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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

680 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 680
Reviews: 202
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 65
Gots: 33 | 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: 680 | Reviews: 202 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev +2.6%

UncleJimbo, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of justintcoons
4/5  rDev +2.6%

justintcoons, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of aandresen
5/5  rDev +28.2%

aandresen, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy red, small amount of activation in the pint glass served at Toronado SF but head retention and lacing pretty damn solid.

S - Malty...hops there evened out with the malts but you can tell this one is going to be maltier than the average West Coast Imperial Red.

T - Follows smell exactly...this one is BIG...a sipper. Took me longer to finish than my usual Imperial Red or Imperial IPA. Thick, hoppy and equally malty.

M - Big, creamy and heavy due to the ABV and large dose of malts.

O - Everything about this beer is good but nothing mind-blowing. Recommended.

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of bbeane
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a nice finger thick fluffy head with decent retention and lacing. Beer is amber in color and cloudy with little activity

S- Has a dry hoppy aroma with very little if any malt presence

T- Taste is spot on with the aroma... Starts out with a dry hoppy taste that lingers straight through the finish. No malt ever comes through, though there is a hint of booziness coming through in the end

M- Medium body with light/medium carbonation

0- Nothing special in my book... had a nice flavor, but I definitely would prefer other American Ambers/Red Ales to this one


bbeane, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pulled this out of my.. cellar for a marathon beer tasting session. Live review.

Cloudy ruby into my pint glass. Nice head. Little lacing.

Sweet malty nose. hint of alcohol. Apples.

More apples on the mouth. I think this bottle is far past its prime. Bitterness there, but not much hop flavor.

Medium mouthfeel. Coats the palate.

Overall I think I blew it by aging this too long. I thought it would be ok, given the alcohol level. After reading other reviews, it seems like I'm missing out on a lot of hop flavor.

AWolfAtTheDoor, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of tempest
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a goblet at Liberty St. Tavern. The alcohol was well hidden, but overall this was a thick beer without as many stand-out flavors as I'd have liked for something this strong. The hops were juicy, with a citrus rind finish, but lacked depth for such a big beer. The malts were also fairly big, with a soft bready character, but oddly indistinct. Finally, the bitterness, likely thanks to the residual sugar, was far too balanced for anything with the name "Tongue Buckler." I don't want to give the impression that this is a bad beer, but when we're talking about 10% ABV hop-bombs, there are better options.

tempest, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of 57md
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy dark copper with a finger of head. There is little retention or lacing, however. The hops are way upfront in the nose, which is definitely a harbinger of things to come. There is a brief malty taste with the first sip, but it quickly becomes overwhelmed by the blast of hops that follows. The finish is very crisp and bitter - much more reminiscent to a DIPA than an imperial red.

This offering is a puzzler. I am a genuine hop fan and I loved this beer for its aggressive hop profile. However, there must be some minimum style standards adhered to so that we beer nuts can compare apples with apples. This is simply NOT a red, as it is not at all true to style. I am not sure what it actually IS other than a tasty big beer. Let's just go with that, ok?

57md, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap first at Mohawk Bend where I took very brief notes, then at Blue Palms Brewhouse which is the primary source of this review. Served in a goblet.

Clear, carnelian liquid with a lasting dense creamy layer of ivory foam. Thick pasty lacing refuses to dissipate. Superior retention.

Strawberries, bubblegum, oranges, and floral hop aromatics blend seamlessly with a honey-infused malt base.

Ester-heavy, like a field of berries in a summer rain. Candy-like sweetness is persistent but balanced by a moderate faintly peppery bitterness from the citrus-forward hops. Finishes medium-dry and crisp.

Medium-bodied, somewhat oily and creamy with a solid alcohol kick.

It's interesting to compare what I think was a super-fresh keg against this one which has been on for many days now. The fresh keg was more astringent and biting (in a good way) but maybe with a little less nuance...while the hops seem to have fallen off a bit in the older keg, allowing more fruit to come forward albeit with more sweetness.

augustgarage, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of mactrail
2.55/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Starts out with a kiss of barley wine, ends with a serious dog bite. After a brief honeymoon with the big malt it turns into a shrewish storm of hop overdose.

