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Hale's Red Menace Big Amber - Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub

Not Rated.
Hale's Red Menace Big AmberHale's Red Menace Big Amber

Educational use only; do not reuse.

57 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 90
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 14.96%
Wants: 0
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: freed on 09-23-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 90
Photo of zeff80
3.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a very cloudy, muddy, brown color almost like water from the Mississippi. It had a small, tan, bubbly head.

S - It smelled grassy, floral and of pine and citrus.

T - It tasted of burnt toast maltiness with a piney/citrusy hop kick. One of the hopppier ambers around.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Despite its unusual appearance it tasted quite good. Pretty hoppy and malty.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Flawless coppery orange suffused with a dash of red. The ecru colored cap picks up a faint orange cast from the beer beneath and looks, for all the world, like it belongs on an IPA. The foam is milkshake thick with a rumpled, heavily pitted surface and leaves scads of pocked lace that covers the majority of the available glass. It doesn't look menacing, but does look good.

I'd call beer this an IPA if I didn't know different. The nose isn't as spectacularly hoppy as the best of that style, but it's certainly more hoppy than almost any amber ale that I can think of. Sweet caramel and brown sugar are appreciated as well. The top notes consist of a Pacific NW hoppiness that reminds me of (from most prominent to least) orange, grapefruit and pine.

While Red Menace Big Amber is still pretty hoppy on the palate, it isn't quite the 'be all and end all' hoppy amber that I'd hoped for. In addition, it feels a tad undermalted. There's no shortage of well-toasted caramel malt flavor though. It's interesting that a small amount of black malt was used. I can't believe that's a common ingredient for a beer of this style.

There's a juicy orange, lemon and grapefruit hoppiness that doesn't dig in as ferociously as I'd like (for which I'll blame the too light body/mouthfeel). The beer is more sour than it is bitter. Bitter attempts to make a comeback on the long finish, but never does completely offset the tangy puckeriness.

The Red Menace label sports a statue of Lenin with a partial border of hop cones. Although it falls short of revolutionary, Hale's had the right idea and deserves points for chutzpah. With a tweak or two, this could be one for the ages, unlike those wannabe revolutionary Communists. That Red Menace is no more, but this Red Menace is alive and kicking.

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Photo of oberon
3.89/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light amber more of a copper color really with a very thin wispy head that was gone very quickly,ahh very nice left coast hoppy nose very piney over top of light roasted and caramel malt.A tad thin in the mouthfeel department but not watery, I like a good hoopy red and this fits the bill quite piney,citrusy flavors they dominate over a lightly sweet biscuity malt base but its pretty well balanced in flavors.A pretty nice hoppy red ale here a tad thin like I said bit its very drinkable and has a great hop profile.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, ruby red body with a fizzy, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma of toasted bread crusts, citrus fruits, and caramelized sugars.

Taste: Toasty, chewy caramel malt flavor with a decent amount of sweetness. Plenty of citrus fruitiness, but the overall bitterness remains light. Fairly mild finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad, but not all that exciting either.

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Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Scored this at Davidson's. Pours coppery red with 2+ fingers of chunky sand colored pudding-skin head. Very good lacing & excellent head retention

S: Rich cakeyness, toasted malt & some grainyness, flattens out as this warms

T: Caramel with metallic & herbal hops up front. Hop tea with woody dryness/vanilla are there as this warms. Finishes with grapefruit, dryness, some tartness, toasted malt with herbal & metallic hops

MF: Medium-bodied with low carbonation& skews a bit hoppy

Drinks too easy, but as an amber this one is kind of all over the map. Not a bad red/amber

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a frothy, initially two-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves a bit of lacing on the side of my glass. The beer itself has a brilliantly clear, dark red color with a touch of amber to it. As I pour this brew I get a nicely hoppy aroma of grapefruit and even a touch of pine. Once I go in for a more in depth look at the aroma, I notice that it is quite well balanced between malt and hop notes. Caramelized malt sugars, bread crust notes and biscuit character mix with the soft, afore-mentioned, overlaid hop notes.

