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Sockeye Red India Pale Ale | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 221 | Ratings: 431
Photo of elNopalero
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a light amber tinge the color of sweet potatoes. It’s easygoing and mellow, with a light aroma. Doesn’t have a big malty body, nor does it have a heavy dank hop aroma. What I found was a whole produce-basket of notes: kale and mushrooms, quinoa and lentils, raspberries and raisins. (Note: No one else in my party caught any of these flavors or aromas.) I found it interesting, to say the least.

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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 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 dbrauneis
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear medium to dark amber in color with some ruby red highlights when held up to the light and some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall beige head that reduces to a couple of small patches of medium sized bubbles, a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of bitter red grapefruit rind citrus hops with just a hint of the cranberry. Underneath that there is a light presence of caramel malt.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of caramel malts with a touch of sweetness. There are light to moderate notes of citrus/red grapefruit rind hops. Moderate flavors of fermented cranberry and kumquat. Moderate bitterness that lingers for quite a while.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer might actually pair pretty well with Thanksgiving dinner as it reminds me of the flavors contained in my mother-in-law's cranberry sauce without the sweetness. Very interesting, not quite what I was expecting but I definitely enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head Ale glass. No obvious bottle dating that I can see. First Midnight sun brew.

Real nice gold out of the bottle, hits withe a real amber and crystal brown, brown as crystal? you bet! Shines almost like a ruby brown gem. Head is creamy of white three fingers and clumps nicely with a big island in the middle.

Airy aromatic hops, and sweet malt. Some faint caramel hints and chocolate, earth and herbal tea. Spruce like. Very appealing, and a nice malt and hop balance. I like this, this seems very different from just most ambers I've had, really like where this is going.

Palate hits with a soft subdued mellow malt richness, caramel rolling but hit with a good oily hop front punch. Quick finish hits with good leaf and herbality. Feel comes out fairly solid, nothing mindblowing though, just simple medium carbonation, and lets the palate do its job.

Overall though I really like this for a hoppy amber, would love to have this again if I could. It's varied but simple, and I just like it in that way.

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Photo of scootpolute
2.35/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Smooth, malty & great hop kick at the top, followed by more malts and spice (from the alcohol)some citrus, then ending with more pine-like spices...a surprisingly dry finish...The carbonation is good There's a good fullness. Present, but not 'too' much fruity/sweet flavors...The final pine/spice balances the beer out wonderfully, although the VERY dry aftertaste threw me...I was expecting a fruitier/hoppier finish...This one good, but not as 'GREAT' as so many others claim...Not to 'poo-poo' the Bros, but 'c-mon...OK...I agree this is still a great example of a NW American IPA, but there are far better ones out 'here' than the hype of this one...I just didn't like the over-dry ending notes...perhaps better on tap, eh?!...Chasin' Cheers :~)

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Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade and poured into a dogfish head chalice.

A - Poured a crystal clear amber hue with a one finger white head that faded to a thin thin white blanket and light lacing.

S - Aromas of nice citrus notes and solid tropical notes with light malts. Really really solid.

T - Taste is a bit on the old side with the hops having fadeds a bit to a slight cardboard/older stale hop flavors and malt sweetness on the end.

M - Mouthfeel is pretty decent for the style. Nice light bitter finish.

O - Overall I felt this was at one point a very good beer but is a bit past its prime would like to try it fresh.

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

My first Midnight Sun beer. Been a long time since I first wanted to try something from this brewery.

This one has a very thick malt body with spicy hop influences that bite at the tongue. There is a citrus tone that seems secondary and not overly drastic. This seems like it is mildly hinting to emulate the northwest IPAs, but doesn't get anywhere near going all the way. A nice drinker. Somewhat abrasive, but not so much to make you hate it. This may be a good beer to try on cask.

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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 u2carew
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber
A) Pours with a finger thick head that settles into a thin lacing on top and at the edge of the glass. Clear copper body.
S) Very aromatic. Piney with grapefruit rind.
T) Sharp hop bite up front. Grassy. Grapefruit rind. Finishes with an astringent hop bitterness that lingers long into the aftertaste.
M) Medium body. Tannic and dry in the finish.
O) A bold and bitter IPA in the vein of the hop bombs of the Pac-NW and So Cal. I must share this bottle but if I didn't have to I'd drink the whole thing!

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Photo of codysjb
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle
A: Pours a massive 4 finger head with a nice red amber color. The head looks like the foam from rapids and takes forever to dissipate.
S: hops, pine nice and aromatic. Reminds me of fall and the kind of beer for when the weather starts getting colder.
T: Alcohol and some syrup. Some milder hops along with a little bit of malty syrup taste.
M: Hops and just a nice pleasant all around flavor.
O: Interesting, more like a mix between the flavors of a strong ale and an ipa even at 5.7%. Really good.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep mahogany color with lots of bright ruby highlights. a dense mousse like head of tan foam forms on top only to dissipate within minutes leaving lots of spotty lacing on the glass.

