Sockeye Red India Pale Ale | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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221 Reviews
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Sockeye Red India Pale AleSockeye Red India Pale Ale

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

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: 429
Photo of Spikester
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Piney resinous amber with a huge fluffy off white head. Awesome clumpy lacings. This one is all about the resins. Sweet caramel malts with the piney resinous bitter hops. Very unique, quaffable, and sessionable due to 5.7% abv. Fairly reasonable for an IPA. The wife claimed this reminded her of Irish Spring Soap! Not my opinion though I still say this is about piney resins. If you are a fan of that style of hops buy some now. As for me I enjoyed it but may not rush to buy more due to the overall bitterness.

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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 Reagan1984
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The head was thick and creamy and eggshell in color. Showed amazing retention. The beer was almost a perfect amber in color. Not a bubble of visible carbonation and perfect clarity. The lacing was incredible. As the head dissipated there was a lot of lacing left on the glass.

Aroma is awesome.. Fresh and of citrus, specifically grapefruit with some real malt character behind it. Can detect some lightly toasted malts. I think I can also detect a bit of the yeast.

The flavor actually grows on you. At first, I wasn't sure... Now I like it. Definitely a more subdued IPA. Could have almost been a hoppy American Red.... Nice balance. Some initial grains and biscuit like flavors. After this a bit of yeast and fruit. Sense a small amount of the alcohol. Some mild hop bitterness towards the end. This is accompanied by a bit of toasted malt as well.

Mouth feel is medium bodied and you can detect some real structure here.

Very drinkable. Could be hopped up a bit more, but still nice.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber into goblet on 12/19/08, courtesy of Deuane.

A - Medium amber/light copper-colored body with half a finger of off-white head and modest carbonation. Head flared up to a fluffy cap with each swirl of the glass.

S - Huge West Coast nose with piney and grapefruit hops supported by caramel malt. Big pungent hop nose.

T - Extremely aggressive hoppy character for a plain old IPA with plenty of pine, resin and citrus hop bitterness. There's also a bit of sweet caramel malt present, but the hops definitely reign supreme here.

M - Medium body with oily texture and a dry, bitter finish that lingers on the palate for quite a while.

D - Man, this was hoppier than some IPAs I've had in the past. This one's bitter, so pucker up!

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Photo of Deuane
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to SGB Jeff for popping open a bottle of this one. Brought home in a salmon shipper box from AK!

A-Deep copper with a medium off-white head that holds strong and leaves nice lacing.

S-Pine forest hops dominate with a bit of malty sweetness in the background. This one is all about the pine...lovely!

T-Prickly, tongue-tingling pine hop bitterness up front with a quick support from sweet caramel malt which cancels out the hop punch a bit too quickly. I wish the taste was as assertive as the aroma. Still good but could be a pine hop masterpiece.

M-Medium body with sticky pine hop resin clinging to each and every nook and carnny in your mouth.

D-A solid, pine hop ass-kickin' IPA. Good but borders on great if they could just punch through the hops on the tatsebuds.

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

Bottle. Pours a clear amber with a thick off-white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of perfumy floral hops and light tropical fruits (especially tangerine). Flavor of bitter grassy hops, bitter floral hops and lots of mango, tangerine, and orange fruits. Sweeter in the nose than in the taste. Quite enjoyable and tasty. A nice, fruity IPA.
Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 15/20

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

Drank from a 22oz bottle.

Poured a medium to dark, hazy mahagony with a larger off white head. Nice hoppy aromas - piney with citrus. Tasted just like it smelled - piney and citric. Not too bitter of a finish with a slight sweetness to it.

Notes from 7/8/04

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

So this Sockeye Red has a mildly ruby color, plenty clear, with a mild and lacing froth.
The nose speaks solely of a sugared spruce, with more sugar than spruce.
The taste has a lot of the foreshadowed pine resin notions, with an unexpected, wild, and fleeting sweetness that for a brief glimpse makes me think about a cotton candy machine I always wanted.
Overall a good American IPA, which I must say bears a VERY strong
resemblance to 3Floyds Alpha King. Very muvugin strong indeed.

And that's a good thing.

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Photo of gford217
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thrown in as an extra by NoonanDBarbarian poured into a snifter. Thanks Brian!

A: Pours a dark, clear brownish amber with a rocky off-white head that shows very good retention and lacing. It's one of the darkest IPAs I've ever seen - very nice looking.

S: Aroma is like walking into a pine forest - a massive floral hop smell that you can smell straight out of the bottle. There's probably a touch of malts in the there but it's all about the piny hops.

T: Pine hops dominate the taste as well with a tongue-tingling bitterness up front. The taste features a much more prevalent caramel malt backbone than the aroma which balances everything out very well. The hops come back in the finish to provide a pleasantly bitter aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel is sticky with the pine hop resin and has strong carbonation that accentuates the bitterness.

D: This is a good IPA, especially if pine hops are your thing. Another nice offering from Midnight Sun

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Photo of HopDerek
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kegatron for sharing this one with me.

