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Retro Red - The Fort Collins Brewery

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Retro Red
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212 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 212
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 2
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Fort Collins Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Beaver13 on 11-24-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 212 | Reviews: 183 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright clear red body, no visible carbonation, resembes crnberry juie. Topped by four fingers ofoff-white micro bubbly foam.

Sticky sweet malty aroma. Bread from the bakery in the center, with sugar cookie at the edges.

Taste begins sweet, even gooey. Earthy hops arrive to balance, and for the most part they stem the tide while not completely conquering the sweetness. Slight cookie taste in the finish.

A bit thicker than I would typically expect in a red ale. Chewier than their Chocolate Stout. Maybe too thick to be the first beer on a hot day, or to throw back more than a couple in a session.

Not sure what is retro about this, its more of a "moving red ales forward" than a look back. A nice enough beer thats a bit atypical of style.

RonfromJersey, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of akorsak
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased as part of a variety case at Westy's. I've never seen Fort Collins in PA before.

A: The red is just that, a brilliant red color that is dulled by some cola brown highlights. I poured the first half with a big head; on complete fill a quarter-finger head blanketed the glass.

S: The nose is delicious, full of nutty toffee notes. The malt aroma is quite pleasing and is only marginally cut a citrusy hop character.

T: The ale has a solid taste, kicking off with the maltiness from the nose. Here though, the toffee nuttiness is paired nicely with a caramel sweetness, blending the dry and sweet elements. As the malts fade, a hop element comes out that really made my night. The citrusy grapefruit flavor is surprisingly strong, zesting up the taste just as those malts begin to disappear.

M: The hop flavor was a real kick in the pants, unexpected but quite welcome (so maybe not exactly like a kick in the pants). The finish stays with the hops, sending the sip out on a high note.

D: I was expecting a plain Jane brown ale but this one really kept me guessing. A solid beer that I could drink a couple of.

akorsak, Aug 20, 2007
Photo of BitteBier
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, brick red color with an appreciable amount of orangish amber on the fringes. A finger's worth of fine, thick, light brown head that falls off into a thin blanket. Intensely malty in the nose, invoking a Scotch ale with chocolate notes as well. That chocolate hits the palate as a dry cocoa taste amidst of medium-bodies, smooth mouthfeel. The mouthfeel crisps up as the chocolate malts give way to sweeter, slightly fruity flavors and some hops in the finish. An interesting red but not particularly compelling.

BitteBier, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This thing had the most vicious head, I swear I poured it slowly and carefully and still got a half glass of head. The color is as the label describes ruby red. It smells a little musty, the taste is malty, it is an ok beer but not a great beer. It kinda made me think of Fat Tire at first (not good) but then it became its own distinctive beer. I will still be plowing through Ft. Collins lineup as the Rocky Mountain IPA is so damn tasty.

ArrogantB, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of HopDerek
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At first pour, appears more brown in color than red, until held up to the light, then the rich ruby red colors glisten throughout. About an inch of frothy tan head turns into a tiny ring, leaving little to no lacing behind. Smells of burnt caramel and toffee, some chocolate notes, and a hint of pine and earth. Taste is of caramel, burnt toffee, earth tones, and some pine and forest flavors with a touch of nuts. Medium in body with low to medium carbonation with a dry finish. Not as hopped as I was expecting from its bottle description, very sweet and malty, but easy to drink. Doesn't really have anything that makes it stand out though amongst others in the style.

HopDerek, Jul 31, 2007
Photo of garcia2a
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a nice clear deep ruby. The bottles that I got we a bit gaseous, so I got a larger head than I was expecting. The smell is roasty and malty. Very pleasing malt on the mouth, with just a hint of chocolate. Mouthfell was a bit on the robusto side, but to be expected based on the malty characteristics.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. Not one to have 3-4 of them, but a tasty sipper.

garcia2a, Jul 20, 2007
Photo of tgbljb
4.33/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rubyred-brown color with appropriate tannish head.
Smell is a combination of nuttiness, caramel and a mild hop presence.
Taste is superb. The caramel and nuttiness from the malt blend with a strong hop presence to create a truly enjoyable beer.
Finishes with a pleasant taste in the mouth. Great tatste retention.
Very drinkable. Excellent session beer.

tgbljb, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of merlin48
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby mahogany that is very dark for style. Small beige head deposits some sticky lacing. Aroma is caramel, burnt toffee, grassy hops and a hint of citrus. Medium body and carbonation. Taste is sweetish malts with scorched toffee and caramel leading the way. Citrusy orange pulp, bitter grassy hops, and a note of soy sauce add to what becomes a jumbled complexity. A very unusual red ale that is a bit oversweet.

merlin48, May 14, 2007
Photo of Oxymoron
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can you say “Red Banchee.” The pour is a darker red color with strong brown highlights through out. A good head with a little help on the pour. Nice small bubbles with good retention.

