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El Guapo IPA - O'Connor Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
El Guapo IPAEl Guapo IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

26 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 26
Hads: 157
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 9.26%
Wants: 6
Gots: 48 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
O'Connor Brewing Co. visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: gatorguy on 07-16-2011

70 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 26 | Hads: 157
Photo of BobbyBill
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a great "Go To" beer for me. See it on draft a lot when I'm at the Beach. Goes really well with nachos and bad decision making. Good flavor, not an upper-echelon IPA but it drinks well. (196 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours with 1/4 inch head, clear copper color. Taste is citrus--tangerine, pine and light agave at the end. Wish the agave was more pronounced, but this is a solid IPA. (169 characters)

Photo of hopphead31415
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was celebrating with some friends and found this new variety on tap at the bar. We ordered a pitcher and poured into the standard bar pint glasses. Everyone was drinking away missing all the finer qualities of this beauty, while I was actually taking a moment to consider all of its components and writing them down on my phone to post here on beer advocate. It has a respectable 7.5% ABV and 70 IBUs and boasts the arguably unique component of Guava.

Look-With stunning clarity one can see the golden, but deep amber color to this beer. I see copper hues in the light and the head completely vanishes inside a minute.

Smell-It has a great malt base which is ripe with hops and the guava smell is just noticeable.

Taste-I get a brief grainy caramel based malts with a toasted spiciness. The middle palate quickly picks up on some grassy and citrus hops with a noticeable guava component that manifests itself among the hops. I get tangerine, clementine, and orange peel zest which are clearly from the citrus and grassy hops. It finishes spicy and bitter, but clean and crisp.

Mouthfeel-It is a medium-bodied caramel-based malt brew with guava and plenty of hops.

Overall-It is excellent and refreshing for any good hop head to enjoy. It is well-balanced and creamy. Enjoy! (1,281 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a shaker pint, the beer is a crystal clear, caramel coloring, with a foamy, fluffy, clingy, white head. Nose of resinous and peppery hops, rich caramel, and sugary sweet agave. Flavors are tangy sweet forward, with caramel, grapefruit, and melon, followed by a sugary sweet and floral kick from the agave. The backbone gets the hops character, heavy on the resin and grassy notes. Smooth, dry, and crisp, with a roasted, rustic sweet aftertaste. Clean, dry, crisp finish, with a subtle floral and sugary linger. Good beer. (550 characters)

Photo of bubseymour
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I may be the odd one here on BA, but craft brewers who opt to make an English Style IPAs seem alot more consistent than what we get when they try to Amerize it. O'Connor did the style justice and this is a very nicely balanced and flavored IPA. Sweet malty and hoppy in balance, but no bitterness in the finish. At 7.5% its about at the perfect ABV for feel in a standard IPA as well. Enjoyable and recommended. (416 characters)

Photo of Seejae
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

What seems to be a gimmick IPA is anything but. Amazing balance between the hops and sweet agave. Terrific beer that I wish were always accessible to me (152 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a darker copper color. The head is a finger high and off-white in shade. Retention isn't very special, but it has a soft texture and good thickness. Streaks of lacing adhere to the glass. (3.25)

Smell: It says the style is English IPA, so I expect fruit esters...and fruit esters I get. Notes of apricot, peach, and marmalade provide a great ballast to the grapefruit-forward hop profile. Agave doesn't dominate the nose by any means, but I definitely get a little bit of the stuff, along with some vanilla cream and caramel from the malts. I really enjoy the nose here: I always like British ale esters paired with some American hops (see also: Jaipur, Thornbridge). (4)

Taste: It starts off citrusy from the hops. On the other hand, I'm disappointed to find that the yeast profile here seems neutral rather than estery. Ah well. The middle of the beer is malty, providing cream, caramel, and toffee; it finishes with an herbaceous bite and some agave sweetness. Despite my slight disappointment, this does work nicely. (3.5)

