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Blueline Series: Extra Special Birthday | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Blueline Series: Extra Special BirthdayBlueline Series: Extra Special Birthday
28 Ratings
Blueline Series: Extra Special BirthdayBlueline Series: Extra Special Birthday

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by draheim on 09-10-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 28 |  Reviews: 14
Reviews by henrysunset:
Photo of henrysunset
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

redddish amber, with clear filtering - no haziness.

smell is banana, lemon, sweet malt.

Taste is only okay. It feels like a homebrew that went a little off the rails. It has some richness and some depth, but the flavor is a bit odd. banana, oak,

it's a little over carbonated, but reasonably smooth. leaves alcohol flavor at back of mouth.

 343 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In a pint glass this beer was a cherry amber color with a very tiny tan head.

Sweet caramel malt aroma, fruity. It was on the spicy side, and had a tinge of licorice.

Taste of caramel, banana. Peppery spice. Still a bit of licorice.

Smooth and dry mouthfeel.

Easy to drink.

 277 characters

Photo of hreb
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on Jul 25 11. Cold 22oz bottle served in imperial pint glass. Beer is a deep red amber with a thin off-tan head. Aroma is slightly sweet, though not quite caramel or candyish. In the mouth it does have that vaguely hefeweiss yeasty aroma, but (fortunately) I wouldn't go as far as calling it "banana beer" as the label suggests.

Flavor is subdued with a moderate to heavy dose of English hops, chalky malt, and a spicy edge. Not a particularly great example of an ESB, and too carbonated in this form. And not a particularly great beer all around, but a solid B- brew.

 577 characters

Photo of Pretzels
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of DOCRW
4.5/5  rDev +23.6%

Photo of Docer
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)
- Pours a dark iced tea brown, rather clear, and has a finger of fluffy head that quickly dissipates to a thin foamy layer with some light lacing about the glass.

Smell: (3.5)
- Certainly has some prominent clove, cinnamon, Belgian yeast notes along with a sweet brown sugar and molasses malt base. Little bready and also seems to have an interesting nutmeg flare to it. Not overly hoppy by any means, but a grassy herbal hop presence does exist.

Taste: (3.5)
- Light banana backing to a relatively light brown ale of sorts. This does have a nice light and sweet brown sugar and grainy molasses touch to the flavor. Light grassy bitter hops, and an earthy touch balance it out. Really quite good.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- A rather light to medium bodied beer with a bit of a chewy touch. Also a touch cloying and drying as well from the bitterness. Perfect carbonation, and very easy to drink.

Overall: (3.5)
- If this beer goes as far back as the early 80's, then this must have been one of the best around back then. I know Redhook was a much bigger hit back then with beers like this. This beer is solid, balanced, and has it's highlights.. but a few characteristics of it bring it back down to mediocrity. I would drink it on tap somewhere maybe.

 1,269 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at the COOP today... poured into my Corsendonk goblet.. foamy 2 finger white head.. clear amber brew.

The nose is not isn't exactly what I was expecting... Belgian phenols... bubblegum... with some banana esters.... odd, yet pretty inviting especially given the lower price tag.

Wow... the flavor is very "BELGIAN"... Americanized and off balance ... but still very phenolic and ester forward... I need to start at the back because the bubblegum is HUGE in the finish.. clove oil is there and a nice punch of dry bananabread late in the palate... Early pale malts show a touch of toast... Weird... this brew is "backwards" from the front to the back. Nothing like I've had in a long time, and I am still pretty cool with it.

The palate is medium/lite with a nice everpresent carbonation...

This brew is no where near the English Isles....

Odd... very "American" ...Belgian.... Odd.... no doubt.. but still pretty interesting given the decent price tag.


 987 characters

Photo of mrunseen
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Reidrover
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from Safeway, S.Commercial,Salem. $4.59. Dark amber beer with a large cream colured billowy thickish head. Aroma is spicy/phenolic, some bubblegum and a touch of grapefruity hop Taste is somewhat the same but with a deep caramel/toffee maltiness under it all. Getting some extra peppery tastes too, not so much banana though! Nice inviting mouthfeel..very easy to drink but not at all simple. A very respectable cross over type ale.

 445 characters

Photo of bluckbeyes
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of John_M
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to Harry (Dabudah) for this one.

The beer pours a fairly dark, copper amber color, with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose really comes across as an ampped up ESB, a style that I confess is not among my favorites. In any event, I get considerable butterscotch, light brown sugar and citrus, in a beer that smells as if it will be on the sweet side. The flavor profile replicates the nose, and while it's OK, the finish seems a bit off and almost slightly skunky. The label indicates that a belgian yeast strain was used in this beer, and frankly, the beer has that kind of funky flavor to it. I'm not sure it works all that well in an ESB, though it's not terrible. There's something of a banana flavor to this beer as well, which apparently is something the brewer was going for. Again, I'm just not sure how well that goes in an ESB style beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied in this well carbonated beer, and the finish is long, spicey and fairly bitter. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, and drinkability isn't bad.

An interesting beer, and one I found that tended to open up more and more the longer it sat in the glass. While not really my cup of teaI guess, I was still happy to have the opportunity to try this one.

