1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Red Skull - Revolution Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red SkullRed Skull

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

200 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 200
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 17
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Revolution Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: homebrew311 on 12-10-2011

Our Imperial Red Ale is brewed with whole Cascade hops and dry-hopped in both the fermenter and the serving tank with whole Crystal hops. A flavorful, hoppy delight balanced with caramel sweetness and alcohol warmth.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 200 | Reviews: 25
Photo of Barnoloid
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, warm hopped up strong Red Ale. Love the caramel color and nose here - this comes across on the palate too. Big mouthfeel and slightly sweet back end notes that balance out the aggressive hopping.

Photo of Houser
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this is an awesome amber. hoppy amber, sweet malts that play well with the hops. right up there but just a step behind nugget nectar.

Photo of biegaman
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red Skull is circled by a ligament of stained white lacing and glows with a bloody, iodine-like complexion. It's an appearance as spooky and Halloween-worthy as its label. And it's an outright handsome beer in its own right; highlights abound despite the deep tone (slivers of clarity too).

If others are anything like me, the first sniff will prompt an enthusiastic "hell ya!". There's toasty, caramel-kissed malts as well as piny, citric hops - what's not to love?! The only thing it could use - and this is true of the beer writ large - is more confidence; it's a tad modest for all it offers.

There's such an interplay between the hops and malts that Revolution could promote the brewery for corporate team-building excursions. And they could cash in on the health-food craze too - this has all the elements it needs, it tastes like a smoothie comprised of leafy greens, grapefruit, orange, lychee, green tea, pine serum and a spoonful of unpasteurized honey for flavour.

This duo is exactly the kind of teamwork I look for in an imperial red ale - the malts act as the 'dance-around-the-defenders' kind of running back, while whole flower Chinooks are more the 'bang-and-bruise' between-the-tackles power back. Touchdown either way. And what about that 8.3% alcohol? No, seriously, what about it? It's nowhere to be found.

Revolution has a growing reputation as one of the best breweries in the American Mid-West and Red Skull makes a compelling first impression. Exceptionally approachable and balanced for a beer with its strength and hop-drenched specs, this is clearly the offering of a producer with a good head on the their shoulder - and not just an empty (red) skull.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on draft in a snifter at Beelow's.

There's still a hint of "The Best of Me" rolling around my brain, so let's order up a third Step, eh? This stuff pours a clear garnet-ruby topped by a finger or so of khaki foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, light mint, mild pine sap, orange zest, light dried caramel, and a bit of French toast. The taste brings in more of the same, the bright fruits mixing with the sweet-ish caramel and maple and some extra greens to form a well-wrought tapestry of flavor. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a rather smooth feel. Overall, this is a very well-done red, something I look forward to having again.

Photo of kkleu357
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Medium dark brown reddish body. Fairly hop forward aroma with a slight bread smell. Sweet tasty bread flavor with a good hop punch. Very good.

Photo of emerge077
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Jenny for introducing me to this one!
Served in a footed tulip at the brewery.

Deep copper amber, saturated red color, sharp clarity. Striated rings of lacing in the glass, long lasting retention on the surface.

Tropical hop aroma, fruity tangerine and passion fruit linger in dried form. Caramel malt lingers underneath, though the sweetness is an undercurrent and never overpowers. Taste follows suit, burly caramel malt, well offset by fruity hop character, throwing off passion fruit and sweet citrus. Pretty nice. Very well balanced, full bodied and smooth.

Photo of barnzy78
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz, bottled 8/28/2014, 8.3% ABV
A 3.5 - ruddy brown colored ale with a thinner beige head that quickly fades to a foam
S 4.25 - big aroma with caramel, bread, pine, fruit, grapefruit
T 3.75 - bold flavors as well with sweet caramel, bread crust, tropical fruit, grapefruit, pine. Nice balance between both sweet and pungent.
M 3.5 - medium body, resinous, alcohol is quite hot and takes away from the experience
O 3.75 - I liked this, but wasn't crazy over it. Although I'm happy to have tried this one, I know of another Imperial red ale that I like more than this one - and it's half the price.

Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev -1.7%

2014-09-06: Sample poured at the Kedzie brewery.

Pours clear, dark, brown-red. Smell is mild, roasty, with plenty of caramel.

Taste is strong pine bitterness and strong caramel or toffee.

Mouthfeel is thick and stick. Overall, quite good.

Photo of ONUMello
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle dated 10/1/13 poured into a pint glass
A: Burnt orange color with a one-finger head
S: Grapefruit, pineapple, malt and toffee
T: Lots of toffee and caramel. Honestly some of the most I've ever tasted in a beer. This is followed by orange zest, roasted malt and tropical fruits.
M: Medium+ bodied
O: By the time I got to the end of the bottle I thought this ended up a touch sweet but overall this is a well made, tasty beer that fits the style but has its own personality and I wouldn't hesitate to drink it again

Photo of MarriedAtGI
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very malty red ale with plenty of hop flavor to balance. Smooth bitterness, not harsh at all. Color is a bit lighter than other imperial reds leaning more to a dark orange, and quite hazy. The aroma is modest especially compared to the rich complexity of flavors. Caramel, floral, a hint of citrus. I would buy this again.

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/1/2013. Pours slightly hazy reddish orange color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, slight pine, and floral earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balanced hop and malt notes; and great strength. Taste of grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, herbal, light pine, and floral earthiness. Light earthy floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, orange/lemon zest, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity of bright citrus hop and deep malt flavors; with a great hop/malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent imperial red ale! All around great complexity and balance of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of Florida9
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark reddish amber in color. Clear. Forms a moderat sized off-white colored head. Excellent retention and copious amounts of sticky lace.

S: A pleasant blend of piney hops, grapefruit, and caramel maltiness.

T: Taste is more of the same. Certainly more hop forward than most for the style (which isn't bad thing by any means). A good dose of caramel malts, a mild-to-moderate sweetness, then citrus rind, grapefruit, and a little bit of pine. Sweet, almost creamy-syrupy, on the finish.

M: On the heavier side of medium. Full bodied. Mild bitterness. Low-medium carbonation.

O: A very nice example of the style. Glad I picked this one up.

Photo of nesbitetennis
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Clear dark amber with a frothy pale golden head

S: Citrus hops are predominant, with a hint of the sweet malt ahead.

T: Opens with a sweet maltiness balanced by the hops. Finishes heavy and warm, like an Imperial should, with some residual bitterness and lingering sweetness.

M: Thick and heavy, with carbonation at the front end that dissipates quickly. The mouthfeel lasts quite a while, reminding me where it’s been and making my mouth clamor for more.

O: The flavors are simple but complement each other well. Red Skull forces me to savor the taste, but it’s not as aggressive as the name nor the label insinuate. A very pleasant beer when you have the time to let it sit.

Photo of DeFaz
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Was served with a pleasant looking fairly bright amber color with some lacing. Smell was nice, with some caramel from the malt and some pine from the hops and the alcohol well concealed. The taste was similar, with fruit, caramel, and pine, and the flavors were fairly bold and the alcohol was again hidden. The mouthfeel was the only thing off for me, as it was somewhat too thin and undercarbonated. Overall, this was a good, but not exceptional beer. Perhaps it was served too cold, but nothing stuck out here too much, although it was nicely balanced.

Photo of larryarms847
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark rust orange with a heavy red hue, little to no head to speak of.

Citrus, pine, earthy, just absolutely refreshing.

Citrus and tropical fruit is quickly balanced by a caramel malt backbone and the two flavors seem to do a tango on the tongue before making there way down your esophagus.

Mouthfeel is bright, crisp, and well balanced with hop vs caramelly malt.

Overall another red ale to prove I do like red ales.

Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
$8.99
Liquor World - Kankakee, IL

Bottled: 10/1/13
Drank: 11/1/13

I can smell dank hoppiness the second I pop the top. The pour produces a surprisingly clear garnet beer with tarnished penny highlights when backlit. A beige head grows to a finger in height before slowly receding to a solid, creamy cap. Thick, chunky lace remains after each drink. A fine looking beer!

Big fistfuls of pine and grapefruit kick things off. A substantial but clean malt bill holds down the fort with caramel and white toast in that order of intensity. Don't get me wrong, the malt profile is expressive but the hops run the show. Tropical notes and dank resin become more apparent with warming. This beer is smelling good.

The caramel is upfront in the flavor more so than in the nose along with the white toast. The malt profile is crisp and clean where many reds seem muddled to me. Orange and sweetened grapefruit pull through with a substantial hoppiness. A touch of pineapple in the middle before a big, bold pine and resinous bitter washes over the tastebuds on the swallow. Red Skull is pretty heavily hopped.

There's a little more stick than your average moderate body but a drying finish cleans things up. The bitterness becomes solid after a few drinks and lingers until the next. No signs of alcohol in the least.

I've always been a fan of caramel forward hoppy red ales but they're tough to find. Red Skull fits the profile nicely with a bigger kick of alcohol than expected. Clean, bitter, and drinkable sums this guy up easily. This will be in my near future.

Photo of Fcolle2
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in colors with some hues of red and a slight brown tint that give it a little darker of an appearance. Head is beige, about one finger, and has decent retention.

Smell is good a little more hop forward than I was expecting but hop aromas are very Pleasant. Some good fresh citrus, mainly grapefruit forward along with a little pine aroma. Malt follows and has a decent presence. Rich sweet caramel and a husky grain aroma.

Taste is great. More more malt comes out in the taste and seems to be very well balanced. some good toasted cracker like malt is forward along with some lighter grain husk flavors. Hops are also present on the front end and has some light pine and herbal flavors.

Mouthfeel is good, medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a surprising medium bitterness.

Overall this was a good red, hoppier and much more bitter then expected but not in an off putting way. Nice balance and good flavors to complement the change in seasons.

Photo of BB1313
3.69/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a orangish copper; slightly transparent with a slight haze; small off-white head that fades quickly and leaves decent retention and lacing. Great color. The aromas are full of caramel malts. It has hints of grapefruit and orange peel. Nice aromas, but they don't pop. The flavors have great hop bitterness. The malts get in the way of the hop flavor, but this is a red ale, so that is definitely to be expected. Lots of sweet caramel. There's some pine needles and pine sap in the mix. Some grapefruit juice here and there as well. Slightly spicy. There might be some black pepper and/or rye in the mix. Alcohol goes unnoticed and there's not much warmth, but it has an extremely subtle alcohol bite to it. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and slick, but not syrupy; nice moderate carbonation. It's smooth and crisp. Makes a nice beer to relax with. Everything opens up as it warms up.

This is a very solid Imperial Red Ale. No gimmicks and they don't try anything flashy. It's just straight forward and well crafted. There's a solid bite to this one.

Photo of BeerLover99
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: copper/shiny, trace off-white head, great lacing

S: brilliant grapefruit, lemon zest, fresh pine

T: big grapefruit, decent malt middle, piney bitter finish

M: med body, oily feel

O: Enjoy this local brewery + love supporting them.
One criticism, wish this Imp Red had more
malt feel and taste.

QUITE GOOD; GIVE IT A GO

Photo of joeseppy
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Soft red burgundy hue with a dense 'pink' head.

Gargantuan juicy aromas of oranges and grapefruit. Malt, rye, tarry pine and burnt sugar sweetness.

Pleasant sweet malt front, citrus in the middle and resinous hop numbing sensation on the tongue with rye ringing through the nasal cranium. Love the alcohol sensation that keeps this real.

