The Gauntlet - Iron Fist Brewing Company

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The GauntletThe Gauntlet

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118 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 118
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 4
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Iron Fist Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SDHoffers on 01-09-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 49
Reviews by Dijeriduster:
Photo of Dijeriduster
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

on tap at small bar into a 10oz? pint glass (an Iron Fist glass at their Small Bar event)

A - Very nice looking with thick off white head and deep red to amber liquid.

S - Whoa there are some dry hops/hop back stuff happening here. Not terribly sweet but nice (smells like the 3 C's to me) and a little malt backbone too.

T - Great beer from a brewery that I wasn't sure had it in them. How they came out with a IIPA before even a pale ale is strange to me but yeah this is great. Nice balance of hops to malt to booze with plenty of hops for the hophead without being too bitter.

M - Actually pretty good for the style. Sometimes they get thin and boozy but this stayed nice and robust throughout.

D - While you wouldn't want 10 of them in a row this is a nice little beer...on tap. Not sure how it would be in the bottle where dry hopping etc aren't as prevalent.

More User Reviews:
Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

On Tap

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

A dark amber. Thin white head. Decent lacing down the glass.

Citrus elements in the nose along with caramel maltiness. Seems well balanced.

Bitter, pungent, citrus notes. Not overly complex. Balanced well by caramel malts. Some alcohol heat, but understandable at this ABV.

Medium to thick mouthfeel. A touch heavy and syrupy.

A tasty, pungent DIPA from just up the road. Certainly enjoyable.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.52/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light brown? colored appearance. Good pine aroma, largely bitter.

Alcohol well hidden, but its a massive bitter bomb without enough hop mouthfeel. Pretty easy to drink, nice touch there, but its just so hard to be an impressive dipa, much less from CA these days. A little bit of citrus flavor comes in the more you drink of it, dull valencia orange.

A peculiar yeast taste to it. A little sweeter, definitely not a 'dry' ipa. Would drink it again, I dunno what it costs, was drank at a festival.

Photo of aepb1
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a tasting hosted by vapodge, many thanks my friend!

A- Hazy brown body with a generous but airy white head

S- Fruity hops, some caramel malts carrying underneath too.

T- The fruity malts are up front, a fairly typical assortment for an IPA but the nice balance of caramel malts is what sets this apart. The sweetness from the caramel gives a nice balance to the bitterness from some of the hops and then the finish is a bit of alcohol burn.

M- Medium body with a good level of carbonation. Smooth with just a little burn

D- Good DIPA and I will see it out again but can't sit for more than one, but the one does go down easy!

Photo of DearthVader
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm really glad I came across this bottle. Split with my brother into two Bruery tulips.

Appearance is a murky, rusted orange that you cannot see through. A big 3 finger white, tight, fluffy head that nellies out to a half finger and holds until the end. Incredible lacing from this beer.

Smell is very subtle citrus, grapefruit, pear, caramel malt, and notes of pine.

Taste is primarily grapefruit and citrus with a slight refreshing, dry pine finish.

Very refreshing beer even with the ABV. relatively low carbonation for an IIPA, and almost a creamy coating on the mouth. Very interesting, but enjoyable.

I'm glad Iron Fist is starting to get some buzz. They make some great brews. The only problem is the price. With this 750 ml bottle at $11.99, I don't know how often I'll have this in my fridge.

Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mildly hazy reddish amber color with a dense, eggshell head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing. It has that nice sticky look which is always a good start.

The aromas begin with lemon and pineapple fruitiness, also some blood oranges and grapefruit smells all coming from the hops. There is a mildly sweet caramel malt undertone but it takes a backseat to the hop aromas.

The tastes begin with mildly bitter and grassy hops. I get a little of the pale and biscuity malt flavors as well. A decent amount of blood orange and lemon and lesser grapefruit dominate the flavor profile. Not overly bitter, but not a walk in the park either if you get my drift.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The finish is semi-crisp but really ends up kind of sticky. Bitterness lingers ever so slightly.

Overall I enjoyed this beer, but it was not spectacular in any category. More bitter and flavor hops than aroma hops. Reminds me of a Pliny that is past it's prime. I would not refuse this beer but I don't NEED to have it again anytime soon. Worth a go if you can easily acquire for sure but don't break you back to find it.

