Redhook Brewlab

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Redhook Brewlab
Washington, United States
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #112
Ranked #28,978
3.42 | pDev: 14.62%
Jun 26, 2022
Jul 30, 2001
Notes: 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
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 3.29 by LesDewitt4beer from Minnesota

Nov 26, 2021
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Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.69/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
one of the iconic early craft beers of the region, not sure how i have not reviewed it until now. it always brings me back to when this sort of thing was popular, alaskan amber, fat tire, those were the days. nice clearish amber tone to this one, good head too, thick and just off white with some nice lacing. it smells nutty and european, english and caramelized but not all that sweet, fairly well hopped for what it is too, although not particularly distinct in that regard. the flavor is balanced, i like the yeast element, this is dry and clean but there is some bready yeast character to it making it a little more complex and dynamic than a lot of beers in its field. the hops are bitter without having a ton of flavor, but they start early so its not just a finishing element. nice against the sturdy grain base thats not as rich or big as it smells, notes of toffee and honey but nothing too toasted or anything, this isnt heavy beer despite being malt forward. some appreciable mineral character in here, nice carbonation, and overall i think probably one of the better beers these guys make. legendary for a reason, underrated i reckon, a sturdy slightly americanized take on the style, but i like this beer, its a classic.
Oct 29, 2021
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Reviewed by TheBricenator from Oregon

3.73/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Look: Clear light amber red with a billowing off-white head that pillows up and slowly recedes, leaving great lacing behind
Aroma: Floral hops, freshly baked bread, earthy hop notes, and light wafts of caramel
Taste: Follows nose well but much more pronounced caramel malt and floral hop notes. Earthiness and even some light spicy hops along with rich breadiness hold down the middle and finishes with flowers and caramel-slathered bread
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, medium-high carbonation, very clean, surprisingly smooth throughout, and a light tongue-prickling finish
Overall: This is delicious stuff. I hadn’t had one in awhile but this beer helped introduce me to the ESB style many years ago and glad it is still quite enjoyable today. Well balanced hop and malt, along with a great feel come together to make this beer the tasty treat it is. A classic and definitely recommended for anyone interested in trying out a solid example of this highly underrated and criminally underrepresented style
Dec 05, 2020
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Reviewed by dunkel_weizen from Oregon

3.31/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
6 month old bottle, head is white and splotchy with mild retention and about 1 finger thick at pour. Nice straightforward nose, with hints of flowers, minty hops, and some citrus and herbal tones. Pour was light, and consistent strong carbonation throughout with a crisp clear apricot color. The body is seems rather thin to me. Taste has an immediate bitter note that pleasantly rounds out with a nice nutty character, with notable malt and some light hop. The lighter notes noticed on the nose reappear after a notable delay, as a pleasant finish.

Although it has a notable medicinal vibe, it's a good refreshing ESB in a region where they are hard to come by. This seems like a nice spring or fall beer to me, although it could be enjoyed year round.
May 01, 2020
Rated: 3.44 by Mickt465 from New Hampshire

Dec 27, 2019
Rated: 1.74 by Reen

Dec 21, 2019
Rated: 3.6 by zestd from Idaho

Aug 14, 2019
Rated: 4 by bdlusa from Texas

Jun 25, 2019
Rated: 3.5 by Kolb from Montana

Apr 29, 2019
Rated: 4.71 by nhkrause from New Hampshire

Feb 25, 2019
Rated: 4.06 by bittersweetidaho from Idaho

Feb 02, 2019
Rated: 3.6 by ProNR from Florida

Dec 28, 2018
Rated: 3.43 by KMcGrath from Massachusetts

Dec 04, 2018
Rated: 4.16 by Rileford from Washington

Aug 22, 2018
Rated: 2.68 by rsteeves97 from Washington

Aug 17, 2018
Rated: 3.02 by MugC from Washington

Jul 04, 2018
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Reviewed by _ryan from Washington

3.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
First non-macro beer I grew to love. Although this beer doesn't have any elements that stand out to me this serves as a solid example of a neutral and high-quality beer.
Jul 03, 2018
Rated: 4.19 by webb017 from Alabama

