Clown Shoes

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American Imperial Red Ale
4.14 | pDev: 7.25%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: We like dinosaurs. We especially like Rexx, our prehistoric pal who wears clown shoes, drinks bourbon, and spends his doomed days in exile from the other Tyrannosauruses, choosing to romp with friendlier beasts. Rexx, we dedicate this Imperial Red Ale aged in Heaven Hill and Four Roses bourbon barrels to you, buddy!
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 314 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SABERG
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle 2018 version into the test glass.
A - Red cedar colored with nice clarity. A quick pour can coach a short lived froth, during the experience 4 ever present surface breaks are from that gentle carbonation.
S - Vanilla, bourbon notes are the theme, some toasted malts, and toffee, raspberry,a hint of sugar all add to the nose
T - Follows the nose well, not much deviation, with the exception of fresh fig.
M - A bit slick, semi sweet start stays through the experience. Linger is like candy
O - A very bid red for sure. I like the barrel treatment, well executed

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tap, 2015 aged

Pours mostly clear deep cherry red. Yellowish lacing for a head.

Aroma is of biscuit, toffee, brown sugar and fig.

Flavor is of rich caramel, toffee, fig, biscuit, maple and toast.

Fuller body, minimal carbonation. Boozy warmth going down.

Very rich and flavorful. Drinks slow but pretty smooth. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of stephens101
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This brew has a deep reddish-brown hue. A finger of tan froth fades into a smattering of lace. Molasses and various fruits such as persimmon, cherry and raspberry are strong to the nose. Taste involves more molasses, a drop of maple syrup and semi-tart cherries as well as a touch of caramel along with gum, pine and a lingering bourbon alcohol heat. A hint of cinnamon spice is noticed later. Medium in body, smooth and somewhat creamy, and has a nice amount of carbonation which keeps it a bit lighter than expected.

A very well-rounded take on a style that I haven't tried in a long while; one that frequently seems to get pushed aside in the rush toward the hazy/hoppy/sour brews.

Stoked to have this one on the shelf here, because I'm definitely going back for more.

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Photo of russpowell
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This 2018 offering pours egffervescent with an auburn/orange hue & 1 finger of cream colored head. Nice lacing & average head retention

S: Toasty malt, Whisky notes once warm

T: Toasty malt with a little hint of Bourbon, plus barrel dryness up front, leafy hops & raisin as well. Bourbon & cakeyness as this warms, plenty of dryness as well. Finishes with woody & toasty notes, plenty dry

MF: Fairly chewy, subdued carbonation, builds once warm

A solid take on the style, but kind of below the curve of these guys

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Photo of Chico1985
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Never had it fresh so my first experience is with a bottle that's just over 2 years old. Went into it skeptical cuz it's a red ale but figured; barrel-aged and 12%, should hold up. And what a surprise when this wound up being incredible. Mostly cuz the bourbon presence here is amazing and more or less makes the beer; no hops or really particular red ale-ness but especially at this ABV it essentially comes off as a bourbon barrel barleywine. Tons of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, maple, toasty bourbony malty goodness, chocolate notes. Definitely warming but wouldn't peg it for 12%, lotta bourbon for sure but its immense flavor smooths over the booze. Sneaks up on you.

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Photo of SaxmanRick
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap into tulip glass. Dark amber-red ale with no head and only a slight ring lacing. Smell is mostly bourbon with slight malt sweetness. Taste was mostly bourbon (hot), which covered up other flavors. There was some "red" in the aftertaste...more as it warmed up. Mouthfeel was rather thin.

