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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas Imperial Red AleLagunitas Imperial Red Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,258 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1258
Reviews: 685
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.9%

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
54.2 IBU

(Beer added by: Reidrover on 03-05-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,258 | Reviews: 685 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of megahurts4


4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Imperial Red

Appearance: light nut brown, medium head, and good lacing.

Smell: fruity hops and a very light grain.

Taste: whole hop, nice malts, and a light citrus.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This is nice brew. The hops are up front and immediately followed by nice warm malts. The hops give off a whole cone flavor, while being very balanced in itself. The hops were added in the right amounts at the right times.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 03:48:39 | More by megahurts4
Photo of MikeMilanoDesign


3.59/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

first off this rating is of a 2 year aged bottle.

a: a bit muddy brown/ syrupy

s: hints of berry and some light hints of hops

t: first airy and carbonated, followed by toffee, berries and light spice of hops. overall
pretty good a lot of the sugars mellowed out.

m: airy then thick and sweet then more carbonation

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2013 05:51:47 | More by MikeMilanoDesign
Photo of bbluemzbeer


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Order this at a restuarant in chicago. It was great !

Appearance : Read amber with a large long lasting thick foamy off white head on the pour, with good lacing throughout

Smell :lightly toasted caramel malt, piney earthy hops, grains, spicy rye and fruity esters

Taste: Awesome ! Mallts, pine and citrus. Some bitnerness at end but not over done ! Good balance to it. It is well done!Taste is toasted caramel malt, piney earthy hops, with a bit of spicy rye grains and fruity.

Mouthfeel : Palate is a medium to full body, with somegood carbonation and a crisp mouth feel. Finish is toasted caramel malt, some light yeast followed bypiney taste

Overall: Very nice beer! This beer is noty complex but has a big bold, taste bursting with aroma and flavor which is just the way I like my beer. The balnce is great, making for a greatt session !

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2013 02:58:15 | More by bbluemzbeer
Photo of mactrail


3.49/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As usual with Lagunitas brews, the head and foamy mouthfeel are impeccable. Quite beautiful coppery amber color in the tall Stella glass.

Slightly sweet with a rich sensation. Even a little sticky. More on the earthy side than other Lagunitas offerings. But hey! it's a Red. The smell is particularly dank and herbal. Moderately bitter with some darker notes of bark and dirt. The malt flavors emphasize the roast grains and a little perfumey taste.

Quite drinkable for a double Red. Not quite hopped into IPA territory, though the bitterness is sufficient with the dry aftertaste. From the 12 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 06:18:18 | More by mactrail
Photo of DrinkingWithCruthers


3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I once was walking home during a fall day and stopped to appreciate the crisp air and whilst pulling in a lungful of that delightful play of dying vegetations I felt something near my leg and jumped a bit. Much to my surprise it was a friendly little beagle that I must have frightened near death from my start because it soon took off about 30 feet and barked for dear life. I tried to apologize but the poor beast quickly grew tired and faded back into the background. And this event perfectly mirrored my experience with this breed of beer; a loud start, quieting middle and soon dissipating into the ether.

The look is a disappointing flat caramel brown with flecks of something floating throughout. Needless to say I was cautious in my approach, but it was the large welcoming aroma of grains and malt that won me over. My first sip was expectantly bold but while it contained the bitterness of hops, the floral notes were not to be found and instead a much maltier middle was hanging out instead. The flavor ended without much fanfare and dissipated nicely considering the 7.8% and relative bitterness, which was a pleasant surprise.

My initial sips somewhat turned me off, but about halfway through my 12oz I started to come around and genuinely like this little dog with the big bark. Not much to look at but surprisingly fun to play with.

Label - 4.0
I include this with each bottle/can review because I feel that for the average consumer to even approach an unknown beer, it's the packaging that entices rather than the actual end product. Points and half points are given for Style, Readability, Tasting Notes, Brewers Notes and Ease of Reuse(removability)

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 06:50:10 | More by DrinkingWithCruthers
Photo of ckollias


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours an amber hue with a nice frothy, 3-finger white head that slowly dissipates down the side of the glass leaving a nice trail and ending in a solid lace.

S: Extremely hoppy aroma with hints of malt in the background.

