GrassLands Brewery's Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red (take 2)

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.

Le Roi Rouge (the Red King) Imperial Red

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.