The taste has a nice creaminess to it along with a chewy, malty body to it that is quite nice. This malt is immediately balanced by a sharp, yet in line, biting bitterness that lingers on in the finish. The hops show up from the get go; starting out as a light grapefruit / bergamot note, then moving to a herbaceous, pine and even menthol like note that intermingles with the bitterness that one is left with after the beer has passed. The bitterness is not all that remains though, as, in keeping with the overall balanced character of the beer, a nice chewy malt note remains lingering on the palate; light sweet in a caramelized way and with a nice toasted, cracker like note that just rounds out the edges. While I describe this beer as balanced, it really is a hoppy brew with a nice malt profile.

This is perfectly fine with me as I am in the mood for some hops tonight. A well made beer, that is better than I was expecting. In the end this is just a really nice quaffing beer, it is certainly not any where near the biggest, or the most original, but the components & flavors are all here at a level that makes for quite a sociable brew. I can't wait to try some more of Hale's Ales.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 picked up today at the COOP... paid about $3.75... poured into my shaped SA glass...

just shy of a 2 finger head.. surprising lace throughout the entire glass.. the brew is a polished amber...

nose is "fresh" .. caramel malts and a descent amount of C-hops.. a little bit of yeasty fruitiness that reminds me of underripe plums..

Flavor is expected maltiness with lesser caramel than the nose.. but the hops are also less.. less citric and more grassy.. there is an odd metallic not that lingers mid palate through the finish.. it isn't overpowering by any means .. just probably shouldn't be there.. as it warms.. the caramel sorta turns into a biscuity element.. the body is a little lite but the carbonation is where it should be..

Overall... this tastes pretty fresh right now.. but I don't expect it to hold well... the metallic note sorta sticks around but doesn't distract too badly... overall.. just an okay amber.. I doubt I'll buy it again.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured a vrimson color with good carbonation and a nice white head

S: Bread, green fresh hops, caramel

T: Caramel, green hops and some bread, perhaps toasted

M: Lighter bodied and very thing mouthfeel, barely detect booze

D: Not bad but not good either

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium coppery amber with light red notes and a half finger off-white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of biscuit and light caramel malt, light citrus and grassy hops with a hint of fruit. Flavor follows with biscuit and mildly caramel malt, citrus and grassy hops with a light note of sweet citrus fruit that comes forward in the later part of the taste to provide a pleasant introduction to the light citrus hop finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A nice amber ale that has enough fruit in the flavor to be in red ale territory, although it is not a distinctive red. I'm a big red ale fan and am ambivalent about ambers, so this one tasted fine to me as a more full flavored amber if a mild red ale. Plenty going on here for an under 5% ale, I'm pleased. I've found Hale's to be a solid brewery and this is in that category. I'm surprised by the relatively low rating for this one.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: dark amber-brown in color with a thin finger of tan head. Pretty dark for an amber, but nice.

Smell: light, caramelly malt aroma with a nice whiff of citrus hops. Pretty light, but I like it.

Taste: nice balance of caramel and biscuity malt flavors. Hops are slightly earthy, slightly citrusy, and nicely bitter. Overall well-crafted and well-balanced, though there's a bit of a sourness which is a bit off-putting. It's light, though, and doesn't adversely affect the beer too much.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent level of carbonation. It works for me.

Drinkability: the sourness aspect of the flavor prevents me from giving this a better score, as it seems to build on the palate in a not-so-good way. Otherwise, this is an eminently quaffable session amber.

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Photo of beertunes
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clear, just very slightly hazy, medium dark red with about 1/4 inch of light tan head that had moderate retention and lacing.

The aroma was fairly typical for the style, solid, slightly sweet, malt base with just enough hops floating around for a bit of a citrus tingle. The story on the tongue is similar, solid malts with a little sweetness, a nice blend of hops for contrast and a tangy citrus hop finish.

The body was also averageish for the style, medium bodied and for the most part smooth. Drinkability is very good, this could easily be your sixer for a cookout at the neighbors.

Overall, a solidly decent brew. Worth trying if this style is what you're in the mood for.

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Photo of Gusler
3.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer evacuates the stubby 12 ounce bottle a deep reddish brown, the head is average in size, two fingers or so, the color white, the texture semi-creamy, as it disappears, the lacing forms a thin but covering sheet. Nose is sweet malt, fresh, with the hops providing a nice pine like aroma. Start has a nice malt presence, somewhat sweet, but with a bit of tartness, top is light to medium in its feel to the palate. Finish has a decent hop bite, the acidity acceptable, dry aftertaste, a drinkable beer, a nice change of pace for me.

