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I.P.A. - Eel River Brewing Co.

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227 Reviews

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Reviews: 227
Hads: 382
Avg: 3.32
pDev: 21.08%
Wants: 0
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nekronos on 11-17-2008

According to the brewer, "This beer is an English Style IPA, which lacks the intense hop bitterness characterized by the American Style." Certified Organic.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of I.P.A. Alström Bros
Reviews: 227 | Hads: 382
Photo of AwYeh
2.13/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a cloudy copper color, with a finger of foamy white head that has pretty good retention and decent lacing.

S: Faint aroma; of caramel malts and a bit of berry sweetness. As this warms things gets stranger and stranger... this beer is so sweet it smells like pie.

T: Sweet caramel and berry flavors are once again evident here. I'm not sure where the berries are coming from, but I'm guessing not the hops as this beer isn't very bitter at all until its finish. Everything is a little too sweet for my tastes; in a blind testing I think IPA would have been a joky guess aimed at the style after five or six misses. Somewhat metallic finish too; drink this one cold!

M: Medium-bodied; moderate carbonation, which makes it just slightly creamy. Long metallic finish at about 50*F and up detracts here a bit.

D: My thoughts here can be summarized as "eh," the sweetness slowed down this glass and I won't be hounding after another at any point in the future. On the other hand, the alcohol is well hidden if this beer really is 7.20% ABV (bumping my grade up a little).

Despite my low scores, props need to go to Eel River for providing widely available, reasonably priced organic beers. I'm thinking that at the moment their priorities may be focused on making the beer organic rather than making it the best beer it could be, but it's great to have options like this on the market.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not sure if I've seen a more copper-ish IPA as this one. Bright copper...but little head.

Aroma is a tad malty and musty...which provides for a bit of a strawberry overlay. A touch of medicinals on the back side

Tastes like a hoppy ESB. Semi sweet and malty, with the addition of some herbalness and hops. I'm sure what's going on here. The hops don't dominate, but neither do the malts. It's a bit of a off mixture that I can't quite put my finger on.

Although not a bad beer, I just can't find the calling. Astringent in the finish, but a bit juicy. Again, odd.

Not sure how the organic-ness affects this beer. Again, not bad.

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Photo of kellyst
2.78/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

An orangeish copper beer pours clear with a decent amount of head and lacing. Citric hops are appreciated in the aroma. This beer is well balanced and not very bitter for an ipa. Overall, not a bad effort, but like most of this breweries beers, IPA is not very drinkable.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.74/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #40 (May 2010):

The big, beautiful mess of a head seems to stick all over the glass. The orange amber glow shows a hint of haze when held up to the light. Freshly shredded orange peel, ripe berry, blond tobacco and a hint of powdered aspirin are all present in the aroma. Smoothness is deep within the moderate-size body. Hops are a bit harsh with a bitterness that rakes the tongue. A little bit of an acidic twang is there as well. Its maltiness shows some sweetness with hints of raw honey and biscuit dough. Bitterness sticks to the palate even in the drying finish. Ripe berries as the warmth grows.

The bitterness seems a bit too harsh here. Sharp is pretty much the one word that comes to mind with each sip, and it eventually affects the drinkability.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.11/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a large pilsner glass

A: pours a nice golden color with a thick head of foamy white head, leaves considerable lacing

S: light hop aroma, light citrus notes

T: same as scent with a bit more citrus

D/M: smooth on the pallet, lack of nice taste notes hurt the drinkability, slight carbonation tingle, bought the 22oz bomber for 3 bucks so I'm not at all upset

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.1/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draft at the Chowder House in Point Arena, Ca for $3.00 served in a pint glass.

A: Pours an amber/straw-like hue with a thin head and good amounts of lacing from start to finish.

S: Fresh baked bread, carmel malt and sweet grains, the hop comes through at the end - earthy citrus.

T: Sweet carmel toffee, toasted grains, fermented fruit with the hop following up at the end (similar to the nose) with earthy moss and citrus bight. Love the flavor of this beer, but it really seems much more like a good pale ale and needs a bit more dry hopping to enter the realm of a Cali IPA.