Mouthfeel: Just like honey, agave gives the beer some initial sweetness, but a dry finish. Translation: it's sweet, but not oppressive. Along with lively carbonation, this goes down fairly easily. (3.5)

Overall: An 85 for this is right on the money - this is very likable, but not quite elite. The agave isn't a gimmick, instead it adds a dimension that aids this IPA about the ranks of averageness. Definitely a worthy example of the style. (3.5)

3.61/5: Not that unique (agave notwithstanding), but rock-solid execution (1,598 characters)

Photo of jonwiseman
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Managed to walk the line between sweet and bitter. Excellent agave taste yet unmistakable as an ipa. El Guapo is a medium bodied beer with grassy citrus nose, notes of sweet caramel and finishes with a smooth but strong bitterness. This beer just managed to break into my personal top ten if not top five. Well Done!!!! (319 characters)

Photo of MUTINY
4.52/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my first real attempt to review a beer properly on here.

Drunk from a very fresh bottle poured into a wine tumbler.

A: Stunning golden/orange hues. Head is eggshell white & seems to dissipate quickly. Can't speak to retention & lacing as much due to the glassware being used.

S: Lively. Nice balance between grapefruity citrus hoppiness & mellow caramelly malt. Very inviting nose, screams: DRINK ME!

T: Again, lively & balanced. Somewhat bitter citrus hits hard first, followed by exactly enough malt to provide a counterpoint on the palate. I'd say the agave is subtle but detectable, not a gimmick, just a refined usage. It provides a sweetish lead-in to the bitter, somewhat lingering finish. All good things here, ABV is masked well & despite the longish dry finish this beer is truly refreshing.

M: Near perfect for the flavors here. The carbonation is right where a lively IPA should be, especially with the subtle agave sweetness. The malt could perhaps provide a bit more body here, if only to provide a bit more textural complexity through the finish. But I'm picking nits here.

O: I'd had this locally where I used to live & they've just recently started shipping to my current stomping grounds. Nothing has changed with this brew, it is as consistent & enjoyable as ever - I'm a happy guy to be able to pick this one up on the regular. (1,377 characters)

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.36/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at O'Connor Brewing Company. I like the agave bite and the bitterness on the tongue. This is a solid IPA, with a nice grassy, hoppy resonance that really makes this brew shine. (192 characters)

Photo of Mengineer1991
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Color and aroma, wonderful. Coppery gold with fruity hops and agave on the end. The taste was decent, mostly malt with some grass and hops to bring up the rear. It did leave an .....interesting aftertaste, not bad but definitely interesting.Would buy again! (257 characters)

Photo of cambabeer
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful beer. This one poured well, looked crisp and bright, nice white head and beautiful lacing. Smells nice too. Piney and earthy, somewhat dirty, a little hops mixed with grass and dried grains and some sweetness. The taste is simple in it's malt character with hops that are present but not huge. The agave can be tasted (at least I think that's agave...). Smooth, maybe slightly watery, but that might just be that I'm fishing for more hops. The aftertaste isn't the greatest, reminds me a lot of Anchor Steam in the finish... interesting. This isn't a cookie cutter IPA, so thank you! Would drink again. (612 characters)

Photo of hophugger
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

I have re-rated this beer now that I have had it in the bottle as opposed to on tap. Much better flavor, sweetness and hoppiness in the bottle. Nicely balanced, with just the right amount of sweet agave to bring a pleasing balance to this very nice IPA From VA !!!! (265 characters)

Photo of uvachief
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Solid IPA offering. Not overly bitter. Taste hops but it doesn't bite back. Smells of nuts and pine. However, the hops are a little flat or lazy. You get an initial whiff and taste but it fades right off the bat. Very drinkable and Smooth. Not a lot of bite back. Had a draft. Could drink several. Hides the ABV well. Solid but a little disappointing as it was previously hyped to me. (395 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Extra in a trade with themeadhatter. Thanks man!

Pours a copper orange, with a one inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like toasted malts, sweet grain, and piney hops.

