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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 291
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.

 627 characters

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.

 828 characters

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.

 723 characters

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.

 590 characters

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.

 1,339 characters

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.

 590 characters

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

 578 characters

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.

 979 characters

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.

 1,258 characters

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.

 391 characters

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.

 592 characters

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.

 448 characters

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.

 2,231 characters

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.

 915 characters

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.

 900 characters

Photo of weller1js
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

19.4° plato
75 IBU
78 AA
57° lovibond

appearance: pours lightly cloudy in opacity, bold amber-red in color, very light carbonation with finger-thick reddish-tan foam leaving a slight residual lacing; slightly viscuous and slight film is noticeable when swilled.

smell: hops are sharp yet sweet and very pronounced in the scent, complementing the malt aroma and notes of semisweet chocolate.

taste: the hops are noticeable at the outset, very sweet and syrupy, yet there is a slight dryness that blends well with the high alcohol content; malts are heavy and notably consistent, warm and enhanced by the chocolate essence; the finish is just as consistent, with all elements lingering on the palate.

mouthfeel: I only tend to comment on mouthfeel when noteworthy, and this beer has a light syrupy viscocity to it that further enhances the quality ingredients.

drinkability: this one is on point with its quality ingredients, taking the typical red ale and enhancing and intensifying it quite well; for the attempt it is exquisite, and while it was well-enjoyed, it is very intense for the style, and is worth noting that one would be hard-pressed to drink a lot in one sitting.

 1,183 characters

Photo of BeerNemesis
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

XS Imperial Red | 207 ml. | 8.32% ABV | 2011

Brewer: Rogue Brewery
Style: Red Ale
Glass: pint

A heavy rust-red with a silky head of blond foam that quickly recedes.

Not getting much other than an earthiness I can't quite put my finger on. There are hints of chocolate and nondescript fruity/oily characteristics from the Palisade and Crystal hops.

Initially hop bitterness mixes with toasted bread, caramel, orange peel, and a grassy flavor. It's a full and vibrant taste that captures the characteristics of a red ale fairly well.

Heavy but silky smooth, with a nice tingle from the carbonation.

The flavor has real presence, no doubt partly due to the (well hidden) alcohol. I don't quite like the grassy bitterness of the style, but that's not to say it isn't a solid beer for red ale lovers.

Would I get it again?:
no, not my style.

Bottled: ?
Served: April 15, 2011

Additional notes:
19.4° plato
75 IBU
78 AA
57° lovibond

Crystal 40, Chocolate, Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare & Risk Malts; Crystal & Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution hops; Free range coastal water & Pacman Yeast.

 1,160 characters

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.

 384 characters

Photo of bobhits
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark red color that turns opaque dark cloudy reddish. A small head that leaves some lacing, but the head vanishes in virtually no time.

A deep over powering malt aroma. Huge fruity, lightly hopped, very amber aroma. Smells like candy and perhaps grape soda?

Thick and syrupy body opening sweet, and just getting sweeter and sweeter as it goes down. There's a noticeable amount of hops at the finish, but they are just enough to barley subdue the malt before it just takes back over. I'm used to more hops in imperial reds. I'm sure this beer is at least a year old but thanks to rogue not labeling their beers I'm kinda left to guess on this one.

Despite the lack of carbonation in the head the beer drinks decently carbonated. A thick and creamy mouth that works rather well with the malty presence in this beer.

No my style but I enjoy what I'm getting here. It's far too malty for me, but somehow unlike most overly malty beer like this, this one does it in a very enjoyable way.

 1,003 characters

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

 363 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at KJ Baarons. Interesting, they only have this, and Julio's only has the Imperial IPA. Poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a dark, deep ruddy burnt red colour with a very thin white head that quickly faded leaving some spotty clouding and a thin halo.

S - Nice dark fruit (dates) aromas as well as some chocolate. Must be an older bottle as I'm not getting much at all in the way of hops.

T - Just like the nose with dark fruits, chocolate and hop bitterness. Thats the only hop quality I'm getting, bitterness.

M - Feel is pretty good for a 9% Imperial Red. Not syrupy at all.

D - Its pretty drinkable, thats for sure, but the alcohol is just a present a bit too much. Not sure if I'd by this again, even with my score being good for it.

 751 characters

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.

 957 characters

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.

 585 characters

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

A caramel color with subtle hues of red.

Poured the 7oz bottle into a chalice with virtually no head. I am not big into high hops but at 58 IBU, it had nice hops without killing me with them. Another review mentioned "piney" hops which I would agree with.

Nice mouthfeel. At the end of the 7oz, I was wishing it were 12 so I guess I liked it despite not being a hop head. Paid $5 but would probably buy again on occasion.

 424 characters

Photo of tronester
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky reddish brown with a careful pour. Almost no head. The aroma is of dates and a hint of chocolate. Taste is sweet dates up front, followed by a bit of molasses, finishing with a piney hop finish. Mouthfeel is rich, nice low carbonation. Good drinkability, although the super high price for this 7pz means I probably won't be buying this one too often. Glad I got to try it though.

 393 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.