Imperial Red I.P.A. - Blue Hills Brewery

Not Rated.
Imperial Red I.P.A.Imperial Red I.P.A.

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BA SCORE
82
good

79 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 17.4%
Wants: 1
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Blue Hills Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: portia99 on 12-24-2009

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (17) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 37
Reviews by Duhast500:
Photo of Duhast500
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a cloudy orange/red with a finger or two of white head. Some slight lacing.

The smell is a pretty fruity with some nice hoppy flavor. IT smells just light a my homebrew boiling.

The taste is really hoppy and is bitter but quite enjoyable for a hop head like me. Has a nice fruity flavor with some hints citus and caramel.

The feel is pretty medium with a bit of a spicy aftertaste. IT goes down really easy and it the best beer I have had from Blue Hills so far.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bottle.

The lacing retains very well, lots of stickage on the glass. Brassy reddish color, good clarity. Citric minty hop with toasted grain and a peppery alcohol make for a lively nose. Big creamy smooth body. Hints of caramel, cake batter, toasted bread, dried grass and portuguese sweet bread show of a well rounded malt profile. Hops hammer away at the malt and only in the end finally breaks it. Citric rind, wild herbs, spice and earth from the hop flavor melds well with the warming alcoholic dark ripe fruitiness. Bitter semi-sweet spicy finish.

Part IPA part Red Ale and all Imperial. Delicious.

Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Red IPA doesn't necessarily bear the nose of an IPA, but it is a good nose nonetheless, being heavy with brown sugar malts, caramel, lychee nut, apricot, and fig, all over a bed of toasted grains. There is little in the nose to suggest a large IBU rating, as the aromas are almost devoid of pine or grapefruit.

On the tongue, however, the hops come out in good force, existing as both a grapefruit-bitter sting as well as a sugary rosewater caress. IBUs are not high enough to ward off those unfamiliar with an Imperial IPA (and in fact I wouldn't have known this was an Imperial had the label not said so), but they are present in good enough quantities to tickle the senses, and delight hop enthusiasts. The brew's malts are equally nuanced and tasty, with brown sugars, wheat, apricot and fig balancing the hops. The aftertaste is mostly hops, with a stronger emphasis on the bitter grapefruits than the sugary rosewaters. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent IPA, and in many ways resembles a tamer and more accessible version of Dogfish Head's 120-Minute IPA. Hop lovers will still find plenty in Imperial Red IPA to rejoice over, and newcomers to the style will find this flavorful and less overpowering than many of its peers. Superior fare.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours ruby red color, somewhat hazy. Upon pouring there was an amazing swirling action going on that resulted in a very thick two finger head. It slowly dissipated to about a 1/2 finger head that lasted for much longer. Sheets of lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: A good bit of caramel and some bready sweetness. Slight citrus aroma and a little bit of alcohol.

T: Much maltier than I hoped or expected. Not much hops at all, a little bit of a citrus flavor, but reminds more of malty red/amber ale. There is caramel and a flavor I recognize, but can't really place right now.

M/D: Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Leaves me with a slightly dry mouth. Not sure whats really going on here. As an imperial IPA I expected a lot more hop flavor than this had, I get more hops in single IPAs than this beer. As for its "red" description, I would say it hits that quite well. It if were hoppier, I think I would be happier.

Photo of Boohausen
5/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an awesome IMP. IPA i first had this at a beer festival, after tasting many other brews my palate was saturated with all kinds of beer flavors, and for some reason as i walked up to the booth i selected the IMP. IPA i took a sip and my palate bursted with flavor and recepted emensly, the redish copper color lures you in for a sip then thw hoppy malty flavor you'd expect doesnt let you down, not to mention the alcohol is hidden quite well you can drink many of these and be taken by surprise!!! very very good IPA

Photo of bum732
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

S: Candy like hops, orange, pineapple, caramel sweet backbone, tangerine and mango.

L: Hazy orangish-amber with an eggshell like head. Decent 1/8 inch retention with amazing lacing.

T: Mineral like bitterness with some lemon rind like dryness. Caramel sweetness in the background. Bitter orange melds with light caramel sweetness.

M: Medium high carbonation, medium bodied. Alcohol fairly well hidden.

The mineral component in this beer is pretty strong, really takes away from the other components. Too bad.

