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Imperial IPA - Garrison Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

121 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 121
Hads: 214
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 121 | Hads: 214
Photo of BigBry
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
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: 4.34, 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.

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Photo of trippinbillyrmc
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
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

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Photo of socon67
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of korguy123
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml into DFH signature glass.

A- Hazy orange/copper pour. Finger width white head, carbonation is barely visible deep within the glass. Lacing is great and sticky, just sheets the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet candied sugar, piny fresh hops. Mild citrus tones. Subtle maltiness and faint strawberries.

T- Floral hop bitterness ravaging my tongue. Long dry finish, with subtle citrus notes. Toasted malts and faint caramel.

M- Medium bodied, dry finish. Bitterness continues in your mouth long after your sip. Sticky sweet on the lips.

D- Very easy drinking DIPA. Glad I got to enjoy this one, it was a real treat.

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Photo of nighthawk
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this bottle at the Brewery in Halifax two days ago and enjoyed it today at home in West Hill. It's been in the bottle about three weeks is my guess.

Generous three finger head off the pour, dense foamy with great retention and lace. Cloudy orange colour with a lot of haze, I may have hurried the pour? Very citrusy nose with fruit zest and pine aromas. Tastes like one heckuva good DIPA! Having said that, some of the more highly-hopped American DIPA's are a bit off the map for this reviewer, this strikes a great balance with medium-high bitterness considering the style. Grapefruit taste predominates with ample malt backbone and mouthfeel, nicley done. I'm not getting a lot of the caramel other reviewers describe. Lingering zesty finish with cleansing and refreshing mouthfeel, a touch of sourness adds another dimension. Alcohol very well handled.

As far as I'm concerned, everything comes together quite well for this beer, it's the best I've had from my Halfiax tall ships vacation. If I had access, this would never not be in my fridge. Thanks and way to go Garrison!

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Photo of shamus
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was truly ecpecting this to disappoint me, given how many Pale Ales and IPA's in the LCBO don't live up to their name. This however was a beautiful surprise. Yes it has a luscious head and body, yes it smells fragrant and promising but the real proof is in the taste. If there were a single draft this pleasing in this city I would be there at the tap daily. This is new at the LCBO in my territory but I really hope they continue it. P.S. it's a Canadian beer.

One year later: Now this is more like it. After drinking some tepid Ontario APA this IPA from Nova Scotia is the real deal. Beautiful pour with lots of long lasting head and lace. You can smell those hops. It's like coming home. I would gladly drink this again. Too be fair it's not perfect but what is. It's really great. More please. Too bad it seems to be seasonal

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Photo of FishGetter
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up on a recent trip to Canada. Cloudy unfiltered copper orange color. Thin frothy head from an aggressive pour clings nicely to glass.
Fresh, crisp hop aroma. Very floral citrusy aroma. Some hints of malts blend in too.
Refreshing hints of hops right up front. Citrus flavors blend with a piney finish. Not overpowering or mouthpuckering. Sweet notes from malts even things out with a slight hoppy resin left in mouth.
Good solid mouthfeel, a bit on the heavy side but still refreshing.
Well rounded offering here. Definetly holds its own compare to well sought after IPA's. Very enjoyable, will seek out again on the next trip.

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Photo of gruvn
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow - great beer. I'm glad to be living in Halifax these days.

Poured a deep, dark, almost red colour, which an creamy/light orange head. The head retention is pretty good - lasting 10min or so.

Smells so good, it's hard to smell, because it makes you want to drink it! Mostly hoppy, but with a floral aspect - and maybe even tree? (like pine or something?)

This sucker fills up your mouth, and gets into all your tastebuds. A veritable roundkick to the parts of your cheeks that detect bitterness. It's super bitter, in fact, which lowered my grades for taste and drinkability. Keep in mind that I tend to prefer porters, and I don't love the bitterness as much as some. That being said - I'll finish this 750ml and be wishing I had another.

In my limited experience, I'd say this is more of a Double IPA then a regular, plain ol' IPA.

I can't believe this comes from the same city that churns out Keiths.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Got on a trade from Curtis. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- 4.25- Opens well and pours a nice head that lasts. Dark, unfiltered. Good

S- 4- Lots of hops. BIt of malt. Nice blend.

T- 4.25- Lots of hops. Hopped early during the boil and dry. Very similar to SN's Torpedo.

M-4.0- Very similar to SN's Torpedo. Bitter good

O- 4.12- This is my overall rating. Nice beer. Worth getting if I ever find it again.

Food Pairing

This nice IPA went well with..... Smoked meat and cheese tray.


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Photo of ludachris
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Made sure I picked this one up on my last trip to Nova Scotia since I discovered true IPA's not that long ago.
Pours a very nice hazy deep orange with golden brown highlights. Finger and a half of off-white head with decent retention and decent lacing.
A burst of citrus, pine, floral hops and buttery malt in the nose. Very inviting.
Smooth buttery malt accompanied by a punch of pronounced citrus, grapefruit rind and pine that almost makes your mouth pucker and lingers to the bitter end. The hops are much more pronounced then the malt, but it still makes for quite a tasty beverage.
Incredibly creamy body that's capped off by a crisp, dry, bitter finish. Being so tasty and creamy, the drinkability is great but at the same time, I would find it hard to have more then two of these bad boys in fear of my tongue losing all of its senses to the bitterness.

