Sockeye Red India Pale Ale | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

very good
221 Reviews
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Sockeye Red India Pale AleSockeye Red India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed in the bold spirit of Alaska, Sockeye Red IPA is a finely crafted Pacific Northwest-style India Pale Ale with a real bite. Ample pale two-row malt creates a fresh, firm body while specialty malts impart a spawning red hue. The predominant character of this fiesty catch comes from outlandish portions of Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe hops, giving this beer tremendous citrus and floral aroma and flavor.

Determined and bitter but amazingly balanced, Sockeye Red IPA is gnarly enough to take you hook, line and sinker. Forget about a bigger rig; grab a bigger glass.

70 IBU

Added by purplehops on 02-21-2003

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Reviews: 221 | Ratings: 431
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured crystal clear deep amber. The head was just ever so slightly off-white and hung around like a monkey on a tree. Fine graceful head comprised of ever so small bubbles. Best head on a beer in weeks.

The aroma was caramel and muted hops. The hops are citrusy and present, but far in the background.

The flavor was citrus, namely grapefruit, with caramel and a slight bit of chocolate. The hop bitterness is mild and so is the flavor.

The finish was dry and slightly citrusy. The body was medium, but on the light side of medium.

22 oz bottle. Bottled second week of November.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Clear, deep amber color. Two fingers of frothy off-white head. Retention is good and lots of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Pleasant mix of piney, flowery and citrusy hops. Touch of herbal as well. Orange and sugariness stick out. Caramel underneath with an otherwise clean neutral maltiness.

3.5 T: Pine, grapefruit, orange, flower, and a light herbalness. Moderate caramel. Mild to moderate bitterness. Good enough.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Mild creaminess and smooth.

3.5 D: Decent beer, but doesn't stand out among the vast array of IPAs available.

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle:

Pours hazed dark amber with an off-white head that stays. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is woody/earthy with grapefruit, pine, tea-leaf, tobacco-leaf and caramel.

The taste is herbal, pine/wood with tea-leaf. Caramel mixes with tobacco-leaf, but an aspirin-y bitterness overrides. Bitterness lingers through the finish.

It is medium-bodied with lasting dryness.

It has a bitter, slightly alcoholic bite. The bitterness is a bit too dry and aspirin-y. Still, it's a solid hop-fix.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a reddish amber ale with a four finger rocky head. It took a while to die down.

Aroma was of grapefruit and hop resins, with slightly sweet malt lurking in the background. Very much like a strong IPA, although a little more malt would not have been out of place.

Taste was sharply bitter, mainly grapefruit and hop resins like the aroma, with a sweet, candy-malt finish. Very interesting... I apparently found it much hoppier than most of the others who have reviewed this beer.

Mouthfeel was OK, not too rich and chewy. Drinkability is all right, too, but it would have gotten better ratings with a bit more balance between hop bitterness and malt character.

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Photo of bditty187
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Colossal beige head, fists of foam and only ounces of beer. Irritating to say the least. I had to use a Weizen glass and that couldn’t contain the head. This out of control foamy mass didn’t budge either. Oh well, it is snowing outside; I’ve got time on my hands. Slightly hazy liquid, amber-gold in hue. It is very attractive; I also like how the bubbles race upward in the liquid. Active. It looks great… only if the head wasn’t such a problem. Oh well, there was tons of subsequent lacing and it was sticky and organized. The nose offers plenty of raw hoppiness, dry citrus flesh, grapefruit rinds, pine needles, and spruce bark. Malt is very weak, even for a Pac/NW IPA. I can’t find it actually. I’m sure its there though. Oddly (sadly) the hop potency really isn’t that loud, so the malt is very quite. There is some soft fruitiness, typical of an ale, nothing noteworthy here. I like the dry, hoppiness of the nose but it is not groundbreaking. Besides the potency is too low for me. It smells nice. IPAs should smell mean. Inviting nevertheless. The palate is raw. Old Dirty Bastard {RIP} would have loved this beer. Raw. Hot. Dry. There isn’t much malt here, sweetness is limited; more malt is needed. This beer lacks balance and any sort of second level flavor. Light fruitiness but even this is hard to pinpoint. Why? Because the hops are so raw, I love IPAs as much as the next hophead but come on! Dry, leafy, light on complexity. Dried citrus flesh with grapefruit rinds. There are some influences of pine and spruce. Orange peel. Hints of candy, like peppermint. The hop profile brings some flavor but not enough. Alcohol heat is obvious. Overall this is a boring IPA. The aftertaste is the highlight of the palate as it is pleasantly juicy. This beer might work well with a garlicy tomato sauce. Medium in body. The mouthfeel is too fizzy as there is far too much carbonation. This aspect is in need of improvement, more bulk and less bubbles. After about ten minutes the mouthfeel improves, it becomes smoother but this shows the thinness. I guess this beer can’t win. I could drink this beer again. But it wouldn’t be a priority. There are far too many better IPAs on the market. It is too simple to be great. Is this beer for the nerdiest hopheads only? Purchased on-line from Liquid Solutions.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red/amber color. Medium head. Aroma is floral hops with a touch of grapefruit. A medium bodied IPA. Malts are nutty and sweet. Hops are fairly bold, grapefruity, citrusy, piney, a touch resiny and fairly bitter. Little bit overbalanced towards the hops, but a nice solid IPA. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is bitter.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmm. A gusher, and its labelled 6/10 at the store. Pours reddish amber with a huge rocky head. Smells a bit grainy, and a little old. Some light sourness in the smell, but I don't think its infected, just a bit from the grain. The taste is hugely bitter with piney and earthy hops and grapefruit pith. A little one dimensional. The malt body can't stand up to the hops, and seems thin. Out of balance, and not in a good way. They've done much better- or maybe its just a bad bottle- but consistency counts as well.

