Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPARedhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
In 1982 Redhook was born in a converted transmission shop in the Ballard District outside of Seattle, WA. After 28 years of brewing, Redhook is paying homage to its roots by releasing Big Ballard Imperial IPA. Big Ballard has a rich, deep golden and a very assertive hop character that hits you in the nose before reaching your lips. The flavor and aroma are balanced with complex malty undertones. While it has a friendly side, make no mistake - Big Ballard is brewed for diehard IPA fans.

73 IBU

Added by barleywinefiend on 04-24-2010

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 106
Photo of hreb
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Apr 11 17. Stubby red hook bottle served in pint glass. Beer pours golden amber in color, crystal clear, with an ample tan head. Melon and tropical hop aromas -- decidedly not old school IPA. The first sip brings an attack of alpha hops seeking out every corner of my cheeks with and mercilessly gluing pine sap to them. There's not much in the way of malt to balance out the bitterness, but there is a yeasty quality, which to my palate reminds me of a dusty and fully bodied English style Ale. Ok but not the most drinkable in my opinion.

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Photo of mactrail
3.12/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Clear golden yellow with an abundance of white foam in the Stella Artois goblet, another AB InBev brand, come to think of it. Very sharp and sudsy in the mouth. The aroma makes me think of Mosaic hops, it's a pleasant fruity smell. The taste is more of pine.

The finish is quite resiny and the aftertaste is unpleasantly bitter. Overall, this is just plain harsh. This might be good to dilute with a cheap lager for a quick hoppy jolt. Otherwise a half glass is enough and the rest can fertilize the rhubarb clump. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Pioneer Market in La Conner.

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Photo of Hackattack
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like all of the Redhook beers. Some get okay ratings which I don't get. This one is slightly bitter yet on the light side. Definite hops notes in there with a decent amount of malts.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden orange in color. Fairly hazy in appearance. Candied orange peels, pine and grapefruit pith. Bigger malt presence makes this drink heavier than I'd like.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.46/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one is a bit heavy on the malty side with a minimal amount of hop and spice influence. Even though the malts are too prominent and there needs to be a greater hop influence, the beer still works, as far as drinkability goes. Just doesn't really do much for me.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

amber color with a ton of orange highlights mixed in throughout. haze and a nice two inch foam top that never wanted to settle.

sticky, resin like hops all the way. Oodles of pine aroma, mixed in with some rich orange and tangerine. Sight hint of a sweet malty base around here as well. pine hops, sticky with a resin like flavor and a good bready and biscuit like base to it. Nice balance here, but still way leaning towards the hops in terms of a definte direction

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Photo of Seanibus
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big and kind of blunt, though not bad.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a fluffy head and a sticky, fluffy head. The aroma is overripe and sweet apricot. The flavor follows, with a distinct apricot and papaya character, a bit tropical. The mouthfeel is thick, like apricot juice, with a big bitter kick with an orange edge.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a sample that I had at the ACBF 2010. The brew poured out at a nice copper color, the head was white and strong looking. The smell of some very nice citrusy hops flooded my nose along with some tropical fruit aromas too. The taste of the beer had a good tingly pine flavor and some sweet citrus zest as well in the mix. The mouthfeel wasn't bad but I think it could have been just a hair thicker. Overall this beer is quite good, I've never seen it again since the festival... Hope it's still out there somewhere.

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Photo of warbird07
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to BigE90 for this extra...poured into a hotel red wine glass(best I could do)...

Appearence is hazy tangerine with a nice foamy off-white head..,nice lacing..

Smell is a bit muted...not really an out of date bottle...some citrus malt aroma, fruity malty..I expected a bit more..

Taste is good..a bit on the malty side..fruity, sweet, bitter..pretty nice..

I was not disappointed with the mouthfeel..real nice..nice carbonation..very good for the style..

Good beer..would love to try one super fresh..but very drinkable..

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

22oz bottle to NB snifter. Bottled on March 14th.

A: Copper hazy rust color. Not much head but good lacing on the glass, some alcohol feet as well.

S: Smell is a pretty good mix of ripe soft fruit and pine. Over-ripened pineapple, blood orange, papaya, spices, alcohol, pine. There is an earthy/herbal characteristic, like ripened fruit flesh.

T: Pretty piny. There is a good amount of bitterness. Some of the malt sweetness and fruit sweetness make it through. No real alcohol heat.

