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

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Samuel Adams Irish RedSamuel Adams Irish Red

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

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

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Reviews: 982 | Ratings: 2,442
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!"

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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.

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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.

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Photo of djaeon
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Bendurgin
2.68/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass. This one pours a clear amber color with a short lived fizzy reddish white head.

The aroma is reminiscent of raspberries with a little bit of cocoa. Just kind of sweet and unimpressive. Kind of reminds me of a tootsie roll pop. Fruity flavors to start on this one with some caramel malts and a touch of bitter hops in the finish.

The body is light with somewhat sharp carbonation. Overall this one is forgetable. Just doesn't come together for me.

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Photo of mfunk9786
2.67/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled as part of the Harvest variety pack. Kind of an odd beer to include as part of a fall variety pack in my opinion, but Sam Adams loves to have six beers (two too many for a variety 12-pack in my opinion) in their variety packs, seemingly as a way to keep my precious Sam Adams Dunkelweizen at arms' length from me. (Four bottles per case? Bah, humbug!)

A: This beer looks undeniably beautiful when poured. Orange-copper in the glass, with a copper-tinged off-white head (started out darker and then seemed to lighten, don't know if it was my eyes playing tricks on me or if the lightening of the head was actually taking place). Two perfect fingers of head, great lacing, the whole deal. No one can deny that this beer looks lovely.

S: Smells rather unspectacular, a big whiff of macro grains (I know Sam Adams doesn't use these and I don't want to accuse them of such, but I smell either macro grains or cheap toasted bread big-time on the nose of this one). A little bit of caramelized malt is also notable, but no hops are present on the nose.

T: No hops are present here, either - sadly. The bottle advertises East Kent Goldings, but none of the foresty, earthy flavor of those hops is perceptible. The taste is a caramel malt bomb, with an Oktoberfest butteriness and a nondescript (hop?) bitterness on the finish. Unimpressive to say the least.

M+D: The sweetness of the caramel malts on the finish makes this one less than desirable on the tongue over time. There's obviously quite a bit of carbonation, but the sweetness overwhelms the rest of the experience and makes everything a little bit overwhelming. The beer just doesn't taste good enough to warrant putting up with the cloying mouthfeel, and I'll be using the other bottle from my variety pack as a mid-session one-off. I am a Sam Adams apologist in a big way, but I can't believe that they'd drop the Scotch Ale from the fall variety pack and still have this one in it. Eh, at least it isn't Sam Adams Light.

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Photo of rdesisto
2.67/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in a bottle. The drink by date states the beer is good until july 2008.

This is a quality beer with a couple small flaws in my opinion. Appearance good enough with a nice chill haze. Average head retention. Smell and taste of butter very strong here - possibly oxidized?? i like irish reds and this certainly lives up to the style. very drinkable. soft mouth feel.

Certainly a 'better beer' - but for my personal taste it had too much butter taste and after taste to be a 'great beer'.

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Samuel Adams Irish Red from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,442 ratings.
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