Red Rocket Ale
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Red Rocket AleRed Rocket Ale
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #6
Ranked #4,200
4.07 | pDev: 10.81%
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States
Red Rocket AleRed Rocket Ale
Notes: Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish style red ale that traces it's origins to our homebrew roots. This full bodied and hoppy brew finishes on the palate with sweet, caramel malt flavors.

2009 California State Fair - SILVER
1999 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales or Lagers - SILVER
1998 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales - SILVER
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Reviews: 1,182 | Ratings: 2,636 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

OMFG! How have I not reviewed this beer until now?!? If you are late to my party, I have a redhead fetish as a fellow redhead (excepting getting cheated on my hair). I have had more than my share of redheaded girlfriends & I still swear that the Navy cost me Linda Lou. A few more months with her & I might have finally won her over. Sadly, our 7-month deployment to PR in 1993 allowed her to wriggle off of the hook. 8=( I had a wonderful classmate at Pitt who went on to have a great post-grad experience at my urging at UWisco & is now a published poet ( ). Her nickname, not conferred by me, was "The Red Rocket" & I have drank this beer SO many times with her … Gifts as graduating seniors, at her wedding, as a wedding gift, ad nauseum. This was a purchase at the Friendly Greek long ago.

From the (admittedly ancient) Bottle: "Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish style red ale packed with distinctive flavors and an aggressive hop character rivaled by none. This unfiltered, bottle-conditioned [!] amber colored ale breaks all style molds."; "Brew Master Notes[:] Keep refrigerated, beer is perishable, real ale is alive, yeast is good, serve at 45 - 50 F".

Bottle-conditioned, eh?!? Vindication is mine! It's had ample time to mature so upon the
Pop!ping of the cap, a slow, gentle C-Line pour was the order of the day. It didn't generate much foam, but I did get a wee, tiny finger of foamy, soapy, rocky, tawny head for my efforts. It sank into a cap of wisps, leaving me wistful in its limited wake. Color was not "Red", but instead, Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity & mahogany highlights! 8=O Nose was predominantly malty, suggesting that the hops had fallen away, but with a trace of pine. Remember, this was "bottle-conditioned". Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but on the approach. Taste was malty, but do not take that to mean "sweet" in this instance. The yeast had dried it nicely to impart a warm nuttiness, like roasted chestnuts, or pecans and even almonds. Mmm. Carrie lights up every time that I present her with a bottle & now, I begin to understand why. If it is always bottle-conditioned, then do yourself a favor & set one aside. This was like a cross between a throwback-Amber of the early days of microbrewing (too sweet) to the modern micro-Ambers (very hop forward). It was no Luscious Struggle to drink this one. My aging had smoothed it nicely, leaving it semi-dry to dry. Again, I urge aging, if possible. YMMV.

Apr 14, 2020
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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

More malt forward - caramel malt, not super bready, could use a little more hops to add some extra dimensions. Found it a little too washed out and bland

Jan 23, 2019
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HellsRanger from Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Revisited on Jan. 6th 2019 and had to update my smell and taste rating...which upped overall.
This has gotten much nicer in aroma and better in taste with the hops coming thru nicely. The feel is still a little on the dry side, but everything else makes up for it.

My bad on my first rating...never say "no again" to any brew. That is alcohol abuse. Hahaha!

This pours a nice dark redish tint with heavy foam, and if poured heavy into pilsner or pint it reacts like a nitro tap ... it sits and sinks.
As for aroma it has a very complex/odd aroma to me. It is kinda fruity, but yet has a slight burnt chocolate/coffee to it...none of which is bad, just different and complex.
The taste is not as complex, but kinda, it has a snappy bite with that scotish flair to it, but can taste the semi fruityness the burnt something or other along with the scotish ale to it, but a very nice adventure to this brew.
The feel I think is full on scotish ale...bite, edge, and fullness.
All in all a very adventurous brew, and a must try!!!!

Nov 09, 2018
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mushroomcloud from Texas

3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - no visible packaged on/enjoy by date on the bottle.
1/4" off white head retains as a cap, glowing red, good clarity but inundated with floaters suspended in it. Patchy lacing.
Caramel, sweet malts, brown bread, faint pine.
Pine, spicy hop notes. Bread crust. Burnt caramel sugar. Faint smoky note.
Medium body, low to medium carbonation. Long finish and well balanced.
Good stuff, been a minute since I brought any BR home. Would like to see a very visible date of some kind. And no floaters.

