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

773 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 773
Hads: 2,257
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 8.27%
Wants: 230
Gots: 309 | 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: 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
Reviews: 773 | Hads: 2,257
Photo of Beerzebub
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brilliant clear rosewood color, with thick beige head in dunes. Smells like lots of fresh hops, with citrus and berry notes.

Plenty of hop bitterness, orange rind and grapefruit, but also some pine. Hoppiness is nice and fresh, not just bitter. Loads of malt, somewhat sweet. Sticky mouthfeel reminds me of Lagunitas IPA. Thick, sticky lace paints the side of the glass, with hardly a hole to see through it. This is a serious beer. (435 characters)

Photo of TrickKnee
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The more I drink reds the more I enjoy them and the Lagunitas is right there at the top when it comes to reds that I have had. Normal carbonation but very little head. Tons of different citrus flavors flow through it, such as orange and pineapple. A definite must for any red ale fan or actually any beer fan!! (310 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A ruddy tawney colored brew, perhaps unfiltered but hard to tell by the glass. Killer oatmeal colored head...loads of small and medium bubbles creating a gnarly web of sticky swiss cheese. This head is going the distance.

S: Minor sweet red fruits; strawberries, plums and melon. Lightly malty.

T: A very sweet red ale full of Hawaiian punchy malt, sugars and fruits. Tangy with hanging caramel, red berry roundness and some over ripe mango. Finishes with a sneaky bitterness which creeps up with out a lot of warning and spreads gently out across the palate.

M: Medium bodied with a standard carbonation.

D: This is my favorite Lagunitas to date. This is a darn good red ale. (691 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another good offering from Lagunitas. Deep dark red color, with a very slight head. Smell is a bit faint, but has a sweet malty and subtle hop aroma. The taste is dominated by the sweet malts, but it certainly has a hoppy enough finish to balance it out well. It says it's an imperial red, but to me it almost tastes like a barleywine that is toned down just a bit. (365 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear ruby bronze with a tightknit eggy froth.
Scented strongly of pine needles, ruby grapefruit, and sweet breads.
Begins with a caramel-toffee sweetness, that unfolds into a fuller breadiness. Backended with a load of hop flavor --orange zest, pineapple, rust, and spruce--bitterness, though, is relatively minor, considering.
Its taut, medium body makes this drinks dangerously smaller than it is.
Solid, throroughly. (426 characters)

Photo of MLegendre
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber in color, thin white head, quite a bit of carbonation.

S: A very strong burst of piney hops hits my nostrils immidiatly and not much else. Smells like this will be similar to an IPA

T: There is a strong hop presence, but not too overpowering like an IPA. The maltiness is very present, but kind of in the background. It has the bitterness of an IPA, but none of the piney or citrusy flavors I usually associate with an IPA. The ABV is kind of high, but I couldn't taste the alcohol at all. Very well hidden.

M: A bit thick and a good amount of carbonation.

D: It does go down very easily and for something that has a slightly high ABV, it's very easy to drink and easy to lose track of how many you've had. A good solid beer, but probably not something I'd go out of my way to get. (805 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright copper with a slim tanned top of firm foam. Nice thinnly placed sheeting lace sticks across the glass with the stick of velcro.

Mellowing nose of roasted orangified hops and bready malt. Kinda toasted with a burnt sugary wrapping of orange jelly filled doughnut. Rounded citric hops are the main aura overall.

Nice warming taste fills in nicely over the palate with citrusy orangey stuff, semi dulled, more popping in the trailing ends. Kinda of a grainy, crystal and slight caramel malt fills the background with a fluffy/gritty sweetness with a lasting, unsticky pineyness and a perfect addition of grapefruit pith bitterness in the finish. Balanced well in body and form from front to back with a coarsing length of malts played with a nicely piney bittered grapefruit hoppiness that gradually gets better and bigger with a slight pine oily texture tossed with a small leafyness.

