Tagged: imperial ipa

Brewery Vivant Tree Bucket

TREE BUCKET: 94 Points

Launching hops

Launching hops

This Belgian Strong/Belgian IIPA is released in late February in 16 oz. can.s

Brewer’s Description: “Belgian candy sugar and the Ardennes yeast strain lend sweetness to this very, very hoppy beer. Tropical fruit-forward Citra hops, among others, give balance to the sweet profile and high ABV. The beer is babied in the fermentation tanks and dry hopped just before packaging. From aroma to sip to burp, this beer will have you storming the gates for your next pint.”

My Description: This is one soft Imperial IPA, the hops are mellow and the candy sugar comes through easily. It begins with a large and dense, white colored head that lasts the whole way leaving behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is unique and pleasant with notes of Belgian yeast esters, citrus hops, melon, and a touch of lemon funk. Tree Bucket is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is definitely on the softer side of bitterness. Sweet candy undertones are detected throughout along side juicy notes of tropical hops and citrus hops. The beer exhibits an overall earthy and lemon funk presence but it never takes center stage; these notes are sometimes faint allowing the other notes to come through cleanly. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering sweet notes. Overall, this is an extremely smooth ale that is pleasure to drink. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with sharp Cheddar, shrimp tacos, or spicy veggie chili.

ABV: 9.3% Color: Golden Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Funky Buddha Hop Stimulator

HOP STIMULATOR: 95 Points

Juicy

Juicy

This Imperial IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Introducing Hop Stimulator, an IPA we’ve dosed with so much hops that drinking one is downright transformative. Resinous alpha and beta acids intertwine with a muscular all-malt body to create a beer that’s so bold, it’s… it’s… MONSTROUS!”

My Description: It’s immediate how potent the hops are in this beer, but it must be drank as fresh as possible to really appreciate the depth of hop flavors that are presented here. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a great retention level that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The aroma shows a plethora of hop flavors such as pineapples, mangoes, other tropical notes, and some citrus hops. Hop Stimulator is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose closely with tropical hop notes taking center stage along with notes of citrus hops, mild sweet malt notes, and a touch of pine hops. The alcohol is nicely hidden and the aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness with lingering fruity hop notes. Overall, this is a great IIPA with plenty of hop flavors and a high alcohol content that satisfies. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with blackened grouper, spicy fish tacos, or aged sharp cheddar.

ABV: 9.5% Color: Hazy Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 7/10

Petoskey Brewing Hopsessed

HOPSESSED: 96 Points

I am hopsessed

I am hopsessed

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in 16 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Hold on to your taste buds & make sure you have a designated driver! This mouth-exploding double I.P.A. starts with the unique citrus aroma provided by a 100% Simcoe dry hop. The high bitterness is slightly toned down by the caramel sweetness imparted by the large quantities of malted barley needed to achieve such a high ABV. (Limited time only!).”

My Description: This beer tastes great from start to finish. It begins with a large, light tan colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma, not surprising, is hop forward with strong resiny notes of citrus hops and pine hops. There is also some caramel malt as well in the aroma. Hopsessed is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile boasts a caramel malt backbone with bready notes that come through in between the potent American hop notes. Hints of melon hops can be detected and the alcohol is nicely hidden here. The transition to the finish is smooth bringing forth an aftertaste that is moderately high in bitterness. This IIPA is a true beauty that should be sought out. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Brie cheese, smoked ribs, or spicy Thai noodles.

ABV: 9.2% Color: Dark Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 6.5/10

Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail

MOLOTOV COCKTAIL: 95 Points

Huge hop notes

Huge hop notes

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Did you like Before During and after Christmas? Maybe thought it pored brilliantly, the alcohol was admirable well hidden and you loved how the arrogant amount of hops numbed you. This beer will knock your tongue off, essentially due to the obscure amount of hops that went down this explosive fella – it’s a tour de force in hoppyness and by far the craziest beer ever made from Evil Twin – but not the last.

