Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Red Rocket Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,174 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,174 | Ratings: 2,590
Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

[email protected] republic brewpub. Pretty intense, heavily hopped. Pine, grapey, grapefruity, and quite bitter in the finish, pretty tasty stuff. Nice stuff and good to have it fresh at the brewpub. Beautiful fresh, fragarnt hops in aroma and flavour, extremely drinkable. Tasty stuff.

 277 characters

Photo of Naerhu
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 500ml bottle.
Dark, near black red body with light brown head.
Great hop salad dark bread aroma.
Piney, sappy hops. The hops are everywhere, but there is a massive malty dark bread body supporting them. The higher alcohol, raging hops and bold maltiness are perfectly balanced.
Smooth and rich mouthfeel given great texture by the bitterness.
This is an amazing beer.

 388 characters

Photo of longarm
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rocky mesa of foam appears amidst the middle of an otherwise desolate plain of lightly carbonated malt. My mind drifts, lost in the deep, deep red. A new world emerges for me, made more crystalline from occasional reflections of red light. What an odd beast.

Transfixed in a hallucinogenic dream, I walk in a field towards the red sunrise and smell the forest...intense pine...it draws me closer, yet I find myself begging for something more. It cannot give me what I demand, or can it? I beg for something more.

I take a sip...oh it is as if the forest itself has unleashed its fury upon my tongue, and yet it does not scorch my taste buds. It did not burn. The hoppy pine rests evenly on a base of sweet malt and what's that...raisins? It disappears down the gullet, leaving a mildly sweet and clean aftertaste. It coats exceptionally well, forcing me with a whip and a chain to take another gulp. Damn...this is the most sadistic animal I've ever tasted, but it somehow forces me to take more. Does this mean I'm a weirdo?

 1,033 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Red Rocket is a truly gorgeous shade of crimson-bronze with shimmering orange highlights and is the gold standard by which all red ales should be judged. The beer is topped by a wheat toast brown head that is thick, rich and creamy with a deeply pitting surface and remarkable persistence. Thick sheets of lace are beginning to be laid down, broken only by miniscule BB-shot holes.

Now this is my kind of balanced. The nose is chock full of Cascade and Centennial hops that are intermixed with a toasted caramel maltiness that causes the whole to exceed the sum of its parts. How does Bear Republic nail style after style after style?

The flavor relies a bit too much on toasty malt for this hophead, but is still a delicious example of this best-of-both-worlds style. The malt backbone is as solid as a rock. Melted caramel candy fills the mouth and lingers on the finish.

Although there's a significant quantity of mega piney hops, their brilliance is buried to some extent in the profusion of brown sugary caramel malt. Bitterness is right up front however. All in all, Red Rocket achieves a grudging balance on the palate. The body/mouthfeel is a few notches more full than medium and oozes quality like most all Bear Republic beer does.

This excellent red ale lives in the upper reaches of the style with regard to flavor, bitterness and ABV. All good things for those of us who love hops and who love big beer. Once you pop the cap, Red Rocket is on its way to the stratosphere. See if you can hang on for one whiz-bang of a ride.

 1,551 characters

Photo of Troyone
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One pint six oz. bottle, pours a red brown copper color, seems thick with some carbonation movement.
The smell is not significant, of hops and a licorice malt background.
Has a sweet acidic flavor of red licorice malt and the moderate flavors of hops may be flowery with an essence of cherry/maple that mildly lingers during the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is smooth with a crisp flat carbonation light and dry.
The drinkability is remarkable for 6.8 abv and is a session beer, look out.

 489 characters

Photo of clvand0
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Pours a brown/red color with a small head that stays around and leaves lots of lacing on the glass. The aroma is nice and malty and sweet. Hops are apparent to even things out. The flavor is malty sweet and slightly fruity. Very smooth to drink. Mouthfeel is moderate.

 281 characters

Photo of waughbrew
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is interesting. Orangy with black highlights, a yellow-grayish head that is amazingly sticky and creamy. Smells like caramel syrup drizzled over a citrusy fruit salad. Biscuity caramel with roasted notes taste like a mutant candy with a bitter backbone made of pine resin and orange rind. Flavor lingers with the sweetness balancing out after a few seconds. Expecting a sizzly aggressive feel, how pleased I was to fing that this beer is smooth as silk. Ends with enough bitterness to require another sip.

 510 characters

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

With a meal at a fine restaurant in Sonoma County, happy to get a taste of Bear Republic on tap. The dish was a strong, smoky meat which was well complimented by this ale.

The beer arrived with an inch of very dense tan foam which left plenty of lacing on the glass as the beer progressed. The brew itself was a very deep amber - so dark I wouldn't have been surprised if you told me it was a brown ale.

