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Red Racer India Style Red Ale | Central City Brewers + Distillers

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BA SCORE
88
very good
55 Reviews
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Red Racer India Style Red AleRed Racer India Style Red Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Central City Brewers + Distillers
British Columbia, Canada
centralcitybrewing.com

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter)

The use of crystal malt lends to this beer’s flavour and colour profile. Packed with hops from the North West and United Kingdom this is our original take on the classic English bitter.

Added by canucklehead on 10-13-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
55
Ratings:
153
Avg:
3.96
pDev:
15.15%
 
 
Wants:
33
Gots:
26
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 153
Photo of DenisKolkin
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473 ml can served cold into an MGD glass. Purchased from the LCBO for around $3 CDN. Let's see if this red ale lives up to some of the other beers in Central City's portfolio.

Appearance - Very clear amber / red in color. Impressive finger and change of ivory head, loads of sticky lacing left behind. Plenty of carbonation and impressive retention. Great looking beer.

Smell - Some graininess initially with a wallop of hops backing. Astringent, piney and intense. Basically smells like a Red Racer beer.

Taste - Starts initially bitter and as you prepare for the hop wallop, the beer lets its foot of the gas, and everything just kind of fades away. Hops return with some grainy flavors, and a briefly metallic flavor makes itself present. Still very good, just a bit of a let down.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, a little bit oily (you can feel the hop oils in this one), expressive carbonation. Keeps the tongue singing. Body is fairly light.

Overall - Central City has created another delicious beer with generous hops, just enough graininess to keep things balanced and a wonderful aroma and feel to alongside this. Definitely worth a shot for Ontario shoppers seeing as this doesn't come along too often (can't recall seeing this in LCBO's anytime in the last 3 years).

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear, faint hazy, copper color with goods amount of activity. Slightly creamy light brown 2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with good legs. Flavors of pineapples, orange, lemon, grass, brown sugar, ginger, sweet grains, nutmeg, and herbal spices. Biscuits and bread feel, quite sugary and a little syrupy, with a dash of bitter earthy hops. Smooth and slick full body with soft crispy carbonation. Slightly dry moderate to strong finish, very hoppy with not enough malt and zest, lingering toffee, red ale spices, and tropical fruits, with grassy and leafy hops. A cross between an IPA and ESB, but feels more like a hoppy Irish ale. Very tasty flavors and good freshness. Nicely balanced and well intensified. Overall very good quality craft.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 473ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1/2" high white head that is gone within a minute or two. Nice medium brown/red colour and filtered clear

S- Not a lot here. Some malt

T- Malty. Very malty. Kind of single ended. Not a lot of body or depth. Different though

M- Dry and tart.

O- Not a great brew. I like it but it's not something I will buy again.

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with...... BBQ chicken with just a sprinkle of seasonings

Enjoy

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours deep reddish bronze with a bubbly wispy head that leaves behind big ridges and chunks of lace. Caramel, crystal malt, grapefruit and rye bread in the nose. The taste is malty with a toffee sweetness and some toastyness. Citrusy hops shine through the sturdy malt profile to provide some balance. The mouthfeel is quite full bodied , with a textured, subtle carbonation. The finish is medium bitter with lingering malt flavors.

This is a nice red ale. Complex malt profile with good hop balance. Could be a bit more bitter and less sweet though. This worth a try.

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Photo of Rukeli76
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

473ml can poured into a nonic pint.

Bright amber colour. Not much head. Plenty of lacing.

Piny hop aroma. Some sweet malt too.

Slightly more bitter than I expected. Lots of pine up front. Backed with some fruity Centennial/Cascade hop complexity. A bit more malt sweetness than the standard IPA, but it's not a malt-forward beer.

Medium body. Medium carbonation. Lingering bitterness.

This is another excellent beer from Red Racer. I can see myself picking this up a lot when I'm looking to drink something a bit lighter than my beloved Red Racer IPA -- the ISA in the summer, this in the winter. I'm a little surprised to learn that they once called this an ESB, as it's so clearly a West Coast-style North American beer.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

473 mL can from the LCBO; dated Mar 2 2016 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a vibrant, deep ruby red-copper colour, topped off with a finger of frothy, off white-coloured head. It dissipates slowly over the next five-plus minutes, depositing an uninterrupted curtain of lacing as it recedes. A messy, foamy cap and collar remain. Grainy, bready malts and caramel sweetness on the nose, with added notes of pine resin, muddled grapefruit and some leafy, floral hops.

