Red Rocket Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

1,177 Reviews
Red Rocket AleRed Rocket Ale

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish style red ale that traces it's origins to our homebrew roots. This full bodied and hoppy brew finishes on the palate with sweet, caramel malt flavors.

2009 California State Fair - SILVER
1999 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales or Lagers - SILVER
1998 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales - SILVER

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-05-2001

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Reviews: 1,177 | Ratings: 2,597
Photo of SilentSabre
2.05/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

What a colossal disappointment this thing was. A Scotch Ale? This? it isn't. Over-hopped West Coast Red Ale of some sort? Yes. This is quite possibly the worst example of this style I have ever had...ever. It poured up a dark bronze red with a nice, pillowy head that lasted for several minutes. It looked good. The smell was almost all grapefruit and pine resin with a tiny bit of sweet malt hiding in the back. The taste, too, was nearly all big hops. Mouthfeel was a bit thin for the style, I thought. Overall, it isn't a bad beer, it just strays way outside of what this style should be. This is like handing someone a beer blindfolded and telling them you gave them a pint of smoked porter and really there's gueuze in the glass. That guy is about to be in for a shock, eh? Well, so was I. Not a bad beer, terrible representation of the style.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.12/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Reviewed from notes--
Served in pint glass.
No visible bottle dating to go by, so if this is an old bottle-- then that isn't MY fault as a consumer! (or maybe I should just NOT buy products that don't put the date on them?)

Pours a dark red... So dark red in fact, that it almost appears brown. A tannish 2 finger head settled to a half-finger cap that stayed there a while. Left some nice rings of lace.

Smell is molassesy sweet malts. Not quite smokey, but certainly roasted! Big roastiness in the flavor. The roastiness is almost to the point where it reminds me of coffee-- it isn't all bad, just odd.
Very little hop presence-- perhaps this bottle is past its prime? Too bad there is no way for me to tell! I had a similar problem with my original review of Racer 5. I gave it a D+ on what turned out to be an old bottle. I have since re-reviewed and changed the score.
Maybe it's time to print up a 6 digit date on your product!!

Taste is roasty and sweet before turning slightly bitter and... uhhh... ummm... kind of hard to describe what happens next. It is almost chalky? Almost like... this is what pod people would drink. Perhaps this is an unpleasant side-effect of the rye?

The nose is now smelling like burnt toffee.
The finish is bitter and sticky. Feel is bad. It is slick up front and sticky at the back-- unpleasant.

This is completely a waste of my time and money. I am pouring the remainder of my glass out and moving on with my life.

I will not be buying any more Bear Republic products until they put a bottle date on their product. You guys are now 0 for 2 with me.

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Photo of Surefire
2.44/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

It may be a good beer for its style, but perhaps I don't like the style.

A: Unfiltered? Lots of nasties floating around when held up to the light.

S: Strong smell of hops.

T: Very bitter, with little balance. Bitter is the predominant flavor, and overwhelms all over tastes. In my mind this is the reason I don't like the taste-- for its lack of balance. To be fair, perhaps this is the norm for the style?

M: Good mouthfeel, plenty of body.

D: Not too drinkable unless bitter is one's love.

Overall: Probably a good beer based on its high score here, but definitely not high on my list. Again, to be fair, it's probably more that the beer's style is not my thing, rather than it being anything wrong with the beer.

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Photo of adamette
2.44/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Ricardo's Red Rocket Ale

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. Purchased a few months ago at Giant Eagle in Painesville, Ohio. No observed "best by" or "freshness" date. The third of 4 Bear Republic beers that I bought a bomber of and will be drinking and rating this week.

A Nice classic amber body with a fluffy light brown head that leaves nice lacing. All 3 Bear Republic beers have had a really nice look. 4.5

S Medium malt and, thankfully, not a high hop smell. Appropriate to the style. 3.0

T Nice medium malt with hops mainly at the end but they take their proper secondary place. Later in the taste the hops become more to the front, an effect that I do not really like. 2.0

M Smooth is adequate but I do not appreciate the bitterness in the aftertaste that lingers for something like 2 minutes after your last sip. 2.5

D Fine but not as good as that local microbrew amber that I had recently (It was called Rocketman Red from Fat Head's Brewery and Saloon in North Olmsted, Ohio). I did not finish this bomber and I really do not like doing that. It is maybe the 4th or 5th bomber that I did not finish. 2.0

