Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

777 Reviews
Lagunitas Imperial Red AleLagunitas Imperial Red Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Amber / 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.

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Reviews: 777 | Ratings: 2,296
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice dark red color with head retention that won't quit.

Smell is of nice caramel malting with a earthy hop aroma.

Malts are thick on the palate. There is a very nice hop bitterness too follow. Strong malts and strong hops, but not too overdone like other beers where it gets to be too much. This beer sticks to the mouth very well and would make a pretty decent session beer. Give it a try.

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Photo of wnh
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a beautiful, rich, clear mahogany with a huge, fluffy, creamy and rocky light tan head that lasts for the entirety of the glass.

Clearly an imperialized beer by the nose. Loads of fresh floral and citrus hops on top of a sweet and rich caramel malty base, balanced by the slightly bitter leafy character of the hops. Bitter and sweet notes going back and forth on the palate, leafy hops vying with the sweet caramel. Some beers just taste like they were expensive to make, and this is one of them. After a few sips the beer starts to take on some old ale notes, with molasses and rich earthy notes. Truly a complex and well-made beer.

Medium to full in body, with an ample amount of carbonation that seems just right for this beer. Long lingering bitterness that just begs for another sip.

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Photo of mattp
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pint arrived with a rich, off white head floating on a gorgeous dark brownish red ale.

The hops were announced by the cirtrus aroma but were nicely balanced by the malt sweetness while I drank the pint. A decent full bodied mouth feel and nice finish. As the pint warmed a little bit the flavors became more pronounced which was a good thing.

As one would expect even though the bottled variety I have had in the past was pretty darn good, on tap it was truly spectacular.

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Photo of therica
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= red-mahogany, yellow-white modest foamy head, lots of lacing.

S= oh my gosh this stuff is heavenly. Nice florals, amazing toasted caramel and slightly grassy dry malts forever.

T= bountiful flavor, nicely balanced between hops bitters, carbonation, candy, roasted malts.

M= intricate blend of hops bitters, candy, toasted malts lingering for some time, quite enjoyable to savor.

D= amazing, possibly even a great "starter beer for the uninitiated," should go great with most red-meat meals especially a juicy burger and fries.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with an off-white head and some good lacing.

Crazy strong pine hop aroma, with spicy scents of taosted malt and even some burnt orange elements. Fantastic thick resinous scents.

Great again. Strong toasted malt, strong pine hop bitterness, a kick of booze. Nice long finish. What more could you ask for?

Medium bodied with enough carbonation. Overall agreat beer. A bit of a sipper, but light enough in body to make the pint go down fast. Another winner from these guys.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful bright, resiny, floral, and pine aroma. I am beginning to thing that there is nothing better in this world than a hoppy Amber. There is some sweetness coming through too and upon further examination of the olfactory qualities, I believe I smell tangerine too. I want to continue to the taste, but I just can't stop smelling this!

Brilliantly clear amber in color with some nice (few) carbonation bubbles supporting a thin white head. The only issue here is the head, lacing is somewhat thin and it dissipates quickly. Otherwise its a solid looking beer.

Tastes like freshly squeezed orange juice combined with a wheat grass shot! It has a floral quality to it but the tangerine part of the flavor won't be denied! On the backend it has a doughy kind of taste, like a fresh bake-shop might smell. Bitterness is firm upfront but quickly fades, making this a nice beer to have with something sweet for desert.

Moderate body on the low end, and medium carbonation help this beer's drinkability despite the ABV being on the higher end of "safe." I really really am enjoying this, but what else would I expect from Lagunitas, am I right?

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and clear amber ruby red with lots of rising bubbles. Solid three fingers of off white head with very good retention and lots of lacing sticking around the glass.

Smell: A sharp citrus hop aroma up front with hints of grapefruit, mango, and orange. Also a good amount of spicy, herbal pine resin hops. Solid base of caramel malts with some toffee. The red element is noticeable through the hops. Smells fruity and floral with a nice balance of malts. Very solid.

