Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 660 | Reviews: 199 | Display Reviews Only:
4.22/5 rDev +8.2%
22 oz. into a snifter
P: Crimson-soaked deep amber with a light tan head that's dense, creamy, and fluffy. It didn't show very good retention (10% ABV), but left some nice lacing on the glass.
A: Hops just erupt out of the glass with all of the citrusy, piney goodness filling the entire room! My wife said she could smell it all the way across the living room. Rips through the nasal passages with aromas of ruby red grapefruit, pineapple, and pine trees. Toasted malts are barely even noticeable!
T: Just as hoppy on the palate as it is in the nose! Ruby red grapefruit is right upfront with notes of lemon zest, pineapple, and some other tropical fruits underneath along with lots of resinous pine. Toasted caramel malt is a distant second place, while the caramel tries valiantly to take the edge off the intense bitterness, but fails miserably because of the huge mismatch. The alcohol is present on the palate, but even more so in terms of warmth. This baby is a tongue buckler indeed!
M: I would say that this Impy Red is medium-bodied, with a slick, oily, resinous feel that does finish a bit dry and sticky, but not as much as you would expect from the huge hop bitterness.
Notes: This is a very tasty Imperial Red! It's uber-hoppy with not much in the way of malts to get in the way. The super flavorful, intensely bitter hop bill does a good job of hiding the alcohol in taste, but the warmth of the ethanol kind of hinders the drinkability of this one. Maybe with a little age, this one will really come into its own. Don't plan on using your tongue for anything important afterwards!
05-27-2009 01:35:20 | More by sweetbrew82
4/5 rDev +2.6%
22 ounce bomber bottle. Note: The label says this beer is 10% ABV, not 6.4% and it shows.
Poured from the bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass.
A: A dark copper reddish color with a deep off white two finger head. Nice full glass lacing.
S: Earthy hops with a deep sweetness and sweet fruits.
T: Hops hit first with the pine earthy hops, massive hops that just pound on you, but then the balance come in with a real dark sweentess of dark fruits, raisins, toffee, caramel and maybe some brown sugar. The hops keep coming as the finish is massive but not overly bitter. Very full bodied beer that has more balance than I expected.
M: Full coating, resiny, nuff said. Alcohol is apparent.
D: Medium, the one bomber was more than enough, but it was damn tasty.
A very fine beer, like we expect anything else from BP. It is a bruiser though, and it is a beer that can only be enjoyed in small quantities, but boy is it a huge beer. Nicely done.
05-26-2009 14:44:31 | More by Kadonny
4.03/5 rDev +3.3%
Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a sturdy ecru head that leaves a fair amount of lacing
Smell: Pop the cap and the piney citrus wafts out of the bottle; stick your nose in the pint glass and the hops aroma almost burns like a chili pepper
Taste: The hops don't wait for the malt to make an appearance, jumping into the fray from the get go, with a juicy, almost fiery, citrus and pine combination that truly tries to buckle the tongue; after the swallow, the malt leaves a trace with some residual sweetness on the tongue, but the bitterness persists for quite some time afterwards
Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; burning warmth in the gullet after the swallow
Drinkability: Fun to taste for a hop head, but a tough one to consume in any quantity; one of the most aggressive beers I have ever tasted
05-26-2009 01:02:14 | More by brentk56
3.88/5 rDev -0.5%
Many thanks to prototypic for scoring this brew.
A - This one pours amber with hints of red that show in the light. The almost beige head tops out at maybe just over one inch and sticks around for a while. The lacing left behind in the glass is nice and abundant. This is a very nice looking brew overall.
S - Sweet citrusy hops start out the aroma. Grapefruit is easily picked out with some lemon coming in quickly to follow up. Malt comes through midway with notes of hard candy and caramel. The tail end is pretty complex with tobacco, fresh cut grass, and alcohol. The alcohol doesn't really get in the way at all.
