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Redhook ESB | Redhook Ale Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
78
okay
855 Reviews
THE BROS
73
okay
Read the review
BEER STATS
Reviews:
855
Ratings:
2,042
Avg:
3.42
pDev:
21.93%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
252
For Trade:
1
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-30-2001

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Reviews: 855 | Ratings: 2,042
Photo of Premo88
2.31/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into nonic

L: gold-amber ... 1/2-inch head off a hard pour, white foam, little stick or lace; brew is clear with just a bit of haziness to it, still easy to see through

S: corn, medicine, sour grain

T: corn, grain, sour grain; toasted barley, some bitterness that often feels more like medicine than hops

F: solid, very drinkable

O: major dissapointment ... there's nothing English nor ESB about this brew; it tastes like a corn tortilla chip dipped in Nyquil ... as macro-brew tasting as any "craft" beer I've tried.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This brew pours a golden color, almost completely clear with a small white fluffy head and strong carbonation; moderate lacing.

The smell is musty, sweetbreads, sweet malts, and a little piney. Light fruits and maybe nuts.

If the taste followed the nose it would be great but sadly it does not. The taste is musty and a little sweet with mild hop bitterness on the back end. There is a slightly oily, piney and musty aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is chewy but oily on the back end as some hop oils are left on the tongue after swallowing.

Overall, this is not a bad beer, just not a great one. If the taste followed the nose more it would be better. It is kind of plain, but sessionable. I could drink several of these on a hot summer day. I don't hate it but I don't love it.

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Photo of samtrillo
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours like an IPA. Give it some head and it'll be just like you're at a bar.

S - Smells like a liquid forest.

T - Malty sweetness with some hops. At first you think the hops will be the predominant taste, but the brown sweetness takes over sip after sip. Good for what it is, though.

M - Goes down smoothly. A bit much on the caramel for me.

O - A quality ESB. If you are enticed by IPAs but don't want as much bitterness, start here! Won't be disappointed.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.46/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampling right now on 1/6/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in mu beer cooler and poured into a pilsner glass.

Pours a nice amber in color with a very thin white head. Some lacing is seen with each sip. Lots of bubbles streaming up from the bottle of the glass. The aroma is of grains with a light fruity aroma as well. The taste is actually mild and not bitter as I was totally expecting for this one. Very surprised for sure. No bitter or harsh finish as I thought when first opened. Goes down pretty easy. Tastes like a good ale.

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Photo of DrJay
2.92/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, light amber with a fine beige cap. Decent head retention. Aromas of grain, fruity and earthy hops, biscuit malt, mild overall. Medium to low bitterness, balanced to the sweet side, a bit of fruity, spicy hop character, mineral finish with a hint of lemon. Slightly coarse. Light bodied, average carbonation. Pretty average overall.

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Photo of a0lbudman
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-hazy amber color with an off white head that leaves a great lace on the glass
S-hops is high, but as the head fades the malt aroma takes over with hints of caramel
T-caramel malt sweetness that gives you a good hop bitterness in the aftertaste, but the malt takes back over in the finish
M-medium body and low carbonation
O-this is a very drinkable beer. Good beer

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Photo of mattLummus
3.14/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This one is okay, but not great. Deep head but lacks much of an aroma. If anything its a little nutty. Decent carbonation but light body. Taste is rather bland actually without any noticeable finish. Could definitely choose a better beer by Red Hook.

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Photo of tippydog666
4.99/5  rDev +45.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm new to Beer Advocate since I just turned 21. I live in woodinville,wa where Redhook has a big brewery so I've been waiting to legally try them out for a long time. I really like the EBS By Redhook. Nice beer to sip and relax, I buy them in pints and will go through the pint in about 35 to 40 mins. It has a warm bitter taste with just the right amount of boldness. A very smooth beer but not creamy. I highly recommend this beer. Only $2.69 for a pint of good beer, it's pretty much a steal!

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Photo of TheBeerDog
4.2/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Just polished off my first six-pack of this beer over the past week. I'm very surprised by the lukewarm ratings and reviews. I think it's an excellent beer, well balanced, and very enjoyable. In fact, it inspired me to attempt to homebrew a clone of this beer. If it comes out anywhere near as good as this beer, then I will be a very camper in 4-5 weeks from now.

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Photo of ssteakley
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I was pleased with the first taste and a bit surprised. This is a beer you car take to the party And share and everyone will be glad you did. This is a well rounded beer for all those weekend occasions, a tailgate, or even a baby shower where the guys are invited.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.31/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle from the variety pack – Dated Mar. 5, 2013
*notes taken 06/08/13

A: Dark caramel color body sits mostly clear in the glass. Fizzy head of thick taupe foam is quite active only holding form for a minute or so. Some slippery remnants of lace with low cling.

S: Smells of bready malts with a bit of stone fruit pronounced esters coming through. There is a light herbal hop note and a real mineral like quality to the aroma. Aroma seems pretty fair for the style.

T: Tastes offers a nice foundation of bready malts with some understated caramel sweetness and hints of apple or pear like fruity yeast esters. There is a distinct mineral water flavor with a dash of herbals and pine mixed in. Moderate to low levels of bitterness as to be expected with alcohol completely masked. Clean finish. Nothing particularly wrong here but a little pedestrian for me.

M: Lightly on the thin side with a moderately filling body. Soft creaminess provided by the carbonation. Low to moderate bitterness. Touch watery on the finish.

