Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPARedhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA
157 Ratings
Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPARedhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 157 |  Reviews: 76
Reviews by whoneeds8:
Photo of whoneeds8
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
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 +9%

Photo of Dschamp
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.89/5  rDev +6%
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 +14.4%
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 +9%
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 +15.8%

Photo of Mora2000
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
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 HopsForBrains
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of takusan1000
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LXIXME
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. Stubby bottle. Bottled on 4/7/17 opened on 6/10/17
I just recently obtained a modern antique "Ballard Bitter" IPA glass from a friend that found it at a yard sale. That IPA I had first sampled sometime around 1998 or 1999 might've been one of, if not the first IPA I ever had. Back then I pronounced in Ipa. I was stoked to find an old-school classic Big Ballard so I use my glass.

An Amber, burnt golden color. Good life, with a nice, off-white foam top. Very good retention quality. Nice lacing left all over the glass.

Aroma has a very dense, tropical, sweet and citrus hoppy nose. Sweet caramel in the malt effect. Very bold.

The flavor has a very classically old-school DIPA complexity. Massive amounts of tropical/fruity hops, sweet citrus, that ends in a perfectly bitter, earthy and dry tone. The hops come off deep and complex. The malty balance is just right for the style. Light caramel that mellows out the big, high alpha bitter hop ending. The heat is pretty high, some left over alcohol adds more bite and heat to the earthy, leafy bitter finish.

This DIPA starts out with a very crispy, light bite, solid and crisp mouthfeel. Medium bodied mostly, goes down pretty easy concidering the ABV % and hit of heat it delivers. The light, sweet malt does an excellent job of toning down tge sharp edges here. The ending is filled with dry-earthy, leafy, bitter notes and herbal blends that linger on.

"Ya sure, Ya Betcha"

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Photo of hreb
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
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 BenDorigan
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing double IPAs for me is like asking a Beatles fan to review a Beatles song. I'm biased. I love these things when they're done well, and this one is. Not too assertive or hoppy for a beer of the style, which I like. Hops very subtle in the nose, mouth, and after taste. Makes it unbelievably drinkable. Not too heavy with the right amount of sweetness, plus, it makes you feel good. Red Hook ESB was my 1st favorite micro (non-American pilsner) so I have a tender place in my heart for their offerings, but this is a worthy Imperial IPA by any measure.

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Photo of avisong
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Pretzels
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of grahuba
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Glibber
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
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 +15.8%

Photo of kdevry
4.7/5  rDev +28.1%
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 hophugger
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 oz bottle and enjoyed in a snifter. This nice little imperial
IPA pours a luminous amber tinged golden color with a nice head of
white foam that settles to a thick fluffy ring, thin pool with big clumping
bubbles, and displays some very nice lacing. Nose of heavy grassy
hops with some caramel mixed in....two dimensional but still nice
dimensions for hop heads. Flavors exceed the nose with caramel
malts, honey, floral and grassy hops with a touch of pine and
heavy herbal notes. Very nice mouth feel; medium body,
medium carbonation, lightly slick, sticky hop coating, and
a bitter wet finish.

Overall, a SOLID imperial ipa from a classic in the micro world.


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Photo of Rizzy17
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA from Redhook Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 157 ratings