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Rosebud - Rubicon Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

34 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 34
Hads: 56
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 11.47%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rubicon Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  7.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rayjay on 09-20-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 56
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a medium red-orange amber with a two finger light tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel and slightly toasted malt, light piney hops, nuts. Flavor is biscuit and mild toasted malt, hops with subdued herbal qualities appropriate for European hops, slightly nutty, some rye-like mild sourness and flavor. Finishes drier with a mildly astringent hop bitterness. Medium bodied. An interesting strong ale that is does not really fit the profile of an old ale and probably should be listed as an American strong ale. The bottle calls this "Rosebud Special Ale" so no indication they were going for the old ale maltiness. The malts are complex, covering mild caramel malt, lots of biscuit malt and a hint of toasted malt. Hops are subdued, but this is an older bottle, so they may be a bit tired. The brewer lists the brewing date on the bottle which is a great idea. The rye flavor and mild tartness are odd because there is no indication of rye being used in this. In a blind taste, I would have identified this as a rye beer and a nice one. Nice; malty and hoppy.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Beautiful finger and half of off-white head on a dark red colored body.
The aroma is nice but faint. Caramel and dry barley.
The taste heavy on the malt but not too sweet. There's a little hit of lemon bitter in the middle. It finishing long and dry.
The texture is thicker with low carbonation.
Very enjoyable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rich and flowery beer, like an IPA crossed with an Old Ale. Attractive reddish amber color in the tulip. Pleasant enough head and a mouthful of suds.

Warm malt flavors with a distinct tang. The hops are very assertive. Quite bitter aftertaste, though it also has that buttery Old Ale flavor. Resiny hop flavors along with some grapefruit peel, even a little of the old orange that's been in the fruit bin too long. Fairly light body with the spritziness lasting well. This even tastes like a really over the top amber, with the dank hops and dark toast barley flavor.

From the 22 oz bottle bought at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

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Photo of Zorro
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear red colored ale with a small tan colored head.

Smells malty and sweet. Brown sugar and mild northwestern style hops. Toasted bread and mild molasses. Mild pine and cedar aromas.

Starts out malty and mildly bitter. Toffee candy and burnt sugar with some cedar taste to it. Vanilla and butter. Fairly mellow but it isn't real complex.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall an OK beer but not a great one, probably will not buy again.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 8/29/12.

Pours a murky dark reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy patches and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, rye, slight brown sugar, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of herbal hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

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Photo of MrJolly
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: From a bomber bottle into a pint glass, the color is almost dark caramel, almost chocolate. Held up to the light, it is beyond cloudy--it is opaque with little light making its way through. The Bandersnatch label on the other side of the glass cannot be read. The head of the beer is thin and the carbonation appears plentiful, bubbling up along the sides of the glass.

Smell: burnt caramel, bread, faint pine. The smell is inviting, but not overwhelming.

Taste: there's something a little acrid in the flavor, but I don't find this unpleasant--again going back to that burnt caramel I was smelling. It is bitter, but the bitter is in a sort of argument with the toasty mellow flavor, and the mellow flavor wins the argument with a sweeter aftertaste that lingers. There is also the taste of a hop backbone with the pine coming in the middle. The taste is my favorite part of this beer.

Mouthfeel: I wished for a sturdier mouthfeel to carry the freight of all that complexity. Instead, the beer feels thin. Initially, I thought there was a bit too much carbonation, but then the little pinpricks of the bubbles were dancing with the bitterness and all was forgiven.

Overall: I really like this one. I'll buy it again on purpose. Thanks, Rubicon!

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Photo of scottfrie
3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a very dark ruddy brown with a couple fingers of very soft and dense looking light cream colored head. Head stuck around for quite some time before slowly collapsing into soft film that maintained itself through the whole glass. A network of thin lace was left down the glass.
S: Sweet smelling with big notes of raisins, caramel, candied dates and toast. Not too complicated.
T: Follows the nose but thankfully not as sweet as I was dreading. I get notes of roasted bread crust malts, roasted grains, sweet caramel, cocoa powder, dark fruits and raisins. The finish has hints of earthy hops, and the aftertaste is malty and sweet. I get a hint of tobacco as well.
M: Medium body, soft and ample carbonation, smooth and very easy going mouthfeel.
O: What flavors are there are good but I wish this beer was a couple percent higher in ABV and had a little bit stronger flavor. Tastes watered down compared to many of the old ales I’ve had. Still, a solid beer and worth a try if you like malt.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty and malty, more like a drinkable porter than an old ale.

