1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial Red AleLagunitas Imperial Red Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,492 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,492
Reviews: 714
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 156
Gots: 87 | FT: 0
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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,492 | Reviews: 714 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Nerudamann:
Photo of Nerudamann


3.63/5  rDev -12.1%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - light brown/medium red in color, clear, with about a finger's worth of khaki-colored foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell - interesting fruity quality amidst the hop-filled aroma.

Taste - very much like the smell. It's indeed hoppy, but more in the feel than in the taste. The taste is mostly that fruity quality...maybe pomegranate? Stronger bitter aftertaste than when you feel it in the middle.

Mouthfeel - pretty well-balanced, but leans a little more on the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew at all. Very interesting to think about, and good-tasting.

04-09-2012 03:28:51 | More by Nerudamann
More User Reviews:
Photo of Greywulfken

New York

4/5  rDev -3.1%

A: ruby brown ale, faintly hazed, with a couple of fingers of pale foam that left some small lacing down the glass

S: warming bready malts under resinous pine and citric hop aromas

T: warm brown bread and biscuit, slightly sweet; muted fruitiness; grapefruit and orange citrus elements as well as piney wood

M: medium-weight, enough chew that you're not likely to down it, but not so much that you couldn't if you wanted to; moderate carbonation

O: a nice take on the red/amber ale, IPA-like hops, but the malts give it a heartier, rustic character. Solid.

08-17-2014 14:21:56 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.84/5  rDev -7%

pours orange and clear with only a few bubbles wafting toward the top to meet a creamy head of off off white foam that fell slowly and left lace. The nose is pink grapefruit with it's sweet little backing, earthy pine, some fresh orange and a biscuit like malt that promises a bit of sugar. Taste is excellent. The mouthfeel is pristine. A touch of weight from that malt and then airy lightness but smooth. Good carbonation that goes largely unnoticed. The beer is a touch sticky and lip smackingly so with a bit of resin that coats the tongue and lets a bit of the grapefruit pith and the earthy pine come through just a bit more before the creamy smooth malt rolls through to the finish. Finishes with a slight bitter that is a lovely accent to all the fruitiness of this beer.

08-13-2014 15:20:32 | More by utopiajane
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -8%

Poured a deep copper/amber with a well established of white head that took quite awhile to subside leaving a sheet of lace behind.Grapefruit and and other citrus fruit dominate the aromas with a lighter pine notes and caramel,lightly roasted malt.The hop profile is nice on the palate but I dont think there is quite enough of malt base for a red there is a light roasted and sweet base but not qite enough to hold up to the hop attack.Saying that it is a nice beer and I like the hops,its close to being very top notch.

04-27-2006 01:04:44 | More by oberon
Photo of ddean


4.3/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured a bunch of these into glasses from a 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance- Rusty red, dark and opaque but not hazy. Froth stays around and beads against the glass when you swirl, which is kind of a cool and (I think) unusual effect.

Smell- Black tea, mild lemon, some alcohol and even some smoke and cherries. Very pleasant.

Taste- Much more malt and less hops than you'd expect from the smell, but this seems to be typical of the West Coast Imperial Reds that I've tried, so I guess it's the style. The hops that is there is nice, just more subtle than the Cali IPAs I know and love. That smoke comes through a little later, along those cherries in the aftertaste. It is a really nice set of flavors. I'd just like a less malt and a little more in the hops and smoke department for my taste. I don't get pine like others are claiming.

Mouthfeel- Smooth with low carbonation. A little filmy for me, probably from the heavy malt. Not crisp.

Drinkability- The malt makes it a little heavy for beer after beer, but the taste is interesting enough for you to make an exception.

Overall, very unique taste, albeit more subtle than it's sister brew and my favorite, the Maximus. Nice for slow sipping and savoring late at night when you can take your time. Try listening to cool jazz in the process.

10-29-2009 23:20:11 | More by ddean
Photo of RoyalT


4.13/5  rDev 0%

Appearance – This one poured a beautiful reddish-brown in color with a terrific head that showed good retention and left gobs of snot-like foam on the inside of my Wildcat glass.

