We reviewed GrassLands Brewery's Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red last August. This is the third test batch of what GrassLands is affectionately calling 'Lee-Roy the Red', and the second we've gotten our hands on.
Owner Gabe Grass describes the beer as a 'high-gravity and earthy/spicy American Amber/English Pale hybrid with select malts. Batch #3 was fermented with White Lab's California I yeast strain & checks in at 8.9% ABV and 75+ IBUs (bitterness) with generous portions of Columbus, Willamette, Cascade & Liberty hops'.
He's shooting for a 'higher gravity, medium bodied ale with a complex malt backbone, complemented by spicy and floral hop flavors/aromas and some dark fruit flavors/ aromas'.
The beer was brewed August 4th and bottled on September 12th. We reviewed the beer on November 9th. Once again, we are using the Beer Advocate Ratings System.
Appearance: A deeper red and less brackish than the previous batch. A large head (2 fingers) with heavy carbonation. A more inviting beer appearance wise.
Smell: In one word: amazing. One of the best smelling beers we've tasted. Less floral than previously with a strong dark fruit aroma.
Taste: Fruit up front, with floral and roasted malts in the middle. A much longer, more intense finish. Alcohol still strong but not overwhelming. Spiciness slightly reduced, but spot on. Bitterness perfectly balanced, very smooth.
Mouth Feel: Medium body with heavy carbonation. Not a noticeable difference from the previous batch.
Overall: In our first review we said the Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red was a drinkable, enjoyable beer, but didn't leave a lasting impression. This beer is in a different class. The dark fruit flavors and aroma have been intensified, and the finish that was previously short and weak is now much longer and memorable.
Final Score: 4.4
Comments: We enjoyed GrassLand's Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red the first time we reviewed it with a few minor caveats. All our concerns have been addressed. This is a wonderful, unique beer. The only problem left is that we can't buy a pint at our local pub. Hopefully that will change in the near future.