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 SixpointJMH
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours with a huge, chunky off-white head toping a nice, slightly clouded amber coloured brew. The stickiness of the head is very nice and this one just looks great overall.

The smell is just as nice, with juicy, oily hops dominiating. There are some floral notes here as well, but sweetness is the main theme here.

As for the flavour...where'd all the hop goodness from the smell go? This one is surprisingly more bland (though still flavourful) than the smell would indicate. Everything pretty much echoes the smell, but on a much lower level. There's a stange kick in the middle that I can't really describe, but it stands out for sure for a second. The finish is a touch hoppy, but very very dry too. There really is no lingering aftertaste.

This one is easy to drink and flavourful enough, but is very weird overall. It starts off kick-ass in terms of look and smell, but falls moreso into mediocrity once you take a sip. Some tweaking is in order here. This one could be a fine brew if the flavour was kicked up a few notches.

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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 BeerBuilder
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This IPA pours to a deep copper color with an off-white head. The aroma is citrusy and malty. Not a whole lot there. The flavor is of grapefruits and malts. It has a juicy hoppiness. It is medium in body with a drying citrus finish. Not too bad of an IPA.

Sampled on 5/30/04

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I thought I was being careful when I took the bottle out of the fridge, but when I got the top off it start to foam immediately and I got about half a glass of really, really thick head that would not go away. Did not affect the flavor though. The beers color is of stained oak, but does not taste like that. The hops aren't as bitter as most IPAs, and actually have a slight sweet tang to them. There are also notes of oranges permeating inbetween the hops.

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Photo of adrock
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reddish-brown color, very hazy but this could be due to the fact I'm drinking this on the East Coast.
Great foamy head taller than normal
Fair aroma of citrus and spice
Thin on malt due to the great amount of bitterness this beer puts forward. Biting hops at the end are nice but more malt would of been appropriate for the flavor and body of this brew.
Clean bitterness in the aftertaste allows good drinkability
A good IPA that I would like to try again closer to its origins.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant bronze (equal parts red, orange and amber) that is as clear as the proverbial bell. The intensely pitting, creamystiff, sand-colored head is a tacky lace maker with speckled lace near the top of the glass becoming thick, spackle-like rings farther down. The melted mesa of cream occupying the center of the glass awaits disruption by my eager lips. But first, the nose...

... which is an intensely hoppy explosion of candied orange and grapefruit zest. It's hard to go wrong with Cascade and Centennial. There isn't a whole lot in the aroma except hops, but then what else does a hophead need? That mesa is beginning to flag so I might as well hasten its destruction.

As expected, Humpy's is firmly hoppy and firmly bitter, but isn't anything that I can't handle. It's definitely in the upper reaches of the IPA spectrum and even knocks on the DIPA door. Still though, there's plenty of sweet, almost smoky caramel malt that is attempting to hold the line against the bitter grapefruit, bitter orange and Northwoods spruce.

The malt just does manage to take the bright edge off the hops, which is another reason why The Humpster is almost as much the bigger style as the stated one. 'DIPA light' might fit, but I'm reluctant to use the word light in a beer that's this full of itself, this big, this unrelentingly bitter. Drinkability is directly proportional to the drinker's hop tolerance. Although it's a steady sipper, occasional glugs are rewarding as well. The medium-full body has a semi-viscous quality that pleases the mouth.

What is there left to say? Humpy's Sockeye Red is a DIPA-lovers IPA. It's a big, full-throttle beer from an expansive, wide open, wild state. Check your manners at the door, crack the cap and prepare for a rough-and-tumble hop party.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.7/5  rDev +24%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep colour, dark for an ipa. Massive head, towering, huge, fluffy full boardering on tan. Smells of hops, strong citrus charactor. Sweetness is crushed by the power of the hops. Hint of carmel starts me off. Hops steal the show for sure. Grassy, bitter finish. I'm happy to have finally tried a midnight sun brew and hope to get more soon.

Got a fresher bottle. Had to update the scores.

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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 Bighuge
2.48/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice looking deep orange/amber tone. Big ol fucking ivory white head that forms valleys as it slowly dissipates. Many streams of CO2 ascend to the surface rapidly. On the nose I get grapefruit pulp, lemon rind, slight cannabis and orange. As I taste it I realize that there is TOO much carbonation. Gaseous in the mouth. A little hard to swallow. The taste is not much better. Astingent, husky, tannin-like. Only slight reminders here and there that this is actually an IPA. It doesn't taste that good.

