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 Blitzstyle
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured slowly from a 12 oz bottle into sniffer. Very thin white head .

Looks like a slightly watered down Dr. Pepper. Head dissipates after a min or so.

Smells of piney hops and a sweet malt. When swirled the beer has a good linger on the glass. And the smell really pops after the swirl.

Taste great piney hops and a sweet malt. The taste really lingers on the back of your tounge. No real overpower of alcohol like you would expect with 7.2 abv.

Could really hang around and drink two or three of these, but beware of the higher abv. A really great take on a red ale. Not your typical boring red.

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

Tasted at brewery on February 19th

A --- clean, red and about 1/2 of foam

S --- excellent mixture of sweet malts and fruity hops

T --- sweet, malts, citrus

M --- full bodied with the right amount of carbonation

O --- this is an excellent beer. I will go back to it time and time again.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber with red highlights and not too much head, which recedes quickly leaving some sticky lacing behind.

Aroma of berries, strawberries and blueberries, similar to yogurt of either flavor. Flavor retains some of the fruitiness, but more of a sort of toffee nutty rye fruitcake flavor with a good deal of hop bitterness and decent carbonation breaking up a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Hints of sourness in the back also. Hop flavor, from what I can tell, is mostly floral. Alcohol presense is well hidden, with only moderate warming hinting at the strength.

Another terrific beer from Lagunitas.

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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 jhoban19
4.36/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a Perfect Pint glass, paired with a 2 year aged cheddar.

A: deep ruby with 2 fingers of solid off-white foam that holds up well. Blotches of lacing stick to the glass and hold their ground.

S: floral and piney hops leap out of the bottle as soon as the cap comes off. The aroma stays strong through the entire pint, with notes of toffee and a touch of honey as it warms.

T: a wonderful balance of bitter hops and sweet malts ranging from caramel to toffee to honey.

M: medium to full bodied with a lingering hop bitterness. In addition to the near perfect hop bitterness, the finish is sweet, silky smooth and long.

D: Imperial Red is another great example of a well-crafted brew from Lagunitas. Everything about this beer is top notch- from the beautiful color and foamy head to the wonderful hop aromas and perfect balance of bitter and sweet flavors.

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Photo of Zekezilla
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful amber-reddisih tint, served on draft. Smell: pine, citrus. Fresh refreshing aroma. Taste: citrus, grapefruit-like hops, pine comes through also. Medium carbonation that goes perfectly with the taste. I tried a few beers at a Hamilton Tavern in Baltimore--this was by far the best one of the bunch. Would absolutely seek this out again. Another surefire bet from Laguintas.

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Photo of bbluemzbeer
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Order this at a restuarant in chicago. It was great !

Appearance : Read amber with a large long lasting thick foamy off white head on the pour, with good lacing throughout

Smell :lightly toasted caramel malt, piney earthy hops, grains, spicy rye and fruity esters

Taste: Awesome ! Mallts, pine and citrus. Some bitnerness at end but not over done ! Good balance to it. It is well done!Taste is toasted caramel malt, piney earthy hops, with a bit of spicy rye grains and fruity.

Mouthfeel : Palate is a medium to full body, with somegood carbonation and a crisp mouth feel. Finish is toasted caramel malt, some light yeast followed bypiney taste

Overall: Very nice beer! This beer is noty complex but has a big bold, taste bursting with aroma and flavor which is just the way I like my beer. The balnce is great, making for a greatt session !

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Photo of DKRowden
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

Poured into a large snifter from a 22oz bomber. It has a light mahogany color with a small cream colored head. It has a sweet malty aroma with a light fruity note and a hoppy hint. It tastes great. Its very balanced with a sweet malty medium body and a light hoppy bite. It has creamy Mouthfeel. Overall it's a great red. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of Hatzilla
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear blood red with a one inch head, leaving some nice lacing.

S: Lots of pink grapefruit and cotton candy; sweet.

T: Hoppy grapefruit with a medium to dry finish. The hops and malts mesh well, alcohol is well hidden.

M: Very smooth and drinkable, carbonation is perfect.

O: A great red ale, glad Lagunitas brought this one back.

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Photo of Maximusmaximus
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An inspired rejuvination of their first-ever brew, this bold American red ale from Lagunitias is a divine gift from the gods. Beer simply doesn't get much better than this. It is abusively strong in color, appearance, alcohol content, hops and attitude and will launch a full-on assault on your trembling senses. It is caramelly and spicey and smooth and tender and smacks of everything that is good about beer in general and life itself. It is obvious that the guys at Lagunitas hit a home run their first time up and we, the people, are blessed to be counted worthy to share in that first success.

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Photo of natemort13
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Frothy light tan head that subsides quickly into a filmy thin cap. Nice clear bubbly deep ambery red color to it.

