Double Dread Imperial Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

157 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 157 |  Reviews: 90
Photo of Briken
2.76/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark red with good tan frothy head and good retention. Roasted chocolate and light tea aroma. Tastes heavy on the roasted malts with light tea and a back of the throat bitter and tacky coating. Smooth and sticky feel and a biting sensation.

There are hints of good flavor but are muddied and lost in the roasted tackiness. Really fairly hard to even finish this one and nothing to look out for.

 395 characters

Photo of TCgoalie
2.94/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky brown with chunks of yeast floating around. An off white head and splotchy lacing adds something good to the appearance of this beer.

The smell is malty with burnt tones, caramel, and fig. I can detect some west coast hops there as well.

This is a malty bomb to the face. Burnt Scottish style malts, tobacco, pine hops, and dirt round out the flavor. The aftertaste is unpleasant.

The feel of this beer is the best aspect. Full in the mouth with ample drying.

I cannot find a date on the bottle, so I must assume that this was past its prime. Either way, the only way that I will drink this again is if someone offers it to me for free.

 655 characters

Photo of Avantyawn
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce pour

A: Yikes, I like some lees, and I love unfiltered beers, but contrasting with the deep amber hue of this, to be honest, all the floaties look sort of gross! There are more floaties in here than I have ever seen in a beer.

S: Piney , ripe strawberries and cherries, and a sweet malt scent. Slight alcohol detected. It smells very potent. Cough syrup.

T: This beer is not very nuanced in its cadence. It has a fresh pleasant fruity soapy intro, and then it blasts you with hop bitterness. The bitterness is a bit dominant and one dimensional. I would say this beer is very tasty but a bit unbalanced leaning toward hop bitterness without much of a flavor cadence. Still it is tasty. Has a bit of a cough syrup finish. I would like to have this with a pizza meal!

M: Mouthfeel is nice and thick, as to be expected from the style. Very good texture and feel to this, maybe the most impressive part of the beer.

O: Overall , this is a strong B beer to me. It is good, but imperfect, unbalanced, and with all the great strong amber ales, I don't see myself aggressively seeking this out again. Glad to have tried it and would love to try it fresh on tap sometime.

 1,176 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Red and cloudy. Pretty thick tan-red lacing.
smell: Subdued piney hops. An even more subdued malt profile.
taste: A bit more of a hops bite in the taste. Some grapefruit with malt taking the edge off slightly. Finish is a little smoother.
With all the great beers out there i may be getting too picky. This is a good beer but not something i'll likely pick up again given all the fine choices available.

 415 characters

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.

 258 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.32/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a cloudy red with almost 2inches of dark khaki colored head that had good retention and lacing.

The first scent was pine hops, then was some malt sweetness and a bit of citrus in the background. The flavors were similar mostly piney hops, with some citrus notes, and some malt foundation.

The body was average for the style, as was drinkability. Overall, a decent but unspecial brew. I like Red Ales to have more of a malt presence and this was a hop forward brew. Worth trying if you see it.

 525 characters

Photo of cocogan
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Visual: One finger white head. Creamy bubbly. Spunky lacing

Nose: Cherries, floral, pine, pollen, pineapple, wood, chocolate.

Taste: Cherries, alcohol, smoke, raisins, alcohol, slight citrus, grain, bitter wood after taste.

Mouth: milky smoothness. bit frothy.

Drunkability: I was purty pumped for this beer. I saw "imperial red" so I had to buy it. Looked good in the glass and the aroma was pretty pungent. However, the taste has way too much alcohol booziness to it. It tastes more like cough syrup as I get towards the bottom of the glass... upsetting. O well at least its 8.6 abv.

 589 characters

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. :)

 343 characters

Photo of birdypowder
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

What could have been...

This beer needs some adjustments to make it worth trying again. The huge size and quantity of floaters made it very unattractive to look at, the perceived lack of late hop additions made the malt stand out too much and the large amounts of bittering hops make the finish unpleasant.

Pours up with a nice finger and a half of tan foam that resists annihilation from the elements as long as possible. Color is a deep amber. Things are starting off right. However, it was impossible to get past the beta fish sized floaters that appeared to group together like schools of bait fish, roaming about their new 12oz clear sided world. Very unattractive.

