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: 242 | Ratings: 936
Photo of ujsplace
4.38/5  rDev +12%
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 Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point : Tongue Buckler

Poured ontap into a snifter. Deep brown in color with a small white cap. Aroma is full of sugary malt and floral hops. In the flavor, deep peaty malt notes and grapefruit rind like hops. Very close to a scotch ale with a sweet and unexpected maltyness. For 100 IBU the bitterness is moderate. Sweet malts battling a good dose of hops kind of overshadows the lofty alcohol. A hybrid style, Scotch IPA is what it had me thinking.

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Photo of magine
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Union Jacks.

Deep amber with a thick creamy white head. Dense and great looking head and nice lace remains. Great looks.

Brew smells of oily pine resin hops, malty biscuit and some sweetness as well. Good nose.

Tastes of oily resin hops, the creamy head gives way for some great smoothness. Huge drying; puckering the tongue drying bitters. Sweet earthy malts and nice balance in the middle. Tremendous bitter brew. Great stuff.

Great brew that would really go well on a cold night.

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Photo of MONKandTUCK
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- A nice red hue. Some foam on top, but it gives way too quickly.

A- like punch. Lots of fruit and sweet caramel.

T- Kinda hard to place them, but the hops are apparent. The malt bill is a little more complex than an IPA, but not what I'd call interesting. There's a lot going on here, I just can't place it. The craftsmanship is undeniable, but the inspiration seems lost. The alcohol is warming, but doesn't burn. The finish is dry, but it's still a big beer. Nothing about it stands out as unique or extraordinary. Just what the hell am I supposed to be drinking? I like that the bitterness is smooth, even muted, but I'm desperate to taste something that sets this beer apart.

M- It's heavy. The beer never becomes sappy or even chewy, but there's a hefty grist bill here. Due to lack of direction in the flavor department, this massive beer becomes a chore to drink.

O- Big Red. It's a great selling-point, but I can't think of a reason to finish this, let alone try it again. The beer is enjoyable for a little while, and makes "lesser" beers seem wimpy. Beyond that, this beer just becomes flabby, and an apparent product of indecisiveness.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from jedwards. My first Ballast Point; ironic that it had to be sent to me from a BA in RI.

Poured into a Deschutes snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy (bottle conditioned?) amber color with a good amount of creamy, latte-like head. The head that pretty decent retention and lace.

S: It seems like a caramel-malt bomb at first sniff, but the nose unfolds with some floral hops and some nuttiness and woody characters. Smells sweet.

T: Again, sweet and rich caramel malts, wood flavors and some molasses. The hops arrive on the back end with some lingering bitterness and dryness.

MF: Cream and finishing dry. Medium bodied with all of that malt.

O: I didn't notice the alcohol in this beer, but (comparatively for the style) it was still a little slower-drinking because of its size and the malt bill. A good Imperial Red, that (I believe) would benefit greatly from some more hopping.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this at the Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room in Manhattan.

A - This beer pours a nice ruby copper color. It has a nice 2-finger off-white head on it. The head has good retention, and it leaves some scattered lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of caramel malts, floral hops, and toasted nuts. There is a touch of alcohol also present in the smell.

T - The taste starts off with some toasted malt and a big caramel sweetness. It is immediately followed by a big bitter hop bite. There are also some flavors of fruit, nuts, and some booziness. The finish has some lingering hop bitterness and booziness.

M - This has a medium to full body and good carbonation. It has a bit of a syrupy quality to it. There is quite a bit of hop bitterness and some alcohol warmth in the finish.

D - There is good drinkability here. It goes down good and the flavor is great. I could easily drink a few of these in a night, even considering the alcohol percentage. Overall, I thought this was a really nice beer, and really good for the style. One of the best Red Ales I've had so far. Definitely tasty and I recommend trying it.

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

Pours a bit of a murky amber color with a short cream colored head that settles into a light ring.

The aroma is sweet. Lots of tropical fruit notes from the hops. Big pineapple, candied apricot, and orange. There is a peppery note as well. The malt is bready with hints of caramel. A bit too on the sweet side for my liking.

The taste is of a piney and resinous hop, quite bitter. There is a strong pineapple tropical fruit presence as well. The malt is quite big, with caramel and toffee notes. Some grassy and pepper notes in the finish. A big sweet amber ale and with signicant hop bitterness. Way too sweet for me. Its not cloying but the hop profile along with the malt doesn't do it for me. Doesn't match up to the other hoppy ambers out there, way too big.

Sits full on the palate. It would be slick but the hoppy bitterness counteracts that. Not a desirable aftertaste IMO. Some noticable alcohol presence.

An aight hoppy amber. Its way too big and the hop profile doesn't suit me.

