Just over a week ago, Black Husky released the newest beer in their Beware of the Dog series, Harold the Imperial Red, an Imperial (8.9% ABV) Amber (Red) Ale. Brewed in remembrance of Harold, the dog who inspired Harold the Red, this Imperial Red is a big beer. There is a huge range in what can be classified as an amber ale, ranging from very malty with little to no hop presence, to the hoppier American amber ale which is also very malty but can have a strong hop flavor and aroma without being overly bitter. The malt often has notes of caramel or toffee from the lightly kilned malts that are used to brew it. However, it should never have the roasted malt characteristics of darker beers like a stout or porter. Imperial Red just means that it’s a bigger and bolder version of a standard red; often maltier, sometimes hoppier, and definitely with a higher ABV.
All of the Black Husky beers that I have had so far have been excellent, so as with any new Black Husky release, I rushed out to pick up a couple bottles before they sold out. I was interested to try the Black Husky twist on an Imperial Red. On to the review.
Nothing that is felt about Harry can be put into words. We simply offer you our Imperial Red in remembrance of Harry and all that he was and meant to us. Either you understand that or you don’t – either way “belly up to the bar” and have one in memory of Harold and whoever your Harold might be. P.S. For those of you looking for the interminable beer description, Harry would have said “What part of Imperial Red don’t you understand?”
Harold the Imperial Red pours a brilliantly clear deep reddish amber with a thick, creamy tan head that holds excellent retention through the entire glass. The aroma is very complex for a red ale, containing toffee, caramel, cotton candy, caramely melanoidans , sweet alcohols, with an earth, herbal finish that has slight dark cherry notes. The aroma develops a smoky character as it warms.
The flavor has strong notes of toffee, caramel, and dark, sweet cherries. The sweet alcohols noticeable in the aroma are less noticeable in the flavor, but they remain in the background, only coming out stronger as Harold warms. The finish is mildly fruity with subtle earthy notes leading to a semi-sweet, malty aftertaste. This is a very malty red ale, with a very low hop bitterness. Harold the Imperial Red is full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.
Many commercial red ales are one dimensional with subtle toffee and caramel, Harold the Imperial Red on the other hand is complex in both the flavor and the aroma, and more enjoyable because of its complexity. As with the other Black Husky beers that I have had, Harold the Imperial Red does not disappoint.
Harold the Imperial Red should still be in stock at both Rays Wine and Spirits in Milwaukee, and Three Cellars in Franklin. If you don’t live in the Milwaukee area check out the “Find our Beer” page at Black Husky Brewing to find it near you.
That’s all for today, check back later this week for another post!