Pours a clear deep rich amber with lots and lots of frothy off-white head. Good retention and great sticky lacing. Smells impressively bitter, lots of pine tree, grapefruit, pineapple, and floral hops with a touch of biscuit and grains. Taste lacks that of the smell though, some grapefruit, caramel, biscuit, and pine notes but not as potent as the smell indicated. Medium to medium light in body, a little thin in places. Good carbonation with some nice oil slickness. A good IPA with amazing nose, too bad the taste doesn't follow as intensely.

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Photo of JayQue
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in Anchorage, Alaska in the same store where I found my Smoked Porter. A good IPA. Looks nice...cloudy amber with a huge cream color head with good retention and heavy lacing. Smell is strong and pleasant...floral hops.

Tastes good...This is a hoppy beer....good bitterness up front and slightly sweeter floral hops and some malt in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a hair thin. I was expecting it to self-correct as the flavors broke across the taste buds, but it remained a bit thin.

Drinkability is very good. This is a sipping beer with strong flavor, but it is not that filling and not that high octane. Very nice!!!

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Photo of Kegatron
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an extremely clear ruby red with a huge 3+ fingers of poofy off-white head that fizzles down pretty quickly into some big ole' dollops of foam that sit smack dab in the middle. This flares up awesomely, leaving just massive sticky hop lacing behind. The aroma is a huge, fresh, West Coast bouquet that smells like a pine forest, it's so thick with resinous hops and floral tones. And that's about it! Maybe just a tiny amount of malt sweetness that is mixed in with some citrus character.

The taste is once again piny hops but this time they are more subdued than the aroma was. Probably a credit to good balance provided by some sticky tasting caramel malts and citrus notes. It's just that that big ole' fresh hop bite that the aroma promised never showed up. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but seems a bit light at times. The carbonation is fairly creamy though with some hop oil slickness mixed in as well.

Not bad. The Cascade hops in the aroma are to die for but it just never seems to catch fire in the taste profile. Still, this is no slouch and brings the West Coast thunder better than some other IPAs or Red Ales out there. Worth a look.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Sockeye Red poured a lovely copper color and had a 2 finger foam head with sudsy lacing that was relentless. It was a great looking beer and was happy to take it down.

The aroma to me was one of the best smelling IPA's I have had. The Cascade hops gave some strong and soothing wafts to the nose. It was smooth and harsh in the same time. The hops were aggressive which I usually like and it had a nice malt backdrop. In the mouth it was highly carbonated with the IBU attacking every pore of the mouth. I found it be another excellent brew from the folks in Anchorage.

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Photo of fbxdan
4.8/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

By far the finest IPA I have tasted. I am still a newbie to this site but this IPA delivers. Extremely hoppy, citrus taste with hints of grapfruit and some spices. This is Midnight sun's finest beer by far and the best beer to come from my home state (which is saying quite alot).

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great clear copper bronze and a thin tan head and lacing.

Potent and raw hop profile in the aroma. Crisp green and spicy twang.

Really hoppy flavor, sharp sweet herbal and floral hops, over the top big ipa flavor. Chewy and pumped up with a big malt presense as well. OVerall a strong and borderline extreme beer. It's a slow drinker because of its big profile, really a good beer buy drinkability is not quite up to par. THe 22oz bomber would've last me all night had I not shared it.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - pours a deep copper, rusty color, pretty dark for an IPA, huge creamy head with great retention and lacing, pretty clear, at least on the first pour

s - big grapefruit aromas coming from the hops, slight maltiness and a bit of plastic in the nose as well, no hint of alcohol

t - pretty bitter and citrusy up front, some grapefruit though not nearly as prominent as in the aroma, significant amount of biscuity malt on the midpalate and finish, hints of caramel, finish has some palate drying hop bitterness as well, lingering lemon and biscuit flavors, not much by way of alcohol on the palate

m - medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, pretty dry on the finish

d - drinkability limited somewhat by the dryness of the finish, but overall not too bad in this realm

Decent IPA, but nothing I'd go out of my way to obtain again. Drinks more like a red ale than an IPA to me, not that that's a bad thing. Overall, just nothing that really stands out.

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

A- Wonderful rusty red color. The head with very light and thin leaving a plethora of thick lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Roasted malt and a slight smell of coffee is present. A nice cooked grapefruit smell is there as well.

T- The hops is very much there with a grapefruit taste along with the nice malted character that gives this beer a nice balance.

M- Nice mouthfeel, not too tart. This beer doesn't slay your tongue with hoppyness.

D- Easy to drink, would be great with the nice hot days coming up. I just hope those days are coming soon.

