Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red AleTongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 11-25-2002

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Reviews: 241 | Ratings: 935
Photo of RustyDiamond
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sadistic blood orange pour into the Duvel glass. Quite the devil. Very inviting looking...crimson red with a striking off-white frothy 3" head. Chill hazy...ominous. Aroma of hot citrus glaze on a piping hot waffle with pineapple singing backup. Big ole flavor of spruce tips and thick indian river grapefruit. So balanced for such a big ole crunchy hop bomb. Perfumey as hell in the mouth yet the tongue buckler sensation was omnipresent. Rich, malty taste and I get hints of bittersweet chocolate and toffee somewhere. So aromatic hop nasty yet so rich and malty. Citric piney overhand then a sweet uppercut maly smack. This one is a winner!

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite styles done right. Huge beer here, balanced though. Pretty easy drinking for a 10%er

Incredibly balanced. Resiny hop flavors and sugary sweet malt flavors blend together to provide a feeling of perfection.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.82/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was served on tap at the Blind Tiger in New York, NY. It arrived in a tall, stemmed tulip glass. It glowed a beautiful maroon color, boasting a one finger head of creamy white bubbles. This showed great retention and thick lacing as the beer left us. Translucency was high, as no sediment or haze was noted. Carbonation appeared average. The aroma is immensely complex. There are bright bubblegum esters, making us think of Juicy Fruit bubble gum. The fruity part of that also applies, as guava fruit hits the palate hard. The hops are spicy and citric, with distinct grapefruit and lime. The malts are cooked and darker. They are actually on the pale side in flavor, but show a depth of darkness. With warmth the nose becomes sweaty and salty. As we sipped, the citric hops hit up front like crazy. These mix with even, calm malts. There is a limey quality here as well, with mustard seed, tannins, and a biting nutmeg spice. The malts act more towards the middle, with significant toast, and the faintest suggestion of caramel. They even give off a woody quality at times. The hops remain for further bittering and resiny dryness. The end holds most of the fruit, with tropical berries and hand fruits predominating among the grapefruity hops. Despite the sugars, the end is quite bittering, with pine and grass being the last things to leave your mouth. The aftertaste breathes of big booze and chalky grain. There is even more booze with warmth, but it becomes subdued by thick hop resin and pine cones. The body is medium and the carbonation is medium to high. There is a definite drying astringency despite the fantastic slurp, pucker, and smack. The abv is appropriate, and the beer is quite warming. Drinkability here is supreme.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the big hops in both the nose and the taste. The aroma is damn near perfect, with a certain cleanliness and crispness to it. While the hops were so robust, the malts beautifully balanced this beer. The alcohol is hidden expertly, and the flavors all melt together. This is one of the best beers we’ve had in a long time.

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Photo of SDtastentune
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Red or brownish, cant remember exactly. No much head, or lace but there.

S - Smells of malts and caramel malts, somehops back there but not like an IPA

T- Taste is somewhat complex, think malty, grass/deep hops, red kinda beer flavor, kinda homebrew taste. Hard to explain.

M - Pretty great sipping a half pint fresh from BP, kinda lower carbonation, but well liked and balanced.

O - Nice, well rounded strong ale, malty, hoppy, and redish all at the same time, mixed in with a homebrew kinda vibe. Thumbs up for a different style!

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Photo of beercam
4.78/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm ready to walk the plank with this strong red ale. On to the beer:

Good clarity in the body. It has a beautiful amber reddish glow, topped by a thick, hearty head which continues to hold up. The aroma is quite a treat as well, it's both malty and hoppy. Where to start? Assorted tropical fruits, mango, passionfruit, caramel, toasted malt. Is this a Double Bastard clone?

Oh my! All the flavors are mixed together, and it feels softer than silk. A burst of citrus, passionfruit, and burnt sugar cling on to the palate at first. Hops explode everywhere, but they are controlled without getting too fiesty. A little uncooked veggie gets noticed. Toasted towards the end. A tad more malt would make this perfect for me, but I'm merely nitpicking at this gem. Luscious and smooth like no other (sorry Newcastle!), the alcohol is hidden extremely well, and it is dangerous to drink.

