Ridgeway of Oxfordshire Imperial Red Ale 10%

I’ve not put loads of massive thought into my 12 beers of Christmas this year, I know there is 12 in my “cellar” under the stairs but I think I will just see what I am feeling on the day. The first 12 beers of Christmas 2016 is from Ridgeway of Oxfordshire (although brewed in Stoke?!), it is their 10% Imperial Red Ale from 2012. This little number was picked up for me by my sister, it is good having her live down in Oxford as it means a steady flow of different beers that I rarely see in these parts!

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Ridgeway is run by Peter Scholey, the former head brewer of another Oxfordshire brewery, Brakspear. By the looks of their core range on their website and a few other bottles of other beers stashed away it is safe to say that Peter likes to brew a strong beer!

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I like the bottle label, the Russian look show that this beer means serious business. The beer pours a glowing mahogany redish brown with a small bubbly head which evaporates fairly quick. On the nose, there is a slight metallic aroma at the front but then there is these cherry, red berry and a slight sweetness like marzipan. As soon as I sip it I am loving it, my first word in my head was glorious! It is so smooth and still has a tingly bitterness at the front of your tongue. The best way I can describe the taste is like when you take a bite into a fruit cake and you get a bit with a big bit of cherry in it, it’s not too thick or heavy like a Christmas cake but maybe more like a mince pie with hints of marzipan. When it was cool the ABV wasn’t there too much, only a slight warmth at the end of the mouthful but once the beer warmed up you did start to get the booziness from it.

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From start to finish I loved it. There is a few other beers in the range that I like the sound of… I will have to see if I can get my sister to hunt them down too!

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