Big Red | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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398 Ratings
Big RedBig Red

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Imperial Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by oberon on 07-03-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 398 |  Reviews: 321
Reviews by ryanonline:
Photo of ryanonline
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear deep red. White head that is fluffy and recedes quickly. Good lacing.

Smells deeply malty and bean like. Has a lot of citrussy and piney hop notes. A very basic beer not a lot of spice.

With the scent I was expecting this beer to be much more bitter. Suprisingly the citrus flavors of the hops shines through most. Also the taste isn't as malty as would have been indicated by the aroma, more caramel and less bran.

Mouthfeel is light and thin with a nice creamyness to it as well as a bittersweet finish that sticks but does not cling to your palette.

Tasty and light bodied with a high but not "too high" alcohol content makes this an impressively drinkable beer.

I shall hail southern tier as new kings of my fridge. I have yet to have a southern tier beer I do not like and this beer is quite something for an impy red.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new "big" beer produced by Southern Tier,a big red brewed with generous amounts of Hellertau hops,brewed in kettle with hellertau magnum and hellertau traditional hops,and dry hopped with hellertau magnum and perle hops.Pours a brilliant bronze with a tight 1 1/2 finger white head aromas are of complete balance of big caramel malt and citrusy/grassy hop that lingers softly.Flavors startout somewhat sweet and caramelly melding into a big hoppy citrusy finish that lingers on the tongue.A very nice "big" red the use of hellertau hops is pretty unique to the style and it comes together quite well.

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Photo of beerjeep
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber from Chuck’s Fine Wines. $6.99 Bottle offers a lot of insight into the beer. Contains Halterau variations, chocolate, caramel, and 2 row pale malts. 9.5% ABV. 15 Degrees L. 20 Degrees P. 93 IBU. Advises to drink out of a snifter.

Appearance: Bright reddened copper. Initially large white head settles to skim.

Aroma: Fruity with lots of caramel and citrus juice. Hints of chocoalte. Halterau goodness.

Taste: Chocolate (more then expected) and caramel body. Very juicy as well but individual fruits are difficult to make out because my palate is rather overwhelmed by the bitterness. This could have used some time to meditate, 6 months or maybe even a year.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, American Barley Wine like. Full and strong. As it warms, increasing amounts of bitter fruit and booze come forward turning this more and more into an IPA like beer instead of a red. By the end I can barely taste the chocolate that was so abundant when this was cold.

Drinkability: Ok. This is pretty filling and very bitter. Some time would surely help.

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Photo of JMD71
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, copper color with a thin head that dissipates moments after pouring. Carbonation appears minimal.

Aroma: Hoppy, malty profile with alcohol notes in the background. Slightly citrusy with flowery edge to it.

Taste: Very sweet malty body up front, bitter in the middle but it mellows in the finish. High ABV is definitely detectable in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Alomst syrupy.Slightly cloying but the bitterness helps to leave the mouth crisp.

Drinkability: This is a slow sipper due to its high ABV. Very tasty & full flavored, but must take it slow.

Comments: This was very tasty & full flavored. Good all around taste profile. I'd recommend this to fans of DIPA's.

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Photo of steelerguy
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours copper, low to moderate carbonation, huge head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some lacing. Great looking beer if this were an IIPA or even pale ale, but it is supposed to be an amber and an amber it is not.

S - Sweet caramel, hay, some toast, and a bit of spiciness.

T - This tastes like it smells, but a bit subdued. Seems like it is almost all pale malt with a touch of caramel and only the faintest hint of the chocolate malt (that is actually good). The hops take a back seat to the malt that doesn't want to seem to take the forefront. There is nothing Imperial about this other than the name and perhaps ABV.

M - Feels over attenuated, there isn't enough body for an Imperial style ale. Not much going on here, I would expect to get a bit more warmth from the alcohol, so that is well hidden at 9%.

O - This is a boring and pedestrian example of an Imperial anything, let alone an Imperial Red Ale. I wouldn't even call this a red ale. Not a bad beer, just not to style and fairly one note. Not something I will get again.

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Photo of blitz134
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just got this in from a trade today. I've been wanting to try some Southern Tier brews for a while.

Caramel colored body. Perfectly clear. Offwhite head, about a half inch on the pour and now its only a thin layer on the top. Nice sporadic lacing.

Smell is strong with caramel and crystal malts and almost leads to a bit of raw sugar aroma. Nice floral hopping works in well. Alcohol peaks out as well, but it isn't that harsh. Simple overall, but pretty good.