My Description: This is a big beer and it drinks like one; a strong malt body accompanies a bitter finish with tasty hop notes. This is what an Imperial IPA of this caliber should taste like. It begins with a good sized, light tan colored head that leaves behind some film and spotty lacing. The aroma has huge hop notes including tangerine, mango, and grapefruit along with an overall vegetative presence. Molotov Cocktail is medium/full bodied with a moderately low carbonation level and a dry finish. A thick caramel malt backbone holds up the flavor profile which includes ripened fruit notes, mangoes, and grapefruit. The alcohol is slightly noticed but stays in the background. The aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness and lingers forever. Overall, this beer showcases a tasty hop profile and does not shy away from being aggressive. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with potent cheeses, deep dish pizza, or spicy Thai noodles.

ABV: 13% Color: Hazy Orange/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 7/10

Lagunitas Bitter Oats

BITTER OATS: 96 Points

Dank

Dank

This Imperial IPA is a limited release in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This big boozy blonde was brewed with a boatload of oats, giving it a creamy, sweet mouthfeel with a hoppy blast. It’s like a powdered sugar doughnut topped with deliciously bitter, danky resinous hops. Chow down!”

My Description: This ale is delicious with dank hop flavors that delight the senses. It begins with a very large, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and inviting with notes of citrus hops, pine hops, some tropical notes, and what smells like orange marmalade. Bitter Oats is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and complex with an earthy element present throughout along with notes of Citra hops, tangerines, pale malts, caramel malt, and a touch of sweetness. Pine hops can also be detected along with a touch of alcohol. This transitions smoothly into the aftertaste that is moderately bitter with lingering hop notes. This beer has a great mouthfeel that satisfies. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with roasted chicken, spicy fish tacos, or a mild beef stew.

ABV: 10.5% Color: Copper/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Stone Sorry Not So Sorry IPA

SORRY NOT SO SORRY IPA: 94 Points

Big flavors

Big flavors

This Imperial IPA is a collaboration between Stone, Bale Breaker, and 4 Hands and is available in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “We make no apologies for the fact that we love brewing bold, flavorful, hop-centric beers. Naturally, we welcomed the opportunity to work with two amazing craft breweries that share our lupulin-fueled dedication: St. Louis-based 4 Hands Brewing Co., known for its innovative IPAs; and Bale Breaker Brewing Co., whose owners’ family has farmed hops in Washington’s Yakima Valley for generations. Since theirs was the first hop farm to commercially grow the beloved Simcoe variety, using that piney, stone fruit-like hop was a must. Puréed peaches upped the fruit factor, while experimental hops HBC 342 and HBC 344 introduced notes of stone fruit, tropical fruit, berries and citrus to this IPA. Yes, we made another IPA. We concede it’s not surprising, but we are who we are: an unapologetic band of hopheads psyched to explore the ever-expanding IPA universe.”

My Description: This is a nicely executed IIPA in which the peach notes are detectable and work in harmony with the rest of the beer. It begins with a large, off-white colored head that fades to a ring that holds the whole way leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting with big hop notes such as tropical hops and citrus hops. There are also notes of stone fruits, bready malt, and of course peaches. Sorry Not So Sorry is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is balanced beautifully with all the flavor notes blending cleanly. There are notes of peaches, pine hops, tropical hops, peaches and other stone fruits, caramel malt, and resiny hops. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering pine hop notes. This beauty is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Thai noodles, spicy chicken, or baked cheesecake.

ABV: 9.3% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Stone NxS IPA

NXS IPA: 97 Points

Expertly Crafted

Expertly Crafted

This Imperial IPA is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Stone. It is available in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “For many, California is considered an epicenter for brewing innovation, particularly where hoppy IPAs are concerned. We teamed up with longtime craft compatriots and mutual hop admirers Sierra Nevada to create a truly one-of-a-kind IPA. This special-edition beer conveys the true character of collaboration with touches of inventiveness and creativity. Two batches of an IPA were brewed and expertly blended to craft this multilayered beer. The first batch was split down the middle, with 50% being aged in gin-infused bourbon barrels and the remaining half aged in rye whiskey barrels. These beers were blended with the fresh second batch of IPA, which was generously dry-hopped to impart rich aromas to accompany the citrusy, piney, woody, herbaceous flavors achieved from this truly one-of-a-kind collaboration.”

