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 DrDemento456
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Not bad for almost a year old (I suspect since the sediment and brewed once date) Dark copper brown with a slight bit of head that has a very sticky lace ring.

S - Subdued hops (mildly pine) apple or pear and mild caramel and toffee malts. Hope it's not oxidized.

T - Mild hops with some bitterness. Caramel sweetness and toffee. Kind of subdued but it's not terrible. No noticeable ABV.

M - Medium bodied but seems to have fallen off a bit.

Overall I had no idea this was so old when I bought it. It's not terrible but it definitely has fallen off a bit with the flavor profile.

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Photo of Rschis16
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 bnes09
3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright ruby colored ale. Descent depth of off-white head. Good retention. Big yeast flakes suspended in the brew.

Complex nose of deep caramel and pine-like hops.

Lots of malt flavor, mostly caramel, toasted bread and almonds. Malt flavor is good but the hops are a little rough. They are very pungent and soapy and leave a strange aftertaste. Tastes like an unbalanced barleywine.

Full bodied but not syrupy. Snappy carbonation. Dry finish.

An ok beer. A little rough around the edges. As stated before, a little balance would do a great deal at improving this beer.

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Photo of sendsilk
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a recent trade.

A- Really dark and dirty looking. Dark Red/Light brown whatever you want to call it.

S- Really hoppy and malty at the same time.

T- Not really being a red ale fan, it's good, a decent red ale. If I owned a brewery, here's how the conversation would go with my head brewer:

Brewer- I have an idea for a red ale we should brew.
Owner- Why? Nobody really likes red ales.
Brewer- I think I can brew one that people will really like using (fill in the blank) hops and (fill in the blank) malts and people will love it.
Owner- Sounds good. Now how about, instead of a red ale, we make a nice IPA or solid Imperial stout and make some money for the brewery instead of wasting time and space brewing a red ale that no one really gives a shit about.
Brewer- keep it in mind for the future.
Owner- You worry about brewing good beer, I'll worry about sales and what the CUSTOMER wants. I don't know of a brewery built on making a red ale. I'd like more than 20 customers to market to.

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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 mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Attractive amber in the tulip glass, lots of head. Rather hoppy, nice rich bitter mouthful. Fairly austere after a few sips. Take a mediocre red and double it. Not bad, but not an appealing style. Sort of an imperial pale ale.

This is a hoppy and likeable beer with an aromatic nose and long bitter aftertaste. Resiny and a bit astringent. Drinkable but a bit winey.

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

A pretty solid beer here. Pours a dark copper color with a swirly head. The aroma is sweet with malt, but there is a firmness in the finish. There is also a bit of citrusy hops, but the nose at least seems malt driven. The taste still has lots of that firm malt, but a good deal more hop presence than was evident in the nose, with quite a long bitter citrus finish. Quite good. A bit chewy, but ultimately dryer than expected with all of the noticeable malt. A long spiciness is also noticeable amongst the bitter notes in the finish. I was hoping for some hops here and I expected to be disappointed, but instead was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The burnt umber colored body was clear, and relatively still, although the poring action did form a decent two finger thick head. The aroma was nutty and grainy, and did not smell all that imperial to me. The taste was vacillating between semi-sweet chocolate and nuts, with an astringent middle similar to a strong tea, and a bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel was lighter that I would have preferred, but thicker than a typical red ale. The overall impression was a decent one, but not overly impressive. Easy to drink, despite the ABV.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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 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 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

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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.

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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 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!

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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.

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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.

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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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