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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red AleTongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

227 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 227
Hads: 870
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 22.82%
Wants: 87
Gots: 105 | 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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 11-25-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 227 | Hads: 870
Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into DFH signature glass. Enjoy by 8/16/13.

A - Pours a dark mahogany with ruby highlights when held to the light. Three fingers of almond embryo colored head dies to a centimeter in a few minutes. Speckled lacing is left behind.

S - The aroma is powerful. I begin to catch whiffs as I pour. Big caramel and blood orange sweetness couple nicely with pine sap. Slightly roasty grain adds complexity. Smells similar to a ripe, bitter American Barleywine. I like it.

T - Assertive, resinous, pine bitterness from the get-go. Refreshing and welcomed brown sugar sweetness cuts the "buckle." A good amount of citrus on the back end. The flavor is exactly what i was looking for. Insanely hopped, but well balanced.

M - Smoother than anticipated with a rich, creamy feel. Alcohol is masked by the intense flavors. The bomber was gone quicker than it should have been, considering the 10% alcohol billing.

O - Yesterday I heard about this beer on this site and thought to myself "that sounds delicious." Today, I walked into Whole Foods (as I do weekly) and saw it for the first time in my life. Funny how those things work. It lived up to my expectations and then some. I'm a sucker for hoppy imperial reds, but this is one fine beer. I'm yet to try a bad beer by Ballast Point.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Schaumburg, IL
Date: Best by 04/17/2014
Glass: Standard US pint glass

Richly caramel-like with equally substantial bitter grapefruit and pine-like hops, Tongue Buckler is a serious exercise in avoiding restraint and seeing what happens. The result is a bold smash of caramel malt, hop, and ethanol flavors that at times seems to blur together into a hugely flavorful, but not particularly distinct, mass. After partaking of Bell's and Two Brothers' imperial red ales, I have to say that I just don't find myself thinking that highly of the Imperial Amber style, though Ballast Point's is probably the most well-executed of those three. I enjoy the beer, but do not feel the need to try it again given the $8 price and 22oz bottle format.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of beige to light tan-colored foam, made up of small bubbles for a fairly dense-looking effect. Retention is about average, lasting 1.2 minutes before settling to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass with a medium-sized island of residue sitting atop the body. Lacing is present, but mostly resigned to a smattering of small dots sticking to the sides of the glass: not poor, but not noteworthy, either. The body is a dark reddish-brown color with orange highlights. Light brings out strong red-amber hues with orange and yellow highlights around the glass.

Aroma is of rich caramel malt sugar presence with some citrus and pine resin-like hops, a dash of cumin, and spicy, somewhat hot ethanol. Really, I think the large amounts of ingredients used here and the ethanol end up drowning each other out significantly, rather than exposing the nuances of each. While still enjoyable, the aroma is not as mouthwatering or as deeply complex as it could be.

Front of palate finds sweet caramel malts with hints of forthcoming grapefruit and pine-resin hop flavors and a light spicy tingling from the ethanol. Mid-palate is of bitter and subdued grapefruit and pine-flavored hops, oily hop resins, with spicy ethanol and a strong caramelized sugar malt backbone. Back of palate finds strong caramelized malt sugars, cumin, ethanol, and primarily bitter hops with a modest grapefruit and pine-like edge. Aftertaste of long-lingering bitterness, a bit of grapefruit rind and pine resin, with fairly abundant spicy ethanol.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy in weight, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, leading to a smooth and slightly foamy mouthfeel. Ethanol can be felt as heat and mild burn in the nostrils and back of throat throughout. Leaves substantial stickiness on the lips and palate after each sip. Enjoyable mouthfeel, given the heaviness of ingredients and resulting ethanol content.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Best by 4/14/14 (therefore I assume it's about 2 months old now).

The beer pours a dull rusty amber with a thin blanketing of off-white head that dissipates into a thin halo that laces. The nose is definitely alcohol and caramel forward with robust, earthy/piney hops in the background...maybe a bit of B.O. and leather. The taste has a mild caramelized sweetness, which is overwhelmed by the abrasive and intrusive hop profile. I have no respect for >100 IBU beers that can't mitigate the gross, grapefruit rind bitter aftertaste...which this one seems to push to the max. As the beer warms the malt sweetness pops a bit more, but it really doesn't do much to cut down on the insane bitterness. This is a reasonably priced, shelf-ready bomber...that I will probably never drink again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a murky reddish amber color, with a large dense off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains rich caramelized malts, floral hops and fruity citrus.

