Like all ales, Red Ale is a beer brewed with top-fermenting yeast. Beyond that it defies a detailed description. Basically, the name Red Ale is down less to a particular taste than its colour. There's a difference between an Irish style Red Ale and an American style one. The Irish Red Ale has a light red to brown colour that comes from caramel malt. However, these beers generally only have a light to medium malty sweetness. They are not too hoppy, and have no more than a moderately bitter hop flavour.
American Red Ale, on the other hand, is generally made using North American varieties of hop, resulting in a medium hop aroma. Some American Red Ales also have a noticeable malty flavour. However the balance between the hoppy and malty flavours can vary from one brewery to another. Some are heavier on the hops, whilst other are more balanced or malty. The alcohol content varies between 4.5 and 7.0% vol.