Blue Ridge ESB Red Ale
Wild Goose Brewery, LLC

Blue Ridge ESB Red AleBlue Ridge ESB Red Ale
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English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
3.7 | pDev: 10.54%
Wild Goose Brewery, LLC
Maryland, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Blue Ridge ESB Red AleBlue Ridge ESB Red Ale
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Reviews: 21
Photo of jdmorgan
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This ESB poured a copper hue into a pint glass and had a one finger white head.

The beer had a sweet malt aroma present as well as an equally balanced floral hop aroma of Fuggles hops. The taste had a strong body initially and a bite of hop flavor and bitterness. The body was strong with pale and caramel malts and was blended well with a hop profile that was characterized by a medium/high hop flavor and a medium/high hop bitterness. The alcohol content was on the higher end of most ales and was true to style. The flavor eventually melted from a sweeter taste to a more subdued malt aftertaste. The consistency was medium/thick and the carbonation was medium.

All in all, this was a very well crafted ESB that had good balance. As a beer, I found this very drinkable, and personally I could have several. However, I feel that it's higher alcohol content and strength gives it a moderate drinkability rating. Nonetheless, this was one of the best American ESBs I've had and comparable to many of the prominent English ESBs. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Atricapilla
2.78/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a nice reddish copper hue with a medium sized, slightly creamy head. The aroma was slightly sweet with a light hoppiness to it. The taste was that of hops and malt. I'm not sure why they call it a "Red" since it doesn't taste like one. The flavour was not bitter enough for being an ESB.

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Photo of franksnbeans
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this offering at a wedding last night. Pours amber/red (go figure) with a nice thick head that takes a little time to die down. Smells predominantly of hops with a little fruit and malt. Starts out tasting of a little malt and fruity followed by a kick of hops. Finishes dry and bitter. Mouthfeel is very smooth with some nice body and carbonation. A seviceable brew, especially for a wedding. Worth a try.

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Photo of dmamiano
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifull dark, golden color.
Minimal head from a very hard pour. Not much lacing but very clean, crisp looking brew.
Smell is all malt..bready with notes of biscuit.
Taste is very malty, sweet and clean. Good cardonation and excellent mouth feel.
A must try for all. It will leave you wanting more.

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Photo of claytri
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice looking light amber that's slightly cloudy with a bit of white head. The aroma is of hops and malt with a bit of fruitieness to it. A little malt to start the taste, then adds a bit of dark fruit sweetness, and finally closes it out with a hoppy finish. The feel is dry with a bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. I had been eyeing Frederick's line and decided it was time to give them a try. Not a bad hybrid effort. I don't think it wins me away from some of my favorite bitters, but it is fresh and local so I will probably be a repeat buyer.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.32/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A - A cloudy amber to sienna brew with a small one finger head that died quickly and left no lacing. As the beer warmed a bit, exciting the head restored it to this size consistantly and scattered specks of lacing began sticking to the sides.

S - Lillies, spruce and caramel malt. Old melon too. I don't mean a fermented one, but if you were to eat honeydew and watermelon, not clean up the juices and come back two or three days later . . . yeah that smell. It is faint though. Some sort of sweet chemical aroma is also there - like the sort of thing that a dog would drink and die from. Hell, as long as I survive, it isn't really unpleasant.

T - Lillies and pine flavors in equal effect with a bit of malty toffee sweetness. The aftertaste is a bit bizzarre. It isn't really bitter at all, it is more a lingering pine and lilly flavor that evolves a bit. There is a faint bit of coffee underneath.

M - Astonishingly thick and smooth as a fluid, but it dessicates my gums. A bit of a gumminess is left in my mouth. Although to date I think this is the thickest ESB I have had, is also the least refreshing on account of the gumminess.

D - Not too difficult to drink. The mouthfeel hurts it here a bit, but it is refreshing, as long as you don't stop drinking it. Therefore it is extremely sessionable. Kind of makes me want a delicious beer bong right now!

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Photo of cbl2
3.57/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

4/23/2005 (back when this was Frederick Brewing Company) $6.99 6 pack 5.91% Best by on label, but not stamped.


Pours a fairly still light brown, with almost no head.


Mile malt content with a nicely fruity presence lent by the hops.