Taste follows the nose fairly closely; reminiscent of their regular IPA, albeit much more malt-forward. Bready malts, caramel and biscuit sweetness come through at first, but as one might expect the hops take over the back end. Grapefruit, clementine, pine resin and a hint of pineapple, developing into a more floral, dank bitterness at the finish. Fruity, bittersweet aftertaste that lingers briefly. Light-medium in body, with middling carbonation levels and a smooth, somewhat slick mouthfeel.

Final Grade: 3.93, a B+. Red Racer's India Style Red Ale doesn't quite match up to their flagship IPA, but it's still a very well-made amber ale. It's my understanding that they used to call this an ESB, and I for one am glad that they re-branded it, because it has very little in common with other examples of that style - this is an American-style beer, through and through, and there's no point trying to pass it off as anything else. Worth a try if you're presented with the opportunity.

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Photo of portwood
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smell: caramel, grassy hops, tangerine.
Taste: good carbonation, caramelized sugars, grapefruit.
Finish: bittersweet, orange rind, resiny/dry finish.
(canned 03/02/16)

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt with solid citrus hops notes. Taste is also dominated by caramelized malt with some light residual sugar notes offset by some dominated citrus oriented hops notes. Boyd is light with good carbonation. Not really close to an Irish ale or and ESB considering the amount of hops in this beer but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Craft Kitchen, Vancouver.
Pale amber with solid tan cream. 4
Lots of caramel, lots of tangerine. 4
Toffee and bread crust, a speck of chocolate malt, then old school orange rind, rosin, and herb. 4
Almost medium, chewy, round. 4

More England than California - almost a new wave UK special bitter. Probably too much chocolate, too. Resiny hops more than aroma or IBUs. Pretty far from Red Rocket, either way.
But hey, plenty of hops, smooth, and well-constructed. 4

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Photo of RStansel
3.54/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big whack of grapefruit zest and candied mango on the nose, with a hint of sweet basil. The malts peek out on the mid-palate with a little sweet, toasty character that finishes resinous and dry. An IPA-lover's red ale.

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Photo of DectipiNick9564
3.27/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

Had this out of a bottle poured into a pint glass. Smelled extremely promising with the hop-forward smell, but when I tasted it, it was terrible. It started with a nice hoppy bitterness, but there was a funky flat taste behind it that made it undrinkable. I couldn't even finish it. Maybe a dud bottle, I might try again, but first impression definitely not good. It's nowhere near their Imperial IPA

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Photo of Bunman3
4/5  rDev +1%

This is a very worthwhile beer. It pours with a nice foamy head, plenty of initial carbonation that settles out nicely. The lacing and appearance at the midpoint of a glass reminds me of my first encounters with bitter in English pubs. Lots of pine and caramel in the overall flavour mix, with a nice a nice bitter finish. It is definitely more of a North American ESB (it reminds me of RedHook ESB, which is a good thing in my books.)

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Photo of MylesMac
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance:
Two finger head that quickly fades. Really nice lacing

Smell:
Earthy, floral, orange peel

Taste:
Piney hops, orange peel, some faint bready flavors

Mouthfeel:
Dry, medium light body, medium high carbonation

Overall:
Lots to offer in the smell department but couldn't get a lot of flavors other than the piney hops. Appearance was really nice and mouthfeel was decent. Would definitely drink this one again!

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Photo of Fader
4.11/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark amber, very appetizing look, slight head, decent lacing.

S - Very hoppy aroma, caramel on the nose as well.

T - Not what I was expecting, the hops are there, but are dominated the entire way by caramel and coffee flavors.

M - Very smooth, envelopes the taste regions, and leaves an appetite for more.