S - the initial aroma is deep and earthy. the hop character is grassy with hints of tobacco and and hay. the malt profile adds notes of milk chocolate and caramel which become more apparent as the beer warms.

T - toasty and nutty flavors up front with more sweet caramel notes coming forward mid palate which lends balance to the bright citric bitterness and peppery spice of the hop profile. notes of cocoa powder on the back end. finish is very citric and long lasting.

M - medium nearing on full bodied. creamy texture. high carbonation with large bubbles.

O - Nice beer. well balanced yet complex enough to keep ones interest. I would purchase this again.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew was served from the tap at Rattle N’ Hum in New York, NY. It arrived in a generic tulip. The beer glowed a rich, surprisingly dark reddish amber color, sporting a robust, one finger tall white head. This showed decent retention, leaving impenetrable sheets of lacing around the glass, and big clumps across the surface. No sediment or haze was noted, and carbonation appeared medium. The nose exploded with insane citrus and soap, thanks to the generous hop inclusions. The malts were paler, with hints of wheat and biting citric rind. Sweet vanilla, and softer, darker grain came on the back with warmth. Our first impression was that the beer was a tad thin, and watered down, but with otherwise nice flavoring. As we sipped, the flavoring opened with mustard seed, spice of black pepper, booze, and a bright herbal hop bitterness. The hops continued to the peak, with an earthy pop. This opened up for a sweeter wash of more citric hops, and a strawberry fruitiness. The flavor drops off at the finish, thinning out with mineral and stone, and more of that earthy hop bite. The aftertaste breathed of sourness and sweat, lemon freshness, piney hop cones, earthiness, and great citric bitterness. The feel was thin and watery at times, but otherwise lighter to medium in thickness. The bitterness gave a soapy, puckering bite to the mouth, and the beer is more drying than coating. There is nice slurp and froth, the abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the beautiful deep coloring, amazing depth of hops in the aroma, and the fruit in the taste. Actually, and surprisingly so, this beer is much better warmer. This is certainly not the norm for the style, but the flavors really meld together by the end, and you get to see the entire hop profile from start to finish. Unfortunately, the feel became a little undesirable towards the finish, in that it was too thin, with the flavor being affected and thinned correspondingly. Ultimately, this is an average IPA but with some really outstanding components. Exciting for our first Alaskan beer, and only makes us want to try more from the state.

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Photo of Durge
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark golden mahogany color with a healthy oatmeal colored head and nice lacing. The aroma is a nice hoppy grapefruit and caramel malt. I get some tangy seaweed and sweet pine. The flavor is more grassy with some herbal pine hops and a notable soapiness that pulls it down a bit. Very malty with the grass intimating some rye but unfortunately the soapy quality lingers as a major part of this brew. Still, I can pick up the positive qualities as well. The grass melds nicely with the pine and the malt tempers it with good results. It’s medium-light bodied with solid carbonation with a midland feel. The soapiness seems to lessen as you get through it, so I’ll hope other batches will show little or no soap, and provide a solid red IPA.

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

It's nice to have friends in Alaska when you live in Oklahoma.

Nicely decorated label on the 22oz bottle. Color was a cool shade of red/orange and produced a decent two fingers of white foam that never completely went away leaving nice patterns resembling snow-capped Alaskan mountains. Pretty beer.

I expected a more extreme hop aroma based on what I read before receiving this bottle. I found the hop nose to be strong, but not overpowering. The firm citrus/pine combination still allows for the sweet caramel malt to make a show.

Yes, the hops are going to grab you, but they are accentuated by a nice grapefruit/lemon peel presence. Nice sticky caramel malt foundation. Balanced nicely.

Moderate body. Good carb even with the long flight. Moderate drinkability.

So glad I got my hands on this. Would recommend this Alaskan brew to anyone curious about the brew in the land of the Midnight Sun.

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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 Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, $6.99 from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. "Month and week bottled" info notched onto the side of the label.

Pours darker amber, clear, dark tan head, leaves some fine lace, but not much

Nose is bready, yeah dark and bready.

Red IPA, hmmm whats that all about? This one is about a more then moderatly hopped brew, with gooey grapefruit notes, plus resiny hops abounding. Easy to enjoy this quality IPA, another impressive brew from Midnight Sun

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just came to NYC! Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Southampton oversize snifter.

Pours a heavy, dark, clear mahogany. Minimal head but robust lacing. Nice color.

Tree sap, cane sugar, and tea. Hoppy.

Dried tea leaves. Hoppy. Cane sugar. Big sappiness. Hoppy finish and sticky, clinging aftertaste. Decent.

Light bodied. Well carbonated. Quenching. Dry finish, lingering aftertaste. Nice.

Overall a nice offering in the style but this one doesn't do much to set itself apart from the rest. Again, good, but its in a style where the bar is set quite high.

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Photo of Gmann
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color, not quite amber. The cream head is short and dense and leave some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is of a tart grapefruit hop with some pine. A bit metallic and peppery as well. Some light bready and caramel notes from the malt.

