Big Red (Imperial Red) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Big Red (Imperial Red)Big Red (Imperial Red)
Liked This Beer
3.87 w/ 398 ratings
Big Red (Imperial Red)Big Red (Imperial Red)

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

Style: American Amber / 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
Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Schwerzpunkt
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter....

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange-amber color with a large, rapidly dissipating head. A swirl of the glass leaves moderate lacing which also disappears quickly.

Smell-This was my favorite part of the beer. The malts dominated the aroma. Smelled very yeast and very much of biscuits. Almost like a dog treat...but in a good way. It was also somewhat sweet smelling with moderate fruity notes (especially apple, but some citrus as well) and a hint of caramel. Very pleasing.

Taste-Malts were very much on the forefront. Sweet was the predominant flavor, with notes of caramel and fruits, such as apple and citrus. Some hop bitterness present, however, it seemed more of an afterthought and outweighed by the malts to the point of being unbalanced. It left a faint, bitter, slightly medicinal aftertaste. Finally, there was a faint presence of alcohol flavor towards the back.

Mouthfeel- High carbonation with and moderately full bodied. Noted a slight alcohol burn as it slid down the throat.

Overall- The best part of the beer was the aroma, which I absolutely loved! Alcohol was definitely present in the taste, and there was the slightest burn, however, I think it worked with this beer and was not unpleasant. The malts were very much on the forefront and dominated the hops to the point of putting this beer out of balance. That being said, one must keep in mind that this is a retired beer and past its prime, so some of the hop flavor could have faded. I'd wager that a fresh version of this beer would be a bit more balanced.

 1,560 characters

Photo of MrBoh
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Hbat68
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of 6demonbag
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of rlee1390
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy deep orange, good carbonation, one finger head.

S-Lots of malt, a lot of caramel with floral and grassy notes.

T-Very sweet and malty. A lot of caramel with dirt, grass and a tad bit of floral notes. Some bitterness still.

M-Medium bodied, a tad on the lighter side, some carbonation.

O-I know this beer is retired and this one seems like it may have turned. It is still good but the fresh presence of the hops might have made this a little more balanced.

 469 characters

Photo of hardcor33
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of PorterLambic
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark orange color with a big, fluffy, nearly two finger high head, light tan in color. Great retention. Nice amount of lacing.
Smell is malty with floral and hop notes and maybe a hint of citrus. Nicely balanced.
Taste is malt, citrusy hops and a floral note. Balance is good here as well.
Fairly full bodied with a short-lived medium effervescence. A slight medicinal note crops up in the aftertaste after about 30 minutes or so.

 453 characters

Photo of steve8robin
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy orange color, very little head or carbonation to it. Smell is of faint caramel malts. I'm a big fan of red ales, especially imperial ones, but I was a bit let down by this one. Taste is very sweet upfront, caramel and hops bombard you. A bit unbalanced, isn't the smoothest drink. Not a bad taste in the aftertaste and plenty of taste for this bigger ABV beer, but the initial sweetness knocks this one down a few pegs. Had high expectations for this, still a pretty good beer but not the caramel deliciousness I was expecting.

 549 characters

Photo of mweso2000
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of philistinedream
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

 2,327 characters

Photo of avisong
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of craig220
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

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

22 oz bomber, this has been in my cellar at least a year, probably going on two.

Popped the cap, surprised it is a light gusher. Poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Looks good: has a clear orange body, poured to a 1 inch beige head that dissipated to a ring and cap, with some sticky lacing.

Smells of sweet malt, sweet caramel and brown sugar, and orange. Nice orange aroma.

Tastes of sweet pale malt, orange, with an herbal bitterness. There is just a touch of dark malt and milk chocolate. Finishes clean and dry. Love the high dosage of Hallertau with its orange flavor and a grassy bitter finish.

Body is medium and the carbonation is moderate and round, giving this a full, creamy mouthfeel.

I enjoyed this red ale. The alcohol level, malt sweetness, and hops push it into imperial territory, yet the alcohol is well contained and the brew is well balanced and interesting. Too bad ST is not making this any more.

