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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial Red AleLagunitas Imperial Red Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,655 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,655
Reviews: 728
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 166
Gots: 125 | 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
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Ratings: 1,655 | Reviews: 728 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kegatron
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into an oversized tulip glass.

Pours a VERY deep (yet still clear) ruby red, with 1 1/2 fingers of light mocha colored foam. This simmers down very quickly into a smallish layer but swirling fires quickly fires this back up into a near finger, throwing a huge frothy cascade of creamy spotty lacing up on the sides of the glass. The aroma is freshly floral and spicy in the nose, with a TON of sticky smelling pine resins being present. Some extra herbal hop character and smokey toasted sweetness gives this a sharp earthy tang. I'm getting just a smidge of light heat here as well.

The hop profile is spicy and (once again) very resinous feeling in the mouth, backed by a classic Red Ale mix of citrus, caramel, and some deep roasted malt character, which definitely comes off as a little more burnt than toasty. Hops really control the finish of this, with spice and resins just sticking right to the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lower feeling bubbly carbonation to it. This isn't necessarily thin or anything, just really sleek feelign in the mouth. I'm getting a bit of warmth on the breath after each sip but otherwise, the ABV pretty well hid here.

One of my favs from Lagunitas each year, I love the hoppy boldness and relatively good drinkibility of this for an Imperial Red Ale. One of the better six-pack buys out there as well, IMHO.

Kegatron, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of weezyfart
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful copper red color to this beer. The aromas are full of piney and resiny hops. So much so that the menacing font of "red" on the bottle racks my nerves a little. This one could hurt.

Wow, the hops are so floral on the front and mid-palate that the actual bitters don't show up until the finish. There is some residual sugar that sits around, but there is a vision that has definitely been met here. We're looking at a lush full-bodied imperial red that is as concise as it is flamboyant. As dangerous as it is comforting.

Really delicious beer here

weezyfart, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 7.8% abv. Slightly hazy reddish, copper color. White rocky head holds very well, and leaves some great patches of lace.

Citrus, pine and herbal hop aroma is nice. There is a great malt character in the nose as well, so this won't be too one-sided.

Some sweetness up front. Loads of caramel malt, hints of toffee. Sugar coated hops with some nice piney and herbal qualities. A bit of juicy fruit. A characteristic Lagunitas feel to this one.

Medium body, nice feel in the mouth. Slight warmth from alcohol, but not overwhelming. Pretty nice beer.

Bierguy5, May 28, 2012
Photo of scottoale
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12oz. brown bottle with a red cap and no freshness date. It pours a nice orange-copper with a thick foamy ivory head of a finger. Good carbonation and lots of lace clinging everywhere.

Nice hearty malt aroma followed by some semi-serious hops and even some alcohol sneaks through as it warms...very nice. A sweet spicy floral brew that really pleases my sense of smell.

Some large malt flavors start sweet, yet earthy as they blend smoothly with an equal dose of hops...well balanced and rather tasty red here. Good medium-plus body with a smooth, fluffy kind of mouthfeel and the head can be re-kindled with a slight swirl of the glass.

Moderate ABV that is more than easy too drink...a great session beer in my opinion, cheers!

scottoale, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear, pretty copper color with ruby highlights. Creamy tan head that maintains, thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is a balanced blend of citrusy and floral hops with a nice caramel maitiness. Mild fruity tones.

Caramel malty upfront with a nice fruitiness leading into an aggressive hop bitterness and pleasant blend of citrusy and floral hop flavors. Finishes deceivingly dry with some caramel malt flavors and a lingering bitterness.

Medium-full body, well carbonated.

Red ales are hard to predict as there is a broad interpretation of this style. I wasn't expecting much when I opened the bottle, but what a nice surprise. Everything I have had recently from these guys has been decidedly delicious, and this red is no exception.

MaltyGoodness, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of TastyTaste
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like the style that Lagunitas was shooting for, and I thought they pulled it off very well. Red body, but what were you expecting? Taste was very interesting. Carmel sweetness is present, but a lot of the experience was the alcohol coming through. Made the taste full and raw, with some grassy grain to boot. I would like to see more in the style of DRA.

TastyTaste, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of gubbt
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red, clear with a frothy off white head.

Hoppy nose overall. Piney with some carmel and sweet bread.

A lot of hop flavor in the profile. You get pine and some grapefruit. They ride on a caramel backbone and it finishes slightly sweet with some bread and caramel.

Smooth, creamy, medium in body.

