Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
985 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: 985 | Ratings: 2,445
Photo of VelvetExtract
2.86/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a lively orange/brown color. The beer boasts a big fluffy head that refuses to die down. Great lacing as well. Like most other Sam Adams beers, this one looks the part.

S-Nothing very special here. The beer's aroma is overall, quite light. Maltiness and some herby qualities. Very light hops.

T-The taste is not for me. I think it is more due to the fact that I may not love the style. The beer is decently sweet and has a bread component. There is a light fruitiness that I can somewhat detect. Light hops as well.

M-Leaning closer to medium for the body. Medium carbonation as well.

O/D-Overall, I am not a big fan of this one. The style is not my favorite. I just do no love the flavor combination here.

 720 characters

Photo of Outchillen
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this in a variety pack, reddish in color, white read, very mild body lighter than other reds, smooth, not much of an aftertaste, smell slightly sweet, not overly impressed, good for the style, very basic, nothing to crazy, would drink it again if in the mood for an IRA, but never really in the mood for an IRA

 314 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

reviewed from notes, part of the big sam adams tasting on xams day. we plowed through everyone we could find in the damn state! served cold and poured into a pint glass.

nice medium brown color with hints of red on the sides that give way to a nice and well rounded off white head that seems to serve the purpose quite well. aroma is one sided with tons of bready malts and grains and lacking a hoppy balance and this would be a theme throughout the glass. lots of caramel, hints of earthy notes, breads, but the feel was a bit thin to me and it lacked that touch of hops to bring balance to it.

overall it was not a bad beer by any means, but just seemed to be lacking overall for my taste.

 694 characters

Photo of herman77
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Dark, clear amber with a small light tan head, decent retention. A little bit of lacing.

S: Buttery, toasted malt. A little bit of carmel sweetness. A bit lacking.

T: Very dry, grainy malt. A little bit of toasted carmel. Smells sweeter on the nose for sure. Some earthy bitter hops near the finish, but overall its really malty. It does have a dirt like taste at the end.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Pretty run of the mill.

D: Not doing much for me. Glad there is only 2 in the mix 12 pack I got.

Irish Reds are one of my least favorite styles, so I could be a little biased here.

 609 characters

Photo of
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a small head, which quickly fades. Clear dark red in color. Strong hop smell, also is kind of buttery with misc. yeast funk. Fruity tasting, earthy and has kind of a sharp aftertaste (yeast?). Hop flavor is a little bit masked by this. Has a slightly creamy mouthfeel.
Not my favorite from the sample pack I bought, it had a little too much yeast flavor for my taste.

 379 characters

Photo of Jordan1985rec
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Loads of people have hit on the same ASTMD points, and for the most part I agree. I think the real only folly of this beer is the lack of body when compared to other major offerings of this style like Smithwicks. For me it didn't have the same biscuit quality that a Smithwicks has, it is closer in style to the Murphy's Red, which to me at least is not as good despite my love of their stout. I really do love BBC and I was hoping for a bit more. Not awful in any respect though, drinkable but could have been better.

 527 characters

Photo of jazer
2.82/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

What a wonderful head this beer delivers. I really see why it is called Irish Red, what a deep color of amber this beer yields. Has a nice flavor but lacks aroma. Even though this particular brew is lacking in scent and surprise, I believe I could drink quite a few of these.

Wouldn't recommend it, but would still drink it.

 326 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 MarkQ617
2.81/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this poured out of the bottle into a pint glass. This is the eleventh beer I've tried from Sam. This is a pretty mild red from those that've tried. Not as smoky As I'm accustomed to, a little flat. Lacking the lingering flavor that you get out of many like beers. It did however have a great appearance, beautiful ruby red. Too bad the flavor didn't measure up.

 365 characters

Photo of artdob
2.8/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

For starters, I seem to have a mental block woth red ales - not sure why, but I can't quite cozy up to the style. With that preface, since this was included in the latest summer sampler package, it would be unworthy of the beer journey to avoid a sampling, so here goes.

Junior-ish head, dissipates quickly. Color is ruby reddish brown. The nose has mild sweet tones, some maltiness - not getting anything with a specific note otherwise.