Photo of inandon
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour - Amber, copper in coloring. Nice tan foamy head which kept for a bit. Nice carbonation streaming up the sides of the cup

Smell - Definitely get the classic red ale smell with the citrus hoppy ipa notes. Grapefruit, caramel and malty.

Taste - Starts out very sweet, then turns malty and finishes with the bitterness. It is not exactly what i expect for a red ipa.

I agree with some other users that it reminds them of a barleywine.

Overall recommendation would be that if you are looking for a Red IPA, i would go with green flash's instead.

Photo of bobdelt
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty darn good. If you're expecting a double IPA, this isnt it. Very little hop aroma, could be a little more bitter. That being said, it's called an Imperial Red IPA for a reason.

I'm not a fan of these irish red beers, but this, this I could get used to. Poured with a half inch of head into a tall pilsner glass, about 1/8inch lasted the whole drink, leaving lots of lace... in a pint glass might not produce the same effect.

It's very drinkable, strong, leaves a very good feeling afterwards. Very drinkable.

If you find, give it a shot, better than the average IPA or red beer, granted it cost a whole lot more, but occasionally, its better to have one of these, than four of those.

Photo of BostonTriggs
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Quick review on this one. Poured from bomber into a pint glass.

Has a thin off-white head that doesn't last too long.

The smell reminds me a rye beer. It's also grainy w/ a bit of a medicinal edge. Not sure how to explain this, but I could tell from the smell that the beer would be very sweet. For a 9% alcohol beer, it certainly doesn't show in the smell or taste.

There's a lot of sweetness up front. The bitterness from the hops slowly creeps through the sweetness and then lingers on the back of the palate. I feel like the sweetness and the bitterness clash a bit.

I enjoyed the first glass of this one, but I think this is one of those beers you need to share w/ a friend. I drank most of the bottle, and I'm feeling full and quite sleepy.

Photo of bkny27
2.32/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

opaque, dense, cloudy. dark gold/brown, violin stained wood. 3-4 finger head, dissipates quickly, with a thick nearly uniform lacing.

not much on the nose. after several deep inhales, start to pick up a very mild dull melon.

barely noticeable if any malts at the front. not much complexity, dull. bitter at the end. nothing special from the beginning to end.

mouthfeel is medium to almost thick. creamy. carbonation is big and loopy, coating the mouth, but at the same time this is not characterized
as chewy.

i can drink this as a session beer, only because there is not much to it, and it does go down fairly easy. it is 9%, but i don't notice it. aftertaste lingers, bitter, but not something i would want to sit there for a while.

at $10.99 for a bomber, this is extremely overpriced. i was contemplating on spending $14.99 for some long time wants but
because i randomly met the president of sales at the store and he hyped it up, i went in for the kill. really wish i didn't. i could have spent three dollars less and gotten a variety of better
quality locals, or shelled out the few extra bucks and picked up some stuff on my wish list.

Photo of donkeyrunner
2.44/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear amber with a darling white head. Slightly hazy from disturbed yeast (bottle conditioned). Fair lace and retention.

Aroma is malty orange marmalade. Bready. There's a definite artificial orange cleanser scent to this - like orange scented Pinesol or the orange scented Clorox wipes at work with which I use to sanitize my lil' cubicle. If you're gonna call it an IPA "balanced" or "malty" can't describe the aroma.

Orange citrus and bread crust make the first impression before the whole experience melts into a sloppy, overly sweet mess. Timid grapefruit bitter. Unnecessarily boozey.

This is like a novice homebrew. In fact, I recently brewed a red IPA that was a little bit better than this...and I'm a terrible brewer. I want to like this brewery so much because I've done a lot of my long training runs in the Blue Hills. After 3 mediocre to blah brews by Blue Hills I think I'm done with them.

Photo of ppoitras
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased at Ryan & Casey Liquors, Greenfield, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" beige head over the cloudy dark amber brew. Head recedes very deliberately, with pleasing sticky lace. Aroma is low-intensity, but reasonably balanced between sweet malts and citrus hops.

Taste starts slow with some light to moderate sweetness, citrus hops in the middle, which become bitter towards the close. Alcohol not really evident. Mouthfeel is okay, with drinkability about the same. Potential here, but the end for me it didn't really come together.

