Big Red (Imperial Red) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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321 Reviews
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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 321 | Ratings: 398
Photo of OakedCanuck
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into shaker. From notes

A - Pours a reddish copper colour with slightly off white head. Fizzy and disappeared quickly leaving virtually no lacing

S - Caramel sweetness, pineapple and orange hops, yeast

T - Pretty juicy hop flavours. Lots of oranges, pineapples, grapefruit some lemon. Decent sweet malt (caramel) backbone.

M - Tacky, medium, sweet.

O - I liked this imperial red, it had bold flavours paired with the nice juiciness from the hops. Definitely would have this again.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours out as a nice red color with tan colored head that has some decent lacing for a little while. The smell has some good caramel malts with a bit of hops in there. The taste has a pretty interesting bite to it, this beer gives off both the sweetness and the bitterness of a common red ale. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker than most red ales which is good since it's an imperial. Overall, this brew is pretty good. I'd drink it again if given the opportunity.

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Photo of beals
2.57/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

22oz bomber, poured into a snifter.

first impressions: hm, no "pop" when taking the cap off. something must be amiss.

a: pale, looks like slightly-reddish apple juice. expected this one to be darker, perhaps more opaque. i can see clean through it. no head. no bubbles at all.

s: alcohol, sweet caramel, some esters. slight citrus hop aroma.

t: alcohol, sweet hops, some fruity esters. no, and i mean *zero* carbonation, which throws the whole taste experience off.

m: zero carbonation. i think i must have gotten a bad bottle here.

overall: i was really excited about this beer going in, and i generally love ST's stuff, but this was a huge disappointment -- to the point where i would take it back to the store for a refund, if i hadn't already drank some of it. i know it's mostly due to the lack of carbonation, but you gotta have some QC here, guys.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber body with a white head. Little lacing.

S: Bready malts & sweet malty aroma of caramel with a slight citrus backbone.

T: Nice sweet caramel and chocolate malt flavor followed by some light spices, dark fruits perhaps, and some citrus hops. Nicely balanced. No noticable booze flavor.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, very smooth and clean mouthfeel.

O: Very easy to drink and enjoyed this quite a bit. Nothing life changing, but definitely would recommend this if you like this style. Could have 1-2 of these by myself easily.

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

I'd classify this beer as an IPA.
To me, it looks like an IPA, smells like an IPA and tastes like an IPA. Must be an IPA.

Nose is harbinger of hops and a hint of alcohol.

I'd fault the presentation because there was little or no head-- and that was during the pour. But that's purely visual-- the flavor experience is what counts!

The flavor profile is more in keeping with a Red Ale-- it seems like an IPA at first but it's a little "thin" for an IPA..

Hops and spice are in the start, with a bitter tang at the finish-- but the IPAs I like have more weight..

Finish is cordial-- but there's a bit of a "watery" or light / thin profile to this beer.

Overall this is a satisfying beer and entirely enjoyable. While not in my opinion Southern Tier's best offering it's still worth your time and fully enjoyable. Regardless of whether you classify this beer as an IPA or a Red Ale, it's still worth your time, money and effort.

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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 Chaney
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into my new Williamsburg Alewerks snifter.

A: Poured a very cloudy vat of liquified red velvet cake, with on overall brownish hue. The slow moving bubbles coming up from the bottom formed a slight, off-white head that retained somewhat throughout the session.

S: Hoppy, with cake icing-syle sugariness... almost like a melted "Astro Pop." A bit of grainy maltiness was buried in there as well.

T: Hoppy, but not citrusy.... more like bittersweet fruit candy (ala. Jolly Rancher). The finish was somewhat smooth, given the sweet, hoppy arch of the brew overall.

M: Thick, gooey, sticky, but with enough malt in there to cut through the sweetness... a bit of a pleasant "grainy" texture.

O: Southern Tier nailed this one. I hadn't had this one in a while and didn't remember it being this good.

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Photo of kaips1
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a stemless snifter glass

A-nice solid amber color, white frothy head, lots of lacing left on the glass
T-nice bitter up front and about 3/4ths of the way through the drink, it's awesome I'm loving this stuff
M-it's a lively dancing drink from the start, it tingled even after you swallowed this amazing brew
O-it's a good beer, one i would love to just throw back on a hot summer day

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Photo of Slatetank
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Al's of Hampden on 3/23/11

a light golden color like apple juice w/ good clarity and small light beige cap w/ some lace clinging and lots of visible carbonation. The smell is very fruity, juicy nose with some hop scents and slightly bitter herbal aroma with mild malt odor. The feel is slightly sweet up front with mild maltiness and segues into a moderately bitter feel w/ some yeast accenting the mild spice w/ a semi-dry finish and moderately carbonated w/ medium body.

