Imperial Brown Ale | Bayhawk Ales

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Imperial Brown AleImperial Brown Ale
39 Ratings
Imperial Brown AleImperial Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Bayhawk Ales
California, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by BucannonXC5:
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.71/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss 26th anniversary tulip glass
From: Albertsons in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $3.99
Purchased: Oct. 14, 2015
Consumed: Oct. 14, 2015
Misc.: Reviewed as an Olde Ale

Poured a dark brown, mahogany color with 2-to-3 fingers of khaki tan, frothy head, which settled nicely on the top. Average, uneven, foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Very good retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled dark chocolate, roasty malts, nuts, sweet caramel, dark toffee, dark red apple peel, faint vanilla and dark cocoa. (Smell - 3.75)

Not as much flavor in the nose as the smell, but still decent. Got dark cocoa, chocolate, roasty nuts, char wood, caramel, toffee and molasses. This would have been higher if it was I was reviewing it as an American Brown Ale. (Taste - 3.50)

Medium-to-full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.00)

This was a decent beer. This would have been much better for me had it been an ABA that I was reviewing it as. Great deal though and I’d have it again for sure. (Overall - 3.75)

3.71 | 84 | B

 1,117 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.6/5  rDev +20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #75 (April 2013):

Pretty damn interesting: So initially this brew was created due the hop shortage of 2009. While it is called an Imperial Brown Ale, the brewer’s intention is an Old Ale. Wood aging and higher ABV seem to work here, even if it is a little off-kilter. Worth a go for sure.

STYLE: Old Ale
ABV: 7.2%

LOOK: Brownish garnet, nice froth

SMELL: Subtle smoke, toasted wood, hay, apple skin, vanilla, toffee, stone fruit, yeast

TASTE: Smooth, a little creamy, malty, sweet, smoke, wood, vanilla, alcohol, modest hopping, dried grass, herbal, plums, toasty, slightly biscuity, rose water, woody finish

 665 characters

Photo of Beerswag
3.5/5  rDev +16.7%

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.35/5  rDev +45%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark, completely opaque, brown color with a full finger of off-white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Malty, bready, roasty. Notes of brown sugar, freshly baked dark bread, black pepper, floral hops and caramel. Not much in the way of hops however.

Taste: Roasted malt and slight hints of smoke, followed by some brown sugar and caramel-like sweetness, finished by some nicely balanced hops. Ends with some flavors of dried stone fruit, like prunes, figs, and raisins. There is no hops bitterness to speak of, which I overall prefer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, to slightly chewy. Not much in the carbonation department, though. With an ABV of 7.2%, there is a little bit of alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is a very good brown ale. Smooth, tasty, nicely balanced. Very enjoyable.

 954 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
2.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours two fingers of light tan head on a dark brown body.
The aroma is vanilla, nutty and roasted malt.
The taste starts with a nice vanilla and nut flavor, then turns down with a watery metallic bitterness. Odd.
The texture is crisp.
It smells fine, but the flavor is a let down.

 280 characters

Photo of rhino54
3.5/5  rDev +16.7%

Photo of ocelot2500
3.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear cola color with a quickly fading cream colored head that leaves little to no lacing.

Smells of cocoa and a little earthiness.

Tastes of pretty big cocoa notes with some mild counter notes. Cocoa dominates, but there is also some coffee to be had. This leads to a bit of brown sugar as well. Ends in an earthy hop note.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with a slightly crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is just a mediocre brown. I picked it up on a whim, and while it was better than I expected, it is still nothing that sticks out.

 551 characters

Photo of SHODriver
2.2/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

no bottling date but their website shows different packaging, not sure when they made the switch...

A: pours a medium brown with a small khaki head that quickly disappears
S: smells more like la folie than a brown ale with some sour cherry. I love sour beers but this nose has me worried for a brown ale. a little bit of chocolate and roast malt
T: sour cherry, slight roast malt, more sourness. finish has more sour flavor. I'm honestly not sure if I should drink it or drain pour it. for a brown ale it fails but for a sour beer it does alright... my intestines may hate me later
M: medium to thin with light carbonation
O: I'm not sure what's swimming in this so it's going to go down the sink... I haven't poured out a beer in years.

UPDATE: shot an e-mail to the brewery to see if it was intentional or if they messed up and they're saying that it's supposed to be sour and that it's the yeast since they don't inoculate it with any bacteria.

 949 characters

Photo of pin
2/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of wolf_switzer
3/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Zorro
3.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bayhawk Ales has a pretty poor reputation for selling infected beers, I hope this one doesn't live up to that reputation.

This one does not seem to be infected, so far so good.

Clear brown colored ale with a very small tan colored head.

Smells sweet with the aroma of rose petals coffee and chocolate. Grassy hop scent with some flowers.

Starts out sweet with a fairly strong patent malt taste. Tastes of coffee and chocolate but not that strongly, frankly this is a little too sweet.

Mouthfeel is light.

Overall it is OK. Not much more than a basic brown ale.

