Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red AleTongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale
Very Good
945 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 945 |  Reviews: 243
Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Lueken's Liquors. A smooth mouthfeel, with an initial maltiness followed by a pleasant citrusy hop finish. Well integrated blend of malt and hops, the perfect imperial red beer. Another master craft from this brewery. Above average mouthfeel.

 254 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber with red hues. Lots of lace and single finger head.

S: wet sock odor hops

T: lots of grassy and floral hops with dominant caramel malts. Some citrus notes.

M: Moderate carbonation and medium body.

Overall: The beer was very good. This wet sock hop aroma that I see in some imperial beers and IPAs is a bit of a turn off before the taste. Otherwise a decent beer.

 376 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of jaydoc
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, CA.

Pours a clear dark copper with a beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thick chunks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grapefruit, citrus zest, and a slight alcohol kick. Taste is of malt, grapefruit extract, and very bitter citrus zest. The bitterness with each sip is quite assertive and lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a somewhat full bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it is extremely bitter just like the name implies.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is crazy beer, super hoppy and not sweet at all, like i often associate red beers as being, or at least ambers, which i expected this to be, you know, heavy with caramel malts and overbalanced. not the case, this one stands as a gnarly big red ipa, super hoppy, a lot of action on this one, resins and pine, grapefruit peel bitterness, and some of the alcohol. its distinct from others in its size but gentle feel, in its refreshment capacity for a strong ale, and in its use of red malt to add character without sweetness. hoppy as can be, but never harsh, just super intense there, and a little hard to drink in mass quantity, but like all beer from ballast point, especially the big strong ones, this is excellent and original beer, worthy at any table.

 761 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of metter98
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in appearance and has just a few bubbles floating on the surface.
S: A distinct hoppy aroma dominates the smell. There are also some hints of caramel and toffee.
T: The taste very much follows the smell and is of bitter hops, although there is a good amount of balance in the flavors from the underlying caramel malts.
D: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and the finish is somewhat dry.
M: The alcohol content is well masked but this is a beer that tastes like it is strong and definitely needs to be sipped.

 543 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 1,310 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Uinta brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; I had this on-draught at the brewery and didn't think too highly of it.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with goldfish. I enjoy a salty treat with my hop monsters.

Opened clean, with a crisp pop of the cap.

A: Pours a four finger beige-khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and good retention - especially considering the high ABV. Colour is a dark caramel-copper. Nontransparent; nonopaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks pretty standard for the style, but I'm impressed by the retention - it's at least five minutes. Lacing is standard.

Sm: Hops - mostly floral. Toasted clean malts. Toffee. A pleasant aroma, but not horribly complex. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Toasted clean malts provide the foundation for a pleasantly floral hoppy build. Hop bitterness is decently masked, but the balance is slightly off. Some cream comes through in the third act, which is a nice touch but out of place in the structure. I do get some alcohol heat, but it's well handled and mainly warms the stomach more than anything else. It certainly feels like it's less alcoholic than it is. Not a subtle or complex flavour, but a pleasant and drinkable one. I do think there's more going on that comes to surface, but that sort of faux-subtlety isn't enough to make it a great tasting beer. No yeast comes through.

Mf: Too smooth. Too thick. A bit heavy on the palate. Somewhat chewy. Nicely wet.

Dr: It drinks quite easily for the 10.00% alcohol. Could be dangerous. There's some heat from the ABV, but it isn't anything that impacts the drinkability all that much. I like it for what it is, but it's far from unique or special. Ballast Point does hoppy brews far better than this (Sculpin, anyone?). I wouldn't get it again, but I'm glad I tried it.


One of the better Imperial Reds I've had. But I haven't had many.

A poor candidate for aging.

Would pair well with simple hearty bread. The outback steakhouse's brown bread comes to mind for some reason. Am I rambling?

 2,298 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Assuming this is the recent "robust series" bottling, the original listing should be updated if there's an ABV change. Huge thanks to Jason for dropping this in a recent trade!

Lovely burnt crimson color, fluffy foam, and minor lacing. Dank hop oils in the nose. Sweet fruit and a hint of maltiness buried underneath. Later there's a waft of the alcohol, but it blends in well.

Huge smack of melon/cantaloupe sweetness, dank fruity hops are massive in this one! Lush, sweet almost syrupy body. Reminded me a little of oak-aged Unearthly minus the oak. Drying with moderately bitter finish. Traces of alcohol only seem to come out as it warms. Pretty damn strong, but tasty. The sweetness and booze are integrated well enough that it isn't a distraction. I'm going to miss this bomber when it's gone...

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a sturdy ecru head that leaves a fair amount of lacing

Smell: Pop the cap and the piney citrus wafts out of the bottle; stick your nose in the pint glass and the hops aroma almost burns like a chili pepper

Taste: The hops don't wait for the malt to make an appearance, jumping into the fray from the get go, with a juicy, almost fiery, citrus and pine combination that truly tries to buckle the tongue; after the swallow, the malt leaves a trace with some residual sweetness on the tongue, but the bitterness persists for quite some time afterwards

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; burning warmth in the gullet after the swallow

Drinkability: Fun to taste for a hop head, but a tough one to consume in any quantity; one of the most aggressive beers I have ever tasted

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Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 4/17/2014. Pours lightly cloudy ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, orange zest, lemon zest, caramel, toast, floral, grass, pine, and floral earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bright citrus hops and moderate caramel malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, pineapple, caramel, toast, floral, grass, pine, and floral earthiness. Moderate amount of floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, pineapple, caramel, toast, floral, grass, pine, and floral earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of bright citrus/pineapple hops and light-moderate caramel/bready malts; with balanced and crisp malt/bitterness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a lightly creamy, crisp, and moderately sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent imperial red ale! All around great complexity and balance of bright hops and moderate malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,480 characters

Photo of Boone757
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of largadeer
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Gourmet Haus Staudt, served in a 12 oz snifter.

Cloudy brownish-red with a frothy tan head. Lots of scattered lacing with solid head retention. Very resiny aroma, pine and crystal malt, grapefruit, light alcohol presence. Similar on the palate, not particularly sweet but heavy on crystal malts and sticky, resiny hops. Grapefruit, pine, plenty of lingering bitterness in the finish that balances the heaviness of the malt. Alcohol is fairly well-hidden, though there's a slight sting toward the finish. Very easy to drink for such a big beer.

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Photo of mothman
2.51/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of beige head. Color is a dark orange amber. Decent retention with some lace rings.

Aroma: Dank weeds, floral hops, grapefruit citrus, caramel malts, and bready malts.

Taste: Bitter hops - floral and grassy. Pretty malty. Biscuits, caramel, and bready malts all show. Has some citrus fruits.

Mouthfeel: Dry and bitter. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and sticky.

Overall, the age shows a bit as it is malty. However, the hops really showed and that surprised me. Very bitter.

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Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 945 ratings
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