Samuel Adams Irish Red | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

1,008 Reviews
Read the review
Samuel Adams Irish RedSamuel Adams Irish Red

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pale and Caramel malts, and East Kent Goldings hops.

Added by WilliamPhilaPa on 08-24-2007

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,008 | Ratings: 2,529
Photo of ThePold
4.21/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a 12 varietal pack. Served in a Guinness glass. Not a lot of head and it dissipates fast with little lacing. But it tastes good! Pleasantly malty and not too thick like some, I'd say this is a good Irish Red from Sam Adam's and Jim Koch's team.

 250 characters

Photo of 1angrydwarf
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I dont feel like over thinging this one. Here's the thing I like this beer but it is just ok. I have had it taste amazing some nights and barely drinkable others. I like the malt and hops character of this beer and that is what keeps me coming back despite some experiences I have had. Occasionally this beer has a metallic after taste for me like sucking on penny. I have checked the freshness date and have been mindfull of what I ate before hand. I have yet to figure out why this beer has such a split personallity with my palate.
The take away its an average irish ale at best that for me is always a gamble. I prefer Public House's Flynns Irish Red but it is seasonal and hard to find.

 694 characters

Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.04/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle,into a Cigar City pint glass.

Frothy,off white almost light khaki colored head,that stands just under 1 finger tall.Leaves a sticky lacing on the side of the glass.Light red / dark copper colored body,with medium clarity.Medium carbonation that moves at a fast pace.

On the nose I get a few different malt notes including: Earthy,sweet,and caramel.Not getting a whole lot of hops,with the exception of trace elements of pine.

The palate follows the nose with sweet,earthy,and caramel malts.Very very small presence of pine on the back end,but almost indiscernible.It has a nice sweet taste,without going overboard on sweetness.Pretty well balanced in my opinion.

Medium body,with a slightly sticky mouth feel.Moderate oxidation on the tongue,with a smooth finish.

This is another pretty solid beer by Sam Adams.I think you probably have to be a fan of the style to enjoy it,but fortunately I am a fan.Good beer by Sam Adams.I will definitely drink this one again.

 995 characters

Photo of Hackattack
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams Irish Red is not what I expected from its description of rich and malty on the bottle. Compared to my favorites, the Maple and Caramel Bock from a Sam Adams variety pack....this beer was NOT as rich and malty. It was not bad though and went down easily. Blows away Killian's for sure.

 295 characters

Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Part of a 24-pack Sam's Club $26.49
Reddish Amber color
Medium mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Caramel, malt taste. Kind of a muted taste. Not bold like I had expected.
Overall just ok. Not good enough that I would seek it out or buy a 6-pack of it, but good enough that I'll drink it without any complaints.

 308 characters

Photo of HoppyBastard
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, "best by" date May 2017.

APPEARANCE; pours a clear, dark amber color with less than one-finger off-white head that slowly dissipated until a thin, broken layer of small bubbles remained, lighter carbonation, moderate lacing on the glass.

SMELL: bread, sweet caramel and buttery.

TASTE: the taste follows the nose, bread then sweet caramel and a buttery taste, a malty mess with very little hop presence.

PALATE: a little watery and lighter carbonation.

OVERALL: this is the most unbalanced, malt forward beer I have ever had, it's not a style I appreciate, I had this as part of a sampler pack, not terrible but I would not seek this out again.

 710 characters

Photo of nicholas2121
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Samuel Adams Irish Red brewed by Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), with an ABV of 5.80% This Irish Red Ale pours out a light brown color with a decent off white head. Really digging the copper color of this brew. There is also some nice lacing to this brew, it stick to the side of the glass well. The smell of Irish Red is rich with roasted grians and malts. The is also a nice mild sweetness to the smell of this brew. The look and smell are really inviting. Now for the taste, it is bold with flavors. You pick up on the roasted grians and malts at first, then a slight sweetness, then bitterness of hops at the end. The slight sweetness is a nice touch, kinda put everything together. There is a lot going on in this brew, this Irish Red has a real nice balance to it. There is nothing overpowering about this brew, it is real hard to pick up on the 5.80% ABV in this brew. This brew just goes down that smooth. The mouth feel of Irish Red is Bold, Clean, Smooth ,and Refreshing. Irish Red is a nice medium bodied brew, it not to heavy but not to light. Overall I'm giving Irish Red a 4.25 out of 5. I would definitely buy this brew again. Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), did a real nice job with this brew. If you are looking for a good drinking Irish red look this brew up .

 1,290 characters

Photo of Caveworm
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Samuel Adams Irish Red | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams). Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this brew's head is one finger thick and off-white, with lateral lacing, and a clear deep garnet/oaken body.

I smell full-bodied malts, a tea-like note, and delicate hops.

