Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series) | Alaskan Brewing Co.

very good
63 Reviews
Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series)Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series)

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by harrymel on 12-06-2012

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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 261
Photo of atalayafr
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Golden brown, pretty color. Nice head that slowly subsides.
S-Hoppy with alcohol content obvious in the smell.
T-A nice balance of hops but a bit overwhelmed by the alcohol. Finishes hoppy.
O-Good beer. Better than ABC's normal line of beers IMHO.
S-22oz bottle

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Photo of Broden
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice dark red color with a beautiful fluffy off white head. Nice lacing noticed while drinking. Very good looking beer.

S- Citrus, and Grapefruit hit you right up front. An amazing hop aroma, but still enough malt to let you know your your drinking a red ale and not a DIPA.

T/M- Very hop forward, with a perfect balance of malt. Alcohol has a definite presence but fits the beer perfectly.

O- Very surprised by this beer. Picked it up on a last minuet whim and was totally blown away. In my opinion it is the perfect example of the Imperial Red Ale.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Had in bottle and on tap at Pig & Fiddle Minneapolis
Resiny hop nose over sweet malt, floral hop spiciness and spiciness from the malts, biscuit.
Very pretty beer. Pours a deep garnet amber to chestnut under 2" frothy light tan tinted head that slowly dissipates to a thick film - lacy.
Palate: Starts with sweet malt and biscuit and rye spiciness along with some cardamom to cola. the initial sweetness lies between vanilla and jam like. There is a strong tea like bitterness along with citrus and citrus rind. Big malt, alcohol and hops that all end up balancing each other.
Medium full to full body, medium low carbonation, warming, oily.

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Photo of greshdoghophead
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Older bottle bomber from summer 2015. Poured very dark into snifter but is red when held to light. Not much foam or lacing. Great unique maltiness, not roasty or amber malt but certainly fitting of an imperial red. Nothing overly notable but yet nothing off putting, solid and chewy with a tiny musty dankness, worthy of praise in a social setting.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into Speakeasy Ales and Lagers pint glass

A: Pours a gorgeous deep ruby reddish brown with a little light brown head that fades to a thin ring and laces lightly.

S: Bright citrus, some kinda tropical fruit, pine, and sweet roasted malt.

T: Citrus and pine hops, some tropical fruit in there as well, well balanced with caramel malt sweetness, a little grapefruit and pine bitterness on the back end, and a little alcohol warmth going down though well hidden in the taste

M: Medium body, low to medium carbonation

O: Was very happy to come across this bottle and even happier to drink it. Very tasty! I wish it was slightly lower in abv so I could drink more of it.

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Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

• Poured from the bomber into a belgian style tulip (from the Libbey 6 pack of beer glasses from Target). Pours a straight up gold from the bottle, in the glass it's a very deep, dark reddish bronze with a three finger head that just won't quit. Sticky lacing, almost a root beer float-esque perseverance on this collar of foam, but more dense, of course. Lacing continues to impress as the head thickness approaches 1.5 fingers with a plateau in the center. This is a highly attractive beer.

• Raisins on the nose, liquid bread, potent enough for my bum sniffer.

• I've been hoping this would finally be the amber/red that I could get behind. It totally is. It tastes like all the reds I've had before but that nasty sweetness is just subtle enough to be enjoyed, and is, for once, well balanced out by the hops and alcohol.

• I've never thought of myself as being qualified to judge mouthfeel. I don't know what I'm looking for. All I know is this one is pleasant, so I'm rating it positively. Any cicerone's reading this that would like to give me some pointers on evaluating mouthfeel, please feel free to shoot me a message.

• Great beer. It makes my sardine burps far less unpleasant. I'm being serious! I don't think I'll be buying anymore of this due to the bomber/value issue, as well as availability concerns, but if this beer made a comeback in 6 packs I'd definitely pick it up. Worth a try!

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Photo of arizcards
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine at the end of May for $7.99. Best by 051513. I am always up for a big red ale even if it is a bit past expiration.