Photo of SDHoffers
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is golden with a plenty of haze. Smell is massively hoppy with plenty of citrus and tons of skunk. Taste is outstanding and bitter the way I love my DIPA's. Mouthfeel is similar to Coronado Idiot or Green Flash Imperial IPA...typical for West Coast DIPA's. Drinkability is far easier than expected. A big congrats to a new brewery in San Diego for creating a triple dry-hopped double IPA. Do yourself a favor and get to know this beer.

Photo of BrlyHpsWtrYst
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch dated 5/5/11

A: Pours a beautiful clear deep amber with a big white head. retention is pillowing and merangue-like. Sticky lacing drapes down the whole way.
S: Smell is very hop foward, big notes of whole cone hops, big piney notes marry the malt sweetness that gives off dried apricot and papaya, mango, possibly passionfruit.
T: Taste is deceptively smooth. At 9.5abv this thing barely whispers any booze. Well balanced but an even match of, first sweet then bitter. Definately experience the ol' threshold shift after a couple swigs. Once the palate has adjusted to the onslaught, notes of pear skin and fresh white fir, slightly peppery and woody, reminds me almost of a mountain meadow after a fresh rain in the sierras.
M: Medium bodied and dry, smoothly carbed and slightly oily in the finish.
O: Overall, this is impressive. Almost scratching the ceiling beneath the triple IPA department, this beer has gravity... gravitas even. Very much a big beer, not quaffable, but one that must be experienced... on a side note, I must add that my glass is tiger striped in lace. I think of it as Maharaja as it should be... or what I had expected Hoptimum to taste like... I really love this beer (the whole 750ml consumed... I really love everybody,boy this got right on top of me)

Photo of nezzen
4.23/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got lucky enough to get a 6tl . (had to beg a little)
Out of the tap, into a tulip glass a nice one inch head.
So far so good.
Very clear, nice lacing, and the smell of piney / citrus / cracker, was very pleasant.
I have to say, this ranks up there with the most popular California breweries for double IPAs .
Pretty smooth on the mouthfeel . Expect bitter/sweet, bitter for the experience.
Overall, a very good brew that has me wanting another.
Cheers to the guys that made this!

Photo of womencantsail
2.42/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Bruery Provisions

The pour is bright orange in color with a finger of white head. Herbal hop aromas with a strong lemon cleaner aroma. Slightly fruity but also quite abrasive and solventy. Harsh bitterness and solvent flavors. Some herbal hop notes and a little bit of citrus peel. Not very good. Medium body and carbonation.

Photo of FosterJM
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

495th review on BA
Bottle to Tulip
750ML, Capped

Split 4 ways for Bottle 3 of 5 for Birthday dinner.

App- A dark orange with some yellow highlights and a one finger head. Lots of spots of cling on this one.

Smell- Huge maltiness with some orange and lemon. A nice smelling DIPA. Right in the middle of malt overload and hop overload

Taste- I was expecting a beer like this and for what they were going for I think it works to a degree. Its a big beer with big malts and some bitterness, if the malts were just a bit more tame it would be better.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. A hefty malt profile is left on the palate.

Drink- Pretty damn close to the gauntlet of flavors I was expecting. Pretty good, a solid DIPA from So. Cal. I'd like this one on top somewhere.

Photo of beagle75
2.51/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color shows a brownish cast with over one finger of parchment-tinted foam head. Some light brown specks of yeast dot the foam. Heavy lacing remains on the glass and yeast sediment swirls ominously at the bottom.

S: Peppery phenolics and vinous fruit combine to make for a complex but mild smell that is not indicative of the style. Some cardboard is also detected, although alcohol is not.

T: Begins off-dry, with papery black pepper, earthy hops, and fermented grain that turns more toasty into the middle. Plastic chemical flavor also emerges in the middle amidst surging sweetness, unfortunately casting a strong aromatic influence over the finish. Alcohol adds to the chemical complexity, and bitterness contributes a moderate influence of its own.

M: Medium viscosity, resinous and warming on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: While this unusual, Belgian-influenced DIPA does pair agreeably with savory food, it definitely does not match expectations. More like a tripel, it is not on par with other West-Coast examples of its style. It is a memorable and unfavorable first encounter with this new brewery, and not at all worth the absurdly-high $11.99 price tag.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for another awesome extra, Shane!

Mildly hazy reddish amber with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing, this is a top of the line DIPA. The nose is great! Ripe pineapple fruitiness , plenty of citrus with blood oranges and grapefruit, this is great stuff. A mild caramel malt undertone is present, this is more like a hopped up amber (a la Nugget Nectar). A little alcohol is noticeable as it warms up too.