Nicely done. A nice malt backbone is supported by a sweet floral bouquet brought on by the hops. Some fruit characteristics are present as well in the form of mild citrus and melon.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blue Ridge- ESB Red Ale

Appearance- caramel orange/brown with a moderate head. Light lacing.
Smell- Big malt and pine hops!
Taste- Nice caramel malt evenly balanced with a nice pine hop flavor.
Mouthfeel- Solid/ consistant flavor, slight bitterness, and smooth.

Overall- The best beer I've had from Wild Goose and a good/ solid beer overall. Not a beer I can find in my corner of NJ, but 1 I'll definitely will buy again when I'm visiting my friends in Maryland.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: nice, light amber color...not much head on my pour

Smell: a hoppy citrus aroma was present...not bad

Taste: wonderful hoppy flavor, with no lingering aftertaste

Mouthfeel: nothing too special; pretty smooth, though

Drinkability: pretty good ESB

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

Pours a rather clear orange amber with a creamy white head that thins. Sheets of lacing on the glass.

Mellow aroma boasts of piney and somewhat floral hops. A slight bit of malt also comes through.

A nice hop flavor upfront followed by a mild caramel malt taste. A decent hop bitterness follows and finishes slightly hoppy and quite dry. Actually a bit hoppier and more bitter than most traditional ESBs.

Body is very creamy and satisfying.

Easy enough to drink, just more towards a pale ale than an ESB.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark orange with a small head that falls to a thin table with some stickiness. Carbonation is barely visible. Mundane nose with some watery malts coming through, but not much else. Taste is similar to tobacco juice with a little hit of barley. Hop character is there but subdued. Mouthfeel is thin to medium but fine for the style. This is drinkable. Not exciting, but not bad. If it is offered, go ahead, but no need to go and find this one.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a hazy dark peach color with off-white head. Smell is of fruit, caramel, toasted malt with a light hoppiness. Taste is hoppy with caramel notes present, along with toasted malt. Finish is suprisingly dry and very refreshing. A pleasnt beer, but not outstanding.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dense, creamy, off-white colored head that held strong leaving scattered patches of lace. Barely hazy copper colored beer with a golden glow. Light aroma of grapefruit and piney hops on a barely sweet malt base. Nice mouthfeel, soft and tingly on moderately full body. Where is the flavor? Barely detectable hop tea flavor along with an even fainter malt presence. A mild bitterness jumps in midway through and easily overpowers and flavor. Toasted and caramel malt flavors ease in as the beer warms, and the bitterness fades making for a much more enjoyable beer. I was disappointed at first, but this one came around in the end.

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Photo of sacfly
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Copper color, light head, small bubbles. Smells of citris hops and grass (light). Crisp, clean flavor. Slight sweetness before it is taken over by a citris, slightly earthy and grassy hop bitterness. Wonderful. The malt profile makes it an ESB, but the hops would make most pale ales proud. A great easy drinking beer. This has become my new favorite beer to drink on tap here in the Frederick, MD area. Get it on tap if you can, because it looses a little something in the bottles. One of the best (in my opinion) of the Blue Ridge beers.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This charming ale offers a clear, dark amber body beneath a head of white foam. The retention is fair, and it drops shortly to an average collar.

The nose is lightly hoppy and fruity over a bready, honeyish malt.

It's medium bodied and smooth in the mouth with a moderate carbonation.

It's yeasty fruitiness appears upfront along with it's honeyish, caramel-drizzled, and toasty-crusty-bread-like malt. Some grassy and delicately floral hops (Goldings) appear towards the finish. It's balanced by a solid bitterness that lingers dryly in the mouth with some hop flavors once it's residual maltiness has passed.

Overall, it's quite a nice, well-balanced, appropriately hopped, approchable and drinkable ale.

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Photo of trumick
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light clear amber color. This beer has a nice thin, dense off white head with lacing all around.

Scent is sweet, malty, bready and fruity. There is also a distinct metalic odor and a spice maybe cinnamon.

Taste is sweet bready malts that is immediately followed by a spicey bitter hop. The finish is distinctly bittering hop that sticks around for a time.

Mouthfeel is light bodied very smooth and soft, but it's just a bit light on the carbination, more might make this a bit more refreshing.

