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El Nino IPA | Fitger's Brewhouse

48 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Fitger's Brewhouse
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by tavernjef on 09-02-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 130
Photo of Sixpoint
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

excellent IPA from an unassuming and cool spot on the shores of Lake Superior...these folks are bangin' out good beers and have been doing so for 15+ years strong

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Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brilliant gold under a 1" white foam collar that persists and leaves sheets of lace. This is a hoppy full flavored IPA with big hops balancing big malt flavor.

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Photo of joe1510
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

64oz Growler
Fitger's Brewpub - Duluth. MN

El Nino is a surprising garnet red with crystal clarity. I could read a book through the body of this beer. The antique white head is rich and creamy leaving sheet lacing down the glass as I drink. The interior of the glass is almost 100% covered in foam. This is a great looking beer but I have to say I'm a little worried at how dark the body is. Looks like there's lots of malt.

There is a lot of malt, comparitively, in this IPA but it's nicely balanced with a big, juicy, sweet hop profile. Brown sugared grapefruit, orange marmalade, and wildflower honey all show up. The hops are basically citrus drivien and dripping with sweetness while the malt profile is big and biscuity with some lightly toasted white bread. I like the smell of this beer.

The flavor is nearly the same with biscuity malts and light toast laying a solid malt base. Big sweetened citrus is the highlight though. Candied citrus peel, sugared ruby red grapefruit, and honey drizzled candied orange... I don't know where this shit comes from but that's how it tastes. I wasn't all that interested upfront but as I dissect this beer it really starts to grow on me.

I'm met with a full figured body on each sip. It's all at once rich, full, and dense while showing a little stick on the backend. The bitterness grows but never past moderate and even though there's sweetness on the finish it gradually dries.

El Nino gets nicked simply because it's labaled an IPA by the brewery. If this was labeled as a hoppy red I would give it a much higher score and everyone, including myself, would have a much better idea of what they're getting into. The flavors are full & lush, the citric hoppiness is dripping & sweet, and the body is luxurious; I just don't see where this is an IPA... In Minnesota apparently.

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Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off white head. Color is an amber copper.

Aroma: very hoppy! Reminds me of TH. floral and grassy and earthy. A lot of fruit and citrus. Lighter malt profile.

Taste: a bit more malts show here but it is still really hoppy. Very juicy and hop resiny. Floral and grapefruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: bitter and sticky. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a really enjoyable ipa. Great amount of hoppiness but maybe a bit too bitter.

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Photo of yamar68
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper orange with a healthy dose of milky, off-white head and nice lacing and beading. The nose is big on sweet citrus, honey, caramel, really nice. The taste brings waves of all kinds of bitter: grapefruit, orange peel, spruce, some booze, pretty complex, multidimensional. Pretty low drinkability given its comparatively high bitterness. But all around, a terrific beer.

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Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now we're talking. A big, robust IPA seems the perfect way to wind up the night, well, at least before taking on the killer barleywine.

Looks like a textbook IPA (or that might be online textbook these days), amber/copper, but very still, low carbonation. Smell is a zinger into the mucus membranes, bitter, hoppy, makes me want to chug it, not sniff.

El Nino IPA delivers on its nasal promise. First impression is that's this is an IPA huge on the oily, resiny side of hops; reminds me a lot of Steel Toe's Size 11. The flavor is more in the oiliness than the bittering, though that's present too at a lower level. Piney, fruitiness to the hops that lingers & sticks through the aftertaste & beyond. Lovely drinker for being part of the 7%.

Hard call, but this might have been my favorite beer of the night, the hops were lovely, fragrant, busting out all over. Gimme that slickness any time. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 10-24-11
*Big thanks to Mid for the growler hookup!

Yo Soy El Nino!

A: El Nino pours a golden amber color with some nice clarity to it. Slightly hazy still with some lighter hued edges. Big two finger beige whip with some really nice retention and tracks of lace.

S: Smells pretty nice with some herbal and spice. Juicy sweetness with some fruity yeast character.

