Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial Red AleLagunitas Imperial Red Ale

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2,253 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,253
Reviews: 786
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.71%
Wants: 227
Gots: 306 | FT: 3
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:
Beer added by: Reidrover on 03-05-2005

54.2 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,253 | Reviews: 786
Photo of Viggo
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/copper, thick white head forms, some lace and good retention, settles to a good layer. Smell is sweet, lots of toffee, metallic, some pine and floral, nice. Taste is malty, caramel crystal malt grainy flavour, pine and floral, sugary finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with low carbonation. Not bad, didn't do much for me.

Photo of cps98
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – A really nice rust colored brown with a really rocky 2 finger off-white head. Head dissipates rather quickly and leaves a nice ring of bubbles around the glass.

S – Nice piney hop aroma is dominant. Some sweetness lingers on the backside.

T – Again a really nice dominant piney hop bitterness. Equally pleasant red malt sweetness.

M – Pretty good carbonation, medium bodied. Malt and hops play nicely together.

O – A good IPA, not over the top as far as hops.

Photo of Durge
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A clear copper color with a solid off-white head and great lacing. The aroma is licorice malt and some herbal hops. A heavy alcohol presence with very dry bitter hops. A sort of stinging bitterness with plenty of alcohol warming. Some candied malt with solid body. Minimal drinkability but a tastey option.

Photo of MLegendre
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber in color, thin white head, quite a bit of carbonation.

S: A very strong burst of piney hops hits my nostrils immidiatly and not much else. Smells like this will be similar to an IPA

T: There is a strong hop presence, but not too overpowering like an IPA. The maltiness is very present, but kind of in the background. It has the bitterness of an IPA, but none of the piney or citrusy flavors I usually associate with an IPA. The ABV is kind of high, but I couldn't taste the alcohol at all. Very well hidden.

M: A bit thick and a good amount of carbonation.

D: It does go down very easily and for something that has a slightly high ABV, it's very easy to drink and easy to lose track of how many you've had. A good solid beer, but probably not something I'd go out of my way to get.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep reddish amber color, with a brilliantly clear, rich red color when held up to the light. The head is quite large, four-fingers thick, frothy and a lightly amber-tinged tan color, which even leaves a bit of lacing as I work my way through my glass. The aroma is satisfyingly hoppy with a raw, herbal hop edge that is backed by a solid sticky citrus note that reminds me of grapefruit. The aroma is just so resinous, seriously evoking some thoughts of it's near, green budded cousin. Underneath the hop aromatics is a solid malt character which has notes of both toffee and lightly toasted biscuits.

The taste is lightly sweet up front, but it is really drowned out by the ample hop character that is found from beginning to end in this beer. A resinous hop character is immediately noticeable; raw and a bit aggressive this character is only amplified by the solid bitterness, which lingers on into a reasonable long finish. Underneath the easily noticeable raw pine-like herbal character is a soft citrus note that is a mix of ruby red grapefruit and tangerines. This beer has a fairly full body to it, it is definitely needed though to balance the aggressive hopping levels.

This is a beer for hop lovers, it is fairly aggressive. This beer is raw and hoppy and I almost think that this beer could use a bit more malt sweetness to amplify the hop character. A bit more malt might play up the citrus notes a bit more, and soften the raw hoppiness a bit. As it is you will definitely want to be a hop head to enjoy this one. Luckily I can be, and am, so this is quite enjoyable.

Photo of pershan
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a dark amber with reddish hues, with a nice, creamy head. I detected a slight floral hop aroma before the first sip. There was a nice balance between the hop bitterness and malt sweetness - a more understated hop presence than in an IPA - as it should be. Thick lacing down the pint glass by the end of it all - and with a fairly decent, lingering hop bitterness. An enjoyable beer, although not as pumped-up as some of their other offerings. Their Kill Ugly Radio is still my favorite - try it if you get the chance - it is on-tap here at Frisco as I write this review.

Photo of NitroGen
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz. squat brown bottle, o.g. 1.072, 84.20 IBU, Alc. 7.6% Vol

A: Pours brilliant and crystal amber with a thick slightly off- white foam that dissipates very slowly to a scant cover with huge lacing.