Nose is dank pungent ripe grapefruit. Thin bready malty sweetness underneath. Feel like there's some orange trying to come out too. Gets ever so slightly herbal after a bit. Grass is also apparent as it warms.

Taste is sweet at first, then fades into a slight metallicishness and then bitter grapefruit with a sweet red malty finish. The metallic quality of the taste fades as the beer warms, but it was quite off putting to begin.

Mouthfeel is medium and highly carbonated yet remains creamy. Helps balance the strength of the grapefruit taste.

Overall this is my last of the six pack I bought about two weeks ago or so. I did not notice the metallic taste in the other bottles so I'm guessing my palate is out of whack or those two weeks in the fridge produced some off flavors. Or I'm just perceiving the bitterness differently this evening. Had a six pack of holiday leftovers and the last bottle had some white flaky crystallization in it that threw some gross off flavors over what was otherwise one of my favorite beers of the winter. Anyways, metallic qualities fade as it warms, hope lagunitas isnt having any QC problems because theyre awesome, all in all very good beer, end rambling.

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

12 oz bottle poured into Dogfish Head tulip pint glass.

A- Big red body with nice one finger white head leaving big stick lacing. Another beautiful beer from these guys.

S- Smell is great. Reminds me a little of the hop profile from Sucks. Big malt backbone too.

T- Taste is awesome. Big sticky malt with big dank hops. Nice citrus hop profile here. Wonderful stuff.

M- Mouthfeel is spot on. Creamy, no heat, smooth. Wonderful to drink.

O- This brewery is just solid. Pretty much everything they do is spot on with their flavor profiles leaning on the hoppy end, which I enjoy. Seek this out now as it is a limited release.

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Photo of Luchman
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Hazy, but clear, light amber color, with hues of orange and hues of yellow towards the bottom of the glass. A small, creamy, off white head comes off the pour.

S; Pretty subtle in the nose, but smells tasty. Sweet, almost candy like, caramel/toffee malts control the nose. Some slight citrus and pine hops can be found as well. Light breadiness, and even some light fruits.

T: Like Lagunitas's other beers, this is pretty sweet. Pure caramel/toffee malts dominate, like the smell, with some of the citrus and slight pine hops added to create a balance that works pretty solid; The malts are definably the heavy hand, but never is it one sided. Alcohol shows up juuuussst a tad when it warms, but hides well enough. Ends clean with a very slight hop bite.

M: Medium body with a nice carbonation to follow. Creamy and clean.

D: Another solid beer from Lagunitas. Sweet, but not overly sweet, with just enough hop balance to please anyone. Very drinkable and pretty yummy.

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Photo of Knuckles
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer a friend bought for me a couple of weeks back that I finally got around to drinking. I'm a lover of reds (Cinder Cone - Deschutes, Agate Pass Amber - Hood Canal Brewing and Panama Red - Water Street Brewing being some favorites), and have only been disappointed by one beer from Lagunitas in my life, so I was very much looking forward to this. The in-laws blew into town last night, so I figured it was high time I cracked open this bomber (although, in their defense, they did bring me four bottles of Russian River - 3 Damnation, 1 Sanctification).

Appearance: Not quite as deep in color as I expected with the appellation of 'Imperial', but still a lovely, deep, golden brown.

Smell: can smell the malts getting chased around by some assertive aroma hops. Not super overpowering in either case, but very pleasant.

Taste: The body of this is much more robust than most reds I'm accustomed to, but that would be expected with the heavier malt bill on this one. The malts are sweet, but not overpowering. My concern with a higher ABV red was that it would result in a much too sweet beer, but this has been offset by their liberal hopping.

Mouthfeel: Again, the larger malt profile is really prominent in the mouthfeel. It adds quite a bit more body than I'm accustomed to in a red, but I like it a lot. That said, it's not going to help me come summertime.

Drinkability: This beer is definitely a winner. I'd like to see them make it a regular beer, and offer it in six packs. Great stuff, and very drinkable.

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Photo of marc956
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the best beers I have ever had. A lot of flavour + complexity like everything else I've had from Lagunitas (except their Pils - for that one should stick to Pilsner Urquell) .. back to this one. Highly recommended, but tough to find outside California, please enjoy responsibly.

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Photo of Jimbo87
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured clear red amber into pint glass with beautiful 1 inch off-white head. Left little lacing.

Smells hoppy. Slightly maltier than an IPA, but still very IPA-like.

Again, slightly maltier than most IPAs, but still quite bitter in the finish. A lot of hops, which are perhaps slightly citrusy/floral. Very strange, on some sips it seems very sweet, on other it seems bitter. But somehow the particular sweetness and bitterness in the beer don't seem like they mesh quite perfectly. Still tasty.

No complaints with the mouthfeel, nice carbonation.

