Red Rocket Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,602 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,602 |  Reviews: 1,178
Photo of kingalthe1st
4.9/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First, you need to understand the history of this beer. It is THE American Red ale. When it was developed back in the early 90s, beer competitions didn't know what to do with it because there was no category for it. It has inspired a legion of copycats, yet it is still the best you can get. It's that friggin good.

Second. It is bottle conditioned with a heavy yeast concentrate, and given the methods of shipping companies today, unless you get this beast on tap, at the Bear Republic Brewery (or purchase a bottle from somewhere in their direct-distribution range), you are probably not tasting the 100% divine goodness of this. Still, even if you get a lower performing bottle, if you rate this beer less than an A, you have no business drinking Red Ales.

Now, a little about myself: I grew up in Healdsburg and have been drinking this stuff since I was 16 years old. Yeah, I'm a little biased. :).

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Photo of madtowndmb1
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep red, with a tan head

S: Smells like hop oils, mainly bitterness.

T: Oh man this is a bitter red. I like it! The biter isn't overwhelming though! Very tasty

I'd drink these for sure, It's a drinkable red, although it's more of a bitter IPA. I do like and will but it again. It will be a spot buy though.

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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 sweetbrew82
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle into a pint glass; no freshness date

P: Pours rosy brown from the bottle, and sits ripe plum in the glass. Healthy light tan head is thick and sticky. Disappeared pretty quickly to form a thin sheet of foam on top. Big notches of lace as its consumed.

A: What a pronounced nose! It blasted my nasal passages as soon as I popped the cap. Big piney and citrusy hops with a touch of floral underneath. Also some toasted malt, yeast, caramel, and some earth.

T: Leafy pine-flavored hops, toasted caramel malts, and a little yeast greet the palate with a nice balance. Citrusy hops unearth a lemon bitterness, while flavors reminiscent of spruce trees emerge at the midway point. Finishes dry, but there's also some oily resin left behind as well. A much more pronounced malt and yeast presence leaves an aftertaste that reminds me of Celebration Ale in a way. Very good!

M & D: Medium-full bodied, crisp & smooth. While drinkability is good, and I finished this 22 easily, the flavor kind of wore on me after a while and didn't leave me dying for another.

Notes: Another terrific offering from Bear Republic. The best American Amber that I've had. The nose and the taste is great, but it's just not one that I could drink all night. But, for an every once in a while thing, it's great! Highly recommended

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

A-A thing of beauty....deep mahogany red with a thick fluffy, creamy tan head and decent lacing.

S-Rich deep caramel malts with hops in the background. Delicious.

T-Creamy malts predominate the initial palate followed by toasted caramel with the hops coming in nicely in the finish with a mild hop buzz that lingers on the tongue. This is a big tasting beer, as well as a remarkably well balanced beer and I absolutely love it.

M-A tad heavier than average with moderate carbonation, but darn near perfect.

D-This is a real treat. Drinkable, hell yes, maybe one of the best all around balanced American Ambers I have ever had. I am aghast it took me so long to get to this one as I have always been a fan of Racer 5 for a hops fix. Passing this by on the shelf I just figured this was another hophead beer, but not so. Not to malty, not too hoppy...just right, for when you are in the mood for this kind of balance. Big taste without the big ABV....what more can I say... A great find, and one that I am going back for...alot!

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep rusty brown under about a half inch worth of slightly tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Big smell of toasted malt and caramel, good citrus hop character is balanced nicely.

T: Big on caramel and toasted malt, sweet up front with a finish of tangy citrus hop and toasted malt. Mild bitterness. Very good.

M/D: Medium to full bodied, very smooth, almost silky. Nice drinkablity. Relatively low alcohol and really nothing to complain about. Very good beer.

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Photo of clemtig76
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle picked up at the Charleston Beer Exchange. Cool Buck Rogers style retro rocket on the label. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin off white head with little lacing. The smell is of deep roasted malt and caramel with a nice hoppy aroma. The taste was smooth and malty with hints of brown sugar and spicy hops in the finish. This one is a keeper.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured brown color with a small off-white head that diminished slowly and good lacing.

Complex sweet malt and hop aroma.

Medium to full body with a creamy texture and soft carbonation.

Full complex flavor with a moderate bitter finish of moderate to long duration.

One of my top rated active bottled beers for style.

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Photo of plaid75
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Rattle N' Hum, NYC.

Poured a murky deep amber hue with a slight head. There was little retention and lacing.

The smell featured a juicy apricot hop and a solid caramel malt.

The taste consisted of a robust sweet malt and a citric hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a solid and hoppy amber.

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Photo of JollyToper
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an American pint glass. Bottle conditioned. Purchased at AJs in Scottsdale, AZ for $4.59. Freshness date was a month past.

A - Dark brown to black with little to no visible carbonation. It is totally opaque. Pours a rocky off-white to tan head. Didn't leave much lace but I think it was my fault for not using my usual dishwasher free beer glass.

S - Beautiful blend of sweet chocolatey malt and hops.

TM & D - Very full bodied amber with lots of hops. Drank a Fat Tire right before this one and they are not even the same style. I took a lot more time with this one. It was delicious with really big complex flavors. I'll get this again.