T: Taste is juicy sweet hops. Pungent with resinous pines and bright citrus notes. Touch of spice and some stone fruits. Malt is present with some toasty grain accents but very subtle bringing a nice residual sweetness to the table. Allowing the hops to come through and stay a while. Slight alcohol flavors. Really nice balance. Very drinkable.

M: Slight oily slick mouth coat with a medium-lighter body. Somewhat smooth texture. Not incredibly creamy nor watered down. Hops do resonate with bitters. Dry clean crisp finish.

D: Nice overall balance with a decent hop factor and subtle malt base. Nothing to go yelling the deets from the rooftops for but I did find this one quite enjoyable. Hoppy and very drinkable.

Cheers Allen! My bro and I crushed the growler with ease.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ths IPA was my first taste of the Duluth beer scene and it sure put a smile on my face. The cloudy amber-ish brew seemed to stare at me, almost daring me to drink it, it was so intense looking. The aroma was all hops, and strong ones at that. The first taste was also strong with hops, but not overbearing, just about perfect. There was also notes of pine and citrus, typical for IPAs, but good. I had no problem finishing this beer off with the hops balancing the richness of by BBQ burger. If I already didn't have several growlers at home I didn't use, I would have bought one to take back to Iowa. When in Duluth, this is the beer to have.

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Photo of gatornation
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had a pint at fitgers then bought a growler

A- pours a nice amber /orange color with a 1 finger white head ...some lacing and a nice collar

S- resinous hops with pine and citrus with sweet malts some baked bread

T- nice citrus hops on the palate with pine and floral notes..a sweet caramel malt balances out the hops

M- crisp and zesty hops with a smooth malt balance with medium/low carbonation

O- a tasty west coast style ipa style from the north shore.. its good stuff

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my oversized Founders snifter.

A good looking amber hue. A solid finger of off white head. Lacing sticks around for the party. Grapefruit, pine and hops dance across my nostrils.Malt and a touch of breadiness too. The warmer the ipa is the sweeter it is up front. Caramel malt is there but it immediately gives way to some piney resin. Bitterness on the backend. I daresay that the mouthfeel is actually creamy and rather chewey. In my opinion highly drinkable. The Hoops brothers have a knack for brewing beer. Next time i'm up the way of the North Shore I should pick one up for my trade partners.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brew housein Duluth, into a small sampler glass.

Orange-amber color, great lace.

Citrus and pine hop aroma.

Bitter and good flavor profile typical of an IPA, but still noteworthy.

A little ester like quality peeks in.


A very good IPA. When in Duluth, try everything at Fitger's but don't leave this one out!

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Photo of Snow81
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Cloudy copper

Smell: Citric with notes of pine

Head: Dissipates quickly

Taste: Citric right up front then a small pine note comes in, after that the back of the palate and the cheeks get inflamed with grapefruit so yummy!

Weight: Some maltyness but not to much weight

Finish: Grapefruit stays in the cheeks, very nice

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Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a dark amber slightly cloudy with virtually no head. Carbonation appears to be very low.

S- Smells very clean, crisp even. Some citrusy hops comes through, some malty sweetness and just a little grassy. Can't detect any alcohol

T- Hops are the star. Citrusy hops a little pine. Again very clean and crisp tasting. It finishes with a nice hoppy bitterness with no sign of stopping. Very refreshing.

M- The carbonation is low and the body is light. Might have waited too long to drink this one because I've had it before and the carbonation wasn't this low. Lesson #1, don't let your IPA filled growler sit in the fridge for two weeks. Still very good.

D- Might be the most drinkable IPA I've had. This beer is brewed with purified water from lake Superior which gives it an especially refreshing taste to it. Exceptional.

I may update this review upon drinking a growler that is fresh...

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Photo of rudylaw
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ShawnBGP for the growler. Served all day in a taster glass at Darkness Day.

Pours a cloudy amber with a fluffy head. Looks the look for sure.

Smells like a bouquet of hops. All the players are here... pine, citrus, floral. Seems like there's going to be a lot going on!

I get a ton of pine in the taste and a good deal of malt. It's very good but nowhere near as tooth-melting as the aroma suggested.

