Island Red | Roots Organic Brewery

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Island RedIsland Red
16 Ratings
Island RedIsland Red

Brewed by:
Roots Organic Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RedDiamond on 08-18-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 15
Photo of shelby415
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of Docer
3.86/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a frothy bomber of this at a favorite market...
- Great red/amber appearance.. huge head w/ massive lacing....

- Massive sour and bright hop with very bready malts.. clean and fine.... also odd....

- Super sour smell... strange and yet infiltrated.. some caramel.. huge bitter hop prifile.... hard to say.. the sour notes make me think something happened here...

- smooth malts and grain... light, huge carbonation... but not much depth.... really light, with very little hop essence...

- Light, bubbly... dry... bitter....

- Not all thad good really.... I think I got a bad bottle... or it's just too damn organic! But it slides well because the taste isnt all that bad... just carbonated to hell like most the Roots stuff I have had...

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Photo of koopa
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky red brown....iced tea like in every way. Beige frothy 2 finger foam head with loads of retention and lacing.

Smell: A mixed bag....tea, tropical fruit, slight, touch of roast malt and even a coffee note!!!

Taste: roast malt, butter, caramel, and both citrus as well as floral hops.

Mouthfeel: Very thin and lackluster. Especially considering how creamy the crown is.

Drinkability: The mouthfeel is the real killer for me here.

Not bad....this organic amber tastes like its half way between a regular micro and a cask selection.

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Photo of jdense
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber purchased at Whole Foods into pint glass.

BIG fairly rocky light brown head with good retention and decent lacing. Mahogany reddish body. Quite a bit of malt in the nose, grassy hoppiness offset by soapy horse blanket taste and moderately astringent mouthfeel. I've had better bottles of this brew, so this may be more of a funky batch. I like the ideas of organic breweries (HUB, f.e.), so I am willing to give this another chance.

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Photo of Spikester
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No pouring or foaming issues. Pours dark amber with a small off white head. Nice aroma of hop resins. Fair amount of lacings. Taste is bitter funky earthy leather hops with a lesser amount of sweet malts. Served about 50 deg. F. Carbonation is average. Some yeast funk. Very interesting Red Ale. Macho version for sure. Sessionable due to 5.6% abv. Hop levels may move this into Imperial levels.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge frothing monster head.I HATE when bottle do this even with a very gentle pour. Hazy amber beer eventually makes an appearance below the head. Nice malty aroma balanced by slightly grassy hops. Taste is like WOW, very strange. Bitter malts, hops and a weird ,funky dry bubbly,thick with oat like flavour. I like it but it is very odd on the palate. Like thousands of micro bubbles and yet thick and smooth. One of the strangest " reds" I have ever had.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into an imperial pint glass.

A-Poured a tan head, very big (uncontrolably big, due to overcarbonation). Deep amber color, cloudy (made me think bottle conditioning. The last little bit poured into the glass made the remaining beer significantly more cloudy (again, making me think bottle conditioning).

S-Fruity esters with some hoppy aromas. No malt aroma.

T-Initial light fruitiness with some toasty malt notes, fades into strong bitterness and herbal, earthy hop flavors. Some possible astringency, peering over a subtle sweet maltiness.

M-Ultra-high carbonation, resulting in an too-big head; not appropriate to style, nor a beer in general. Too high of carbonation level created an almost uncomfortable mouthfeel. Beyong this fault, a light mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish, dominated by a heavy-feeling hop bitterness.

D-Moderate-low drinkability, due primarily to carbonation. However, astringent tones also made this not an easy beer to drink at times.

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Photo of froghop
2.32/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

slow pour produced a glass full of foam, after dumping that eventually got a little bit of cloudy dark copper with a huge beige head, good lacing, overall actually too much foam.

smell is faint, some malt, some earth, some caramel, few hops, musty like a box of old clothes.

taste is moth balls, raw hops, some malt, some caramel, the foam is very bitter, and that wonderful organic aftertaste that ruins almost all beers., end is slightly bitter.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Electric red-orange-copper with bright Sunkist edges. As always, backlighting helps immensely. Atop the beer sits a thick slice of foam the color of orange-brown sugar mousse. As the head melts, tiny repeating patterns of lace appear that look like they've been etched into the glass.

I hate to say it. I *really* hate to say it, but Island Red has that clay-like off-aroma that a lot of organically brewed beer has. Organic beer shouldn't smell and taste different, but it does. Much of it, anyway. In addition, there's a fruity hoppiness that does its best to pull things up to average. And barely succeeds.

Same thing on the palate, although a little less noticeable. Thankfully, there's enough caramel malt and enough citrus fruity American hops to overcome what is now a tolerable off-flavor. A semi-snappy back end bitterness makes the stated 62.5 IBUs easy to believe. An interesting aside: the brewery calls this a 'red stout'. Huh? Whatever dude.

The flavor profile consists of sweetish caramel, tart and tangy fruit (orange, lemon, white grapefruit), a mild spruciness and a dull woodiness that is able to be more easily ignored as the alpha acids continue to scrub the tongue and taste buds. This isn't bad beer in the end, but it isn't exactly good beer either.

The mouthfeel is right where it should be for the style and the ABV. It's at least medium and manages to deliver a little creaminess along the way. I've only had two Roots brews so far, but they seem to have nailed mouthfeel.

Island Red is okay beer that needs to lose some sourness and whatever the hell is causing that off-flavor. If you think you're saving the planet by drinking it, more power to you. This just in: the planet is in no danger whatsoever and would prefer that you drink better beer.

