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Big Red (Imperial Red) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Red (Imperial Red)Big Red (Imperial Red)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

397 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 397
Reviews: 320
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 12
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: oberon on 07-03-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 397 | Reviews: 320 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rarevos
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into pint glass.

A: Hazy brownish-red, almost like raspberry iced tea. Head is light tan and fleeting. Not much lacing, not much in the sticky trail department.

S: Sweet caramel malt and candied fruit, like grapefruit and orange.

T/M: Caramel/toffee up front with some mild bitterness and chewiness. The fruit is a bit more diverse in the taste than it was in the aroma. I'm still getting grapefruit and orange, but some apricot and pear as well. Finish is fruity/spicy with a long bitter tail.

D: This is sneaky for a 9.5% abv beer. It does NOT drink like a big beer, so be careful. For a sessionable red ale, I'll still take Ithaca's Cascazilla from among local options, but this is a damn fine sipper. Kudos to a brewery that I'm starting to really appreciate.

rarevos, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of auntfloyd
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22 oz bomber into a standard US pint glass.

Pours a clear amber with one finger of off-white head. Smells of caramel malts with a hint of floral hops. Nice and hoppy taste up front, which is well balanced by sweet maltiness further on. The mouthfeel is just right for the style, with body, but not syrupy or overbearing. This is a highly drinkable beer, especially considering how strong it is. All in all, an excellent beer.

auntfloyd, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle purchased at NYC's gem of a beer store, New Beer on Christie st., god I love visiting that place!....anyway, I also love big beer and guess what, this is a lovely, BIG beer. Pours a nice dark honey, almond amber, semi cloudy with a fine and tiny bubble, creamy, light tan head. A gentle swirl leaves plenty of fine, scattered and splotchy lacing. So far so good. Caramel and smoky, nutty notes on the nose. This is a well hopped, very smooth and tasty ale. Layers of malt, balancing spicy hops. Lingering oily hops on the palate, spice and heat ever present. Delicious, heady brew. Great tasting, easy drinking, another very worthy offering from NY's Southern Tier Brewing.

Billolick, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of bkett01
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear reddish amber with an average off-white head. Very appealing looking beer that smells of floral hops and a sweet malt with a mild hint of alcohol detectable. No smells stand out dominantly, as they all blend together.
Taste is a great balance that masks the 9.5%abv very well. A smooth creamy malt rounds out the bitter hallertau bite. Very little carbonation is present, but this beer remains lively on the palate. Amazingly drinkable for the high ABV. Overall, a very nice Imperial Red.

bkett01, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of johnniemarg
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber. I poured it into a pint glass right before I read on the bottle that it should be poured in a snifter. Oops.

Pours a deep amber color that borders on ruby.

Smells rich with caramel malt and a fair amount of hops. There is a sweet smell of cherries in here too. FYI- This beer is made with all hallertau.

The taste starts out fruity (like cherries, apricots), and sweet and then has a nice hop flavor. The fruitiness lasts long through the taste and so do the hops. I don't know how I'd characterize the hops. Not a citrus taste and not really all that piney. They provide a nice smooth spice and a dry finish. The alcohol is present in the finish and when you put everything together, this is similar to a cordial in a way.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied to full, and it very creamy.

This is a fabulous beer. With how I love the simcoe hop beers that have come out (Weyerbacher Simcoe, Stone 10th, etc), this beer totally opens my eyes to hallertau. I prefer this flavor over the cascade-heavy beers for sure. I love this brewery.

johnniemarg, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of delicious
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear strawberry blond body beneath a beige head.
Smells of flowery hops. As it warms, the nose gets a bit more bready and sweet.
It's dry and bitter. Very crisp. When the temperature rises some citrus notes come out with toasted grain. At 9.5%ABV, I thought this would be a sipper, but the high drinkability is making that difficult. I was expecting a little more malt and alcohol warmth, but I really (really!) like the dry, bitter, hallertau hops so I won't complain.

delicious, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of bwyker
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Appearance: Clear, golden red body, off-white head

Smell: Lots of grapefruit hop with a bit of sweetness coming from the malts. Also a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Big citrus hop punch at the start. Complex malt sweetness in the middle. Followed by some bitterness and spice in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly sticky, but overall pretty smooth. Slightly dry in the finish.

