Red Skull
Revolution Brewing

Red SkullRed Skull
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American Imperial Red Ale
4.07 | pDev: 9.58%
Revolution Brewing
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Red SkullRed Skull
Notes: Our Imperial Red Ale is brewed with whole Cascade hops and dry-hopped in both the fermenter and the serving tank with whole Crystal hops. A flavorful, hoppy delight balanced with caramel sweetness and alcohol warmth.
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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 238
Photo of dukeandduke
3.29/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

10/9/18 (Chicago): $7.74 12 oz 9.3% ABV draft pour into a tulip glass at the Revolution Brewpub on Milwaukee. Dark red pour, light off-white lacing. Faint sweet citrus aroma. Light citrus hop taste, abv well masked, nice balance. Thin crisp mouth feel. Overall good offering.

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Photo of BrewThru_29
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks amazing. Beautiful, deep, red caramel color with a solid head that reduces to a thin soapy layer. There is a hoppy aroma that is primarily pine. Nice balance between the hops and caramel malt sweetness on the taste. Smooth mouthfeel with a good level of carbonation. Overall, this is one of my favorite reds, and another great brew from the folks at Revolution.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, reddish-brown in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is dry herbal hops, sweet caramel, toasted malt, and brown sugar. Complex for the style. This is probably my favorite Revolution beer that I have had. I will get this again.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

L - Beautiful transparent, glowing ruby red with a finger of yellowish head.

S - Sweet malts, pine, and citrus

T - Dank hops at the front followed by big pine tree, caramel, and a touch of citrus. Wet pine tree and an underlying maple syrup flavor.

F - Full-bodied with no alcohol taste. Smooth with a clean finish.

O - A slight knock for a lack of a more intense hop presence, but still has a full flavor palette of citrus, pine, and caramel.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep red in color with great clarity. Ample off white head, that lingers and laces moderately. The nose is caramel, bready, a little pine, resin. Bitterness hits the tongue first, with piney hops, maltiness, and caramel. The aftertaste is bitter, piney, slight alcohol heat. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium, high carbonation. Very nice imperial red.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, warm hopped up strong Red Ale. Love the caramel color and nose here - this comes across on the palate too. Big mouthfeel and slightly sweet back end notes that balance out the aggressive hopping.

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Photo of biegaman
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red Skull is circled by a ligament of stained white lacing and glows with a bloody, iodine-like complexion. It's an appearance as spooky and Halloween-worthy as its label. And it's an outright handsome beer in its own right; highlights abound despite the deep tone (slivers of clarity too).

If others are anything like me, the first sniff will prompt an enthusiastic "hell ya!". There's toasty, caramel-kissed malts as well as piny, citric hops - what's not to love?! The only thing it could use - and this is true of the beer writ large - is more confidence; it's a tad modest for all it offers.

There's such an interplay between the hops and malts that Revolution could promote the brewery for corporate team-building excursions. And they could cash in on the health-food craze too - this has all the elements it needs, it tastes like a smoothie comprised of leafy greens, grapefruit, orange, lychee, green tea, pine serum and a spoonful of unpasteurized honey for flavour.

This duo is exactly the kind of teamwork I look for in an imperial red ale - the malts act as the 'dance-around-the-defenders' kind of running back, while whole flower Chinooks are more the 'bang-and-bruise' between-the-tackles power back. Touchdown either way. And what about that 8.3% alcohol? No, seriously, what about it? It's nowhere to be found.

Revolution has a growing reputation as one of the best breweries in the American Mid-West and Red Skull makes a compelling first impression. Exceptionally approachable and balanced for a beer with its strength and hop-drenched specs, this is clearly the offering of a producer with a good head on the their shoulder - and not just an empty (red) skull.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on draft in a snifter at Beelow's.

There's still a hint of "The Best of Me" rolling around my brain, so let's order up a third Step, eh? This stuff pours a clear garnet-ruby topped by a finger or so of khaki foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, light mint, mild pine sap, orange zest, light dried caramel, and a bit of French toast. The taste brings in more of the same, the bright fruits mixing with the sweet-ish caramel and maple and some extra greens to form a well-wrought tapestry of flavor. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a rather smooth feel. Overall, this is a very well-done red, something I look forward to having again.

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Photo of emerge077
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Jenny for introducing me to this one!
Served in a footed tulip at the brewery.

Deep copper amber, saturated red color, sharp clarity. Striated rings of lacing in the glass, long lasting retention on the surface.

