Double Dread Imperial Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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Double Dread Imperial Red AleDouble Dread Imperial Red Ale

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cswhitehorse on 06-04-2009

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 157
Photo of jimicoop
4.97/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite brews by one of my favorite breweries. It has great balance, aroma and taste. The aromatic wheat malt gives it a roasty full flavor and balances well with the hops and ABV. The hop profile is multidimensional and really adds to the complexity of the flavor and aroma. I hope they brew this one often! Awesomeness. :)

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Photo of jondeelee
4.62/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Double Dread begins with a lovely, sugary nose, full of fruit esters (apricot, nectarine, berries, bananas) and brown sugars, topped with a subtle hint of flowery perfumes, like fresh wildflower honey. A touch of toasted grains adds light biscuit and toast undertones. The result is a thoroughly intoxicating aroma.

On the tongue, the beer is just as sugary as the nose lets on, beginning with a blast of berry, then moving into a darker, but still sugary mode filled with dark fruit esters (cherry, raisin, fig) and caramelized brown sugars, as well as toasted nut and Grape Nuts-like cereal undertones. The sweetness is tempered by a perfectly-balanced addition of hops, which adds just enough citrus bitterness to prevent the brew from turning into liquid sugar. The aftertaste does show off more of the hops, but enough sugars make it through that even the aftertaste is delicious. Mouthfeel is a creamy medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent Imperial Red: well-balanced, flavorful, and quite drinkable. So finely tuned is this brew that the 8.6% ABV is virtually unnoticeable. Well worth a try.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - orange amber, high clarity, a thin layer of creamy foam. Lots of lace sticking all around. The covering is thin but holding well.

Aroma - orange and caramel breadiness, reminding me of a barleywine. A sweet caramel toastiness as it sets up with nan occasional whiff of vanilla. Mmmm.

Taste - caramel bready malts up front, lots of orange pushing to grapefruit at mid-palate. Bitterness at the swallow builds into the aftertaste along with the dry finish. As bitter as it is at the end, there is still a good element of malt here for more balance than I would have expected.

Mouthfeel - smooth and heavy, this feels like a double red ought to. It still maintains the crispness of an amber, nicely done.

Drinkability - a great sipper on a cold December night. Toasting my son's successful play debut at school tonight (5th grade). Attaboy Connor - cheers! Now go to bed...(just Connor, not the rest of you).

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Photo of shigg85
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in a pint glass at Popeye in Ryogoku, Tokyo. Dark red cloudy ale with a thin white layered head. Strong hops smell with a bit of cherry. Powerful hops punch that goes down smoothly without any harsh aftertaste. Foams up nicely as I spin it with a dark fruit flavor peeking out. Overall, a wonderful strong red ale that I would gladly partake of any time I can find it.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeously muddy body of dark coppery rust topped with a large and thickly lush smoothed foam of dark ivory hue. The cap stays with might and the glass laces out with lots of tattered sheeting.

Aroma is fairly pungent of piney sided dry hops, cedar notes mostly, dry and earthy with a touch of spruce, rye, and deep black tea, spiced lightly with white pepper, and spritzed with a dash of lemon.

Taste has a nice offering of dry spicy rye, red malt, and cedar backed by a mellowed dry caramel smoothness and toasted breadyness. Alluring white pepper, black licorice, and black tea add some nice depth to its bold rye and red malt snappy drying nature. It really holds itself on the palate well with its dryness as it lasts forever and a day saying hello in that very present Red ale way.

Bold medium body with lots of complexing dryness and balanced in earthy spice holds surprising length and makes a great warming impression of spruce and cedar as ya get into it.

One very solid Red ale that definately has the stamp of West Coast on it. Drinks down quite well.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Got it at Whole Foods in Bellevue

Extremely dark ruby amber, cloudy but not opaque, small beige head with the beginnings of some really nice lacing. Smells roasted and malty and sweet.

Taste is sweet and roasty, a little nutty, and balanced nicely with hops.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy, a little sticky (I might want to call it "chewy"). Pretty drinkable -- I may be overrating it a little bit right now, but this beer is exactly what I was looking for right now (and yes, this is the first time I've ever tried it).

I'll send a picture of the bottle if you want it.

2013-08-24 Trying it again. Bottle has the following code: 065 13 C-1 1031 N. I suppose that would be "bottled in early March 2013", so not the freshest thing in the world.

