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Betrayal Imperial Red - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Betrayal Imperial RedBetrayal Imperial Red

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

53 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 53
Hads: 135
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 20.52%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: womencantsail on 06-27-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 53 | Hads: 135
Photo of stakem
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to MexicanSkittel for the chance to try this. Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a dark burnt copper to amber color. It initially looks quite hazed but when held to the light displays quite a bit of clarity and more of a reddish look. The finger's worth of creamy head is caught between a yellowish stain and dark tan. It provides patches of lacework on the glass and decent retention.

The smell of this brew is quite filled with toasty malt sweetness. It has almost a burnt aspect about it, somewhat like toffee and caramel and a bit of a mustiness about it. The alcohol is present with a bit of a solvent kick. The hops display themselves with a fruity and floral aspect that includes quite a bit of vegetable aspect as well.

The taste of this brew is modestly bitter with a toasted malt inclusion that is somewhat burnt in flavor. Hops present themselves with a veggie flavor just like the aroma indicated. There is a light fruited and floral somewhat reminiscent of raisins included with a warmth of alcohol that is fusel in character that really warms the back of the throat. The aftertaste is a combination of cooked veggies and a bit of burnt caramel sweetness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is a bold brew with an expected bitterness and maltiness to contend with the alcohol level. However, it seems a bit disjointed and doesn't meld together all that well. I am not a big fan of hoppy beers that have a solid vegetative feel in either the aroma or flavor and unfortunately this one displayed it in both. Worth a try if you have the chance but not something I would seek out or drink on a regular basis. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to give this one a try.

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Photo of Bryanjpg
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Betrayal presents a misty deep red orange.

The sweet smell of toasted malts joins the bitter smell of hops and gets tossed around with dark chocolate covered orange aroma's

the hoppy bitterness maintains the whole time as oranges and caramel toasted malt flavors alternate. Medium finish with lasting bitter taste

Medium thick body, could be a little thicker.

Great beer, solid flavors. This beer is great for fall. It reminds me what winter has in store for us. Without immediately jumping to a thick stout. It has a nice balance of flavors, and a lasting bitterness.

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Photo of Kendo
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is reddish coppery-amber with a 1-finger bubbly tan head. Leaves good thick rings of lacing.

S: Nice. Strong caramel malt backbone but also a touch of juicy hops. A nice balance of malt and hops, which is what I like in an Imperial Red Ale.

T: Follows the nose - still balanced between malt and hops. Sweet caramel malt foundation, along with some brown sugar, and then hops - tropical fruit, citrusy and piney all come to mind at various stages of the sip. I get a touch of alcohol spice at the finish too.

M: Call it medium in heft, with a slight slickness to it.

D: A solid beer. Doesn't blow me away like Nugget Nectar or even Cascazilla - it's more balanced and malty than hoppy - but I'm enjoying it.

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Photo of dwilson01
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my figueroa pint glass. The body color is a deep red/caramel brown topped with a slightly tan head about a finger thick.

The scent is a refreshing hop in the forefront that also lends to a nice bitterness in the middle of the smell. The very end finishes with a hint of malty sweetness, enough to tell you there is some body to this brew.

The flavor is exactly what I expect out of an imperial red, and nice malt backbone providing maple brown sugar throughout the taste. This is balanced by a hopping that starts off floral, fades into a more bitter type and then ends with a crisp combination of bitterness and aromatic hops the finish you off.

The mouthfeel is solid, not too thick and goes down smooth with the spicy hop bite to keep you coming back for more.

Solid brew, not the best imperial red I've had but it's worth trying.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.88/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. This was an impulse purchase at Whole Foods Redwood City. $7.

A: Pours a maroon-amber body capped with a fluffy, beige head. Retention is decent, and the beer leaves curtains during a sip. No lace that sticks.

S: Caramel, roasted malt, chocolate, and lots of grass and herbal notes. Chocolate is a nice touch; my preferred approach to this style is a little infusion of cocoa to offset a dominantly pine / citrus bouquet. This one opts for some different hop varieties, and it incorporates more roast; interesting, but not to my liking.

T: As in the nose, this is noticeably sweet, with a prominent malt backing that incorporates elements of caramel, roast, and chocolate. Hop varieties aren't so much flavorful as strikingly bitter, leading to an odd clash where the sweetness hits you up front and some grassy, root-like bitterness brings the taste to a close. It was bearable while the beer was cold, but as it warmed, it became less and less endearing.

