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 bnes09
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark red, amber, caramel color. Hazy appearance. Rich caramel aroma. Dense malt body with assertive herbal hop. Low carbonation and somewhat sand-like texture.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

7oz bottle with no date or any real info on the bottle.

dark, cloudy red-brown, small head that fades to a ring. smell has alcohol, pine, oak/wood, red wine. savory toffee, charred wood and chocolate syrup: the malt is great in this one. spruce, pine and spice, a weird vegetal note, some pepper, alcohol and red wine round out the flavor.

this one is old, and probably falling off, but still good.

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Photo of MrBoz21
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured opague amber brown with lacy head. Minimal retention and mild carbonation.

Malty aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel and raison. Not much hops and a bit of alchohol. Some spice notes. Comes together sort of musty/oxidized.

Taste: Pretty flat up front, boozy and malty in the middle and some burnt bitter in the finish. Spice, chocolate and caramel malt dominate.

Mouth: Chewy.

Overall: I dont think the flavors really come together all that well. It seems that it can be more balanced and dryer. It has an oud bruin quality to it (without sour notes), which makes it inconsistent with style.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
2.59/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

7oz brown bottle found on sale for $1.99. I haven’t had much luck with these tiny Rogue bottles but I couldn’t pass it up at the discounted price. No bottled on date that I could find. A bunch of sediment was visible at the bottom of the bottle. The bottom of the cap had actually started bubbling for some reason. Drank out of a Blind Tiger Brewery snifter.

Appearance: Poured down the center the beer produced no head and a dark, murky, dull mahogany colored body. There was a very thin ring of khaki colored head. A film hung out on top. Does not look good.

Smell: Dark malts, dates, prunes, faded chocolate malts and some soapy hops. Smells old and stale.

Taste: More of the same chocolate malts, an herbal bitterness, ends on a long raisiny note. Also some kind of weird steamed veggie taste. Maybe I didn’t decant carefully enough?

Mouthfeel: Very still. Low carbonation. Dry and dusty. Very warming.

Overall: Recommended only if you feel adventurous and have the $1.99 to burn. I can tell that at some point the chocolate malts would have stood out and maybe it had potential but now it’s falling apart. Basically a sad barleywine.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7 ounce bottle. Pricey, like most of Rogue's ales. They're good, don't get me wrong, but sometimes the price makes me seek other beers. Just a note, mind you. Beer is beer, quality is quality, Rogue is good quality beer.

This one pours a slightly hazy dark auburn/red with a pretty good head that left good lacing and lasted quite a bit.

Aroma and flavor wise, this one is dead-on for what I think of when I consider an American amber/red ale. Pungent maltiness, biscuit, caramel, toffee, some fruits with emphasis on darker fruits, with an appropriate balancing hops presence, which is high, and matches the ABV well.

Rogue did a good job with this one on flavor, body, taste.

I'm starting to be able to taste the pacman yeast more consistently now. While I do understand why a brewery might use a specific yeast all the time (not an uncommon occurrence), I sometimes would like to taste things that specific brewers might create if they could use different yeast more often, like us homebrewers do. Rogue with English ale yeast or Irish ale yeast? Stone with US-05? Might be interesting.

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Photo of lsummers
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very rich dark amber with almost no head. This is a fairly intense red ale so I wasn't expecting a gusher.

Smell at first wasn't impressive and almost off. This bottle was aged a little so I was afraid the hop notes dropped off and left unpleasant malts. There's a large amount of burnt toffee and a touch of alcohol.

Taste is what blew me away with tons of caramel toffe and some slight dark fruits. Totally thought this might be undrinkable. The crisp biscuit notes keep the malts feeling lighter than any sort of dark ale. Definitely can tell this is a red ale by nature although has some great brown/dark ale notes. Again this bottle was a little older so the hops probably dropped off quite a bit. Getting a hint of some pleasant floral bitterness. Only drawback is a faint medicinal note. The 7oz was more than enough though, flavor kind of turned on me towards the end.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied. maintains a crisp bite that lends itself excellently. This is a thick one.

Overall, at first I was wary of the bottle being aged but the malty goodness that came through was worth it. Definitely want to retry this fresh.

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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 BigPlay1824
2.91/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a very murky reddish brown color with a ton of suspended sediment and a solid amount of carbonation bubbles that float towards the top supporting an ample head that is creamy and tan (kind of looks like pancake mix as its put on the griddle), lingers for a solid amount of time and leaves
S: interesting, im catching hops, a solid sweetness that is deep but not quite like molasses, birch syrup maybe? also dark fruits
T: finishes with an intense hop bitterness, through the middle is kind of thick and muddled with a bit of a drywall note (gypsum?) slight sweetness, malt notes are decent but not all that cleaned up
M: thick, minimal carbonation tingle, finishes smooth with a bit of a dry note that lingers on the palate long afterwards
O: its ok, not grand, not well rounded IMO, like i said all of it is just kinda muddled, there are far better imperial reds out there than this

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Photo of beergoot
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 7oz bottle...