Flavor is pretty unique and has a lot going on. Initially the crystal and caramel malts come out. The Hallertau hops offer up some floral and slightly herbal hoppiness next. Next are some slight roasted flavors towards the finish and after the swallow some bitterness lingers, in the form of pine, and alcohol notes begin to expose themselves. I like this. Don't know if it falls into the Imperial Red flavor category; I think it is more of a strong ale with a dominant hop side. Alcohol is a little too evident, but isn't overly fusal so it is easily tolerated.

Mouthfeel is alright, I'll let it slide by with it being called medium, but it seems a touch thin to me. Carbonation level is right on though. It adds a bit of crispness to compliment the hoppiness but not so much to mute a lot of the other flavors.

Good drinkability. I really like the flavors that are in this, its fairly complex, but the alcoholic nature holds it back. I'll have no issues finishing the bomber and I'd probably pick this up on occassion if it were more readily available.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just introduced to this brewery; I'm very impressed. A 22oz bottle, poured into a snifter. It was a reddish orange color with a small white head. It had a fruit and malt aroma. The taste was more on the malt side, just a little fruit. Very good hops presence that lingered on. The flavors improved as the beer approached room temperature. Nice beer.

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Photo of sponberg
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What is it with alcoholic beverages and farm machinery? Bedell Cellars on Long Island makes a red table wine that's highly drinkable with an old Ford farm truck on the label, now this. Great label BTW - all kinds of info, suggested glass - very good stuff.

Anyway, (holds snifter up to the light) Brilliant golden red witha white head that lasts forever. Very appetizing looking brew. Aroma of deep, caramelly malt and fresh, grassy, noble hops - all kinds of Hallertau varietals are in here, and it shows.

Starts off with a warm creamy mouthfeel, caramel-toffeeish, with a pervasive balanced hoppiness. Nice lingering bitterness, fresh to the point of being almost mintlike. Good hop flavor and spiciness, more English in style than German despite the Hallertaus in here. Alcohol is well controlled - not a lot of burn, although it shows up more when warm. I'd agree with the bottle - better when chilled (42) rather than cellar temperature. Finish is like, well... Think of your favorite red ale from any good brewpub - you know, the one that would be an ESB but it's a bit maltier and more "American" in style? Crank it to eleven. Nice lingering bitterness with a rounded maltiness. Drinkability is huge when chilled, lessens as it warms, but I don't recommend pounding bombers of this 9.5% ABV brew to get the best effect.

Nice effort - one of those "fits the bill" beers when you want something big but not a hop bomb, malt monster, or Belgian.

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Photo of marvin213
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A big, fuzzy head quickly diminishes to a sparsely coated top. Big bubbles quickly give way to very small ones. Hoppy lacing makes its mark. It's not as red as I expected, but certainly a light copper brown--light enough that it's totally translucent. The brown tint gives sweet vibes.

The smell is caramel, chocolate, and hops. Were it not for the last of these, I'd think I was smelling candy. If the beer looks at all sweet, it smells even sweeter. I detect maybe even a hint of cinnamon. Maybe when I think of reds I unfairly expect more oak (a la Carolina's own Red Oak), but I'm taken aback by the sweet smell on this sucker.

The taste is the smell: caramel first, chocolate second, and hops last. If I hadn't so closely analyzed the look and odor, I'd be really surprised by the sweetness. Able to brace for it, I enjoy it more. The hops add a nice bittering effect, particularly on the aftertaste. They don't dazzle via smell or taste, but they do offer the basic dependability as described on the label. On that note, kudos to Southern Tier for the most spot-on, informative labels in my craft beer experience. I have yet to encounter an ST that didn't deliver precisely as its label descriptor said it would. For a big (9%) red--an aptly named beverage--this is a good tasting experience.

The sweetness at the onset of each sip really provides a candy-like mouthfeel. Coupled with the lingering hop bite, it's really a unique and enjoyable effect. While it's nothing extraordinary or extreme, it's solidly good. In fairness, though, the sweetness that dominates the taste hampers drinkability. Too many of these and you're clutching your stomach like a kid left alone at the candy shop.

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Photo of Shagator
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of generallee
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pint 6oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a deep reddish/orange amber body with a slight haze. On top is a creamy egg shell white colored head, which is about two fingers tall and quickly settles to a thin covering. This small cap of foam hangs on well and makes lots of spotty and slick lace patterns on the glass.

Smell: The aroma has loads of caramel maltiness and sweet bready notes with a solid backing of perfume like citrusy hops.