T: The taste starts out sweet with barleywine-like flavors of caramel, brown sugar and fruit that are quickly followed by a hearty malt character and a strong but not-overpowering hops presence. There’s a touch of an alcohol sting and a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sticky and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid flavorful stronger beer to drink for a as long as you can handle it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.77/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Kinda reminds me of the War of Jenkins's Ear, only with a tongue. Yeah. This stuff pours a clear midnight garnet-copper topped by a finger of dirty cream foam. The nose comprises sweet caramel, light leek, pine resin, and light spicy greens. The taste brings in more of the same, with less leek and a light menthol character in the finish. Unfortunately, what is present--in abundance--is the clash between the caramel and the resin, which are apparently acting out a centuries-old feud right on my tongue. Buckle, my ass, it's a fucking raze job! The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, this just didn't work for me, as the hops and the malts just clash far too much for any enjoyment to result.

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Photo of bendern
3.12/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into a tulip.

Bottle stated best by 08/16/13, had on 4/21/13.

Appearance - Very hazy, opaque dark copper. Around two and a half fingers of beige head with a gentle pour. Head dissipated fairly quickly, but left a lasting layer throughout the rest of the glass. Minor lacing.

Aroma - Malts, caramel, pine hops, biscuit and other bready smells.

Taste - Pine hops, sweet malts, caramel. Definitely taste more of the malt than the hops. The alcohol is not hidden well, especially in the finish. Alcohol warmth throughout. Drinks like a barley wine, which is a style I don't care for.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. High carbonation.

Overall - Not a bad beer by any means, but nothing I'd particularly care to pick up again. Tastes more like a barley wine than a red ale. Good to try once. Not terribly impressed, especially considering the typical quality that Ballast Point puts out.

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Photo of Not_John_Wayne
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice coloration. Sriracha brings out the sweetness quite a bit. Good head if all you care about is presentation and bouquet.
Flavor is maltier than I want in any Imperial Amber. I'm eating a biscuit that has absorbed all my hops.

I would never drink this beer again unless someone bought it for me.

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Photo of InlandTaipan
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured and drank on 4/17/2013

Bottled dated best by 3/23/13

A: Beer poured a hazy reddish mahogany. Off-white head was not long lasting and left minor lacing.

S: Aroma is of figs, caramel, butter (Diacetyl), fusel alcohol, pine, worty.

T: Flavor is caramelized malts, lingering punchy hop bitterness, and alcohol.

M: Velvety, thick. A lot of sugar so your lip sticks to the glass with each sip (Not sure if I like that)

O: An interesting take on an imperial Red Ale. I really enjoy Ballast Point's beers, but I feel this one neglects some of the balance that defines the great beers they make. I would still try it again.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown to amber. Darker in color with a slightly cloudy look. Healthy head - at least a finger and quality lacing. Smell is dominated by a great hop aroma and slightly balanced with some malts. Taste is good with malt and candimsugar more present with the hops some hidden well. Spicy. Good.

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Photo of alexgash
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle.

Pulpy, hazy, burnt sienna body. Some light around the edges shows sediment. Small, gauzy, dirty light khaki head. Some lacing. Plenty of resinous hops on the nose. Pungent but pleasant. Also peppery, spicy, and piny. Nice wallop of fruity and caramel-y malt backs it up. Faint alcohol notes as well.

First sip and wow. Big bitter hop goodness. Herbal, piny, and resinous. Lots of sweet malt fills in quickly, though, providing some reprieve. Fruity, caramel-y, and figgy. Scotch tape and pine resin bitterness fights back, winning the battle for hoppy bitterness into the finish. Warming. Dries out a lot in the finish, but there is still some lingering fruity malt sweetness. Full-bodied and chewy. Nice.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber 2 weeks ago from BevMo for $7.99. Best by 050913. I also had this on tap at the San Diego Toronado about a year ago.

