Redhook ESB | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Redhook ESBRedhook ESB
2,126 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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Ratings: 2,126 |  Reviews: 878
Photo of cokes
3.02/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours an amber glass with a hefty beige head that shows nice durablity.
Citric and metallic hop note on the nose, some buttery toffee as well. Fairly nice smelling.
Starts minorly carmel, with ever-so-slight fruity esters. This gets demolished by a diacetyl bulldozer. Huge (even for the style) nutty and buttery tones. Nothing disgusting, but certainly distracting. Ends with some salty, metallic hops.
Medium bodied. Sort of lifeless and bland. Not especially smooth.
Moving on.....

 497 characters

Photo of tang214
3.62/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This is just a decent beer. Not bad but nothing special. It has a nice copper color with a faint cloudiness. The smell is one of the nicest things about the beer with a fruity flavor. It has a slightly above average taste with a less than average mouthfeel. I do think, however, that it has a good drinkability. Depsite it being only okay, I'll probably end up getting this beer more often now that i found a place that sells it in my area. If you haven't had it, it is at least worth a try.

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

Clean copper color with a fruity scent on the nose.Excellent thick head on the pour and laces the glass very nicely. Full malt assult on the mouth and not much in hop bitterness. Decent beer when picked up on sale, but probably not worth the full price.

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Photo of bditty187
2.87/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light amber color, apple juice-like…very small head, little retention, no lace. The nose is weakly citrus fruit and soft caramel. The taste was lackluster for an ESB with subtle maltiness, noticeable fruitiness, buttery, caramel, and a hint of grain. Little bitterness. Fair mouthfeel... normal carbonation, medium-light body. This beer is hardly noteworthy and, frankly, not a very good ESB.

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Photo of BeerBob
3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Redhook ESB pours an amber with some red colour density, from its stubby brown 12oz twist off cap, bottle. Head is slight but dense, fading to a wispy ring.

Nose is light floral hops, malt, and just a hint of alcohol. Palate is a good amount of malt followed by a carbonation bite with bitter hops. Aftertaste has some pleasant bitter notes along with some pleasing sticky malt.

I like the way this Beer tastes, I just wish it was a bit more bitter.

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

This beer is clear amber with orange tinting. A nice head tops the brew and dwindles to a slight film that stays around for awhile. The aroma is English malt with some slight flowery hop tones spattered about. The body of this beer is at least medium and has a nice carbonated mouthfeel. This would be a good session beer, even if I don't think it would be the tastiest one around. There's a nice malt backbone to the badboy. And the hops aren't overdone. They are kept in check nicely. They add a nice herbalness to the beer. Not a bad beer here, but I won't seek it out again anytime soon.

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Photo of StevieW
4.08/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich amber brown color, foamy fluffy thick tan head. Hop bubbles bust through, makes an inviting pour. Nice rich cascade smell. Taste was perfectly balanced and smooth, very bitter and nice malty background. Very drinkable, more right with this beer than wrong. A very pleasant surprise for me.

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Photo of Suds
3.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was much better than I expected. Pours with a light color with an attractive white head. Smell is fruity, slight citrus, and a bit of floral hoppiness. Well balanced with a nice hop finish. I really enjoyed the beer.

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

not bitter at all on draught. after a horrible experience with flying fish esb, i was a bit scared, but this one did just fine. smooth and crispy. nice and clean

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A really nice English-style ale. Many American brewers take it too far. This beer is right where it should be; offering some really nice characteristics but maintaining a high level of drinkability. The beers pours an orange-tinted amber with a nice, but somewhat short lived, head. The aroma has an extremely nice, soft fruity character. A creamy mouthfeel and well rounded lightly caramel malt flavor is backed by an expansive but restrained bitterness. Again, this is very English in character. The finish is lightly dry; and will probably leave you with a nice hop burp! A very nice, restrained English-style ale.

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

This was pretty good I guess...I don't know. I was drunk at this point, but I will see what I can remember. Copper color, short white head. Not any bitter flavor at all. Slight breadiness, went down very easy.