T - Big citrus flavors start this one out with a bang. I'm getting more orange in the flavor mixed in with the grapefruit. The fruitiness is followed by some earthy flavors such as tobacco and pine. The malt backbone is a little hard to pick up but it is in there showing notes of caramel and cookie dough. Alcohol really dominates the end of the flavor and can be a little too warm at times.
M - This one is on the lighter side of full bodied and has a mild carbonation that works well. Finish is dry and has a bitterness that is almost brutal. This finish just won't let go, sticking around forever on the palate.
D - Drinkability is good for a 10%-er. This is a BIG red with a huge hop presence. The ending bitterness is just a tad too much for me. Actually, I kept sipping on this one to avoid the unrelenting bitterness at the end but that just brought forth (and amplified) the heat from the alcohol. That pretty much brings this category down a notch or two. Glad I got to try it though and can't help but love the name and label.
05-25-2009 03:28:44 | More by csmiley
4.13/5 rDev +5.9%
22oz bottle acquired in trade with WeeHeavyHD (thanks!).
This one initially poured all head. Settled into a medium to deeper orange color. Aromas of pine, toasty, caramel, and citrus. Tastes of citrus, caramel, a little fruity, pine and floralness. Tastes definitely nice and hoppy but also had a nice balance. Medium alcohol burn in the finish. Lacing left on the glass. Piney hoppy burps.
05-25-2009 00:01:12 | More by hopdog
4.13/5 rDev +5.9%
Tongue Buckler pours a mostly clear amber color with a deep scarlet hue. Very nice looking color. It's topped with a vanilla colored head that's nearly two fingers deep. It was extremely slow to recede and left a thick web of lace on the glass as it descended. All in all, damn impressive.
The nose is phenomenal. Hops are extremely strong and are absolutely rolling out of the glass. They're very citric and feature strong grapefruit, pineapple, and mango aromas. I'm unsure of the hop bill here, but it's damn nice. There's a touch of pine from some variety in there, as well. Despite the strong hop aroma, caramel and toffee notes are prominent and smell sweet. There's plenty of malt here, but it sure as hell bears strong resemblance to an IPA. I'm amazed that there's very little alcohol coming through. It's blended extremely well and I would've never guessed this was a 10% beer. There's a faint yeasty aroma on the tail. This smells absolutely scrumptious.
My impression after the first sip is that this is very good beer. I'm on the fence about the score, so I'll hold that call. There's no question that hops assault the palate from the very beginning and don't waver much. A citric variety seems to be the primary feature and has the usual grapefruit, pineapple, and mango flavors. It's very bitter and piney. I'd even go resiny on this one. The hop force is very strong with this one. There's sweet caramel and toffee flavors buttressing the hops, but they don't do much to balance it out, at least as far as I can tell. It probably does a little. It remains very bitter (and delicious). Hard to imagine how biter it could be. Alcohol is mildly noticeable, but isn't strong enough to suggest that it's 10%. It's not warm or hot at all. A little yeast is noted on the finish. Otherwise, it's a little sweet, bitter, and dry. A resiny, bitter flavor really sticks to the palate. It's not the most pleasant aftertaste.
Its body is medium, but leans a little light. Carbonation is mid-range and pretty well restrained. It's smooth, but could use just a little more body. Drinkability is good. I like Tongue Buckler. It's hoppy and aggressive, but not so much that it's unwieldy. It is strong at 10% and a little limited in that regard. But, it's satisfying and goes down pretty.
Tongue Buckler is a damn good Imperial Red. The hops are very aggressive and bitter, but my tongue's still in tact and in its proper home. Given my love for all things hoppy and bitter, I like this beer...a lot actually. Much to my surprise, I believe I'd like it a little better if it were slightly less hoppy. It seems like some of the malty sweetness that's desired in an Imperial Red is just a little lost in the shuffle. The aftertaste is also a tad too intense and resiny. Just needs a slight tweak there. Still a very tasty beer that's more than certain to satisfy any hophead. Seek out a bottle and see if your tongue's up to the challenge.
05-24-2009 13:52:09 | More by prototypic
4.1/5 rDev +5.1%
Thanks go out to Weibull for sending this as an extra in a trade.
