Red Rack Ale | Woodstock Inn Brewery

98 Reviews
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Red Rack AleRed Rack Ale

Brewed by:
Woodstock Inn Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Amber in color with slight caramel sweetness. Medium hop bitterness. Malty up front with a nice hop/ malt balance.

23.3 IBU

Added by UnionMade on 07-07-2002

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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 197
Photo of fitzy84
3.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bought a bottle of this beer when I was up at a cider mill in Waterbury, Vermont. Beer pours with a clear amber appearance with a thin head around the ring of the glass. I smelled aromas of light peppers mixed with a sort of bready cranberry or dark fruit flavor. Taste was somewhat bitter thanks to a caramel mixed malt flavoring. Mouthfeel was good for this drink; the carbonation helped to make the beer easily drinkable. Overall, the drink was not bad, with the best attributes being its aromas and mouthfeel.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.33/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

LOOK: Yellow-ish Orange, clear, small head
AROMA: Slight Cranberry, White Bread
TASTE: Just like the Pemi Pale Ale….Ash or Char, with someCreamyness. Maybe it's a little Pine.
FEEL:A bit flat

Another below average beer from beer of the month.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer looks really nice. a burnt orange color with excellent head retention and nice lacing.
The smell and taste are rather toasty, with a fairly strong sour, tangy feel to it. Regardless was rather smooth
Overall not something I was hugely fond of but not bad either, would drink again but not something I would seek out either.

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Photo of smanson56
3.02/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this bottle at the Common Man in Lincoln, NH yesterday the bottle tells you nothing about the beer. I'd have never figured this to be an ESB from the color and the overall appearance of the beer. There was a smooth malt taste not much in the way of hoppiness. All in all a pretty average beer nothing I would buy again.

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Photo of scotorum
3.87/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a: Clear dark amber with an inch thick white head of small dense bubbles which receded to thin surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Mild fruit cup. Later, caramel malt dominates.

t: Caramel malt with more than a little hop balance and light fruit undertones.

m: Light to moderate.

o: A good ESB, a bit more fruit notes and overall bitterness than I would prefer but the basic malt flavor is fine and becomes more prominent as it warms.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Beer of the month club. Pours a pretty red color with small quickly receding head. Sweet fruit aroma with lots of malt and a bit of a buttery tone. Flavor is malty sweet up front, followed by buttery floral taste, and ends with some bitter hops, though these are pretty toned down. A little metallic flavor takes away from things. Easy drinking with plenty of carbonation. Ok beer, but nothing I would seek out.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.98/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a clear, slightly pale, amber-copper coloring with a steady, fast flow of carbonation throughout and a filmy, foamy, off-white head that settles into a surface coating. Nose of tangy caramel and hints of nut sweetness. Subtle roastiness on an overall subtle aroma. Flavors are roast and rich sweet forward, with nutty and caramel tang in the backbone, and not much to help balance. A bit jumbled and a bit cloying. Light, frothy bodied due to the carbonation, the beer has an overly sweet aftertaste, with a cloying, effervesced, frothy finish. A little too focused on the sweetness for me, with nothing to really balance.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.47/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a copper to to dark orange into my pint glass with thin tan head and minimal lacing.
S: bready, malty and sweet notes of caramel. Light hop notes are present as well but not overwhelming.
T: actually follows the nose well. Great balance between the caramel malt and slightly bitter hops. Nothing leaps out as outstanding but it yields a very steady flavor.
M: surprisingly creamy with a medium body. Very smooth with crisp finish and pleasant slightly bitter aftertaste.
O: a nice, solid straightforward brew. Highly sessionable and great balance. Perhaps could use this as a gateway brew to newbies.

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Photo of AAG
3.02/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a cold, 12oz bottle with a good best buy date into a stein.

A - Red, amber, golden-brown; nice head, about 3-4 fingers worth with decent lacing on the sides of the glass. Good looking beer.

S - Malty, caramel, hoppy, grainy, bread-like.

T - Moderate bitterness; caramel taste; bready, grainy, wheaty (is that a word?), decently hoppy but not overpowering. Not bad; nothing too special but a good beer for its type.

M - Comfortable especially for a strong bitter; easy on the palate; goes down smooth; after-taste is very palatable.

Overall - I enjoyed this beer but didn't love it. It's pretty straight-forward - caramel, grain-like taste (tastes like it smells) with a decent hop to it (but not overpowering or too bitter). I would drink this beer again but wouldn't search it out. Pretty good work Woodstock Inn...

