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

2,543 Ratings
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:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,543 |  Reviews: 1,013
Photo of brown2cu
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours crimson and is topped by a beige head. Plenty of sticky lacing coats my mug.

S: Sweet malt. plenty of caramel in the nose. I am digging this.

T: Sweet but not overly so. A moderate hop presence balances it out nicely. More notes of caramel and possibly some chocolate and if I'm not mistaken some red meat.

MF: Smoothe, slick and creamy.

O: Another solid SA brew. delicious. Make sure that you get a good pour on it I have had this beer before and been less than satisfied I seemed to get it just right this time.

 526 characters

Photo of corby112
3.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden copper color with dark ruby edges and a one finger yellowish beige head that quickly settles into a thick lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Slightly spicy sweet malt aroma with hints of rye, caramel and toffee as well as faint spicy hops.

Medium bodied with a crisp, spicy hop presence up front that lingers over the sweet malts into a slightly dry finish. The hop character up front is spicy and only slightly bitter providing a nice dryness that compliments the sweeter notes. Lots of sweet malt with hints of rye, caramel, toffee, nut and biscuit. Really well balanced and quite quaffable.

 633 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.61/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased as part of seasonal pack from Hyvee in Omaha, NE.
Poured into a standard US pint glass.

Pours a thick off-white head of about 1cm, composed of very fine bubbles. Some lacing is evident as the head decreases and with each sip. Head becomes a 0.5 cm ring around the glass over time. Body is transparent, with a small amount of visible carbonation. Outside of light, this is an amber brown color, but in the light it's a gemlike amber red in color with orange highlights.

Scent is of rich caramel malt, some light toasted bread. Generally a bit light with the aroma.

Taste is richly malty and bready with a slight buttery flavor to it, too, which surprisingly goes well with this. Closes with some biscuit-like flavors and a slight bitterness. Aftertaste is pleasantly sweet, not cloying.

Beer has a medium body with a carbonation level that is a bit too strong for it, making the beer foam up a bit unpleasantly on the palate. Finish is dry, without much in the way of sticky residue from the malt.

At the moment, I do not know much about red ales, but I found this to be an enjoyably balanced and generally flavorful ale with a malt emphasis. It could use more complexity in the aroma, and have the carbonation toned down a bit, but in general I find this quite acceptable.

 1,294 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. Color was reddish caramel, a bit darker than the OctoberFest. Close to an inch of head. Small amount of lacing on the top, that lasted most of the way down. Various film on the sides.

Smelled of caramel malts first. Slight toasted toffee in there as well. Definitely an amber.

Tasted of toasty caramel malts. Sweet and a hint of coconut in there. That could be my cold. Light bitterness at the end.

Medium body. Slightly stickly. Lively carbonated. Smooth finish.

The best so far of the three I’ve tried from the Harvest Collection (not including regular Sam Adams, better than Octoberfest and Pumpkin). A pretty good beer all around.

 684 characters

Photo of vkv822
2.81/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.
Best Before: March 2012

Pours a clear amber, with faint burnt-orange hued edges. The head is frothy light toffee color.

The nose is caramel malts and grassy, lightly floral hops.

The taste is of biscuity malts and grassy hops. Has a slightly herbal after taste.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild, yet appropriate carbonation.

While there was nothing unpleasant about this beer and I wouldn't turn it down were it free, I just wasn't very impressed nor left with any desire to try this again.

 535 characters

Photo of brewmandan
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance-red in color. small white head that doesn't disappear too quickly. not much for lacing on the glass.
smell-bisquity malt smell combined with a good hop smell.
taste-good amount of bisquity malt flavor, giving it a little sweetness. plenty of hops to add a hoppy flavor, but not enought to overpower the malt-well balanced between the malt and hops.
mouthfeel-leaves behind some of the malt/hops flavor after swallowing.
overall, one of the better irish red's that i've had.

 484 characters

Photo of Kc4shore
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Full on Amber with a medium white head

S: Caramle hues, strong malt aroma

T: Very malty, excellent caramel flavorings. Sam's Irish Red has a nice amount of hops which balance this one out very nicely. It is very drinkable

M: Medium bodies, decent carbonation

O: While I get excited when I see any beer with the name "Irish" on it, I almost instantly fell in love with this one. The flavor is upfront and prevelant. However, the combination of hops and low abv lead to Red being extremely drinkable. I buy my beers as singles, but if I had a case of SA Irish Red, it would have been gone before I even had the chance to think about it.

 641 characters

Photo of doughanson78
3.06/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Dark amber color with great clarity. One finger light tan head, very creamy, with decent retention and good lacing.

S: Very malty, caramel and toffee. Bready and slightly toasty with just a touch of floral hops.

T: Toasted caramel and toffee malts. Very bready and biscuity finish. Slight floral notes.

M: Light bodied. Medium light carbonation. Slightly sticky.