On the palate - initial sweetness that is very quickly counter balanced with a mixture of bitterness, roastiness, and even a somewhat sour tone - all at the same time. So here I am again, in a land of red that just doesn't do it for me. Suspect it isn't all that bad, if this is what one likes, just no for my taste.

 757 characters

Photo of kevinjosephlee
2.8/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into a glass

A: This was a deep ruby red/copper color, with a rich and full whitish (maybe even tanish) head, not much lacing.

S: An above-average caramel (maybe some toffee) maltiness (perhaps too much). Some diacetyl adds buttery notes. No hops aroma present. Scent of alcohol comes through.

T: A caramel maltiness and overly sweet. The diacetyl that produces the buttery smell is more sour than buttery on the tongue, an effect that is exacerbated as more is consumed. No hoppy bitternes. Overly sweet in the finish.

M: Medium-full body, with heavy-moderate carbonation. No slick mouthfeel as would be expected with the diacetyl. Rich and full. Not so crisp taste.

D: I have had this beer on a few occasions, and every time, I have the same experience: it seems like a very drinkable and enjoyable beer; however, the flavor falls apart as the beer is consumed. Not the most easily-drinkable beer.

Overall: A bit off of what would be expected from this style; just average. Too much carbonation which takes away from the refreshing nature of the style. Also, overly sweet.

 1,095 characters

Photo of ale1
2.79/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

poured into malt glass, pours a gppd head afterwards does the the bubble show and hoping for some good barley malts in the taste it's really just bland and resembles other high production glorp like killians red , save your shillings not all that great

 252 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.79/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a clear reddish copper color. The head is a one finger light cream shade with an excellent creamy texture. Retention isn't great, but the lacing left on the glass is good.

S: The only thing I really notice aroma-wise are sweet caramel malts and earthy hops. Maybe a touch of diacetyl comes through, I'm not really sure. Whatever it is, it's not very impressive.

T: Just like I said in the aroma, it's caramel malts and some earthy hops to finish it. There's a faint touch of fruity esters and some hazelnut in the midtaste, but this is very simple otherwise. This does a good job of dictating exactly what the aroma suggested - by being quite mediocre.

M: This comes off rather sweet and syrupy; given its clean texture, it feels rather strange on the palate. If any beer needs a drier finish, this is it. Not particularly drinkable for that reason.

O: Can't say I'm a huge fan of this one. It's hard to really place what I don't like about this, but it ultimately doesn't come together nearly as much as it should.

 1,067 characters

Photo of Stunner97
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- reddish brown in color with light to little carbonation, light thin foam head on the top

Smell- Malts and slight hops up front, slightly bitter and alcohol

Taste- sweet malts with a slightly hoppy finish at the end, good balanced beer, a good slight sweet malty brew, creamy finish, something slightly odd though with a metallilc flavor or something thats just weird, wonder if mine is bad batch,

Mouthfeel- Cream smooth and decent medium bodied

Drinkability- Highly drinkable and a tasty session beer, didnt blow me away negative or postive a decent choice i will visit again, the wierd after taste or metallic flavor was odd, wasnt terrible but not great

 672 characters

Photo of chumba526
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appears red/amber color with a nice inch long off white head.

It smells of caramel and citrus primarily. Doesn't smell bad but doesn't smell to interesting either.

It tastes strongly of sweet caramel there is also a molasses flavor there is an ever so mild bit of citrus. I also get a slight grainy taste in the finish. The taste is fine but it is not unique or inspired.

The carbonation is moderate high.

Drinkability is about average for the style a bit too much of a caramel flavor for me to want more than two in a row though.

Overall this is an average red ale. It's a nice little beer for the price. Not bad if you want simple, predictable but drinkable red ale.

 675 characters

Photo of tigg924
2.76/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber and clear, small head, which disappears quickly

Smell: malts light grain--I did not think this beer had a particularly strong smell

Taste: I got a slightly bitter first taste and a stronger bitter finish

Mouthfeel: very smooth, slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: I could see this being a session beer for those that like Irish Reds, but I will not be searching for this. I like Sam Adams, but believe they have better offerings.