Pours hazy brown with a slight tan head. The aroma speaks of brown sugar and dark caramel, with a pumpernickel breadiness. The flavor is sweet and toasty, with caramel and cinnamon and a round hoppiness on the finish. The Mouthfeel is milk and satisfy, with a little prickle of carbonation.

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Photo of Phelps
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle into a tulip. Thanks to flexabull for sending it.

Dark cherry red with good clarity. A finger of creamy tan head descends pretty slowly. Not a bad-looking beer.

The nose is light, but there’s some nice stuff in there: caramel, a bit of toast, grapefruit peel, grass and subtle cherry.

The flavor exhibits a lot of the spicy rye that was used in the malt bill. Grapefruit hops, burnt bread and baked apple are turned down so low you almost can’t hear them.

Body is a velvet-smooth medium, nicely viscous, with a bit of prickly carbonation. Alcohol is hidden very well. Dry finish with a touch of bitterness.

Herm. Rosebud seems as if it’s trying to be a big, hoppy amber, but just falls short. Not worth a second visit.

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Photo of Klym
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was curious to try something from rubicon and decided to take a shot at this when I saw it on tap at a local bar. Overall I was neither disappointed nor impressed. Pretty basic flavor profile, mostly roasted-malt forward with a little bit of chocolate character, and a tad of spicy floral character. I enjoyed drinking it but wouldn't reach for it again.

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Photo of flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice label with the nod to Jerry Garcia.

Pours a very dark amber color with a fine off white head, nice lacing too.

Aromas are of caramel, chocolate, nuts, and malts.

Taste is of cola, roasted nuts, caramel, and light cocoa. Beer has some sweetness, but it's restrained, and not over done. Finish has some hints of hoppiness, a bit spicy with some earthiness.

Mouthfeel is soft, smooth, and full bodied.

Overall, this is a nice beer. Didn't know what I was buying when I grabbed it off the shelf, but this is tasty, and well worth trying.

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Photo of t420o
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- very aggressive pour produces a 1-1/2 finger head that sticks around for a while. When it recedes it leaves nice lacing. Beer is burnt orange with hints of red and brown in there. Approaching a barleywine color sort of. Head is a bit darker than off white.

S- Like overly ripe dark fruits and some sweetness. A hint of milk chocolate mixed in their as well. Too sweet smelling, I hope it doesn't carry over to the taste.

T- Overly ripe dark fruits, chocolate, caramel, alcohol, brown sugar, overly ripe red grapes. Not as sweet as the smell but still too sweet. This doesn't really do it for me taste-wise. The flavors are all muddled together and none are that great or stick out. As it warms the flavors come together and taste a bit better and also becomes a little less sweet. Good but nothing special at all.

M- Good mouthfeel. Nice weight, Nice carbonation

O- Not very drinkable because of the sweetness and alcohol taste. A 22 oz was more than enough of this stuff

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"(Rosebud was) first brewed in 1995 on the day Jerry Garcia died, and is named after one of his guitars."

--Rubicon website

Caramel brown that becomes either dark orange or dark red when backlit, depending on your light source. A scant one finger of golden brown sugar colored cream appeared on the pour. The lid looks good, lasts quite some time, and lays down some pretty good looking lace.

The nose is caramel malt-dominant, which is a definite positive. It also has hints of hops and a background earthiness from rye malt. This may not be a 'blow your socks off' old ale, but things should be just fine on the palate.

Rosebud is flavorful beer that should become even more so when it gains several more degrees. Even though there isn't a flavor hook, per se, everything works well together. Flavor depth and balance are good, as is sweet-bitter balance.

Specifics include toasted brown bread croutons slathered in caramel sauce, musky fruit skins, and bitter black tea leaves. There must have been a fair amount of hoppiness immediately after the release, because this bottle is at least six months old... and probably older. Alcohol is buried very well too.

Even though the mouthfeel could be slightly bigger and the carbonation could be slightly more integrated, neither is enough to result in the next lowest score. Besides, both are improving over time.

This is my first Rubicon beer and is a humdinger of an American old ale. It was probably even better (read: more hoppy) last year, but has aged gracefully and is some kind of delicious right here and now. Cheers to Jerry, to his guitar Rosebud, and to Rosebud Special Ale.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ericandersnavy for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is a lot hoppier than I expected it to be. I get a lot of grass, pine and citrus notes. I get a little bit of malt, but the aroma is all about the hops.

