Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale
Ballast Point Brewing Company

Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red AleTongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale
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Red Ale - Imperial
Ranked #33
Ranked #13,490
3.93 | pDev: 11.2%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red AleTongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale
Reviews: 253 | Ratings: 990 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cyclonece09
cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours deep red orange with a small white head. Smells of caramelized grain with slight fruitiness. Tastes of caramelized grain with bright berries and slight citrus notes. Beer is medium/full bodied yet easy drinking, good carbonation. Overall, a very good beer.

Nov 06, 2020
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smiths400 from Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is very rare, I saw it on the menu at Ballast Point Brewery & Restaurant in Daleville VA (July 21, 2018) and was intrigued by its description. High ABV beers often have some weirdness in the offering - either they smell strange (or awful) or the color or mouth feel is peculiar or they just taste like someone poured grain alcohol into a regular, average tasting beer. Not so for this delightful, beautifully shiny red beer with perfect carbonation and head. The taste was wonderful, a hint fruity, a taste of malt, lightly hopped , very smooth (!) and a great mouth feel with no surprises in the finish. Very well balanced. Served in an 8-oz goblet, I was able to sip this delicious beer with family at my side as we all watched a dramatic sunset peeking out from behind waning and wispy clouds over the stunning mountainous horizon looking west from Daleville. This beer produced a soft and warm buzz that came over me slowly and held on throughout our excellent 40 minute dinner. Ballast Point lists only 3 other places in the state that offer or sell this wonderful beer. Ah, man.

Jul 22, 2018
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap. Poured a clear, golden amber color with a small, tan head of foam. It smelled of toasted caramel, roasted malt and pine. Rich malty flavor with sweet orange flavor. Piney, sharp bitter hops.

Jul 12, 2018
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Brewing Co. "Tongue Buckler"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, PKG 06FEB18" and sampled on 25APR18
$2.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: It's poured a mostly clear reddish body with golden and orange highlights beneath a full head of creamy yellowed off-white foam. The aroma expresses medium dark caramelish malt, some dried fruit, some soft citrusy fruit, some bruised apple, and a hint of pine. Wow, the flavor really amps that up without becoming too much. It's neither too malty, nor too caramelish in its maltiness (which is a common mistake in beers like this), and although it's also quite bitter it's not completely "tongue buckling". The fruitiness offers some additional citrus, and I'm finding notes of apple, plum, raisin, orange, soft grapefruit, and fig. It's dry in the finish, and bitter, with some dark skinned fruit lingering shortly and then fading to allow more pine/spruce and earthiness to appear. Medium leaning towards medium-full in body and gently crisp. The strength is evident but not overblown... how strong is this? 10%, that makes sense. It's kind of like a strong, very hoppy English old ale done up with some Pacific northwest hops... or just an American Imperial red ale. Worth trying for fans of strong ales.
Review# 5,970

Apr 25, 2018
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Suds from Missouri

4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a twelve ounce bottle, this brew is clear, crimson red, and with a wispy off-white head. The aroma is malty, with toast and sweet scents. Some fruit...a bit of booze. Nice. The taste is warming, filling, and intense with malt, spice, and a lots of melanoidin flavors. Very full in body and satisfying.

Apr 15, 2018
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Nearly clear copper brown pour. 2 fingers of foamy white head leaves great lacing.

S: Rich caramel malts and bitter hops. Sweet and grainy.

T/F: Follows the nose. Rich sweet caramel/bready malts. Big time hop presence... pine and resin. Mild tropical fruits but the pine dominates. Earthy... medium bodied. Sticky on the tongue... bittersweet malt/hop finish. Lingers for a bit on the palate.

O: A big, rich, malty, bitter Imperial Red. Delivers what it promises. Great flavor... boozy (not super well hidden) but worth the ride.

