Redhook 8-4-1 Expedition | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Redhook 8-4-1 ExpeditionRedhook 8-4-1 Expedition

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American-Style Strong Brown Ale developed by eight Redhook brewers working in four teams of two to create one beer. The ale reflects a compilation of each team’s individual receipes that were then carefully blended into one distinct beer. 8-4-1 Expedition Ale offers complexy flavor notes, delivering malty sweetness, medium bitterness with hints of smoked flavors and oak chips balanced by the addition of honey, brown sugar and candi sugar.

55 IBU

Added by henrysunset on 02-09-2010

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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 105
Photo of jlindros
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Should have had this a couple years ago, as the honey is probably long gone, but we'll see. From spring 2010.

pours a nice creamy almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace, decent lacing, semi clear but darker chestnut brown color.

Nose is huge, tons of brown malt aromas, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, candied pecans and other hearty nuts, sugary sweet almost syrup, hint of minerals, and faintest hint of cherry wood smoke.

Taste starts with more toasty brown malts, even slightly creamy, sweet brown sugar galore, molasses, light toffee and caramel like, lots of fluffy soft brown malts and even light aged brown malts like an old ale taste. Toasty, with a light candy, candied pecans and again hearty nuts, with a light syrupy candy, and faint hint of toasty oak. Hints of grassy hops, and touch of minerals and salty like flavor from earthy hops and touch of smoke. Unfortunately the honey is gone aside from slight hint if honey sweetness in the middle. Finish is still fairly sweet with lots more brown sugar, soft toasty malts, and hint if smoke and chewy spicy hops lingering.

Mouth is med bodied, slightly creamy and fluffy, nice carb, pretty much no booze.

Overall pretty nice, just missing the honey. Great brown malts, nice sweet flavors, and even nice blend of hops. Booze is hidden well, and the aging really seemed to make it better I think.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a hazed but rich amber with a pale mocha cover. Not very thick but has good staying power, leaving some good legs of lace on the glass.

Aroma - sweet malt and pungent citrus, reminiscent of arrogant bastard. Notes of oak after setup, an interesting and inviting smelling beer.

Taste - base malts are not as sweet as I would have thought. Bitterness kicks in quickly, leaving some acrid flavors in the wake. Is that the wood or the beginning of off-flavors or infection? Is it the bitterness of the hops? So many possibilities, it's a bit hard to figure out but it's a little rough and may be a tedious glass to work with. Ends with the bitterness, dry and a little harsh, and some light abv warmth, well-hidden for 9.5%. Grows on me some as it warms and the palate adapts but there I am questioning the beer's integrity at this point, a bit of a distraction.

Mouthfeel - medium feel, crispness is lively but not off the charts, so an infection here is unlikely.

Drinkability - peculiar. Not all bad but took some getting used to. If the bitterness could be dialed down a bit I would like this more.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red brown, thin off-white head. Aroma of caramel malt and light fruit. Spice and fruits apparent on opening. Smells nice. Initial flavors of hops, fruit and light malt, middle spicy with fruits. Finish sharp, acrid, like quinine. The aftertaste is not good. An interesting beer with a major flaw in the finish.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a rich red-brown brew. It glows bright ruby when held to the light. It holds a half finger tall tan colored head that recedes at a medium pace. The lacing left is sticky and thick. Carbonation appears average and a full, thick haze permeates the liquid. The aroma is full of caramel, sugars, and deep malts. These are the strongest components, and make the beer smell much like a traditional Scotch ale. There is an added sweetness of maraschino cherries and honey mixed with booze. These act more as highlights, rather than trying to overwhelm the malty core. On the far back there is a softness of cream, and a thick pine spice with warmth. As we sip, the flavoring opens up with sweet and sugary caramel malts. There is a flash of honey and mild wood, but the latter is more chalky and drying. To transition to the middle we have cherries and general fruit sugars, which bring us to mild candy esters at the peak. Here, too, the malts continue to sing, but they appear deeper and less sweet as in the front. The finish is distinctly of cotton candy and chalky candy corn. The booze finally comes in as black pepper, and mixes nicely with more charred malts, darkness, and sweeter wood. The aftertaste breathes of spicy booze continued from the finish, coffee metallics, and earthiness. The body is the upper limits of medium, and the carbonation is higher. There is a slight coating, but the tongue is ultimately dried. There is little slurp or snack, but the beer drinks smoothly. The abv is appropriate.

