Retro Red | The Fort Collins Brewery

184 Reviews
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Brewed by:
The Fort Collins Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Beaver13 on 11-24-2004

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Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 216
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a great, solid beer. Pours a beautiful copper red color and smells ot sweet caramel malts. The taste is of the same with a perfect mouthfeel and carbonation. This is by far one of the best Red Ales I've had as most fail in the carbonation department for me.

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Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark amber color with a one-finger, caramel-colored head. It did not leave much lace.

S - It smelled malty (roasted malt). Also, some citrus notes.

T - It tasted somewhat spicy with a strong malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a fina amber ale. It would be good for a session.

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Photo of nickfl
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Half a finger of light brown head on an amber-brown body with good clarity. The head dissipates quickly and leaves good lace.

S - Brown malty aroma with some toffee and a hint of sourness. Slight roasted quality in the background and a hint of nondescript hops.

T - Lots of brown, nutty malt up front. Notes of burnt toast and toffee. Some darker flavors towards the finish with charcoal notes and minor hops.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a moderately dry finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable but nothing special. The malt is thick but not particularly complex. A more robust hop character or a richer malt would make this a more compelling beer. Kind of lifeless, this beer is somehow less than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This truly is an old school retro red in my book,poured into a standard pint glass a dark chocolate amber with a nice fromed 1/2 finger off white head that held together for quite awhile.A complex malt profile of chocolate,brown sugar,and caramel mixed with citrus peel like orange mainly and a touch of pine.Flavors start out chocolatey and caramelly sweet with a touch of earth and a lingering citric hop presence.Very well balanced just solid and old school,I enjoyed it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a thin but dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus and some hops.

T: The taste is well balanced with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel up front that are quickly followed by a complimentary hops bitterness that isn't over-powering. There's a hearty malt character that provides some decent substance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a good flavorful and sessionable beer that is worth drinking for a whole evening.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a ruby-hued body of great clarity and topped with a well-sized, lightly beige head. Sufficient lacing to be had as well.

Smell: Oven-toasted bread crusts and nut husks dusted with a bit of cocoa wrapped in some pleasantly spicy hop notes and topped off with remote hints of fruit.

Taste: Faintly nutty, adequately toasted malts with a touch of dry caramel and the meagerest pinch of Dutch cocoa. Medium-low amount of sweetness present. Slight hint of snappy grain. Spicy, lightly earthy hops with a medium amount of yielded hop bitterness to balance things out. Chintzy, small drop of lemon zest. Very light touch of fruit. Lightly crisp, semi-dry finish with a lingering hint of spicy hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Okay, so you've got particularly hoppy ambers on one side of the spectrum and you've got malty sweet ambers on the other. This one, for me, falls damn near dead center. Retro Red is a nicely balanced, easily drinkable brew. Worth a try if you're in the market for red ale.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Equal parts brick red and dusky orange with bright tangerine peel trim. Both beer and head are darker than what one normally sees on a red ale. The cap is caramel nougat in color and was on the large side after a less than spirited pour. A mega-bubbly surface leads to sheets of attractive, mega-bubbly lace that cover most of the available glass.

The 'secret' to the dark color is easy to discern with one whiff. It's obvious that the brewery uses a fair amount of dark malt, probably even chocolate malt. In fact, I might have guessed swarzbier if I didn't know any better. Cocoa is something of an odd aroma in a red ale, but not an unwelcome one.

Retro Red is a unique take on the style. It may be the darkest, roastedest red that I've ever had. Thankfully, there's enough fruity hoppiness to lighten things up and provide a contrast to all the malt. These guys aren't kidding when they say this beer has 'an abundance of flavor'.

Each sip delivers cocoa, caramel, bruised apple, toasted walnut and citrus zest (in roughly that order). Sweet and bitter do what they normally do in the course of each mouthful when a beer is relatively balanced. That is, sweet hangs up the 'open' sign and bitter closes down the joint. While it isn't what I'd call spectacular, Retro Red is a well-crafted, flavorful, drinkable ale.

The mouthfeel is a perfect fit for the flavor profile and for the mission at hand. It's medium-full for the style and has enough substance to keep the beer in contact with the taste buds for a sufficiently long time. No letdown here.

Along with Chocolate Stout and Kidd Lager (a schwarzbier), Retro Red is among the best that Fort Collins has to offer. It won me over by being different and by being bold. I'm not sure how retro it is since beer back in the 'good old days' isn't necessarily something to emulate. What I do know is that it's delicious... right here, right now.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours almost a ruby/brown color, much darker then I expected for the style. Slightly off white head forms up, probably 1/2 finger, and dissipates before I even take a sip to a few foamy bubbles on top.