The smell was typical, plenty of strong malt notes and a muted hops nose but with a bit too much sweet alcohol in the background. Taste was similar, bold malty notes, a bit of an alcohol 'burn' and quite a lot of hops to finish. Tasty but unbalanced, not the type of nuance I'd expect from a well-crafted ale.

Frankly, I've deducted points for what I'd consider a mis-classification of this style. On its own it's a pleasant beer but an amber ale it certainly isn't. Way too much alcohol and hopping to be an amber, even one from the North Country. If this was classified a 'strong ale" and placed against Stone's Bastard, I'd have given the taste a higher rating. It's a reasonably drinkable brew with pleasant characteristics but I can think of many other amber ales that I'd rather have.

 1,203 characters

Photo of travolta
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color of this brew has a strawberry applecider hue in the light, but is burgundy away from light. The head on this breer looks like whipped caramel cream. Thousands of tiny, tiny bubbles surround a few larger bubbles. Lacing is impressive so far. I will talk more about lacing after the first glass.

I get an immediate nose of dried fruits and fig. All of the scents seem to branch off of, or come back to that same idea. I get some caramel and a little buttered bread, but the dominant smell is fig and older fruit. A comforting and inviting nose.

Very interesting. I find it fascinating when a beer tastes different from it's nose. This beer does just that. What I taste at first is toasted wheat of browned crackers. The aftertaste is a little bitter. It is dry and hoppy in it's aftertaste. A little syrupy in the mouth.

Notes: While the taste is dry and nutty, the nose is fruity. this juxteposition makes for an interesting beer, but not one which I could drink two of. Oh yes, retention and lacing were both excellent.

 1,069 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presented in a 22oz bomber and poured into an imperial pint glass. Had a dark brownish-red hue with minimal carbonation and a modest one finger tall soapy light tan head that left spider webs of lace behind.
The nose had a nice aroma of leafy hops with lighter notes of citrus and pine. Lesser still were the scents of toasted malt, caramel and a whiff of charred wood.
The taste was really diverse with a solid malt base consisting of toasted malts and a touch of toffee, some fruitiness that I couldn't quite put an ID to, and caramel up front. As each taste moved further back on my palate I got a nice flavor of singed wood and smokey peat. Then the hops asserted themselves with a tasty fresh leafiness with some citrus rinds thrown in for good measure. The feel was medium leaning toward full with the ability to coat the mouth and linger for a long time.
I really loved this offering from Bear Republic. I enjoyed lightly exhaling through my nose with my mouth open which seemed to bring out the peaty, smokey aspect of this brew. It's a true one-off blend of an IPA, a red, and a Scotch ale. I can't believe I hadn't tried Red Rocket before. I certainly will be picking more of it up again. Good stuff!!

 1,214 characters

Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fairly dark red in hue, if not brown in spots, around the edges there are some ruby highlights (no lit backdrop is needed). The head was beige in color; at the maximum it reached about one finger in height. Then I quickly faded to a chucky, soapy cap, lacing was spotty and unorganized. The nose is powerfully hoppy, very assertive. There is a great jolt of pine and citrus (grapefruit flesh and rinds). Even though the malt doesn’t really penetrate the hops I get the vibe there will be a good malt backbone. Maybe the color is playing tricks on me. There are obvious ripe fruity aromas. This adds some needed depth. I’m very intrigued by the smells, thus it is inviting. Excellent potency. The palate is very charming. The malt isn’t quite as big as I was expecting but it does play a very important role and it does it well. The label says “Scottish Red,” I can see that in the malt as it shows flashes of depth, rich and sweet with a bit of toasty caramel. Don’t get me wrong the malt isn’t very aggressive but it does provide support. The hops are the go-getters and this is why the label states “Bastardized” before it says “Scottish Red.” On the palate the hops are aggressive, the bitterness is solid but not devastating. They start off piney and remain so for a long while and then briefly they turn citrusy. There seems to be a disconnect between the malt and hops. They don’t fit each other nor do they work in harmony (there is no conflict either). If they did this would be a great beer. As is, it is tasty and very good. The aftertaste is candied malt and piney hops. Nice. Medium in body, too thin for this beer, it is a little watery but not flawed. It is plenty drinkable and just as likeable. This is another dandy from Bear Republic, to bad the only place I see them is in Wisconsin. I bought this bomber in Milwaukee. Worth a try.

