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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 777 | Ratings: 2,296
Photo of clickpush
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour: 12oz bottle to tulip glass. A luminescent red body unbroken by carbonation spills out of the bottle and is capped by a smallish one finger off white head. The head melts away quickly, leaving plenty of residue on the walls of the glass and nice lacings.

Nose: Grapefruit and a bit of pine, huge hops presence and a mild touch of the malts. Hints of grapes and caramel in the sweeter half of the aroma.

Mouth: Enters with a light fruity bitterness up front and a huge, long lasting, dry, bitter finish. This is the epitome of grapefruit flavored hops. Some pitted fruit, apricot, in the fore flavor. Excellent carbonation all the way through, in spite of its rather flat appearance.

 693 characters

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

Poured a light red/dark amber color. Nice thick but fluffy two inch eggshell colored head took a while to dissapear. No carbonation bubbles to be seen. Clumps of lacing.

A nice strong citrus aroma hit the nose first. It had a very strong hops quality that also attempted to dominate the scent. Main citrus was a blend of grapefruit and tangerine.

Taste had a very earthy hops taste. A light spice blend made the citrus taste seem weak when compared to the hops bite. Aftertaste leaves a very citrus flavor on the back of the tongue.

A very sturdy body. No noticable carbonation kick in the mouth. nice residual body to leeave taste in mouth.

A very nice beer. This is one I would enjoy with light appetizer fare like buffalo wings. Also a very nice selection to sit with on a warm summer day. Try one for yourself if you have the chance.

 851 characters

Photo of SethB2
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep redish amber color with a small head, despite an agressive pour. Looks thick and a bit syrupy because of the lack of carbonation, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

S - Whoa. Hoppy in a big way. I wasn't expecting this. Very floral with grapefruit notes. Also very sweet on the nose with a nice interplay between the sweet and toasted malts. I really like the smell of this beer a lot.

T - Nice and hoppy with a big bitter finish. The sweetness doesn't get a chance to break out much over the hops, but it is there in the background. Roasted malts a very, very present, giving this beer a nice character. I wish it were a little sweeter, but it's still good nonetheless.

M - Same fault I have with many bitter finishing beers is that is also finishes very dry. Other than that, the low carbonation isn't a bad thing the the texture of the beer in comparison to the taste is just about right.

D - Good. One of the better Lagunitas beers on the market.

 1,027 characters

Photo of Franchise
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This offering from Lagunitas delivers a maroon foggy body with a creamy tan head that disappears quickly. The aroma is west coast hops, herbal, sweet, baked cookies, and a promising caramel sweetness. The taste is the opposite of the nose, the nasal part of my palate was thinking "sweet malt bomb" but this offering came at me with a brutal bitter hoppy citrus rind pimp slap. This is a good brew and balances that aggresive hop taste with some toffee goodness that again ends bitter. Another great offering from Lagunitas.

 524 characters

Photo of Beerzebub
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brilliant clear rosewood color, with thick beige head in dunes. Smells like lots of fresh hops, with citrus and berry notes.

Plenty of hop bitterness, orange rind and grapefruit, but also some pine. Hoppiness is nice and fresh, not just bitter. Loads of malt, somewhat sweet. Sticky mouthfeel reminds me of Lagunitas IPA. Thick, sticky lace paints the side of the glass, with hardly a hole to see through it. This is a serious beer.

 435 characters

Photo of TrickKnee
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The more I drink reds the more I enjoy them and the Lagunitas is right there at the top when it comes to reds that I have had. Normal carbonation but very little head. Tons of different citrus flavors flow through it, such as orange and pineapple. A definite must for any red ale fan or actually any beer fan!!

 310 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A ruddy tawney colored brew, perhaps unfiltered but hard to tell by the glass. Killer oatmeal colored head...loads of small and medium bubbles creating a gnarly web of sticky swiss cheese. This head is going the distance.

