1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Captain's Reserve Imperial IPACaptain's Reserve Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,128 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,128
Reviews: 516
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 189
Gots: 121 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: John on 02-13-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,128 | Reviews: 516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wedge421
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Medium to dark orange with a slightly off white head of about 2 fingers. Dead on for the style.

S - Pine and citrus notes with hints of tropical fruits. Small amounts of alcohol are noticeable. Very nice aroma on this one.

T - Awesome bitterness followed by just enough sweet malts to balance it out. Hope notes are much more tropical fruit in the taste rather then in the smell.

D - If this werent 9% I could easily drink 4-5 of these! Oh hell I would do it anyways. Great Stuff!

Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had never heard of this until a few BA's suggested I try it. Sounds like a must try. Pretty cocky text on the label too.

A- Super frothy white head. Nectar cola colored like some kind of dark piss-gold. Frothy lacing as well.

S- Smells hoppy of course but a little different from anything I've had. Smells a bit like a hop pastry or cake. Marzipan. Grapefruit peel. Doesn't smell particularly good as an IPA but just smells good as a beer in general.

T- Mmm. IIPA. Alcohol is strong and almost the dominant flavor but it's a good flavor. Something in the alcohol tase is akin to whisky. Really not that bitter.

M- Far from crisp with low carbonation. Goes down smooth. Kind of a disappointing mouthfeel but it stil feels very good.

D- Good. Tasty but I shared a bottle (1pint .9oz) and it was just right, didn't need more. Very warming.

I liked it. Didnt blow me away but it's a very good beer and I would buy it again.

EDIT: My ratings might not be that high but I did enjoy it.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a golden yellow color, mild white head, thin lacing around the glass and a decent amount of carbonation.

S - Compared what other reviewers were citing, this bottle is a let down. The aroma is weak and and the malt smell is a little more dominating than I would prefer. There are faint traces of pineapple, pine, citrus and some sweet malt.

T - Mimics the aroma. The balance of the beer stays pretty even throughout the entire sip with some alcohol warming at the end. There are mild amounts of pine and citrus with sweet malt evident at the very beginning and end along with some honey flavor, and is a little flowery. I can't really say much more about the taste, it's so incredibly mild that not much else is even jumping out.

M - Leaves a a mild citric metallic and sweet malt coating in the mouth. Medium body, mild carbonation on the tongue.

D - Is good because of the balance but having some idea how this should taste leaves me thinking this bottle is way past its prime and I just bought it yesterday. Mundane, boring, mild, and not memorable at all. Unfortunately I'm scoring this lower than I should based on this particular bottle. I'd love to have a fresh one on tap and experience how this beer should REALLY taste. Once I have a fresh one I know I'll be changing this review, Captain Lawrence is a solid brewer and their beers are always well done.

Photo of Lukafer
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Arenbeer for the awesome trade!

Pours a light golden with 2 fingers of head. Nose is citrusy up front with some alcohol and malt. Taste is malty up front with some piny hop flavor, and a smooth finish. Mouthfeel is medium with a decent amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good, definitely glad I got to try it.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Big thanks to 6DaysBottomOcean for the hookup.

Hazy golden-yellow pour. Monstrous fluffy white head tops out at just shy of three inches, peaking out over the top of the glass. Lace is outstanding.

Big citric and sweet hop nose. That's exactly how I like 'em. Grapefruit/orange/pineapple/etc with just a touch of herbal and piney bitterness.

Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA almost tastes more like a fruit juice cocktail than any DIPA I've had before. It's got a lot of sweetness (both from the malt and all of those citric flavors) with a resinous bitter/lightly alcoholic finish. It's surprising, and delicious. Good balance, and not overly bitter. The little alcohol bite keeps me from giving the flavor a 5.

Really enjoy the texture. If it's not full bodied, it's damn close. Nice and chewy. Soft carbonation. Pretty easy drinker. A really solid DIPA, especially for the East Coast.

Photo of alleykatking
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Lukafer for busting this one out!

A- Pours a clear golden yellow color. One finger white head stays for a quick second before dying to a small cap on the beer. Ringing lacing on the glass as I drank it down.

S- Big citrus hops (pineapple mostly) in the front. Some light sweet alcohol in the ending that is distinct along with some bready notes in the middle of the aroma. Simple but works really well.

T- Nice kick of citrus hops in the front of this beer right off the bat. Some light alcohol in the middle of this along with some caramel bready malts. Nice piney bitter hop kick in the backing of this.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Hops and hop resin are all over the palate, teeth, lips, and aftertaste. Flavors are crisp and is mostly clean tasting. Some light alcohol drying on the palate.

