Big Red (Imperial Red) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
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.

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Reviews: 321 | Ratings: 398
Photo of PicoPapa
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a murky brown with a frothy head. Good lacing. Aroma is a clash of hops and alcohol. Slightly bready. This beer has that usual Southern Tier sweetness to it. The flavors are hard to pinpoint. Taste has some hoppiness to it and maybe some sweet malt flavor. Not all that bitter. Although you can smell the booze the alcohol taste is very subtle for an ABV of 9.5%. Overall its a decent brew but I'd go for a few different Southern Tier bombers before I picked up this one again.

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

A -
head forms a thin lacing body is amber with a redish hue

S -
hops light hint of some other spice

T -
definitely something different different right up front cant but my finger on it and then a big bold hop finish but i do also get some oak

M -
smooth upfront hops linger on the tongue

D -
i actually really like this beer love th big simple hop taste

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 1 pint 6 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A - Nice deep reddish copper pour with a huge creamy head. Has a very nice lacing pattern that stays throughout the life of the beer.

S - Has a light smell with just a hint of chocolate. Quite good.

T - Very hoppy taste up front. Also has a subtle caramel flavor.

M - Light to medium bodied beer. Nice slick beer.

D - Nice drinkable beer. For a 9 ABV it goes down real easy.

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Photo of lstokes
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bright orange with an impressive capped-and-peaked head and delightful lace, with a spicy hop/caramel malt nose.

This beer comes off as a tribute to the German hop--the malt wasn't that present, only giving some toasted caramel, but the hops are nice and bold and spicy, and the strong mouthfeel stands up to them. Not Southern Tier's best but still quite a beer.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22oz cool labeled brown bomber with no date...glad to get to try this before it's off the shelves for good. Sampled in a Southern Tier stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazed burnt orange beer with a huge light-beige head with great retention and some sticky lace.

Smell: Lots of toasty caramel, boozy darkish fruit, backed by a big hit of herbal German hops.

Taste: Light notes of toasty caramel, mildly herbal hops, and a medium to medium-strong bitterness. There's a hint of lemon here as well. Booziness is warming, but not hot, and there's just a touch of melted caramel/toffee on the finish. I'm just not crazy about the hop choice here; w/a different hop profile, I think I might have really enjoyed this, as the malt background is nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: What could have been a pretty tasty beer is foiled by the (IMHO) wrong choice of hops.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich amber with minimal off white head that leaves a subtle lacing in the glass for the duration.

This smells great and very unique. As advertised the hops hit the nose first, followed by the sweet caramel malt and hearty spices to follow which are likely a friendly by product of the Hallertau hops.

The flavor is similar to the aroma with the spicy hops hitting the palate first followed by sweet caramel malt and the chocolate malt appears as the beer warms. The spicy hop bit highlights the finish.

Medium in body and carbonation with a pleasant drying finish topped with spice.

This is a great beer. Not too many that is similar to this. The alcohol is well hidden and the flavors are rich and unique.

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Photo of cbak999
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- poured from the bottle an orange copper color. Minimal head but enough to lace the glass.

S- I think the Hallertau hops hold this back. Hop smell is not evident, but chocolate is. I like the use of chocolate in a red.

T- First noticeable taste is chocolate. Hops are not overpowering at all. Could maybe use a bit more hop since it's an imperial, but I think the chocolate hides them.

D- Drinks very easy for a 9% beer. I don't taste any alcohol, and overall, I really like this beer.

This beer almost drinks like a weak, lighter porter. Compared to other Imperial red ales, this one can hold it's own. Again, I like the chocolate, but would also like a bit more hop.

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

Richly sweet malt aroma with hints of caramel and undertones of citrus hops. Poured a dense, off-white head that faded slowly to a thin film leaving strands and specs of lace. Brilliant deep amber colored beer becomes brown up under the head. Sweet. almost sugary caramel malt flavor up front is joined by a refreshing citrus flavor midway though. Alcohol is barely noticeable in the finish. The bitterness in the finish counteracts the sweetness without being overbearing. Probably a medium bodied beer, but it feels fairly light for such a sweet and strong beer. A big tasty beer that doesn't drink as big as it could, which is fine with me.

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Photo of Durge
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A slightly hazy dark amber color with a fair off-white head with great lacing. The aroma says sweet malt and herbal/pine hop, blended to perfection with a chocolate kiss. Very nice. The flavor follows with intense malt and orange rind. There's heavy rye and gin alcohol with sweet peat and dry herbal hop bitterness. It's solidly mid bodied with subtle carbonation with a resinous feel. There's a little grape and subtle dark chocolate. A medium drinkable brew that will hit you after a couple but a wonderfully carnival of grain and tasteful hops. Beautiful Southern Tier!

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Photo of avalon07
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a mostly thin texture. There was a thin amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Good lacing.

S: A good aroma of chocolate, hops, caramel, and malt.

