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Hardcore IPA - BrewDog

Not Rated.
Hardcore IPAHardcore IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,269 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,269
Reviews: 518
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.52%
Wants: 18
Gots: 82 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
BrewDog visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This Imperial India Pale Ale rocks…hardcore! But don’t take our word for it...this little bottle has a grandiloquent story to tell.

2,204 malted Maris Otter grains gave all they had to offer the world to provide the robustly delicate toffee malt canvas for the ensuing epic. 4 Hop Cones willingly sacrificed themselves to ensure your mouth feels punished and puckering for more. 9,900,000,000 yeast cells frantically fermented their little hearts out as the sugars became alcohol in the depths of our fermentation tanks.

2 humans and 1 canine companion were relatively happy with the results.

150 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-10-2008)
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Ratings: 1,269 | Reviews: 518 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a deep copper gold in color with a big, gigantic head that showed great retention.

Smell - There's a nice, juicy caramel malt backbone to this DIPA along with big, monstrous citrus hops. This is huge but rightly balanced.

Taste - The sharp, intense citrus notes are mixed with sweet, caramel-laden sugars that just explode with flavor in the mouth. The malts are very sweet and sugary and have a high quality character to them. The hops are large and in charge but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied with some nice, light carbs and a collected but serious bitter character.

Drinkability - This is a big but approachable hopper that is chewy and quite fun to drink.

Photo of phantomwyse
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours out the color of frozen honey. Highly opaque Frothy off white head fades to large patchy bubbles.

S: Starts off very malty. Smells a lot like breakfast pastries, scones, croissants, tea biscuits. There is a heavy hop undertone, but it's very muted - typical aromas of pine and grapefruit. Some bubblegum and rock candy. Fruits like figs and dates.

T: Very well balanced. Oily hops up front initially, big pine and spoiled orange juice. Malts fill in big, very similar to the aroma. Lots of sweetness, sugary plums, dates, and grapes. There is that hint of bubblegum, too.

M: Medium to full bodied with a syrupy smoothness.

D: These is a hefty beer. Thoroughly enjoyable, but a knockout in all aspects.

Photo of TexIndy
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass. Had a best by date of Feb '11 on the label. Was a hazy amber color with lots of carb streams. It had an average sized head that settled into a good collar and some wisps. Good quick sliding lace but none sticking.

The aroma was piney hops with some citric as well and slight toffee malt. Was really good aroma when first poured but then quickly faded to average. The taste was good as well with the bitter piney hops leading the way. Some malt to balance but it's a moderately bitter hop show. Good but didn't leave an impression in a crowded ADIPA field. Full mouthfeel with too much carbonation for me. OK aftertaste.

Overall, a good ADIPA but didn't stand out. Good bitter bite but not overly bitter so liked it for that as a bitter hop trainer. Recommend if you can easily get. Avail here in TX. Rotation - the occasional single to work on the bitter hop palette. [O;O;BHT]

Photo of tbrown4
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first time with this brew, and my first BA review.

Poured from 11.2oz. bottle into DFH signature glass.

As soon as I cracked this one open a pungent aroma rushed out. More so than other brews. Quite startling, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sort of a nice preview of things to come.

An aggressive pour left a nice three finger head, off-white/cream colored.

Very malty aroma after the pour. Nice hop bite to it with a decent malt backbone that balances nicely. In fact, this is seems to be an extremely well balanced IIPA. Slight citrus notes and some earthy flavors. Quite drinkable, I could put back a few of these with no issue. Surprisingly a challenge to find the 9.2%ABV.

This isn't an overly complex or developed IIPA, but there is enough depth to it to make me look forward to another. Picked up a 4 pack at about $13 from a local store. The price will keep this from being a regular purchase for me. Will consider it a decent import treat a few times a year.

Keeping a few bottles cellared for a few more months. Eager to see how it changes.

Photo of beerguy101
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 10/1/2010. This Imperial India Pale Ale pours a medium orange gold color from a 660ml bottle. Best before 2/2/2010. Medium sized white foamy head. The aroma is fruity and sweet, with a some floral hops. A medium bodied Imperial IPA. The malts are fruity and sweet, caramel, touch of pineapple. The hops are herbal and piney. There is a little age on this bottle so it's starting to make that morph to a barley wine. The hop character is going away, but there is still a really nice hop profile as the malts start coming up. A touch of orange. A little sweet at the finish. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

Photo of ralree
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A: Cloudy, orange, no head.