Photo of IHC
4.82/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This imperial is without a doubt top quality. The idea of a red ale and an IPA combined for one big beer is brilliant. The 9% abv is a surprise if you did not see it on the label. The nice sweet caramel malt flavors balanced with some great hops and just a touch of roasty make this a great brew. Its a nice well made balanced beer and even some of my friends who hate IPAs love this beer.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my chalice with a small amount of head that mainly left a ring around the glass. A deep reddish orange with a thin haze. The nose contains a lot of sweet, somewhat dark malt and a sugary candy aroma. No hops and a lot of caramel. A smooth body with a big malt character. Darker fruits like plums and red grapes but also some chocolate malt. The hops show up in the finish doing more to dry off your palette from the intense sweetness leaving a light grassy taste. The bitterness makes you want more giving how sweet the body is. I had to watch myself though with the 9% and a growler's worth.

Photo of jlindros
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wasn't too impressed with their IPA or regular red ale, but perhaps this one will be better. I want to like their beers as I grew up 5 miles from the brewery (before it existed that is).

A: Pours huge head of 2+ fingers that slowly settles from the middle of the beer to the top and slowly fades. It's a slightly hazy darker amber orange color.

N: Nose has a lot of malts, pale and crystal seems like, with a slight boozy aroma and hints of grassy chewy hops.

T: Taste is more of the same, with lots of malty flavors at first. Toasty malts, some malt sweetness and thick. Some boozy warmth and flavor. A little bitterness, and slight hop flavors, but not much. Some juicy flavors a little bit.

M: Semi thick with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes a little more bitter, and gets more bitter as it goes. It still doesn't have any real hop flavor though. The boozy flavor is gone at the finish, and its mostly just thick semi sweet malts and some bitterness. Another one that just doesn't really impress. It's not really Imperial, red (but does have some nice malts), or IPA. But, it is somewhat enjoyable and hides the 9% pretty well.

Photo of smcolw
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick, but modest head. It lasts and leaves significant lace (both blanketing and ring lace). The brew is cloudy with a dark amber-orange color.

Extraordinarily malty for a DIPA. Here's an odd smell--I smell olives. Where's the hop nose?

The taste starts off malty but it succumbs to the non-descript hop bite. Alcohol shows up on the swallow. The aftertaste is surprisingly brief.

Other than the alcohol punch, this is an atypical DIPA.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well it's certainly red, a very nice color. Slight chill haze and light cloudiness made it somewhat opaque. The creamy head was almost two fingers, and very slowly faded to a nice white film. Lacing was thick and in sheets.

The hoppy smell was really good. Quite floral, with malty notes and just a touch of pine.

Taste was really smooth and delicious.

Light alcohol warming, but exceptionally luxurious feel, great smooth tiny bubble carbonation, and a sweet/bitter lingering aftertaste.

Really nice. This is a good beer. I'd love to have it again.

Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a bright medium amber...mostly clear, but has some fine particulates floating throughout. A finger + of dense, off white head sits atop the beer and has decent staying power. Finally falls to an uneven mound of foam on one side of the glass and thick, even lacing down the sides of the glass.

S - Fruity and citrusy hops up front in the nose. Some sweet malt in the background...touch of fresh baked bread, good amount of yeast and just a hint of caramel in there too. Pretty well balanced with neither hops nor malt dominating the aroma.

T - Fruity and spicy hops and a clean, sharp bitterness. Malt backbone is solid with caramel and bready flavors contributing. Fair amount of yeastiness and a little bit of an alcohol presence that seems to enhance some of the fruity flavors here. Like the aroma, pretty balanced...good hop bitterness, little bit less hop flavor, enough bready and sweet malt flavors to round things out...

M - Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Carbonation is smooth and not at all harsh. A nice creamy feel and just a touch on the oily side as it slides over the tongue. Fruity and bitter hops reach all areas of the mouth and linger past the swallow.

D - Seems like an American interpretation of a stong English IPA...pulled off fairly well. Enjoying this bottle, but probably one is enough at a time. Good overall double ipa.

Photo of KarlosT
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this to be a great, very refined IPA. Didn't know about the high ABV until after I had tasted it (at a Blue Hills beer tasting event).

