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Imperial IPA - Garrison Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

121 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 121
Hads: 214
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 21
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 Jeffo
3/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one in a trade with cjbmcdon. Thanks for sending this one out east for me man!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter.
Drunk right after the Black IPA

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium thin looking, off-white head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a good film cap and ring. A clear burnt orange in color with no carbonation evident. A thick ring remains until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Milder nose of pale malts, toffee, some melon notes and some nice floral aromas. Nice enough, but simply too mute to be noticeable.

TASTE: Pale malts, toffee, and a good amount of floral hops through the middle. A blast of bitter hop and pine flavors crash through after the swallow, which wasn’t really expected. Big and lingering aftertaste with piles of hop bitterness and a touch of pine that tries to give it some flavor. Started out nice, but became bitter just for the sake of being bitter.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate.

OVERALL: An interesting brew, much like their Black IPA. The flavors start out nice and enjoyable, but after the swallow, it becomes overly bitter without any real flavor to match. It’s almost bitter for the sake of being bitter. While these two brews weren’t highlights for me, they have definitely gotten me interested in what else this brewery can do. Thanks again for sending this brew my way cjbmcdon!

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Photo of Dawkfan
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- The pour into my tulip glass is a hazy amber orange. Some sediment is visible, which doesn't bother me. Hefty off white head, excellent retention and some patchy lacing.

S- The smell has a lot of sugary sweetness to it. A good dose of tropical fruits and floral hops, the malt coming through as it warms.

T- Wasn't expecting this one to be this bitter given the strong sweetness in the aroma. Hop bitterness throughout, mainly piney. The sweetness comes in near the finish, but is washed away with more hop bite in the aftertaste.

M- Resinous mouthfeel, medium-full body, creamy & rich. Best part of this beer.

D- I like hop bombs , but this one was just a little to much for me. Seemed unbalanced even for a DIPA.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL brown bottle with no freshness date. Pours a chill-hazed toasted gold, with medium carbonation and a thin tan cap that retains well. Smells of biscuity and caramelly malts, piney/citric hops, a few esters and a hint of pleasing diacetyl. Lots and lots of juicy hops on the palate, with piney/herbal notes, sharp white grapefruit and a strong bitter linger on top of a smooth, moderately-carbonated body. Not much malt, but there is a light sweetness. Tasty enough; raw and hoppy, but it isn't quite balanced right.

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Photo of elricorico
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium orange-brown in colour and hazy. Has an almost yellowed tan head that starts at 3 fingers and fades to a cap.

Piney hop aroma. Rather straightforward, but nice.

Taste is hoppy for sure, but not as powerful as expected. Pine again, but with citrus added. Hops sit on top of a slightly watery, biscuit-like malt base. Not bad, but not great.

The body is light, with a touch of slickness to it. It is lightly carbonated. Not bad here either.

The theme is that this beer isn't bad, but really isn't blowing my mind.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle date appears to be July 3, 2011, which means it took just over two months to get to Ontario and make it through the LCBO labs. The joys of regulation...

Pours a dark amber orange with an enormous amount of frothy off-white head. Mild lacing, good retention.

Pleasant smell of citrus (grapefruit) and caramel malt. Pleasant but neither strong nor remarkable. A bit muted.

Taste is bitter with some caramel malt. A bit of grapefruity citrus but it is not particularly strong. Some pleasant flavours as the beer sits in my mouth for a little while and more becomes apparent. Finish, however, is bitter without much else happening.

Full bodied, and quite carbonated. Somewhat irritating to me. Pretty creamy feel. Pretty good once the carbonation dies down.

Overall, this beer has some good qualities, but I was somewhat disappointed. I found the bitterness was not fully accompanied by other flavours- seemed to be bitter for bitters sake. This was particularly so in the finish. Whereas there are some nice flavours balancing the bitterness for awhile, the finish is simplistic and not particularly enjoyable. I prefer this to Garrison's Hop Yard, but do not think it is a great DIPA.