Mar 30, 2018
Photo of michiganmatt
michiganmatt from California

3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: A very clear SRM 13.5ish. A small amount of tan head. Looks good.
S: Smells sweet and sticky, a bit malty, pine and resin hops
T: tastes similar to the smell: a hearty malt flavor with significant sweetness, pine hops dominant with secondary resinous aspects. Fairly strong aftertaste (only slightly unpleasant)
F: medium-full to full-bodied. Moderately crisp. supposedly this beer is 108 IBU but it doesn't taste that bitter to me.

Mar 28, 2018
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justintcoons from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Brilliant amber red. 1/2 finger of tan head. Excellent clarity.

Dank, wintergreen, mango, papaya, fruit punch, caramel, and candy sugar.

Mango, papaya, dank, wintergreen, and fruit punch. Grapefruit and pine resin. Caramel and candy sugar maltiness. Booziness is very apparent.

Medium bodied, oily, warming, bitter, and semi-dry.

Bitter, bold, and warming. Good hop:malt ratio.

Mar 16, 2018
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - with some rather disturbing label imagery. All I can say is that I'm glad that I'm writing, not talking, I guess.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium orange-brick amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and sort of bubbly tan head, which leaves some decent broken web pattern lace around the glass as it eventually subsides.

It smells of semi-sweet, bready and doughy caramel malt, indistinct black stone fruit, a further biscuity toffee sweetness, and some as yet restrained earthy, musty, and piney green hop bitters. The taste is grainy and bready caramel malt, gritty toffee squares, some raisin and dried plum fruitiness, further citrus vodka notes, and more edgy leafy, weedy, and piney verdant hoppiness.

The carbonation is adequate in its palate-supporting frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, and mostly smooth, as the typical interlopers seem a tad disinterested in mucking about here. It finishes off-dry, the big-boy malt not about to let go of the reins so readily.

Overall - this is a rather enjoyable and intense version of the style, which could arguably be deemed a malty DIPA, but that's just splitting hairs. The 20-proof booze quotient is pretty darned sneaky, not exactly showing its hand until it's already too late, your tongue no longer able to provide the warning it normally would. Well done, well done.

Feb 14, 2018
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Certainly pulling not punches, the brewers at Ballast Point bring out their big hoppy and malty guns with an imperial amber ale that toes the line of imperial IPA. But rounded with a firm malt backbone and the ale is exquisitely balanced although bold.

Tongue Buckler kicks off with a powerful scent. Tropical, citrus and nutty aromas swirl about the senses, rising above a deep crimson pour that settles with a dense sepia stained froth. Flavors pick up directly where the nose leads off: rich caramel, toffee, shortcake and toasted pecans hinge on granola and graham cracker influence.

As the flavors develops across the middle palate, its IPA trek becomes more apparent. The weight of malt relaxes gently and the hops grow into a dominant flavor of apricot, mango and pineapple along with an undercurrent of pink grapefruit and tangerine. Peppery, spicy and nutty, the taste of peanut skins link up with an assertive pine bitterness and spicy alcohol.

Medium full on the palate, the beer's malty taste and texture provides a sweet base taste to buffer against the brunt of alcohol and bitter resins for a balance that certainly favors the hops but doesn't completely rely on them. A long bittersweet aftertaste is of peanut brittle and muddled citrus peel. Tongue Buckler certainly lives up to its name.

Jul 10, 2017
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in Greenville SC in a Gouden Carolus glass.

Clear dark amber body with a large, semi-durable beige head.
Aroma: hops, toffee, soft ripe fruits.
Flavor: as the aroma suggests, this is fruity. Also boozy. Typical (or a bit higher) bitterness for style.

Feel: the body is medium; medium+ carbonation. Mild alcohol warmth.

Overall: fruity imperial red.

Apr 09, 2017
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Stoutmaster9 from California

4.82/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have been craving an Imperial Red for some time, and just knew this would satisfy!
Dig the Pirate Skeleton label art!

One and a half finger head, diminishing quick. Mild ruby giving way to Blood Orange, then murky burgundy.
Light carb, no lacing.

Masterwork red ale, with an aquatic titan's Barley Wine strength! Malty toffee with well-balanced hoppy bitterness.

Deeply satisfying indeed.

