Lavaman Red Ale | Kona Brewing Co.

22 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Kona Brewing Co.
Hawaii, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Lavaman Red Ale is a malty, red ale with strong caramel notes and a subtle chocolate malt flavor. The pronounced maltiness is balanced by the delicate blend of Pacific Northwest hops resulting in a smooth, full-bodied beer.

30 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-21-2004

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Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 122
Photo of Libeertarian
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken 12/29/16:

Semi-clear, dull, darker copper. Foamy head of excellent retention and decent lacing lacing, golden tan. Pretty clean-smelling for what it is. Very little of anything, but caramel and toast in the main and twinge of a citric quality. Not bad by any means but I like something more. Tastes very toasty and even smoky. The label begins to make sense. Lava, man. Dearth of sweetness or overbearing hops can be a nice change of pace for an Amber Ale, although I still prefer more complexity. Still, there are these, in the form of toffee, resin, leaf matter, leather, peppercorn (actually quite strong in retro-olfaction), small amount of soapiness. Served cold this heartier brew is still quite refreshing. Medium-bodied, noticeably thicker than water but not quite syrupy, with tight sloshy carbonation that foams up to something creamy. Astringency level to match flavors.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours crystal clear and ruby brown in color. Off-white, half finger head. Fair retention. Lacing consists mostly of spotting and broken lines.

Smell - Aroma hits on notes of caramel, light earth and some grassy bitterness.

Taste - Lots of caramel malt with a touch of toast. Hops come through with mild grass, spice and floral character. A hint of citrus. Balanced, bittersweet finish with some lingering earthiness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Very dry.

Overall - A decent red. Certainly drinkable, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

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Photo of RJLarse
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a 24-pack sampler, 6 bottles of 4 different beers. This is the only one I had not tried before.

Pours a mahogany red color, clear with a thin off-white head. Many bubbles rising in the glass.

Smell is very sweet and malty. A sweet bread an cinnamon aroma, a lot like a brown ale.

Taste is also a lot like a brown ale. a lot f sweet cereal and molasses or brown sugar notes, short on the hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but clean and not cloying.

Overall a decent red ale. I prefer a little more hop profile in a red, but this was good on an unseasonably cool and cloudy July day.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on draft at the brewpub

amber in color, white head. aroma is mildy sweet, caramel malt. taste is not too sweet, fairly well balanced. medium bodied.

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Photo of Zorro
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear red colored ale with a small khaki colored head.

Smells mild and mostly of caramel. Mild grassy hop scent. Still just not very aromatic.

Starts out mild and tasting mostly of caramel. Mildly bitter with a grassy Hop flavor. Finishes a little woody.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall just a mild people pleasing ale.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought from Times Supermarket $7.99 6-pack
Brown amber color
Medium mouthfeel
Caramel smell
Smooth malt taste, no aftertaste
Overall just ok. Not one of the better Kona beers.

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2.91/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Date: 5/27/2014

Location: Stopwatch Bar and Grill (Makawao, Maui, HI); on tap and served in a 12oz pint glass.

Appearance: Light Amber in hue. A thin whitish-beige head forms only to dissipate quickly; little to no lacing present

Smell: Light caramel malt aroma, subtle bread-like sweetness.

Taste: Flavor profile is one dimensional for the most part. Malty with tones of caramel, roasted barley and a honey-like sweetness. Hop flavor is mild but works ok to offset the sweet maltiness. Hop flavor is a light mix of earthiness and citrus and disappointing for a brew boasting 30 IBU.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with average mouth feel, but relatively easy to drink.

Overall: it is a basic red ale that is devoid of character and taste but will likely appeal to the Bud/Miller/Coors crowd.

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Photo of Tone
3.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, red color. 1/3 inch head of a white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight pale malt, hops, and caramel malt. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight pale malt, earthy malt, and slight hops. Overall, decently blended, but too simple to be better than average.

