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

A- Pours very thick, dark and murky brown color; hardly any head and minimal lacing.

S- Chocolate, toffee, bready, raisons, figs, a bit of citrus spicyness,a bit of booze on the back end, lots going on here.

T- Immediately taste hops that I couldn't pick up in the smell. Very sweet with some malts, doesn't taste as strong as most 9% beers. Leaves a slight bitterness on the back end.

M- Very thick on the palate, more than a lot of stouts. Other than that, pretty good balalnce.

Overall a pretty good brew, very thick and sweet so drinking more than one would be out of the question.

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

A: nice and thick, almost like a stout; color is a rich, dark red with brown hues; head is creamy, about 1/2 finger thick, off/white red; lacing stays throughout the taste

S: dark and creamy, sweet smells; syrupy, roasted malts; a touch of chocolate; overly sweet

T: basically the same as the smell; really good and complex, just too sweet for me

M: thick and heavy; the flavors really sit on the tongue for a while; sticky aftertaste; full, thick body

O: really strong, bold, and heavy; dark and thick; aftertaste better than initial sip; my lips were sticky after each sip

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

750mL ceramic bomber.

Dark copper, with a dense head of light saffron, about one finger. Leaves behind a lasting raised film.

Rich toffee and biscuity malts, accentuated by the Rogue yeast. Also some savoury cheese-cracker and mild balsamic notes. Plenty of fortified-wine notes, with plums, muscatels and just a little much booze. I like it a lot - but where are the hops?

All the dark fruit and rich malts are here. Additionally there's maple syrup, sour cherries, balsamic and brandy snap. Again, I'm highly partial to all these flavours, but this tastes more like a Scottish strong or English Barleywine to me. Just a touch of undifferentiated hop bitterness.

Like most Rogues, smooth and even, but surprisingly thin considering the 9%.

Have to mark this down overall because it bares almost no resemblance to the style. Maybe it's the overbearing Rogue yeast, which doesn't complement hop-dominant styles? May also have plenty to do with this being over 2 years old.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Small 7oz bottle, which I love. Perfect sampling size for one.

Pours a murky reddish-brown mahogany colour, with a fine head of beige. Almost frothed open when uncapped, and there was plenty of disturbed sediment, even leaving the last centimetre or so in the bottle. Nice heavy body. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is very malt-driven, with a big boozy alcohol presence as well. Caramel and port, with touches of brandy, raisins and butter, with only a slight herbal or grassy tone to suggest any hops. Oddly, it lacks a little roundness, as though it doesn't have the real sweetness of the characters, just their essence. Not bad, but not astonishing.

Taste is also very similar. Weak body that doesn't fill the palate, with just a whiff of overcooked toffee before a melange of booze and hop oil bitterness creeps in through the centre to the back. Shocked at the lack of body and sweetness—this feels unbalanced and empty even for what would be an insane hop-driven beer—it makes it feel stale, thin and rather insipid.

A big let-down from Rogue. I love American Reds and I love Rogue (mostly), but this dropped the ball on both counts from my expectations. It ends up being a pretty average beer, and it should be a lynchpin of their high-end range.

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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 avalon07
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a 7 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Had a dirty orange color and a murky consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, quickly-dissipating head. Good lacing.

S: A decent aroma of malt, caramel and some hops.

T: Tasted of caramel and malt up front with a slightly hoppy finish. Isn't quite powerful or dynamic enough to call itself "imperial". A decent flavor, but not a stunner. Almost plays like a weak barleywine.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This isn't a terrible beer, but it isn't exactly an amazing piece of brewing either.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought a single 7 oz. bottle as part of an M&M 6-pack from Everetts in South Beloit, IL for $9.99.

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light brown head of foam. Scent of bitter malts and hops are the most evident. Has a rather thin texture with an almost burnt wood taste to it. Some sweet carmel malts to it with an almond hint. Not my favortie of Rouge beers. Certainly unique tasting but not my kind of beer. Glad it was only a 7oz beer.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I just saw this 7oz version of this beer sitting on the shelf at the Spring Cypress and 249 Spec's so I decided to give it a home. It says that this is an 8.32% ABV version. Let's see what their Imperial Red has to offer:

Appearance: Pours a pretty dark reddish brown color that is hard to tell how cloudy it is. There was very little head after a pretty aggressive pour. I couldn't tell if there were any bubbles rising, and nothing stuck at the top, so there is just a little bit of wispy lace across the surface of the beer. There is no lacing or anything left on the glass, so overall this beer is rather uneventful looking.

Aroma: The aroma is reserved. Right after the pour, I got some sweet caramel malt and some earthy hops, but after the beer sits for a bit, it is about the same but gets more muted. There is a little bit more sweet caramel coming out as the beer warms up some.

Taste: The flavor exhibits much more hops than I ever would have suspected from the aroma. The bittering hops are quite aggressive in this beer. There is some malt to this beer, but it is only apparent in the very beginning as a little bit of dark caramel. There is a little bit of acidity left on the back of the throat from the hops and the dark malts after the sip, and the alcohol contributes to this a bit to make it even more dry to linger. The body is a pretty solid medium with low carbonation, so it comes across as a bit watery despite the ABV. The fact that this is a 9% ABV beer is masked pretty well. Though you get some warming and dryness from the alcohol that says that it is a bit on the strong side, I would guess that it was about 7.5% or so.

Opinion: This is a decent beer. Unfortunately my tastes don't really align with the folks at Rogue that much. I mean, they are good beer with no fermentation flaws or anything, but their non-stouts are just too bitter for my taste, and this beer is no exception. I know it is in a category that allows for this kind of extremities, but even this beer is a bit much for my taste. That said, if you like really hoppy beers, this beer may be really awesome to you because it definitely has a lot of flavor and is well made. I just doubt that I will have to come back to this one.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pour from a 7oz bottle into a snifter yielded a half-finger of creamy tan head atop a hazy chocolate-brown body. Laces pretty well.

The smell is sticky malt and maybe un-sweet toffee. It really smells more like I'd expect from a barleywine.

The taste more or less follows the nose, but with some more hop bitterness in there; not excessive. There's an interesting roasty flavor on the end and recedes into black coffee. The middle is thick and very malty.

Mouthfeel is good; for being so powerful-tasting, it's definitely not syrupy.

Overall this is intense; I could probably see it going with steak, as proposed by the bottle, or maybe even dessert (also proposed); it could really offset a lot of sweetness, being so potent. It's pretty good, but (especially considering the price), I'm glad it's offered in a 7oz bottle. Seriously though, this is inscrutable from a 'barleywine' in essentially all aspects.

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