The palate opens with a big, juicy hop character, ripe pineapples, oranges and a little bit of grapefruit. Caramel is present along with a little bit of burnt sugar and rather strangely, a mildly tobacco-like character. Bitterness is moderate here, really tempered by the sweetness. Again, this isn't sweet per se, it just has flavors of caramel and sugar while maintaining a relatively light palate. The malt bill really does make me think this is closer to a imperial amber, but I'm not complaining. Mildly sweet and fruity on the finish (it's mostly the hops), this beer is medium in body with creamy carbonation, making this pretty smooth on the palate. Enjoyable, this 750 presented me no real difficulty. Thanks again, Shane!

Photo of MrTopher
3.44/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A – Pours a pretty hazy orange/amber color, develops a decent off-white head that disappears really quickly. The head does leave some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S – An aggressive pine/grass hop character, there is some mild citrus but its very limited.

T – This was pretty balanced for San Diego County DIPA, has a decent hop character (pine/grass and a little citrus) but there is a good amount of malt, and the malt just is a bit much for me in DIPAs.

M – Medium and decently carbonated.

O – A bit disappointed on this one, when I think of DIPAs form San Diego County I think hop forward and lack the malt presence, this was almost the opposite. I could have gotten an old bottle, if I see this on draft in the future I’ll take it for another ride and might re-review.

Photo of mactrail
2.59/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Hazy amber in the little tulip. Peculiar plasticky smell gets your attention. Best feature is the rollicking sudsy mouthfeel. Woody on the tongue. I would describe the overall flavor as murky, like there is some of the dregs of a hefeweizen in there. Flavors in the nose include some sweet flowery notes like honeysuckle and gardenia.

On the positive side there is a pleasant stew of hops. Bitterness is substantial and doesn't mix well with the sweet grainy and perfumey tastes. More mellow than sharp. Bitter aftertaste lingers.

Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
3.24/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Hazy Orange color with a fine white finger and a half of foam on top. This foam lingers a long time and provides great lacing on the glass.

Aroma- very hop forward pine and citrus fruit. no trace of yeast or malt in the nose.

Taste- really Dank, hops throughout. Piney Resiny hops not a lot of fruity hops. a slight boozy sweetness and sting at the very end.

Mouthfeel- Dry the hops leave a major bitter aftertaste. its not sticky sweet but the flavor lingers in the mouth. Carbonation is spot on. a slight alcohol warmth and pineyness that you get from Gin.

Overall I think this beer is good but a touch out of balance. I think Hop heads that are looking for a quick buzz would definitely reach for it. I feel like this beer defies a pairing, its kinda all hops and booze. I think the hops would cancel out spicey mexican and thai dishes, because the hops linger so much. I think it could maybe stand up to an indian curry, or oddly enough pair well with like a vanilla bean Icecream. That Pineyness could cut through the dairy .

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Easily produces a thick foamy head--despite my aiming for a half inch head, got about a 1" head after it all settled. Hazy copper body with tan eggshell pillowy foam with good head retention and lacing throughout.

Aroma of bready malt, citrus and piney hops, straw, marshmallow.

Tastes of bready malt and intense and bitter, piney and grapefruit skin hops, with a little hop burn on the tongue. A little metallic in the finish. I'd say it has a harsh taste.

Body is medium and the carbonation is enough to give this a creamy mouthfeel.

A decent though overamped DIPA and kind of harsh overall. With the intensity of the malt and hops, the 9.5% ABV is well-hidden.

Photo of harrymel
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jbtice0315 for this beer - cheers Jesse!
No bottle date info. Received in Feb 2011, about a week ago.

A: Pours a nice blood orange ale with significant two finger head which lingers on as a single finger of fine whipped, yellow head. Evident carbonation from bottom. lacing like a corset!

S: Piney, resinous, grapefruit. Not too sweet like many IIPA's I have had lately. Caramel malts shine through appropriately. This nose reminds me of an Impy Red. Nice.

T: Nicely bittered, caramel based malt backbone. Pine, resin, orange and grapefruit rinds. Hints of dark fruits. Just the lightest feel of oak.

M: Medium feel, with high and active carbonation. Velvet feel on the finish. Very nice.

D: Very drinkable beer. If this were available in my area, I would advocate for it fervently. As such, I advocate here. Very good beer, I think even as an IIPA, this would be excellent at 6 months out. The malt is well balanced enough for that.

