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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

37 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 80
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 17.13%
Wants: 2
Gots: 10 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Imperial Red I.P.A. Alström Bros
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 80
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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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.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of morebeergood
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Was out to dinner last night at Masona Grille in WR. They only have three beers on tap: SA Noble Pils, Peroni, and Blue Hills Imp Red IPA. Served in a standard pint glass. No head at all. No lacing either; odd for an imperial. Color was a dirty orange hue. Smell was faintly pine like. Taste was wrong on all levels. First, no hops at all. This is an imperial IPA? Then, it was way too sweet from too much malt. This beer should be called an imperial red, and leave it at that. Also, with the mouthfeel, it was sticky on the palate, and there seemed to be no carbonation at all. Very flat and sweet beer. Major letdown here for me - I was expecting a bit better of a product under the imperial brand. Another less than stellar offering that I have reviewed from Blue Hills.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of jbertsch
2.39/5  rDev -34%
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.

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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.

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Photo of steve8robin
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kind of cool to see Blue Hills stepping it up with some stronger offerings. Color is not quite red, but close enough, with half an inch of white heading. Sticky hop resins come through in the smell, along with citrus and pine. The taste on this beer is big and juicy, with the hops showing a lot of personality. Mouthfeel is somewhat light for the ABV, and could possibly use a bit more weight malt wise. Drinkability ain't half bad, and the alcohol is kept in check. I am liking this beer more and more with each sip. Cheers to one of the newest breweries in Massachusetts.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of soze47
2.83/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

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Photo of CliffBrake
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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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.

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Imperial Red I.P.A. from Blue Hills Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.