Tastes like a clear, refreshing mix of the semi-sweet malts. The hops do a tremendous job at leveling out the brew from making it too sweet.

Medium mouthfeel with mild carbonation.

Overall, I'll rate Samuel Adams Irish Red | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) with a 4.25.

 580 characters

Photo of cjgiant
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle BBJun 2017:
Pours a nice brownish ruby red with a decent finger of head. Sustaining off white bubbles are medium at the edge, thin on the surface, but lacing is ok.

Nose malty, lightly toasty, but with a fruity edge. It's not a direct fruit note, but a little impression of pitted fruit or cherry (hesitant to say it feeling the color is affecting me, but that's what it seems like).

Taste has that toast and jam opening, but then turns a little towards a fruited tea; the feel gives the impression of one that has been sitting in ice for a while. The beer is never sweet, but it never gets bitter, either. The flavor doesn't change much, but does creep towards a tad more bitter ending.

An inoffensive but underwhelming beer. Seems to fit the guidelines given here, but seems more to just meet them rather than showing a bit of flair.

 850 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the mixed 12 pack from Country 3 corners.
Deep amber color decent sized off white head that persists. Rich caramel maltiness bready pilsener floral earthy hops round this out nicely. Pretty decent red ale.

 217 characters

Photo of MinerBob
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very pretty carmel color with a decent head. The smell leaves a lot to be desired but the taste is surprisingly good with a slight hop taste in the swallow. Not a bad red beer at all.

 183 characters

Photo of q33jeff
2/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75


Bottle to goblet.

LOOK: brown red, small off white head.
AROMA: faint ash, grass.
TASTE: ash, that seltzerish aftertaste,
FEEL: good lasting carbonation. Thin body.


 189 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I am not only back to eradicating the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, but I am laser-focused on beers from the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) for the time being.

From the bottle: "Deep russet in color, our Irish Red is full of hearty, roasty character inspired by the red ales of Ireland. Brewed to suit the cool rainy days (or any time in a pub), we use roasted caramel malts for a rich smooth malt backbone and balance them with earthy English hops for a comforting & satisfying brew. Cheers! [undersigned] Jim Koch".

I Pop!ped the cap and really let go with a pretty good pour into the awaiting glass. The result was a finger of dense, foamy, tawny head with moderate retention. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity & deep amber highlights. Absolutely beautiful! Nose was very malty, a combination of earthiness and caramel sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was mainly caramel, but its sweetness was tempered by an earthy presence that was also undoubtedly borne of malts. I was pleasantly surprised by it since I was expecting a bit of a malt bomb, which I do not like. Finish was semi-sweet, leaving an earthiness that reminded me of the smell of decomposing Fall leaves. I found it to be a pleasant taste.

 1,280 characters

Photo of matcris
3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear, red/amber with a two finger foamy, khaki head that lingers and the beer leaves a nice bit of lacing down the glass. The aroma is earthy, lots of caramel, and sort of a buttery note. A little of a spicy quality as well. Same goes for the flavor, very earthy and buttery. Feel is medium full, a little sticky/syrupy. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the hop varieties in this beer, with that earthy quality. Carbonation is average, maybe a little lacking. I can't get past that butter-like flavor in this.

 519 characters

Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a bright, dark, almost ruby, red with a moderate tan lacing. The smell is sharp and kind of hoppy. The taste is malty with a hint of caramel and is well balanced with a light but distinctive hop character. There are also subtle fruity and earthy flavors. The finish is really nice and crisp. This is a very solid red ale. There’s nothing ground breaking here, but Irish reds rarely are. It’s just a nice, very drinkable, beer that I think would make a good session beer for those that don’t like things too light (though technically over 5% alcohol) and is another fitting choice for the Spring Variety Pack.

 630 characters

Photo of Samlover55
3.61/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bttl in BL glass
BB 7/2016
L- Copper with cap of foam, decent retention
S- sweet caramel malt bomb!
T- light sweet malt with obvious earthiness that goes down with slightest hop-bite
F- light bodied, creamy, light carbonation
O- Decent beer, definitely within definition of the style

 289 characters

Photo of davidperez
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass, it pours a perfectly clear amber with a dark red/brown hue. It forms a one-finger head, creamy and foamy with decent retention.

The bouquet is interesting, though not very assertive.
Caramel, slightly roasted malts, a floral note, slight butterscotch.

Nice flavor.
Upfront a high carbonation and a strong bitterness, earthy. There is a slight buttery note behind such bitterness. Afterwards the sweet notes appear, mild. Roasted malts, toffee, caramel, a herbaceous note which is refreshing.
Medium to light body, smooth.

I would have this beer again.

 582 characters

Photo of Squire123
3.69/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear,bright, light ruby red color with white cap and good lacing.

Aroma of bread yeast and light toffee. Light hop spice.

