Thursday, February 16

Beer Review: Lagunitas Brew Co. Imperial Red Ale


"It's back! Big on the Spicy, Skunky Hops, Bigger on the Rich, Red Malt. A Dank and Roasty Treat. The Recipe is a Variation of our Very First Beer From Back in '93 -- "Lagunitas Red".

ABV: 7.8%"


I'm a huge fan of a solid Red Ale. I find that my favorites of the style usually sit between 6.5 and 8.5% ABV simply because they use a lot more ingredients to create the flavor profile that I like. My best homebrew to date is an imperial red ale that I brew with orange blossom honey, and molasses using the Irish ale yeast from White Labs.

I can't say I have always been a huge fan of Lagunitas. I love what they do, I love their attitude.. but I feel their beers are usually too sweet, and must use a lot of adjuncts like sugar. That is my belief anyway. Here it goes..

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Appearance: (3.5)
- Dark amber sun-tea color, clear. Quickly dissipating finger of white foam settles with a milky medium sized ring of lace in the glass.. and a spotty thin blanket above the tea.

Smell: (3.5)
- Huge citrus hops. Pineapple, apple juice, grainy sweet brown sugar, a little vegetable hoppiness.. slight onion and skunky hop. A bit sweet and candy sugary.

Taste: (4.0)
- The aroma fights against the nose, but the flavor later comes through. Light bready grain, brown sugar and a tea flavor from what must be an abundance of hops used late in the brewing process. Big citrus hops as well as onion hops.. much like what Widmer, or Oskar Blues uses.. Nice pine resin in the belch.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Medium bodied brew, slightly cream, a bit drying and chewy.. overall very well carbonated and easy to drink. Very impressive. Well carbonated, and done well.

Overall: (3.5)
- For me this is a more impressive beer than their IPA's.. but doesn't touch the browns and other rare special releases they have had, such as those named after Benny & the Jets, and others like Zappa. But it is a great drinker, and tastes quite good. The aromas though really fight for a space in your face. Worth the try.

3.78/5 rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

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