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Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series)Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series)

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

90 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 90
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 9.59%

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: harrymel on 12-06-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 90 | Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll


4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

• Poured from the bomber into a belgian style tulip (from the Libbey 6 pack of beer glasses from Target). Pours a straight up gold from the bottle, in the glass it's a very deep, dark reddish bronze with a three finger head that just won't quit. Sticky lacing, almost a root beer float-esque perseverance on this collar of foam, but more dense, of course. Lacing continues to impress as the head thickness approaches 1.5 fingers with a plateau in the center. This is a highly attractive beer.

• Raisins on the nose, liquid bread, potent enough for my bum sniffer.

• I've been hoping this would finally be the amber/red that I could get behind. It totally is. It tastes like all the reds I've had before but that nasty sweetness is just subtle enough to be enjoyed, and is, for once, well balanced out by the hops and alcohol.

• I've never thought of myself as being qualified to judge mouthfeel. I don't know what I'm looking for. All I know is this one is pleasant, so I'm rating it positively. Any cicerone's reading this that would like to give me some pointers on evaluating mouthfeel, please feel free to shoot me a message.

• Great beer. It makes my sardine burps far less unpleasant. I'm being serious! I don't think I'll be buying anymore of this due to the bomber/value issue, as well as availability concerns, but if this beer made a comeback in 6 packs I'd definitely pick it up. Worth a try!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2014 23:43:30 | More by Hop-Droppen-Roll
Photo of ISmith87


4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oskar Blues G'knight anyone? Yea this shit tastes exactly like it...

A - brown/red color that's crystal clear if you look close, 3 fingers of off white head that sticks around forever and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.
S - Nice caramel malt with a citrusy malt immediately balancing it out. Cinnamon in the background, brown sugar. This guy smells nice.
T - Great tasting American Red Ale. Tastes like citrusy hops (papaya, mango, pineapple), with caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon balancing it out. Great beer. I want to put it head to head with G'knight.
M - Medium - heavy. Alc completely covered. Aftertaste is cinnamon sugar, caramel malts, light citrus hops.
O - This is a pretty great beer. For the price it's not so great tho, Oskar Blues G'Knight is right up there and is 15-20 cents less per ounce.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 00:43:39 | More by ISmith87
Photo of mactrail


3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful glowing dark coppery brown color in the Duvel tulip. Nice head to start. Surprisingly light bodied but plenty tingly on the tongue. Smells like alcohol and cheap brandy with some fruit cocktail.

Sharp and hoppy. This tastes stronger that the ABV. Maybe it's the light malt and the hot hops that give this the tangy boozy taste. There is a fruity taste, like peach schnapps, some burnt sugar, and rum. Very rummy and quite sweet, though cut by the glowering hoppy bitterness.

I guess you could call this an after-dinner drink. Just needs a cigar. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at The Bottle Shop in Santa Barbara.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 06:30:11 | More by mactrail
Photo of hopsputin


4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: dark copper and caramel, almost purple. hints of ruby red. frothy 2 finger off white head that is unevenly fading away

s: caramel, fig, pine resin, sweet malt. hint of pineapple, smells slightly yeasty. nice and clean

t: for me, a slight let down from the nose. bread and bitter. the bitter is piney and earthy - like tea leaf. the sweetness comes from the caramel malt which almost fades to a brown sugar flavor. there is like a sweet syrup flavor on the backend.

m: fuller side of medium, and very syrup-like. the bitterness fades quickly, and your mouth is left coated with the syrup-like flavor

o: the bitterness is a little too one dimensional for me, but the malt sweetness is nice. it gets a little better as it warms. reminds me of a mellow American barley wine. would be a nice sipper to end your night on, but i wish there was just a little more complexity here to the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 03:40:06 | More by hopsputin
Photo of JohnnyHopps


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

At a recent bottle share, the beer poured a murky maroon color with a modest head. As one might expect, the beer had a sturdy malty aroma with some spicy notes laying in the background. On the initial taste, one might discover this to be better than the average imperial red. Notes of ginger, brown sugar, burnt malts, and a certain spiciness occupy the initial taste. From this point, the taste evolves into a tart dry malt aftertaste. I believe ale was a little too thin for the style, as it just would not linger long enough for me to enjoy. In the overall scope, I like this one a great deal

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2013 12:16:31 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of BurnMeInMyBar


4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Was saving this one to pair w/ crab legs as the label bears a crab. Picked up a pound of King legs yesterday but failed to put the bottle in fridge. As my wife put the legs on the grill I packed my bottle amongst my other coldies. Subsequently it was basically enjoyed at about 70 degrees.