Taste is malt forward with more of a darker caramel than toffee flavor. Very light touch of roasted barley without bitterness. I get a bit of sweetness that doesn't come across as actually sweet. Hops enough to accent but don't shout their presence. Aftertaste is muted melange of what came before and perhaps this is where an otherwise well made beer falls off somewhat. It's like everybody rushed to the door at 5:00 without clocking out.

Medium texture accented by the prickle of carbonation.

I keep using the word light but there isn't anything really light about this beer. I guess I'm saying light touches that somehow add up to a fairly substantial brew. The whole of the parts make up more than pale but less than dark. I guess red color is the premise so color is directing the process by adding darker malt that really isn't bringing anything to the table that was actually needed. Not a bad brew by any measure, or even a flawed one, yet instead of a flavorful pale or richer dark this just seems like a lot of work to come up with something middling.

 1,200 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dull red of a darker variety with brown running through it, good clarity, but the head formation was subpar and there wasn't much to retain or provide lace with. Aroma was a little bit of red/amber malts, sweetness, but nothing hop wise or peat going on.

Taste was a red ale through and through, not necessarily dry, almost no hop flavor, just some colored malt addition. Predictable caramel and toffee, unsweetened notes.

Absolutely the quintessential example of an average beer. Does nothing good nor bad.

 519 characters

Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This product of Sam Adams resulted from extensive customer feedback on brewing experiments and rightfully made it into the permanent portfolio.
Looks average, but malty in the nose and balanced on the tongue. A "malt hero" as described by Jim Koch, SA's founder.
Without much hops, this one can't be for everyone... but it made my session... and I'll have it again.

Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 More Beers To Try Before You Die", a sequel to his CAMRA classic.
This made the "1001" list and arguably deserves to be there; derived from a recipe from the 18th Century, before hops was king .

 591 characters

Photo of CNoj012
3.31/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a crystal clear rust like amber brown color. One finger off white head with little retention and few small spots of lacing. Smell is sweet caramel and toffee malts with the slightest hint of floral hops. Taste is muddled and nothing special. Feel is light with a dry finish. Overall not a good beer. Would not drink again.

 338 characters

Photo of GarrettB
2.35/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Ever since my first college Killian's Irish Red (God rest its blessed soul) I've been a devotee to the Irish Red. Strangely opposite of the Belgian Strong Ale, it tends to have a single, pronounced flavor, rich with caramel and toffee, with a clean, crispness that keeps away the candied, saccharine flavors that can kill a good beer for me. So, it is with some eagerness that I attempt the Sam Adam's version, which begins with the characteristic rich, malty smell, drizzled with quality, but also bringing in a peppery quality I've been noticing across some of these fancier Sam Adams beers. The flavor dumbs things down a bit with a blunt grape fruit flavor and mouthfeel, adding a little maltiness for body, but letting me down. These overwhelming sugary notes are lager killers for me, and this one OD'd on sugar cubes.

 824 characters

Photo of VTR
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Glass. I picked up alcohol in the nose. Further inspection revealed slight malts, with some caramel and toffee. I picked up some slight caramel from the malt backbone. The alcohol was present but was not too overpowering. I picked up some hints of cherry in the taste but did not linger enough to make it interesting. Hops were present but fit nicely with the beer and malts. The beer left a weird aftertaste which was not too pleasant. Overall this is one of the better Sam Adams Offerings I have had. While I enjoyed this I am glad I got it in a mixed six pack.

 609 characters

Photo of ravisingh
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours to about a half an beige inch head that is light in terms of its thickness and dissipates very quickly. It's about a 13-14 on the SRM chart. It is a very pretty reddish color and looks like very clear rusty water at first, but looks prettier the more u stare @ it.

S: A sweetish floral scent hits you first and it has some spiciness to it also like nutmeg in the background. There is also pine there also. The malt flavors are light but working here.

T: The flavor is toasty and mildly sweet with some rose like hints in the flavor also. It is a very nice flavor and is crisp and refreshing. A mid tininess in the background but not in a bad way. Very nice balance. The malt flavors are present but in this example of an Irish Red beer there are light hops notes in the background detectable, but light.

F: Medium-high body in terms of thickness. The finish is dry and there is a mild fizz to the carbonation. There is a slickness that is in the style guidelines, not much but a little.

O: Overall this is a nice Irish Red. It is smooth and flavors please with a nice medium scale on the thickness. Sweet, pretty and medium-thick, not bad @ all. Cheers.

 1,180 characters

Photo of Mike_Aguirre
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I liked this Red Ale, looks good, intense ruby red, smells great with caramel notes and malt, and tastes balanced and refreshing, nice beer. Bitterness is slow but still refreshing.

 181 characters

Samuel Adams Irish Red from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,529 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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