Pours a hazy, dark amber color with a thick, sticky light tan head. Hints of caramel, peppermint, and a vague spicy-sweetness to the smell. Heavy sweetness in the mouthfeel. Taste is rich and sweet with a nice mix of hop bitterness and alcohol warmth at the finish.

A strong, heavy beer. The dominating sweetness seems out-of-balance somewhat. Not bad, especially for an imperial style, but not something I'd go out of my way for. Perhaps better suited for a mid-winter quaff...

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 7 oz bottle into chalice glass

Appearance – Pours a deep red basically brown color with a thin dense off white head that has good persistence. The head fades very slowly giving a medium amount of lacing.

Smell – The smell is biggest of biscuit, roasted malt breadiness, and a heavy dose of booziness. These are mixed with sweeter aromas of dark fruit, molasses and a very light apple aroma which overall create a complex and enjoyable smell.

Taste – The taste is big of alcohol and malt. The malt is dark bread in nature with the booziness being of a slight rum flavor. It starts out more on the malty side and as the taste develops more it gets more and more boozy. Throughout the taste there is a lighter sweetness. It starts out as more of a dark fruit sweetness but then turns more molasses in nature. While sweetness is present it is quite light and helps to round out some of the more malty and boozy flavors. While rounded out to some degree, there is still a rather strange (more burnt charred bread flavor) that is left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew has above average creaminess with an average level of carbonation. The creaminess is suiting, but there is a bit too much carbonation for the malty and boozy nature of the flavors and it would likely do better with a bit less carbonation.

Overall –It had a wonderful aroma, but other than that was a bit weaker then I would have anticipated. More sweetness in the taste would have done well to take care of the malty and char flavor of the brew and a lower carbonation would have suited the flavors better. Alright but not really the best of brews out there.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally, it's time to try another beer my brother got me for my birthday. I had seen Rogue's ceramic bottles before but never bought the beers, mostly because of the price. It's time to see what's inside!

This is a bit of a difficult one to pour out like you want to because of the ceramic bottle. It comes out in little gushes. Fortunately, there's not much head on this beer so unless you're an idiot you won't mess it up. The head is maybe a bit over half a centimeter thick, foamy, and off-white. It fizzes away quickly and there's no lacing. The beer is an interesting, cloudy reddish-brown, mostly opaque.

This doesn't smell like any red ale I've had before. It has an almost quad-like smell. Sweet molasses, apples, slight tropical fruit, and a woodsy oakiness. Earthy hops.

The taste gets better as it warms and is much like the smell. Sweet molasses mixes with earthy hops and oak woodiness that make the stronger flavors. The hops also add a bit of spiciness while a slight booziness makes an entrance towards the end.

This XS is excessively (sorry) smooth. Medium-bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of Kromes
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A hazy dark amber color with a tan soapy head.

S: Caramel malt with fruity esters and a bit of peat.

T: Caramel malts and a bit of friuty ester and citrus up front. There is a bitterness that kicks in and continues into the finish. The citrus pith bitterness intensifies in the finish.

M: Medium-heavy body with light carbonation. Nice and smooth, but a bit sticky.

O: Rating against other red ales, it is definitely above average. Can't say it was the best, but it would be something I would have again.

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Photo of vande
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a nice, somewhat thicker appearing rust colored pour that initially has a thin layer of head...but quickly vanishes...

poured out of a shorty - tiny 7 oz bottle...

nose - malt forward. awkwardly enough, nearly reminds me of gnarleywine..old bottle maybe? not sure..

tastes a bit warm as the alcohol is present intermixed with a malty - somewhat sugar - mix.

medium body that is somewhat smooth, yet slightly textured...easy to drink.

overall an interesting beer. Not exactly what I expected, but worth a sip!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark rusty red amber, slight off-white head leaving a ring. Aroma of caramel malt and light hops. Flavor is a well blended, mellow caramel malt and dark fruit, finishing dry with a hop bitterness. This bottle may be old enough to have lost its hop character. The flavors are subtle and mellow, nothing really stands out. Light to medium mouthfeel and very little carbonation. I'm going to have to review a fresher bottle of this.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a dark hazy Amber clour with a one fingered tanned head that dies quick.

S - Plenty of yeast, malt and a little hop.

T - Up front some small hop, balanced out with some malty notes, a little spice on the finish.

M - Medium body and low carbonation.

O - Nothing mind blowing but very enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of CLBizzle
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bomber

A: Murky almost plum-like color with a thin tan head that dissolves quickly. Low mouth of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: a bready smell with minimum hop aroma.

T: little hop bite but balances very well with the malt. Love what the munich malt adds to the taste helping to bring out the malty flavor. Malty finish low mouthfeel.