A: Very nice looking red ale. Bright and clear. Medium color of red with a touch of copper. A half finger of white head with some nice lacing.
S: Nice hoppiness right off the bat. More citrus than anything else but it didn't really lean one way or another. Malt sweetness as well.
T: Nice and hoppy. This beer is bitter as hell but I guess that is the point.
M: Medium body. Well carbonated with a touch of thickness to it.
D: Very drinkable. We split the bomber with a few people and it was gone before we knew it.
05-22-2009 19:03:25 | More by aerozeppl
4.1/5 rDev +5.1%
A: Brilliant amber color with a two finger head that's a light khaki color, forms really nicely and leaves a brilliant coating of lace around the glass. Gorgeous looking beer.
S: Nice piney hops, bits of pepper, chocolate, caramel, it just seemed packed with as much as could possibly be put into it.
T: Chocolaty and smokey malts and piney earthen hops that give it just enough balance. While there is a noticeable alcohol content taste it's done very eloquently and extremely well for a beer at %10 abv.
MF: Medium-Big bodied beer done very nicely just spot on with the carbonation. Well done.
D: As drinkable as a 10% beer is going to get. That being said it's still 10% hah!
05-22-2009 06:52:14 | More by ChillMike
4.18/5 rDev +7.2%
Got this one as an extra in a recent trade. I had actually almost gone out and bought some so I was glad to see it hit my doorstep. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 05/18/2009.
The pour was very big. Lots of dark orange colors swirling about and a good sized head of white reaching up and over the top to around two inches before settling back down again. Really nice layered look to the sides of the glass as it was thoroughly coated all the way down, really good retention here I have to say. Lots of malt in the nose right off. Caramel, sweet notes mixing with a very big hop note, especially as it warms. Piney with a sweet orange rind like citrus touch as it comes close to room temperature. Very thick feel, sticky and full with nice carbonation, definite enough to get it done. Initially you get the piney hop bite as you take the first sip, but it became very well balanced mid palate as the rich, almost scotch ale like buttery notes start to come through and really give it quite a smooth flavor. A bit hot still and a definite big one, it hurts the session ability of it a touch, and by the end you are really pushing it with this one.
Overall not bad, actually very, very good. Straddles the line of several styles, but I would call it a strong ale as a catch all. A bit strong and young still, this would serve up great after 6 months I am sure.
05-19-2009 15:52:22 | More by mikesgroove
3.73/5 rDev -4.4%
This monster beer created a huge head that lasted for day's. The nose has a big alcohol and malty nose with a spicy hop scent. The taste of big spicy hops and smoky malt backbone lends to a big red ale. Stewed apples and a earthy hop profile gives this brew plenty of flavor to chew on! Found this beer at High Times in Costa Mesa.
The drinkabilty is good as you can get for 10% abv. A must try if you can find this rare beer!
05-19-2009 04:17:04 | More by athensbeermaster
3.65/5 rDev -6.4%
750ml.brown bomber with a comical black and white (with a slash of red) label. This version was brewed bigger than the original to fit into there "Robust Series" of bottled brews. It pours a deep coppery red with brilliant clarity and a couple fingers of dirty tan foam rise to the top. The head is short lasting as it settles to a ring.
Sweet caramel malt supports a fairly massive dose of hops to the nose. Smells a bit like Stones DB, but with a bit more hoppiness. A bit metallic and earthy is this malty big reds aroma.
The flavor is a little on the raw side in that this taste could use a bit of aging. The high alcohol content doesn't help much here as it tends to dominate the brew as it warms, substantially. It really does taste alot like fresh Double Bastard, which I don't enjoy much until it ages some...not quite sure how well this will age but I don't think it would hurt. It does have a big hop pine and citrus astringency which is nice, but the alcohol kind of mutters up the balance from how I remember the Tongue Buckler from days gone by.