This is the second "bad" bottle in as many tries of this specific beer. Upon closer inspection of the bottle, it looks like the M is marked (for March) and the 1 is marked (for 2001 I assume). That could be a problem.

Thanks for the effort Bum.

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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 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 Darkale
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice and full tan head, body is dark and reddish, quite a bit darker than the usual IPA. Crisp and raspy in the mouth with just a hint of fruity sweetness in the background. Quite a bit of hops, but it's balanced -- just! -- by the malt.

Difficult to judge this beer. I'm quite fond of it, but to me it tastes more like a very hoppy amber ale than an IPA. So, if I were to make judgments about its position relative to the typical IPA, I would rate this beer lower than I did. But, I don't have it in me to downgrade a beer that I enjoyed drinking. I have perhaps gone too far down the hophead road. Drink it as an interesting and hoppy departure; if you are looking for an exemplar of the IPA style, go someplace else.

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Photo of mschofield
3.05/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish amber, topped with a three finger creamy tan head, clear but very dark. Leaves thick rings of lacing.
Citrus and herbal hoppy aroma over a toffee and toasted biscuit malt taste.
The taste is mainly malt, the hops don't come out and don't provide enough bitterness. A note of citrus but mainly dark toasted malt.
Light bodied, could stand to be a lot fuller.
Looks good and smells alright, but weak in other areas.

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Photo of kennyo
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, pours with nice big, rocky head, kind of Belgian like. The head stays for the entire beer. Reddish/amber color, clear. Sweet hoppy aroma, lots of Cascades wafting thru the malt aroma at all, hops take over. Mouthfeel average, not thin, not thick. More hops than malt in the flavor profile. Very drinkable beer, goes down very nice. Very nice beer for my first beer from the state of Alaska.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber.
pours a clear red color with a nice, thick off-white head. Lacing is okay, nothing too impressive.
Smell is hoppy, citrusy, and fruity. Very crisp.
taste is very fruity for an IPA, the cascade and centenial hops somehow mix to create a fine citrus taste that can only be discribed as pleasant. There is a mild malt character to the beer, which contributes nicely and does not overpower the hops
Mouthfeel is very nice for an IPA.
This IPA tastes a little like orange juice, which isn't a bad thing. In fact it's quite interestng.
I could definitely have another
Thanks go out to JTFest for sending me this brew.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crazy rediculas pale beige head.. out of hand on the pour 1/3 beer 2/3 head in the glass. Lots of carbonation (tiny bubbles) in the aubern colored brew with a murky look in the glass. Very hoppy grapfruit bitterness in the nose. Rich sweet medicinal base to the taste with a big brash rugged bitter finish. It is a rough brew around the edges but a solid hop creation for hop heads. Reminds me alot of homebrew. Very smooth mouth.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice appearance-copper color with a good dose of head and nice sticky, glass coating lace that retains very well. Aromas are grassy, and the hops are quite mellow. I get a kind of rustic hop character. The mouth feel is creamy, medium bodied, and mildly oily. Flavors are bold, hoppy, and crisp and clean. I get more grassy hop flavors, and the bitter finish is long and fulfilling. I'd drink this in an igloo, on a bear skin rug with a plate of deep fried wale blubber and be plenty happy.

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Photo of nomad
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

8 month-old bottle - oops! Didn't notice that until I got home, but at least it was kept cold the whole time...

Whoa nelly, there's some carbonation flowing here... Well, its a dead clear beer, deep amber with golden edges. Tons of head, like three fingers worth no matter how careful I pour. Most impressive is how slowly and sloppy it settles into thick clumps of lace and trapezoidal slops of foam. Looks pretty cool in my glass.

Smells of sweet, amber malts, rose water, with a little hop tingle. With time it really shines sweet specialty malts met by a little musty, earthy tinge from the hops.

Taste is all out Centennial profile, with layers of lemon notes, earthy bite, chocolate oil, and chewy, oily green flavors. So similar to Celebration in its Centennial and Cascade balance, punching you with rugged layers of hop flavor, though, as said above, this bottle has been calming for quite sometime. Underneath are some grape-like notes from the malt. Moderate, slick mouthfeel.