Initially some appealing piney and citrus hop aromas shoot out of the glass and are then followed by a strong blanket of malt sweetness with notes of toffee and molasses. Estery alcohol notes waft up as well.

The sweetness greats you right away and then introduces you to the alcohol which faithfully stays with you on the entire journey to the somewhat harsh bitter grassy finish.

Basically what is expected for style...substantial thickness, everything is in order here.

Needs some work, or I need to go to Blue Lake California and try it fresh.

 1,275 characters

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.

 689 characters

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.

 1,023 characters

Photo of ferrari29
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bear poured from bottle into Pint glass

A - Beer poured with a lot of foam; beige, almost ginger in color and about two fingers in width; very rocky and bubbly; lots of lacing; plenty of carbonation from the bottle of the glass and on the sides of the glass; pieces of yeast stick to the sides and sit at the bottom of the glass; body is reddish in appearance

S - Hop and flowery aromas come up immediately; a couple of deep whiffs produce malt scents like biscuit & caramel which are over shadowed by the higher than average ABV; yeast smells come up as well

T - Hop bitterness comes though from start to finish; light caramel & biscuit flavor over the middle of the tongue; beer finishes off with a very dry hop grassy aftertaste that lingers for quite a while

M - This beer is a lot thinner than it looks; I expected a heavier creamy feel to it; not much carbonation and kind of watery

D - Non-extreme type beer; easy to guzzle down for an Imperial Ale; I thought it drank very well and was something I could enjoy every once in a while; I wouldn't say no to it, but I'm not sure I would go back and ask for more

 1,120 characters

Photo of TheDudeRules
2.41/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From a bottle to a pint glass.

Smell was of a bit of pine,a touch of molasses and a hint of hops,and a tad of caramel.

Taste. To be honest I was hoping this girlfriend would be sexier. For me the citrus started up front. Quickly went to a molasses/caramel effect. It wasn't awful,but really wasn't great either.

I was hoping for some moderate bite. False. It ended up creamy. Huh? Yeah,not what I was hoping for.

I pulled one from my four pack,needless to say I'm glad that is all I pulled.

This was recommended to me a good alternative to Furious. There is no good alternative to Furious. That beer is in a class to itself,and this is unremarkable for any class.

 668 characters

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.

 910 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.34/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A big sturdy red and moreso brown pour. Aroma, meh, alcohol, maybe fusels, but I'll let it slide.

Taste, sticky, chewy, hops transforming to heft. Didn't come across too sweet, which is nice when you already know that this isn't super fresh. Holding up counts for a lot in the real world. Its big all around, red color, bitterness, hoppiness, alcohol. Its a big sticky red ale, and if you don't wanna tangle with ol' willy, stay home!

 435 characters

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. No freshness date.

Pours brick red, with an nice tannish head that sticks, but recedes. Lots of suspended protein particles. Smell is hoppy, and sorta brown-sugar sweet and caramel-y. Taste starts of bitter, and then twists into a citrusy and alcoholic finish. Not really bad at all, and quite hoppy for an amber ale. Feel is sorta hot, and flat. Not enough malt or carbonation here. One is enough for my curiosity. Good, not great.

 447 characters

Photo of TheHoppiest
2.77/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a squat 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a hazy, silty rust-brown, like thick iced tea or swamp water. This is not what I picture when I think red ale. Decent ivory-colored head, with thick lacing down the sides.

Smell is sweet, citrus hops, with an underlying bready-yeasty aroma.

Taste is, meh. Starts with spice bite, almost metallic. Sweet malt in the middle, with a very astringent unbalanced finish. Not bitter as it is tongue-swelling and dry.

Mouthfeel can't be separated from taste on this one; see above.

Drinkable? Not really; I can barely get through this one. I've heard great things about this brewery, but the two beers I've had so far are no great shakes.

 692 characters

Photo of beachbum1975
3.51/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saw this single on sale at the local bottle shop so thought I'd give it a shot.

Pours a ruddy, murky brownish color with a tancolored 1/4 inch head. Creamy and big bubbled in spots.

Smells of molasses and sweet caramel. Slight notes of bread yeast, as well.