Went very well w/ the crab legs, good aroma, mouth feel, etc. I would certainly like to try it chilled down a bit more but was very good at basically summer room temp in a shaded campsite in Southern Wisconsin.

Nice hearty color and body not typical of ordinary reds but totally expected from the great Alaskan Brewing Co.

Served decanted to pint glass, less aggressive pour as beer was warm, so lots of head though w/ good body.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2013 01:26:58 | More by BurnMeInMyBar
Photo of arizcards


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine at the end of May for $7.99. Best by 051513. I am always up for a big red ale even if it is a bit past expiration.

Beer poured a reddish brown with a nice beige head that is hanging around quite well.

Nose is full of caramel malts and citrus hops.

Taste is well balanced, big bready malts greet the palate followed by a generous citrus and tropical hop finish.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, and satisfying.

Overall this is an excellent representation of the style. Suspect the hops have faded a bit since bottling which has led to a wonderfully balanced flavorful brew. Definitely will look for this in the future!

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 01:17:16 | More by arizcards
Photo of dtivp

West Virginia

3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep ruby brown with a One and a half finger foamy white head that fades slowly into a nice cap with moderate lacing.

Aroma of grainy malt, citrus, floral hops and a wiff of caramel.

Taste followed the nose with a strong malt beginning, followed by hops and grapefruit, orange peel with a slight caramel sweetness balancing some of the bitterness. You were left with a slight dry bitter after taste.

Moth Feel was medium body and carbonation, slightly dry and the alcohol was very well masked.

Overall this was a nice balanced ale to sip and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2013 00:01:26 | More by dtivp
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Amber body with a nice off white head. Settles to a nice collar and surface foam.

Smell - Grapefruit and pine hops. Nice caramel malt backbone. Smells good.

Taste - Has almost a hoppy American barleywine taste. The malt flavor is very similar. Aggressively hopped. Lots of deep caramel but not sweet. Medium bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Aggressive malt and hop character. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2013 00:36:17 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of jimmah120


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber best by 5/15

Murky dark amber look. Fine sediment; good lacing, retention ok. smell is very 'red ale'. dry leaves, vegetation, fermented apples, and carrot juice. Feel/taste is silky smooth, coats the tongue with oak, english hops, leafy, li'l roast.

Solid beer, but not for $10 a bomber.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 03:35:41 | More by jimmah120
Photo of JackieTH


3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnet red with a half inch of khaki foam that fades leaving nothing for coverage and just a trace of lacing. Smells quite strongly of caramel malt with earthy and spicy notes. Taste has a washing of bitter hop, earthy and spicy elements across the tongue with a heap of caramel malt. Zingy carbonation adds rather than distracts to the flavors present. Body is adequate for heft. Dry and lightly bitter finish keeps the palate fresh.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2013 02:52:09 | More by JackieTH
Photo of MattyG85


4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany amber red with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of off white head that slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: Rich aroma with a good balance of strong malt and hops. Hoppy upfront with earthy hints of grass and pine. Hints of citrus grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, and lemon. Big sweet malt balance with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, yeast, and a mild hint of roast. Some noticeable scents of alcohol. A very solid balanced aroma that is big and sharp.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a big rich and sharp taste of hops and malt that is balanced. Starts with some sharp hops upfront with notes of earthy grass, spicy pine, and herbal notes. Citrus grapefruit, orange, pineapple, apricot, and lemon. Strong toasty malt balance with notes of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grain, yeast, and toast. Slight undertone of roast. A little alcohol taste is detectable. Very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Somewhat chewy. Fairly drying on the finish. Some alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: A very solid red ale. Aggressive but well balanced mix of hops and malt. Even with a few months on it the hops are still lively.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2013 07:00:36 | More by MattyG85
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium russet amber with a half finger off-white head that dissipates quickly to patch foam and a ring around the glass. Light aroma of bready malt and light piney hops with a hint of alcohol. Flavor is piney and citrus hops with light malt up front, fading very quickly to a lingering light piney hop bitterness. Medium bodied with decent carbonation. The hops are pleasant and appropriate for a red ale, but they are not quite supported by the malt body. Finishes too abruptly, although the residual bittering and lightly aromatic hops keep it interesting to drink. In the end, a bit unbalanced.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 03:39:45 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of GuzzLah