It's fairly smooth and not at all prickly for an IPA. Needs more carbonation! Still, fantastic drinkability as the growler didn't take long to go bye-bye.

All in all a darn good IPA from a brewery I hope to get more accustomed to.

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Photo of tewaris
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

El Nino Double Hopped IPA
Fitger's brewhouse
American IPA
7% ABV
Sampled at the brewpub in a pint glass on September 26, 2010

Appearance 5/5
Poured clear, deep copper-red with a good white head, that had great retention and left an excellent lacing.

Aroma 4.5/5
Smells like a pine forest: piney, herbal and very fresh smelling ale, that seems generously late/dry hopped. Very inviting smell.

Taste 4.5/5
Full of hop flavor without being overly bitter: pine, lemon peel citrus, and grass. Nice, light, maltiness supports the hops pretty well. Finishes dry with a bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel 4.5/5
Very good, but a higher carbonation might help this beer. Otherwise perfect.

Drinkability 5/5
The best!

This American IPA is as good as any other. I am glad I got to try it! A hidden gem.

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Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: creamy head atop a coppery medium-amber beer, well retained with good lacing

s: nice malt-hop competition here, fruity caramel thinned with a bit of pale malt holds up well to a vivid green pine hop nose, fresh and sappy, pungent orange and grapefruit citrus, very nice

m: smooth bodied, moderately carbonated

t: pale malt body with a nice level of fruity caramel, powerful green pine hops with some sweeter orange flavors, the finish contains a harsh, sappy bitterness - just the way I like it, some booze pulls out towards the end

d: no problem, a great IPA from Fitger's

pint at the brewpub, consumed with a delicious beau burger

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Photo of dirtylou
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on-tap, had on both recent visits to Fitger's

cellphone notes

appearance: served in a standard pint - deep copper-amber body, oily beige suds

smell: very nicely hopped - grapefruit zest, floral hops, light caramel malt

taste: This is a great IPA - aggressively hopped but maintains great balance. The hop profile is fresh and pulpy with an emphasis on punchy citrus like grapefruit and tangerine. This double-hopped IPA (one less than miller lite i guess) really delivers - do not miss it when in Duluth

mouthfeel: oily hop resin, just the right hit of bitterness

drinkability: good

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Photo of jera1350
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up on the way to the north shore.

Coppery orange color with a light colored head that leaves plenty of lace.

Bitter as hell. A palate wrecker. Loads of piney hops with a buttery caramel malt backbone. Piney and bitter well into the aftertaste.

Smooth feel, medium body.

The bitterness takes its toll, but the bitterness will fill any hop desire you have. Big bitter IPA that is well crafted.

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Stopped in about two weeks ago, sampled it, was the most appealing to me to get in a growler, so I did. I'm reviewing from the just opened growler and this is about how I felt about the beer then. The growler has a expiration date almost a month out from when I got it, I imagine it was pretty fresh.

A: Small head, less than one finger and most of the bubbles are large. The beer is a slightly hazy copper-orange with a brown core. very little active carbonation. Patently average.

S: Slightly piney, but I get a touch of alcohol. It's not terribly strong, which is too bad. I like an IPA that, while it doesn't knock me out, gives me a good knock across the nose. I also get a little bit of cooked grain, like an oatmeal cereal. Not enough hops at all.

T: Taste provides a good deal more, though still not a whole bunch, hops. Piney, but not bitingly so. These seems to me to almost be a toned down version of two hearted. Overly malty. Jut not impressed, though I'm now getting a bitter finish, though not in a good way. It's sort of an unpleasant lingering at the back of my throat. Better than I can imagine an IPA being, and I prefer this side of the hop balance to the other, but still not something I'm going to seek out.

M: This, I like. Very full body though there is a solid bitter bite on the back end. Smooth and slick, could use some more carbonation but it's not flat.

D: I am very not impressed with this beer. I will give it another try in a pint, not a growler. We'll see.

