Double Red IPA | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Imperial Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as YuleSmith (Winter)

Previously known as winter YuleSmith, this warming, hoppy ale used to be available exclusively during the holiday season. But the popularity of this red-hued India Pale Ale grew to the point where sharing a limited run of beer with our fans seemed insufficient. our answer was to convert this crimson IPA into a seasonal offering to be enjoyed from fall through the winter months. Caramel malt sweetness combines with citrusy highlights to bring forth a dry, highly drinkable beer that's simultaneously hearty and thirst-quenching. the holidays are too brief to contain this much flavor.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 343 | Ratings: 915
Photo of seaoflament
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now that the YuleSmith was finally separated into 2 different beers I am moving this one to it's correct profile...This was Reviewed on: 12-04-2007 01:48:10

This review is for a 2007 Winter YuleSmith. Last time I had this one it was not as fresh as it could have been so I'm anxious to try this one fresh since the summer edition is one of my favorite beers.

Pours a rusty brown color with hints of red and nearly three inches of foam that almost overflowed in my pint glass. Sure takes its time to settle down to a thick, almost half inch of foam, and leaves little traces of lacing on the glass.

Great hop aroma. Lots of citrus and grapefruit, pine, caramel, and toasted malts. The aroma gets less intense as it sits in the glass, and I'm wondering if a pint glass--as the bottle recommends--is the appropriate glass for this type of beer.

The taste, oh so good! This one has a bigger malt presence than the summer edition, bread and toast flavors followed by some bitter grapefruit and citrus zest and finally finishes with some pine needles. As it warms up the pine flavors and huge malt bill take the stage. Hints of toffee detected as well. Real good taste but had to knock off half a point because the pine does get to be a bit too much after a while.

The beer is very well carbonated and even though it's a big beer the mouthfeel is quite refreshing.

As good as this one is I'm not sure if I like it more than the summer version. Still, this is one fine crafted beer.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seeing that there now is a listing for this beer, I shall move my review over.

22oz bottle, Winter 2007 version.

A: Deep amber-red with a dense, 4-finger off-white head. Tons of carbonation with the receding head leaving sticky lace in its wake.

S: Tons of malt here - caramel, toffee, brown sugar, figs. Hops are present with tons of pine.

T: Full-bodied malt-monster this is with tons of caramel right up front. The pine from the hops is present, assertive and delicious. Reminds me of the Stone Double Bastard in some ways. There's tons of residual sweetness in this one (just a hair too much, maybe?) Hints of raisins in here too

M: As mentioned, full bodied with tons of carbonation.

D: The sweetness of this one does me in. I doubt I'd drink more than one. Oh, and at 8.5%ABV, I doubt I'd want to!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-08-2008 22:17:07

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Photo of prototypic
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2006 release (reviewed long ago)

Appearance: Very nice copper-bronze color. Two finger head that stuck around for a while. Left a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Hops, hops hops. Hints of vanilla, orange, pineapple (?), and pine. Very nice citrusy smell.

Taste: Hops dominate in this one. But, they are buttressed by the hints of citrus and vanilla. The hops are great, but they don't overwhelm. Extremely delicious brew.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: This one goes down so smooth. I've just polished off a bomber and feel that I could go for another. This is an outstanding winter release. One of the best easily. You won't be disappointed. Very strong offering from Alesmith.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A great copper color with a fluffy white head.

S: Piney hops (lots of them), and caramel malt sweetness.

T: Just like you expect from the nose: tons of piney, hoppy bitterness on the front with a great sweetness from the malt on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Very nicely done beer from AleSmith, and one of the better winter ales.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From my notes of March 1, 2008 moved from the Yulesmith beer before it was split between Summer and Winter.

Another Alesmith brew to try. :^) This is the Winter 2007 version.

It pours a clear copper with a 2 finger head of billowy foam that grows in my glass but, happily, no over flow. Hey, it looks like a mini version of Devil's Tower. Fact is, the head retention has to be seen to be believed and there's no shortage of lacing.

The smell has notes of caramel malt, pine, fruit,...smells very holiday-ish.

The taste is yummy. Beautiful caramel malt hits my palate the same time as a very nicely done (not overly done)batch of piney hoppy goodness. Talk about a smooth but very tasty brew, this one epitamizes that and the alcohol is no where to be seen err...tasted.

