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Samuel Adams Irish Red - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Irish RedSamuel Adams Irish Red

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,121 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2121
Reviews: 961
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 14.66%

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Pale and Caramel malts, and East Kent Goldings hops.

(Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 08-24-2007)
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Ratings: 2,121 | Reviews: 961 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.36/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Enjoy before 7/2013.

Pours a clear orange-red with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Thin streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, grain, and some caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and slight metallic flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable but I think the smell is better on this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2013 02:11:20 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright bonfire orange with a modest infusion of fire engine red. What an outstanding hue for an Irish red ale. The wonderful looking crown makes the appearance score an easy call. The foam is pale caramel in color and has a rich, mousse-like texture. Loads of lace are like icing on the proverbial cake. One of Sam's best so far.

In my opinion, beer of this style has a difficult time standing out when it comes to aroma. SAIR is no different. It's fairly low on power and features a light caramel maltiness along with a whiff of earthy hops. If it opens up with warming, the score will be increased accordingly. Note: it does, just not enough.

This is pretty good beer that isn't the standout I was hoping for. On a good note, it hits every one of its style marks in the smack dab center. Anyone who wants to know what IRAs taste like would do well to start here... especially since Sam Adams beer should be widely available throughout the land.

On a 'not so good, but not bad either' note, the flavor profile isn't very broad or very deep. Perhaps I'm expecting too much of a humble Irish red, who knows? Semi-sweet caramel malt combines with a pleasant tea leaf-like flavor and bitterness, resulting in a balanced beer that is impressively drinkable. It must be since the bottle is almost gone already.

The mouthfeel is right on the money. It has just enough expansive creaminess to let me know that the boys from Boston are on their game once again. In spite of their recent problem with their bottle vendor, quality control is never a problem with this brewery.

Samuel Adams Irish Red is a prototypical Irish red ale that is very, very close to being good beer. Hell, it is good beer, but I can't quite pull the trigger on the next highest flavor score. I will definitely be coming back to this one in the future.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2008 12:44:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

reviewed from notes, part of the big sam adams tasting on xams day. we plowed through everyone we could find in the damn state! served cold and poured into a pint glass.

nice medium brown color with hints of red on the sides that give way to a nice and well rounded off white head that seems to serve the purpose quite well. aroma is one sided with tons of bready malts and grains and lacking a hoppy balance and this would be a theme throughout the glass. lots of caramel, hints of earthy notes, breads, but the feel was a bit thin to me and it lacked that touch of hops to bring balance to it.

overall it was not a bad beer by any means, but just seemed to be lacking overall for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 02:56:03 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a frothy tan head that sticks and laces like a charm

Smell: Buttery caramel with a hint of tobacco

Taste: Starts oout sweet, with plenty of toasty caramel flavors that add a stone fruit jelly dimension by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors moderate, but there is an earthy hop element that sticks around to balance the sweet flavors; there is some butter in there too but it is kept in check

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Very nice stab at a style which often disappoints

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2008 02:24:10 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep caramel color ale with a huge light brown color head with some good retention but minimal lacing. Aroma consists of strong caramel malt with some nice touch of toffee. Taste is a mix between some deep rich and somewhat sweet caramel malt notes with some nice touch of toffee which were not expected but well enjoyed. Fuller body then expected with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Body is lot more creamy then expected and overall I enjoyed this beer a lot more then I had expected.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 17:47:40 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As I wait until this beer arrives in my area, I wonder if it will take on the classic toasted maltiness with a crisp hop counterpart, or become grainy, artificially caramel and metalic like many other American breweries deliver. Turns out to be the former. The beer opens with a bright ruby color with hints of darkness (brown) with a terrific slight-of-tan head formation / retention and adequate carbonation. Aromas of rich malt, lightly toasted malts, nuts, and an ester that reminds me of timid berries. A fresh (wet-hop) aroma gives a distinct pungent / earthy / herbal, and at times piney character that later transfers directly to flavor. Along with the hops, the malts deliver a steady, medium malty flavor that hinges of fresh bread, yeast, and toast. A well attenuated, crisp cracker-like flavor provides a nice pillow for the piney hops and light esters. Kinda like the ale version of an Oktoberfest, but with increased maltiness. Finishes clean and with a mild, pleasant pine flavor. A very nice beer worthy of the Sam Adams branding.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 04:23:20 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours an amber caramel color with an off white head. Nose brings some toasted bread and a bit of caramel. Taste is pretty much limited to lightly-toasted white bread and light hints of caramel. Feel is a light to medium body. Not typically a super-flavorful style, but this one is a bit lacking even in comparison.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 19:12:19 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high creamy beige head that gradually faded away, leaving only a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and lacing down the sides.
S: There are moderate aromas of caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste is slightly sweet and has moderately strong flavors of caramel malts with some notes of bitterness towards the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and can be considered sessionable, however if I was looking for something with a bit more of an interesting flavor I would try something else.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 23:37:12 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, ruby-colored body with a tall, frothy, lasting off-white head.

