First Pull IPA - Brainerd Lakes Brewery

Not Rated.
First Pull IPAFirst Pull IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

46 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 2.97
pDev: 24.92%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brainerd Lakes Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.75% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: shadow1961 on 09-07-2010

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 20
Reviews by TastyTaste:
Photo of TastyTaste
2.15/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I am a little unsure about this bottle, there may be something wrong with it. There is a lack of head or carbonation, the body is very cloudy with a chunky suspension. This bottle is bad, there is a spoiled butter/off note in the smell. The flavor is also adversely affected, the malt tastes raw and grainy, and it masks whatever this beer is supposed to taste like. I will be pouring this bottle out, I am hoping that this is an exception, not the rule from this beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of LXIXME
2.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Small light tan head settles into a nice lacing above a clearish well carbonated deep honey golden colored beer.

Very light aroma of what seems to be a light soapy citrus.

Light taste of what seems to be a cross between citrus and darker fruits, as if apricots meet pineapple and they end up dividing the light taste equally.

A lighter aftertaste without much dryness or tastes of the beer remaining with this lighter medium bodied beer.

A much lighter taste than I was expecting with this Minnesota IPA.

Photo of biboergosum
2.28/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

355ml bottle. What is it with Minhas and Minnesota - can't newfound brewing 'agents' there find a more agreeable (and local) contract brewer?

This beer pours a clear medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, loosely foamy pale beige head, which leaves some decent spectral webbed lace around the glass as things drop away.

It smells of somewhat biscuity caramel malt, wet forest floor flora - mostly rotting pine - and an astringent mouthwash booziness. The taste is unpleasantly acrid pine needles, subdued, wet bready malt, a cheap vodka alcohol heat, with some growing orchard fruitiness that soon starts to be suggestive of by-gone yuk-a-flux.

The carbonation is pretty sedate, the body an ok medium weight, with only a twinge of pithy clamminess, and smooth enough, I'm manning up to say. It finishes well off-dry, the touched caramel malt suffering little guff from the nearly inappropriate 'hops'.

Gah. Again, not a wholly complete hot mess, but not an IPA of any known stripe either. Given the Minnesota connection, how is this not the same thing as the Tonka Preservation IPA?

Photo of tempest
2.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a single at Princeton Liquors. Meh, this tastes like an under-hopped homebrewed IPA. Yes, there's a bitter citrus kick in the finish, but the it's too bland up front and there's only a hint of hops in the aroma. This would be a fine beer if you called it an amber ale or extra pale ale, but this doesn't have near enough hops to stand up to any great American IPAs. It's decent summer beer, and inoffensive, but I'll pass on having a second.

Photo of morimech
4/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark amber color with two fingers of head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Citrus hop aroma. Hints of grapefruit and something more exotic like passion fruit. A little grass as well. Not getting much from the malt. The flavor is good but maybe not as good as the aroma. I am torn giving it a 3.5 instead of a 4. As the beer sat and warmed, I decided to give it the higher score. There is some malt in the flavor that gives the beer the slightest of sweetness and breadiness before the hops take over. Not the most complex hop profile, just some citrus and a lot of bitterness compared to the amount of flavor. Good mouthfeel. Could of used a little more depth but has excellant carbonation. Ended up giving this 4's down the line. Nothing to really set it apart but it is well crafted and better than a lot of others.

Photo of gatornation
3.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

picked up a single as part of a mix sixer

A- pours a clear copper color with an off white that settles to a fresh ring little to no lacing

S- was malt and toffee with some pine and bread

T- was bitter pine first with some sweet toffee malts

M- medium carbonation crisp and bitter

O- its an ok IPA , it was fresh but lacking in hops for me it was more bitter than anything else without alot of flavor

Photo of shadow1961
3.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Today I'm tasting the other 50% of Brainerd Beer's output- their First pull IPA. It pours a thin sticky head of foam over a slightly cloudy orange brew. Carbonation is moderate and steady, the nose marmelade and grapefruit rind. Up front the flavor is fruit and a little barley hull with an assertive grapefruit rind/medicinal hoppiness off the back. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with a long dry medicinal hoppy aftertaste. This beer is a pretty faithful representation of the West Coast variation on the IPA style- a very light bodied brew that is a carrier of big hop flavor and aroma. Not a personal favorite of mine (I like my IPA's fuller bodied)- but just about note perfect for the style.

