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Winter Ale (2012) / 5th Anniversary Ale - Kern River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Ale (2012) / 5th Anniversary AleWinter Ale (2012) / 5th Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

89 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 269
Avg: 4.45
pDev: 7.64%
Wants: 195
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kern River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: soughtbygod on 05-14-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 89 | Hads: 269
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared at a tasting at MrHirschybar's place.

Pours a murky honey orange with a tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of lots of tropical fruit and citrus zest with a nice malt backbone. Taste is the same with a very delicious hop profile. There is a mild hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that reminds me of Citra (although I slightly prefer Citra). I am very happy I was able to try this beer after reading about how good it is.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.26/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to DaveHack for opening this one!

This poured out as a really nice golden color, great clarity. The retention is pretty good, the lacing is decent too. The smell is lemony with some nice bright aromas. The taste is nice and hoppy, plenty of sweet citrus flavors. The mouthfeel is light bodied with a clean crisp finish and dry. Overall a very nice IPA worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to schmoopsbeer for getting this bottle out to me. Served in a Russian River "TION" glass.

Pours an apricot-orange color with a good white head and some nice spotty lacing on the way down. The nose carries a fairly-aggressive amount of tropical and citrus hops. Not much malt there at all, which is a good sign. The flavor is all hops with some citrus and then some additional tropical character. Not over the top hop character, but definitely quite nice. No noticeable malt, other than a bit in the feel. Medium body with good carbonation and a bitter finish. Really nice DIPA, though doesn't rise to the level of their Citra.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at GHS.

Hazy amber body with a tall lasting head, a few shades darker than Citra. A lot of tangerine and orange on the nose, very citrus forward with floral undertones. Little malt character to the aroma. The palate has a bigger malt foundation, though it's by no means sweet. Orange, tangerine and perfumey floral notes provide most of the flavor. Beneath that there's a light backbone of bread crust and caramel malt. The finish exhibits a lower-moderate level of bitterness that never wears down the palate. Overall, this is another exceptionally good beer from Kern River, who are fast becoming one of my favorite breweries in California.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

golden amber color being presented to me right away. There was some haze and cloudiness to it, There was a nice three finger high head of white foam that capped the top of it,

a barrage of citrus hops right off the top. Nice bready and sugary tones were out first, but then quickly replaced by a piney hop sensation, which itself was replaced in turn by a slightly more acidic grapefruit like aroma. Very floral, I was really liking what I was seeing here. floral hops almost all at once. Nice rich pine flavors coming into play, but nothing really becoming detrimental to my palate here, this was remarkably well blended. Nice orange like hints working through with hints of grass and grain all around them. A strong finish capped it off with more then adequate drying and a sticky pine like flavor that lasted well into the net sip.

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Photo of oline73
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber with a golden hue. There is a finger of fluffy, off white head that fades to a layer on top of the pour. There is some mild lacing on the edge of the glass.

Smell: Lots of sweet citrus bitterness. A good amount of malt, but the thing that catches my attention is the citrus notes. It reminds me of tangerine and clementine. There is some warm alcohol in the mix as well.

Taste: Great balance of sweet malt and bitter hops, but the taste still manages to be light considering the abv. Citrus peel hop bitterness with some tangerine. The alcohol is still here, but not as prevalent as the smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly, delicate carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good beer, but I don't know that it lived up to the hype for me. I would have it again if they make it.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.03/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle consumed at the brewpub because they didn't have anymore on draft.

A: The pour is a nice golden amber color with a rather large, fluffy whot head. Lots of sticky lacing to go with it.

S: Intense nose of pine, grapefruit, tangerine, and orange peels. Almost no malt character to it at all. There is a nice floral quality to it as well. Perhaps even a bit of perfume.

T: The bitterness almost dominates the flavor. There is a nice grapefruit flavor to it and plenty of pine, too. A decent enough citrus character and a light floral note.