Tropical hop aroma, fruity tangerine and passion fruit linger in dried form. Caramel malt lingers underneath, though the sweetness is an undercurrent and never overpowers. Taste follows suit, burly caramel malt, well offset by fruity hop character, throwing off passion fruit and sweet citrus. Pretty nice. Very well balanced, full bodied and smooth.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz, bottled 8/28/2014, 8.3% ABV
A 3.5 - ruddy brown colored ale with a thinner beige head that quickly fades to a foam
S 4.25 - big aroma with caramel, bread, pine, fruit, grapefruit
T 3.75 - bold flavors as well with sweet caramel, bread crust, tropical fruit, grapefruit, pine. Nice balance between both sweet and pungent.
M 3.5 - medium body, resinous, alcohol is quite hot and takes away from the experience
O 3.75 - I liked this, but wasn't crazy over it. Although I'm happy to have tried this one, I know of another Imperial red ale that I like more than this one - and it's half the price.

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Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev -1.7%

2014-09-06: Sample poured at the Kedzie brewery.

Pours clear, dark, brown-red. Smell is mild, roasty, with plenty of caramel.

Taste is strong pine bitterness and strong caramel or toffee.

Mouthfeel is thick and stick. Overall, quite good.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle dated 10/1/13 poured into a pint glass
A: Burnt orange color with a one-finger head
S: Grapefruit, pineapple, malt and toffee
T: Lots of toffee and caramel. Honestly some of the most I've ever tasted in a beer. This is followed by orange zest, roasted malt and tropical fruits.
M: Medium+ bodied
O: By the time I got to the end of the bottle I thought this ended up a touch sweet but overall this is a well made, tasty beer that fits the style but has its own personality and I wouldn't hesitate to drink it again

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Photo of MarriedAtGI
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very malty red ale with plenty of hop flavor to balance. Smooth bitterness, not harsh at all. Color is a bit lighter than other imperial reds leaning more to a dark orange, and quite hazy. The aroma is modest especially compared to the rich complexity of flavors. Caramel, floral, a hint of citrus. I would buy this again.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/1/2013. Pours slightly hazy reddish orange color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, slight pine, and floral earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balanced hop and malt notes; and great strength. Taste of grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, herbal, light pine, and floral earthiness. Light earthy floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, orange/lemon zest, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity of bright citrus hop and deep malt flavors; with a great hop/malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent imperial red ale! All around great complexity and balance of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Florida9
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark reddish amber in color. Clear. Forms a moderat sized off-white colored head. Excellent retention and copious amounts of sticky lace.

S: A pleasant blend of piney hops, grapefruit, and caramel maltiness.

T: Taste is more of the same. Certainly more hop forward than most for the style (which isn't bad thing by any means). A good dose of caramel malts, a mild-to-moderate sweetness, then citrus rind, grapefruit, and a little bit of pine. Sweet, almost creamy-syrupy, on the finish.

M: On the heavier side of medium. Full bodied. Mild bitterness. Low-medium carbonation.

O: A very nice example of the style. Glad I picked this one up.

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Photo of nesbitetennis
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Clear dark amber with a frothy pale golden head

S: Citrus hops are predominant, with a hint of the sweet malt ahead.

T: Opens with a sweet maltiness balanced by the hops. Finishes heavy and warm, like an Imperial should, with some residual bitterness and lingering sweetness.

M: Thick and heavy, with carbonation at the front end that dissipates quickly. The mouthfeel lasts quite a while, reminding me where it’s been and making my mouth clamor for more.

O: The flavors are simple but complement each other well. Red Skull forces me to savor the taste, but it’s not as aggressive as the name nor the label insinuate. A very pleasant beer when you have the time to let it sit.

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Photo of DeFaz
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Was served with a pleasant looking fairly bright amber color with some lacing. Smell was nice, with some caramel from the malt and some pine from the hops and the alcohol well concealed. The taste was similar, with fruit, caramel, and pine, and the flavors were fairly bold and the alcohol was again hidden. The mouthfeel was the only thing off for me, as it was somewhat too thin and undercarbonated. Overall, this was a good, but not exceptional beer. Perhaps it was served too cold, but nothing stuck out here too much, although it was nicely balanced.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark rust orange with a heavy red hue, little to no head to speak of.

Citrus, pine, earthy, just absolutely refreshing.

Citrus and tropical fruit is quickly balanced by a caramel malt backbone and the two flavors seem to do a tango on the tongue before making there way down your esophagus.

Mouthfeel is bright, crisp, and well balanced with hop vs caramelly malt.

Overall another red ale to prove I do like red ales.

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Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
Liquor World - Kankakee, IL

Bottled: 10/1/13
Drank: 11/1/13

I can smell dank hoppiness the second I pop the top. The pour produces a surprisingly clear garnet beer with tarnished penny highlights when backlit. A beige head grows to a finger in height before slowly receding to a solid, creamy cap. Thick, chunky lace remains after each drink. A fine looking beer!