MF: Dry-ish, medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

O: Just ok, pretty drinkable at 8.6%.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this one up at Lee's in Mesquite, Nevada, primarily as I remember drinking the original Ballard Bitter years ago. This one was kind of a disappointment. Poured a hazy orange with a finger or so of somewhat off-white foam. On the nose, aromas of sweet malt and grassy hops. On the palate, it was medium bodied with flavors of sweet malt and grassy hops.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pale dusty orange with a thin film that clings and webs. Straight orange blossom (Amarillo?) hops nose. Strawberry Starburst with faint tangelo hops and a slight tingle of IBUs. Dead finish and a tingly linger. Light to med, soft, thin, no cling but no burn. Pine sap and some burn comes out as it warms.

Light-bodied, underhopped and insubstantial; flavors don't live up to the nose. This is especially dangerous because it's thin enough to knock back, which leads to trouble with 8.6%.

Not really Double anything.

Thanks to Ina for bringing this back from Seattle.

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Photo of Glibber
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking copper colored beer with a decent white head. I can smell the Munich hops and grapefruit, and the front end has some citrus and some good carbination. The pine and hops come out in the back end. Tastes a bit like the original Ballard bitter with a little more fruit/grapefruit. The 8.6% is hidden quite well. Too hoppy to drink all night long, but goes down quickly.

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Photo of Rutager
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours gold with a little red and a touch of haze. One finger of bubbly white head.

Smell. Fruity hops and sweet, light toasted malt. A little citrus fruit juice. Yum.

Taste. Rich malt with a good hit of bitter, citus and grassy hops. Clean, bitter herbal finish takes over the thick malt. Not bad for such a malt-heavy ipa.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium carbonation. Some warming alcohol.

Drinkability. As with all malt-heavy ipa's, the drinkability suffers a bit for me. That being said, this beer pulls it off pretty well and was gone quick enough.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a one finger head that has decent retention considering the ABV. Smell is strong pine hops. Taste fisrt sones in the form of some citrus and pine hops, then you get a light touch of malt, then the finish is a good hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is in the heavier side of medium with light carbonation. Overall, decent beer, not outstanding, but a good beer.

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Photo of Hatzilla
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this 22 ounce bomber for 3.50 at the local BevMo. Bottled 10/25/10. Consumed 1/31/11.

A - Clear orange pour with a one inch quickly dissipating head, leaving some decent lacing in its wake.

S - Not much aroma to speak of. Some caramel malt, honey and orange.

T - Taste follows the scent - Muted malts, honey and orange.

M - Medium carbonation, good mouthfeel.

D - Drinkability is decent for this DIPA, but the hops are sorely lacking. I will revisit this beer and update my review when I can find a fresher bottle.

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Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have to admit my only exposure to Oregon's Redhook Ale is there ESB - which is a good safe 6 pack to pickup if you want to "buy American" but get British flavor. Here they expand the brand to the "higher end" mark (read: Stone territory) with Big Ballard Imperial IPA.'s pleasantly surprising, however it's also a safe bet. Imperial IPAs aren't terribly aggressive by nature, yet they manage to pull of an enjoyable drinking experience.

The beer's hazy tangerine pour with a foamy head has an almost hef-like quality. Not too much aroma to speak of, mostly yeast and ripe citrus.

The flavor profile is heavy on orange rinds and alcohol with a balanced malt/plum finish. The beer's ticklish carbonation makes this easy drinking.

Overall it's a safe choice if you want to branch out, but not go too far out of your comfort zone. Serve it cold and you have a very refreshing brew.

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Photo of BaronRogue
3.24/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My first Imperial IPA... poured from a bomber into my chalice-type glass. It was nine months old and non-refrigerated, but i wanted to try it and it was a good price.

Appearance is akin to raw honey, a murky golden. Strong head and good lacing. After the head dissipates there is a tiny layer of bubbles on top that never goes away, along with a slightly thicker layer of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Smells like prunes and alcohol, not really my favorite.

Taste surprised me... I was not expecting it to be so sweet! Although the higher alcohol content cheap malt liquors are sweet, and this clocks in at 8.6... woah. Tastes like prunes and alcohol as well, with lots of maltiness as well. I was definitely impressed with the aftertaste... such a good taste is lingering on my tongue. I like this beer more with every sip.

Mouthfeel is good, the tiny bubbles dance around your mouth and make it a little thick tasting.

Drinkability is quite good, although pacing yourself is a must. If you slam this one, you will be feeling it. I'm halfway through the first 12oz. and the alcohol is definitely making itself known.

Wouldn't really get this one again, but is definitely a solid beer.

