XS Imperial Red | Rogue Ales

very good
191 Reviews
XS Imperial RedXS Imperial Red

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
12 Ingredients:
Malts: Great Western Harrington, Klages, Hugh Baird Crystal, Black, Munich, Chocolate and rolled oats.
Hops: Willamette, Cascade and Chinook.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

19.4º PLATO
58 IBU
76 AA
47º Lovibond

Added by TurdFurgison on 12-22-2007

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Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 291
Photo of Snow81
4.78/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark, Hazy, Reddish amber

Smell: Dark hoppy citric, some roosted malts, and almost a small amount of heat

Head: Nice tan head but dissipates quickly

Taste: Heavy malts with a deep hardy citric, some heat on the backend

Weight: Very heavy, carbonation seems a bit low

Finish: Hops blanket the palate and the heat is in the background, lips sticky

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Photo of AleWeizengarten
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cloudy amber pour, good head. Earthy smokey taste, serious flavor with just enough bitterness on the end. Good carbonation with very small bubbles rising through the opaque crimson goodness. Solid dark chocolately infusion with toasty fruit hints make for a fully gratifying ale with a badass abv. Drink this shit up.

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Photo of loren01
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark reddish color with good sized frothy white head
S: Smell is sweet and fruity. Smells of dark fruits.
T: Taste is sweet and malty up front, good hop bitterness toward the aftertaste. Nice dark fruity flavors in there
M: Medium to heavy bodied beer, good amount of carbonation
D: This one is a sipper, reminds me a lot of a barleywine. Very good beer....I would buy this again for sure.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml ceramic swing-top bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright coppery red color, with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, some hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is malty up front with sweet flavors of caramel, tea and citrus. Then there's a strong hops bitterness that comes in to provide a good balance. There's a mild alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, like all of the XS Series beers that I've had, this is a good beer with a lot of strength and a lot of substance that is well-worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of golf4collet
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Poured from bottle into nonic glass. Very nice deep dark red color with thick tan head. Not absolutely clear, but fairly clear. Smells of carmel and hop. Taste is sweet at first, then turns very bitter. No pine taste like the usual hoppy beer, just bitterness. The sweet and bitter balance perfectly. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to trying this one, but I'm very glad I did. By far the best Red I've ever had. The 9% doesn't make this beer a session, but it is a great beer to sip throughout the evening.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this at the huge kickbacks dinner in Jacksonville, FL. I took some notes but mostly doing this from memory.
Appearance: garnett complexion
Smell: hoppy and nice caramel from malts
Taste: quite poissbly the best beer of the night. big fan of imperial reds. this was a great one. huge caramel and huhge hops. great combo

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7oz bottle purchased as a single from Glen Beverage, Glen, NH.

Poured into an Otter Creek Imp Series tulip, formed a 1/2" tan head over the cloudy burgundy copper brew. Head recedes gradually, with leggy, sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet, with potent green hops character.

Taste is malty upfront, fruity in the middle, and closes with substantial hops bitterness, but flavor as well. No bitter just for bitter's sake here, balances well. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and drinkability is great. Glad these are back in the non-ceramic bottles, those were just too much of a $$$ investment.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring a deep amber with red tinges, Imperial Red has an intensely sweet nose, malty sugars (maple syrup, apricot, orange) intermingling with grapefruit-like, rosewater-laden hops. So sugary is the nose that I felt as if i were sniffing liquid candy, or what would happen if Jolly Rancher outsourced their flavors division to a champagne factory.

On the tongue the ale turns out to be far hoppier that the nose belied, the grapefruit/pine bitterness coming in at medium to medium-heavy strength (58 IBU). Beneath that, however, is a sublime layer of malts containing an incredibly complex and nuanced variety of sugars. Maple syrup is here, but also port wine and cognac flavors, strong hints of oak, vanilla, spiced orange liqueur, and lychee nut. The only detraction is that the high alcohol content (8.25% ABV) does result in a slight alcohol twang. The sugars last well into the aftertaste, then peel back to let the hops shine one final time, and just at the end is a port-like swirl. Mouthfeel is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent ale. It might be argued that the hops could be toned down slightly to better let the malts shine through, but I don't personally have any problems with the ratios. The beer is also slightly more expensive than usual (probably because of the fancy ceramic bottle), but it's well worth the cost.