Big body and big ABV, along with plenty of carbonation give a good full (and somewhat astringent) mouthfeel, the aftertaste is refreshing and a bit sharp to the tongue. We'll see what happens with a little more time spent in the bottle...it might just kick it up a point or so overall.
05-17-2009 18:20:21 | More by scottoale
4.33/5 rDev +11%
Pours an amber red, gigantic off-white foam head. Smells like citrus, pine, and pine, and pine, and pine.
The taste is behemoth-esque on the palate. Sure, there's some bready malt backing. Even a bit of brown sugar. But mostly, it's a scorching, bitter assault of pine and sharp, biting citrus on one's tastebuds. It will rend the unsuspecting tongue asuner. Beware, here there be dragons.
Nice mouthfeel. Delicious.
05-15-2009 09:32:20 | More by Overlord
4.08/5 rDev +4.6%
Bomber from BevMo @ $7.49 poured into pint glass.
A: Somewhere between red and orange with an attractive creamy looking head. Great retention and lacing. Hell of a good looking red ale.
S: Hopsplosion of pine and white grapefruit with a bit of an earthy twang. Nose is all hops.
T: Full hop presence of the nose is delivered with pine and grapefruit, and some orange all in treasure troves. Very unique balance, however, lots of spiciness, black pepper, and a skillful bite of alcohol. Tongue Buckler, indeed. A very hop-forward, very big red ale with a very artistic balance.
M: Medium body and very nice level of carbonation, not overdone.
D: Drinkable for an enormous ale (how many 10% red ales are out there, anyway?) though a definite palate wrecker / tongue buckler for me. I will finish up this bomber, but I would be happy with 12 oz. or so and this isn't really something I would buy frequently. A very well done ale, but the spiciness and high ABV aren't things that I seek out in a red ale.
05-14-2009 03:17:08 | More by vacax
3.85/5 rDev -1.3%
Cracked this open earlier per alex3891's recommendation. The head is thick and bubbly, exhibiting a grayish brown atop a deep ruby/slightly orange body. Wet, bubbly lacing spiraling down the side. Plenty of rising bubbles.
Aromas of maltiness, fresh yet pungent hops, and caramel. As I continue drinking it starts revealing more orange and citrus aromas. Not incredibly intense, but still effective.
This is where the fit hits the shan. The flavors are incredibly intense, exhibiting a powerful combination of sweetness, earthiness, and even burn. Almost a roasted flavor in there, but the bitterness and the malty caramel flavors reign supreme. The bottle advertises the beer as a palate wrecker, and it surely lives up to this assertion. Imagine a strong barleywine meeting Stone's Ruination and this is probably what you would get. The heat of the alcohol is on with this one, and after several sips and quaffs I struggle to finish the bottle. The mouthfeel starts to burn, and I regret not having reinforcements (i.e., another person to drink it with).
So I pull out some Danish Blue and aged Cheddar and the journey is enjoyable once again, as the beer further brings out the strong, earthy and pungent flavors of the cheeses. I would definitely come back to this one, though limit it to one serving per session and let the drinking partner pick up some of the heat.
05-12-2009 16:46:29 | More by jminsc76
4.22/5 rDev +8.2%
This is my first Imperial Red, and I think I picked a good one. The head pours thick, and lasts a minute or tow with some nice light brown lacing. The smell is reminds me of a barley wine with slightly less kick, fresh hops. The color is definately amber, nice and dark. The taste is somewhat similar to a barley wine, tasting pretty strong for 6.4% ABV. I get that oak barrel taste, malty, but has some bitter characteristics. Carbonation is pretty high, which tones down the alcohol taste. Good Imperial Red, I would recommend it.
05-09-2009 02:01:52 | More by rmaste6282
4.38/5 rDev +12.3%
Bomber from Hollingshead.
Pours a deep amber/copper with a nice off-white head that disappeared to a consistent ring.
Aroma is not overpowering, but bears sweet citrusy hops and a sweet bready/malty combo.
Taste starts with a sweet and spicy bread/malt quality that is quickly taken over by a hop charge of citrus rind and pine that sticks to the tongue. This is all washed down with a noticeable, though not unpleasant hint of alcohol.
