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Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Monkey Fist IPAShipyard Monkey Fist IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

142 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 142
Hads: 951
Avg: 3.43
pDev: 15.16%
Wants: 11
Gots: 225 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co. visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: puboflyons on 04-25-2012

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (53) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 142 | Hads: 951
Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Monkey Fist has a great label but it's nothing compared to the beer itself; this IPA is an incandescent golden tone, with a caramelly, maple syrup complexion but shimmering flaxen-yellow highlights. Its head is thin but scattershots all over the glass. With an appearance like this you can't go wrong, right? Well...

The aroma is what I'd charitably call "peculiar". It smells something like a lemon- or pine-scented cleaning product. The citric oils and tree resins are expected - desired, actually - in an IPA but their presence in this bouquet is a little reminiscent of something from the Pine-Sol product line.

The flavour makes that turn to the unfavourable all but definite; the notion of lemon- and pine-scented cleaning product gets a little too real on the palate. It goes from mildly appealing to somewhat concerning - did this come from under the brewery's kitchen sink? Even the malts taste coated in a combination of honey and industrial-strength alcohol-based solvent.

Surprisingly, my palate adjusted to what turns out to be an alright, if unusual IPA. That said, others will be unable to look beyond the Pine-Sol semblance. But if viewed simply as an ultra-earthy - the ultra-ist possible short of chewing a mouthful of dead leaves and twigs - it's not at all out of line with the style's profile (though that detergent-like taste is downright nauseating).

Shipyard has yet to truly 'wow' me but they make some very good beers; I expected a lot more from Monkey Fist. It's a somewhat bizarre IPA that ironically makes the drinker feel like they're part of a science experiment - will I wake up tomorrow with a tail or an eleventh toe? Maybe Monkey's Fist is the lab monkeys' revenge? Either way, Maine offers far better IPAs than this.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.11/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A disappointment from a brewery who's previous beers I've enjoyed, so one I will purchase again from a different year/batch.

Can pours a hazy golden amber with a minimal ecru coloured head that disappears quickly, but leaves a fair amount of lacing. Aroma has a medicinal, metallic pong with a hint of hop resin. No balance and the medicinal nature truly overpowers all other elements. The flavour is also harsh, with an abrupt transition from sweet to bitter overlaying rotten grassy tones.

It may be a bad can, or it may just be me and an inability to enjoy whatever is in this central hop portfolio, but I rarely dislike beers this much. And I had high hopes for this one...

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Photo of spinrsx
3.36/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tall can from the LCBO for $2.75

Appearance - Copper colour with an average size frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and most of the taste is made up of caramel and malts mixed with light hops. There is also some guava/strawberry/kiwi type sweetness.

Overall - A but of an odd tasting beer. Reminds me a bit of some of the euro takes on American IPA's I've had in the past. It's worth a try in my opinion, but not a repeat purchase with so many other great options out there.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep bronze orange color with a gigantic eggshell head that lasts forever. Masses of lace and foam patches coat the glass on the way down. The smell is dominated by banana, fruit yeast esters with some bakers yeast and some citrusy hops. A bready, butterscotch, fruit ester flavor dominates the hops in the taste. Green apple with some grapefruit, The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and moderately carbonated. Light bitterness and fruit esters in the shortish finish.

This is a very low hopped American IPA using something other than a California ale yeast (absolutely no info on the can, not even hop verities used). Lots of esters, not much hop presence. A pass unless you like an English type IPA.

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Photo of rEBELlION
3.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have never really focused enough on this beer while drinking to write a thorough review but I will say this- while I would never buy it bottled (it just isn't that appealing to me) I get it in tap from time to time and enjoy it. Maybe it's the freshness, I don't know, but it has a nice citrusy hop flavor that I haven't really gotten from the bottle. There seem to be a growing number of bars around that have it on tap where there aren't many other great options. If that's the case, I say go for it.

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Photo of Plissken
1.3/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

As a few other have said it had a very medicinal taste, a mediocre IPA mixed with dish detergent water. I hope it was a bad batch. But then again some people have different palates than others and it may not agree with mine. Not for me but I will say that I love the label!

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Photo of otterbearfla
3.55/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3.5 fingers head

Appearance - medium amber opaque

Smell- light hops lavender

Taste - hoppy, lavender, orange blossom honey, lemon

Mouthfeel - medium weight with smooth finish

This is the kind of IPA I like for hot weather, and Indian and Cajun foods.

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Photo of SpasmWaiter
3.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is exactly what I expected from the advertised ibu's/ABV/hop listing. Tasted very fresh, exciting for an out of state IPA here in Vermont, with hops very much in the forefront of the flavor. The hops had a flavor I couldn't really place, and as I'm not too familiar with Glacier hops, I imagine that is probably where that flavor is coming from. Overall a tasty IPA, would seek out again.