The flavor matches the nose. Moderate carbonation in the mouth. Thick and chewy bodied. High caramel and sweetness with a lingering woodiness in the mix, as well.

Nice, but not the best Imperial Amber I've had.

 472 characters

Photo of jdense
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Belmont Station 8.17.2010.

Two finger light brown head, medium dissipation with significant lacing. Big hop presence in the nose, tropical fruits balanced by a healthy doe of caramel malt. Good amount of cherry notes up front on the taste re crystal malts, but this beer was not bitter on the back end, which surprised me. Medium full mouthfeel, average effervescence. One of the better Imperial Red's I've had, though once again I was struck by the lack of bitterness despite the significant hop bill. Good drinkability, though at this ABV be careful.

 563 characters

Photo of schoolboy
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This (from my gift sampler) is perhaps the best of the unsolicited bunch. Surprisingly tasty and drinkable, this is one I actually wish I had more of.

It's a bit cloudy and appears to barely suspend the various malts and things, but it works. The color is quite nice. It is maltlier than hopier.

It'snot quite what I would call imperial, but I'll buy double. Not bad.

 369 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, unknown date.

Pours brown/copper with a large beige head that leaves an initial ring of lacing and reduces to a ring and faint cap. Pouring the entire bottle introduces a TON of chunky sediment. I don't mind a hazy beer, but this goes a bit too far.

Aroma is both very hoppy and malty, good dose of citrus hops and caramel and spicy malt. Brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits such as raisins come out more as it warms. Moderate strength.

Flavor is resinous hops, citrus rind, caramel malt, a touch of chocolate, some toffee, mild sweetness, medium bitterness on the finish. Not as bitter as the commercial description would indicate, but still good.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, oily and slick, low to medium carbonation.

Pretty good ASA/Imperial Red and a solid offering from Mad River. Only bought a single and will probably leave it at that, glad I tried it though.

 888 characters

Photo of katan
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint

A - Pours a dark dark amber color, to almost completely brown. Head formation is strong, but quick to dissipate to a off-white film.

S - A combination of strong toffee, caramel malts and a potent profile of orange, grapefruit hops. Very in your face.

T - Starts off lightly malty, but then is immediately taken over by a strong west coast hop note - grapefruit, floral, some orange notes. Finishes with a more malty, biscuit style note. More toffee notes in the finish.

M - Full bodied, even more full bodied following the carbonation. Clinging, sugary on the tongue.

D - Moderate drinkability. Well hidden, but very potent abv. A bit sweet, a bit filling. Flavors hit you strongly, but are quick to back off.

Certainly worth a try - a west coast interpretation of a imperial red.

 812 characters

Photo of demcorhip
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice looking brew, slightly opaque chestnut coloured body. Decent enough finger of tan head, but retention wasnt happening, breaking down to a thin collar despite a finely bubbled, persistent background level of carbonation.

Nice aroma, citrus hops meets rich toasted malts with caramel accents.

No real surprises here, some fusels present for a touch of heat and woody character. Nice hoppy and malty brew.

Medium bodied, substantial and somewhat thick and chewy. Lots of malt balanced by lots of hops. Decent level of bitterness.

Fairly tasty and drinkable. Recommended to fans of the style. Cant see myself chewing through more than one, although i could feel differently on a cool fall evening versus this warm summer's eve. Glad to get the chance to drink this.

 773 characters

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

Deep scarlet red body with yeast particulated suspended. Thick crop of stained beige head. Aroma is bready and a little spicy and citrusy. Carbonation is fairly active in this beer. It supports the voluptuous head nicely. Body is medium full. Flavor starts with caramel and cinnamon bread as it beckons the palate. Moves on to spice and alcohol, though not much of the aforementioned. Solid double red. Finishes a little dry, but nice.

 435 characters

Photo of chileman13
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz into sam smith pint glass. P/U @ jubilation in Abq. NM.
Good 2 finger foamy head that disapates pretty quick.
A-cloudy red brown.
A-malty bready with hops undertones
T-Malt first notes and then POW hop heaven hits hard.
D- The high alcohol content is apparent. Cabonation is good mouthfeel is medium. It's good, not my favorite but real drinkable.

 367 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.