This was too boozy. More aging would have likely improved my experience.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"We like dinosaurs. We especially like Rexx, our prehistoric pal who wears clown shoes, drinks bourbon, and spends his doomed days in exile from the other Tyrannosauruses, choosing to romp with friendlier beasts. Rexx, we dedicate this Imperial Red Ale aged in Heaven Hill and Four Roses bourbon barrels to you, buddy!" Brewed in the style of an Imperial Red Ale aged in bourbon barrels. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a foamy frothed head of a pale caramel tan shade over a moderately hazy maple red body with fine sediment and relaxed carbonation. Retention is very good and lacing is moderate and patchy. 4.5

(Smell) Bread and caramel malts with a soft graininess, soft bourbon undertones with subtleties of toasted oak, vanilla and leather, and a high cleanliness. Potency is moderate. 4

(Taste) Spicy caramel grains, moderate bread malts and nutty toffee with a moderate sweetness, finishing with a delicate bourbon-laced finish, with subtleties of mostly oak tannins and lesser vanilla rounding out the beer. Strong malty flavor, edgy alcohol presence and a subtle but enjoyable impact of graceful bourbon. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, slightly creamy, smooth, medium dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is slightly grain alcohol, earthy bitterness and bourbon over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) Rexx is a decent Red Ale with a bit too much gruff going for the malt profile, and not enough flavor diversity comparatively from the subtle inclusion of the bourbon barrels, which stand out as a high point of this beer if it wasn't against such malt volume. Decent balance, but a bit hot from the grain and bourbon alcohol, and Rexx wears its ABV on its sleeve. That said, it's a gradual sipper of an ale and more enjoyable than not, but it's difficult to avoid its rough edges. 3.75

Clown Shoes'
Rexx: Imperial Red Ale

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz bottle in a snifter. This might red ale pours a murky brownish
red color with a nice head of light tan foam that settles to a thick ring, thin layer,
and excellent lacing. Nose of bourbon, vanilla, brown sugars, and heavy spicy hops.
Flavors lightly exceed the nose with a strong bourbon backbone mingling with a deep
dark brown sugar flavor awash in a spicy bittering hop note that cuts through the sweetness
and bourbon that exhibits notes of oak and vanilla. Nice mouth feel, lightly dry and VERY warming
with a sweet and hoppy finish. Overall a nice little brew.


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Photo of jmasher85
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a beast, this dinosaur is! A dark, murky, ruby red ale sits underneath a cascading wave of foamy head, which in turn quickly disperses into a rich, thick lacing.

Flavor-wise, this beer has nothing up its sleeves - everything you expect a bourbon barrel-aged imperial red ale to taste like, this does. Heavy on the malts, but just a hint of lightness provided by the hops to balance it out and keep it from being too sweet. Woody, tannic bourbon flavor is equally present on the nose and tongue. Certainly not smooth, but not devastating either, and with just a bit of nectarine smell, honey taste, and grapefruit rind finish, this is a complex, multi-faceted, and potent lizard king of a beer!

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Photo of Stevem68
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a caramel Amber. Aroma is boozy and malty with notes of oak and vanilla. Flavor is bourbon and caramel malts. Has vanilla sweetness with some oak sharpness. Has a rich smooth feel with a little bit of heat from the bourbon. Overall a very solid beer.

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Photo of beaulabauve
3.47/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The alcohol flavor is way too over-powering. More malt is needed to balance this baby out. Not much of a head. I can't even finish the glass. Yuck!

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Photo of ManapuaMan
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Mellowed in my cellar for about 8 months; just never got around to drinking it. Garnet and mahogany pour. Thick head that lingers. Nose of bourbon, malt, light hops and wood. Taste follows suit with a light vanilla and toffee on the backend from the bourbon; an overall big toasted malt body. Big, enjoyable beer that's worth a taste. The bourbon characteristics were more mellow than I'd like and the time in the cellar certainly didn't help. I'll drink this fresh next time around.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Building a beast of a beer isn't easy- When done the Clown Shoes way, it requires a lot of toasty, caramelly malts, a boat-load of hops and not just one bourbon barrel, but two. With the use of Heaven Hill and Four Roses, the construction of an imperial amber ale is complete. Besides, who doesn't like t-rex?

Deep and hazy rust in color, the ale rises with a hoppy perfume of dried citrus, herbal and grassy scents along with a toasty, nutty malt base. Its early taste is malty with over-cooked caramel, toasted pecan, bread crust and a light spice cake texture.

