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 lpolinsky
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - I really like the dark brown, hazy color. Nothing is floating around in my beer, but the color is pretty beautiful.

Aroma - I smell malts and oak. There's a hint of something sweet, but pretty much it's malt.

Taste - Not sweet at all. Super hoppy & malty to the point where it's almost not pleasant. But it's a great brown ale example.

Mouthfeel - The flavor almost burns into my mouth. Lots of malty and oak flavors, but not much of anything else.

Drinkability - I could drink a lot of this quickly because of how malty the beer is, but I'd probably get sick of it quickly too.

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Photo of JayQue
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish clear color. Small white head fades fast, a little lacing. Aroma is fairly mild malt and wood.

Taste is good. Malty, sweet, with a definite woody taste. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth except for a little alcohol bite.

Drinkability is ok. A bit sweet and strong, the alcohol is right on the edge between warming and too much.

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Photo of July2Nov
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bought at Whole Foods in Honolulu, HI for $8.99.

Appearance: Thin lace of head, which is maintained during the whole of the beer. Burnt-caramel in color.

Smell: Sweetness pours out of the nose with hints of buttered toffee, and a coca-cola scent.

Taste & Mouthfeel: This is a case of the nose steering me wrong. Strong alcohol-wood flavor hits you upfront and stays with you. Bitter bite with an acidic aftertaste. The smoked wood taste is very prevalent. Not a big fan. Too much alcohol flavor for my liking.

Drinkability: This might be for some people, but I just couldn't enjoy this beer. Red Hook normally has a decent selection of beers, but this one is not on my top list. All I can say is that at least it was a limited release.

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

It poured a murky brownish-red, reminiscent of an old penny, and sported deep ruby red highlights in the sun. If it was murky initially, it seemed to clear as it warmed, which makes me wonder if it was a little too cold. A heavy - but fluffy - off-white/beige head built to just over a finger thick and dissipated gradually, leaving sticky spots of lace along the glass and a thin collar surrounding light patches in the middle.

The nose was a little difficult to pick up on, and as it warmed all of the complex aromas seemed to melt together, but I'm pretty happy with what I pulled out of it with the time (and amateur nose) I had. There were lots of sweetly toasted malts, some honey, a light woody oak scent, burnt caramel, and hints of vanilla as it warmed. There were very few hops that I could pick up on, though there was an odd citrus tint that didn't seem to belong with the rest of the earthy compilations. After some research, I deduced that the citrus was thanks to the Cascade hops, which are used as an aroma-type cultivar and produce obvious floral and citrus tones.

My first swig of this heavily wooded brew was pleasurably smooth, made up of a medium mouthfeel with small but adequate carbonation that created a surprising kick of spiciness that mellowed out quickly. Another reason for the spiciness was thanks to the Willamette hops, which are a triploid aroma-type cultivar that are actually Fuggle hop seedlings, and they are known for their spicy/woody characteristics. Many of the flavors that were present were very obvious thanks to the resemblance to the nose, with a sweet malt, quaint honey and vanilla flavors, and a strong wood/oak base; all I needed was to be sitting on a mossy rock in a thick forest watching little insects floating lazily through the sunbeams.

All of the different tastes were quietly and subtly wrapped in a smokey cloak as it rolled off my tongue, leaving just enough room for a mild bitterness to leak into my taste buds. The flavor was definitely a stronger version of the nose and carried lots of oak and wood notes, making it the most nature-istic brew I've tasted yet. I would love to take this with on a camping trip up in the mountains, surrounded by the tranquility of the trees and just being out in the wilderness. Being able to drink in the awe-inspiring freedom of nature while enjoying a delightfully crafted brew that pulls all of it perfectly into a liquid is a good way to cover each of the five senses. This is one for those who take time to appreciate their life and all the wonder present in the little things, even if that little thing happens to be the Grand Canyon.

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Photo of telecomz
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer pours to a nice hazy mahogany. Nice thick head.

Light aroma. What I do love is that careful stufy yields a very noticeable honey aroma. Love that.