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Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks really good. Nice, two-finger thick, meringue-ish head. Laces, but does go to near nothing within a few minutes.
Nice deep, cloudy, orange/amber colour.

There's a strong citrus in there. Kind of grapefuit, and a bit of... conifers.

I did not like the taste (maybe moreso the feel) at the beginning. It got better as the bottle went on, though. It's fruity, and very much like the smell.

It feels fine in the mouth overall, but there is a long-lingering bitterness on the back of my tongue... almost like I just ate soap. Perhaps this beer is the Thrills gum of beers?

It's pretty drinkable. I like the flavour and smell... they're pretty fresh. I like that, even though it's 7%, the alcohol doesn't stand out at all. I don't like the strength of that bitterness and lingering feel, though.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber body with a scant, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma of grass and grapefruit pith with a backing of sweetish hinted caramel.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness tailed by a grassy, citrusy burst of hop flavor. Moderate bitterness, some acidity. A bit of astringency in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent enough for a beer that resides in the no-man's-land between IPA's and DIPA's.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Veiled dark amber color with tons of subtle activity. Creamy beige/orangy 2 finger head, lasting around 15 to 20 minutes, with very good legs.

Aromas of fresh flowers and citrus. Flavors of orange, tropical fruits, lemon, pine, caramel, slight ester, floral and herbal spices. Strong grassiness with a burnt sugar feel.

Smooth and slick medium body with nice carbonation. Strong and long finish, ending with a harsh spicy piney lingering tongue coat feel.

Overall this is a good craft boosting interesting tasty flavors, while overly spicy. Slightly stale, boozy, and missing some freshness. Well balanced though.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle pours a dark, slightly hazy orange brown colour, with a lot of head. Tastes slightly bitter with a bit of a hop bite up front, but the follow through falls short. Lacks the finish, this beer does. Its ok overall, but the back end could use a little more punch. Thought this one was a little over hyped.

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Photo of sholland119
3.61/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at Premier Wine & Spirits in Halifax.

A-Pours a hazy orange amber with a fluffy off white head and great sticky lacing.

S-Malty with very light hoppiness.

T-Nice bitterness hits you right away. Earthy and citric, lots of grapefruit rind. Not very balanced but very tasty.

M-Medium bodied, a bit slick.

O-Pretty nice. Low ABV for an imperial IPA so more drinkable, Nicely bitter.


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Photo of heebes
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Pours a hazy deep orange amber, producing a thin head.
Smells of sweet citrus, pine and hints of floral.
Taste is bold on the sip. Sharp bitterness of the hops is very upfront, a mild sweetness follows then finishes very dry and the bitterness sticks around in the aftertaste. Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Overall the sticky afterkick of hop flavours holds this back slightly as a smooth drinking IIPA. It's got all the nose of a great beer but to me doesn't quite reach the greatness of top IIPAs.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-ish mahogany, it's hazy, with ample head and nice, clingy lacing.

Oh, this smells nice. Prickly grapefruit and sweet floral hops and caramel, smells like a juicy sweet citrusy west coast pale ale for sure.

And then I drank it....


It's mostly all resiny hops with only a little caramel malt to back it up. Pine and grapefruit are there, but the bitterness seems to steal the show Don't get me wrong. It's a good beer, if one dimensional. All c-hop bitterness, and not a whole lot more.

Mouthfeel is creamy and viscous, slick and chewy.

It's a good and drinkable beer. Not my favorite beer ever, mind you, but you could do a lot worse. It's too bad it didn't taste more like it smells. Perhaps less hops at the beginning of the boil and more towards the end would even things about a bit.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: no head really on a cloudy amber with golden hues body.

S: caramel, candied fruit, earthy and citrus hops with a sweet maple syrup note as well.

T: I like how this one tastes but it is still a little bland. Up front you get caramel and earthy hops which moves to bitterness and a metallic taste which lingers for quite a while.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: Nice degree of hopiness, it just isnt very complex. The malt base is very good though and this is a decent beer overall.

