Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

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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 JayQue
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of bigelo1016
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- poured deep reddish copper with half inch light tan head

S- The hops are right up front, smells delightful

T- Big dose of sweet toasty maltiness followed by an excellant floral hoppiness, finishes dry but refreshing.

M- Medium bodied and really smooth, carbonation feels right on.

D- Drinks almost too easy, I really enjoy this beer

Photo of
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle

Crystal clear, deep copper color. Great looking beer! Topped with a small to medium, light tan head.

Rich and malty is my first impression of the aroma. Hops come across as herbal. A bit milder scent than I expected.

Taste is an excellent balance of big hops and a strong malt backbone. Tastes of caramel, herbal and piney hops. Grass at the finish and lingering into the aftertaste.

Medium + in body, rich and almost creamy. Medium + in carbonation as well, could turn downa notch. A bit dry, especially at the finish.

Very drinkable, gives Nugget Nectar a run for it's money. Shame there isn't any fresh around to compare it to. This is a very well done imperial!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a warm brownish-red body that is crystal clear but a bit dense. The strong carbonation of tiny bubbles supports a creamy light tan head that last as a thick film for the full beer.

S- This beer has big green pine bitter hops with a slight pungent quality and cat pee note.

T- The soft rich toasted malt is soon covered by a big earthy green hops. After the big flavor of hops there is a smooth bitterness combined with pale and light toasted malt flavors in the finish. As the beer warms the sweetness of the toasted malt picks up and really enhances the hops flavor.

M- This beer has a medium full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer has great big hop flavor but not much bitterness and a strong sweet malt flavor. This is a hop monster that is also a nice session beer because of the complexity of the hops and smoothness of the bitterness.

Photo of jaxon53
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served chilled in a pint glass from a stubby twelve ounce brown bottle. Poured a beautiful , dark copper red color that had awesome clarity. About a finger and a half of thick, dense, bubbly white head formed from a somewhat vigorous pour. Head faded a bit on the quick side, but left decent lace behind. Smell was of fresh floral hops, a nice citrus and pine burst, a nice maltiness, and a hint of caramel. Taste was as good, maybe a bit better than the nose. Tons of hops, citrus fruits, touches of pine in the background. A sweet malty backbone balances this brew out pretty nicely. Had a nice pleasant, full bodied mouthfeel. Perfectly carbonated. Awesome drinkability. This one is definitely a keeper.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a 6-pack for $8.99 at Whole Foods in Columbus OH. I didn't see any freshness date, but I assume it's from the August release of this year (I'm kind of familiar with the regular stock on the shelves here).

Poured into a Ruination tumbler, the beer was reddish copper color with thick foam and short-lived lacing. The aroma was a nice mix, strong evergreen hits of hops over a cake of malty wort. There was a lot of all ingredients in this, thus the "Imperial" name I guess. The flavor was the same, hops and a strong malt base giving a good healthy balance to this red ale. Very drinkable and completely recommended.

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice dark red color with head retention that won't quit.

Smell is of nice caramel malting with a earthy hop aroma.

Malts are thick on the palate. There is a very nice hop bitterness too follow. Strong malts and strong hops, but not too overdone like other beers where it gets to be too much. This beer sticks to the mouth very well and would make a pretty decent session beer. Give it a try.

Photo of funkengruven
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nice red with a slightly off-white head, leaving plenty of lacing. Smell is of sweet malts and lots of hops. Hops dominate the flavor, but leave a uniquely sweet after-aroma in the finish. The key with this brew is the balance between the malts and the hops. It's very bitter but the balance keeps it from being overbearing. Makes this one actually pretty easy to drink.

My second from this brewer. It won't be my last.

Photo of cjgator3
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark reddish copper color with a stick off-white head. The aroma is sweet malt with an array of oily hops. The taste explodes with the hops as they provide a nice bite and is complemented nicely by a nice malt backbone. Wow, this is a very tasty brew that is highly recommended. Hop heads rejoice, highly recommended.

Photo of Floydster
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles

Pours a deep reddish brown color with a thick white head

Smelled like a strong, strong ale

Tasted very smoky and hints of an IPA, comparable to Port Brewing's Sharkbite Red

Limited release and now I wish I would have bought more because who knows if I will see this again before next year

Very very good beer and highly drinkable for its alcohol content

Another great beer from Lagunitas, check out Kill Ugly Radio as well with the bottle art of Frank Zappa on it

Photo of Jmamay22
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber red with a large one finger rocky khaki colored head that leaves some good lacing along the sides of my pint glass.

