Tuesday, October 11, 2011

XS Imperial Red Ale

Thanks to Joe Wietlispach for giving me this bottle at the brewery a couple weeks ago. I finally got around to reviewing it on Monday afternoon while brewing a Braggot made with Apples and pumpkin!

Appearance: Robustly red colored with a glowing clarity. Head is substantial at firs, but mellows down to a film with off white soapy bubbles accumulating on the sides. Lacing is wet and the beer looks relatively still within the glass.
Aroma: A very interesting flavor braces the nostrils. I cannot put an exact word to it, but it comes to me as a combination of toffee, leafy hops and isopropyl alcohol. Very earthy.
Taste: Hot, but smooth and even very well sweetened. Rich toasted and caramel malt constitute a strong flavored sweetness in the beginning, that ironically one doesn't get the full gist of until the very end. Midtaste is oaky, but still well rounded with a hint of chocolate and toasted barley. Finishing is a very dry, grassy and bitter flavor that comes with a huge dose of hops. As the beer warms, more plum light and dark roasted fruity ester emerge, intertwined with the complexities of the malt sweetness. Alcohol isn't too overbearing, and you can certainly get used to it enough that it takes a background factor under all the other rich flavors. Yum!
Mouthfeel: Extremely well textured. Carbonation is on the light side (at the tip of the tongue), but enough to fulfill a soft forgiving feel as it exits the mouth. Relatively a lighter body than one would suspect, but nothing is lost. Tacky on the lips and extremely dry and resinous in the finish.
Overall Impression: Rogue does it again. I wasn't expecting too much from this beer, but the flavor profile was succinct and definite with a simplistic yet huge sensory overload. Very well balanced and ...Palatable!


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