Jul 08, 2018
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haines710 from Delaware

4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

After having enjoyed a few of Bear Republic's IPAs, I was excited to see this beer show up at my local grocery. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Very dark brownish coloring. A thin head but heavy lacing as I enjoy this very drinkable beer. The smell is faint citrus and you get that same on the initial taste but then it is replaced with a heavy brown sugar and caramel flavor. This is not an IPA. It is heavier and definitely has more of a Scottish ale feel and taste. This is a quality beer.

Apr 03, 2017
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doktorhops from Australia

3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sorry Bear Republic I’ve got to get this out, this is some weird catharsis for me: “And the red rocket ale, the beers bursting in kegs, gave proof through the night that our stein was still there; O say does that half barrel still provide more ale, O the land of the cream [ale] and the home of the IPAaaaa!” Play ball. So yeah, now that that is out of the way, lately I’ve been reviewing Red Ale/IPAs (they’re pretty indivisible styles so I lump them into 1) and I noticed that one of the biggest of US Red Ales recently popped into my local, so here we are: Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale. It’s about time I got my grubby [actually I just cleaned them] hands on this essential Red Ale... bottoms up?!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Deep brown/amber body (think Mahogany - like my leather bound books) with a disappointing thin tan sea foam head. The body is a suitably impressive colour, but that weak sea foam head is doing it no favours. 7/10.

S: Brown sugar, dark fruits, molasses forward on the nose - yes this has travelled far to reach me, not expecting a Pulitzer prize list of hops here but something would be good. Hints of caramel as well... Something floral/lightly citrus in there as well, Mr. Hops I presume? 7/10.

T: Malty: burnt caramel/molasses/brown sugar... you get the picture. Behind all that malt there is a light floral/earthy/citric hop character that helps even everything out. Aftertaste has a bit of astringency and a medium bitterness. If you think of it as a straight Scottish Red Ale with an American spin (i.e. the hops) as stated on the label then it definitely fits the brief - though the hops are lacking from some of the Australian Red Ales I’ve tried recently. Still pretty damn tasty though. 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a thin but burpy, err, dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: Overall nice but not as exciting as at least 3 Aussie Red Ales I can think of off the top of my head. That said this was one of the first American Red Ales out there and a trailblazer in that class, so credit where credit is due... in this case: here and now. Will I ever drink it again having access to some great Red Ales here in Oz? Well, no, probably not, unless I was staying in California and could get this fresh on tap. I guess that’s the problem with trailblazer beers like this - they blaze the trail but then they’re stuck and can’t change (lest they piss off a great many of their fans - like the singer who has to keep singing the same song over and over). 8/10.

Food match: Beefy and stewy and BBQy is the meal ticket here.

Mar 20, 2017
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sjdevel from Utah

4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: 4.25
Deep dark reddish brown/copper color. Decent head – 2-3 fingers. Nice retention and interesting lacing and suds left over after it recedes.

Smell: 4
Not very aromatic. Smells a bit tart and a slight hint of vinegar. Some malt and caramel come through. Hops are very apparent… a little bit of citrus and pine.

Taste: 4.25
It’s a huge battle between bittering hops and very sweet caramel malt. Some earthy and savory flavors show up for a brief visit. You can’t quite tell if this is a hoppy IPA-like beer or a rich and thick Scottish Ale.

Feel: 4.25
Medium to Full bodied. Heavier than I expected. Stays quite foamy throughout.

Overall: 4.25
This is a good Red Ale / Scottish Ale / IPA style beer. It is a bit confusing as to what direction it heads towards, but there seems to be a pretty decent balance between the rich Red Ale, the Dark Roasted Scottish Ale, and the extra hoppiness that is borderline IPA. I bought a 6 pack of this one (normally I don’t because I tend to buy mixed 6’s) and I will definitely drink them all. It is pretty interesting.

Feb 04, 2017
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Blackop555 from Michigan

3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a red brown thick, medium head fading slowly to lacing

Smells of citrus hops and malts

Taste is pretty balanced light malts with citrus as it warms malt profile increases slightly. Finishes moderately bitter and lingers for a while. Medium to thick body good carbonation

Jan 02, 2017
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lwcreasy from Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reddish-brown and opaque with a light tan, creamy head. An inch of the stuff, and it hangs around beautifully, for the whole trip. Some suspended yeast. Great lacing.

Sweet, delicious toffee malt character with pungent, spicy, and slightly citrus-hinting hops. Mostly the light citrus notes recall lemon. Rich toffee, caramel, and ladyfingers. These malt aromas get bigger and more beautiful as we're sipping down. A little fruity ester character and perhaps some butterscotch as the beer gets warm.