Big fistfuls of pine and grapefruit kick things off. A substantial but clean malt bill holds down the fort with caramel and white toast in that order of intensity. Don't get me wrong, the malt profile is expressive but the hops run the show. Tropical notes and dank resin become more apparent with warming. This beer is smelling good.

The caramel is upfront in the flavor more so than in the nose along with the white toast. The malt profile is crisp and clean where many reds seem muddled to me. Orange and sweetened grapefruit pull through with a substantial hoppiness. A touch of pineapple in the middle before a big, bold pine and resinous bitter washes over the tastebuds on the swallow. Red Skull is pretty heavily hopped.

There's a little more stick than your average moderate body but a drying finish cleans things up. The bitterness becomes solid after a few drinks and lingers until the next. No signs of alcohol in the least.

I've always been a fan of caramel forward hoppy red ales but they're tough to find. Red Skull fits the profile nicely with a bigger kick of alcohol than expected. Clean, bitter, and drinkable sums this guy up easily. This will be in my near future.

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Photo of Fcolle2
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in colors with some hues of red and a slight brown tint that give it a little darker of an appearance. Head is beige, about one finger, and has decent retention.

Smell is good a little more hop forward than I was expecting but hop aromas are very Pleasant. Some good fresh citrus, mainly grapefruit forward along with a little pine aroma. Malt follows and has a decent presence. Rich sweet caramel and a husky grain aroma.

Taste is great. More more malt comes out in the taste and seems to be very well balanced. some good toasted cracker like malt is forward along with some lighter grain husk flavors. Hops are also present on the front end and has some light pine and herbal flavors.

Mouthfeel is good, medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a surprising medium bitterness.

Overall this was a good red, hoppier and much more bitter then expected but not in an off putting way. Nice balance and good flavors to complement the change in seasons.

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Photo of BB1313
3.79/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a orangish copper; slightly transparent with a slight haze; small off-white head that fades quickly and leaves decent retention and lacing. Great color. The aromas are full of caramel malts. It has hints of grapefruit and orange peel. Nice aromas, but they don't pop. The flavors have great hop bitterness. The malts get in the way of the hop flavor, but this is a red ale, so that is definitely to be expected. Lots of sweet caramel. There's some pine needles and pine sap in the mix. Some grapefruit juice here and there as well. Slightly spicy. There might be some black pepper and/or rye in the mix. Alcohol goes unnoticed and there's not much warmth, but it has an extremely subtle alcohol bite to it. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and slick, but not syrupy; nice moderate carbonation. It's smooth and crisp. Makes a nice beer to relax with. Everything opens up as it warms up.

This is a very solid Imperial Red Ale. No gimmicks and they don't try anything flashy. It's just straight forward and well crafted. There's a solid bite to this one.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: copper/shiny, trace off-white head, great lacing

S: brilliant grapefruit, lemon zest, fresh pine

T: big grapefruit, decent malt middle, piney bitter finish

M: med body, oily feel

O: Enjoy this local brewery + love supporting them.
One criticism, wish this Imp Red had more
malt feel and taste.


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Photo of joeseppy
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Soft red burgundy hue with a dense 'pink' head.

Gargantuan juicy aromas of oranges and grapefruit. Malt, rye, tarry pine and burnt sugar sweetness.

Pleasant sweet malt front, citrus in the middle and resinous hop numbing sensation on the tongue with rye ringing through the nasal cranium. Love the alcohol sensation that keeps this real.

Dense body, chewy and voluptuous. Great cold but I really enjoyed when it warmed up.

Real close to Green Flash Imp Red. Just freakin' delicious. This one is a Hat Trick for sure.

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Photo of bschinelli
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap at the tap room, and liked it so much I kept going back to get growlers till it ran out.

A - Pours a a deep red into the glass, with an off white colored head with tight, compact bubbles. The head drops somewhat quickly into the glass, leaving a bit of creamy lacing.

S - Pretty strong aroma of pine and tangerine, but you do catch some malt.

T - Lots of pine and citrus in the first sip, but that's balanced by the taste of caramel malt as it slides over the tongue, finishing with a pleasant heat from the alcohol.

M - Has a good mouthfeel with enough carbonation to balance out the nose and taste.

O - I liked this beer - chalk it up to personal taste. I can't say why it resonated, but it did.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Revolution.

A - Pours a reddish color, cream-colored head, spotty lace.

S - Lots of pine and citrus, some sweeter malty caramel notes, but mostly piney hops and sweeter malts.

T - Similar to the nose, but quite a bit more alcohol. Pine, citrus, caramel, malts. The taste is nice, but I think that the alcohol is a little too much here.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, oily/sweet finish.

O - A little too much alcohol for 8%, but otherwise, not a bad Imperial Red. Would have again, but not make a special trip to try. Decent.

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Red Skull from Revolution Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 238 ratings