Taste: Starts out with a solid burst of citrus and piney hops. Notes of grapefruit, orange, mango, and spicy pine resin. Midway comes a big taste of bready malts with caramel and toffee. The malts balance out the bitterness a lot. Tastes like a combination of an IPA and a red ale. Vibrant and balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and moderately slick. Very smooth.

Overall: A very solid version of a hop forward red ale. Hops are fairly strong and well balanced by the malts.

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Photo of Samp01
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ruby amber with a large long lasting thick foamy off white head on the pour, with good lacing throughout. Aroma of lightly toasted caramel malt, piney earthy hops, grains, spicy rye and fruity esters fill the senses. Taste is toasted caramel malt, piney earthy hops, with a bit of spicy rye grains and fruity. Palate is a med to full body, with good carbonation and a nice crisp mouth feel. Finish is toasted caramel malt, some light yeast followed by some earthy piney hops for balance, ending long dry hopped finish with some lingering nutty earthy hops. Hops are not overpowering and some pleasant sweet fruity alcohol ester come thru. Overall a very good well balanced and tasty brew with a complex nose and taste.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark copper color with a huge, creamy tan foam. Took a bit of an aggressive pour, but the head is very pretty on this beast...fades slow and leaves plenty of lace.

Smells like hop juice, straight up. There is some biscuity malt in the background and even a bit of sweetness, but the tropical and pine resin hops are olfactory superstars here.

Hop flavor outweighs the bitterness on this beer, and I love it. Pineapple, green apples, pine needles and a bit of ganja all come to the hop party and are balanced somewhat by a sweet, crackery malt. While I cant say that I like this better than Lucky 13, this is still a damn fine beer. It's very refreshing and damn near chuggable. Excellent beer, cures my hop craving easily.

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Photo of hiikeeba
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours up an slightly hazy amber with an off white head that disspates slowly, leaving nice Belgian lacing around the glass

S - Starts with some caramel malt notes, with a stong citrus hop background.

T - roast and caramel malt are on the back of the tongue, with citrus and pine hop notes, with some dark dried fruit flavors, like raisins, but very subtle.

M - Good mouthfeel, moderate carbonation

D - Extremely well-balanced beer, smooth despite the alcohol content. Very easy to drink

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Photo of BeaBeerWife
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is the best "red" i've had in general thus far. Sadly I have only had a half glass tasting of this on draught. I need to get some more of this. Strong but not overwhelming, smooth and beautiful color. A very unique red if it is allowed to classified as such. A must find!

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Photo of hoppyhobby
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours to a creamy tan two-finger head with a dark amber/red body color . Excellent lacing.

S - It has a malty/bready and hoppy aroma.

T - The aroma didn't lie as this beer has a nice balance of maltiness and hoppiness. Definitely bold flavors are coming through on this one. Timid beer drinkers, beware. If you are looking for flavor... grab this one.

M - Not overly carbonated and has a silky mouthfeel. It has satisfying lasting flavor.

D - Very enjoyable on a brisk cool or cold day. This beer has some body and boldness if you are looking for something that will stay with you. If you just want to sip and savor a tasty beer..., this is the one.

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Photo of kgotcher
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bomber, pours nice rich amber color with pillowy head and very nice lacings that never went away.

Overpowering smell of piney hops, almost like opening a fresh bag of raw hops. But if you concentrate there is a powerful malty smell hiding behind. Awesome smell.

Fairly thick body with creamy but slick mouthfeel, noticable alchohol. Taste is heavy malt and hops, aftertaste is puckering bitter hops with a malty sweetness lingering. Basically this beer is lots of malt and lots of hops but leaning to the side of hops.

Actually this beer is quite drinkable for an Imperial anything. . . As a homebrewer I appreciate the distinct pronunciation of the malt and the hops. Not much to compare to except as a version of an IIPA, not as bitter as an IIPA but yet with more hop aroma. A very nice brew indeed.

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Photo of albern
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an exceptional red ale, very creamy, very smooth, nice and hoppy with lots of chicory bark flavors and sweet malts. The beer pours a clear mahogany color with a nice creamy off white head that retains very well and has a nice lace around the glass. The nose is really nice piney and orange blossom hop with a bready malt underneath. The nose is really nice.

