Imperial Red Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Imperial Red AleImperial Red Ale
2,298 Ratings
Imperial Red AleImperial Red Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Imperial Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
54.2 IBU

Added by Reidrover on 03-05-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,298 |  Reviews: 779
Reviews by JoEBoBpr:
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

Pours a very nice dark copper amber color with some nice toasty orange hues on the edges. There is a nice thin dense head that forms that is nice and off-white. The head was a bit disappointing.

Aroma is of resinous dank pine mixed in with some ncie caramel sweet malt notes. Upon further inspection there is some slight cannabis in there as well as some good toasty bread notes. Aroma is very enticing and mouthwatering. There is a good toasty note to the aroma that blends very well with the hop backbone.

Taste starts off with a toasty bready malt grain note that is quite delicious. There is also a sharp and quick note of caramel malts and some nice fresh grassy and herbal hop notes. Nice dank middle with some good herbal hop notes throughout. Awesome piney resinous notes that are a bit sticky. Awesome spicy hop notes. Very very delicious. It finishes with a nice dry bitterness and hop note as well as some good slight bready sweetness. Mouthfeel is near perfect. Very delicious. Crisp and medium-light bodied.

Very good Red Ale. Up there with NN, Hop Head Red and the other top notch American Red Ales. Very well crafted and actually reminds me a bit more of BEar Republic Red Rocket and MAine Beer Co. Zoe. Very good brew.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev -2.7%

A: ruby brown ale, faintly hazed, with a couple of fingers of pale foam that left some small lacing down the glass

S: warming bready malts under resinous pine and citric hop aromas

T: warm brown bread and biscuit, slightly sweet; muted fruitiness; grapefruit and orange citrus elements as well as piney wood

M: medium-weight, enough chew that you're not likely to down it, but not so much that you couldn't if you wanted to; moderate carbonation

O: a nice take on the red/amber ale, IPA-like hops, but the malts give it a heartier, rustic character. Solid.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours orange and clear with only a few bubbles wafting toward the top to meet a creamy head of off off white foam that fell slowly and left lace. The nose is pink grapefruit with it's sweet little backing, earthy pine, some fresh orange and a biscuit like malt that promises a bit of sugar. Taste is excellent. The mouthfeel is pristine. A touch of weight from that malt and then airy lightness but smooth. Good carbonation that goes largely unnoticed. The beer is a touch sticky and lip smackingly so with a bit of resin that coats the tongue and lets a bit of the grapefruit pith and the earthy pine come through just a bit more before the creamy smooth malt rolls through to the finish. Finishes with a slight bitter that is a lovely accent to all the fruitiness of this beer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

new affordable bomber from lagunitas, pushing the red ipa style here, but still probably more malt driven than a red ipa would be. clear brick red in color with a tall and wispy off white head with a ton of rising bubbles collecting at the surface, very alive looking brew. the nose here is piney hops and a lot of breakfast coffee cake type red malt giving it both some lingering sweetness and plenty of body. the hops are mostly all in the finish, leaving the first half of the beer for the grain, which is sweeter but not at the expense of the hops or the finish. pine needle hop complexion is bold but not over done, we all found this to be an exceptionally easy drinking brew, especially for one almost 8% abv. clean finishing, quite refreshing, and a well made take on the style. I prefer it to the lucky 13 red beers they make, its more lively and unique. the price makes it that much better too!

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Photo of lordofstarside
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber to an imperial pint glass

Pours amber in color, with a finger of slightly tan foam. High visibility, low carbonation, pretty good retention and lacing

Smell is upfront citrus- lots of pine and grapefruit that gets balanced out pretty evenly with a strong aroma of spicy caramel caramel. Finishes with some alcohol

Taste follows pretty close. Not as hoppy as the nose made me believe, but same pine and grapefruit flavor. Biggest difference is how much more balanced it is towards the malts, sweet spicy caramel with some doughy notes. Finishes with a splash of booze

Feel is moderate / heavy body, moderate bitterness. Alcohol is concealed alright, it's not hard to drink

Overall solid red, good for the price

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Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper/amber with a well established of white head that took quite awhile to subside leaving a sheet of lace behind.Grapefruit and and other citrus fruit dominate the aromas with a lighter pine notes and caramel,lightly roasted malt.The hop profile is nice on the palate but I dont think there is quite enough of malt base for a red there is a light roasted and sweet base but not qite enough to hold up to the hop attack.Saying that it is a nice beer and I like the hops,its close to being very top notch.

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Photo of ddean
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bunch of these into glasses from a 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance- Rusty red, dark and opaque but not hazy. Froth stays around and beads against the glass when you swirl, which is kind of a cool and (I think) unusual effect.

Smell- Black tea, mild lemon, some alcohol and even some smoke and cherries. Very pleasant.

