Irish Red Ale - Garrison Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Irish Red AleIrish Red Ale

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67 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 17.51%
Wants: 0
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company visit their website
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: PiratePete on 10-07-2003

This classic beer style was inspired by centuries of Celtic brewing history. Specialty kilned malts such as dark caramel and munich dominate the Irish Red resulting in a ruby red colour and smooth malty taste.

20 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by notdan:
Photo of notdan
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MeisterBurger for passing this along in CanBIF 5.

Poured with a nice little head but it died pretty quickly and left little lacing. Smelled decently, a good balance of malt and hops, but also a bit of lemon tea, which seems to be common for the Garrison beers I've tried so far. The taste followed suit, and while it's nothing exciting, I found it to be pretty solid and balanced. Mostly sweet malty/caramel flavour with a sort of tart bitterness, partly citric and partly coffee-ish. Mouthfeel and drinkability was fine, would not be hard to make this into a session beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Waterfront Wharf in Halifax, just a stone's throw from the brewery, on a cool and rainy fall day.

Poured into a Garrison pint glass. Certainly holds up to its name with its clear bright ruby-copper hue. Decent half inch of head, recedes into a thick ring with lots of lacing.

Nose is faint, and doesn't offer much. Malty, caramel, a bit of fruit and mild hops actually. Smells like your standard big market red ale.

The taste is thankfully a touch better, with a nice malt profile, bit of grain, tea-herbal hops, and mild fruit and spiciness.

Thinner bodied, sharper carbonation than I'd like.

Decent red ale, certainly highly drinkable, but neither is it among Garrison's better brews. Still, when it's consumed within sight of the harborfront, it adds a certain something to the experience.

Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle, the final soldier in the Garrison mixed pack.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a consistent ring of undulating, but eventually drooping lace around the glass as it steadily recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, biscuity toffee/caramel malt, a touch of underripe drupe fruit, a mildly stringent mineral character, and weedy, grassy hops. The taste is kind of stale white bread, grainy caramel malt, softly buttered biscuits, cold red apple skin, an ethereal hint of wet smoke, a bitter, almost metallic alcohol edge sans any warming, and a bit of earthy, leafy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and somewhat spritzy, the body medium-light in weight, and leaning well towards smooth. It finishes off-dry, the grainy, biscuity maltiness still presiding over some latent herbal hoppiness.

An Irish Ale with an identity problem - it maintains the big, enjoyable old-school malt base, but the other off-flavours, at times, push the low-rent local brew boundaries. Still easy enough to drink, I suppose, but certainly not all night.

Photo of Sammy
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is one-dimensional, grand cru level coriander, and water. Very watery, it owuld be nothing iwthout over-the-top coriander. Decent amber colour. Aggressive carbonation. Was unfinishable. Have had much better Maritime ales, bt a worthy experiment.

Photo of socon67
3/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Color is reddish amber with minimal foam. The smell has some sweetness of caramel. The taste I found a little disappointing. It seemed diluted to me. none of the tastes seemed all that strong.

The red has a smooth finish and I could see this being drinkable. This was not one of my favorite irish reds by any stretch, but it is still a decent beer.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - clear red-brown with a thumb of tan head, dissipated slowly
S - caramel and roasted nuts, leafy hops and some alcohol sweetness
T - molasses malt with a dry leafy hop note, a little nutty, buttery and sweet finish
M - lightly creamy and quickly drys out, very dry finish
D - maybe not a session beer but could definitely enjoy a couple

Photo of Mandrake
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Arrives at my table a brilliantly clear and bright red, with a modest off-white head that is reasonably well retained and leaves some lacing for the first half of the pint. Smell is bright and fruity, will notes of strawberry, apricot, and pear dominating the malty profile. Taste is similar, with a very fruity base and little hop bitterness to balance its sweet and malty nature. Mouthfeel is slightly watery, but still decent and with nice carbonation, and drinkability is good. Not a bad offering.

Photo of souvenirs
3.64/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into a pint glass. Part of a 6-pack bought at the NSLC in Hantsport, NS... not much else there for craft beer, so I figured I'd give it a try.

A: brown and clear, with three fingers of fluffy tan head.
S: grassy hops and roasted malts.
T: Nice balance of hops and roasted malts. Very drinkable.

Overall: Good but not amazing.

Photo of Danielr26
2.63/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

Photo of Rutager
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a clear copper with a finger of sticky looking, light orange-tan head.