Jun 04, 2018
Rated: 2.5 by Chilmer from Iowa

May 23, 2018
Rated: 5 by OriginalWayOut from North Carolina

May 12, 2018
Rated: 3.29 by Momon from Philippines

Apr 20, 2018
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Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
Dry and mildly bitter ale. Pours darkish amber with oily beige head. Aroma is light hops, malt and caramel. Taste is hops, dry malt, pine, wood. Reminds me of a redwood forest.
Mar 04, 2018
Rated: 4.24 by Jeremiah87 from Colorado

Feb 02, 2018
Rated: 3.77 by smi69 from New York

Dec 26, 2017
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Reviewed by OldSchoolMike from North Carolina

4.29/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
I used to buy the RedHook sample twelve packs, as they were about the only sample twelve packs without some horrid blackberry or ugave or whatever non-beer additive that some crapft beer twerp wanted to add to the mix. Liked this one a lot. Too bad I can't find it around here any more.
Dec 13, 2017
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Rated by superwho24 from Arkansas

4.27/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Looks great. Fruity malts in the nose. Taste is sort of lagerish if that makes sense with a Sweet malty aftertaste.
Dec 10, 2017
Rated: 4 by Booner818 from California

Dec 02, 2017
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Reviewed by mintzmeet from Washington

3.51/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Smells a bit like cat. Doesn't take like it thankfully. Nice wholesome maltiness, not very hoppy. Not too bitter but great flavor. Caramel flavor. Full body.
Nov 21, 2017
Rated: 3.58 by gvickery from Texas

Nov 14, 2017
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Reviewed by OzmanBey from Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +38.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Bought this the other day because I really dig ESB's I was a little skeptical being that it's an American made beer, in the past the American ESB's have been a little flat or not as tasty. I'm really glad I tried this one because it lives up to the way ESB's should be, it has that nice malty smell, that nice malty taste with full flavor and a hint of hops that gives it that nice bite. I am very happy that I tried this brew.
Oct 08, 2017
Rated: 2.42 by bnes09 from Illinois

Sep 10, 2017
Rated: 2.92 by Shortbox81 from Washington

Sep 03, 2017
Rated: 3.35 by jason_nwx from Oregon

Aug 09, 2017
Rated: 4.09 by apartin from South Carolina

Jul 27, 2017
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Reviewed by ordybill from Georgia

3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a cloudy golden yellow with a small white head. The aroma is faint malt. The taste is watery but has caramel malt in it.
Jun 22, 2017
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Reviewed by pro45 from New York

3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
12 oz bottle 3 months old. Pours an amber golden color with a soapy off white head. Smells of sweet malts, caramel, toffee, hops, citrus. Taste follows the nose with some sour nectarine and apricots. Hops are not so much here. The caramel malts take center stage, but a good balance with the flavors. Mouthfeel is sticky, yet good carb. For $7.99 a six pack you can't lose with this beer. Tastier than AAL's and many pale Ales. This was also not bitter. You can taste some faint bitterness on the finish, but not overpowering. Very tasty, easy drinker.
Jun 20, 2017
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Reviewed by Everydayoff from Thailand

3.57/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
355ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

Mildly hazed copper amber color, it tops with thick frothy off-white head that stays with pretty good retention before gradually sinking to a bit lasting bubble sheet atop and leaving some lacing patch and spot on the glass-side.

Lots of sweet caramel in a nose together with baked bread, biscuit, and toffee, all from malt. Hop same time provides its crisp spice and mild fruitiness.

The taste is also led by caramel sweetness. Then it is joined in by baked bread, biscuit, and toffee like the aroma while hop lends its mild fruitiness, some spice, and subtle herbal bitterness at the end.

The body is between light to medium with semi-smooth mouthfeel and high carbonation through the palate. The feeling is okay and no offensive.

It is true to the style with malty loaded of caramel sweetness also baked bread, biscuit, and toffee.
Jun 20, 2017
Rated: 1.5 by fthegiants from California

May 26, 2017
Rated: 3.25 by Mattias from Sweden

May 17, 2017
ESB from Redhook Brewlab
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 2142 ratings