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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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 143
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours copper with a large creamy head.
Nose shows raisins, bready malt, toasty notes, burnt figs and spicy hops.
Similar falvours, malty but with a big spicy hoppy hit. Some acrid, burnt figs and a syrupy note before a massive spicy hop bitternes rolls through. somewhat harsh really.
Thick body, could use more carbonation.
Somewhat limited, and not exactly pleasant. Wasn't a fan.

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Photo of Cresant
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz. into a Samuel Adams glass. 2012 Beer Camp Release (from notes). The body was deep amber but clear. The tan head was creamy and left nice lacing in the glass.

The smell was spicy and definite bread crust and it warmed.

the taste was also spicy and bready. Fruity with well hidden alcohol. Malty sweetness overtakes the mild grassy bitterness. The lingering bitter aftertaste lasts a long time.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium to full carbonation.

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Photo of motorhed
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Surly pint glass.

A - Pours out with a very high level of carbonation, had to stop pouring it about 3/4 of the bottle. Very thick head, about half the pint glass. Dissipated within a couple of minutes and poured the rest into the glass. Very nice, thick foamy head that is light tan in color. The color of this brew is spot on, very dark red/copper in color. Light lacing on the glass as it goes down.

S - First thing comes to the nose is the hop aroma followed closely by floral and citrus with a nice malty base.

T - This is a title bout, hops versus the malt. Get some grapefruits and citrus as well as some pine, malt, and light spice.

M - Very nice balace on this. Oily smooth from the hops, perfect levels of carbonation, medium bodied, a semi-sweet to dry finish.

O - Have had better imperial reds but this one is very good. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of TheCrowsNest
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown with a tan head; above average head retention; above average clarity, there is a slight haze. Aroma is mostly malt and darker caramel, very little hop aroma is present. Butterscotch, caramel, and some toasted charcter comprise the majority of the flavor profile, hops are present in a balancing bitterness that is almost unwelcome considering the sweetness that is initially expressed through the malt bill. Dry finish comes after a nice coating mouthfeel.

Solid beer that looks great and has great body. That said, I'd like to see some more hops hanging around in a style like this.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 Beer Camp Bottle poured in to Bruery tulip. Bottle date code of 2178210. Poured in to tulip glass.

A - Poured a very dark amber colour, almost opaque. One finger of cream coloured head formed and receded to a thin layer. Good lacing.

S - Caramel and toffee aromas up front with some citrus hop aromas in the background. Not an overly robust nose but an inviting one.

T - A big bitterness at first that is immediately followed up a sweet caramel/toffee malt backbone. Some grapefruit and pine notes are present but are in the background. A dry and bitter finish.

M - Medium body, somewhat creamy. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer Camp #65: Imperial Red Ale. Pint glass to receive.

Rich and solidified in the head with a good two fingers or more gathered. Off-white in color. Dark brick colored brew with translucency. Not a great deal of light gets through it, in general. Getting some nice lace-effect as the head slowly topples.

Smells of candied grapefruit, burnt toffee, toasted grains, tangerine, lime, and a woodsy note. Stretched out a bit, but mostly simple.

A spike of hop bitterness penetrates right in the opening, but quells in a sweet and semi-fruity ale profile with a gentle roast. A tingling bitterness is piquant and mouth-filling in its intensity. Almost acidic, in a way. The citrus notes don't really get extended, however notes of wine-soaked peaches bleeds through. An underwhelming ale that is satisfactory in that it's fresh and flavorful. Just not terribly complex.

That 8.1% ABV is noticeable, for the most part. I should let this warm up even more to make it more enjoyable. Otherwise, it's a fulfilling drink with great body for the style. The effervescence is rigorous in a way that it needs to be.

I like an obvious rind-y flavor in my hoppy reds. This Beer Camp offering doesn't do much in the way of hoppy nor citrus rind-y. A whole lot of baked grain in here would balance a beer with a heap of humulus, but in this case, it's almost too malty.

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Photo of Trueant1
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a 12 pack from Bevmo.