Smell – This one is very balanced at the nose. The malts are big with lots of caramel and other gooey sticky sweets. There’s a good toffee smell in there along with maybe some powdered or refined table sugar. The hops are noticeable yet very smooth and unobtrusive.

Taste – The nice toffee and caramel pick things up a bit at the taste. The malts and hops work well together to keep things nice and even. All of the flavors follow along through the finish. This is a complex and very solid flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ale has some good herbal bitterness in the mouth, yet it’s not overly emphasized.

Drinkability – This was a terrific-drinking ale that’s as close to a “strong session ale” as you’ll find. The balance coupled with the smoothness of the flavors makes you want to gulp this puppy down. Or is it pulp that guppy down? See, I’m buzzed already. Great job, Lagunitas!

03-16-2005 02:44:13 | More by RoyalT
Photo of brownbeer


4.2/5  rDev +1.7%

This has a really nice nose of citrusy hops and doughy malt with just a touch of alcohol. It's got west coast written all over it.

Bready malts carry throughout the taste with cherry and orangey hops fading in and out, leading to a balanced finish with the hops just taking the edge.

This is s rich, well-crafted beer that doesn't lack character, as most Lagunitas brews are.

01-13-2010 03:12:17 | More by brownbeer
Photo of cynicgiraffe

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a deep red, almost brown. Frothy white head. Resiny floral aroma. Has none of the malty backbone that a red should have. Tastes mostly like a typical west coast IPA think Sierra Nevada's Torpedo but dark red. Not bad for what it is, but there isn't much of a red ale here if that's what you're looking for.


The first time I had this beer I reported that it was more like a red colored Sierra Nevada Torpedo. I'm not really sure what I was thinking. The nose and taste of this dark red ale have some wood aromas/flavors, and the hop profile is lots and lots of pine. The hops flavor here is almost like a thick resiny hop syrup that coats the tongue. A fantastic beer that I could sit and have 2-3 of.

11-18-2009 22:50:16 | More by cynicgiraffe
Photo of weatherdog


3.83/5  rDev -7.3%

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a crystal clear copper/ruby with a small off white head. Head retention is low and lacing is minimal.

Aroma of a little bready malt with accompanying medium level of grassy and pine hops.

The taste starts off pretty bitter. Like hop resins coating the mouth. A hint of caramel sweetness comes in to lessen the bitterness. Most grass hop flavors. Hops are the showcase it seems but the flavor just doesn't impress me terribly. The hop flavors are just too grassy for my taste.

The mouthfeel is mostly comprised of the mouth coating bitterness and lasting aftertaste. I'm not a huge fan of this harsh bitterness personally.

Overall it's a really nice and drinkable beer. My only complaint is the harsh lasting bitterness. Otherwise it's a fine and pretty drinkable beer.

02-26-2012 23:07:13 | More by weatherdog
Photo of wrycon


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%

Quite transparent. Orangish-ruby with a pearl-white head. Really strong pine scent. Really strong. Thick at first. Malt up front that blunts the hop onslaught that's coming. The hops carry the middle through to the end. Finish is very clean and invites another sip. Very much enjoy these hoppy reds and this is near the top. Very good.

Like It? Quite

02-11-2012 05:19:54 | More by wrycon
Photo of steelerguy

New York

4/5  rDev -3.1%

A - Clear amber, off white head, very low carbonation...too low.

S - Lots of citrus hops and sweet caramel malt.

T - Big flavors, the first was a load of hop bitterness, almost off balance until the huge malt backbone comes in just after. There is a good bit of sweetness left over that goes very well with the citrus flavors that then come on from the hops. This beer feels like it is going to just hit you over the head with hops, but comes across pretty balanced.

M - That sweetness of the flavor comes from a good bit of residual sugar. Coats the mouth, feels like an imperial beer, could use some more carbonation to clean the end up a bit.

O - Another solid beer from Lagunitas and a worthy limited release.