Notes: I had a microbrew within the past week that did more justice to the style, was smoother and more drinkable. It seems to me that the left coast breweries like to hop everything in sight. Of course I know that hops are part of an amber but, to me, they are supposed to be secondary to other tastes. Next up is the XP Pale Ale. I sure hope that it is not overhopped like this one.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
2.51/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From a 22 oz bomber, this poured a deep reddish brown with an inch head that subsided into 1/4 inch that remained all the way down leaving solid lacing all the way. Aroma - hop citrus, with roasted malt. Taste - yikes!-diacetyl right off that almost put me off the beer immediately, but I stayed with it to the end, and found a decent roasted malt without acridness from over-roasting, and noticed some citrus-(hops), before, but mostly after. Medium mouthfeel with a little too much carbonation. Drinkability- the diacetyl ruined this for me.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.63/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark red almost brown with a generous light tan head and lots of lacing down the glass.

Smells of sweet malts with a little bit of citrus.

Good hop bite up front rounding into a brown sugar like sweetness on the back end. Almost a little astringent on the finish. Not sure if that is the right off flavor, but something definitely leaves my palate wincing at the end.

Mouthfeel is a light and carbonation is medium. Way too light for how dark the beer is.

Not nearly as good as the Hop Rod Rye. Not a total drainpour, but I dumped it after half so I could have a beer that was good.

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Photo of righthereisay
2.65/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Purchased a single bottle at the 6 pack shop.

Interesting taste. Definitely bitter hops, pine. Too bitter for my taste. Definitely malty, some caramel, but to the bitterness takes over.

Not very pleased with this one. I can see why there are so many high and low reviews.

I would consider this an IPA.

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Photo of mothman
2.65/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours 1 finger of beige head. Color is a caramel hued amber. Tons of sediment in the glass. Left some decent lace (nice retention).

Aroma: Big and malty with floral hops. Citrus and fruit flavors show. Lots of bready, caramel malts here.

Taste: Big and malty. This beer seems like it is trying to be hoppy but the hops may have faded. So many malts here. Caramel and bready malts all the way. Some floral and citrus notes, but just not for me.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with a touch of bitterness. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends dry with lots of malts in the aftertaste.

Overall, this reminded me of 6 month old winter yulesmith. I was not able to finish 6 oz of this before I dumped it. Way to malty and shows faded hop flavors. Not for me.

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Photo of Vylo
2.72/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown color with a good inch and quarter head.

Smells, strange frankly, quite a bit of hops.

Taste is off. Very hoppy, not my thing. Pours like a belgian, taste more like an IPA.

Mouthfeel is good, frothy, decently carbonated.

Solid pick for IPA drinkers, but alas, I am not one of them.
If into hops, definitely pick up. If not, beware, its a bit too bitter for some.

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Photo of Brianjames16
2.75/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a slightly transparent deep mahogany red with little to no head. This may just be the growler I had it from. I have a feeling this should have a huge head.

S- Very malty presence up front. I get a good amount of piny aromas from the hop character in this one. Nice earthy tones come through.

T - Good amount of malty flavors with a decent bitter hop finish. Mostly malt flavors in this one stick out. I'm also getting a hint of citrus fruits somewhere in there. Not crazy about this growler to be perfectly honest.

M- Easy drinker with a light/medium body. Not overbearing at all but lacking and substance.

O- I have to try this out of a bottle or maybe a different keg because this didn't impress me much.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
2.77/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served on tap into a mason jar.
Looks nice and foamy. A deep mahogany brown with ruby tinged edges. 1 finger creamy-bubbled head, leaves behind some interesting lacing patterns. Tons of citric hop flavor and smell ambushes me repeatedly. Sadly, I find that the malt is simply too weak to hold up to the aggressive hopping. Everything seems out of balance to me, both in the nose and in the taste. I've had imperial IPAs that had much better balance between malts and hops than this thing. I can't even smell or taste the malt, this comes across to me as a poorly done IPA, not as a red ale. I can't find any yeasty bready presence at all. I can't find any malt at all. I'm left alone with one trick pony citric hops. Thankfully, there is an excellent and light refreshing mouthfeel, crisply carbonated. The texture is easily the strongest suit of this brew. I'm not impressed.

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Photo of BeefyMee
2.8/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber

Appearance: Generally nice looking. Transparent red, tanned head, nice lacing.