The nose is malty with some touches of astringency but yet still sweet. Some touches of caramel and crystal malts. Not much of hops and a more grainy feel than earthy. Some estery notes are detectable with more off aromas then fruitiness.

The taste is also malty with a chalky and dry finish. The astringent taste is a little subdued from what the nose would indicate. I would say it is more nutty or even some biscuit touches instead. Some noticeable fruity esters that just don’t balance and is more of an off flavor than anything. Think paint thinner just not so harsh.

The body is light. And for style should come out more. The dry and chalky notes don’t help out. Also the carbonation is a little high for style, but acceptable. Not bad if not the same beer as I remember from HC Berger.

Oxymoron, May 11, 2007
Photo of atsprings
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep ruby amber with a decent head that slowly diminished to a ring and left some spotty lacing. The aroma was of some burnt caramel and dark malt, even a hint of cocoa. The taste is of caramel with some cherries present along with a light hop backbone. The beer sits light on the palate and the carbonation is good and low. This would make a great session beer.

atsprings, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of jdhilt
3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades quickly to a shallow layer leaving some lace. Nice red/mahogany color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Starts balanced, stays that way with some malt midway, slight dry finish, decent red. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.

jdhilt, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Equal parts brick red and dusky orange with bright tangerine peel trim. Both beer and head are darker than what one normally sees on a red ale. The cap is caramel nougat in color and was on the large side after a less than spirited pour. A mega-bubbly surface leads to sheets of attractive, mega-bubbly lace that cover most of the available glass.

The 'secret' to the dark color is easy to discern with one whiff. It's obvious that the brewery uses a fair amount of dark malt, probably even chocolate malt. In fact, I might have guessed swarzbier if I didn't know any better. Cocoa is something of an odd aroma in a red ale, but not an unwelcome one.

Retro Red is a unique take on the style. It may be the darkest, roastedest red that I've ever had. Thankfully, there's enough fruity hoppiness to lighten things up and provide a contrast to all the malt. These guys aren't kidding when they say this beer has 'an abundance of flavor'.

Each sip delivers cocoa, caramel, bruised apple, toasted walnut and citrus zest (in roughly that order). Sweet and bitter do what they normally do in the course of each mouthful when a beer is relatively balanced. That is, sweet hangs up the 'open' sign and bitter closes down the joint. While it isn't what I'd call spectacular, Retro Red is a well-crafted, flavorful, drinkable ale.

The mouthfeel is a perfect fit for the flavor profile and for the mission at hand. It's medium-full for the style and has enough substance to keep the beer in contact with the taste buds for a sufficiently long time. No letdown here.

Along with Chocolate Stout and Kidd Lager (a schwarzbier), Retro Red is among the best that Fort Collins has to offer. It won me over by being different and by being bold. I'm not sure how retro it is since beer back in the 'good old days' isn't necessarily something to emulate. What I do know is that it's delicious... right here, right now.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of Neehan
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, clear ruby with a good deal of retention. It smells of biscuits and malts with smooth undertones. This continues into the taste with the bready character going into the aftertaste. This is just a bit under balanced, and a bit on the watery side. Stronger, bolder hops are the only thing that keeps this from being a knockout but it is still a nice choice.

Neehan, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of naderator55
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poors out a deep ruby color. Quite dark. When first poured has a 2 inch head. The head quickly dissipates. Smells of biscuits and undertones of caramel. The beer starts with heavy malts and the biscuit and caramel flavors. There is a strong hop byte at the end. The beer has a very frothy feel to it. I could have a couple of these but I dont think I would session on it.

naderator55, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of yemenmocha
3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown, almost a nut brown ale in appearance. Modest head didn't last. Still, quite aromatic but somewhat unpleasant - the caramelly nutty nose just came across in an "off" way to me.

On the palate is a sickly sweet caramel taste with some hop balance, but still it's mostly a caramel extract like sweetness. Finish is short.

yemenmocha, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of Bitterbill
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a clear red-gold with a medium sized head of foam that slowly dissipated leaving about a 1" layer that stayed for the entire session.

The smell has a malty nose to it...perhaps some caramel sweetness there.

The taste is malty but not really sweet. There's some roastiness going on with a bit of hoppy bitterness and there's a bit of a nutty flavour there as well and over all, I'd have to say it makes for an off the beaten track tasting Red Ale that hits *my* palate nicely.

Bottom line: I like this Red Ale and I'm going to get some more, no doubt about it.

Bitterbill, Jul 30, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.43/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass deep amber with a brownish character and an off-tan low head which was quite persistent.

The aroma was malty and nutty. The majority of the contribution was caramel malt but the nutty character seemed to be that of Munich. At the end of the aroma was just a slight vegetal note that came after a fairly moderate level of fruitiness.

The flavor was fruity and lightly vegetal with chocolate being a predominant trait. Caramel came next, but not at a high level. The bittering was high enough to quickly dry out the beer.