 457 characters

Photo of claspada
2.76/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish dark caramel. Head is white that dissipates fairly quickly.

Aromas are dark cherry and roasted malts. Pretty sweet smelling in general; all malt no hops. Eh...

The taste is more fruits than anything else. Extremely top heavy in maltiness with no hop character, does Sam Adams use hops in their beers, seriously...

This beer is pretty heavy in the mouthfeel.

Overall this is a malt bomb for how low the ABV is. Pass is an understatement.

 459 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

Photo of Murrhey
2.74/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a weizen glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Reviewed live. Best-by July 2013.

A- Two and a half finger cream colored head. Leaves thin translucent lacing down the side. Retention is relatively weak, about 45 seconds in and it is down to about a quarter-inch. Gorgeous red with very high clarity. Not looking too bad.

S- Warm malts, some straw and English, muted hops. All in all a quiet aroma, but not a tremendously appealing one.

T- Slightly toasted caramel malts, sour English hops and a stoic earthy yeast character. Interesting. Not great though.

M- Acidic and medium bodied. Wet finish.

O- Not Sam's best, but not a beer I would be above choosing again.

 700 characters

Photo of kindestcut
2.74/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Of all the Irish Reds I have had the Samuel Adams Irish Red appears among the most red. No false advertising there. The head was quite active but quickly dissipated in seconds.

There's not a strong aroma to this beer...slight hops and a faint fruitiness that was quite unexpected.

The flavor is really mediocre...what a disappointment. Slight (and I mean slight) hoppiness lingers in the mouth while a sweetness you'd expect from an Irish Red disappears soon after the first taste.

There's very little body to this beer. The carbonation is strangely weak and the mouthfeel is watery. Quite a disappointing beer.

 614 characters

Photo of NickMunford
2.73/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red with little head. No retention or lacing. Has light sweet aromas of roasted malt. The aroma carries through in the taste. With a hint of caramel. Lightly sweet roasted malt. Little to no hops presence. The mouthfeel is smooth and light, with moderate carbonation. Another very drinkable beer from Boston Brewing Company. It's good, but boring. There's nothing that gives it a red ale flavor. No toastiness, or richness that makes me think of "ale". Easily drinkable, but not worth seeking out over other offerings.

 531 characters

Photo of kflack
2.71/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle, drink before 7/2011.

A: Pours with a one finger head that disappears quickly, light lacing. Golden red color (duh). Looks to loose it carb quickly.

S: Not a lot going on here, light caramel, Stuck the bottle to my nose and still not much else.

T: A little hoppy in the finish, light biscuts but oddly bitter.

M: Smooth with little carb. A little sticky, a little chewy. Could really use some more body to it.

O: Not bad, but not one I will purchase again. Overall very bland.

 507 characters

Photo of DesMoinesMike
2.71/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, they can't all be winners.

I picked up mix-n-match at Dahl's and threw a few reds in he mix. One was SA Irish Red. It's a pretty dark amber with a zesty aroma. The taste is a let-down. The malty aspect seems a bit sour, off-tasting. The aftertaste seems watered-down. I ended up dumping the last bit of the bottle. I'm not doing this one again.

 351 characters

Photo of blakelive784
2.7/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a pilsner glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a transparent amber brown with a fairly thin 1 finger head. Retention is abysmal (about 10 seconds).

S - Hints of cherry, toasted malt, caramel, and faint (very faint) floral notes. Incredibly mild.

T - Light musty and dirty hops notes weakly attempt to balance the heavy caramel malt. I still get a strange cherry note as well. It's incredibly simple, though it's not built horribly. Just doesn't have a whole lot going on.

M - Medium bodied, a bit thick and strangely dry on the finish.

D - It almost seems like a miserable attempt at a Smithwick's clone. It's not awful but not real good, either.

 688 characters

Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.68/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thought it would be a decent brew. Proved to be wrong.
Poured a dark reddish color with a big white head and small lacing.
Smelled of thin black tea and some malted barley.
Tasted very bland with not much going for it other than some somewhat tasty malts.
Mouthfeel was medium to average.
Fairly drinkable.

 311 characters

Samuel Adams Irish Red from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,445 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.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!