Smell: When I took a whiff I didn't think I'd be able to finish the beer. The aroma is of a repulsive hop variety. I don't know exactly what raw hops smell like, but if I had to guess I'd say they smell like this. I'm trying to be objective about this, but I can't get over how revolting the smell is.

Taste: I was surprised that I kind of like how it tastes. While not spectacular, the flavor is enjoyable. The hops are almost as aggressive as in the smell, but they don't make the beer very bitter at all. The flavor of the hops still limits my liking of the taste however.

Mouthfeel: Nice feeling on the tongue and also a good consistencty.

Drinkability: One is plenty.

Beef Notes: Maybe I'll do some research to find out what kind of hops are used in this one. That way I can be careful of other beer using the same kind. A good beer, though, that made a good turnaround, but I don't think I'll be coming back for a while.

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Photo of oracle
2.86/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Large bomber bottle served in a shaker style glass.

Beer was a deep dark red, almost to point of being black. Pancake thick head left very little in the way of lacing.

Smell was too hoppy for a red ale, being very harsh and citrusy, with faint notes of pine and fruit.

Taste.... well, what to say about the taste... hmmm.... tasted like a watered down version of their Hop Rod Rye. Not at all what I would expect from a Red Ale. Far too harsh and unyeilding.

Thick, almost cloying mouth feeling, with lots of little floaties to give it texture.

Not a beer I will be buying again.

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Photo of itcomesnpints
2.86/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A towering white head over the ruby liquid. Great retention and globby lacing. By far the highlight of this beer.

Smell is more hoppy than expected. And then...? MAYBE a hint of light malt. Smells like a pale ale.

Taste is bitter from the hops but is missing hop flavor...and then? Alcohol? Yeah that's about it.

Mouthfeel is over carbonated and excruciatingly dry.

This was a drain pour. Why all the hype? Bear Republic does amazing IPAs and Stouts, but this is just not enjoyable in the slightest. Maybe I got a bad bomber. Bummer.

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Photo of Windigstadt
2.89/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a very dark chestnut with ruby highlights. A thin, creamy head tops the pour. Little bits of yeast trub can be seen floating in the glass... it is bottle-conditioned, after all.

S: Aroma is a delicious blend of piney, resiny hops and sweet, brown-sugar like caramel malts. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect this was a barleywine or old ale based on the smell.

T: Sticky North American hops hit you right in the mouth as you take your first sip. Just like the smell suggested, they're piney and resiny--with hints of grapefruit pith--but the hops aren't overly citrusy like many West Coast hop bombs. Unfortunately, once you get past the hops there's very little malt flavor. There's a malt profile somewhere behind the hops, trying to break through, but it never makes it. I think I pick up a little honey-like sweetness, and maybe a little burnt note of roast barley, but they just don't stand a chance against the hops. The bitterness lingers on the back of your tongue long after you've swallowed.

M: Typical of an American version of a British ale: slightly undercarbonated, but not inappropriately so.

D: While it drinks rather smoothly for 6.8%, the high ABV plus the bitterness definitely rules this out as a session beer.

Overall: I honestly don't understand what people see in this beer. I know it's supposedly the first of its kind, but to me it's far too one-dimensional. My favorite beer style is Altbier, so it's not that I can't appreciate a good, bracingly bitter beer. It's just that a good, bracingly bitter beer needs something else to balance it out, and I'm not finding it here. I have a feeling I'd love Double Red Rocket, but as it is this beer simply seems unfinished.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.93/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a balloon glass. The beer is a dark, deep mahogany color, ruby hue shows the the light, barely. An off-white head fades to a wisp of bubbles. Lacing sticks to the glass. The beer smells like burnt hops, as well as a strange malt presence. The beer tastes like it smells, unfortunately. I get a woody, burnt hop note that dominates. There are some malt sweetness notes that are hiding in here somewhere, but the bitterness kills it off. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a dry finish.

Overall, I just don't like this beer whatsoever because of the hops. If you prefer your ambers and reds to have a more toasted, bready sweet malt feeling, then you won't like this. Burnt hops ...

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Photo of bobhits
2.94/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Red rocket falls into that poor mix of sweet and hoppy where the mix is too caramel and bread without a distinct a well made hop character to mix. The end result is too common, over done, and not exciting to start with.

This is a good looking beer, well carbonated, good lacing, nice body. It smells like a red/scotch ale without too much hop character but without the overly sweet notes either.