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Photo of ccrida
2.26/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz. bomber poured into my Meantime Snifter, Roots Island Red is murky dark bronze with a modest, bone colored head that is fairly dense, leaving foamy lace.

Smell is sweeter, brown sugar and caramel, a fair amount plasticy phenols, with some fruitiness and noel spices coming out as it warmed. Still, it never charmed me.

Taste is very bitter, sharp, with little to no specialty malt character, just phenols and hop oils, with nothing positive to stand on. I've had this before on draught over the last year or two and each time is less pleasant then the last. I like Roots, and wanted to like this one, but it's not my style at all. Give me richer, cleaner malt and hop flavor and aroma over bitterness. I served around 45F, and got a touch better as it warmed, with some toasted bread notes, although a touch metallic feeling as well.

Mouthfeel is dry, prickly, very bitter finish coats the mouth. The acridness makes it seem stronger then it is, alcohol-wise.

Drinkability is low, for me, I didn't bother finishing the bottle. I'm hopefully done trying for this beer - Roots makes much better ones!

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Photo of WonderfulSam
4.26/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gosh, I can't believe the low scores below me. I think this stuff is GREAT. Rich, rusty, hazy red color with a rocky very offwhite head. The smell is not remarkable, with a bit of malt and earth the only things that come out. The taste is big and bold. Well balanced sweetish malt, grain, yeast, and a BIG herbal hop flavor that carries the whole thing. I found it bold but well balanced and well done. The mouthfeel is full and fluffy and the herbal hops give it a dry feeling, with a yeasty coating in the end. VERY drinkable in my opinion. I just had 22oz and want 22 more.

Maybe I just got a good bottle. Or maybe I just drink WAY too much beer?

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Photo of bitterthebetter
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep inviting red brown with chunky white head

Aromas of typical dry hops, caramel malt, and piney hops

FLavors of dry hops, caramel malt and piney hops but much more malty upfront with a smooth persisting hops.

A pretty smooth, good bodied, and balanced red, which can be hard to find.

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Photo of msubulldog25
2.82/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a pint of this beer two nights in a row, on-tap at two different locations. First night it was decent, thought I'd give it a second try for kicks...

A: A murky red-brown. Minimal splotchy white head with traces of clingy lace. Carbonation isn't noticeable by looking from the side but is evident in abundance while looking from above during a sip.

S: Served a little cold so not much smell. As it's agitated and warmed, a slight roasted nut flavor mingles with some larger piney hops.

T: Bam! a huge bitterness that doesn't go away. There's some level of malt/grain that creeps in the warmer the beer gets; mostly bitter hops are all I taste - not a balanced beer. The review by Gavage on 7/23/06 sounds like an entirely different beer (all fruit, no hops)...I'm confused. Anyway, this one has unbalanced bitterness that I've tasted in few other beers.

M: Medium body. Carbonation gives a prickliness...oddly, this is neither "crisp" nor smooth" - somewhere in the middle.

D: I finished the beer both times. On it's own this beer is not very good, but with food (grilled shrimp in one instance, a burger in the other) it did improve its "drinkability" level a bit. Still I'd pass on this one...

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Photo of Gavage
3.12/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: a very hazy reddish amber color with a thin 1/4" head that falls apart immediately. A spot or two of lacing develops. No noticeable carbonation bubbles.

Smell: caramel candy and ripe black plums sweetness are detectable but weak.

Taste: pretty strong malt level which causes this to be a bit unbalanced. Red apple, black plums, and an all around sweet fruitiness has no bittering components to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: smooth with a bit of crispness at the start, smooth at the finish. Medium bodied. Sweetness sticks to the tongue.

Drinkability: No great shakes here. If you want a sweet malty beverage this will hit the spot. Otherwise seek something else.

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Photo of mashmstr2
2.67/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I keep hoping for some refinemement within the Roots beers, this beer once again disappoints...

I think beer experimentation and exploration is wonderful thing, but try it first in a pilot brewing system first!

The beer is murky red in color with a small head with big bubbled lacing.

Big huge blistering hops aroma with little to no malt detected.

Flavor is over powered by bitterness and a haphazardly huge addition of hops. Some closed their eyes and shoveled the hop into the kettle. Obnoxiously bitter with probably high alpha hops used for bittering and aroma. Way over done! Barely any malt detected, although there is an underlying silkiness on the tongue. Maybe some oats or the like added which could have lended to a European Red in style which would have a creamy silky texture with a dry maltiness and balanced hops.

the finish is just tongue numbing hops and slight crystal twist on the back of the palate.

While I enjoy a decent hoppy beer and/or an experimental beer... this beer is so all over the map in concept and over done with hops, it's just a poorly concepted beer, adding no new ground to the experimentation of style.

The malt is lacking, the hop choice and usage is poor. The oat (?) addition doesn't work with rest of the recipe.

Back to the drawing board for this beer.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What follows is an updated review after a revisitation of this beer in October '08, three years after first trying it. My conclusion is that they've worked the bugs out of their brewing process and the beer is much improved:

A raw, gutsy beer with blistering bitterness and a lot of edge. What it lacks in refinement and smoothness, Island Red more than makes up for in attitude. It is dense rust colored with a wet tobacco aroma and a gruff finish earned from 63 IBUs of scorched earth hops. It is not for the faint of heart and likely won't gain traction with craft beer novices. But it's worth the effort give this one a sample and keep an open mind.

Roots calls this a "Red Stout" for its inclusion of oats, though this fails to deliver the rich creaminess promised on the menu. Instead, it exhibits an alt-ish, nut brown quality with earthy notes. Try it with spicy food and proceed with caution.

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Island Red from Roots Organic Brewery
Beer rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 16 ratings