Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
242 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 242 | Ratings: 936
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

 504 characters

Photo of FFreak
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

 767 characters

Photo of SovereignGood
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
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!

 316 characters

Photo of BNLTandem
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
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!!!

 702 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
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

 591 characters

Photo of zizouandyuki
3.01/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a tall glass.

Deep amber color with very good clarity. Very little lacing. Smell gives me a headache. Taste is extremely dry and masks some of the better tastes. Has a medium body with moderate carbonation.

I can see how hop heads may like this, but I won't be purchasing this again. Far too bitter for my liking -- The label even warned me.

 378 characters

Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bomber poured into a Stone glass. Golden color. This has a very boozy taste. Very hoppy with a lot of bitterness. At 10.0 ABV it is quite powerful. There are a lot of better Red`s out there. Not up to the usual Ballast Point standards.

 241 characters

Photo of CNoj012
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a very hazy dark red almost brown color. It has a bug pillowy tan head with giod retention and nice lacing. The smell is sweet, caramel and malty with just a hint of dank hops. The taste is sweet malt and alcohol, very boozy. Feel is medium and resinous. Overall I really didn't enjoy this beer, drank side by side with Founders Redankulous and it wasn't even close to as good.

 393 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

 515 characters

Photo of anteater
1.31/5  rDev -66.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1

I must have gotten an off batch because it tasted like someone poured a shot of vodka into a red ale. Taste was completely overwhelmed by fusel alcohol, basically undrinkable.

 176 characters

Photo of Zach136
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy burnt orange, rocky light tan head.

Aroma: Medium intensity spruce and citrus hop character. Touch of roasty malt.

Flavor: Big caramel and mild roast malt character over spruce tips hop flavor/bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium+ sticky.

 251 characters

Photo of ZakFaruki
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look: Beautiful dark copper, 3 finger tan head (aggressive pour), spots of lace occur as you drink

Smell: Didn't really get much of a smell other than a slight earthy scent

Taste: Carmel malts hit on the nose, then fade into a boozy aftertaste, occasionally I'll get a couple lingering notes of hop, but mainly the booze taste overpowers

Feel: Medium bodied leaning towards heavy, has a nice chewiness to it similar to DIPAs

Overall: An enjoyable take on a style I haven't really experienced much, but I don't think I would have again unless it was available on tap. Obviously the major takeaway here is the 10% ABV, so if you're a broke college student looking to catch a nice buzz and can find this on sale, go for it.

 725 characters

Photo of cjgiant
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Limited I tap review:
Clear deep Amber, tons of light red-tan head.
Mildly sweet pitted fruit or maybe even citrus behind a piney hop bite.
Smooth start with a light chocolate caramel malt beginning, but a punch comes with pine and even a light spicy hops bite. Carbonation is nice, end is fairly dry.
Very impressed with this pour of this beer. This style is one that is hugely hit or miss for me, and this one is a hit.

 423 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a touch of chill haze. Impressive head that settles very slowly. Lots of small spots for the lace.

Darker malt start to the nose. Floral hop thereafter. A bit of I cleaned beer line but I did kick the keg.

Lot of alcohol and caramel to start. This is almost like a bitter cocktail. This is from the initial sweetness, which becomes completely dominated by the peppery hop bitterness. Long bitter alcohol aftertaste.

 441 characters

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brown/red, great head, dry and bitter with a very pleasant hop taste and a weak aroma. Big and chewy on the palate and really a nice brew, but a BEAST at 10%.

 158 characters

Photo of barleybadger64
3.27/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Color was amber, aroma was a nice hop (western?) but missed some maltiness. Taste was skewed too far toward bitterness. I'd like to see more balance from the malt. I probably had my expectations too high. I will give second chance at later date.

 249 characters

Photo of delta490
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a nice cap of light tan head that lasts through the beer, leaving small sitcky lacing. The aroma is light but has some nice caramel malt sweetness and a little hint of hops. The taste is more robust, with same elements as the aroma but amplified. There is nice big malt sweetness up front and the hops is much more prevalent and dominates the finish. The body has a nice thick feel to, with a little tingle on the tongue from the alcohol and a hopped bite on the finish

 494 characters

Photo of RyanK252
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours slightly hazy deep copper amber with a creamy tan head that settles and laces well.