And as the middle palate develops, the malt begins to retract and the hops start to project- bringing the sharp citrusy taste of white grapefruit, under-ripened orange, and a herbal not of lemon verbena. With the bitterness setting in, the ale trends piney, grassy and stemmy with suggestions of tea and freshly shaven spruce. As the barrel nuances play gently in the background, their own vanilla and caramel accompany a nutty, toasty finish.

Medium-full, the beer's texture is dried through its high hopping rates, receding caramel sweetness, alcohol warmth and the barrel's tannin spice to the level of an ale that's just as drinkable as it is a slow and sipping affair. Its bitter aftertaste is sharply of citrus and torn pine needles.

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Photo of metter98
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber in color and some has no visible carbonation along with some particulates visible near the bottom of the glass. It poured with a short light beige head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of vanilla and oak are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, having flavors of vanilla and oak from the bourbon barrel aging along with notes of underlying caramel malts.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The bourbon lends a touch of warming to the finish.
O: This beer is exceptionally drinkable because except for the bourbon, you don't get any alcohol in the taste. It's a nice choice if you like bourbon barrel aged beers but don't want something heavier like a barleywine or an imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Rastal Teku glass from a 1 pt 6 oz bottle on February 5, 2016. Look is hazy mahogany red with a one finger cream head and spots of lacing. Smell is sweet bourbon wood, vanilla bean, graham crackers, caramel, brown sugar, grain, dark fruit and faint earthy hop aromas. Taste is caramel, biscuit malt, toffee, dark fruit and herbal hop flavors. Feel is full in body with light carbonation that leads to a syrupy finish.

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a mahogany red with one finger of medium density head that dissipates quickly. Nose is sweet with bourbon and caramel. Taste is similar to a barrel aged barleywine, but with a bit more hop character. Not overly sweet, quite enjoyed. Good body that finishes with a little bit. Glad I have another in the cellar!

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Photo of buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

1 Pint 6 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours a murky brown color with tea colored highlights. It is topped with barely any tan head that disappears quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

The smell has a lot of bourbon components. I get bourbon, caramel, and vanilla. It definitely has a sweet aroma.

The taste starts out with a little bourbon. Then the caramel and vanilla try to come through but get interrupted by the remnants of the red ale with some faded hops and toasted malt.

Low carbonation and chalky

This is one of those beers that if I had a four ounce sample I would have said it was great and I needed a full pour. Then when I get the full pour I realize that it is just too much. I really liked the first few sips. Then there was just something that detracted from the flavor. I think it was the faded hop taste, and it was kind of sweet. I should have shared this one rather than be greedy. Bad beer advocate!

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Photo of NolaHopHead
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber. Pours deep amber with thin white head. Caramel malt n bourbon aroma, wood there also. Tastes like a BA Barleywine, sweet malt with bourbon barrel taste, balanced but boozy. Dry bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel. Powerful but good tasting brew for a sipper.

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Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly good, though less than expected hops. The bourbon, and I am not a strong bourbon fan, was complex and right there without being overpouring. Very drinkable, good malting.

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Photo of craftaholic
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was a truly delicious beer. The nose was fantastic, the taste was on point and the graphics were cool like most clown shoes styles are! It's absolutely amazing how drinkable it is for the abv which I knew better and decided not to session it and wake up under the bar

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - Pretty damn ugly murky burgundy turning to mud brown. A finger of off-white/yellowish head.

S - A lot of English Barleywine toffee and caramel, some sweet bourbon, and a sprinkle of pine.

T - A big malt presence and flavors are subdued from the aroma. surprising dark fruits, figs, and raisins. An interesting molasses flavor reminds of an Old Ale. Bourbon is nice and bold along with oak from the barrel. The base red ale comes through with hop bitterness and spruce.

F - A little thin for a 12% BA beer, but not eatery. No alcohol presence and not even a warming in the chest or throat.

O - Despite the thin feel, there is a lot of flavor and complexity packed into this. So much so that I wouldn't even call it a Red Ale as all of the flavors actually pull in characteristics from other styles. In any case, this is another notch in the Clown Shoes BA program.