 1,862 characters

Photo of crookedhalo
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber. Pours a clear, reddish chestnut color with a nice light beige head leaving good lacing. Peaty, earthy, toasty and butterscotchy malt aromas and Cascade-like in its grassy hop profile. Very complex in its five types of malt, some hop bitterness does come through, but the malt is the meal ticket in this brew; nice and biscuity. Pass the gravy, please. A wonderfully drinkable and balanced red ale. Troegs Hopback doesn't even come close to its complexity.

 470 characters

Photo of oggg
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into a regular pint glass.

This beer has a big bubbled small white head. It pours very dark. dark red brown. Mostly brown.

The aroma is mainly sweet malt.

After the initial wave of carbonation, the first thing I note is a good amount of maltiness. Roasted almost coffee flavors. Hop flavor is mild, while bitterness is fairly high. Can't really tell much about the hops. I have to admit this may be because I've been drinking too many pale ale/IPA/dIPAs lately. Alcool blares. Quickly, all flavors fade. Not syrupy.

This is very full bodied. It isn't very smooth. Not sure if this is because the alcohol is noticeable or what not.

I think I may need to try this on tap, fresh, to see more of what this beer should be like. Based on style, this has a lot of malt, bold bitterness, which are good, but it didn't really come together for me, and was quite unimpressive.

 896 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours an awesome dark amber/ruby colour with a chunky but fluffy off white head that is nice and sticky. as for the smell, malt and hop are nicely balanced with some sweetness and licorice. the flavour also brings a nice hop/malt balance combined with some earth and a touch of spice moreso than the sweetness detected in the smell. this one actually starts nice and malty and gradually mixes in the hop flavouring which is at its peak at the finish, where it combines nicely with a moreso roasted malt/burnt wood flavouring. this is a big red/amber ale. it, along with troegs hopback, rogue american amber, and maybe mcneill's firehouse, (though i haven't had it in quite some time) stand out the most within the style for me, though i still prefer the hopback overall, even though this one is easily more complex and daring. definitely give it a try.

 852 characters

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

Had on tap at Redbones, and liked this one. Irish Setter Red in color, I got a clean aroma off of this. I found the taste to be malty and sweet, the mouthefeel to be medium+. More Malty than I anticipated, but then I was impressed that the finish was a bit tannic, and made my mouthwater. Would get again, but then this is a brewery that you do get again, anytime you can.

 372 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky reddish-brown color with one finger of head. There is some lacing left on the glass. The smell is sweet with caramel malt. Some hoppiness there as well. The taste is a great blend of caramel malt and hops. Very well balanced. A nice hoppy finish. The mouthfeel is nice and strong. The drinkability is good too, you'd never know it was 6.8%. Another nice one from Bear Republic!

 391 characters

Photo of wyllder
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled from a 22oz bomber.

RR pours a clear, deep ruby-amber with a small ivory head and leaves a good lacing as you go.

Nose is a mix of dark bread smells along with some hoppy character I'm not too sure of (centennial?). Rather pleasant smelling.

Intro to the palate is a nice balance of the malty-bread tastes from the nose along with the hop bitterness. Aftertaste is pleasantly bitter but not too aggressive.

Mouthfeel is somewhat off, being rather dry and astringent, reducing drinkability IMO.

Not bad overall, and I certainly wouldn't pass it up on tap. However, the 22oz bomber was a bit much with the drying effect it had on my palate.


 670 characters

Photo of ngandhi
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of the fridge, there is a brightness of hop to Red Rocket Ale as fierce and fine as any of the world's best IPAs. But, instead of the hops, it is the malt that blooms as this beer warms. Red Rocket Ale evolves to a fudgy mocha backed by increasingly floral West Coast hops, and a piney-juniper-laden bitter finish.

This beer carries the heft of a British brown ale with the intensity of gorgeously fresh hops. The hop character is so intense, that it goes beyond overpowering the malt and comes full circle to balance it; it allows Red Rocket to push the limit with its malt -- this beer is _very_ dark -- and yet never come off as cloying. The depth of malt is certain in appearance and body (full, soft, liquid), yet the overall flavor leans decidely toward the hops.

On some level, this might be an "imperial" red ale, but it does not try to impress by being overwhelming. No, instead Red Rocket is a regal ale -- luxurious and always in control.

Relax, relax.

 982 characters

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Innsbrook Ale House.

Clear copper in color with a hefty and long-lasting off-white head. Aromas a mix of caramel-toffee sweetness mixed with a leafy hop spicy zest, albeit a bit subdued. Flavor is up-front bitterness that is shortly overtaken by a caramel sweetness that is then trampled by an aftertaste of chewy pine cones. At 6.8%, you wouldn't know it, as the ABV is shrouded in flavor. Medium bodied and extremely drinkable. A top-notch beer that will find its way into my fridge.