T: Very bitter and hoppy with a great malt background and finishes on the dry side.

M: Very strong and boozy. Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This beer kicks ass. Nice and hoppy and enough alcohol to make it interesting.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 22:52:38 | More by ckollias
Photo of vfgccp

New York

3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, crystal clear, cranberry copper. Thin shell of white head. Low retention and lace.

S - Relatively light. Caramel and fruity malt. Touch of booze.

T - Bright opening of woody hop bitters. Molasses and malt center. Dry, semi-tart hop resin finish.

M - Quick, medium body. Bright carbonation.

O - A solid IRA.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2012 00:20:03 | More by vfgccp
Photo of BeerDawgs


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle picked up from who knows where

A - A deep amber, with a finger of head, and nice sticky lace all over the top of the beer. Light sediment floating around.

S - Sweet molasses and fruity, lots of hops

T - Huge malt up front, and a huge hoppy kick at the end. So well balanced.

M - Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

O - An excellent imperial red. Such an amazing beer to find in a 6 pack for a reasonable price. I will be looking to buy it again soon!

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2012 01:26:15 | More by BeerDawgs
Photo of woosterbill


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from 2009 that I forgot in my cellar for a while. Let's see how it is with some age. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep, slightly hazy orange-brown body under a dense inch of sticky tan foam. Attractive.

S: Mmm. Lovely Barleywine-lite. Toffee, fruitcake, and a lovely touch of spicy hoppiness. Only the faintest hint of pleasant sherry-like oxidation. Really, really nice.

T: Raisins, caramel, walnuts, sherry, and plum all share equal prominence on the front and middle, with ample bitterness, spicy hops, and a faint hint of alcohol closing things out. Delicious.

M: Medium-to-full body with plenty of light, spritzy carbonation. Nice.

O: I was really, really pleasantly surprised by how well this one developed considering its moderate ABV. Tasty stuff.


Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 00:30:34 | More by woosterbill
Photo of atr2605

New York

4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a nice red amber color with an off white foamy head with great retention
S-caramel, pine, brown sugar
T-the caramel and malt sweetness are up front followed by the pine bitterness and finishes with more caramel in the finish
M-medium bodied
O-well balanced and flavorful. A really nice imperial red that remains drinnkable

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 03:14:41 | More by atr2605
Photo of matjack85


3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up this squatty 12oz brown bottle as part of a build-your-own 6 pack for $9.99 at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL. No freshness date, but the website says they were released in January and this is August, so I'm assuming my bottle is around 8-9 months old.

The beer poured a clear red/amber color but only produced a half finger of off-white head that didn't last very long, but despite the lack of head, there was still a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Very fruity smell with pine hops and caramel malt aromas.

More hoppy than malty flavor, but still nicely balanced. Caramel malt, a kiss of honey, and a pineapple fruit flavor all lie underneath the dominating piny, citrus, and oily hops. There is also a bit of alcoholic flavor in the finish.

Medium body with fairly high carbonation. Finish leans towards the dry end.

Not a bad effort from a really good brewery.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2012 05:46:26 | More by matjack85
Photo of TheBrewo


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a rich red brown brew. It holds a two finger head of light brown bubbles. This shows nice retention, leaving spots and patterns as it goes. Carbonation appears active, and there is a chill haze but no sediment. The aroma shows a nice mix between spicy and caramel malts, with fruity and citric hops. Pineapple, strawberry, and raw honey add sweetness, while a muddy mineral quality comes with warmth adding bitterness. It is bright, with a nice balance. Our first impression is that this beer is sweet at first, but has a very earthy, dirty back. As we sip, bitterness of lemon rind and citric hops start things off. There is a dryness of malts with toast and bitter toffee, while a tannin-like quality keeps things dry. It fights the juiciness and wetness of the hops. The middle peaks with more caramel malts, but they are sweeter here. The grain is rich, with faint chocolates somewhere in the distance, and dirty, metallic grit. The finish is spicy with booze, black pepper, chalky malts, mustard seed, grassy hops, citric hops, and tin. The aftertaste breathes more of the same, with bitterness of rind and earth. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium. There is nice slurp, froth, cream, and smack. The mouth is coated with resiny hop oils, and there is a warm sting to the tongue thanks to the booze. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the citric qualities in both the nose and the taste. It really gave things a fresh, live, and organic quality. We were a bit disappointed that the great fruit from the snout didn’t translate well through the flavoring, but the hops did the trick and made them easy to forget with their juicy, citric, and fruity qualities in and of themselves. This is yet another tasty beer from a great brewery.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2012 00:56:15 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of confer


