Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Red Racer Imperial India Pale Ale

On Christmas Night, sitting in my parents' kitchen long after the family went to bed and feeling melancholy, I reached for four things: a fine single malt, an old blues album, a good novel, and a strong ale. The ale I chose for my solitary Yuletide vigil was Red Racer Imperial India Pale Ale, the 9% alcohol, 90 IBU sibling of Surrey, British Columbia's Central City Brewers + Distillers' excellent Red Racer IPA, and cousin to the rest of the Red Racer family.

Sold in 650mL bottles, the Imperial version was clear and honey hued. It poured with a proud layer of off-white head. It's aroma spoke in a slightly slurred, liquor-soaked voice, about spicy pine notes and a toasty warm sweetness. The flavour was equally verbose and equally sauced, though much sweeter than the nose. According to the label, I was to expect "strong aromatics of grapefruit, tangerine and mango." This description didn't entirely square with my experience of the beer, which I found, underneath the boozy sweetness, to be piney and touch dank. Though, it should be said that as my glass of ale warmed, I did start to clue in to some fruitier notes than i initially detected. It finished merrily, with lingering hops pop.

Red Racer IIPA was a hearty, full-flavoured ale that delivered on my desires for a strong and satisfying beer. I found it to be a well made brew with a lot to compliment. On the other side of the ledger, I must admit that the sweetness attached to the big percentage wasn't nearly as well cloaked as I'd have liked and proved a bit distracting. All things considered, this was a grand ol' ale, and one I'm glad to have brought home. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat, though only in the fall or winter, because the sweet heat of this beer would be stifling in the sunnier months.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

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