Feel is pretty firm, semi-beefy, and warm within a smooth medium body, a solid texture, and a slippery crispness surrounded by a well balanced grapefruity citric hoppy bitterness. Finishes well with a lengthy boldness of semi toasted sweet malt offset by a lengthy, hoppy, slender pined, smooth grapefruity finish.

A nice Red with a bolder rendition of flavor and length then the normal Red's one would find. So the Imperial label is suiting to a certain degree. I liked the play in textures between the malts and the hops. A fun beer to drink and good to boot. (1,466 characters)

Photo of poluti
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle
It pours a red tint with a nice little tuft of tan head. I noted that it was very carbonated
Aroma of pine and citrus notes balanced with a sweet malt profile made this beer seem very promising.
I noted that this beer does deliver the piney goodness of the hops and that it was indeed very rich with dark malts. I found that the hops shine through a little more than the malts and I did pick up some citrus in the taste as well, but I had to strain through the bitterness on the back of the palate.
It flows over the mouth and tongue very well with just the right amount of carbonation. The after effects on the tongue downgraded it slightly.
This is a very drinkable beer. I'm picking some more up from Bevmo on my next run, assuming they're not all out. (772 characters)

Photo of trep
3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pristine looking bloodsoaked brown with a thin creamy khaki head. Random carbonation. Not bad lad.

Pennies, faint hops, sweet sugary carmelized malt and a lil kick of alcohol.

Initially very bitter, soon fades however to let the hops, and caramel malts come through. Quite pleasant once the bitterness fades. Very smooth after the initial intensity of bitter.

Nice creamy mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Bitterness is kind of tough to keep the drinkability high. (477 characters)

Photo of loren01
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from 22oz bomber an amber color with 2 finger width head. Lots and lots of lacing down the glass.
S: Smell is sweet/malty at first
T: Lots of piney flavor. Bitter aftertaste, however not overwhealmingly so.
M: Medium bodied, slighly dry
D: Pretty good red. Slighly on the heavy side, does not go down as easily as some. Nevertheless good tasting beer. (365 characters)

Photo of bennetj17
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear deep amber color, light tan foam reaches a full inch and holds nicely. Good streaming carbonation throughout. Smell is mild with a caramel malt and sweet grassy hop mix. Flavor begins without much complexity, the bitterness hits first and finally I can detect some nutty malt. It just really misses the front of the tongue. Lots of hop presence but its a bit dank, and leaves a slight sourness afterward. The alcohol is fairly noticible. Mouthfeel has a good creaminess and sharp carbonaion, not bad. The main problem with this beer is the flavor, and unfortunately that's the most important part. Worth trying but I wasn't into it. (638 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish with a slight haze, it poured with a thin, light tan head that reduced to a ring. Some lacing. Clean pine and grapefruit aroma with a bit of caramel thrown in. Lots of piney hops in the flavour, with a bit of citrus and caramel. Medium body and carbonation, slightly dry. This is a tasty beer - solid malt and tons of hops. Thanks biegaman! (348 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep amber hue with a light tan cream head leaves even lacing. Aroma has a deep piney floral character with semi sweet caramel tone evident alcohol presence. Taste: Biscuit dough and caramel toned complex a bit of a peppery herbal, piney, floral hop bite pretty quality mix of flavors. Mouthfeel has a medium body slightly resinous evenly carbonated. Drinkability is nice but let's be serious an Imperial Red can we say IPA. (434 characters)

Photo of Imstillthegman
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Zorro for this bomber.

Pours a ruby/amber color with about an inch of off-white head that remains as a thin blanket the entire glass. Leaves nice rings of lacing down the glass. The smell is of sweet malts with a bit of citrus as well...very inviting. Flavor comes first from the malts...sweet and a little bready, then the hops pop up with a citrusy, bitter kick at the finish. Nicely balanced between the two. Mouthfeel is just shy of being thick and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Now, if they could only start showing up in stores around here.... (582 characters)

Photo of tastybeer
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red + warm brown color, with just the right sized two finger white head. Nose is deliciousy hoppy. Dominant hop aromas are of dank resinous forest, citrus, and floral. Sweet grainy malt provides a nice backdrop for the juicy fresh hops. Pretty basic flavors but in large quanitities, and very tasty. Appropriate medium body and slick, hop resiny texture. The nice, not overwhelming, hop bitterness through the finish leaves a good juicy-dry feeling in the mouth.