S: Really malty, not citrus, a bit of brown sugar.

T: Lots of English/Scottish hops, very alcoholic, no fruit. Barley is nice and strong. There are some mega hops in this. Has a nice bitter aftertaste with a little sugar. Very toasty malt.

M: Chewy, thick, medium-heavy body, good carbonation. Rather astringent. This is great for the style.

D: Thickness and richness hinder drinkability. So does the alcohol content. Definitely good on its own, but a little rich to drink with a meal.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Best By Date February 2010; Sampled January 2010
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a two finger thick, light tan colored head. The beer is a pale copper color that shows a hazed, gold-copper hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of crushed, lightly caramelized, pale malt, some earthy hops, an interesting sort of cinnamon like malt character, some light citrusy hop notes and some stronger hop notes of menthol, pine, and almost rosemary like herbal notes. The aroma is definitely quite malt focused for something labled and IPA, in fact it took a while for me to even notice the hops.

Lightly sweet up front, with a light, though noticeable hop bitterness that lingers through to the finish, but is very faint for an IPA. The hops contribute flavors of ruby-red-grapefruit, a mix of citrus oil and hemp, an almost cheesy hop character, some herbal notes as well as a touch of pine sap and even some menthol like notes. The finish has a nice biscuit like malt character to it as well as some caramelized crystal malt like flavors that are a bit more pronounced than I would expect in a beer that is this light in color. The hop character is quite a bit more pronounced in the flavor than in the aroma, it even manages to be the dominant note, but it still doesn't seem like much of an IPA and certainly doesn't approach anything close to hardcore. I can only assume that this just hasn't traveled well across the Atlantic; and not knowing how they date there bottles I don't actually know how old this is. Wow, I just realized this is supposed to be a Double IPA, I had no idea it was 9% alcohol...

Photo of megahurts4
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew Dog Hardcore Imperial IPA

Appearance: Cloudy light-orange, medium head, and some good lacing.

Smell: Hops and subtle malts.

Taste: Strong malty hops, slight caramel in the backbone, and a slight alcohol tinge.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy and slightly syrupy.

The first taste is a malty hop blast. Hops scream out, but they have good flavor.

Photo of mlazzaro
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- remarkably clear for the ABV. excellent deep amber color. nice off white head, with great head retention. - especially for the style, the high ABV beer always have lame head stability.

s- smells more like a barley wine than an IPA. has that booze filled aroma. almost no hoppiness in the smell, (I aged this bottle a good while before drinking it.)

t- good bitterness. again booziness is very apparent. I am kind of bummed its not an IPA. I feel this beer was mislabled. Its is a well crafted barley wine. With well used booze content, bitterness, and complex malty flavors.

m+d= full mouthfeel. still tastes young even though I aged it personally for what I thought was a good amount of time. 6-8 months. could last another 1-2+ years more.

Photo of bobsy
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this one at the Brewdog dinner hosted by James Watt at Beerbistro. A pleasant DIPA.

Pours a deep amber with orange highlights and a finger of off-white head that leaft some nice lace streaks. Tropical nose, with lychee, pineapple and grapefruit, along with a definite streak of pine and biscuit base.

Big bitter flavour delivers on the hops. The pine is more prominent, as is grapefruit pith, though the tropical fruit notes never completely go away. All of this is supported by a good biscuit base, which provides a nice springboard to showcase the hops. Medium body and carbonation.

A really satisfying and meaty DIPA.

Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting bottle...I opened the kegerator to be eagerly greeted by Brewdog Imperial IPA, but before I uncapped it, I began to read the label:

"This little bottle has a grandiloquent story to tell.

2,204 malted Maris Otter grains gave all they had to offer the world to provide the robustly delicate toffee malt canvas for the ensuing epic.

6 Hop Cones willingly sacrificed themselves in fiery cauldron that is our brew kettle to ensure your mouth is left feeling punished and puckering for more.