My Description: This is unique Imperial IPA is very smooth, clean, and keeps your interest. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a good retention level that leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and complex with notes of pine hops, exotic fruits, citrus hops, faint gin notes, and a touch of sweetness. NxS IPA is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is delicious with a great depth. There are notes of pine hops, herbal hops, faint alcohol notes, and some malt notes as well. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but nothing extreme, this beer is balanced beautifully. There is also a lingering gin note that delights, the finish is the best part of the beer. This is exactly what I expected from two amazing breweries. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with mint desserts or a mild cigar.

ABV: 8.2% Color: Caramel Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5/10

Muskoka Brewery Twice as Mad Tom

TWICE AS MAD TOM: 88 Points

Muskoka Twice Mad

This Imperial IPA is available year-round in 11.5 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “While the legend of Mad Tom is laden with mystery and intrigue, one thing remains clear – Mad Tom did things his own way. Twice as Mad Tom is an aggressively twice dry-hopped Imperial India Pale Ale, that delivers a definitive hop aroma and unabashedly big bold flavor.”

My Description: Twice as Mad Tom isn’t the same hop punch as its little brother but still delivers that Mad Tom flavor profile. It begins with a decent, off-white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant with notes of grapefruit hops and a hint of caramel malt; there are also some faint onion notes from the hops. Twice and Mad is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is pleasant enough but it s not balanced as cleanly as the original Mad Tom. Notes of grapefruit hops, caramel hops, and a hint of tropical notes can be detected but there is also an interesting note in the background that I could not put my finger on. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers slightly. Overall, this is a nice IIPA that is smooth and easy drinking but doesn’t separate itself from the herd. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled Cod, blue cheese, or spicy tofu.

ABV: 8.4% Color: Hazy Gold/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5/10

Stone 19th Anniversary

19TH ANNIVERSARY THUNDERSTRUCK IPA: 96 Points

Down Under Anniversary

Down Under Anniversary

This Imperial IPA is released as an anniversary beer in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our 19th anniversary beer brings the boom, delivering it to the palate in a voluminous, hop-driven thunderclap backed by the power of our brewing passion and intensity. This double IPA owes its considerable oomph to a quartet of Australian hops—Topaz and Galaxy, plus newcomers Ella and Vic Secret. We also had Fairview malt shipped in from Australia just for this brew. The beer’s striking tropical fruit, citrus and peach hop flavors and slightly resinous and aromatically dank earthiness are sure to electrify your senses.”

My Description: This is a well executed Imperial IPA because it highlights the Australian hops wonderfully while still being big, bold, and Stone. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is delicate yet dank; this beer smells great. Notes of tropical hops and stone fruits like peaches with just a hint of earthiness. Thunderstruck is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer is very smooth and the alcohol is beautifully hidden. The flavor profile boasts a clean hop bill that sits atop a modest malt backbone. There are notes of earthy hops and tropical hops along with peaches and a hint of apricots. Some hop spice notes can be detected along with raw grains, which fits beautifully in the whole scheme. The aftertaste has a moderately high bitterness that lingers forever. This is a great beer which showcases the exotic hops beautifully. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with fish tacos, pad Thai noodles, or a spicy chili.

ABV: 8.7% Color: Dark Gold Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 7/10

Bell’s The Oracle

THE ORACLE: 100 Points

Bells Oracle

The medium to the hops gods

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in late Summer in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our take on the West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale, The Oracle places hop intensity first & foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt & balance. The fireworks start with the floral aromatic punch of two separate dry-hop sessions with Amarillo and NZ Pacific Jade. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise.”

My Description: This is exactly what a double IPA is all about; massive hop notes, aggressively bitter, strong, and highly drinkable. Bell’s has created a hop masterpiece to hold me down until Hopslam is released. It begins with a large, white colored head with an excellent retention level and an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is dank and inviting with strong hops notes of citrus, floral, and some fruits like apricots. The Oracle is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Smooth and delicious, the flavor profile delivers on all fronts. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and there is the slightest addition of malt notes that builds the foundation. The hops taste fresh and are very potent with notes of pine hops, some citrus hops, and a hint of tropical hops. The aftertaste is highly bitter and lingers forever. This should be a sought after IIPA for any hop lover. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with spicy Thai noodles, goat cheese, or jerk chicken.

