Imperial Red Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Imperial Red AleImperial Red Ale
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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 778 | Ratings: 2,300
Photo of ricke49
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

great balance of hop, malt, and alcohol (never too much of either) to produce a easy drinking stronger brew. label sez it's an "exhumation" of their very first ale. hitting that perfect balance may have something to do with this solid brewery's consistent standing and respect. thanks for a real enjoyable, well-crafted bomber!

 329 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Arooga's on 22. Served chilled in a pint.

The color is dark copper with hazed appearance and thin cream head with fine bead lace sticks well. The smell is mostly hops with a strong pine odor and light citrus scent with mild aroma of herbs and alcohol. The feel is very good with moderate bitterness and slight sweetness with medium carbonation and mild alcohol influence with mostly dry finish.

The taste is very good with a bitter pine hop flavor with slight grapefruit accent and mild tangy yeast with subtle tangerine and a light caramel from the malt in the taste. Overall I really enjoyed this it has plenty of hops with noticeable alcohol, but not out of the ordinary for the strength. I would drink this again -very good example of the style.

 775 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass, copper colored with a large off white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: fruity hops, citrus, grapefruit, oranges

T: very sweet up front, heavy citrus fruit flavors, mango, orange

M: full, thick, sticky

O: sweet and hop forward

 293 characters

Photo of anthony-martinez
4/5  rDev -2.7%

i got this 22 oz bomber yesterday and i pour the brew into tulip glassware...thick 2 fingers foam stay atop for 30 to 40 seconds. while the aromas relieve sweet fruity. i tasted it and it tasted really good -hazy red amber bodied with sweet note on the end great beer for amber ale.

 282 characters

Photo of DenverHopHead
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pub glass.
Appearance - blood orange, swirling carbonation bubbles that builds a fluffy, off white head. Lacing is thick along the back of the glass!
Smell - a bit of sweet and spicy hops blended with candy malts.
Taste - floral and earthy hops, along with some sweet Hawaiian bread.
Feel- mild, creamy mouthfeel; nice hop bitterness, but a sturdy malt backbone balances this out tremendously!
Overall - well built red ale that should please hop fans...I sure enjoyed it!

 504 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a bomber, this red ale pours a thick copper red color with a firm off white head and solid lacing. Nose of biscuit, sweet malts, as well as citrus and pine hops. Flavors follow the taste with grapefruit, orange peel, caramel and biscuit like malts, and a bittering hops in the background. A decent imperial red, although more of a red ipa.

 355 characters

Photo of brurevu
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

The beer poured a deep copper mahogany color with a substantial off white head. The aroma was of a piney and citrusy hop with a bit of toffee malt underneath. The taste followed with an initial sweet malt that quickly jumped into a mega hop dose of slight resinous pine and more citrus and tropical fruit bitterness. It leaves a burnt toffee and hop bitterness on your tongue between pulls and even has hints of floral hops as the flavor lingers. This Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas has me back on the red ale fence.

 517 characters

Photo of hreb
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured in pint glass. Beer is red amber, as promised, with a thick, orange-ish head. Big, piney C-hop aroma. Could be an imperial IPA if the color didn't push into into the red ale category. Flavorwise, too, this is hop-forward, full of left coast sensibilities. Finish is pretty dry, and light. For what an imperial amber could have been, this is not too malty or syrupy. There is a little nuance of residual sweetness, but it works quite nicely here. Overall this is a well balanced West coast Red Ale and well worth enjoying.

 548 characters

Photo of DerAtomsmasher
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First beer I've had from Lagunitas that I'd have another of.

Deep caramel notes in the nose with almost none on the tongue. A slight toffee sweetness giving way to a big spicy, citrusy hop tang.

 196 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy brownish red with a one-finger off-white head. The head leaves a lot of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma of citrus, piney hops, and sweet bready malts.

T - Folows the aroma fairly close. Lots of citrus and piney hops are balanced by sweet caramel malts. The finish is pine hops and grapefruit.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

O - A very above average red ale. Smooth and very well balanced.

