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 nase
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no date?

Pretty good introduction to the american strong ale. Red w/ light brown/amber tones. Lacing preserved. Taste has that dominant sweetness to it typical of ASA's. Good mouthfeel typical of the style and quite drinkable for 7.6% ABV.

App - 3.5, Smell - 3.5, Taste - 3.5, Mouth - 4.0, Drink - 4.0

Photo of EPseja
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber. Served at just below cellar temperature in a pint glass.

A - Pours with great thickness. Hazy burnt apricot amber in color with a glow-stick-liquid orange vibrance when struck by light. Thick, creamy and very substantal head. Big bubbles beneath, micro bubbles on top. Great staying power -- the surface of the beer is never fully revealed! Lacing is sticky and erratic, but well developed. G

S - Fresh, sweet hoppiness atop a big basement of malty goodness. Again with the grilled, carmelized apricots. Fruitcake, even. Tantalizing.

T - The sweetness is rather tame, and the malts become very toasty on the tip of the tongue. As it pushes toward the throat, the hoppinesss brings a very nice counterbalance as well as a crisp, natural bitterness that hits just enough to push it into the medium-dry territory without sacrificing the sweetness. Fantastic!

M - Big and thick going in, with a microbubbled carbonation that turns it into a velvety smooth cream and delivers only the slightest tingle on the tongue. Round and throat coating. Excellent for this style!

D - This is a wonderfully balanced, supremely drinkable beer that's got all it's parts in place. A pleasure to drink.

Photo of jwc215
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish amber with a frothy off-white head that descends to a thin cover, leaving lacing on the glass.

The smell is of caramel, citrus and pine. Dough and some peppery alcohol also present. Very aromatic.

The taste is of citrus and pine with sweet caramel. Assertive hop profile with a sweet characteristic. An underlying fruitiness adds to the complexity. Restrained alcohol gives it some spiciness, but not in a boozy way. Finishes dry and sweet, with just a nod of an alcohol fruitiness.

It's creamy and full. Fairly dry with a lingering sweetness. Flavor hangs on. Nice texture.

This is one hell of an ale. A bit "over-the-top", being an "imperial red" - very complex with full aromas and a delicious taste. It's an American Strong Ale with characteristics of a red ale...a wonderful brew that's a good "sipping" beer that is very easy to drink for the abv. Well-done!

Photo of EStreet20
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stubby 12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

A - Pours out a deep reddish/brown translucent amber with a nice finger of thick off white foam. Nice staying power on the head and rings of lacing forming on the glass.

S - Citrusy hops present along with a faint sugary sweetness. Aroma overall is fairly subdued but nice smelling.

T - Sugary sweet malts balance well with some nice hop bitterness creating a tea like flavor that is very pleasing. The aftertaste is a bit sugary with some alcohol kick.

M - Medium body.

D - That sweetness on the aftertaste gets a little annoying. Still, this is an interesting take on an American Strong Ale.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish copper body, excellent clarity, no carbonation streams, topped by a level three finger slab of off-white micro bubbles. Very stretchy lacing.

Bready, yeast aroma. Bit of sweetness around the edge.

Taste kicks off with a huge hit of caramel, sweet, but with depth, dark chocolate more than a pixie stick. The sweetness slowly erodes in the face of a rising tide of earthy herbal hops, with eventually rise to the top and deliver a nice bite before the swallow. Mild tingle in the aftertaste, along with mildly reassertive caramel.

Fairly thick mouthfeel ventures toward stout territory, but works well.

Maintains good drinkability throughout. A lot could have gone wrong, but doesn't.

Imperial red, like imperial pilsner, is a style open to a wide variety of interpretations still. This is a whole different animal from say Troegs Nugget Nectar, but definitely an enjoyable beer.

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beauty from Lagunitas. As the name implies, we have a very red brew here. Great head with legs, and stamina. The nose is delighted with rich caramel malt and honey. Taste follows suit, with a surprisingly tight finish, with more than a little blast of hops.