Beer poured a murky reddish brown with a pretty decent head that is leaving an smear of lacing behind.

Nose is a nice blast of citrusy hops.

Taste is a big caramel malt backbone that is overtaken by a whopping amount of citrus hops.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth, very satisfying.

Overall not the cleanest of finishes but very flavorful and fun to drink.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle from Rollin Oats Tampa FL for 10$

Appearance - Slightly hazy red/copper with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, caramel, apricots, pineapple

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel, malts, and hops. There is also some grapefruit, cherries, and apricots. It ends with a very hoppy fruity aftertaste.

Overall – Wow.. a lot of hops going on here. I've been looking for this one for a while and it doesn't disappoint. It is definitely over the top flavour wise.. it has a lot of sugary sweet flavours and a giant dose of hops.

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Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Lueken's Liquors. A smooth mouthfeel, with an initial maltiness followed by a pleasant citrusy hop finish. Well integrated blend of malt and hops, the perfect imperial red beer. Another master craft from this brewery. Above average mouthfeel.

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Photo of Smooth-Hoperator
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A) Beautiful thick and hazy dark orange-amber colored beer with very little head.

S) Smells like orange, pine and caramel with a little bitterness that hits the nose.

T) Woah. A very complex beer that starts off kind of sweet and very malt-forward with a little orange citrus balance that fades into a deep bitterness.

M) This is a fairly thick an heavy beer but good for an Imperial Red Ale.

O) A decent Imperial Red but leaves a lot to be desired. I would take Great Lakes Nosferatu over this one in a second. It is almost too bitter for my taste but overall, a decent beer.

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Photo of GPHarris
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick bubbly tan head into a snifter that left a thick ring throughout. the body was a dark amber color.
s - overwhelmingly piney with a hint of malt underneath. as this beer warms the malt begins to balance it out more.
t - big piney hops with a hint of bready malt underneath. tongue buckler tried to warn me!
m - medium and slick mouthfeel.
o - really good red ale and one i'll seek out again.

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Photo of Durge
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fairly clear copper-brown color with a proud oatmeal colored head and plenty of chunky lacing. The aroma offers a deep nutty malt and pine hop and a bit of toffee alcohol. Very nice! The flavor brings a very sweet pine malt with a nice leafy bitterness and a somewhat boozy finish. There's plenty of graham cracker-rye grain goodness mixed with the grassy-pine. This beauty is medium-full bodied with a frothy carbonation and feel. This is yet another triumphant effort from Ballast Point.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in a taster at Ballast Point in San Diego, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger width tan head. Long retention, fluffy lacing. Reddish brown color, nice clarity.

S- Caramel malts and spicy hops. More subdued than I thought it would be.

T- Some bitter hops, but balanced out with sweet malts. Not terribly impressed.

M- Medium bodied and fairly wet.

O- I wasn't really impressed with this beer.

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Photo of Kendo
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber says enjoy by 05-24-13. Consumed on 11/30/12.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is turbid amber - kind of looks like apple cider - that is more orangey-amber when backlit. 1-finger ecru-colored head on top settles to leave some splotchy lacing down the glass.

S: At first I thought I sensed some oxidation, but that seemed to go away quickly. Lots of hops, sure, but I think there's more malt - of the caramel, brown sugar and toffee type smells. Reminds me of a barleywine, though I'm having a hard time remembering which one. Hops present smell of citrus and pine. Alcohol is noted too.

T: First impression is the booze. That 10% ABV is obvious. Overall I get some grapefruity hops on top of a big malt profile - caramel malt, toffee and brown sugar again. Decent bitter finish, however, provides a bit of balance offsetting what I'm guessing is a big malt profile. Finishes with drying alcohol spice and warmth - which is felt as heat (not just warmth: heat) down the gully and into the belly. Lingering bitterness at times surprises me given that big malt profile.

M: I'd call this full bodied. Carbonation is good, provides a slightly sharp bite.

O: I wouldn't classify this as an Imperial Red Ale (which is how Ballast Point describes it on the bottle), but rather as an American Strong Ale, along the lines of Stone's Double Bastard - though like I said, at times this even brings to mind an American Barleywine. Definitely a "big" beer, with the alcohol announcing its presence and telling you to slow down.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz, Best before 03/23/12
Bruery tulip

A: Cloudy murky reddish orange. Full finger of off white head. Some lacing sheeting. Alcohol feet are present.