Deep toffee impression, with toasty malt character on the back half of each sip. Mostly herbal hops throughout, with a little bit of lemon zest when the brew is still sprite. Some other interesting character starts to appear when the beer hits that optimum temp- apple, tobacco, and raisin. All these flavors and the persistent herbs mix well with the medium + bitterness. Compellingly, the sip see-saws from a fairly sweet start to a nice, refreshing bitter-leaning finish.

Medium body, but rich. Nice and creamy. Dry finish accentuates a nice bitterness.

Really a fantastic beer! Will have to make this a regular in the mini. One of the best Ambers I've had.

Oct 27, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Somewhere between a scotch ale and a red ale comes this pour, its a dark brown I would say but without the viscous stout like appearance. Caramel, rye? and hops in the nose.

Taste is like a meld of styles from US and UK, you get the peat and earthiness with some tobacco notes, but there is plenty of c hops and bitterness like grapefruit. Full bodied.

Aug 17, 2016
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TheBrosy from Wisconsin

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber red with a slight tan head. Great head retention. Somewhat hazy

Smell: Big sweet caramel aroma with nice piney hop aroma.

Taste: Outstanding. Nice malt profile of caramel and some chocolate comes through as well. Hop bitterness is pleasant at the beginning of the mouthful.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated with a nice slick mouth feel.

One of the best American Ambers I've had. Really out standing beer. The taste profile is quite broad and the aroma is great as well.

Jul 28, 2016
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber red with a moderate amount of bubbles. About a finger of off white head which settles into a thin patchy layer.

Smell: A toasty and earthy aroma with a scent of caramel, pine, and citrus. Toasted barley malt with a scent of caramel, grains, and biscuit with yeast. Earthy hops with a scent of pine resin and grass. Citrus hop hints of grapefruit, orange peel, and lemon. A very good complex aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a toasty and earthy balanced taste with notes of caramel, pine, and citrus. Toasted barley malt with notes of caramel, biscuit, grains, and nuts along with yeast. Earthy hops with notes of pine resin and grass. Citrus hop notes of orange peel, grapefruit, and lemon. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Somewhat chewy with a drying finish.

Overall: A very good twist on a Red/Scottish Ale. Good red malt flavor with a bold hop presence.

Jun 22, 2016
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superspak from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 10/28/2016. Pours slightly hazy dark ruby red color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, light pine, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of juicy citrus/tropical hops and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pine, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Moderate pine/citrus peel/grassy bitterness; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pine, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/tropical/pine hops and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and minimal hop astringency after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness, that increases through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth moderately sticky/creamy/bready balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding hoppy red ale. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/tropical/pine hops and dark/bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

Jun 12, 2016
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hopmister2000 from California

4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer is good. I like to drink it when I want to drink a good beer sometimes I don't want to drink too good of a beer because I don't want to become too snobby about my beers but when I do want a good beer that's good but not like knock my socks off good this one works good.

May 07, 2016
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dtumminelliob from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a pretty great red ale. The pour is a beautiful red-brown, though it could afford a little more head/lacing. The smell is malty-hoppy. The taste and feel are smooth with the deep malty backbone, but the hops mask any sweetness. The hop profile is more piney than bitter. Overall, really well balanced red ale.

Feb 16, 2016
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JJKBeerLvr from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz bottle into pint glass in February 2016. No date on the bottle.

Appearance: Dark amber with light tan head. Beer color is clear, and a little cloudy. Head and lacing are thick. It leaves a thick film on the glass long after the head disappeared.

Smell: Aroma dominated by hops, and citrus. There is some pine aroma as well, but it is dominated by the citrus.

Taste: The taste is also dominated by the bite from the hops. There is also citrus fruit flavors, and a little sweetness from the malts. The aftertaste has with a bite from the hops, but it is very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium alcohol, which confirms the 6.8% on the bottle.

This is a very smooth medium-bodied ale. Good drinking, and reminds me of a good IPA or APA, but smoother and with less pronounced hops that many IPAs. I will buy this again.

Feb 06, 2016
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marieli from Texas

3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle. Looks great, deep amber. Smell the hops--I'm not the biggest fan. Taste is good, and pretty well balanced, but for my taste hops could still step back a little. Decent bitterness. Good mouthfeel.

Jan 23, 2016
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Bosazga from Washington

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sorry I'm just gettin back into this reviewing thing...

L- My favorite color of beer - like weak coffee or really good cream soda

S- Cedar, asphalt, or tannins in general - it smells way maltier than it tastes, but none of it hurts the experience

T- Not what I expected in a red ale (which is what the name implies)... Red's are tough to define, but they are one of those beers I go to if I'm just not sure of the other selections... It's surprisingly bitter, I taste tobacco, maybe some cloves..., but i'm ok with it for a short-term engagement

F- It's been 2-3 minutes since my last sip, but I still feel carbonation on my tongue - definitely bordering on bitter, but not offensive in any way... definitely a re-visit that will neutralize anything I've had that evening...