The taste has a strong metallic note. The hop profile is quite bitter. A lot of pine and resin come through. The flavor is grassy and earthy. The malt is lightly bready with some honey like sweetness and very much takes a back seat to the hops.

The beer has a light feel with prickly carbonation. Very bitter on the palate, a bit harsh.

Kind of a rough IPA. Definitely not my prefered hop profile in this one.

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Photo of JupiterJesus
1.27/5  rDev -66.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

22oz purchased at OL beercafe in Walnut Creek.

I can't tell if something is wrong with it or if it's supposed to taste like this. Filled with harsh, phenolic, medicinal flavors. It tastes like my Union Jack clone (british yeast, combination of british and us malt, cascade & centennial hops), and I considered that batch a failure.

The hops are so harsh and raw that they leave my mouth feeling like I sucked on a combination of kitchen cleaner and mouthwash. Dry, hard to taste the malt behind the hops and the harsh phenolics. It is possible I got a bad batch - I can't believe it would taste like this all the time.

Next time I go to Alaska, I'll have a fresh pint at the brewery. If it's better, I'll amend my review. For now, I can hardly finish my half of the bottle.

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

12oz can poured into SA glass. No dating.
Amber-red elixir, initial frothy head settles to tan, 2mm thin head with copious, tight bubbles. Plenty of lacing as the taste progresses.
Wonderful pine, resin aroma, with mango and grapefruit accents; subtle earthy/biscuit notes in the background.
Nicely assertive hops predominate, noted immediately on the front and wash over the buds, smoothed by the malt and leaving a nice resinous aftertaste.
Well done IPA, and at 5.7%, and canned, should be a "go to" brew.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sockeye pours a a vibrant orange-amber with a very light khaki head. Carbonation looks somewhat small and sparse. Lacing left behind on the pint glass is sticky and intricate.

The aroma has a very resiny, piney, and melon-like hopiness to it, along with a caramel and nutty malt presence. I smell a little metal in the smell, too. Is this from the can, perhaps?

The overriding flavor in Sockeye Red is that of a big, juicy grapefruit blended with pine cone and dank cannabis. I really like how the big fruity flavor meshes with the dry, earthy hop character. A little awkward nuttiness creeps into the profile in the middle. Also, there is a bit of a metallic flavor that really comes out at the end of each sip. I do not think that it detracts from the beer at all, though.

The mouthfeel is sort of an exercise in extremes. At first, it's pretty juicy, but not quite medium bodied, then the hops jump in and slam the juiciness into the ground with their dry dankness. Just a little unbalanced and not smooth enough to be characterized as good.

Overall, I thought the flavors in this beer were good, but it was just a little rough around the edges. Very hoppy and dank and fruity, but that nutty smell and flavor were a little strange. I also thought that the flavors and mouthfeel just did not synthesize perfectly. Good beer.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served too cold in what appears to be a 14 oz glass. Had this at a wine bar so...

Appearance- Dark cooper, reddish color. Small, off white head. Little lacing. 3/5

Smell- Pine with a nice malt backbone. The hops still shine bright, though. 4/5

Taste- Big pineiness through out. Malt in the middle but doesn't take away from the hop character. Some sweetness in the end. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel- Very good mouthfeel. Medium. 4/5

Overall - I have always like reds because of the high hop character. This one does not disappoint. 4.5/5

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber bottle into Portsmouth pint glass. This can't be right, bottle notch: Feb. 2nd week

A: Pours a really nice looking clear reddish orange color. Finger and half frothy white head. Lots of carbonation off the bottom of the glass. Mild lacing.

S: Even for what I believe is an old bottle, the hops are really nice smelling. I get lots of pine with some citrus fruits. Mild grapefruit as well. There is some malt balance there.

T: I am actually impressed. Sharp hop bite on the top of the tongue. Lingers there a while too. You get solid malt balance in the mid mouth. And the a crisp hop bite during a clean close. You don't get the fruity hops you smelled but you get piney notes. The low alcohol is actually nice.

M: Medium bodied IPA.

O: I am gonna have to go B+ for this one. A solid score for a nice easy drinking beer. Good work AN

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Photo of harrymel
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled Week 4, July, 2011

A: Pours a reddish brown ale with a short lived finger of peanut head which falls to a sheet of the same. Spotty lacing. Great clarity.

S: Piney, and has a spruce tip smell. Some citric rinds and bitter smells. Indicates the smell of bitterness over the top of some decent malts which are sweet and somewhat caramel like. Smells like an Impy Red, not an IPA.

T: Wow, grapefruit. I can't recall having had a beer with more grapefruit (ruby red) flavor. I've had more with plenty of grapefruit nose, but this is like straight grapefruit blended with a beer of darker amber base. Some hints of metallic leftovers.

M: heavy for the style with lively and bright carbonation. Fairly easy finish.

O: Good beer. Miscategorized as an IPA, and tastes like an Impy Red, but I've gotta say it's a good beer regardless. I dig it. Dunno why I've resisted it so long.

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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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