4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with red tints. Small head made of bigger soapy bubbles fades quickly. Crystal clear.
Nice blend of pine and sweet citrus in the aroma.
At different temperatures the flavor changes. First opened and fridge temp the bitter hops are prevalent. As is warms the citrus flavor as well as a caramel malt dominate.
The feel is on the thick side. Low carbonation and a bit oily.
Overall another winner from Lagunitas. They do it right and for a decent price.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 01:19:43 | More by confer
Photo of Beelzebeer

Newfoundland (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in tulip

A - 1" of head, after much prompting. Generous lacing. Dark amber in colour

S - Sugary malt, with pine hops in the background. Delicious.

T - Hard malt backbone, with good amount of hopping. Brown sugar. Could really do well with some oak. Booze is definitely present, not terribly hidden, but quite enjoyable

M - Great. Nice density, medium carbonation.

O - Not too bad. Wouldn't be my first choice, but I wouldn't kick it out.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2012 01:01:16 | More by Beelzebeer
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A birthday brew courtesy of my western connection joemcgrath27.

A - Pours a nice dark amber colour, solid red hue, finger of head with solid retention and nice sheeting lacing.

S - Loads of sweet caramel, sweet citrus, pine and earthy cedar notes, with a burnt sugar finish.

T - Sweet cotton candy hops flavors, the earthy cedar and pine come through alongside sweet lemon citrus. Solid caramel flavors comes through and lingers with a bittersweet hop flavor.

M - Medium bodied, smooth going down and finishes wet.

O - Solid imperial red with the trademark Lagunitas hop flavor profile. Loads of flavor and super stoked to have gotten a chance to try this brew. The abv is dangerously hidden making this a sneaky treat!

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 00:47:17 | More by andrenaline
Photo of ujsplace


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, rich amber colored brew which boasts a creamy, solid two-finger thick yellowish-white head. Chunky and plenty floaters, tons of lacing to go around here too. This is the sort of sticky lace that cakes the side of the glass and would just stay there if left alone. Nice.

Smells oily, resinous pine, citrus, floral, earthy hops and caramel malt.

Big hops, spices, bright fruits - maybe apricot, mango. Nice malt balance, but the hops prevail. Cracker/toasted bread in there as well. Lots of things going on here, but nothing is overdone - great tasting brew. Really another hit for Lagunitas.

Medium bodied, thick hop coating on the tongue. Silky smooth and creamy.

Easy drinking hop delight. Can't believe this is 7.8 abv. Thanks bro for this one. Truly not one to miss. Sadly I have only this one, but I will keep my eye out for this - even though it is a limited release. Unbelievable drinkability in spite of the abv.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2012 23:28:57 | More by ujsplace
Photo of BostonHops


4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a medium amber / copper tone while yielding and finger and a half od frothy off-white head; modest retention and lacing. nose is fairly aromatic, delivering notes of pine, citrus (notably grapefruit), and some tropical characters.

flavor follows well with a strong hoppy citric/pine presence flanked by secondary notes of tropical fruit and some balancing malt. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall another winner from lagunitas, a brewery that continues to impress with fantastic yet reasonably priced beer and widespread distribution. this one wasn't my favorite from them but very good nonetheless. keep 'em comin'!

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2012 20:45:21 | More by BostonHops
Photo of greenmonstah

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice copper color with a finger of off-white head.

S - Has that classic Lagunitas aroma, incorporating pine and citrus (grapefruit) hop aromas. Sweet caramel malt.

T - Sweet and bitter attempt to balance each other, but the beer ends up too hoppy for a red ale. Needs to show better balance. Grainy, toasted, caramel, sweeter citrus, bitterness, brown bread.

M - Medium in body, a bit lingeringly sticky. Overall it works well for what the beer is trying to be.

