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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Ratings: 107 |  Reviews: 61
Reviews by taxguyjase:
Photo of taxguyjase
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Light auburn color, nice frothy head (about a finger's width). I enjoyed the head retention, especially in IPAs. Looked slightly bubbly. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Piney, floral hops. Distinctive scent, but not overwhelming. I prefer my Imperial IPAs to have a potent aroma, which this was lacking. 2.5/5.0

Taste - There are five hops used this in beer (Alchemy, Williamette, Sterling, Northern Brewer and Cascade) and they are expertly blended well together. Imperial IPAs seem to go either over-the-top strong or extraordinarily smooth - this beer is the latter. There are lots of IBUs (73), but I didn't think it was really that bitter. Grapefruit, pine, hint of sweetness from the malt. 4.5/5.0

Feel - Unerrily smooth, the head tasted thick. Minimal aftertaste, the flavor hits you strong then dissipates. 4.5/5.0

Drinkability - This beer falls into the category of Imperial IPAs that will kick you in the butt without you knowing it. I would pick up again, if anything, for the nostaglia of it coming from the first brewery I visited. - 4.0/5.0

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This liquid is pretty average-looking, a light and pure orange in color, but this head is just amazing. It is a deep, rich yellowish-white and usually yellow is a bad thing but here it is incredible. The foam is a cross between a puffy white cloud and a mug full of shaving cream, not the stuff you get now from a pressurized can but the kind that you lathered up yourself in the days of straight razors. It lasted forever and left clumps of foam on the inside of my mug.

Smell - The nose is tame for a Seattle DIPA. I don't get the monster pine resin as expected but the hop profile is complex and refined. The malts are light as well but very sugary and full of caramel.

Taste - This is mellow at the taste as well. The hops are an even mix of light pine and orange and almost have a European compliment to them. The malt is very sugary and gooey and laden with caramel.

Mouthfeel - This just is medium-bodied with a light but unmistakable bitterness throughout the drink and a very smooth blending that pleases the palate. It is incredibly smooth and just flows through the mouth like a Rocky Mountain river. The velvety sensation that you get on the inside cheeks and tongue is amazing, and the light, high-quality carbonation just adds to the experience.

Drinkability - What this one lacked in punch it made up for here. The complex hop blend and sweetish malts kept it going down like water. Don't buy this if you want a huge PacNW heavy-hitter but for an everyman's DIPA this is hard to beat.

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Photo of legalag11
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was cautioned by the waitperson that this beer was 8% ABV. Nice to see that there's an attempt to make people aware of the potency of the higher alcohol beers.
In a tulip, the beer was gold colored, with a pretty small white head and minimal lacing. Not what I expected in an IPA.
It had a pronounced floral aroma, maybe a little citrus.
Up front malt taste, pine, tiny bit of grapefruit.
Pretty shy, definitely not an aggressive DIPA.
Still, an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of NWer
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz. bottle.
Disclosure: Born and raised in Ballard. A fight song at Ballard High School went "lutefisk lutefisk lefsa lefsa we'll beat (fill in the blank) ya sure ya betcha".
Obvious Scandinavian heritage which I am a part - my dad immigrated from Norway and was an Alaska halibut fisherman.
OK - now for the review - given all the less that enthusiastic reviews, I was expecting to be disappointed and perfectly willing to accept that Redhook didn't do that great.
I was pleasantly surprised. Obvious bias notwithstanding, I thought it was a very good IIPA. Disappointed at the lack of hop feel at the beginning but exploded after a few sips - or drinks - whatever. And very drinkable.

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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 megamass
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of Mora2000
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of perfume, flowers, citrus and some toffee malt. The flavor is orange and caramel malt with some perfume and flowery hops mixed in. There is a lot of different flavors going on in the beer but they don't really work together too well. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. I am not sure what it is, but something with this beer is not working for me. Not a terrible beer, but you can do much better in the Double IPA category.

 499 characters

Photo of whoneeds8
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip a golden orange with a thick froathy white head, good retention and great lacing. The scent is of strong floral hops, very nice. The taste is a good hop wallop. There is a nice amount of malted carmel flavor that balances out with the equal amount of hop bitterness. Very well done. It's not a kick in the pants IIPA, but it's put together very well. The mouthfeel might be considered a tick on the thin side for the style, but nothing that takes away from the beer.

I would have to say that I have a feeling this beer doesn't get high reviews because it's from a bigger micro brewery not known for great beers.

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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.

 546 characters

Photo of Pretzels
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

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

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 DOCRW
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of kdevry
4.7/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Not a RH fan. This is delicious! Reminds me of Green Flash Imperial IPA. Hops are there but hidden. Mmm

103 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm very surprised at the first few reviews. This may be the best Red Hook I've tried; it's first rate.

A crystal clear orange amber with a nice white head. Big assertive orange/yeast fruity nose that's pleasant and appealing in all regards.

Mouthfeel is big, rich and bold with a nice creamy and "large" character. Perfect carbonation and with a bright, uplifting character.

Flavors are delicious and very drinkable. Pleasant all around with wonderful balance of big, rich, bold, bright and very bitter honey grapefruit hops followed by a big and rich and full honey fruit and grapefruit flavor profile. This is one nice drink, made all the better by the price. However, at twice the price, or more, this is still a really nice beer.

Finish is rich and pine/grapefruit skin bitter that lasts forever and last in a good way. This is a very well balanced, big flavored imperial IPA and a very nice example at that. The 8.6 abv is well masked and without a big alcohol character. This is one worth trying.

 1,007 characters

Photo of Rizzy17
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kevlee722
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

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

Clear orange, golden edges. Big smooth frothy offwhite head. Great organic lacing.

Kind of muted for a IIPA. But there are some hop aromas. Orange, Grapefruit, lemon, grass, pine. And a muted toasty caramel malt backing.

Juicy orange citrus, bitter grapefruit. Toasty, bready, and a sweet caramel. Above average bitterness, grapefruit rind.

Med body, slightly sticky and dry. Slow/low carbonation.

Good drinkability. A bitter, tasty, balanced, and average IIPA.

 465 characters

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 Docer
4.03/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

- Pours a dark copper... clear... thin off-white head... leaves a few spots of fizz around.

- Nice citrus and fruit hop scent... little sweet caramel.. pineapple, and some slight funk... like a waldorph salad...

- Bitter punch with a blend of fruit salad, pineapple... caramel sweet malt.... malt is not overdone which I like.... fruity... but the fruit salad and nutty funk still is present in flavor. Nice pine bitterness up front though... hops are great.

- Dry, bitter, medium bodied... carbonated just right... overall a very decent IIPA..

- Just missing something... and it's not the hops... the bitter punch, and finish hops are fantastic... the malt base is a little boring, and leaves an odd funk to it.... overall a very solid IIPA though.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2nd bottle of this... $4... great price for a 22.

Foamy lite khaki head... the brew is a polished deep golden... good retention and lacing.

Lite (for the style) pithy citrus hoppiness... some good pale maltiness.

Pretty damn bitter out of the gate that moves into the hops that show both pine and citrus yet that lean toward the citrus side of things.... again nice maltiness shows for a short time mid-palate and then moves into a sorta abrasive bitterness on the finish that lingers metallic.

Body and carbonation both are good for the style...

I remember being surprised how good this was on the first bottle I had... but this is a pretty big let down on most fronts except the price tag.... I will certainly buy it again just for this reason though.


Edit: I was going to give the flavor a 3.5... but the metallic nature really grew on me with warmth.

 875 characters

Photo of Gregaroo
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

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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Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA from Redhook Ale Brewery
3.63 out of 5 based on 107 ratings.
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