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Photo of deereless
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Upon opening a sitting bottle there was some overflow, thick cottony and rocky head that is still present after 5 minutes, deep amber brown - 4.25, S: Lots of toasty nutty aromas, mild hops - 3.75, T: The hops are more noticeable on the palate than the nose, piney bitter bite, quite a bit of caramel - 3.75, M: 4.00, D: I like the considerable hops and the toasty flavors, a solid beer all around - 3.75

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Photo of Squelch
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Deep dark red. Slight if any head. Surprisingly crystal clear for a bottle conditioned ale. Beautiful color.

Smell: Hops dominate with subtle esters and malts in the background. Appetizing aroma.

Taste: Let this one warm up becase the chalky roasty acrid flavors of the roasted malts really come through then. Well balanced with an appropriate level of hop bitterness and a touch of hop flavor. This beer delivers on taste. Flavors linger around on your buds for a while after sipping.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the light side but I like it. The lightness makes me concentrate on the flavors which really are the showcase of this beer.

Drinkability: Not an everyday beer, this one fits a specifc bill when wanting a surprising british style red with a unique hop backbone.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this one is kind of a cross between a big ass wee heavy and a hoppy american amber/red. color is right between the two-somewhere between a deep amber and a chestnut brown. nice light tan head persists w/good lacing. slightly hazy. big aromas of dark malts, molasses, dark dried fruit, and grapefruity and resiny american hops. taste follows suit with surprisingly rich sweet malts and big, smooth hop bitterness. almost full bodied with a long, drying finish from the hops.

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Photo of malcontent
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep amber body with more than a little off-white head. Lots o' lacing to be sure.

Spicy citrus-y hops abound coating a rich, rye bread like aroma that leaves a touch of sweetness on the back waft. Yummy.

Wow, this leaves the vast majority of American reds in the dust! Major grapefruit pith and mellow rye prove enough to balance out substantial malt sweetness with peaty undertones.

Generous hopping unfortunately leaves more slickness than I'd like and the hops also cause this to be a bit of a palate-buster. However, if you had to stick with a single beer for an entire evening you could do much, much worse than this.

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

Deep, dark cranberry red with a tan, creamy head; leaves thick lacing

Hoppy, fruity, and sweet

Lots of sweet malt through and through, tasting somewhat old ale-y; lots of candied fruit from the citric hops and caramel sweet malts; leaves a somewhat unpleasant papery aftertaste that makes me think this bottle has been on the shelf for a while

Full and smooth with a low level of carbonation

Hops seem a bit tame and faded, further convincing me this is not the freshest example. Still, it's full-flavored and very tasty. Will eagerly try another bottle some day.

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Photo of cvfish
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer poured a ruby amber color that produced a fluffy white head that had good retention and left a decent amount of lacing around the glass

S - This beer produced a good caramel malt aroma, along with a lot of pine tree notes

T - The taste of this beer started with a good backbone of caramel malts, the citrus taste was accompanied by a little bit sourness, and the pine-like hoppy finish was more subtle than I would have gathered from the nose

M - A very smooth, medium body combined with a moderate amount of carbonation make this a favorable mouthfeel

D - This beer was more complex than I expected out of an Amber Ale style, but Bear Republic again delivered a great beer

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Photo of MOShepp
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep copper brown color with a medium tan frothy head and good retention and some lacing.

Malty aromas of bread, toffee and a slightly burnt sugar. Big waff of piney hops.

The hops are more agressive in the aroma than the taste. It's well balanced with the malts edging out the hops with a long bitter finish.

Thick and rich and goes down smooth.

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

Very excited to find this during my first beer haul in Austin; 22oz bomber into a Unibroue tulip.

Just about as attractive as red ales get, Red Rocket pours a rich auburn-red hue (second glass collects some sizable chunks of yeast). The creamy, tan head retains well, and easily builds up again with a quick swirl of the tulip; lacing coats the inside of the glass with sticky webs of foam. As for the aroma, imagine if there were such a thing as "caramel cotton candy", then envisions smelling such a concoction. Oh yeah, there's also an intoxicating floral hoppiness that balances the malts to perfection--I'm drooling profusely.

The taste, which gets better as it warms, is a complex blend of caramel-amber malts and piney hop resin. The malt notes unfold slowly, revealing brown sugar and sweetbread, while the hops come on strong at the finish with lots of restrained bitterness and a hint of pepper. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side of medium, with a semi-creamy/spicy consistency and a near-perfect carbonation level. Drinkability is top-notch, too, as I could eagerly go through another bomber of this stuff without batting an eyelash. Bear Republic rarely disappoints, and Red Rocket is no exception.

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Photo of cpn920
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a deep red brownish color with a billowing head that left lacing all the way down my pint glass as I drank this excellent offering. The first smell I got was of those piney-grapefruit hops. It was surprisingly sweet with a bitter finish that lingered that told me to have another big sip. Red Rocket was definitely a hoppier beer than I expected but I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it as much as I did...being that I'm not a huge hophead. The beer had a nice crispness with a decent amount of carbonation. It is a beer that definitely can knock you on your butt if you don't pay attention to it's smooth 6.80% abv. I think I'll have a couple more tonight.