Sweet and dark upfront. Malt and honey form a syrupy texture. Some dark fruit. Lovely. Disappointed with the lack of smokiness promised in the cherrywood smoked malt.

This beer is too hot. Tastes hotter than its already high ABV. Age this for 12 to 24 months and you will be rewarded well.

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

Sierra Nevada and Anchor Brewing aren't the only old time craft breweries around. Just up the coast in Seattle Washington is the Red Hook Brewery, which has been there since 1982. Red Hook claims that their beers are "liquid goodness" - I've only had this, the 8-4-1 Expedition, but I'm hardly one to argue with them. Red Hook has 9 regularly produced beers, as well as a Limited Edition Beer which rotates seasonally and is constantly changing. This, the 8-4-1 Expedition was released in March of 2010 as an Oak Aged Imperial Brown Ale; it was brewed with honey, brown sugar, and cherry-wood smoked malts. I like where this is going.

I was expecting a classic American punch at the back of this beer with a big wave of hop bitterness and fresh aromas, but it is explained that the beer is just 45 to 60 IBUs, which for a brown ale that is 9.5% it is actually quite balanced (rather than the hop-sided world much of the west coast lives in). Beyond that though, I had no clue what to expect. The Brown Ale category is somewhat of a catchall term for any beer that is malty, not pale, and not black. But that brown flavor can have a very wide range of characteristics.

The 8-4-1 Expedition (by the way, I'm still not sure what "8-4-1″ stands for...) came in a 650ml bottle with a handsome brushed rather than polished finish. It is 9.5% abv, and was beckoning to be opened. I would not contest that.

I opened the Expedition at cellar temperature around 12C (54F) and poured it into several tulip glasses (to share with several friends). The pour was crisp and exposed. What I mean by that is you could clearly depict the color and body of the beer just by observing the way that it crashed against the glass. I was left with a glowing brown beer, totally transparent with golden red browns and burnt caramel colors emanating towards the edges of the glass. A tightly packed and slightly creamy 1 inch head was built up on the beer, which I expect would have been rather impressive if I poured an entire glass. It was a nutty shade of khaki with a shimmer of very light brown lacing the side of the glass.

The nose is richly malty with fresh fruit flavors and caramelized dark fruits. Toffee and hints of vanilla waft through with a touch of roast, almost coffee like bitterness on the back end. Sugary sweet malts show dates, figs and prunes in a clean, and not so sticky aroma, finishing off to very light citrus - hop appearance is minimal, and overall leaves a largely malty beer.

The first sip mimics the nose quite well but adds a touch of sweet oak and bourbon. Vanilla flavors melt into the middle of a rounded malt center which again is filled with rich fruits - plums and apricots come easily to me, but figs, dates and raisins also show themselves relatively easily too. These malty sweet flavors do push through as a caramel and brown sugar flavor - they aren't so robust, but rather very lush. Although the beer is transparent, it is fairly oily and silky with a smooth and close to creamy mouth feel. This adds to the desert-like candy flavor.

Hops are gentle, and just enough to bring some balance to the beer. It is without a question a malt forward beer, but a touch of herbal bitterness brings it down to a drinkable level. The beer also shows a reasonable toasted and mild roast character which really balances things out. The hint of oak is back at the finish and really helps serve up a nice drink.

It is 9.5%, and is more of a sipping beer to relax with. I would not sit down and chug one of these, but I would pair it with a cigar or with cheesecake. Definitely cheesecake.

Pics at:

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

Clear amber with orange highlights. Big frothy creamy light tan head. Some sticky patches of lace.

Honey and raw sugar. Cherries. Lemon zest. Earthy, woody, smokey. Vanilla and a touch of booze. Toasty caramel malt.

Honey coated cherries. Sweet toasty caramel. Smokey, woody, and earthy. Slightly medicinal booze, and vanilla. Lemony citrus bitterness. dry smokey finish.

Rich and thick, drying. MedFull body. Steady medium carbonation.

