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 TheManiacalOne
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, honey, fruit and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is sweet and a little malty with flavors of caramel and honey up front. Then there's a decent hops bitterness that comes in and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is just an ordinary beer overall, but it's still worth drinking for a while.

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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 smcolw
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber (clear) with a fine tight-bubbled head that does not leave any lasting lace on the side of the glass.

Caramel is the primary smell for this ale. There's also a notable alcohol presense. I cannot detect any hop present in the smells. This is corrected in the taste--the aftertaste is largely hop. Still, this is a malty beverage with decent body and high carbonation.

"Worth a try" is fairly accurate. No real faults with this, but no ohmigod you must try it touches either.

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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 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 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 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 jwc215
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours bright amber with a thin head that soon becomes a swirling patch. The thin head reappears upon gentle swirling.

The smell is of lightly toasted grains with a hint of caramel. Clean.

The taste is of lightly toasted grains mixed with caramel. Some earthiness and dough give it a nice balance. A hint of spice in the finish. Not complex, but tasty.

The body is light approaching, but not quite making, medium. Smooth and coating, though a bit thin.

Easily drinkable, this makes for a nice "session" beer. Light and refreshing with a good flavor. I can see pairing this with the doughiness and spiciness of a brick-oven pizza.

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

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a solid pale and crystal malt scent along with a touch of fruity yeast esters. The taste is good. It has a smooth crystal malt sweetness that goes down with little effort and finishes dry with some light esters. This is a pretty good beer. It's not loaded with complexity, but it does have a solid malt bill. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking amber ale. I love the caramel malt character as well as the light esters. It's just the right amount of fruitiness to compliment the malts and hops.

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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 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 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 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 ppoitras
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle bought as part of a six pack from Jasper's Homebrew, Nashua, NH.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" beige head over the clear coppery amber brew. Head is frothy and lasts well, with good lacing. Aroma is slightly sweet, with buttery and fruity notes. Taste starts with grain husks, which carry all the way through, with some light bitterness in the middle, and closing with a tinge of butteriness. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both pretty good. Enjoyable representative of the style.

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Photo of tigg924
3.25/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, amber, clear, high carbonation

Smell: caramel and toasted malt

Taste: caramel, toasted malt, hops, and biscuit

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, a sweet start with a bitter body and finish, medium bodied

Drinkability: This one I find to be OK for the style. I do not get the same balance here that I get with other ambers. Not overly distinguishable taste wise or smell wise. This is an OK beer that I will most likely not be revisiting.

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Photo of Brad007
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a mild amber color with a thin head. Aroma stands out as being big and malty. Taste is much of the same with a nice biscuity malt flavor that becomes thin and somewhat buttery at the back of the mouth. Interesting taste. Not too impressive but a solid beer altogether.

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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 lordofthewiens
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12oz bottle, with best by June 2007 on the label. It was a dark amber color with a small white head. It had a sweet, caramel aroma. Maybe a little malt. Fruity taste, like cherries. Some hops. I thought this beer was a little too fruity, but still enjoyable to drink.

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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 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 Durge
3.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A hazy orange amber color with a decent off-white head and very nice lacing. I pick up tangy yeast malt and a little herbal hop in the aroma. Decent enough. The taste brings leafy citrus hops and nutty toffee malt. Almost a touch of roasted coffee bean. There's lemon highlights in a medium-light bodied brew. It has a bit of a resinous feel with fine carbonation that refreshes. Pretty drinkable but not greatly attractive for a session in my book. The hops are nice but the blend doesn't quite work for me. It's alright, maybe worth a try but not one to search out.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A year-round Woodstock offering, it has a copper color, thin head, and minimal lace. Nose had hop overtones, yet was mild, in general. Mouthfeel acquitted itself well; no problems here.... Decent balance of malt and hops; mild malt start and smooth hop finish, though no one thing stands out at all to distinguish itself. Not one to write home about, but a good, quality bier to quaff anyhow.

overall: 3.55
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 3.5


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Photo of woosterbill
3.67/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub into a pint glass.

A: Clear reddish amber; little head and almost no lace. Disappointing.

S: Uninspiring malts.

T: Surprisingly rich malty flavor - toffee and butterscotch with a crisp grainy finish.

M: Light and prickly.

D: Tastes good and goes down easily.

Notes: Entirely underwhelming, but never unpleasant. I wouldn't order it again, though, given the other options at the brewpub.


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Photo of Reagan1984
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This came from the Beer of the Month club. This was my last one, so it was time for the "official" review..

Poured with a finger of head that stuck around for a bit before fading away. Not a lot of retention. Almost a pure Amber color as I think of it. Perhaps a shade lighter and more red. Mostly translucent with little to no visible carbonation. A small amount of lacing remained in the glass.

The aroma was slightly sweet and really noted some grains. A bit bread like...

Taste was nice. Nothing overly complex, but good stuff. There was a fruity, caramel character and on for a Amber/Red. There was a nice bread like quality as well. Just enough hops to offset the malt character. A nice toasty flavor (not roasted or burnt at all)

Mouth feel was medium/light and it was very drinkable. A nice Amber... I've grown partial to the more hoppy of this style, but this certainly with well within style guidelines and a good representation.

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