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Photo of Jason
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz brown bomber with a bottled on date on the side of the label.

Appearance: Hazed over, possible chill haze. Dusty reddish copper hue, lots of active froth to go around and the head retention surpasses what I would have expected.

Smell: Rough around the edges as a raw hop aroma pinches the nose. Suggestions of citrus peel and mint come to mind. Light fruitiness and malt compare to the sharpness of the hops.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Nicely flexed crispness cuts through the medium body. The hoppiness is thick in bitterness and flavour … you can barely pick out the malt character. Stray diacetyl and vague fruitiness leave the palate wanting more of something else other than hops. Some dry graininess in the back is the only bite of malt, other than that the hops dominate to the point of being out of control. The hops even clean the palate in the finish to leave little behind.

Notes: A decent IPA, the hop character is too rough IMO and takes away from the drinkablity. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hop fix … but the bitterness is just harsh.

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Photo of darklordlager
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, cark copper/amber with a nice 1" head. Nice lacing as it goes down the glass.

S: Pungent hop pellets, with the "raw" scent you smell right after you throw them into the kettle. Malt extract, earthy. Light grapefruit, slightly skunky. Biscuit aroma as it warms, and some pepper/soy sauce.

T: Malt comes through much better in the taste than smell. Very balanced with the hops. Sweet caramel malt up front, with bitter citrus coming in later and lasting into the finish.

M: Medium carbonation, and medium body.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a golder copper color with a very strong off-white head which seems to never recede. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Initial tones are of strong hop nature, with a hint of caramel and barely any malt tones from what I can pick up.

Taste: Initially hops are all I can taste from this brew, and the hop flavor lasts throughout the brew. Slight malt tones are present but not many. Strong bitterness, but not much else going on here.

Mouthfeel: Decent carbonation which splashes the mouth. This beer is of medium to light body.

Drinkability: Very bitter and hop like but I was hoping for something a little more besides that. Goes down easy enough but the flavor is not too complex and more single minded (just very hoppy).

Overally a decent IPA but needs more malt to fill up the flavor. If your a hop head, you may like this beer but there are definetly better offerings out there.

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Photo of Shumania
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can picked up at City Beer Store in SF poured into a tumbler.

A: Clear deep amber color with a one finger head that remains after a strong pour.

S: not a strong scent, some citrus, pine, and sweetness/caramel from the malt

T: Good balance. Sweetness up front, breadiness, then goes on to be bitter with citrus (cannot identify what specifically) and pine.

M: Extremely smooth

This is a good IPA, but not great. Could definitely enjoy a few during a session, but I would not rush back to this. I definitely need to try more beers from Midnight Sun.

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Photo of argock
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. No freshness date. Purchased at Oliver's Beverage (Albany, NY).

A: Copper-orange with thick, frothy, 2-3 finger, off-white, oatmeal-colored head with decent retention and a lot of sticky lace.

S: Aroma is dominated by citrus and pine hops, but they are not that prominent. There are some herbal and minty qualities in there as well. The malt aroma is very light with only a lightly bready and soft caramel note at most. Pretty bland aroma.

