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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.

2,021 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,021
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 179
Gots: 201 | FT: 1
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,021 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tdm168
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale, translucent amber color with a thin layer of off white head that's loose and bubbly. The nose is exceptionally floral. The flavor is lightly malty followed by a big hop finish. Up front the malt is caramelly and lightly sweet. The hops are big and flavorful offering a hug floral note. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected but medium bodied, smooth, but a little heavily carbonated.

This is a fine beer if you're looking for something robust and hoppy. It's not as malty as the red title would lead you to believe. Overall, it's a little one dimensional with floral hops taking the forefront. A little balance would make this incredible. Being a hop head though I really enjoyed this offering.

tdm168, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of oldvines
4/5  rDev -2.9%

oldvines, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of damndirtyape
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a milkshake pilsner glass. Stamp on neck of bottle meaningless to me, but I believe this bottle to be from this year.

Appearance: Nice clear deep color color. Light tan head that is a very thin skin across the top. Nice persistent delicate lacing noted.

Smell: Good mango and pine.

Taste: Bitter, very hoppy. Strong pine, grapefruit, citrus. Malt takes a backseat to the hop flavors. A very hop forward beer and a bit unbalanced for me.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, nicely thick and smooh.

Overall / Drinkability: Bitterness becomes a bit of a chore by the end of the glass. Too hop forward for my taste. Nice appearance and smell, but too much of a hop bomb with not enough malt to balance it in the end. Probably won't get again.

damndirtyape, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of Morey
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with "02529413" stamped on the neck of the bottle. From what I gather, this means that it was bottled on January 25th? Why not put the actual date on the bottle?

Pours a reddish-amber color with over one finger of cream colored head. If you hold it up to the light, it's pretty much all red with nice clarity. The foam has settled after several minutes, but the retention and stick are both more than adequate.

Sticky fruity hops fill the nose. There's a good amount of malt in the aroma too. Maybe not quite on the level of NN as far as the smell goes, but not too far off.

Taste: Nice crisp bitterness up front from the hops. Malty and fruity flavors help to round things out towards the middle. There's a bit of alcohol towards the finish, and the hops surface for a second time on the back end as well.

Medium bodied mouthfeel with a sticky hop presence and moderate carbonation.

An above average Red Ale overall.

Morey's Bottom Line: I had been hearing good things about this beer, and thankfully....they're true. A really nice Red without question. It's somewhere between Celebration and Nugget Nectar. Good Stuff.

Morey, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard into EKU 28 snifter in LA. Live. Paired with a breakfast burrito. fridge cold. expectations pretty high/brewery

A: Pours a one finger nice cream lacing, good thick, and good retention for the abv. Colour is a clear amber with copper tinge. Appealing.

Sm: Quite hoppy, with both bitterness and floral notes coming forth. Some untoasted bright malts. Mild in strength.

T: Hoppy, with cherry ester notes and some amber hops. The hop bitterness is well concealed, and only comes through a biteen on the finish. It's hidden by sweetness on the climax, a nice touch. The malt foundation is clean, bright, and unobtrusive to support the cherry esters and hops. It's pleasant to drink and nicely balanced. No yeast comes through, nor does any alcohol - an achievement given the relatively high ABV. Quite enjoyable. Complex enough, but not unique or special.

Mf: Crisp, clean, smooth, wet, and a touch creamy (on the open). Carbonation is adequate. It's a bit too smooth on the finish. Neither too thick nor too thin. Suits the flavours well.

Dr/Ov: Very drinkable for the ABV, which is quite well concealed. I'd have it again on-draught. I don't know that aging would help it on account of its hoppy character; hop death wouldn't mellow the beer but rather might ruin its appeal. A well constructed imperial red that I quite enjoy. Its relative simplicity and lack of bold flavours hold it back, especially when coupled with the relatively flavour-empty finish, but it's certainly worth a try for any beer fanatic - certainly those that like the style.

Best judged as a red ale, not as this "American Strong Ale" nonsense. She drank just grand out of me snifter. A good snifter is probably ideal for this beer; a pint glass might bring the appearance score down. The aroma is worth trapping.


kojevergas, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of kaelingirl
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

kaelingirl, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of FeelinSurley
4/5  rDev -2.9%

FeelinSurley, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of tirlzx
4/5  rDev -2.9%

tirlzx, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of shelby415
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

shelby415, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of Metal4Breakfast
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Metal4Breakfast, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of Hatzilla
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear blood red with a one inch head, leaving some nice lacing.

S: Lots of pink grapefruit and cotton candy; sweet.

T: Hoppy grapefruit with a medium to dry finish. The hops and malts mesh well, alcohol is well hidden.

M: Very smooth and drinkable, carbonation is perfect.

O: A great red ale, glad Lagunitas brought this one back.