Tasty and interesting brew. Sweet and toasty with some wood, smoke, and booze. Doesnt quite seem like 9%. Glad to have tried.

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Photo of alpineclimber
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I brought this one back from Oregon. Poured into a chalice, a small white head on a clear ruby and brown brew.

Smell is of fruit, lots of fruit and fruity sweetness. There is a mild smell of malts. The smell is appealing.

The taste brings a blast of fruit and bitterness. The bitterness dominates the palate and the aftertaste. The brew is a tad hot with the alcohol not very well hidden.

Good, medium mouthfeel.

This is a really interesting beer. This beer is like a really hopped up Doppelbock. This beer smells and looks like a Doppelbock but is a lot more bitter then a Doppelbock. The perceived alcohol is similar to Samichlaus but Samichlaus is 14% ABV, a lot more then 9.5% which this brew is. I am intrigued but not impressed.

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Photo of briman
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear medium brown color, with a one-finger cream colored head that maintains well.

Malty, with hints of caramel, vanilla, cocoa and smoked malt. Some alcohol in the background as well.

Flavor has a charred oak character, and is malty with some caramel. Finishes with a reasonably sharp lingering bitterness, with a fair amount of alcohol.

Medium body, with active carbonation. Chewy. Overall, an interesting brew with quite a bit of complexity. The alcohol in the finish is a little too strong, and kind of takes over the taste. Also, would be better with a little less carbonation. It's a little biting as is.

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Photo of Spider889
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle says Spring 2010 on it.

Poured a rich mahogany with plenty of red tint to it. It glowed red in the light. The head was rather dark and creamy, and this left decently thick intermittent lacing.

The smell was immediately of wood. The bottle says cherry wood smoked malt, so I'm not sure if it was barrel aged (I think it was) but I would assume in oak even though they don't tell you that. Other than wood you get a mild sweetness and some spicing and plenty of hops. At 9.5% you can also detect a decent amount of alcohol in the nose.

The taste once more begins with a shot of wood flavor. It's very drying but not overpowering. There are loads of hops prickling the palate and I can taste brown sugar as well. The aftertaste is reminiscent of powdery cinnamon on the tongue. Finally you taste the alcohol throughout. This beer leaves a respectable burn deep in the throat.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied mostly due to the malts and syrupy sweet characteristics. Low on the carbonation and high on the alcohol.

Drinkability suffers, the booziness really runs away with this beer. It masks a lot of subtle complexity that I believe is there, only I couldn't taste it. This isn't a bad beer by any means, but I'm not likely to buy it again, and I couldn't drink more than a glass or two of it.

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Photo of Pardishcreel
4.27/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Its a dark amber color light will not pass through this almost a black but yet not. Head is an average 2 finger head.

The smell was grains mainly hops and barley but there was also a cherry, and wood smell to it.

The taste to me is where this beer shines as all beers should strive to do. The barley is there up front but it gives way to a real woody flavor, and it finishes with the hop bitterness ever so lightly left on you pallet. The only thing I would have liked is if the taste kept a little of the cherry that I could clearly smell.

I think the drinkability of this beer is high the only thing that is slightly lowing that number for me is the cost. If I am going to have a full on session beer then it would have to be cheaper than this one.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this 22oz bomber at the Lebanon Co-op grocery for $7.49. Poured cold into a chilled pint glass.

A moderate pour gives 1" of light tan head that stands a good 1/4" above the edge of the glass before settling to a thick layer. Brew is a dark mahogany brown with red highlights. Smell is sweet and warming, brown sugar, citrus, hops, spices. On the tongue and in the finish, alcohol is felt more than tasted, warming, maybe a bit of spicy pepper feel. Tastes semi-sweet but the feel is dry,. Nothing extraordinary on the palate, just a little bit of gingerbread. The head leaves successive rings on the glass.

Overall it's like a standard brown with some extra oomph and lacking the unappealing tacky feel that a lot of browns have. Highly drinkable, which could be a bit dangerous at this ABV!