Smell: Simple, pleasing aroma of caramel, toast, spice, and cherries.

Taste: Bready caramel maltiness with a medium sweetness. Pinch of light brown sugar. Cherry fruitiness. Bit of spice. Light, clean English hop bitterness. Toasted malts in the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Very slight creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A solid Irish Red.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2008 02:29:49 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A phenominal pour into a standars pint,a clear rich amber with a well formed 1 1/2 finger slight off white head that settled leaving a few broken bits of lace.Pleasant but milder aromas a touch of caramel/butter and a firm toastiness mainly,again light but pleasant flavors softly sweet and malty lingering caramel and fruit with a hint herbal zip in the finish all along the firm toasty grain presence is there.A real quaffer its mild but the flavors are nice a nice change of pace from in your face brews and incredibly drinkable,well done SA.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 00:05:15 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

I find it odd that it's taken me this long to try this beer. Oh well. It pours a clear russet-garnet topped by a half-finger of dirty cream foam. The nose comprises toffee, orange peel, light black pepper, and light toasted rye bread. The taste amps things up a good deal, leaving me with notes of peppery toffee, toasted rye bread (plenty o' crust), and clove-y orange zest. I gotta say, I enjoy this stuff. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a nice, malty Irish red, something I could see drinking over and over if presented with the proper situation.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 02:40:52 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first words I saw written about this beer compared it to Killian's Red and Killarney's Red Lager. I forget where that was, probably at a liquor store in New Jersey, but it's unimportant. It's obvious that that's what this beer is about. (...oh, they forgot Smithwick's).

That said, it's a bit darker in color than Killian's or Killarney's but probably right on for Smithwick's. It has a creamy yellowed tan head that indicates we're talking about an all-malt beer (some of the previously mentioned brands utilize adjunct). It has average retention and lacing. The nose is malty, expressing clean, medium-level caramel. Delicate, spicy and floral hops balance it. In the mouth it's medium bodied and creamy. The Samuel Adam's yeast character is present in the flavor. Otherwise it's just very basic and clean: straightforward caramel malts and lightly spicy/gently grassy/moderately floral hops backed by a firm bitterness. Very nice. Very drinkable. Superb balance. For the price I couldn't see passing this up for Smithwick's, and it's much better than Killarney's. Very enjoyable! A nice addition to the Samuel Adams line-up.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2008 02:18:26 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, tea, some spice and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is malty but not too heavy with flavors of caramel, tea, honey and spice. There's a decent hops presence to provide some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a good beer to drink for a long time if you're in the mood for the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2008 15:51:30 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BBD May 08

Pours a super bubbly copper with brown tints tinges the upper 3rd of my SA pint glass with 2 fingers of pearl white head. Below average head retention & lacing

S: Toasty, bready & caramel notes & some wet cereal smells

T: Breadyness, biscuitty malt & dryness up front. Some grainyness, a slight nuttyness, diathecthyl (sic) & leafy, herbal & some
metallic hops as it warms. Finishes dry with caramel, biscuitty malt, some more metallic hops; plus a touch of grainyness

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, much dryness & pretty good balance,

Drinks pretty easy, the dryness might wear on me after a while. A pretty good Irish red, but give me the scotch ale in six packs now! Cheers to a brewer out there that makes the American Beer scene better every day

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2008 03:46:53 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a wonderful, malty scent that boasts of sweet caramel malts. It's balanced with a mild noble hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a solid pale and crytal malt flavor. It's semi-sweet in the beginning and dry in the finish. It's incredibly balanced with a nice mild hop taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking and well brewed Irish red. It doesn't sell out in the malt department and finishes with excellent hop character.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 21:55:26 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle gifted to me by the other Matt. Thanks. This beer was just OK. Beer poured into a goblet. Beer is red and mostly clear with a thin head of off white bubbles ghat doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. Carbonation low.

Aroma is sweet and a little apple-y with a really subtle roast.

