We’ve all scoffed at the old saying: Good things come in small packages. Sure they do. It’s definitely not a ploy to shrink product sizes and drive up costs…
So I was certainly a bit skeptical when I came across the Rogue XS Imperial Red. Sure, the minute 7 ounce bottle advertised a 9% ABV and could justify the small size with the higher alcohol content, but would the taste of the brew justify spending nearly $5 of what amounts to about a half serving of beer?
Poured into a snifter, the coppery-rust colored beer had a strong smell of caramel malts and spice. The taste certainly didn’t stray far from the aroma, as the malts and spice towered over a subdued citrusy hop in the background.
There seemed to be a fruity characteristic that emerged after letting the medium bodied liquid linger on the tongue for a moment; perhaps figs.
The 9% ABV was certainly apparent, as the finish had a strong alcohol bite and a bit of bitterness.
Overall, outside of the high alcohol content, the XS Imperial Red didn’t strike me as anything spectacular, especially in its genre. Was it the worst red I’d ever had? No. But will I be going back for another? Probably not, especially given the price and bottle size.