ABV: 10% Color: Hazy Orange Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 8.5/10

Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA

CHILLWAVE DOUBLE IPA: 99 Points

Mosaic Bliss

Mosaic Bliss

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in March in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Inspired by the North Coast’s dedicated (and sometimes chilly) surf community, our Double IPA will melt the ice in your beard and never lose its balance. Earthy, tropical Mosaic hops ride frontside here, followed by a deft cutback of sweet honey malt.”

My Description: This beer is strong but the flavors are delicate and overall Chillwave is bright and very easy drinking. It begins with a decent sized, white colored head that fades to a film that holds the whole way leaving some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with big time Mosaic hop notes. Fresh floral notes combine with hints of citrus and grapefruit along with some pale malt notes. Chillwave is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is delicious, juicy, and balanced beautifully. A hint of honey sweetness and pale malt notes are present but give way quickly to the hop flavors. Soft floral notes blend cleanly with tropical notes and grapefruit notes. This transitions smoothly into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter with lingering tropical hop notes. Great Lakes has created an extremely flavorful IIPA. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, cheesecake, or a heavy salad.

ABV: 9.4% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5/10

Stone Ruination 2.0

STONE RUINATION 2.0: 99 Points

An excellent sequel

An excellent sequel

This Imperial IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Stone Ruination IPA was the first full-time brewed and bottled West Coast double IPA on the planet. As craft beer has evolved over the years, so too have techniques for maximizing hop flavors and aromas. For the second incarnation of our groundbreaking India pale ale, we employed dry hopping and hop bursting to squeeze every last drop of piney, citrusy, tropical essence from the hops that give this beer its incredible character. We’ve also updated the name to reflect the imperial-level intensity that’s evident in every sip. Join us in cheering this, the second stanza in our “Liquid Poem to the Glory of the Hop.”

My Description: My initial reaction after taking my first sip was “wow.” This beer is excellently crafted from the mouthfeel, to the flavor profile, and the amazing aftertaste. It pours a large, off-white colored head that is dense and lasts forever leaving behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is a complex hop bomb with Citra hops standing out delivering notes of tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapple along with traditional Ruination notes of pine hops and citrus hops. The beer smells delightful. Ruination 2.0 is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile sends this beer back to top of the Double IPA podium. A clean malt backbone holds up notes of pine hops, grapefruit hops, with hints of tropical hops. This beer is bright, robust, and yet very smooth with hardly any alcohol notes. The aftertaste is highly bitter with lingering Citra hop notes. The bitterness is clean and lasts forever after you finish the beer. This beauty is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with fish tacos, coconut shrimp, or spicy Thai noodles.

ABV: 8.5% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 7.5/10

Odd Side Instigator

INSTIGATOR: 93 Points

Bring It

Bring It

This Imperial IPA is available in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “An inclusive immoral ale with an impulsive ignorant hop bite.”

My Description: The hop bite isn’t as potent as the description implies but it is noticeably bitter. This ale pours a large and dense, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is strong and interesting with notes of floral hops, citrus hops, pine hops, and berry notes like strawberries. I really like the nose on this beer. Instigator is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex for an IIPA. Sweet malt notes are accompanied by notes of citrus hops, grass, and berries. Some tropical notes also creep in but they are faint. The alcohol is nicely hidden; this beer drinks more like a regular IPA. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers for some time. This is a great beer that is nicely balanced with delicious flavors. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Cajun shrimp, kale salad, or baked duck with raspberry sauce.

ABV: 8% Color: Orange Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Greenbush Remnant of Dragon

REMNANT OF DRAGON: 94 Points

Big Bold Dragon

Big Bold Dragon

This Imperial Red IPA is a limited release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: N/A

My Description: This is a well designed IRIPA, it begins with a very large and dense, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is bold and smells clean with American hops dominating like pine and citrus. Caramel malt can be detected and there are also tropical hop notes such as mangoes and pineapple juice that add character. Remnant is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer boasts strong and intense hop flavors that taste just like they smell with notes of citrus hops and tropical fruit hops. But, there is a noticeable malt backbone to this beer with caramel malt flavors and notes of toasted bread making this beer nicely balanced. As the beer warms, it becomes more complex and flavorful without losing its smoothness. The aftertaste has a moderately high bitterness level that drowns out the alcohol nicely. I love Red IPA’s and this is right up there with a great flavor profile, an excellent body, and potent bitterness level. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, spicy Buffalo wings, or beef stew.