The mouthfeel is good, but a tad syrupy, and the drinkability suffers just a little bit. Nitpicking aside, an outstanding beer.

Photo of ReDave
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another fine Lagunitas product.

Pours a dark honeyed reddish amber. A thinnish head [cream colored] with very little lace.

Nose is limited .. some hops some malt.. not very prominent.

Taste, now we are talking. Nice strong bitter up front. some maltiness, great hoppy malt aftertaste.
Over all seems pretty balanced.... if you like hops!

Photo of Luchman
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Hazy, but clear, light amber color, with hues of orange and hues of yellow towards the bottom of the glass. A small, creamy, off white head comes off the pour.

S; Pretty subtle in the nose, but smells tasty. Sweet, almost candy like, caramel/toffee malts control the nose. Some slight citrus and pine hops can be found as well. Light breadiness, and even some light fruits.

T: Like Lagunitas's other beers, this is pretty sweet. Pure caramel/toffee malts dominate, like the smell, with some of the citrus and slight pine hops added to create a balance that works pretty solid; The malts are definably the heavy hand, but never is it one sided. Alcohol shows up juuuussst a tad when it warms, but hides well enough. Ends clean with a very slight hop bite.

M: Medium body with a nice carbonation to follow. Creamy and clean.

D: Another solid beer from Lagunitas. Sweet, but not overly sweet, with just enough hop balance to please anyone. Very drinkable and pretty yummy.

Photo of stephendr
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle- color of light mahogany , with a light off white head - nose of piney hopps , earthy , malty , tar / resin , and light citrus – taste of grapefruit , malts , tar , hopps and resin - body medium carbonation , and earthy– aftertaste of resin , hopps and light citrus

Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of Viggo
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/copper, thick white head forms, some lace and good retention, settles to a good layer. Smell is sweet, lots of toffee, metallic, some pine and floral, nice. Taste is malty, caramel crystal malt grainy flavour, pine and floral, sugary finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with low carbonation. Not bad, didn't do much for me.

Photo of Phatz
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 4.0 Pours an attractive amber copper color. Translucent. And it has a creamy beige head and loads of lacing lining the glass.

Smell: 4.5 Caramel and a sweet poignant grapefruit aroma, hints of earthy woodyness, and creamy sweet browned butter, a toasty brown sugar and a gently ‘delightfully’ phenolic butterscotch aroma induce the salivation. This beer is a sniffer.

Taste: 4.5 This beer does a beautiful dance upon the palate. The sweet sensations from the candied caramelized malt to the orange pine hop biter that prance on my taste buds with a hint of mint, lightly toasted malt and butterscotch candy flavors followed by some alcohol showing through just enough to warm the palate and ease the mind, oh yeah!!! Mmm! It finishes with a strong green pine hop bitter kick that lets you know it was there, but the aftertaste is so pleasant it is worth savoring even after the beer is gone. Spectacular!

Mouthfeel: 4.0 It is a velvety smooth medium – full body beer that is spicy astringent and enjoyable.

Drinkabilty: 4.0 I really enjoy this beer but ‘golly me’ I am done with one. I is big in IBU and sweetness and alcohol is up there too. This is an enjoyable beer in moderation. Not a sessioner by any means.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of beerphan
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> imperial pint
no date, but the bottle is coded

Pours clear orange amber with a nice 2inch tan head, that leaves rings of lace that sticks around and some oily froth. Carbonation appears slow but robust.

Nose: Some citrus hops, a big punch of malt, a little alcohol.

Taste: Lots of caramel malt lets the mouth water before the bitter hop bite sucks out the sweetness. Its a great combo. The hops linger on the palate and leaves the mouth looking for some water, or just another sips. Not a typical red bitterness. (84.20 IBU!!)

Mouth is full and creamy but is left dry and stinging.