Overall, what we found to be the best thing about this brew was the finish of each sip. There was a beautiful balance of strange sweet flavors and dark, woody malts and char. From the aroma, however, we expected something a bit spicier and a little less sweet. Ultimately, this beer has great drinkability, and is a nice change for the style, with some darker components.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To paraphrase something overheard when this was recommended to me, ‘perhaps the best thing ever bottled by Redhook.’ Aww. And, quite possibly true. An imperial brown ale. Even I, who has written about my end of the affair with brown ales, found this one really enjoyable. Great malty aroma and a bold malt backbone that balances the hops on this. Deceptively easy to drink.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark caramel in color with an off-white head that reached a height of around two inches before settling back down. Light lacing coating the side of the glass. Aroma is hops, piney with light citrus notes but a load of cinnamon and spice as well. Seems as though I have run into this before with another of their one off's, just seems really familiar. Letting it open up gives me nice touches of caramel and bready malts, a rich and well balanced hoppiness that seems to fade in and out during the session. Nice feel, hearty with great carbonation that still allows it to have some pop to it. Whatever the ABV was it was well hidden and I was able to enjoy this one thoroughly without issue and leaving that nice dry, lightly bitter finish capped it

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Photo of hreb
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cold 22oz bomber dated Mar 08 10. At 9.5% ABV time shouldn't have done it any harm, I hope (I should note that I only recently came into possession of this bottle from the store -- I didn't let it sit around for a year myself). Served in pint glass, beer is deep brown with a hint of red, appears very syrupy, with a thin but dense dark chestnut brown head which falls quickly. Super malty aroma.

First sip is powerfully subtle. Yes, this is wicked malty. Yes, there are the standard nutty and toasty notes you expect in a beer this color. Yes, there is or was brown sugar in there. Yes, it's a little heavy, final gravity wise. But the malt isn't cloying and the roasted barley doesn't become chalky. Hop flavors are secondary and not particular defined, just straight up alpha acid bitterness. This has about as close to zero aftertaste as you can possibly imagine. It's just that perfectly balanced.

Not only that, but there's nothing to betray the alcohol content, either.

The label makes a few additional claims which flavor-wise aren't the dominant parts of this beer:

1. Oak-aged. I'd say the 8 brewers were 100% successful using oak to mellow and enhance the flavors without adding new "smack you in the face with a plank" ones.

2. Brewed with honey. I wouldn't have guessed. My guess is the yeast fermented the adjunct entirely, drying the brew out a bit and pumping the ABV.

3. Cherry-wood smoked malts. I don't see it at all. Any smoked malt flavors are completely buried underneath roasted malt flavors for me.

In spite of all the good things I have to say about this beer, it'll never be a great beer. The high-wire balancing act is impressive, but the result is a not particularly interesting high ABV ale. Its subtleties are more bland than complex. I guess what I'm saying is, don't waste your time, because I'll finish this one for you. :)

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Photo of jondeelee
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

8-4-1 Expedition Ale (the spring 2010 batch)--an oak aged ale brewed with honey--begins with a sweet, malty nose, loaded with brown sugars, apricot, pear, hints of banana, and a nice grapefruit hop counter, all atop a baked-bread grain base.

On the tongue, the hops kick in immediately, washing the tongue with grapefruit and pine notes. Beneath this is a good layer of malts, including brown sugars, vanillas, a hint of cola, and white grape. Just at the end, the cherry-wood smoked malts make an appearance, bringing a husky, yet sweet grain touch. The aftertaste is mainly hops, though some of the sweet malty fruit esters linger on. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium-high.

Overall, while I quite like the flavors in here, I find myself wishing that the hops weren't as prevalent, as they tended to overpower the malts and wash out many of the fruity, sugary notes. As well, a slight alcohol tinge (9.5% ABV) is present in the mouthful, increasing in potency at the very end of the aftertaste. I found the beer very drinkable, but not quite to the level that the "Limited Release" label, or the "8 brewers working in 4 teams" story led me to believe.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.89/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cellared for a year above 45 degrees.

A - A perfect reddish brown complexion allowing traces of light to pass. The head is strong and frothy at more than an inch tall and having some nice stamina. It's color is medium tan, almost caramel colored.

S - Aroma is that of caramel but it has a weak strength.

T - Somewhat spicy with caramel, roasty bread.

M - Thick with a certain coarseness on the tip of my tongue. It leaves a sticky trace throughout my mouth with each swallow.

~ Based on the characteristics of the brew I would have imagined it to be released in the fall or winter as opposed to the spring. Regardless, the beer is worth your time and I have to say, over the past year it aged well.

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Photo of Duff27
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2010 bottle

Pours a thin, quick receding head, Beer is a murky brown. Lacing is nil. Nice alcohol legs though.

"Smells like Double Dead Guy" Big malty smell.

Brown sugar with a touch of smokiness. No hops detected. Tastes like DDG as well, hah...albeit a little subdued, which isnt a bad thing. Noticeable alcohol but not too bad.

Thick mouthfeel, a little syrupy.