 926 characters

Photo of superspak
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating(but this is definitely fairly aged, it is in a twist off bottle). Pours hazy reddish orange color, with a small 1 finger off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, biscuit, floral, toffee, pine, light chocolate, toast, and herbal spiciness. Some pretty good aromas here, with big caramel sweetness noticed. Taste of big caramel, chocolate, toffee, biscuit, grapefruit, toast, herbal, floral, and light pine. At 93 IBU, there is a surprisingly tame amount of herbal bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, toffee, chocolate, citrus, biscuit, floral, herbal, and light pine on the finish for a bit. Big sweetness over the hoppiness, but it is not cloying at all. Nicely balanced and smooth flavors. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a nice creamy, slick, and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol is extremely well hidden at 9.5%, with only a small warming after the finish. Very smooth to sip on as well. Overall this was a damn nice imperial red, despite being pretty old. Great flavor balance, and very smooth for such a big beer.

 1,204 characters

Photo of tjeppaint
2.25/5  rDev -41.9%

Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber.

pours out a bright orange and copper colour, slightly hazed with a dense light tan head. in the nose, caramel and chocolate malts are detected followed by hints of spicy hoppiness. the taste profile is a pleasant mix of layered maltiness, quite rich and creamy in texture...toffee, nougat and cocoa notes all meld well together. spicy, herbal hoppiness add a touch of splendor to the overall flavour profile and also provides a good dose of bitterness. there are hints of alcohol and oxidation...just a hint of wet cardboard. doesn't really affect the enjoyment too much. full bodied...with a slick yet coarse mouthfeel. drinkability is's enjoyable yet restrained in nature.

overall i'm guessing i may have sampled this past its prime. a few off flavours can be detected in both the aroma and taste. oh well...

 837 characters

Photo of beerjeep
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of TTAmod
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber poured into pint glass. It looks like this bottle has been dragged through the Capitol Wastelands (after bombing Megaton, of course.) Oh yeah, I just plugged a video game in a review of a retired beer that no one will probably ever read. But seriously, the silk-screen letters on the side are all upside down and in random spots. It looks hilarious.

And....since ST doesn't date their bottles (damn you!), I have no idea what the age of this beer is. I'd guess it was from last year, but there seriously is NO WAY to know. I found it at a little shop in a Podunk town that has a lot of little gems here and there. Saw it sitting on the shelf next to a Mokah. It had no price tag and was the only one there. I'm guessing they probably found it in the 7th circle of stockroom Hell -and just put it out for the lulz.


A: Cloudy light amber color. Head is a one finger tan head with good retention and lacing. There's quite a bit of sediment flouting about, as well. This is to be expected with a beer like this...

S: Still smells good enough. Has that familiar ST malt base (think Unearthly.) I smell faint grassy hops, caramel and toffee.

T: Nice, toasty grain up front. Remnants of Unearthly-like hops after that. Goes into a bit of a metallic taste along with a nice dose of spice. Finally finishes slightly bitter and has that toasted grain on the end, as well. There's also a kiss of juicy fruit at the end, too.

Malt base is a nice roasted caramel and toffee. Hops have held up pretty well.

M: Medium-heavy. Creamy. Ample carbonation, which is nice. Pretty good.

O: Still pretty damn good. I'm quite surprised, really. This one can kind of be compared with the Lagunitas Imperial Red. The Impy Red is a bit better, but this one has a lot of age on it. This beer gives off a similar vibe.

If you still find it sitting around somewhere, not a bad way to go for $5.99

 1,903 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottle date, so this is at least a year old, possibly closer to 2 years.

A: Pours a copper/light amber color with a fingers worth of head that recedes to lace within a minute

S: This is similar to a lot of ST's hoppier beers, with a bite of hops and lots of sweet malts as well. Prominent caramel as well, which adds to the sweetness

T: Definitely on the maltier side, but the hops provide a fairly bitter finish. Hops are definitely flowery as well, which goes surprisingly well with the malty sweetness. The alcohol adds a nice complexity with some fruity esters

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: I'm surprised by how well the hops have held up over the year or 2. If anything, the alcohol is the only thing that got mellowed out by the age. Seeing as how this won't be released any more (this year at least), you should definitely pick up a bottle if you haven't had it yet

 901 characters

Photo of bigbeers84
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Big Red (Imperial Red) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 70.1% out of 100 with 398 ratings
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