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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.

1,304 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,304
Reviews: 687
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 141
Gots: 37 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,304 | Reviews: 687 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Dee's. Hoppy piney aroma and variety of hops in citrus taste that worked. Tasty.Spicey and fruity finish. Medium and good mouthfeel. Good understated carbonation. resin-works. Drinkable, could stay on it all evening. Another winner from Lagunitas.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2006 05:54:07 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

10-20-2012 02:41:45 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


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

Pours a clear copper with a 1 inch foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, tropical fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is of tropical fruit, citrus zest, and herbal hops up front with a malt finish. A medium amount of bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2012 04:18:56 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

04-18-2014 11:57:06 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


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

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice amber color with an off-white head that starts out at about two fingers and works its way down with some nice lacing. The nose brings a bit of malt as well as nice floral, citrus, and piney hops. Taste is a bit cut back with some lightly-sweet malt as well as some pine notes from the hops. A bit of sugar and bitterness in the feel. Pretty good, but not my favorite from them.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 01:25:30 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation


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

Fiery reddish orange or orangish red, take your pick. Superfine bubbles slowly ascend to a cap the color of brown sugar mousse. I love the color contrast between head and beer and I love the fact that there's no shortage of abstract-patterned lace. This is just about how I'd expect an Imperial Red to look...

... and to smell. Heavily toasted caramel malt holds down the bottom end while spicy, citric pithy hops take care of the top end. I'm sure that multiple C-hops make up the hop bill and I'm guessing that Chinook is foremost among them. I'm also betting that this is going to be one humdinger of an ale.

Whether you feel that Imperial Red Ale is a valid style or not (and it looks like the brothers Alstrom do not), Lagunitas IRA tastes pretty much how I would expect a beer of that style to taste. Make that 'an outstanding beer of that style'. It helps if you not only don't mind wall-to-wall hops, but actually prefer them.

The caramel maltiness is as firm as titanium toast and does its best to counteract the buzzsaw-like hops. Bitter white grapefruit pith is having a field day in my mouth as their alpha acids etch furrows into my tongue. Hopheads will find a lot to like here. Now I know why I drink hops monsters at the end of the day. My taste buds will be (happily) stunned for the next 12 hours at least.

The glorious raw hoppiness of Imperial Red reminds me a little of Midnight Sun Humpy's Sockeye Red. Both are big bruisers that ask for no quarter and give none. It also bears some resemblance to Arrogant Bastard, although the Stone beer has more malt if my memory isn't faulty. The fact that the pint glass is throughly coated with an unbroken sheet of crusty lace turns a shaky appearance score into a solid one.

The mouthfeel is as expected given the surfeit of ingredients. Tons o' malt provide a full, syrupy, sticky, heavy silkiness while tons o' hops provide a bristling, biting, saliva-sucking dryness. A low level of carbonation delivers just enough energy to keep the beer drinkable and no more. Just how I'd draw it up.

Lagunitas brews quite a few good, but far from outstanding, beers. Just when I consider writing them off as an also-ran in the cutthroat world of Calfornia craft beer, I drink a Brown Shugga' or a Lagunitas IPA or a Cappuccino Stout. And now I can add Imperial Red Ale to that distinguished list. This is great beer folks. Especially if you're a quart low on hops.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2006 22:45:42 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear deep amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and left lots of lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose—grapefruit seems to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of citrusy hops along with caramel malts. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is packed with a good balance of hoppy and malty flavors and also hides its alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2012 01:15:44 | More by metter98
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

12-04-2011 22:24:01 | More by nmann08
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to derrickt007 for the bottle.