The flavor is also very hoppy. I get a lot of grass, pine and floral notes, with a little bit of citrus. There is not too much of a malt backbone and the bitterness is about medium.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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

This one comes courtesy of mymrnngjckt. I'm definitely interesting in trying this one, it's not a style that I try all that often. Cheers Kevin!

Appearance: Poured from the bottle into my DFH chalice, this brew is a very deep brown color. The color brown is so dark that it almost looks black, only the light hitting the edge of the brew gives it a brownish hue. Not much head atop this beer, only a thin foamy ring where the beer meets the glass.

Smell: Sweet with some nice dark fruit. Definitely picking up some raisins and some sweet currants, and virtually no hint of booze.

Taste: Sweet and malty, and it has some nice fruitiness to it. Raisins and prunes, sure, but sweeter. It has sort of a sweet wine sort of taste. It gets much better and more pronounced at it warms, hence my multiple edits.

Mouthfeel: Full body and lightly carbonated giving it a smooth, almost creamy feel.

Drinkability: I'll admit, this is not a style I drink very frequently. At first, I felt this brew was simple and unimpressive. However, as I sit here watching Big Love I find myself enjoying this brew more and more. In fact, this is the 3rd time I've edited this review. This beer drinks well, has some nice fruity qualities to it. As it warms, the flavor profile improves and becomes more robust. I'm glad I had a chance to try it.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Still fuming over finding the blog that totally is doing the same thing I am...Pours a beautiful red amber. If'n I didn't know better (and I have no idea if I do or not), I'd say this is specifically a Red Ale. Not much of a head forms, and what does is apparently lost to an immediate angel's share. Lightly carbonated. No real lacing. Mehh thus far other than the nice color. Nose is decidedly faint. I get piney hops and not much else. Maybe some pineapple and grapefruit. 7.5% ABV and only $4.49/bomber...Now on to the flavor...Huzzah!! It's good. Phew, that is a relief. Lots of vibrant hop notes. Good malty backbone, also, makes this a well-balanced red ale. Not too sweet, not too dry. Really flavorful and drinkable. Of note is the long, bitter-in-a-good-way finish displaying the hops very nicely. Nothing super-unique, but very tasty. Worth tracking down at this price point.

What I like most: The delicious, vibrant flavor profile.

What I like least: The lack of unique qualities and weak aromas.

Verdict: Too well-priced to pass up.

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Photo of peacebone116
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A: Deep brown body; not clear. Red hues seen when held up to the light. A tan head with solid lacing at the leg of the glass remains even after the head slowly fades away. Carbonation is visible throughout the body.

N: Prunes and malt--caramelized sugar.... mostly prunes and stone-fruit.

T/M: Prunes, like a barley wine, but it gives way to a dry spicy finish, presumably from the rye. A warming alcohol feel in the mouth. Beer feels thick and heavy as with most malt forward beers. I would have enjoyed a bit more hops but this could have masked the rye notes. Good beer, but not all that complex in flavor. It does however really allow the rye seasoning to take the spotlight, which is a really nice aspect and is quite interesting.

As I type up my notes, I actually want to rate this beer more highly than I did when I was tasting. It sounds better than it was because I remember being fairly unimpressed by this one. I got a few of these to give to a friend for a Christmas beer trade, but I ended up cellaring them because I felt they were not quite impressive enough for gifts; let's see what a bit of age can do for these. Usually I am more impressed with Rubicon's offerings.

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Photo of mymrnngjckt
2.66/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 22oz bomber poured into a standard shaker pint.

Pours a bright golden red color with a big three finger head. Smell is very floral with some citrus from the hops. Taste is oddly milky and floral. Not a good combination at all. Good carbonation and nice full mouthfell.

Not impressed with this one at all.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean deep amber to brown color with a light tan head. In the aroma, caramel, dark fruit, and sugary. In the taste, dry caramel and ends with a dry dark fruit. A smooth and and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry dark fruit in the aftertaste. Nice old ale, line taste and aroma. Nice little heat of alcohol in the tummy.

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Photo of beagle75
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint glass.

A: Clear, dark amber color, ruby highlights, with one finger of diminishing cinnamon-tinted foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: No roses here--just caramel, nutty cooked cereal, and muted pine and floral hops.