Pours dark for this style Dark brown/red. Nice frothy white head and great lacing.
Visible carbonation.
Smells of sweet dark fruits and various malts.
Tastes of very robust malts and bitter hop bite. Lots of caramel sweets and some alcoholic . Once again, the bitterness lingers heavy on the pallet. Surprising for this style. flavors. Mouth-feel is nicely carbonated and a tad thin. Overall a nice brew.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a translucent garnet red color with a two and half fingers of off white head. Superb head retention with lots of lacing.

S- Toasty malt with notes of caramel. spicy woody hops in the nose with a touch of earthiness.

T- toasted bread and caramel hit the palate at first. The hops soon take over with spicy pine characteristics. Assertive bitterness (which I generally love) on the finish that diminishes the other flavors a bit to much.

MF- Slick mouthfeel with a light medium body. Average carbonation

D- Ok drinkability

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Photo of wspscott
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass

A: Dark red color with a off-white head that never quite disappears. Very pretty when held up to a light.
S: Tropical fruits and a hint of chocolate(?) in the background
T: Pine, citrus, a little bit of tropical fruit, a definite suggestion of chocolate (a little too much chocolate malt for color?) No sign of alcohol.
M: Lots of carbonation makes for a easy drinking beer, round and tongue coating otherwise. The bitterness seems to linger on the tongue.
O: I don't usually reach for American amber/red ales and this confirms why. I would prefer more hop aroma/flavor and a little less emphasis on the malts, of course that is the whole point of this style. Within the boundaries of the style, this is a very good beer, but I would be surprised to see this in the regular lineup.

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Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high light beige head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with hints of caramel malts.
T: A moderate amount of bitterness stands out throughout the taste, but this is most evident in the finish. There are flavors of spicy hops along with notes of caramel malts and citrusy hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The hop bitterness really cleanses your palate.
O: This beer presents an interesting mix of hops and is rather bitter for the style. This delivers a nice amount of lingering bitterness.

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Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My bottle shows this as Beer Camp#35 at 8.5% abv, but who am I to get all anal about this...

Pours an effervescent ruby red with 3 fingers of rocky tan head. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Loads of pine & some leafy hops, some pear

T: Follows the nose, a touch of booze & breadyness up front. A touch of dryness & cakeyness cuts through the pine. Finishes dry, piney with a bit of orange peel & just a bit of cakeyness & some astringency (aspirin & grapefruit rind)

MF: Chewy, but fairly firm carbonation, balance isn't quite there; some boozey warmth

Drinks alright, not quite dialed in, but could happily drink this any day

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a lightly hazy reddish amber in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation and some garnet red highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy beige head that slowly reduces to a couple of small patches of thick film along with a very thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted and caramel malts along with some citrus/grapefruit rind hops.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of caramel and toasted malts that have just a hint of sweetness. That is followed by some moderate flavors of spicy hops and citrus/grapefruit rind hops. Moderate amounts of bitterness that really linger.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: I like how bitter this beer is for the style, the hops are almost palate cleansing. I found this beer to be pretty enjoyable but it does have a high ABV which means you should be sipping this a little more slowly.

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Photo of Electros
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red, very nice pour, medium head retention. I am actually very surprised with the taste and mouth-feel of this beer. It is considerably light in smell, and flavour considering the ABV (8.1%). I do so love the labels on these beer camp bottles though. Light hops on the first taste, full flavour on the malt, hops gone upon finish. This beer is very smooth and deceiving, session-able big time, until it hits you! Caramel, munich, pale malts, in proportion complement the hops, and ABV level...

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Photo of davey101
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz stubby bottle into a shaped pint glass. Julian date puts it at a June 27 bottled on date.

A - Dark red clear body. One of the densest foams formed after pouring, so dense that as I tried to pour the last few ounces it just trickled over the head and down the glass. After it settles down its a thick cap of off white foam with large bubbles. Loads of lacing and retention.

S - Cocoa powder initially. Crystal malts, piney hops, light citrus and dusty cocoa powder. Seems weird, but its prevalent and has been mentioned in other reviews.

T - Piney hops with just a touch of bright citrus. Very malt forward with some bread and spice, almost rye like. Well balanced with a bitter finish.

M - Medium bodied with nice creamy carbonation. High abv is very well hidden.

O - Not an amazing red ale, but still very delicious.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a dark red/brown color with a one finger mocha head which lasts for a few minuets. Lacing stays on the glass throughout.