Tongue Buckler is more of a Mind Buckler to me. How Ballast Point managed to pull off this beer without any major leakage of alcohol deserves props. An excellent beer, but watch your consumption: it drinks more like 7% ABV than its listed 10% ABV.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, listed at 10%, well up from 6.4%,

A: Pours a red-brown with a thick 2-finger off-tan head.

S: A pine tree/bitter resin bomb, heavy caramel with some volatile ethanol.

T: Grapefruit and some guava immediately in the hops. Some toasted biscuit and caramel come as the malt shows up. Great cinnamon spice meets Christmas tree in the finish. Hoppy throughout, but always a good balance. Ethanol is present, but it melds seamlessly with the spice and the hops note; it is very well integrated, great structure of flavour.

M: Pretty much what you would want in this style. Resinous of course, but very smooth and silky. Soft, luxurious carbonation. The finish is long and true, also being zesty and tangy.

D: Usually with a beer this big like a barleywine, the bomber would last 2-3 hours, but 20 minutes into this one I had about 8 oz. left in the pint glass. Just a beautifully drinking beer for it's strength. A fantastic Imperial ale, I really just can't say enough good things about it.

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Photo of Dmann
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer hit the spot the other night and I hope to come back for more. Had this on tap at the San Diego Brewing Co. and it was great. Poured a great amber color with a great head and nice lacing. The smell leaned more towards the IPA side of things with a nice wiff of hops and a little carmel malt scent in there too. The taste was very good and was a perfect mix between a strong amber and an IPA with a nice healthy hoppy flavor backed by a sweet malt that broke through very nicely and came to the foreground to ballance. I too hope they bottle this one someday, I'll buy!

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Colorwise, a deep ruby red to an amber fade. Thick ecru head is dense enough to survive the trip down to the bottom of my glass. Sparse lacing driblets.

Aroma is intensely juicy peach candy and citrus. Lots of sugar malt sweetness as well. Smells gooey?

Gooey brown sugar and sugar coated raisin malt is almost intense enough to keep pace with the citrus hop onslaught. Sharp pine. Not as bitter as I had expected which is good...because I expected too many IBUs. Dry and bitter fade which helps wipe my palette of the initial sugar malt.

A fine big ass hoppy amber, up there with the best of the style. This is my favorite style BTW.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from the Ballast Point Home Brew Mart. Despite what the Beer Advocate listing says, this release of the beer is 10% ABV, not 6.4%. Poured into a Pint Glass. The beer is effervescent dark red with a large pillowy off white head. The retention is very good, and the beer leaves some lacing as it recedes.

Sweet caramel and bready malt nicely balances out aggressive citrus, piney, and earthy hops in the nose. The 10% ABV is apparent. The beer is initially sweet, mainly bready, sugary malt, but it's quickly balanced by a high level of bitterness reminiscent of citrus and pine. I talked to the brewer and he said they used 6 or 7 hop varieties in this beer. The taste has a lot of different hop flavors that come together nicely. There's a lot of alcohol. The finish is sweet and piney hops with lingering alcohol heat. There's a high level of bitterness in the finish. The beer is aptly named.

Medium bodied with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry and sticky.

Bottle consumed on 3/7/2010 (2010 batch)

I'm not sure if my palate has progressed or if this is just better than last year's batch, but this is a contender for best Imperial Red...up there with Nugget Nectar. Alcohol is better hidden this year, and the hop aroma and flavor are both explosive. So much citrus and pine. Outstanding stuff. Drink it fresh, drink it fresh, drink it fresh, and you'll find it to be amazing.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Bomber
Bottled On: 16018

Poured into a chalice a very nice cloudy amberish color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger plus off-white head, which also leaves some islands/oil slicks, and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with a nice touch of hops, some citrus. The taste is very nice, malty, nice little sweetness, hoppy, some citrus. Full Body, ABV is hidden very well, nice little dry/bitter finish, a pretty complex brew for an amber, lol Overall, this is a very tasty brew, job well done BP. Recommended!

