So, it must be the time of day or something, but I was unable to get a decent picture of the beer this afternoon...needless to say, I will try again and have a picture of the beer posted on this review very soon. Rest assured, it is quite pretty. I just wanted to get a review posted before that wonderful fresh hop aroma and flavor fades.
Cicada Imperial Red Ale, brewed 5/29/11:
Appearance: wonderful, rich deep amber with copper red hues; thick and rich creamy head that persists throughout with sticky lacing on the sides of the glass; slight haze from high hop content
Aroma: hops hops hops! grapefruit, complex fruity citrus and pine, with a light amount of cinnamon spice character, small nutty sweetness in the background
Flavor: bright, piney citrus up front with mild pineapple fruitiness and light cinnamon in the back of the hop character; bitterness is high but far from overwhelming...a deceiving 71 IBU on this bad boy (not to mention a deceiving 7.8% ABV...doesn't taste even close to that!); hop character melts into caramel malt flavors and light sweetness with a clean, dry finish
Mouthfeel: nice, big body with a really smooth feel; medium carbonation (I have had a 1-2 slightly overcarbonated bottles, but this one is perfect...glad I was conservative on the priming sugar)
Overall: This is a great beer, and I wouldn't really change anything about the recipe. To me, this is my ideal big, bold, American ale. More malt complexity than an Imperial IPA but tons of great American hop character, which is something that I tend to crave pretty often...must be in my Amurrican blood (my dad is also a bit of a hop head). Definitely a beer that I can see brewing AT LEAST once a year. Also, I think this would be amazing with New York extra-sharp cheddar. Can't wait to brew this again and put it on tap (and thus have more control over uniform carbonation).