The consistency is thick and creamy with a full palate of flavors. There is a nice earthy and toasted malt flavor, lots of chicory bark and smokey flavors. There is a nice hop bitterness, a bit leafy, drying, but well balanced and complementary to the malty base of the beer. the hop has a bit of a minty and piney cast to it, but overall it is drying and leafy and nicely bittering. There is a roasted, slightly charred, drying, and smokey flavor that lingers into the aftertaste and beyond. The beer is fairly complex, thick, creamy and a nice find. The ABV is well hidden and there is no booziness in the beer at all. Very worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This one's reputation precedes it. And finally, I can experience it. At cellarish temperature. In my IPG (imperial pint glass).

Guess what? It's red. It also has a large, two~three finger light-beige head. Looks very good.

SMELLS very good. It's a typically hoppy, dank, piney, and citrusy Lagunitas scent, but, similar to Hairy Eyeball (which I adore), there is also a dimension of sweet, berry-like maltiness. Kinda like grapefruit mixed with cranberries and honey. QUITE nice to sniff.

The flavor follows suit. Vibrant (mainly citrus) fruitiness, dank and piney hops, and a honey or brown sugar thing going on. AND some real nice toast and nuttiness in the finish. Everything melds... and tastes harmoniously good.

I'm especially fond of the feel, which is admirably full. It lends support to the structure of the extensive flavor profile. Or to rephrase: it allows the flavors to stick around, unpack their complexities and make themselves comfortable on my palate.

As expected, another Lagunitas ale that rules. And this one can not only appease a hops-craving, but also placate a hankering for malts to an extent.

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Photo of zipperergj
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Bevmo, apparently they were sampling it that day. I didn't bother trying it because Lagunitas is a pretty reliable brewery and I trust them with my heart and soul.

On the pour,It looks like a ruby sunset, has about a half inch of head with lace going all the way down. Nice hoppy and sweet/malty aroma, and tastes absolutely deeeelicious. This one it got me drunk real fast now ya' hea'.

If you love 'Hairy Eyeball' and 'Brown Shugga', you'll probably love this one too, becuase I do.

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Photo of C20Percent
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a copper, amber red with a HUGE egg shell colored head with amber hues. Noticeable pieces of sediment floating around the body. And, an actually pretty impressive lacing job, which makes the experience pretty good. Nice feature.

S: Very comparable to Nugget Nectar. Don't know if I could tell these two apart in a blind test. The same sweet caramel malt, spice, hop smell. Just MAYBE, a little less hop smell than NN. But, very, very nice.

T: Not the same hop punch that NN delivers. More of a malt focus here. The same sweet malt flavor up front, with hops sneaking through in the back. In NN, the reverse was true. A nice dry finish. A little bit boozier than NN, but a great tasting beer.

M: I think this beer eclipses NN in this category. A bigger carbonation than NN. Probably more of a thicker, chewier body that works very well. Oiling the mouth with a spicy, peppery, malt feel. Nice.

O: This is a great beer -- very torn between a 4 and 4.5. I think there are some noticeable differences from NN. Imperial RED is a bit less refreshing, is a little bit more boozier, and is less juicy. But a super-solid beer in it's own right. Would probably still take NN over this, based on the flavor alone, but wouldn't spill a tear if this was all there was.

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Photo of stewart124
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours with a big rocky tan head. Ruby red in color with nice clarity. Nice rings of lace left down the glass.

Smell is clean with a piney note. Some fruits also present in the nose. I'm picking up some citrus and pear.

Taste is initially very hoppy with a big citrus and pine hop character. Caramel malts are very prominent and tasty. Sweet, fruity, and big body here. Matly but not over the top. Very clean taste and dries out but still there is a lingering sweetness. Very piney in the aftertaste and dry enough to really bring out those strong northwest hops.

A very smooth beer that goes down with ease and it is really a treat to drink something this tasty. Alcohol is hidden well. All in all a very drinkable beer here.

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Though I'm drinking it from the only glass available - a hotel room highball - I'll do my best.

Amber orange, with a hearty, pocked, white-tan head.

