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Imperial IPA - Garrison Brewing Company

Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

182 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 182
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.51%

Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company visit their website
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: MMansfield on 08-11-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 116 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Mdez


4.43/5  rDev +8%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2012 20:28:05 | More by Mdez
Photo of Seanstoppable

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-10-2009 22:12:00 | More by Seanstoppable
Photo of mick303

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garrison Imperial IPA
Poured a bright coppery gold colour, a bit of haze from being unfiltered. Nice white whispy lacing. 3.75
S – lots of juicy grapefruit, lemon, some crystal malt, florals come in, a big dose of cascade likely, some caramel sweetness, smooth and juicy hops profile. Inviting. 4
T – a citrusy, bitter start, grapefruit and orange rind, herbal hoppiness, really juicy, some astringent herbal bitterness, this one certainly has some biting bitterness which is nice. Malts hold up some bready and caramel notes but don’t really balance out the heavy hop load in this and it leave a slick oily bitterness. Finish is pleasant, some semisweet malts and citrus/floral notes. Overall this is a strong and rambunctious showcase of citrus hops, initially there is a lack of malt balance but when this develops the beer really comes into its own, some floral minerality, earthy notes, all ties together by a dry resiny finish. 4.25
M – moderate body with a full creamy, smooth carbonation, quite sessionable and in tune with this style, carries a heavy bittering load with a slick and dry finish that works quite well. 4
A little astringent but otherwise a very solid IIPA, thick malty profile loaded with cascade hops, oily and resinous in feel, quite nice all round. Still lacking to the best examples but a nice step up and I would surely consider getting this again. One of the better Canadian attempts at the style Ive sampled. 4

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 17:44:52 | More by mick303
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle purchased at LCBO for $4.10 CDN. Served fairly cold into a pint glass. Advertised as 8% ABV.

Appearance - Slight hazy copper / orange color. 2 Fingers of creamy white head with great retention and lacing. Clear and a some visible carbonation. One of the best looking IPA's I've had.

Smell - Pin, with a bit of lemon, but restrained in the citrusy smell. Definitely leans towards the piney aspect of IPA's as opposed to the citrusy side. Slight earthy undercurrent too.

Taste - More grapefruit and lemon here than expected, quite bitter; hopheads to enjoy. Also some big malts in play here that I haven't run across very often. There's also a orangy tangerine-esque citrus flavor running amok behind the scenes. Nice interplay between the two. Speaking from my limited experience I see this as a cross between Amsterdam Boneshaker and Founders Centennial IPA with Nova Scotia flair. All in all quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, rich and full tasting with great crispness. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Really enjoyable IPA, that while coming with a steep price is one of the best beers I've had recently.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 12:41:45 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the bottle to a tulip

A: orange/amber in color with somewhere between a one and two finger soapy head. The head breaks rather quickly leaving nice lacing and some islands of foam.

S: pine and citrus hops with a touch of malt sweetness there too.

T: follows the nose, with the malts playing a bigger role on the tail end. Really enjoyable.

M: good carbonation, medium body.

O: a nice IIPA. I enjoy these more than the usual IPA offerings as I find them a little more flavorful. Garrison does a good job with this beer, its fragrant, flavorful and easy to drink. I will look for more.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 21:33:12 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of souvenirs

British Columbia (Canada)

3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 00:58:48 | More by souvenirs
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; bottled on Oct. 11 2013, listed at 8% and served slightly chilled. I'm glad to see that our benevolent monolithic government liquor agency has seen fit to import this quality Nova Scotian ale to Ontario annually. I had the pleasure of trying it once a few years ago, and although I didn't bother posting a review, I still enjoyed it immensely. Poured into a tulip.

Pours a beautiful, hazy orange-amber with a slight tinge of crimson. Atop the liquid is seated nearly two fingers of frothy, soapy, off-white head that slowly recedes into a denser cap. A doily pattern of lacing is left clinging to the glass - it's attractive, I'll give it that. The aroma draws me in as well, with plenty of the pine sap, pink grapefruit and orange pith notes that I love about American hops. A light caramel and biscuit sweetness is just barely detectable beneath the ocean of hops.