D- This has some good drinkability to this overall. The higher ABV limits this beer to one or two before switching to something lower. Very tasty and I could see this being a staple in the fridge if it were here. Glad to have tried this beer out.

Photo of levifunk
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brought this to Madison, WI BA Tasting #2

appearance - light gold with a white head.
smell - citrus hops. hint of grapes?
taste - pretty bitter and dry, but not overpowering. drinks a bit hot. hint of a nutty undertone
mouth - very light feel, good carbonation.
overall - surprised this is 9%. This has a solid hoppy flavor without being too overpowering.

Photo of womencantsail
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for sending me a bottle of this.

A: The pour is very pretty. A clear amber color with a massive white head and tons of sheeted lacing on the glass.

S: A really sharp pineapple, grapefruit, and slightly piney aroma. There is a touch of alcohol too, but it melds in with the pineapple sweetness.

T: A very strong bitterness to the flavor, but not really all that much else. Certainly piney, but the same fruitiness is not present here.

M: The body is medium with a medium carbonation and a bit of alcohol warmth, especially as the beer warms up a little bit.

D: Not a bad IPA from the east coast. I would prefer a bit more contrast in terms of the hop flavors, but this one is pretty easy to drink, especially at 9%.

Photo of Lerxst
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to a non-BA friend Kyle for this one!

A-Pours a clear gold with a one finger white head that has moderate retention and leaves a fair amount of sticky lacing.

S-Strong citrus hops lead off, followed up with faint notes of malt. Its not complex, but smells very, very good.

T-Citrus hops are at the forefront here too. A slightly resinous taste is lingering along with touches of caramel and biscuits. I'm really liking this one.

M-Medium body, nice level of carbonation (not too much, not too little), dry finish.

D-This is very easy drinking, especially for a 9% beer. The alcohol is not detectable to me at all. I polished off this bottle very quickly and wanted to have another.

My first beer from Captain Lawrence, and I was really impressed. I hope to land some more of this one.

Photo of Aenema
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a crystal clear, pale honey. Topped with thick, whipped white peaks of foam. Leaves an intricate web of lacing along the glass.
Smell - Lots of citrus; pineapple, grapefruit. Some sweet caramel malts in the background.
Taste - Hops seem a little faded, sweet caramel malts, some citrus; most notable hop aspect is the steady, building bitterness, though that fades faster than expected.
Mouthfeel - Rich, creamy feel. Medium to medium-full with a slightly syrupy finish.
Drinkability - Fairly drinkable, though it is quite sweet and although the alcohol is not distracting, the beer is still pretty filling.
Overall - Great pour and very good nose, though the lack of intense hop flavor makes me suspect the bottle took its sweet time in getting down to DC from NY (though the bottle wasn't sitting in the store very long; it had not been in when I was in the store two weeks prior to purchase).

Photo of medic25
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass. Darker golden color with a huge white head. Citrusy aroma. Flavor is surprisingly balanced for a DIPA. There is a strong hop flavor, fairly piney, but with a decent element of malt to keep it from being overwhelming. Very smooth drinking for such a high ABV; definitely worth trying again.

Photo of kwakwhore
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review number 200 deserves a little something out of the ordinary, and since I only have one of these and I'm not likely to see another one any time soon, I guess this fits the bill. Thanks to hoppymcgee for this extra from a trade.
Pours a beautiful dark gold with a huge off white head and leaves a good bit of lacing around the rim of the glass.
Hops and a bit of citrus in the nose.
Although this beer is brewed as far away from the west coast as possible, it is a worthy representative of the style with a massive hop profile. Sweet malt underneath, but a nice amount of hoppy goodness up front. Bitter grapefruit dominates the hop profile.
Nice amount of hop oils along with a gentle carbonation make the mouthfeel a very pleasing part of this beer.
This beer is very easy to drink and gives very little evidence that there is 9% abv at work here. I may regret finishing the bomber, but so far it's been nothing but pleasure.
This beer brings the hops with the best of them. I'll be looking for it again for sure.

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mikey711 for this one - I'm excited to try it.

A - Pours very light. Just a couple shades of amber lighter than your average macro. Crazy. Nice soapy two finger head and good lacing remind you that there is probably something going on here.

S - Yep, there's a double IPA in this glass - no mistake there. This smells great - plenty of fresh, piney hops, with a bit of citrus present as well. Not too much malt in the nose for me to detect...