Scotch ale malt, crackers, bread, floral hops, and caramel, maybe even a hint of toffee.

I wouldn't call this easy to drink nor hard to. It's nice enough I guess.

In the end this is ok to good beer. I think it has some strong points but I just don't get the high ratings. It isn't a perfect example of a style (an awful reason to score a beer highly imo but I get it) or unique and special, or you know....just an amazing beer (a good reason to score highly).

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Photo of FreightTrain
2.95/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a very dark amber with minimal head retention and some lacing

S- Smells of citrus hops with just a hint of biscuit malt; pleasant, but one dimensional.

T- Starts off with a brief suggestion of malt before being overwhelmed by bitter hops. Finish is all astringency. Lots of bitterness, not a lot of hop flavor.

M- Creamy, nicely carbonated

D- Drinkability is hampered by the bracing bitterness, which hides almost all of the other flavors that might be lurking beneath it.

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Photo of VicSlick
2.96/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is my first review, so go easy on me...

This beer did not impress me particularly, but it was good. With such high accolades shown in the beers rating I was expecting a whole lot more. I wanted to taste more hops and sweetness. This beer was rather bitter and low on the taste spectrum.

It POURED a nice smooth flow into an Old Spaghetti factory tall beer glass, a little half inch eggshell colored head that dissipated after the third sip.

Mouthfeel was sharp, rather bubbly. Good.

Smell was average. A bit citrusy. Good.

It tastes good. I will leave it at that.

Overall. Its good. Not great, not worthy of an A on Beer Advocate, but good. Too pricey for me to buy regularly.

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Photo of drcarver
2.97/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a deep red hue with virtually no head. HUGE chunks float in the bear even though a 1/4 inch was left in the bottle.

S - smells like a red ale but there is a bit of hop lingering

T/M - Sour and sweet with a tangy bit in the sides of the mouth. There is a hint of bitter toward the end as well as some red licorice-ness.

D - meh, could take it or leave it.

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Photo of mactrail
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Hoppy stew of a beer. Sharp, earthy, and dry. Malt tastes dark and moldy. Decent scent of hops. Flavor, on the whole, is bitter and dank. Harsh and hoppy. Dirty and borders on medicinal.

Quite acidic with a rubbery hint. Unpleasant aftertaste of mold and damp cardboard. I didn't taste any spoiled notes, it just is a weird murk of muddy malt mixed with an overdose of earthy and, to my taste, unpleasant hops.

On tap at Sea Rocket in San Diego.

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Photo of brian44556
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Southern Tier pint glass. No date on the bottle. Received in a trade with SolomonGrundy, many thanks as usual buddy!

Pours a dark amber with a thick off white head. Has little floaties throughout the glass and leaves a nice ring of lace. Smells of hop, malt, and caramel. Enjoy the hoppy smell for a Red Ale. Taste is average at best. Has a small hop profile, a bready yeast taste, and a sweet caramel backbone. Mouthful is thin and carbonation is present. Overall this is an average beer. I'm glad I had a chance to try it. Nugget Nectar turned me on to the style and think it may have me biased on my reviews of Amber Ales, but I'm trying to find another Amber Ale to live up to those standards.

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Photo of winomark
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light brown, darkish red with a creamy, sticky, off-white head.

Aroma: Sweet roasted malt with slight alcohol warmth. Mild smokiness.

Taste: Smoky, sweet malt dominates. Hops offer some balance.

Mouthfeel: Coating and flavorful. Dry, somewhat light finish.

Drinkability: Tastes hoppier than a smoked porter, and milder than a true smoked beer. Not a fan of the smokiness in this one. My least favorite offering from this brewery.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just not my kind of beer. A little to bitter from first sip to last gulp. Nice redish hue in the apperance, but after that it is just another average beer, at least for me!

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Photo of keanex
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: A hazy mahogany color with some sediment floating around, possibly a bit old. Thin tan head dissipates quickly.

S: Very sweet and strong. Fruits, almost like a fresh apple cider with some pear flavors.

T: Piney, earthy, with some sweet malts underlying. I'm not liking this very much though, not sure if it's old or just something I don't like but something is off.

M: Creamy with soft carbonation.

O: I'll have to try this again when I can be sure it's fresh. There's no date on this, but I don't think this is supposed to taste like this. A bit cidery even, not something I'm enjoying at all.

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Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,597 ratings.
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