9,900,000,000 yeast cells frantically fermented their little hearts out as the sugars were magically turned into alcohol in the dark depths of our fermentation tanks.

This explicit ale has more hops and bitterness that any other beer brewed in the UK. This is an extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars."

Really? First, these numbers seem ridiculous. This sounds like the work of a crafty marketing department, but I question the accuracy. Did they consult with a brewer?

Being an engineer and a homebrewer, I had no choice but to double-check Brewdog's numbers:

By my calculations, to brew a beer at 9.2% ABV, assuming 70% efficiency and single malt (Maris Otter), you need just under 4.75 oz. of malt per 12 oz. of wort. There are 460 grains in a Troy oz., which is an outdated Roman unit of measure based on one grain being that of barley. With 1 Troy oz. equaling 1.097 standard ounces, you get ~2490 grains per bottle.

And this isn't a single-malt beer, so it's reasonable to assume that the discrepancy is in the Crystal and Caramalts. Touche, Brewdog. I was wrong to doubt you. I'll assume if you got the hard calculation correct, that the hops and yeast, which look reasonable, are correct as well.

Anyway, fellas, enough math. Serve it up. Let's see these 2200 grains do their worst.

A: Pours glassy, crystal amber with orange tinges and ruby shadows, giving rise to a full tree-finger head that almost overflowes my New Belgium snifter. The head is creamy and ivory, and leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S: Wow. The nose is strong, piney hops, some background sweetness and some esters. Sticky desert pine. Pears. Molasses.

T: The flavor is a dead ringer to my expectations - lots of Centennial hops give an aggressive bite over a sticky malt backbone. Strong alcohol is well hidden in the piney hops. This is delicious.

M: Puckeringly astringent.

D: This is a fine beer, but with the hops coating my palette and the alcohol burning my brain, I wouldn't have more than one in a night.

(Reviewed June 14, 2010)

Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't usually do a complete re-review of a beer, but because of 1) a change in the recipe, 2) higher praise for the beer since the recipe change, and 3) a reasonable $3.49 for a 330 ml bottle of DIPA (and imported too!), it's time I revisit a living nightmare that scarred me almost two years ago. On to the beer:

Even the color is different. I described this as a "pale cloudy witbier-like blonde color", but now it's a dark reddish-orange color with somewhat creamy foam and dotty lacing. The nose is a difference maker as well. It smells like a less intense Pliny the Elder. Tropical aromas comes out, hinting pineapple, passionfruit, then a barrage of fresh pine, with rye-like spiciness and crackery malt at the base. I'm getting excited.

Bitter and hoppy. It's more hoppy this time around, whereby my previous experience was an herbal mess. A little cracker malt first, then comes those little green cones. Pine creeps out and explodes onto the palate. Faint flavors of citrus and tangerine breeze in. All this is done while the alcohol is buried. With a "best by" date of February 15, 2011, it's sitting pretty.

What a turnaround. Yes, I was the guy who rated this a 1.95, and now it's going to double that. I can gladly call it a pleasant DIPA from Scotland.

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 26/07/11 on bottle.

A - A dark, cloudy amber with traces of orange. Pours with a small head that leaves lacing all over the glass. Exactly what I want this style to look like.

S - Fruity hops right up front; mostly citrus but also carries scents of fruits not usually found in IPAs such as raspberry. You can discern a bit of malt in the background of this one as well.

T - A blast of bitter, American hops. Followed by sweet caramel and a tingle that signals the departure of this hop-laden beverage from your mouth. Somehow they managed to bring out the frutiness and the earthiness of the hops in this brew, far more complex than many other DIPAs I have tried.

M - It is a thick liquid which seems quite a bit lighter due to the higher carbonation in the beer. The tingle from the hops are a love/hate juxtaposition in the mouthfeel and drinkability.

D - It's a DIPA at 9.2%, a person can only handle so much of this stuff. I love the Centennial/Columbus/Simcoe hop bill so much I could get really carried away with a few of these. The only thing that hurts this beer overall is the high price. But it's still cheaper than many bombers of comparable DIPA.

Photo of rdickey
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a somewhat orange amber, with a similarly hued one-finger head. After the pour, there's virtually no bubble activity from the bottom of the glass.