S: Citrus, floral, slight sweetness with feint alcohol vapor.

T: Very subtle and balanced grain to citrus pith that slowly dissolves to a very nice mix.

M: Found the front part a bit slow but the mouth slowly starts to discern the well balance of tastes and the palate is treated to a very nice aftertaste.

D: I would enjoy a number of these at one sitting and will be sharing with friends this weekend.

Photo of Ego
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

amber brown in hue, no head to speak of, lacing is more like film but it is clingy like wine (it has legs... not like zztop...)

subdued, very mild for a strong ale, smells like a tamed DIPA, uncleaned wet mushrooms, some hop florals that drift slightly into the ethereal pine realms and finish with a touch of lime, hints of sweet toasty malts also linger, nice but a bit too mellow imo.

taste etc...
the subtelty in the nose works here. you get a real plate of flavor. The red sparkles and fades into bitter and there is a linger to it all. The sweetness of the malt kicks in just before that "Red" flavor does. And this is an easy sipper for sure (easy like a sunday morning? if you are drinking this shit in the morning.. you have a problem...). mouthfeel is good, not great. This has a nice bitter finish with the piney side bitters really doing a river dance on your tongue. The alcohol is perceptable but not distracting to this reviewer. The sweetness makes this very drinkable... almost reminds me of some IPAs (specifically the Pizzaria Uno IPA I get here locally)

tasty but nothing I will go ape looking for. for $5 a bomber it is pretty good though if you have it available locally.

Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Pretty amber and visibly creamy in texture with a thick, whipped-creamy light khaki colored head that leaves gobs of lacing down the glass. Gorgeous cask beer.

Aroma is a pleasant combination of sweet caramel malt along with some orange and grapefruit flesh and zest. Very nice.

The flavor follows the aroma, and this is most certainly a nicely hopped amber. There's enough bitterness and grapefruit presence to put a little excitement into an otherwise malty, somewhat boring style.

Medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Somewhat creamy.

Somewhat creamy, nicely hopped amber, though nothing particularly exciting or new here.

Photo of BMoney575
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-3-08

Pours a slightly hazy amber/brown, with a foamy head that quickly settles.

Smell is very thick and a little malty, subtle with lots of grassy hops near the end.

Taste is very Strong Ale. Much like others, a decent malt and bitter hops. Nothing new.

Mouthfeel is good, thick and syrupy.

Drinkability is also good, the balance makes a good choice for a strong session beer.

Overall, I grow weary of this style. Stone has it tied up, it's going to take more creativity to do better.

Photo of mothman
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%

Fairly hoppy. A touch of a malt base. Solid when fresh.

Photo of scotorum
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled July 7th 2014.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Tree House tulip pint.

a: Clear copper with a finger and a half offwhite head which receded to thin surface foam and patchy and spotty lacing.

s: Mild ripe fruit, peppery spice and bready malt

t; Slightly fruity and peppery spice under a sharp hop bite. Bitterness lingers at the back sides of the tongue. Dry finish.

m: Medium with good body and plenty of carbonation tingle.

o: A good Imperial red which makes its presence known and is reasonably tasty.

Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours a bronzish red with one finger of off-white head. Solid retention and lacing.

S: Pine, caramelized malts, cracker, and some fruit undertones.

T: Pine, earthy hops, rich malts, citrus, rye, barley, and some bitterness at the finish.

M: Medium bodied, moderately carbonated, finishes wet and slightly oily with a kick of bitterness.

O: A very solid and delicious red ale. The nose left a lot to be desired but the taste more then makes up for it. Definitely a re-visitable ale.

Photo of cjgiant
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%

Bottle (no noticeable date)
Pours quite clear auburn-red with a lingering head that provided a modicum of lacing. The nose is of a fairly common Lagunitas pine-woodiness with what I will describe as a cherry-wood type sweetness that I also associate with Lagunitas. With some warmth I get indistinguishable pitted fruit.