O - I don't like it all that much. Unbalanced and just unnecessary. It isn't undrinkable, but I won't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2012 19:48:14 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of jhartley


4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on May 10, 2012. Did not find a date on the bottle.
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a poco grande flute glass.

A-Red-amber, bubbly 2 finger head that left great lacing. Carbonation just kept streaming up from the bottom.

S-Pineapple, mango, citrus hop smell. Tropical fruits.

T-Tangy, citrus astringent hop bite up front, nice clean malty finish.

M-Nice amount of hops that coat the tongue.

O-Another great beer from Lagunitas! Reminds me a lot of Troegs Nugget Nectar, which is a winner! Would definitely like to have this one around A LOT.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2012 16:41:13 | More by jhartley
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - slightly hazy ruby, one finger of tan head retained at a thin covering with some lacing
S - molasses and candied fruit, herbs and fresh grass, with a mild booziness
T - toffee and molasses malt, light cherry, strong pine and grass hop notes, finishing with a alcohol spice and sweetness
M - medium to big body, creamy and full, finishes sticky and bitter
O - a well done big amber, both big and balanced in flavour, Lagunitas delivers as usual

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 23:01:50 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle from Potsdam IGA NY for 2.50$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, grapefruit, apricots

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops/resin, malts, and caramel/brown sugar. There is also a some grapefruit, apricot, and pineapple. It ends with a malty lip smacking sugary sweet aftertaste and quite a bit of a hop bitterness.

Overall - Just a notch or 2 behind nugget nectar in my books. I think I've enjoyed every Lagunita's beer I've ever had and this one is no different. Worth picking up for sure. I just wish they made their bottling dates a little easier to find.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 16:45:17 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Genuine


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a clean tulip.

Pours a beautiful dark red/amber in color with a slight khaki head, that sticks around for a while, leaving beautiful lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell - the aroma that this beer gives off, is simply amazing. A bouquet of hop aromas quickly fill the glass. Citrus and pine is what I pick up.

Taste - this is where it all comes together. The nose leads into this fantastic adventure for the palate. Intense hop bitterness up front moves along to the flavoral malts, balanced nicely with the hops, which produce a medley of amazing flavors.

Mouthfeel - medium, carbonation is spot on.

Overall - This is one of my all-time favorite beers. The Flavor, aroma and color is just wonderful. I can't get enough of this beer. Will definitely be stocking up on it.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 02:02:01 | More by Genuine
Photo of Minkybut


2.53/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this overly hopped beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a nice red color. The head poured was also pretty nice. The beer had a heck of a hoppy smell and indeed had a heck of a hoppy taste. Tasted like eating a blended Christmas tree. Had a decent malty after taste that would have been nice if the spruce flavor would not have annihilated it. I will not buy again.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 22:13:21 | More by Minkybut
Photo of somestranger


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasting this beer well chilled and poured from a bottle into a shaker glass.

A: Crystal clear with a copper/rust brownish color and a thick foamy head that stays for long. Giving the glass a twirl shows lots of carbonation bubbles underneath the foam head.

S: The smell is very sweet and hoppy getting that nectar like tone telling you that there probably are loooads of hops in here.

T: Just as the smell does tell you, there are loooads of hops in here, yet balanced. The hops are doing a good work and leaves you with a bitter after taste that has that alcoholic-warming feel.

M: The loads of hops gives you a smooth silky feel that turns a little bitter at the end. The carbonation spotted are overwhelmed by the hops and does not kick in as you would expect.

O: This is an imperial (and pretty red) hop bomb. Well balanced smell and taste, giving you a nectar like experience with a little alcoholic warming effect.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2012 17:55:35 | More by somestranger
Photo of tijuas

4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lagunitas has never let me down, this beer was no exception.
first of all let me praise the artist they have because even the word red looks great in this bottle. Opened the beer pored into glass and was amazed with its strong red color. Head was about inch high,but did not stay for a wile. Smell was great with the classic laguntitas hop, hints of citrus pine and herbs. Mouthfeel was a little bit harder than smooth. Taste was great with hints of toasted malts and the classic lagunitas bitternes feel. Overall had a great experience and will get beer anytime i see it on a shelf.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2012 01:07:11 | More by tijuas
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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,258 ratings.