Redhook ESB | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Redhook ESBRedhook ESB
2,127 Ratings
Redhook ESBRedhook ESB

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

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

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,127 |  Reviews: 878
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. Medium yellow bubbly with bubbly head and leaving white lace trail. Aggressively carbonated, yet still a decent mouthfeel, medium bodied. A decent bitterness, serviceable ESB. Served too cold.Aroma was malty, and maybe it was a little too malty.

 268 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: thin head with nice lacing on a clear amber body.

S: light malt and hops but overall weak.

T: nice full malt profile. subtly bitter in the finish. Grains and breads with floral hop notes.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Fairly good representation of the style. Not bad but not great.

 299 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Joe Jost's in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a clear copper color with a 1 inch puffy tan head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random spots and streaks of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt/grain and some fruity aromas. Taste is of malt/grain and a subdued fruit and hop flavor. Slight bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good ESB but the aromas and tastes are a bit subdued overall.

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Photo of Texasfan549
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Knapp85
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice looking amber color, the head was creamy and white. The la in was pretty good on the glass. The smell of the beer is grainy and has a nice sweet malt aroma to it. The taste has a good bitterness to it. The mouthfeel is a bit watered down. Overall I liked the beer and would drink it again.

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Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +17%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of metter98
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy deep yellow in color with amber highlights and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down and left large patches of bubbles on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of biscuit and toasted malts along with some hints of fruity yeast. The finish has some hints of sweetness and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and rather sessionable. There’s a good amount of malts in the beer, but it doesn’t feel filling.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.44/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty standard ESB. I think of them as kind of steady, boring type of beer but they always seem to look good in the glass which is a big plus. Taste wise it has some good maltiness to it and finishes crisp and clean. So basically, nothing really spectacular but a pretty good drinker.

 287 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +17%

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

12oz bottle, procured at some random grocery store in rural Montana on Independence Day earlier this summer.

This beer pours a somewhat hazy, medium copper amber colour, with one finger of weakly foamy, and mostly just faintly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some low-lying, roiling sea foam lace around the glass as it quick abates.

It smells of mildly biscuity caramel malt, a touch of musty yeast, some sweet, indistinct orchard fruitiness, and plain earthy, leafy hops. The taste is pretty fruity right off the bat, the caramel malt tainted just so, with the earthy, leafy hops holding their own, that yeast from the aroma settling right in, and a small metallic edginess making me wonder if that slightly elevated alcohol is getting uppity, or what.

The carbonation is a bit north of average, in terms of pleasing to the palate frothiness, the body an adequate medium weight, a tad prickly (from whence?) in its blithely quotidian smoothness. It finishes rather off-dry, the fruity malt sparring still with the way-too mild hop offset.

A beer that falls into that particular no-man's land - well above BMC, sure, and definitely drinkable, but lacking in the roundness and fullness that would land it among the ranks of the crafty golden boys of the genre.

 1,263 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Second sampling: As a brew there is really nothing to criticize, but as an ESB it reaks of blandness. Just use the proper ingredients and exercise proper brewing techniques for classic ESB's and the beer will turn out fine. It happens in homebrewing, so why do we accept less in commercial brewing. This ESB just lacks the differitiators than would make it a classic example. Show me some richness with breadiness and yeastiness. Show me a caramelly, toffee-ey maltiness. Show me a hop spiciness with English hops. Show me a clean ale finish. I'll be happy then, I promise.

First sampling 7-17-05

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with a standard pressure cap into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a four finger head of slight cream lacing, nice thickness, and respectable retention. Colour is a semitransparent textbook copper. It's appealing and to style.

Sm: Light pleasant cream and barley is all me broken nose picks up. It's a light aroma, but a pleasant one. Very mild.

T: Cream rides atop a pleasant full barley foundation. Some toasty malts are present but restrained and full-bodied. All around it's a somewhat simple beer, but what it does it does well. It's refreshing and well-balanced. It just lacks bold flavours.

Mf: Full, smooth, light, refreshing, and wet. It's the opposite of crisp, rolling smooth on the palate to refresh. It's quite fanciful, and complements the simple flavours.

Dr: It's very drinkable, average ABV, and of above average quality. I'd like to try it on draught. It's a very pleasant, if understated brew.

 1,025 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 6/11/2015. Pours slightly hazy deep golden amber color with a 2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing cling down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of honey, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Fair amount of dryness after the finish as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, lightly creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a good ESB style. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth, clean, and easy to drink. This was a lot cleaner than I expected from the yeast character; but was still a nicely enjoyable offering, and fit the style well.

 1,675 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.57/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a copper/amber color with a small, off-white, foamy head. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and some floral notes.

T - It tasted of some sweet malt with a slight bitter kick.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay ESB. It served as a "gateway" beer for me in college that led to drinking better beer.

 377 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear medium amber body with a small head that fades to a collar pretty quickly

Smell: Mostly caramel malts with a hint of hops; clearly a touch of diacetyl

Taste: Bursts onto the tongue with a blast of caramel malt; eventually blends into a bit of bitterness to the finish; a bit sweeter than I would have expected, almost like an Amber Ale

Mouthfeel: A bit slick with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A pleasant, if sweet swill

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Photo of Kurmaraja
3.47/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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

Big off white head slowly falls into a pretty decent lacing above a clear copper honey colored beer.

Light caramel malts blend well with citrus to grassy hops in the aroma of this beer.

Citrus to grassy hops seems to dominate the taste, with a little bit of some sweet caramel malt coming through.

A nice medium body that leaves a light dry to bitter hops dry aftertaste.

A worth afternoon drink for sure.

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Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 2,127 ratings