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Photo of Jree261
4.11/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance-Foggy amber to gold on the edges with a tight eggshell foam.

Smell-Cool red and blue fruit with a hoppy grass aroma that isn't overpowering.

Taste-Bitter candy that gives way to raspberry and lemon citrus.

Mouthfeel-Hefty beer. Very filling but has a medium long finish that is quite nice.

Overall-Nose is exceptional. Flavor is good. Not bad at all.

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Photo of scotorum
2.48/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My experience was similar to one of the reviewers below who I think compared the taste to what one might imagine the taste when drinking nail polish remover.

I don't know what happened to this brew but it was so weirdly chemical-tasting that I drainpiped its butt after a few toxic sips. I speculated to myself that the monkey mentioned in the name might have just removed polish from her nails before thrusting her fist into the vat.

Perhaps that's how this one ages. More likely, there was a bad batch. All I know is it was unpalatable.

I didn't do my review in the usual BA format because I didn't want to belabor this tragedy, just explain why I gave it the lowest rating of anything I've reviewed so far on BA. I may eventually at least sip another to confirm whether I just got real unlucky with this particular example, which seems likely since most others here who have tried it have not been nearly as distressed by the taste.

Shipyard, I LOVE your Prelude and Chamberlain ales. But WT Monkey Fist F?

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Photo of argock
3.26/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. No decipherable freshness date. Gifted from my neighbor Walker.

A: Very deep amber/copper with ample 1-finger of frothy beige head with good retention and a nice cuff of lace around the tops of the glass.

S: Aroma is light and balanced malt versus hops. The hops have a very piney, herbal aroma, sharp. The malt is light caramel and a little buttery, toffeelike.

T: The flavor is not bad, a lot of dank hops flavor especially in the finish. The was a pretty solid dose of caramel maltiness, bordering on too sweet. The hops don't have a lot of other character, they are pretty one dimensional. The finish is a little cardboardy and overly bitter.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It has a slightly thick but slick feel.

O: Not an absolutely terrible beer with only the over dank and cardboard in the finish. The hops are not very well highlighted and are not too interesting. I would skip this in the future.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.09/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

22 oz bomber pours a hazed copper color with a frothy khaki head. Nice retention and lace...pretty good looking brew.

Nose is toasty malt, astringent alcohol and toffee. Not a good combo, IMHO. The hops are herbal to the point of medicinal.

Taste is a watery toffee maltiness blended with grassy, herbal hop bitterness that belies an almost eucalyptus-esque medicinal flavor...and it lingers. Who from Shipyard thought this was a good idea? That is the ultimate question...it tastes like caramelized nail polish remover. Ridiculous that Shipyard can make a buck off this, shame on me for not doing any research before dropping $3.99 on this abomination. Terrible. Drain pour...and I dont do many of those.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.39/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Burnt orange coloring in the vessel with a strong sense of carbonation. The head is buff with pale yellowish tones, one finger high, and shows a moderate to good retention. Lacing is generous.

S: Aroma of sweet toffee and citrus mingle, some smore crackers, a lot of sweet character, with some dried honey toast and a spiciness of spruce. Buttered grains add sweetness.

T: The flavor was not as sweet nor complex as the nose. A bit coarse in delivery with no spectrum, was just a strong punch of hop bitterness that suffered from linear perception and a very, washy backing. The malt and body was really washy and thin, no malt support what-so-ever and finishes off like water. The hops are bittery dry, flowery citrus, but not in a tasty or appreciative way, just blunt, arrogant and straightforward like the drunken uncle with no sense of refinement.

M: Mouthful of course suffered the same fate as the flavor, a complete wash out, dry, bitter from the hops but ultimately ends in a washed out state of affair.

O: Overall washy body, lack of malt support and no spectrum of hop flavors or distinction makes this a complete bust. You just cant haphazardly throw a bunch of hops in a kettle and expect the beer fairies to wave thier magic wand and produce a good ipa. No malt support, no spectrum of flavor, washy, and a complete acceptable drain pour. I dont like to dish out the disrespect to often due to my love of beer, but the 2.0s are what beers like this are meant for. The visual and sweet smelling nose was one of the few decent points about this mess, it falls off a cliff there-after.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn looking at the reviews I could have did better. At least I didn't get a bomber :P

A - Well lacing in any sticky lacing this beer did give me a 1/2 inch of foam that stays around for a while. Somewhat a hazy amber brown much more hazy than your typical IPA.
S - Very lacing it smells of hops and malt but very faint, not one would expect for a beer. Hopefully it's at least bitter.
T - Muddled hops like an old batch of pellets and a touch of balancing malt that taste like caramel socks. This beer is not that great but easy to get down.
M - Light to medium is not a praise just because you can pound this almost 7% monster doesn't mean your mouth will hate you after.