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Photo of RickS95
3.67/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nothing earth shattering about the color, though it's a nice combination of brown, orange, and sienna. Mostly clear, but still fairly opaque. The head is non-descript and doesn't have much in the way of retention. But it never fully dissipates, leaving a thin white film up top.

Very malty with what seems to be a handful of different malts (pilsner and caramel among them). The hops appear to be of the savory variety as opposed to citrus.

Taste is similar to the scent. Malty and hoppy. Caramel and earthy hops. Pilsner malt and caramel malt are the major players.

A smidge of sweet up front before a wave of balancing bitter takes over. Medium-bodied with a lasting bitterness that lasts til the next sip. Alcohol is not noticeable.

It's pretty good for the style. There's a nice balance between contasting ingredients. Mostly a session beer and a pretty good one at that.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.87/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear amber with a thin head and no lace. The aroma is nutty with caramel and fruity notes and a hint of bread. The flavor leads with caramel followed through by grapefruit and bread crust. It's a bit more bitter than most ESBs but still good. The mouthfeel is light-medium. Woodstock Red Rack Ale is a decent brew, crisp, and refreshing. Recommended.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden garnet color with a huge fluffy off white head that slowly dissipates and laces on the way down. Smells of caramel, mineral, and a bit of earth and spice with a hint of butter. the flavor is quite malty with caramel being the dominant taste. Earth, tart, and butter provide a bit of counter to the malty sweetness, but this one really leans to the malty side. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. A buttery malt bomb how shipyard-ish. OK for what it is, but there are better red ales out there.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 12. fl. oz. bottle sampled on August 10, 2012. The pour is a highly carbonated medium amber with reddish tones and a quick lasting fizzy white head.

The aroma is full of sweet pale malts, Toblerone, and a crisp, clean hoppiness.

The body is about medium but there is a slight acidity to it.

The focus of the taste is on the caramel malts and yeast with a moderate bitterness and a clean finish. Not a bad ESB in the long run.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.73/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dark color between crimson and orange. Nice orange tinted head. Head is frothy and laces well and is also of nice stature.

S-Sweet with some grassy hops too. Smooth aroma of caramel and a bit of earthy notes. Not intense at all, but definitely pretty attractive.

T-The flavor is akin to the nose. Sweet and easy drinking with a nice clean grassy hop finish. Leans more towards the sweet side but it has enough hop flavor to balance it out. Easy sipping and tasty.

M-Smooth and a bit creamy with massaging carbonation. Sessionable feel and body.

O/D-A mellow yet attractive beer that I enjoyed fresh from a growler. I was a fan, but I have had many like this before.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dan for this bottle.

A: Pours a ruby/copper color with a small off-white head upon pouring. Not much retention and no lacing whatsoever.

S: Some caramelized malt and a little bit of fruit, nondescript really. There is a bit of honey as well and a slight buttery aroma.

T: On the sweet side, with caramel and honey. Not much hop presence at all. Has a sweet finish.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Pretty smooth with a slightly dry finish.

O: Decent beer, not a ton going on, but nothing wrong with it. An average beer.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
2.41/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Coppery amber in color. Head is light and airy, not much retention, nor is there much lacing. Just about none, to be exact.

The aroma is fruity, a sign of some good English yeast, with a little bit of diacetyl coming out as the beer warms. The flavor is mildly bitter, and again fruity. However, as this beer reaches cellar temp, the nose and flavor are there-abouts of a tub of move theater popcorn butter. Holy crap. This is the second Woodstock Inn beer that I have had, and they were both diacetyl bombs. Needless to say, they have to get their processes under control to fix this. Otherwise, it is a fairly solid beer. Drink this cold(er) if you have it. It's a shame I didn't.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.33/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark orangey copper. Clear with just a couple streams of bubbles rising to large fluffy, quickly falling to rocky, head of light ecru. It keeps a ring and leaves sort of minimal lace.

S: Eh? Both diacetyl and a light metallic, tangy twang? Great! Sweet, slightly caramel malts are solid behind initial impression. Light & vague hop impression. Warming is no help. What it does have going on is a balanced to the sort of odd.