 566 characters

Photo of Voldigar
3.92/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at the grocery store in Irvine, CA.

Look: Very little head, dark brown with reddish tone. No lace.
Smell: Immediate strong odor. Cocoa, reminiscent of a brownie. Very sweet smell.
Taste: Coffee, alcohol is prominent but not overpowering. Smoky notes and a moderately salty.
Feel: Very effervescent. Unusual after observing the almost non-existent head. Lingering dryness and sting in the mouth. Stops and foams at the front of the palate.

Overall: Enjoyable like dark chocolate. Warm and easy to drink. Many layers of flavor and hints of scotch ale style.

 567 characters

Photo of pperez38
2.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Jemonster
3.59/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice brown-amber with a thin off-white head. A few medium sized bubbles in the glass. Good clarity.

S: Honey and sweet smelling malts. Clean and light hop scents. Pineapple.

T: Sweet tropical fruits and sourness like a gueuze. Fresh sourdough. This beer is very lightly hopped, barely any bitterness here. Different and unexpected.

M: Light body and high carbonation like a summer beer. Thin.

O: Not bad but not really my style.

 435 characters

Photo of quantumcipher
2.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Rick778
2.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of jdhilt
3.21/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Clear amber color. Nose light malty. I got lucky this is not sour. Flavor is a malty, nutty brown, nothing special; what makes this an imperial brown?? Dry finish. $2.99 for a 22oz bottle from Liquorama Upland, CA.

 338 characters

Photo of KevMo84
3.5/5  rDev +16.7%

Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
4/5  rDev +33.3%

Photo of kojevergas
1.78/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

1 pint 6 fl oz (651 ml) brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given the brewery. Acquired at Hi Time Liquor in Costa Mesa, California. I don't recall the cost.

Not paired with food.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with a little extra vigor as slight carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger head of khaki colour, without any real cream, rather thin, and of bad retention (~40 seconds). Colour is a very dark nontransparent non-opaque amber-brown. No floating yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Dark malts, amber hops, fruit syrup, and malt extract. A mild strength aroma. Not very appealing. Not really even to style. This is shaping up to be rather poor.

T: Bland dark malts and syrupy extract. A bit of stale biscuit malt. No yeast or cream. Some alcohol creeps in. A simple, badly built, bland and boring flavour profile. Badly balanced. Not at all complex or subtle. Very dull and uninspired. Poorly executed for the style; this should be nutty with some cream.

Mf: Undercarbonated. Too smooth and wet. Even a touch of astringency is notable. Syrupy. Too thick.

Dr: Hard to drink due to its poor flavour. I wouldn't ever get this again. A poor offering from Bayhawk. I hope it's better on draught.


 1,449 characters

Photo of LeapintoBeer
1/5  rDev -66.7%

Photo of Donkster46
4.03/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was unique. I enjoyed this. Didn't taste sour to me. Maybe the previous reviews got a bad batch.

101 characters

Photo of mactrail
1.59/5  rDev -47%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This is a 22 oz bottle purchased at a store in San Diego. Only description on the label is the name and the abv. No date.

It's spoiled, so I'm just posting this review to warn others who like me can't resist an oddity. Looks OK, it just has that sour-bitter stomach churning taste of bacteria having a bacchanal. A couple sips to confirm, a couple more to wish I hadn't, and I'm out to the garden for the big pour.

For the record, claims:
Original Gravity: 1060
Est. Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Grist: Pale Malt, Chocolate Malt & Rolled Oats
Hops: Chinook & Willamettes
Type of Beer: Olde English Brown Ale
IBU's: 23

 635 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.8/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich amber-brown hue with no haze. Head pours a minimal layer of frothy tan foam. Color good, head unimpressive.

Smell: sweet, caramelly, nutty and toasty. It's got kind of a Nutella vibe going on that I really like.

Taste: caramelly and nutty up front, falling into a toasty finish. Sweet all the way through, but with a tannic character through the middle. Other that that, not too bad.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: a decent beer, if a little on the sweet side. I really like the aroma, though.

 606 characters

Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.21/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

A – Pours a deep cola color with a one-finger head which disappeared almost immediately, with decent clumpy/patchy lacing.

S – Sweet malt, brown sugar, whiskey (whiskey barrel aged?) and alcohol esters.

T – STRONG whisky/alcohol presence followed by sweet slightly dextrin-y malt. Some molasses character. Almost no hop presense. Finishes hot with every bit of it’s 7.2% coming through. Tiniest hint of sourness in the finish, but I would NOT classify this brew as spoiled, I believe it’s supposed to be there.

M – A little thin, medium to low carbonation. Slightly syrupy/oily.

O – I enjoyed this but I feel the whiskey character may be too “hot” for most. Seems a little immature, as if they bottled this too early. Perhaps could have benefited from a bit more aging. If you enjoy whiskey infused beers, this might be for you.

 886 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Imperial Brown Ale from Bayhawk Ales
Beer rating: 3 out of 5 with 39 ratings