T: Tasted of chocolate and caramel malt, and a nice hops bite. Seems almost closer in character to a barleywine, but still very tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: One of the best, most drinkable American ambers I've had.

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

Cold 22oz bottle poured into pint glass. Beer pours syrupy thick (HIGH gravity!) orange amber, not exactly red, with a thin tan head. Hoppy aroma, like American IPA.

Taste is similarly bitter. Full of a variety of different hops: floral, sharp, citrus/acidic, heat (as in spicy). Meaty, big malt mouthfeel. A highly drinkable combination thanks to the balance. The ingredients claim only 3 malts and 3 hops (including the dry hops). I'll agree with the assertion on the label equating reliability to Hallertau hops. There's a caramel malt flavor that turns into a smokey/earthy taste on the back of the palate that's really nice.

The 9.5% ABV don't do any harm. I do feel this is as much an American Strong Ale as an American Red.

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Photo of pootz
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Poured a deep amber, clear but with a nice off white cap that lasted well enough considering the ABV%

Aroma was very nice; pungent roasty malts with plenty of fruity esters and hop earthiness.

Toasty-bready-toffee-fruity that's the profile and it is well pronounced and executed.

A substantial ale, firm bodied, satisfying and warming. I wish I had a supply of this last winter.

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

This is a rather attractive beer. Light amber in color with a nice fluffy head.

Smells of a nice hop bouquet with a tad bit of sweetness and some copper.

The taste is very hop forward and matches the smell quite well, minus the copper.

The mouthfeel is fairly well-balanced and creamy.

This is a fairly drinkable brew. There is little hint of the ABV and it goes down well. A shining spot in an otherwise "meh" introduction to Florida from Southern Tier.

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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 Georgiabeer
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice hoppy Imperial Red, right up the alley for Southern Tier. Big, bitter, chewy and with a bit of bubblegum character in the taste. Pours a classic amber with just a touch of red, and with a head that fades to a thin ring. Smells of bubblegum and citrusy hops with a touch of honey. The taste initially is of big bytter hops with a long finish that eventually sweetens up bit and evinces more bubblegum. As the beer warms and opens up, it mellows considerably, showing off more malt and less spicy, aggressive hops, and a bit of a cereal grain finish- a bit more like a classic red ale. Big and chewy at first, smoother and more mellow eventually. Pretty nice beer overall, and very reasonably priced.

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

A- Poured into my DFH snifter... starts with a nice off white head that never completely disappears and leaves a nice ring of webbed lacing stuck to the glass. Beer is a dark ruby color with very little activity

S- Don't smell too much in the spice department, but definitely some sweet malt with a hop backbone

T- Get more of the spices in the taste than in the aroma... still, mostly sweet malt at the start with the hops coming in from mid swig through the finish. Almost right up there with Nugget Nectar imo

M- Medium bodied with light/medium carbonation... nice lingering hop mouthfeel

D- Very drinkable as far as taste goes... bit high in alcohol to drink too many in one sitting though


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Photo of Casey10
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another amber ale luckly Southern Tier has come to Maine and was able to pick this up locally today.

A - red, of course, wispy head lots of bubbles at the top of the snifter.

S - Faint cherries, hops in the background.

T - Some grapfruit, cherry smokeyness, unique combination of flavors here.

M - I really like the feel here doesn't leave too much of a bit but stays with you.

D - The ABV is well hidden the price was nice for a bomber of this. I rated it faifly high as I would have it again.

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

22 oz bottle poured into Piraat Tulip 5.14.2010.

Reddish brown body with garnet highlights, some visible carbonation, light tan head with fairly quick dissipation, a bit of lacing down side of glass. Nose is sweetish, cherry like esters, with chocolate malt presence. Quite a tasty and interesting brew, cherries, chocolates, almost like cordial cherries, a wee bit of smoke, not too bitter on the backend, more floral due to use of Hallertaus. Mouthfeel is medium, firm, good effervescence. Pretty drinkable for the ABV. Not my favorite Imperial Red (Deranger rocks) but certainly an interesting flavor profile, the chocolate malt gave this a unique character. Worth a try for fans of the style.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Pored from a bomber bottle into a snifter glass in two parts.

Appearance: Brownish in color with a deep reddish hue. Light, pillowy, beige head that sticks heavily to the edge of the glass after each sip. Really good retention.

Aroma: Grapefruit notes from the hops, with a subtle hint of pine, make up the backbone of the aroma. Also, some sweetness and a little spice are also present and blent together nicely.

Taste: The malt spice and sweetness are a lot more notciable here. The hop notes are also present. The hop presence is not overwhelming but helps contribute to a nice falvor profile.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and rather creamy. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: Really smooth with the ABV not that present anywhere. The falvor profile is really good and does not wear thin at all.