Quite drinkable for something of the style and 7.6% abv. Very nice offering from Lagunitas. Comparable to Arrogant Bastard, but finishes a little sweeter and doesn't have the fruit. Bottoms up!

gubbt, Oct 29, 2007
Photo of JayQue
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Lagunitas beer. I have no idea what an Imperial Red Ale is, but nice, hoppy West Coast beer is always a welcome addition to my palate and gut. Pours a clear amber/reddish color with a big ivory head. Head retention and lacing are excellent. Smell gave a promise of hoppiness and also a scent/flavor that I couldn't identify. Some people refer to toffee in connection to the malts. I didn't get any standard malty scent or flavor so I'll go with "toffee" also. Taste was good....hoppy as a good IPA but with this additional flavor as well. Mouthfeel is fairly rich....the first swallow provides the coating for the rest of the beer...nothing thin about this one. Very crisp and hoppy. A nice slight change of pace for an IPA loving hophead. ABV is a bit high for a session beer, but this one is very drinkable.

JayQue, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of SethB2
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep redish amber color with a small head, despite an agressive pour. Looks thick and a bit syrupy because of the lack of carbonation, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

S - Whoa. Hoppy in a big way. I wasn't expecting this. Very floral with grapefruit notes. Also very sweet on the nose with a nice interplay between the sweet and toasted malts. I really like the smell of this beer a lot.

T - Nice and hoppy with a big bitter finish. The sweetness doesn't get a chance to break out much over the hops, but it is there in the background. Roasted malts a very, very present, giving this beer a nice character. I wish it were a little sweeter, but it's still good nonetheless.

M - Same fault I have with many bitter finishing beers is that is also finishes very dry. Other than that, the low carbonation isn't a bad thing the the texture of the beer in comparison to the taste is just about right.

D - Good. One of the better Lagunitas beers on the market.

SethB2, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of TheFlern
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark burgundy. Good amount of tan head that lingers with nice lacing.

Smell: Lots of delicious fresh smelling hops. Very fruity.

Taste: Nice hop flavor and bitterness with fruit qualities. A little malt flavoring to carry the hops onto your pallet.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a nice hoppy beer. Very flavorful and I want more. Sits well too.

TheFlern, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of donnebaby
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright crimson red body is real nice looking, and capped with a thick light tan head on top, overall impression is very nice. Nose is loaded up on particularly fresh smelling, controlled Cascades, not too weedy or clouded by malts.

Taste isn't too wild, or "big" but nice, controlled and less funky than other Lagunitas brews. Overwhelmingly a mild and sweet cherry cider flavor, candy sweet in the mouth until bittering out, at times, sharply in charcoal. Notes of cinnamon and candy. Juicy. Medium to light body and focused mild carbonation. Creaminess from the head sticks around and adds an element of overall soft feel to it. Alcohol is well-hidden without too much sweet coverup.

Certainly my favorite Lagunitas brew to date.

donnebaby, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of animortician
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to try this since Ive brewed a hopped up Red ale a couple of times.

A: Rich Copper color, Good 1 finger head when poured. Maintains a nice layer of foam throughout drinking.

S: Colorful, fruity, ripe, fresh

T: Sour Apple giving way to the sweet medium roasted malt. Fruity, hoppy, crisp. I dry hopped my red ale and was expecting that kind of flavor but got much more of a fresh hop flavor.

M: Good carbonation level, Very light feeling beer, very drinkable

O: I'm diggin it, Kind of like there IPA its super drinkable and non-demanding. It isn't often that I want a non-demanding beer but I think I'll come back to this one sometime.

animortician, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pretty clear red/amber color with a small 1/8-1/4” head of off white foam that was made of small creamy bubbles. The head stayed at this thickness for a good while before starting to fade. There is a pretty decent amount of lacing left on the glass after drinking. The head clings on for most of the beer, so the overall visual presentation for this beer is pretty nice.

Aroma: You initially get tons of citrusy and very fresh American hops. Beyond this there is a pretty solid backbone of sweet caramel malt and some less prevalent toasty notes. Some tangerines are starting to become identifiable in the mix.

Taste: The beer comes across very solid on the palate with some acidity that is evident initially along with the fresh hops. There is a solid amount of malt in here to keep the hops in check, and it is a toss up to know who wins in the finish, but I am going with the hops by a tad. While the hops are playing havoc on the back of your palate, there is a defined caramel flavor that is left to linger on the lips. This beer gets much nicer as it warms up some.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty decent beer. It is definitely a member of the “Strong American Beer” category with bold flavors both from the hops and malt. The balance is pretty nice as well. I am not sure how much this is an imperial “Red” versus an “Amber”, but I am splitting hairs as to the style. I won’t have a problem at all drinking this six-pack, so I would count this one up as another “winner” for Lagunitas overall.

