Imperial Red Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Imperial Red AleImperial Red Ale
2,297 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: 2,297 |  Reviews: 777
Photo of Sammy
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Dee's. Hoppy piney aroma and variety of hops in citrus taste that worked. Tasty.Spicey and fruity finish. Medium and good mouthfeel. Good understated carbonation. resin-works. Drinkable, could stay on it all evening. Another winner from Lagunitas.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single finger head with nice lacing on a amber with crimson and golden hues body. Very aromatic with lots of hops, citrus and pine. More than I expected. Flavor is more malty with a barley wine note, bitter hops with the sweet balance coming from a distinct caramel malt. Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Overall very drinkable with a full and complex aroma. A must have a second time brew.

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Photo of jaydoc
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%

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 UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with a 1 inch foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, tropical fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is of tropical fruit, citrus zest, and herbal hops up front with a malt finish. A medium amount of bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of GRG1313
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Summer 2009 batch. Pours a nice red with a beautifully thick and firm head that lasts. Head even partially lasts until the bottom of the glass and after some time in the glass. Impressive.

Nose of pleasant and assertive spiced peaches, cooked fruit and malt with citrus undertones. A pleasant and most complex nose with hints of coffee, carmel and whiskey.

Mouthfeel is wonderful with a big and rich creamy character. Just plain feels good in your mouth.

Flavors make this beer a real winner. Starts out like a Belgian with rich hints of sweet malt and fruit and layers down your palate to grapefruit and pine but finishes with a malted coffee and carmel characteristic and then back to the bitter hops.

This beer is wonderfully balanced and very complex. Simply put, this one has a lot going for it. Almost like the best of both worlds...big malt and pretty big hops, at times.

Hops most assertive in front finish and as part of a very complex hoppy, coffee finish. I like this one a lot.

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Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear deep amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and left lots of lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose—grapefruit seems to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of citrusy hops along with caramel malts. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is packed with a good balance of hoppy and malty flavors and also hides its alcohol very well.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply a fantastic beer.. I was finally able to find a place that sells it (Manchester Wine and Liquors) and I'm glad I did. Reminds me a lot of Ithaca's Cascazilla.. a super hoppy but well balanced red ale. Pours a reddish-copper color with a nice bone white head. Not much for lacing, smell is of caramel/candy and hops. Taste is just awesome for me.. maltiness upfront with a nice bitterness after, so damn smooth. Almost too drinkable.. I will be buying this beer frequently from here on out.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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

12oz bottle. Here's to hoppy sweet nerve sacks, all around!

This beer pours a clear, dark ruddy amber hue, with one fat-ass finger of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a rugged band of sudsy webbed lace around the glass as it gently slips away.

It smells of grapefruit rind, kind of over-aged orange flesh, some musty, slightly dank, and earthy pine notes, a touch of peppery spice, and straight-up bready caramel malt. The taste is strong muddled citrus hops - though contentedly bitter, with a musty grassy addendum - a sourdough-tinged caramel/toffee malt backbone, and a minor spicy woodiness. The elevated ABV is quite impressively integrated - nary a wisp of warming to be told.

The carbonation is pretty average, a minor frothiness meekly manifesting, the body a solid medium weight, and perhaps a tad clammy, yet still agreeably smooth. It finishes off-dry, the indeterminate bitter citrus and weakening malt still going at it mano a mano.

Another decent, pleasantly hoppy ale from Lagunitas, as if I would or could expect it any other way. The (apparently old school) red ale base adds a little more dissonance, but that's ok, variety and the semblance of balance being the widely-available spice of life, and all that.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard into EKU 28 snifter in LA. Live. Paired with a breakfast burrito. fridge cold. expectations pretty high/brewery

A: Pours a one finger nice cream lacing, good thick, and good retention for the abv. Colour is a clear amber with copper tinge. Appealing.

Sm: Quite hoppy, with both bitterness and floral notes coming forth. Some untoasted bright malts. Mild in strength.

T: Hoppy, with cherry ester notes and some amber hops. The hop bitterness is well concealed, and only comes through a biteen on the finish. It's hidden by sweetness on the climax, a nice touch. The malt foundation is clean, bright, and unobtrusive to support the cherry esters and hops. It's pleasant to drink and nicely balanced. No yeast comes through, nor does any alcohol - an achievement given the relatively high ABV. Quite enjoyable. Complex enough, but not unique or special.

Mf: Crisp, clean, smooth, wet, and a touch creamy (on the open). Carbonation is adequate. It's a bit too smooth on the finish. Neither too thick nor too thin. Suits the flavours well.

Dr/Ov: Very drinkable for the ABV, which is quite well concealed. I'd have it again on-draught. I don't know that aging would help it on account of its hoppy character; hop death wouldn't mellow the beer but rather might ruin its appeal. A well constructed imperial red that I quite enjoy. Its relative simplicity and lack of bold flavours hold it back, especially when coupled with the relatively flavour-empty finish, but it's certainly worth a try for any beer fanatic - certainly those that like the style.

Best judged as a red ale, not as this "American Strong Ale" nonsense. She drank just grand out of me snifter. A good snifter is probably ideal for this beer; a pint glass might bring the appearance score down. The aroma is worth trapping.


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

Much more hops than expected from an American Red Ale; that's why is characterized by an American Strong Ale. Hop aroma is evident even before the glass reaches the nose. Pine and flowery aromas swirl around a bready, malty sweet smell. Tastes boldly of sweet malts: bready, caramelly, lightly toasted, and a tad grainy. The the hops...more than just bittering. Flowery flavors, herbal, grassy, earthy, and a little dirty (for extra measure). The taste is muddled a bit, but certainly adds character to an otherwise unappealing brew. Finishes dryer than expected from Reds because of the hop character and alcohols that go largely forgotten. I look forward to having another.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/7/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, caramel, toast, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bright citrus/pine hops and moderate dark malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, caramel, toast, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine. pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, caramel, toast, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity balance of bright citrus/pine hops and moderate dark malt sweetness; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, moderately sticky, and slightly creamy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent imperial red ale. All around great complexity and balance of bright citrus/pine hops and moderate dark malt sweetness; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a burgandy/amber color with a thick, foamy, off-white head that left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and tons of Cascade hops.

T - It tasted very malty with a biscuit like breadiness. It also had a nice hop bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good beer. It really has a nice blend of malt, spice and hops.

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Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.15/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a bright amber color ale with a relatively small foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of citrus hops is not bad but pretty standard compared to some other West Coats hop bomb. Taste is also dominated by loads of citrus and piney hops and a medium caramel malt backbone. Not the most interesting beer out there.

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Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of mothman
3.77/5  rDev -8.3%

Fairly hoppy. A touch of a malt base. Solid when fresh.

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Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 2,297 ratings