Not bad at all. Split this bomber, may get a bit much for one person. Best Redhook I've had thusfar. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brownish color with good carbonation and a small tannish head. Nose is oak, vanilla, honey and sweet. Taste os sordove warm, syrupy, vanilla, oak. I did not find anything IMPERIAL BROWN about this as advertised. Big honey, oak, light vanilla and booze.
One year later this 841 is holding up and tasting nicely. Plenty of oak, vanilla, wood, sharp booze, honey is sordove sticky and coating on the mouth. Some nuts and toffee from the Imp Brown. Overall. Doing well!

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

A big thanks to mikesgroove for the extra!!
2010 vintage

This was disgracefully consumed from the bottle so the appearance aspect is a bit flawed. But from what I could tell, this brew was a nut brown color. The nose was of brown sugar and molasses. The taste was a bit oxydated but not much. There were some sweet bready malts along with molasses and brown sugar. A year on this brew has really hidden the 9.5% ABV. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Overall, this is a great ale that takes age pretty nicely and has a nice flavor profile.

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Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Kansas, bottled in March 2019

Pours crimson with 2 fingers of tan head. Great head retention & average lacing

S: Plums & cakey notes, plus some leafy hops once warm

T: Follows the nose, subtle boozeyness, a hint of cherry, vanilla & herbal hops up front. Some oaky/boozey notes as this warms, also a bit of pine & caramel, plus more figs & a touch of raisins

MF: Kind of thin bodied for the style, firm carbonation. This thickens up a bit, once warm, good balance

Not a bad take on the style, but not a good as I hoped. Still; I'm happy to see Red Hook spread it's wings, love the extra effort on gussying up the bottle art as well...

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Photo of DoktorZee
4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this from a 22oz bottle that was sitting down for almost a year Original release was spring 2010.

A - impressively fluffy tan head over a deep brown and cloudy brew. The head stays around for a couple minutes and resolves without much lacing. Looks lush and delicious.

S - there's a hint of wet hops on the nose but it's dominated by a powerful caramel hops.

T - after an initial light hoppy bitterness it resolves into a sweet caramel malt that just goes on and on. This really tastes like a brown ale on steroids with absolutely dominating sweet malts.

M - light in the mouth with very mild carbonation.

D - extremely tasty and smooth; practically no booziness at all. A real killer!

It looks like I may have made the right call laying this down for a while; it was a stunning drinking experience with incredible smoothness matched against a killer malt profile.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle from a local Family convienience store just south of my apartment ,Liberty Rd, Salem. $7.49 I see that this bottle is at least a year old..seeing as the 'blurb" says the shelf life is 365 days i am not hopeful! here goes anway Colour? Slightly ruby red accented brown small tan head. Fine aroma here. caramel, toffee, light hint of chocolate( dark),hazelnuts and a touch of floral hop. very complex. Taste is like the above but having some really nice smooth dark heather honey tones, a slight woddsy smoke and the hops turn up at the end and curiously blend well with the honey. I like. Very good palate to the beer. Very surprised..this has held up well under the harsh lighting. A nice beer.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 6 Sep 2010. Poured in the 0.4 L Kur Pils snifter.

Medium sized lacy brown head. Well carbonated. Cloudy warm dark reddish brown. Soap, alcohol, brown sugars and some perfume in the aroma. Starts nutty with some astringency. Toasted hazelnuts, almonds and some brown sugary sweetness. Finishes a bit sweet and sour. Toasty aftertaste. Medium body. Warming ethanol.

Imperial brown ale seems kind of counterintuitive.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - low clumpy yeasty beige head. Strong thick lacing. Body is a cloudy bubbly stained cedar.

S - initially hoppy bitter smells meld into sweet caramel and summer fruit smells. Strawberries and sweet tarts

T - a bit sweet strawberry caramel initial flavor. And a strong bitter ipa aftertaste. Profile is overall not that complex. And whiskey doesn't show much.

M - a bit watery and loose sadly. As evidenced by the very low head.

D - good but not a great beer. In America I wouldn't say this is worth $15.

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Photo of olmatty
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-Pours a ruby brown with a moderate tan head with reasonable retention and some light lacing.

Smell-Creamy, toast, biscuit, honey

Taste-Creamy and honey sweet up front, deep caramel malts. Vinous with some date flavors. Noble hop bitterness at the finish. Aftertaste echoes the creamy honey up front. The smoked malts are subtle, which is to say I don't get much of it.

Mouthfeel-Somewhat thick bodied with light and smooth carbonation. Sticks on the palate.

Drinkability-A big and chunky beer.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fisrt craft of the new year...

Poured form a bomber into a Ballast point pint glass. Bottle is dated Mar 08 10...

A - Poures a deep mahogany with a one finger tan head. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing to be had here...

S - Honey, caramel, and lots of malty notes...