T: Begins off-dry with toffee, semi-dark roasted malt, and dark citrus fruit. Flavors turn more earthy and floral in the middle, with hints of rosewater. The finish is moderately bitter, retaining earthy and roasty qualities, and gaining a spicy rye grain edge late.

M: Medium viscosity, smooth on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: A malt-forward red ale, bordering on imperial strength--this beer keeps the attention of the palate, being able to complement savory food flavors without being overshadowed. An interesting and uncommon collection of sensory qualities are brought together here to good effect. While not for everyday consumption, it definitely requires future visits.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours dark mahogany with a ruby hue and a half inch of beige foam. A few shreds of lacing and a partial skimcoat throughout the glass.

Aromatics are fairly mellow and balanced. Malt forward with some sweet roasted notes with a mild hoppiness. Crystle malt with brown sugar and pine.

Medium bodied with a slickish mouthfeel and a mild chew.

Sweet malt with a moderate bitterness start the palate. Roasty overtones and a bit of grainyness endure along with traces of piney hops. The alcohol becomes apparent near the end.

Finishes with a lingering bitterness, roasted malt, and a peppery alcohol bite.

Not really tasting like an Old Ale, but a hoppy red. The beer would probably be much more interesting if it were barrel aged or perhaps just ramp up the hops.

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Photo of bonapartist1
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you like rye, you'd best buy.

Rye character really comes to the forefront of this bottle for me, adding that wonderful spicy character you get even more in, say, Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye. I don't necessarily agree with the old ale designation, it just struck me as a rye-forward, hop-shy red or a darker, rye-forward pale ale. Alcohol is well masked but I can't but feel it'd be just as good at 6.0

Pretty pleasant and affordably priced.

From the website, a treat for deadheads:
"First brewed in 1995 on the day Jerry Garcia Died, and is named after one of his guitars. This complex multi grain ale is made with a blend of twelve types of malted barley. The spicy hop character comes from select German and Czec Hops."

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Photo of GRG1313
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper red with a light yellowish/tan head.

Nose is full assertive sweet red plums with some sweet orange/cherry marmalade. Sweet but pleasant.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with nice carbonation, nice body and good balance.

Flavors are burnt orange character roasted grain with a black coffee/roasted grain mid palate and finish. Nice complexities and apears really food friendly. Actually much more complex than an initial tasting would have one conclude.

Nose is pleasantly fruity sweet and one expects a bit more sweet character but is pleasantly surprised with rich malt/roasted grain flavors. A food friendly brew and quite drinkable and the bitter coffee finish works.

Note: I went back and read reviews after reviewing/tasting this one. I agree with Andrew here....there does seem to be something missing. This is a good drink. However, it's missing a "bright" character which would really kick it up a notch.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 22oz bomber at Olive Tree Market for $3.99 (damn good price for a beer touting 7.5% ABV). Supposedly this is the first bottling of this beer (it's only been available on draft up until this point).

A: Pours a clean slightly brownish, more reddish hue - (hibiscus/rose colored), with a small head that dissipated quickly leaving very little lace.

S: Real nice smell of roasted malts and fresh grains, mossy hops, carmel and yeast. Reminds me a lot of the new Sierra brew - "Tumbler".

T: First off, I think it's worth mentioning that this beer in no way represents an "Old Ale" style - there is no aged wood flavors, no wine characteristics, no flavors of fruit, etc. I'm confused how this got labeled as an "Old Ale".

With this being said, the flavor is real nice and fresh - chocolate roasted malts, mossy earthy hop flavors (subtle but there), the rye also comes through in the flavor, maple syrup/brown sugar, and a fresh grain flavor that adds to this beers overall tastiness and freshness. Quality stuff here!

M: Light to medium bodied, mellow carbonation (but sufficient), smooth and creamy.

D: Super easy drinker - bummed I only bought one.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms

A: The pour is a clear, dark amber color with a small off-white head, leaving some mild lacing.

S: A lot of sweet caramel malt along with some brown sugar. A mild citrus aroma helps to cut through the sweetness.

T: Despite a very sugary nose, the sweetness was fairly restrained. The caramel and brown sugar come through, but so do some nice citrus and fruit flavors. The hops don't really provide any bitterness here, which I could have used a touch of.

M: The body is medium to full with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: A touch more bitterness and this one would have been a lot better. It was still good as it is, but seemed to be missing something.

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Rosebud from Rubicon Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.