O: Overall a sweet finishing Red, which is to be expected from an Imperial Red. Drinkable for 8.25%. Love the swing-top bomber, which will come in handy for home brewing. IBU's at 75 could be kicked up a bit to balance the beer a bit more, but overall a great I-Red.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brownish red with barely any head. Just a wisp, but it does stick nicely to the glass.

Deep caramel malts greet the nose. A little bit of citrus hop in here, but it's malt forward.

Malt bomb is the correct analysis. Starts off with some sweet caramel malt, but a surprising amount of rosted malt mixed with earthy hops make an appearance near the end for a nice twist.

Mouthfeel is a touch on the lighter side for the style and carbonation levels good.

Rogue was one of my first craft brew beers and although I don't go back often, this one surprised me a bit and I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Imperial Red is poured from its tiny bottle into a tulip.

Appearance- Hey! A cherry skin red body with some auburn tinge that is cloudy and opaque. The white head was extremely thin to begin with, and is now not even there.

Smell- Some slight alcohol twinge, like a brandy. Some fruity character to it, it mostly resembles dark cherries. There is also a syrupy sweet quality to the nose. Very good smell.

Taste- There is a good amount of alcohol and hop bitterness on the palate for this one. The hops barely come through, but seem piney in nature. The alcohol still has that slight sweet brandy quality to it.

The fruitiness is not really as dominant or sweet on the palate. It is a little earthier in tone with some slight cherry character to it. This one is not as interesting on the palate as it was on the nose.

Mouth feel- This one is fairly creamy and finishes mildly dry, because of the alcohol in the finish. It is bordering more on medium than light body. Not bad.

Overall- An interesting amber with a distinct piney note that was no where to be found in the nose. It smells more like a barleywine and drinks like a very hoppy amber.

I do not think the alcohol is inappropriate, but it is a shame more of the nose is not present in the drink.

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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 ThaCreep
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hops in the nose but with touches of bread freshly cut fruit and traces of discrete recalling both bitter orange and mandarin.

In the mouth it, a strong hoppy bitterness impressive to almost limit the line of no return but never without diving into saturation. Hops are invigorating, due to dry hopping and it accompanies a power red ale style Irish surprising that holds in only 53 IBU.

In any case, the approach very sharp, with a powerful drought, also gives this beer - in addition to his other qualities - a strong character refreshing.

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Photo of bmwats
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 7 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark amber hue. Pours about a half finger, brown-white head. Settles pretty quickly leaving a little blanket of foam on the surface. Slight amount of beer ring lacing.

S: Fresh baked Italian bread, pine nuts, a little oregano and clove.

T: Piny, hoppy, and pungent. Black licorice and sourdough.

M: Mouth puckering hops, but full flavored graininess, too.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is good. Nice hue, slight head, and a little lacing. Nose is a very powerful grain with Italian spice. Flavor is full and hearty, very pungent and hoppy. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7oz bottle, a souvenir from a visit to the Pearl District pub in Portland a few months ago.

This beer pours a hazy, murky rust-tinted dark golden brown hue, with one finger of tight foamy beige head, which leaves a few amoebic specks of lace as it fades away. It smells of caramel cream malt, citrus and pine hops, some mustiness, and a slight booze edge. The taste is hoppy up front, with muddled aged bitter citrus peel and pine needle essences, over top of a decent bready, caramel malt, with touches of fortified wine and unprocessed dark fruit. The carbonation is on the soft side, the body medium weight, and approaching smoothness. It finishes fairly clean, the emphasis on the lingering tangy, resinous hops.

A decent strong red ale, the big booze quite well integrated, and enjoyably hoppy, for when that itch arises.

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Photo of chefelf
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't know what to expect from this one. I poured it out of a tiny 7 ounce bottle and it poured a deep reddish brown with a thin almost yellow head.

It smelled hoppy and had a rich hoppy flavor but more complex than I was expecting. I enjoyed it thoroughly. My only complaint is that nowhere on the bottle (or the website) does it list ABV. Every other imaginable piece of information you could want is on the bottle: hop types, malt varieties, types of yeast used, IBU, PLATO, AA, and Lovibond. I don't even know what those last two are.

I gather from reading comments here it's somewhere around 9% ABV. Knowing that 7 ounces was quite enough. I'm not a big fan of hoppy beers but I'd recommend this one quite highly.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out quite nicely, it looked to be a little on the thick side which I was excited about. The color of the beer was a deep red color with a strong looking white head on top. The smell of the beer was jam packed with hops, the malts were a little hidden on the nose in this one. The taste of the beer was decent, I liked it but I feel like it's lacking some depth. The mouthfeel was on the thicker side which I was happy about and it also had a good carbonation too yet. Overall, I thought it was good, can't say I'd need to have this one over and over but it was nice to try.

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