Smell. Strawberries, melon, caramel, and some toasty grains.

Taste. Sweet caramel malt and pears. A little grassy hops in the end. Finishes pretty clean and sweetness isn`t offensive. A little watery.

Mouthfeel. Light body with medium carbonation.

Overall. I liked this. Light and refreshing with nice hints of fruit.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a light red/amber color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with light cereal notes and some residual sugar. Taste is also dominated by dry caramel malt with light sweet notes and no discernible hops. Body is a bit light with OK carbonation. Decent but a bit too bland to be truly interesting even as a session beer.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.03/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a variety 6-pack, in a 341 ml brown bottle. Pours out a clear deep russet amber, thin creamy off-white head.

Nutty caramel sweetness on the nose, faint tinge of leafy hops.

Something of a worty sweetness in the flavour, mild notes of nuttiness with mild spicy and herbal hops on the finish and which lingers on into the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, smooth with a bit of a creamy texture, moderate carbonation.

Sweet and somewhat generic, doesn't really stand out for the style.

Photo of mrmanning
3/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341 ml bottle- A deep mahogany pour, with a creamy and beige off white cap. A malty and fruity nose. Mostly earthy malts with some caramel, red plum, some spices. Tastes of sweet malts, quite grainy, some fruity notes, a bit of spice. Creamy and malty finish. Good. Thanks Darlene.

Photo of Mdez
3.11/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I tried one of these while on a vacation to their brewery in Halifax in August 2012. Compared to the few reds I've had, this was a pretty pedestrian offering; nothing offensive yet nothing to write home about. I found myself wishing I'd ordered something else instead and that's kind of disappointing.

Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, label as shown above. Received via trade.
Pours a dark reddish brown, one inch of off-white head. Decent retention, minimal lace. Smells of roasted caramel malt, and a bit of yeast. Sweet malty taste, a bit of caramel, then some bitter hops. Mouthfeel is smooth, low carbonation. Very drinkable.
Another good one from Garrison.

Note: after having got this one from the Maritimes, I was able to try another sample at BeerFest. Now is readily available in Calgary. I will definatley have this one again.

Photo of nighthawk
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a translucent dark red with two fingers of off-white head. Smells malty, bit of yeast, caramel sweetness, and some roasted wheat. Sweet malt taste strikes you first, again with some caramel flavours. This melts into some bitter hops. Bitterness is a little overpowering. Not unpleasant, but doesn't quite balance the malts.
Mouthfeel is pleasantly smooth, lowish carbonation, goes down easily. Quite drinkable.
Garrison's website has a fair bit of info on all their beers, but I was surprised to see they labelled the bitterness as low for this beer; it certainly stands out for me.

Photo of berley31
3.1/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured with hardly any head at all, and what was there was gone within seconds. Body is completely clear and a really nice ruby red color.

S: Just like the Raspberry Wheat, there seems to be a slight alcohol smell coming through, which is weird. Mostly, though, sweet maltiness is apparent, along with a slight fruitiness to the whole thing.

T: Sweet at first... but then it ends with a slight bite of bitterness which isn't very pleasant. Almost astringent, or something. There's also a bit of smokiness to this beer, which is kind of unusual. Overall, it's not terrible, but it's not balanced very well.

M: Light bodied, thin-creamy texture, with average carbonation that seems a little bit too high for the style.

D: Not terrible, but not very smooth. The odd things about this beer likely won't make me buy it again.

Photo of Long813
3.61/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep red clear body with two fingers of thin white bubbly head. Retention is good and lacing is pleasing.

S: Aromas are not to strong. Some grainy hops and sweet caramel malts.

T: Clean notes of caramel malts with some interesting grainy hops.

M: Light bodied with medium carbonation. Texture is smooth and water like with some odd grainy aftertaste.

O: One of my more enjoyable Garrison brews. It's very easy to drink and enjoy, but not lacking to much character.

Photo of demcorhip
3.16/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

So far so good. Suprised myself with the three finger tight, pale tan head on the pour, sitting over top a clear chestnut hued brew. Maybe the bump the bottle took just befor pouring helped out, or maybe this is just how this one is. Decent retention, driven by a fine yet persistent stream of bubbles. Decently laced, with intricate and almost sticky webbing as i drink from my pint glass.