The taste is pretty decent with some fruit notes and slight citrus from the hops with a nice bitter flavor that lasts well into the finish. The mellow pepper and slight caramel cushions the acidity and leads to a semi-dry yet lengthy finish. The overall verdict to me is a pretty decent amber w/ nice hoppiness, but also lacks some malt depth. I enjoyed it and will try it again, yet the abv is intense for repeats.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Ice tea. Pure white head sits low and has poor lace.

S - Brown sugar, dried plums, raisins, fresh apple peel.

T - Molasses, caramel, latte. Sour cherry. Pumpernickel bread.

M - Round and smooth. Touch boozy. Very sweet aftertaste of caramel and brown sugar.

D - Bit boozy with a big sweetness.

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Photo of turnstile
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy, rusty orange-red with a thin bubbly head. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Piney, herbal hops up front over a rustic woody note. Faint spice, some vanilla, tobacco and toasty caramel malt in the background. Moderately boozy.

Taste: Strong fresh-brewed black tea note up front. Caramel malty character. Finishes mostly dry with a lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and somewhat syrupy. Light, prickly carbonation.

Overall: Maltiness that I would expect from this style is hidden behind a strong hop flavor/bitterness. Great composition of hops, though. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of beermanbrian
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color. Big soapy foam off white head. Nice sticky lace. Biscuit smell on the nose gives this one some heavy bread tones. Taste follows suit with some faint citrus peeking through. Full mouth that finishes sticky sweet. Dosen't quite slip into cloying. Alcohol is well hidden. Overall an ok brew but nothing overwhelming that makes me sit up and say wow.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours copper with an off white head that is slowly disapating.

Smell is a rust smelling biscuit and food with some citrus undertone. Very rich but doesn't jump out.

Taste is a surprisingly smooth and tasty balance between sweet malt, citrus and more bready malt.

Mouthfeel is very good, but this shines in the drinkability. High abv is not noticable at all.

Very nice beer.

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

Thanks to Shaggy9356 for sending me this one.

A-dark honey with a light cream colored head, some lacing

S-smells like toffee and caramel, and even quite bready. has a good strength to it.

T-hmm this really does remind me of a barley wine and i truly think it should be classified as such. comes in with the toffee and caramel and then transforms in to a bit of hoppiness accompanied with some bitterness. the after-taste is bready with some toffee. The after-taste is real pleasant and long lasting. absolutely no hint of it having high ABV. not a classic, but it is great.

M-very heavy, it has a medium carbonation with a bitter finish

D-well this sure is tasty! Its also very difficult to believe the posted ABV. I would guess much less. You can't taste it, nor can you feel it. Putting this in a bomber was a good idea.

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Photo of beerphan
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle -> sa taster
No date

Pours a clear dark orange with a thick creamy 4 inch head with staying power. Before rescinding to a huge lopsided pillow the glorious head deposits sheets of spiderwebs. Carbonation is intense, steady and robust.

Nose: Light caramel, grassy hops, spice

Fullish body with a great feel. Light caramel and toffee notes from the malts seem quite tame for an imperial, but works well here. The hops balance and then some. Some tame pear and spice. Finding some soapiness combined with an ethanol buzz here in the finish, and only a light bitterness.

Seems a bit 'small' for the 'imperial' label, but drinks well. Its Nugget Nectar season and this one is up to the task of challenging the legendary Nectar, but falls short in the hops category. Super tasty and even better if you can find it on draft.

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Photo of mindlucent2007
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich, red-copper color with about an 1/8 inch head that turns into a film that represents a well developed brew.

Clean crisp aroma of hops, the Hallertau perhaps. A flowery and earthy blast as I sniffed the last pour of this bomber.

A spicy and fruity complex combination here. Very balanced with the hops bite at the beginning and a malt backbone for sure.

Very light for an imperial brew, no way this is 9% abv in terms of heavyness I am thinking.

The crisp and light feel of this bad ass makes it rather addictive. I'll be seeking out this one again. Southern Tier with a heavy hitter here.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bomber; poured in a pint glass.

