Roller Dam Red Ale - Great River Brewery

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Roller Dam Red AleRoller Dam Red Ale

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BA SCORE
81
good

99 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 99
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 3
Gots: 11 | 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:
Delicious, malty ale with a hint of caramel and a peppery hop finish.

(Beer added by: dpnelson1978 on 07-24-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pintofbrown
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Photo of jsh420
4.35/5  rDev +21.5%
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

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of dbossman
3.65/5  rDev +2%
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

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of Duff27
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Photo of sonnmr31
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of beerdown77
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of AmericanGothic
4/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of rundocrun
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer at The Pit BBQ house in Iowa City. Great place with some great BBQ!

A - Appears a deep red-brown color with minimal head that faded quickly. No lacing on the glass.

S - Some slight hop aroma with toasted malty undertones.

T - After the initial sweetness, I get a surprising amount of chocolatey flavor! Must be using some high-quality chocolate malt to help color this beer? The chocolate notes linger from the middle to the finish and a slight, but pleasing hop bitterness strikes the back of the tongue toward the end of each sip.

M - Not too much to say here. Good carbonation, pretty average mouthfeel. Quite drinkable.

Photo of Schmittymack
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16 oz can into that ol' trusty shaker glass. Poured a nice amber color with a very small whiteish head that quickly disapated. Aromas of malt, caramel, and something I can't quite put a finger on. Taste was sweet malt and caramel with no hop bitterness. Quite quaffable; I could do this one as a session beer and would definitely have this again on draft.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great day today - found out a long time friend was the recipient of a Grammy Award and have piles of brews from across the country to sample. This one from excellent trader GraniteSkunk...Cheers mate!

The basics: No idea omn price and 5.4% ABV...decent enough!

Brilliant and clear red with and orange hue to it. Not much of a head, and not really any lacing. A tad too lightly carbonated for me...Mehh thus far apart from the color...

Nice aroma - I get some vanmilla and cinnamon/allspice among the caramel malt notes...Some very nice, sweet notes in here, and they are subtly mixed..Very nice...

Flavor is a mixed bag. Starts off sharp, tangy and vibrant. Very nice...A strange bitterness begins to pervade the flavor in the early middle, and this carries throughout the beer. Can't say as I like it none, neither...It's like the bitterness you get from Tonic water (aka quinine)...That bitterness really pervades the whole taste. There is a slight touch of sweetness to this brew, and it offsets some of the bitterness. Ultimately this beer could do with a slight modification to the recipie to take away some of the harsher qualities and accentuate the malt a tad more. As it is it's serviceable and somewaht unique, but not overly exciting.

What I like most: The beatiful color and unique flavor profile.

What I like least: The quinine-like bitterness.

Verdict: Good enough, but not great. Try it if it's cheap.

Photo of zoolou
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking red/orange color with a light beige head that sticks unevenly down the glass. The smell is a very pleasant sweet toffee aroma.
Taste is dominated by sweet malts, but there is an underlying bitter hoppiness that cuts the sweetness just enough.

This style is usually one of my least favorites, but I really enjoyed this beer. From the few beers I've had from Great River Brewery, I have had a good experience with every one of them, and am looking forward to their other offerings.

Photo of TheSarge
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours perfectly into my pint glass, for a dark ruby red colored brew and cleanly filtered. The head retains very well, and is off white in color.

The aroma is toffee and a hint of metallic hops.

Taste wise it shares much of the same qualities as the aroma, but has a sweet figgy finish.

Nice medium bodied brew, somewhat complex with a hint of a powdery dryness. A surprisingly warm finish for a brew with a lower ABV.

Photo of indiapaleale
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - dark amber with some reddish hues indeed. A nice looking inch of off-white foam on top. It looks like its glued on there and isn't going anywhere. Clean and clear. This is looking pretty tasty.

Aroma - lots of cereal and grain aromas in the first whiff. A beer like this is definitely focused on the malts and not the hops. Slight hints of orange or lemon as well as bread dough and even cinnamon(?).

Taste - lots of sweetness on the tongue and on the palate, honey and caramel combine with a slightly fruity, almost strawberry-like flavor as well. This definitely has a strong focus on all things malty and I'm actually surprised its only 5.3%, it almost drinks like a stronger brew.

Overall - sweet and tasty. Not a bad brew and certainly one that a malt-head might enjoy. What I like about it is that its not cloying, overly sweet, like some red ales and it doesn't leave me looking for a water (or other beer as the case may be) chaser.

Would I buy more of it? - St. Patrick's Day is about 4 weeks away. Time to load up...

Photo of emmasdad
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received a can of this one last night from my friend Schmittymack. Thanks Dan. Had this one late Saturday afternoon, before dinner. Poured a nice amber color with a medium white head. Aromas of caramel malt and woody hops. Nicely balanced, medium bodied, with flavors of sweet malt, woody hops and caramel/toffee.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Ruddy Reddish brown with a thin tan head, ok but not great active carbonation, and the head goes away pretty quick. It's a bit dark, and not as bright as I would hope. Sort of lack-luster. 3.5

S: Mildly grainy and metallic, but not overwhelmingly so. A decent, mild hopping is present, but not a huge part of the character. Overall, it's interesting, but not crazy intriguing. Worth a try, not something I'll get regularly. 3.5

T: Again, sort of metallic, and not as robust or malty smooth as I would like. There is a bitter sharpness, but I think it comes from the grain and not any aggressive hoping. There's not a lot going on here, though it's starting to warm on me, but not great. 3.0

M: Again, it's thin, too thin for what I think it's should be, but a little refreshing as well. 3.0

D: Really quite drinkable, but simply nothing fantastic. 4

Photo of ballz50401
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First brew I've tried from Great River Brewery and I like the slogan on the can "We drink what we can and can what we drink." Poured from a 16oz. can into a Becker glass. No freshness info.

