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Palate Shifter Imperial IPA - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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Palate Shifter Imperial IPA
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1,164 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,164
Reviews: 520
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 206
Gots: 145 | 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:
Beer added by: John on 02-13-2006

Hops, and lots of them. The aroma is bursting with the classic citrus and pine aroma of American-grown hops. The flavor is dominated by a hoppy bitterness, with just enough malt to make you want to take another sip. (Formerly known as "Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA.")
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,164 | Reviews: 520
Photo of dubinsky
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this beer while on a trip to Manhattan at the AMAZING Whole Foods on 2nd and Houston. The largest beer selection i have ever seen. Being a Northern Californian, I am truly spoiled with amazing IIPA's (pte, Racer 5, Firestone Walker, Alesmith...etc) this is one of the finest i have tasted from the east coast which i think has a distinct difference (more malt forward than west coast)

A - Pours a very light, clear amber. Nice soapy head and good lacing/retention remind me how oily such a beer can be.

S - This smells great - plenty of fresh, citrus and piney hops, Not too much malt going on here.

T&M - WOW!!!, this is a great IIPA. I didn't expect this, since i have not been truly impressed with east coast IPA's in the past (with a few exceptions). I see some resemblance to pte, intensely fresh piney hop characteristics, oily but still clean mouth-feel.

D - The light body makes this an easy beer to drink. Thankfully i only have one, but if i had another i would be tempted to drink it. Damnit, why did i only buy one bottle?

Photo of Augustiner719
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a crystal clear, amber sort of color with a big fluffy head that has ridiculous retention. Overwhelming bubbles in the head leave a spiderwebbed lacing along the glass. Smells very piney and grapefruity with some slight tropical notes of kiwi and orange peel. Also a dose of toasted marshmallow. Tastes very balance with a touch of sweetness. medium bodied with a slight astrigenty grapefruit pith. Mouthfeel is spot on with perfect carbonation and viscosicity. Overall this is a very drinkable beer. Nice size for splitting with a friend or to enjoy by yourself. Solid.

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to cavedave for this brew.

Pours a nice very slight hazy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, with some very nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with a nice malt balance, citrus, and some pine notes. The taste is sweet, hoppy, malty, bitter, with some citrus and pine notes. Medium body. Very Drinkable, a very tasty DIPA, recommended.

Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 16.9 oz bottle. It appeared a clear amber with an inch of white head. I found it to be a rich, but not over-powering DIPA. The chewy caramel and bread malt character isn't hidden behind the hops, but instead compliments the juicy berry and citrus hop character. I guess I'd just want the bitterness kicked up a notch here. Otherwise it's a fine example of the style

Photo of boomer31
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My first Captain Lawrence brew...thanks for the extra Capra12!!

A - Transparent golden color with a sticky head crawling down the glass.
S - Floral hops and malt. Too much malt for my expectation of a Imperial IPA
T - Tough to call this is an Imperial IPA. Had this been a blind tasting I'd guess a fine Pilsner. Floral hops and malt dominate and a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste.
M - Smooth. About what I would expect from a IPA. Not much else to say.
D - Don't get the 9% ABV at all here which proves the balance of this beer. I could certainly have a couple of these though I'd be feeling it later!

Overall pretty good. As an extra I'm very happy to try this one but won't be seeking another. I guess I like my IPAs in your face hoppy...I like to chew the hops, especially in an imperial IPA!

Photo of abrand
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle from Arenbeer poured into a tulip glass. This is my first Captain Lawrence brew.

Captain's Reserve pours a golden color with very good visibility. A very sticky 2 finger head lasts throughout the brew. The retention leaves lacing along the glass. Very sweet smelling with citrus fruits being the dominant smell. Some hops are present as well but not as much as most DIPA. Taste is pretty bitter with the sweetness left out of from the nose. I am a little let down with the taste of this. The smell was a great start but nothing like the taste. Plenty of alcohol is also present in the taste. Just not very complex or refreshing which is what I look for in a big IPA. Mouthfeel is better and medium bodied. Drinkability is mediocre. Like I said, I just expected a little more.

Photo of jrallen34
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this from the bottle into my Rochefort glass...The beer is a cloudy very nice looking peachy orange with a watery head white head that is gone fast... The aroma is super nice, very matly on the front with lots of orange and peaches and balanced ever so lightly on the finish with some grass and hops...The taste is also very good, doesn't quite live up to the aroma. There is some of sweet on the front not enough to really balance this beer. Mostly you get a slightly piney bitter hop from start to finish. Not very complex, but its tasty just a little boring. Also slightly alcoholic finish...The feel is nice and crisp, light lasting flavor. Easy to drink.

Overall, an easy to drink slightly sweet dipa. Worth drinking.

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

This beer made its way down to me here in GA via New York. Beer poured golden clear which initially made me nervous. Had a solid head a more lacing than I anticipated. smell was sweet like I expected with lots of hints of fruit, and the taste was what I expected as well. Overall a solid beer, but with so many other Imperial IPA's out there, I'm not sure this would be my first choice, but like I said a solid beer none the less.

Photo of axeman9182
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Cuzco for hooking me up. Poured into my Duvel tulip, Captain's Reserve pours bright orange. The off white head and lacing are initially impressive, but lack the staying power to earn a higher score. The nose is good, mangoes and peaches, but I was hoping for a bit more (both in variety and strength). The taste is dominated by the same fruits, but there's an additional hint of more acidic citrus notes mixed in there as well. The first sips have an almost astringent, unpleasant bitterness to them, but this quickly fades as the beer warms, and some caramel malts are noticeable (but just). Had the whole beer tasted like this instead of just the second half I'd probably bump it to a 4.5. The mouthfeel is quite good, adequate carbonation and just creamy enough. The 9% ABV is nonexistent, and this beer is quite drinkable, especially when the initial overly bitter flavor has faded. This is my first beer from Captain Lawrence, and they definitely made a good impression.

Photo of mugglesandhops
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle from trade sharing with Al
A super lacy head tops off a bright golden orange body. Smells very pleasantly hoppy, almost west coasty. I wouldn't believe the 9% if it wasn't on the bottle or listed here. Very hoppy, super crisp, very good beer. I wish I could get this regularly.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to cuzco for this one.

4.0 A: Clear medium golden color. Two fingers of hybrid creamy/frothy white head. Pretty good retention and tons of lacing.

4.0 S: Pretty good. There's some citrus in there with grapefruit and orange, but the hops focus more on darnk herbal and grassiness. Malts really don't figure in too much.

4.0 T: The taste is by no means balanced, but the relative contributions from bittering hops, flavor hops, and malt are well proportioned. Moderate bitterness, which is put in check by the flavor hops. Plenty of herbalness again, with more orange and grapefruit than in the nose. Mild pine contribution. Malts are mainly bready and add a low, but very complementary amount of sweetness.

4.5 M: Medium body. Reasonably creamy, good moderate carbonation, and super smooth with no harsh aftertaste.

4.0 D: Good brew. Not super hoppy, but the flavors mesh well to make a brew worth coming back to.

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
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
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
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
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
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
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
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
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
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
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
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
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
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
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
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Palate Shifter Imperial IPA from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,164 ratings.