ABV: 9% Color: Orange/Red Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 7/10

Victory Hop Ranch

HOP RANCH: 100 Points

Suburb

Awesome

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “To our hop ranchers, who coax and cultivate our enticing and flavorful hops, we raise this glass. Selecting the finest varieties in their natural, whole flower form, we craft our Hop Ranch Imperial India Pale Ale, as a celebration of their successes. Pungent, floral and intense, this represents America’s best in every relaxing sip.”

My Description: This beer has such a raw presence, the hops taste so fresh with a vegetative note that tastes great. Plus, this ale is remarkably smooth and easy drinking with an alcohol taste that is completely hidden. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is a hop medley of floral hops, pine hops, fruity hops, and a touch of citrus hops; this beer smells fantastic. Hop Ranch is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is a hop lovers fantasy; the same combination of hops detected in the aroma is tasted here. Citrus hops, tropical fruit hops, and some floral hops are prominent along with a solid malt backbone that holds everything together. The aftertaste is moderately bitter that leaves your mouth feeling sticky from the hop oil. This beer has lots of character and is clean and juicy. It is pleasure to drink this Imperial IPA. It is best served around 45°F spicy wings, bold cheeses, or a veggie pizza.

ABV: 9% Color: Dark Gold Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Boulevard Double-Wide IPA

DOUBLE-WIDE IPA: 93 Points

Tornado Proof

Tornado Proof

This Imperial IPA is available year-round and is available in 12 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The classic India Pale Ale is a traveler’s beer, aggressively hopped to withstand the long, hot ocean voyage to the British East Indies. Our Double-Wide I.P.A. also travels well, and is right at home in the most exotic ports of call of the Midwest. While this modern-day prairie schooner may not resemble a graceful sailing sloop, our liberal hopping regimen does make her virtually “twister-proof,” with toffee and caramel notes balancing out the lingering bitterness. Enjoy this beer fresh to best appreciate the complex blending of hop aromas, ranging from minty to citrusy, with subtle hints of pine.”

My Description: This is an excellent introductory IIPA because it has a smooth texture with tons of flavor and is not overly aggressive. It pours a very large, light tan colored head with an awesome retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind lots of lacing. The aroma is hop forward with notes of pine hops, fruity hops like peaches, and a touch of mint; the aroma smells great and very inviting. Double-Wide is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer boasts a strong malt backbone with some sweet notes and an overall warming alcohol presence. The hop notes don’t disappoint here; bright citrus hop notes burst through accompanied by notes of herbal hops and a hint of pine hops. This beer has great balance and a lingering bitterness that makes for an easy drinking experience. This IIPA is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, apricot cheesecake, or gourmet cheeses.

ABV: 8.5% Color: Orange/Copper Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5/10

Victory DirtWolf

DIRTWOLF: 99 Points

Bold Hop Aroma

Bold Hop Aroma

This Imperial IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Darkly heroic, Humulus Lupulus (hops) have empowered brews with bite and character since the 11th century. DirtWolf is a tribute to these untamed vines which rise from the earth with the voracity of a “wolf among sheep.” Hops have made an assertive comeback in American craft brewing. Revel in the best U.S. varieties of hops, in their natural, whole flower form, as they bring a vital, pungent reality to the soul of a wild element in our dangerously satisfying DirtWolf Double IPA.”

My Description: This beer is exceptionally smooth for an IIPA with delicious hop notes and a bitter finish that isn’t over the top. It pours a large, white colored head with a good retention level that holds the majority of the way leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is bold and pungent with big citrus hop notes and some pine hop notes as well. DirtWolf is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A solid malt backbone provides a great base for these hops to shine through. There are notes of grapefruit hops that taste juicy along with some pine hops. Some fruitiness from the hops can also be detected like apricots. Some herbal notes can be tasted and the alcohol is beautifully hidden. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with thick burgers, hard cheeses, or with spicy Thai noodles.

