Alaskan Imperial Red
Alcohol by Volume: 8.5%
Look for this beer and more at Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown.
Since Alaskan Brewing Company’s Pilot Series has included such gems as their Baltic Porter and Perseverance Russian Imperial Stout, I’m always excited to try new releases in the series. “Red Ale” can carry a variety of different meanings, but in the NW it typically means a beer that offers a good balance of caramel malts to go along with an assertive hop profile.
Pours a reddish-amber with medium head that goes away quickly. Citrus and big mango & peach hop notes come through in the aroma. Moderately sweet caramel malt pairs well with strong, perfumey, citrus and melon hop flavors in the taste. It is full-bodied, slightly syrupy, and has just a bit of alcohol warming. The bitterness lingers, but it never gets too overwhelming. The flavors all work well together, and this is a nice, thick, hoppy beer that is perfect for a winter release. The hop aroma and flavor shines, but the malt is far from forgotten. A nice addition to the Pilot Series.
Commercial Description/Press Release:
JUNEAU, Alaska (November 28, 2012) – Alaskan Brewing Co. is excited to announce the December 1 release of the newest addition to its popular Pilot Series, the Alaskan Imperial Red. The new brew balances big, caramel-dominated malt flavors, a complex, intense hop-forwardness featuring new hop varieties, and a warming finish. The release of this limited edition seasonal coincides with the gourmet winter flavors of Alaska.
“Alaska is a different place,” said Productions & Operations Manager Dave Wilson. “In most of the rest of the world, winter seasonal releases are very malt-forward beers with flavors that complement products from the farm, but in Alaska, our winter harvest comes from the sea, primarily in the form of Alaskan King Crab. This new, hop-forward Imperial Red pairs beautifully with those flavors.”
Alaskan Imperial Red is a full-bodied, deep mahogany ale with ruby red highlights. Citrus notes of chamomile, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon brighten the aroma. A zesty array of hop flavors from mango and bitter orange to green mint and hibiscus meld with the nutty, roasted caramel and subtle dried fruit flavors of the complex malt profile to create a surprisingly fresh, yet warming example of the style.
“We have taken years to perfect this beer,” explains Quality Assurance Analyst Darin Jensen, who first teamed up with other members of the Alaskan crew to brew 1-barrel experimental batches of the Imperial Red recipe in 2009. “When the industry experienced the hop shortage [of 2010], we basically had to start over because the hops we’d been using weren’t available anymore,” said Jensen. “We finally achieved the flavor profile we’d been working toward using the new Meridian hop variety – it adds this great minty, greenness that just rounds everything out perfectly.”
The strong flavors of Alaskan Imperial Red should be paired with equally flavorful foods like rich Alaskan king crab or Black Cod. Spicier foods with earthy or bready notes, such as fried mozzarella with spicy marinara sauce, red curry with potatoes, or French onion soup, also bring out both the hoppy and malty characters of the Imperial Red.
Alaskan Imperial Red is a new member of Alaskan’s growing list of rotating specialty recipes released in the brewery’s limited-edition Pilot Series. Pilot Series beers represent the creativity of the Alaskan Brew Crew.
On December 1, the bold and complex Imperial Red releases in 22 oz bottles and on draft in select locations throughout Alaska and the western states where Alaskan beers are sold. The new brew will be available in limited quantities for a short time.
Another seasonal favorite that pairs big malt with big hops, the Alaskan Spring Black IPA, will releases on January 1, 2013, just in time for the slowly lengthening days of early spring.
In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC regulations, this review was of a sample bottle received from the brewery.