 362 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Leilani's in Lahaina, HI.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and slight cinnamon-like flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is fairly drinkable but the cinnamon-like flavor on the finish is a bit odd.

 597 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 16oz Yankee pint at the lovely beach-side sushi joint adjacent to our hotel in Waikiki.

This beer appears a crystal clear, medium reddish amber hue, with one fat finger of tightly foamy off-white head, which leaves a nice sea crest vista of lace around the glass as it quickly settles.

It smells of mild bready grain, and leafy, somewhat zingy hops. The taste is somewhat astringent grainy malt, tinged by caramel, and some earthy, leafy hops.

The bubbles are a mite bit metallic in their cutting edginess, the body a decent medium weight, and kind of tacky for outright smoothness. It finishes fairly dry for the style, a muted sweetness tamped down by an inherent astringency.

Not bad, not great, just a serviceable pint for the locals when evening falls, and the lack of sun drops the temperature a whole degree or two. Sure, I'll have another one.

 858 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lavaman Red

Reddish in hue, off white head forms, little to no lacing. Light caramel malt aroma. Flavor is simple but good, malty with suggestions of caramel and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Overall I think this is a decent red ale, albiet nondescript.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub in a shaker pint. Glowing see-thru amber with a fairly dense cap of foam. Scattered patches of lacing.

A little toastiness in the nose that's otherwise centered around caramel and citrus. Pretty nice-tasting brew, hearty but not heavy with a good balance of caramel and juicy citrus. Toasted malt and fleeting notions of chocolate provide additional interest. A small bite of earthy bitterness in the finish. Good stuff.

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Photo of Chizoad
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice pint. 1 finger amber head with tight bubbles that swelled to larger, half-dime sized blobs. Brown-red. Excellent for the style. Malty aroma, but that's about it.

Too cold at first, so I got a metallic tang along with my sweet malt. That went away when it warmed. Not too sweet, not a lot of flavors here, but hey it's better than Newcastle.

Decent mouthfeel, probably the right carbonation for the style. Goes down easy.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.51/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Bongo Ben's in Kailua yesterday. Following review written from notes.

Served in a chilled pint glass.

Appearance: A thin, off-white, loose, and sticky cap sits atop a clear, dark(ish) amber body. Gazing within, I see steady, moderate carbonation. Head retains its original form for the duration of the session, and drags light lacing. Nothing thrilling about this red ale. It essentially fits the bill stylewise, though I'd like to see a bit darker body.

Smell: Lemon, whole grain kernels, and grassy hops. Malt dominates, but the overall smell is bland and somewhat unpleasant - smells cheap, if that makes sense.

Taste: Sweet and pleasant, but leaves something to be desired: namely robustness. Caramel and sweet bread greet the palate; piney, grassy hops finish things off. Light bitterness. Flavor profile remains consistent as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth with prickly, moderate carbonation. Malty with light bitternessand a pleasant aftertaste.

Drinkability: While I didn't care for the smell, this was actually very drinkable. Suited the warm, overcast weather of Kailua perfectly. I ordered a second pint without even thinking about it.

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Photo of irishevans
2.23/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A-transparent amber/straw color, with a slightly off-white head that pours 2 fingers thick but dissipates quickly to a thick film. leaves an alright amount of lace however.

N-almost ALL malt, some floral hop notes but slight. perhaps some banana also.

T-much more hop taste than smell, but still very malty. coriander and banana are the prevailing flavors though.

M-the word "thin" comes to mind, most all of the character comes from the water used. not what one would expect from this style.

D-it'll go down easy, but so will macros. the taste and mouthfeel just aren't there, and that makes this one not too enjoyable.

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Photo of Talisker
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at a random restaurant near Poipu Beach on Kauai.

Very nice beer overall. Not too much of anything in it, no rough edges, so hard to review interestingly.

Rich red color, medium head. Certainly malt forward, but not too much - not biscuity or bready, not overly sweet. Feels "round", but not in a flabby way - hops lend some edge.

Not a world-beater by any means, but I enjoyed it so much I ordered a second.

