Imperial IPA - Garrison Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA

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121 Reviews
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Reviews: 121
Hads: 214
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 22
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company visit their website
Nova Scotia, Canada

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MMansfield on 08-11-2007

Launched and enthusiastically received at the first annual Halifax Seaport Beer Fest in August 2007, this ale has quickly become known as the hoppiest beer in Atlantic Canada! Unfiltered Imperial I.P.A. is a robust, full-bodied and complex brew in the Double IPA style. An intensely fruity aroma combines nicely with a malty caramel backbone, clear hop bitterness and lingering citrusy finish. This beer is for the true hophead!

81 IBU

This beer was previously known as Garrison Imperial Pale Ale.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 121 | Hads: 214
Photo of vgoreham
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I say bottle, but I've had this in every form it is served - it is one of my regulars. Although it has changed somewhat from it's inception, it's still a fantastic brew.

Pours a beautiful, hazy, orangey-copper, with great lacing and sufficient head.

Smells of citrus and hops.

Tastes bitter, almost like grapefruit juice, amazing hop taste assults the tongue. Just enough sweet caramel malt-flavour to let you know it hasn't been forgotten. Reminiscent of many DIPA/IIPAs.

A finish that is once dry, hoppy, crisp, sour, bitter, and refreshing - leaving the mouth feeling clean, happy, and craving more.

For it's strength, and it's hop level (high) this is a very drinkable beer. Definitely can be sessionable (but be careful when you stand up!)

Overall, this is on the border of an IPA/DIPA and rights the wrongs done by Keith's IPA here in Halifax!

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Photo of robnews
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Stella chalice.

Fantastic orange haze color. Nice thick head, looks like trouble.

The smell of hops and fruit galore...incredible.

Taste: Wow, the hops coming on later shocked me big time...Very bitter, but fruity and refreshing all at the same time.
Don't taste any alcohol, cause my mouth is busy processing what just passed through it...Very hoppy.

The aftertaste is strong, hoppy, unforgettable and very drinkable. Magnificent brew from Halifax.

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Photo of GabesAles
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: very nice looking brew - typical orange IPA color, some haze (which i like)

Smell: you can smell this as your pouring it! lots of nose

Taste: very tasty brew that will most likely make your face cringe (in a good way). Being as it's an imperial IPA, that is exactly what i expected. Loved the flavor of both malts and hop.

Mouthfeel: It's there, nice mouth coating sensation

Overall: Quality brew, would buy this again any day.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a chill hazed orange with a huge, creamy, rocky head. Lace drapes the glass. Citrusy hops and fresh bread fill the nose. The taste is a a hop barage. Thick pine resin notes mix with grapefruit rind and tropical fruit of some description. A big caramel malt flavor provides good balance. The mouthfeel is full and textured with billions of tiny carbonation bubbles. The finish is very bitter and lasts forever. Its wonderful.

A great DIPA. Very bitter and balanced. ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of charlesw
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

[Currently listed as an IPA. I'm reviewing as an I2PA which is a lot closer in style, eh?]

Light, hazy orange/amber. You can see the beer is dense in how it pours in the glass and the bubbles swirl and slowly rise up. On the low end, perhaps, for head but with nice tight dark cream bubbles that stick around several minutes. Lastly lace.

Smells earthy with a bit of a floral touch.

Tastes... Ah! Tastes OK, I guess. I mean, you just send me yours and I'll save you the trouble of drinking it. 'Kay? No, seriously, this is the stuff. How do they pack this much malty sweetness into a beer that's only 6.9%ABV? It's insane! This is like drinking smutty b'wine or double bastard... But at 6.9%! Man, this is what I want to brew! OK, if I brew it I'll take the bitterness down a touch, but that does not mean, in the slightest, that I'm not enjoying drinking it like this! Full mouth bitterness changes to a mouth watering bitterness with just a touch of citrus then fades altogether. Wicked good beer. Oh, I know who the lucky dog is who's going to receive the other bottle I bought! Ha!

Anyway, yeah, again, big on the body (not as big as DB or smbw) for the "low" alcohol. A rousing success, this one! Heck... Given my need to cut calories back... I'd make this a daily drinker!

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Photo of Rutager
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a hazy, deep amber with a finger of sticky yellow head that leaves some lacing.

Smell. Caramel, lemon, pink grapefruit, papaya, grass and pine. Smells really good.

Taste. Sweet caramel grains and building, citrus grassy bitter hops. A little marzipan in the lasting, bitter floral, citrus, pine finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. A really great dipa. Alcohol well hidden, but lower than I would have expected for such a rich beer. Enjoyed this one.

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Photo of drinkininthewood
4.61/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from the LCBO.

Served into a Samuel Smiths glass.

A- Foggy amber color with off white inch of foam. Looked almosy syrupy while pouring.