Taste/Palate: There is a good solid load of bready and caramel like maltiness with a very slight hint of bitter chocolate. Right up there on the tongue with the malt base are the hops which bring solid bitterness and floral and spicy citrus flavor. The palate has smooth slightly slick but well carbonated feel and the finish has a slow hop bitter fade.

Notes: This is an overlooked and I think under rated beer from Southern Tier. At 9.5% abv it is way too easy to drink.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty clear amber color with a nice frothy 1/2 inch head that retains wonderfully. Nice lacing as well.

Aroma is of lots of sweet malts and a big citrus hop smell. Im picking up some dark, overripe fruits as well along with some toffee notes.

Taste is sweet malts up front along with citrusy hops. For some reason I am picking up a cocoa flavor. Some caramel and toffee flavors..even some rye which I am pretty sure isnt even in this beer. Nice hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is full bodied but not too heavy, perfect amount of carbonation, semi-dry finish. Very drinkable and tasty. Southern Tier never lets one down.

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle purchased at NYC's gem of a beer store, New Beer on Christie st., god I love visiting that place!....anyway, I also love big beer and guess what, this is a lovely, BIG beer. Pours a nice dark honey, almond amber, semi cloudy with a fine and tiny bubble, creamy, light tan head. A gentle swirl leaves plenty of fine, scattered and splotchy lacing. So far so good. Caramel and smoky, nutty notes on the nose. This is a well hopped, very smooth and tasty ale. Layers of malt, balancing spicy hops. Lingering oily hops on the palate, spice and heat ever present. Delicious, heady brew. Great tasting, easy drinking, another very worthy offering from NY's Southern Tier Brewing.

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Photo of Homebrew35
2.07/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2008 bomber.
Pours with barely a half finger of head. Hardly a ring of lacing remains. Clear amber in color. Smells Carmely sweet and a sour twang, we suspected the bottles from this vintage to be infected and this definitely is. Tastes sweet and carmel, sour tart lactic acid, shoe leather, tart cherry, some hop bitterness. Hard to swallow after a few ounces. Medium full bodied, medium carbing. Overall this is a let down and sad to know that I've now had three different new and old infected bottles from ST.
Drain poured after 4 ounces shared among friends.

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Photo of tigg924
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, medium carbonation, redish brown, clear

Smell: big does of malt and some hops

Taste: an excellent mix of hops and malt. Caramel and pine dominate, there is also a taste of tea.

Mouthfeel: very smooth, medium light bodied, medium carbonation, sweet start that mixes with bitter and ends with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: I just love the way the hops and malt dance in this brew. This is slightly more hoppy than malty, but the mix is there. I couple have a couple of these. The alcohol is well hidden. While not ST most complex, it is a very good beer.

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Photo of badmoon
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip from a bomber.

A: Cloudy apricot. More of a dull orange. The original pour left about one finger worth of head and there is some sparse lacing.

S: I'm getting some very smooth malt scents. I'm not detecting much in the line of hops.

T: This is where the hops come in. Piney, somewhat spicy flavor. Doesn't finish dry...I'm continuing to detect the hops.

M: Sort of oily. Not watery at all. This is definitely one to sip and savor.

D: Since I'm enjoying from a bomber, I think "one and done" is sufficient.

Overall: This is pretty good. The other Southern Tier that I've tried all seem to have a theme. I don't think that's the case here. It's still good though. I'd get it again.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy orange-yellow-brown color with a white head. The aroma is very similar to a barleywine. I get a lot of caramel malt along with some citrus and chocolate. The flavor is heavy on the caramel malt with some orange citrus notes. There is not much alcohol present. Low to medium bitterness. I also get some piney hops and some chocolate malt. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Red opens with a malty, yeasty nose that bears a strong resemblance to floury baguettes, wheat toast crust, and yeasty rising bread dough. The aromas at first are largely breads and grains--perhaps eighty percent--but some touches of orange and apricot come through, as does a sprinkling of lemon, grapefruit rind, and pine resin from the hops, and a touch of brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla. But then something strange happens: after the beer has been let to air for a minute or so, the aromas suddenly take on much sweeter tones, with Jolly Rancher-like cherry and watermelon candies bubbling to the surface in syrupy goodness, and the hops sprouting forth with greater pink grapefruits and lemon candies. As a whole, I was at first unimpressed with the nose, but the sudden rush of candied sugars reversed this opinion rather suddenly, and the beer now smells delicious and very drinkable.