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Photo of macster
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark red brick/amber color. Pour creates a dense, tight light tan head with superb retention throughout. A good amount of lacing curtains the sides of the snifter. Terrific aromas of roasted malts, toasted bread, brown sugar and caramels initially shows its sweet side. Aromas show, as does the flavors a great balance with crisp hoppy citrus, spice and floral notes from the hops also filling the nose. Mouthfeel is full, round and smooth with a bit of oiliness. Flavors start sweet much like the aromas with caramel malt, toffee and brown sugar quickly followed up with a firm but moderate hop bitterness with citrus and pine coming through. Definitely one of the most balanced bigger amber ales in the market.

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Photo of wingman14
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a reddish brown with an off white head that fades fast and leaves lacing. The smell is inviting with a nice mix of hops and malt, with plenty of sweet notes mixing in. The taste starts sweet and malty and moves to a hoppy flavor quickly. It finishes sweet and the sweet battles the bitter and wins out. The mouthfeel is nice, a smooth beer with a medium body that has a nice flavor balance. The sweet isn't overpowering, and the higher ABV isn't noticeable. This one is an easy drinker, could see it getting annoying after a few, but the flavor is distinct and delicious. A great beer worth checking out!

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 12-ounce bottle poured into a large tulip glass yields a sparkling-clear dark ruby body capped with two fingers of pale beige, fine-bubbled foam. The cap slowly deflates into sticky rockiness, leaving sheets of lacing stuck to the glass.

The smell is sweetly fruity with a mild bit of pomegranate juice-laced pale maltiness. A twinkle of spice and a hefty citrusy hop presence makes my mouth water.

The taste is malty-sweet with a dash of fruitiness. I'm noticing that Red Rocket, Hop Rod Rye, and Black Bear Stout all share a similar, distinctive flavor, and I wonder if it's some specialty malt, or their house-brand yeast, or what, but the good news is, whatever the flavor is, it's pretty damned wonderful. A stiff hop bitterness rules the aftertaste and a touch of tart astringent hop oil lightly puckers the cheeks.

The drink is juicy and succulent with a fullish body and fluffy, creamy carbonation. Highly drinkable.

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

Dark red pour with a light tan head which leaves nice lacing on the glass.
Hops dominate the aroma with some
Hops are the most prominent feature in the taste, with an underpinning of sweet malt as a counterpoint to the bitterness. As the beer warms it becomes more balanced between bitter and sweet and the flavors meld so that it becomes difficult to separate them.
Slightly oily syrupy feel in the mouth.
Easy to drink, just a tad strong for a session, but a couple of these would do just fine.
Glad to see these west coast beers making into NC. My first experience with Bear Republic. It won't be the last.

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Photo of hoplover82
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't believe I've waited this long to try this. Thanks to my friend Jason for this one. He hooked it up for me when I couldn't get out of the house.

It pours a beautiful cloudy dark ruby red with a tan head of only one finger tall. The head dissapates quikly but leaves strong lacing in it's trails. The first pour is always different than the third, it gets a lot clearer and the head is two fingers now.

The aroma just after swirling the beer is strong with hops that give earthy, citrus, and a lot of floral notes all together. The hop aroma is very complex. As the head fades a little, the caramel and toffee malt notes start to play with the hops to make a scrumptious symphany.

The flavor is much like the aroma, but with a little soft but strong bitterness. No alcohol in the nose or flavor. Very hidden. Caramel and floral, earthy hops go together very well in this bold brew.

The mouthfeel is outstanding! Can't get any better that this. Smooth, full bodied, a little bit chewy, did I say smooth.... creamy, and just a wee little dry... It's great.

And very drinkable. I could have another Big Boy.

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Photo of dancinwillie
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours thicker than I expected. Very dark red, topped by a pink tinted beige head. The head itself is creamy looking for the most part, with 3 large bubbles in the central area, surrounded by 3 or 4 medium bubbles, which in turn are surrounded by the meringue like remainder. If I didn't know what was poured, I would think this was a cherry beer.

S: A rich malty aroma. I wish I homebrewed more often, and was all grain, so that I would know what was what. Is this biscuit malt? I have no idea, but it smells good. Substantial hop aroma comes into play as well.

T: This beer is all about balance. A delicious, bitter citrus, and grassy hop flavor, is parried by the sweet, caramel malts. Toasty and warm, fruity and a bit smoky. They weren't kidding when, on the bottle, they say that this is a "bastardized Scottish style red ale packed with distinctive flavors and an aggressive hop character rivaled by none." They were right on the money. No noticeable alcohol.

M: I'm usually at a loss on this category, so I'll do the best I can. Good level of carbonation. Nothing to complain about. Somewhat chewy.

D: Ridiculously high. Almost too high. This is easily one of the more sessionable beers I've had in a very long time. If you're looking for an extreme beer, keep looking. If, however, you're looking for a well crafted, session beer, that you can savor, and linger in it's complexity, look no further.

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Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,602 ratings.
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