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XS Imperial Red | Rogue Ales

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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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 291
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An expensive bottle, thanks Boutip. An amber with good bitterness, balanced malt and some roast. Off white head lots of lace,even barleywinish. A tad chocolate malt, Palisade and Aroma Crystal hops, Pacman Yeast. A winner for people moving up the crafty brew food chain.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 7 oz (small!) bottle.

This score/review is based on allowing this beer to warm and drinking it cool, not chilled. Review of the chilled beer would be substantially worse and I changed this review significantly after beer warmed closer to room termperature.

Pours dark copper brown with a very thin and quickly fading tan head.

Extremely faint nose-almost non existent but hints of cooked fruit and prune and chocolate coffee. Nose improves with time and a bit like Dr. Pepper or warm cola. Get more like elegant cooked fruit and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is actually bold, full and lightly creamy. Mouthfilling and leaves you wanting more.

Flavors are somewhat unique. First taste or two is not very good and is like stale burned coffee. Flavors improve as beer warms and become much more appealing - malty, big coffee, bitter espresso, hints of Dr. Pepper and undertones of black chocolate. Rich malty toasted grain and "sweet toast."

Finish is really best part - all chocolate espresso with a rich bitter character.

A great example of give a beer a chance to open up like you would a wine. The one ends up being very appealing and would likely be really good with BBQ, big meats, among other things.

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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 metter98
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy mahogany in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation along with particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin creamy tan head that has excellent properties and hardly dissipated at all.
S: There are light to moderately strong sweet aromas of caramel and toffee in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some flavors of brown sugar; the hops contribute a light amount of bitterness towards the finish. Notes of alcohol become noticeable, particularly as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, smooth and slightly creamy on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. There are warming sensations from the alcohol in the finish, which also has a bit of dryness.
O: The beer is quite drinkable considering its alcohol content; there is a good balance between the malty sweetness and the hop bitterness.

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

Had the taste for something malty and hoppy, but nothing too aggressive, yet bold. I settled into this beer quite nicely upon the first sip.

The beer pours a deep ruby, mohogany hue with a medium haze (from dry-hopping?). A dense white head forms and lasts the session while lacing all the way down. A very nice looking beer.

Aromas of Barleywine immediately come to mind with it's deep malt toffee, syrup, and sorgum sweetness, grassy hop additions, and complex estery fruitiness.

Flavors of lightly toasted malts bring out a more robust sweetness than just caramel, but also light toasted malts with molassas, toffee, and port wines. Still, hopped with copious additons of pine, grassy, and citrus hops give a lot of complexity to the bitter end of the taste. Heavy fruits of cherries, berries, grapes, plumbs, apples, and appricots decorate the yeasty, bready side of the flavor spectrum.

Not nearly as sweet to feel as it is to taste and scent. Instead, the beer finishes with a malty dryness and follows up with a bitter, hoppy dryness that accompany the higher alcohols deep into the finish and aftertaste.

Ultimately a very good interpretation of the sytle. I really enjoy the dry / malty blend in the texture while remaining sweetly flavored and scented. Not a Barelywine at all; much too dry and drinkable for that. Also, good to see that fruity Pacman yeast alive in this beer- making it very English-like in nature.

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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 Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy copper color ale with a good size foamy head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma consists of big caramel malt notes with some slightly bitter notes also discernable. Taste is also a mix between some big caramel malt with some slightly dry bitter hops at the end. I was expecting a hop bomb since the bottle is relatively fresh but all I got was a big malt bomb (not that this is a bad thing I just wasn't expecting it). Full body with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Churchkey. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark amber color with a tan head and a good dose of lacing. The nose brings forward a large amount of resiny, pine hops as well as some citrus notes. Sweet amber caramel malt as well. The taste is definitely a bit bitter and resinous with pine coming through over the top of some sweet malt. Feel is bitter and sweet. Drinks fairly well but is a bit over the top in some areas.

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Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iam not a big fan of the 7oz bottles of the XS series but I have wanted to try this beer for awhile,so I bought one today.Poured a deep murky amber with a tight formed one finger off white head that held pretty well.Aromas are a mixture of the signature deeply piney and citric Rogue hop character,and caramel malt with a touch of slighter roast.The biggest thing I noticed about this beer on the palate was the lack of alcohol presence for a beer that packs so much of it,the resiny hops although not dominant played a big role intermingling with caramel malt and some biscuit.A real nice beer,not worth what I paid for the small bottle,but still quite good.

