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

Imperial Red I.P.A.Imperial Red I.P.A.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

68 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 68
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.89%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: portia99 on 12-24-2009)
View: Beers (13) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 36 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of inandon
inandon

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -11%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2012 18:58:52 | More by inandon
Photo of IHC
IHC

Massachusetts

4.85/5  rDev +32.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 02:09:55 | More by IHC
Photo of KarlosT
KarlosT

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 20:58:29 | More by KarlosT
Photo of steve8robin
steve8robin

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw this new brewery come to a local brew shop so I had to give it a try. Plus, an imperial red ale sounded delicious...

A: A nice clean deep red color with a 3/4 in off white head that fades quickly to a small lace atop the brew. Good.

S: Smells of some nice spicy hop upfront with some sweet malt quickly followed. Some caramel sugars on the back. Good.

T: Very well balanced brew. It has a quick sharp hop that is immediately beaten into submission by a sweet malt wall with some caramel and mild almost cinnamon. A watery spiciness on the backend. Good.

M: Medium body with a fabulous carbonation. A spicy finish. Good.

O: All in all, this is a decent beer. Not amazing, but good. I think it is mis-clasified on here as a DIPA. This is just a standard Imperial IPA. There's nothing double about it. The hop profile is a lot more tame for a DIPA. This is for the IPA lover who likes a more balanced, tame hop profile, type IPA. If that's you, you'll love this beer. If you're looking for a hop annihilation, then this will disappoint you.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 01:25:05 | More by steve8robin
Photo of MoreThanWine
MoreThanWine

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 2" beige head. Looks more of a burnt sienna brown color than a red. Smell is complex with malt, caramel, hops. Taste is more of the same, almost even quad-like, with a long finish. The higher alcohol is very apparent, definitely imperial, but I wouldn't call it distracting. This probably is Blue Hill's best beer currently. It's probably not a good example of an Imperial IPA but it's a flavor powerhouse nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 10:17:48 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of jbertsch
jbertsch

Massachusetts

2.33/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased this from the brewery itself.

Poured into a tulip, this has an opaque, dark caramel color with lots of floating yeasties. Didn't get much of a head and I poured aggressively.

Aroma smelled huge of caramel apple. A little cinnamon stick, and toasted bread. Didn't smell too much hops.

The taste was of very sweet malts. Hops come in 2nd and add bitterness, and little apple/orange hop flavor. But just a little. Mouthfeel is a bit syurpy and oily.

This smelled and tasted exciting at first. But its enjoyment quickly went down hill, and I wasn't able to finish the last couple gulps. As it warmed to room temperature it drank almost like a barleywine, and it ended up tasting a little out of whack. The sweet flavor became cumbersome after a while which prevented me from finishing it. This brew would benefit greatly if the malt sweetness was kicked back one notch, and the hops went up a notch.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2011 03:16:11 | More by jbertsch
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

$9.00 bomber from Bottles in Boston.

Hazy darkish red-orange body, topped by three-fingers-plus of various sized micro-bubbles. Good dripping lacing quickly evident.

Assertive and inviting pine aroma with some juicy fruit background.

Sweet malt slides quickly by, not really gaining much foothold. Plenty of juicy fruit follows. Big pine in the finish and aftertaste.

Sloppy mouthfeel could use some firming up.

An enjoyable Imperial Red well worth sampling, but no match for Nugget Nectar.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 03:45:04 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 19:28:50 | More by jondeelee
Photo of bkny27
bkny27

Massachusetts

2.3/5  rDev -37%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 01:06:35 | More by bkny27
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

2.4/5  rDev -34.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 01:05:15 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of DrinkingDrake
DrinkingDrake

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Serving type: growler

04-24-2011 22:29:52 | More by DrinkingDrake
Photo of stonermouse
stonermouse

Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For my first Blue Hills brew, I chose to sample one of my favorite styles. Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours a murky reddish-orange. Cloudy enough to block most of the light. I love when IPAs look like this. Gorgeous.

Smell is is mostly mild, fruity hops. A little bit dull. A little sweetness, too.