The taste is similar. I don't know how fresh this is, but the hops don't shine as brightly as I would've thought. Some pine and resin, lots of toasted malt flavor, a little bit of caramel, with some slight citrus. Don't really taste the agave nectar, but it is a bit sweet, so that might be part of it.

Medium bodied, crisp, but moderately creamy mouthfeel near the end. Low carbonation.

Not too bad, but doesn't exactly seem like a brown ale, almost like a hoppy brown. (653 characters)

Photo of obywan59
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes.
Sampled at the Chesapeake Grill on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Golden orange with a 3 finger off-white head and sticky lacing.

Very floral, sweet and hoppy. Over ripe citrus.

Redolent of hops. Floral w/ light bitterness. Citrus. Rather sweet malt, Faint bitterness in the end.

Light to moderate in body, but still warming.

Very flavorful and citric. I liked it better than the Great Dismal IPA. (410 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

El Guapo is an interesting collision of copper and orange. When held to light, it looks more orange. It’s very clear. No haze. An off-white head sits on top and rises to about a finger or so in height. It recedes rather quickly, leaving a moderate coat of sticky lace clinging to the glass. Looks alright.

I’m not crazy about the smell. It features a very strong sweet caramel scent up front. Whether it’s English or an American IPA, that doesn’t work so well. It just masks a lot of the other good stuff. It does have a citric, fruity scent to it. It smells sweet. That must be the agave. It features some light citric hop scents of grapefruit and orange. They really fight for space in the wealth of caramel malt though. Alcohol is a little noticeable, but isn’t overwhelming. All in all, it’s not bad. Not very good either. Average it is.

The flavor is a bit above average. Not very good. The caramel malt base is just too much. It’s very sweet and overwhelms the flavor profile. There are some citric, fruity flavors. Grapefruit and orange hop flavors are present. It’s not exactly bitter. The malt base is too much of an equalizer. There’s an interesting flavor to it that’s a little reminiscent of honey. I suspect that’s the agave. Alcohol is there, but doesn’t come through too strong. It’s not warm or hot. Finishes with a sweet caramel taste and just a hint of fruity notes. Eh. Just okay.

The body is about medium. Carbonation is rather light and soft. It has a pretty good mouthfeel. Given the wealth of caramel malt, that’s not a huge shock.

El Guapo is just an okay beer. The agave flavor is interesting, but does little to compete with the overly strong caramel malt presence. Toning that down would go a long way to improving this one. It’s worth a try. Stick with a single bottle, if possible. (1,847 characters)

Photo of teromous
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very bright transparency. The body is a medium shade of amber and dark orange. The head is slightly off-white and very thin. Despite the lack of head, there is good lacing.

S: Not much scent to the beer. There is a faint hint of citrus hop aroma.

T: There is a nice bread crust flavor to the beer. This is followed by an earthy woody flavor and a bit of grapefruit that is very light. I'm not sure if the "Agave IPA" thing is more of a gimmick, but it doesn't make any noticeable flavor contribution. It's missing some malt caramel flavor and sweetness that you'd find in an English style IPA, but the hop flavor is good.

M: The mouthfeel is very good, with the exception that the beer feels under-carbonated. I wouldn't say that the carbonation lessens the experience of drinking, but it's worth mentioning. The beer is very easy to drink, leaves a slightly bitter presence in the mouth like after eating a slice of multi-grain bread which slows you down just slightly. It's a good drinking experience.

O: Overall I wasn't really sure what part the agave had to play in this beer. I felt that it was a pretty good IPA but there were a few points that set me off balance. It's gets the traditional "wouldn't buy again but would drink again" response. (1,257 characters)

Photo of Merkinstandard
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

What I like is that it is unique. It has a hint of tequila, thanks to the agave, but not so much that you'll be taken back to those alcohol-poisoned college nights at Baja Bean. The problem for me is that I read the bottle first. It is not as in-your-face with aroma and flavor as the brewery describes. I am glad that they didn't hide behind overpowering hop bitterness. The finish could be stronger, but the lingering sugars are nice and refreshing.
Unlike tequila, it gets better as it warms. (495 characters)

Photo of Ysgard
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

EDIT: I've run into a few old bottles. They age into a nice barleywine, but very sweet. I can see where folks might be getting old bottles. For some reason the distributor was charging more for a local 6er than most national labels. Caused these to sit past their prime. Best on tap still, but a fresh bottle is quite good.