S: Minor sweet red fruits; strawberries, plums and melon. Lightly malty.

T: A very sweet red ale full of Hawaiian punchy malt, sugars and fruits. Tangy with hanging caramel, red berry roundness and some over ripe mango. Finishes with a sneaky bitterness which creeps up with out a lot of warning and spreads gently out across the palate.

M: Medium bodied with a standard carbonation.

D: This is my favorite Lagunitas to date. This is a darn good red ale.

 691 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another good offering from Lagunitas. Deep dark red color, with a very slight head. Smell is a bit faint, but has a sweet malty and subtle hop aroma. The taste is dominated by the sweet malts, but it certainly has a hoppy enough finish to balance it out well. It says it's an imperial red, but to me it almost tastes like a barleywine that is toned down just a bit.

 365 characters

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.

 426 characters

Photo of MLegendre
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber in color, thin white head, quite a bit of carbonation.

S: A very strong burst of piney hops hits my nostrils immidiatly and not much else. Smells like this will be similar to an IPA

T: There is a strong hop presence, but not too overpowering like an IPA. The maltiness is very present, but kind of in the background. It has the bitterness of an IPA, but none of the piney or citrusy flavors I usually associate with an IPA. The ABV is kind of high, but I couldn't taste the alcohol at all. Very well hidden.

M: A bit thick and a good amount of carbonation.

D: It does go down very easily and for something that has a slightly high ABV, it's very easy to drink and easy to lose track of how many you've had. A good solid beer, but probably not something I'd go out of my way to get.

 805 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright copper with a slim tanned top of firm foam. Nice thinnly placed sheeting lace sticks across the glass with the stick of velcro.

Mellowing nose of roasted orangified hops and bready malt. Kinda toasted with a burnt sugary wrapping of orange jelly filled doughnut. Rounded citric hops are the main aura overall.

Nice warming taste fills in nicely over the palate with citrusy orangey stuff, semi dulled, more popping in the trailing ends. Kinda of a grainy, crystal and slight caramel malt fills the background with a fluffy/gritty sweetness with a lasting, unsticky pineyness and a perfect addition of grapefruit pith bitterness in the finish. Balanced well in body and form from front to back with a coarsing length of malts played with a nicely piney bittered grapefruit hoppiness that gradually gets better and bigger with a slight pine oily texture tossed with a small leafyness.

Feel is pretty firm, semi-beefy, and warm within a smooth medium body, a solid texture, and a slippery crispness surrounded by a well balanced grapefruity citric hoppy bitterness. Finishes well with a lengthy boldness of semi toasted sweet malt offset by a lengthy, hoppy, slender pined, smooth grapefruity finish.

A nice Red with a bolder rendition of flavor and length then the normal Red's one would find. So the Imperial label is suiting to a certain degree. I liked the play in textures between the malts and the hops. A fun beer to drink and good to boot.

 1,466 characters

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

22oz bottle
It pours a red tint with a nice little tuft of tan head. I noted that it was very carbonated
Aroma of pine and citrus notes balanced with a sweet malt profile made this beer seem very promising.
I noted that this beer does deliver the piney goodness of the hops and that it was indeed very rich with dark malts. I found that the hops shine through a little more than the malts and I did pick up some citrus in the taste as well, but I had to strain through the bitterness on the back of the palate.
It flows over the mouth and tongue very well with just the right amount of carbonation. The after effects on the tongue downgraded it slightly.
This is a very drinkable beer. I'm picking some more up from Bevmo on my next run, assuming they're not all out.

 772 characters

Photo of trep
3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pristine looking bloodsoaked brown with a thin creamy khaki head. Random carbonation. Not bad lad.

Pennies, faint hops, sweet sugary carmelized malt and a lil kick of alcohol.

Initially very bitter, soon fades however to let the hops, and caramel malts come through. Quite pleasant once the bitterness fades. Very smooth after the initial intensity of bitter.