M: It's medium-bodied. It finishes sweet, but there's enough bitterness that it gives the impression of dryness. The mouthfeel needs some tightening up.

O: I really need to stop impulse-buying beer. It doesn't work out most of the time. I drainpoured half.

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Photo of Philousa
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red against the light, almost brown in ambient light with one finger head and good lacing from beginning to end. Sweet malt in the nose up front, mixed with earthy, slightly tangy hops. Taste is, in a word, chocolaty. Some burnt caramel notes give way to bitter hops with the chocolate lingering throughout. The mouthfeel is very nice and balanced.

For such a big beer, this is very delicate. Delicate in the way it's balanced, that is. It could have easily been too malty and felt like a brown, but the alcohol content and hop presence prevents the malt from taking over. The burnt caramel and dark chocolate dominating the palate make this an uncomplex beer, but those are the ones I love. The balance actually makes this a bit of a dangerous beer, when you consider the ABV. Speakeasy didn't reach too far for this beer and instead made a palatable, easy to enjoy beer. Cheers!

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Photo of Zorro
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Have the bottled version. The bottle says 8.2% Alc/Vol.

Reddish brown colored ale with some chill haze evident. Small tan colored head.

Smell is sweet and full of roasted malt. Fairly strong German chocolate cake aroma. Chocolate coconut and caramel are quite strong. Strong hop scent mostly it is mint and menthol.

Starts out sweet and bitter with some chocolate and coffee flavor. Bittersweet is the one word that describes the taste. Slight savory flavor here but not to the point of soy sauce. Besides the chocolate and coffee there isn't much other flavor here.

Mouthfeel is good and fairly thick.

Overall this is pretty tasty but not super-outstanding.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber color with a thin cream colored head.

S: Caramel, oak and some citrus hops.

T: Tons and tons of oak here along with caramel and a hint of dark chocolate. Overall, pretty messy tasting and way too oaky for me. I would not have this one again.

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Photo of argock
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $5.99.

A: Opaque rusty burgundy with thick, frothy, rocky beige 2-finger head with very good retention and a thick craggy line of lace with scattered spots.

S: Strong earthy aromas of pine resin and wood are greeted by slightly sweet maltiness with caramel, vanilla, cocoa, and toffee. Alcohol give a little nostril heat.

T: The flavor is a great mix of spicy, piney, and woody-herbal hops component with a strong somewhat sweet malt contribution with chocolate, roasted malt, and sweet raisiny caramel notes. The alcohol is masked very effectively. The aftertaste is herbal and earthy but with a definite pine-wood character.

M: A little sticky and a little too much carbonation but all in all the body is nice and its easy to drink.

O: I was really impressed by this beer - most imperial red ales are overly sweet alcohol bombs. This brew really solves that problem well and moves into the realm of supremely smooth beers with an exceptionally well-balanced mix of big hops and big malt. It is an imperialized Prohibition Ale with the same raisin and caramel notes that I really like in an amber ale. I wish this was priced a little more in the range of Arrogant Bastard at $4.50/bomber. It is one of Speakeasy's best beers and one that I will try again a couple time before it fades away for the year. This beer is one of the biggest surprises of the year for me.

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

Thanks to my sister for this unexpected bottle! Poured into a Surly darkness snifter.

This poured a translucent dark cherry red with a big, slightly dirty head composed of big bubbles that left patchy lacing everywhere. The nose is very caramel maltiness with big cocoa and hop notes. Still some malt and cocoa notes and sweetness in the mouth, but hopes take over with a real grassy, hay-esque hoppiness that bitters with a pine feel. The bitterness never gets nasty, though it bites hard. I always approach speakeasy expecting disappointment but this was a pleasant surprise. A very drinkable imperial red with some interesting character, something worth hitting on tap or picking up a bottle of if you cant find anything else too interesting.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber. ABV is actually 8.2%.

Pours a half-opaque deep brown with a big dark-beige pillowy head. Hangs around for a nice long while. A good bit of fine lacing.

Aroma of caramel and bready malt and some metallic tangerine hops. A bit of alcohol.

Initial taste is fairly sharp, but backed up with a nice dose of caramel malt sweetness. Tastes better than the nose. Middle dries up to a very dry, slightly metallic bitter finish. Alcohol emerges in the middle and sticks around through the finish, but isn't overwhelming.