Drinkablity: Moderately drinkable. I could see the 9.5 abv catching up quickly, but definitely a tasty brew.

bwyker, Oct 13, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big ole double deucer with a banged up painted label poured into a tulip with a polished copper ruddy red topped with a spotty khaki craggy settled head cap.

Nose aroma wafts across the room as a bright orange wedge and caramel which really impresses the aroma aspect.

First swigs: Malty candy lolipop and Pez candy 50/50 balance.

blitheringidiot, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with a medium foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of bitter citrus hops backed by some interesting caramel malt. Taste is also a nice mix between the caramel malt and a lingering bitter finish. Carbonation is appropriate and body could be fuller. Alcohol is very well hidden and at a proper level to sustain the big malt and hops.

Phyl21ca, Sep 18, 2006
Photo of JMD71
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, copper color with a thin head that dissipates moments after pouring. Carbonation appears minimal.

Aroma: Hoppy, malty profile with alcohol notes in the background. Slightly citrusy with flowery edge to it.

Taste: Very sweet malty body up front, bitter in the middle but it mellows in the finish. High ABV is definitely detectable in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Alomst syrupy.Slightly cloying but the bitterness helps to leave the mouth crisp.

Drinkability: This is a slow sipper due to its high ABV. Very tasty & full flavored, but must take it slow.

Comments: This was very tasty & full flavored. Good all around taste profile. I'd recommend this to fans of DIPA's.

JMD71, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a simple clear golden amber with a thin film of white head.

Smells of brown sugar and strawberries with a touch of oats. There’s also a nectarine hoppiness along with a dim pine.

Tastes of a slightly smoky, milky brown sugar with a big electric grapefruit and orange rind. In the finish, a lingering chocolate and smoky barley remained.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a big, busy carbonation that was easy to drink.

I think this is my first imperial red, so I’m not sure what to say about the style, but I know I liked this one.

DarkerTheBetter, Sep 15, 2006
Photo of kmo1030
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ruby brown with a light tan head.
in the aroma herbal orangey floral hops are most apparent, with a background of malty caramel and toffee. not overly complex, but pretty nice none the less.
herbal hops are most apparent in the taste too. there is a strong malty component with heavy dose of toasted caramel. the substantial bitterness dries things out.
fuller medium body with moderate carbonation, a little warming at the finish.
good drinkability, and if there is such a thing as an imperial red this is it. enough malt , but not enough to make it a barleywine. plenty of hops, but not enough to reach IPA levels. just good balance overall, and for such a psuedo style they nailed it.

kmo1030, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of wcudwight
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into my snifter a red oak color with a thick sticky 2 finger head that slowly recedes to a thin head that last. Lot's of sticky lacing covers the glass.
Nice complex aroma of sweet caramel malts, fruit(not sure what kind), and flowers.
This beer brags about the hops, but it has plenty of malt to balance it all out. Starts out with a kind of smokey caramel flavor. The alcohol is noticable in a different way. The beer taste big, but the alcohol is barely noticable. Nice hoppy finish.
The mouthfeel is thick chewy and filling.
For a 9.5% beer it's drinkable. Although most people would consider a red ale a session beer and this is not a session beer.
Thanks to swedejay53 for this fine ale!!