S: Lots of sweet malt. Bready. Caramel. Light toffee. Bitter citrus pith hop bitterness.

T: Not anywhere as bitter as I was expecting. Sweet malts. Some caramel. Piney hops. Dank citrus. It's a good beer, but I was expecting more of a hop bomb/malt bomb blend and that wasn't what I got.

M: Medium bodied. Not as bitter as expected.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber colour, with a tan coloured head. Lots of spongy lace. Aroma is more caramel and dark fruity malts, with some floral hops notes. The taste is not "buckling" my tongue though. The bitterness is noticeable, but tame. But there's a lot of sweet malts, caramel and toffee. It's a solid upper medium body with a slick, almost oily feel.

It's a nice beer for sure, but the name makes it not as enjoyable as I was expecting a hugely bitter beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I don't know why this beer was so bloody hard to find, but it was on my wants list forever until martin123012 took pity & traded me a bottle. All this build-up? Kind of like Indiana Jones IV? God, I hope not. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife. Best by date of 6/13 (?) on the neck.

Pour is certainly red. The dull, mucky variety. Taking in several liters of air through my nose, I manage to tease out some sweet malt & earthy hops, but that's it. Down low.

Tongue Buckler is like malt-on-malt porn. Malts spill over one another in an amazing amount of positions. Sweet bread, caramel, grain, booze, light toast. The hops aren't as aggressive as advertised, but they pack a wallop that's mostly bitter & faintly citrus. I don't know how to describe it, but the malts & hops seem at odds - the effect is almost oxidized, though not quite. The mouthfeel is heavy as a malt-soaked anvil...I shouldn't have eaten dinner. This could be a meal in itself. Doesn't exactly invite slugging.

Especially given my love of Ballast Point's hoppy beer, this is a touch of a letdown. The heaviness & ingredients that appear to be sparring with one another means this one only lands in the pretty good airfield.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Cloudy unfiltered dark amber with a rocky looking two-finger head of light beige foam with good retention. Great lacing.

S - STRONG aroma of west coast hops with fruity overtones, and lots of caramel malt. Smells inviting.

T - Nice combination of big hops and big malts. Malts are sweet and bready, and the hops are lush, piney, and resiny. An almost candied sugar flavor in the mid-palate. Just a slight booziness in the finish which becomes more prevalent as it warms, which is pretty amazing for 10% abv. Not the most complex beer by any means, but the flavors that are there are jacked up to 11, and it's well balanced.

M - Medium to full bodied, with lively carbonation that combined with a drying finish makes this easy to keep in drinking large gulps until you start feeling that 10% abv kick in. (LOL)

O - "Amber" and "Red" ales are not normally high on my list of favorites because I usually find them to be too pedestrian for my tastes. This beer changes that and I appriciated the assertive (aggressive?) flavor profile and abv. Packs a punch for the price point, and I'll be buying again.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pour is copper brown with a light brown head and lots of mid size bubbles. Nose is lots of toasted bread and grain with a powerful citrus and pine hop behind it. Lightly green and sweaty. Taste is much of the same, a bit stale piney hop with citrus notes, strong bread crust and cooked caramel. Body is lighter with decent carbonation but a bit of a grainy feel in back.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into DFH laser-etched snifter.

Pours a deep, opaque red/mahogany with a thick light brown head that dissipates down to about a half finger. Nose is super hoppy. Pine, tangerine, caramel, grapefruit, molasses and brown sugar. The taste is pine, grass, red grapefruit, black tea, caramel, toffee and bitter orange. Pine explodes and quickly turns into tart grapefruit then plunges into caramel/toffee with a hint of grassy bitterness and some notes of black tea (almost like unsweetened iced tea) that all fades out into a bitter orange and caramel that clings onto the tongue and doesn't let go. This "red ale" is a better DIPA than many beers that are classified as DIPAs (I'm looking at you Palate Wrecker!). Very awesome, love me some Ballast Point.

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 227 ratings.