Drinkability is good, but I don't think I'd want to drink more than one at a time. A solid ale, but there's a specific sweet element in it that I'm not sure if I like, but which I can't put my finger on. My dad loves this beer though. This beer stands out to me as "different." Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of RJUGA03
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer at Brixie's Bar in Brookfield,IL.

The beer had a deep amber color with a minimal head that was frothy to the mouth. The beginning of the beer was sweet and ale-typical with a smooth hoppy finish. I gave the beer an overall A and not an A+ because the beer has to take me to stellar level and this beer did not, it's just a good beer.

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

5/23/12 Lagunitas for the hop fix, once again. I felt like the Kool-Aid guy saying, OH YEAH when found this, promptly popped it and gave the bottle a little sniff as usual, before pouring it into a nice round flute glass.

Appearance is a very slightly clouded copper. A little white head comes up and dissipates to a ring. Medium carbonation runs throughout the drink.

The odor is a honey-hop balance, suggesting malt presence but still ensuring some California Love. I'm getting pine and grass, some cherry blow-pop in the background, and a faint citrusyness.

A taste follows suit nicely, with the hops playing a little bittering role as the maltiness comes up sweet and medium/large. Sure, it's a red. Its a Red IPA, there ya go.

Mouthfeel is medium- it's got gusto and a nice creaminess but still goes down easy. Lots of linger, and a good hop dryness afterwards.
3/25/ 2012: A really nice, translucent red copper, a big foamy 2" tan paper head that slowly fades leaving great, even ribbons of lacing. Lively carbonation, which persists through the whole drink.

Smells flowery, but with a dark orange kick that makes it anything but light and dainty. Some faint caramel notes come across as sweetness.

This beer goes down so wonderfully- a big malty body that carries "imperial-level" loads of hop character and bitterness. Less fruity than the aroma led me to believe, but, wow. Big smack in the face that nonetheless stays impeccably balanced. A lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste, love it or hate it. Not too sweet, but the maltiness makes it a filling one. Another bad boy from Lagunitas.

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Photo of RoBotGod
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good rich beer. I’m glad to see that they released it in a 6pak instead of just the bomber. It has a big hop smell to it and pours a dark copper tone to it. The alcohol is noticeable at 7.6 but is just about right for easy drinking. There is a big hop taste. I would almost call it a red IPA.

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

A - Amber, fire-like appearance with about a half-inch of off-white head that lasts throughout the session. Completely translucent with no sediment.

S - Floral/fruity aromas consisting of blood orange, pear, and apple. Tons of citrusy hop presence as well that meshes nicely with the malt character.

T - Fantastic hop profile that compliments the sweetness provided by the fruit and conceals any alcohol burn.

M - Very flavorful beer with a surprisingly light body and a hoppy aftertaste.

O - This beer is dangerously drinkable and is almost an exact replica of Nugget Nectar. This beer would be Nugget Nectar if it had slightly less alcohol and more drinkability.

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Photo of cerveza5150
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

AP: Dark, beautiful, ruby red color. Small bubbles of carbonation give way to a nice, creamy head with nice retention.

S: Sweet honey/vanilla malt with a touch of spice from the hops.

T: Starts out sweet from the malt and dries out nicely due to the hops and the slightly high alcohol. Definately better tasting than some of the other Lagunitas brews. I could take 2 more of these!!

M: A little more carbonation would be nice, but overall - great mouthfeel.

D: I could kick back and drink a few of these. Someone call my work! I'm calling in sick!!!!

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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 L0ne
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From backlog. 22oz bottle, November 2014.

Have only had a few beers styling themselves as "imperial reds", but if I had to choose a favorite, this would probably be it.

Pours a dark amber, almost mahogany, with a fluffy, off-white head. Sweet bready/caramel malts are highlighted here, with just enough earthy/spicy/piney hops to keep the malts in check. Ultra smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of beerfairy
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Red/gold and cloudy with a roiling fluffy white head that leaves a TON of lace on the pint glass.

S - Big time hoppy flavor. This smells like a red ale and an IPA combined.

T - Tastes much like it smells, this is really, really hoppy and freshly hoppy. Good stuff!

M - Full bodied, and think IPA.

D - Very nice beer...this isn't a Killians for sure.

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Photo of bodybyadam
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hops On Equinox 06 is the time I enjoyed this one. I've always seen it in the local market but have always ignored the dog on the box, I'm not sure why, but not anymore.

Poured into a small 6oz pilsner sampler that appeared reddish-light brown in color. A mellow 1/4-inch head, with a nose that let you know it was hoppy. First taste was a strong sweetness, probably the alcohol. I enjoyed its very hoppy character, with a mix of fruity pears and grapefruit made for a great mouthfeel. The finish had a well-balanced bitterness that made this a very drinkable beer.

All in all, you should be able to enjoy IPAs to truly appreciate this yet not too bitter to prevent you from having another that night.

Elbows Up,

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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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