T&M - Two sips and this one is on my want list. I definitely get the comparison to Pliny - the light body, deceptive ABV, intense fresh piney hop charactaristics, oily but still clean mouthfeel. All there... If anything, this finishes a little more on the harsh side than Pliny, but sometimes you want to taste that harshness. Very good.

D - The light body makes this an easy beer to put back. I wouldn't call it unbalanced by any means, but the flavor here is strong enough that I'm ok stopping after just one bottle. Good thing, because more would mean nap time.

Photo of scootny
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great answer to the Left Coast dominance of the style. Pale copper with a healthy white head and very nice lacing. Retention is impressive as is the superb clarity. Smell is thick with pine and toffee like sweetness. A healthy dose of yeast rich bakery whole grain breadiness. A bit of tropical fruits working subtly. Taste is a balanced hop showcase. First hit is a heavy dose of grapefruit and hop oil that quickly flows into an astringent leafy bitterness. In between that is toffee and caramel malt with more malt and whole multigrain bread. It may try to flex but the hops win. No trace of the alcohol anywhere. Super dry finish with a complex hop blend lingering along with just a touch of whole wheat biscuits. Feel is crisp, quenching and surprisingly lighter that you might think. Feels is more like an IPA. A DIPA in the vein of PtE that goes down smoothly. Drinkability is dangerous. No hint of the potency of this brew combined with a delicious taste and quenching feel begs for respect for the brewers art here. Proceed with caution and joy. Smooth stuff.

Photo of rpstevens
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours a vibrant orange with a nice amber center. There is a foamy thin white head that leaves a bit of oily lacing on the glass.

The smell is dominated by citrus hops. Lots of oranges, grapefruit and lemon zest. There is also a generous amount of caramel behind all the citrus, but it is definitely in the background.

The taste is oranges, lemon peels and grapefruit first and foremost with hints of pine cones. The caramel isn't as present in the flavor as in the smell, but there is an alcohol sweetness that rears it's head in the finish.

The beer is well carbonated, medium bodied and it has a nice dry finish. I think the mouthfeel and the drinkability suffer because the alcohol sweetness is a bit harsh and intrudes on the other flavors at times.

Photo of DNICE555
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Eli's

A - Hazy golden amber body with a small white head

S - Citrus, hops, very nice. Just what it should smell like

T - Tastes like a West Coast IPA. Predominant Hops and some nice citrus coming through.

M - Medium carbonation. Nice feel to it.

D - Great IPA. High abv but balanced and goes down easy.

Photo of mdfb79
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into my Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary tulip.

a - Pours a golden amber color with about one finger of white head. Nice lacing and light carbonation evident.

s - Smell is bready and sweet malts, caramel, and small notes of citrus hops. Hops are not very prominent, but the smell is decent.

t - Taste is smooth caramel and bready malts again. As you swallow you get some citrus and pine hops with a tiny bit of bitterness, but not much. Not a bad taste, but not what I was expecting at all.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

d - I thought this was a pretty good beer, but it was a lot different than what I was expecting. It didn't have much hops to the smell or taste like I like in IPAs, however the caramel and bread malts very enjoyable. I'd try it again.

Photo of cannabanaceae
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sent FRESH from mikey711-Thanks

Beautiful color, nice frothy head, some lacing.

Smell was very low key, faint citrus fruit, sweet malt. Not much.

Taste is way more hoppy than you would think when you smelled it, some grapefruit, a little pine, lots of bitterness. The malt bill on this has an unusual blood orange taste that finishes very interesting. Not much alcohol present considering the 9%ABV> Mouthfeel was smooth and dry.

Glad to have tried this NY DIPA. I would have liked more hoppy smell and a little more sweetness. This is worth trying.

Photo of metter98
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours clear yellow with a little head. The level of carbonation is very active and a layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface revealing lacey patterns.
S: There's a huge aroma that smells like a bouquet of flowers intermixed with piney hops.
T: The initial flavors are a mirror image of the smell, with a decidedly hoppy finish that leaves some bitterness on the palate. There are some underlying malts in the flavors but the flavor of hops is rather dominant, as it should be for this style.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied on the palate and the level of carbonation is perfectly matched.
D: This is very easy to drink. It packs a lot of punch in the way of flavor and the alcohol is very well hidden.