Prefer the taste of this much more than their regular IPA. Also enjoyed this much more the Harpoon Leviathan (their high ABV IPA).

Bought the remaining bottle in the liquor store.

Photo of sccala
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought 22 oz. bottle from brewery. Poured into a pint glass.

A- brownish mahogany color, 1 finger head that went away before I could really assess how creamy or fizzy if was. Minor lacing, good solid carbonation flow.

S- Obvious flower smell. Like lillies. Very little to smell. Nothing bad coming out, just not much of anything.

T- It's smooth for sure and sort of sweet. Not as hoppy as I thought it would be (it's an imperial IPA, right?) It tastes more like a strong amber ale than an IPA. Phenols are also clearly present.

M- Is this a Red Ale, or an IPA? I don't get it. Is it both? Either way, it's good, I just am having a hard time giving an objective review because although this beer is classified as an imperial IPA, I personally think it tastes more like an Amber Ale, or an Irish Red. Maybe that's why it's called Red IPA?

D- This one is in a class of it's own. I think BHB created a new style here! I've never had anything quite like it. When I really focus on the smells and tastes of this beer, I don't know what to think....other than it's good...but just "good", that's it.

Photo of Liverpool08
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have to agree with an earlier review, this should be an Imperial red not an IPA. Looks nice,
dark orange/red. But really no aroma. Flavor is a nice sweet malt, with just a hint of bitter hops way in the back of your tongue. Again as an amber ale or red ale this brew is ok. The malts are good and its an easy drinker given the 9% ABV. However its not much as an IPA goes.

Photo of lukeskyrocker
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a hazy red hurricane of hops. The lacing is as sexy as French lingerie. However, the aroma carries a malty sweetness that follows through with the flavor too strongly. The sweetness overtakes the bitterness a little too much, especially for a beer with 66 IBUs, and masks the rather high 9.0% ABV, but this Imperial Red IPA is certainly worth a try for all the hopheads out there.

Photo of Brad007
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial red ipa? Seems like a stretch for the style. Either way, I couldn't resist.

Pours a decent amber color with a two-finger head into my glass.

There's a decent citrus hop aroma that awaits the adventurous nose. Perhaps a dash of mango from the hops?

Not as hop-forward as I thought. Chewy, lightly-buttered malt is the norm here.

Alcohol is well-hidden, which can easily deceive the taste buds.

Hmm, I don't see the point here. Its a good beer but it reminds me more of a light-barleywine than an imperial IPA. Regardless, don't let this review stop you from trying it!

Photo of DrJay
2.58/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Hazed burnt orange colour, kind of a deep amber with a coppery hue, a bit murky. A gentle pour produced a fluffy beige cap about a half inch in height in my tulip. Soapy bubbles clung to the glass and there was some clumpy lacing. Good head retention too. Citrus hop aroma, sharp grapefruit right after the pour, strawberry sweetness, caramel and bready malts, doughy. Juicy hop flavour, leafy, resinous. Bitterness felt aggressive and became coarse in the finish, earthy and rough, almost oily. Nice malt sweetness up front, caramel and biscuit, but this disappeared much too quickly and left the unbalanced bitterness behind. Mild alcohol presence as well. The texture was nice at the beginning of each sip - creamy carbonation and just short of full bodied - but once the malt flavour receded so did the body and texture. My palate was left with a dry astringency that seemed to increase the coarse hop character that lingered too long for my liking. Overall, I was very hopeful when I smelled the beer, but the flavour and texture didn't hold up. It felt like a combination of too little residual malt sweetness with a bittering hop variety that was too rough on the palate and used very liberally.

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle served at 48 degrees in my SA Sensory Pint - no freshness dating indicated on the bottle. Poured a hazy caramel/copper with a loose one inch, cream-colored head that eventually dissipates into a skim with minimal lacing. Nose reveals sweet citrus (tangerines?) on a malty backbone. Taste consistent with nose - getting some caramel malt behind the sweet citrus with some sugary sweetness and hops bittering blending together and coming out at the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light (but closer to medium) with an even background carbonation and a slightly oily character. This is a really tasty IIPA I have to say. Nice, balance and really tasty. A great local brew and worth seeking out. Would love to see this on draft.

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Imperial Red I.P.A. from Blue Hills Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.