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Photo of THORN
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/07/09. Poured from growler into snifter. Growler had good till date 11/30/09.
A: Medium brown, peach around edges, nice lacing.
S: Sweet fruity hops.
T: Very sweet, gentle shift to hops, and pale malts. Slight bitter lingers.
M: Moderately light on tongue, kind of off feeling left on tongue from bitterness.
D: Pretty good, not great.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from growler into shaker pint glasses (cap says 9/21...from 2008).
A: Dark cloudy honey in color with 1/2 inch white head. Very nice.
S: A wonderful mix of hops...floral, citrus, and a hint of pine. Beautiful aroma.
T: Piney citrus with good caramel malt balance. Not as hoppy as the aroma suggested.
M: There is still a sharp hop bite, but much smoother than you'd expect given style.
D: Very drinkable summer quencher. In my opinion, this is the perfect ABV for this style of brew. Paired well with burgers and steak on the grill. Seek it out!

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Photo of Greggy
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to my buddy, Toastomatic for hooking me up with this great brew.

A- Pours a golden amber color with a nice 2 finger white head with nice retention and great lacing.

S- Big fresh hoppy aromas. Notes of pine, resin. Very floral but backed by a sweet malt.

T- Starts off very thick with great big maltines and then immediately gets exceptionally hoppy with notes of citrus,and pine. The finish is nice and dry.

M- Very thick mouthfeel, low carb.

D- What a great IPA. Definitely not sessionable but is an excellent beer overall.

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Photo of Deuane
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A hand delivered growler thanks to a non-BA buddy.

A -Clear copper with a medium white head that reduced a bit to a thin cap that held nicely that left spotty lacing.

S-Nice pop of floral citrus hops and a touch of pine. Well backed by sweet caramel malt.

T-Strong hop bitterness with fruity citrus and sharp pine spiciness. A nice supporting malt balance but this is without question a hop forward brew.

M-Medium-light body resulting in a brew that is a bit to thin for what it should be. Could use a bit more backbone to support the hop bill.

D-Despite the minor shortcoming this is a hop forward number that I am more than happy to drink. Sure, there are better but this has little to complain about. A quality MN brewed hop bomb from a brewery NOT in the Twin Cities!

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Photo of ffejherb
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler into shaker pint glass on 11/1/08.

A - Clear reddish orange body with about a finger's width of bubbly white head that yielded nice wall of bubbles and lacing.

S - Hints of pine and citrus hops backed by sweet caramel malt. Some earthy, herbal tea-like hops are also present.

T - Bold hop bitterness with fruity and citrus notes, a bit of pine and some perfume. There's also a bit of backing malt with hints of sweet caramel, but overall this is quite the hoppy affair.

M - Light to medium body with soft carbonation and oily texture. Mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin overall. Finish is dry with a long-lasting lingering bitterness on the palate.

D - This is quite a hoppy little IPA, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try this brew.

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Photo of Buebie
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This grolwer has been properly cellard for 1 year. Purchased October 13th of 2007.

Poured from a growler with heat wraped cap.
I had to shake the growler slightly to awaken the carbonation. As I've found this is necassary with 6+ month growlers.

Poured into my Ommegang snifter. Thick 2 finger white head forms up top. Color is a transparent brilliant redish copper. Retention is outstanding, no let up of the head, that has not settled to half a finger of retention. As it has sat for 10 minutes untouched.
Lace is thick and drapey.

Aroma is a pungeant honey, cloves, fresh baked bread. Apple fruitieness, piney hop aroma, tangerines. The hops have melted down a bit in the aroma with the age. Still present, but not as in your face.
The sweet honey aroma has moved into the main arena of aroma.

Taste is big fruity and oozing apples and honey in a jucy burst. Through the middle, malt and grains with sweet smooth textures.
Carbonation zing has also really smoothed out with age, its mouthfeel is cask like. Carbonation still present and this is by no means flat. But the improvement in the mouthfeel is awsome!
After the swallow hops sneak in un anounced and entertain my tounge with a thick blasting on pine and grapefruit. Lingering for several minutes. Finish is dry and bitter with great hop backing.

I really enjow what age has done to this beer. Fitger;s is a great establishment with delightful brews. I look forward to ageing another.

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El Nino IPA from Fitger's Brewhouse
91 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.