Bright, fresh tangerines are most apparent, giving a lively hops aroma.

Big citrus, some pine, very light malts and low bitterness.

Low carbonation, so it doesn't heighten the profile of the hops much.

A really nice red - big hops, but relatively subdued because of the carbonation level.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I thought they had retired this one? I had this as a sample a long time ago, and was excited to actually try a 12oz bottle. Pours reddish-brown with a fluffy, off-white head that leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Aromas are among of the best I've smelled: Huge malt presence coupled with a huge floral hop aroma! Tastes are just as bold, with notes of grapefruit, caramel and toasted malt, hops provide a nice bitterness to the sweet malt backbone. Mouth-feel is well carbonated, creamy, and smooth. Overall, I'm glad they brought this one back! Hope they keep it around because I definitely want more!

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Photo of WonderfulSam
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy freakin’ crap, this is a good beer!!! I’ll go through all the formal aspects, but first I have to say, this is simply a high quality, good-value, great-tasting, great-drinking beer. Even my wife, who does not go for strong or hoppy ales, took a few sips and found it very nice (almost enjoyable!).

Imperial Red pours a nice deep ruby-copper-brown color that looks very clear. The head came up around one finger, nice and creamy looking and it lingered for quite a while. As I drank the beer, the head left a nice thick, foamy lacing on the pint glass into which I had poured it.

The smell is largely that of crisp, piney hops with some slightly fruity undertones. It’s such a bright, welcoming aroma! It really readies the palate for the wonderful flavors. The taste is a near perfect balance of bitter piney hops with some citrus notes, with a rich but subtle malty flavoring. The flavors evolve across the tongue as the beer flows down, and finishes with a refreshing dry sensation in the back of the throat.

The mouthfeel is tremendous, with a relatively high level of carbonation, which is a great compliment to the strong hop character. It results in a very bright, crisp feel. Drinkability? Superb. It goes down very smoothly, but with a pleasant dry bite to finish it off. This is a beer you experience.

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Photo of cokes
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear ruby bronze with a tightknit eggy froth.
Scented strongly of pine needles, ruby grapefruit, and sweet breads.
Begins with a caramel-toffee sweetness, that unfolds into a fuller breadiness. Backended with a load of hop flavor --orange zest, pineapple, rust, and spruce--bitterness, though, is relatively minor, considering.
Its taut, medium body makes this drinks dangerously smaller than it is.
Solid, throroughly.

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Photo of Troyone
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of TexIndy
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No dating info just a useless bottling code. It was a reddish amber color with good carb streams and slight lacing. It had an average sized beige head that settled into a good collar and partial film.

The aroma was really good. A battle of the sweet, caramel malt and the piney, citric hops with me winning. Really loved the hops in this one. The taste was similar to the aroma but the hops were more pronounced here. Again, really enjoyed the hops used in this one. Starts off with the sweet and hops equally balanced with the hops taking over in the middle for a nice hop finish. Moderate bite at end that sets up well for next drink. Very easy drinking on this one. You get the great hop flavor without any shredding.

Overall, an excellent beer that I highly recommend. Really good flavor that goes down way too easy for a 7.2% ABV. Session worthy in taste for sure. Rotation: avail here. This will be a regular in the hops and session rotation.

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Photo of rallison
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every time I have this beer I am surprised at the hoppiness this red delivers.

A: Nice dark red/amber color with a 1 finger off-white head that leaves a fair share of lacing.

S: Nice piny hops with a touch of sweet, caramel malt.

T: Excellent piny hops present themselves at the forefront. This is followed by a semi-sweet caramel malt that has a touch of woodiness to complement the hops. A bit of citrus character seems to be hiding back there too - along with a nice hit of hop juice. Very piny and earthy overall. The flavors all work together nicely, and make for what is truly not a standard red. Resiny. Nice.

M: Very good mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation level for this style with a good richness.

D: Extremely high - this beer is so tasty and so drinkable.

Highly recommended. Love to see these interesting reds - the Lucky 13 is great also.

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Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.11 out of 5 based on 2,296 ratings.
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