O - Red Racer has a taste, and they don't disappoint, it's crazy how a beer can be so similar, but be so different from the next in the lineup.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a pint glass, Red Racer ESB is quite dark ... Looks like dark orange to brownish honey with a moderate amount of off-white head. Aroma is very assertive from a hops standpoint, mixed citrus (orange, tangerine, lime) and a caramel nutty sweetness to provide some degree of balance. This is certainly a hops-forward take on the ESB style, although there is a nutty, toasted malt character as well that does not need too much effort to ascertain. Mixed nuts (walnut, hazelnut), oil seed, and brown bread underlie a decent bouquet of floral and citrus-flavored/orange breakfast drink evoking West Coast hops ... Citrus rind and some mellow pine take the lead but the malts do add a toffee character that keeps things anchored within stylistic guidelines. Body and mouth feel both comfortably in the middle. Hopped like an American pale ale but with the malts of an English ale, including some classic earthy English hop character as well. Well-crafted but clearly North American influenced. Worth tracking down.

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Photo of LampertLand
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Central City Brewing's 'Red Racer ESB' @ 5.6% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $6.50

A-pour is a nice gold from the bottle to a clear amber in the glass with a good size off white head leaving a minimal streaky lace

S-big floral & citrus , hints of pine resin

T-big bold ESB , nice start , decent bitter finish

MF-ok medium carbonation , medium body

Ov-good beer , ok ESB , will be my go to mainland 'ESB' while it's available

prost LampertLand

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Photo of beertunes
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 9oz Pilsener glass. Poured a clean, clear, medium amber color with about 1/2 inch of khaki colored head that had very good retention and light lacing.

The aroma was very good, earthy grains and nicely even malts. Some gentle hop aroma around the edges added a bit of a tang. The flavors were pretty much the same, just a lot more fully developed. The grains and malt were nicely earthy while remaining clean. The hops provided just enough zest to keep the beer interesting throughout the glass.

The medium body was crisp, clean and smooth, with a pleasantly dry finish. Drinkability was very good, bordering on excellent, I could have immediately drank a few more of these. Overall, an exceptionally well built example of the style, a style which in the hands of many North American brewers just becomes "IPA Light". A must try if you see it, and worth some effort to obtain.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep dark clear amber poured with 1 finger of creamy thick head.After a sip or 2 the head calms to a thin cap of delicate bubbles.

S: Pine resin & grapefruit rind similar to the Red Racer IPA, but balanced out with caramelized sugar & malts. the IPA has a

T: Up front with hoppy pine resin but lacking the floral notes in the RR IPA. Some hints of toffee and malts.

M: Active carbonation pricks initially and then calms down. The body feels light and a little thin. With a reasonable show of malts in both the scent and the taste I was hoping for a thicker mouth feel

O: A hop forward E.S.B.typical of the Red Racer taste. If you enjoy the Red Racer IPA this E.S.B is akin to the masculine version of the IPA, with stronger pine and deeper malts, lacking the floral scent and taste.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.27/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one from kjyost in a recent trade. Cheers!

From a 355ml can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with good retention. Head is a touch loose perhaps, but fades slowly to a nice, full wisp. Clear burnt orange in color with a few floaties and no carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Quite hoppy for the style. Citrus and orange notes, lemon, and some toffee malt aromas. A touch of butterscotch as well, but this is quite hop forward for the style. The ESB is there, but it's more of a hoppy ale than anything. Still nice, however.

TASTE: Taste follows the nose, but the malty sweetness makes a better showing here. A touch of toffee up front, but unfortunately a little empty in flavor before the swallow. The flavor picks up afterwards with more toffee, butterscotch, dark bread and soem light floral notes at teh finish. Bold and persistent aftertaste os sweet butterscotch, bread, and some floral hop bitterness.

PALATE: Lighter body and higher levels of carbonation. Light on the palate, too light really, a bit airy going down, and finishes a touch dry on the palate. Too light and carbonated for the style.

OVERALL: This was nice, but a little too hoppy for the style perhaps, especially in the nose. It's like this one wants to be an IPA but unwantingly got "ESB" stamped on it. The palate needs to be stepped up as well. Still, and enjoyable beer, but in the name of honesty, I think I'll stick with their IPA from now on. Especially if I can get their imperial IPA again. Cheers!

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Photo of jrenihan
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is a cloudy caramel/toffee colour, with tonnes of off-white head. Good lacing.

Caramel and biscuit malt is upfront in the nose, nice complemented with grassy, floral hops. Some pine, a touch of citrus.

Taste follows the nose. Biscuity, caramel malt, with pine, citrus (orange) and grassy flavours. Nice.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. A bit chewy.