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Photo of dngilb
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was sort of surprised to see only a B+ coming from this beer. It is one of my top five favorites right now. I've had beers from the Ratebeer.com top 20 for 2010... and I find myself enjoying this XS Rogue Imperial Red far more.

Taste: There is chocolate, but not very sweet... not real bitter. The bitterness comes instead from a perfectly balanced blend of hops that give a sort of grapefruit citrus notes, without being sour. There are other flavors that I'm having a hard time putting my finger on... its not a coffee flavor, but its some fruit flavors and wine like flavor that I find in pulp natural processed african coffees when brewed in a french press or a cafe solo. Please don't take that to mean you're going to taste coffee. You aren't. But if you are blessed enough to live in a city with a true "third wave" coffee establishment... Double Shot Tulsa, Barefoot in Portland, Intelligentsia... then I think you'll see what i'm talking about.

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Photo of EStreet20
4.41/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fancy, 26 ounce ceramic bottle. I still miss the very reasonably priced 12 ounce Rogue XS glass bottles but I do have to admit this bottle is cool looking. Been ecited about the Rogue Imperial Red since I first saw that article about it on BA.

Poured into a snifter glass.

A - Very very nice deep dark red. Beer lets nearly no light through, can barely see my fingers on the other side of the glass when I hold it to the light. Nice finger of off white head. Great looking DARK red beer.

S - Smells of nice fruits, along with some hop added in there.

T - Wow. Booze is totally hidden. Beer starts with flavors of dark fruits. Goes into a caramel tone with hop bitterness coming through in the end. The alcohol is barely, if at all noticeable. Beer finishes with a spicy flavor and then a dry after taste.

M - Nice and full. Fairly heavy feel with some surprisingly lively bubbles on the tongue.

D - An incredibly drinkable beer. To hide the alcohol this well in a strong red like this leads to serious drinkability with all that flavor going on. Very nice.

Notes: Imperial red is a style that is so open to interpretation. This is almost a cross between an American Strong Ale (Ala Arrogant Bastard) but has many characteristics of an American Barleywine, just less abrasive than most. A very unique beer.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.41/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7oz bottle doesnt fill my imperial pint but that is the glass it ended up in

A- Very hazy, dark copper color with a MAGNIFICENT head that is filmy, foamy, frothy, AND leaves splotches of dreamsicle-orange lacing.

S- Subtle notes of fruit and bread drizzled in a nice caramel-orange glaze. Alcohol mixes it all together in a lovely effect.

T- Caramel-coated Affy Tapples come to mind. I ate sesame sticks about 10 minutes before I tasted this beer and the raw, earthy grain flavors go together perfectly. Sweet, yet refined with a doughy nuance on the palate.

M- Moderate in body and carbonation with a slight tickle from the plenty of hops

D- Loads of my favorite flavors in this relatively simple Imperial. The three malts and 2 hops are all perfectly balanced for my palate. This is a special beer, and an all-day beer. Thank you once again Rogue for a fantastic beer. B+? pssshh, you're better than that

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Photo of thehand
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark red, 2 finger thick foamy tan head dissipates slowly leaving some sticky lacing

S: Sweet, fruity, caramel

T: Very rich, complex, firm malty backbone well balanced with hops

M: full, smooth, rich, long dry finish

D: the full body, firmness, and a little alcoholic heat makes it a sipper

Very nice beer, a little pricey for what you get. I can't imagine buying this in the bar, you wouldn't even get to keep the one pound ceramic bottle.

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Photo of GJ40
4.39/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a small (7oz) bottle.

Reddish amber with a cloudy finish and a small head. Rich citrusy hop and malt aroma with a touch of alcohol. Very hoppy flavor with a firm citrusy bitterness. The malt is not far behind but it does play a lesser role. Creamy and silky.