On the tongue, the first notes are of breads and toast, but these are joined a split-second later by orange, cherry, apricot, melon, and berry fruit esters, supported well by vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar. The flavors are largely sugary sweet here, but not overly so, for a peppery spice and some toasted nuts linger just beneath the surface, and the hops, while they do contribute some sweet lemons and pink grapefruits, also bring in a nice countering dose of pine resin, dandelion stem, and eucalyptus. As the beer remains on the tongue and the sugars slowly die off, a larger bread and grain base emerges, and just at the end the hops add a pleasantly bitter dash of dandelion stem and pine sap. The aftertaste is largely these latter hop notes, with touches of bread and sugar, and lingers on the tongue for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is delicious beer, being very nicely balanced so that the sugars, bitters, and breads work in near-perfect harmony, emphasizing and building off each others' flavors. It says much that the 9% ABV is hardly noticeable during the mouthful, being mostly present as a light alcoholic vapor on the breath after swallowing. But as another mouthful quickly resolves even this tiny problem, the beer obviously boasts enough flavor--flavor that, by the way, doesn’t diminish from mouthful to mouthful--to overcome any problems. Recommended.

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Photo of beerkittycat
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is slightly hazy orange with just a hint of ruby highlights. Hmmm. Was expecting it to be more "red". Decent off-white head lingers for a moment then settles to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Aroma has some really nice spicey and resiny hop aroma along with decent malt. Taste is full of sweet malt coupled with that resiny hop flavor. Hop bitterness is just a hair under moderate and doesnt' really balance the extreme sweetness. The mouthfeel is full but the finish is overly sweet and almost cloying. In fact, this beer tastes a little under attenuated. Bring the gravity down and I bet this beer would be truly something special. Having said that, I would definately try this beer again. Maybe this batch had a tired yeast strain because it definately has potential.

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Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of far333
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

93 IBU's of hallertau magnum and hallertau tradition, dry hopped with hallertau magnum and perle.

Pale malt, caramel malt, and chocolate malt.

Pours from the bottle a clear ruddy orange with a thick and frothy inch high white head that lingers long.

Aroma of cinnamon, biscuity malt and spicy hops with some citrus.

Rich and full mouthfeel leads to big hoppy and spicy flavors. Some sweet citrus and tangy grapefruit, especially in the lingering aftertaste. Some subtle alcohol vapors rise up, but are not too overppowering. Sweet honey emerges as it warms, and a sweet and grainy/grassy/citrusy flavor that's hard to pinpoint, reminds me of the taste you steal from the hydrometer after taking the OG reading.

Very tasty and drinkable beer, another good one from Southern Tier.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up for a good price at the Six Pack shop in Moon appears a caramel amber red hue with a large tuffet of caramel tan head after slowly dwindling down it leaves fine annular specks of lacing around my chalice. Aromatics don't let me down with large doses of herbal grassy citrus noble hops...Hallertau both regular and dry hopped in this one, read the label it's an Imperial Red ale designed around different varieties of Hallertau...kick ass. Malt presence is rather imperial with big lucious bountiful caramel toned breadiness to balance out all that hopage. Flavor is upfront with the bitterness and simply bursts open the door with hop flavors like citrus and grassy herbal hop tones matched beautifully with a caramel toasted nut malt bill that balanced so well yet remained aggressive throughout the 22oz. portion. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied to me and has very smooth even carbonation all topped with streaks of oily hop resins running along the palate. freakin' effortless the flavor keeps me craving this succulent masterpiece while the alcohol warns me not to over consume.

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with a hint of toastiness. As it warms light amounts of spicy pine hop aromas waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors up front have the sweetness taper off a bit midway through the sip as a solid bitterness enters into things. The piney hop flavors are a bit more pungent than the smell would indicate, however they still take a backseat to the malts.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished the bottle without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is a very solid double red. I would like to see a bit more hops to balance out the sweetness but that's not to say that it's not very tasty as it is. Worth a shot.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a warm nutty pecan colored body that is clear with a wall of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface. There is a sticky off-white head that makes rings with each sip.

S- The smell of soft honey toasted malt has some notes of dry toasted malt coming through as it warms. There is a nice green fresh aroma of hops that doesn't really have citrus qualities or noble qualities.

T- This beer has a soft dry toasted malt flavor with some good freshness and nice depth. There is a light sweetness to the finish of the malt and just enough biscuit and raw grain flavor to add support without overpowering the other flavors. The finish has a dandelion greens bitterness to the hops with a floral quality to it. There is a nice bitterness that balances the malt but doesn't linger.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight sticky texture and no alcohol heat.

D- This beer has a real nice depth to the grain bill and a good hop flavor to support it. The hops have a nice twist to them and although they have a nice presence they are not the only flavor in this imperial red.

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Big Red from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 398 ratings