wcudwight, Aug 30, 2006
Photo of charlesw
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What? How am I supposed to rate this beer? The bottle says that it's an Imperial Red Ale but it tastes like an I2PA. For now, it's in the Red/Amber category and I'll rate it on that basis. Which isn't really a good choice for this beer, if you asked me. Heck, even IPA is closer to the style presented. But Amber? What? What malt? Nice, pretty amber color and medium head that lasts ok with long lasting, thick lacing. But the rest of it is, like, whoa. Very reminicent of a Cascazilla. In fact, so reminicent that I went to go and open one - to compare. Well... Ok, this is a tiny bit maltier. Cascazilla is a tiny bit hoppier. Both seem awfully heavy on the citrus hops. And, hey, if you're asking me, they should pretty much stay away from the amber style. Yeah, in my youth I loved a Red Rocket, but, hey, tastes, and I, have moved on. An amber should be (IMO, eh?) rich and malty - smooth. Little hop flavor and most of that in light bitterness. This is just in your face. Not so bitter as a BW, not quite as hoppy as a typical I2PA, but way too both of those for classification as amber anything.

So... Fine, I'll rate it as an I2PA and not an amber. I'll feel better about it. I mean, really, this is just so not an amber ale it's not funny.

As such, it's fine. Nothing really to complain about. Perhaps a bit light on the body, flavor, bitterness, etc, but a fine beer.

charlesw, Aug 29, 2006
Photo of jtell
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is reddish brown. Not much carbonation but decent head comes up in a tulip glass. The smell is hoppy. Very clean and bright. Taste is malt in the front. I was surprised how much malt came through in the beginning. Finish is pure hops. It is obviously a big beer but I dont think the 9.5 comes through too much. Interesting flavors. Different from most other beers. I like how Southern Tier likes to push the envelope and make bold, good beers. Mouthfeel is what you would expect from this beer. Nothing spectacular. Drinkability is good but I think the flavors of this are so big and unique that one bomber is more than enough. The alcohol will also catch up with you quick. This isnt my favorite beer they make but it is good and worth a try.

jtell, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of Sycodrummer
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a tulip glass the beer was a tawney amber/brown color with a rich and thick two-finger head. A very still beer showing few signs of carbonation but a very sticky head that left a good amount of lacing.

The smell was of dryed and raw hop flowers with a solid aroma of floral esters.

A very nice balance greets the palate with a slightly sweet and malty body that gives way to a solid but not overly abbrasive hop character. Alcohol is evident, but again not out of check with the other flavors. The beer finished slightly dry with one last hop kick.

Medium body, rather crisp and slightly dry.

A very well balanced big beer. It seems that the beer well displays malt, hop, and alcohol and does so with a fine balance. No one flavor dominates, but rather each "take a turn" to showcase itself. In the end, a very enjoyable beer.

Sycodrummer, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of chimaychimaynot
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rust to burgundy, clear, with a creamy beige head that leaves lace along the side of my tulip.

Aroma is rich and caramel-ly, candyish, with generous spicy, lemon-skin hops, and fresh orange peel. Verges on American barleywine.

Enters with strong, sweet, nutty, caramel malt, with spicy hops tickling the tongue in the background. After swallowing, prickly, lemony hops come to the fore, with nutty, sweet, toasted malt in the background. Malt regains dominance in the finish, with lingering hints of carob, cocoa and spicy hops.

Medium-full bodied, smooth and almost creamy, with some warmth in the finish, but very very drinkable.

Overall, a very drinkable beer for its strength. My only criticism is that, with Hallertau hops advertised so prominently on the label, I expected the rich, spicy character of, e.g., H. Mittlefruh. Instead, the hops screamed lemon and orange skin.

chimaychimaynot, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up for a good price at the Six Pack shop in Moon Township...it appears a caramel amber red hue with a large tuffet of caramel tan head after slowly dwindling down it leaves fine annular specks of lacing around my chalice. Aromatics don't let me down with large doses of herbal grassy citrus noble hops...Hallertau both regular and dry hopped in this one, read the label it's an Imperial Red ale designed around different varieties of Hallertau...kick ass. Malt presence is rather imperial with big lucious bountiful caramel toned breadiness to balance out all that hopage. Flavor is upfront with the bitterness and simply bursts open the door with hop flavors like citrus and grassy herbal hop tones matched beautifully with a caramel toasted nut malt bill that balanced so well yet remained aggressive throughout the 22oz. portion. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied to me and has very smooth even carbonation all topped with streaks of oily hop resins running along the palate. Drinkability...so freakin' effortless the flavor keeps me craving this succulent masterpiece while the alcohol warns me not to over consume.