I can't find what hops these are, but they do a good job of bittering. This tastes like they took a batch of Sculpin and dosed it with quinine. The color is a nice orange mahogany with really good lacing in the tulip glass. Aroma of roast malt. I'm not sure what the point of this exercise is. Anything for research, but after a few sips I'm grateful I don't have to finish it.

mactrail, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

WVbeergeek, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber with red hues. Lots of lace and single finger head.

S: wet sock odor hops

T: lots of grassy and floral hops with dominant caramel malts. Some citrus notes.

M: Moderate carbonation and medium body.

Overall: The beer was very good. This wet sock hop aroma that I see in some imperial beers and IPAs is a bit of a turn off before the taste. Otherwise a decent beer.

kylehay2004, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of ujsplace
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Union Jack's on the Manatawny.

A deep copper colored brew with a two-fingered head - creamy white and dense.

Smells of earthy citrus hops and bready malts - smells of rye bread.

Tastes of resinous, oily hops, big cirus bitter hops, extremely dry - a big malt backbone.

This one lives up to its name - hopheads only - loved it...

ujsplace, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point : Tongue Buckler

Poured ontap into a snifter. Deep brown in color with a small white cap. Aroma is full of sugary malt and floral hops. In the flavor, deep peaty malt notes and grapefruit rind like hops. Very close to a scotch ale with a sweet and unexpected maltyness. For 100 IBU the bitterness is moderate. Sweet malts battling a good dose of hops kind of overshadows the lofty alcohol. A hybrid style, Scotch IPA is what it had me thinking.

Stinkypuss, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of magine
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Union Jacks.

Deep amber with a thick creamy white head. Dense and great looking head and nice lace remains. Great looks.

Brew smells of oily pine resin hops, malty biscuit and some sweetness as well. Good nose.

Tastes of oily resin hops, the creamy head gives way for some great smoothness. Huge drying; puckering the tongue drying bitters. Sweet earthy malts and nice balance in the middle. Tremendous bitter brew. Great stuff.

Great brew that would really go well on a cold night.

magine, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of MONKandTUCK
3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- A nice red hue. Some foam on top, but it gives way too quickly.

A- like punch. Lots of fruit and sweet caramel.

T- Kinda hard to place them, but the hops are apparent. The malt bill is a little more complex than an IPA, but not what I'd call interesting. There's a lot going on here, I just can't place it. The craftsmanship is undeniable, but the inspiration seems lost. The alcohol is warming, but doesn't burn. The finish is dry, but it's still a big beer. Nothing about it stands out as unique or extraordinary. Just what the hell am I supposed to be drinking? I like that the bitterness is smooth, even muted, but I'm desperate to taste something that sets this beer apart.

M- It's heavy. The beer never becomes sappy or even chewy, but there's a hefty grist bill here. Due to lack of direction in the flavor department, this massive beer becomes a chore to drink.

O- Big Red. It's a great selling-point, but I can't think of a reason to finish this, let alone try it again. The beer is enjoyable for a little while, and makes "lesser" beers seem wimpy. Beyond that, this beer just becomes flabby, and an apparent product of indecisiveness.

MONKandTUCK, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of Scotchboy
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from jedwards. My first Ballast Point; ironic that it had to be sent to me from a BA in RI.

Poured into a Deschutes snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy (bottle conditioned?) amber color with a good amount of creamy, latte-like head. The head that pretty decent retention and lace.

S: It seems like a caramel-malt bomb at first sniff, but the nose unfolds with some floral hops and some nuttiness and woody characters. Smells sweet.

T: Again, sweet and rich caramel malts, wood flavors and some molasses. The hops arrive on the back end with some lingering bitterness and dryness.

MF: Cream and finishing dry. Medium bodied with all of that malt.

O: I didn't notice the alcohol in this beer, but (comparatively for the style) it was still a little slower-drinking because of its size and the malt bill. A good Imperial Red, that (I believe) would benefit greatly from some more hopping.

Scotchboy, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of JizackFH
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this at the Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room in Manhattan.

A - This beer pours a nice ruby copper color. It has a nice 2-finger off-white head on it. The head has good retention, and it leaves some scattered lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of caramel malts, floral hops, and toasted nuts. There is a touch of alcohol also present in the smell.

T - The taste starts off with some toasted malt and a big caramel sweetness. It is immediately followed by a big bitter hop bite. There are also some flavors of fruit, nuts, and some booziness. The finish has some lingering hop bitterness and booziness.