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Photo of PatrickSwayze
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a majestic clear and beautiful rich amber that gets deeper in color as you peer deeper to the middle of the glass

S: Huge floral and pine brightly caress the nose. Smells so good with hints of caramel that creeps

T: Full massive hop flavor and bitterness kicks your socks of in the friendliest way possible. Huge piney hops murder the forward end with a lovely dough/bread and caramel back end. Slight alcohol trickles up in the middle. 

M: Full bodied with medium carbonation and wonderfully dry

O: So amazing this beer is. I always get it on tap whenever u see it at my local san diego brew pubs. Bad ass beer that provides full crazy amounts of flavor. So amped there bottling again. 

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a tight, off-white head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of piny and citrus hops with some toasted malts.

Tastes of big hops upfront on a supportive malt backbone. Big notes of grapefruit, pine, and herbal notes. Moderately bitter, but not overly so. Malts come in with caramel, toffee, and a bit of toasted bread. A bit of fruitiness comes through as well and add to the grapefruit notes. Sweetness balances out what bitterness comes through. Alcohol is very slight and pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a big amber ale and I would definitely think it was a barleywine if not told otherwise, but this is tasty either way.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown to amber. Darker in color with a slightly cloudy look. Healthy head - at least a finger and quality lacing. Smell is dominated by a great hop aroma and slightly balanced with some malts. Taste is good with malt and candimsugar more present with the hops some hidden well. Spicy. Good.

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Real Ale Festival at PP Carlsbad

Appearance is a cloudy red hue, off-white creamy foam head, moderate lacing

Smell is super pine needle hops, caramel malts, bread and biscuit malts, toffee, citrus, chocolate

Taste is bitter pine hops balanced with smooth caramel malts, toffee dominates the middle, finishes slightly bitter

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, thick and creamy texture, moderate carbonation

Drinkability is high, great mix of hops and caramel malts, a very impressive 'imperial' amber style beer resembling GF Hophead and Port Shark Attack

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Photo of slaintemhor
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour of this beer was a dark amber. The aroma was a hoppy smack in the face! I couldn't detect much else as the hops were predominant. On the palate, WHOA! A hop caliope! Geez! Citrusy hops galore, sweet, resinous and an extremely long finish that ruined my palate for the rest of the night (but in a good way!).

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$10.75 bomber from Abe's.

Truly a red ale. Deep scarlet with great clarity. Rising carbonation throughout. Topped by two fingers of off-white-with-a-hint-of-beige rocky micro-bubbles.

Huge citrus nose. Grapefruit, mango. BIt of lemon. Some pine too.

Thick slabs of caramel goodness slathers the tongue and lays a firm foundation. It fruit. Even bigger bitterness. Crushing bitterness scrubs the tongue at the swallow.

Solid full mouthfeel carries everything along smoothly.

A terrific Imperial Red. Ballast Point needs to ship this more frequently.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a awesome, murky, dark red with a two finger, off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Smells of a sweet malt with candied funk. Funk is forward tasting that surrounds the tounge and slides down the hatch. The malted amber tastes balanced the big hop bite. A boozy burn in the end goes well with the hop bitter bite. I love the lingering resin. A great example of a hoppy red. I do,not see a good combination like this anywhere else, Ballast Point pulls it off. I am beginning to really like BP.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into DFH laser-etched snifter.

Pours a deep, opaque red/mahogany with a thick light brown head that dissipates down to about a half finger. Nose is super hoppy. Pine, tangerine, caramel, grapefruit, molasses and brown sugar. The taste is pine, grass, red grapefruit, black tea, caramel, toffee and bitter orange. Pine explodes and quickly turns into tart grapefruit then plunges into caramel/toffee with a hint of grassy bitterness and some notes of black tea (almost like unsweetened iced tea) that all fades out into a bitter orange and caramel that clings onto the tongue and doesn't let go. This "red ale" is a better DIPA than many beers that are classified as DIPAs (I'm looking at you Palate Wrecker!). Very awesome, love me some Ballast Point.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Union Jack's on the Manatawny.

A deep copper colored brew with a two-fingered head - creamy white and dense.