Very fresh and mouthwatering. Mmmmm resinous pine. (515 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear red to amber color with an off-white head that spends most of its time as a creamy sheet. Real nice resinous hop oil aroma finishes with sugary sweet grapefruits and a bit of caramel - tame yet tantalizing. Pungent citrus hops supported by a strong sweet malt and grain presence - well balanced. A mix of grassy and sprucy hops with some barley finish it off. Smooth, medium body ends up a little creamy.

The balance and tasty, sticky hop flavors make this very enjoyable. Resinous and sweet at the same time...mmmm. I love a balanced brew. (549 characters)

Photo of DrunkPagan
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reds are my favorite, so I was eager to try this Imperial Red. Great color came out of the bottle, a perfect deep bronze red color. You can smell the hops easily, and taste them a LOT more easily. This puppy is bursting with hops, at least two different kinds that I can't ID yet, and in great quantity. The first taste almost bowled me over. (I gave a sip to my Dad, and he nearly fell out of his chair.)

Once you get used to the hops, this is a great beer with good drinkability and excellent flavor. While I'm not as much of a hop head as some, I was still able to get into this one... eventually. With any luck, I might be able to ID the hops. (650 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A gorgeous reddish amber with a two finger head under aggressive pouring that melts to a sticky fine lace in time.
Aroma is of sweet, sweet red malts with a slight citrus hop finish.
Taste initially rich and thick sweet red malt then melts to a balancing citrus (lemon and grapefruit)
Finishes with a lingering sweetness and bitter hops.
Mouthfeel is slightly cloying from the sweetness, but nicely bitter and drying afterwards from the hops.
A decent imperial red, but I still prefer offerings from Bear Republic and others. (531 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impressive, hazy orange color with a decent, thin head on top. Citrusy aroma-reminds me of the smell of an orange lollypop. Quite the mix of flavors. Grapefruit, orange baby aspirin (but in a good way), fresh cut grass, and spices-black pepper? The funny thing is they all work together. Leaves a sweet sticky flavor on my lips though the beer itself finishes dry. Good body. Overall a very interesting and unique beer. The flavors might make for too much after a bottle or 2 so I sort of knock it down a notch in drinkability. Well worth a try however. (553 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Auburn hazy copper with a thin off white head.

S - All hops, citrus and grapefruit. Smells like a double IPA. Slightly sweet malt backbone once you search past the hops. Wonderful.

T - Sweet malt, citrus and grapefruit hops. Same as the aroma but the malt is a little more prevalent.

M - Medium body, slightly sticky.

D - Easily drinkable and very smooth. Nice and hoppy. (388 characters)