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber with an off white head that appears big after poured but quickly fades.

Smell: Nice little malt aroma of caramel and toast followed by a herbal/spice hop aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Some light toasted caramel and biscuit along with some hop spiciness. Mouthfeel is meduim bodied with a nice dryness and balanced bitterness.

Drinkablility: Overall a well done Irish Red that fits the profile well.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Roller Dam Red Ale is named for Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 15, which is the largest roller dam in the world and is just south of our brew house."

--can label

French burnt peanut orange with apricot borders and a cascading crown of golden ecru cream that has a wonderfully sticky texture. An attractive array of lace makes it to the glass in the end.

The aroma has a light caramel malt undertow and a balancing amount of Sterling hops. Not a humdinger, but it follows the style guidelines and makes no major (or even minor) missteps.

Roller Dam Red Ale is solid across the board. There are maltier Irish reds and hoppier Irish reds, but this one has a beautiful balance that should please most everyone. Actually, it's probably hoppier than most versions... which is accentuated by the freshness of the sample, no doubt.

Flavors follow aromas. Each sip delivers an enjoyable pale and caramel malt mix (favoring the latter), followed by a surprisingly zesty bite of herbal-spicy hops. Warming brings out a little more boldness, as it usually does.

The mouthfeel gets it done. It's right about where it should be in terms of size, hang-on and carbonation. Looks like these guys crossed all of their 'T's and dotted all of their 'I's during the design process and the brewing process.

Roller Dam Red Ale is dam(n) fine beer if you like red ales that have perfect malt-hop balance. The recent change in Iowa law allowing higher ABV beer to be brewed was great, but RDRA would've been possible back in the bad old days of 2008. Good job Great River. And keep 'em coming.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice tawny amber color with a slightly below average (really probably would consider average on second thought), foamy, sticky, off-white head. Average retention leaving a thin layer of lace.

S - A touch on the faint side but it gets stronger as it warms. Plenty of nice, sweet toffee aroma with some caramel as well. Nice malty, sweet aroma. A touch of fruitiness as well.

T - Typical Amber/Red flavors with plenty of toffee malt and some caramel. Some nutty flavors as well. Some golden raisin and apple also come out mid-sip. A slight mineral tang toward the finish. Sweet but not overly sweet or cloying.

M - Between medium and light body with average carbonation. Pretty slick and smooth. The sweetness adds a touch of a drying feel at the finish.

D - Pretty drinkable. Nice flavors that are sweet and malty, but don't come off as out of balance.

Notes: A nice, although fairly typical, Amber/Red ale. Plenty of toffee and nutty flavors with some caramel. Sweet maltiness, but nothing too overboard. Another good, not great, offering for the brewery. Great options for getting a canned beer and for introducing people to craft beer. Worth picking up and trying.

Photo of woodychandler
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was first a gift from the brewers following the GTMW and then some more showed up in a trade. I love The CANQuest (TM)! CAN you dig it (and you know who I'm asking)?

Love the Crack & Glug! Beer as an auditory pleasure in addition to everything else. My pour netted just over a finger of light-tan head that burbled, bubbled, exploded with CO2 and phased itself out of existence. Red? Like a coppery amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a sweet, malty, raspberry-like quality. Mouthfeel was medium with a very sweet caramel taste on the tongue. Phew! I am not a fan of sweet beers, but anything in the interest of the quest. Finish was bittersweet with a light metallic tang. Bottom line for me was that it was simply too sweet for this self-avowed hophead to want to drink on a routine basis.

Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

High clarity crimson scarlet in the glass. Really nice coloration. A few fingers of light khaki foam builds to the rim and settles at about a half inch. Random flecks of lacing are left behind.

Toffee and brown sugar aroma, raisin and plum, clearly malt forward.

Rich maltiness, fruity raisin and plum again, possibly from the ale yeast. Drying aftertaste of molasses. Bready with Crystal malt caramel sweetness. Not all that bitter, though the can states 30 IBUs. Fairly big malt flavors, and light bodied, making for an easier session. Well made and full of flavor, still it could use a touch more hops to make it really great.

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can into SA "Perfect Pint"
45°F

5.99 / 4-pk.

3.5 - A: Deep bright copper body with a big tight rocky head of medium retention but only the slightest lacing and a thin cover.

4.5 - S: Raisin notes backing up a slightly sweet, but powerful malt nose. Not much hop aroma (30 IBU - listed on can).

3.5 - T: Slightly sweet malt backbone with just enough hop character to keep it balanced. Simple biscuit flavor profile, but a fantastic local alternative to any macro. Very accessible to any audience.

4.0 - M: Light body with medium to high carbonation that lends an unmistakable crispness.

4.5 - D: Very crisp drinkable beer. Wonderful session qualities without a watered down flavor. Moderate residual bitter aftertaste but plenty of residual enjoyment.

3.85 - O: I'm glad I stumbled upon this beer in desporation while out of town on business. I'll be sure to be on the lookout for other offerings the next time around.

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Roller Dam Red Ale from Great River Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.