Mar 09, 2017
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Everydayoff from Thailand

4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap served in a pint glass at Wishbeer, Bangkok.

It comes in clear deep reddish brown color with thick silky tan head that stands proud with great retention, it just slowly dissipates to a thin everlasting foamy film on the surface along with plenty of lacing trails.

Super solid and sweet malty profile in the aroma, it ranges from roasted, biscuit, bread, grain, slight buttery, to some smoke while hop with touch of lemon, citrus and some earthiness.

Malt leads forward with the same qualities as in the aroma, then it is earthy hop and solid bitterness but not that overpowering the malt bill, very good balance, also some zesty citrus and lemon.

Medium body with very smooth mouthfeel from its crisp and lively carbonation through the palate, refreshing, and dry finish.

Great in any aspect, alcohol is deceivingly hidden and such big IBU figure is not devastatingly wrecked the palate because it is being leverage by solid malt profile.

Dec 23, 2016
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vikinggary28 from California

4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bottle into my handy chilled glass mug. Nice looking cloudy amber/red with an off white head. Smells of both pine and citrus. Taste has a great combination of both hops and malts as well as a hint of citrus and bread. Mouthfeel is great as well, goes down smooth. This is a great beer. PROST!

Oct 17, 2016
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Impetuous from Montana

3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very hoppy flavors sliced by malt sweetness
Mouthfeel is quite good. Possibly the best aspect of this brew.
Subtle alcohol derived bread flavors
Is it busy or complex? It's busy

Musical allegory wise, less Mingus more dream theatre. And that's an insult.

Sep 07, 2016
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Apellonious from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip, a dense ruby red with brown and red elements. Couldn't decipher the code on the bottom. A one finger fluffy tan head decorates the top. Smells like a red, with some orange citrus and some bread. The taste is barley wine esque, heavy hops, a touch of heat, and dark fruit sugars. Very dense, carbonation is medium low. Things get a little sticky as it warms. Overall, I like it, but not quite the top the style.

Jul 17, 2016
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beercam from Washington

4.78/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is red-ale lover's review. If you don't like strong strong malty wild fresh sugary raging fruit unnameably tropical intonations and spicy incantations upon the palate. Just go elsewhere, don't hate!

Been on the coat tails of this brew for a minute. Glad to catch up with it.

L: Ballast Point's Handsome labeling excels once again. This is a special painting, of label, and of beer in a dogfishhead pint glass. It's a deep, brassy, ruby. Tough to see through, like a dusty powder of snow borne in a sturdy, icy breeze. This stuff really is beautiful, especially if you pour it at about ehhh, half a foot above the -*bottom*- of your glass. This gets some foam in there! Come get some fome!
S: Rich and sweet. Deep grainy breeze from the bottle says this has really been fermented artistically.
T: Really good. There, I said it. Meets the deep deep and rigorous requisites for a red, and meets them imperially. Literally. The perfect deep Fall beer, if we're talking seasonally. This taste really that good. Taste is a very competitive category overall for me, and the redness of this beer blasts its rankings way up, because of how much gravity i give to my red beers.
F: Smooth, quick, thick, fruity, wild. Kind of new. Again, passes quick is and is dry, yet within this constrains achieves huge things as an imperial red with ease....

O: Drink this asap if you can, it's availability is dwindling in my areas. Probably cellars really really well, frankly. This beer is uniquely sturdy for its lofty hoppiness.

Mastery. For more red mastery, and more of my reviews, chase after Anchor's Big Leaf Maple and Alaska's Imperial Red, and thanks for enjoying ballast point's tongue buckler with me. Keep drinking, reading, chilling, etc.

Jul 16, 2016
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Prager62 from Colorado

3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't see a bottle date, but it was fresh off the truck when I was at my local store. Pouring this bomber in my 13oz. tulip for the unveiling.

Look- Pours a very clear dark amber color leaving a very generous finger of light tan foam.

Smell- A mix of mild grapefruit and pine along with some spice.

Taste- Grapefruit, pine, and solid floral notes in the finish. A slight amount of caramel malt emerges as well.

