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

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BA SCORE
86
very good
62 Reviews
Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series)Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
alaskanbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
62
Ratings:
260
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
18.91%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
46
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 260
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 4/2/16.

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thick rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, earth, citrus zest, and spicy hop aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, earth, citrus zest, grapefruit juice, and pine needle flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with solid flavors, but the smells on this one work better to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
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 kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

651ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. 8.5% ABV confirmed. There's a crab on the label. Purchased earlier today.

Served refrigerator cold and side poured as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger light khaki colour head of nice cream, nice thickness, and good retention (>5 minutes). Decent lacing. Colour is a pale dull sanguine. Translucent but nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Heavy floral hops, some chinook if I had to guess, and some underlying malty sweetness with vague hints of light caramel. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Floral and somewhat nectary hops, with a hint of oily character. Malty sweetness underlies, but no caramel is detectable. Slightly imbalanced but drinkable for the style. I want more from it, but it doesn't deliver. No yeast character is notable. It hides its alcohol pretty well. More simple than I'd like; lacks complexity but not necessarily subtlety - elements of the execution (like the floral hops) are well handled. There's a weird off-flavour I can't quite place; it's not metallic or glassy or soapy or astringent, but it's deeply flawed.

Mf: Dry, musty, a bit oily, and smooth. Troublesome, indeed. Good carbonation.

Dr: Drinkable but I wouldn't have another. A failed experiment, and something of a disappointment coming from a brewery I regard as highly as Alaskan. Its flaws severely impact its quality, holding it back. I'd much sooner reach for Alaskan Amber.

Low C

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 12/20/2014. Pours crystal clear ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, floral, grass, pine, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops and dark malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, floral, grass, pine, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity of bright citrus/pine hops and moderate dark malt sweetness; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately crisp/sticky, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice imperial red ale. All around good complexity and balance of bright citrus/pine hops and moderate dark malt sweetness; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mactrail
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful glowing dark coppery brown color in the Duvel tulip. Nice head to start. Surprisingly light bodied but plenty tingly on the tongue. Smells like alcohol and cheap brandy with some fruit cocktail.

Sharp and hoppy. This tastes stronger that the ABV. Maybe it's the light malt and the hot hops that give this the tangy boozy taste. There is a fruity taste, like peach schnapps, some burnt sugar, and rum. Very rummy and quite sweet, though cut by the glowering hoppy bitterness.

I guess you could call this an after-dinner drink. Just needs a cigar. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at The Bottle Shop in Santa Barbara.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Amber body with a nice off white head. Settles to a nice collar and surface foam.

Smell - Grapefruit and pine hops. Nice caramel malt backbone. Smells good.

Taste - Has almost a hoppy American barleywine taste. The malt flavor is very similar. Aggressively hopped. Lots of deep caramel but not sweet. Medium bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Aggressive malt and hop character. I like it.

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Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

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 stevoj
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Albertsons. Deep, dark copper pour with tightly beaded head. Light caramel aroma, taste is caramel, malt and some hop bitterness. Mild bitter finish. No sign of the 8.5 % ABV

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium russet amber with a half finger off-white head that dissipates quickly to patch foam and a ring around the glass. Light aroma of bready malt and light piney hops with a hint of alcohol. Flavor is piney and citrus hops with light malt up front, fading very quickly to a lingering light piney hop bitterness. Medium bodied with decent carbonation. The hops are pleasant and appropriate for a red ale, but they are not quite supported by the malt body. Finishes too abruptly, although the residual bittering and lightly aromatic hops keep it interesting to drink. In the end, a bit unbalanced.

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Photo of Zorro
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear dark red colored ale with a tall tan colored head.

Smells sweet and strongly hoppy. Herbal with a woody scent. Citrus scent but not any specific one.

Starts out sweet and herbal with the taste of cedar plank to it. Caramel and citrus too but mostly this tastes like Cedar wood. Overall it is mild and easy on the senses.

Mouthfeel is full.

Overall a tasty ale it's only flaw is it could be a little more complex. Still this is tasty.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: rich, dark amber hue with maybe a dash of haze. Head pours a finger of frothy ivory foam; looks good to me!

Smell: lightly sweet caramel and toffee, although there's definitely some strength underneath.

Taste: sweet, caramelly, bready and with a moderate bitterness toward the end. None of that biscuitiness that I dislike so much in the style. I'm not normally a fan of ambers but this is really quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with a big carbonation and a very nice creaminess. I like it.

Overall: I'll admit I was not going into this beer with high hopes, but I really rather like it. Sweet and strong, but not biscuity or cloying. I dig it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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 pat61
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

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 TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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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Photo of ArrogantB
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, $8.99. I bought this because I really like hoppy red ales but I almost never find any good ones. . I feel like all of Alaskan's pilot series is disappointing except for the barleywine. This was no exception. Smells nice and hoppy. Clear, garnet colored, huge head, some lace. Flavor is strong alcohol, bitter hops, malty. The alcohol flavors really detract from this. I should have known better.