This is a big beer but it's very smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ML black, ceramic, swing-top bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $15.99... For the hefty amount I shelled out for this one, I was seriously expecting great things, and I wasn't dissapointed...
A dark, ruby-red, amber colored hue was the result of an aggressive pour along with a minimal head that soon receded and left copious amounts of lacing around the head of the glass...
The typical grainy, red amber smell was not too prevalent on this one... Certainly a more subdued, mild aroma of faint yeast and vanilla...
The taste is what made this one stand out the most, a hard-hitting Rogue brew, bursting with sweet flavors of caramel, vanilla, honey, slight grapefruit and florals with a nice balance of malts and hops...
Great, creamy, rich mouthfeel led to a superb level of drinkability... This one went down really easily and the hefty 9% ABV was hardly detectable...
Great stuff, but pretty pricey...

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 7oz bottle into Ommegang branded tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark copper color with a small beige head that dissipates slowly and leaves heavy lace.

Smell: Caramel malt aromas with lots of sweetness and some floral notes, with the distinctive Rogue tea aroma.

Taste: Begins with caramel sweetness, finishing with sweet buttery flavors and a nice toasty bitterness, with some alcohol hints.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with light carbonation and a sticky finish that dries out.

Drinkability: A nice beer overall, and one of the better amber ales I have tried. Definitely worth a try.

Thanks to wahmaster for sending me two bottles of this stuff as a late Cinco de Mayo gift!

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 7 ounce bottle into my smallest glass -- a 25cL St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Dark brown with the lightest lacing, only turning amber in direct light, the darkest amber I've seen. It looks promising.

S: Wow! One of the best-smelling beers I've ever encountered. Fruity hops. Bready, slightly biscuity, malts are rich and beautiful. The balance of sweet hops and buttery malt is absolutely fantastic.

T: After such a splendid smell, a bit of a letdown. Fruity malts dominate and buttered hops follow in force. The aftertaste is clean and pleasant, but brief.

M: Round and bready(ish), straddling the line between substantial and drinkably smooth.

D: Perfectly lovely. Very drinkable, definitely enjoyable; recommended. Mmmm, it's a pity the state of Alabama can't sell bigger bottles.

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Photo of rickmick
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice thick head that contains a lot of flavor.

Smells hoppy, nothing too complex going up the nose.

Taste is very full bodied, hoppy but not piney. Slight notes of malt, a nice finish.

The mouthfeel is great: the beer is thick and nicely carbonated.

The flavors are very strong. Combine that with the high abv, and I wouldn't want to down a bunch of these, but I had no problem doing it with just one.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 7oz bottle into a Redhook Limited Release goblet.

Appearance- Murky, cloudy, amber/brown color with a nice foamy half finger head. Nice lacing probably due to the alcohol content.

Smell- Some cherry, vanilla, alcohol, malts, yeast. Sweet smelling.

Taste- Malts and yeast upfront. Alcohol flingers. Some cherry and raspberry I think?

Mouthfeel- A little syrupy, but the carbonation evens it out nicely.

Overall- Another great beer from Rogue. Damn good red, but if you don't like alcohol presence in your beer then you won't like this.

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Photo of McLovinmybeer
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ale was poured from a twenty-five ounce, resealable black ceramic bottle. Chocolate malts dominate the beer's aroma and all but hide the ale's hoppiness. The color is deep red and the brew poured very little head. The taste is malty, chocolatey, sweet, and a bit hoppy. At 75 IBU's I expected the hops to be more pronounced, however, they were dominated by the beer's robust maltiness. At 9.25% ABV, this is definately a sipper. Overall, a fine Rogue Ale that I would definately recomend.

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Photo of meeekyh
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 7oz bottle into a tulip. The deer reddish-brown beer with a yellowish-tan head is slightly cloudy and has great lacing.

The nose is piny hops and floral notes. Malts provide a backbone but hops are the main player. Alcohol warts and reminds me that this is a 9% beer.

The taste is packed with hoppy goodness and malty yummies. It is full and well balanced for anything with this much taste. I enjoy the sweetness and the grassy flavors that accompany the hops.

The mouthfeel is big and full ant the carbonation is likewise strong. I like the dry finish and the lingering grain notes.

This is another awesome beer from Rogue. I am pleased to be a member of the Rogue nation, unofficially at least.


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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle serving is in a 7oz. "nip." Poured into an equally small glass. Rogue's Imperial Red Ale (part of their XS Series) is 19.4 degrees Plato, with 58 IBU, 76 AA (apparent attenuation, correct?) and 47 degrees Lovibond (same as SRM). Brewed with Crystal 40, Chocolate, and Rogue Farm's own Dare and Risk malts, Rogue Farm Alluvial and Willamette hops and their signature Pacman yeast.