Further sips in and I'm getting some citrus flavour that adds just a bit more bitterness but the overall flavours are still working in perfect harmony. It has a pretty fullish mouthfeel because of the perfect amount of carbonation and it finishes both sweet and bitter with the edge going to the malty sweetness. Man, the malt is working some magic here and *really* makes this brew stand out and the end result is a really outstanding DIPA that deserves nothing but praise. I love it!!

Bottom line: An exceptional DIPA that I hope every BA gets to try. Get it any way you can!!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeasty orange-bronze with a beautiful roseate glow when backlit. AleSmith YuleSmith is a gorgeous tropical sunset of a beer. The orangish, pale caramel crown is thick, creamy and sticky in consistency. Amazingly intricate, filagreed lace decorates the glass like frost on a Christmas morning windowpane. Outstanding!

The aroma is superb. A supernova-like hop explosion greets even a passing sniff. Deeper inhales threaten to blow the top off my head with twin cannons named 'Mr. Hop' and 'Mr. Malt'. There's a perfect melding of caramel and candied grapefruit peel, with a modicum of passionfruit for good measure. These guys are more than alesmiths, they're alemagicians.

YuleSmith is bliss in a glass. To approximate the flavor, melt a hug slab of caramel... The rich, sweet, caramel-toffee backbone is mastadon-sized, with big, meaty ribs. Without all that malt running interference, this sucker would be a tongue-shredding hop bomb of the highest order. Each side of the malt-hop dyad continually ups the ante throughout each mouthful.

This AleSmith ale is the quintessential balanced DIPA. That is, malt is given at least as much attention and respect as hops. Only my undying love for unbalanced hop bombs keeps the flavor score from perfection. Each sip delivers a mouthfilling, controlled explosion of sweet, sticky, hop-flecked, syrupy, fruity, bitter, caramel-drizzled pleasure. How in the world can four simple ingredients result in such an amazing elixir?

I don't know if there are any adjectives left to describe what this beer feels like in the mouth. How about full, chewy, syrupy, sticky, velvety... perfect. Any less wouldn't be enough and any more would be too much. I hate to use the word 'sensuous', but it fits.

I respect those who adore subtlety. I respect those who appreciate the nuances that different strains of yeast can provide. I respect those who like funk and those who like complexity. I'm with them on all counts. But if I can open only one present on Christmas morning, make mine a YuleSmith.

Originally reviewed on 9-11-2007.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter from 2008. Poured into Ommegang chalice.

Color is a copper hued red, pretty hazy. Hardly any head or retention. Hence not very much lace.

Aroma is the typical imperial red aroma. Big earthy hops, backed up with a ton of caramel malts. It isn't bad, but nothing special.

Taste: Wow the malts are very bready and caramel like. Bit earthy hops. Some citrus flavor.

Mouthfeel: bitter, and more bitter. A little creamy. Ends with a big hoppy caramel aftertaste. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a decent red, it is aged a bit, but still was pretty hoppy. I would have it again, but wouldn't go crazy for it.
Decent drinkability.

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Photo of koopa
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Winter version bomber purchased from liquid solutions

Appearance: Pours quite an attractive amber brown but looks more like a red w/ honey corners when put up to light. The body is ever so slightly hazed and the crown is white. Some retention and lacing but not too much.

Smell: Loads of caramel malt, lots of piney resinous hops, and a hint of citrus.

Taste: Same as nose. Huge dose of hops and some caramel. Slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium bodied and a touch chewy.

Drinkability: Just fine for a 9.5% DIPA

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Release '05 (3/24/06)
A tremendously large IPA with great balance and done with a holiday twist. Typical of big IPA's with very bold hop character, balanced with a healthy dosage of malt. Atypical of IPA's in it's cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and alspice flavors. It remains pine-ey and spruce-ey while showing complex fruitiness of grapefruit and oranges. Malts offer a creamy, viscous round sweetness while spiced heavily with American hops and fruitcake. Bready and yeasty despite such boldness. A very good beer to compliment the holiday season...even if the holiday season ended 3 months ago.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter Yulesmith '08, 8.5%.

Pours a slightly hazy copper amber into a pint glass. A thin off white head surrenders to a surface cap in a few minutes yet offers decent lacing throughout.

Muddled hops on the nose with some roasted caramel malts, bit of cinnamon and orange. Opens up nicely with a bit of warming yielding some pine and wet peat notes. Alcohol leaves a bit of a barleywine sense on the nose as this is likely beyond its prime.

Taste is smooth and slightly rich in malts with a bit of a spice on the close. Medium body with a slightly chewy yet not overdone finish. Hint of apple cider and some orange peel in back with a return of lingering orange/cinnamon spice. Slightly coarse in feel and with a decent carbonation for the body. Reasonably drinkable for its ABV, pretty well balanced and never overpowering.