Beer poured a reddish brown with a nice beige head that is hanging around quite well.

Nose is full of caramel malts and citrus hops.

Taste is well balanced, big bready malts greet the palate followed by a generous citrus and tropical hop finish.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, and satisfying.

Overall this is an excellent representation of the style. Suspect the hops have faded a bit since bottling which has led to a wonderfully balanced flavorful brew. Definitely will look for this in the future!

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

At a recent bottle share, the beer poured a murky maroon color with a modest head. As one might expect, the beer had a sturdy malty aroma with some spicy notes laying in the background. On the initial taste, one might discover this to be better than the average imperial red. Notes of ginger, brown sugar, burnt malts, and a certain spiciness occupy the initial taste. From this point, the taste evolves into a tart dry malt aftertaste. I believe ale was a little too thin for the style, as it just would not linger long enough for me to enjoy. In the overall scope, I like this one a great deal

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Photo of ducktoadecoy
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'm always looking for a nice smooth beer that's also strong and flavorful. This beer is close to perfect in that sense. At 8.5%, this beer is still smooth enough to drink all day long. The pour is nice dark color and the smell is nice caramel/citrus combo that gets better with time. I can't wait to have this again!

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Photo of hardy008
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a large light tan head, with good retention and lacing. As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell grapefruit immediately. there is also caramel malt, and pine.

Tastes very much like it smells with grapefruit, caramel malt, and pine. Has a very nice combination of sweet malt and bitter hops, which balance each other nicely.

Medium bodied with average carbonation, and a bittersweet aftertaste. I like this beer quite a bit, and am glad to have found another really good American Amber / Red Ale.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany amber red with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of off white head that slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: Rich aroma with a good balance of strong malt and hops. Hoppy upfront with earthy hints of grass and pine. Hints of citrus grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, and lemon. Big sweet malt balance with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, yeast, and a mild hint of roast. Some noticeable scents of alcohol. A very solid balanced aroma that is big and sharp.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a big rich and sharp taste of hops and malt that is balanced. Starts with some sharp hops upfront with notes of earthy grass, spicy pine, and herbal notes. Citrus grapefruit, orange, pineapple, apricot, and lemon. Strong toasty malt balance with notes of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grain, yeast, and toast. Slight undertone of roast. A little alcohol taste is detectable. Very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Somewhat chewy. Fairly drying on the finish. Some alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: A very solid red ale. Aggressive but well balanced mix of hops and malt. Even with a few months on it the hops are still lively.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a deep dark red with a huge head of foam(served near room temp)

The beers smells very hoppy, lots of grapefruit in the nose with little to no malt presence.

A big hop bomb with the taste as well. Grapefruit dominates but I do get a wee bit of a malty sweetness that seems to grow with every sip. Now, it's like a 75-25 mix of hoppy vs malty and that works for me.

Medium body, lightish carbonation. Good mouthfeel.

This is good, very good. I'll buy more.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

In a pint glass, kinda cold, but not as cold as the Bering!

It's a rich, clear crimson red color with with a condensed cap of tan froth on top. Striking.

Definitely some caramel in the aroma, with muted citric fruitiness going on. Smells a little like toasted nuts as well!

Tastes like lemon and lime, grassy hops, astringent citrus rind, pine needle resin, roasted nuts, and bread, in more or less that order.

The feel is pretty robust.

A red ale that puts particular emphasis on bitter astringency. I would therefore recommend it to those who have a taste for IPAs. Like myself. Teehee.

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Photo of leaddog
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark copper with two fingers of frothy cream-coloured head.

Smell - Citrus hops, caramel malts, tropical fruit (mango), hint of toffee, hint of pine resin.

Taste - Upfront bitterness from the citrus hops and pine resin followed by sweetness of caramel malts, tropical fruit and toffee.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant lingering bitterness.

Overall - This brew hits all the right marks with the style. Excellent hop profile and balance of caramel malts. Been wanting to try a beer from the Pilot Series for a while.

