Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Roller Dam Red Ale - Great River Brewery

Not Rated.
Roller Dam Red AleRoller Dam Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 105
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 20.55%
Wants: 4
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great River Brewery visit their website
Iowa, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: dpnelson1978 on 07-24-2010

Delicious, malty ale with a hint of caramel and a peppery hop finish.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 39 | Hads: 105
Photo of mtvolkens
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad brew. Some of the other beers put out by this brewery just missed the mark completely, but I would pick this up if I was in town again. Nice and light, but with a malty sweetness. I've noticed their beers tend to be light on the palate, never feeling heavy by any means, and that makes for more refreshing brews, but less interesting.

 347 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
2.79/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Deep and clear ruby hued beer with a collar of light tan foam. No real head to speak of, but there is a little bit of lace.

S - Caramel, malt, and some butterscotch. Smells like a Worther's Original candy.

T - Super-sweet malt bomb with almost no hop bitterness at first. Some grassy hops pop up at the end. Slight copper penny note at the end.

M - Initially really sweet and malty, but saves itself from sugary hell by coming up with a grassy, slightly lemony, dry finish.

O - Not terribly interesting. A little to sweet, but that could make it a great gateway beer for people who aren't into craft brews.

 614 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a clear ruby brown color with a nice tan head and good looking lacing thru out
S-caramel and toffee with pepper and ginger some wood and peat
T- follows the nose its sweet with spice and hops and a nice earthy finish
M- pretty robust with medium carbonation very good red with loads of flavor
O- tasty easy to drink red in a pint can with around 5% ABV liked this one

 375 characters

Photo of bnes09
3.81/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Translucent caramel color. Thick, cream colored head with excellent retention and moderate lacing.

Sweet aroma of candied sugar, grains, and ginger spice.

Flavor is malty and sweet with a buttered biscuit character. Subtle caramel. Mild leafy, earthy hop tones. Descent balance. Tart finish.

Medium bodied with a grainy texture. Dry in the finish.

Solid red ale. Good balance and descent flavor. Easy to drink also.

 419 characters

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Serving type: 16-ounce can. No freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into an imperial pint glass. The color is light red/copper; it looks like grenadine colored 7-Up. Two fingers of eggshell-colored head dissipated quickly to leave a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: Sweet and malty. Caramel, toffee, floral hops, and perhaps strawberry jam or syrup.

Taste: Mirrors the aroma. Sweet caramel, toffee, floral hops, and strawberry syrup.

Drinkability: I do not have much experience with Irish red ales, so I cannot comment on how the beer fits the style. Overall, though, it is too sweet for my taste. It is far from my favorite Great River beer.

 659 characters

Photo of sonata2008
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Lives up to its name. It is a copperish red. A little cloudy. About 1/2 inch of cream colored foam. Almost no lacing at all.
Smell: There's some bread, a biscuit aroma. Don't smell much else.
Taste: Hops are on the back end and are not a strong part of the taste. There's a very slight bitterness. The most pronounced is a malted grain taste.
Mouthfeel: Lighter mouthfeel. Effervescent and tingly.
Drinkability: Very drinkable. Would go well with roasted corn, salsa, spaghetti with a tomato sauce. Might even be very good to put into a tomato sauce.

 562 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tallboy can poured into sam adams pint glass.

Appearance: medium amber bodied beer with easily 2 finger of head. Nice lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Nice malty red with a touch of grassy and floral hops. Malts smell of caramel and bready.

Taste: Malt forward Irish red. Nice caramel sweetness, fresh bread, and a hint of brown sugar. The malts are also a little fruity too. A touch of grassy hops in the finish offer just the right amount of a mild bitterness to help balance out the sweet malt profile.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Easy drinking Irish Red.

Overall: Another solid beer from Great River! Riminds me of Fat tire, but I prefer the Roller Dam Red. Its worth you time! Convience of a can and priced great at 7.99 a 4pk of tall boys.

 788 characters

Photo of jjanega08
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness dating

A= Pours a deep deep amber color almost into the brown area with a thin off white head on it that holds sketchy lacing and retention.

S= Smells interesting. More on the malty side of an amber. I would say it smells fruity actually.

T= The taste is again sort of a fruity malt taste. I actually get like a strawberry flavor from it for some reason. The hops are dead in it keeping the sweet malts playing the main character.

M= Medium carbonation.

O= This is a pretty fun beer. The malt flavor is unique to me and unlike anything I've ever had. I'll be buying this again for sure.

 606 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.99/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint can poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange/copper hue with about one finger of eggshell-colored head that quickly settles to a thin film on the surface. Carbonation is subtle, and lacing is minimal.

S: Tons of caramel up front, with some fruity notes and a floral hop profile.

