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 drinksandeats
2.19/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From a 12 oz. bottle purchased in the Whites.

Appearance: Ruddy, slightly opaque. Strong head and good lacing.

Smell: Weak caramel maltiness. Some fruit aroma, a bit of hops, and not much else. Flat.

Taste: Slightly sweet, with an off banana taste present. Mild hops insufficient to overshadow the off fruitiness. Not good.

Mouthfeel: Starts out rich and smooth with a good body, and ends with a slightly unpleasant dryness.

Drinkability: Nothing to write home about. There's not much good beer flavor, even once you strip away the banana esters.

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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 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 BeerNinja007
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this in a variety 12-pack on sale for $10 at Beverage King in West Lebanon, NH. Best by date of Aug 2010 stamped on the label. Poured into a chilled pint glass.

Clear reddish-copper brew with a thin off-white head. Nose is a thick syrupy sweetness and dark fruits, like a mix of maraschino cherries and caramel. Taste is not as sweet. Dry, muddy, indistinguishable hops and malt. Fizzy carbonation with a soapy finish. Nothing interesting going on, pretty bland and unremarkable. Saving grace is that there's nothing particularly offensive. Meh.

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Photo of Mora2000
2.64/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Cavie for sharing this bottle. This is my first beer from this company.

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the butter with some sugar notes. The combination makes the beer smell like circus peanuts. Unfortunately, the flavor is not much better. There is a little bit of grass, sugar and toffee, but once again there is a lot of butter in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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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 micahgoldfus
2.7/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a brownish-red color that looked better up against the light. Had a thin, fizzy head that faded fairly quickly. The smell was dominated by hops: a little floral, but mostly a strong, spicy, tangy hop smell. There was also plenty of a sweet, caramel maltiness in there too. It was an interesting mix. The taste combined these two flavors as well: one one hand, there were bready, buttery, tasted malts that ended with a touch of caramel. On the other hand, there was dry, bitter hop flavor. But to me, unlike the smell, the taste did not work out. The mixture sounds nice, and should have produced a beer that I enjoyed. But the taste was just a little off to me, and the bitterness and sweetness seemed contrary to one another, as opposed to complimentary. I think that the flavors were a bit too strong, and the beer could have benefitted from some more subtle tastes. I ended up finishing the beer, but I didn't really want to.

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Photo of billybob
2.72/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pours a medium copper color quarter inch off white head that quickly fades to beer and a light wispy lace. smells of sweet malt and slight metalic note. taste about the same. mouthfeel light, carbonation held well even with a strong pour. average at best not worth the price. keep looking.

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Photo of changeup45
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Medium-bodied amber color with a medium head and just a little bit of lace. Rich, malty flavor with some spices mixed in there. Slightly bitter in the finish and aftertaste. Malty aroma too with malts overall dominating this one. All around pretty average.

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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 charlesw
2.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a light amber - very clear! Huge head dominated by big bubbles but with a nice, tight, creamy cover that translates over time to a very nice covering lace.
It smells like Ringwood yeast. No doubt about it. Dang!
And it tastes, well, like Ringwood. It's all buttery and creamy and really lightly malty and then there's the lightly bitter finish to it... Gently fades on that bitter note - nothing really bad to say there. Still, it tastes like an ESB to me and definitely not a red - there's just not enough maltiness to it, not really enough body, and the bitter tones aren't quite hoppy - they're just bitter, if you know what I mean.
I mean, heck, I bet it would be great on cask or something like that, but, again, NOT as an amber - more as an Old-Thumper wanna-be.

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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 ekardz
2.91/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from Awesome Beer Clubs into sam adams glass:

A-Reddish amber, clear lots of carbonation, very alive and inviting, little to no head.

S-some scent of grapes, sweet, herbal/piney hops, some fruity aromas.

T-well built, taste some grape characters. Red ale, killians like, definitely embodies the style.

M-light/smooth, good amount of carbonation.

D-wasn't sure if I would enjoy this, but I was pleasantly surprised. A perfect beer after a long day of work before drinking some of the heavier higher grav stuff.

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Photo of wyllder
2.93/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First off: Thanks to edchicma for the chance to sample this.

Pours a clear, coppery amber with a 1/4 inch head that recedes to nothing and leaves no lacing.

Nose is a mild, roasted caramel malt smell.

Intro to the palate is tangy & highly carbonated. The tanginess recedes for the midsip and you get a light roasted caramel flavor that comes through. Just the faintest burnt caramel aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily.

Drinkability gets marked below average because I found this beer to be terribly boring. Halfway through the bottle I gave up on finding anything interesting and was already thinking ahead to what I would try next.

Overall, a rather boring and uninteresting beer.


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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 philbertk
3/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery--Red Rack Ale--2008 Release--12 oz. Bottle--5.50% ABV--23.3 IBU's. (3.25 / 5.0) Red Ale--Beer of the Month Club Selection September 2008. Foamy thin lacy off white head. Clear pretty bright rich amber red color. Sediment dusting. Mild hop light fruit ester front. Thin CO2 fizzy mild sweet light caramel fruit simple malt body. Refreshing mild hop dry citrus hint end. Aged well, but bland. 2nd bottle is maltier. Sampled 1/16/2010.

Woodstock Inn Brewery--Red Rack Ale--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 5.50% ABV. 23 IBU's. (3.5 / 5.0) Amber Ale? Big fluffy lacy lasting orange white head. No sediment. Fizzy foamy bright rich ocher amber color. Malty mild toasted mild hop toffee fruit hint front. Creamy biscuity toasted caramel fruit mild sweet fruit malty Amber / Red body. Mild hop breadfruit doughy end. Odd English flavor. Over carbonated with mild hops. Sampled 12/30/2010. Malt of the Earth Beer of the Month Club Selection December, 2010 received 12/21/2010.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.01/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Arrived today from Awesome Clubs monthly beer club.

a - Pours a dark amber/copper color with about an inch of foam with no rentention and little carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, but that's about it. Not much going on here at all.

t - Tastes of malts, a little sweet and a little bready. Again, not much going on here, but it is smooth.

m - Medium body with moderate carbonation, it is actually pretty smooth and easy to drink.

d - Overall this beer wasn't that great. I thought they smell and taste were kind of bland and lacking, but at least it was smooth and easy to drink. Would not look for again but since it came with the AC gift this month, an ok beer.

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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 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 jdhilt
3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger white head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Copper amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium body. Slight malty nose. Starts on the sweeet side , then some hops, finish has some bitterness. $6.99 for a six pack from Market Basket Concord, NH. Brewed for Woodstock Inn by Shipyard Brewery.

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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 briman
3.07/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy pale copper color, with a moderate off-white head. Little retention.

Aroma is malty, sweet with not obvious hop contribution.

Flavor is light-to-moderately sweet malt, but other than some light biscuity notes and a light hop bitterness in the finish, overall pretty bland.

Medium body, medium-to-high carbonation. Carbonation is a little bright, and would make this more enjoyable if it was turned down a notch. I honestly can't get any real feel for the finish, due to the prickly nature of this beer. Not likely to have again.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.1/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle to a hazy orange red with thin skim of a tan head that lingered well and okay lacing. Nose is malty citrus fruit with a hint of roasted nuts. Mouthfeel is thin, with just a hint of a tingle. Taste starts out okay, by picking up the flavors of the nose, but quickly urns grainy and skunky. Finish is no better, as the sweet malty fruit is quickly overtaken by a dry, cottony taste. Unfortunately, the finish outweighs the nice start on this one, and I'll avoid in the future.

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