M: Medium in body with a medium to high carbonation and a lingering bitterness.

O: This was slightly disappointing. It was certainly good, but it didn't blow me away.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.04/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired at a local beer store and served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Expectations are extremely high given its current ratings, the hype, and the reputation of the brewery itself. No ABV is listed on the bottle. Label is okay.

Served chilled but not quite fridge cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with spicy noodles.

A: Pours a one finger white colour head - fairly thin - of some slight cream and of nice thickness. Retention is decent for the style (~2-3 minutes). Good sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. Body colour is a fairly vibrant semitransparent copper. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Par for the style.

Sm: Appealing floral hops, wonderful pine character, clean malts, dominant oily nectary hop notes, grapefruit citrus esters, and citrus zest. The grapefruit isn't biting or overly sweet, and there is no detectable hop bitterness. Seems balanced and appealing. Fresh. I can't wait to try it. A moderate strength aroma. Fantastic for an IPA, but not ideal or perfect. No alcohol or yeast character is detectable.

T: Nectary and wonderfully oily hops, with some balanced grapefruit of impressive depth of flavour. Some floral character complements. Pale malts form the simple unobtrusive yet well layered foundation. Lightly citrusy - just enough to refresh. Just a bit of hop bitterness on the finish, but it's well hidden for the most part - and completely concealed until that point. No hop bite or sharpness; it masters the key characteristic of a good IPA: balance. Refreshing and enjoyable. I'm digging it. I'm not blown away, but it's a damn good beer in the style. No alcohol or yeast comes through.

Mf: Oily, smooth, and wet, with enough coarseness throughout to bring out the flavours. Near perfect thickness. Slightly overcarbonated, but it aids the assertive character of the hops. Feels tailored to the flavour profile. Very good execution. Refreshing, with excellent palate presence.

Dr: A highly drinkable Double IPA from Kern River - especially for its high ABV (which is well concealed). I could down this all night. That said, it's not amazingly holy-shit incredible - and in that respect it doesn't quite live up to its reputation. Still, I'd definitely have it again and it's a must try within the style. A great offering from Kern River. Met my high expectations. Worth seeing out. I'd recommend it to friends; in fact I got a second to send to one.


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Photo of mdfb79
4.44/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle received in the 2012 Birthday BIF from futhurgone; Thanks Rob! Big want of mine. Poured into my Bell's tulip.

a - Pours a murky brown-orange color with two fingers of fluffy, slightly off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for quite a long time, and leaves an inch throughout drinking it, and leaves a ton of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of citrus hops, oranges, tropical fruits, fruity malts, grapefruits, and light pine hops. Tons of fresh oranges, citrus, and tropical fruits, I'm loving the nose.

t - Tastes of oranges, citrus hops, fruity malts, lemons, grapefruits, pine hops, light floral hops. Some bitterness in the taste but not too much.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Light bitterness but actually pretty smooth and creamy body. Doesn't feel like 8%, a really nice body.

o - Overall I thought this was a really good DIPA. In the last week I've had some top notch IPA/DIPA's (Lunch, White Rajah, Hopslam, Bitter Valentine) and this ranks right up there with the best of them. I like it better then their Just Outstanding IPA and just reaffirms I need to get some of their Citra pronto. Tons of fresh hops and easy to drink, would love to have it again.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Sean for sharing this one. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - A voluminous white foam settles to a thin cap, thicker collar, and spotty lacework. Murky peach flesh body.

S - Big tropical fruits, citrus, light dankness with a slight leafiness to it. Malt character is evocative of buttered biscuits. Surprisingly balanced, but I guess this is a DIPA rather than an IPA.

T - Again, it's a fairly balanced West Coast DIPA, with a hefty dose of lightly sweet and bready malts (is there pilsner malt in here?) mingling with citrus and tropical hop flavors. Surprisingly low bitterness, even after multiple pours.