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Photo of Monsta-beer-drinker
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The smell is sweet with loads of bourbon and Dark fruit, some vanilla. Taste is raisons, bourbon, some more bourbon, and a touch hoppy. A medium mouthfeel. Finishes real sweet with some heat. Knew this was above 10% immediately Looked it up and sure enough a 12% monster. Stuff is smooth with dark fruit and loaded with barrel flava. Get some and try it. Very much like an old ale/barleywine. Cheers connoisseurs

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We pour off this tantalizing Tyrannosaur into our Crooked Stave snifters. It sits a burnt cider coloring, and puts up an immediate head of one finger. This is the color of cream soda and, although it recedes quickly, it leaves a peripheral aggregate of large, milky looking bubbles. Dots of lacing are left where the head once stood. A heavy haze obscures the beer’s clarity, but this doesn’t seem to be accompanied by any sediment. Carbonation appears to be lightly medium. Before you even formally approach the beer to assess its aromatics, you get faced with a pushing curtain of beautifully sweet bourbon woodiness. Getting your nose actually into the thing starts to unravel its deeper complexities, with wafting notes of clean vanilla bean, graham crackers, massive caramel, brown, and, to a lesser extent, amber graininess, syrupy fruitiness of dark cherries and prunes, vinyl plastics, sugary tangerine juiciness, smoked brown sugar, forgotten leathers, hot booziness, hazelnut shells, red velvet cake moistness with sticky cream cheese frosting, the mildest earthen hoppiness, and melty buttery diacetyls. Rexx, you are one boozy beast!! No wonder you want to hang out with the “friendlier” sauruses!! If that didn’t make it clear, the flavoring is absolutely dominated by the heavy, bitter, syrupy, wooded booziness of bourbon. You get so much of that woodiness, without the sweeter corn of the spirit to sweeten it out. It is more bitter than hot, but stark all the same. Notes include big tannic caramel malt sugars, more biscuity red grain, hot almond extract, dried coconut husk, salted toffee, mild bittering herbal hops, green strawberry tops, sweaty nylon, cornmeal, mineral water, malt vinegar, booze-soaked raisins, buttered oatmeal raisin cookies, buttery diacetyls, distant pineapple syrupiness, candied mallow sweetness, red cherry pits, tarry molasses, unsweetened cocoa, cotton scented detergent, and browned apple sweetness. The body is full, creeping towards the syrupy side when fully warmed. Carbonation is lightly moderate, but froths up with pleasant bubbliness. Each sip gives hearty slurp and smack, with creaminess that coats the mouth thickly. It spews warming qualities, from the tongue’s tip to its base, with slickly sticky astringency as it airs out across the mouth. The abv is largely present, as expected, and drinkability sits amongst the slowest of sippers.

Overall, the standout component of this beer is its aroma. From the time you crack it, even at fridge temps, the bourbon is beautifully present. It is much fuller, and more rounded through the nose, whereas in the flavoring you get more of its bittering, wood-based qualities. Regardless, wherever you’re experiencing the barreling, it is inviting, warm, and expertly executed. They push this beer so far to the extreme than any “imperial red ale” notes are seemingly lost. It certainly isn’t very hoppy, and drinks more like the bigger strong ales or American barleywines that aren’t hopped to the maximum. The malt profile is deep and grinding, but it seems necessary to hold up to such a big barreling. Anything lighter and it wouldn’t have anything to sink its teeth into. The balance would be too skewed and contradictory. This is a succulent, indulgent offering from Clown Shoes and, if nothing else, it expands the horizons of what is possible with a red ale.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Upon pouring this is was quickly clear that this is not your typical red ale. The color is dark amber and the body is very murky from the bourbon barrel aging. There's a fingernail of beige around the rim and covering the majority of the middle. All is smell in the nose at first is sweet bourbon. As it warmed later I did get some amber malt notes. It tastes very strongly of sweet bourbon initially and then you do get some of the bitter hop notes at the back of the palate. The mouth is chewy and sticky.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: brownish red. Nice foamy head. S: caramel, molasses, vanilla, malt. T: follows nose, but hops are very present along with rich malty tones and loads of bourbon. F: medium when cold, smooth and rich when warmed up. O: another hit from Clown Shoes.

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Rexx from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 314 ratings