S- Fruity and floral with strong citrusy hop aromas and even some strong malty aromas. Quite possibly one of the best smelling beers I have had.

T- Great malt up front brings a wave of caramel sweetness completely transforming into some delicious, citrusy hop oils. Drying bitter finish lingers. Very flavorfull and assertive. I love it!

M- smooth and full bodied.

D- Very tasty but also quite strong. 1 or 2 bottles.

Overall the best Canadian brewed IPA. What is stopping other canadian brewers from pulling out all the stops and dropping hop heavy brews such as Garrison IIPA. The standard has been set in my opinion.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Unfiltered amber with particles large and small floating in it. Medium low carbonation, 4 finger tan fluffy head. Very appealing.

S: Pineapple, floral, pine needles, buscuity malt. Again, very appealing.

T: Buscuity malt, floral, pineapple, pine, really bitter on the aftertaste. It lingers.

M: Syrupy, resony, thick, medium low carbonation.

O: Very well balanced for an Imperial IPA, it has all the right characteristics. Love that its from Halifax, Canadian, traditional bottle even has its Garrison's emblem and ‘Halifax’ embossed in the glass. Overall, really cool.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

650ml bomber served in a 750ml brandy snifter. Entered under growler, as I previously reviewed a bottle of this in it's thankfully short-lived "filtered" version.

A - hazy ruby-orange colour, with a dense creamy tan head that eventually recedes to a few splotches. Talk about unfiltered, there are even a few hop pieces floating about! Some good lacing down the side of the glass.

S - juicy sweet grapefruit hop, no bitter rind or pine notes, but lots of other "tropical" notes such as papaya and mango.

T - Absolutely satisfying. Sweet malt and hops upfront, bitter grapefruit hop mid-way, finishing with a wicked combo of hop bitterness and biscuity malt.

M - Smooth is the name of the game here, with a lip smackingly dry finish to cleanse the palette. Barley a hint of alcohol is noticable, carbonation is low.

D - Drinkability is sky high, this delivers the goods in spades!

West Coast-style IPA from an East Coast Canadian brewery? WTF!!! What a frickin' monster of a beer, just when I thought I was burning out on IPAs, along comes a bountiful package full of this glorious beer. Leaves absolutely no doubt that this beer was fully deserving of it's 2007 CBA Beer of the Year award. Congrats to Greg!!!

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Photo of Mandrake
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep and cloudy reddish-copper, a testament to the unfiltered bottling process, with a decent sized off-white head that leaves very good lacing. Smell is nicely hopped, at the same time herbal and fruity, with good citrus showing and a touch of caramel. Butter as well, and a woodsy note too. Taste is really quite interesting. Starts hoppy, the grapefruit and pine bite nice and strong. Malts the become apparent, caramel and breadiness filling the profile out and lending some complexity. Damp, earthy note in the finish is really different, and I love it. Well done. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, lively, and full-bodied, and drinkability is nice for such an aggressive, high-ABV beer. Good stuff, a top-drawer IPA.

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Photo of kwjd
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Feb 17, 2010, so this is just over a month old.

Pours a dark cloudy orange colour. Huge fluffy off-white head that dissipates down, but leaves a nice cap on the beer. Lacing all down the side. Smell is a beautiful bouquet of hops, some pine and citrus. Taste is very hop forward, with some sweet caramel in there. A sticky type texture, but quite refreshing. Nice level of bitternes.

I don't know if this should be an IPA or an Imperial IPA, it may be half way in between. Whatever it is, it is delicious hop goodness.

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Photo of marty21
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy deep orange with at least 2 fingers worth of creamy head. Settles to a chunky cap and leaves thick walls of lace all over the snifter.

S: Lot's of piney and citrus hops with a bit of caramel malt.

T: Caramel malt that with more hops and a very nice bitter finish.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium body. One if the easiest drinking Imperial IPAs I've ever had.

D: The MLCC just brought in two Garrison beers and if this is any indication I hope they start sending more. I enjoyed this beer from start to finish and before I could even realize it was gone. I'll be buying this one while I wait for Half Pints Humulous Ludicrous.

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Photo of cratez
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Garrison & Bar Towel for hooking this up through their private order! What a beast of a beer.

Pours a glowing and cloudy amber orange with golden hues and a half-inch of white head. Big gobs of spotty, sporadic lacing permeate the entire glass.

Smell is strong perfume, nectarine, floral hops, tangerine, and citrus.

Taste is much the same with piney and resinous hops, citrusy orange flavours, and some caramel and biscuity malt to balance. Sweet toffee and bread flavours make a brief appearance, but the hops steal the show. IBUs are way up there, as the pleasantly bitter aftertaste lingers for quite a while.

Mouthfeel is nothing short of luxurious: smooth, tangy, and full-bodied, with a bright and fruity hop spiciness in the finish. Very satisfying.

