Nick Carr on August 24, 2015 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Alaskan Brewing Co. Location: Juneau, AK Style: Imperial Red Ale ABV: 8.5% IBU: 80 Appearance: Red-shifted amber with fantastic clarity and two-finger mocha-colored foam. Aroma: Candy sweet with robust caramel malts; Noticeable piney hops; Slight aroma of alcohol. Flavor: Big sweet malty caramel and toffee; Aggressive notes of earthy citrus and piney hops; Bitter dankness and spicy warmth on the swallow. Hops: Bravo, El Dorado, Meridian, Summit Malt: Two-row and specialty malts Shelf-Life: 6 months Suggested Glass: Tulip, Snifter, Nonic pint, Shaker pint, Large wine glass Serving Temp: 50°F—55°F Availability: Year-Round / Pilot Series Pairs With: Red curry potato soup, Fried mozzarella with spicy marinara sauce, Toffee pudding The rain came sideways. It would disappear for moments as the boat slide down the side and into the trough of one great swell, only to return, beating and vicious, as the boat labored up the terrible watered mountain and crested. The boat rattled miserably. The wind whipped and drove like some demon thing. Ty knew they needed to get the pots back on deck and stored. The storm was only going to get worse. Better to ride it out with the cages stowed. And maybe, just maybe, they’d caught something in the ten hours since putting the pots in. He turned to the rest of the crew standing unsteadily on deck and made a hand gesture. Immediately they went to work. Jesse started the winch and Tom and Hardy stood ready to hook the 700 pound cages and bring them on deck. This was just a prospect line, a dipping for fertile ground, and not many of the pots had been put in. They should have everything in and stowed quickly. Ride out the storm and drop again. Each time the boat dropped into a low trough the whole crew braced. The sky was slate grey and even from the crest of a swell it was hard to tell where sky ended and sea began. It was a world with no bottom or top, the inside of a grey wet ball. The crew were swinging the traps to the deck. Some carried with them a small prize of a few good-sized crabs, but most were coming in empty. Ty helped with the cages. Struggling control the huge cages’ swing as he guided their path onto the deck. Contents were quickly sorted, small crabs thrown back, larger ones into the hold, and the cage stored. Ty did a quick calculation. Should be down to the last cage. The wench whined and the wind wailed and the sea crashed. The last pot broke the rough surface. The light wasn’t good but the pot looked strange, shadowed by something taking up most of the inside. Then the wench pulled it higher and the deck light hit it. The whole crew stopped and stared. Inside was the biggest Red King Crab Ty had ever seen. Its legs were sort of wonky and curled under but he guessed the span at least seven feet. That big… no way. His mind tried to grasp the implications of weight. Maybe twenty-five, thirty pounds. A grin spread across his face as he guided the pot and it crashed to the deck. He gently pulled the huge crab out of the cage while Hardy untangled the claws. He held it high and shouted, “looks like an Imperial Red to me!” Pour and Aroma: This imperial red pours a beautiful red-shifted amber. Clarity is very good, allowing drifts of carbonation to be seen. A two-finger head of light mocha foam builds, drifts, and dissipates slow as you please; leaving a track of sticky spray down the inside of the glass and threatening, but not wholly disappearing throughout. Bracing aroma is candy sweet. Caramel is king, malty and thick, with a bit of toast playing backup fiddle. Hops shine as a big thick earthy pine forest, interspersed with just a few grapefruit trees. Slight signs of booze –a drunkard wandering the forest- but nothing too heavy. Mouthfeel and Taste: It has a medium-full body. Starts out smooth across the palate but gains some sharp qualities on the backend. Carbonation is medium. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky with a subtle chewiness. Taste follows aroma quite nicely. Big sweet malty caramel and some toffee at the front before showing a little toast and the earthy citrus and pine of hop. Robust spicy warmth on the backend. Pretty aggressive in the hops department with plenty of bitter dankness assaulting and sticking to the palate. Aftertaste leaves a trail of pine and slight rind; and lasts a long, long time. Finishing the Impression: This was part of Alaskan’s Pilot Series, an ever changing rotation of the beers that were only available for a limited time. I’m not sure what made them decide to make it a year around offering –probably input from the public and popularity- but it was a good decision. It is also the only beer from the Pilot Series that has made the jump to year round. Any hop heads out there will surely get their fix in this beer. The caramel sweetness is pleasant and something you don’t find in other highly-hopped styles, namely IPAs. It is a great sipper and as the weather begins to swing back toward a colder spectrum a couple bottles have found a rightful place in my back porch evening sittings. Cheers!