Photo of timtim
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been a fan since this brewery opened it's doors, and it's nice to see them gaining recognition. Great clarity and very attractive burnt gold color with a white head that holds well and leaves lots of webby lace. Nose is rustic, dank herbal, musty, sweet bread, caramel and tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, guava...). Taste is really nice. Slightly sticky, medium body reminiscent of hop-laced sweet, fresh bread, just like the nose suggests, with the bitterness being almost fully neutralized by malty sweetness, but a touch of heat from the alcohol boosts the hop character and just a hint of bitter wraps it up all proper like. One of the most elegant American big beers I've ever had. Keep 'em coming Captain!!

Photo of PDXHops
2.28/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle, poured in increments into a La Chouffe tulip. No visual dating information.

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a gentle, yet steady, stream of visual carbonation. A finger of white head recedes quickly, but just as quickly begins leaving some patchy lacing. sticky lacing. Subsequent pours increase the head size, but not the amount of lacing.

Aromas are underwhelming. Doughy malts and a slight mustiness somewhat obscure mild citrus and a touch of pine. Old bottle, maybe?

The flavors again have me wondering if this may be an old bottle. Mild citrus, sweet malt, rather boring overall, although there is a decent level of underlying piney bitterness. Malt dominates at the finish, with only sweetness and a bit of booze lingering. This beer is screaming for a serious injection of hops.

Overall impression: Tasty enough, but for the style, too tame, too malty, too uneventful. Not recommended.

Photo of Buebie
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gratitude to mikeraser for sending this terrific extra my way!

Poured the 500ml brown bottle into an over sized snifter. A semi soft pour yields about an inch of off white dense foamy head. Color is a hazy light golden orange. not transparent, so a good unfiltered dry hoped look to this.
Lace is thin leaving wispy trails on the walls of the glass.

Aroma consists of a real rich sweet robust bready aroma. mixing it up with a buttery sweetness. Did not expect that at all. Partnering with a mango fruity hop profile. Its a tropical island fruit really, Hawaiian punch like with pineapple, mango's and melons.
A faint hint at alcohol on the back end of aroma.

Taste is also fairly bready with a warming alcohol sensation and loads of bitters at the swallow. Starting out sweet though and very full bodied in a creamy thick slick texture. Almost lactose like in that sense, because this is so thick and full bodied, its desirable too. Some great malty flavors here creating great balance between hop bomb and malt backing with sweet floral notes and clover honey.
The sweet island fruit up front, then turning into a bitter obliteration at the swallow and finish. Pine, grapefruit, resin, a touch of mint, banana and plenty of floral hops too. Some mineral water flavors lingering through the finish, but mostly bitter pine resin.

This is one badass sneaky impy ipa. Dont let the malt fool you, hops will bite.
Great beer!

Photo of Jayli
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired this from tigg924 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a clear, bright copper color with a 3 finger of offwhite head that retains nicely. Head eventually recedes leaving a ton of thick sticky lace along the glass.

S: Nose is of big piney hops, and a good deal of citrusy hops. There is a solid caramel malt presence as well in the back ground.

T: Taste starts with a subdued caramel malt flavoring and a hint of grapefruit bite. Taste then quickly moves in to a juicy orange taste mingled with a healthy flavoring of pininess. Taste finishes with a nice earthy and grassy hops flavor that lingers slightly on the tongue.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, creamy body, slightly oily with a touch of a dry finish.

D: Goes down easily, nice juicy hops, well blended - comes up big in the hops but the malt backbone keeps it from being overwhelming. Damn fine DIPA and one that I would have a couple of pints of in a sitting.

Photo of Heybeerguy
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very drinkable despite the 9%abv. I would have guessed it to be a more modest abv. The aroma hops are a bit mild, but the flavoring/bittering hops more than make up for it. Notes of citrus, especially grapefruit...

M. As far as body, this beer was surprisingly light on the tounge. Mouthfeel was slightly creamy, maybe from low carbonation...

Overall, this is a great example of a Double/imperial ipa.

Photo of dasenebler
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm digging the German-style pint bottle, though the proof's in the pudding... or should be.

Poured into my Aventinus glass for the hell of it. Really nice clear gold color with an even more impressive head and lacing.

Aroma has hints of citrus and spice, but not nearly enough hop presence for a DIPA.

Flavor is decent. Definitely bitter, but not really impressive in terms of hop flavor. I get a lot of residual sugary sweetness and maltiness, which might be a sign most of the hoppiness has dissipated, and that this bottle is past its prime. Excellent mouthfeel and carbonation are redeeming factors.

I can't tell if this beer is past its prime because there is no dating information on the bottle. In the end, the price was right on this bottle (4 dollars), so I can't complain too much.

Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,128 ratings.