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Photo of ccrida
3.12/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic, Red Menace is a murky dark chestnut with a thin ivory head that leaves moderate lace. I like the color but there's not enough head.

Smell is soft toasted malt, semi-sweet with perhaps a touch of brown sugar.

Taste doesn't have that touch of sweetness on the nose, and is pretty standard toasted malt amber, with no distinct hop pressance to speak of flavor or bittering wise. I've done a NW amber tasting tonight and this one is perfectly average. No real flaws, but totally indistinct. Not sure exactly how strong this is, they only give the OG, which is pretty pointless w/o the FG! Still, it's 1.056, so if this finished at say 1.015, it's only 5.3%...not very big at all!

Mouthfeel is average, perhaps a bit slick and thin.

Drinkability is average. Blah, boring, one and done with this one.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. No date or info.

A - Red Menace pours quietly despite it's tall height and settles to a crystal clear red-amber color with an off-white head. The retention was rather low but it left some thin fingers of lace on the glass.

S - Toasted bread and flaky biscuit emerges from the nose immediately followed by a grassy, green, and slightly floral hop aroma. The amber malts become less distinct the longer it sits. I'm starting to pick up a metallic touch which, coincidentally, goes away as well. A swirl releases more of the citrus from the hops. It's a decent amber nose.

T - The toasted bread and biscuit flavor remains from the amber malts but is forcefully pushed to the background from the amount of strong-armed hops in this. Lots of bitterness and pine potency with a grassy backing and hint of citrus. It's a pretty hoppy amber.

M - Medium-bodied and round, Big Amber is big in hop flavor and bitterness. The finish has a dry, bitter kick and a hard mouthfeel. It's not really on the smooth side bit all-in-all it works decently.

D - This amber is a little hoppier than I like mine to be, but it's brewed well nonetheless. The bitterness with a low malt backing is the issue for me though. Still a solid beer but it lands around the lawnmower side of the scale. One is enough for this reviewer.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.82/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well the name and the labeling are crafty with the whole Stalin-communism vibe but the beer looks more like light brown disappointment than red menace and I prefer American-Imperialist vibes anyway. The smell is a little like perfume and reminds me of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale which is instantly a good sign. It leaves a dry after taste, has a good pale ale flavor, slight bit of grassy hops, bitter, good stuff but nothing approaching Nugget Nectar. In addition to this and the Mongoose, Hale’s is looking like a good addition to the selection here.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one is a dark, brownish-red in color with a beautiful off-white head with moderate retention and good lacing.

Smell – The big leafy citrus hops are evenly mixed with the thick malts. The malts are somewhat biscuity with some good sweetness. The sweets are refined sugars and very well done.

Taste – The hops here are leafy, not the big PacNW pine or super-charged citrus that you often get in these parts. The biscuit from the nose comes out in the taste and is, again, very leafy and almost green. Overall a very powerful and balanced flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This is much bigger than medium-bodied but I wouldn’t call it full. There’s some vegetal bitterness in the mouth along with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability – This really is a Big Amber Ale that went down quite well. It’s a heavy hitter for sure and offers a rare glimpse of a big, malty ale brewed here in the PacNW.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This really should not be labelled as a big beer as the flavours are not in your face but rather aimed at drinakbility. I like this beer but it is not a typical big special edition. Lots of malt with a good balance this just goes down easy with an attention to quality. Drink with the feeling that the next pint will also be as smooth.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 10/9/08. Bottle courtesy of scrizzz. Pours a deep, dark amber with a very small white head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of light sweet fruits (raspberry seeds) and sweet malt. Flavor of nice light fruity sweetness (more raspberry and strawberry seeds). Nice, light, and tasty.
7/4/8/4/14 (3.7/5)

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Say what you will about old Vladimir, but he deserved a more hearty ale than this. Menace is crimson with a thin film of ivory-colored head and a few stray wisps of lace. It is mostly clear, of medium carbonation, and has a distant aroma of malt fruits with a vague suggestion of hops. Its flavor is of simple pale malt sweetness with an informal bittering compliment that is neither deflated nor memorable.