T: The flavor is very harshly bitter, probably from too many early kettle additions if I had to guess since this is a predominantly Centennial and Cascade hopped beer. The malt contribution is blah with some light caramel but most cardboardy flavors.

M: Overly carbonated but decent medium body.

O: Sockeye Red seems old-fashioned compared to the elite and top-tier IPAs of today -- it very bitter without a lot of hop complexity. I think the hopping schedule in this beer should be revisited. The malt profile also seems muddled and could probably be looked at again as well. Disappointing.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 21 Mar 2009. Courtesy of jtrockchalk, thanks!

Poured in Abita pint glass. Three finger off white foamy head. Medium carbonation. Clear dark cinnamon color. Caramel, resin, tea leaf and nutty aroma. Caramel sweet and hoppy to start. Lots of nuttiness, pecans, slight resin present throughout. Finish and aftertaste are moderately bitter. Light body, mild ethanol.

Hop presence a bit milder than I like but still decent.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber. Medium sized creamy and foamy, off white head. Left decent lace.
Smells of clean citrusy hops, sweet malt, caramel and a bit of fruit.
Tastes bittersweet with rich caramelly malt, grassy/citrusy hops and tea. Finished with a sharp bitterness. This just didn't seem to come together. The flavors seemed to work against each other.
Medium bodied with a full rich mouthfeel and great amount of carbonation.
The sharp almost skunky bitterness in the finish and lack of balance killed the drinkability for me.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Sockeye season is still several months out of the way, but I do have a beer named after this extraordinary fish. India Red? I'm calling it a hoppy red. From a 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

I was expecting a bright red color like the flesh of Sockeye, but this is more of a crimson orange when shown through a light. A small head forms on top which retains in okay fashion, leaving a small lace of itself. The smell of earthy and bready malt hits the nose before a chase of pine, gentle orange, and soft passionfruit.

Something has hit me, but what is it? This Red IPA is rather relaxed, and paired with a light and gently crisp mouthfeel does go down easy. A dash of toffee hits first, followed by a wave of vague minerals, a touch of pine and grass....oh, that's what hit me....I sense something with a band-aid flavor in part of the finishing act. I've had it worse in other beers, here it poses a minor threat, however it still dampens the mood of the beer.

I thought that I was walking into a hoppy red ale, but I now must confess that I was wrong. Despite the Red IPA monikor, this drinks more like a standard red ale. Nothing wrong with that, but don't expect a hop fix.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Note: this bottle was brewed by Uinta Brewing Co. in Salt Lake City, Utah for Midnight Sun Brewing, Anchorage, AK.

Dark Amber, perhaps a tinge of brown in the color. Tan head is generous and retains nicely.

Aroma is surprisingly faint for an IPA. Has a fresh "clean" aroma with some light citrusy notes and a whiff of pine.

On the palate the hops give a steel-like metallic character that dominates, followed by a prominent dry character that holds through to the finish. This is a dry, dry hoppy beer.

Mouthfeel is thicker than I'd expect for an IPA even though the alcohol strength is a touch low for an IPA. Average drinkability - even if I craved this beer above all others in the fridge I'd never drink more than one in a given sitting.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like a red ipa, red, amber and orange all together. Smells like nothing interesting. Doesn't have the typical hop citrus pine ambiance, takes on more of a standard aroma.

Taste, hops kinda muted by the big red malt, which is ok. Tastes like more of a red than an ipa, or even red ipa. Its like 2/3 parts red, 1/3 part ipa.

Mouthfeel, takes on a more earthy, dense woody aspect, slight fruity, which I would have liked to have seen more.

Drinkability, could be, but at $7 a 22oz, there are a lot better quality choices for less investment.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Originally sampled on 23 January 2003. I am writing this review from my notes.
Appearance: Sockeye has a pretty reddish gold color with a long lasting white head.
Flavor: This IPA has a nice hoppy flavor, as it is supposed to
Aroma: The smell is hoppy,

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

consumed on 6/29, while I was "on Hiatus." picked up at my local fairway grocery store. enjoyed from a midnight sun tulip.

a - brew poured an amber orange with a generous 3 fingers of foamy frothy ipa head. the head slowly dissolved leaving giant foamy chunks on the side of the glass. semi transparent when held to the light with some subtle visible carbonation.

s - malty amber smelling with some hops on the backend, but predominantly like an amber. the bottle doesn't appear to be dated and pretty sure these have been in town for a little while (although they just appeared at the fairway where i got it)...not to mention must take some time to get out here from alaska, but none-the-less there is some hoppiness to the nose, just not much for an "ipa."

