Climax Noel - Imperial Red Ale | Eel River Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
83
good
54 Ratings
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Climax Noel - Imperial Red AleClimax Noel - Imperial Red Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States
eelriverbrewing.com

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This robust Imperial Red Ale is a hop showcase. The first sip reveals hints of toffee and caramel flavor notes, accentuated with dry hopped organic Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe and Citra hops.

Named after the Climax Engine, a steam locomotive used to haul logs out of the forest, this beer was made for the winter season. With a 9.2% ABV and 62 IBUs, you can count on a nice, warm, drinking experience.

Added by cswhitehorse on 11-22-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
54
Reviews:
40
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
10.9%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
2
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 40
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 vintage.

Pours a hazy orange-red with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus fruit, candied citrus zest, and slight herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of citrus forward qualities in the aroma and flavor.

 586 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy brownish amber in color and poured with a thin off white head.
S: There are aromas of malty sweetness in the nose.
T: There is a moderate amount of sweetness in the taste, which also has some hints of dark fruits and spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer definitely tastes strong but the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

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Photo of largadeer
2.16/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy reddish-brown with significant chill haze, not the most appealing color, but the head retains nicely, fed by high levels of carbonation. The nose is fruity, spicy, yeasty. Orange juice, apple cider, apricots. Intense esters backed by a lot of malty sweetness. On the palate it isn't nearly as sweet as the aroma suggests. Big fruity esters meet somewhat astringent spiciness and surprisingly harsh solventy alcohol. There's some pleasant bready malt mid-palate, but I can't get past the sharp alcohol and overall astringency. Finishes like spiced rubbing alcohol. This is the worst climax I've ever had.

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Photo of mactrail
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful, unbelievable cherry red color in the tumbler. It's like a drink in a fancy cocktail bar plus the beautiful tall head. A pleasant sudsy mouthful. Expansive aroma of piney hops.

Malty and wheaty, in the cereal sense. Warm with malt and hot with alcohol. It's like having a shot with your IPA. Lots of hops but not overly bitter, but spicy with all the hop aromatics. Sharp and tangy with a thin body. It's really like a mixed drink dosed up with bitters.

The best I've had from Eel River. From the 22 oz bottle bought at La Bodega Wines & Spirits in Riverside.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tropical sunset orange-cherry with a gorgeous glow when backlit with late April sunshine. Electric tangerine edges look good as well. The three finger crown is the color and texture of orange-caramel mousse. Abundant and attractive lace are the finishing touches on this attractive winter warmer (that looks like an Imperial red should look).

The nose isn't exactly jumping out of the glass. Even though it's low on power, aromas include caramel-covered cherries and oranges. A New Zealand hop known as Motueka (a Saaz variant) is present, but isn't appreciated. Nor is alcohol. If it opens up with warming, I'll give the score a well-deserved bump. Note: it does, just not enough.

A few ounces in.... Climax Noel is probably Eel River's second best beer, behind Raven's Eye Imperial Stout. It's tantalizingly close to being a well-crafted Imperial red, but better than average is about as high as I can go. This is sort of brew that Rogue knocks out of the park on a routine basis.

Suggested fixes are more malt (especially caramel malt), as well as a better choice of hops. More hops wouldn't be a bad idea either, but malt is more crucial to CN's ultimate success. Flavors mirror aromas: maraschino cherries and orange slices swimming in a light caramel and brown sugar syrup. Simple and direct. Sweet and bitter are pretty evenly matched.

Given the style and the ABV, the body/mouthfeel is a fraction light. It isn't bad though, and almost pulls it off in the end. A glassy smoothness is probably the result of an ideal amount of bubbles.

Climax Noel is enjoyable beer, even though it's destined to be forgotten once the final drop has disappeared. It's a friendly sort of 8.0% winter warmer that makes no major missteps. I'm sure it warms the cockles of many a beer-loving heart in Scotia, CA come Christmastime... when it gets down to a bone-chilling 45 degrees.

