Irish Red Ale | Garrison Brewing Company

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Irish Red AleIrish Red Ale

Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This classic beer style was inspired by centuries of Celtic brewing history. Specialty kilned malts such as dark caramel and munich dominate the Irish Red resulting in a ruby red colour and smooth malty taste.

20 IBU

Added by PiratePete on 10-07-2003

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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 77
Photo of JayQue
3.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An OK red ale. Had it at Black Rock Bistro in Parrsboro Nova Scotia. I assume it was on tap. Pours mostly clear reddish amber color with a small white head. Average retention and some lacing. Smell and taste meet all the basics. Sweet caramel malt and enough grassy hops to keep it from being too sweet. Mouthfeel is crisp but a bit light. Some balance, but could be as bit happier. Not bad Red Ale.

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Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at the brewery in Halifax and consumed the same day.
Pours a surprisingly reddish red-brown with a decent head and lacing.
Sweet aroma resembles a bakery. The flavor is more average but still nicely malty and well above average.
Good, lively carbonation for the medium bodied ale.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Waterfront Wharf in Halifax, just a stone's throw from the brewery, on a cool and rainy fall day.

Poured into a Garrison pint glass. Certainly holds up to its name with its clear bright ruby-copper hue. Decent half inch of head, recedes into a thick ring with lots of lacing.

Nose is faint, and doesn't offer much. Malty, caramel, a bit of fruit and mild hops actually. Smells like your standard big market red ale.

The taste is thankfully a touch better, with a nice malt profile, bit of grain, tea-herbal hops, and mild fruit and spiciness.

Thinner bodied, sharper carbonation than I'd like.

Decent red ale, certainly highly drinkable, but neither is it among Garrison's better brews. Still, when it's consumed within sight of the harborfront, it adds a certain something to the experience.

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Photo of souvenirs
3.64/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into a pint glass. Part of a 6-pack bought at the NSLC in Hantsport, NS... not much else there for craft beer, so I figured I'd give it a try.

A: brown and clear, with three fingers of fluffy tan head.
S: grassy hops and roasted malts.
T: Nice balance of hops and roasted malts. Very drinkable.

Overall: Good but not amazing.

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Photo of Mdez
3.11/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I tried one of these while on a vacation to their brewery in Halifax in August 2012. Compared to the few reds I've had, this was a pretty pedestrian offering; nothing offensive yet nothing to write home about. I found myself wishing I'd ordered something else instead and that's kind of disappointing.

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Photo of leaddog
3.03/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a clear pale copper with a finger width of foamy off-white head.

Smell - Grains, grass, hint of apple.

Taste - Caramel malts with grassy flavours and that hint of apple and tea. Not much else to describe in this brew.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium bodied with light carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall - A standard Irish Red by Garrison. It hits the mark on some of the style's traits, such as dry finish and tea-like flavour, but otherwise does not offer much else new.

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Photo of Long813
3.61/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep red clear body with two fingers of thin white bubbly head. Retention is good and lacing is pleasing.

S: Aromas are not to strong. Some grainy hops and sweet caramel malts.

T: Clean notes of caramel malts with some interesting grainy hops.

M: Light bodied with medium carbonation. Texture is smooth and water like with some odd grainy aftertaste.

O: One of my more enjoyable Garrison brews. It's very easy to drink and enjoy, but not lacking to much character.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep chestnut brown borderline ruby red with a big amount of frothy white foam that slowly faded leaving some lacing
S - aroma is faint but nice, some nice caramel malts with just a hint of roastiness
T - taste is alot of burnt caramel with a slightly metallic taste. There are some notable grassy hops that leave a small amount of bitterness in the finish. Nice flavor, but the metallic flavor makes me knock this one down a bit.
M - crisp carbonation, medium bodied with a dry finish
D - decent flavor, probably my least favorite so far by Garrison but still enjoyable.

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Photo of Rutager
3.8/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a clear copper with a finger of sticky looking, light orange-tan head.

Smell. Strawberries, melon, caramel, and some toasty grains.

Taste. Sweet caramel malt and pears. A little grassy hops in the end. Finishes pretty clean and sweetness isn`t offensive. A little watery.

Mouthfeel. Light body with medium carbonation.

