Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale
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BA SCORE
88
very good

723 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 723
Reviews: 205
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 68
Gots: 44 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 11-25-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 723 | Reviews: 205 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by macrosmatic:
Photo of macrosmatic
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a CCB pint glass.

A: Reddish amber, mostly clear. Lots of visible carbonation leads to a one and a half finger off-white head.

S: Roasted and caramel malts, with pine and grass hop profile.

T: Follows the nose very closely. The caramel malts pull through a little more, as do the pine hops. Hop bitterness in the hang.

M: Medium body. A lower-than-expected carbonation sensation lends to a creamy-ish mouthfeel. Alcohol is well-hidden given the ABV.

O: This is a reasonably good hoppy red ale. But there is more caramel malt than I'd like, and I'd think a fruitier hop profile would have helped here. Not bad, but not my favorite american red by a long shot.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber brown and perfectly clear; towering head of fine bubbles draped lace behind

S: piney and resinous hop aromas with spikes of a dark, pithy citric aroma; hearty malt character underscores it all

T: caramel sweetness preps the palate for the slow-moving train of hop action that follows - lots of pine and resin draped over the citric elements and flavors; malt flavors are rustic and roasty, with suggestions of nuttiness and earthy spice

M: medium-bodied, ample carbonation; slight chew, but the abv airs it out quickly; dry wood aftertaste hovers o'er the numbing bitterness...

O: hop-forward "American" Imperial India Amber Ale (new style category!) - essentially a dark IPA Imperialized effectively - big hops, hearty malts - easy-drinking with a hammer of hops to hide the high abv. I really dug it.

Photo of oberon
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Iam a big fan of uber hopped imperial reds so here we go!Poured into an imperial pint glass a clear rich bronze color with a billowing one and a half finger off white head that spits and shoots into a craterous mass leaving a full ring of lace behind.Herbal and grassy hops with a tinge of pine resin,not a big malt profile wich surprised me a little,but I loved the hops.Not quite as full as I would have liked in the mouth,not watery but for the style I may have liked a little more fullness.Flavors of alcohol dipped malty-gummy fruitiness and brown sugar then more of a herbal/leafy hop flavor that turns into a big of grapefruit rind,as I drink more the complexities unfold more.There is a nuttiness that keeps the beer from becoming overly sweet and boozy.At first the beer didn't impress much but as I drank more it impressed more.

Photo of MikeSJbeers
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Dmann
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer hit the spot the other night and I hope to come back for more. Had this on tap at the San Diego Brewing Co. and it was great. Poured a great amber color with a great head and nice lacing. The smell leaned more towards the IPA side of things with a nice wiff of hops and a little carmel malt scent in there too. The taste was very good and was a perfect mix between a strong amber and an IPA with a nice healthy hoppy flavor backed by a sweet malt that broke through very nicely and came to the foreground to ballance. I too hope they bottle this one someday, I'll buy!

Photo of freshflesh
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Afroman
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Beaver13
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Pours red amber with a big creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt blended with green resiny hops.

The flavor is some sweet nutty caramel malts and lots of fruit with tons of piney resiny hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a nice big hoppy red. The alcohol is well hidden.

Photo of TimoP
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of megamass
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Billolick
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled at DeCicco’s In Ardsley, NY

Nose is boldly of hoppy goodness.

Pours ruby hued amber, medium tan head, stays and then leaves a thicker collar and plenty of fine lacing.

Dense layers of hops, resins and spruce. Big and bold brew, with interest, quality and attitude abounding. About what I would expect from the Ballast Point brewers.

Complexity, character and density of flavors adds up to a quality brew thats well worth seeking out.

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending this beer my way.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The aroma is caramel and toffee malts with some nice fruit tones. The aroma smells very sweet. The flavor is caramel and chocolate malt with a good amount of orange and pine hops. The malt backbone goes very well with the strong hop profile. Medium bitterness overall. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of magictrokini
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is huge. Pours dark crimson with a tiny tan head. Aroma is mostly hops and caramel malt, with some fruitiness. The taste is very strong. Thick with malt and caramel, but offset by the heaping of bitter hops. Some citrus towards the back. Creamy mouthfeel with some stickiness. Its a sipper, but a really good one.

Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A deep and dark auburn red with a thin tan head. Leaves nice lacing.

Best part of this beer was its aroma. Pungent grapefruit burst followed by more citrus notes. A bit of sweet and caramel malt aroma as well. Pungent and powerful.

I can't taste the citrus hops as well as I hoped I might. Extremely bitter, though that should be expected with the name. Sweet, bready, and caramel malts do their best to match up, but this beer banks on bitter.

Thick mouthfeel. Heavy and substantial, which is appropriate given the style and the ABV, but there's no way to drink a lot of this, nor would I particularly want to.

A true tongue-buckler. This beer has earned its name, perhaps the most bitter non-DIPA I've ever had. Tasty, but not incredibly drinkable.

Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of sourdog
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of far333
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Burnished copper with bright red highlights and a thick head of dimpled foam that settles slowly. Aroma of sweetish malt, lots of caramel.

Rich flavor of caramel malt and toffee, but piney hops burst to the surface. The hops are missing the sharp edge that a bold hoppy beer normally has, leading me to wonder if the undated bottle has some age on it. There is a definite ABV contributing sweetness.

Full mouthfeel, with noticeable alcohol warmth, fairly viscous. Would like to try another bottle knowing that it's fresh to see if it's any different. Decent beer overall.

Photo of doremite
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Excited to try another of the semi-rare but delicious imperial red ale style. This pour is breaking in my new DFH signature glass. Pours a deep, clear blood red with a thick fluffy off-white head. Smell is boozy caramel malt, completely overshadowed by hops. The hop scents start off with some mild pine/citrus rind, followed by tons of sweet fruit. Taste is sweet toasted malt, a sudden wave of booze carrying tons of juicy and bitter hop flavors with it. Finishes with sticky sweetness rolling in bitterness and the heat left over from the alcohol. Definitely a sipper, but great if you like big hoppy beers.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep red to almost brown pour, amber, auburn somewhere in there, not much head to speak of on this one. Aroma wasn't as hoppy as hoped for, dry hopping could have been stronger.

Massive amount of caramel and toffee malt flavor is paired with an equally difficult bitterness. It lives up to the name tongue buckler, but comes off as if its sole point was to be bitter, rather than pleasantly bitter. Lacks complexity. Big malt, big bitter. Harsh at times, syrupy, but not so much that it has no place. This is one of those extreme beers that is basically just a doubling of everything normal to style, except the dry hopping here. Seems like a double hop boil, double malt by the poundage. The bitterness takes from a grapefruit hop characteristic, don't taste pine or a friendlier citrus thing going on.

Alcohol stays warm on you in this one.

Photo of williamjbauer
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flowing at Smokin' Joe's in the Southside pours a copper hue with a light off shade of white head, big chunks of lacing. Aroma has big abrasive pine/caramel blended with some dank smelling herbaceous goodness, quite a nose with a some booze edging in this good just as easily be a barleywine in most beer cultures. Flavor again earthy herbaceous and citrus peel accented hops bring a strong bitterness full big booze and big caramel malts with a bit of dirt/mineral quality going on. Alcohol is soothing and fits within the massive arrangement of this beer, never seen bottles in the Burgh but definitely scattered on a limited basis on tap. Mouthfeel was big a bit harsh with bitterness and alcohol but I new what I was getting into when I ordered this one. Overall a high quality big aggressive West Coast Tongue Buckler, meaning it pretty much assaults your palate with intense flavor.

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 723 ratings.