Photo of Cwrw
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml Imperial Red, with more ridiculous but lovely nonsense on the label from Lagunitas. Nice to see this, a SEASONAL from a US micro(doesn't happen too often up here), at the Kensginton Wine Market. Popping the cap gives a wafting aroma of rubber and brown sugar. The beer's colour is in between ruby and light orangish-red. Actually the hue itself is somewhat hard to describe...but I like it. Possibly a very dark rusty water or cola with red food colouring. The head is long-lived and compact with seamless little bubbles, cream-coloured. Walls of whiter lacing that cling well. Exquisite appearance, though interestingly a little "browner" than other reds I have sampled. Aroma--now this is what I was looking for this week. After the Maximus last night and Rogue's DIPA, this beer's maltier but still hop-filled smell is a welcome guest to the nose. What I like about the aroma is how it makes you continually sniff in order to find if the hops or the malts are dominant...what's the word?...oh yeah: balance. Wonderful complementing of the thick barley notes with spicy wild citrus hops. The malting makes the first impression, burnt and almost barley-wine sweet. Phenolic, solvent-like, piquant, with notes of licorice and horehound, almost medicinal. The sugar is all here too, like bubble gum and caramel, toffee, and vanilla wafer. I also get some faint strawberry, and a little lemon. Now thrust your nose deeper into the glass and get your dose of some earthy tree-bark hoppiness, perhaps a little hard to find at first, but once they come out it really shows off how well-hopped the beer really is. Just enough. The beer's nose is fantastic. The taste does not disappoint, starting with fairly basic but tasty roasted gristiness. The beer is a little weak on the front of the tongue actually, but the middle and finish make up for it with a wonderful rush of soft but bitter hopping and leaving the mouth with lip-smacking sweetness with the floral hopping adding some sweet perfume flavours. Again, balance is the name of the game. Cinnamon and chicory, lactosy malts that bring tastes of buttered toast and peanuts. Red licorice and light brown sugar, with some mollasses. Sweet, but with enough hopping to satisfy the h-heads. Complex enough, but beyond the complexity is just the solidity of the malts working with hops and vice versa. A medium carbonation, moderate bitterness, and very little alcoholic burn make this an extremely drinkable strong red ale. Through balance, Lagunitas just made this beer WORK, by coincidence or design matters not...this is a flavourful slaker of my thirst. I will be buying more. (2,634 characters)

Photo of scooter231
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Boy is this guy easy to drink. Pours a pretty red color, very clear, with tons of puffy head, just tons of it. Smell is hoppy and piney, some good maltyness too. Taste reminds me of an IPA, hoppy, grassy, earthy, a bit of a twang to it. Mouthfeel is sudsy and light. Very easy to drink these, a few of these, at a time. (319 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
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 smcolw
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy reddish brown color. Nice two-finger beige head. Good tight lace.

Attractive malty aroma. Slight hop for balance. Creamy.

Strong hop presence. Strong alcohol notes. Very full bodied with proper carbonation. Similar to an excellent IPA. Delicious.

This is a great beer, well worth seeking out. (317 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one just came in off the boat at the Kensington Wine Market, which I grabbed while picking up their new Rogue selections as well. I'll be jiggered, I've never fathomed an Imperial Red. And the small blurb on the side of the label this time around is absolutely priceless! "We often describe our ales as having the luxuriant aromas of broccoli, kerosene, and burning tractor tires while bragging about their stagnant pond-water flavours." A nice poke at the market, and us beer geeks who dissect and write down every nuaunce of what we sample and review, be they real or psychosomatically induced. Cheers to Lagunitas on that point alone.

But there's an Imperial red ale sitting in front of me here to review. Pours out of it's 22 oz brown bottle a brilliant clear dark burnished coppery hue, indeed bright red when held up to sunlight. Big creamy cinnamon head with good retention that settles to a cap and leaves a hell of a thick layer of lacing on the glass.

Sweet grapefruit and pine from the hops smacks me first upon inhalation. I dive down deeper and come up with a bottom-dwelling chewy malt presence as well. No kerosene though, or broccoli....

Massive flavour, perhaps "Imperial" IS the correct term for this stuff, as it lays seige to and quickly colonizes the palate, and isn't budging. Already the tongue is trying to plan out a peaceful coup while trying not to rock the boat in the mean time. Right from the beginning it's a huge whallop of chewy caramel malt and big Cascade hops, side by side in step for a casual friendly race to the finish. The hops do eventually win, as can be determined in their lingering on in the aftertaste doing a victory lap. Very balanced for such a big beer, the flavour is intense, but in tune as well.

Stellar mouthfeel for a red as well, full and creamy and smooth texture, like the robes of monarchy, and incredibly easily quaffable for such a big beer.

Fantastic stuff, I am thoroughly impressed. Most reds are either too cloyingly malty or too hopped up or simply too bland and watery, but this bad boy is beautifully balanced along with it's high octane hepped up flavour profile. I'll be stocking up on more of this, a very welcome limited release from Lagunitas. (2,238 characters)

Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 773 ratings.