Overall. I liked this. Light and refreshing with nice hints of fruit.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - clear red-brown with a thumb of tan head, dissipated slowly
S - caramel and roasted nuts, leafy hops and some alcohol sweetness
T - molasses malt with a dry leafy hop note, a little nutty, buttery and sweet finish
M - lightly creamy and quickly drys out, very dry finish
D - maybe not a session beer but could definitely enjoy a couple

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Photo of spree92
3.07/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This darker amber/red ale pours with a light skimming of a head. An aroma of nutty malts and earthy hops both stick out. Very small amount of carbonation is noted in the glass, but it is more noticeable on the tongue. A sharp bite. I find this to be an Irish Dry Red, if that is even a category, as that is how it leaves my mouth, sticky also. Overall, a typical beer for the price and for what I was expecting.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.35/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice dark copper colour, finger of bubbly head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Pretty mild, reminiscent of an ESB with musty caramel and grassy hops.

T - Similar to the scent, the musty caramel and grassy hops dominate, though come through slightly metallic. Bitterness presence is strong with some leafy hops lingering on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, big bubbled on the way down and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall a tasty red ale with some ESB characteristics. Worth a try, but nothing spectacular.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.03/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a variety 6-pack, in a 341 ml brown bottle. Pours out a clear deep russet amber, thin creamy off-white head.

Nutty caramel sweetness on the nose, faint tinge of leafy hops.

Something of a worty sweetness in the flavour, mild notes of nuttiness with mild spicy and herbal hops on the finish and which lingers on into the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, smooth with a bit of a creamy texture, moderate carbonation.

Sweet and somewhat generic, doesn't really stand out for the style.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle, the final soldier in the Garrison mixed pack.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a consistent ring of undulating, but eventually drooping lace around the glass as it steadily recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, biscuity toffee/caramel malt, a touch of underripe drupe fruit, a mildly stringent mineral character, and weedy, grassy hops. The taste is kind of stale white bread, grainy caramel malt, softly buttered biscuits, cold red apple skin, an ethereal hint of wet smoke, a bitter, almost metallic alcohol edge sans any warming, and a bit of earthy, leafy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and somewhat spritzy, the body medium-light in weight, and leaning well towards smooth. It finishes off-dry, the grainy, biscuity maltiness still presiding over some latent herbal hoppiness.

An Irish Ale with an identity problem - it maintains the big, enjoyable old-school malt base, but the other off-flavours, at times, push the low-rent local brew boundaries. Still easy enough to drink, I suppose, but certainly not all night.

 1,150 characters

Photo of socon67
3/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Color is reddish amber with minimal foam. The smell has some sweetness of caramel. The taste I found a little disappointing. It seemed diluted to me. none of the tastes seemed all that strong.

The red has a smooth finish and I could see this being drinkable. This was not one of my favorite irish reds by any stretch, but it is still a decent beer.

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Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A darker-than-medium copper+amber+red. It starts with one finger of head that's gone not long after I got into it.

It smells like a bit of toffee, and a bit of that iron/metallic flavour/scent from some beers, especially reds.

The taste is pretty good. Expected "red" flavour... a bit of that toffee... just a slight bit. Malts come through... a little earthy.

The finish, right after you swallow, is a bit bitter, but it doesn't seem too out of place. It's OK. Although it's somewhat creamy / smooth, that bitter finish somehow makes it seem a bit watery... either that, or a watery feel kicks in at the same time.

If it was my university years again, a pitcher of this for me would be just fine at the pub. Pretty drinkable.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a light red/amber color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with light cereal notes and some residual sugar. Taste is also dominated by dry caramel malt with light sweet notes and no discernible hops. Body is a bit light with OK carbonation. Decent but a bit too bland to be truly interesting even as a session beer.

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Photo of berley31
3.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured with hardly any head at all, and what was there was gone within seconds. Body is completely clear and a really nice ruby red color.

S: Just like the Raspberry Wheat, there seems to be a slight alcohol smell coming through, which is weird. Mostly, though, sweet maltiness is apparent, along with a slight fruitiness to the whole thing.

T: Sweet at first... but then it ends with a slight bite of bitterness which isn't very pleasant. Almost astringent, or something. There's also a bit of smokiness to this beer, which is kind of unusual. Overall, it's not terrible, but it's not balanced very well.

M: Light bodied, thin-creamy texture, with average carbonation that seems a little bit too high for the style.

D: Not terrible, but not very smooth. The odd things about this beer likely won't make me buy it again.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into pint glass dec1 2009

A red crossed with copper with a small amount of slow rising carbonation and two fingers worth of off white head that has average retention and leaves lace while it lasted

S a little earthy with some caramel and mild hops

T a little nutty compared to the smell but not far from it other then that

M medium bodied with a little bite and it's smooth enough to satisfy

D not a bad beer overall and worth trying

not the best red ale I've had but nothing to be ashamed of either. thanks again Long813 for this one yet another worthy beer from the other side of Canada

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Photo of Buebie
1.62/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I bought this single from Premier wine and spirits near the Citadel.
Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pub glass. I am a bit concrned over the massive head produced from a soft pour. Foaming up over 4 inches, I'm wondering if this is infected.
Once the head settles, it fizzles away with a snap crackle pop. Leaving behind a thin retention cap, covering the liquid. No lace is left behind at all.
The color is a redish brown, mostly transparent.