 1,264 characters

Photo of draheim
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First BA to review this one! Kind of fitting since Redhook ESB was my go-to beer for many years before I started branching out into just about everything else, almost exactly 1 year ago. Not to mention I live in Seattle, where Redhook was born. So kind of my craft beer birthday as well.

First of all... not really sure what style to list this under. ESB? American Amber/Red Ale? American IPA? English IPA?

According to RateBeer it's a Belgian Ale.

According to a recent BA post from RedHookAndy, who evidently is a brewer with Craft Brewers Alliance in New Hampshire:

"ESBB was brewed as a tribute to two beers. First of all, it is a highly modified version of our historic Redhook ESB. Second it is a nod to our Original Redhook Ale, the first beer we ever made, that local Seattle folks called 'Banana Beer'. This time we used a very rare and authentic Belgian Yeast Strain. Finally, we hopped it very aggressively.

"Think of it as almost a Belgian Red IPA!"

I'm going to list it as an ESB. It could also be classified as an American Amber/Red Ale, really a toss-up. But the label says it's "a highly modified version of ESB," so that's what I'm going with.

Now to my review.

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Color is a deep, crystal-clear ruby/mahogany with a nice 2-finger beige head. This is a gorgeous beer to look at.

Aroma is kind of sweet with notes of over-ripe banana, spices, biscuity malt. Almost reminds me of a Northwest-style winter warmer.

Taste is really nice. Good malty presence balanced by sharp, bitter hops. Smooth, slightly dry mouthfeel. A nice bitter aftertaste hangs around for a while.

Overall this is a good, solid brew - nothing fancy or complex but just nice and drinkable. It does kind of take me back to the early days of Seattle microbrews. Wish I could be enjoying a Sonics game at the Key right about now - or maybe the M's at the Kingdome...

 1,891 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.86/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottled July 2011

A: Dark garnet ale with two fingers of toasted cream foam falls to a tormented sheet of the same. Cobweb lace. Excellent clarity.
S: Wow, totally different from the current recipe. The beer showcases yeast with banana and belgian characteristics: hints of nuts. Some nice caramel malt flavors in there as well.
T: A bit of metal up front, then some interesting bittering over the yeast character which is primarily banana and sweet sugars. Some hints of wheat bread.
M: Medium on full bodied with moderate carb for the style. semi dry finish.
O: This beer is a certain deviation from the norm, and is not bad, but when I had it completely fresh it was much better.

 683 characters

Photo of Snipe-Snout
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of flagmantho
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium brown hue with a clear, haze-free body. head is two thick fingers of frothy ivory foam. A decent looking beer!

Smell: they were not lying about the banana. Thrown in with this is a strong clove aroma; the malt has a touch of citrus. Some hop vegetation rounds out the end. In a blind tasting I'd call this a dunkelweizen, no question. Not really to-style for an ESB, but it's not bad, either.

Taste: flavor is interesting; it starts off like a yeasty dunkelweizen, then flows into a hoppy pale ale, and finishes off with a musty yeast character I normally associate with dubbels. At the very end there is a dusty bitterness I usually associate with wet-hopping. I love the novelty of this beer, but I do find the execution a little bit lacking.

Mouthfeel: well, its texture is certainly Belgian in character. Medium body with a big carbonation and even bigger creaminess. I actually love the texture.

Overall: this beer gets points for style. I love the concept and I like a lot of its characteristics, although I do think it could be executed more cleanly, perhaps.

 1,134 characters

Photo of gkunkle
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of clydefromiceland
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of MA08
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of benbjb
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of ccrida
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Extra Special Birthday is a dull mahogeny with a small tan head leaving scattered lace.

Smell is estery, bananas. A little simple, some hop spice as well, but I served it fridge temp.

Taste is also fairly estery, but there's also a firm hop presence, herbal, minty, English nobles probably. There's just enough amber maltiness to provide a little complexity, but it's clearly tertiary to the hops and yeast.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied, a dusty dryness.

Drinkability is pretty good, it went down quite easily, and I liked the flavor profile for sure, full flavored, but balanced and smooth. Well done, they should bring this back, one of the better Redhook's I've had.

 729 characters

Photo of FrankLloydMike
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of strongaf
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of grittybrews
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby-tinged brownish amber with a finger of off-white head. Aroma of caramel biscuit, banana, and spice.

Moderate carbonation and a full, lively mouthfeel. Toffee and toast up front followed by banana, slightly bitter/earthy hops, and some lingering spice on the finish.

Pretty enjoyable beer! The sweetness is well-balanced by the spicy Belgian yeast and hints of hoppy bitterness. Full-flavored and easy-drinkin'.

 426 characters

Photo of Satchboogie
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of Bookseeb
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a dark amber brown holding a steady head leaving fair lace. Smell seem to have a balance between malt and hop with the Belgian yeast with a buttery note. Taste has the upfront bitter, spice from the Belgian yeast, sweet malt with a little bit of metallic in the back. Mouthfeel is medium - light that goes down slick with good carbonation. A different twist on an ESB that keeps the tastebuds guessing.

 416 characters

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Blueline Series: Extra Special Birthday from Redhook Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 28 ratings
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