Overview for the American Red Ale

The American Red Ale is similar to the American Pale Ale and American IPA styles but has a more pronounced malt backbone (caramel malt, typically) and it more bitterness than the similar American Amber Ale. The ale is amber in color with moderate alcohol strength. The style typically has a medium body or a bit over with matching carbonation.

Style Expectations

Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong like an American IPA, but with some caramel, toffee, and/or dark fruit malt character. Retaining the dryish finish and lean body that makes IPAs so drinkable, a Red IPA is a little more flavorful and malty than an American IPA without being sweet or heavy.


Color ranges from light reddish-amber to dark reddish-copper. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Medium-sized, off-white to cream-colored head with good persistence.


A moderate to strong fresh hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus, floral, spicy, berry, melon, pine, resinous, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. A medium-low to medium malty-sweet aroma mixes in well with the hop selection, and often features caramel, toffee, toasty, and/or dark fruit character. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.


Hop flavor is medium to very high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Medium-high to very high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and is generally clean but malty-sweet up front with medium-dark caramel, toffee, toasty and/or dark fruit malt flavors. The character malt choices and the hop selections should complement and enhance each other, not clash. The level of malt flavor should not adversely constrain the hop bitterness and flavor presentation. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be medium-low to none. The bitterness and hop flavor may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions.


Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hop-derived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.



American Red Ale  •  Founders Brewing Co.

Dankwood is an American Red Ale by Founders Brewing Co. that’s been aged in bourbon barrels and blends dank resin, earthy woods, caramel, vanilla, and booze. Read More

Flipside Red IPA

American Red Ale  •  Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Flipside Red IPA is an American Red Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. that balances hoppy pine and citrus with caramel and toasted bread. Read More

Tocobaga Red Ale

American Red Ale  •  Cigar City Brewing

Tocobaga Red Ale is an American Red Ale by Cigar City Brewing that wonderfully balances piney, citrusy hops with toasted bread and caramel. Read More

Shipyard Red IPA

American Red Ale  •  Shipyard Brewing Co.

Shipyard Red IPA is an American Red Ale by Shipyard Brewing Co. whose complex palate blends pine, citrus, and grass with biscuit, caramel, and tropical fruit. Read More

The Huntsman

American Red Ale  •  Barley Mow Brewing Company

The Huntsman is an American Red Ale by Barley Mow Brewing Company that blends earthy woods, caramel with a hoppy bite of lemon and pine. Read More

Category 4

American Red Ale  •  Due South Brewing Co.

Category 4 is an American Red Ale by Due South Brewing Co. that balances floral and piney hops with caramel, toffee, and doughy bread. Read More


Check Out Other Beer Styles