Red Skull | Revolution Brewing

Red SkullRed Skull
234 Ratings
Red SkullRed Skull

Brewed by:
Revolution Brewing
Illinois, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by homebrew311 on 12-10-2011

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 234 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

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.

 576 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

 1,393 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of vfgccp
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

 687 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of BeerOps
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of MasterSki
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Revolution. Served in a tulip.

A - A finger of off-white foam settles to a thick creamy cap, leaving behind splotches of lacing. Transparent, ruby red body.

S - Big Cascade hop presence imparts tons of oranges, but there's a bigger brown sugar, caramel, and light cocoa malt backdrop that reveals the Imperial Red side of the equation. There's a bit of dank pine as well that I'm guessing is from the Crystal dry hops. Served a bit too cold, so this was a muted when I got it - give it a bit of time to warm up.

T - Taste is also generous with ripe, juicy oranges, with perhaps a touch of herbaceous character in the finish. Thankfully, the astringency that plagued Hop Princess is mostly gone. Some lightly browned sugar and icing sugar malt character. Bitterness creeps up fairly quickly and becomes palate-bruising by the end of the tulip.

M - Carbonation is a bit higher than I like, and starts off a bit harsh and zesty before settling down. Dry, crisp, medium body, with no obvious alcohol, and tons of residual hop oils and resins.

D - It's nowhere near as awesome Red Scare, but it's significantly better than Hop Princess. I'm generally not a huge fan of Imperial Reds, but this is a good take on the style and is dangerously drinkable. I found the balance between hops and malts to work well here, and I put down my tulip quite quickly (although I was assisted by the excessive crowd density at Revolution, which made me want to drink elsewhere).

 1,471 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

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

Photo of Davepoolesque
4/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

 1,697 characters

Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

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Red Skull from Revolution Brewing
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 234 ratings
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