S: Lots of caramelized sugar, giving off a very sweet aroma. There is a little bit of cocoa and a fruity quality.

T: Nice caramel and cocoa on the flavor profile. The fruit comes through as some apple. There is a little citric hop kick in there, but very faint.

M: Medium to full bodied, a little thicker than expected, but I like it.

O: Very nice beer here, extremely drinkable, nice low abv. I liked the malt bill on this one. This style can go both ways of the hop spectrum (see nugget nectar in comparison), and its nice to have one on the maltier side for a change.

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this retired, maybe not eclectic enough for the brewery?

Pours with a large bubbly head and ruby red color. Good head retention and lacing

Smell: Massive toasted malt nose, nutiness and alcohol

Taste: Toasted malt followed by some bitterness & then frutiness and alcohol in the finish

MF: Slighltly prickly, but other wise balanced out

Shame they are retiring this, probably among the top 2 of beers I've sampled from this brewery

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

The red is deep enough to make Lenin proud...but Trotsky, on the other hand, sees the amber-brown involved, as well as the rather weak head, and senses corruption among the revolutionary ranks. The combined scents of syrup, oranges, and pine indicate a shift in policy, a drive toward over-centralization seemingly to the detriment of the workers themselves. This was the smell of blood, of a counterrevolution from within. The syrup, though, is subsumed beneath the jackboots of pine and hoppy bitterness as they march down the tongue. Thankfully for Trotsky, the Party's grip is not very strong, and the bubbles, though only intermittant, offer an opportunity to slip through Stalin's smooth, semi-dry grip. Unfortunately, the Party's allure is strong enough to keep people immigrating to the Union, building an army of willing agents. All it takes is one, surprising Trotsky in his new home...

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby red hue with a large light beige khaki head forming tight with fine bubbles. Layers of lacing left behind with each sip are evenly strung. Aromatics offer up massive caramel malts with a wheaties cereal like note, mild herbal hopping in the background. Really nice straight forward amber ale full of malty goodness with full malty goodness going on more of that cereal sweetness with herabl earthy hops blended. Caramel malts makes the red ale work, this is a really good example of the style. I used to love Crooked River's version and this brings back memories of that. Mouthfeel is even bodied with moderated carbonation pretty light but not thin in anyway. Drinkability is quality one beer that I could sample with all day long.

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Photo of stakem
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color with a slightly yellowish stained head. Fair amount of lace on the glass and decent retension. Nose is a good amount of malt and faint citrus hops in the background. Taste is crisp and malty with hops playing a minor role in the finish. Moderately carbed and light feel with this beer. Very easy drinking.

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Photo of tdm168
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a red hue. There's 1/4" of dense, foamy, off white head with decent retention. This beer smells of faint bready malts, apples, and dark fruits. The taste is bready malt, sweet, dark fruit, very faint phenols, and some tame hops for balance. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, but thin.

It's very drinkable, but with a very mild flavor profile. It's not bad, but I'm looking for something a little bolder.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark amber with a tan head. Sweet malty nose. Flavor is bitter, tangy, and chalky. Carries a sweet tone, yes. There's wood. There's a touch of fruit. But it is a bit unbalanced and out of wack. Feel is slick and slight sticky on liquid and the carbonation is middle of the road. This is an okay amber. Wouldn't go back to it though.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep ruby red with a thin tan head that eventually becomes a patch, leaving bits of lacing on the glass.

The smell is caramelish and grainy with a pineapple-like fruitiness in the back.

The taste is of caramel and toffee with an earthy/citric background. Carmelized grainy, biscuity malt dominates, but there is a fair amount of bitterness mixed in the balance.

Lighter side of medium bodied, there is a creamy coatingness to it.

Nothing earth-shattering - just a sweetish, but balanced, smooth "sessionable" red ale. A nice example of an American Red.

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Photo of Gavage
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a clear dark amber color with a one finger head. The head breaks apart to some spotty surface bubbles rather quickly.

Smell: a bit too sweet for me as caramel candy and overripe fruit sweetness is easy to detect.

Taste: caramel and strong fruit sweetness dominate the flavor profile. A hint of honey and some decent bitterness tries to balance it out but falls a bit short.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smoother at the finish. Very brief caramel-laden aftertaste. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: this is a middle of the road red ale that is a bit on the sweet side. Easy to quaff but grows somewhat tiresome after a while.