Very good, almost sessionable beer. Good alternative to the macro/import scene that seems to dominate in Hawaii.

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Photo of dippy
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had in the brewpub... in HI... very nice, so the review might be favorably skewed as i was in hawaii when I drank it and everything is better in hawaii.

Amber/ caramel in color. thin white head leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

Smells like fields of barley. Light fruity sweetness.

Some malty sweetness up front that disappates and leaves a nutty taste. Some bitterness like chocolate.

Some hops balence this brew and make it feel dry, if that makes any sense.

I enjoyed this brew and would have it again, but I feel that the awards at this brewer go to the porters first.

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Photo of Floydster
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint at the Sports Page Bar and Grill in Kihei a couple weeks ago for $5.25, reviewed from notes

A-Deep red color with some brown, 1 1/4 inch off white head, did not settle for a while and then left a fluffy residue, decent retention, some lacing
S-Bready malt, figs, dates, prunes, tons of caramel, floral hops, a little pine too, and a little citrus
T-Very hoppy at the beginning with a nice dry texture, middle was sweet with caramel malt and a hint of citrus, well balanced and not too much malt, enjoyed the hop profile and it made it more refreshing and easy to get down
M-Chewy, sweet, and dry mouthfeel, medium bodied, not enough carbonation for me and a little syrupy, taste did not last long
D-Drank a few pints and that was enough, not too heavy, ABV is fairly low, could have been smoother though

Had never heard of this beer from Kona and once I heard it was tap only I jumped all over it, had a few of these while in Maui, I only saw at the place I reviewed and Outback Steakhouse, would probably drink again when I am in Hawaii, recommended

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Photo of Danny2321
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at a restaurant near Poipu beach in Kauai

First of all, this was fantastic with a pulled pork sandwich. Now that we have that out of the way...

Poured a hazy copper red with a creamy looking head, and smelt great with the sweet hints of an amber ale in the glass. If the taste had lived up to how good it looked, would have been fantastic but fell flat. Malty or hoppy? Couldn't really tell, it was well balanced but nothing about it stood out other than it was a little bit sweet. One thing is for sure, it quenches your thirst on a hot day in hawaii with some beer when you are sick of all the fruity drinks.

Overall, a very respectable offering from Kona that would probably pair well with anything due to it's subdued flavors. Session beer for sure.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

01/12/08- Had on tap at a local restaurant in Kauai.

Presentation- Via the tap into a 12oz glass.

Appearance- Off brown, approaching red in color. 1/4 inch head as received with lace patching left after each sip.

Smell- Lightly scented, but what I could smell was a mild hopped brew with a light malty and bready nose.

Taste- Very well blended together with equal amounts of hops and malt. Not a hop monster like other red ales. Medium toasted malt and a handful of pine/grapefruit hop notes. Bready, but not to the extreme.

Mouthfeel- Not creamy, but very smooth with a medium to slighlty less carbonation level.

Drinkability- Impressive beer from Kona. One of the more drinkable and well blended red ales I have had. Was very quenching as well.

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Photo of drseamus
3.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on tap at the brewery while I was on vacation there. Lavaman Red pours a predictable copper color that shines very nicely in the sun. The aroma is light and is primarily malty. The taste is heavily malty with a hint of chocolate in the background. There is a slight hop bitterness that helps to balance the malt. The beer is surprisingly light bodied for the maltiness but works well. Overall, I would say this is a great session beer.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap a the Hawaii Kai brewery restaurant.

A deep, dark red. Quite striking. A light head with good lacing. Smell was quite light, mainly sweet [not sure what] and malt.

The taste was suprisingly sweet, creamy with a nice malt taste. Some hops at the end, but not overpowering. The mouthfeel was quite light. Somewhat cleansing.
Overall, I found this beer interesting, rather unique. I would like to try it again to see if it shows any more character.

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Lavaman Red Ale from Kona Brewing Co.
3.49 out of 5 based on 122 ratings.
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