Dense body, chewy and voluptuous. Great cold but I really enjoyed when it warmed up.

Real close to Green Flash Imp Red. Just freakin' delicious. This one is a Hat Trick for sure.

Photo of bschinelli
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap at the tap room, and liked it so much I kept going back to get growlers till it ran out.

A - Pours a a deep red into the glass, with an off white colored head with tight, compact bubbles. The head drops somewhat quickly into the glass, leaving a bit of creamy lacing.

S - Pretty strong aroma of pine and tangerine, but you do catch some malt.

T - Lots of pine and citrus in the first sip, but that's balanced by the taste of caramel malt as it slides over the tongue, finishing with a pleasant heat from the alcohol.

M - Has a good mouthfeel with enough carbonation to balance out the nose and taste.

O - I liked this beer - chalk it up to personal taste. I can't say why it resonated, but it did.

Photo of Sean9689
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Revolution.

A - Pours a reddish color, cream-colored head, spotty lace.

S - Lots of pine and citrus, some sweeter malty caramel notes, but mostly piney hops and sweeter malts.

T - Similar to the nose, but quite a bit more alcohol. Pine, citrus, caramel, malts. The taste is nice, but I think that the alcohol is a little too much here.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, oily/sweet finish.

O - A little too much alcohol for 8%, but otherwise, not a bad Imperial Red. Would have again, but not make a special trip to try. Decent.

Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Red bodied beer, just a touch of amber on the edges. Bit of white head on the beer that left some decent stick on the glass.

S - Some citrus fruit, earthy hops. Lots of caramel malts give it that "imperial" aroma.

T - Hops are more pine forward than I was guessing with the nose. There is also a lot of citrus that combines with the big malts to make it fairly sweet. This is solid, but I found the pine a bit surprising and leaves the beer slightly unfocused.

M - Medium bodied, dry finish, a lot of carbonation.

O - Solid beer, although i wasn't blown away with it. I have yet to find an Imperial Red that really wows me. Worth trying, but I'd stick with some of their regular offerings.

Photo of MasterSki
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Revolution. Served in a tulip.

A - A finger of off-white foam settles to a thick creamy cap, leaving behind splotches of lacing. Transparent, ruby red body.

S - Big Cascade hop presence imparts tons of oranges, but there's a bigger brown sugar, caramel, and light cocoa malt backdrop that reveals the Imperial Red side of the equation. There's a bit of dank pine as well that I'm guessing is from the Crystal dry hops. Served a bit too cold, so this was a muted when I got it - give it a bit of time to warm up.

T - Taste is also generous with ripe, juicy oranges, with perhaps a touch of herbaceous character in the finish. Thankfully, the astringency that plagued Hop Princess is mostly gone. Some lightly browned sugar and icing sugar malt character. Bitterness creeps up fairly quickly and becomes palate-bruising by the end of the tulip.

M - Carbonation is a bit higher than I like, and starts off a bit harsh and zesty before settling down. Dry, crisp, medium body, with no obvious alcohol, and tons of residual hop oils and resins.

D - It's nowhere near as awesome Red Scare, but it's significantly better than Hop Princess. I'm generally not a huge fan of Imperial Reds, but this is a good take on the style and is dangerously drinkable. I found the balance between hops and malts to work well here, and I put down my tulip quite quickly (although I was assisted by the excessive crowd density at Revolution, which made me want to drink elsewhere).

Photo of homebrew311
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Revolution Red Skull
This was described to me as an imperial red ale, I was unable to gather info about its abv and such.

A: clear bold red, thick dense creamy head, lots of lacing, great retention

S: earthy floral hops, caramel, pine

T: luscious hops paired with load of caramel, a bit of caraway character
Pine needles. Everything is in harmony... No excess bitterness

Mf: smooth, silky, creamy, delightful 

O: this is a harmoniously balanced imperial red. Delicious.

to view more.
Red Skull from Revolution Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 200 ratings.