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Photo of harrymel
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best by 13MAY13

Pours a clear crimson red with a finger of light cream foam and some spotty lace. Smells of citrus, grapefruit, spiced malts, some tea and a bit more of the centennial and cascades - this is a nice nose. Bitter, malty, spicy and hoppy - layered with nice complex malts and a good dry bitterness, along comes some pine and resin with a hint of grapefruit rind and a little touch of pekoe. Medium bodied with moderated, prickly carb and a wet finish. This is a nice surprise - Alaskan Brewing is like my permanent sleeper; so many great beers, so little sincere appreciation.

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Photo of jonboyd_md
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle, Poured into a tulip. Clear, dark, red in color. Tan, dense head. Good lacing. Smells of orange ring. Tastes of pine needles, orange rinds, and caramel. Has a nice mouth-coating quality. Overall an enjoyable beer. It was darker than I was expecting. Worth getting again

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Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%

On-tap at 3 Cellars in Franklin, WI:

Pours deep red with a thick, lasting head that leaves lacing.

The smell is of toasted caramel and toffee with pineapple and other tropical fruits, citrus and pine.

The taste is of caramel/toffee/nougat with pineapple and (mango?) a general tropical fruitiness (and a touch of pine). Some alcohol warmth shows in the finish.

It is creamy smooth.

A delightful brew! Hops are certainly present but allow the rich maltiness to show through. Well-balanced for a hop-leaning red ale.

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Photo of ISmith87
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oskar Blues G'knight anyone? Yea this shit tastes exactly like it...

A - brown/red color that's crystal clear if you look close, 3 fingers of off white head that sticks around forever and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.
S - Nice caramel malt with a citrusy malt immediately balancing it out. Cinnamon in the background, brown sugar. This guy smells nice.
T - Great tasting American Red Ale. Tastes like citrusy hops (papaya, mango, pineapple), with caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon balancing it out. Great beer. I want to put it head to head with G'knight.
M - Medium - heavy. Alc completely covered. Aftertaste is cinnamon sugar, caramel malts, light citrus hops.
O - This is a pretty great beer. For the price it's not so great tho, Oskar Blues G'Knight is right up there and is 15-20 cents less per ounce.

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Photo of BurnMeInMyBar
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Was saving this one to pair w/ crab legs as the label bears a crab. Picked up a pound of King legs yesterday but failed to put the bottle in fridge. As my wife put the legs on the grill I packed my bottle amongst my other coldies. Subsequently it was basically enjoyed at about 70 degrees.

Went very well w/ the crab legs, good aroma, mouth feel, etc. I would certainly like to try it chilled down a bit more but was very good at basically summer room temp in a shaded campsite in Southern Wisconsin.

Nice hearty color and body not typical of ordinary reds but totally expected from the great Alaskan Brewing Co.

Served decanted to pint glass, less aggressive pour as beer was warm, so lots of head though w/ good body.

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Photo of Foyle
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle pint glass.

Appearance: pours 1" cream colored head that drops slowly with some lacing. Color is a rich red-mahogany with tons of streaming carbonation.

Aroma: complex and strong with citrus and floral being dominant along with bread dough.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied with a somewhat astringent dry finish.

Flavor: complex combination of strong hops grapefruit, orange, and floral along with rich roasted malt, caramel and raisin.

Overall: very well made. A sipper, definitely not a 'lawnmower' beer.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: dark copper and caramel, almost purple. hints of ruby red. frothy 2 finger off white head that is unevenly fading away

s: caramel, fig, pine resin, sweet malt. hint of pineapple, smells slightly yeasty. nice and clean

t: for me, a slight let down from the nose. bread and bitter. the bitter is piney and earthy - like tea leaf. the sweetness comes from the caramel malt which almost fades to a brown sugar flavor. there is like a sweet syrup flavor on the backend.

