Didn’t Sweetwater already do an imperial red ale? I thought so, but apparently not. No matter, they have now, and very nicely with Sweetwater Dank Tank Red Hot Mama, an imperial red ale. If you didn’t already know this one was a red ale variant, the deep red hues of the painted label bottle should tip you off in that regard.
Sweetwater Red Hot Mama was released in October of 2013, but I didn’t get around to drinking my bottle until June of 2014. I picked it up at the local Kroger store actually, and they do seem to get all of the Dank Tank beers fairly quickly. As the label says about the dank tank beer, “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time”. I can see that!
I love the juicy, nutty flavors of a good red ale. An imperial red can bring them out even more, and for me this is one of those examples of an “imperial” style that can really work. Sweetwater Red Hot Mama surely does, and is one of the better examples of the style.
Sweetwater Red Hot Mama features the citrusy glory of Centennial hops according to the label, which has a long story recanted as well that doesn’t tell much about the beer. Sweetwater has a tendency to do that. Red Hot Mama has an alcohol content of 8.6% by volume and a formidable 82 IBUs. It remains a reasonable $5.99 for the bomber bottle.
Sweetwater Dank Tank Red Hot Mama pours to a dark muddy reddish color with a medium sized creamy head formation and an absolutely delightful nose of stewed malts, juicy fruit gum and peppery hops. A thick layer of Brussels Lace coats the sides of my glass and descends all the way to the bottom of the glass.
Taking a sip, this beer is absolutely front-loaded with more of those delightfully juicy red, slightly nutty but juicy fruity stewed malts. Apples and pears come to mind for me, and in the finish, a balancing grassy, citrusy herbal hop bitterness and aroma complete with mint.
This is nicely done, and I think a little age has allowed the hops to mellow ever so slightly and let those glorious stewed malts come to the fore more fully. Yes, I’m a hophead, but I’m a malthead too, and in this style I certainly want to hear the malt sing its glorious tune. It does here, and very nicely indeed.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.