The taste starts out English-bitter style [that I describe as] caramel-copper taste. The taste has a classic apple-grape fruit impression that battles and eventually loses to an alcohol-tinged woodiness. The feel is somewhat light initially, but given time, there is a drying effect that might not be typical, but that I notice as quite strong.

I have somewhat unconsciously enjoyed this style for a while, and I can't say this interpretation fails, but the drying nature of this beer battles what I have generally enjoyed about the style I the past.

Photo of beerphan
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> imperial pint
no date, but the bottle is coded

Pours clear orange amber with a nice 2inch tan head, that leaves rings of lace that sticks around and some oily froth. Carbonation appears slow but robust.

Nose: Some citrus hops, a big punch of malt, a little alcohol.

Taste: Lots of caramel malt lets the mouth water before the bitter hop bite sucks out the sweetness. Its a great combo. The hops linger on the palate and leaves the mouth looking for some water, or just another sips. Not a typical red bitterness. (84.20 IBU!!)

Mouth is full and creamy but is left dry and stinging.

I would love to session this on tap, although i doubt i'd be fortunate to find it. A drinkable red if you like them bitter, if not stay away.

Photo of Docer
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)
- Dark amber sun-tea color, clear. Quickly dissipating finger of white foam settles with a milky medium sized ring of lace in the glass.. and a spotty thin blanket above the tea.

Smell: (3.5)
- Huge citrus hops. Pineapple, apple juice, grainy sweet brown sugar, a little vegetable hoppiness.. slight onion and skunky hop. A bit sweet and candy sugary.

Taste: (4.0)
- The aroma fights against the nose, but the flavor later comes through. Light bready grain, brown sugar and a tea flavor from what must be an abundance of hops used late in the brewing process. Big citrus hops as well as onion hops.. much like what Widmer, or Oskar Blues uses.. Nice pine resin in the belch.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Medium bodied brew, slightly cream, a bit drying and chewy.. overall very well carbonated and easy to drink. Very impressive. Well carbonated, and done well.

Overall: (3.5)
- For me this is a more impressive beer than their IPA's.. but doesn't touch the browns and other rare special releases they have had, such as those named after Benny & the Jets, and others like Zappa. But it is a great drinker, and tastes quite good. The aromas though really fight for a space in your face. Worth the try.

Photo of natemort13
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Frothy light tan head that subsides quickly into a filmy thin cap. Nice clear bubbly deep ambery red color to it.

Nose is dank pungent ripe grapefruit. Thin bready malty sweetness underneath. Feel like there's some orange trying to come out too. Gets ever so slightly herbal after a bit. Grass is also apparent as it warms.

Taste is sweet at first, then fades into a slight metallicishness and then bitter grapefruit with a sweet red malty finish. The metallic quality of the taste fades as the beer warms, but it was quite off putting to begin.

Mouthfeel is medium and highly carbonated yet remains creamy. Helps balance the strength of the grapefruit taste.

Overall this is my last of the six pack I bought about two weeks ago or so. I did not notice the metallic taste in the other bottles so I'm guessing my palate is out of whack or those two weeks in the fridge produced some off flavors. Or I'm just perceiving the bitterness differently this evening. Had a six pack of holiday leftovers and the last bottle had some white flaky crystallization in it that threw some gross off flavors over what was otherwise one of my favorite beers of the winter. Anyways, metallic qualities fade as it warms, hope lagunitas isnt having any QC problems because theyre awesome, all in all very good beer, end rambling.

Photo of DeFaz
3.75/5  rDev -9%

This is often compared to Nugget Nectar, and I'm not sure why. Anyway, this brew has a great appearance--not an exceptional color, but a very nice, thick head and sticky lacing. The smell is unremarkable, but the taste is pretty nice. This is also highly drinkable, as the mouthfeel is spot-on for the style (whatever style you want to call this hybrid). Anyway, adding a lot of hops to an otherwise successful red ale just doesn't work--even though I love hops. I love the great bomber price, but the "Imperial" red ale falls short as the balance is lost and the style is compromised in an effort to appease hop-heads (including myself).

