Imperial Big Red

Imperial Big Red
Big Red Imperial Red Ale comes to us via Southern Tier Brewery in New York. This is the third Southern Tier beer I have reviewed. (See my reviews for Imperial Chokolat and Imperial Heavy-weizen). A good friend of mine bought this 1 pint, 6 oz. bottle for me as a gift. Thank you sir!

Two random pre-review notes:
#1. I keep a special place in my heart for anything named “Big Red”. Back in college, my buddies called my girlfriend (now wife) “Big Red”.
#2: I’ve never met a red ale I didn’t like.

On to the pour…

Pretty looking pour. Bubbles swirled like a mini cyclone in the glass as I poured. Actually stopped pouring to watch! Medium red/brown coloring. Very decent head. Quality pour all around.

And the aroma…

Phenominal smell. Comparable to the enjoyment my dog gets when he’s at the park and has 40 dog-butts to smell. Smelled of chocolate and possibly molasses. As beer warms, the sweet scent gets stronger, but so does the scent of alcohol. Some spiciness comes through for me regardless of temperature.

And finally, taste…

Starts off smooth and sweet (note that chocolate scent was much stronger than actual chocolate taste). I’m deceived for a split second…where’s the red-related hoppiness? Check that…there it is. Just the right amount of hops for this beer; I don’t feel like my mouth is being attacked by bitterness, but I definitely know that I’m drinking a red ale. Mild hops do a lingering tango in the back of my mouth for a long time.

I’m not going to drag out the review with a long conclusion. GO BUY SOME! Nuff said.

P.S. Beer newbie note: Only within the last 2-3 reviews have I started to realize that temperature has a significant impact on flavor. I’m enjoying tasting the beer at various stages as it warms.

P.S.S. EDIT: Last night the 9% ABV must have hit me hard, as I forgot to mention the ABV in the review!

Author: Joshua Dion

I write about beer in an un-intimidating way, welcoming beer lovers of all experience levels.

3 thoughts on “Imperial Big Red”

  1. I like how you recognize the temperature. I am not the greatest beer reviewer (I am probably one of the worst, as I have no idea what the tastes actually are), but have always loved how the beer changes.

  2. BaltimoreMan:

    I’m only just learning myself. Since my goal of the blog is to talk “layman’s terms” about beer, I hope that you’ll never catch me with a thermometer stuck into a beer, or talking about the origin of the hops!!!

    As for picking up the tastes, it’s really hard! Remember that everyone’s pallet is different, so there is no wrong answer. Last night I found the below website. Scroll down to see the tasting wheel…it’s kinda interesting and gives you some guidance about what to smell/taste for.


    P.S. let me know if you’re ever interested in doing a guest-review, and I’ll get you hooked up!

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