This one has little floaties (but I poured 'with vigor') and a big beige head. I note a little bit of soapy character. I've tried a lot of hoppy beers in between now and when I originally tried this, but this is still a tasty beer. I'd probably give it a somewhat lower score now.

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Photo of 2Stout4u
4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I pick up a nice butterscotch undertone in the smell of this beer. I love the dense deep red color of this one. This has a nice begining and end but the middle is just a little off. This is one of the top three reds I've tried complex and delicious.

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Photo of argock
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Market Street Wine Shop (Charlottesville, VA) for $2.55.

A: Rusty red-amber with thick, rocky, 2-finger head with very good retention and good doses of lacing down the glass.

S: This is one of the best red ale aromas around. Unsurprisingly hops dominate the nose, but the profile is very complex with floral, citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit, and tropical fruits horn in with some pineapple smells as well. Malts are robust but are overshadowed by the hops.

T: A delicious beert aht stands up very well compared to other well-known imperial red ales. Hops are front and center with tons of citrus and pine flavors mingling with some tropical fruit flavors and ending with a strong bitter note. Malts are hefty though and shouldn't be forgotten. Big loads of caramel and pale malts had to have gone into this big beer to provide the countering sweetness.

M: Mouthfeel is coating and substantial with medium-full body and bitter hoppy aftertaste.

D: Stacked up against Stone's Thirteenth Anniversary Ale, Mad River's Double Dread puts a smackdown and shows some complexity and style in providing a huge hoppy treat on a superior maltload to produce a complete brew. Worth looking around for.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours an earthy, deep auburn brown with an off-white 2 finger head. Excellent retention, leaving a solid layer of microbubbles to coat the surface. Fair lacing with decent stick. Like many of the Mad River brews, this one contains a nice bit of sediment floating throughout.

Smell - Deep caramel, toasted bread, a touch of earth and an orange citrus zest undertone.

Taste - Starts with a bit of creamy caramel and lightly roasted malt that touches on chocolate and coffee character. Notes of bread, then a moderate orange pith bitterness hits mid-taste and rides into the finish, lingering strong and well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Superbly creamy and smooth. Coats the mouth with inviting warmth. Semi-dry finish.

Overall - How can a beer be so mellow and yet so aggressively seductive? I don't have a clue, but it pulls it off in Houdini fashion. Well balanced, while the aftertaste has a pleasant orange pith buzz. Sits somewhere between Deschutes Red Chair and Stone Arrogant Bastard. I think I've found my go to substitute for R.C. when it's out of season!

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a four pack yesterday from my local NorthCoast Coop. The 12 bottle poured a muddy brown that changes to a cranberry red with with a very foamy tan head with large bubbles that left thick lacing rings as it slowly settled. Nose is malty and full of complex hop aromas showing flowers, citrus, and pine. Smooth and slick mouthfeel. The flavor is actually mild for all those various nuances, and the finish is bitter. This is a very interesting and somewhat unique brew, and like its predecessor, Serious Madness, shows some very creative brewing.

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Photo of chodinheaven
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep reddish-brown hue with an off-white head on top that sticks around for a while. Leaves sticky rings of lacing. Tons of sediment floating around in there. Big amount of citrusy hops in the aroma combining with a bunch of caramel malt. A bit of soft pine. Maybe even a hint of apple? A bit of alcohol, but not an extraordinary amount. A nose that lets you know that it will be a bold flavor profile.

Somewhat sweet and caramelly up front that moves to a grapefruit taste in the middle, which turns into a fairly citrusy bitterness in the back. The front is almost barley wine-like in its sweetness, with hints of apple and pear combining with the caramel malt. This is a short-lived flavor however as the hops take over and make for a flavorfully bitter beer. The bitterness is certainly not over the top and I'm finding that the sweetness up front does a pretty good job of balancing this beer out. It has plenty of grapefruit citrusy hops to make for this interesting combination. The alcohol could actually go fairly unnoticed except for a bit of a twinge in the middle and the breath. At 8.6%, this is a feat of brilliance. The other flavors keep it in check very nicely, but also allow it to be known. It finishes dry and hoppy, making for a bitter but citrusy lingering aftertaste, still with that hint of soft red apple.