Smell: The hops jump out at you, as you would expect. The centennial and Columbus hops provide a hint of citrus, but it's not as extreme as, say, a Smuttynose Finest Kind.

Taste: The hops attack at first, and the citrus notes ride the crushing wave of bitterness into the back of your mouth. It then mellows, though, and finishes surprisingly balanced - particularly as it warms a bit. I find the journey of the IPA interesting: born in England, it went across the pond for some schooling (and perhaps to hit the weight room and toughen up a bit), and now it's come back home (presumably to flex its hoppy biceps while bending elbows at the pub).

Mouthfeel: Nothing to nitpick here - medium carbonation works well for this style.

Drinkability: The beer makes no particular effort to hide the ABV; the full frontal hops assault just makes it somewhat secondary in importance. The surprisingly balanced finish, though, makes this one impressively drinkable considering its overall aggressiveness.

Photo of PicoPapa
2.68/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle. Batch 072 with a Best Before Date of 28/03/11. Pours a pale hazy orange with no head. Odd aroma. Smells like alcohol, malt and somewhat sour. The taste is also kind of sour and malty. Not much bitterness to speak of. I guess its drinkable but there really isn't a whole lot going on here. Not much flavor for an Imperial IPA. I dont really like this beer. If this beer is an Imperial IPA, I am sober.

Photo of mulder1010
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ML bottle into a globe glass

A-- Poured an orange carmel color. Dirty eggshell white one finger head. No real visible carbonation after original pour. A little bit of head retention on swirl and noticeable legs from the ABV.

S-- Caramelized orange mixed with lemon, pine and grapefruit. The Caramelized orange smell stands out in a big way.

T-- Pine and grapefruit taste. Not massive or over the top, but enough to say hello.

M-- Lots and lots of grapefruit in the mouth. Just touches of pine menthol in the background. Very bitter and ripe grapefruit. Not that much carmel sweetness in the mouth though. Very fruit forward. Lower medium carbonation.

D-- Very drinkable and pretty well made. ABV is well hidden and can have 2 in a sitting. I thought needed a bit more carmel to offset the bitterness but that is more my palate than anything else. Have now found 2 Brewdog beers I would buy again. Cheaper than almost all Australian craft for this style.

Photo of fragilemacabre
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This reminds me of a very lemony mixed drink. I see where the IPA exists, and it's big enough to fit the double/imperial bill, but I'm getting so much citrus alongside the hops. There's a smokiness to the scent as well. This isn't sneaky with letting you know it packs an alcoholic punch but it doesn't need to be, since the flavors carry across the alcoholic acidity... in fact, they play along with it. Not much head but a great caramel color and lacing left willy-nilly along the glass. I expected a lot from Brew Dog after watching some of their videos, and I am not disappointed.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smells like... one of the mixed drinks that I make! There's a distinct lemonade in there, mixed with lemon juice from a bottle. Nothing like I'd expect from a beer of any sort but I do find it enjoyable.
The taste continues to remind me of one of my lemony mixed drinks. It's pretty boozy. Some resinous pine lingers and I'm thinking the big lemon presence comes from the yeast they used in making this. I recall some similar flavors from some big, yeasty Belgian beers.
Not your "traditional" double IPA by any means. This gives inclinations of crazy bartending with beer ingredients.

Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two 5oz samples at the BrewDog Beer Dinner at Chancey Smith's in London, ON.

A: dark amber hue with ruby highlights, a thick ring of beige head, and spots of lacing on the glass.
S & T: strong citrus, floral aromas, perfume, stone and passion fruits, toasty biscuit, caramel, taffy, pineapple, toffee, citric and pithy hop flavour, lingering bitterness to end. ABV is undetectable.
M: fuller than medium, a tad spicy, silky and juicy palate, bitter and parched finish. Smooth as hell.
D: spot on for the style, and more drinkable than most DIPAs. My favourite beer of the night. Great stuff, James and Crew!

Photo of malloyca
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, amber orange which went from cloudy to hazy as it sat in the glass. Minimal head, with nice lacing on the glass. There is not an overpowering nose to this beer, although the citrus, pine and floral hops are evident, with some sweet malt in the background. This follows through on tasting; firm grapefruit flavors balanced by the slightest sweetness, which then gives way to a smoky, dry finish. A very nice drinking IPA.