Nice creamy mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Bitterness is kind of tough to keep the drinkability high.

 477 characters

Photo of loren01
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from 22oz bomber an amber color with 2 finger width head. Lots and lots of lacing down the glass.
S: Smell is sweet/malty at first
T: Lots of piney flavor. Bitter aftertaste, however not overwhealmingly so.
M: Medium bodied, slighly dry
D: Pretty good red. Slighly on the heavy side, does not go down as easily as some. Nevertheless good tasting beer.

 365 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear deep amber color, light tan foam reaches a full inch and holds nicely. Good streaming carbonation throughout. Smell is mild with a caramel malt and sweet grassy hop mix. Flavor begins without much complexity, the bitterness hits first and finally I can detect some nutty malt. It just really misses the front of the tongue. Lots of hop presence but its a bit dank, and leaves a slight sourness afterward. The alcohol is fairly noticible. Mouthfeel has a good creaminess and sharp carbonaion, not bad. The main problem with this beer is the flavor, and unfortunately that's the most important part. Worth trying but I wasn't into it.

 638 characters

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

Reddish with a slight haze, it poured with a thin, light tan head that reduced to a ring. Some lacing. Clean pine and grapefruit aroma with a bit of caramel thrown in. Lots of piney hops in the flavour, with a bit of citrus and caramel. Medium body and carbonation, slightly dry. This is a tasty beer - solid malt and tons of hops. Thanks biegaman!

 348 characters

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

Appears a deep amber hue with a light tan cream head leaves even lacing. Aroma has a deep piney floral character with semi sweet caramel tone evident alcohol presence. Taste: Biscuit dough and caramel toned complex a bit of a peppery herbal, piney, floral hop bite pretty quality mix of flavors. Mouthfeel has a medium body slightly resinous evenly carbonated. Drinkability is nice but let's be serious an Imperial Red can we say IPA.

 434 characters

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

Thanks to Zorro for this bomber.

Pours a ruby/amber color with about an inch of off-white head that remains as a thin blanket the entire glass. Leaves nice rings of lacing down the glass. The smell is of sweet malts with a bit of citrus as well...very inviting. Flavor comes first from the malts...sweet and a little bready, then the hops pop up with a citrusy, bitter kick at the finish. Nicely balanced between the two. Mouthfeel is just shy of being thick and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Now, if they could only start showing up in stores around here....

 582 characters

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

Red + warm brown color, with just the right sized two finger white head. Nose is deliciousy hoppy. Dominant hop aromas are of dank resinous forest, citrus, and floral. Sweet grainy malt provides a nice backdrop for the juicy fresh hops. Pretty basic flavors but in large quanitities, and very tasty. Appropriate medium body and slick, hop resiny texture. The nice, not overwhelming, hop bitterness through the finish leaves a good juicy-dry feeling in the mouth.

Very fresh and mouthwatering. Mmmmm resinous pine.

 515 characters

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

Clear red to amber color with an off-white head that spends most of its time as a creamy sheet. Real nice resinous hop oil aroma finishes with sugary sweet grapefruits and a bit of caramel - tame yet tantalizing. Pungent citrus hops supported by a strong sweet malt and grain presence - well balanced. A mix of grassy and sprucy hops with some barley finish it off. Smooth, medium body ends up a little creamy.

The balance and tasty, sticky hop flavors make this very enjoyable. Resinous and sweet at the same time...mmmm. I love a balanced brew.

 549 characters

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

Reds are my favorite, so I was eager to try this Imperial Red. Great color came out of the bottle, a perfect deep bronze red color. You can smell the hops easily, and taste them a LOT more easily. This puppy is bursting with hops, at least two different kinds that I can't ID yet, and in great quantity. The first taste almost bowled me over. (I gave a sip to my Dad, and he nearly fell out of his chair.)

Once you get used to the hops, this is a great beer with good drinkability and excellent flavor. While I'm not as much of a hop head as some, I was still able to get into this one... eventually. With any luck, I might be able to ID the hops.