M: On the lighter side of medium-bodied, sticky and creamy, mellow carbonation and just a bit of lingering bitterness from the hop.

D: Too easy - I don't even remember how many of these we had at the bar. We were washing down fresh crab all night with these bad boys! Easy all-nighter.

As a side note - I notice this beer gets very little love here. I will say though, the bad reviews are generally the bottled version of this and most are east of the Mississippi. Like many IPA's, they are better when drank fresh and on tap. There's no way this beer deserves (when drank fresh) a C- as many of the reviews indicate. Try this one fresh and on-tap, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of DijonKetchup
4.1/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12 ounce Stella glass.

Great color, great head build and head retention. Sticky foam on my glass. Looks very good.

Smell is somewhat muted, but according to "brewer's notes" with this beer being an english style, no problems with this element.

Taste is very good. Being organic, one may expect lackluster malts or hops, but this is very good. I must HIGHLY recommend drinking this beer a bit on the warmer side - the caramel and malt elements really shine when this beer is a tad warmer.

Resume: I am highly impressed with this beer. Great malts, great bitter levels, nose is spot on for style. Try a fresh (warm) one today.

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Photo of klkatz
2.44/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

color is a dark amber color like honey... almost reddish. Very little khaki colored head. rings around the glass over time.

Aroma was not much. You'd expect more from an IPA... the taste is nutty/piny... my wife thinks it smells like almond butter... I'll take her word for it.

Taste is also nutty... tastes more like a non-IPA, like an amber... reminds me of Fat Tire (which is overrated in my opinion)

Drinkability is there... it doesn't taste like the +7 abv beers we're used too.... but I like the taste of the +7 beers we're used to... give me more bitter in my IPA

MF - eh....

bought a whole case of eel river organic to share with wifey. We were not impressed with any of the offerings... some would say that organic beer doesn't deviate from the flavor... i'd beg to differ.. and I'd beg anyone out there, not to buy this case for me.

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Photo of 908carson
4.8/5  rDev +44.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Unlike wine, I don't think that Organic certification has much of an effect on the taste of beer. I'll get that out of the way first... because I won't be judging this in any other category than a regular beer.

Appearance - Hazy amber. No other way to say it. Very thin off-white head with decent lacing. Average so far, but i like the haziness.

Smell - Damnit I accidentally inhaled this one trying to get a smell out of it. There is the usually piny IPA scent, but I wanted something more. I choked on it in the process.

Taste - Whoa, whoa, whoa... This is 7.2? No way.
This tastes like a good ol' 5-ish Pale Ale worthy of session stardom. It is balanced, tasty, and generally fun to drink. I get a lot more in the tongue than I did in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Easy goin'. Slightly dry on the finish. Definitely smoother than the competitors.

Drinkability: This is where this beer shines. I had NO idea that I was drinking a 7.2% abv beer. It goes down so smooth. I had been drinking the Sierra Nevada Torpedo before this... and the Eel River Organic IPA is way smoother for the same abv. Well done.

End of story: I like this one... will I buy it again? probably not... I really, really like it but the IPA scene is really overcrowded with great beers in my part of the midwest. this is one of them, for sure... but it's hard to find and I would probably pick some of the cheaper options first... the Organic label doesn't really do much for the taste, and is therefore worthless in terms of the additional pricetag.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.82/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Smithwick's glass.

The beer is a hazy amber color, small white head. Average looking beer, really.

The beer is hoppy for sure, but there's also some caramel malts in there. Smells more like an APA almost, rather than an IPA.

The taste is hoppier, and less malty. It's a good floral hop flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Another good beer from Eel River.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I bought a bomber of Eel River Organic IPA in a beer store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a shiny clear copper color and clear. Bubbly off-white head leaves a sheet of lace on the side of the glass.

The smell is remarkably sweet, a candy-like butter scotch or toffee aroma, along with some fruity esters, like lemon blossoms.

Taste is a sweet malt flavor initially, caramel candy, followed by a bitter citrus grapefruit finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly cloying, with a dry bitter aftertaste that lingers quite a while.

A drinkable IPA not a great one The organic properties do nothing for me.

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Photo of salvo
3.12/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber brown with a half inch of off-white head that collapses quickly. Leaves little lacing.