 502 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

English malt profile...some caramel breadiness....also a hint of nuts on the finsh...dark mahogony color with a nice bubbly creamy head..some piney notes in the aroma...nice maltiness and a sweet flavor...very nice job with the hopping on this...really complements it well...a piney, resiny hop flavor really adds to the overall package..

This is a really good red ale...I am starting to consider this one of my top 5 favorite breweries...I'd love to go out to eat...find this on tap and enjoy it with some wings or BBQ ribs....but I must settle for this bomber i can get about once a year....

One of the best red ale's I've tried...it has some hints of smoky scotch ale character but really it seems more of a true red ale to me than a combo IPA-Scotch ale as billed..

 775 characters

Photo of Bruiser81
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer has an awesome appearance. At about a foot and a half away this beer looks like paint in the glass. Solid dark mohagany almost brown. A nice creamy thick two finger head and lacing all over the place.
THe smell is subtle but nice. A lightly fruity aroma along with a little carmel malt. Behind all that runs a mild hop aroma. Smells nice and fresh.
The taste is also a bit subdued. A slight amount of malt is detectable up front followed by a very clean hop character which really owns the brew. It's not an overly strong hop flavor, not hardly bitter at all, just very refreshing. Everything blends very well in this beer.
Light carbonation and a medium mouthfeel make for a smooth drink. The flavor is gentle but tasty making for an extremely drinkable brew. I like it alot.

 789 characters

Photo of elmocoso
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful Amber Brown, with much sediment floating about. Big chunks. Unappealing, but probably my fault on pouring. Nice finger of head. Very tan and tight knit. Very candy-like nose. Northwestern hops with concentrated maltyness. Taste is similar to smell. rich caramel. dry in finish with a bitterness that begs for another sweet pull. Nice rich mouth-feel, full body and drinkability that is quite nice.

 407 characters

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

A nice 22oz Bomber of the Rocket

Appearance: Pour a nice white head which laces the glass for only a minute. The color of this beer is an intriguing dark copper/brown

Smell: I notice a medium malt presence, with some smokey hoppy aftertones. Also some sort of fruit aroma lingers in the background as well

Taste: Upon consuming, this beverage hits the pallate with a nice malt tone, followed by some smoke flavors. Very surprising indeed. Alcohol is only slightly present, with a nice sweetness to towards the end. This beer also has some bitter notes, but as I said before the malty smokiness controls the flavor.

Mouthfeel: This beer sits well on the pallate, and has a nice medium body. Easy to put back but not too easy

Drinkability: While the name may have you thinking red, this beer is aggressive scottish type style, which truly goes down quite nice. At first the flavors in my mouth were a bit much, but they definetly simmered down. Overall another solid beer by Bear Republic, but i'd try their other offerings first.

 1,043 characters

Photo of marcobrau
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a straight-side pint glass. Dark ruby appearance with a thick white head of foam that falls leaving sticky white lacework. Leafy fresh, citrusy hops in the aroma. A thick and full-bodied beer with super smooth mouthfeel that drinks like an ESB on steroids. Lots of Juicy, fruity and sugary malt flavors meld with tons of hops. A sticky, sugary finish is laced with even more spicy hops. The characteristics of the malt character are diverse. Despite tons of hops, I can detect beefy malt flavors of caramel and roasted malts with hints of chocolate. Not a light beer by any strech of imagination and needs to be handled with some respect. My wife commented that it tasted almost like a light version of Three Floyds Dreadnaught. I thought it reminded me of Panama Red Ale from the Flossmoor Station brewpub south suburbs of Chicago. Either way, it's an excellent brew, at an excellent value of $3.99 for 22-ounce bottle at Binny's Beverage Depot in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

 975 characters

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, brown body that looks like the awful, rusty liquid that you would drain out of an old car's rusty radiator. After several minutes, the body evolves into a mostly clear, red mahogany. Minimal beige head has garnet on the fringe, and patchy lace generously adorns the glass. A weird start here.

Aroma has a chocolate malt backbone with a nutty, walnut edge. Hop aromas are all across the board, but I'm getting a lot of apple, cherry, and grape aromas here. Things are getting really strange.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and coating, with a bitter and nutty hops sting on the tongue.

The taste is chocolate and walnut, like a good stout minus the coffee. This is really weird. Smoked almonds, grapes, and apples fill out the flavor profile, and a pleasant hops bitterness adds welcome relief. This is extremely likeable, but very puzzling. The label proclaims that this "breaks all style molds..", and I can certainly agree with that.

Very tasty and, in fact, I really like this. The stout like chocolate and nutty character has thrown me for a loop here. This is a very strange brew, but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another bottle.

 1,160 characters

Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,590 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!