M - Slightly prickly and zesty carbonation. Medium body, with a juicy and sticky quality to it. Could use a tad more dryness, but there's no perceptible alcohol at all.

D - To be honest I thought this was 6-7% in ABV and had multiple glasses. However, it was definitely a bit more balanced than I expected and lacked the dryness I really like from West Coast hoppy brews. Enjoyable stuff, but there are about 10 different Pizza Port beers I'd prefer over this one.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review, this is the #11 top American Double / Imperial IPA on the best of lists on beeradvocate.com. Ultimately an underwhelming IPA though.

Beer served in a Bruery tulip, generously shared by Thorpe429. Beer is yellow and hazy with a thin wispy head of small and tiny bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass, some carbonation.

Aroma is mildly earthy with some citrus and fruit hops.

The beer is thin and has a mild alcohol bite to it with only a moderately bitter finish and weak hop presence on the midpalate. The lead off is not sweet which is good, this beer failed to impress me though. Just another decent DIPA from Cali, nothing more, no need to search further.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.33/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to glitchedmind for this one!

A: Pours a semi hazy orange color with a large, two finger white head on top, very thick foam with great retention and lacing all around.

S: Nice tropical fruit aromas, some grapefruit, pineapple, and citrus zest. A little bit of grainy malt as well. Thick and juicy, but not over the top.

T: Nice grapefruit up front with more zest/pithy flavor. Tropical fruits and some light bready malt. Very well balanced.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with no sign of 8% at all.

O: Another great IPA from Kern River. Hopefully they continue to make this one!

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beige head. Color is a clear dark golden orange.

Aroma: Weedy and floral. Grassy. Bready malts. A lot of grapefruit.

Taste: Sticky, weedy hops. Hop resiny. Grapefruit. Some bready malts.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and sticky. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very sticky.

Overall, this was a good beer, but I don't see how this is top 100. Solid offering, but nothing earth shattering. Citra is a much better beer.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.72/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle graciously sent by smarcoly and marissatheyounger, so thank you both! 22 ounce capped bottle poured into a globe glass.

A: Hazy golden-orange colored body with a thick and creamy white head. Great sticky lacing covers the walls of the glass, as well as leaving a patchy tight bubbled retention cap and ring. Gorgeous looking beer although I'd like a bit less haze.

S: Huge tropical and citrus fruits along with some slight floral hop notes. Orange, mango, pink grapefruit and peach all pour out from the glass giving this a massive aroma. The bitterness of the hops come in for some nice diversity, but it's just a massive "west coast" style Double IPA.

T: Like the nose, citrus fruits are at the forefront with more orange, pink grapefruit, mango, papaya and peach. A sharp bitterness comes in towards the back end reminding you what you're drinking and giving a really nice cut to the citrus flavors. The malts give a nice balance too.

M: Well carbonated, smooth and medium-bodied. There's nothing off about this feel, it's creamy with just the right about of bubbles.

It's hard to say if I preferred this over Citra DIPA but these are honestly neck-in-neck with each other. Both exemplify exactly what I love about "west coast" IPAs in general with their big citrusy and juicy nature. Another astonishing beer from Kern River.

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Photo of billab914
4.62/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tasting glass. It poured a bright orange/amber color with a thin, bubbly white head scattered across the to of the beer. Great color to it.

The aroma is extremely juicy and hoppy with lots of orange, peach and pineapple jumping out at me. It reminds me a lot of the Hawaiian punch fruit drink. Really loved the aroma, the tropical fruit flavors in it were fantastic.

The taste is also very juicy with more of the pineapple, peach and mango flavors throughout. I got a little more of a bitter citrus rind flavor coming out in the finish. It has a nice balance between the sweeter, tropical fruit, juicy flavors and the bitter, citrus rind flavors. Again, I'm loving the tropical, fruit punch flavors in it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall I thought it was a great beer and definitely right up there with my favorites of the style. I loved the fruit punch, tropical hoppiness to it and the citrus rind bitterness really balanced it out and gave it a very smooth and easy drinking quality. Awesome beer overall.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle. This is a beer I have been looking forward to trying.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is awesome. I get a ton of tropical fruit notes with some bread from the malt. The fruit I get includes papaya and pineapple.