Photo of peacebone116
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 edition from Batch 62; best by date of 17/4/11

A: I poured (part of) a bottle of this interesting beer into a tulip glass, filling my glass with an opaque liquid the color of a shiny new copper penny. The beer had a solid egg-shell colored head with excellent, clinging lace.

N: Pine sap and honey sit up front, but a hint of grapefruit and some spiciness... maybe crushed black pepper corn... flirt with my olfactory senses. The main component is definitely the pine and honey.

T/M: BAMM!!! Toasty, smoky citrus hop followed with a bread-like foundation then lingering citrus notes. Alcohol warms the mouth. The beverage has a very oily texture that overpowers its prominent carbonation. This beer tastes excellent! A very drinkable double-IPA, but a little heavier than others.

I had heard good things about this brewery, but I really expected more of an "interpretation" of a West Coast DIPA; I was pleasantly surprised. The guys across the pond did an excellent job with this beer, capturing the soul of a classic WC DIPA, while giving imparting their own identity.


Photo of twilight
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very high scores for this brewery out of Scotland. The 4-pack was purchased at the Berlin International Beer Festival from the BrewDog stand. I even asked the guy at the stand that I didn't want the four pack that hadn't been in the sun, and he obliged by opening a bunch of boxes to find this one.

Beer pours amber orange with just a very slight head. The nose is all citrus with hops hops and more hops leading to a floral scent when overinhaled. The taste is very citrusy with a forefront of bitter hops and much grapefruit with a slight acidity in the bitter aftertaste leaving a palate of herbal goodness on the tongue once the beer is gone. The malt backbone is there, but it's not very strong. If anything, it's a good malt backbone because you don't notice it, nor the lack of it.

I know I could not drink this all night, but a damn fine sipping beer it is. The floralness and the hops just overwhelm leaving you with a nice sensation afterwards. Perhaps it's not Hardcore in comparison with some of the beers out of the US, but for Europe it is plenty hardcore.

Photo of joecast
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't had a double ipa for a while. Hope It doesn't shock me too much.

Nice clear light orange color. Low to med carbonation. Thin lightly tanned head. Nothing too hardcore yet.

The smell is something to notice though. Resiny sweet citrus. Slight alcohol, slight breadiness. All standard stuff for this style. A bit floral. Again, nothing too hardcore.

Hops tend to bitterness more than flavor. A touch metallic at the finish maybe? That seems to overwhelm the rest of the beer. Even the considerable malt is beaten into submission here. Hardcore bitterness for sure. Much nicer in small sips as the harshness is minimized showing a pretty drinkable beer underneath.

A welcome sight on hobart bottle shop shelves. A nice treat, but not an everyday day beer for me.

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium, reddish amber. Fairly creamy head lowers somewhat quickly. It keeps about a 2mm skim on top, though, with only light / sparse lacing.

Smells of evergreen, florals, and citrus (grapefruit especially). My wife said she smelled strawberries in it. A nice smell, but a bit more subdued than something like Hop Stoopid or Red Racer IPA.

Tastes also of evergreen, florals (wild Alberta roses, I think), the citrus I mentioned, as well as a bit of a light malt flavour... makes me think it has a bit of an amber ale / Irish red quality.

Not as bitter or refreshing as the above-mentioned beers. The 9.2% is hidden well, but does come out a bit near the end of the bottle. I think that's what gives it a slight sharpness, but that is mostly masked by other things going on. The aftertaste rests mainly in the middle of the back of the tongue rather than the sides.

Pretty drinkable! Looking for a refreshing IPA, I'd pick something else. Looking for a good IPA to have at a pub or some such place... for a beer a little warmer, I may go with this.

Photo of AndrewNations
2.85/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Nice color and a bit darker than average for this style.

S - I didn't get a whole lot on the noise. Nothing overpowered the other and all in all not a whole lot going on.

T - Lost of malt and burn sugar. The hops played backseat the the maltyness for me.

M - fairly thick and not much carbonation.

D - Not Impressed. It wasn't horrible but I don't need another.

Hardcore IPA from BrewDog
88 out of 100 based on 1,269 ratings.