A: Well its red all right. A lovely ruby with a soft white head.

S: Smells delicious: big bready malts and a healthy hop backbone.

T: Lots of caramel and chocolate sweetness with a healthy helping of spicy hallertau hops.

D: Drinkability is world class on this one! The beer goes down smooth and velvety and the 9.4% ABV is nowhere to be seen.

Overall: This is an awesome beer. It is really eclipsed by ST's other great brews, but it is one of the best in the lineup. That being said, in my opinion, this is not an imperial red ale - there is no such thing. This is a barleywine, pure and simple and a very good one at that!

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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 DrinkingDrake
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper red with a thick head that diminishes to an even lace.

Strong malt cut through the nose along with a nice alcoholic characteristic. Some light citrus overtones float in the back.

I was surprised there was chocolate malt. It really stuck out in the flavor but was not overpowering. The other malts work as a great transition to the hops which linger but don't leave you feeling dry.

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Photo of stephens101
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A tan, two-finger little fluffy cloud-like head rests calm atop an amber brew. Great head retention with an almost unbroken sheet of multi-tiered lace around the glass.

Smells of caramel and chocolate from the malts. Has a little spice and a background of hops. Complex on the palate with a nice mixture of caramel malts, a good combo of light and dark dark fruits, nutmeg, piny hops and subtle notes of chocolate.

Mouth-feel lies about halfway between medium and heavy and goes down fairly easy, albeit with a slight alcohol edginess that slows things down a bit.

I'm digging the complexity and balance of this beer. A wonderful bittersweet brew for a blistery winter eve.

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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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Photo of rjhaupt
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Good looking beer. Auburn, slight head, minimal tracing but a fine color and a nice stream of carbonation working it's way skyward.

S - Smells like a bewery. What could be better?

T - Tastes of dark bread and heavy malts. A crispness of hops that is just enough to prevent me from thinking this a brown.

M - It has a feel while it is in your mouth. You know it's there.

D - I'm so bloated right now I can barely enjoy this, but enjoy it I did. Thumbs up to Southern Tier.

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Photo of rrski198
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Not really "red." Big off white head amber/red/gold in color

S: Caramel, toffee sweetness, subdued hops, alcohol spicyness

T: Caramel, hops spicy and bitterness lingers. Alcohol extremely well hidden. Clean flavor, not heavy

M: Average carbonation, clean flavors

O: nicely balanced for the high ABV. Would purchase again for the price point.

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Photo of adamette
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Live review. Poured from the 22 oz. bomber that I bought for $7 at Wet Your Whistle Wine Shop in Madison, Ohio this week into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. No observed "best by" date on the bottle and it looks like it might be about a year old but I am hoping that the elevated 9.5% ABV and brown bottle helped to protect it.

A Murky, brown red body under a very light brown creamy head that leaves nice lacing on the inside of the glass. I really appreciate the significant head and the deep, foreboding look of the body. 4.5

S Medium malt with a slight heat from the alcohol and a pleasing Hallertau hops and barley smell. 4.0

T Taste flows right from the smell with the medium malt, the slight sting of the Hallertau hops and barley and a heat again from the alcohol. It appears to be successful in that it stays true to the Amber/Red Ale category and it is a much stronger version of your basic Amber. 4.0

M Surprsingly smooth and I will increase my score because of it. I have had several Ambers in the past that hedged on kind of harsh the smoothness of the feel really helps make this more drinkable and I really appreciate that. 5.0

D Helped by the smooth mouthfeel, the drinkability is good where it would have been average or less due to the ABV or possible harsh "Red Ale" taste. 4.0

Notes: Pleasantly surprised by this one but Southern Tier can be counted on for very solid beers in my opinion. Oh, it tastes nothing like the gum!

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Photo of hophead247
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice bright copper with a fairly large tan head that has decent retention. Aroma is lots of caramel, sweet toast, wood, a little citrus, dried dates, and some light berry like fruit. Flavor is sweet, toasty, strawberry, toasy malt and nuts, light caramel malt. Citrus hops, herbal hops, straw and grassy hops round out the profile. Kind of strange for an ASA or Red/ Amber as far as body goes, thick and oily without much stickiness with an alcohol warmth. Overall a decent beer, but more along the lines of a barleywine in my opinion...

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Big Red (Imperial Red) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 398 ratings.
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