Nose is sweet with malts forward and sweet hops with floral, coriander, and spice notes, but unbalanced. Taste starts all sweet biscuit malt and then begins to turns to hops dryness and never does get it. A secondary sweetness scares away the hops, and while the finish is long, sweetness is fighting the hops the whole way.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy. Drinkability is middling because it is unbalanced.

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Photo of Jeriba
3.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was mainly a nostalgia-inspired purchase, since it was brewed a few miles from my birthplace, and I wanted to give it a try.

A: Fairly dark amber yellow. Head dispersed fairly quickly, and didn't leave much of anything behind.

S: This one is pretty malt-forward for an IPA, with sweet hops and notes of pine and vanilla.

T: A hint of roasted malt and vanilla, followed by tingly pine and a sour grapefruit finish. Not very well balanced in my opinion.

M: Slightly creamy, medium carbonation

D: Apparently the brewery has said this is more of an English style IPA, but it doesn't state that anywhere on the bottle. My impression was that it just wasn't very fresh. Still, I found it drinkable enough, and I like that it's organic. I might pick this one up again if I get onto an Organic-only kick, but if I'm feeling nostalgic again I'll probably go for some North Coast.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.58/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. See-thru golden orange body with 2 fingers of big and small bubbles on top. Retetention is OK, and some lacing is scattered about.

Nose is pleasant but quite tame. Sweet light malts and husky grains with hoppy hints coming in the form of honeysuckle floral notes and a bit of grassiness. Hints of citrus waft in and out. A touch of lemon bitterness shows up in the flavor profile. Hop flavors noticeably on the light side. Quite grainy and crisp with a slight medicinal quality creeping in at the swallow. Not a bad beer, but forgettable and too tame for an IPA, even an English one.

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.94/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This looks pretty good in a glass. Nice medium copper color, hazy, with a light khaki 2 finger head. Lacing is fair.

Smell is a bit on the lackluster side. Mostly some sweetish malts, and a bit of citrus...not citrus hops, just citrus. No real hop aroma from what I can smell.

The taste is a little better. There is a tad bit of bitter, citrus hops that leave a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. There a bit too much malt and sweetening from the citrus, balancing this thing out in a bad way.

The feel is a little redeeming. It's nice and crisp, with pleasant carbonation.

Drinkability is ok. It's not hard to drink, but the underwhelming aroma's and taste don't make a good case for the drinking.

Overall: I don't think I'll have a problem drinking the 5 remaining bottles, but I'm pretty sure there will always be something more desirable available, so I likely won't pick this up again.

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Photo of SuperNova777
2.78/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Tulip from 12oz. bottle

A:See-thru copper color with head that quickly resides with no lacing

S:Not much going on here, some sweet malts with a faint amount of hops

T:Even more disappointing as the smell, a small amount of malt up front followed by a weak hit of hops.

M:Super thin body with almost no carbonation

D:First and probably last time I drink this brew. Very mild, thin, and not very enjoyable

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Photo of lou50rp
3.88/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew has a deep amber color with a frothy white head.
Smell is very mild with citrus and hint of sweetness.
The taste is as the smell suggests citrusy with a touch of sweetness.
Mouth is medium.
For an English IPA style it is drinkable. I prefer American IPAs, so this won't be on my repurchase list. But for English IPA fans it is worth a try.

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Photo of mentor
3.3/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger lightly-tan head over a nearly clear orange-amber liquid. Smells hoppy of woody english style hops and oranges. Citrus oils, peach esters, and strawberry.

Tastes malty wet with decent hop flavor, mild hop bitter, strong carbonation, and a candy/sugar-like end that does dry in the finish. Like the sugary of a sweet-tart. Hop flavor is woody english, oranges, and baby aspirin. Hop bitter is quite clean and hits late. Esters are strawberry and muted apricot. The finish comes across much drier as I get farther through the bottle. Strong carbonation and md-light body that's a bit cream with fruit character. Overall, this beer is decent.

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Photo of Nerudamann
2.85/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Look - light brown in color, almost a pale amber. Very good two finger's worth of foam that dissipates fairly quickly. Good carbonation.

Smell - a little on the worty side with a tinge of fruitiness.