SkeeterHawk, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of cerveza5150
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

AP: Dark, beautiful, ruby red color. Small bubbles of carbonation give way to a nice, creamy head with nice retention.

S: Sweet honey/vanilla malt with a touch of spice from the hops.

T: Starts out sweet from the malt and dries out nicely due to the hops and the slightly high alcohol. Definately better tasting than some of the other Lagunitas brews. I could take 2 more of these!!

M: A little more carbonation would be nice, but overall - great mouthfeel.

D: I could kick back and drink a few of these. Someone call my work! I'm calling in sick!!!!

cerveza5150, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of JAFoley
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear deep amber body with nice dense off-white head. Retention last till the bottom of the glass and tons of nice lacing all the way down.

S - Spicy and sweet cherries

T - Big pine and floral hops followed by dark smokey spicy malts.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Very sticky and resinous.

O - Great brew. Definitely a nice transition beer into the back half of summer.

JAFoley, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of DovaliHops
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glad to see they brought this beer back! Pours a clear amber color with a large white head that goes down slowly. Scent has that lovely, unique Lagunitas touch to it with the "in-you-face" hops, slowly followed by some nice, bread-like malt flavors. Lots of citrus with some piney hop aroma. Taste is not far from what you would expect from a Lagunitas IPA...however, they call this an Imperial Red. I see how it does have more of a malt backbone than most of there IPAs, but at the same time, it is hoppier than a lot of breweries' IPA. Taste is citrus fruit with some hop resin and pine needles. Somewhat grassy, with a nice, fresh hop profile. Lovely caramel and bready malt flavors. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and bitter. Drinkability is very high. Overall, one of the best reds available.

DovaliHops, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of SawDog505
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stella Artois 16 oz glass, bottled on 25th day of 12. Pours a clear bright red, with a 2 inch fluffy white head, lots of lacing. Smell is tangerine, carmel, pine, and grass. Taste is all of those things, with grapefruit in the finish. Body is medium, plenty of life, easy drinking, and lush not dry. This is a very nice hoppy red ale.

SawDog505, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of silentjay
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a reddish-tinted copper with a smallish white head that quickly recedes to one finger's height but laces very well.

aroma is very piney and a bit grassy with a bit of caramel sweetness behind that and a lot of bitter citrus.

flavor starts with the piney, but mostly bitter citrus hops a slight caramel sweetness and a decent amount of alcohol heat.

light/medium bodied with a bit of prickly carbonation and a long-lingering bitterness.

It's decent, but it's nowhere near Zoe or Nugget Nectar in terms of hoppy/imperial reds.

silentjay, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of pmccallum86
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red color with a thick bubbly head.

The smell is of caramel and citrusy hops.

Taste is similar to the smell, caramel malts and hops. Some grapefruit and citrus flavors really come through.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, pretty nice overall.

Good drinkability, it goes down very smoothly.

pmccallum86, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of samtrillo
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%

samtrillo, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of jheezee
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%

jheezee, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Jason, Jun 26, 2005
Photo of gtermi
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very nice dark amber body with a white thin head that quickly fades. It does leave a lot of lace on the glass as it fades.

S: Just a bomb of sweet hops on the nose. It has a slight bit of alcohol and also a nice bit of grain.

T: Like the smell, you get a nice amount of hops, but then evolves into a great sweet malt.

M: There is a nice amount of crispness on the back of the throat and the tongue and goes down easy, but the dry mouthfeel takes away IMO.

O: Another great beer from Lagunitas, if you see it, get it.

gtermi, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of scottyshades
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Picked one up from ABC just because I noticed that they were new on the shelf
A: Rich amber color with a 1" head and a beautiful lace
S: Hopy, spicy, flowers...very pleasant and unique
T: Nice and hopy, the alcohol is completely hidden, tastes much like an IPA..
MF: Bitter and dry, but the aftertaste is good
D: Highly drinkable, but watch out, the ABV will get you

scottyshades, Oct 25, 2007
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this at Uno Langhorne PA. Poured a copper color with a with a thick white heading that dissolves right away.

Smell is hoppy, malty, and a nice fruitiness to it.

Taste is awesome big malty beer with a fruity blast and finishes up very hoppy.

Mouth is medium-full bodied amazing carbonation with a nice hoppy sting on the tongue.Went right down really smooth without a hassle.

Drink is great for 7.2% ABV. Even for being a bit on the heavier side this would make a great session beer. Those big malts with well balanced hoppines just makes this awesome.

TheFightfan1, Aug 06, 2009
Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,655 ratings.