One of my personal favorites from a local brewery.

A: Clear and golden, light white head that laces but doesn't tend to get overly foamy.

S: Citrus, nectar, tropical fruit. Bright is this IPAs stock in trade. Almost like a baby Hopslam.

T: Delicious. Malt sweetness isn't really present, instead theres a nectar-like sensation, with solid hop finish, and tropical and citrus flavors dancing around the middle with the nectar flavors. The Agave really plays well with the hops in this guy. It's change a bit, as I understand that some of the american hops were in short supply last year, but it seems they have it nailed back down.

M: Light, sometimes almost too light to support. Not a detractor at all, but not noteworthy. I feel like I want to get a touch of toasty/crackery malts to tie back the agave.

O: I love this beer when its on, and even when it was adjusting to market hops availability, it was still above average by quite a bit. I love this like my first taste of hopslam, but I can get this super fresh all year round. (1,367 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-golden amber color with a decent white head and some lacing

S-citrus, pine, light floral and malt

T-citrus, pine, light malt, floral, decent bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation

O-a solid IPA with decent flavor but would prefer al title more hop presence (277 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty decent IPA!!! I had this one at the Green Parrot in Va Beach to accompany a good soft shell crab dinner. Much better than their Black Dismal IPA.

Pours a nice copper color with a small white head, head retention is good and there are thick rings of lacing on the glass. The head might have been even better but the beer was served in the usual chilled pint glass.

Aroma of piney and citrus hops is more robust than many IPAs. A good hoppy smell.

Tastes good as well. This is a balanced IPA. A nice citrus hops blast up front which is then softened by mild caramel malt. The hops clearly come out ahead but the malty presence keeps this from being a real hophead delight.

Mouthfeel is crisp and rich enough. If I was going back to the Parrot, I would order this again. Tastes good, goes well with food. (815 characters)

Photo of legalpete19340
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Came looking a hazy pale amber. Minimal head and average lacing.

S: Lots of caramel and grains with a bit of lemon and an herbal hop note playing in the back.

T: The grains and caramel swing in first and dominate. A weak herbal hop note pushes its way to the front and then gives in to more grain. The malts really come out and toasted multi-grain bread is overwhelming. There is a slight bitter note as it ends.

M: Medium and fizzy. Nothing overwhelming.

O: The grain and bread notes really dominate. The hops were subtle and delicate. Worth a try if you like English IPA's. I think I would have liked to see a little bit more hop character. (649 characters)

Photo of Zraly
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had this on tap at Gordon Biersch, one of the guest taps. Poured into a Nonic pint glass. Decent copper color with minimal head. Decent lacing.

The hops were not evident up front; the faintest smell of them lingered with the malty note that predominated the flavor. The hop note that did develop was earthy and mild with a touch of citrus toward the finish. For style, I thought there was a bit too much booze in the finish -- I'd prefer a dry, hoppy note to end each sip.

I think there is potential but overall it seems a bit off-balance. A touch more hops will bring out the better nature of this ale's angel.


Had at brewery, seems fresher and cleaner.changed ratings a bit. (691 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Tortilla West and was a nice pre-dinner beer. Poured a golden hue w/ huge head and lace on top of a mild, bready and light hoppy aroma. Beer is more of the same as it is smooth and light but a little too much so. The hops and malts aren't too noticeable or particular so while I won't say bland they are rather pedestrian. Finishes easy and crisp; an alright beer at best...don't know if I'd recommend it or not. (426 characters)

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El Guapo IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.