S: Rich toffee malt sweetness, a bit spicy and fruity, with faint pine and citrus.

T: Pine hops, a little citrus, spicy, a bit fruity, peach fig , brown sugar and toffee malt sweetness, floral notes, maybe a touch of alcohol on the back end.

M: Medium to full body, moderate prickly carbonation, a little warmth

O: I'm a big fan of hoppy reds, but this one is kinda disappointing. A bit too malty for me despite the load of hops. My bottle was pretty fresh and had bite so I'm not sure how much has faded out, but I can imagine this being better super fresh. For now it's just ok.

 737 characters

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a teku glass.

Look - looks like I want to drink it

Smell - Honestly doesn't smell like all that much to me, which I feel is typical of a red. I can smell some hops and a little bit of an "Earthy" scent

Taste - Solid beer here, slightly bitter with a nice blend of hops and malts. IMO some reds can have too much of one or the other (hops/malts) but this one has a great balance to it. The hops feel "dirty" and I don't mean that in a bad way. It just has a tinge of pine, which adds to the Earthy feeling you get when drinking. I feel obligated to drink this beer on a nice day that I am able to spend outside. The booze is hardly noticeable at all (the opinion of the booziness seems to be split down the middle based on other reviews I have read.)

Mouthfeel - Smooth, light carbonation. Goes down easy despite the complexities of the flavors.

Overall - While red ales are not my favorite style, I can definitely enjoy them; although I do struggle to review them, as my palate may not be advanced enough to single out certain flavors in this style. This is a nice, complex beer that I enjoyed and any aficionado of red's should as well.

 1,176 characters

Photo of sa93
2.27/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

This has the distinction of being the least enjoyable beer I have had this year. Despite being just 10% ABV, it tasted like pure booze. I could hardly even taste the hops and malts anymore. More boozy than any barleywine, quad, or imperial stout I've had. No balance at all. This beer pretty much turned me off on anything Ballast Point.

 337 characters

Photo of founddrama
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very mildly boozy what is otherwise a pretty standard-tasting red. Smooth though, and I like the style, so… great "with food" beer.

Also: great head on this one.

ALSO: an adequate substitute for the Lagunitas Imperial Red (though the Lagunitas is superior by a full point).

Maybe *slightly* overdoing it in the hop bitterness department.

 342 characters

Photo of hardy008
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber, with a light beige one finger head, with good retention and lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, caramel, and floral hops.

Has a mostly bitter taste, balanced by some sweetness. There is grapefruit, pine, floral hops, citrus zest, and caramel. There is no hint of alcohol in the taste, which is impressive for a 10.00 % abv beer.

Medium to full bodied with average carbonation. Chewy, and has a long, bitter finish.

 434 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours slightly hazed orange/reddish amber with a thin creamy head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of pine/resin with citric/tropical fruit, bright caramel and a hint of toasted bread.

The taste is of big bitterness upfront with pine and citrus, but plenty of the smooth caramel backbone comes through. Smooth despite the big bitter bite, it has a long, juicy finish.

A wonderful hoppy red - juicy, chewy full-bodied beer. It's like hop candy in a bottle. By the way, the alcohol is so wonderfully covered I didn't realize the abv was so quite so high until I went to enter the review.

 585 characters

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.85/5  rDev +24%
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.

 226 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Darker reddish-amber body, half finger white head with fair retention, no lacing.

S- Straight up grapefruit mixed in with toffee. It smells just about what I expected it to- lots of west coast hop character backed up by caramel-forward malt.

F- Caramel, grapefruit, a bit of lemon. Quite bitter, with the grapefruit and pine finishing things out with a strong stinging bitterness. Again, as expected!

M- Medium bodied, slightly syrupy but good carbonation; the bitterness is a bit much as it doesn't seem to be as superbly balanced as I'd like.

O- Solid imperial red, but I think it's not as balanced as it should be.

 625 characters

Tongue Buckler - Imperial Red Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 936 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.