Mouthfeel is great for the style. Pretty heavy, but balanced well with great carbonation and the hop kick sticks to the tongue for a while.
Certainly not a session beer, but I had no problem at all finishing the bomber, and could probably handle a few pints on tap. Very tasty, and another awesome beer from the Ballast Point limited releases (I find their year round releases to be not so hot).
05-06-2009 05:11:26 | More by moosington
4.33/5 rDev +11%
Picked up a 22oz. bottle from BevMo.
A - Poured a clear, dark amber with light creamy tan head that last through the entire glass.
S - slight smell of hops and cirtus, but not as much as other reviewers had stated. The smell is dominated by sweet, bread-like aromas similar to a belgian aile.
T - The taste starts with sweet malty goodness, followed by a strong alcohol flavor immediately after swallowing. The beer finishes pretty bitter, which is accompanied by bread-like flavors similar to the aromas. This is an extremely well balanced beer.
M - Very smoothe mouthfeel. Perfectly carbonated.
D - I could drink this all night. Like I said before, this is a very well balanced beer which makes it very easy to drink. There are no extremes in any category that would make this difficult for anyone to drink.
05-03-2009 03:14:04 | More by GreatJob
3.58/5 rDev -8.2%
Shout out to my 619 connect for this and all the other awesome San Diego local beers. Ruby red, wispy caramel bubbles. It smells like strong alcohol and a little hops. The taste is hoppy, malty, piney, its probably the most potent red ale I've had despite the fact that Alesmith Decadence 06 was 9.9%. This is just heavy on the alcohol but it is still alright, its definitely a tounge-wrecker.
05-03-2009 00:09:23 | More by ArrogantB
4.1/5 rDev +5.1%
Tried this courtesy of ChuggyMcBeer, mbudner, and TempsPerdu - much obliged!
Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.
Smells of light citrus and floral hops with good amounts of caramel malts.
Tastes similar to how it smells. The hops aren't quite as intense as the smell led me to believe they would be, but it's still a highly-hopped amber. The ending isn't as absurdly bitter as the name would imply, but it is robust. I wouldn't have guessed this was 10% ABV.
Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation - not quite on par with NN but not a far cry either.
Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass with no problem and could have a few of these.
Overall this is a well done amber, although not quite in the top tier. Still, it's worth a shot.
04-27-2009 15:32:38 | More by glid02
3.5/5 rDev -10.3%
I had this beer on tap at Hamilton's Tavern on 4-24-09.
I tried this beer before, at the Stone 12th Anniversary Fest I believe and I thought it was pretty good so I was looking forward to having it again.
The first thing that surprised me was that this one was getting poured in smaller glasses and I probably didn't get more than 8oz of beer, whatever...gives me a chance to try some more beers I guess. The beer was a dark brown color with vermillion tones when held to the light. Nice inch of foam on top with excellent retention. Some lacing is left of the glass after a sip.
Very toasted malts, crystal and caramel malts on the nose. Minimal hop aroma at the beginning, might have to let this beer warm up or breath a bit because I wasn't getting much. Some slightly citrus and maybe earthy hops in the background. As it warmed up it exhibited some brown sugar and dry dark fruits like dates and a bit of raisins. Not that impressed and a bit let down compared to other imperial reds I've had. I was expecting more hop character out of this. There was also some boozy alcohol when the beer warmed up.
Hints of citrus bitterness with a deeply toasted and caramelized tasting malt flavor. Some prunes and fruitiness form the yeast in the second half of the palate. A bit of brown sugar and a slight lingering earthy bitterness. Touch of herbal and a somewhat ashy flavor too. Burnt toast in the finish with some dark fruits. Alcohol noticeable in the finish and as the beer warms up.
Medium carbonation and a clean finish. Good drinkability but I wasn't craving more of it.
