Imperial Red Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company

Imperial Red AleImperial Red Ale
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Red Ale - Imperial
4.13 | pDev: 9.69%
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Imperial Red AleImperial Red Ale
Notes: 54.2 IBU
Reviews: 778 | Ratings: 2,300 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Troyone:
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Troyone from California

4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an iced tea color with a copper hue and has minimal head - carbonation.

Smell has a light to moderate toasted caramel malt aroma with pine grapefruit hops and hints of red licorice.

A moderately sweet and bitter roasted caramel malt with pine grapefruit/lime hops and hints of maple, red licorice, and cola.

Medium bodied, dry and slightly syrupy texture, soft and lively carbonation, and a slight metallic finish.

Definite session beer for the pros.

Mar 13, 2005
More User Reviews:
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Greywulfken from New York

4/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

Aug 17, 2014
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utopiajane from New York

3.84/5  rDev -7%
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.

Aug 13, 2014
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lordofstarside from Nevada

3.86/5  rDev -6.5%
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

Sep 08, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

Aug 13, 2014
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matjack85 from Illinois

3.72/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up this squatty 12oz brown bottle as part of a build-your-own 6 pack for $9.99 at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL. No freshness date, but the website says they were released in January and this is August, so I'm assuming my bottle is around 8-9 months old.

The beer poured a clear red/amber color but only produced a half finger of off-white head that didn't last very long, but despite the lack of head, there was still a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Very fruity smell with pine hops and caramel malt aromas.

More hoppy than malty flavor, but still nicely balanced. Caramel malt, a kiss of honey, and a pineapple fruit flavor all lie underneath the dominating piny, citrus, and oily hops. There is also a bit of alcoholic flavor in the finish.

Medium body with fairly high carbonation. Finish leans towards the dry end.

Not a bad effort from a really good brewery.

Aug 14, 2012
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riored4v from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 2/19/09

Poured into a Sierra Nevada tulip glass. 1 finger, tan head. Dark amber, clear, body. Good lacing.

Smell was floral, piney and grapefruity. Some caramel in the background.

Taste had a mellow bitterness throughout the taste with a fairly strong hop bite in the finish. Good grapefruit and citrusy flavors. A nice roasted malt balance with a mellow sweetness and a slight chocolate type bitterness in finish. Mild nuttiness as well.

Mouthfeel was slightly dry, good carbonation and a medium body.

Drinkability was good. Nice balance and not overly sweet.

Malty and bitter. Dominate hops. A very very tasty immperial red.

Feb 23, 2009
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PerroGrande from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours to a deep reddish color with a rich, tan head. A nice looking pour.

Smell: Complex. Reminds me of an oaked brew. Almost some smoky hints.

Taste: Also complex, but surprisingly smooth. Nicely bitter, but stays smooth throughout. Not overpowering, but will stand up to food well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, with some warmth (thanks to a healthy 7.20 ABV).

Drinkability: Good. This beer is smooth and fairly easy to drink. Elevated ABV makes it potentially dangerous in this regard.

This is an interesting and complex brew that I'm glad I tried. I enjoyed this beer with a pasta dish, and it held its own very well. Complemented the food and did not overpower, yet its character remained strong. If you like an ale with character, give this one a try.

Nov 21, 2009
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megahurts4 from Louisiana

4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Imperial Red

Appearance: light nut brown, medium head, and good lacing.

Smell: fruity hops and a very light grain.

Taste: whole hop, nice malts, and a light citrus.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This is nice brew. The hops are up front and immediately followed by nice warm malts. The hops give off a whole cone flavor, while being very balanced in itself. The hops were added in the right amounts at the right times.

Nov 23, 2013
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BeerForHokie from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Apr 21, 2012
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4.5/5  rDev +9%

Apr 01, 2012
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Fusebuddy from Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Aug 13, 2014
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Coni from Oregon

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very tasty but I have to limit myself to TWO pints!!!

May 12, 2015
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MIbeerGuy9 from Michigan

4.12/5  rDev -0.2%

Oct 22, 2014
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Amber reddish hue with excellent clarity. Brussels lacing. A half inch of khaki colored head is on top. Aroma of caramel,piney hops,and saltine crackers. The flavor is a well balanced portfolio of caramel malt and piney hops,but finishes fairly impartial and with no lingering note. The mouth is fairly dry.

