Imperial Red Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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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 Franziskaner
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of buzzarooski
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%

Beautiful Color....Pleasing Hoppy Aroma....Smooth Drinkability followed by a Slight Bitter After Taste...Mild Carbonation...All with an Above Average "Kick" (7.8% ABV).... Everything adds up to a really good Red Ale that is a Pleasure to drink. Yes Sir May I Have Another!

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Very deep mahogany colored body. A foamy light cream colored head stays thick for awhile, and lacing is thick and sudsy on the glass.

Aroma: Faintly fruity sweet with some cedar and pine aromas from hops.

Taste: So well balanced and blended with pear sweetness, woody, earthy cedar, and a touch of grapefruit rind bitterness in the hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry, yet creamy and smooth.

Overall: Really delicious to sip on. Very impressed with the sweetness that comes through.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured a cloudy mohoagany head with brown highlights. One finger head that dissapates into a creamy lace.

S - Delicious. Orange/citrus. Biscuits.

T - Hops in the nose and bready malts. A Little Sumpin Sumpin with some dark fruit, and bready grains, and classic amber.

M- Carbonation is slightly on the low side with a creamy mouthfeel.

O- As far as ambers go, this is one of the best. Nice twist mixing the citrus with the classic amber flavor.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9/7...bomber pours. Heavy dark crimson red. Foam settles and then stays. Burnt bready malt. Pine wintergreen trees too. Taste opens caramel, malt, little sweet. Takes a right turn to push a heavy hop bitter. Hearty but drinkable. Full of flavor.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%

22oz bomber split in two standard pint glasses
Notes taken on 08/16/2014

A: Pours a beautiful auburn color body. A true amber that perfectly blends together red and brown tint. Nice clarity to it as well with a thick spongy mass of dark tan head. Stubborn as all get out this one hangs forever leaving the glass a sticky mess full of lacey webs.

S: Super fresh hop aromas carry a resinous punch of pine oils paired with some dank herbal elements, melon fruit, and a bit of tropical spice. I get a fistful of biscuit malt secondary to the hops with some raisin like fruity esters and light alcohol about. This smells ridiculously fresh and chalked full of pungent hops which I am loving!

T: Danky fresh nuggs! This brew boasts a big hop presence with flavors of sappy pine, tropical flowers, grapefruit, and spicy melon all the while cutting through the malt sweetness with an upper level of perceived bitterness. Light toffee and malt biscuit pairs with notes of dried fruit and cocoa in the background. Finish is dry and resinous with the alcohol kept in a good manageable condition. Feeling it with this one. Doing the happy dance.

M: Moderate filling body with ample carbonation to provide a nice bouncy feel on the palate. Upper amounts of hoppy bitters that linger long after the finish. Dry and crisp in the end.

D: This is a solid American Amber and well worth checking out for the price. Great hop flavor with a nice resinous bitter bite and plenty of malt to balance. Lagunitas kills it when I need my hop fix on a budget. This Imperial Red is far better than others priced at twice as much sitting on the shelves. Will be another go to for me no doubt.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%

Glad to see this big brute reach Alberta (non)shores. Bomber poured into a tulip glass. Dark brown-bronze color with a light stippling of light brown foam. Huge citrus hop nose as expected, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, along with some tropical pineapple and mango, pine needles, black tea bag, caramels. Taste is initially huge huge citrus bloom, followed by a bready/toffee middle section, and ending with some tropical fruit leather and strongly tannic tea bag. Pretty pungent and powerful but not completely overbearing. Little alcohol flavor. Fresh orange juice, brown spices, and raisins winking through. Quite fizzy and this potentiates the spicy resin effect on the tongue. I like that this stays more anchored in toffee/citrus/tea territory as opposed to the tropical realm, although the latter is certainly there. There is considerable sweetness here ... Even the head tastes sweet (said your mom). The aggressive hop regime keeps this in check, however, and the finish is decidedly tannic and bitter with a lingering fruitiness. Wonderful.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured into an IPA Spiegelau glass from a 22oz bottle. Pours a golden amber with a two finger off-white head. Doesn't leave much lacing. Smells citrusy and piney with caramel notes and a little burnt toast. Taste follows the nose. A nice amount of bitterness. 54 IBU might not seem like a lot but it's just right for this brew. Maybe a bit of tropical fruit in there as well and some malty sweetness. Not a trace of alcohol in this but at 7.8% it's pretty potent. Mouthfeel is a bit heavy. Not a sticky beer though. Carbonation is great, fits with the style. Overall, a fantastic beer and excellent example of the modern Red Ale. Is it an IPA? Is it a Red? No, it's somewhere in between and I love it just the way it is. Lagunitas never disappoints.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.77/5  rDev -8.3%

Bottle (no noticeable date)
Pours quite clear auburn-red with a lingering head that provided a modicum of lacing. The nose is of a fairly common Lagunitas pine-woodiness with what I will describe as a cherry-wood type sweetness that I also associate with Lagunitas. With some warmth I get indistinguishable pitted fruit.

