Lighthouse Siren Imperial Red Ale

Frosty glass of red beer isolated on a white background. File contains a path to cut.Hello and welcome to another installment in the Winter Beer series! Today’s feature is Lighthouse’s Siren Imperial Red Ale, a winter seasonal and the latest in their “Big Flavor” series. Since its inception, I’ve had mostly good things to say about the this expanded lineup, mainly because of the dedication it shows to craft brewing and experimentation. In fact, pretty much everything that has been coming out of the Lighthouse brewery in the last few years has been demonstrative of this commitment, including the Switchback IPA and Tasman Ale which have become part of their regular lineup.

But it’s really with the Big Flavor series that the brew masters at Lighthouse have been especially experimental and bold, combining various traditions and a wide array of ingredients to create distinct, challenging beers. And, consistent with the other members of the series – Deckhand Belgian Saison, Shipwrecked Triple IPA, Navigator Doppelbock, Overboard Imperial Pilsner, and Uncharted Belgian IPA – this beer has rich malts, generous hops, and at 8% alc/vol, packs a good punch!

Appearance: Dark red-amber, clear and low foam retention
Nose: Rich, floral and citrus hop aroma
Taste: Immediate burst of citrus, giving way to rich malts, viscous, semi-sweet
Aftertaste: Bitter finish, coarser malt taste and citrus rind
Overall: 9/10

Congratulations, Lighthouse. Of the eight beers in your Big Flavor series I have now sampled seven and highly approved of six. Only the Belgian Black was not my speed, and I plan to try the Dark Chocolate Porter soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for more winter beers, including some new reviews from Hoyne and Tree Frog!

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Big Flavor!

As promised, the full review of the Big Flavor series by Lighthouse, from July 2011.

Awhile back, I reviewed a beer brewed by Lighthouse that goes by the name of Navigator Doppelbock. As I’m sure I mentioned at the time, this beer is part of their Big Flavor series, a series which I have now completely sampled and am ready to review! In truth, I didn’t realize until today that I had tried everything in this new lineup. In fact, it was months ago, during my month of IPA’s, that I tried the first in that series – Shipwrecked Triple IPA. And when the month of Doppelbock rolled around, Navigator became number two. How coincidental! The third in the lineup, Deckhand Belgian Saison, slipped in there somewhere. And as of the other night, Overboard Imperial Pilsner graced my palate, thus completing the series. So let me describe each in detail, recapping some of what I’ve said with some new thoughts. (note: the scores may have also changed, reflecting my evolving opinion of them, and how well they stack up against each other).
Shipwrecked Triple IPA: Strong, dark, and powerful! And I mean that in terms of both alcohol and hop content. At 10% alc/vol, and being triple fermented, its stronger than most IPA’s, hence the name. Though IPAs may be part of our nautical history, no one should ever consider boating after drinking a few of these. Not the most drinkable, but thoroughly enjoyable and good for bragging rights! 3.75/5

Navigator Doppelbock:
A characteristic example of doppelbocks, this brew is strong and hoppy, but has a malty, tawny taste and sweet finish that balance it out well. Also quite strong, being 8.5 %alc/vol, which is typical of a double-fermented, bock beer. A little on the heavy side, but a fitting drink for red meat dishes, or as an after-dinner dessert drink. 3.75/5

Deckhand Belgian Saison:
A faithful example of a Belgian-style beer, combining the flavors of a Heffewiezen and Pilsner through the addition of wheat with Vienna and Pilsner hops. It combines this mixed malty composition with a fruity, refreshing finish. At 8% alc/vol, and with a comparatively light profile, its good with most foods or on its own, especially on a hot day! Not sure which Saison they had in mind, but my money’s on summer! 4/5

Overboard Imperial Pilsner:
Wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but I was pleasantly surprised! For one, it says Pilsner, but its strength would lead one to believe that it was a cross with something else, like an IPA, or that it was double or triple fermented. And upon tasting it, I could have sworn that that was the case. Apparently, its a straight Pilsner, extra strong at 8.5 alc/vol, but the hop profile is highly reminiscent of an IPA. Which makes for both a delicious taste and refreshing beer, excellent when served ice cold. Best one yet! 5/5

And kudos to Lighthouse for creating this series in the first place. Seasonal beers are nice, but year-round specialties are even better!