T: Big caramel notes, with some fruity, slightly sweet esters on the mid-palate. Hops lend a slightly bitter, grassy finish.

M: Medium body with a very creamy mouthfeel. Almost exact to the style.

O: While I'm not blown away by this beer, it is pretty good. Its relatively low ABV makes is very easy to drink, and a solid session brew. I'll be returning to this one from time to time.

 691 characters

Photo of morimech
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Went to reach for Great River Pale Ale and somehow this ended up in my cart instead. Oh well, I have not had it before. Pours a clear amber color with one finger of head that had decent retention before settling to a thick cap. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Malt driven aromo of crystal and caramel malts. Somewhat fruity with hints of herbs and flowers.

I like my red ales on the hoppy side but this is definately on the malty, sweeter side of reds. Caramel and fruity esters primarily. Slight herbal and floral hop qualities.

Nicely carbonated and suitable body for a 5.3% ABV beer.

Not what I want in a red ale, but definately well crafted. I will go back to their pale ale for sure. I see this is classified as an Irish Red instead of an American Red. Not sure how I feel about that since it is brewed with Sterling hops and American yeast.

 868 characters

Photo of BigRedN
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pooured from the 16 oz can into a pint glass, I only get about 3/4 of the can in the glass on the first pour. The beer is a nice copper color, completely clear, with a thick off-white head. My pour produced a thick, fluffy, head nearly 2 inches in height which slowly fades to

Smell: A small floral hop aroma hits the nose first. As I slowly consume the beer and top it off with the rest of the can, a little sweet malt comes through. Overall, the scent was not bad but perhaps a little lacking.

Taste: The lightly roasted malts come through on the outset. A little sweet but not cloyingly sweet. There is a slightly bitter finish on the end. The beer does have a somewhat "clean" finish as there are no aftertastes to it; such as a lack of any lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light in body; avoids having a light watery feel. The beer has a light, natural feeling to the carbonation as it is not overly bubbly and fizzy, a few bubble streams streak through the liquid.

Overall: I bought a 4 pack of 16 oz cans for $6.29. A bit pricey IMO but I wanted to give this a try as I liked the name and like to find good craft beer in a can. An enjoyable beer and well worth trying.

 1,207 characters

Photo of doucmehu
3.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz. can purchased in Sioux Falls last week, no canning date.

A: Reminiscent of a mid-summer Cali girl with a nice body and an orange-amber tan, giving some nice head that lasts for quite a while.

S: Some tame sweet caramel malt, bread grain, black tea. Nothing too interesting.

T: Sweet toffee malt, cheerios, mild tartness at the back of the tongue. Fairly bold flavors for the style and they work well.

M: Back to the Cali girl analogy, this does indeed have a solid body and hangs around just long enough, leaving a mildly bittersweet finish.

O: A very drinkable, sessionable ale that I was pleasantly surprised with.

 639 characters

Photo of plfahey
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Copper-red and brilliantly clear with a thick, pale beige cap of foam. Head retention is somewhat weak.

Aroma-Sweet, bready cereal grains with light toast notes. Low notes of floral hops. Otherwise it's rather clean. The malt notes are simple enough, but layered, so still shows some points of complexity.

Flavor-Less sweet than the nose would suggest-toasted grain, some biscuit, and bready notes. Mid-palate is marked by caramel flavors and is punctuated by moderate hop bitterness and low floral hop flavors. Round caramel/lightly toasty malt flavors carry on into the finish.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slight carbonic bite even though the carbonation doesn't seem excessively high.

I actually rather like this one-there's not much special to it, but it's an easy drinking irish red with just enough malt character to make it special. I could knock back a few of these for sure.

 949 characters

Photo of JackieTH
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jeremiah for the sample pint-can of this relatively new Iowan here in MN.

Pours red-amber with a short-lived head that dissipates leaving no lacing. Smell was earthy, Lipton tea. Taste is subtle sweetness, but primarily tea leaves and biscuit-malt. A noticeable hop oil bitterness comes in late around the edges of the tongue. Bitterness lingers. Medium mouthfeel, but lower than expected carbonation. Not great, but drinkable.. I did enjoy their IPA a bit more.

 473 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can to pint glass.

A- Dark caramel, 2 finger white head, lacing that resides immediately.

S- Roasted amber malts, some toffee

T- Sweet amber malts, little roastiness to it. Very light hop bitterness.

M- Light body. Easy drinking with medium carbonation.

O- Ok beer. Fairly easy to drink it well balanced for a amber.

 321 characters

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Old Capitol Brew Works, served in a pint glass.

Appearance- This one has a velvety, off-white head that is about a finger in width. It has decent retention, with very little lace. The body is an amber-orange with some reddish tinge.