t - interesting. no, let me rephrase that INTERESTING!!! like a toasted amber ale. lots of nuts in the flavor with a bit of a bitter finish. semi sweet, but really no balls on this one. after viewing some other reviews, i'm inclined to say that this one has lost its luster and if you see it in NY you might want to pass on it unless you like an IPA with faded hop flavors. that being said, the flavor is pretty good, but a beer, but lacking in the IPA category.

m - fairly watery and thin while still having some prickly carbonation.

o - overall, not all that impressed. perhaps it is the age, perhaps it is the watery body...this would be a lot better of a beer if it didn't say "india pale ale" on the label or if it had a bottle date and i could get an idea on the age of this bad boy. if it were an amber, it would be pretty decent, but as an IPA, i'd pass on it unless i knew it was super fresh. the toastiness on the flavor saves it and gives it some character.


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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

All that mixture of red, orange and yellow, 3/4" off white head. Aroma doesn't punch you, it has a good blend of C hops and Simcoe, but I guess not enough late addition hops.

Taste is really riding the red malt train. That drives the flavor for the most part, some hops in the mouthfeel, but its all that earthy, woody red malt going on. Bomber format sucks, would not repeat, although it is better than average, especially for a red ale. I'm guessing around 75 ibu.

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Photo of metter98
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color. It poured with a half finger high off white head that died down a bit but consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of cranberries in the nose along with some hints of grapefruit.
T: The taste is quite bitter and a little tart; it has flavors of cranberries and hints of ruby red grapefruit peels. The cranberry flavors linger through the finish, which also tastes a little medicinal.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp in the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer definitely tases unusual and I've never experienced tart cranberries in a beer before. Maybe I might have enjoyed this more a few weeks earlier with my Thanksgiving dinner.

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Photo of snpub540
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice dark copper with some red highlights to it. It was a clear hue with nice carbonation. Topped of by an eggshell colored head that left some nice sheets of lace.

Smell was piney and citrusy hops and a little nutty malt aroma. That was about it.

Flavor was a caramel and nutty malt flavor. Hops were resiny and pine making a nice balanced brew.

Mouthfeel was ok but not a lot of body going on. Its an ok beer but nothing to write home about. I'm just glad I found something from Midnight Sun in my neck of the woods.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: a little hazy; burnt orange; with a fairly aggressive pour, a 3 finger egg shell head; good retention; moderate lacing;

S: mostly pine with a little caramel malt;

T: caramel malt is front and center; the finish adds grapefruit rind and bitterness that builds;

M; medium bodied; prickly carbonation;

O: I wish the hops were more predominant;

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Photo of rmalinowski4
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a chalice

Pours a deep amber with a very large and fluffy off white head. The head recedes quickly leaving lots of lacing clinging to the glass.

The smell is sweet carmel malt, earthy hops, orange zest, and some tropical fruit. The smell is clean and well balanced, nothing seems to dominate.

The tase is bitter pine, orange zest, a slightly sweet carmel malt backbone, and some spicy & slightly tropical flavors that linger in the background. The overwhelming flavor is pine.

The mouthfeel has medium body with with a light carbonation. Need some more carbonation to make the flavors dance on the palate.

Overall, this is a solid IPA. It has good hop flavors, a nice malt base, and some orange zest flavor. The pine is a little strong for my taste, but it does not completely overpower everything else. I would drink this again if offered one.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler filled at the brewery ($7 when you have your own glass), so it's about as fresh as it can be short of being on tap. Impressions are very similar to the dozens and dozens of bombers I've consumed over the years.

Appearance: deep amber, almost copper, with medium dense white head that sticks around and leaves moderate lacing.

Aroma: bring earthy hops and sweet, caramel malt are evenly represented.

Taste: again, a nice balance of earthy, grassy hops with some citrus, and a deep, fairly sweet malt body with caramel and some grain notes.

Mouth is odd: it's full in a sweet malt sense, but the beer is a little thin overall. A tingly carbonation is present.

A solid IPA, but not particularly for the West Coast style. (The MSBC web site describes it as a Pacific NW style IPA.) It's not quite hoppy enough, and the malt body is too pronounced, and kind of outshines the hops. It's quite drinkable, and as a malty English IPA/session beer it would be outstanding. As an American, West Coast IPA, however, it's merely average.

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Sockeye Red India Pale Ale from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 431 ratings.
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