Pretty tasty and fairly easy to drink, as after 8 months this monster has settled considerably from the raw and rough character others have described. If I found it again, I'd let it sit for 4-6 months maybe.

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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 kmcnair
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, a very welcome freshness dating on the bottle and consumed from my 22oz Arrogant Bastard glass. This pours a nice redish amber color and makes a HUGE off white head. H-U-G-E!!! I was gentle with the pour and there was nothing stopping this monstrosity of creamy head. Aroma is a decent blend of cascade hops and a bit of malt, very standard west coast IPA flare here, fitting of the style but nothing too special for me, notes of citrus. Flavor is bitter but not overly complex, light grapefruit esters in the finish, fairly well balanced. Medium mouthfeel with lots of carbonation and a dry finish. It is a solid drinkable brew, but it just doesn't sock me in the eye like I was hoping! I think there are much better options on the market for this style.

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Photo of edchicma
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An all around good brew. Amber with a GIGANTIC HEAD! Score would have been higher if the head would have been smaller. Smell was essentially hops which I love, but malty presence was not there. Taste was bitter, but not overly so...left a decent aftertaste. Mouthfeel was pleasantly dry. Easy enough on the drinking scale...would try again. An above average IPA.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hmmm, no mention of Humpy's on the label ... oh, well.

Bronze-ish amber with a full creamy tan head, decent carbonation, and very nice clumpy lace. Moderate citrus hop aroma - very nice - not overblown like many IPA's. Nice balanced malt-hop flavor and a bit of fruitiness. Medium-full (leans full) bodied, creamy, and smooth with a nicely balanced finish. Not really bitter at all considering IBU levels of over 70 !!!

Would certainly buy again ...

Label states: "Centennial and Cascade hops"

Per M.S.B.Co. website: 70+ IBUs.
Gold Medal 2000 Alpha King Challenge Denver Colorado.
Bronze Medal 1999 Alpha King Challenge Denver Colorado.
Silver Medal 1999 Great Alaskan Beer Festival, Anchorage, Alaska.

Bottled: 2nd Wk. Nov (2003)
Tasted: 03/23/04

($4.49 / 22 oz. bottle)

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber red caramel hue with a nice cream colored head leaves big chunks of lacing in it's wisp. Aroma: Sweet flowign caramel malts infused with flowery and piney hops some Cascads are evident great aromatics. Taste: Great amount of bitterness lashing the palate big buttery caramel malts with big layers of flowery pine. Mouthfeel: Medium body succulent IPA nice brew. Drinkability: Lacks something for me but a decent all around IPA nonetheless too bad it's from all the way up in Anchorage, could be addicting.

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Photo of merlin48
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle that I purchased because I liked the label. Didn't know that I had my first Alaskan beer until I read the label a few minutes ago. This pours a clear, topaz red, with a thick, ivory head that retains well before fading into islands of thick lace.
The nose is exceptional, with notes of sweet fruit and caramel/toffee morphing into grapefruit, oranges, and apricots, bouncing off a nice caramel malt sweetness. The piney aroma of the Cascades hops lurks in the background.
Mouthfeel is actively carbonated, and features a pleasantly mild hops bite.
The taste begins with a buttery malt sweetness, that is quickly overtaken by the fruity, hops profile. This has a lot of IBU's, but the Cascades and Centennial hops have a lot of malt to deal with, so the end result is a very delicate balance of extreme hopping and solid malt presence. This is, simply, an extraordinary IPA, with no faults that I can discern. The taste resembles the aroma, with all kinds of citrus fruits, as well as apricots and apples, bouncing around with the caramel and butterscotch maltiness. The Cascades hops make their presence known with a touch of spruce pine, but this Sockeye remains extremely well balanced to the very end. Absolutely delicious!
To say that this is an auspicious introduction to Alaskan breweries is a wild understatement. This is one extraordinary brew!

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Photo of francisweizen
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber bottle. This brew is a murky red colour with a tight, compact, head of white foam. Aromas are heavily malty (caramel?) and hoppy as well. The hops hit you up front with a tongue-numbing bitterness. The middle is heavily malty and interesting, but the finish is ultra-dry and bland. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and decent and the drinkability is pretty good. Nice, but I expected more from these guys!

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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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