Overall, this is not only one of the best beers in Canada, but also a shining example of the style. A sumptuous and aromatic beer with truly bold and enticing flavours.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with a large fluffy white head that holds its own and leaves lots of lacing as it fights to stay two fingers thick. Has a murky copper/orange color. Well she starts off great in the looks department, now lets see what she offers for personality.

Smells of spicy grapefruit hops, lots of sweet pale malt and just a little bit of mustiness (in a good way).

Tastes of grapefruits, citrus (and other hop goodness), caramel malt and a clean bitter finish. I could drink this 24/7. I can only hope that one day I could try this on tap at the brewery. Thanks goes to MMansfield for this tasty treat.

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Photo of leaddog
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a cloudy copper/amber hue with about a finger width of creamy head.

Smell - Piney hops, citrus (orange peel), hint of tropical fruit (passionfruit).

Taste - Strong piney hop bitterness, with a hint of the fruit notes detected in the aromas. Very pleasant tasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nice fluffy body to it.

Overall - I quite enjoy this imperial IPA. The hops characteristics was bang on for this style. ABV is well concealed. Very nice pine and fruit aromas to this brew as well. One of the better imperial IPAs I have had in a while.

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Photo of Ralphus
4.46/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I received this beer as part of a BIF and wow - what a great thing to get in the mail! I believe the product has changed slightly as it's now unfiltered and the ABV has increased to 7%.

This beer looks wonderful. I don't give out 5's often but this one gets it. A beautiful mahogany red, cloudy and rich topped with two and a half fingers of rich foam. The beer leaves textbook rings down the glass as you drink it (rather quickly).

The smell is sweet fruit mostly with undercurrents of pine. Quite nice. The taste is full of sweet malts initially, the same fruitiness as the smell and wallop of piney hops. The hop finish is very long on this one. I agree with another reader below who thinks this should be classified as an DIPA.

Mouthfeel is solid creamy and leads to exceptional drinkability for a beer of this strength and bitterness. Well done Garrison!

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark copper, amber colour. Cloudy at the bottom of the bottle due to hop flakes. Decent (1/4 inch on pour) head.

Smell: Very fruity and malty. I'm thinking this is more of an Imperial English IPA. Dates, prunes and raisins (almost Old Ale-ish), but with a huge, citrusy hop aroma.

Taste: Much like the aroma, this beer has a lot of dark fruitiness, as well as an intense piney hoppiness. Really amazingly strong flavours on all fronts.

Mouthfeel: Malt gives a great biscuity sweetness while the hops provide a huge punch of bitterness. Good carbonation!

Overall: Let this one warm up a bit to at least cellar temp. (10 degrees C ~50 degrees F). So smooth and creamy while poking your tongue with bitterness. This beer is even more impressive given the (relatively) low ABV for an Imperial IPA. 7% with such great flavours/mouthfeel makes this a sipper that won't get you wrecked. Big props to Garrison!

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Photo of esch
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Quite nice orange color. Very hazy, but advertised as unfiltered so that's to be expected. Poured with a very dense white head. Retention is high.

S: All about the hops. Citrusy, grassy, minty, it's all here. Even though it's only 6.9% there's a nice twinge of alcohol. The barest notes of sweetness poke through at the end.

T: This is a face-full of delicious hoppiness. Incredible hop flavor. Tending towards earthiness and grassy the citrus notes from the aroma are missing. Aggressively bitter, not that it's a bad thing. Listed at 70 IBUs but tastes much higher than that, this beer lights up the edges of my mouth like few have before. There's certainly big maltiness here but it's completely dominated by the hops.

M: Body is big on this one. Medium carbonation. Nice alcohol heat. The bitterness lingers for quite a while after you swallow.

D: In a word, fantastic. I wish they'd dial down the bitterness a tad but otherwise this is a complete success.

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Photo of Buebie
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big ups to NASH for coming up with this recipe.

Bottling date of May 29th 2009.

Poured from a brown 500ml bottle and poured semi-rigerously into a pub glass. The pour creates a nice frothy 2'' off white head. This thing head is reminiscent of the big beers from Southern Tier with the hugenormous froth that refuses to settle.
It now leaves some serious stickage along the glass that I might have to take a brillow pad to scrub off. A good quarter inch of foam is left behind in retention.
The color is a mildly hazey orangish copper, glowing bright.

Aroma is pungeant with hops. Alot of citrus acidity to it, similar to orange peels, peppery hops, a good amount of bittering grapefruit, Sweet bready caramel doused yeast aroma.
Malts shine through and balance the aromas nicely.

Thicker slick mouthfeel, some carbonation tickle to the tongue, great feel to this. It seems as though a flaked barley might have been added.
Taste upfront is sweet and malty with a mixture of caramel and honey and maybe a candied lemon flavor. Becoming increasingly bitter into the middle and at the swallow, all that was once sweet and balanced is annihilated with a hops implosion. Working its bitter deceiving self into the very cor of my tongue. Hosps just destroy me here and I love it! Earthy spiciness, grapefruit bitter, lick the lemon and pucker, hops.