Medium light body with medium-sharp carbonation. Quite drinkable.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at TJ Finley's in Bayshore, NY. Tasting notes from July 2011.

A – Creamy, fine bubbled, off-white head with nice retention and ok lace. Medium grade maple syrup body.

S – Bright orange and grassy hops on top of caramel and nutty breads.

T – Tart, dry, tannin-like fruit pits and an earthy, hay-like hop open the profile. The malty center stays dry and carries into a dark fruit, flint, and char-roast finish.

M – Medium body is smooth and dry.

O – A bit sharp, but not bad.

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Photo of JayQue
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice Red Ale. Not an overly sweet, mild boring one. Pours a hazy red color with a lot of light coming through. Small white head with worse than aerage retention. Some lacing. Spell ispiney hops and caramel malts. Fairly strong. Tastes good. Strong piney hops presence balanced by a strong caramel malt presence. Kind of like a barleywine lite. Very impressive for a red ale.

Mouthfeel is crisp. I assumed it was 5.9% but if this is an 8% beer, it is very smooth with no hint of the alcohol level.

A good Red Ale, I would drink this again.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown and light red appearance, good head, another quality looker from Speakeasy. Mild aroma of toastiness and hops, a little nuttiness to it.

Great taste, smooth, still kept a hop mouthfeel, but stayed away from just making a super bitter nugget hopped red or something along those lines. Rich, toffee, even vanilla. A little bit of citrus as well.

Very good mouthfeel, alcohol not noticeable at all. All those nuances. Great balance, hoppy, yet not bitter, smooth, not high alcohol, a little bit of everything.

Where did BA get 5.9% for this? Says 8.2% on the bottle. Maybe because it tastes like 5.9%?

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is amber to orange in color with an off white head that leaves plenty of lacing on the snifter. The aroma brings a large helping of pine and hops. The flavor follows suit, though not quite as good as the aroma. Lots of pine in the flavor with a more assertive malt presence than the scent would indicate. Medium bodied with minimal alcohol presence. An enjoyable beer, I would have this again.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle says 8.2%...not 5.9. Pours a dark crimson red color with a medium, off-white head. Scent is very malty with a nice balance of hops and tropical fruit. Boy does this beer remind me of something...I can almost promise I'm not the only one who finds this very similar to Bigfoot with a little age on it. Definitely reminds me of a hoppy barleywine. Strong dark fruit flavors with bitter hops and caramel malt. Just a pinch of alcohol flavor. Very bitter hop finish with brown sugar. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a creamy finish. Drinkability is high. This is definitely one of the better offering I've had from this brewery.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not being a huge fan of Amber Ales, I do get a bit curious when they get Imperial on me, especially if they kick it up in the hop department so we'll see how this one fairs. I hope I won't get betrayed.

Poured form an etched bomber into a wine glass/globe. A touch soft spoken on the pop of the cap at 45 degrees, the beer nonetheless pours with a frothy inch of light tan foam. Largely clear and a crimson/ruby in the light, appearing a deep amber otherwise. Offers good retention and classy lacing.

Aroma of caramel malts, touch of dark fruits and a moderate piney hop sense. Bit too malt forward for my tastes for the style within a style. This one weighing in at 8.2% not the 5.9% noted here.

Flavor matches the nose. Malty with caramel notes and a light cherry touch. More caramel and a bit of subdued milk chocolate on the finish.

A bit sweet and almost overbearing. Try this one with grilled meat or sloppy BBQ for a good balance. Rather lightly hopped and slightly askew overall for the ABV, otherwise intriguing and fairly well done.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey yesterday. Served in a mini-snifter.

Pours a dark copper color with a thin light tan head and some spotty lacing. Thin collar throughout. The nose brings forward some heavy pine and a bit of toasted malt. The flavor brings a heavy dose of pine and some slight citrus along with some amber malt sweetness. The two don't complement each other as well as I would have liked. Sweetness isn't nearly as prevalent in the feel, which is heavily bitter and slightly chewy. Solid beer.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this from my wife. She picked it up at her work.

Appearance- dark reddish color, thin head

Smell- piney hops, sweet and bitter smell, very nice

Taste- balance of sweet and bitter, piney hops, very nice

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I thought it was very good. I would buy it again.