This is a very enjoyable beer for me as it has some nice sweet, almost barley wine, qualities to it, but also has a nice amount of hops that balance the beer out with a citrusy and grapefruit kind of taste. Very interesting beer, definitely recommended by me.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just arrived today. This is possibly the reddest red I have seen. Deep crimson color with a finger-thick eggshell head. Retention is good, accompanied by some sticky lacing. The smell is quite hoppy, with aromas of citrus, pine, and what I will describe as cannabis. Malt is present in the backround, showing notes of toffee and honey. The taste is quite similar to the smell. Caramel and honey malt flavors, with cereal grain, laces with sticky pungent hop flavors. Grassy, floral notes, with citrus and pine give the beer a very pleasant finish. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, more so than other beers of this style. for a stronger brew, it's very easy to drink. A sipper that would accompany many different types of fare.

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Photo of oberon
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like a doog amped up American hoppy red and this fit that bill for me.Poured into an imperial nonic a hazed reddish brown with a large blooming off white head that lasted a real long.A burst of herbal and citric hops hits the nose right away,a caramel biscuit sweet malt base is thee as well,but the hops really stood out.Caramel and a tinge of butter mixed with leafy hops on the palate,it isnt a hop monster but the hops are more than plenty and the beer has good balance.I really liked this beer,maybe not as hopped up as I thought it would have been,but it has good complexity and the alcohol is pretty well hidden, just providing a little more sweetness in the finish.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Largely hop dominant but pretty complex. I get lots of typical citrus hops but some floral hops too. There is a nice malt component that smells like biscuit and caramel.

Deep red, slightly cloud. Poured with a pretty solid half inch head that fades to a persistant layer of tan foam over the top with good lacing.

Impressive complexity just in the first sip. Nice malt with caramel and brown sugar notes but also big hops, citrus for bittering, spicy for flavor. The more I get into the glass it seems like oranges, kind of sweet but with a good bitter bite. The afteraste is piney but also a lingering tofee sweetness.

Medium to full bodied with a very nice carbonation level. Jiust slightly warming from alcohol.

Very nice. In fact if this had wide distribution I would probably reach for it over that "humble" beer when looking for something in that style.

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Photo of dbexpert
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a. dark ruby/brown color, garnet, thin head(may have been way too cold)but solid lacing on the sides of the glass,yeast a float

s.aroma permeates with deep roasted malt, cut by a sweet bitter aroma a red, lol(j/k)if you have had their Jamaican red this is easier,think red stripe then a add two tons of quality, one ton balance and you have a kick ass red with a high abv. and great drink-ability(not the bl kind)

m.balanced,great tight carbonation helps deliver a malt sweetness relieved with a terrific hop bite that dries enough to desire another sip but leaves enough for a long finish of sweetness battling the bite of hops

d.personally, could drink a ton of it never too heavy and is quite refreshing in the heat, seems like enough malt to be comforting on a cold day too, and remember it's style, enjoy with much respect!

p.s. I have had this on tap also, which was also very good. This beer is not hurt by a bottle but a fresh tap is always appreciated, review was done with a bottle sample

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Photo of mgbickel
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Aggressive pour yielded a thick, 1.5 finger dusty pearl head. The sticky foam lasted throughout most of the drink, leaving lots of trails behind. The body is a deep amber with orange and red hues. Lots of floaties present...

The nose offers a sweet caramel aroma that is accompanied by a piney, hop character and a bready, malt backbone.

The taste starts out with a sweet, caramel malt that carries all the way to the finish where it is met by the bitterness of the piney hops. Pretty well balanced with earthy-grainy background flavors.

The mouth feel is light-medium, drying and oily at the same time with moderate carbonation.

Pretty darn drinkable. I will pick this up again if I can find it.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle - $8.50 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a faintly chunked (from releasing a yeast bed possibly disturbed in travel to our table), dark reddish-brown body with a medium-sized, off-white head.

Smell: DDI smells of a tall stack of toasted bread slices given a coating of dark, near-burnt caramel, dried bitter herbs, minced citrus peels, and a small splash of stinging alcohol.

Taste: Pale malts, modestly grainy, along with toasted barley and a toothsome taste of caramel candy. Zesty, citrusy hop tastes of grapefruits, lemons, and Seville oranges. Lighter hints of earthy, spicy herbs alongside the ensuing fruitiness. Medium-high bitterness. Toasty, citrus-laden, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly enjoyable and satisfying, once you look past the muddled appearance. Mad River delivers another solid offering.

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Photo of shand
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

This beer pours a murky brown-red color with a finger of head. The aroma is rather interesting. It's got a big, bold aroma with caramel and toffee malts right up front, with a decent dose of citrus hops, fruits, and a bit of toasted grain. The taste is just about as complex as I expected from the nose, with the sweet fruits coming down right on the bat, dancing with toasted malts and coffee flavors in a bizarre, yet not quite unwanted way. Sweet toffee is a constant undertone. There's also herbal and citrus hops that contribute to a slightly roasty finish.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium bodied, and the carbonation level is low. A very complex and rich ale that could use a touch more coherence, but is otherwise nice tasting. It's worth a try just to experience all the different flavors this bad boy has.

