Hargreaves Hill Phoenix 2015

Imperial Red Ale

The run of imperial releases coming our way continues, suggesting the summer heat is no obstacle for brewers unveiling their bigger brews. This time around it's the latest Phoenix from Hargreaves Hill. For those new to the beer, it was first brewed to mark the opening of their second brewery in 2009 after the first was destroyed in the Black Saturday fires, and it's always one of the most welcome annual releases at Crafty Towers.

It's something of a rarity among big, locally brewed red ales in that its focus on more on the character of the malts than the hops, whereas most big red ales tend to lean towards red IPA or India red ale territory. No doubt there is plenty of Citra and Simcoe added here, what with the beer being a not insubstantial 9.6 percent ABV, but those hops play a supporting role to the magnificent rich malts.

Given it's one of the most expensive beers you'll ever buy from an Australian brewer, you won't find any shortcuts being taken: the beer is held back to develop in bottle a while before leaving the brewery, only 500 numbered bottles are released and each comes in a wax-sealed, weighs-a-tonne 750ml bottle (with the wax a handy preventative against opening one when you really don't need a beer of such genesis). It looks beautiful – a glistening red – and while there is a touch of pine on the nose, the aromas are more akin to a fortified wine, a dessert Muscat, perhaps, with toffee to the fore. There's plenty of luscious malt flavours too amid its thick body, with a toastiness and spicy warmth late on plus some Olde English marmalade flavours and bitterness too.

It's tough to think of any beer quite like it brewed in Australia so, if it sounds like your kind of thing, there's only 499 bottles left to hunt down.

Published February 22, 2016

Hargreaves Hill

Factory 60
64-86 Beresford Road
Lilydale 3140

(03) 9730 1905

More from Hargreaves Hill

Hargreaves Hill 0 IBU & 100 IBU IPAs
NEIPA & San Diego WCIPA ft Terpenes
Both 7.0%
Hargreaves Hill The Phoenix '23 & Double ESB
Imperial Red Ale & Double ESB
9.6% & 8.0%
Hargreaves Hill Superdelic Fragilistic Expialid Oatish & Naughty
Oat Cream IPA & Barrel-Aged Schwarzbier
7.6% & 6.0%
Hargreaves Hill Team World DIPA & R.I.S. 2022
Hazy Double IPA & Russian Imperial Stout
8.5% & 11.2%
Hargreaves Hill Team America, Australia & New Zealand IPAs
Hazy IPAs
All 6.7%
Hargreaves Hill Fruit Ninja & Kenneth Son Of Zenith '23
Smoothie Sour & Imperial IPA
6.0% & 8.5%
Hargreaves Hill Sunshine and Roller Skates California IPA
California IPA
Hargreaves Hill 18th Birthday Packs
Various styles as indicated
5.2% & 4.9% & 11.5% & 10.0%
Hargreaves Hill Red Vienna Lager & Single Origin Coffee Stout
Vienna Lager & Coffee Stout
5.0% & 6.2%
Hargreaves Hill Barrel-Aged Double ESB & Creaming Soda Stout
Barrel-Aged Double ESB & Sweet Stout
9.0% & 6.0%
Hargreaves Hill R.I.S. 2021
Imperial Stout
Hargreaves Hill Phoenix 2022
Imperial Red Ale
Hargreaves Hill Paper Hands & Diamond Hands
West Coast & Hazy Double IPAs
Both 7.7%
Hargreaves Hill Guava & Strawberry Sour & Margarita Gose '22
Fruit Sours
5.0% & 4.0%
Hargreaves Hill Uninterrupted Prosperity NEIPA
Hargreaves Hill & Four Pillars Gin Barrel Gose 2021
Gin Barrel Aged Gose
Hargreaves Hill Knock Off Lager & Pursuit 10.2
Lager & Triple IPA with Fruit
4.0% & 10.0%
Hargreaves Hill Pursuit Of Hoppiness No.10: Triple Hazy
Hargreaves Hill Bourbon Barrel-Aged RIS 2021
Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout
Hargreaves Hill R.I.S. 2020 & Baboushka '21
Russian Imperial Stout & Vanilla Milk Stout
11.2% & 6.0%