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Photo of IronLover
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber red in color with an ornage hue and excellent clarity. Poured with a decent beige head that reduced to a wispy cap that left nice sticky lacings on the glass. Aroma consisted of a nice balance of sweet caramel malt and ripe tropical fruit, grapefruit and orange. On the thicker side of medium bodied with a resinous feel from beginning to end and robust carbonation. Grapefruit, and ripe pineapple hop flavors, with hints of floral hop as well and a strong, very sweet caramel malt backbone. Alcoholic heat is well defined from the middle to the end, making this one a sipper. Finishes with a touch of bitterness that lingers briefly along with the heat of the higher abv.

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

Pours a clean and clear coppery amber with cap of dense khaki head, good retention and lacing. Scent is filled with notes of resinous and grapefruity hops, solid carmel malt backbone with light nuttyness - almost barleywineish with a kiss of booze. Taste follows scent, solid malt backbone, carmely, malty and nutty with strong resinous hops, touches of citrus and bread and booze. Fuller side of medium bodied, palate coating, oily. More akin to a mild barleywine then imperial amber - strong malt backbone with solid hop profile and hefty body.

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Photo of jlindros
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Huge fluffy head forces a 5 min pour with lots of messy lacing as well, mostly clear ruby dark mahogany colored beer.

Nose has some light earthy and citrus hops, a bit fruity, some crystal and reddish toasty malts, caramel, semi sweet malts, slight biscuity.

Taste is quite bitter, earthy and slight herbal hops and a bit spicy, chewy almost vegetative hops, earthy chewy malts, plenty of dark crystal malts, bit of darker roasted malts, a slight astringent taste and salty like malty taste, light caramel, slight biscuity reddish malts, little sweet and syrupy. Finishes fairly bitter still, chewy and spicy hops that make it seem like chewing on hop pellets, bit if warming spicy booze, semi sweet and sticky syrupy reddish malts.

Mouth is med to slightly heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall not bad, very bitter and hoppy but earthy grassy chewy hops, plenty of darker crystal malts, little syrupy though and finish is a bit too harsh.

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

Sampled this one on tap at the Ballast Point Brewery/Home Brew Mart in San Diego. Poured a dark amber color with a little beige head. Aromas of juicy hops, citrus, toasted malt and sweet caramel. On the palate, this one is medium bodied, with flavors of citrusy hops, oranges, caramel and sweet malt. Very hoppy, without a bitter finish.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.43/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint. Slightly hazy reddish amber with a smallish but stubborn head. Scattered streaks of lacing.

Huge citric and caramel aromas, but they're overwhelmed by an even more powerful alcohol presence. The taste is similarly frustrating, surprisingly even more boozy than it smells. Kind of a weird doughy tanginess as well. A great citrusy hop profile and scorching bitterness battle for attention, but this battle creates anything but a smooth drinking experience. Something seems to have gone amiss here.

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Photo of beer4colin
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ UBH The South Shore's Best Beer Bar

A - 12 oz pour comes with an ATYPICAL UBH pour. This pour has near 2 fingers of foam that dissipates fairly quickly.
S - sugary caramel, cream soda?
T - This a very interesting glass. Very big toasted caramel start runs into warm boozy butterscotch. An expo soon od creamy foam. This beer rocks.
MF - coating but not burning considering the ABV.
OA - this is a one of a kinder! Have to take it easy on these!

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet amtl, citrus, citrus hop, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, grapefruit, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice brew. Nice aroma going on here and a very complex flavor. This one made the citrus shine throughout. The alcohol on the followthrough was very noticeable. Everything seemed to work really well together. A definite must try and a great example of the style.

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Photo of djmichaelk
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Dunedin House of Beer, served in a mini-pilsner.

A - Poured a very hazy reddish-auburn. Solid couple of fingers of head, with decent retention and bits of lacing.

S - Hops right off the bat, but backed with a lot of malt. There's toffee in there, which is strange to me for a red. It's not unpleasant, but the problem is that there just isn't much aroma at all. It might be the glassware, but it's still somewhat weak, taking a definite effort to get much at all.

T - Again, plenty of malt here. It's got a honey-sweet backbone, but topped with a hugely bitter, grapefruity hop kicker. The citrus is more rind than zest, which is the only thing keeping this from a top score for me. It has equally opposing flavors without being balanced, which... well, it just works for me. Great stuff.

M - Really, really full and thick. Carbonation is great, and keeps it from being syrupy. Medium-dry finish, mainly from the bitterness.

O - 40 taps in the bar, at least 20 solid ones, and this was the only beer I had more than once. Better beer than the sum of its scores.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad

A: Hazy reddish hue with a thin, tan foam cap.

S: Pretty sizable citrus hops and a hint of caramel malts.