Drinkability is nice. I would recomend this beer to anyone who enjoys a decent ESB. It tends to be a bit on the bland side for the style but still a nice offering.

Nothing outstanding, but it's a solid, drinkable beer.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had to buy some MD brews for a trade a few weeks back. It had been some time since I searched out Frederick beers and I haven’t had any of the Blue Ridge for a very long time. However, since they are contract brewing for just about everyone, I’ve had a Frederick beer every now and then.
Presented in a twelve-ounce bottle with the very stoic Blue Ridge labeling. The labels are of high quality, but a little bit of pizzazz might help sell them more. There are much less quality brews out there that get sold just because they catch someone’s eye. There is a “best consumed by” place on the labeling. However, this is generally blank, including the few that I picked up.

Pours a slightly hazy orange and amber golden with a decent off-white head.
Aromas of hops, with a delicate fruity ester and caramel malt mixed in
This is an excellent representation of the classic British style. This is sharp hop bitterness in the beginning. Compared to what is available in the market these days, it is medium on the bitterness scale. What makes this stand out is a very well balanced malt profile. The caramels and biscuits evenly match this very well made beer. There is a hint of alcohol that plays around, but doesn’t intrude.
Has a solid medium mouthfeel.
This is dangerously delicious and drinkable. This could go well in the summer or the winter, watching the game or catching fish.

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Photo of marburg
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazed orange color, slightly tarnished copper, perhaps. There's a hop jolt right away with a little maple syrup sweetness underneath. The flavor is suspiciously buttery; I wonder if this is a bit old. Caramel corn, butter, a brief blast of acidic fruit and lemon before (d)evolving into some pine tree hop bitterness. Exceptionally drinkable. The hop bitterness, while pungent, aromatically speaking, at the opening of the bottle, loses something in the nose and never really musters full force in the flavor. This buttery slickness and mild acidity are most prevalent. Uninspired but decent.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a impressive copper amber with a nice sized creamy textured cream colored head leaving blankets of webbed lacing coating the entire glass. Aroma: Excellent with piney hops in the forefront some caramel coating the malt sweetness this is extremely dead on in aroma very nice. Taste: People at Frederick do an excellent job of recreating an English style ESB just perfect caramel buttery hop mix this beer delivers in refreshingly smooth category, while still maintaining honor to England with dead on accuracy for the style. Mouthfeel: Medium body smooth carbonation slightly syrupy with hop resins very nice. Drinkability: Most definitely impressed with this beer from the bottom on up, leaves me wanting another to follow this one served at the perfect temp not too cold, but just right. Session brew dead on to the style I am pleased here.

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Photo of aaronh
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy, medium amber beer that pours with a moderate light tan head. The head displays good retention and fades to a thin layer of foam. The aroma is predominantly caramel and some woody hop scents. The taste is a good bit of earthy, woody hops, with a decent caramel malt component and a bit of peatiness. Remarkably similar to the amber lager in taste. The mouthfeel is a bit grainy, but there is sufficient body to it. Drinkability is oK, but not great. An overall average beer.

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Photo of DarthMalt
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[In the interest of fairness to Blue Ridge (and the fact that I'm one of the only wisenheimers who have reviewed this beer), I resubmit my review. As is my custom with my early-on, ingenuous reviews, I leave the original, for the young'ns to learn from.]

This is a Big Beer in a little bottle.

Pours with a crater-thick head, and lacing which pulls strongly down the sides. Color is red-ale red, with small, unfiltered-looking yeast particles in suspension. Taste is great crystal malt, with essential hop juices taking off. Hops finish with that puckering, tight sense, which leaves a pain/pleasure ambivalence on the palette, asking for another try.

If only Blue Ridge revamped the label and put this sucker in a bomber, it would be a star!!!!!


Yet again, another of the US micros that have taken the "bitter" modifier to heart.

It is an eye wincer and tongue writher in my book...the pink and gold labeling doesn't help much either. It probably goes perfect with 50/50 ground beef on a serving of chili-cheese nachos at half past twelve, but other than that is best left on the US micro cutting room floor.

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Blue Ridge ESB Red Ale from Wild Goose Brewery, LLC
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 21 ratings