T - Not as smokey as I was anticapating. A little bit of smokinees does come through though to let you that it is there. Lots of malts in this one. Also pick up honey, caramel, and brown sugar. Ends on a hoppy bitter note with a touch of alcohol warmth. While this one is pretty good, I think it could have been a little more balanced. Goes from sweet to a hoppy bitterness fairly quick...

M - Definitely medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. A little watery for my liking...

D - Interesting take on a brown. Glad I got a chance to try this one, but it is probably something that I won't be revisiting in the future...


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Photo of goldbot
2.94/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with thin, off-white to tan head. Mostly clear with plenty of carbonation. Not much head retention or lacing. Smells like almost nothing. A hint of grainy malt and a slight whiff of oak, otherwise barren. Tons of oak flavor without being overpowering. Tannic but again not overly so; there's no mouth-puckering effect from the oak. Caramel and bready malts back up the oak. This beer isn't bad but it is kind of a one track oak affair; not much else going on in it.

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Photo of claspada
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of dark burnt caramel, brown sugar, sweet caramels, some earthiness and some oakiness as well. Smells like an English Barleywine to me to be honest. Second smelll adds some dark fruit (raisins and dates).
The taste begins with sweet honey and dark cherries and then some sweet toasty caramel maltiness. Subtle English hoppiness with some slight oakiness and lingering alcohol. Slightly woody and vanilla flavors emerge as it warms. Finishes fairly dry and bitter.
Medium body, with active carbonation. Chewy. Overall, an interesting brew with quite a bit of complexity. I'm glad I let this age for 9 months to let it simmer because I heard it was a hot mess when it first came out. Not sure it was quite worth the $10 investment but it was pretty good anyway.

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Photo of Rayek
4.04/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a red wine glass.

A: Hazy copper with very little visible carbonation. A small alabaster head quickly falls to a patchwork film. Leaves the lightest of lace.

S: Toffee, raisins, cherries and a bit of lemon do most of the work. A light suggestion of smoke and oak is in the back. A light alcohol buzz finishes things up.

T: Bittersweet toffee dominates. Bitterness is moderate and has a woodsy and peppery bite to it. Dark fruits hit late with currants and raisins. A little alcohol heat makes the beer go down warm. Finishes with lingering toffee and oak flavors.

M: The medium body is somewhat syrupy. The carbonation could stand a little less vigor.

D: Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The nose is the best part. The flavor is nice too, especially as the beer warms. All in all, I solid offering from Redhook.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark bittersweet orange with a infusion of brick red... which isn't too crazy a color for an Imperial brown ale. A three finger head of tight-bubbled, ecru hued foam does a fine job plugging the top of the pint glass. When it finally begins to fade, it leaves a respectable amount of lace in shredded sheets.

The nose is akin to a toasted-earthy barleywine whose alcohol could be more completely buried. For a beer with this many ingredients (6 malts, 5 hops, honey, brown sugar, oak aging), precious few of them are appreciated on the sniff.

8-4-1 Expedition is closer to a miss than a hit. Imperial brown ale doesn't seem to fit, so it's probably best to stick with American strong ale. As in the nose, nothing really stands out on the palate... expect alcohol that is borderline hot. Improvement (softening) with warming is this brew's only real hope to snag an above-average taste score.

The malts are steely caramel-like with the slightest bit of wood smoke imaginable. None of the hops (Alchemy, Cascade, Willamette, Crystal and Sterling) make a bold move. Honey? No. Brown sugar? Uh-uh. Oak? Maybe a little. Sorry, but this unfocused mish-mash never does come together into anything resembling good beer.

The body/mouthfeel is actually respectable if your standards aren't too high. Slightly too boisterous bubbles (that aren't fading quickly enough) keep the score from climbing up to the next highest number.

Craft beer kudos to the brewers at Redhook for aiming high with this Limited Release, but they need to follow through and actually hit a target that's worth hitting. This stuff comes across as 'big beer for big beer's sake' and isn't an Expedition that I care to take again. Not even if it's a short walk across a lightly traveled street.

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Photo of armock
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured an amber color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of sweet malt and some alcohol

T - Follows the nose with sweet malt upfront and a lot of alcohol

M - This beer has a thin watery body with medium carbonation to it

D - This isn't good enough to be a limited release theres no body to it and its way too boozy not a beer I'll be buying a second bottle of

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours a hazy reddish brown, thin white head retains as a lacing.

Smells of sweet brown sugar malts and buttered bread.

Tastes of strong floral hops with a bit of the buttery bread malts at the end. A bit of a scotch like alcohol flavor too.

Feels thicker with carbonation on the tip of the tongue and back of the throat. Warms a bit.

Good, interesting ale, surprisingly hoppy, on the strong side so not a session candidate. Enjoyable and worth trying though. Will appeal to hop heads more than others.

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Redhook 8-4-1 Expedition from Redhook Ale Brewery
3.64 out of 5 based on 105 ratings.
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