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Photo of AwYeh
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into pint glass; bottle says its 8.2% ABV.

A: Deep, clear, reddish brown color. Lots of bubbles– looks a bit like cola. Half inch of tan head, subsides quickly but leaves thick lacing.

S: Sweet smell– lots of caramel and toffee, joined by some pine resin hop aromas. Hint of alcohol.

T: Nice balance of sweet and bitter here– initially the caramel and toffee are strongest but there's a very noticeable hop presence in the middle, and the finish is lingering and bitter.

M: Smooth and with medium-high carbonation– goes down easily and finishes dryly.

O: Just a bit less than the sum of its parts, found myself enjoying this one less as the glass wore down. Still a good beer, and definitely worth a try if you're a big fan of (imperial?) ambers.

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Photo of avaldivia
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.

A: Excellent dark red color. Very bright and enticing. Nice head. Good lacing.

S: Whoa! Good amount of hops and caramel. A bit of alcohol on the nose.

T: Deep malt flavor that I really enjoy. Definitely hoppy for a red ale. A hint of an alcohol burn on the finsh. This is a very deep, complex, and wonderful taste.

M: Medium to thick body. Good carbonation.

O: excellent limited release that I hope will be released again and again. I will pick this up and order it, wherever I can find it.

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Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Pi Bar, in San Francisco.

Speakeasy Betrayal pours a deep, deep crimson that only directly into the light reveals its shocking secret - that it's actually transparent! (but you need a bright afternoon sun, artificial indoor lighting isn't strong enough to penetrate the sooty red beer). It has a well proportioned head that leaves ornate lacing that looks rather dapper in the tulip glass.

The flavours in the aroma smell faint, but are still perceptibly characterful; you'd think they made the beer with the peels of the most bitter oranges they could find, squeezed in a drop of grapefruit juice and let the malts they'd use sit near the stove before hand (they have a lightly smoky, toasted quality to them). Hard to know if it will be more bitter or sweet.

And the great thing about this style is that it needn't chose one over the other, it can be (indeed, should be) both! Here they co-exist in virtual harmony, as if the brewer somehow made a bitter tasting caramel, or a grapefruit that is as sweet as they normally are sour. No alcohol shows, so far as I could tell. But it could be concealed in the soft rose petal flavour.

The mouthfeel turns out to have lots of ashy, lightly smoky malts; they taste toasted just to the point that any more so and we'd call them roasted. Still, there is a lot of caramel sweetness and, lest you forget, a great deal of hoppy bitterness on the finish. The impression I get is of it being very dry and "nutty", like toasted almonds or hazelnuts.

Betrayal doesn't have the thundering properties to suggest that it's been brewed with the hop head's iron palate in mind, and while that might cost it the highest marks on this site, it should afford it a lot more success with the general populace. And with the amount of character it has, my guess is it will guide that populace to better tastes and higher standards.

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Photo of birchstick
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a brownish chestnut color with a nice tan head

S - smells of biscuit and toasted malt with a bit of grassy hops

T - this starts off with caramel malts and fades to a nice toasted and biscuit malt flavor. This beer is all malts and in a good way. Really flavorful and delicious.

M - super smooth and a nice body

D - one of the best amber ales I have had to date. Big thanks to KevSal for the hook up on this one. If I lived in San Fran I would drink this frequently. Recommended!

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Photo of mikechance
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My tasting is coming from a 22 oz bottle I recently got at BevMo. It has a nice caramel color with a slight head. The smell is very malt heavy --- I can’t pick up anything else. It is a nice tasting beer that is very malty, creamy and smooth with very little aftertaste. I’m picking up a little bitterness and hints of vanilla. It’s a very solid beer, but it doesn’t seem to capture the essence of red ale for me --- as if focusing on the “imperial” (8.2% ABV) was more important than retaining the red ale experience.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep ruby/scarlet/blood red. Very beautiful hue. It pours with about an inch of head, huge globs of lace are left behind.
Caramalts, strawberry, citrus and sweet country white bread make up the smell.
The taste is bready and fruity, with a good amount of hops to bitter it up at the finish. Citrus and herbal hop taste more specifically. I like the balance quite a bit. The brew is thick going down, bit not in a bad way. It's a bit highly carbonated, but not bad.
A little high in price for the style, but still pretty good. I'll probably grab at least one more before they disappear.

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Betrayal Imperial Red from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
86 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.