head that dissipates to a thin veil of lace around the top the thinned as the beer went down.

S: Nice grainy grass wheat flavor with some sweet malt coming thru. Hint of dark fruit sweetness as well.

T: Nice floral hoppyness up from with some of that dart fruit flavor from the nose. Dates and plums mixed with a nice grassy malt and some very light citrus tones. Slight bitterness from the hops at the end but it is very very minimal.

M: Medium carbonation works well with the flavors here.

O: Nice balance to everything with some floral hoppyness to the sweetness of the malts and minimal bittering. I found this very enjoyable and would love to compare it to a tap version.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2012 00:39:25 | More by ChrisPratz
Photo of acevenom


3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours clear golden with a two-finger lenght off-white head that dissipates quickly. Plenty of bubbles can be seen rising up from the bottom of the glass, indicating abundant carbonation in this beer. I pick up sweet malts and some citrusy hops in the aroma. The flavor is very malty with some hop bitterness in the back end. It's quite bready and the citrus from the aroma comes through in the taste. The body is medium to full with abundant carbonation. The drinkability is high. Overall, this is a very good beer that hits the right notes. What it lacks is the wow factor, but it indeed worth a try if you want a malty beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2012 23:11:04 | More by acevenom
Photo of IPAguy2009


3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- that great malty hazy okto ale like look. Great head and lacing as well. It looks really good.

S- caramelly slight skunk smell

T- thick caramel malts with slight bitterness at the end.

M- thick and chewy

O- very good for that real malty brew seeker. Yum!!

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2012 02:58:49 | More by IPAguy2009
Photo of rangerred


3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark orange with barely a half finger head that quickly fades to a thin ring around the glass.

Aroma is mostly malt with some toasted grain and caramel. Just a slight hint of earthy hops.

The flavor is all malt up front with plenty of caramel and a decent amount of sweetness. Some bready grain follows along with some toasted malt but it all disappears about halfway through. There is a light bitterness but little detectable in the way of hop flavor.

Overall, this beer has is going right at the beginning but all the flavor just fades away too quickly. Otherwise it's a pretty decent brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 00:24:56 | More by rangerred
Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,569 ratings.