Beer is medium bodied and mildly sweet. I think they forgot to add flavor to this beer. There is a mild bitterness at the end. This is a homebrewing trick. If you add roasted barley during the sparge you get a red color and no roast. Ever once in a while I get a little roastiness from commercial beers that use this trick. I don't funk I'll bother with this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2010 14:50:18 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish color with an off-white head. A nice looking beer overall. The aroma is classic red ale with notes of toffee and caramel, as well as some grassy hops. The flavor is dominated by the toffee, caramel and biscuit malt notes. I also get some light cocoa and some grassy hops. The beer has a slight bit of bitterness to it, but it is fairly sweet tasting overall. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. I am not usually a fan of Irish Red Ales, but this one is not bad at all. Definitely one of the best that I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:01:33 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a reddish brown hue with a bubbly, soapy, two-finger, tan head. It left some lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted caramel malt and somewhat grassy.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel malt and was lightly hopped.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - Another fine seasonal brew from Sam Adams. It is very sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 01:49:15 | More by zeff80
Photo of Knapp85


3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like this beer, I just don't feel that it's as good as it could be. The color of this beer is a very nice red. The malts and hops are there on every sip. The head doesn't last very long. The Beer is very drinkable and worth trying anytime. I just feel that there are better Sam Adams brews out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 01:00:55 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


4.13/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by July notched on label:

Pours reddish/orangish copper with a thick foamy off-white head that thins and lasts, leaving plenty of stickage on the glass.

The smell is of caramel maltiness with fruity/citric and apricot-like fruitiness. A nice spicy hop backing to the maltiness.

The taste is of caramel and grainy sweetness with lemony, cedary, earthy backing. Nice work with the East Kent Golding hops to support the caramel maltiness. Bitterness weaves in and out with a sweetish finish. A touch of alcohol comes through. Pretty complex for the style.

Creamy texture in a near-full body.

A nice, unique interpretation of the style. Good job bringing a hop kick to an otherwise malty drink. Sure beats a run-of-the-mill Irish Red Ale!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2008 00:39:07 | More by jwc215
Photo of WVbeergeek


3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a mildly cloudy caramel amber red with a nice full beige head dwindles slow leaves behind even thin lacing with each sip. Aroma tart thin raisin layer with wet tobacco and herbal hop notes. Big malty caramel biscuit base with sweet doughy notes lingering. Flavor is balanced not overly sweet with some discerning tartness flavor starts tight with carbonation as it disipates an even balanced flavor with herbal tobacco leaf character arising. Mouthfeel is medium with even carbonation and a dry finish. Drinkability is solid a steady sipping brew that I could imagine being pretty popular in the six pack format. I'm not sure what the other options were for them to brew in this process, but I would love to see an American or DIPA I guess we'll have to wait a year or two for the Longshot version.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2008 00:07:42 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a reddish amber color with a one finger head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: caramel, ripe fruits, and a bit of earthiness is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: slightly grainy and bready malt base with caramel, plums, and a mild bitterness. There is a bit of an earthy tone late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, a bit smoother towards the finish. Short aftertaste.

Overall: an easy drinking Irish ale. Definite sessionable beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 18:01:32 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw


3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Impressive four-finger head from a gentle but upright pour. Lots of spotty lace. The color is smudged copper with a small amount of chill haze.

Predominantly malty without being sweet smell. Lots of crystal and other lightly toasted grains. Fruity, reminding me of madeira.

Toasted biscuits with a touch of molasses sweetness. Subtle hop shows up in the swallow, while the aftertaste is strongly malty. Very nice body with a good carbonation level (like skim milk). Coats the tongue on the swallow.

Overall, this is a malty beer that does not go extreme in any way. Easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2008 21:24:00 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays


4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark red with a medium white head, good retention, mild lacing.

S: Surprisingly strong smell of straight up caramel malt, sugar cookies.

T: Caramel malt, moderate sweetness, earthy hops backing it up, red apple peel in there too, has an aftertaste of light cider, mild acidity. Good mix of flavours.

M: Nice soft mouthfeel, mild carbonation, chalky feeling at times which I wasn't thrilled about, but a minour flaw, mineral chracter.

D: Another solid beer from Sam Adams, after having a lot of mediocre brews lately, I'm beginning to realise just how good the BBC is. Quaffable, tasty ale right here.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2008 05:19:16 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mactrail


3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A pleasant warmth of malt and a hint of sweetness makes a welcome appearance. There is an interesting herbal note, even a hint of wood. A touch of cardboard in the nose. A touch of resins and enough hops to be pleasantly beery.

Surprisingly coarse and sparse bubbles in the appearance. This was from a Spring 2013 12 pack out of the cooler at Albertson's, so this is about as fresh as it's likely to get. Carbonation is usually an unheard-of defect in Sam Adams beers, so I'm surprised.

I don't know how they get this perfect copper color, but it's a little suspicious. Lovely, though, and there is a float of foam, finally, on the last pour of the 12 oz bottle. Not a bad contender in one of my least favorite beer categories.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 05:48:59 | More by mactrail
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Samuel Adams Irish Red from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
79 out of 100 based on 2,121 ratings.