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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 ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark red body with a small, creamy, and downright lasting beige head.

Smell: Caramel aroma with full notes of fruit and pithy citrus rinds. Just a pinch of spiced brown sugar.

Taste: Caramel and brown sugar bring a fair amount of sweetness. Moderate bitterness and a citrusy hop flavor. Some earthy spice hints along the way. Finishes dry and bitter, as one would expect. The 9% really makes itself known in this brew.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Creamyish mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent enough for a hop-forward Imperial Red.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Equal parts brick red and ferric oxide orange with bright tangerine borders. What a lovely (and appropriate) hue given the style. The pale butter toffee colored cap is richly creamy and is sticky enough to leave impressive looking sheets of lace on the upper part of the glass. Subsequent pours look even better.

The aroma is a mixture of caramel (crystal malt) and an earthy nuttiness (Munich malt), in addition to a nonspecific fruitiness from the Palisade and Crystal hops. The chocolate malt isn't appreciated per se, but it's undoubtedly adding 'oomph' on the bottom end. A more impressive hoppiness on the top end might have led to a higher score.

I'll say one thing for Rogue, they Nine Inch Nailed the style. It can't be easy to brew a beer that tastes like an Imperial red ale and nothing else. Whether it's good beer or not is an entirely different matter. Hmmm... the jury is still out. It is growing on me, however.

The beer earns points and respect by having an impressive amount of boldness, not all of which is due to a considerable (although fairly well-buried) alcohol presence. The sneakily complex flavor profile includes well-toasted brown bread, steely caramel, orange peel, peanuts and tobacco. The hops make more of an impression as the beer gains a few degrees, especially with respect to bitterness.

The mouthfeel oozes quality, which is typical for these guys. It has the smoothness (due to malt) and the firmness (due to alcohol) of tempered glass. Big beer lovers should be right in their comfort zone. Did I mention the perfect carbonation?

Rogue Ales has taken their fair share of shots for their business practices, but they almost always come through where it matters most. Even though I have no interest in purchasing another bottle of Imperial Red anytime soon, I have no regrets about plunking down the cash for this one.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a Pint Glass at Barleys Taproom in Greenville, SC

A – Poured a very deep ruby tinted brown with lots of reddish hues easily visible on both the sides and bottom of the glass. A nice and quite large three finger high head of sticky and foamy off white lace was perched up on top of it and hung around for a good five minutes or so making a very strong and long lasting impression. When it did finally decide to come down it only left behind large quantities of sticky side glass lace that coated the entire inside of the glass. The appearance was somewhat cloudy obscuring any visible view of the carbonation that might have lain inside.

S – The aroma was full of hops which made my day as soon as I caught a whiff of it. Very deep resin like hops just permeated through the air creating a large sweet aroma. This was huge with pine nugget goodness and stickiness so strong you could smell it. After I was able to push my way past this I found a very nice and thick malted backbone that was full of deep earthen grains and roasted malts, and a nice caramel coating that seemed to tie it all together very nicely. The aroma was just fantastic and to be honest almost seemed as though it had been dry hopped, just very fresh and full.

T – The flavor was just spot on. I was not really sure what this was going to bring, especially since I did not even know that they had it before I asked, but once I finally got to try it, I new exactly what Rogue was going for here with this one. This was a big highly hopped and very full red ale. The flavor was great, huge resin pine with a sugary caramel sweetness balancing it very nicely. The backbone being the roasted malts consisting of a nice spattering of cereal grain and earthy grasses. All of this seamlessly blended together in a thick mix of almost chewy goodness. The finish was very long and drawn out, soaking up every last bit of flavor from your mouth before finally letting go and relaxing its grip on you.

M – This was quite thick actually, much more full bodied then I thought it would be. It had a very thick feel, almost syrup like in consistency, but the carbonation kept it from getting out of hand. The hops were almost chewy they were so thick and prominent here. The finish was very long and drawn out, utilizing the best of the deep hop flavors.

D – This was simply amazing as to how drinkable it actually was. Now for a large red, being over 9%abv I did not even for a second realize or think that this was that strong. It was just too good to think there was that much alcohol in it. It was simply smooth, with a great profile and a chewy fresh hop consistency. I honestly could have drunk this one all day long, it was just that good.