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Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a lovely clear red amber with a small white head and lacing. Hoppy aroma with light malt. Medium bodied with a nice malty, light citrus, hoppy red ale start, but the finish is overly bitter, a bit boozy and not supported by the other flavors. The bitterness stays starkly on the palette. I liked the looks of this and it seems well made, I'm disappointed it's a miss.

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Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: cloudy reddish amber in color with a one finger head. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel, yeast spiciness, and a brown sugar sweetness is easy to pull from the glass.

Taste: caramel, brown sugar, plums, apples, yeast, and some mild spiciness are most detectable. Bitterness is moderate and there is a hint of orange citrus late. Alcohol is slightly noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout. Long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: so-so at best. Interesting flavor profile, but personally I grew a bit tired of the flavors by the end of the bottle.

 603 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cream, three-finger head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Amber/red color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and hops. Higher ABV is hidden. $6.39 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

 269 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This red really glows, drops a substantial 1" off white head, a little under average retention though. Aroma brought more dark fruit vibe than red malt. Does that mean its complex?

Taste was a little sweeter, minimal hop usage, like a hybrid of a dubbel, bdsa and red ale. Even brings some holiday spice rack to a small degree. Caramel of course.

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Photo of beertunes
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brewery calls this as an Imperial Red, but it's listed here as Dubbel. Whatevs. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear red, with a bit of a mahogany tint. Just a thin cap of light tan head dissipated quickly and left very light lacing.

The aroma was very sweet and had sharp alcohol note. behind that was some nicely blended grainy malt scents and a hit of hops. The grains take center stage on the tongue, with the hops in the background and on the finish. The beer also was sticky-sweet and had a noticeable alcohol bite.

The body was pleasantly solid, without being heavy, but that sticky-sweetness got a bit boring. Drinkability was pretty good, would have scored it a bit higher if not for that annoying stickiness and the alcohol burn.

Overall, a decent enough brew. I'd probably like it better on tap, but it's certainly worth a try if you see it.

 868 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy ruby and copper colored brew. Nice bone white and light amber colored two finger head that lasts for a strong few sips till dissipation. Pretty good bubbling considering how hard it is to see it. The aroma is lots o' toasted malts, some sugary gummy bears with some alchy cinnamon. The taste starts with some toasted mlats and Belgian candi sugar mixed in. The middle has lots of sweet rolls and packaged candy sweetness. But from the middle t the finish of the palate, it does get a little hot. The 9% abv of this years Climax Noel is warming at the very end of the mouthfeel of this brew. Definetly a festive sipper ale for the season with lots of Belgian influence. Bu the finish make me think of cough medicine a bit.

 741 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a vibrant red, good initial impression of the head, 1" deep, dissipates rather quickly that doesn't have any lace to it. This was a 2009 bottle, so it has about 1 year of age on it.

Fair presence of dark fruit, dark sugar possibly, cane. Isn't overpowering, reminded me of a tamer Salvation, which is a good thing. Aroma is tame, has some of that red aspect to it, can't really describe it, but you know how a red smells, tame. No hop presence, plenty smooth. Hides the alcohol well. Seems like a winter warmer. Could be some hazlenut or nutmeg to this one. Equal parts red and amber ale, but then takes on dimensions of a dark belgian hybrid.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.28/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Who are these guys? Found this in the winter beer selection at Tully's. After drinking this beer, I hope that Dawn will be getting some more beers from Eel River. The beer, when poured, is quite pretty. A dark red amber color with a thick tan head and plenty of lacing. A caramel aroma with a hops presence. Taste was a good caramel malt as well as a good belt of hops. Pretty chewy beer, and quite enjoyable.

 409 characters

Photo of claspada
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Armomas are of doughy bready and sweet malts with some hints of herbal hops and some Belgian musty yeasts.

The taste is pretty darn good, yet simplistic. I agree with the last reviewer that a year in the cellar has helped this 2009 version. There are some butterscotch, nuts, a bunch of vanilla, citrus/sour from the yeast and some lighter hints of brown sugar, alcohol and a light spiciness in the finish. Not your typical winter warmer because of the lighter malt backbone but enjoyable regardless. The high ABV is masked well by the yeast and the age (I assume). The mouthfeel was smooth and soft, the carbonation adequate and the body medium yet extremley full. I recommend if you find this 2009 version today to give it a try because it is probably discounted (because beer merchants are tools) and it is a good value regardless.