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Photo of BardofBeer
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nothing special(other than the classic label)to
make this stick out amongst all the other Imperial IPAs popping up. On the other hand not
any obvious flaws. Sweet, malty aroma,No hop aroma detected. Tastes of malt up front, finishes with hop bitterness on the tounge.
All in all an enjoyable beer that I will have again.

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Photo of shakeheap
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I really wanted to like this beer. It was good to see that Ballard Bitter logo reappear lo this many years since the emergence of the long hammer. But it's not to be.

It pours a nice cloudy amber and gives off a full, hoppy aroma. Unfortunately for me I didn't get any of that citrusy hop flavor for which I was hoping.

It's crisp and not entirely unpleasant. For me it leaned a little too bitter and was mostly unremarkable which is not a desirable quality in an Imperial IPA.

And alas, no return for my gateway IPA. Red Hook swears to me they didn't mess with the recipe when they changed the name to Longhammer...but I remain skeptical.

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a finger of foamy off-white head. The head did not last long and quickly retreated to a ring with okay retention.

S - The aroma is full of a very fruity/citrusy hop aroma. Lots of orange and grapefruit elements are present. There is also a bit of floral and grassy hops aromas present. There is also a touch of sweet malt smell joining the hops.

T - Taste starts off with a building citrus hop flavor with a touch of sweet malt. The floral and grassy hop flavors join a strong citrus (orange/grapefruit) flavor with some bitterness through the middle of the taste. The aftertaste is a mix of the sweet malts and some of the citrus hops. The beer and aftertaste in particular are well balanced, just could be a bit stronger overall.

M - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation to keep the beer feeling fairly crisp. The beer is fairly assertive on the tongue in the beginning feeling fairly sharp, but mellows out a bit.

D - Fairly drinkable beer. The taste is fairly well balanced, just a touch too subtle overall. The citrus and floral elements work very well together along with the sweetness from the malts. The mouthfeel also helps create a crisp and refreshing beer.

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Photo of mikechance
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very nice beer. It's not a over-the-top Imperial IPA, but it's certaining not lacking interesting characteristics.

I had the first 10 oz when it was nice and cold. This was very enjoyable and brought out the hoppiness. The remainder of the bomber was enjoyed about 45 minutes later after the beer had warmed up a little. Allowing the beer to warm up changed the taste slightly and brought out more variety in it especially the bitterness.

For $4-5 for a bomber it's a very good beer!

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Photo of flagmantho
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: nice golden-orange hue with just the tiniest touch of haze. Moderate effervescence with one finger of frothy ivory head. Not bad.

Smell: nice, balanced mixture of funky, citrusy and piney hops which I rather like. There's some sweetness from the malt, but this aroma is all about the hop contribution.

Taste: big, rich malt with a solid hop flavor component. Hops are kind of oily (in a good way), providing a rich bitterness and a continuation of the piney and citrusy flavors. The flavors are approaching strong ale territory, yet the beer remains balanced. I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation. It's OK, though it could use improvement.

Drinkability: I'm finding the particular combination of hops here rather moreish. I could probably drink a couple of these despite the rather large ABV. Good stuff!

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Photo of Zorro
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber beer with an orange tinge. Head is small and white. The color falls in the "IPA Orange Spectrum."

Smells sweet and herbal with a pleasant citrus aroma hat is more orange than grapefruit. Picking up menthol and mint from this one, expected grapefruit and pine are mostly missing.

Starts out sweet and sharply bitter. A fairly bitey IPA Sweetness hold off the hops but it does sting the tongue a bit. Citrus and wood flavors, not a lot of subtlety here, more like being hit with a shovel.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is questionable. Good flavor but that tongue sting thing is annoying, I give it just average.

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Photo of CHickman
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber orange in color with a 1 finger creamy off white head that faded quickly; decent lacing that slides down the glass.

Smells of sweet malt, floral hops, citrus hops, grapefruit, lemon and light caramel; the citrus hops dominate the aroma.

Tastes of lemon, floral hops, citrus hops, piney hops, caramel, orange peel, grapefruit and light spices like pepper. Pretty tasty brew overall with a crisp and dry finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and creamy, with medium carbonation and a medium body. Pretty drinkable and quenching, I liked this beer and will have it again.

Note: Had this on tap over the summer (of 2010) and just found these notes, so I will have to try this beer again when I come across it.

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Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA from Redhook Ale Brewery
3.63 out of 5 based on 106 ratings.
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