Photo of imagese
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- pours a dark golden amber with a 2 finger head that slowly fades to a thin head that lasts the whole glass and laces very heavily

S- initial smell is tart apple followed by a big citrus hop slam with a slight earthy yeast funk.

T- BIG citrus hop with the slightest candied malt sweetness, and I mean very slight. This is a hop bomb!

M- as close to perfect as you'll find. Very full and menacing. Bitter grapefruit rind hangs around forever and slaps your tongue around until you take another sip

D- unreal. I downed half the 750ml bottle just trying to wrap my mind around this beer to try to do it justice in this review

Photo of patm31806
5/5  rDev +34%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very good! Unfiltered with plenty of flavor.

Photo of Sideswipe
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery.

The beer pours an opaque orange to amber color. Not cloudy but not clear either. One finger of off white head gives way to a small ring and nice lacing. The nose is citrus fruit, no malt presence noticeable. Taste is hop forward. Just enough sweet malt to balance the outset, but hops come on strong mid palate and they are here to stay. Tangerine and grapefruit predominate. Finish is a lingering grapefruit bitterness which leaves me wanting another swallow. Mouthfeel is sticky and resinous as it should be. Carbonation is spot on, not overly fizzy at all. Drinkability gets good marks as the alcohol is completely hidden by the exquisite bitterness of this beer. I am really enjoying this one! Well done Iron Fist! I'll be visiting for this one often!

Photo of HopHead84
2.78/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5


10oz on tap at Iron Fist and served in a snifter.

A: Appears a slightly hazy reddish orange. It looks vibrant in the light of the winter sun, as it beats down mercilessly on the tasting room. The frothy head is white and pillowy, with average retention and some scattered lacing.

S: Orange, peach, tangerine, and grapefruit are balanced by a caramel malt foundation. Some floral aromatics are evident. There's a little pine. No booze is noticeable. Nice expressive hop aroma, with a desirable amount of caramel malt influence.

T: The taste displays a good deal of hop flavor and not a lot of bitterness, I'd put it at a moderate level. Fruit notes are of orange flesh, with a dash of pith, tangerine, and peach. There's a little grapefruit in there, and a touch of pine, but it's nice to see those flavors in the background as they're so damn common in Double IPAs. Caramel malt provides some sweetness and balance. Alcohol is evident but well hidden for near 10%. Very nice.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky.

Overall: This is a well crafted Double IPA. It's maltier than your typical San Diego offering, but it's tasty. It reminds me a bit of a Northwest style DIPA. I'm wasn't a fan of Iron Fist's initial offerings, but this is good stuff.


Had this again today and I was really disappointed in it. It tasted old, stale, malty, alcoholic, and dull. I had no desire to finish my small pour. Perhaps the first batch was a fluke. I'm changing my A to a C-.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Tapestry.

Olympic medal golden with some tanner spots towards the sides. Alot of activity within and on top about a quarter inch of fluffy stuff comes up, leaving a cap, it can be ressurected though. Small pokadots on the glass. Smell is a fruity and malty DIPA. The malt actually dominates the nose, but under that some citrus arises mainly of grapefruit. I get hints of onion so Summit is in the house. A big sugary scent comes up as well and I cant help but to notice the alcohol underneath. Tastes include citrus, pineapple, grapefruit, some big toasty malts, onion, caramel, sugar, alcohol, bread and maybe some caramel. All over the place, disconjointed. Tis not my favorite double but it's different, that's about it. Feel is above medium, more bitter on the edge of the tounge, goes down smooth with alcohol at the end. In A sea of IPA's/DIPA's, this is not a strong contender and not built for mad portion drinking.

Photo of d4114
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark orange; slightly hazy; big creamy white head, really nice looking.

S- Very floraly and Caramely; honey, caramel, citrus and sweetness; unique smell to this, I get a almost soapy smell (I don't know how else to say it) but really nice.

T- Smooth; Pretty close to smell but with bitterness; A caramely, honey, hoppy beer; if you have ever had honey suckle its close to that; Alcohol is hidden well. really nice tasting beer.

M- Really smooth drinker; Personally I think it has a lighter mouth feel which is good and works because it is a very refreshing beer.

O- Good take on the style, I didn't think I would like this as much as I did. This would be awesome o a hot day. Too bad this isn't more available.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but really strong.

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The Gauntlet from Iron Fist Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.