ABV: 8.7% Color: Golden Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Oskar Blues Gubna (2014)

GUBNA (2014): 100 Points

Love the Hop Profile

Love the Hop Profile

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in the Spring in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Each year GUBNA takes on a personality of its own. We seek out the most exciting and best available hops fromeach individual season to create a potent and complex Imperial IPA. GUBNA is packed with Rye and North American Pale Malt and accented with Munich Malt to give a spicy and flavorful backbone to support loads of kettle hops driving the IBUs to triple digits. The 2014 GUBNA Seasonal is dry hopped with copious amounts of Sorachi Ace, Chinook and Mosaic hops creating a dank, dense nose and unique blend of lemon zest, red berries, spice, peach and herbs through a clean bitter finish. (10 percent ABV, 100+ IBUs).”

My Description: With a great overall balance, a delicious flavor profile, and an aroma that delights, this Imperial IPA is one of the best examples on the market. It begins with a very large, white colored head with an excellent retention level and it leaves behind a beautiful amount of lacing. The aroma is a collage of hop notes from citrus and woodsy to tropical notes like peaches; bread notes also creep in from time to time. Gubna is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A very smooth body allows the flavors to shine. A strong malt backbone holds up juicy hop flavors such as pine and citrus with a hint of hop spice. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter and highly satisfying. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and adds a slight warming character. Overall, this beer is flawless and the hops chosen blend together harmoniously. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with BBQ ribs, spicy seafood, or Thai noodles.

ABV: 10% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Oskar Blues G’Knight

G’KNIGHT: 95 Points

Excellent Body

Excellent Body

This Imperial Red IPA is available year-round in 16 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Our “Velvet M-80” is a hefty, dry hopped double-red ipa with a nose full of aroma, a sticky mouthfeel, a malty middle and unctuous hop flavors. G’Knight sports a surprisingly sensuous finish for a beer of its size (8.7% ABV, 60 IBUs). It’s brewed in tribute to a fellow Colorado craft beer pioneer and Vietnam vet who died fighting a 2002 wild fire outside of our Lyons hometown. G’Mornin’. G’Day. G’Knight,”

My Description: G’Knight delivers a great balance between all aspects of the beer, from the combination of flavors to the body density and texture. This is an Imperial Red IPA worth seeking out. It begins with a large, light tan colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of caramel malt, bread, woodsy and tropical hops; it smells great and introduces the many flavors that this beer offers. G’Knight is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile tastes so juicy and the hop flavors burst through with notes of tropical hops, pine hops, and some grapefruit hops. Of course, there is a big caramel malt backbone that extends all the way through the finish and lingers for some time. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but doesn’t take away from the malt sweetness too much. Overall, this beer is very smooth and the alcohol is beautifully hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, grilled steak tacos, or heavy salads with mangoes.

ABV: 8.7% Color: Amber/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 4/10

New Belgium Rampant

RAMPANT: 91 Points

Clean Imperial IPA

Clean Imperial IPA

This Imperial IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A burly and bitter Imperial IPA, Rampant pours a pure copper and carries the sheen of a rightly hopped beer. The Mosaic and Calypso hops bring stonefruit to the front seat, and the addition of Centennials nod towards citrus for a well-rounded aroma. The taste expands these hops with heavy peach tones and a profoundly bitter bite. There is some malt sweetness to stand this beer up, and Rampant’s finish is bone-dry.

My Description: This is a good introductory Imperial IPA because it is smooth, flavorful, and not too heavy or too bitter. It begins with a large, bright white colored head with an excellent retention level that lasts the whole way leaving behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma is probably the nicest part of this beer with vibrant pine hop notes and biscuit malt along with some tropical hop notes. Rampant is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer almost feels too thin at points making it drink like a regular IPA but that’s not too bad. I was hoping for a fuller body though. Either way, this beer tastes great with a hint of sweetness that floats throughout combating the dominating bitter presence. Floral hops and pine hops can be detected along with a fruit flavor that I feel is the peach that the description was talking about. The alcohol is nicely hidden and the aftertaste lingers with bitter notes for a while. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with chicken fried chicken, grilled ribs, or Thai noodles.

ABV: 8.5% Color: Golden Peach Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10