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Photo of LazyL
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Spree92 on the other coast for another beer trade. Pours a typical IPA dark orange but very hazy due to being unfiltered and perhaps the UPS travel. The head is large and has a fluffy soft camel tone. The nose is good, but not great. I really love an IPA that blows your nose off. It has nice soft buttery citrus notes, a touch of honey and an appealing freshness. The taste is not overwhelming. I get a bit of grapefruit, some mellon and a pine sap sort of bitterness. Is it a bit salty on the finish? I like the bitterness but could use a bit more flavour up front. The hops dont jump out at you. The mouthfeel is sort of oily and the bitter finish lingers on the tongue. The retention is really good and the now thin cap has left its trail right to the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.72/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 500 ml brown bottle. Pours out a hazy marmalade hue, tall massive billowing spongy white head with excellent retention. Small yet thick patches of lacing.

Rich bready malt on the nose with a background of mild citrus hops, with predominant orange notes.

Rich chewy bready malt up front in the flavour, also some caramel character, with a serious presence of bittering hops, while some sharp pine works its way out of it all towards the finish. Some white grapefruit pith atringency leeches out in the aftertaste

Full-bodied mouthfeel but on the lower end of that scale, low carbonation and silky smooth. If only all DIPA's had this calibre of mouthfeel.

This has its moments, the mouthfeel is great, however the hop profile within the flavour simply comes across too aggressively one-dimensional, there's far too much bittering character without much development of actual flavour making it almost akin to chewing on a pine bough without the sharp edges. Malt is great, just needs more diversity with hop treatment.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle- Pours a deep orange with hues of amber. Head is one finger froth of off white foam. Nose is pine needles, orange peel, juniper, candied apricots. The flavour profile is a blast of piney hops upfront, followed by orange peel sweetness, grapefruit, dried apricots again. Chewy, heavy, oily finish. I liked this one! Another winner from these guys.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into an oversized tulip. Pours a hazy amber with 3 fingers of creamy head. Head eventually settles down to a ring of foam but leaves some nice lacing. The aroma is tropical fruit and pine, very inviting. Taste consists of a very upfront piney bitterness followed by some sweet fruit on the finish but with a persistently bitter final note. This is definitely more of a single IPA than a DIPA in terms of the body, however the carbonation seems about right. Other than the lingering bitterness, this is very drinkable. This seems a little out of balance. There is some nice tropical fruit here but it is dominated by the bitterness unfortunately. Otherwise, a pretty good beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Disclaimer - got this beer as part of a trade with Loftarasa. I was supposed to pick it up from my parents in December, but the box got lost amongst some empty ones on the front porch and I didn't end up getting my beer until this week (6 months later). However, since I don't know when I'll get another Garrison IPA I figured I'd review it - but with the hopes that I'll get a crack at a fresh one in the future. Bottled December 2008. Served in an Ikea pint glass at my cousin-in-law's BBQ party.

A - Gorgeous reverse waterfall cascade of foam that eventually settles to three fingers of soapy blonde foam. Solid retention and copious patchy lacing. It's definitely an unfiltered brew, with a slightly hazed dark amber color and the occasional tiny bubble that flits into view.

S - Pine and dank earthy hops - is this a Simcoe beer? Reminds me a little of the Weyerbacher double I had last week, but obviously smells older with plenty of caramel maltiness. I'm not getting any of the citrus promised on the label - perhaps it was there in January, but I guess I'll never know. Somewhat muted, even when it warmed up.

T - Pine, maybe a hint of orange, loads of caramel and bready malt. There is still some residual hop bitterness that builds and builds over the 650ml serving size. Nothing wrong with it - but it's just not popping like a fresh IPA would, and lacks depth (again, likely due to the age).

M - Mild to moderate carbonation, medium body, soft and creamy. Dry finish with some residual hop oils and resins. Pretty standard.

