El Nino IPA - Fitger's Brewhouse

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El Nino IPA
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123 Ratings
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Ratings: 123
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 8.5%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Fitger's Brewhouse visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 09-02-2003

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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 123 | Reviews: 47
Reviews by NilocRellim:
More User Reviews:
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.

Photo of sponberg
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured it out of a very full growler - very little head; yet it tastes fully carbonated, and laces like a m'f'er so go figure. Gold with a reddish hue. Smells like a Northwestern hop harvest soaking in sweet tea.

DAYUM!!! This beer is clear - I can see through it, nothing floating around - so how come I taste hop cones? Whole. leafy, fresh picked hop cones? It's the same flavor when I pop a hop of my vines and chew on it, with the added benefit of a toasty, autumn leaves, tea and caramel maltiness behind it. All kinds of grassy, leafy, resinous, citrus rind hops going on in here. Great bitterness on the tongue. The malt's there on its 10 HP MTD but can't hope to compete with the 26 HP turbocharged John Deere hop lawn tractor mowing my tastebuds down. Finishes with a dry bitterness and lingering tea-like maltiness. Nicely medium-chewy mouthfeel. Could drink several of these until my tongue is completely numbed.

Gracias to BA JeffKrenner for the growler!!!

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

This is a hoppy full flavored IPA with big hops balancing big malt flavor.

Photo of ADR
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, Autumn Brew Review 2003...

Slightly opaque medium bright brown, good speckly head. Aroma hops dominate the smell, range in the good old fashioned grapefruit with an unexpected grassiness. Malt is honey with slight caramel but the hops (double infused and dry hopped to boot) are like knives, almost slicing into the flavor profile with a bitter pithy grapefruit. Sharp and extreme, good for hop lovers no doubt. resiny finish. A little too unbalanced in tone for me, a kick of malty sweetness like in Dogfish 90 Minute would have helped.

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.

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

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

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

They call it “double-hopped,” I’d say it just makes it big IPA. The first IPA this reminds me of Surly Furious for the long-lasting hops flavors. The malt profile is surprisingly still present with a creamy caramel taste. The hops complex comes off like variations on grapefruit hops. Definitely a must-have at Fitger’s.

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed February 4th, 2006. On tap at the brewpub. Pineapple and Kiwi aromas. Beautiful velvety brown color. Very fruity and sharp. Super hoppy, typical of an IPA. Finishes with pine and grapefruit. Smacks tart and a little heavy on the resins. Predominate use of Cascade and Centennial.

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.

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

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!

Photo of umustdrink
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy bright orange color. Head fades to splotches. Light lacing.

S - Sweet, floral hops. More sweet than bitter.

T - Initially bitter but subsides to reveal a sweet, less bitter, citrusy hop taste.

M - Biting crispness at first but then very smooth.

D - Very hoppy beer with a good amount of alcohol.

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...

Photo of supercolter
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a very good beer but not a great representation in my opinion. There is a bit too much malt which makes this one edge on an APA. However, the hops are drier and seem to more make this taste a bit like the English version. I did like this beer, very big bite from the hops and mouthfeel is nice and oily like its supposed to be. Drinkability is pretty good.

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.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer came a dark honey brown that was a bit cloudy. The head was fluffy and off white that left a little lace.

Smells deliciously of pineapples, pines and honey.

Tastes of simple sweet oat and wheat malt blended well with a good stinging dryness.

Mouth feel was medium with a medium carbonation.

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

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

Growler provided by feloniousmonk through GIF 6. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a creamy 1/2" light tan head over the orangey golden amber brew. Head dwindles never quite disappears, and leaves nice lacing. Aroma is piney hops, lots of them. Taste is upfront with smoothing sweet malts, sort of softening the abrupt arrival of the Pineville Hops Express. Leaves an intense bitterness on the tongue, leaving me thinking there must be hop leaves in there somewhere, looking again, it doesn't seem to be so. Mouthfeel is excellent for such a hoppy brew, and drinkability is good as well. An enjoyable beverage, and I can only hope my subsequent GIF 6 offering will stand tall like this one.

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.

Photo of shadow1961
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fitgers Brewhouse El Nino Double-hopped IPA pours a finger of foam over a honey
colored brew. The nose is one of the most gorgeous I've ever smelled- apricots and
flowers. The flavor is big, rich, almost floral malt backed up with grapefuity hops, with
a darker, piney/grassy finish. Wonderful tasty stuff.

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.

Photo of mnstorm99
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 100th review and what a great beer for it.

Nice pour with a great 2 finger sticking head that laces pretty on the glass.
Aroma is a beautiful citrus, spicy hop and a little sweetness there maybe some carmel to come.
Hops come through big time in this one, big citrus flavor with a nice sweetness to it, this is a good hop bomb as it is balanced out well with the malt, but the bitterness stays with you.
Great mouthfeel, with a nice chewy feel and very well carbonated. I could easily have a few of these, and seem to stop in for a growler whenever I go through Duluth.

Photo of Redrover
3.57/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

They claim double hoping, should this one actually be an Imperial IPA?

The beer was bronze with a skim of foam and hardly any lacing.

Nose is of hops, think a citrus grove in a pine forest. Best part of the beer.

Taste is grapefruit and pine. Bracing and almost puckering. Unbalanced to be sure as the malt seems to missing. Some sourness emerges on the third sip, malts still MIA.

Very low carbonation and smooth mouth cannot overcome lack of balance. Big beer with big flaws. They should try again as the bones of a good beer are in place.

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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El Nino IPA from Fitger's Brewhouse
91 out of 100 based on 123 ratings.