An interesting ale and worth a try though surely better when fresh. I look forward to the pending release of Summer Yulesmith next month.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color is a nice reddish brown with a 2 finger bubbly off white head. The head clung to the sides well. Aroma smelled spicy, some banana bread, and some orange. Taste was tangy, slightly peppery. Felt very smooth and creamy in the mouth. Tangy aftertaste lingered for a while. ABV hit a bit fast definitely a sipping beer.

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Photo of schroederm
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a snifter:

Pours a dark opaque amber with some copper coloring, with a thick and soapy 1.5 finger off white head. Aromas include citrus, grapefruit, pineapple. peppery, and a ton of allspice. It's got a great hoppy bitter with tons of citrus - specifically
grapefruit - that leave a wonderful aftertaste on the palate. Overspiced for me, just too much on the palate. Good body and carbonation. Drinkability is reduced for me by its bitter and spicing, but overall above average.

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Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Notes: 1/?/09
AleSmith Brewing Co.
Yulesmith Holiday Ale 2008
8.5% Alc. (that's what my bottle says)
22oz. Bomber

Appearance= Very deep brown/orange Opaque beer. Good head retention after a vigorous pour into Allagash snifter. Lacing and webbing is awesome, really sticky.

Smell= Holidays. Hops and holiday spices?? It smells good.

Taste=Holidays. Hoppy, clean, awesome. Lighter and hoppier than the usual holiday brew but it is nicely balanced out with caramel and malty goodness!

Mouthfeel= On the thicker side, creamy and delicious.

Drinkability= With the creamy mouthfeel and Abv. It is not highly drinkable. However, it is a very good holiday brew. Up there with Hoppy Holidaze and other great holiday beers. Did I say Holiday in my review enough?

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Photo of westweasel
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into an authentic Goose Island IPA goblet.

App: A brilliantly clear dark amber with a large beige head that leaves lacing along the glass. This could easily be classified as an imperial amber.

Aroma: A surprisingly strong caramel scent combined with lemons, grapefruits, and pine.

Taste: A fairly straight-forward caramel flavor that is quickly engulfed by strong hop bitterness. The bitterness is not harsh, but very strong. The hop flavor is a mix of oranges and pine.

MF: Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

Drink: A very drinkable IPA. The high alcohol content is definitely hidden. A very well-crafted great beer.

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Photo of bbothen
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Sam Adams beer glass made by NASA engineers.

Pours a deep ruby red with a 2 finger deep bubbly off white colored head.

Smells of sweet malts with a nice citric hop aroma of orange & tropical notes. Right up my alley Jack.

Great balanced combo of caramel malt sweetness and citric piney hops, grapefruit, orange zest, piney, flowery hops and a nice bry finish that works well with the sweetness. Bingo my friend.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth.

Highly drinkable for me. Wish this was year round, in six packs. Would be a go to session brew. Yep, a %9.5 session brew.

Both versions of Yulesmith are winners for me. Wish I would have bought more than one bottle.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Green and Red Label

Pours a clear golden yellow color, nice carbonation, small foamy head which disappears quickly, some nice lacing afterwards. Scents of hops, malts, citrus, some spices. The taste is sweet and tangy, very well balanced. There is a nice malty/sweet finish as well. Medium body. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from AleSmith.

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Photo of Overlord
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter edition:

Pours a reddish orange. Gigantic head, basically half to two thirds of the glass. This and Adam have the biggest heads I've seen in bottled beers.

Taste is piney, grapefruity, with an orange/citrus backbone. There's some malt to balance out the bitterness. **I now prefer the summer edition. SEe below.

The winter edition is a bit more malty, definitely more caramel, with a slightly thicker mouthfeel.

**I've noticed over the last two years that the differences between the two editions seem to be getting more pronounced. The Summer edition has stayed bright, hoppy, and charming with its palate blasting mindset. I'm finding this one just seems to have mellowed too much.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

winter edition

deep, relatively dark red amber, with a little haze. great head, decent lacing.

bold, resiny pine scent. hint of spice, somewhere between cinnamon and nutmeg. trace of grapefruit.

great sweetness from malt and fruity hops that gets balanced by the bold, piney hop spiciness and bitterness. finishes with the resin coating your palate - but in a pleasant way.

pretty smooth, but with an almost sticky, syrupy feel. moderate carbonation. overall quite nice.


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Double Red IPA from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 915 ratings