Photo of KarlHungus
2.42/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a hazy orange color with amber hues. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of butterscotch, pine resin, grapefruit. There is enough hop character coming through in the aroma to keep the butterscotch from running riot. However, it is still too strong, and does take away from the beer. The taste is similar to the aroma. There are some nice grapefruity, piney flavors, and a firm bitterness, but there is still a more than noticeable butterscotch character that greatly detracts for all the good things going on. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, I would like to try this beer again as I can sense it might be quite good if not for the diacetyl.

Photo of garymuchow
4/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Able to pick some up at Cash Wise in Brainerd.
Very nice aroma, soft, but nice. Nice citrus with a shot of a really nice sweetness with just a tad of oiliness. Faint background of malt.
Golden amb3er with firm, short dense creamy looking head.
Nicely mixed hop malt flavors finishing with a solid bitterness on a long noticeable dry finish. No real sweetness up front more of a grainy character before the Am. hop flavors kick in. Seems like some cascade with a sour/tart grapefruit quality.
Lighter body than most, but it really drinks nicely. Soft bubbles.
Ya' know this is perfectly fine beer. Good flavors. Balanced nicely. Hits style well. Drinks well. Kudos to all involved. Well done.

Photo of jsprain1
2.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Golden-orange. There is just a bit of haze to it. Big billowy white head. Good retention and some lacing.
S- It doesn't smell bad, but it doesn't smell like an IPA. There is a bit of woody and earthyness, but it's more malty than anything else. Smells sort of like an average amber ale.
T- It tastes fruity, but not in a hoppy way. It tastes woody with a hint of peach. Again, not bad, but it tastes more like an amber or sorta sweet blonde.
M- The body to it is not bad. Fairly full for what should be an IPA. Medium-low carb, with a touch of alcohol noticable in the finish.
O- It's not a bad beer, but it's odd that it's marketed as an IPA. It seems like it should be a pale ale or a slightly hoppy amber. A decent beer, but not what it is marketed as.

Photo of jimmah120
3.63/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a slightly hazy orange-gold with a big, impressive, fluffy head. Smells like lake water mixed with earthy hops. Maybe a touch of pine and crackers as well. Taste is biscuits, pumpkin, earthy pine, melon, and lemon. Taste is very middle-of-the-road, but enjoyable. It;s like a mix between an english and american IPA.

Neat, bitter, and not overly hopped. Tasty stuff.

Photo of mpipe
2.25/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Light amber

Aroma: Budwiser/Miller/Coors. Nothing going on.

Taste & Mouthfeel: They can call it last pull. Terrible. Watered down citrus and hops. It has a strange taste I can't quite describe. Maybe a wheat IPA?

Final Word: Yuck. Pass on this one. This proves an average homebrew does not make good microbrews.

Photo of BigPlay1824
2.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a pint glass

Got this one in a trade from Ungertaker

A: pours a nice orange/amber color that is quite clear with a large amount of carbonation bubbles, pours with a solid finger of off-white head that is frothy and lingers beautifully
S: kind of has a slight artificial sweetness to it with a slight underlying hop note and also kind of has the scent of a red ale
T: very slight underlying hopiness and dryness, there's something about this beer that just feels artificial to me but i just cant figure it out
M: medium carbonation tingle, leaves a slight dryness on the mouth and a lingering taste of the brew
O: a decent brew at best, pours wonderfully but the taste and smell are just lacking

Photo of Ungertaker
3.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Amber; one finger of white, sticky head that leaves a thick lacing; a little bit of suspended, rolling sediment is present in the glass.

S- hops, oats, pine

T- a decent hop presence up front, grapefruit, pine and apricot in the middle, followed by a light bitterness at the end.

M- light to medium with steady carbonation

O- a good summer IPA for me. The body is definitely lighter than I usually prefer, but the taste is still present. The beer is obviously unfiltered, as there is sediment that remains suspended throughout. Nothing too thick, but visually present. It will be interesting to see what Brainerd Lakes does over the next few years.

Photo of maximum12
2.16/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked this up as part of a mixed sixer on the way back from Itasca State Park with my girls. I was actually looking for Leech Lake stuff but hey, I'd never run across Brainerd beers, so I happily picked up a few.