O: A so-so beer. Easy drinking. Nothing special going on.

 461 characters

Photo of neophilus
3.49/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark tawny color, more brown than I was expecting but with lighter caramel tones in the light. Creamy head sits firmly on top, doesn't look like it is going anywhere.

Smells of sweet malt - a rather richer malt aroma than I was expecting. Reminiscent of a Bock beer, firmly bready aroma with a spicy hint of sourdough.

First sip brings balanced malt sweetness and bitter hopping. Firm bitterness prevails, almost overtaking the malt. Mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy or too light. Washes away with a faint hop flavor and lingering bready taste.

Very well balanced, almost to the point that you could describe it as "average". It's as if nothing in particular stands out, especially if you are used to hoppier beers. This beer may make a mark on a lighter palate but on one that is used to hops it just makes an appearance and then is quickly forgotten.

Is a beer good only if it stands out in your memory? Or can a good beer be one that is just very drinkable and gets the job done? Nothing negative to say about this one, just a decent brew that delivers good malt flavor and solidly balanced hop bitterness.

 1,123 characters

Photo of phichifiji00
3.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Caramel/amber in color, clear, pours thick white head that quickly fades. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Malty, caramel, sweet, toffee.

Taste: Caramel, malty, sweet, subtle hop profile.

Mouthfeel: Med. Bodied, good carbonation.

Overall: A decent beer. Not very complex, and a bit on the sweet side.

 331 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
2.96/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Crystal clear, light brownish red color with almost no head despite an aggressive pour and very light lacing.

S: Lightly toasted malts and a hefty hit of sweetness. Not much else going on, and the aroma is pretty weak.

T: Sweet roasted malts are up front, then a slight hit of bitterness. The aftertaste is a bit strange, almost metallic or medicinal. The beer is good until you stop drinking it.

M: Medium bodied, light on the carbonation.

O: The first two sips I liked this beer, but then the aftertaste built up in my mouth. It's just unpleasant and seems to linger on. Too bad, because otherwise it would have been a pleasant fall brew.

 647 characters

Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.96/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: A deep amber or reddish body with a fast receding tan head that leaves sticky lacing.

S: Nothing too complex. Some toasted caramel malts with a hint of earthy hops (but very little).

T: Sweet toasted malts upfront with notes of caramel. Kind of buttery, but is cut short by some bittery hops. Semi-dry finish and pretty one-dimensional.

M: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation; smooth and clean mouthfeel.

O: Nothing too complex or interesting in this beer. Got it in a combo pack. Nothing worth searching out and not the best example on the style.

 558 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
2.11/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle into pint.
Clear orangey bet body with small cola colored head that settled into a wispy froth of cloud-like bubbles. Some chunks of lace hang behind.

Smells malty, but dry. Not a whole lot of sweetness at all, and no hops to speak of-- so, why am I drinking this again? The flavor is mild and bland, and surprisingly dry. Rather syrupy feel.
Overall, meh. This is pretty mediocre for an Irish red from SA...

 417 characters

Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.36/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a mahogany/red, a bit amber. Decent 1.5 finger head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a bit of lacing.

S - Bready malts, a bit of caramel, a tinge of spicyness in the background, but rather light smell.

T - The taste is a bit spicy on the beginning before fading into a biscuit malt. The finish is a slight bit metallic, but not bad.

M - Mouthfeel is a touch sticky, but overall, it's fairly smooth.

Overall - It was pretty unoffensive. Not stellar, but not bad. Just a decent brew.

 494 characters

Photo of zdk9
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours out orange-brown and cloudy. My aggressive pour leaves two full fingers of head. Some lacing.

S- A good full smell of caramel, pineapple and tropical fruit, sweet orange, malt syrup, maple syrup, tea.

T- As with the taste, a lot of caramel with tropical fruit sweetness. There's a bit of a break in the middle of my mouth where the beer suddenly goes to bitterness, with a black tea and bitter greens type of taste.

M- Good, sweet and a bit syrupy but the bitterness counteracts that nicely.

O- A more complex beer than I expected. Some nice flavors of caramel. Maybe a bit sweet, but not bad at all.

 613 characters

Photo of Mississipping
3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a mostly clear deep amber color with a small khaki-colored head that falls quickly, leaving only a patch or two and a thin ring.  Very little lacing left behind on the edges of the glass.  

S: Muted a bit, but there's some sweet malt, sweet fruit, and a slight nuttiness.  Really not a whole lot going on in the aroma. 

T: Sweet malty caramel right up front.  Transitions quickly to a nutty, spicy, and hoppy finish. I'm not sure what it is, but you can certainly tell this is a Sam Adams beer.  There's a spicy bite that is present in many of the beers in their seasonal packs, especially the winter/holiday pack.  Slightly warming and quite pleasant, but typical for them.