D: A decent ESB and nice job of staying true to the style. Nothing particularly flawed however nothing very stand out either.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.25/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Bright amber/gold; medium frothy head, long lasting, effervescent

Aroma: malty; bready; grassy; light citrus

Taste: Juicy, creamy malt on start that flows to hoppy citrus in the mid; finishes slightly dry; smooth and refreshing, but not complex; drinkable, though

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of Kooz
3.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very light orange color with little head leaving no lacing.

Smells hoppy right up front, then fades to a mellow sweetness. Appetizing!

Bitter and sweet at the same time. This beer has a slight bite to it, but finishes sweet, and there's a sweetness throughout.

Decent mouthfeel. RedHook has come a long way, but it's not quite up to BBC or Dogfish. This beer has some body, and its crispness is nice, but something isn't clicking here.

This is a nice beer, I'm happy I had it, I'd have it again, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something to cap off a long day.

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Photo of StevenStevens
3/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

My wife surprised me tonight by bringing me a "new ESB" for me to try.
I opened it almost immediately and it bored a golden yellow. I could tell, from lack of head, that it was very carbonated. The smell was very woody and a bit skunky.

I was surprised by the taste, as it wasn't looking good, from the look and smell. It drank well enough for an ESB.

I think the best review came from my wife, who said, "It's a beer." I agree. The Reddhook ESB is a beer. Not a particularly an over-the-top beer but it's drinkable. I'm just not rushing to the store to purchase another one anytime soon.

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Photo of tigg924
3.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark gold in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, toffee, woodsy

Taste: meadow, grain, toffee, light lemon and citrus hops

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, nice combo of bitter and sweet

Overall: Nice, complex, and malty with enough hops to add some balance. A solid, if not spectacular beer that is better than most of the rest of what I have had from Redhook. I could do a couple on a hot day but am in no rush to get it again.

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Photo of Why-P-A
3.31/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautiful, red amber color, this is one of the highlights of this beer.

S: Minimal aroma, not much detectable in the way of either hops of malt.

T: The flavor has much more going on that the nose suggests. Very good bready malt body matches the color of the beer. Hops are mild and in the background but their addition help to make this a well rounded beer.

M: Very smooth and drinkable, carbonation in the bottle is usually dialed as it should be for a large brewery like Redhook.

O: It seems like this beer has changed slightly over the years but still is one of the industry standards in the category due to it's lovely color, solid malt body, and subtle bitter finish. Redhook ESB is an easy drinking session beer prefect for any activity or season.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.54/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

One of the last from my foray into the Knickerbocker Hotel's cooler for which I will forever be ashamed. Don't do it to yourself!

From the bottle: "Original Ale"; "Liquid goodness since 1982."

My pour created a finger of bubbly, tawny head with decent retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep amber. The nose emanated a definite malty sweetness with an underlying pine-like hoppiness and it occurred to me that this could be fun. Mouthfeel was medium and the malt and the hops seemed to be having a wrestling match on my tongue to see which would emerge dominant. I am going to declare it a pleasant draw. I could not discern between one or the other, especially on the finish. I would totally enjoy this if they put it in a CAN. I liked it from the bottle, but I would be hard-pressed to choose it for away from home in this format.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a light amber color. A foamy white head recedes to a wisp with light white rings of lacing on the glass. The aroma is subdued, but toasty grains and a faint tea-like hop presence emerge. The beer tastes of toasted grains, biscuits, and caramel malt sweetness up front. Some floral and citrusy hops bring in balance on the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to light. Overall, this isn't world class, but it's balanced and complex enough to not regret a 6 pack.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tawny pale body with creamy white foam that settles to film that laces.
Buttery toffee with tea leaf and some orange rind on the nose.
White fruit scone, a big apricot jam hit and orange and cedar hops.
Spicy finish and drying linger.
Light to medium, slight chew, round.

Biggest surprise about this is it does a fair job of reproducing the taste of Maris Otter. The hops hit is very EKG, too. But in the end it's too thin, veers form too sweet to too spicy as it goes cold to warm (extremes, rather than balance) and just doesn't hit the nuance of an English ale.

I could see where it hung around since the 80s, when there was nothing else like it (fresh, anyway) but this isn't anything more than average - as an amber or a special bitter.

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Photo of jaycle
3.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Honey colored with a slight haze. A weak head with little retention and large bubbles.

S:oranges

T: fruit and floral, wheat finish. Very mellow. and Balanced

M: medium carbonation, thin feeling, dry finish

O: Good, but average. This was my first ESB, and from what I read, it is to be expected from this style. I enjoyed it, but there are just so many other good beers.

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Photo of GratefulEdd
3.19/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a bright amber color light enough to see all the carbonation to come flowing up. One finger of wheat-colored head shows up and sticks around for the party.

Smell is very middle-of-the-road, walking the line between a piney hop and light malt roast. Nothing too over-powering but where it needs to be for this style.

Taste goes down as smooth as you would wish for a session-able ESB. A little biscuit-y on the tongue to start with, but a mellow finish that begs for another sip.

Mouthfeel goes along with the taste and smell. Very balanced, easy to drink down. I thought the carbonation would be a little too much for an ESB on the pour, but it mellowed out in the glass.

Overall this beer provides a good session beer. It doesn't overwhelm any of the senses but gives you enough to think over while the glasses are going down.

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Photo of JesseMurdock
3.79/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of DerAtomsmasher
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of atr2605
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
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

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Photo of fstorey
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 855 ratings.