The taste starts out English-bitter style [that I describe as] caramel-copper taste. The taste has a classic apple-grape fruit impression that battles and eventually loses to an alcohol-tinged woodiness. The feel is somewhat light initially, but given time, there is a drying effect that might not be typical, but that I notice as quite strong.

I have somewhat unconsciously enjoyed this style for a while, and I can't say this interpretation fails, but the drying nature of this beer battles what I have generally enjoyed about the style I the past.

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Photo of lordofstarside
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
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

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%

A: Pours a copper color with two fingers of head that fades down to a frothy cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Quite malty with a bit of spicy hops and some earthy and fruity notes

T: Follows the nose. Starts off quite malty, followed by the lightly spicy and earthy hops. Some fruitiness also comes through. Finishes with a bit of light bitterness and some more earthy tones

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A solid Imperial red ale that delivers on both maltiness and a decent amount of hoppiness. Nice and easy to drink at a good value. Worth a shot

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Photo of puboflyons
4/5  rDev -2.7%

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled on September 5, 2014.

Medium amber pour with a lingering off-white foamy head. Great lacing.

The hops are floral and the malts and toasty and that's what my nose enjoyed about this Red.

Medium and smooth body.

Like the aroma there is a good malty start and a biting hop finale. It lingers for a bit on the end. Reds are usually rather eh for me. This one was one the better ones I had had in recent years.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%

Reddish brown pour with a decent off-white froth. Nice clarity.

Hop aromacy and piney resins. Citrus fruity. Darker honeyed malts. Truly digging this.

Has a wonderful citrusy hop profile with a delicate bitterness. Spicy in the back of the throat. Piney sensation. Overall a fine balance of hop and malt.

Has that creamy texture that I really dig in reds. Some chewiness as the sugars lay on the tongue. Hop wafting nice throughout stimulating the olfactory nerves.

Winner winner, chicken dinner. Great balance on malt and hop. Nice reddish hues and creamy texture. May I add also that the price point makes this a click to pick. Abv delivers a nice little wallop. This is not a cheap beer, but a reasonably priced brew. All around a tremendously tremendous beer!

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

This is a solid offering from Lagunitas. My neighbor found a bottle and shared it with me.....muchos gracias senior Johnson!!!! The beer poured a amber clear with thick white head that laced like a Vicky secret brochure. The scent and taste had sweet malt base with fresh hop balance. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall.....YUMMY!!! Sessionable and satisfying.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%

22 oz Bomber.The Red Rocker has touched down in the Antelope Valley.After 3 weeks of looking for this in the `beer stores` a friend of mine came in to work and told me he just got two Imperial red ale`s at Stator Brothers grocery store.I asked him how many they had left and he said a whole row.By the time I got in there they had two left and I gladly bought both of them and i`m glad I did.Great.Very Hoppy with a touch of citrus.This is one of those once a year beers lagunitas puts out so if you see it grab it.I loved it.7.8 ABV which makes this a nice little package.Watching the last of summer burn off outside with this fine brew listening to some Doobie Brothers and it was indeed,a very good night. .And at 4.99 a bottle,great deal.Motley out.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Lagunitas Imperial Red

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a shaker pint. Served chilled...

A) Nice looking red ale with a big rocky off white head. Nice retention and a shit ton of sticky lacing.

S) Bready with a little caramel sweetness. Some nice pine and floral hop aroma there too.

T) Yeah.... Um... Follows the nose, which in this case is a good thing.

M) Nice easy drinking medium bodied brew with ample carbonation. Piney, grassy aftertaste is enjoyable.

O) Enjoyed this one quite a bit. Like the hop profile in their Lucky 13 or whatever number it was, just a little more. Glad to recommend this mofo.

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Photo of Ghrymm
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Very nice Red Ale ,poured a Rusty Dark Orange very fine bubbles nice small fine head with good lacing.
Pine forest nose with pine citrus taste, solid Ale close to there IPA's but on its own.
Worth picking up.

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Photo of Flight317
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%

I normally base my beers off of my favorite from that style and go from there. This one is good, but not my favorite. Some might say I'm crazy but I think it could be a bit maltier. It's no where near as hoppy as green flash hop head red but I want a bit more sweetness. If I'm going to drink an amber ale I'd rather it not taste like an ipa with a touch of malt. The taste is decently bitter and it lingers more on the hoppy side. This beer is very easy to drink and quite tasty but it is not how I would represent the style. Overall a good beer that doesn't disappoint but doesn't wow me either.