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Photo of salvo
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured deep dark brown red into my new favorite Sam Adams beer glass. Some floating sediment in this unfiltered double-red. Head is fluffy, starting at two full inches and poking up above the tulip rim, falling back to an inch after 10 minutes, and even after 20 minutes there remains a fluffy island of foam.

Smell is powerfully malty, honeyed and sweet towards biscuit, with pine and citrus hops coming through after the sweetness subsides.

First impression is sweetness: malty, honey, biscuit sweetness.
Second is the warming pine astringency of the hops, but this is a malty red first and foremost.
Third, on second thought, the hops nicely balance the sweetness. For the hops to have any presence at all is an accomplishment because this is a big, thick, heavy, sweet beer.

Then again, it is mighty sweet. Lovely so, but be ready for a bg, thick, biscuity sweet malt-bomb.

Drinkability is lower because it is so big and sweet, but a great nightcap brew or dessert beer. It will overwhelm most foods it accompanies.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep amber, with several fingers of off-white/near tan foamy head. Retains with a medium sized layer of froth that's got a great flareup to it when swirled (a near finger!), that leaves a very strong looking smattering of foamy lacing behind. Big bouquet of floral hops, spice, and resins here in the aroma to start things out, with a underlying thick layer of toasted grain, citrus, and more sharp smelling pine giving the nose some beef. There is a stiff whiff of warmth on the backend of this as well, making you remember that your dealing with a heavier hitter here.

The taste is sharp with bitter resins and spicy notes that rip at the tongue. This is properly backed by that heavy grainy malt bill, with citrus hanging on the edges, and it all pulling together into a tangy flush in the back, lingering with some extra spicy character. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a touch fuller, with a mellower and creamier feeling carbonation which sits on top of some hefty alcohol beef. Luckily, that is where the ABV mostly stays, in the feel, with any kind of alcohol taste just coming out as some warmth in the finish. This is very nicely hid for the most part.

This was just a really nicely done Imperial Red with a well balanced nature to it. The grains came off as a little less toasted in this, which I found to be a nice change of pace from some others in the style and the high alcohol content wasn't intrusive at all. Good stuff from Mad River.

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Photo of UA8
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours cloudy and dark amber with a tall light brown head.

S- Citrus notes with a backing a caramelized malt.

T- Deep roasted malts, citrus notes, herbal hop bitterness and a touch of pine.

M- Medium to high carbonation but a nice medium viscosity.

D- Quite a hoppy brew but well worth a try. An interesting take on the Imperial red. Another worth beer from Mad River.

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Photo of pinotboy007
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Caramel w/a rich, bubbly khaki-colored head that leaves some lacing.

S - Malt, citrus, pine, leather, and peat. Very nice!

T - Delicious. Very much like it smells witha refreshing "zing" going on along with an herbal quality. The hops really linger and a noticeable alcoholic heat is there on the finish, so avoid spicy food.

M - Dense and creamy but still somehow refreshing. Only a trace of carbonation.

D - The ABV is too high to say this is highly drinkable, but it depends upon your standard. Avoid the high temps of summer heat on the deck and wait until the July sun sets like we did. Very nice.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Hazy amber to brown, 1” cream colored head, small chunks floating in the beer.
S: grassy hops, cola or cardamom
T: Spice, rich malt, creamy, some toffee to caramel in the background, assertive bitter finish.
F: Creamy, medium high body, medium carbonation
O: Brewer doesn’t have a best by date on the bottle but tastes and feels a little old.

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Photo of biggred1
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy russet amber with a million tiny suspended yeast particles visable and a creamy tan head that leaves rings of sticky lace on the glass. The nose is sweet roasted malt and fruity hop spice. Nice piney hop flavors balance nicely with a ton of caramel maltiness. Hop bitterness lingers long into the finish. Slippery hop oil mouthfeel, medium bodied. A fine brew.

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Photo of emmasdad
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle picked up in Boulder yesterday. Poured a medium reddish amber with a large amber head. Aromas of hops (pine, citrus, grapefruit), sweet malt and caramel. On the palate was medium bodied and smooth with, flavors of caramel, pine and grapefruit.

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Double Dread Imperial Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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