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Photo of FLima
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful clear amber reddish color with beige two finger thick head with great retention and leaving laces.
Nice hoppy aroma with notes of grapefruit citrusy, toasted malts, grains, mango and spices.
Bitter flavor with intense notes of spices, grapefruit, toasted malts, American yeast, resin, lemon, tea bags, tropical fruits juice, bold pine, cinnamon, tobacco and caramels. Dry aftertaste with a very long lasting bitter note. Definitely you can feel the power of its 70 IBUs.
Medium towards full body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 8.5% abv is behind the curtains.
Intense and bitter Imperial Red Ale, with a great hop complexity: citrusy, piney and getting mango tropical once it warms up. Malty base and bold spices complete the tripod.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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 popery
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours red with a beige head. More interestingly, it appears to have some chill haze, which is odd. I thought it was just a cloudy beer after my first pour, but no, the cloudiness has disappeared as the beer warms. It also foamed up a bunch when I poured, which I guess is another sign. It doesn't really bother me, but I am surprised to see it from a brewery of Alaskan's size and experience. The aroma is mostly hops, floral and citric, but there's a deep toasty malt sweetness in there as well. Candied grapefruit peel. It's a nice enough aroma, though the hop contributions are a bit drab for a new beer, at least compared to all of the more interesting work with hops of late. The taste is a bit more disappointing. There's a funny DME-ish sweetness to the beer. It's a sweet tang that doesn't sit quite right. Booze is evident. Lots of caramel and toasty, bready malt. More drab hops. They're not terribly bitter and there is flavor to them, but it's just a basic grapefruit/pine resin note that's muted and stale. I don't really mind the lack of hop complexity, and I quite like standard American CTZ flavors, but this is just boring. Mouthfeel is smooth and mostly pleasant, but the beer gets a bit sticky and boozy, particularly in the finish. I'm not quite sure what to do with this beer. I feel like I'm being overly harsh, but I'm struggling to find positives. These flavors have been done better in other beers. Neither the malt sweetness nor the hops are handled well. There are some really good big hoppy red ales out there, so I don't really understand bringing a new one to market without a good reason, and I'm not seeing any real reason to buy this beer over beers that have been around for years and are widely available.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%

Pours two fingers of head on a clear dark red body.
The aroma is loaded with dark fruit, dry grains and spice.
The taste is mildly sweet at first, then quickly moderately bitter, tending towards a dry bitter finish.
The texture is crisp.
Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
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 rawfish
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful dark bing cherry juice coloration with ample head, slightly tan with good lacing and decent retention. Crystal clear, great color.

Dark fruit skins, bread, a bit dank with some fruit juice sweetness, more pine than grapefruit hops with a slightly leafy and green.

Bready with some dried cherries, hawthorn berries and dusty/spicy ESB type of malt, pine hop flavor, very straight forward with heavy oily bitterness and alcohol on the finish.

Literally feels like my taste buds are sweating as the bitterness begins to pinch with an acidic malt stickiness. Smooth body, medium heavy going down. Alcohol evident, this needs some malt, the hops don't hide everything.

Good looker but overall it's kinda average. Mild complexity like a good red should have but the hops are simple and fall off in the finish, really hurts the feel of this beer especially as the booze and bitter come through. Really a a raw beer, punishing in a way.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- nice copper color with a decent off-white head and good lacing

S-caramel malt, citrus, pine, slight fruit

T-caramel malt, fruit, citrus, pine, light spice

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, crisp, alcohol well-integrated

O-easy drinking for the ABV

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Rich, Sweet, Malty, Bitter

A bright, rich ruby-colored beer and an off-white foamy head with legs. Oranges, herbs, and spice in the nose. Nearly full-bodied, a bit chewy, with lots of carbonation and a crisp and creamy mouthfeel that goes sweet and juicy with oranges, ripe apple, burnt caramel and toasty malts. Leafy hops on the back end leave the finish dry and a bit bitter. Imperial IPA fans looking for something that's more malt forward ... this beer is for you.

STYLE: American Red Ale | ABV: 8.5% | AVAILABILITY: Rotating

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #99 (APR 2015)

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Photo of buschbeer
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 FL. OZ bottle
Served in a tulip glass

This beer pours copper colored with burnt orange highlights. It is topped with two inches of tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

The aroma is toast and grain.

It starts out with an almost fruity flavor. Then I get some toast and biscuit. The finish is mild hops.

Medium mouthfeel

This is a big malty beer. I was expecting a hoppy red ale, but they learned me. It is good for what it is.

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Photo of arizcards
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
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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Alaskan Imperial Red Ale (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
3.86 out of 5 based on 260 ratings.
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