Photo of semihobo
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Undated 12 oz, last of a sixpack I bought several months ago. Had to try it at home after having a pint at a bar, it was amazing fresh.

Very red body, not too opaque but with tons of tiny floaty microparticles. Pretty body with a little creamy head.

Smells of piney and resinous C-hops. Moderately citric as well.

Not as good in the bottle as it was on tap, more so than for most beers. Pale/amber malts take a back seat to the hop show ... let's see what they've got. Nice and piney, a little peppery with some grapefruit. Not extremely bitter, although the tap version is much more hop flavor and less plain bitterness.

Lush, velvety mouthfeel. Finish is sticky and couples with the resiny hops for a massive aftertaste, although for the style and ABV it's expected.

A success as an amped up red ale. Drinkable for the ABV and showcases nice cascade / centennial flavors without whacking you over the head with bitterness. Legendary on tap, too bad that's not what I'm reviewing... good in the bottle, though.

Photo of illidurit
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stubby 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Copper-amber color with a thick tan head. Lots of lacing. Aroma is mainly citrus hops, with a very tangy character, and caramel malt. Flavor is the same. Sweet and substantial malt base, orangey grapefruity hops, and a slight metallic note. Piney bitterness takes the edge off the sappy sweetness. Finish is a little dirty/sticky, body is a couple shades over medium.

Photo of GordonQuid
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep ruby red with a one inch white head and ample lacing.

Smells of grapefruit and pine needles. Some amber malt characteristics present.

Taste is a sharp cascade/galena hop with an amber malt finish. Some buttery toast and marmalade jam flavors as well.

Medium bodied and moderately drinkable

Photo of HoppyBastard
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, there was no date I could find on the bottle.

APPEARANCE: pours a deep and clear amber color with 1 finger off-white head that dissipated to a thin broken layer of bubbles that lasted throughout, there is significant lacing on the glass.

SMELL: the smell of pepper dominates, some pine.

TASTE: the taste follows the nose, liquid pepper and some pine, the taste really lingered, the 7.8% alcohol is perceptible.

PALATE: this is a full bodied beer with slightly below average carbonation.

OVERALL: this is a good but not terribly complex beer, a little too boozy for my liking, I would probably not seek this one out again.

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. About a finger of head. Color was a deep, dark caramel amber. Light gray lacing on the top that dissipated quickly initially, but then slowly deteriorated. Good looking cobweb film on the sides. Uneven and sporadic.

Got grapefruit hops (and a bit of lemon) on the first smell with a bitter note. Also seemed to be rye (which I only know from beer), a bit like iced tea (always my same comparison). I guess you could throw some pine in there, too.

Tasted that same rye taste. Not nearly as much as the Fox Trot, but still that iced tea feeling. Even a bit of a soapy taste. Grapefruit definitely lead the hops, but the soapy taste keeps coming in.

Medium body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Bitter finish.

A good beer, but I have to say I was hoping for a bit more. A couple of my ratings could have changed a bit, so I went with a 4.0 for the overall.

Photo of charlatan
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours from 22oz bottle with decent head, a small amount of which sticks around for the long haul leaving limited lacing in its wake and a pretty red amber colour. I believe that this is a very recent release (bottle claims it is limited, but I can't believe their unlimited relases are unlimited!) which arrived at Fred Meyer within the last week.

Smells both metalllic and herbal with a slight dairy influence.

There is an interesting interplay (actually more of war) here between hops which are leaning citrus and a brown sugar/alcohol flavour (this second element being somewhat reminiscent of the same brewery's Brown Shugga). I couldn't call this well balanced and the alcohol certainly isn't well disguised, but it is certainly an interesting brew, and is definitely worth the $2.69 I paid for it.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear and red for sure, great carbonation. Aroma is that of an earthy woodyesque scene.

Taste comes through, deliciously hoppy. Big malt backbone and a hint of sweetness. Slides from sweet to a denser heavier feeling on the palate. Drinkable, sure, can't really say what is better, this or the Lucky 13, the same, if not very similar style.

Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 2,253 ratings.