I would love to session this on tap, although i doubt i'd be fortunate to find it. A drinkable red if you like them bitter, if not stay away.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas- Imperial Red Ale

Appearance- Hazy reddish copper with a small head.
Smell- Strong caramel malt, pine hops, and alcohol.
Taste- Big sweet caramel malt with a balanced infusion of pine hops.
Mouthfeel- Sweet up front, turning bitter and dry. Has some real bite to it.

Overall- This has a big strong bold flavor. A 6er of this and you would be feeling just right!

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, perhaps obtained in the "these go to eleven bif", enjoyed in my Lake Geneva resort hotel room

appearance: poured into a pint glass...muddy amber-mahogany body, frothy beige head with pretty strong lacing

smell: dripping green hops which is the norm for lagunitas, syrupy caramel malt body, light booze presence...prune, plum, raisin, dark red fruit

taste: high bitterness level, dripping green hops, strong pine bite, big caramel backbone, syrupy malt, a bit boozy...pretty tasty and a nice american strong ale at a low price

mouthfeel: high bitterness, strong hop bite

drinkability: fine

Photo of OStrungT
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a brownish orange color, with a tfluffy, very light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a nice lacing.

This beer has a sweet caramel malty aroma. It is slightly nutty. It has a subtle citrus hop aroma.

This beer tastes quite sweet. It has a nice caramel malt flavor. It is mildly hoppy. A slight nutty flavor is also present.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a mildly nutty aftertaste. The alcohol content is well hidden. It is carbonater to perfection.

This beer might make a good session beer. It tastes good, but it is mild enough to have a few. The only problem is the slightly high ABV.

Overall: This beer is good, just a little booring.

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

Pours a hazy amber copper color with a good sized creamy cream colored head that recedes very slowly and laces the glass nicely. There is some faint citrus aroma along with sweetness from the malts, white grapey and sprite-like sweetness. Taste is well balanced, although the hops again only present a mild citrus flavor and the mats are sugary sweet, there is a nice hop balance with some dryness and bitterness. Medium in body, sugary with a silky smooth creaminess. Nice example of a strong ale, incredibly easy to drink, not super hoppy like some, but just well balanced and tasty.

Photo of dbalsock
3.17/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Served ruby red with a slight off white head. Weak lacing and only slight head retention.

Smell: A good balance between deep caramel malts and aggresive hopping. The sweet aroma of the malts mixes well with the piney and heavily plant like hops.

Taste: The malts provided enough of a backbone to make it alright, but the hops took over for the taste of this beer. Very piney like the smell and overall too powerful. Impressively, however, the alcohol is not even a factor in the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer was way more bitter than it needed to be. If it gave in more to the sweet malt base, the mouthfeel would have had a thicker mouthfeel and creaminess that would counteract the intense bitter character.

Drinkability: The bitterness is too much, and the taste isn't enough to keep me interested in this beer. I've gone through one pint, and have no interest in trying more. I'm not so unimpressed to give it a label of being unimpressive.

Photo of cbl2
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10/31/2006 $4.99 22 oz. 7.60% No best by date.


Pours a murky brown with a quarter inch of tight white head that settles slowly leaving behind a nice lace.


Mildly hoppy with a slight iced tea sweetness to the aroma.


40.63 IBU's according to the label, but this has a larger profile than indicated. Assertive bitter hop character dominates the palate to begin which is supplanted by a malty sweetness by midsip. Iced tea flavor which was present in the nose is here as well with the delicate balance of bitter and sweet. An interesting beer, not sure I would categorize it as a Strong Ale, but it is good nonetheless.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  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.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass,a very haziey reddish brown color.An off-white very creamy head,a lively looking beer,many tiny bubbles tightly strung together racing to the top of the retentive head.
The aroma was carmelly,friuty,citrusy,nutty with a sweet smell like honey. A very pleasing complex aroma.
The taste was citrusy,piney,fruity,carmelly,honey,clean with a nice tartness,and bittersweet at the finish.Delicious!
Mouthfeel was medium,slight cloying,velvety.An airy feel to the palate,a light prickly feeling to the tongue,that makes the mouth water for more.
Great tasting,refreshing,juicy.I want more,more,more.Extremely drinkable even with the tounge feeling like it just trippled in size.