Hatzilla, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of InfernoBoss
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

InfernoBoss, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of spartanjd
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a standard pint glass. The intial smell is quite nice, very hoppy with some sweet fruit behind that. The taste is very surprising, much hoppier than I expected. There is a nice fruit background-tropical fruit tasting, mango maybe? Overall I am very impressed with this beer.

spartanjd, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of BigGameRick
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

BigGameRick, Feb 24, 2012
Photo of jsprain1
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Clear red with a one and a half finger white head. Decent retention and a couple wisps of lacing.
S- The aromas are quite hoppy with a lightly sugary tropical fruit and citrus hops. Fairly sweet. Almost like canned fruit syrup.
T- Same here. A bit more malt than on the nose. A touch of toast but tropical fruit like hops and a bit of orange are the big flavors.
M- For a beer this big, it is fairly light and thin. I would like it to be a bit fuller.
O- Quite good. A bit more body would push this one up higher for me.

jsprain1, Feb 24, 2012
Photo of Lang44
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Lang44, Feb 24, 2012
Photo of wvsabbath
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Copper tan/brown, red tint. !/4 head with some lacing.

Smell - Hops, malts, Grapefruit, Pine, Added sugars, a little rye and spice mixed in. Maybe some caramel, really smells like a ipa and not a strong ale.

Taste - Hops mixed in with sweet caramel malts and some spices make up the main flavor. I get a little rye and some sugars near the finsh. Alcohol is present slighty at the finish. Pretty floral, grapefruit and pine make up alot of the hop flavors. Added sugars work well with the sweet malts.

Mouthfeel - Sweet, yet strong and hoppy with some mild bitterness. Tounge gets hops, sweet malts and a little booze, were palette gets more remaining hops and malts, and a little floral/grassy resin coating. Aftertaste is dry, sweet and a little boozy.

Overall - Very tasty, this is a nice alternitive to brown sugga, maybe the little brother? Has a nice balance of hops and malts, and some sweetness thrown in to make it real pleasurable to drink. Another winner for sure.

wvsabbath, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.1/5  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.

UCLABrewN84, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of OleJohnnieAle
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A brown amber with a hint of red. Minmal head and Lace sheets fall quickly into the beer.

S: Grape fruit, floral hops... is this an IPA??? Slight note of caramel roasted malts.

T: Toasted malt and grain up front, followed by a huge mouthful of grapefruit and floral hops! Seems almost IPAish. Great piney hops!

M: No alchhol taste at all. Nice medium body that is super easy smooth!

O: WOW!!! almost passed this up until my liquor store recommended this as he though it was what I would like.... AWESOME!!! Nice blend and balance but love the HOPS!!!!

OleJohnnieAle, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a reddish amber color from a 12 oz bottle, with ABV and IBUs on the label (2012 limited release).
Thin film for a head that dissipates fairly quickly.
Aroma is extremely hop-assertive with lots of pine notes. As it warms up there is a slight caramel malt aroma coming through the pine.
Taste upfront is straight up hoppy, with a nice caramel backbone from the middle to finish. There is just the right amount of bitterness in the finish along with a nice subtle sweet aftertaste. Extremely well-balanced and tasty ale. The alcohol is very well masked, doesn't drink like a 7.8% ale at all. Feels more like a 6% ale. Nice lacing along the insides of the glass.
Overall, this is a really, really good ale from Lagunitas. Definitely worth a try and is highly recommended.

CaptDavyJones, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

undated 12 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear reddish amber with visible carbonation and a frothy off-white head. The head reduces rather soon to a partial cover, but leaves lacing on the glass.

As a prelude to evaluation, I gave the lid a sniff, finding an amazingly strong hop aroma; after a rinse, the aroma was subdued a bit, but still remarkable strong! Clearly, this is a very aromatic brew, as a whiff of the poured beer immediately confirmed. The smell is primarily of piney hops, but caramel, lightly baked bread, citrus and white pepper are also present.

Taste: Citrus-tinged piney hops with a generous malt base. The aggressive hop profile is tempered by the malts' sweetness, making this a strongly flavored and hoppy brew that is neither harsh nor overly bitter. Notes of tropical fruit and a profile that changes from start to finish give it some nice interest and complexity. The higher ABV affects the feel, but in no way impairs the flavor or aroma where the ABV seems lower and definitely not boozy. Long lasting finish and aftertaste with some malt, plenty of hops and a well-controlled level of bitterness.

M:Smooth. Medium-full body. Semi-dry finish. Some light alcohol burn.

O: This is an exceptional ale. It's nicely complex, aromatic and full flavored. The components have exemplary balance. With these traits and a delicious taste, it is a very drinkable brew that's easy to recommend. With the heavy hop load, it also can be readily recommended (if fresh) as an IPA variant for hop heads.

chinchill, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of Slikpitt
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Slikpitt, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of mikechance
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mikechance, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of Cinderbike
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Cinderbike, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of gregy55902
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured bottle to snifter a nice ruby-red color with a 1-finger tan head. The head quickly recedes into nothing except for a tiny ring around the glass.

S - Earthy hops, floral/citrus hops, slight bready malt, pale malt

T - Follows the nose. Not too complex, but nice IPA characteristics. Slight caramel after taste, but too slight.

M - On the low end of carbonation, but it hides the alcohol well.

O - I would hardly call this a 'strong ale' - instead I would go for imperial pale ale or something. No traditional strong ale characteristics, but quite good for what it is. I much prefer the Lagunitas offerings 'hairy eyeball' and 'undercover investigation' for the true strong ale types of beers.

gregy55902, Feb 21, 2012
Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 2,021 ratings.