Menace's most standout quality may be its nicely contoured body, which is rounded and appropriately chewy and significantly more pronounced than in bottled form. Other than that, the Red Menace is routine. Inoffensive but indistinct.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber. Very nice lookin amber in my pint shaker. Amber with red trints with a nice sized bubbly/frothy tan head, that goes fas but leaves nice laceing. A very "caramel" aroma to this one almost to the point of butteryness actually quite inviting. Again I liked the malty/toffee sweet flavour of this only broken up by a hint of bitterness as the mouthful vanishes down the throat. Nice on the palte, sweet but not sickeningly so. I liked this beer a nice laid back sweet amber!

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Photo of argock
3.39/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass

A: Murky red-brown ale with mountainous foamy head with numerous clumps floating.

S: Sweet and toasted malts dominate the nose with not a lot of woody, earthy hops aromas.

T: Flavors seem mismatched with an extremely sweet malt backing with highly citrus hops that give this beer a lot of cardboard flavors with a very dry finish.

M: The strange combination of overly sweet malt and orangy citrus hops flavors and dry finish leaves an unpleasant mouthfeel. Medium-to-full body with more-than-expected carbonation. Aftertaste is mainly toasted malt flavors.

D: A unique attempt at a strong red ale that doesn't quite come off.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.75/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a slightly hazy reddish amber with hardly any head at all.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt, toffee and some hops.

The flavor is some sweet caramel malt with a pretty big metallic bitterness. It tastes a little vegetal. The mouthfeel is medium and watery with almost no carbonation.

Overall, some off notes make this a slightly substandard hoppy amber.

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Photo of Redrover
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hales Red Menace drank from an imperial pint at the Elephant and Castle in downtown Seattle. The beer is a dark red with a light tan head.

Caramel malts and slight citrus in the nose.

Taste leads with caramel malts that are slightly roasted. It is well balanced with some light hops (centennial) that lend a pine note and add balance. It is almost dry in the finish.

The mouth is thickish and slightly oily.

I thought it was an easy drinker that is well balanced. Nice example of what a red can be.

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Photo of Offa
2.36/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a fairly typical, heavy-handed, west-coast red ale, rather similar to Napa Smith beers in particular and not a very auspicious introduction to a brewery about which I'd heard a lot.

Hazy red amber, it has a medium orange-tan head soon shrinking to a foamy ring. Aroma is caramelised citrus, very flowery, pungent, with an exceedingly perfumy character that i find hard to pin down, and mixed citrus, dust and pine needles, but overly strong and rather unpleasant. It's specifically similar to Napa Smith Amber Ale but also broadly similar to many other west coast beers of this style which I have had. It's unbalanced and unpleasant.

The taste is similar, if not as unpleasant as the aroma, It's sweetish up front before bitterness moves to the fore at the finish and aftertaste, but overall sweetness-bitterness are at least pretty balanced at first. Caramelised grain and perfumy, grapefruity citrus dominate the character and esp. the aftertaste. The balance slowly destabilises and drinkability, never high, soon plummets.

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Photo of woemad
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $1.66. The label features the statue of Comrade Lenin that was rescued from a post-Soviet scrapheap and placed in "the center of the universe" (Fremont, Seattle, if you didn't get the memo). It commands the drinker to "join the party." I think this party has been over for a while, though there's no freshness date to confirm it.

Poured a reddish amber color, with a small white head that vanished quicker than Jim West's hopes for a gubernatorial bid. Tiny bits of lace can be seen on the sides of the glass.

Smell was of mild, herbal hops and bready malt. Not a terribly interesting smelling beer, but not bad smelling, either.

The taste is a bit more interesting than the smell, but not even an old bolshevik would say it was in a revolutionary way. The bulk of this beer's flavor comes from it's mildly sweet maltiness. There is also a mild, herbalish hoppy bite to provide balance, but the hoppiness is subordinate to the malts. This is ok tasting, but it's far from being anything worth writing home about.

Very low amount of carbonation. It could definitely use a little more in this department. This is medium bodied, but the lack of carbonation makes it seem almost leaden. Agitating the beer heavily seems to help it, but that's a temporary fix, unless the drinker wants to be constantly spinning their pintglass.

This is either too old, or it is a flawed beer. I'm not sure which. This could be a halfway decent session amber if there was a little more to it in several areas.

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Hale's Red Menace Big Amber from Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub
79 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.