The finsih is clean and crisp with hops biteing and lingering long and hard.
This is a delicious brew that crept up on me without warning. The aroma is so deceiving as to what this beer is really hiding. The 7% is well hidden, this could very well be 4% and you wouldnt be able to tell the difference.
I had many of these in Nova Scotia and was lucky enough to smuggle one home in my checked luggage.

Thanks NASH for brewing another great beer.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received as part of a trade with Ralphus.

Tasted on July 26, 2009.

First, wow an excellent beer!... ok details will follow.

A: The appearance is hazy with a copper looking color beer. Very good looks. However, mine had no head... bad pour, possible.

S: Strong aroma of hops, citrus and I get faint notes of grapes.

T: Wow... I'm overwhelmed with intense hops flavor. Bitter. Warming touch in the aftertaste... awesome taste. Nearly perfect.

M: Strong bodied beer and the taste is very persistent which is awesome in a beer.

D: Very drinkable considering the strong hop taste of this beer.

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Photo of Mdez
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried several of these while on vacation in Canada in August 2012. I tried a red of theirs and then this, their flagship beer. After having quite a few tedious beers while on the trip, this one hit the mark and I believe I had 5 of them (they were 5 or 6 ouncers) while waiting for my wife for 90 minutes or so. This is a very good IPA that surprised me and made me happy waiting that day. Thanks, Garrison!

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Photo of Lukecook
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle

A- Cloudy orange color, 1 finger of head that diminshes to a fluffy blanket of foam leaving lots of lacing in its wake.

S- carmel malt, pine and citrus

T- Grapefruit, pine, light background of carmel, nice hop finish, hard to put down!

M- Medium body and mildly acidic.

D- I love this beer. It is definetly one of the best offerings here in New Brunswick.

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Photo of BBP
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a thick orangish brown with good carbonation. The head was quite robust, and the lacing was preeminent.

S- Piney hop with a bit of bite, as well as some malt. I couldn't make it out too well as the hops were very dominant.

T- Piney hop and a bit of smokiness in the malt from the start. Has some citrus and caramel notes as well. Light bits of fruitiness, and very bittersweet. I found this to be a great example of balance in an IIPA. I loved the bitter pine aftertaste mixed with smokiness. Through it all, I appreciated how the hops remained the focus of it, as some DIPA's become heavy in regards to malts.

M- A bit more than a medium body, and it goes down quite smooth. The carbonation seemed just right.

D- Easy to down, and quite enjoyable. No real flaws in it at all. The only DIPA I'm aware of that I can get around here, which certainly helps it out.

Before finding this, I wasn't aware of any double IPA's in my country. I thought they were almost exclusive to the states. That being said, I wasn't sure how one of ours would hold against the others, and the answer is that it did a pretty good job. Not my favorite DIPA, but I don't think it's lacking.

I may pick up a couple more of these, regardless of the slightly high price point. It was incredibly smooth for it's style, but maybe a little less potent.

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber-copper with a light tan head, good retention, great lace.

S: Huge citrus aroma with grapefruit, tangerine, nectarine and hints of toffee.

T: Plenty of hops, with some nice malt to back it up. Great balance. Flavours of tangerine, nectarine, grapefruit, toffee & nut with hints of caramel & fruity esters. Alcohol is subtle.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has some hop acidity and a crisp finish.

D: I love it, but it's more of an IPA and a half, so it's certainly not as sessionable as some.

Definitely among the best in Canada.

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Photo of Groulxsome
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a tulip.

Looks: Great. Thick, firm head with little mountains of foam. Great orange-ruby red colour. Cloudy (it's unfiltered).

Smells: It smells balanced. Pine and citrus hops combined with a some roasted, earthy malts. It has this almost soft, fresh pine bark smell from the combination of the two.

Tastes: Big citrus hops on the front (Amarillo?) are followed by more pine hops and caramel malts. The finish is some combination of pine and a little grapefruit bitterness (Cascade?).

Feels: A little thin to be honest (most other reviews note that it's dense, maybe I am!). Not as creamy as that head might of had me think. Nice medium carbonation.

Overall: The hop profile in this beer is really close to my favourite. That pine, citrus, and grapefruit are the classic East-coast style hops that I love, so it get's bonus points for hitting my taste so well. Garrison have a signature taste too, which I really like, partially because it smells a little like the Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John's, NL, which is no where near! Google maps tells me they are close to salt water, so I'm going to assume its the North Atlantic Ocean smell, the terroir if you will, which makes me like it so much. Anyway, I really like this beer!

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Imperial IPA from Garrison Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.