The smell is roasted malts, grapefruit, pine, melon.

The taste starts with citrus hops, grapefruit, melon, moves to heavy roasted malts with a bready taste, then finishes with piney resins which linger on the tongue. There is also a carmel or toffee taste.

The mouthfeel is smooth but a kind of watery.

Overall this brew is well balanced. The mixture of hops and malts is one that you do not see everday. There is also strong alchohol presence which has the usual "warming" effect.
This is more hop forward than most Red Ales; it is worth trying if you would like to taste a hop forward Red Ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada's fascination with hops has now lead them to the land of "red". Though the ale's appearance is of deep red Amber Ale, its taste leads with the distinct character of Pacific Northwest hops.

Deep brownish red in color, its overall appearance is of rust and equipped with a haze that signals dry-hopping. A very creamy, ivory head rises to cap the beer with confidence and longevity. Lacing with broken rings, the ale exudes a sense of quality even without taking a sip.

Equal parts of pine and grapefruit meet the nose first. Those sharp and pungent scents are both citrusy and earthy and nearly topple its scent. But then a backdrop of malt peaks through with dry toast, burnt caramel, bread crust, pecan and sorghum.

Those dry sweetnesses greet the early palate but only briefly before giving way to toast and bread crust. Its that gently cynged grain husk taste that brings about a nutty taste. But all that is quickly cast to the wayside because of the onslaught of hops that rise in the middle. That's when the sharper taste of white grapefruit pith and peels give its taste a bright and vivid taste. As the ale continues a quick turn to finish, its citrus tone turns resinous, piney and gripping with hop bitterness in the back of the throat.

Its medium body is lead by a creamy-dry start. Somewhat arid and toasty, its middle is incredibly light even if the toast floats just above the tongue. And then that dry malt character paves the way for for an ultra clean, ultra crisp, and ultra refreshing finish of mild warmth.

Like Sierra Nevada does, this ale completely satisfies every requirement that its style describes. But it's the straight forward taste and lack of complexity that hinders the beer even if everso slightly.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle purchased as single from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness or bottling info.

Pour is dark amber, dark tan head, leaves nice fine lacing.

Caramel maltyness on the nose. With some dull hops in the rear.

Big hops/big malts. I get some smoked notes, some tropical fruit and layers of caramel malt.

Big and balanced. Fine job here by the Beer campers.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Willibrew during the Sierra Nevada Tap Attack. Pours a murky rusty brown color with almost no head. Almost no lacing. Aroma is citrusy hops with some pine notes. Sweet. The taste is alot like the aroma. Sweet citrus up front with some caramel and pine. Bitter citrus at the end. Slightly bready. Medium bodied with a dry mouthfeel. Overall, a solid hoppy red ale that I'm glad i got to try; especially since its retired (apparently).

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the cask and vine.
Comes to the table a slightly cloudy medium brow color with ruby highlights and a decent sized off white head. Smells of pine and resin with a solid bready caramel to back it up. The flavor is sweet bread brown sugar and caramel behind some nice resinous pine and grapefruit. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick sweet mouthfeel. Nice red ale that drank a lot easier than 8% abv. Great caramel expression with enough hops to back it up.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured prickly piney hops and a balmy earthy caramel malt.

The taste consisted of burnt sugar, earthy caramel, a touch of cocoa and a smooth nuttiness. Waves of herbal and piney hops cleaned up the experience and lingered well after the finish.

The mouthfeel was full for the style with a dry finish.

Overall a very tasty brawny red ale.

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

Part of Best of Beer Camp 12-pack, consumed 8.27.12, poured into UCLA shaker pint glass.

Two fingers off-white tan head, medium dissipation with above average lacing over clear garnet red body several trails of medium size bubbles rising from bottom of glass. Significant malt presence in the nose, crystal fruitiness, balanced by spicy and citrusy hops. Taste mirrors nose, fairly malty and hoppy. Mouthfeel medium, decent effervescence. A pretty good imperial red, taste a lot like Laurelwood Deranger used to taste. Worth a try.

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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.

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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 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 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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Best Of Beer Camp: Imperial Red Ale - Beer Camp #65 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 143 ratings.
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