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Photo of DeFaz
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

This is often compared to Nugget Nectar, and I'm not sure why. Anyway, this brew has a great appearance--not an exceptional color, but a very nice, thick head and sticky lacing. The smell is unremarkable, but the taste is pretty nice. This is also highly drinkable, as the mouthfeel is spot-on for the style (whatever style you want to call this hybrid). Anyway, adding a lot of hops to an otherwise successful red ale just doesn't work--even though I love hops. I love the great bomber price, but the "Imperial" red ale falls short as the balance is lost and the style is compromised in an effort to appease hop-heads (including myself).

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Photo of joriv
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Boyfriend: Hoppy goodness! YUM
Girlfriend: Apparently, i can't say "apparently" without the boyfriend giving me shit about the "apparently boy". Anyways, APPARENTLY I'm not too fond of the hops. I did not trade any of my Black Rhino's Black Ale for it.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured from bomber into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nice deep copper-ruby color with a one finger head of fizzy foam. The head fades rather quickly to leave a light level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite robust of hoppy smells with a great showing of pine and grapefruit citrus. Along with these aromas are some nice roasted malt and sweeter smells of caramel as well as sweeter dark fruit aromas of a bit of cherry and fig. Overall the aroma is quite nice.

Taste – The taste begins with a very chewy and lightly toasted bready flavor with some hints of caramel sweetness within. While the nose had quite a bit of caramel, upfront the caramel is very light with it only gaining a little bit of intensity as the flavor moves onto the end. The nose also depicted a more hoppy aroma, which the taste was not upfront. There was a little bit of citrus grapefruit hop at the start, but it was light. As the taste advances however, the citrus gets stronger and is joined by a good sum of a pine hop flavor, with the two melding well with the very bready and roasted flavors of the brew. With a little bit of a herbal hop and some cherry and brown sugar that come at the end, a very pleasant and decently hopped but still roasted and lightly sweetened “red ale” taste is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both are fantastic for the big bready and red ale flavors of the brew, with them accentuating the pine and citrus hop nicely but yet still maintaining enough effervescence and thinness to be good for the sweeter flavors of the brew.

Overall – Another great brew by Lagunitas with tons of fantastic flavor and at one fantastic bomber price. They are consistently one of the better (if not the best) breweries for the cost. Well done!!

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Photo of Ri0
4.64/5  rDev +12.9%

poured 22oz bottle into snifter.

A - Very dark amber, with a 2 finger sandy head. Very nice retention, but minimal lacing.

S - Juicy, sweet malts and bitter hops. Really great aroma.

T - This is the perfect tasting beer for me; my palate goes crazy when it hits. The tropical, bitter hops compliment the sweet amber malts to perfection. It's hard not to drink quickly.

M - Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. It is refreshing, malty and bitter all at once.

O - This is like the west coast version of Nugget Nectar and I will be purchasing more bottles.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Appearance: deep blood red almost brownish. one and a half fingers of a whitish head that fades slowly and leaves a pretty strong lacing. has a brightness to it but still a little bit hazy. 4.25/5

Smell: super strong and sweet caramel, darker caramel malts that hint at dark fruits. lots of bitter hoppiness coming through with resin, pine and citrus. some additional candy sweetness. 3.75/5

Taste: opens with a mix of dark caramel malts and caramelized sugar. the initial sweetness is quickly muted by a good dash of hop bitterness. hops include resin, pine and some citrus. Not quite as good as the smell due to the lack of balance. 3.25/5

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied. good bitterness but does not linger. almost not enough bitterness for all the sweet in this beer. 3.5/5

Overall: not quite the level I expect from Lagunitas and certainly not in the same ballpark as their other imperial red they release in bombers.

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Photo of smanders
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Picked up a bomber of this from Whole Paycheck in Fair Lakes for $6.35; pretty decent price, really.

Appearance: dark copper with nicely firmed head. Significant lacing throughout.

Smell: remember when Nugget Nectar was good? Yeah, it smells like that! You can still pick out the sweetness from all of the bitter, citrusy hops.

Taste: perfect balance of sweet malt and floral/bitter hops. Nothing is "off" with this beer. If you like malt--check. If you like hops--check. If you like the taste of your beer improving as it sits in your glass--check.

Drinkability: High. Well priced, limited availability Imperial Red from a much-respected brewery. These folks have their priorities straight; thanks Lagunitas!

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Photo of ronricorossi
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

A beautiful amber orange and yellow color, a perfect blend of hops and malt in the nose and in the taste, with the smooth and creamy mouthfeel anything claiming "imperial" status really should have. Really, just about a perfect imperial red. Is there a better red? Until further notice, my answer's "no".

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