Smells of earthy citrus hops and bready malts - smells of rye bread.

Tastes of resinous, oily hops, big cirus bitter hops, extremely dry - a big malt backbone.

This one lives up to its name - hopheads only - loved it...

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Photo of Brenden
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tongue Buckler is a deep orange-brown; there's a red effect, but it's not exactly red as such. The light brown head is about half a finger high and soft but firm. Retention is fair and lacing is decent.
Fruits flash for a brief couple of seconds in the aroma before a big bitterness bursts out. It's delicately spicy all the way through. The hops bouquet offers mostly pine and citrus rind. Malts come through with a touch of caramel, but those hops are powerful.
As with the aroma, in the flavor there's a quick flash of sweetness right up front before, this time, a big pine bitterness comes out. Breads and caramel add malty balance, and it's necessary with this much hop punch. It's got a warmth from alcohol and just a little flavor with some depth, but otherwise a skillfully masked alcohol content. A taste of brown sugar is at the back end of every sip.
Despite the size and heft of this beer, it impressively manages a proper medium body. There's a bite all the way through while it remains creamy smooth until the end.

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Photo of moosington
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from Hollingshead.

Pours a deep amber/copper with a nice off-white head that disappeared to a consistent ring.

Aroma is not overpowering, but bears sweet citrusy hops and a sweet bready/malty combo.

Taste starts with a sweet and spicy bread/malt quality that is quickly taken over by a hop charge of citrus rind and pine that sticks to the tongue. This is all washed down with a noticeable, though not unpleasant hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is great for the style. Pretty heavy, but balanced well with great carbonation and the hop kick sticks to the tongue for a while.

Certainly not a session beer, but I had no problem at all finishing the bomber, and could probably handle a few pints on tap. Very tasty, and another awesome beer from the Ballast Point limited releases (I find their year round releases to be not so hot).

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Photo of GreatJob
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 22oz. bottle from BevMo.

A - Poured a clear, dark amber with light creamy tan head that last through the entire glass.

S - slight smell of hops and cirtus, but not as much as other reviewers had stated. The smell is dominated by sweet, bread-like aromas similar to a belgian aile.

T - The taste starts with sweet malty goodness, followed by a strong alcohol flavor immediately after swallowing. The beer finishes pretty bitter, which is accompanied by bread-like flavors similar to the aromas. This is an extremely well balanced beer.

M - Very smoothe mouthfeel. Perfectly carbonated.

D - I could drink this all night. Like I said before, this is a very well balanced beer which makes it very easy to drink. There are no extremes in any category that would make this difficult for anyone to drink.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a really vibrant red colour, with a deliciously bright yellow-tinged cream head; foamy but sunk to a thin crown. Lace is not so impressive, but otherwise looks fantastic.

Smell is fairly fruity with a big underlying caramel sense. Malty and pleasant, touch of oat and just a whisper of lychee and tangerine. Could use a bit more hopping to freshen it up, but still very nice.

Taste is pleasant as well. Very red ale-esque with a great belt of sweet caramel toffee malt - sticky at times and a touch of salted caramel in there, well tempered. Hops help here too, a bit astringent with lemon pith, white pepper and umami. Bitterness is long, but not overwhelming. Overall it's very well balanced and enjoyable.

Smooth, bit of foaminess. Leaves a little heavier than I'd like, but still good.

This is a beer that people would really like. It's not too big, hoppy, or sweet, it's just a well-rounded, character-driven ale. Charming and helpful with lots of good anecdotes about the good ol' times when it wrangled cattle in Montana.

Do people wrangle cattle in Montana?

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Photo of peacebone116
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright dark amber, the color of a worn copper penny. This ale pours with a great off-white head that fades to create fine lace along the leg of the glass.

N: Rich malty sweetness and beautiful citric hint at pink grapefruit.

T/M: Following the aromas, the sweet and tart flavors wind across the tongue. The heat of alcohol is noticeable, but the body is not overwhelmingly heavy, but rather light for the heft of this beer's potency.

Overall, this is a great take on the style. Excellent flavors!

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 935 ratings.
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