This is an interesting brew.. I'd say it's a great transition to the next selection (which I now get to enjoy), but not one I'd look forward to....

Jan 20, 2016
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Andrewharemza from Australia

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From Bottle. Pours a dark cloudy amber with off-white head. Aroma is caramel, vanilla, fruity malts. Taste big hops there, citrus, grapefruit and with a caramel malt. Very nice.

Jan 10, 2016
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StevenMilligan from Florida

4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Deep dark, hazy red/brown. Half an inch head that fades; yet there remained a weird dab of red, almost like like food coloring or a paint splat. Weird! It must be yeast.

S: HOPS! Then sweet caramel notes are left dancing with some cherry. A little bit of plum. Very sweet smelling after the initial smell of citrusy hops.

T: Raisin bran, dark pitted plum. More caramel malt here. The specialty malts really shine. Some hop bitterness in the finish to balance that fruit in the foreground. Very complex, yet balanced. A touch of spicy hops in the finish as well.

F: Pretty thick for a red, but with a taste that like it's ok. It's easy to tell this beer is jam-packed with flavor and a lighter mouthfeel would just not be feasible.

O: I am weird. I am usually put off by unfiltered beers full of swimming dregs. But, you cannot deny the complexity and balance of this brew. You get that everything but the kitchen sink flavor (bastardized), but they all align well together. It's hoppy, it's sweet, it's somewhat refreshing and it works! A nice surprise, I had saved this for last thinking I would not enjoy it.

Oct 20, 2015
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TheWiltChamberlainofipas from Oregon

4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bastardizied Scottish ale is what it says on bottle and they're right, but it a good way. Citrus on the nose lending more toward an ipa. Taste is a bitter hop punch on initial sip with a sweet malty finish. Missing the sweeter more malt forward mouthfeel of a Scottish ale richness replaced by a dry finish. Typical grapefruit ipa flavor shines through. Something for the hop heads to drink when you need a change.

Oct 15, 2015
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thepenguin from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 5/21/12

L: The deepest, darkest possible red. Hazy.

S: Very nice tropical, floral, citrusy hops upfront. Some crystal malts behind it. Smells very fresh.

T: Delicious, complex hop blast upfront. It’s citrusy and tropical off the bat and while the specialty malts shine through a bit, it’s a fairly dry beer with a dry bitter finish.

F: Full bodied and luscious. Slightly less than medium carbonation—perfect. Some heat in the post-sip.

Overall: This beer is truly a delight when you can find it fresh, which in my state is tragically seldom.

Sep 30, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i cant believe its taken me so long to review this one. its one of the more common bear republic beers, its been around forever, and i have enjoyed it on numerous occasions. nice to have a bottle again today, this really is a classic. its somewhat of a scotch ale meets an american amber, with a real interesting and deep grain bill, and plenty of hops coming through it too, way ahead of its time when it came out. my bottle today was pretty yeasty, lots of floaties that i dont remember being there in the past, maybe it was old or something, but it didnt hurt my enjoyment of the beer one bit. smells malty in an earthy way rather than sweet, and it has notes of raisin and dried apples to it, kind of cool in the fall. the hops are much less detectable in the nose than in the flavor, where they are pretty darn bold. a good mix of strains, lots of bitterness to balance the grain weight, but also some oily west coast flavors. complex and layered, i know these guys get a lot of love, but this is one more of those beers that just belongs in that spectrum of illustrative american craft beers. this cuts its own path, and i was happy to walk it again today. love this stuff.

Sep 20, 2015
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Wiffler27 from New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark brown amber, red/brown with a thick cream colored head.

smells like roasted malt, almost stout-ly.

the taste of this unique. definitely a red ale and not an amber ale.

it has a light beer taste, in a good way! it's a light and airy beer, not a thick syrupy mess. i think of amber ales, Troegs Hopback is one of my favorites, as more heavy and full bodied. this red ale is lighter and it's nice. has a nice hop bite as well.

a unique kind of beer, a bastardized red ale as they say! good full taste but is still light enough to drink a few of these.

Aug 30, 2015
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Dustin_Sallitt from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Garnett red, minimal head. Smells of fruity hops, sweet malts. Taste is sweet malts balanced by fruity and herbal hops, pretty yummy. Goes down smooth with a little residual bitterness.

Aug 26, 2015
Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2636 ratings