 650 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A gorgeous reddish amber with a two finger head under aggressive pouring that melts to a sticky fine lace in time.
Aroma is of sweet, sweet red malts with a slight citrus hop finish.
Taste initially rich and thick sweet red malt then melts to a balancing citrus (lemon and grapefruit)
Finishes with a lingering sweetness and bitter hops.
Mouthfeel is slightly cloying from the sweetness, but nicely bitter and drying afterwards from the hops.
A decent imperial red, but I still prefer offerings from Bear Republic and others.

 531 characters

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

Impressive, hazy orange color with a decent, thin head on top. Citrusy aroma-reminds me of the smell of an orange lollypop. Quite the mix of flavors. Grapefruit, orange baby aspirin (but in a good way), fresh cut grass, and spices-black pepper? The funny thing is they all work together. Leaves a sweet sticky flavor on my lips though the beer itself finishes dry. Good body. Overall a very interesting and unique beer. The flavors might make for too much after a bottle or 2 so I sort of knock it down a notch in drinkability. Well worth a try however.

 553 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Auburn hazy copper with a thin off white head.

S - All hops, citrus and grapefruit. Smells like a double IPA. Slightly sweet malt backbone once you search past the hops. Wonderful.

T - Sweet malt, citrus and grapefruit hops. Same as the aroma but the malt is a little more prevalent.

M - Medium body, slightly sticky.

D - Easily drinkable and very smooth. Nice and hoppy.

 388 characters

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

650ml Imperial Red, with more ridiculous but lovely nonsense on the label from Lagunitas. Nice to see this, a SEASONAL from a US micro(doesn't happen too often up here), at the Kensginton Wine Market. Popping the cap gives a wafting aroma of rubber and brown sugar. The beer's colour is in between ruby and light orangish-red. Actually the hue itself is somewhat hard to describe...but I like it. Possibly a very dark rusty water or cola with red food colouring. The head is long-lived and compact with seamless little bubbles, cream-coloured. Walls of whiter lacing that cling well. Exquisite appearance, though interestingly a little "browner" than other reds I have sampled. Aroma--now this is what I was looking for this week. After the Maximus last night and Rogue's DIPA, this beer's maltier but still hop-filled smell is a welcome guest to the nose. What I like about the aroma is how it makes you continually sniff in order to find if the hops or the malts are dominant...what's the word?...oh yeah: balance. Wonderful complementing of the thick barley notes with spicy wild citrus hops. The malting makes the first impression, burnt and almost barley-wine sweet. Phenolic, solvent-like, piquant, with notes of licorice and horehound, almost medicinal. The sugar is all here too, like bubble gum and caramel, toffee, and vanilla wafer. I also get some faint strawberry, and a little lemon. Now thrust your nose deeper into the glass and get your dose of some earthy tree-bark hoppiness, perhaps a little hard to find at first, but once they come out it really shows off how well-hopped the beer really is. Just enough. The beer's nose is fantastic. The taste does not disappoint, starting with fairly basic but tasty roasted gristiness. The beer is a little weak on the front of the tongue actually, but the middle and finish make up for it with a wonderful rush of soft but bitter hopping and leaving the mouth with lip-smacking sweetness with the floral hopping adding some sweet perfume flavours. Again, balance is the name of the game. Cinnamon and chicory, lactosy malts that bring tastes of buttered toast and peanuts. Red licorice and light brown sugar, with some mollasses. Sweet, but with enough hopping to satisfy the h-heads. Complex enough, but beyond the complexity is just the solidity of the malts working with hops and vice versa. A medium carbonation, moderate bitterness, and very little alcoholic burn make this an extremely drinkable strong red ale. Through balance, Lagunitas just made this beer WORK, by coincidence or design matters not...this is a flavourful slaker of my thirst. I will be buying more.

 2,634 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.