Aroma of figs, dark fruit, grapes, some malty sweet aroma, bits of chocolate, and purfumy cherries. I really think this is infected, it does not smell as it should with cherries and purfumy dark fruits.

Yep, this is infected. Mouthfeel is overly carbonated. Taste is pretty foul, with rotten fruit and cherries. Still some chocolate in there, but yea, this is a pretty nasty bottle. Shitty really on my end, since I'd have to travel 2,000 miles just to get another bottle. Very dissapointed. But all the other Garrison brews I had were terrific. So, cant get too mad about one bad apple.

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Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Garrison is doing the beer no justice by simply calling it "red". Surely "red" does not capture its kindled tone and lacquered-like complexion. Surely "red" oversimplifies the fusion of roast pecan and cognac hues. Surely "red" does not encompass the dashing contrast of its argent-tinted head. Surely "Red" looks like a damn fine beer!

I don't often get the chance to review Irish-style Red Ales so I had forgotten just how distinctive and appealing they can smell. There is a particular kind of caramely maltiness to the style that can really get the taste buds revving. Coupled with a grainy rye-like breadiness, a tinge of roast and an ample dose of peat, the caramely maltiness in this glass has me feeling thirstier and thirstier by the second.

And boy does this ever hit the spot. Although Irish Red is far from full-bodied it does have a little meatiness to it, certainly enough to make each sip rewarding. This is one highly quaffable ale. It coats the palate in a sappy, sticky sweet malt residue that leaves you with fond remembrance of the previous sip and an uncontrollable lust for the next.

I would be willing to bet, however, that a little more malt would have really amped this flavour up into high-gear. (At least it certainly would have earned it the next highest score with this reviewer.) The peaty, caramel-drenched maltiness is tasty as it is, but more of it would have been delicious. Speaking of wanting more, I wish I had another bottle!

Not many microbreweries offer an Irish Red (and even less offer a *good* Irish Red). I had forgotten just how respectable this style can be when put in a capable brewer's hands. Garrison makes a number of solid beers in styles much more exciting than this, yet I think the Irish Red may just be my favourite of the bunch. Thanks ThatWineGuy!

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Photo of mrmanning
3/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341 ml bottle- A deep mahogany pour, with a creamy and beige off white cap. A malty and fruity nose. Mostly earthy malts with some caramel, red plum, some spices. Tastes of sweet malts, quite grainy, some fruity notes, a bit of spice. Creamy and malty finish. Good. Thanks Darlene.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this on draft at The Rope Loft Restaurant in Chester, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, overlooking the water. Dark red with scarlet edges when held in the light, thin off-white head leaves quickly, thin ring, minimal lace. Smells of fresh cut wood, balsa possibly, and some malt coming through. Good steady low carbonation. Thin body seems out of whack with malty flavours, a bit of molasses, malt front and centre with a bitter malt finish. Minimalist head regenerated easily with a swirl of the glass, small bubbles, smooth mouthfeel. Overall, a beer with good refreshment value that's just a bit intriguing as well.

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Photo of notdan
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MeisterBurger for passing this along in CanBIF 5.

Poured with a nice little head but it died pretty quickly and left little lacing. Smelled decently, a good balance of malt and hops, but also a bit of lemon tea, which seems to be common for the Garrison beers I've tried so far. The taste followed suit, and while it's nothing exciting, I found it to be pretty solid and balanced. Mostly sweet malty/caramel flavour with a sort of tart bitterness, partly citric and partly coffee-ish. Mouthfeel and drinkability was fine, would not be hard to make this into a session beer.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.57/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just as an aside before my so-called review, the caps on all six of the beers in my six pack seems barely crimped around the neck, and the sound of the pressure being released when the cap came off was oddly quiet. I think the lack of proper capping--ie. not having a tight seal--may have affected the carbonation.

So yeah, with the loose cap it pours a deep ruby color with a thin head that died down to nothing. No real lacing to speak of and zero head retention.

Smells like cherry sweetness, biscuity malt, and, oddly, a slight, slight hint of coffee and, if you can believe it, marzipan.

Taste is sweet and slightly tart, with an almost iron or tannic flavor, some toasted sweet malt in the finish. The hops are on the herby and earthy side.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Very low carbonation.

It's not a complex beer at all, but overall it's an easy-drinking and enjoyable beer.

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Irish Red Ale from Garrison Brewing Company
3.34 out of 5 based on 77 ratings.
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