 445 characters

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.

 1,125 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Appearance (4.5): Clear dark red color, almost brown with a creamy off white head

Smell (4.25): Pine and citrus hops along with bready and caramel malts

Taste (4.5): That bready, caramel malt hits you upfront then comes the citrusy and pine hops that linger in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium body; Silky smooth yet coats the mouth with slight bitterness

Overall (4.5): This is a textbook red ale if I've ever had one, bordering on perfection in my opinion. The flavors and the way they are balanced is superb. This and Nugget Nectar stand out above all the other red ales that ive experienced. Another amazing beer for the price. Probably towards the top of my favorite Lagunitas beers.

 699 characters

Photo of Saison_Tickets
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Good stuff. Like the other reviewers say, healthy, full, rustic, still got the grapefruit, strawberry, other fruity and slightly tart notes. And 6.8% is sort of perfect ABV.

 173 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint poured, this has a rustic copper-like body color, is clear, and has light visible carbonation and a tall off-white head. Cake-like lacing.
Smells superbly like fresh hops (tropical fruit, pineapple) some pine, and candied bread.
This tastes nice of juicy hops, and with a sweet malt to balance it out. Quite sweet, but the hop presence provides a bitter rush that balances it all out somehow. Wood, tropical citrus, pine, slight alcohol. Nice and complex, tastefully so. I normally don't go for reds, but this one I'll have again anytime.
Creamy slick mouthfeel with medium carbonation, slightly chewy too, with a bit of tart.
This was only $3.99 at my local Tom Thumb grocery store? Yes, it was.
Perfect for early Autumn, great anytime. Grab this for the weekend game-watching, cooking out, or what have you.

 818 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a globe.

A: Dark red-orange color. Good clarity. Cream-colored head retains well at a half an inch. Delicate wisps of lacing.

S: Green and oily hops. Tangerine and mandarin orange. Freshly mowed lawn. Sweet malt base of bread, caramel, and candy apple. Hints of alcohol and red berries.

T: Bread crust, toast, caramel, pinch of cocoa. Hints of sweet cherry and red berries. Hops are earthy and woody with a strong resinous bitterness that really clamps down toward the back end. Quick flashes of tangerine and tropical fruits. Oily. Spicy alcohol. Woody and resinous hops own the finish with a bitterness that doesn't quit.

M: Medium-thick body. Round, firm, and creamy in texture. Slightly weighty. Acute prickling carbonation.

O: The red ale was once the darling of the craft beer movement. No more. In fact, most hardened beer geeks tend to avoid them like a plague. The style has a reputation for being bland and uninteresting these days. However, if you are going to brew a red ale and expect it to sell, this is how you do it. You make sure it's big and plenty hoppy. There is nothing bland or pedestrian about this beer. It's worth your time and money.

 1,188 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%

Pours a finger and half of head on a clear red colored body.
The aroma has lemon and pine, rich malt too.
The taste has a big sweetness to it, but is loaded with lemon bitterness too. A big tasting beer.
The texture is thicker.

 232 characters

Photo of Zach136
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear red with a light caramel head with great lacing.

Aroma: Big caramel malt aroma with fruity hop burst.

Flavor: Nutty, light roast and caramel malt bill. Hop character is mostly piney with some tropical fruit and earthy hints. Medium+ intensity malt/hop flavors balance each other well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied shortly lived finish.

Overall: A fine brew worth grabbing every fall.

 404 characters

Photo of dmgeng
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

I've enjoyed all Lagunitas but I saw this one for only $4 for a bomber and had to have it.

A - Nice ruby red color. Clear beer with white head and strong lacing.

S - Balanced hop aroma with caramel and malt. Overall soft without any harshness or alcohol.

T - Delicious mash-up of hops and malts. It has tons of flavor that coats the palate and is full of aromatics from the caramel, the malt, and the hops. The ale yeast provides a slight fruitiness and helps the hops give this full flavored beer a more well rounded profile.