The flavor is also extremely fruity. I get a ton of papaya, mango and pineapple with some bread notes. There is some nice hop bitterness but the majority of the hop character comes through as fruit.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. An awesome beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a translucent orange with a firm two finger white head. Great lacing and head retention.

S: Nice tropicality, mango and pineapple. Tangerine and sweet orange. Very West Coast, the hops dominate.

T: Sweet pink grapefruit and mangoes, with some light malt character. Bitter melon rind on the back end, fresh and vibrant flavour.

M: Creamy and resiny, soft carbonation, not the longest aftertaste, but it's certainly fruitier than most DIPAs.

O: Kern River knows how to make good IPAs, first JO, then Citra, now this. Cheaper than most in it's style and better tasting than most in it's style, an easy pickup.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22 oz, 2012 bottle, "Winter Ale". Big thanks to Rich for finding me a bottle.

Pours a golden copper orange, slightly hazed, with some small bubbles of carbonation supporting a thick creamy white head. Nose is pretty much purely hops, pine and sweet tropical fruit with a little lemon and grass keeping balance with some biscuit malt. Flavor is a little boozy and sweet; orange pulp, grapefruit resin, pineapple and a finish of earthy hops and pine. Medium thick, soft body, gentle carbonation and a slightly thin finish. Very good, but a little boozy and catty. Oh well, not every state can make IPAs like VT can. Maybe one day someone in CA will get it right.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I've had two more batches of this beer and it's awesome. I think I had just gotten over a cold when I initially reviewed it and that most likely affected my senses. Huge tropical aroma with a delicious juicy flavor. Really a stellar Double IPA. Light malt body but with just enough sweetness to fend off palate obliteration. Fantastic. Changing this from a 4.0 to a 4.6.


When I heard that Kern River was releasing a beer for their fifth anniversary I was interested. When I heard they'd be doing a Double IPA specifically, my reaction was "I'd like to try that." So here I find myself at my desk typing this review, with a Lost Abbey snifter full of Kern River's Fifth Anniversary Double IPA, and now I'm thinking "this beer is far too cold, I wish I'd taken it out of the refrigerator twenty minutes ago because now I want to drink it. I should have timed this better." These are the idle musings of a man about to imbibe a fine beverage while waiting for dinner to be ready.

A: The beer is a burnished dark orange in the snifter. It's neither opaque nor transparent, but it's hazy enough to distort the scenery behind it. Perhaps it's some sort of chill haze, but I can't say for certain that I know what that means. The massive white head is bubbly and exhibits great retention. Hey, not bad. It invites me to take a drink.

S: Orange flesh, tangerine, melon, and stone fruit. Restrained tropical notes, mostly mango. Not exceptionally aromatic, but still pretty nice. No evident alcohol. Lightly sweet, but I can't pinpoint distinct malt aromas.

T: An abundance of hop flavor with a lower moderate level of bitterness. The hops are reminiscent of orange flesh, peach, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit. There's a hint of pine. Malt is subdued but it's there, though I can't pick out any distinct flavor that it imparts. On the whole, this is pretty mellow and enjoyable. Alcohol is well hidden. Very tame for a Double IPA.

M: Smooth and sticky. Lower medium in body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: I enjoyed this. It's not going to blow you away, but it's enjoyable and well made. Though, it's very mellow and at only 7% I'm not sure why they called this a Double IPA. It doesn't really do the beer credit. I think this probably deserve a 4.25 in a couple areas, but that's not an option.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.07/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to snifter on 2/4/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Bill --

A: Glowing, unfiltered apricot in hue. A standard pour yields a one finger head, which evolves into a thick, white collar and minor lacing.