Overall, an excellent IPA. Creamy, smooth, tasty and definately not lacking in the hop department. I am still a BA rook, but reading the label; "unfiltered Imperial Pale Ale" and with "Imperial" in its name, on top of the incredible IBU count, and 7% ABV ,I think this brew leans more towards an imperial IPA rather then an American IPA. Regardless, this was an exceptional brew that I would definately recommend for anyone travelling or living down East.

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Photo of KaiMiller
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml, unfiltered

Nice amber pour, hazy with hop resins, disappearing fluffy head.
Big hop aroma, resiny, grapefruit, spruce.
Flavour is big american hops up front, grapefruit, earthy. Lingering earthy bitterness. Light malt profile, some nice yeast fruitiness. Smooth body, goes down well. Time to change my opinion of Garrison.

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Photo of mintjellie
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of Stocean1
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
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

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Photo of StarshipPoopers
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL bottle poured into a snifter.

A - What a nice appearance. A very hazy orange with about 2 fingers of foamy white head. The lacing is excellent and leaves a lot of legs. The retention is alright, dies down pretty quick but there are still patches of head here and there.

S - What an unexpectedly good smelling DIPA. The hops come through with a strong grapefruit smell and other citrus. Also a grassy pine smell in the hops as well. Some slight hints of malts as well.

T - Quite hoppy and well balanced. I am impressed, I would place this from California or some other place along the West coast, certainly not from Nova Scotia. The tastes are much the same as the smell. The grapefruit hops are very nice and this beer is quite balanced. Pines and earthy notes come through and the beer is balanced the way that I like it. The malts taste mainly of caramel and adds a nice backbone to the overall taste. Balance is typical of a good DIPA, strong hops with good malts to back them up.

M/D - Nice smooth mouthfeel that i have come to expect from good DIPAs. The bitterness adds a nice bite, and the aftertaste is quite subtle and not overpowering.

Very good, I hope the LCBO keeps this around.

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Photo of berley31
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured with an average-to-large sized, white head, that exhibited some very good lacing, clinging in small clumps and spiderweb patterns on the glass. Body is quite cloudy and a dark orange/amber color.

S: Very nice aroma of average hops, with a lot of scents in there, such as pine, citrus, and various herbs.

T: Great flavor with some citrus and pine notes, and a very bitter and dry finish. Lots of hop profile with this one, but it's not overpowering at all... there's a great balance with the whole flavor from start to finish.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy, with average carbonation.

D: A perfect example of an IPA with a good amount of kick, that doesn't, however, try to completely rip your taste buds apart. Definitely worth plenty of future purchases, and easily the best Garrison beer I've had to date.

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Photo of Evocatus
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden yellow with a frothy white head. Aroma was a mix of fruits, spices and hops. It was pretty strong as well. Taste was more geared to the hop and spices. Good balance, nice and strong. Good body for the style, nice and crisp as well. Garrison's best IMO. Wouldn't mind drinking a couple of these.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - hazy orange copper, two fingers of tan head retained very well with lots of sticky lacing
S - lemon and pine, sweet caramel, earthy and light spiciness
T - earthy hops of front along with caramel sweet malt, moves to lemon citrus hops and cedar, light spicy hop character to finish
M - medium body, malty richness is almost creamy, balanced well by the hop bitterness creeping in on the finish
O - pleasant hop flavours are well balanced by the sweet rich malt, and that's always a bonus with an imperial, the mix of earthy and lemon hop flavours works very well, very sessionable at 7%

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Photo of Viggo
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MMansfield for hooking me up!

Pours a cloudy amber, forms a thick off white head, settles down to a thick ring and layer, nice lacing on the glass. Smell is caramel, biscuity malt, pine and floral hops, grapefruit, nicely balanced. Taste is similar, solid malts, caramel and bread, grapefruit and pine hops, some nice floral and citrus, very balanced finish, perfect bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, alcohol is well integrated. I didn't know Canadian brewers knew how to hop until I had this and the HP Humulus, and this Garrison closest thing to an American IPA commercially available here. Thanks Matt!

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Photo of Beelzebeer
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, nice olive drab label, to go with the brewery's overall military theme.

This beer pours a hazy, dark, but somehow bright copper hue, with three fingers of thick, foamy, and billowy off-white head, which settles evenly, leaving some random swaths of chunky, sudsy lace around the glass.

It smells of abundantly sweet and floral citrus - grapefruit and orange, with some further tropical fruitiness (kiwi, mostly) - zippy pine resin, all underlain by a spicy, bready caramel malt. The taste is big on the bitter, astringent pine needles up front, definitely more of a one trick pony than in the aroma, as the malt is also far less sweet that I was led to believe - caramelized, sure, but it also seems much more biscuity, and cracker-like, with a mild nondescript spiciness. A good job is achieved as well in alcohol subterfuge - damned if I can find any such astringencies.

The carbonation is average in its tingling and challenging frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, generally smooth, and somewhat creamy. It finishes with a hoppy resurgence, the muted citrus and free-flowing pine back for more - the lingering malt need not apply.

I can see why this has won Canadian brewing awards - it is big, brash, and unapologetic - that British influence, so endemic in its cross-country brethren, is squashed into a small corner here. I do like this very much - so why does the size of our broad nation seem so overly evident to me right now? And in another small case of apophenia - Sloan just came up on the stereo randometer: "She told me to 'loosen up' on the way to the L.C." Perfect.

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Photo of RStansel
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

There's a much bigger malt presence here than many other reviewers have noted. Hops, yes, but this isn't a pine and citrus bomb. Love the balance. This is east coast at its best.

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