Malty sweetness with a toasted character. Some cheesy mustiness, and some herbal qualities also present.

An interesting brew. Definite malty sweetness and a pleasant toasted malt character. Slight tea like flavour cuts through the sweet malts to introduce the grassy and herbal hops. This is a medium bodied brew, the slight cheesiness is getting in my way of really enjoying this one. Getting rid of the slight cheesiness would leave a pretty nice beer behind, as it is really the only thing that takes away from my enjoyment of this beer.

Still fairly drinkable, just wish i could of had a clean sample. Perhaps another day...

Photo of DogFood11
1.71/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A broad generalization of the liquor stores in Saint John would be that besides macro lagers there usually is 4 or 5 choices of Reds. This is the first Garrison product I've had. Pours with an even head and little lace. Light brown body. Highly filtered. Nothing real inviting.

It starts off very nice with a level of bitterness that I've yet to have since arriving. Smells solid. A nice malty backbone, a touch of caramel and some slightly toasted wheat. Towards the middle It turns decidedly "tinny", metallic and a bit amatuer after the initial splash of goodness. Malts are overmatched by this chemical feel and taste.

Notes: Very conservative brewing for a microbrew. Nothing wrong with conservative but you have to hit the marks if you go for an easy drinking brew and this one misses. So far I'm dissapointed in the local offerings. A night out at Taps located downtown hopefully will change my mind overall.

Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mandrake for kicking this my way for CanBIF3!

Pours a clear red/orange, big fluffy off white head forms, settles down to a thin ring pretty fast, some lace spots. Smell is sweet and malty, caramel, sugar, citrus, floral hops, very fruity and yeasty, pretty decent. Taste is very sweet, caramelized sugar, tons of fruit, pineapple and pears, a bit plasticy, bready, bit of sourness, malty finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium to high carbonation, little bit rough and prickly. Not too bad, nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed drinking this. Thanks Peter!

Photo of Buebie
1.62/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I bought this single from Premier wine and spirits near the Citadel.
Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pub glass. I am a bit concrned over the massive head produced from a soft pour. Foaming up over 4 inches, I'm wondering if this is infected.
Once the head settles, it fizzles away with a snap crackle pop. Leaving behind a thin retention cap, covering the liquid. No lace is left behind at all.
The color is a redish brown, mostly transparent.

Aroma of figs, dark fruit, grapes, some malty sweet aroma, bits of chocolate, and purfumy cherries. I really think this is infected, it does not smell as it should with cherries and purfumy dark fruits.

Yep, this is infected. Mouthfeel is overly carbonated. Taste is pretty foul, with rotten fruit and cherries. Still some chocolate in there, but yea, this is a pretty nasty bottle. Shitty really on my end, since I'd have to travel 2,000 miles just to get another bottle. Very dissapointed. But all the other Garrison brews I had were terrific. So, cant get too mad about one bad apple.

Photo of andrenaline
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice dark copper colour, finger of bubbly head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Pretty mild, reminiscent of an ESB with musty caramel and grassy hops.

T - Similar to the scent, the musty caramel and grassy hops dominate, though come through slightly metallic. Bitterness presence is strong with some leafy hops lingering on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, big bubbled on the way down and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall a tasty red ale with some ESB characteristics. Worth a try, but nothing spectacular.

Photo of leaddog
3.03/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a clear pale copper with a finger width of foamy off-white head.

Smell - Grains, grass, hint of apple.

Taste - Caramel malts with grassy flavours and that hint of apple and tea. Not much else to describe in this brew.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium bodied with light carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall - A standard Irish Red by Garrison. It hits the mark on some of the style's traits, such as dry finish and tea-like flavour, but otherwise does not offer much else new.

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A darker-than-medium copper+amber+red. It starts with one finger of head that's gone not long after I got into it.

It smells like a bit of toffee, and a bit of that iron/metallic flavour/scent from some beers, especially reds.

The taste is pretty good. Expected "red" flavour... a bit of that toffee... just a slight bit. Malts come through... a little earthy.

The finish, right after you swallow, is a bit bitter, but it doesn't seem too out of place. It's OK. Although it's somewhat creamy / smooth, that bitter finish somehow makes it seem a bit watery... either that, or a watery feel kicks in at the same time.

If it was my university years again, a pitcher of this for me would be just fine at the pub. Pretty drinkable.

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Irish Red Ale from Garrison Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.