Overall I agree with everyone this beer is semi- foul. Somewhat hop lacing and just balanced enough to chug. Shipyard why you hate flavor?

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Photo of curasowa
3.16/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, copper color with one finger of head that fades with chunky lacing.

Aroma: Sweet malt, a little butter and a subdued hop aroma, mostly an earthy, woody smell with some lemon rind notes.

Taste: Here and gone before you know it. A bit of malt, some bitterness and then a fast and fairly clean, for an IPA, finish. A nice, full body upfront with a with an almost creamy mouth feel, then a strong kick of spicy hops before the quick finish.

The Rest: I'm not really sure how i feel about this one. It has a great, full-bodied malt base, which I like in an IPA, but the hop profile isn't very interesting. Decent, but not great.

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Photo of Roguer
3.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Second try on tap, different location. A little bit warmer than I prefer.

A - Dark, reddish copper. Thin head (less than a finger), reasonable carbonation.

S - Strong hints of grapefruit, a nice balance between sweet and bitter. Little else.

T - Bitter and mildly sweet grapefruit, very well-balanced against some caramel malts. Definitely not a bad flavor, but it's a stretch to call it "outstanding."

M - Not a beer I wanted to chew on (despite the citrus notes). It wasn't a bad mouthfeel, it just occupied an uncomfortable middle ground where I didn't feel like drinking it quickly, but also did not feel like allowing it to linger in my mouth.

O - Not a great beer at its typical price point; usually if this is on tap, a better IPA is also on tap. It's absolutely worth a try; it reminds me of a less hoppy, less malty Stone (similar flavor profile, just less of everything).

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Photo of Slatetank
3.19/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this chilled into a mug from a 12oz brown botttle

The color is deep amber with significant haze and thick cream with very good retention and fine bead. The smell is very piney/fruity with slight hint yeast with citrus accent, there is a light band-aid tinge. The feel is tangy, astringent with medicinal and high amount of carbonations with malt support and light spicy dry finish.

This has more of an English IPA flavor with yeast tangy aspect both fruity and piney up front in the hop flavors yet slight caramel from the malt with astringency and medicinal qualities coming through near the end and grassy pine tinged hop flavor leading to a more astringent and band-aid-like flavor near the end. The beer is not horrible but not great, just consider the source and I give it a fair rating since I am familiar with the brand so I did not expect a west-coast hop bomb, but it has a lot of off flavors so only try this if you are curious

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

A: Pours 3 fingers of khaki head atop a copper orange, hazy beer. The cap settles in large, lacy globs.

S: Pine and citrus. Sweet and spicy, with notes of juniper, pineapple, caramel, raisins, and fig. Biscuity melanoidins are present, but also more harsh fusels, and I think also a hint of diacetyl. Warrior hops. The smell is good cold, but develops unpleasant notes at warmer temperatures.

T: Not as sweet or fruity as the nose suggested. It's fairly dry, with a sharp astringency from the hops. The first few sips taste just like eating a hop pellet, but thankfully, halfway into the beer, the flavor improves, as sweet, malty backbone finally peeks through.

M: Bitter, from the start through the aftertaste. Medium body, somewhat creamy.

Overall, the beer looks and smells delicious, but the taste is a letdown. It's harsh and unbalanced. It's definitely drinkable, but not memorable.

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Photo of vicg12
2.72/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not a very good IPA. The malts and the hops clash terribly, big let down on this beer. Head is good, two finger. Nice copper color, and pretty nice lacing. The biggest let down is just the taste. This beer is just a sub-standard IPA all around. It's almost not an IPA, although I'm not sure what I would call it. Starts off with a strong malty taste then abruptly ends and finishes with a gross, grasses, moldy hop taste. FAIL Shipyard.