Starting off, the beer is clearly not filtered. It has a hazy, foggy body that has a very nice sanguine hue. The head is excellent, with a solid finger of tan foam and a lot of lacing on the glass. Clearly this is a red ale! Very great color. The appearance doesn't score higher with me since it could use a bit more clarity, but otherwise, perfect color and head retention.

The smell is softly floral. The Willamette hops seem to shine through well, though I have no idea what the Alluvial hops contribute to aroma-wise. I find it really pleasant that we have an American Imperial Red Ale that doesn't completely reek of hops and that maintains some notion of balance. It has very clear aromas of hops and allows the consumer to smell the caramel aroma underneath from the malts.

The taste is a classic. Some bitterness on the tip of your tongue, but nothing that overwhelms the sweet, caramel malts on the middle of the palette. The taste finishes with a long lingering bitterness from those 58 IBU's. This is a beer that reminds me of an English barleywine almost. It has some very classic flavors and it is quite well-balanced for a high ABV beer. There is no heat at all with this one...

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a full body and a gentle carbonation. This gentleness helps to give the beer a milder feeling, and certainly doesn't make one think "9% ABV!" Very well done!

This is a really great beer, and I am tempted to give even higher scores because I think my American bias is making me want something even more hoppy and more rediculous, when in fact I think this beer could probably stand up to some of the best beers in the world. If I was Michael Jackson reincarnate, I would put this beer on my 500 list. Excellent job from Rogue!

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Photo of joecast
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Only half fills my glass, but I'm sure the taste will compensate.

Ruddy brown, but not too dark. Thin tanned head which grows as the glass is swirled. Low carbonation.

For sure hops are there in the aroma, and bloody nice hops they are, but the booze is there and just as intense. It makes for an intriguing mix. The beer behind this is obviously huge and it's a fine balance between sniffing and wanting to take a good long sip.

The taste takes a step back from the promise of the "kick your face in" potential of the aroma. Same direction, but perhaps scaled back 10%. Big base and crystal malt but held back by a steadying hop presence. Label says 58 ibu and it could easily handle another 10 or 20. Byno means doesitfinish sweet. There is a nice bitter kick at the end. And maybe that's all it needs.

Maybe it doesn't have the impact of the stout, but this is still a hefty beer which requires your full attention.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well aged, a little over a year I believe.

Cloudy red, but not overly so, a mostly white, short head.

The smell is aged hops most prominantly to me, but also some malt. Nothing off at all. Really reminds me of an older barleywine.

The taste is a smooth, slightly fruity (in a good way) maltiness with no alcohol.

Mouthfeel is great, it held carbonation very well, almost perfect.

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Photo of Kendo
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got it on tap at the Lionheart in Albany on 3-25-09.

A: Body is dark amber with a ruby-red tint to it. A small ivory head leaves behind sheets of lace.

S: Mainly sweet stuff -- caramel malt, toffee and even some brown sugar. A hint of piney hops in there too, however, with a touch of citrus fruit.

T: Follows the nose -- caramel malt, toffee, baked bread and an unidentified spice character. Hops add some citrus and pine. Pine finish balances the sweet malt profile a bit.

M: Heavy in weight, slightly slick and oily in feel.

D: I like this style, so I did pretty well with it. But I think the heft and sweetness will lead many to go slow with this one.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5
rDev: +4.8%

Appearance: Dark brown with decent foam. Lightens up a bit to a medium brown in the light. Pretty nice carbonation effect as well.

Smell: Great smell of chocolate malt. Pretty sweet as well. Some dark fruit in the background here as well. Great balance.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Tastes and feels like smooth chocolate. Almost like alcoholic hot chocolate.

Drinkability: Comes in a 7 oz. bottle you should be ashamed not to finish this with ease.

Overall: I quite enjoyed this beer. It's kind of a hard beer to describe. Worth the experience. I wish the bottle was bigger so I could get a better feel.

Serving type: bottle

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XS Imperial Red from Rogue Ales
3.8 out of 5 based on 291 ratings.
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