Overall, another good one from Central City. Seems to be a pretty reliable set of beers.

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Photo of joefinnigan15
2.89/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: can, poured into glass. One and a half finger head. Red/orange colour, very nice. 

Smell: hops. (I assume that's what the smell is, reminds me of I'll scrapper or flying monkeys netherworld. 

Taste/Feel: a lot like lil scrapper, very bitter. Not a fan of the bitter beers, so this might be slightly biased. Creamy, more drinkable than most bitters i've had, but can't taste much flavour past the bitterness. 

Overall: Decent, not that drinkable for me. If you're not a fan of bitter, not for you. If you are, try it.

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Photo of papat444
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a mixed pack that my uncle brought for me when visiting.

Poured from a 355ml. can, canned Nov. 1, 2011 (Lot K0111).

Appearance: A brass colored body with 3 fingers of foam, a bit lopsided and with good lacing.

Smell: Biscuity, malty, hops and ripe fruit.

Taste: Only a few drops on my tongue and i taste immediately orange & grapefruit. Further tasting reveals the plush fruit mixed with some earthiness. Quite flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Gritty just a tad, solid with just the right amount of dryness & bitterness.

Overall: A well balanced ESB that exemplifies the style. One of the best of its class.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my kind of Christmas Eve! I am watching the Rams/Stillers game on TV and thanks to my CANadian trading partner, BigBry, I have a new CAN of CANadian beer to add to The CANQuest (TM), plus it marks the return of my old buddy, Red Racy! Frequent readers of my salacious reviews CAN tell you that I am unabashed in terms of my redhead fetish and the boys in Surrey, B.C., CANada seem to be catering to me. Ride on, Red Racy and happy holidays to you, doll!

From the CAN: "The use of Crystal malts lends Central City's Extra Special Bitter its flavour and colour profile. Tempered with hops from the United Kingdom, this English bitter is an appetizer on its own, or a great accompaniment for any hearty dishes. 'Cheers!"

I had an exciting Crack & Glug as I was overanxious to see Red Racy and I nearly had an overflow as the head rushed up in the glass. The tawny head was the stuff of which dreams are made - three (!)-plus fingers topped by peaks resembling the top of a meringue pie or whipped cream atop an ice cream sundae with excellent retention. Red Racy never disappoints! Color was a deep-orangish copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a welcome piney bitterness, very appropriate for a home sans tree. The lacing that began to appear was going to require a jackhammer to remove. Mouthfeel was medium and the coolness of the hops was intense at first, but nicely balanced out by the presence of a malty sweetness. The finish was quite dry, breathtaking, literally, thanks to the intensity of the hops. Oh, Red Racy, I love you! Thank you for riding by on Christmas Eve 2011 and I look forward to more run-ins next year.

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Photo of eat
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Almost clean and golden-amber in colour, finger of frothy off-white head.

Red Racer hops in an ESB? Lychee, guava, grapefruit, caramel. Smells more like their IPA than their pale ale does.

The nose has a ton of similarity to the IPA but the flavour here is different enough. The "Central City" hops are still perceptible but they switch it up a little here with some dark earthy bitterness in the foreground, overshadowing the fresh tropical fruit from the IPA. Lots of hops here to be sure but there are enough distinguishing features to know it's an ESB (lighter malt body and more prominent minerals). Fairly well-balanced with an enjoyable amount of caramel malt (including some roasted character), with the bitter finish winning out in the end.

Nice thick medium body with an active moderate carbonation.

This stuff is extremely drinkable. One of my favorite ESBs I've had. If you're looking for a lighter alternative to the IPA, pick this stuff up instead of the pale ale. I would totally buy this stuff if it were available here. ABV is pretty high for an ESB but I'd session it anyway. Really tasty stuff.

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Photo of McBastard
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark amber with a finger of head. The head mostly disappears after a few minutes, leaving good lacing throughout.

The aroma is citrus and piney hops.

The initial flavors are grapefruit and piney hops, balanced out by a slightly malty, dry finish. Pretty hoppy for an ESB though. Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Finishes with pleasant tartness and astringency. Another tasty, well crafted ale by Central City.

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Red Racer India Style Red Ale from Central City Brewers + Distillers
3.96 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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