WVbeergeek, Jul 20, 2006
Photo of kbnooshay
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- This poured a fairly light reddish orange color with a giant off-white head. The head stuck around and the lacing was nice all the way down the glass. This is not very red!

s- Similar to the other Southern Tier offerings; incredibly hoppy and floral. This one though had a touch of sweetness. I didn't pick up any alcohol with my nose.

Taste- As a previous reviewer stated this is a VERY dry beer despite the sweetness. It is drying the shit out of my mouth and it kinda burned my esophogus on the way down. This is quite bitter and hoppy with not much malt action goin on. There is a hint of caramel though.

mf/d- The body is slick and coating to the tounge. This beer hides the alcohol so well just like their southern tier IPA, except this bad boy is at 9.5% alcohol and shares a similar drinkability level if not more because it is slightly less hoppy to me.

I do not see a lot here that differentiates it from their ipa though. There is a light taste of caramel malt that adds up towards the middle of the bomber but nothing I would expect from a red. However though, this beer is pretty damn enjoyable.

kbnooshay, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of orfeu
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is easily the coolest looking bottle art of all of Southern Tier's recent "imperial" beers. A candy-red highighted tractor with "Southern Tier" painted o the side (think International Harvester here) crawls forth from a tomato-red background. Watery copper, dense, pock-marked off-white head. Clingy rings of lacing all around. Heavily floral and citric hop aromas. Quite interesting; I had no idea Hallertauer hops could smell so "American." On the taste, the citric aspect of the hops is reduced to a minimal orange-blossom essence right at the beginning. The remainder of the flavors are overtly floral and bitter all the way through to a persistent, heavy mineral finish. Some candy-sweet malts are at play here and there throughout the middle, but the taste of this "Imperial Red Ale" is predominantly bitter. Slightly sulfuric aftertaste. Medium body, mouthfeel is somewhat angular and jarring with the relentlessly metallic finish. An uncompromising beer, but truly interesting and one-of-a-kind. Kudos to Southern Tier for pulling off something so unique with a rather shopworn style.

orfeu, Jul 10, 2006
Photo of OldSock
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 22 oz bottle from Julio's served in a shifter as the label suggests. The beer is light amber-red with a thick creamy off-white head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell – Lots of herbal/minty hops on top of sticky sweet caramel. Hints of alcohol emerge as it warms, but they mostly remain hidden behind the complex hop aroma.

Taste – Despite the sweet smell, this is a rather dry beer for its considerable alcoholic strength. Soft, but persistent bitterness coats the back of the tongue and leads to a good balance. Its nice to have an aggressively hopped beer that shies away from using the C-type hops. Its a good favor, but I would like to see some more malt complexity in such a big beer.

Mouthfeel – Mildly prickly carbonation, with a medium body.

Drinkability & Notes – For its size this is an easy to drink beer, even on a hot summer evening. I've been enjoying the new “Imperial” beers from Southern Tier, and this is no exception. Its adventurous and inventive, but still well crafted and built on the traditions of American and Germany.

OldSock, Jul 05, 2006
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new "big" beer produced by Southern Tier,a big red brewed with generous amounts of Hellertau hops,brewed in kettle with hellertau magnum and hellertau traditional hops,and dry hopped with hellertau magnum and perle hops.Pours a brilliant bronze with a tight 1 1/2 finger white head aromas are of complete balance of big caramel malt and citrusy/grassy hop that lingers softly.Flavors startout somewhat sweet and caramelly melding into a big hoppy citrusy finish that lingers on the tongue.A very nice "big" red the use of hellertau hops is pretty unique to the style and it comes together quite well.

oberon, Jul 04, 2006
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Big Red (Imperial Red) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 397 ratings.