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Photo of atsprings
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a Hopus glass pours a crisp dark copper with a decent frothy khaki head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is burnt caramel, mild chocolate, dried fruits and a bit of wood. The taste is oaky vanilla, slight caramel, and some sweet fruits. The beer is medium bodied with a bit of carbonation and slight sticky alcohol. This is an interesting beer, certainly worth trying, but not one I'll likely have again.

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Photo of cjgator3
2.86/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is a lot fainter than expected for a high ABV barrel aged beer. The nose has some malt and caramel and maybe a hint of wood.. I'm not picking up much of the barrel aging in the nose. The hops are pretty subdued as well. Not a horrible aroma, just pretty subdued for a beer of this style.

T- The taste starts out with some malt and caramel with a good amount of sweetness. I'm picking up some wood notes as well from the barrel aging along with some bitterness in the finish. I like the front end of the taste, not a huge fan of the finish. The hop bitterness in the finish just doesn't fit in with the rest of the beer.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I wasn't very impressed with this offering. Wouldn't purchase this one again.

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Photo of stakem
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown bomber with a bottle date of 3/8/10. Poured into a pint glass it appears a clear amber color with 2 fingers of yellowish tan stained head that fizzes away quite fast leaving spotty patches of lace on the glass.

The aroma of this brew has a very sweet mixture of malty goodness. The nose is somewhat fruity with a scent similar to orange with a strong backing of vanilla and some alcohol burn is noticeable as well.

The taste of this brew includes bitter hops upfront with a slight citrus twang similar to orange rind. There is also a warming presence of alcohol that is somewhat astringent in flavor. The malt seems to have some chocolate character about it as well as an oaky/woodsy flavor throughout. There is a lasting taste of alcohol, bitter hops and chocolate malt left in the mouth which is a bit perplexing considering it's amber color. A resinous amount of piney hops cling the inside of the mouth as well.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a moderate level of carbonation. Overall it isn't bad. The boldness of the alcohol is a bit out of place and makes the drinkability suffer. This probably would have been better with a little age on it.

After consuming this brew I took a closer look at the label. "Imperial Brown Ale" Oak Aged, brewed with honey, cherry-wood smoked malts and brown sugar. I wouldn't mind getting another bottle of this in 6 months to a year and seeing if the subtle character of the smoked malt comes out more as it ages since right now it is quite hidden behind the hops and alcohol.

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Photo of philbertk
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

3 oz. Taste @ Portland, Oregon Spring Beer & Wine Fest April 3rd, 2010. 9.5% ABV. 55 IBU's. Clear bright rich amber color. Mild hop Belgian hint malt ester front. Sweet smooth rich cherry caramel body. Cloying sweet fruit malt mil hop spice rich smooth end. (4.25 / 5.0)

Red Hook Ale Brewery--8-4-1 Expedition--Oak Ale Brewed With Honey--Limited Release Spring--Brewmaster Greg Deah Signature--2010 22 oz. Bottle. 9.50% ABV. 55 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) Brown Ale--Imperial. Tan dense lacy head that lasts. Clear bright dark ruby brown color. No sediment. Oak hint light cocoa floral hop front. Mild sweet dry brown sugar honey toasted smoke oak hint crisp light textured fruit cocoa hint body. Dry bitter hint hidden hop EtOH end. Sampled 7/31/2010. 2 @ $7.99 Each.

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

Poured into a Cervoise Glass with a nice mahogany color/dark reddish hue to it. Minimal head, but I see a fair amount of lacing.

Smell has a nice light brown sugar and almost a bit of candy type sugar as well. A nice fruity esther to it as well, but not any one particular fruit note though

The taste is very nice and smooth! Very nice carbonation and a nice finish. This goes hand in hand with the mouthfeel. The only thing missing was a slight bit of body for what I think is a high malt beer.

The drinkability is very good. The above components make it a highly drinkable beer even with its high ABV. The alcohol is nicely integrated and not "hot" in any way!

Nice job on this special release!

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

Appearance: Poured a clear, dark brown copper color. One finger khaki head with below average retention. Not much visible carbonation. Not much lacing.