M - Medium mouth-feel. The carbonation was moderate. It finishes pretty crisp with the bitterness and carbonation queuing you up for another sip.

Overall, a delicious beer that is a nice mixture of a lot of flavors that I love separately in one balanced beer. Awesome hoppy aroma, delicious flavor, great feel, appearance, and really get this beer going for gold. Though it isn't the very best beer I've ever had; I would strongly recommend trying this if you can.

Glass- Nonic Imperial Pint

 1,026 characters

Photo of Chiefy770
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

1 Pint, 6 Fluid Ounces
Bottled on July 5th, 2014
Reviewed on October 4th, 2015
Served in a Lagunitas pint glass (mason jar)

Clear amber body. Good head, a bit off white. Left a good amount of sticky lacing.

Great amount of sweet citric hops. Subtle notes of sweet grains.

Sweet malts and citric hops up front. The hops really gained intensity towards the finish… grapefruit and pine. The alcohol is hidden fairly well, though it breaks through in the finish. Crisp and clean. Surprisingly smooth. Warm finish. Low-moderate carbonation. Medium-full body.

Great hopped-up brew. I have a hard time considering this one a Red Ale… definitely held more characteristics of a Strong Ale… nonetheless, it is a good brew.

85 (B)

 757 characters

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.

 348 characters

Photo of Omnium
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber > Lagunitas Mason Pint

A - Semi-clear golden amber with a finger of frothy tan head, medium lacing.
S - Really nice aroma of a sweet lightly toasted caramel and nutty maltiness, some notes of pineapple, pear, papaya, light earthy hop notes.
T - Very nice flavor, sweet malt is there, but is balanced and is complimented by the tropical fruit notes and some underlying pine and earthiness from the hops.
M - Creamy but not thick, no trace of alcohol
O - Shouldnt be surprised that this is so good. Excellent hoppy red ale that is balanced.

 546 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured ruby in color and could smell a nice sweetness while pouring. Sweet hoppy aroma. Smells really nice. Bitter taste with a good amount of sweet. Really tasty.

 163 characters

Photo of HeartofMiami
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

On tap at local Brass Tap. Usually like hoppy red ales. Disappointed overall especially compared with other Lagunitas brews. Nothing stood out except for bitterness not well balanced with caramel malt. Not sure if there may have been an issue with their lines.

 264 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the bomber into a snifter.

A- Light cream-colored head, frothy and persistent. Reddish body with brown hues. Abundant lace. 4.25

S- Huge pine notes, lighter citrus, subtle caramel notes, and a bit of floral aroma. It smells delicious, bottom line. 4.5

T- Sweet and caramelly with a citrusy and piney underbelly. There's vanilla throughout to make this quite a a tasty treat. 4.25

M- It's imperial in body, but it sure doesn't feel like it has the booze of an imperial. It's smooth, creamy, and has a bright floral quality. There's hardly any bitterness--- the malt wins here--- except for a briefly bitter, dry finish. This drinks well. 4.5

Well hell, they say a lot of Lagunitas beers taste the same and they're right, they all taste good! I can see how this could be linked to any number of Lagunitas beers as far as taste, but so what, it's too damn good to gripe about.

 883 characters

Photo of majorbase2
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, dark copperish-amber color with a huge light brown foam head, that dissipates after a bit. A ton of lacing. Aroma is remarkable; sweet caramel malts followed by some citrus hops, grapefruit, orange and a bit of sugar (can't tell if its my nose playing tricks, but the combined aromas give it a candy type smell). The taste features more malts, with sweet caramel leading the way, with some brown sugar added. Biscuit/bread malts are very present as well. Citrus shines through as it warms. Remarkably well balanced. A bit of pine sticks of the tongue as it goes down. This one is dangerously easy to drink-- I feel like I could have two more in the next hour. The alcohol is masked expertly, with very little sign of its moderate level. Not much carbonation. Overall, another solid entry from Lagunitas. Easy to drink, and a great deal for the price. Strongly recommend.

 884 characters

Imperial Red Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 2,300 ratings