Taste - Surprisingly bitter, even for an IPA. The fruitiness of the smell comes back into the taste once you get past the bitterness, which is pretty strong.

Mouthfeel - good texture. Only slightly creamy.

Drinkability - Probably fantastic beer if you like really bitter ones, but this one's not for me I'm afraid.

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Photo of matjack85
3.6/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binjny's in Glen Ellyn, IL for $1.59. I never had anything from this brewery before so I'm looking foreword to trying my first one. No freshness date anywhere on the label, so no telling how fresh this bottle is.

The beer poured a hazed orange/copper color with a one finger white head that disappeared in less than a minute, yet it still left some lacing on the glass with each sip.

The beer has a mild floral hop smell to it with a bit of papaya fruit underneath the hops.

The taste is much maltier than the smell would have led me to expect. Big malt sweetness up front and then the hops take over and balance it out. Not as hoppy as most IPA's, but enough bitterness to let you know the hops are there. I would guess mostly floral and citrus hops with some other non citrus fruit adding some extra flavor.

This is a really smooth but thick IPA. It's almost full bodied with lower than normal carbonation, which I think contributes to the fuller mouthfeel.

It's not my favorite IPA but it's alright. It also hides the 7% alcohol pretty well. One final note: Don't drink this one ice cold. The flavors only reach their peak as the beer warms up a bit. It's an entirely different and unpleasant beer when poured straight from the fridge.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.09/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No date.

Quick review: Looks really pretty with lots of fluffy bone-white head atop an orange-amber hazy body. Nose is floral like lavender, somewhat soapy, mild biscuit malt. Palate is mellow with some hop astringency and lots of English biscuit malt notes. Dusty, dry flour bisquick dough. Short finish.

Not really impressed. More of a "Session" IPA. Hides the 7.2% brilliantly though! That's impressive, but not a West Coast style. I got duped in the store: knew nothing about it, saw West Coast & IPA on the label, thought it'd be huge. Apparently it's English. Oh well.

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Photo of appenzeller
2.65/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a straight amber with minimal head. Slight lacing. Smell is sweet caramel and bitter oily hops. Taste is not what I anticipated. Simply put, this is a very sweet malty beer, malts of maple and honey, there is a hops backbone. I am no hardcore "hophead" but this does not fit my idea of an IPA, and I don't like sweet beers--especially when I want a mouth of hops. Thumbs down.

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Photo of zeravat
4.02/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Where A+ IPAs are bitter, this one is warmer. It was a pleasant change from all the Lagunitas and Pliny the Elder that I'd been drinking. And it was on sale at my Whole Foods for less than $7! Can't argue with that.

I don't know if it's phsycological, but because it's organic, I don't get the hangover of other IPAs. I drank 5 of 6-pack and was able to function the next day for the entire day!

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Photo of WeezyBoPeep
3.93/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass to drink it down.

A: Lightly hazy and orange with a full, beige head of soda carbonated foam. Great lacing all down the glass.

S: Big wave of honey and oranges with plenty of earth at first, followed by a lot of malt for an IPA and light floral hops.

T: Surprisingly malty at first with a sweet cane sugar and clean watery middle. Citrusy with hints of lemons and oranges. Amazingly refreshing for an IPA. Left me wondering why it is called an IPA, I think it is more like a pale ale.

D: For me, this is a highly drinkable IPA. It's not too sharp, not too bitter, well-balanced with malt and hops and definitely quenched my thirst.

Value: This brewery seems to get minimal love on this website, but I think this is another impressive beer for those of us who don't always want to spend 12 dollars on a sixer.

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Photo of BB1313
1.89/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass. Pours a hazy burnt orange that really glows. Little head and decent lacaing. Ok, this is an IPA? This brew reminds me of an English Brown Ale. I guess I'm used to American IPAs, this one's English. Tastes very malty w/ tones of carmel, toffee and chocolate. Feels pretty thin. The hops didn't shine for me although a bitterness is present. Nonetheless, it drinks pretty well.

This isn't a bad "beer", but isn't a good "IPA".

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I.P.A. from Eel River Brewing Co.
76 out of 100 based on 227 ratings.