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Photo of SerialHiker
3.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a darker caramel orange copperish color…a nice rich color, I can see some bubbles in the middle…head is a light khaki, creamy and thin, but consistent…(3.5/5)

Smell: English yeast galore with this one…piney, woodsy and citrus hops, particularly pink grapefruit, hit my nose next…overall though, this has a heavy aroma, full of that musty yeast smell…there’s almost like a taffy candy aroma without the sweetness (if that makes sense)…mild caramel, earthy malts round things out a bit…as it warms, a piney bite becomes more apparent…(3.75/5)

Taste: English yeast and piney hops bitterness hit the tongue right away and lasts through the after taste…there’s a noticeable pink grapefruit flavor and bitterness that sneaks up about half way through the taste and also extends into the after taste…this brew is very musty, earthy, mildly piney with a caramel and citrus lightness that keeps it from going too the extreme…though it’s boarderline…(3.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body…kinda light on the carbonation as well…it’s doesn’t really fluff up much on my palate, though I do get some heavy dank/mild woodsy/light lemony residual bitterness…it’s got a heavy feel for having a light body, with dank/woodsy bitterness and earthy malt resting all over my palate...(3.25/5)

Overall: This is good, not great…the flavor, while at first I didn’t particularly like, has grown on me…could it be the 6.9% ABV? Maybe…classic English style IPA’s aren’t usually my bag, but this one has a pink grapefruit thing happening that I’m really digging…it gives some zest…it’s easy to recommend, though it may not be my favorite, I could easily drink a few of these in one sitting, laughing, talking over old trail stories…(3.5/5)

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Photo of CorvetteMike
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From bottle to glass copper color with nice head.
a: Copper color, 2 finger width head
s: Light pine smell
t: Malty taste, very bitter
m: Bitterness becomes stronger with each sip
o: Too bitter for my taste

Sampled this beer while on vacation in Florida, will not buy any more.

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Photo of TOhoy
3.01/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Being that I live in California and the IPAs here are extremely bitter, I've become a bit bias with IPAs. I expect a nice hoppy beer! This beer was a major let down! Not the usually IPA I'm used too. It was closer to a bud light the a nice hoppy/ bitter west coast IPA.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.81/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Monkey Fist IPA opens to a bright, citrusy, hoppy nose, full of pink grapefruit, grapefruit rind, and lemon oil, with lesser bits of dandelion stem, grass, mint, and eucalyptus in the background. Good levels of brown and confectioner’s sugar add sweetness to combat the bitter hops, and fruit esters bring in touches of orange, berry, and apricot. There’s also a light toast crust and cracker backing, somewhat helping to earth the beer. As a whole, the nose is heavily geared toward hops, which are present in a good variety and potency, showcasing a good selection. But as a whole, the beer seems fairly tame, edging out slightly in the hops, but not necessarily distinguishing itself from the field, and the sugars could have used a boost, especially in the fruit esters.

On the tongue, the beer is immediately hoppy, with pine resin, grapefruit rind, dandelion stem, lemon oil, mint, anise, and eucalyptus first and foremost, the flavors here much more bitter than they seemed on the nose. Brown sugar helps bring the bitterness into perspective, joined by small touches of orange, berry, and apricot fruit esters. Toast crust, cracker, and Grape Nuts cereal notes from the grains add more earthiness. Towards the end of the mouthful, as the sugars die off, the taste is largely hops, coming across as tart and, because of the lack of other notes, simultaneously watery. The aftertaste is a continuation of this hop-only note, the sugars and most of the grains having completely died off. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, there are good hop flavors in here, and especially for fans of the more bitter side of hops, there’s much in here to enjoy. The beer as a whole, however, feels watery and weak, as if a truckload of hops had been added to a rather standard ale.

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Photo of GoldHorde
3.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

What expectations am I to steel myself for when opening a bottle of an IPA labeled "Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA"?

Googling "monkey fist" gives you four views:
a) rope knot used for lifting heavy weights
b) nautical 18th century rope knot used as a sailor's weapon
c) rope knot used in tavern/pub brawls
d) a marine lifeline between lifeboats; used as a unity symbol in the hobo community

Well ok, so it is not open to a diverse wide view definition. One can ONLY assume the soul of this beer lies withing the culture of navy sailors, merchant mariners, longshoremen and the corresponding hardy brawls fueled by rum are staked out somewhere in this beer. I picture Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" staking racist hearts at Five Points here rather than Marlon Brando's union thugs fingering greedy labor monies in "The Waterfront".

And, oh yes, the beer...

POUR: Amber haze
AROMA: Musty malt
HEAD: Two fingers fading with respectable lace
FLAVOR: Musty, long held in a hold somewhere
AFTERTASTE: Hop kick hangs and rings thru the musty malt like a ship's bell calling for boarding.

Can't say I'll have it again - but I'll remember it!

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Photo of SSSBR1509
4.09/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell: Very hoppy floral notes, Quite a bit of citrus notes following, not too much malt but its still there slightly

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick for an IPA, medium carbonation

Taste: very earthy and strong citrus notes, it has a slight maltness to it but the hops are defiantly on the forefront of the pallet

Overall: I like the strong hoppyness from this IPA i wish there was a bit more malt to balance it all out and make this beer more session-able. Its most definitely not my favorite IPA but its not the worst . Still a good beer over all

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Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA from Shipyard Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.