Taste is solid. It's not the cleanest red IPA I've had- the malt seems a bit too spicy for the mild, fruity hops. While the combined flavor misses the mark slightly, the components are nice. The alcohol hides nicely, and adds just a touch of punch. Finish is sticky and sweet, with a dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is dense, again, almost too dense for the mild hops that try hard to poke through.

Decent offering overall. With a bit more punch to the hop profile, this could be a winner.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 03:05:38 | More by stonermouse
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 00:54:08 | More by Brad007
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
AlCaponeJunior

Texas

4.05/5  rDev +11%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2011 02:01:00 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2011 01:39:05 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of WJDobbs321
WJDobbs321

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am all for every beer having it's own signature. And I appreciate them all. However, this one came up a little short for me. Loved the crisp aroma and the taste was good too. The hop/malt balance worked very well. However, the body was a little dead for such a sweet beer. I have seen other reviews that said the body was decently carbonated, but I don't agree.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2011 01:05:48 | More by WJDobbs321
Photo of bum732
bum732

Maryland

3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2011 04:15:58 | More by bum732
Photo of CliffBrake
CliffBrake

New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brownish amber color, with a short-lived head and little lacing.

The nose is malty and a bit of grape, or wine-like. Flavor is dominated by crystal malt with some herbal hops and bitterness taking a backseat.

Decent mouthfeel and reasonably drinkable. But this is not the hop-showcase one usually thinks of for the imperial IPA style.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 01:21:47 | More by CliffBrake
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2010 01:40:46 | More by Jason
Photo of soze47
soze47

Massachusetts

2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bomber today because I'd been reading more and more good things about Blue Hills and I enjoy this style. The Hop Man on the front of this 22 oz. bomber is somewhat misleading, as this is a malt bomb in heart.

Appearance: Thick, slightly tan head, about one finger, floated on top of a murky/stiff looking brown liquid. It has a very deep, almost brown leather color. Little bits of something floating in this. Not sure if this is a bad bottle or not, but I decided to review in spite of the floaters.

Aroma: Almost like a caramel, sour-apple. Bready sweetness and caramel get enhance by the booze on the nose. Hops are there, but are very tart and almost sour when balanced against the malt bill this hot and sweet.

Taste: This is a malt bomb right away. Very thick, caramel bun sweetness sweeps across the tongue in a powerful way. It is cloying and quickly fades into a deep bitterness from the hops. Nothing especially powerful to me in the hops flavor-wise except for deep almost dark bitterness that increases in the hot aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Overwhelmed. This beer is thick for its body, creating a lacquer-like affect. The palette goes from sweet to tart to bitter to hot on every drink.

Drinkability: This is not a highly drinkable beer. This is a big ABV and has a cloying, robust body that gives your mouth a wild ride.

Overall: Even if you enjoy this beer's robust flavors, it is pretty thick for the style. With a different hop profile, this would almost work better as an Imperial Brown Ale. Unless there were few other options, I think I'd steer clear of this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 23:50:40 | More by soze47
Photo of mlazzaro
mlazzaro

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a- very properly carbonated. good head retention. A hazy red colored beer, under a cream color - cream textured head. looks pretty delicious.

s- the nose of this beer is great. Hops, sweet malt, and a slight booziness. pungent and delicious smelling.

t- Really similar hop regiment to the Blue Hills IPA. Taste the same in terms of hops. I like this beer much more though. The sweet malts and hight ABV mix well together. Bitterness suits ABV and is balances nicely at the end of the sip.

m+d- All the flavors are really distinct. Hops, Booze, Malt, and Yeast are all separately noticeable. They go well together, but don't mend like I would expect. I accidentally aged this beer and I am really glad I did. Kind on the verge of being unbalanced, but really good. One of the better beer I have had from this crew.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 01:26:42 | More by mlazzaro
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

2.5/5  rDev -31.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2010 00:40:19 | More by DrJay
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2010 23:58:13 | More by ppoitras
Photo of bobdelt
bobdelt

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 23:48:26 | More by bobdelt
Photo of sccala
sccala

Rhode Island

3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2010 12:04:24 | More by sccala
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Imperial Red I.P.A. from Blue Hills Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.