Sep 27, 2014
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Spikester from Oregon

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber-red with a small off-white head and fair lacings.
Aroma is fruity hops.
Taste is bold sweet malts supported with a fine amount of bitter resinous hops. Alcohol was apparent but not intrusive.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and full bodied.
Drinkabilty is better than average but at 7.2% not for long. This brew was very close to a barleywine on my palate. Keep in mind I had this at 6:00 am following a 12 hour night shift. Viva Lagunitas!

Nov 09, 2008
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jmerloni from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Rich copper coloration, very clear and pristine looking. Head is moderate and laces pretty well.

S - Aroma is defined by a moderate malty smell, brown sugar, and hops.

T - Light piney hoppiness, with a moderately intense brown sugar malt backbone, and a mystical floral zest that makes this really exciting to drink. Very clean and crisp tasting. Flavors are expertly balanced.

M - Light to medium with a big hop kick at the end. Carbonation is perfect for what this beer is.

D - Very solid beer. It's hard to make imperial red ales that aren't overly sweet, and this one is particularly balanced. I'll be getting this one again. Lagunitas continues to impress.

Mar 07, 2012
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kjkinsey from Texas

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%

Sep 07, 2014
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Topher78 from California

4.75/5  rDev +15%

May 23, 2013
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Maxwell from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours a nice blond amber and sits as a medium red with a pinkish hue at its fringes. Slight to no head with little to no lacing. Light carbonation.

Smell- Tart and hoppy, there’s a sweet tinge to the smell that suggests a fruitier taste. The malts definitely seem to be sweet, while the hops are tangy and sharp.

Taste- Sweet in its initial pull, almost like a sweet red wine or grape juice, the flavor pulls back into the more traditional bitter bite of a red with only a slight lingering dryness to the tongue and no trace of the sweet. The sweet tinge in the smell is leveled out by harsh bitters in the beer, leaving the hops as the only lingering taste. A solid red ale, its light for the imperial that its name claims but has a great red bite with its sweet malty front taste.

Mouthfeel- Bubbly on the tip and middle tongue, though harsher as it moves over the back of the tongue and down the throat. The dryness that it leaves upon the tongue seems ample for the beer’s type. It feels smooth and crisp in the mouth, as is expected of red ales, and the carbonation seemed fine.

Overall- Overall I’d say this beer was a success within its style. Personally, I love red ales, and this is a strong red ale with great characteristics, and a nice sweet twist in its smell and opening.

Apr 19, 2012
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Ak555667 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +21.1%

Mar 18, 2013
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chip26 from Illinois

3.64/5  rDev -11.9%

Aug 30, 2014
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diddith from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +15%

Oct 21, 2014
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semihobo from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Undated 12 oz, last of a sixpack I bought several months ago. Had to try it at home after having a pint at a bar, it was amazing fresh.

Very red body, not too opaque but with tons of tiny floaty microparticles. Pretty body with a little creamy head.

Smells of piney and resinous C-hops. Moderately citric as well.

Not as good in the bottle as it was on tap, more so than for most beers. Pale/amber malts take a back seat to the hop show ... let's see what they've got. Nice and piney, a little peppery with some grapefruit. Not extremely bitter, although the tap version is much more hop flavor and less plain bitterness.

Lush, velvety mouthfeel. Finish is sticky and couples with the resiny hops for a massive aftertaste, although for the style and ABV it's expected.

A success as an amped up red ale. Drinkable for the ABV and showcases nice cascade / centennial flavors without whacking you over the head with bitterness. Legendary on tap, too bad that's not what I'm reviewing... good in the bottle, though.

Mar 13, 2009
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JBogan from California

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel color with a one finger creamy off white head. Good lacing left in it's wake.

The aroma is of sweet caramel malt.

Tasted of sweet malt, later joined by a hope bite. No alcohol detected.

Mouthfeel was thick and creamy, very nice.

Despite it's somewhat higher ABV I think this would make a nice session beer. Nothing ground breaking about this brew, but everything falls together well and makes this a pretty easy drinker.

Feb 14, 2009
Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 2300 ratings