The finish was dry and vegetal, too long into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a good carbonation. The vegetal flavor and aroma kept this from being a great beer and the finish being dry just punctuated the vegetal flavor. Does not seem to be infected, more a trait that was already present in the brew.

12 ounce bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of karengarys
2.93/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours deep ruby with a small ring of foam.

Smells - coffee like?

Tastes - a bit stout like with pepper and malts?

Mouthfeel is good and creamy.

Body is medium.

Finish is spicey.

I don't really recommend this brew, it is okay, better than a macro-brew anything, but to me its just fair.

karengarys, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of jbschafer
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I love the beers from Fort Collins brewery and this is one of my least favorites. Having said that, notice how highly I rated it (especially for me). This tells you this is a good beer. I too am sad to see this is retired.

The beer poured (into an official FCB pint glass none the less) a deep amber color with a strong tan head of nearly an inch. While this head dropped to a thin 1/8 inch head relatively quickly, it stayed at that for the rest of the drink (20 minutes?). A beautiful lace was left the whole way down the glass (How have I not noted this before. This is beautiful).

The aroma is a very heady, earthy, malt smell with no noticable hops.

The first taste is hard to describe, but once acclimated, the flavors of of tannin and spice is very strong and somewhat cloying.

As I said before, not one of my favorites, and I would only drink one or two in a session due to the heavy malty flavor, but a GREAT beer with a grilled Iowa Chop dinner.

jbschafer, May 31, 2006
Photo of benito
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the few ale offerings from the Fort Collins Brewery, this is a deep amber with an ample head. The bouquet is sugary, with hints of strawberry, and its flavor has hints of creme brulee and fruit juice. What I enjoyed most about this brew is the way it slowly reveals its complexity and nuances over the course of a full pint. The fine balance of a juicy maltiness and a bitter finish allows different, new aspects of the beer to emerge one by one. Even now as I write this, and continue to sip, I'm starting to detect a more pronounced floral presence in the palate than earlier. Were this slightly lighter and spritzier, I might be able to have three or four and enjoy the depth of this brew.

I'm a huge fan of FBC's lagers, and Retro Red proves that they're just as adept with ales as well. A worthwhile amber from a great brewery.

benito, May 12, 2006
Photo of Erdinger2003
2.58/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this from HyVee W and S in Cedar Falls and I was very surprised to see it was retired. It makes me wish I would've rated the Sam Adams triplebock.

Appears to be very dark in ruby color with a little head and a lacing that sticks very well.

I smell a nutty coffeeness, but not much of it.

Taste is dark coffee malts with a very slight dark fruit in the nose.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, like a slightly creamy water.

I was glad to try it, but if it was fresh that would've been nice too.

Erdinger2003, Apr 27, 2006
Photo of aforbes10
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure why this beer is listed as retired. it's been showing up in our local stores here in Indiana all the time. Anyway, i thought i'd try it since a friend bought a six pack. Pours a reddish amber color, like dark caramel. no head, some lacing. Malty odor, nothing special. Taste is roasty and malty. some hops in the finish. pretty good flavor, although it tastes more like a porter than a red to me. Mouthfeel is smooth with a small bite. Overall not bad. the porter-like roastiness kind of contravenes the consistency of the red. I'd have it again but it's overall a bit forgettable.

aforbes10, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of RBorsato
4.7/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on 1/18/06 at Bricks (Beer Bar) in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Ruby red in color as expected with a off-white to light beige head. Hoppy citrus aroma dominates the nose. Even though the citrusy hops are also prominent in flavor, this beer has a nice malt profile and is balanced exceptionally well. Medium bodied and easy drinking.

I believe this beer is a regular production beer now and that's a darn good thing. Very nice balanced beer here -- beats the tires off of Fat Tire. This is a classic American Amber Ale.

Per Label: "Retro Red Specialty Ale"

RBorsato, Feb 10, 2006
Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: dark amber - ruby, very clear, a foamy tan head leaves the glass loaded with lacing...appearance is a tad darker than most ambers but its pretty solid nonetheless

smell: nicely toasted caramel malts are the highlight, some grassy hops to balance it out, dates, apple, some mild cocoa definitely present

taste: i get some cocoa hints right up front, caramel toasted malt, pretty fruity...apple, date. a little nutty, grassy and herbal hop presence with some mild citrus

mouthfeel: medium body, good feel

drinkability: very drinkable, quite good

dirtylou, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of WesWes
4.43/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice pale and crystal malt scent along with a mild hop aroma that adds a fine balance. The taste is great as well. It has a sweet and roasted flavor that goes down easy and finishes earthy with a toasted aftertaste. The flavor boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great brew. I love the roasted malt flavor as well as the hops in the aroma. It's well balanced and highly drinkable.

WesWes, Jan 16, 2006
Retro Red from The Fort Collins Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 212 ratings.