D - Bitterness mounts very quickly for this one. ABV is still in the session range, and finishing the bomber was no problem, but the palate fatigue made it hard to taste much of anything the rest of the evening.

I suspect having this fresh would bump it up to an A- (smell and/or taste would probably gain a half point). Hopefully I'll get a chance to amend this review.

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Photo of Kooz
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer my wife brought back from her trip--I love my wife!

Color--remember the Crayola crayon Burnt Umber? The beer is that color--unfiltered and gorgeous. An aggressive pour gave mit a bit too much head that took forever to dissapate. Awesome.

Smelled very hoppy. I am not an IPA fan (regardless of what the "I" stands for) because of the hops, and I could smell the hops from a mile away. Still, it was so pretty I didn't care.

Taste was, well, hoppy. But I didn't mind so much. It had bite, but also hints of other tastes I couldn't quite place. Other reviews say it's citrus--I didn't get that.

Tough to say about the mouthfeel. It was mellow, easy. The foam was light and airy, almost like a real ale/cask ale.

Even though it's my least favorite style of beer, I could see drinking this again and again.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this at the local pub. Not sure why it is called a PALE ale, considering it arrived as a pint of darkish brown ale. Little to no head, but that is mostly just how the pub pours all their pints. Deep Hop aroma and very bold taste. Surprisingly bitter for a pale ale, but very tasty overall.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip glass.

A - Dark orange/amber colour with a small amount of bubbly white head.

S - Nice aroma of bitter citrus hops with a touch of floral scent coming through. A sweet caramel backbone rounds out the nose.

T - Bitterness hits you up front with some floral and faint citrus notes. A big sweet caramel malt backbone is present as well. The hops create a big bitter bite that lingers in the finish.

M - Medium body, good chew, lightly carbonated.

D - A good DIPA but needs more flavour from the hops (lots of bitterness without the accompanying flavour profile)

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Photo of spree92
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle poured into a stein. A cloudy, red copper color that had a huge, bubbly head. Great retention and and an almost perfect lacing pattern. Just smellin' a lot of hops and some citrus. The taste is a bit lower because I feel as though it just tastes like a boozy IPA. The bitterness isn't very strong. Like most, the flavor hangs around for a while and seeps into the taste buds. Could I drink this all the time, sure. I may very well.

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Photo of souvenirs
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle from the New Minas NSLC.

A: amber and cloudy with about a finger of head.
S: Finally a Nova Scotia IPA that smells like an IPA! Citrusy hops.
T: Grassy, backed up by pale malts.
F: Medium/full-bodied.
O: This is a solid IPA, even if I would prefer the fruitier hop flavours of a West Coast IPA. I guess I'm now more of a Vancouverite than I am a Nova Scotian.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy dirty brown color ale with a quite large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter and citrus hops is dominating with s very noticeable malt backbone. Taste is also dominated by some citrus and bitter hops with a nice West coast feels and a very nice malt backbone with light dry characteristics. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well done and something I would like to try more often.

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Photo of PorterPro125
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type: 500 mL Bottle

Going through my notes today, I noticed I had written a review of this beer but had not but it on Beer Advocate... my bad! This review was written this past summer on July 17.

A- Pours a strong copper colour that is extremely hazy (from not being filtered). This is topped with two fingers of a creamy white head that lasted well throughout the drink. Great looking IPA!

S- If you didn't know this brew was an IPA before you smelled it, the aroma would definitely give that information away. Hops dominate the aroma but is backed well and balanced out by sweet malt characteristics.

T- Identical to the aroma, the taste is dominated by the hops. Up front, the taste is bitter in a citrus way (think grapefruit) but is finish off by a sweet malt characteristic. Well balanced and quite nice.

M- Low to medium carbonation with a medium, creamy body. Sessionable, although it's not the easiest drinking IPA i've ever had.

O- If you're in the mood for a hop bomb and you have access the Garrison's Imperial IPA, pick this one up for sure. If you can get passed the extreme bitter load, then you will likely enjoy this beer to the fullest potential.

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