Best Of Beer Camp: Imperial Red Ale - Beer Camp #65 | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Best Of Beer Camp: Imperial Red Ale - Beer Camp #65Best Of Beer Camp: Imperial Red Ale - Beer Camp #65

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Duplicate of

Added by flexabull on 08-04-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of jaffers
4.61/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this style and was very excited to find Sierra had an Imperial Red in their new Beer Camp box. This one did not disappoint. Nice deep red color with sustained off-white head in the glass. The aroma was off the charts! Strong citrus, pine hops with that full earthy malt balance. Very flavorful brew, malty upfront with a dry highly hopped finish. Very drinkable for an 8+% brew. Extremely tasty. Overall just a great beer and excellent representation of the style. Sierra does it again!

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Photo of schoolboy
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I don't think I have had a better red ale.

This one really defies classification. It's definitely American - over the top bitter, hoppy and malty, yet well balanced.

It has a stronger than usual aroma. Somewhat hoppy and sweet smelling - very nice. It's pretty in the glass as would be expected. The taste is very bitter - perfectly over the top.The aftertaste lingers nicely too with nothing nasty. This is an excellent ale.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.56/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a balloon glass.

A beautiful deep mahogany so rich you can barely see through it, but the head is even better: Foamy, sea-suds of cream head with rings of thick soapy lacing. (After drinking 1/3 of the beer, the lacing is still soapy and stuck to the glass).

Aroma is both piny, and a bit woody up front. I get some bitter citrus hops in there eventually. And by God, there is a nice sweet melon note as advertised. Really nice nose.

This imperial red is so well-balanced right off the bat. The hops are not overpowering, they are just perfect with muted citrus rinds mixing in with a woody, earthy malt body. Really, really good. A faint pine note lingers in there adding a fresh, crisp feel.

A little dry, but otherwise perfectly clean mouthfeel.

Geez this is good. The 8.1% ABV is nearly undetectable. I love the woody pine body and the amazing balance of malts and hops. To this day I have never had a bad beer from Sierra Nevada. Bad? Hell, I’ve really never had a beer less than exceptional from this brewery.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
8.1% ABV, 2012, string of numbers printed on neck.

A - Perfection in the pint, this beer looks utterly outstanding! Clear deep burn amber colored, this Imperial Red Ale from Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp holds it's khaki head for minutes upon minutes, slowly plateauing into a rocky pile of foam all while leaving chunky gobs of lace on the pint!

S - Could Sierra Nevada possibly put out an imperial red without it bursting at the seams with hops? I think not. Assertive pine and juicy citrus; crushed pineapple, lemon wedge, and sticky pine cone, make up this resinous aroma. Plenty of malt counteracts the hops with notes of chocolate and toffee surrounding wafts of warm Bavarian pretzel

T - Hop heavy in aroma but surprisingly balanced in flavor, the malts are up to the task of meeting the hops head-on. Toffee square and bittersweet chocolate give the toasted amber malts a unique twist while the hops spice up the background. Citrus fruit becomes more mild in flavor, giving way to the earthier aspects of the hops; mulchy leaf, grass, and pine with soft wood accents along the way. Quite the intense experience!

M - Smooth and soft opening, the flavor builds steadily and quickly for a total taste bud take over! Medium-full, this amber's body provides a beefy malt backbone with a lingering sharp hop bite that dries out the tongue while balancing the malty sweetness with a lasting bitterness.

O - Assertive and bold, this Imperial Red takes what's normally a run-of-the-mill-style beer and ramps it up, flooding the olfactory sense and taste buds with quite a bit to take in. From the expansive grain bill which keeps you guessing, to the powerful hop profile, this beer seems to teeter back and fourth, appealing to malt and hop lovers alike!

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Photo of huskermike12
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of Genuine
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a clean pint glass.

This beer pours a beautiful dark cherry red with a khaki head that leaves pretty lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell - Let this one warm up slightly - The nose on this beer is wonderful, starting with some roasted, faint coffee, dark chocolate and fig like notes.

Taste - This beer does not let down - Starts off sweet, as it rolls over the palate, the hops make their presence known and combat the sweetness. This brings us to the finish, which then appears a bit of alcohol, probably because of the 8.1% abv, however it doesn't last long till a coffee like aftertaste is left on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Very good medium bodied. Not light yet not heavy.

Overall - I think this is a solid brew. Lots of flavors for the enjoyer to figure out and keep you wondering. Not boring by any means. Sweet, bitter, roasty with enough alcohol warmth. What a great brew this is!