Lots of resinous hops and very reminiscent of their cream ale. Piney floral hops dominate.

Hops, hops and more hops. Very piney taste, but there is some malt there. Quickly the hops take over and finish with a sharp bittering taste. I'm finding that the few beers I've had from Lagunitas taste very similar, which I always thought to be a disappointing aspect of any brewer.

Very drinkable even with the 7.6%abv. Malts provide a creamy aspect to the mouthfeel. No alcohol to be seen in the nose or taste. This is a very IPAish Strong Ale. Recommended for hop fans.

Photo of RoBotGod
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good rich beer. I’m glad to see that they released it in a 6pak instead of just the bomber. It has a big hop smell to it and pours a dark copper tone to it. The alcohol is noticeable at 7.6 but is just about right for easy drinking. There is a big hop taste. I would almost call it a red IPA.

Photo of WonderfulSam
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy freakin’ crap, this is a good beer!!! I’ll go through all the formal aspects, but first I have to say, this is simply a high quality, good-value, great-tasting, great-drinking beer. Even my wife, who does not go for strong or hoppy ales, took a few sips and found it very nice (almost enjoyable!).

Imperial Red pours a nice deep ruby-copper-brown color that looks very clear. The head came up around one finger, nice and creamy looking and it lingered for quite a while. As I drank the beer, the head left a nice thick, foamy lacing on the pint glass into which I had poured it.

The smell is largely that of crisp, piney hops with some slightly fruity undertones. It’s such a bright, welcoming aroma! It really readies the palate for the wonderful flavors. The taste is a near perfect balance of bitter piney hops with some citrus notes, with a rich but subtle malty flavoring. The flavors evolve across the tongue as the beer flows down, and finishes with a refreshing dry sensation in the back of the throat.

The mouthfeel is tremendous, with a relatively high level of carbonation, which is a great compliment to the strong hop character. It results in a very bright, crisp feel. Drinkability? Superb. It goes down very smoothly, but with a pleasant dry bite to finish it off. This is a beer you experience.

Photo of psinderson
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Murky deep brown/red color. Thick off-white head, minot lacing.

Smell: Fruity - I detect orange and apple. Some caramel malt aromas in the background.

Taste: Nice roasty sweetness. Plum-like flavor with a lingering hoppy finish. Quite a complex brew.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a lot of carbonation.

Drinkability: The lasting bitter finish kind of builds up and hinders drinkability somewhat.

Photo of rallison
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every time I have this beer I am surprised at the hoppiness this red delivers.

A: Nice dark red/amber color with a 1 finger off-white head that leaves a fair share of lacing.

S: Nice piny hops with a touch of sweet, caramel malt.

T: Excellent piny hops present themselves at the forefront. This is followed by a semi-sweet caramel malt that has a touch of woodiness to complement the hops. A bit of citrus character seems to be hiding back there too - along with a nice hit of hop juice. Very piny and earthy overall. The flavors all work together nicely, and make for what is truly not a standard red. Resiny. Nice.

M: Very good mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation level for this style with a good richness.

D: Extremely high - this beer is so tasty and so drinkable.

Highly recommended. Love to see these interesting reds - the Lucky 13 is great also.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had this style only once before so when i saw "imperial red" i had to get some. pours a deep, dark ruby red with an off-white head. big american hops in the nose, piney and citrusy, along with caramel, toffee, and dark, ripe fruit aromas. peaches? taste is started off by just a little malt sweetness but the big malts still make their presence felt. dryer profile than i expected but it still works. bitterness kicks in quickly. shitloads of hops for a "red" style beer. looong finish. mouthfeel is medium/big. drinkability suffers from the abv. will definitely revisit this one.

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, deep, glowing amber body. Thick and rocky stained white head. Lace is quite bountiful. Beautifully balanced nose of rich, thick caramel malts and resiny hop oils and tropical fruit sensations. The flavor of this beer is delicious as well. Across the board, this beer is in the "Very Good to Great" category. The caramel and toffee malt base is very sturdy and rich and thick. The hops add some tropical fruit qualities....especially sweet, ripe pineapple. The bitterness is held in check and the alcohol is barely perceptible. This beer is full bodied and full flavored and a bargain at $1.49 for a single.

Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The ale is a brown-red color, maybe giving off some orange as well. The head was near 1 finger on pour but did not last very long.

S: The nose is malty, very grainy and thick, with a strengthened hop profile that is very citrusy with a hint of pine.

T: The malts are very strong here, thick and concentrated with a semi-sweet fruity nature. The fruitiness includes some raisins and figs, dry yet tangy. As the fruits fade away, some citrusy hops emerge to add a distinct bitterness to the malt depth. The finish, especially as the ale warms, is a citrusy sweetness that has a warm alcohol undertone.

M: The mouthfeel varies from figgy grape graininess to citrusy bitterness, keeping the tastebuds on their toes.

D: The abv is creeping upward but the big malts are nicely done.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer about 2 weeks ago and wrote notes for this review...

Poured into a pint glass, amber color, small white head, little to no lacing.

Has a nice malty smell, toasty aroma, don't really smell the alcohol.

Yum, this is really good beer, very balance, good malty taste hop bite on the finish, very slight warming as the abv sinks in.

Good tasting beer = Good drinking beer...


Photo of scottoale
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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!

Photo of BeerTruth
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Imperial Red pours a rusty clear amber color with a thin head. Lace is consistant throughout. Smell is a good mix between mild citrus/piney scents with a soft carmel undertone. Hopiness is clear but not overwhelming. Taste overall I feel is well balanced. The hops slightly overpower the malt. At first the hops fill your palate, but the finish is more of a caramel malt. Taste seems to be quite fresh and crisp for a 7.6 abv. Very smooth for an "Imperial". I was quite suprised by this ale. A lot more drinkable than I had assumed. Surely give this one a try if you enjoy your Arrogant Bastard type brews.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into my Samuel Adams shaker "pint" glass. Appears the color of cloudy iced tea with two fingers of cream colored foam. There is a moderate amount of lacing coating the glass. Smells of rich caramel malt, piney hops and raisins. Tastes of the same bitter, piney hops evident in the nose, as well as lemon, and sweet caramel. Finish is dry and bitter. Moderate in both body and carbonation. A nicely balanced ale. One I would seek out again on it's next release.

Photo of Jwaks
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving 22oz bottle

A deep, ruddy orange body, nearly the color of bright rust, rests below a pillowy dark beige head. Countable fine bubbles slowly trek the the surface, many to become thick and plentiful rings of lace that coat the glass after each sip. An ever present dense cap of froth refuses to budge from its perch atop this brew showing great head retention.

The nose, rife with piney hop and caramel malt aromas, reveals stunning complexity with hints of brown sugar, resins, lemon zest and a dash of alcohol.

Sweet brown sugar and caramel malt lead the charge, eventually giving way to a mad dash of piney hops and citrus zest on a full mid palate. Wood resins, gentle hop bitters and a dab of alcohol wrap up a delicious finish that leaves leafy hops flavors and loads of lemony citrus zest gripping the palate to create a bitter, demi-sec aftertaste lasting nearly a minute.

Full on the palate, this brew has an awesome finish and even better aftertaste. It's tough going down when cold yet improves with time and warmth to offer a good slick mouthfeel. Proper carbonation would give this beer a truly great mouthfeel.

Easy to drink for the style and not your normal quaffing ale. Yet another solid offering from Lagunitas.


Photo of rickcampie
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

well if its lagunitas if probally going to be good. this offering pour with a clear amber color hints of red when held to light. tops off with an inch or creamy had, thats settles down quit nice. as you drink youll notice a good stretch of lacing down the glass.

initial taste is light piney hops,not to overpowering mabey a little hint of malts,overall very light aroma.

taste provides a nice balance of hops, malts,and a little citrus, alcohol is masked very well, makes this very drinkable.

Photo of Gavage
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours an reddish amber color with a nice 1/2" head that lingers a while. Some spots of lace develop.

Smell: caramel, over ripe fruits, and hints of alcohol are bold and up front.

Taste: this is a very malty beer. Loads of caramel and ripe fruit sweetness is balanced with a hefty pine bitterness an some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. The aftertaste seems to glue the flavors to yuor tongue for a while. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: alcohol kind of catches up to you in this beer. A hearty and full flavored beer is not a session beer at all, but enjoyable on a cold evening.

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