3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A - pours a clear dark amber with a beige head and some lace. No bubbles.

S - grapefruit, roasty malt and mild diesel fuel

T - grapefruit and mild roasty malt with a hint of chocolate malt in the finish. Smooth.

M - medium-full body and low-medium carbonation. Low-medium bitterness with a short sustain.

O - decent, but not one of the better Imperial Reds. I'm not a fan of diesel in the aroma. The flavor is good, but not outstanding for an Imperial Red. The 8.5% is well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2013 23:35:35 | More by GuzzLah
Photo of atalayafr

4.54/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Golden brown, pretty color. Nice head that slowly subsides.
S-Hoppy with alcohol content obvious in the smell.
T-A nice balance of hops but a bit overwhelmed by the alcohol. Finishes hoppy.
O-Good beer. Better than ABC's normal line of beers IMHO.
S-22oz bottle

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 04:55:33 | More by atalayafr
Photo of phishsihq


3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This Pilot Series brew pours a deep, burnt red color and is capped with a frothy, beige head that provides plenty of lace. Grapefruit hop aromas welcome the nose, and they are followed by hints of caramel, spice, tea, and pine. On the palate, this Imperial Red brings flavors of rich, caramel malts and tropical fruits. Underneath the rich flavors, notes of earthiness, spice, and a pine-resin hop bitterness finish out the complex taste. Medium in both body and carbonation, Alaskan continues to amaze!

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 00:49:44 | More by phishsihq
Photo of KajII

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass]

The pour was a clear mahogany brown with an average (1-2 finger) light tan creamy head that possessed great retention and had awesome sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a toasted grain malt, floral hops and an earthy yeast with notes of caramel, citrus (grapefruit and orange peel) and a nice fruity ester (pineapple and mango).

The taste was very malty and a tad bitter-sweet with notes of tropical fruit and caramel throughout, becoming moderately bitter and quite hoppy with a good strong citrus presence towards the end. The flavor lasted an average time after the swallow, with a bitter citrus peel bite left lying on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was a few steps below medium in body and dry in texture with a solid medium carbonation.

Overall this was a nice sweet hoppy brew that I believe is a good beer to just kick back and sip slowly...


Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 20:30:02 | More by KajII
Photo of hardy008


4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a large light tan head, with good retention and lacing. As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell grapefruit immediately. there is also caramel malt, and pine.

Tastes very much like it smells with grapefruit, caramel malt, and pine. Has a very nice combination of sweet malt and bitter hops, which balance each other nicely.

Medium bodied with average carbonation, and a bittersweet aftertaste. I like this beer quite a bit, and am glad to have found another really good American Amber / Red Ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2013 03:22:46 | More by hardy008
Photo of snaotheus


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a large mug

Pours pretty red color with a big creamy persistent head that fades slowly into lumps, lots of carbonation, moderate to low cloudiness. Smell is a nice spicy hops with a nice caramel malt.

Taste is rich in caramel malt, something thick about it reminds me of chocolate milk, soapy hops aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thick, round, somewhat gritty. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 04:12:39 | More by snaotheus
Photo of Beaver13


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Pours ruby amber with a huge fluffy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet nutty caramel malts and piney hops.

The flavor is sweet nutty caramel malts with a big bitter piney hop finish and a little fruit and resin. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly watery.