 835 characters

Photo of shelby415
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of ccrida
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into my Meantime snifter. Climax Noel is a dark amber with a dense khaki head that leaves sheets of foamy lace.

Smell isn't to strong, but a really nice caramel note, reminding me a bit of cream soda.

Taste is malty, some of the caramel from the nose, plastic phenols, a bit spicy. On the simple side, it opens up just a bit as it warms, but I'd like more sweetness. Or bigger hop flavor, which isn't really obvious here, although this is getting on a few months since the release...even though I bought from a cooler, it may not have been there all winter.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, medium heavy body.

Drinkability isn't too bad, not really that exciting though. One of those where if the nose matched the flavor better it would really be great. The alcohol is well hidden and it's overall rather smooth, make up for the lackluster flavor.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Certified Organic, 9% ABV, 2009, no bottled on/freshness date.

A - A moderate pour into the base of the glass released a dense and tight, tiny bubble tan-khaki head. The retention was ok even with the nucleation point feeding it a giant plume of carbonation. The color is a lightly hazy bronzed-amber with orange-ruby highlights.

S - The nose instantly reminds me of the funky infected yeast from a home brew. After sitting a bit, that aroma went away and became much better. Toasted bread and amber malts with a Belgian yeast nose. A light nose of alcohol has a slight band-aid phenol hint apparent on a harsh swirl. Low fruits and hops even the nose out a bit.

T - The presence of a lightly acidic-sour touch is a bit off to start with. The alcohol level is rather strong too. The phenol band-air thing is back again but more so overshadowed by a hot, solvent-like flavor. The malt flavor seems to come in secondary and is fairly amber-driven with a toasty caramel touch and light fruit hint. Hop flavor isn't present as much as it's bittering qualities are. The finish has a light spicy flavor too.

M - The fairly strong carbonation tingles on the tongue through the length of the beer. It's medium-full in body with a light sweet finish that's quickly overcome by dryness and a well-balanced hop bitterness.

D - The hot alcohol is one of the best parts of the beer giving it a nice winter warming quality but shouldn't overshadow the other aspects. A fair beer that could use some work and some age. If the last bottle is available there I may pick it up and sit on it for a while.

 1,630 characters

Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Durge
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this off-season holiday brew at The Muddy Pig in St. Paul, MN. It has a deep orange-brown / copper color with a decent light-tan bubbly head and great lacing. The aroma brings a quiet sour cherry and cider malt. Pleasant enough but maybe too understated. The flavor offers a grassy hopped malt and sour fruit and cinnamon. Not an obvious Christmas brew for sure but a nice enough brew with a heavy leaning to the leafy bite while carrying a goodly honey malt to balance things. It's medium bodied or so, with a crisp feel that finishes with a dry cover. Plenty drinkable for the style with little alcohol evidence. Nothing conjuring images of sleigh bells and snowfall but it's a good brew that goes down happily. Fair grade for general ale goodness, low grade for my Christmas list.

 789 characters

Photo of morimech
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The foam explodes out of the glass during the pour. But once it settles down the beer has a clear red color. The head is off-white and very large. Good retention and a lot of lacing is left on the glass. Interesting aroma and flavor. Aroma consists of spicey hops and fruity esters. The malt that usually plays a big part in red ales is nonexistent. The flavors are a little disjointed and do not meld that well together. It is a combination of spice, fruity esters, and alcohol. This is seriously lacking in malt character. The body feels a tad light for a red or a hearty winter warmer. But it is nicely carbonated and posesses a nice texture. This beer could use some improvement but as it is, an interesting drinker and worth a try.

 736 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours two fingers of head on a cloudy light brown colored body.
The aroma is a pleasant barnyard, grain and lemon mixture.
The taste is a sharp malty sweetness, a hit of lemon bitterness, caramel and pine.
The texture is thicker with moderate carbonation.
A bold red ale.

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Climax Noel - Imperial Red Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.67 out of 5 based on 54 ratings.
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