M - This has a medium to full body and good carbonation. It has a bit of a syrupy quality to it. There is quite a bit of hop bitterness and some alcohol warmth in the finish.

D - There is good drinkability here. It goes down good and the flavor is great. I could easily drink a few of these in a night, even considering the alcohol percentage. Overall, I thought this was a really nice beer, and really good for the style. One of the best Red Ales I've had so far. Definitely tasty and I recommend trying it.

JizackFH, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of Gmann
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bit of a murky amber color with a short cream colored head that settles into a light ring.

The aroma is sweet. Lots of tropical fruit notes from the hops. Big pineapple, candied apricot, and orange. There is a peppery note as well. The malt is bready with hints of caramel. A bit too on the sweet side for my liking.

The taste is of a piney and resinous hop, quite bitter. There is a strong pineapple tropical fruit presence as well. The malt is quite big, with caramel and toffee notes. Some grassy and pepper notes in the finish. A big sweet amber ale and with signicant hop bitterness. Way too sweet for me. Its not cloying but the hop profile along with the malt doesn't do it for me. Doesn't match up to the other hoppy ambers out there, way too big.

Sits full on the palate. It would be slick but the hoppy bitterness counteracts that. Not a desirable aftertaste IMO. Some noticable alcohol presence.

An aight hoppy amber. Its way too big and the hop profile doesn't suit me.

Gmann, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of IronLover
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber red in color with an ornage hue and excellent clarity. Poured with a decent beige head that reduced to a wispy cap that left nice sticky lacings on the glass. Aroma consisted of a nice balance of sweet caramel malt and ripe tropical fruit, grapefruit and orange. On the thicker side of medium bodied with a resinous feel from beginning to end and robust carbonation. Grapefruit, and ripe pineapple hop flavors, with hints of floral hop as well and a strong, very sweet caramel malt backbone. Alcoholic heat is well defined from the middle to the end, making this one a sipper. Finishes with a touch of bitterness that lingers briefly along with the heat of the higher abv.

IronLover, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of rfgetz
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean and clear coppery amber with cap of dense khaki head, good retention and lacing. Scent is filled with notes of resinous and grapefruity hops, solid carmel malt backbone with light nuttyness - almost barleywineish with a kiss of booze. Taste follows scent, solid malt backbone, carmely, malty and nutty with strong resinous hops, touches of citrus and bread and booze. Fuller side of medium bodied, palate coating, oily. More akin to a mild barleywine then imperial amber - strong malt backbone with solid hop profile and hefty body.

rfgetz, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Huge fluffy head forces a 5 min pour with lots of messy lacing as well, mostly clear ruby dark mahogany colored beer.

Nose has some light earthy and citrus hops, a bit fruity, some crystal and reddish toasty malts, caramel, semi sweet malts, slight biscuity.

Taste is quite bitter, earthy and slight herbal hops and a bit spicy, chewy almost vegetative hops, earthy chewy malts, plenty of dark crystal malts, bit of darker roasted malts, a slight astringent taste and salty like malty taste, light caramel, slight biscuity reddish malts, little sweet and syrupy. Finishes fairly bitter still, chewy and spicy hops that make it seem like chewing on hop pellets, bit if warming spicy booze, semi sweet and sticky syrupy reddish malts.

Mouth is med to slightly heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall not bad, very bitter and hoppy but earthy grassy chewy hops, plenty of darker crystal malts, little syrupy though and finish is a bit too harsh.

jlindros, May 28, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this one on tap at the Ballast Point Brewery/Home Brew Mart in San Diego. Poured a dark amber color with a little beige head. Aromas of juicy hops, citrus, toasted malt and sweet caramel. On the palate, this one is medium bodied, with flavors of citrusy hops, oranges, caramel and sweet malt. Very hoppy, without a bitter finish.

emmasdad, May 28, 2011
Photo of PDXHops
2.38/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint. Slightly hazy reddish amber with a smallish but stubborn head. Scattered streaks of lacing.

Huge citric and caramel aromas, but they're overwhelmed by an even more powerful alcohol presence. The taste is similarly frustrating, surprisingly even more boozy than it smells. Kind of a weird doughy tanginess as well. A great citrusy hop profile and scorching bitterness battle for attention, but this battle creates anything but a smooth drinking experience. Something seems to have gone amiss here.

PDXHops, May 27, 2011
Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 680 ratings.