Overall, nice balance of the malts and hops. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 05:26:03 | More by Beaver13
Photo of TheRealBigC


3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As a fairly big fan of big reds, this one doesn't quite stand up to the greats. Much like the pale ale from their pilot series, it's a bold effort but it isn't quite excellent. I like the hefty hop character, but it seems slightly out of balance with the malt. Not in a way that makes it unenjoyable, but in a way that won't make me seek it out in the future. Some may like it a lot, and if I came across it at a bar again I may very well order it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 03:33:04 | More by TheRealBigC
Photo of rawfish


3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful dark bing cherry juice coloration with ample head, slightly tan with good lacing and decent retention. Crystal clear, great color.

Dark fruit skins, bread, a bit dank with some fruit juice sweetness, more pine than grapefruit hops with a slightly leafy and green.

Bready with some dried cherries, hawthorn berries and dusty/spicy ESB type of malt, pine hop flavor, very straight forward with heavy oily bitterness and alcohol on the finish.

Literally feels like my taste buds are sweating as the bitterness begins to pinch with an acidic malt stickiness. Smooth body, medium heavy going down. Alcohol evident, this needs some malt, the hops don't hide everything.

Good looker but overall it's kinda average. Mild complexity like a good red should have but the hops are simple and fall off in the finish, really hurts the feel of this beer especially as the booze and bitter come through. Really a a raw beer, punishing in a way.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2013 04:57:32 | More by rawfish
Photo of srandycarter


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear, reddish brown, amber, nice near white head, TONS of cling lace. Inviting.

S - Light malt and hops, somewhat metallic. Fruit in there too, but everything very subtle.

T - Nice deep rich malt, backed well by hops.

M - Medium body, creamy, well balanced and good carb.

D - Even at this abv, would session. Nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 01:26:50 | More by srandycarter
Photo of popery


3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours red with a beige head. More interestingly, it appears to have some chill haze, which is odd. I thought it was just a cloudy beer after my first pour, but no, the cloudiness has disappeared as the beer warms. It also foamed up a bunch when I poured, which I guess is another sign. It doesn't really bother me, but I am surprised to see it from a brewery of Alaskan's size and experience. The aroma is mostly hops, floral and citric, but there's a deep toasty malt sweetness in there as well. Candied grapefruit peel. It's a nice enough aroma, though the hop contributions are a bit drab for a new beer, at least compared to all of the more interesting work with hops of late. The taste is a bit more disappointing. There's a funny DME-ish sweetness to the beer. It's a sweet tang that doesn't sit quite right. Booze is evident. Lots of caramel and toasty, bready malt. More drab hops. They're not terribly bitter and there is flavor to them, but it's just a basic grapefruit/pine resin note that's muted and stale. I don't really mind the lack of hop complexity, and I quite like standard American CTZ flavors, but this is just boring. Mouthfeel is smooth and mostly pleasant, but the beer gets a bit sticky and boozy, particularly in the finish. I'm not quite sure what to do with this beer. I feel like I'm being overly harsh, but I'm struggling to find positives. These flavors have been done better in other beers. Neither the malt sweetness nor the hops are handled well. There are some really good big hoppy red ales out there, so I don't really understand bringing a new one to market without a good reason, and I'm not seeing any real reason to buy this beer over beers that have been around for years and are widely available.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 09:14:46 | More by popery
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

as ive said before, i love the pilot series. this one is no exception, a wonderfully rich and deep imperial red ale. a style i dont always love, i love this one. burnt red on the pour, dense and tough on light, 2 fingers of lacey off white head with great retention and a real hoppy nose. i also smell the classic american red malt, sweet and dusty, as well as bitter orange peel in small quantity and some booze. the taste to me starts like a normal red, excellent and layered malt, smooth and satisfying. it turns into an almost barleywine style ale though, with a warming alcoholic thing in the finish, and a grainy sweetness. i can still pick out citrus though, orange, and the richness of the malt makes this a unique beer. i can taste its color somehow. that brick red im staring at has a flavor, and its fantastic. very hearty, very wintery. huge body, enough carbonation, expansive mouthfeel. bold but approachable, this is next to marbles for the best imperial red ale ive ever had. the whole pilot series rocks. pick this up asap.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 04:56:29 | More by StonedTrippin
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Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.