03-06-2012 01:54:15 | More by steelerguy
Photo of EastBay_Nick


5/5  rDev +21.1%

07-13-2013 21:31:12 | More by EastBay_Nick
Photo of danthehopslamman


4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

08-15-2012 05:09:34 | More by danthehopslamman
Photo of DaftPatrick


3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

08-23-2014 03:13:43 | More by DaftPatrick

New York

3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

07-04-2012 01:58:53 | More by BYAHHHHHH
Photo of Beaver13


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%

12 oz bottle. Pours a copper red with small floaties and a creamy off-white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts and green grapefruity hops.

The flavor is sweet melon-ey malts followed by a big resiney grapefruit / pine hop burst that lingers. The mouthfeel is medium to full with decent carbonation.

Overall, a very nice brew. This reminds me a lot of their Lucky #13. A lot of their beers are similar in this vein (Undercover as well). Some are better than others, this one is up there - not quite as good as I remember Lucky #13, but it is available in 6 packs.

11-10-2007 00:32:05 | More by Beaver13
Photo of generallee

New York

4.5/5  rDev +9%

12-22-2011 00:26:43 | More by generallee
Photo of mikechance


4.1/5  rDev -0.7%

Tasted at brewery on February 19th

A --- clean, red and about 1/2 of foam

S --- excellent mixture of sweet malts and fruity hops

T --- sweet, malts, citrus

M --- full bodied with the right amount of carbonation

O --- this is an excellent beer. I will go back to it time and time again.

02-21-2012 20:51:10 | More by mikechance
Photo of JakerLou

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

08-01-2014 21:41:44 | More by JakerLou
Photo of Jason


4.05/5  rDev -1.9%

22 oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

A- Two fingered tan lace clings to the glass almost all the way down, nearly clear and bright reddish amber hue.

S- Piney citric softness of the hop aroma permeates with a mild fruity alcohol and lean caramel malt tone. All in all very aromatic.

T- Big malty palate with more than enough hop character to balance, bitterness is semi-clean with pungent citric finish. Light warming alcohol. Maltiness holds its own with a creamy caramel note. Long finish of malt and a citric hop bite.

M- Super smooth with a creamy full body.

D- As big as it is ... it goes down pretty quick due to the smoothness. Perhaps far from a session beer but it certainly was not a core to quaff this one down.

Very recommended IMO especially if you are into big and hoppy strong ales.

06-26-2005 00:00:30 | More by Jason
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%

Bomber bottle, pours dark orangy almond amber. Tan tight head, showing some retention. Some fine scattered lacing left on the glass Nose here is faily thin and of citric hops and mildly toasted malts. This is rich, flavorful brew. Nice malty package of sweat notes, hops are just around the corner to delver a drying note and finish. Smooth and rounded, nicely done. Big and bold but not over the top. Well worth trying a bomber or two.

07-03-2005 18:55:01 | More by Billolick
Photo of warriorsoul


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%

A big thanks to Nick @ Bauer Wine & Spirits for this one.
Pours a clear bronze w/ two full fingers of foamy beige head...lacing is fairly thin and has very little cling.
Very nice aromas filled w/ fruity hops, sweet malt, citrus, and the faintest detection of alcohol.
Taste is mighty fine...not your typical red as you would suspect. A bit surprised to see this one classified as a Strong Ale, but not so stunned after drinking this.
The hops and malt balance this one out beautifully and while the alcohol was apparent in the nose, it is nowhere found in the taste.
A complimenting bitter finish...mouthfeel is not too thin and not too thick.
This one could be a session brew for me. This 22oz. bomber will be gone in minutes.
For me, Lagunitas has its hits and misses. For this one, it is most definitely a hit. Good stuff.

05-04-2005 23:43:41 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of mctizzz


2.25/5  rDev -45.5%

02-09-2012 14:19:53 | More by mctizzz
Photo of kramerboy


4.5/5  rDev +9%

04-10-2013 13:15:30 | More by kramerboy
Photo of Skye1024


4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

04-30-2012 02:06:45 | More by Skye1024
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,492 ratings.