Taste- Much more malt and less hops than you'd expect from the smell, but this seems to be typical of the West Coast Imperial Reds that I've tried, so I guess it's the style. The hops that is there is nice, just more subtle than the Cali IPAs I know and love. That smoke comes through a little later, along those cherries in the aftertaste. It is a really nice set of flavors. I'd just like a less malt and a little more in the hops and smoke department for my taste. I don't get pine like others are claiming.

Mouthfeel- Smooth with low carbonation. A little filmy for me, probably from the heavy malt. Not crisp.

Drinkability- The malt makes it a little heavy for beer after beer, but the taste is interesting enough for you to make an exception.

Overall, very unique taste, albeit more subtle than it's sister brew and my favorite, the Maximus. Nice for slow sipping and savoring late at night when you can take your time. Try listening to cool jazz in the process.

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Photo of mojohawk21
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of RoyalT
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one poured a beautiful reddish-brown in color with a terrific head that showed good retention and left gobs of snot-like foam on the inside of my Wildcat glass.

Smell – This one is very balanced at the nose. The malts are big with lots of caramel and other gooey sticky sweets. There’s a good toffee smell in there along with maybe some powdered or refined table sugar. The hops are noticeable yet very smooth and unobtrusive.

Taste – The nice toffee and caramel pick things up a bit at the taste. The malts and hops work well together to keep things nice and even. All of the flavors follow along through the finish. This is a complex and very solid flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ale has some good herbal bitterness in the mouth, yet it’s not overly emphasized.

Drinkability – This was a terrific-drinking ale that’s as close to a “strong session ale” as you’ll find. The balance coupled with the smoothness of the flavors makes you want to gulp this puppy down. Or is it pulp that guppy down? See, I’m buzzed already. Great job, Lagunitas!

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Photo of brownbeer
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has a really nice nose of citrusy hops and doughy malt with just a touch of alcohol. It's got west coast written all over it.

Bready malts carry throughout the taste with cherry and orangey hops fading in and out, leading to a balanced finish with the hops just taking the edge.

This is s rich, well-crafted beer that doesn't lack character, as most Lagunitas brews are.

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Photo of cynicgiraffe
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red, almost brown. Frothy white head. Resiny floral aroma. Has none of the malty backbone that a red should have. Tastes mostly like a typical west coast IPA think Sierra Nevada's Torpedo but dark red. Not bad for what it is, but there isn't much of a red ale here if that's what you're looking for.


The first time I had this beer I reported that it was more like a red colored Sierra Nevada Torpedo. I'm not really sure what I was thinking. The nose and taste of this dark red ale have some wood aromas/flavors, and the hop profile is lots and lots of pine. The hops flavor here is almost like a thick resiny hop syrup that coats the tongue. A fantastic beer that I could sit and have 2-3 of.

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Photo of weatherdog
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a crystal clear copper/ruby with a small off white head. Head retention is low and lacing is minimal.

Aroma of a little bready malt with accompanying medium level of grassy and pine hops.

The taste starts off pretty bitter. Like hop resins coating the mouth. A hint of caramel sweetness comes in to lessen the bitterness. Most grass hop flavors. Hops are the showcase it seems but the flavor just doesn't impress me terribly. The hop flavors are just too grassy for my taste.

The mouthfeel is mostly comprised of the mouth coating bitterness and lasting aftertaste. I'm not a huge fan of this harsh bitterness personally.

Overall it's a really nice and drinkable beer. My only complaint is the harsh lasting bitterness. Otherwise it's a fine and pretty drinkable beer.

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Photo of tbryan5
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of SanFranJake
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of sicilian
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

Photo of wrycon
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite transparent. Orangish-ruby with a pearl-white head. Really strong pine scent. Really strong. Thick at first. Malt up front that blunts the hop onslaught that's coming. The hops carry the middle through to the end. Finish is very clean and invites another sip. Very much enjoy these hoppy reds and this is near the top. Very good.

Like It? Quite

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Photo of steelerguy
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear amber, off white head, very low carbonation...too low.

S - Lots of citrus hops and sweet caramel malt.

T - Big flavors, the first was a load of hop bitterness, almost off balance until the huge malt backbone comes in just after. There is a good bit of sweetness left over that goes very well with the citrus flavors that then come on from the hops. This beer feels like it is going to just hit you over the head with hops, but comes across pretty balanced.

M - That sweetness of the flavor comes from a good bit of residual sugar. Coats the mouth, feels like an imperial beer, could use some more carbonation to clean the end up a bit.

O - Another solid beer from Lagunitas and a worthy limited release.

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Photo of jose_alehouseSD
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of sabitu
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of EastBay_Nick
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of DaftPatrick
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of warnerry
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%

3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of chip26
3.64/5  rDev -11.4%

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Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 2,298 ratings