Overall, a really good Imperial Amber Ale. The flavor profile is really outstanding and the spice of the malt and hops are balanced perfectly. The flavors could be a bit stronger, but they still are strong. Just a really enjoyable brew. Comparable to Nugget Nectar in my opinion. Cretainly worth a try for anyone who enjoys this type of ale.

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Photo of Morey
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This imperial red ale pours reddish amber in color. Good clarity with a nice fluffy off white head that has some really good head retention which is literally leaving sticky lace everywhere.

Smell is on the mellow side, but there's a good mix of hops and malty notes in the nose.

Taste is more of the same. Great mix of hops (which hit the palate first), and then in rush the malty flavors to round things out. Finishes pretty smooth.

Mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation.

I know that people always say that they can't taste the alcohol, but it really is super well hidden in this beer. The 9% will get you in trouble if you slug this one too fast.

Morey's Bottom Line: A well crafted and very drinkable imperial red ale from an underrated brewery. Recommended.

**Note- the hops mellow a ton in this beer. So if you have a thick malty beer, then it's likely a little on the old side. When fresh, the hops more than hold their own.

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Photo of bamadog
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is from notes taken on 4/15/2010 at the brew pub, poured from the tap to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a standard coppery color and starts with a one finger, slightly off-white head with fair retention; body is pretty clear and shows moderate carbonation; nice and thick webs and curtains of lacing are left behind and they hold well throughout the drink.

Smell: Quite weak overall - disappointing to say the least. I do manage to pick up on some faint whiffs of some bittering hops and a bit of a malty backing. We shall see if the taste picks it up any...

Taste: Much better compared to the nose -- nice big citric/juicy hop profile that also comes with a hint of pine; the hops are balanced by a nice toasty/biscuity maltiness; much like Krampus, there is a faint vaporous alcoholic flavor in the back; as it warms, there's a bit of an overly-sweet root beer-like sweetness... Not bad overall, but the saccharin sweetness turns me off a bit.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thick and creamy; carbonation comes across as present and soft, not overwhelming at all; mouth is left pretty sticky and the belly is left a tad warm from the 9.5% ABV.

Drinkability: Solid enough -- I would take the Krampus over this one any day, but it's still pretty good. I think the weakest aspect is the nose, and the super-sweet root beer aspect as it warms is a bit of a turn off. I wish the hops held their own a bit more in the drink to help balance it out.

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Photo of cbutova
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes two nights ago. Pours a brown-red with a two finger head that has good retention. A coat of fine lacing stays behind on the glass. Certainly a dark amber, probably since it is imperialized. A fine cloud stays on top of the beer and around the sides. Smells of hops up front, earthy, piney and a bit of fruit. The caramel malts stay in the background and eventually the aroma itself seems to go away and lose strength. The taste is nice, especially because it is more like a huge red than a Barleywine like I expected it, tough to do. Hoppy notes balance the caramel backbone. The hops are earthy, spicy and grassy. A bit of alcohol comes through but not much at all. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation and some warmth. Feels a bit watery, could use some creaminess. A coat of earthy grassy hops stays on the tongue. Drinkability is good. The taste is nice with a decent price (one of the cheaper ST beers). Good malt hop balance in a huge red that is not like a Barleywine that much. No real off flavors, would like to try on tap. The ABV is also hidden very well, would of guessed about 6-7%.

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Photo of Patrick999
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

I swear I like Hallertau hops, but they just don't do it for me here.

It looks like a big red ale. EXTREMELY clear orange-red, wow. That is one clear beer. Lots of active bubbles and foam.

Aroma is of pungent onion, leafy tobacco....interesting multi-faceted green noble hop smell. Whatever my opinion of the taste, it's pretty cool to have a hop bomb with different hops than are used in most other hop bombs.

I was good with Big Red up until I put it to my lips. Once again, it has that unpleasant dull Southern Tier bitterness! It seems that no matter what hops they use, they can't avoid it. Tastes like chewing on dirt, twigs and leaves, and not in a good way. This just isn't to my taste.

Pretty good creamy mouthfeel...for me this is a damned good beer in all categories except taste and drinkability.

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

A - rusty orange with a pretty sizeable head, good lacing and retention.
S - Caramel, foresty hops, toasty biscuits. A little bit of alcohol
T - Hops are pretty prominent. Bready and caramel.
M - Pretty full, creamy. Surprised me.
D - Good drink. For my preferences, this one would be too much after a while. Southern tier is amazing.

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

A: Slight haze over an orange-pink color. The head is about 1/3 of an inch thick, and sticks around for a while, very nice, leaving behind some good lacing.

S: Pine hops, malty, and biscuity. Has that yeasty/buttery smell I seem to find in the Imperial ST brews.

T: Really malty but a hoppy backbone. A bit of pine hop flavor, too. Has a bready taste that is very enjoyable.

M: Well carbonated, and so smooth, creamy.

D: Wow, almost 10% ABV, hidden so well.

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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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