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Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottled 4th week of November pours caramel/brown with 2+ fingers of tan head. Very good head retention & good lacing

S: Piney hops & some biscuitty malt

T: Piney & metallic hops, plus some grapefruit & slight caramel up front. Biscuitty malt & leafy hops, plus dryness as this warms. Finishes with much leafy hops & a little toasty malt

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, skews a bit hoppy to me, not to mention, I'm just not liking the hops in play here

Drinks good, but not really something I'd want to session on

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Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle from liquid solutions
Pours an amber to maroon color with a soapy beige head that leaves lacing. Smell is floral, and fruity hops with some sweetness. Taste is pleasant floral hoppy notes and some tea flavors along as well. Some Hibiscus, and peachy, strawberry flavors stand out to me. Nice sharp bitterness and a unique flavor for and IPA. Quite nice and drinkable.

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Photo of markgugs
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(bottle dated Nov. 2007) 22oz. bottle poured into a pint glass, thanks to AKBelgianBeast for the trade (consumed: 2/18/08)

A: Pours a gorgeous clear copper body with a lovely 2-finger off-white creamy head, which lasts quite a long time and leaves tons of thick, sticky lacing. The hops are strong with this one, fo' sho'.

S: Boom! Huge hop bouquet, mostly of the citric and pine variety, with a slight roasted malt character behind that. But really, this guy is a hopmonster, i.e. a PNW brew. Sorta one-sided, but you get what you want here.

T/M: Just writing this from my notes, my mouth began to water again, that's how juicy & delicious this beer was. Every sip was an explosion of evergreen pine needles backed by a grainy, fresh-baked bread malt center for balance. Finish is all bitter, all the time. A true classic IPA. Carbonation and oil slick qualities combine to create a creamy masterpiece.

D: For an insanely hoppy & bitter IPA, this guy would be a regular if it wasn't so hard to get. Reminded me a bit of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in a way, so I'm just guessing the ample use of Cascade hops have a lot to do with that. Great beer.

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Photo of SargeC
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep amber brew with a golden-white head. I was impressed with how dark this beer was.

Smell: Pine, citrus and butter mask hints of sweet malt. I can pick up the aroma of this brew from a couple of feet away.

Taste: Decent balance for an intensely hopped brew. Smoky malt flavors float beneath the hops. Different bitter flavors transition and evolve throughout.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, allow the flavor to linger.

Drinkablity: An interesting IPA. Powerful without overpowering. This was just bottled a couple of weeks ago and the freshness is apparent.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Solomon420 for this bomber!

Poured a ruby-amber color with a decent sized off-white head. Lots of fine, delicate lacing. Made my glass look as if it were lined with a doily.

The aroma was right up my alley. I didn't get the citrus smells I see listed in other reviews. Mine was full of pine and grass (both kinds!). I love the piney, grassy, spicy hops and this one had them.

The flavor showed the same characteristics as the smell with some caramel malts thrown in. Nicely bitter...again, just how I like 'em. No real signs of citrus anywhere...makes me wonder if the "hop shortage" made them go with different varieties then they previously used.

Mouthfeel was full bodied and nicely carbonated. I wish I had another bomber of this in the fridge. Very good IPA.

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Photo of jakon
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased for $4.99 on 12-26-7 at Tanasbourne Haggen

Bottled-on date notched as the 4th week of November. So it's about a month old, which is a big reason why I decided to give it a try. IPA's especially, really need to be dated in order for me to make the purchase.

A reddish-amber beer with a 3-finger off-white head comprised of bubbles of varying size. Retention is average. Beautiful wash of sticky lacing.

The aroma is huge on the citrus hop character. Big time grapefruit and blood orange, and a light floral note. There is also a faint hint of spicy cannabis bud. This beer has succeeded in provoking my salivary glands to shift into overdrive.

Wow. Intense grapefruit bitterness in the taste. That bitterness just dominates some of the more delicate notes found in the aroma. It lingers on the palate for quite awhile. If you love that grapefruit bitterness, this is your beer. I'm enjoying this, but wish I were able to pick up some of those great aromas in the taste. It's a bit one-dimensional.

The body is on the thinner side, but maybe I'm just used to bigger beers lately. Yeah, now that I think about it, the body is on par with most of your standard IPA's. There's a light carbonation that's really not prickly at all.

Overall, this was a solid IPA that succeeded in displaying its own unique identity. I'm eager to try some more of the offerings from Midnight Sun.

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

Pours a nice clean/clear dark ruby red color, too much carbonation, the head was way too much also, foamy off-white, tons and tons of sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is hoppy, slight citrus and some pines, and caramel. The taste is hoppy, slighty sweet, malty, some citrus and pines, caramel. The finish is dry and bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, I was expecting alot from this brewery, since I hear all the hype about them, not that impressed so far.

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

sockeye red is much better out of the tap than in the bottle. It pours a deep amber color with little to no head. The nose is floral with hoppy and citrusy aromas. The taste starts out really floral with almost a clementine taste. The taste then blows up with hops and has a smooth flavor. the hop taste is nice and flavorful but not very strong. The cohoho is much stronger with near the same smoothness. The cascade hops make their presence known but the floralness is missing for cascades. Good smooth beer to get hammered on.

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Sockeye Red India Pale Ale from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 221 ratings.
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