Smell- This one is really sweet! Some crystal malt and toffee. Although what is noticed is appealing, it is not jumping out of the glass.

Taste- The malt really makes this a nice amber. It is almost sticky sweet. It goes from biscuit malt to a honey-syrup feel, appealing to say the least! There is a little grassy and earthy hop in there that comes out near the finish, but it does not bitter up. Tastes really good!

Mouth feel- It is just borderline light to medium. It certainly could be much creamier, mouth feel is pretty hit or miss on Great River offerings.

I would not say it is "fizzy", but it does not really glide over the tongue either, or coat the mouth.

Overall- I really enjoy how this amber tastes. I would certainly have it again and could easily drink more than one in a sitting. The nose leaves a lot to be desired. It smells good, it is just really hard to pick out.

And again, mouth feel is a little bit of an issue. I would really enjoy this one being much creamier and just sliding over the tongue.

 1,284 characters

Photo of jsh420
4.33/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours clear dark amber with a creamy 1+ finger head that had good retention and left lacing all down the glass

smells of biscuit malt and a little lemon

taste is very good biscuit caramel toffee malt tiny bit of hops to give it the needed bitterness

mouthfeel is medium light body with good carbonation slick yet creamy

overall i am very impressed and this could be a regular session ale and one to introduce new people to craft beer

 438 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from cpolking so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, honey, fruit, tea and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, tea, honey and some fruit. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice flavorful beer with some substance making it worth drinking for a long time.

 822 characters

Photo of dbossman
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish brown hue with a huge cream-colored head--sudsy and bubbly with okay lacing

S: Herbal hops and a touch of lemon on top of a very bready, biscuity, malt backbone--lots of bread and toast and biscuit

T: Bready malts dominate but a pleasant albeit subtle herbal and flowery bitterness

F: Nice medium body with a fair amount of oily stickiness

O: A nice English style amber; nothing crazy here but flavorful and subtle

 429 characters

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to cpolking for sending this beer. This beer rushed out of its can and produced an amber color with a 1.5 inch head. Smell is of caramel malts. Taste is also malty, a touch of hops, slightly sweet. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

 278 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Into a pint glass with a damn near 3 inch light tan head. Color is a very pleasant ruby red with some effervescence in the mix. Pretty good head retention and some lacing.

S- Sweet caramel malts, slight bread.

T- Very close to the nose. Well balanced malt/hop-wise.

M- Medium to medium/thin mouthfeel with good carbonation on the tongue.

D/O- Thirst quenching...to say the least. I want more hops in my red...to say even more. I guess that'd no longer be and Irish Red but still, my preference. This would be a good "local" go-to sessionable beer for me as I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

 591 characters

Photo of sonnmr31
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an amber, orange color with a one finger head.

S - All I could smell is the toffee malts.

T - Good flavor and slight hop finish at end

M - Real light mouthfeel and low carbination.

O - This beer as real drinkable and is a solid red ale.

 250 characters

Photo of beerdown77
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours dark amber and has underwhelming head/lacing/retention. There is a nice dark toasty malt flavor that finishes off pleasant and bready, I can even taste a sweet grain/almost corn flavor. There is no sourness that is sometimes seen in Red Ale. I enjoyed this representation of the style. The drinkability is great, and probably the highlight.

 351 characters

Photo of AmericanGothic
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Peace Tree pint.

A: Pours a clear copper/orange with 1 finger of pale tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Sweet, bready malt with a bit of floral tea in the aroma.

T: Similar to the smell. Faintest touch of pine in the bittering hops, malt flavor has a light caramel quality. Level of sweetness is just right, nothing overdone. Hops and malt taper off hand in hand through the finish, which lingers a fair amount. Soft minerals also in the finish.

M: Relatively light mouthfeel with good creaminess.

O: A fine example of the style, and a really nice beer. This beer begs to be paired, and I'm thinking that Irish Stew would be a good choice-- no strong flavors to compete between the two. Will need to test that theory the next time the weather is cold enough. Kudos to the folks at Great River for another tasty brew.

 856 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

light amber pours with a huge head of white that came up a full three fingers in height. Smooth settling left a good bit of side glass lace and a nice and even coating across the top of the glass. Interesting aroma as it started out with a nice and well rounded bready malt that seemed to slowly evolve into a grassy, herbal hop profile with a bit of a kick from the caramel. Did not seem to have a clear direction, but the taste made up for it nicely. Very smooth, nice caramel and malty tones that won me over with ease. Smooth even flavor, crisp, clean and well balanced. Smooth notes of grassy bittering hops coming in at the finish gave it a nice little drying effect and warmed it up. Very drinkable as it went down smooth and left me looking for more right away.

 769 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Roller Dam Red Ale from Great River Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.