04-27-2009 04:19:28 | More by seaoflament
4.5/5 rDev +15.4%
Bottle purchased from the Ballast Point Home Brew Mart. Despite what the Beer Advocate listing says, this release of the beer is 10% ABV, not 6.4%. Poured into a Pint Glass. The beer is effervescent dark red with a large pillowy off white head. The retention is very good, and the beer leaves some lacing as it recedes.
Sweet caramel and bready malt nicely balances out aggressive citrus, piney, and earthy hops in the nose. The 10% ABV is apparent. The beer is initially sweet, mainly bready, sugary malt, but it's quickly balanced by a high level of bitterness reminiscent of citrus and pine. I talked to the brewer and he said they used 6 or 7 hop varieties in this beer. The taste has a lot of different hop flavors that come together nicely. There's a lot of alcohol. The finish is sweet and piney hops with lingering alcohol heat. There's a high level of bitterness in the finish. The beer is aptly named.
Medium bodied with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry and sticky.
Bottle consumed on 3/7/2010 (2010 batch)
I'm not sure if my palate has progressed or if this is just better than last year's batch, but this is a contender for best Imperial Red...up there with Nugget Nectar. Alcohol is better hidden this year, and the hop aroma and flavor are both explosive. So much citrus and pine. Outstanding stuff. Drink it fresh, drink it fresh, drink it fresh, and you'll find it to be amazing.
04-19-2009 01:30:06 | More by HopHead84
4.33/5 rDev +11%
Assuming this is the recent "robust series" bottling, the original listing should be updated if there's an ABV change. Huge thanks to Jason for dropping this in a recent trade!
Lovely burnt crimson color, fluffy foam, and minor lacing. Dank hop oils in the nose. Sweet fruit and a hint of maltiness buried underneath. Later there's a waft of the alcohol, but it blends in well.
Huge smack of melon/cantaloupe sweetness, dank fruity hops are massive in this one! Lush, sweet almost syrupy body. Reminded me a little of oak-aged Unearthly minus the oak. Drying with moderately bitter finish. Traces of alcohol only seem to come out as it warms. Pretty damn strong, but tasty. The sweetness and booze are integrated well enough that it isn't a distraction. I'm going to miss this bomber when it's gone...
04-15-2009 01:07:30 | More by emerge077
3.75/5 rDev -3.8%
a - nice amber brown color, nice head as well. didn't check the head though until it was too late.
s - my ability to smell is horrible, but i can tell that it has a sweet smell.
t - sweet start with a nice hoppy finish with a slight lingering alcohol
m - the sweetness of it tingles the tongue a bit, it's pretty smooth though.
d - while it tastes good I don't know if I could drink this all night. not saying it's bad, just not my style.
04-13-2009 04:09:39 | More by turboedtwo
3.98/5 rDev +2.1%
Much better from bobmer for me. complex aroma, really deep amber and amazing when the light hits it. malt, more hops, fresh, green, pine and a touch of sweetness that all came out better in the tulip. still crushes the tongue but is nicer about it. could see this improving with several months in the bottle. reminded me of a winter yulesmith, but monsterized.
04-07-2009 18:24:26 | More by paytoplay
3.8/5 rDev -2.6%
I went by the Linda Vista Ballast Point store today and picked up a couple of bottles of this. It's different than the previously listed Tongue Buckler as this bottled edition has about 4% higher ABV.
A - Pours an amber/ruby red color with a thick three finger off-white head. Excellent retention and mild lacing.
S - Hops hit the nose immediately, with a strong malt aroma following up quickly.
T - Has a definite strong ale flavor. Very hopy. Moderately malty. Tastes similar to what I imagine fresh cut pine trees to smell like. Reminds me of a lighter version of Arrogant Bastard.
M - Feels very smooth in the mouth. Not quite as bitter as you would expect from the amount of hops that I smell. The high 10% ABV is very well hidden. No burn at all. Also has a nice amount of carbonation.
D - It's pretty drinkable. Not necessarily a sipper, but not a quick drinker either.
04-04-2009 23:40:33 | More by djaeon
Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 660 ratings.