Overall this is by far and away a winner. I was extremely impressed and to be honest would consider this one of my favorite I have ever had from Rogue. Now I am sure it will still be wonderful in the bottle, but I have to admit that on tap this one is almost perfect. I would love to have this again any day, and will defiantly seek it out once I see the bottles floating around.

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Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7 oz bottle opens with a slight whoosh & a bit of mist. Pours a not so bright, semi-turbid chestnut with a sliver of tan head. Nice viscosity to this, good head retention & average lacing

S: Oaky notes, cakeyness, smokey notes (oak & hickory) up front. Leafy hops show once warm, plums, plus some sharp booze, that never shows up in taste...

T: Cakeyness, rich dark fruit, herbal hops, persimmons & Christmas Pudding up front, dryness. leafy hops, along with a fairly potent smokeyness. Dark fruit, oaky dryness, cakeyness & leafy hops once warm, starts breaking towards an American Barley Wine. Finishes dry, oaky & fruitty with some nice cakeyness as well

MF: Chewy enough, slightly assertive carbonation, fairly decent balance & a nice warming sensation

Drinks easy enough, not sure on the age of this, or what Rogue was actually shooting for here. Having said that this work for me on enough levels I would tell you to give it a go

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

.75L ceramic flip top bottle with no freshness date. I persoanlly don't like these bottles, they make for sloppy pouring due to the weight and not knowing where the liquid is at any given time. The higher pricing doesn't sweeten the reasoning behind the use either. Thankfully this is not beerbottleadvocate.com so I can move on.

Big bubbly dense off white frothing drops thick patch curtain of lacing on the glass. Garnet meets amber for the color, good clarity as well. Wild flower hop aroma, soft yet earthy with a tea-like backend. Strawberry and plum fruitiness from the alcohol couple with the nougat and toasted maltiness in the nose. Alcohol, hop flavor and a roasted / toasted graininess battle for domination though all seem to call a truce and meld well together. Alcohol is warming with ripe fruit and a faint solvent breath. Hop flavor comes in thick yet soft with an semi-oily herbal flavor but then the bitterness kicks in with more of a grapefruit peel taste. The malt is just as toasted as it is roasted with faint coffee and chocolate flavors as well as some sweet cake batter and fresh toasted bread within. Finishes bitter sweet with a lingering alcohol.

Tasty and certainly with in that "Imperial" realm that American brewers have created. Definitely worth a try.

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

One-finger head, leaves nice ring lace. The liquor is dark amber and quite cloudy.

Mild aroma of darker malt and light alcohol. I smell some cream as well.

Starts off as lightly sweet malt, but quickly gives way to a strong bitterness that did not show up in the smell. Nicely complex. Expected body and carbonation. The aftertaste is bitter and lasting. Interestingly, there is nearly no notable alcohol.

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml black ceramic swing-top bottle:

Pours hazed dark copper with a pretty thick head that settles to a thin, lasting head. Good retention for the style.

The smell is of chocolate and caramel. Rogue's signature Pac-man yeast strain is there. Some floral notes mix in.

The taste is malty - toffeeish - with a tea-leaf/floral bitterness. Sweetish with a bitterness mixed in.

Medium-bodied - alcohol covered pretty well in the taste, though it comes out quickly in the aftertaste.

There is a contrasting sweetness and bitterness. Not bad, but not a big fan, esp. considering the price.

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Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse. Served in a 20 oz. pint for $7. Appears a dark red with a short off-white tan. The aroma and flavor are surprisingly mild, but the drinkability is good for such strong beer. To me it'd be more accurate to call it an imperial Irish red ale, as the amped up flavors, when dialed back seem more like the mellow caramel malts of an Irish red. There's a splash of spicy citrus at the beer's finish, but the flavors here are noon too big.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a tiny 7 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

It hardly looks red at all. It looks more of a muddy brown color with hues of orange and red. Head retention is about average, very little lacing sticks to the glass. The aroma is fine at first, but becomes more intense as time passes. Fruity esters, toffee, and pineapple all greet the nose.

Rogue XS Imperial Red is what I call a good one. Pineapple are first to arrive, then comes some soft notes of fruity esters. A little resin hits and sticks to the palate. Bread crust....ok. The alcohol makes itsslef noticable with a fume of itself. Carbonation is just a touch pricklier than I'd prefer, but the body remains medium in size.