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Photo of D-No
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of Hessian257
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of psuscott1
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Kubrickx
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of jculler82
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of ScubaSteve00
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Durandal_777
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of beermanbrian
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of dooglas
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of cbyrd4088
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of chefhatt
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just have to say that i love these beer camp beers every year, i look forward to them. This one poured a nice brown/amber color body with a nice thick foamy head that holds it own. The aroma is of nice and toasted malt with some a little bit of hops coming through. The taste starts off a little bitter of hop then balances out on the back of the tongue with the malt. It leaves a after taste of of bitter hops on the tongue also. The mouth feel is really nice and overall this is a pretty darn good beer.

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Photo of verge
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer Camp is the bomb.

Poured into a pint glass. Thick 2 finger, rocky, off white head. Gorgeous deep ruby color when held up to light. Very dark-looking.

Smells like hops. Yes. Hops.

Flavor is bitter! I must really love hoppy American Reds...this is a spectacular mix of flavors that is balanced, but in favor of the hops. Great smoked malt flavor puts up a fight at first but aftertaste is pure dry hops.

I really want to go to beer camp now.

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Photo of Star80
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - I believe this was bottled 6/19, at least that's what the date on the 12 pack said. For something planned for August release that seems a bit older than I'd like but whatever. Anyway, Pours out a deep copper red with a sticky tan head. Looks enticing.

S - Smell is resinous hops, some grapefruit and pine. A faint tropical hop scent is detected and some caramel malts.

T - Taste is complex and interesting. Big resinous hops coincide with caramel malts, with layers of toffee and citric hops. Has some alcohol warming too. Some sweet fruityness such as apricot coming forth on second sips.

M- Mouthfeel is smooth and fine.

O - Overall another impressive brew from masters Sierra Nevada. Whomever put this together did a great job. WOuld probably be my pick of the pack and would even buy regularly if officially released.

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Photo of Humulus85
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Third tasting in my adventures at Beer Camp! 12 oz bottle into my tasting snifter.

Pours a clear garnet with a two finger cream colored head. Solid retention and nice lacing.

I was expecting this to be hop forward, but it is quite malty. A lot of roasted notes and some caramel. Earthy hops take a back seat, and a whiff of booze.

Follows the nose and is malt dominant. Way more roasted flavors, and even a bit of chocolate, than I expect from a typical Red Ale, but it is well balanced by some earthy and herbal hops and alcohol. This one tastes like 8%.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium, but tastes heavier than it feels. Good abundant carbonation and a bitter/dry finish lends drinkability to this brew. Finishes clean.

Overall this is a tasty brew, but not what I expected. I was thinking this was going to be more of a hopped up Red, but as it turns out it is very malty and throws in tons of roasted flavors. While good, I still prefer my Red Ales on the hoppy side. Solid beer and a nice twist on the style. Cheers!

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Photo of chinchill
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp series dated 2012. Poured into a Sam Adams lager glass.

A: Nearly perfect appearance upon pour: Deep red-amber colored, this Imperial Red Ale is capped with a thick, nearly creamy, tan head that leaves an impressive coat of sticky lacing on the glass. The head dies down a bit rather quickly but retains a full tan coat for a long time.

S: More hops than malts in the nose, as expected. The aroma is rich, modestly spicy and bready, mildly floral, and has hints of citrus.

T: Less hop heavy than the aroma, with a nice contribution from sweet malts, leaving the brew only moderately bitter, even in the finish. Rich and complex flavor mix seems to be an exceptionally well-crafted mix of several varieties of malts and hops.

M - Smooth and soft feel with medium-full body. Well chosen medium carbonation.

O - A bold take on a red ale that successfully melds an IPA with a red ale in a finely balanced mix of styles. [4.25]

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Photo of Spaceman_Jer
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of facundoCNB
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a beautiful clean deep amber/red pour with 2 fingers of foamy/fluffy creme colored head, leading to excellent lacing.
smells of grassy/pint hops, caramel, raisin-like sweet malt profile.
earthy bitterness up front followed immediately by a sugary plum-like sweetness.. finishes again in a very earthy almost burnt tire bitterness. very tasty!
medium body, medium amount of carbonation, creamy on the lips.

a really good amber ale. hoppy, bitter, yet sweet and malty. heavy on the alcohol, but you can't taste it for a typically bland style of ale, this really stands out.

 572 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of RDW
4/5  rDev +3.9%

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Best Of Beer Camp: Imperial Red Ale - Beer Camp #65 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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