Poured a deep red amber with little head, and what was there faded quickly. But the nice cloudy amber looked good. Smelled of deep malts with a hint of dark fruit and a bit of a sweetness and alcohol. The taste was rather fruity. Dark fruit commanded the flavor with a subtle sugary behind it almost grape like, very enjoyable. Rather intresting and not what I would expect. No hint of the alcohol whatsoever and that makes this very drinkable. My first offering from Lagunitas and it definatly has me intrested.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 00:54:11 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a bright amber color ale with a relatively small foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of citrus hops is not bad but pretty standard compared to some other West Coats hop bomb. Taste is also dominated by loads of citrus and piney hops and a medium caramel malt backbone. Not the most interesting beer out there.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 04:18:12 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


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

Much more hops than expected from an American Red Ale; that's why is characterized by an American Strong Ale. Hop aroma is evident even before the glass reaches the nose. Pine and flowery aromas swirl around a bready, malty sweet smell. Tastes boldly of sweet malts: bready, caramelly, lightly toasted, and a tad grainy. The the hops...more than just bittering. Flowery flavors, herbal, grassy, earthy, and a little dirty (for extra measure). The taste is muddled a bit, but certainly adds character to an otherwise unappealing brew. Finishes dryer than expected from Reds because of the hop character and alcohols that go largely forgotten. I look forward to having another.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2006 02:22:12 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy


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

Appearance: Pours a marvelously clear copper body with a white, diminishing head. The lacing was thin and uneven.

Smell: Caramel malts in the nose with a nice bit of toastiness. The hops are piney with fruity undertones.

Taste: Light bready caramel malts joined by crisp, hoppy flavors of pine resins and grapefruit. Very tea-like at times. Herbaceous hops round out the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a pleasingly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Though the hops can be a little cutting at times its a rather likeable red ale, and quite quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2006 19:54:26 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of kylehay2004


4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single finger head with nice lacing on a amber with crimson and golden hues body. Very aromatic with lots of hops, citrus and pine. More than I expected. Flavor is more malty with a barley wine note, bitter hops with the sweet balance coming from a distinct caramel malt. Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Overall very drinkable with a full and complex aroma. A must have a second time brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 02:20:26 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of spycow


3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

03-08-2013 01:09:18 | More by spycow
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2006 01:04:44 | More by oberon
Photo of GRG1313


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Summer 2009 batch. Pours a nice red with a beautifully thick and firm head that lasts. Head even partially lasts until the bottom of the glass and after some time in the glass. Impressive.

Nose of pleasant and assertive spiced peaches, cooked fruit and malt with citrus undertones. A pleasant and most complex nose with hints of coffee, carmel and whiskey.

Mouthfeel is wonderful with a big and rich creamy character. Just plain feels good in your mouth.

Flavors make this beer a real winner. Starts out like a Belgian with rich hints of sweet malt and fruit and layers down your palate to grapefruit and pine but finishes with a malted coffee and carmel characteristic and then back to the bitter hops.

This beer is wonderfully balanced and very complex. Simply put, this one has a lot going for it. Almost like the best of both worlds...big malt and pretty big hops, at times.

Hops most assertive in front finish and as part of a very complex hoppy, coffee finish. I like this one a lot.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 06:25:57 | More by GRG1313
Photo of zeff80


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

A - Poured out a burgandy/amber color with a thick, foamy, off-white head that left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and tons of Cascade hops.

T - It tasted very malty with a biscuit like breadiness. It also had a nice hop bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good beer. It really has a nice blend of malt, spice and hops.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2007 18:31:46 | More by zeff80
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Here's to hoppy sweet nerve sacks, all around!

This beer pours a clear, dark ruddy amber hue, witb one fat-ass finger of loosely foamy off-white head, which leaves a rugged band of sudsy lace around the glass as it slips away.

It smells of grapefruit rind, aged orange flesh, some musty earthiness, and straight-up caramel malt. The taste is strong muddled citrus hops, contentedly bitter, with a musty grassy addendum, and a sourdough-tinged caramel/toffee malt backbone. The elevated ABV is really well integrated - nary a wisp of warming to be told.

The carbonation is on the low side of average, the body a solid medium weight, a tad clammy, yet still agreeably smooth. It finishes off-dry, the indeterminate bitter citrus and weakening malt still going toe to toe.