Very tasty stuff; the first sip makes me glad I decided to pick this up again. While the aforementioned caramel/biscuit malt backbone is detectable, this one is all about the hop bill. Grapefruit, orange peels and a wallop of pine resin dominate the flavour, with a bitter finish leading into a pithy, leafy, lingering aftertaste. The alcohol is well-hidden amongst the bitterness in the tail-end of the flavour profile, although after a glass of the stuff you'll know it's there. As it warms, the astringency weakens considerably, and this becomes a much more balanced-feeling brew. On the heftier side of medium-bodied, with a very smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel, and mild carbonation that lightly prickles the palate. About as drinkable as this style gets - too bad I didn't grab another bottle.

Final Grade: 4.36, an A grade. Garrison Imperial IPA is a superb sipper that I will assuredly return to again at some point, and quite possibly my favourite beer brewed east of Quebec. I will close this review by pointing out that I tend to avoid the boozier/prefer the lighter examples of this style (and at 8%, this qualifies as the latter) so this review should be considered within that context. Regardless, it's a great IPA that all BAs should try if given the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 06:49:14 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of DoreenAndDave


3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer pours a hazy gold with a thin ivory head. Nice lacing. Smell is orangey dank resinous hops. Taste is light malt and toast up front, with a bitter orange finish. The taste is quite complex, with lots of earthy notes along with the citrus. The mouthfeel is very good. It's nicely carbonated and very drinkable. Overall, a tasty IPA. It's got a big citrus punch but is still nicely balanced.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2013 03:27:07 | More by DoreenAndDave
Photo of patre_tim


4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 02:19:08 | More by patre_tim
Photo of Groulxsome

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 03:28:48 | More by Groulxsome
Photo of nickfl


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small head of off white foam on top of a hazy, copper colored body. The foam settle fairly quickly but leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - Lots of pine and sweaty hops with caramel and toffee malt in the background.

T - Sweet, bready malt up front with some pine flavor. Orange and grapefruit show up in the middle and the beer finishes with toffee, pine, and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Nicely done, this is a solid IPA, with lots of pine hop character and good balance. It ain't Pliny, but it certainly gets the job done.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 04:26:17 | More by nickfl
Photo of kylehay2004


3.65/5  rDev -11%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 04:26:14 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of smcolw


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Modest, but lasting head. Leaves a ring of lace after each sip. Hazy, copper amber color.

Fresh, floral hop aroma. Some grapefruit, some pine.

Starts with a malt base, relatively dry. Strong spicy, hot pepper bite in the swallow. There's a long aftertaste that is like sucking a hop pellet. A true hop-head's delight. The flavor completely covers the increased alcohol level. Rich bodied.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 01:28:43 | More by smcolw
Photo of trippinbillyrmc

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy copper color, big and light fluffy off white head.

S - Normal citrus/pine and hops smell but was taken back by the strong caramel and cereal aromas for a beer of this style.

T - Caramel malty flavor dominates at first but that is followed up by a huge blast of citrusy hops at its climax and then leaves lasting piney bitter finish.

O - One of the best of this style I have had in Canada. Easily the best out of Atlantic Canada. Big and powerful flavors. Recommend to any Hop Head.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2012 03:43:23 | More by trippinbillyrmc
Photo of Beelzebeer

Newfoundland (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a spearhead tulip. No date on bottle.

A - Pours a dense, unfiltered, brown copper colour. Great amount of creamy head, good retention, nice lacing

S - Strong pine, bitter hops. Smells a little boozy, but mixes well

T - Bitter, pine, resinous hops, mixed with a sufficient malt backing. Similar to DFH 90, but a little sharper. Maybe some biscuit in there too. Medium-high amount of carbonation. Great for the style

M - Dense, like a real beer should be.

Very nice offering from Hali, and a good rep for the style. Not my fav, but pretty high up there.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2012 23:00:38 | More by Beelzebeer
Photo of leaddog

Alberta (Canada)

4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2012 04:51:19 | More by leaddog
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 23:10:47 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of mintjellie

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber orange colour, unfiltered and hazy, with a massive topping of off-white head. Head is tight, retentive, and sticky, leaving a ropey lace on the glass. Mango, citrus, pine needle, and cookie dough aromatics. Solid tropical and citrus fruit flavours up front with a mild sweetness developing midpalate. The finish is leafy and firmly bitter, and lingers long. There is some big bold flavour to be had here. Even with that mild sweetness, the hops still get all up in your face. If that unbalanced quality bothers you, this probably isn't your IPA. This is my IPA.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Feels creamy and smooth, with an oily slick sensation left on the roof of the mouth between swallows. With loads of raw leafy hop bitterness and a blast of citrus, Garrisons Imperial IPA makes for a satisfying hop fix.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 01:54:25 | More by mintjellie
Photo of NightINgale

Russian Federation

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice 500ml bottle...