Poured into a dog-eared pint glass, this appears to be an unfiltered varietal, with orange in its ancestry. Big white head. Smell is kid-glove gentle, breeze of hops, citric & earty, but they're well-hidden.

First Pull IPA doesn't give off a good first impression: what's with brewers putting a dirty, earthiness in their beers? Please stop. There's a hop bitterness here but it's masked by dusty farm lawn. Bready. Malty. Pearl Jam flannel grunge. Grainy as a '30s silent film.

I like my IPAs with hops that I can pick out of the malts. This is bland & dull. No bitterness, no citrus, nothing. I love to support local breweries & was excited to try this one, but it is not a good beer. I hope the wheat is better.

Photo of ZAP
4/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep hazy copper colored...minimal head

S-I'd call it fruity...peaches, oranges, grapefruit..not extremely fragrant but those notes are evident...also a light toffee maltiness.

T-I find the flavors very enjoyable....definitely a good fruit component. Oranges, grapefruit...malt is a perfect complement...just a little toffee malt back bone....finishes with a slight drying touch.

M-Lower carbonation but not close to flat....medium bodied...

D-A very enjoyable IPA...not near the big hitters (O'Dell, Sculpin) in this category but a fine drinker...the whole time I am drinking this I am thinking this is a nice hop flavored IPA without much bitterness but on the finish this really kicks in some IBU's....very nice hop burps as well. I'd call this a winner and well worth trying or seeking. I'd call it a solid second level IPA. I like it better than Summit and a few others available in Minnesota..

Photo of Bighuge
3.92/5  rDev +32%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange/amber body. Thin bubbly off white head. Lacing is sufficient. The nose is pretty complex. It's earthy and herbal but also has a faint citric hop presence. Flavor is kind of odd for an IPA. Not bad though. Grungy hop presence. Very earthy and herbal. No citrus on the flavor. A little grassiness. Not a "bright" IPA but that's o.k. It's good as is. Malt undertones are cracker like, graham cracker like in a faint way. Body is medium and the bitterness is fairly low for the style. Overall, this is a good beer.

Photo of jjanega08
2.02/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

No freshness dating

A= Pours a deep clear amber color with a thick off white head on it that holds great retention and lacing on the side of the glass.

S= Smells sort of poopy. Not really very hoppy for an IPA. Smells like a lightly hopped IPA to me. Poopy malts and a small grassy hop character. It smells a lot like kitty litter to me.

T= Again very similar to kitty litter. I can't say it enough. This beer tastes like kitty litter. Poopy malts and a light grassy hop characer. Not the over the top hop character I expect from an IPA.

M= Nicely carbonated. The mouth may be the best thing about this beer.

O= What the hell is this. It tastes and smells like kitty litter. I have never drain poured a beer but this is the closest I've come.

Photo of FightingEntropy
1.94/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Picked up a new brewery at MGM after a grocery run. Brainerd Lakes Beer is clearly going for an up Nort' feel with lakes inspired names. First Pull refers to the sweet feeling of an outboard starting in one shot. While I understand the metaphor, it's not an association I identify with strongly.

Excited to try a new brewery, but that didn't last long unfortunately. Amber ale with golden highlights looks great in the class with a fluffy white head that falls to a heavy lace. Citrus and heavy metallic over a sweet malt that isn't inviting. Body is thin with an unpleasant twang from more than the hop bite.

While it's easy to root for a new brewery, this beer stalled in the glass. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to try the beer at a festival or on site in the future to give it another chance.

Photo of jera1350
3.75/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper color with a thin, but creamy head of foam that has very nice retention and some solid sticky lacing.

A nice caramely sweet malt scent with some notes of melon and citrus from the hops.

Whoa, big time bitterness from this IPA. Pine and fruity citrus from the hops along with some honeydew melon. Some malty sweetness tries to back it up, but can only do so much. The bitterness is pretty high, but not ridiculously so. Very flavorful IPA.

Smooth and slightly chewy bodied with a clean and lightly oily feel.

This is a nice IPA. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of flavor this presented. Very generously hopped and quite complex. The alcohol is felt and tasted a bit which reminds me of a lower abv DIPA a bit. If you run into this one, give it a whirl.

First Pull IPA from Brainerd Lakes Brewery
72 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.