m: fuller side of medium, and very syrup-like. the bitterness fades quickly, and your mouth is left coated with the syrup-like flavor

o: the bitterness is a little too one dimensional for me, but the malt sweetness is nice. it gets a little better as it warms. reminds me of a mellow American barley wine. would be a nice sipper to end your night on, but i wish there was just a little more complexity here to the sweetness.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

as ive said before, i love the pilot series. this one is no exception, a wonderfully rich and deep imperial red ale. a style i dont always love, i love this one. burnt red on the pour, dense and tough on light, 2 fingers of lacey off white head with great retention and a real hoppy nose. i also smell the classic american red malt, sweet and dusty, as well as bitter orange peel in small quantity and some booze. the taste to me starts like a normal red, excellent and layered malt, smooth and satisfying. it turns into an almost barleywine style ale though, with a warming alcoholic thing in the finish, and a grainy sweetness. i can still pick out citrus though, orange, and the richness of the malt makes this a unique beer. i can taste its color somehow. that brick red im staring at has a flavor, and its fantastic. very hearty, very wintery. huge body, enough carbonation, expansive mouthfeel. bold but approachable, this is next to marbles for the best imperial red ale ive ever had. the whole pilot series rocks. pick this up asap.

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

I picked up a bottle of Alaskan Brewing Company's Imperial Red Ale last week for $2.19 at The Lager Mill. A Red Ale sounds pretty good tonight and I'm interested to see how this one turns out, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from shorter brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes well with the name and it's eye catching. It poured a nice amber red color that took on more of red color when held to the light with a little over a finger and a half of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some patchy and sticky lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and they impart a nice mixture of fruity hops with some nice citrus aromas showing up with some green hops showing up in the background. Up next comes the malts which impart a sweet malt, caramel malt, brown bread and bread crust aromas with some doughy yeast showing up in the background. This beer has a good aroma, I like the fruity hop profile.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, but more balanced and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and this time it imparts some fruity and nice citrus like hop flavors with no green hops showing up this time. Up next comes the malts which show up just a little more than they did in the aroma and they impart the same aspects with no single aspect seeming to stick out the most. On the finish there's a lower amount of medium bitterness with a nice buttery malt and citrus hop aftertaste. This is a good tasting Imperial Red Ale, I have no complaints.

M- Smooth, a little clean, crisp, a little creamy, medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. This beer has a good mouthfeel that works well with it.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good Imperial Red Ale, I find that most Imperial Red Ales seem to be very hoppy and most of the time I feel like the hops cover up a lot of those nice Red Ale flavors, but in this beer every aspect was kept in check and it made for a nice and balanced Imperial Red Ale and I enjoyed it. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, a little clean, crisp, a little creamy, not too filling and the taste does a good job at holding my attention, I could drink a couple of these with no problem. What I like the most about this beer was the balance, it was right where I wanted it to be. What I like the least about this beer was nothing, there isn't anything I disliked or would change, it's good just the way it is. I would recommend trying this beer especially if you like Imperial Red Ales and I would for sure buy this beer again when I'm in the mood for the style. All in all I was happy with this beer and I was a little impressed with how they didn't take the super hoppy route when it came to this beer and in the end I think that paid off. This is one of the better Alaskan Brewing beers I've had and it's also one of the better example of the style that I've had. Good job guys, this was one tasty beer, keep it up.

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Photo of MrBoh
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle date: 11/30/14.

Pours a bright, cloudy, reddish caramel into my sniffer. A little light caramel head which fades quickly.

Aroma is boozy and sweet. Earthy, floral and citrus notes. A little burnt toast, but mainly just booze and malty sweetness.

I had not had an imperial red in a while, so I kind of forgot what to expect for taste. Strong notes of bread, bitter orange peels. Finish is full of toast and floral notes. Very sweet, but it helps masks the alcohol, balanced overall. A little metallic, but other than that, very good on the taste front.

Definitely more body than an IPA. Viscous and chewy. Definitely works well since I think it would otherwise be too boozy. It is lacking in carbonation, which really brings it down.

Good reminder of the style. A fresh tasting, boozy beer that's good for a cold winter evening, or any time in Alaska I'm sure.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle. Pours a dark reddish almost brown color with off-white head. Pine, citrus, and floral notes on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a bit of nutty malt.

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Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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