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Photo of psugrad98
4.17/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium copper with thick off white head. Strong floral hop aroma with trace of roasted malt. Very strong and flavorful with moderate carbonation. Chewey mouthfeel with slight apple like character. A good ESB

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Photo of marc77
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The clear, amber hued brew is topped by a moderate white head that leaves a respectable lace. Diacetyl butterscotch and light caramel malt dominate the aroma, but a lightly floral Kent Goldings hop nose is there as well. Lots of biscuit and toasted malt flavors w/ mellow caramel malt sweetness. Hop bitterness is a bit mild for an ESB, and falls a bit short for adequate balance, and this brew is thus rendered sweet and malty. Butterscotch is present in flavor as well, but isn't as strong as the aroma would indicate. The body is quite dextrinous and enjoyable. The finish is a bittersweet mix of crystal malt sweetness and mellow hop bitterness. While not an outstanding ESB, Redhook ESB straddles the boundary between an American Amber and an ESB. The diacetyl is quite high, and if you find it objectionable you might not like this brew. I thought it complemented the caramel malt notes.

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Photo of aracauna
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer. Easily drinkable and if you pay enough attention, you start to notice the esters you expect in a hefe. Still too american to be a good hefe.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Peach colored, not a really full head but lace does exist. Very hoppy with a high IBU finish. More hoppy and less rich for an ESB.. but I love hops.. Very drinkable, and very available through out the Country. A good "staple" type of beer.

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Photo of jermar
4.1/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this one gets a bad rap from the A-B connection. When consumed at a decent ale serving temperature, it is a very well-balanced, rich tasting brew. While it may be lacking in complexity or any particular signature, it is very drinkable, highly available, and sports a 'bottled on' date so you can be sure of the product's freshness.

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Photo of inebrius
3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decently balanced ESB, leaning slightly hop. Mildly astringent nose and a bit grainy, but otherwise a fine brew. If in the mood for an ESB I would seek others but Redhook would do in a pinch.

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Photo of pbrian
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a solid, widely available ESB. Its lack of complexity makes it a fine beer to have many of on a warm summer afternoon.

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Photo of bmills1608
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice orange red color when poured, head retention = nill.

Crisp, apple-like start, a bit malty sweet with a lot of tart and fruity flavors, slight balancing bitterness keeps the sweet in check. Has an almost perfumey quality (in a good way). Hop aroma and flavor are present, but in pretty small amounts. English style herbal hops. Nice buttery mouthfeel and flavor, a bit grainy, some lighter malts and overall a sort of raucous combo of nice flavors. A fairly unique tasting brew for sure.

Very clean and easy, finishes with a lemon-apple taste, a bit tart. An easy approachable beer, no real faults at all. Redhooks flagship beer, one that gets panned a bit, I think unfairly.

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Photo of ADR
3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice hop smell, relatively sweet taste with a balanced malt approach...finishes without extraneous tastes but with good body...color is a light ruby amber that gives another reason to pour the bottles into a pint glass...always good to taste an ESB...

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

This is a nice ESB. Not as good as Fuller's ESB, but very drinkable nonetheless. Pours to a nice amber color. Definite malt presence, with hop bitterness that takes over in the end. It is very widely available, with its AB distribution network, which is a good thing IMO. I pick this up from time to time.

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Photo of Jordan
4.34/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich and creamy. Have not tasted a barely wine, but when I imagine one, I imagine it must taste very similar to Redhook ESB. Malty, very low profile bitterneness. The appearance isn't top notch, but the taste is. Fruity notes on the palate and the nose. Delicious brew!

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Photo of John
3.06/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A light weight ESB. Maybe a notch above an ordianry bitter.

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Photo of AaronRed
3.94/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Up front,to say the least. It's a good bitter

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

Presentation: Stumpy 12oz brown bottle with a stamped freshness date.

Appearance: Bright, clear golden/amber in colour with a creamy white head that reduces to a thin cream lace.

Smell: Fruity aroma with loads of hop aromatics (raw and citrusy). Light buttery-caramel (diacetyl) also lingers in the nose.

Taste: Ultra creamy and smooth on the palate. Malt sweetness peaks first with a nice fruity flavours and medium- to full-bodied texture. An assertive hop bitterness, with grapefruit, rind and salt flavours overwhelms the palate with a sharp bite, then settles with raw and earth flavours. Hop oils also coat the palate along with diacetyl/buttery-caramel, especially as the beer warms. Finishes dry, with lots of grain tannins.

Notes: The diacetyl in this beer is more than what you might expect, and can sometimes become too powerful for the style. The aftertaste is also a bit harsh on the palate.

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Redhook ESB from Redhook Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 2,126 ratings