“red ales” are something of an enigma in the beer world. They’re
usually lumped in with amber ales even if they don’t follow that style.
They could also be Irish Reds or a supposed “Red IPA,” but why not just a
standard red ale. Samuel Adams Hoppy Red is probably an example of that
style. Despite the name, it is not a Red IPA and it doesn’t have the
malt character I normally associate with a traditional amber. This is
just a red ale, and that’s good enough for me.
I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Samuel Adams Boston Lager
glass. The freshness date was notched at 12/15 and came as part of a mix
pack for $15.99 ($1.33 per bottle or $0.11 per ounce).
Appearance: A deep copper/amber hue with an overall red complexion.
Actually quite clear in the light with visible carbonation. Pours to a
two-finger, off-white, foamy head which laces and retains extremely
Smell: Pretty potent citrusy hops along with some pine notes. There’s a maltiness there too.
Taste: Trying to describe the palette of this brew may be a bit
difficult. It’s similar to that of a standard American amber, but
doesn’t have all the exact flavor notes. It’s also hoppier than the
average amber or red, but not to the point of being an IPA (it’s only 44
IBUs). I will say there’s a fairly strong malt base here that creates
for a mild, slightly confectionery sweetness. Maybe some caramel notes,
along with toasted bread. There’s a light fruity flavor up front;
probably citrusy notes imparted from the aroma; followed by a bit of
earthy/piney flavor on the backend. There’s bitterness as it finishes –
slightly dry and astringent – but nothing intense per se. Overall, it’s
an interesting palette.
Drinkability: I was a little surprised to see the 5.7% ABV on the label
of Samuel Adams Hoppy Red, since this brewery doesn’t tend to make beers
stronger than 5.5% for mainstream release. It doesn’t have the
complexity and robustness I’d expect from that weight level. The
mouthfeel is a bit tepid; the body is on the light side of medium.
Perhaps a light lingering aftertaste due to hops, but it’s tolerable.