mreeves (276) - Sammamish, Washington, USA - FEB 25, 2007
Deep amber color with fairly substantial tan head. For some reason, seems a little watered down compared to what I would expect of an "Imperial" bitter. Reasonably balanced between malt and hops. Caramel malt flavor seems the most prominent to me, but definitely has some hoppiness toward the finish. It’s ok, but nothing special. TampaBeer (257) - Tampa, Florida, USA - FEB 24, 2007
a beautiful color - like dusk setting in.. A light aroma, nothing special.. Although smooth, its not complex enough to be really enjoyable ClarkVV (6711) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - FEB 23, 2007
UPDATED: OCT 3, 2007 Draught pint at Redbones on 2/14/07DocLock (10702) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 22, 2007
Surprisingly poor head formation and retention considering that A) this is Redbones and the lines and glasses are so clean, even PBR laces and B) it’s Rogue, the definition of a perfect appearance. I’ve definitely given more 5’s for appearance to Rogue than any other brewers. Ok enough about that. The beer is an amber with light copper and beige tints. Bubbly, with a brief white head. High clarity.
Pretty astute that everyone is calling this an amped-up ESB. Hey, guys, it’s their "Imperial ESB", nice detective work. Somewhat mellow aroma for a beer of its strength, the malt really shines through. Crisp and fresh, with pure barley notes giving a refined cereal and hay/straw-like nose. Fruity hops contribute to a well-done presentation. Hops definitely show a fair amount of bitterness, but being of the appropriate, lower AA variety, it dosent bludgeon or outshine the malt. Light candied fruits and sticky caramel come on in the middle, sweetening things significantly, while a bit of acidity builds on the finish, quite unexpectedly. Not as delicate, nor as dry and esterized as an English Strong ale, not to mention the water isnt from Burton nor is it burtonized. ASA is the correct style here. No alcohol noted in the nose, no diacetyl in my sample.
Very easygoing opening to the beer, I sorta wondered for a second if they mislabeled the kegs and this was just YSB. But giving it some more sips, the sweetness intensifies, though remains tolerable and the hops add plenty of bitterness. The biggest difference from the base being the thicker, sticky mouthfeel. Dates, toffee, buttercream, apricots and marmalade. I like all of the yellow fruit and medium to pale malt suggestions. Soft and sweet, with a clean yeast profile and strong herbal/grassy dryness (though the malt still wins out). Light citrus suggestions, but no heavy bitterness. Alcohol was well concealed. I love Rogue. This makes me want to go drink an English Strong ale. Can’t wait to try the bottle of this I have coming.
Draft at Capone’s. Medium coppery. Aroma was caramelly malt, some hops, mild tannins, slight dark fruit. The taste was ESBish, with a firm tannic caramel malt base, some citrus, plus some hops and florals as it warmed. I think the best description is to call this a ramped up ESB, which many other raters have accurately stated prior to my rather boring review of this one. whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 14, 2007
Draught at Capone’s. Clear golden-amber body with a sudsy off-white head. Mild fruity malt aroma plus light woody hops and a note of butterscotch. Caramel and prominent butterscotch in the flavor. Diacetyl is most definitely in the house. Medium bitter finish that combines with the popcorn butter to produce an impression of battery acid. Above my tolerance limits for diacetyl. A disappointing offer from Rogue.
swoopjones (7020) - Buffalo, New York, USA - FEB 14, 2007
Part of the John’s Locker Tap series @ Coles Buffalo NY. an ESB on steriods. Dark amber with good head. Sweet tasting malty brew with some hop bitterness & alcohol. good brew shadey (2136) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - FEB 13, 2007
Dark matte amber pour with a thin layer of lacy cream on top. Aroma is fruity, maybe cherries and hop bitterness. Flavor is much like an english bitter only very amped up. Nice body. argo0 (14127) - Washington DC, USA - FEB 10, 2007
(draft) Tan head atop a clear dark amber body. Aroma is moderately sweet, floral/orange, some grapefruit, caramel, herbal, light alcohol, cherry. Taste is medium sweet, grapefruit/orange, floral, some caramel, light earthy. Alcohol starts to show up as it warms Medium-full body, some resin, quite drinkable. Nice job of keeping the ESB character. kmweaver (3207) - Petaluma, California, USA - FEB 8, 2007
Tap, Frisco’s Grille. Pours an orange-ruby appearance; off-white head with light lacing. Full, wet malt and candy sugar aroma. Sticky-sweet mouthfeel: candy sugar and maple syrup, lively carbonation, citrus and floral hops barely balancing things out. Medium, bitter and brown sugar finish. I prefer the regular YSB by quite a bit. Murphy (1759) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - FEB 4, 2007
Color is ruddy orange, slight haze. Aroma is fresh fruity hops, very PNW. Flavor is quite sweet, but balanced against a very solid hop presence. Basically an IPA. Finish is wanting. Balance beer, but nothing special.