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

Pours a burnt sienna body with a moderate cream colored head that creates some attractive looking lacing from top to bottom.
The nose is of citric hops and it makes my mouth water.
It initially tastes like juicy mandarin oranges, and it bitters with time. I get more caramel as the beer warms, along with subtle alcohol tones. The finnish is almost cottony dry and I find sharing a six-pack over a single conversation to be trivial.

Photo of woodychandler
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sitting down at Bridgewaters Pub, awaiting my return train from PHL to LNC, I happened to notice this as being on tap. I had never had it before and I am not normally a fan of red ales, imperial or otherwise, but I decided to give it a shot.

It had a deep tan head that was explosive with CO2 bubbles. Its appearance would have enabled it to pass the Nebraska clarity test and it was a deep-copper color to boot. The nose had a solid malty sweetness to it, which left me wodering if I was going to like it. The mouthfeel was medium with an unexpected hop presence in the mouth. Wow! My continued drinking revealed the malt that I had noted on the nose, but exceptionally well-balanced with the hops. The finish was where the malt really asserted itself. It created some great lacing, also. This was the kind of red ale that I can really get behind. I really did not envision myself saying that as a self-avowed hophead.

Not only was this a solid winner, it also served to reinforce my opinion of Lagunitas. I really like everything that they are doing and hope to visit during WHF2, Summer Tour 2007.

Photo of AndoBrew
3.57/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

*dont think I liked it would not buy it*

app: its red, and has a cream head.

smell: 's lika dipa. nice malts nice hops. lets try to define. alive citrusy hops, nice and fresh smellin. and kinda nutty mostly sweet smellin almost fruity malts.

taste: huh. suprised. mostly hops in tha mouth. I mean the malts are there or this may melt your teeth, but the hops win the fight for sure.. start to finish.

2nd gulp not tons of carbonation.. more balance from the malts.. kinda a floral/citrus hop mix, more citrus though.

wow is this thing lacing.. its more like pasteing.

nice beer, good booze qualitys. this beer is mostly driven by the grapefruit type hop flavors. but even though they are the loudest note in the mix they are not painful. wish you could maybe taste a touch more malt. the cute notes on the lable seem to indicate though that this is a hop head beer. I agree.

mf: kinda lacking.. It seems dead in the mouth, like it.. passed on inside the bottle and you are drinking the yummy remains.

drinkable?: yeah it is.. it is hop hops away, but it is still drinkable for sure!

thoughts any one? this is a good beer. I am not a hop hop hop head, but I still like this beer, it is mostly hops, but it is not painful. kinda has a dry feel to it, like its lacking some vibrant charcter in the flavor... i dunno. I thought an "imp red" would maybe be more malt than say an "imp IPA" I think the same about big hoppy monster though.. I dont get the whole red thing from these 2 beers when this is more like the standard thing for a "dipa" now.. oh well They do look red.. maybe everyone else is wrong, just put more malt in next time and then I might buy the whole Imp red thing. are red/amber ales supposed to be hoppy?? has the term imperial become a substitute for LOTS OF HOPS!!! .. huh.. I am so confused.

good beer though, really.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle. From the get-go, this is not just an American Strong Ale, it should be an American IPA or Double IPA.

Appearance- Pretty clear amber with some slight coppery haze when held to the light. A little bubbling a a little sticky lacing.

Smell- A very caramely, toffee, flowery mix of malts and hops. Nice!!!

Taste- The caramel is very well defined at the start. Mixed with a shot of hop flowering and splashes of grapefruit zest. The finsh is a little more toffeeish, giving way to a more pronounced hop character.

Mouthfeel- The finish is very sweet for an IPA. Caramel like sweetness.

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