M: Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.  Almost a little prickly, but it kind of works for the style.  Starts out somewhat sweet but ends slightly bitter and drying. 

D: Really goes down easily.  Typical, and not very complex, but not bad overall. For what it is, it's a good beer for a weekend of watching football.

 1,025 characters

Photo of stickynotes
2.64/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Part of SA's fall mix pack.

Pours an appetizing red caramel with a sticky off white head. Smell is sweet malt-some caramel, fruitiness-maybe banana, not a rich aroma. Taste is sweet malt, not bitter, caramel sweetness continues, weak aftertaste hanging around of the same. Mouthfeel is medium, pleasant. This is another so-so sam adam's offering, nothing really stands out and the cohesion of the parts is far from better than their sum. Too sweet. I won't buy this again, there's nothing to come back to in this beer for me.

 527 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad looking, plenty red, almost a deep auburn, clear, with a fair head and ok lacing.

Malty, caramel, a little hops.

Taste is plenty of caramel malts, with some nice bready notes, slightly sweet, a smidge of hops for bitterness.

Body is light but wet and sweet, slick feeling with a lightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall it's not a bad red but isn't outstanding. It's a nice fall beer though.

 397 characters

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

The beer poured a very pretty deep red color with a little head that hung onto the edge of the glass.

The aroma was very clean with no esters and there was a nice caramel aroma.

The beer tasted clean and of caramel and toffee, it was medium bodied and a little cloying.

Overall the beer was okay, I would say it was pretty average for and irish red. I would have liked it to be less cloying and have some more depth in its flavor profile instead of simply tasting like caramel.

 480 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red, very pretty, but not much of a head and a lack of lace give it lower marks.

The smell starts with cherry an caramel. Slight earthy note, not much else.

The taste starts with some dark fruit and sweet caramel, earth and a slight grassy taste follow. A little watery in the mouth.

I'm not super familiar with the style, but if this is a mediocre example of the style, I'm down to explore around. Not my favorite beer, but it was easy to go through the two in the sampler.

 482 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the new mixed 12. Poured a nice dark red color, with a bit of creamy white head. Pretty standard all around, both on the nose and on the palate. Some earthy hops, sweet malt, a little caramel and an easy drinking medium body. Not bad but not much more.

 262 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.58/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

33cl brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a five finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and good retention. Pours a clear dark copper. I wouldn't even call it amber. Strange for an Irish Red.

Sm: Malty but not overly so, with some amber hops and caramel. I don't get any "earthy notes" per the label. Aroma is mild in strength.

T: Amber hops, a bland malt and barley foundation, and light caramel. It's built simply, and rather garbage for an alleged Irish Red (not that the style is even that popular in the auld country anyway). It lacks balance as well.

Mf: Smooth and wet - too much on both counts. Doesn't suit the flavours at all, either.

Dr: Drinkable but lacking quality, especially for the style. It's priced right, but I won't be buying it again.

 886 characters

Photo of jman892
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a nice dark copper with a sticky tan head. Very good lacing

S - Sweet aroma of dark fruits, some caramel maltiness

T - Sweetness upfront, just a touch of bitterness creeps in on the back end. It is not complex at all, but not unpleasant either. Hard to really identify any specific flavors.

M - Somewhat on the watery side. Dry finish from the slight hop touch

O - Got two of these in a variety pack and will happily finish those. Nothing really stands out in this one, either good or bad.

 504 characters

Photo of alexkeil
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this one from the Harvest mix pack

Appearance is deep red color with a tan fizzy head that dissipated quickly

The aroma is sweet malts, mostly caramel

Flavor is sweet with a dry finish. Mostly caramel comes through with spicy noble hop backing. The bitterness is pretty high and lends to the dry finish. Maybe hints of butter

The mouthfeel is dry and medium, with a higher carbonation

Overall a nice effort, no major flaws but not anything that will knock your socks off. Somewhat sessionable: maybe three or four pints

 528 characters

Photo of kflorence
2.76/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a deep, amber, cherry in color with a ton of frothy, white foam sitting atop that dissipates to a thin layer of cream and leaves a bit of lacing as you drink. Carbonation is active. Decent looking brew.

S: Some dark fruits, rye, some hops and a very unpleasant earthy, musky aroma.

T: Much of the same on the palate. Predominantly sweet with some bittering from the hops. Lacks depth and I'm not really digging the malts here. Lots of caramelized sugar, not much else. Aftertaste is bittersweet hops and malts with a bit of astringency.

M: Medium bodied with light, active carbonation, maybe a bit on the low side. Thin on the tongue without any substance or body to speak of. Drinkable, I guess.

O: Another disappointment from the fall seasonal pack. Very lackluster and just not at all tasty or drinkable for me. Maybe I got a bad batch or I'm simply just not in the mood for this one. Very "meh!"

 912 characters

Samuel Adams Irish Red from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,543 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.