S: Top shelf. Juicy and ripe fruit, though it's not extreme or overly in your face. As it warms, a good amount of mandarin orange comes through.

T: Extremely crisp, and a bit lighter then originally expected. Nice, juicy hops run the gamut, though it doesn't smack the tounge with too much oil. The finish showcases a hint of white smoke.

M: Thinner then I would have liked. It makes it a bit easier to get down, but I like my DIPA's to be rich and decadent.

O: Kern's 5th Anniversary DIPA is another winner from one of Cali's top brew houses. It's not packing the kind of heat you'd expect, yet it's quaffable in ways many in-style are not. Easily recommended.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to hamilton23 for sending this bottle my way.

22oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a cloudy orange with a two finger yellowish head. Good retention and lots of lacing left on the glass.

S - Lots of Pine and Pineapple.

T - Starts with a critrusy and tropical fruit and ends with pine and grassy flavors.

D - Average carbonation and medium body.

O - Yum! This one is a home run. Looking forward to Kern's other offerings.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery while watching Marquette lose to eventual Big East champion Louisville in what was a meaningless game pretty much. A light orange and yellow color, relatively impressive for such a hoppy beer head formation, around 1" in depth.

An aroma that was nice tangerine citrus aroma hoppiness, soft on the bitterness and alcohol, big on the fruity hop goodness, quite nice, seemingly they used citra and/or nelson in this, probably with a little simcoe and cascade too. Great at hiding the alcohol on it, very drinkable, three pints went down effortlessly, in fact, I was restraining myself as best I could. So impressed, I bought refill on the growler, and 12 bottles to share with friends, family & fellow beer lovers. I believe 72 hours later all but 2 are accounted for.

I think this is just as good, if not better than Citra. They are extremely similar if you ask me, but this was a little more pungent I thought.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.88/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Orangish colored beer with a decent white head that left some nice spots on the side.

S - Lots of tropical fruit with some bitterness, little bit of a sugar malt backbone. Has some green and earth notes that I didn't think were particularly good, although it wasn't bad.

T - Taste really about in line with the nose. Tropical fruits, some grass, and a little bitterness. Pretty solid.

M - Lighter side of medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - Good, but not great, DIPA. Enjoyed drinking it, but there's a lot of similarly solid, if not better, offerings out there.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

693rd Review on BA
Bottle to Tulip
22oz Bottle

For those that know him, Stan is the man!! Thanks Stan!
5th Anniversary DIPA for my daughters 5th Birthday tonight

App- A generously deep golden orange with a very thick long lasting three finger head. Lines, legs, cling all over the glass on this one.

Smell- Right of the bat a very nice boquet opens up with some nice tamed hops, nice damp citrus and a little malt to even things out. More on the deeper orange
with a small bit of grapefruit note.

Taste- As soon as you bring the glass to mouth you're hit with flavors. Whether it be the scents of the hops and citrus that you just smelled or the residual flavors your mouth wants again. Even for a couple month old bottle, its a little tame with the citrus and hops still dancing to a balance. One of the best DIPA's I have had. Not super bright, not a punch in the face hop monster.

Mouth- A medium bodied DIPA with a paired almost high carbonation level. Lots of citrus, pine residual flavors linger on this one.

Drink- What else would you expect from the makers of Just Outstanding! I completely missed the boat on this when it was super fresh but this was Just FN Awesome (already applied for name change) Would love more of this.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.77/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronados

A: Pours a beautiful and slightly hazy golden color with a 1/2 finger bone white head.

S: Full of fantastic citrus hop aromas. Big mango and grapefruit with some candied orange and a bit of an earthiness to it.

T: Loaded with grapefruit an grapefruit pith with a good amount of honey malt and mango to balance it out. Incredibly smooth. I could drink this forever. Another fantastic beer from Kern River.

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Winter Ale (2012) / 5th Anniversary Ale from Kern River Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.