Smell: Caramel malts with a brown sugar sweetness. Mild dark hop flavors and some yeast esters. You can smell the alcohol.

Taste: Smokey malts, with hints of dark chocolate and burnt wood. Molasses sweetness. Stronger alcohol flavor, but generally well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a nice carbonation and alcohol bite. Smooth.

Drinkability: The bottle says it's an Imperial brown ale, but the beer is definitely more of a general strong ale. Smokey, dark malts with good sweetness and dark hops to complement. Good body and easy to drink, but the ABV starts to catch up to you.

Buy Again? Yes.

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

Pours an amber-brown with off-white head. Smell seems to bombard you with hops and caramel, with some oak and honey. That sounds like a delicious breakfast cereal now that I think about it. This reminded me a lot of a barleywine, and I'm still not sure the exact differences of styles and why this isn't. Nice carbonation level.

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Photo of Pencible
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a clear mahogany with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like brown sugar and honey wheat, with some light oak and raisin and a bit of creamy yeast.
T: It tasted like roasted barley and cocoa powder, with caramel and honey wheat and copper hops, with a little bready yeast. The aftertaste was bitter and slightly harsh, with some alcohol warming.
M: It was somewhat thick with some carbonation.
D: This was good but not as great as I hoped. The alcohol is noticeable, so it's not super easy to drink. Still a very enjoyable beer, but nothing terribly special. No synergy in the blending of the various brews that made this beer. Maybe age would help?

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Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured brown in color with some cherry highlights as the light hits it. The head was thin and mostly concentrated around the edges of the glass, where it left some moderate lacing.

The aroma has some caramel and toffee notes along with a bit of a smoky and oak wood flavor. It also has a hint of some cherry fruit to it. Alcohol comes through a bit as well.

The taste has some some caramel and toffee mixing with some bitter chocolate flavors. The oak comes through a bit with some woody characteristics. The finish has a dry, smoky, bitterness to it with just a hint of some cherry fruitiness. The alcohol is fairly evident in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and moderately creamy, while carbonation was on the lower side. Overall it was a decent beer, it had some nice flavors and was enjoyable to sip on this evening. The alcohol was a bit heavy which hurt it a little, but other then that it was pretty decent.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruddy brown with some orange highlights. Head is about 1 fingers worth with some soapy looking, lacy bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass. Lacing beginning.

S: Big caramel malts with some toffee and chocolate. A small amount of coffee. Some brown sugar and a bit of a savory smell. Beef stock-esque. Some grassy hops are a bit present. Very sweet nose.

T: Bitter chocolate on the palate, caramel and toffee as well. Coffee and mocha. Tastes of weak caramel malts and has quite a bitterness that dries the mouth. A bit of hop twang towards the end, nothing too pronounced. Alcohol is pretty obvious here.

M: A little thin, almost has a brown ale mouthfeel with just enough caramel malt to build a small body. Pretty slick.

D: Actually very drinkable, has enough body to hold its own. Don't really get the strong ale essence here so it makes for an easy drinker. Tastes more like a revved up brown ale.

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for bringing Jason. A decent unique imperial brown. Medium brown colour with a white head and lacey. Malty, smooth, with honey, chocolate malts, and a puff of smoke.Nicely drinkable as many malts but the tad of smoke and a drop of hops seemed to balance it off. Worth having once.

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Photo of froghop
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear amber-red with a very small off-white head, and some lacing.

smell is of toffee, cotton candy, and some spice.

taste is thick and smooth, caramel, a little sweetness, malt, hops in the back, spice, and pepper, ends a little oily and nicely bitter.

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance has a dark cloudy amber color with a thin, but stiff head and good lacing. Smell of lightly sweet caramel and lightly roasted malts with floral hops. Taste is a nicely balanced strong ale having the smoked cherry wood, hops and the alchohol being present, but not overpowering. Mouthfeel is just under medium with good carbonation. Red Hook for me is good, but this is a top notch strong ale.

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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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