A - Cloudy amber body, with a nice reddish-orange hue. Pretty tan-coloured frothy head. Very good head retention.

S - The aroma is not particularly strong, but it is quite hoppy nonetheless. Some citrus, some pine, and a little bit of pleasant tropical fruit notes. It also smells a little confectionary, with hints of toffee and biscuits.

T - In my opinion, from the very first sip, the beer lets you know that you're not drinking a single IPA. It starts out with a powerful and bitter citrus hop punch with a slight syrupy quality to it. As you swallow the first couple sips, you will get some caramel, some sweetness, and a little pine. The finish is full of lingering citrus notes, with a nice pithy grapefruit texture. After a while, the flavours wear out a little. However, I discovered that if you take small sips and refrain from gulping it down, the flavour profile can be quite rich, even after the beer has warmed up. Some slight mango and passion fruit notes, a bit of orange.

M - The mouthfeel is definitely on the thicker side, with some stickiness to it. Somewhat astringent but not too dry, which is nice. Not at all boozy and not ruinous on the pallate. Pretty nice!

O - This is a very solid and enjoyable Double IPA. Definitely one of the best Canadian DIPA's I've had. Not a session beer, despite the seemingly not-so-high ABV. It's nice to take your time with this beer. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 02:37:04 | More by NightINgale
Photo of

4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - honey-orange in colour with a thin head that dissipates to a persistent cap.

Smell - The aroma is a wonderful belnd of hops and malt featuring caramel, biscuit, pineapple, grapefruit, and pine.

Taste - The taste is heavy on hops, as one would expect with an imperial IPA. Upfront its malty and fruity, but the hops are right behind bringing a really intense bitterness. The finish is a bit biscuity, with a lingering bitterness. I could do with a little more hop flavour and less bitter punch, but this is still a very good IIPA.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2011 00:43:42 | More by
Photo of bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy marmalade-like orange colour with hints of copper and a fair amount of suspended sediment. The head is light beige in colour and very frothy. It has good retention and leave a healthy amount of lace behind as it settles.

The aroma has a malt-forward caramel character balanced by a mild grapefruit-like citrus tone. I also get a ripened cherry note and one of freshly cut grains.

The taste finds a nice balance between sweet caramel and bitter grapefruit or orange peel citrus. A dark chocolate flavour pokes through as it passes the tongue and the bitterness really kicks in during the finish.

The beer is full-bodied with a nice pop on the tongue despite a rather low carbonation. The long-lasting collar and sediment create a creamy sensation as it goes down. The aftertaste is dry and bitter with a lingering citrus character and a subtle strawberry or cherry fruitiness.

If I were to strictly review Garrison Imperial IPA as a Double/Imperial IPA, my opinion would be far less favourable because of its relatively low ABV and light character. It's more in line with "single" offerings like Southern Tier IPA or Red Racer IPA. That said, this is an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable beer that is one of the best Canadian-brewed IPAs and one that I snap up any time I see it.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2011 16:44:00 | More by bryehn
Photo of GabesAles

Ontario (Canada)

4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2011 20:52:10 | More by GabesAles
Photo of mmmbeer


3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 00:24:46 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured a big off white three finger head with great retention and plenty sticky patchy lacing - a deep amber orange colour

S - sweet malt and citrus hops - grapefruit and grass

T - a beautiful balance of barley malt with a strong citrus hops - grapefuit and papaya - oranges - grass and pine - a pepper note in the bitter finish - bravo

M - medium body with plenty of carbonation - still smooth for a brew with this much bitterness

O - A very nice Imperial IPA that is really well balanced - I will definitely grab another box of this stuff

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2011 02:41:16 | More by Stocean1
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 23:38:54 | More by jrenihan
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Imperial IPA from Garrison Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.