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Imperial IPA - Garrison Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

185 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 185
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 17
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
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: 185 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NForr

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

01-14-2012 04:03:16 | More by NForr
Photo of shagal

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

11-17-2012 06:45:19 | More by shagal
Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack

New Brunswick (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

03-29-2012 17:05:36 | More by Ivanhoes_Backpack
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 21:56:03 | More by kwjd
Photo of marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 00:50:43 | More by marty21
Photo of DaPan

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

02-14-2013 22:06:51 | More by DaPan
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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 aromas, with nectarine, floral hops, tangerine, and citrus on the nose. Taste is much the same: sticky, chewy and resinous hop flavours produce a piney bitterness, backed by citrus fruit (mostly oranges) and a very subtle caramel/biscuit malt base. Sweet toffee and bread flavours make a brief appearance, but the hops steal the show. IBU 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 smack of bright, fruity hop acidity in the finish. Tingly, bitter, and satisfying. Overall, 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.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 16:39:46 | More by cratez
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 Ralphus

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +9%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2009 01:15:01 | More by Ralphus
Photo of Hornet2003

British Columbia (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 23:17:19 | More by Hornet2003
Photo of esch


4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 04:40:31 | More by esch
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2009 01:55:49 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of Lukecook

New Brunswick (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 17:40:03 | More by Lukecook
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 Buebie


4.43/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2009 22:44:14 | More by Buebie
Photo of BBP

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2010 17:26:07 | More by BBP
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle of the Unfiltered Pale Ale.
Pours a deep orange color with golden brown highlights. Hazy, due to the fact it is uniltered, but that adds a bit of shimmer to the liquid. 2 inches of off-white head, decent retention and good looking lace.
A good dose of citrus, pine, and floral hops in the nose. Heavy malt tsate first, then a whole bunch of piney hops, citrus, grapefruit rind, lots of bitter goodness. The hops are stronger than the malt, but it is not overly out of balance. Thick and creamy body coats your mouth, then a crisp and dry, bitter finish.
Strong flavors and nice alcohol warmth at the end, not one to chug, but a sipper.
Overall, an excellent IPA, and as mentioned previously, pushing a Double / Imperial IPA.

Note to Self: Ranked #22 of the Top Beers - Canada when I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2009 23:35:18 | More by BigBry
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2009 23:23:45 | More by Derek
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 NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Garrison- Imperial Pale Ale

Purchased at the brewery, after sampling($1).

A- Nice deep hazy copper brown with a thick lacing head.
S- Good sweet caramelized malt, slightly grainy and big fresh hops.
T- Big sweet buttery caramel malt melds into a big grapefruit rind hop body. Big bold flavors really jump out. quite tasty.
M- Thick, sweet and malty with a huge bitter hop finish. Buttery and creamy to hoppy and bitter!

Overall- Take a good English ESB and blend it with a big West Coast IPA! This beer is so good! I wish I brought back more. A beer you must have if you visit Halifax. I will load up on this on my next visit!

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2008 20:48:09 | More by NJpadreFan
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 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 wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

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

500ml bottle poured into pint glass oct13 2009

A lots of suspended particles inside a reddish orange glass with a giant head on it. the foam goes nowhere and coats my glass well down the side. this is looking like a good thing

S citrus with the mild pine smell, lots of hops and some toffee

T all of the smell but more, I get some malt that works well with the large amount of hops. the citrus is a little more focused at grapefruit and a little booze is there but mild. nice seeing a real IPA from Halifax this is a winner

M foams up a fair bit but it seams too add a nice touch and give it a creamy feel.

D I like the bite this beer has going on, very easy too drink and overall one of the best big IPA's I've ever had from Canada

thanks wittaker for this one its great, knock one of the Canadian top25

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2009 22:07:55 | More by wordemupg
Photo of socon67

New York

4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this back from a trip to Halifax.

A - Dark orange and cloudy with a thick white head. Looks very enticing.

S - Very hoppy, and in a good way. Very crisp aroma and a little spicy as well.

T - This guy is a hop bomb, plain and simple. A true DIPA with a little sweetness. What makes this pretty darned good is the smooth finish from what is a potently hopped ale.

M - Finishes with a little raspy feel on the tongue. Medium bodied.

D - Very much so. I will enjoy this bottle. Can easily be a go-to beer for IPA lovers.

I've had most of the Garrison line and this is by far their best offering.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 18:13:25 | More by socon67
Photo of nighthawk

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a cloudy orange. Couple fingers worth of off-white (nearly yellow) head. Grapefruit smacks me in the nose, with some herbal and grassy notes, and just a faint caramel poking through here and there. Tastes strongly of bitter citrus, grapefruit, grassy, earthy, and delicious. Caramel sweetness took me by surprise with its nice balance. Hints of alcohol near the finish, but it's basically bitter through and through. Robust body, low carbonation, and surprisingly smooth. Very high drinkability, gives big beer flavour in a relatively low-alcohol package.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2008 19:11:49 | More by nighthawk
Imperial IPA from Garrison Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.