Another decent hoppy ale from Lagunitas, as if I would expect it any other way. The red ale base adds a little more dissonance, but that's ok, variety being the spice of life, and all that.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2012 03:10:57 | More by biboergosum
Photo of JAHMUR


3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

11-03-2013 17:35:16 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Perfectly clear dark red with an inch of off white head. Retention is good, lots of lace, a great looking beer all around.

Smell: Hops up front with a touch of toffee-like malt beneath. The hops have an earthy quality, bringing to mind tobacco and pine; chinook I'd guess.

Taste & mouthfeel: Aggressively hoppy, there's a touch of toffee malt flavor here but it's drier than the nose suggests. Earthy, resiny, piney hop flavor is dominant. This beer is similar to Arrogant Bastard in many ways, though this isn't quite as satisfying as that beer. The finish is long, dry and bitter. This is ideal stuff for quaffing during the Autumn months.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 22:54:10 | More by largadeer
Photo of NeroFiddled


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

Although it may be labeled an "Imperial" red ale; and may indeed have an alcohol content of 7.6% by volume, this is nothing more than a really good beer!
Its clear copper body has a reddish cast beneath its full head of creamy ivory froth. The head retention is excellent, and it leaves sheets of think lace draped about at the outset of the glass. Resinous, grassy, piney/spruce-like, and citrusy hops dominate the nose over a seemingly-sweet and toffe-ish malt. The mouthfeel is medium-full and creamy-smooth across the palate with just a light tingle from its moderate, fine-bubbled carbonation. Hops return in the flavor, wrapped in a soft, luscious malt that's seductively sweetish but not quite sweet, decidedly caramel accented, softly bready, and even a touch biscuity. Yeasty fruitiness accents everything, and brings the citrusy hop notes forward, leaving the piney and resinous characteristics to help the firm bitterness balance things by lingering dryly in the finish. There's alot going on, and yet it's incredibly straightforward and balanced leaving it drinkable to say the least; and the alcohol never makes an appearance beyond when you go to get up from your seat and realize you may have had too much of a good thing. Very nicely done!

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2005 22:57:37 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two fingers of light tan head on top of a golden-brown body with good clarity. The head settles at a moderate pace and laves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - A hoppy, pine aroma blended with caramel and tosted malt. Some toffee notes along with grapefruit and a spicy, barleywine-like character of blended hops and malt.

T - Sweet caramel malt up front with lots of toffee and toast. Some spicy pine hops appear in the middle and blend with the malt to create a velvety spicy mustard note. Finishes with a combination of spicy pine hops and toasted caramel malt with moderate, balancing bitterness. Lingering malt and hop flavors meld to form a lingering spicy, cigar tobacco note.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly spicy finish.

D - Very drinkable, this beer has an excellent balance of malt richness and spicy, American hops. The pine and citrus hop character works well to augment the caramel malt. This is a very nice example of its style and it seems to bring out the best in Lagunitas talent for brewing hoppy copper-colored beers.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 08:34:41 | More by nickfl
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color (I don't see any red but that's ok), with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a nice burst of hops, along with citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with a pleasant sweetness of caramel and citrus. Then a good strong floral hops presence quickly follows and provides a very good balance.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, nice kick, this is a very good beer that has all of the elements to make it an excellent choice to drink for an entire evening.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2008 03:38:32 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber brown. Definite orange hue going on there. No head after a minute or two, but there is a lot of lacing left. Nose is very mild with what seems like an alcohol infused apple. Flavor is a bit hoppy, but not too much overall. Alcohol is noticable on the palate, but not overpoweringly so. Mostly just gives a deep earthy flavor profile. Feel has a good level of carbonation to it and a nice liquid body. Overall it is pretty drinkable. Not the strongest of strong ales, but it definitely doesn't lack some kick. Smooth and even, but not showy at all.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 03:49:10 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Jason


4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2005 00:00:30 | More by Jason
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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,304 ratings.