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Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice pale and crystal malt scent along with a mild hop aroma that adds a fine balance. The taste is great as well. It has a sweet and roasted flavor that goes down easy and finishes earthy with a toasted aftertaste. The flavor boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great brew. I love the roasted malt flavor as well as the hops in the aroma. It's well balanced and highly drinkable.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly standard red, but well made and true to the style and fairly tasty. Pours a dark brown with garnet highlights and little head. Smells malty but dry and fairly fruity, but a little light. The taste is a little deeper with a nice long dry maltiness and some decent cherry fruitiness as well as a moderately bitter finish and a touch of roastiness. Well balanced and firm in the mouth and approaching chewiness. The hint of fruity sweetness combined with the dry maltiness and slightly bitter finish makes for a pleasing brew.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.27/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades quickly to a shallow layer leaving some lace. Nice red/mahogany color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Starts balanced, stays that way with some malt midway, slight dry finish, decent red. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a clear red-gold with a medium sized head of foam that slowly dissipated leaving about a 1" layer that stayed for the entire session.

The smell has a malty nose to it...perhaps some caramel sweetness there.

The taste is malty but not really sweet. There's some roastiness going on with a bit of hoppy bitterness and there's a bit of a nutty flavour there as well and over all, I'd have to say it makes for an off the beaten track tasting Red Ale that hits *my* palate nicely.

Bottom line: I like this Red Ale and I'm going to get some more, no doubt about it.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a very dark red with an off-white head. This is one of the darker Reds that I've seen, it's almost brown.

S- The aroma is sweet biscuity malt, caramel and a touch of hops.

T- The taste like the aroma is very malty which starts out very rich and smooth. There is also some caramel before the mild citrusy hops come in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very solid Red Ale with a big malt backbone and a good amount of flavor. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear, deep garnet red with virtually no head formantion or retention. Visible carbonation was light. A nice coloring, but otherwise not much else to speak of here.

S: really nice with a burst of fresh, flowery hopping. Citrus with a light toasted malting deliver a crisp dryness to the overall experience, while fresh roses linger about softening things out. Rounding things our was fresh apple skins. Aromatic with a nice maltiness makes for a well rounded aroma.

T: The flavor delivered deep floral notes with an equally deep and enriching malt experience. Hoppy, but well rounded in balance and harmony with the malt and never distracts. A floral bitterness of lightly dried grapefruit peels, apple skins and a nice lightly toasted (what reminded me of munich) malting. The finish was clean with light floral and toasted malt lingering about, teasing the taste buds until the next sip. Overall a solid example per style, that was well balanced.

M: a medium fullness, creamy, with a dry toasted munich malting. Lingering about in the finish and swallow was light reminders of grapefruit.

D: Very good drinkability, easily one that delivers per style, well balanced and an all day thirst quencher. Fans of the style may consider buying a case or you will regret it later when you wish you had more.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear brick red color. Poured a 1 finger bubbly tan head that dissipated. Inconsistent thin lacing.

S: Hay and biscuits. Light pine hop note.

T: Slightly sweet roasted malts and grass. Nice sharp bitter in the finish.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation. Bready grains in nice balance with bitter hop finish.

D: Very nice flavor and balance. I like bitter beers and liked this one, so some may think its too much.

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Photo of akorsak
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased as part of a variety case at Westy's. I've never seen Fort Collins in PA before.

A: The red is just that, a brilliant red color that is dulled by some cola brown highlights. I poured the first half with a big head; on complete fill a quarter-finger head blanketed the glass.

S: The nose is delicious, full of nutty toffee notes. The malt aroma is quite pleasing and is only marginally cut a citrusy hop character.

T: The ale has a solid taste, kicking off with the maltiness from the nose. Here though, the toffee nuttiness is paired nicely with a caramel sweetness, blending the dry and sweet elements. As the malts fade, a hop element comes out that really made my night. The citrusy grapefruit flavor is surprisingly strong, zesting up the taste just as those malts begin to disappear.

M: The hop flavor was a real kick in the pants, unexpected but quite welcome (so maybe not exactly like a kick in the pants). The finish stays with the hops, sending the sip out on a high note.

D: I was expecting a plain Jane brown ale but this one really kept me guessing. A solid beer that I could drink a couple of.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.72/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on 1/18/06 at Bricks (Beer Bar) in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Ruby red in color as expected with a off-white to light beige head. Hoppy citrus aroma dominates the nose. Even though the citrusy hops are also prominent in flavor, this beer has a nice malt profile and is balanced exceptionally well. Medium bodied and easy drinking.

I believe this beer is a regular production beer now and that's a darn good thing. Very nice balanced beer here -- beats the tires off of Fat Tire. This is a classic American Amber Ale.

Per Label: "Retro Red Specialty Ale"

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Retro Red from The Fort Collins Brewery
3.6 out of 5 based on 216 ratings.
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