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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial Red AleLagunitas Imperial Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

775 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 775
Hads: 2,268
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 8.29%
Wants: 234
Gots: 316 | FT: 2
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 775 | Hads: 2,268
Photo of Sammy
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (257 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (493 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
4.14/5  rDev +1%
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. (999 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (403 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (735 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
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. (412 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

new affordable bomber from lagunitas, pushing the red ipa style here, but still probably more malt driven than a red ipa would be. clear brick red in color with a tall and wispy off white head with a ton of rising bubbles collecting at the surface, very alive looking brew. the nose here is piney hops and a lot of breakfast coffee cake type red malt giving it both some lingering sweetness and plenty of body. the hops are mostly all in the finish, leaving the first half of the beer for the grain, which is sweeter but not at the expense of the hops or the finish. pine needle hop complexion is bold but not over done, we all found this to be an exceptionally easy drinking brew, especially for one almost 8% abv. clean finishing, quite refreshing, and a well made take on the style. I prefer it to the lucky 13 red beers they make, its more lively and unique. the price makes it that much better too! (903 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (675 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -26.8%
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. (349 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (655 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

It smells of grapefruit rind, kind of over-aged orange flesh, some musty, slightly dank, and earthy pine notes, a touch of peppery spice, and straight-up bready caramel malt. The taste is strong muddled citrus hops - though contentedly bitter, with a musty grassy addendum - a sourdough-tinged caramel/toffee malt backbone, and a minor spicy woodiness. The elevated ABV is quite impressively integrated - nary a wisp of warming to be told.

The carbonation is pretty average, a minor frothiness meekly manifesting, the body a solid medium weight, and perhaps a tad clammy, yet still agreeably smooth. It finishes off-dry, the indeterminate bitter citrus and weakening malt still going at it mano a mano.

Another decent, pleasantly hoppy ale from Lagunitas, as if I would or could expect it any other way. The (apparently old school) red ale base adds a little more dissonance, but that's ok, variety and the semblance of balance being the widely-available spice of life, and all that. (1,269 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (2,437 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (387 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (553 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
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. (520 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
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. (567 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (1,078 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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! (1,256 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (1,382 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (719 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
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. (607 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Arooga's on 22. Served chilled in a pint.

The color is dark copper with hazed appearance and thin cream head with fine bead lace sticks well. The smell is mostly hops with a strong pine odor and light citrus scent with mild aroma of herbs and alcohol. The feel is very good with moderate bitterness and slight sweetness with medium carbonation and mild alcohol influence with mostly dry finish.

The taste is very good with a bitter pine hop flavor with slight grapefruit accent and mild tangy yeast with subtle tangerine and a light caramel from the malt in the taste. Overall I really enjoyed this it has plenty of hops with noticeable alcohol, but not out of the ordinary for the strength. I would drink this again -very good example of the style. (775 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply a fantastic beer.. I was finally able to find a place that sells it (Manchester Wine and Liquors) and I'm glad I did. Reminds me a lot of Ithaca's Cascazilla.. a super hoppy but well balanced red ale. Pours a reddish-copper color with a nice bone white head. Not much for lacing, smell is of caramel/candy and hops. Taste is just awesome for me.. maltiness upfront with a nice bitterness after, so damn smooth. Almost too drinkable.. I will be buying this beer frequently from here on out. (496 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (821 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +2%
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. (567 characters)

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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 775 ratings.