Imperial Red Ale (Lagunitas Brewing Company)

Lagunitas makes good beers. Sure they’re big, bold, and in-your-face, but they’re good. That being said I often overlook them when it comes to choosing a beer. Maybe it’s the similar looking labels that make me walk by them in the beer aisle or maybe I just have a mental deficiency. Whatever the problem may be I didn’t skip over them this time.

Their late January release, IMPERIAL RED ALE has 54.2 IBUs and a 7.8% ABV.

Big on the spicy, skunky hops, bigger on the rich red malt. A variation of our original 1993 “Lagunitas Red”. Still in the handy 6-pack carriers for your enjoyment.

When it comes to red ales you kinda already have an idea as to what expect when it comes to the color of the beer. Although this beer isn’t quite “red” in color it is a nice copper/auburn color. The head is a healthy inch of manilla foam with carbonation feeding for the duration of the beer.

Malts. That’s what you can expect from the nose of this beer. Rye, pancakes, pine hops, spicy wood (cedar?), toffee, tree sap, and crackers. Did I mention that this was a very malty nose?

Some of those same flavors make a return appearance in the taste. My initial description of each sip was this: rye, toffee, hops, with a woody backbone. It ends with a biscuit flavor that was similar to biscuits made without enough water in them. Hops come more forward as it warms. A lot of beers throw around the imperial label, but Lagunitas Imperial Red isn’t joking.

Mouthfeel is on the south side of medium, but it can be abrasive (this is where the hops assert themselves). There’s no major drying, but there is a hop tingle around the gumline.

I can imagine this beer going great with burgers or hotdogs, but it’s “rough” enough to keep you from getting hammered at the family barbecue. Several different malts are showcased in this big red ale.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10

As an IMPERIAL RED ALE: 8 out of 10

FOR FANS OF: Lagunitas LUCKY 13, Terrapin HOPPY MONSTER, Port Brewing SHARK ATTACK

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