T: Better than nose made me fear. Diacetyl takes a backseat to firmly toasty grain & lightly caramel malts. Buttery toffee and hints of dark fruit round out the malts. Nice background / balancing English type hops. Fair bitterness with character herbal, a touch earthy, and with muted spicy and citrus notes. Minerally, hinting at astringent, note seems to be coming mostly form hops. 3.5

M: Barely medium body with slightly over-balanced carbonation. Just a bit coarse on the tongue, but pretty mouthfilling – which softens the effect. Ends up being drying – mostly from hops. Biting edge that fades as warms. 3.0

D: Ultimately a reasonably fair beer. A bit rough around the edges – especially the aroma – but it does have a fair bit going on and does drink alright.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.04/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

best before March, 2012

A: Red.

S: Bread and butteriness (but not butter) and, as it warms, some fruitiness.

T: Buttered toast. Or maybe breadcrumbs on a stick of butter. Some floral hops and a touch of hop bitterness at the end. Lots of butteriness, but the hops do help out a bit.

M: Fine, nice carbonation.

O: Too much diacetyl for my tastes.

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Photo of Jason
3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

LOOK: Reddish brass, clear with a good sized head

SMELL: Malty, toasty, vegtal, buttery, herbal, toffee, grainy, baked apples

TASTE: Caramel, malty, toasted bread, buttery, fruity, leafy, herbal, mildly estery, earthy

Not half bad, I'd love to try the non-contract brewed version of this. Good use of malts, perhaps a more defined hop flavor would help here?

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Photo of EkimGram
3.52/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Colour is a very translucent copper-amber. Pours a 1/2 finger head that fades to barely anything. No visible carbonation.

Smell: The aromas are very weak. All that I am getting are some fruity note with a hint of bubblegum.

Taste: Nice malt flavours, very smooth and well-balanced. A little bitterness at the end. Also a hint of yeast.

Mouthfeel: Lightly bodied, mild carbonation, a hint of bite, and a slight sticky finish.

Overall: Nothing special in terms of a red ale. The lack of any prominent aromas is horribly disappointing but the rest is nice. If I was a local of this brewery I would drink plenty but I am not so I won't be going out of my way for it.

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Photo of papat444
3.69/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of a mixed pack that my wife brought back from her camping trip in NH.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, best before Jan. 2012.

Appearance: A reddish-amber body whose color is lightly reflected in the very voluminous head. Creamy, steady and frothy. Nice to look at.

Smell: Too faint. Malt, nuts and mild fruit.

Taste: Lots of nuttiness abounds, high on malt with not much hops presence and some dried fruit. Surprisingly pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Some bitterness gives it an edge but it's well balanced with an overall smooth body.

Overall: A nice surprise. Certainly worth a second glance.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Best before December 2012 off we go.

A good simple text book amber color slightly clear for the body. Not much rising carbonation. Head is off white perhaps 2 fingers falling normally.

Bouquet is soft mild malts but a strange sweetness to it. Slight toasty grain overalll not bad.

Taste is, kind of mild and muted with a nice breast malt finish. Palate creeps up slowly its as if the finish brings all the tastes. Not too wet either feels about right.

Overall a simple solid example of a sessionable enjoyable amber.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.46/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bright amber in color, full 2" off-white foam, nice long lace.

The nose is sweet caramel and buttery toffee aroma from the wormwood house yeast, very distincive aroma. Sweet fruity hops.

A crisp malt bite, sweet fruity hop with just a bit of earthiness and dry finish. The yeast flavor overpowers though and is something you either like or NOT. A medium, lush feel with a decent bite too.

the yeast works with this brew pretty well, but it's not like the woodstock flavor of old.

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Photo of vapodge
2.65/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

A - clear red; thin, dissipating head; no lacing

S - scotchy malts; diacetyls

T - same as nose, with a fair bit of sweetness thrown in; super buttery

M - thin, but nice acidic aftertaste tries its hardest to counteract that butter

D - not for me -- butterscotch bomb; still, it's easy-drinking, but I can't handle that much diacetyl

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Photo of cbutova
3.11/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Deep amber with a small off-white head. Nice webs of thin lace.

S- Buttery notes and nutty malt. Apple fruit notes and caramel malt.

T- Deep buttery caramel and nutty malt. Dark fruit with a slight medicinal feel. No hops. Zesty spicy feel.

MF- Highly carbonated light body. Nice creamy feel and fair bitterness.

DB- Feels all over the place, not much balance of flavor and could use some hops. Doesn't drink ad smoothly as many ambers.

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Red Rack Ale from Woodstock Inn Brewery
3.42 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
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