Feel- Slick and oily with a bitter dry finish.

Overall- I bought this $4.99 bomber when my beer guy said some new BP bombers were being unloaded off the truck. A solid imperial red at a great price with wonderful hop flavor washed down by a slick malt backbone. A big beer at a economical price.

Jun 17, 2016
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 13 oz Weyerbacher tulip glass not sure when it was bottled. Pours a gorgeous ruby red with a 3 finger off white head that leaves gobs of lace all over the place.

Smell is caramel, biscuit, apricot, toffee, pine, and grapefruit rind.

Taste follows nicely toffee, caramel, and apricot upfront and a massive hit of pine, grapefruit, and a little hint of alcohol in the enormous finish.

Mouthfeel is on the large side, plenty of life, a little dry, and even with the alcohol presence it is still very approachable.

Overall this is very good, I will drink this fairly often this Spring.

May 12, 2016
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Gregaroo from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

4-11-16 - On tap at the Ballast Point Tasting Room in the Little Italy section of San Diego. 8 oz. pour into a tall tulip glass. Super hoppy "red" ale. Menu notes that "IBU's top 100". Super smooth and tasty. Get this one again when you can.

Apr 11, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Darker than average red here, borders on light brown, mahogany, auburn. 1/4" head, off white. Aroma was just not dropping the hoppy notes here.

Gigantuar amount of toffee and caramel from the malt and a grip load of bitterness. Expected more from these guys, this comes off more like a red barleywine. Tons of hops, almost all bittering, nothing late stage or giving a tasty mouthfeel. It was cool to be all big and barleywiney, but would be nice to be more robust in other more complex ways too.

Mar 23, 2016
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FFreak from Vermont

4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bomber purchased locally for $10.49. Poured into a tall tulip. Pours a turbid mahogany color with a tall, off-white head that takes forever to settle down and leaves some nice lace. Aroma is a mixture of malty sweetness combined with a citrusy hop scent, maybe a bit of bread and yeast. Taste is nicely balanced mixture of amber malts and a bracing bitterness that lingers and offsets the sweetness quite well. Feel is just right for the style, medium body, perfect level of carbonation, not too sweet or dry, with the high-ABV quite hidden. Overall, this is one of my favorite styles so I probably rate this higher than some others. I really liked Hop Flood by Evil Twin and compared to that this is not quite as good, but a pretty good example of the style.

Feb 05, 2016
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SovereignGood from California

4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Deep dark red with a small head. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

S: Hoppiness with some dark cherry maybe?

T: Like the smell, hoppy flavors with some dark fruit notes. You can taste the alcohol in the back but the beer is still smooth.

F: Good mouthfeel with a medium body.

Pretty good imperial red ale!

Jan 22, 2016
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BNLTandem from Michigan

4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Poured a clear deep copper with a full finger of foam. Very nice!

Aroma: fresh light hoppines. No underfermemted sweet nose like some "imperials".

Taste: nice balance. Enough Malt to balance the up front bitterness. Mainly back of the ton bitterness. Maybe a touch of grapefruit find..but not a ton of roasted Malt or Hop flavor.

Feel: The highlight by far of this brew is the surprisingly creamy mouth feel. How do they do that in this hoppy of a beer. Really a nice job. I need to learn how to do that.

Overall very enjoyable. I might like a tad more fermentables left in the brew. Up the gravity and the Brix a click. Can't wait to find the Bourbon barrel version of this!!!

Jan 02, 2016
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an effervescent orange/scarlet with o finger of cream colored head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Toasty, piney& catty

T: Toastyness, pineyness & a little caramel up front, woody hops as well. Slight astringency with slight brown sugar sweetness & with faint grapefruit , & stronger piney & woodiness as this warms. Finishes dry with a little caramel sweetness & piney & woody bitterness

MF: Medium body, slight carbonation, slews hoppy & bitter

Drinks fairly easy, I could've stood more alt backbone t balance it out, but well worth a go if you like them hoppy

Dec 19, 2015
Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 990 ratings