Not mind blowing despite the added XS monikor, but still a good imperial red. Hoppy and malty at the same time is the common way to excecute the style, and that's the path this beer takes.

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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 Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 7 oz nip. The beer pours a dark red color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the toffee and brown sugar with some alcohol mixed in. The flavor is full of alcohol and toffee malt with some earthy hops. There is also a little bit of sweet brown sugar in the flavor. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation. Decent, but not worth the high price you have to pay for it.

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

750ml Swing Top Ceramic Bottle

Poured into a Rogue glass a nice golden dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with minimal sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, very slight dark fruits, very slight chocolate, some spices, and caramel. The taste is sweet, very big malt notes, some dark fruits/chocolate, and some spices. Medium body, this is a thick brew, the alcohol is hidden very well. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew from Rogue, recommended.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on Tap at 1702, Tucson AZ; August 2008
Arrives from the tap with a dark tan, deeply amber stained, one-finger thick head that sits on top of a hazy, red-toned, dark amber colored beer. The aroma has lots of caramelized flavors in it with a mix of concentrated citrus notes thrown into the mix. Sweetened grapefruit and candied orange peel aromas are backed by sugar-coated pine needles and a citrusy spruce note. As the beer warms up a full, toasty, biscuit-like character starts to become much more noticeable.

The taste is quite sweet, though it is heavily caramelized with an almost candy like, definitely toffee character. Viscous feeling, chewy and thick, this is definitely a sipping beer. There is lots of hop character here though the sticky malt character is big enough that the hop character is not the dominant note. Candied grapefruit flavors, lychee, spruce and a pine like edge that couples with a nicely bitter finish. The finish, while bitter, can't quit offset the thick, chewy malt flavors that dominate this beer.

This hides the alcohol well, but has way too much sticky, crystal malt influenced, sweet malt flavors to it. Not bad, but can be a bit much at times.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Rogue 750 crock picked up at the Coop earlier this week for a pricey $13.. got bored tonight and poured a nice looking glass into my New Belgium snifter.

1" head would have probably been better had it not been so cold.. spotty lacing.. brew is a dark hazy red/chestnut brown with a good red glow when held to a light.

Aroma is light dried fruits that are pummeled by citrus hops.. a little caramel and chocolate as it hits room temp.. it really needs to warm to get interesting. Piney and biscuits.

Flavor is thin .. probably to big bitterness and a nice toasty malt mid palate.. citrus/floral hops and a good dose of brown sugar without the sweetness.. a little yeasty fruitiness.. that seems to find its way into most Rogue brews.. finish is medicinal hops and a lingering toffee quality. Body is fairly light for a brew of this caliber/abv.. carbonation is pretty much perfect.

Complaints are.... seems young.... but aging it will cut down on the hoppiness, and I wouldn't want to do that. The Imperial Red could qualify itself as a lesser American Barleywine.. Everything is in place.. but.. again.. all the flavors seem to overlap and not ever meld.. and I am drinking the same 6oz over about an hour... warmth helps.. but if I had this beer in a blind tasting... I would guess.. a barleywine.. not an energized version of a red ale.

As are all Rogue crocks (IMHO) it's too expensive.. I wish brewers would put beers in 22's and be happy... at least then, we can weed out the beers that don't deserve the huge price ticket.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL swing top bottle poured into a nonic. Is this where I'm supposed to complain about the bottle?

A: Dark, hazed red-brown color with a off still, dense white/yellowish head. Great retention and sticky clumps of lacing.
S: Strong, sweet malty and candied fruit aroma with a strong earthy hop background. Walks the line of almost being too sweet, cloying, but still pleasant.
T: Medium, creamy body with light carbonation. Flavors are strong, both sticky malt sweet and dry, flowery hop bitterness. Surprisingly balanced. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish and is very warming. Backbone of this is clearly a very strong malt presence, slightly toasted and grainy. There is a sweet fruit presence that lingers throughout and the finish. Start also has a pinch of bitterness that fades into the sweeter finish. Obviously a strong floral, earthy hop bitterness throughout as well.

Yep, an imperial red. I tried to avoid any thoughts about the packaging of this beer and I ended up enjoying this a lot. Not quite a Nugget Nectar or Cane and Ebel, Big Hoppy Monster or whatever, definitely more Imperial than those (whatever that means). Worth a try, but worth the price, well, I don't think any of the XS beers are.

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