T: A pretty good hit of citrus hops upfront with a bit of a peppery bite, then some caramel malts and a slight breadiness on the finish. Not bad at all, but not Ballast's best.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep red to almost brown pour, amber, auburn somewhere in there, not much head to speak of on this one. Aroma wasn't as hoppy as hoped for, dry hopping could have been stronger.

Massive amount of caramel and toffee malt flavor is paired with an equally difficult bitterness. It lives up to the name tongue buckler, but comes off as if its sole point was to be bitter, rather than pleasantly bitter. Lacks complexity. Big malt, big bitter. Harsh at times, syrupy, but not so much that it has no place. This is one of those extreme beers that is basically just a doubling of everything normal to style, except the dry hopping here. Seems like a double hop boil, double malt by the poundage. The bitterness takes from a grapefruit hop characteristic, don't taste pine or a friendlier citrus thing going on.

Alcohol stays warm on you in this one.

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Photo of Arknot
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at local beer bar last night.
At 5$ a glass, this is one dangerous brew!
Poured a creamy off red. The beer seemed to cascade for a moment before catching up with itself inch a nice creamy head.

Smell is sweet malt, dry alcohol, and bitter hops.

Taste seems to style, a nice strong red ale with a big abv (which means strong malt/hop to balance things out). You could have almost called this a barleywine or sweet DIPA. Hops are all over the finish.

Mouthfeel is SMOOTH and super creamy with a bitter finish. Its seriously silky smooth, with a bitter spike on the back of your tongue on the finish.

My second beer was an Orkney SkullSplitter, which I've had countless times, and this beer made every sip of my Skullsplitter have a hoppy finish as well!

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Photo of garuda
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep amber body, thin white cap that has good retention and good lacing.

S/T - Grapefruit and piney hops backed up strongly by sweet caramel malts. Smells and tastes of dark dried fruits become apparent as it warms, along with the alcohol burn. Finish has a resinous bitterness that lingers on the sides of the tongue and back of the mouth.

M - Full body, medium carbonation creates a heavy, creamy body with hop oils coating the mouth.Starts off well, but as it warms, it becomes a bit syrupy and the alcohol burn heats up.

O - I really enjoyed the first half of this drink, but then it became reminiscent of the DFH 90 Min, which isn't a good thing for me. Very sweet caramel/fruit malts are too much for the hops to overcome. Alcohol burn is unsettling as well.

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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 beagle75
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft pour into one of the most generous sample glasses I've ever seen at Ballast Point Home Brew Mart in San Diego.

A: Clear, medium amber color with less than one finger of off-white foam. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Fruity and slightly roasty with orange citrus featured. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins sweet, with juicy dark citrus, abundant candy toffee, and moderate acidity. The middle features roasted grain and faint moist earth. A fairly aggressive bitter presence marks the marks the finish, where malt continues to make itself known in a combination of toffee and husky roast. Drying grapefruit peel joins with the lingering bitterness late, and alcohol is not detected throughout.

M: Medium viscosity, sticky on the palate from resins and syrup, with low carbonation.

D: Malt-forward and boldly flavored, this imperial red ale leaves a definite impression on the beer-memory but is held back by the ever-present sweetness. Still, taken piece-by-piece most of its qualities hold up under scrutiny--especially the cleverly-hidden 10% abv--but taken together they fail to really wow.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the brewery, this beer was served in a pint glass. The beer was a hazy copper-orange coloring with a thin film of head. Citrus and booze on the nose, with caramelly sweet tones mixed in. The flavors were caramel and citrus sweet touching down on the front tongue, but they are quickly overpowered by bitter and sour flavors around the sides and back of the tongue. Caramel and sour characteristics stay through to the aftertaste. The beer is surprisingly light bodied, but the finish is in for the long haul. Booze accompanies all the flavors listed throughout here, but remains a supporting cast member throughout. Very interesting and tasty brew!

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Photo of ehammond1
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A deep and dark auburn red with a thin tan head. Leaves nice lacing.

Best part of this beer was its aroma. Pungent grapefruit burst followed by more citrus notes. A bit of sweet and caramel malt aroma as well. Pungent and powerful.

I can't taste the citrus hops as well as I hoped I might. Extremely bitter, though that should be expected with the name. Sweet, bready, and caramel malts do their best to match up, but this beer banks on bitter.

Thick mouthfeel. Heavy and substantial, which is appropriate given the style and the ABV, but there's no way to drink a lot of this, nor would I particularly want to.

A true tongue-buckler. This beer has earned its name, perhaps the most bitter non-DIPA I've ever had. Tasty, but not incredibly drinkable.

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Photo of SDtastentune
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
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 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
3.91 out of 5 based on 936 ratings.
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