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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red AleTongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 11-25-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 916
Photo of Fcolle2
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber in color with deep hues of mahogany, and a fluffy 2 finger off white head.

Smell has spicy earthy piney hops forward. Smells like there is a fair amount of bitterness. There is also a heafty amout of toasted malt present.

Hoppy bitterness is forward and has more notes of earthy pine. The malt follows with a rich husky maltiness. Lots of residual Bitterness last well into the swallow and exhale.

Mouthfeel is good, medium bodied with high carbonation keeps this drinkable through the bold flavors and bitterness.

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Photo of Kirkman
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smooth, rich flavor. Aftertaste has a touch of bite consistent with imperial. I am glad that they didn't go overboard on the "imperial" that maintains drinkability. Note: Any imperial should have a slight drop in drinkability due to the concentration of flavors.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.15/5  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.

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Photo of oberon
3.86/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, best by 4/17/2014, pours red-copper topped with a creamy beige head that holds great retention. Aromas are toasty grain, caramel, earthy, piny, citric hop. Tastes include a sharp bite of bitter hops up-front, piny, pungent, grapefruit, burnt caramel, brown sugar, bread crust, earth, prickly booze. Creamy yet resiny mouth-feel, medium-full body, moderate carbonation. Overall, nice Imperial Red, but there are some better ones out there, in particular one lucky one that is half the price...

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle courtesy of Binny's Scumburg. Bottle dating is illegible. Harumphhh...

Pours a smattered crimson with plenty of residual splatter.

Smells a touch solvent-y with a healthy serving of brown sugar. Hops in the form of pine and vague citrus linger along the periphery along with baked rye bread.

What an aggressive bitch this is and quite a surprise given the semi limp dicked hand shake at the front door. Tinny malts that are all to common within the style are assisted by brown sugar in an bold attempt to thwart the onslaught of hops. Mean and rugged, the abrasive hops tumble along the tongue and grab spastically at my tasting places. It's rather a kitchen sink feel approach: limes, cat piss, oranges, baby aspirin...it's all here. The finish is scraping bitterness that rakes along the tongue leaving a ruinous affect and a drying barren wasteland in its wake.

This is quite good and I'm happy to have had this available semi-locally as a welcomed impromptu pick up. I enjoyed this much more than any bottle of Sculpin I've enjoyed and hazarded to guess at its relative freshness. A nice big boisterous bomb of Imperial redsiness.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Out of a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A – Poured out a cloudy, golden honey brown with about a finger of off white creamy head that settles down and stayed around a bit. Nice strong lacing.

S – Solid punch of hops with a twinge of caramel sweetness in the nose.

T – Big flavor start with the caramel sweetness and brown sugar. Hops follow along with the piney taste we all know and love. It is not overwhelming ( I expected bigger bitterness) but instead is balanced off nicely with the sweetness. Has some of the citrus flavors as well. Nice slow burn from the ABV rolls along after a few seconds. Nice.

M – Creamy, smooth with good carbonation. Medium to full bodied.

O – I was expecting much more of a hop bomb here but it is not that. It is a well balanced flavorful brew. Nice balanced taste. I enjoyed this one. Goes down easy..maybe too easy at 10%!

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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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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 234 ratings.