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Old 21 Imperial IPA - The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works

Not Rated.
Old 21 Imperial IPAOld 21 Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

140 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 140
Hads: 410
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 19.23%
Wants: 14
Gots: 44 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works visit their website
Ohio, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: aracauna on 06-06-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 140 | Hads: 410
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Cleveland. Orangey colour with lasting significant whte head, 3/8" inch. Very mild hoppy aroma. An orange taste, about middling mouthfeel. One imensional, slightly off-note. Its the style, a high IBU, its drinkable, but its marginal compared to what else is available.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a clear looking copper color, with a thin white head on top and just a touch of lacing on the glass. The smell was loaded with hop aromas ranging from pine to tropical fruits and citrus. The taste of the beer was quite nice I though, big malt backbone with a punishing amount of hops in the finish. The mouthfeel of the beer was slick and oily. Overall this beer was pretty intense. Not as balanced as the White Rajah but still not bad at all.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a couple of inches of foam; the retention was stellar, with a few patches of lace sticking to the side of the glass

Smell: Smells more malty than hoppy, with a butterscotch character dominant; pith and pine, underneath

Taste: Very sweet, up front, with the butterscotch dominating the flavor through the middle, as well, though there is an assertive piney bitterness that builds; the hops finally win the tug of war, after the swallow, though there is a lingering sweetness on the tip of the tongue in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Perhaps this bottle is old (though I just bought it in a highly rated Cleveland shop), but I was surprised at the understated hop presence; given how much I liked White Rajah, I was doubly disappointed that this beer failed to live up to that beer's example

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Never backing away from the hops, another stellar IPA crawls out of the depths of The Brew Kettle's brew kettle! This time with an old-world balance and hop character to take the taste back to the days of America's mircrobrewery roots... if only there were imperial IPA back then.

It deep and hazy amber hue sheds light on the malt additions that it takes to bring some semblance of balance to this hop bomb. Piquant aromas of citrus peels, torn pine needles, and an array of exotic grasses. But its drippy sweet taste is laden with toffee, peanut brittle and mild toast.

Its malty-sweet middle slowly gives way to growing hop flavor, going from bright citrus to the piths and peels of white grapefruit, under-ripened oranges and verbena. An estery background allows glimpses of mango and apricot to pull forth and give much needed complexity to the earthy hop flavor.

But resembling true IPA in finish, the sweetness lifts and the bitterness sets in, full of its chloropyll-laden glory- grassy, stemmy, leafy and somewhat brazen in its hop-derived astringency. Its moderate warmth is spicy and only exacerbates the hop's bittering power.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to jampics2. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate golden coper color with a white head. Some carbonation is visible. A bit of lacing. The nose brings citrus, tropical, and grassy hop notes as well as a bit of light grain. The taste isn't nearly as hoppy as the nose would suggest, and is quite boozy underneath the hops and accompanying bitterness. Mouthfeel is boozy, for sure. Drinkability is okay. Nice nose with a good flavor profile, but overall just way too boozy.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a big foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma consists of quite bitter and slightly citrus hops. Taste is also dominated by some citrus and bitter hops with some medium caramel malt. Full body with good carbonation and no discernable alcohol. A bit one-dimensional for sure but well done nonetheless and better then expected.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"When I was as you are now, towering in the confidence of 21, little did I suspect that I should be at 49, what I now am."

--Samuel Johnson

Dried apricot orange with butterscotch colored edges when backlit with morning sunshine. There goes my theory that 100% pale malted beer can't be darker than gold. The pastel orangish beige colored crown is both bubbly and sticky. Thick sheets of BB-shot lace look good enough to earn the big score.

One rarely runs across an American DIPA that uses only four ingredients. This one includes pale malt, Simcoe hops, water and yeast. The nose isn't a gobsmacker, but it has plenty of tropical fruity goodness... and no toasted maltiness to get in the way.

The Brew Keeper's Old 21 Imperial Pale Ale is better beer than 4 C's Pale Ale. That said, it isn't significantly better and may not deserve a higher taste score. Before jumping to any hasty conclusions, let's see what the rest of the bomber has to say for itself.

Considering color and flavor, I'm positive that something darker than pale malt was used. Caramel-crystal is almost a certainty, assuming that my eyes and taste buds are in good working order. Maybe TBK changed the recipe along with the label. The new label looks much better than the picture seen above.

The flavor profile delivers sugar cookies drizzled with melted caramel, a bit of butterscotch, pink grapefruit peel and bitter orange peel. In the end, the borderline abrasive hoppiness (90 IBUs) is winning me over. At least this isn't one of those overly malty, sappy, sticky, insufficiently hopped versions of the style that seem to be all the rage these days.

The body-mouthfeel finds that often elusive sweet spot between too light and too heavy. It's easily medium-full and has a creamy smoothness that is complemented by an ideal amount of hard-working bubbles.

Given the new label, Old 21 refers to the former Ohio route 21, which (I think) was in the vicinity of the brewery. Keeping with the theme, Old 21 Imperial IPA is a road well worth traveling, especially if like your beer to be both big and hoppy.

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Photo of oline73
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a layer of off white head that goes away almost completely.

Smell: Sweet bready malt up front along with a citrus peel bitterness.

Taste: The bitterness dominates, unlike the smell. There is plenty of sweet malt in the background, but the citrus peel hop bitterness wins. The finish is quite bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is a syrupy medium with very mild carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Not overly impressed with this one. It's not a bad beer, but not particularly interesting either.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with a finger of foamy bright-white head. This retains with roughly a ¼ finger of creamy froth, leaving back some good looking swathes of sticky lace. Floral hops and tropical fruit blow up in the nose, with notes of pine, grapefruit, spice, and a light dankness working themselves in as well. Grains had a soft doughy feel across the back. As this warms, the tropical fruit and herbal character picks up some strength.

The taste is aggressive with grapefruit bitterness and pine, which mostly controls the profile the whole way through into a strong finish of dry spiciness and a deep resinous feel that penetrates the tongue. A sticky blend of sweet fruit, malt, and herbal tones helps to soften things a bit from underneath but the hops definitely have some power here. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied and sharp on the tongue, with a slick firm creaminess that spreads out into the mouth. Unfortunately you start to feel every inch of that 9% ABV as this warms, which kept s back immensely on the drinkability of this after it sits for a while.

This was pretty darn decent initially, with some powerful yet fairly well balanced hop power to it but that big ABV eventually started to rear its ugly head and ruin the party. My advice is to pop the cap and drink this within the half hour or so.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz bottle with typical label art and yellow branded pressure/pry-off cap received today from michaellcoates as part of a trade; thanks again, man! Served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I've never had anything from this brewery before, but my trade partner implied it was good stuff by including it in his box. Self-identifies as an Imperial IPA, so that's what I'm reviewing it as. 9.0% ABV according to the label. 90 IBUs. Brewed with Simcoe hops. No obvious bottled on/best before date or julian code.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 3 finger wide head of beige colour. Slight cream. Nice thickness. Good (5-6 minute) retention for the high ABV. No bubble show.

Body colour is a somewhat vibrant clear copper. No yeast particles are visible.

Standard fare for the style, but overall appealing. No overt or obvious flaws. Looking forward to trying it. The head retention is a highlight.

Sm: Floral hops. Tropical fruit hops - I hate that in an IPA (mango, dirty pineapple, melon). Substantial caramalt. Maybe biscuit malt. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Limited hop bitterness. A moderately strong aroma. Not great for the style, but within conventions. I'm not real excited to try it now; the aroma isn't suited to my particular preferences.

T: Floral hops. Substantial malt in the body; caramalt, pale malts. The hop profile is quite simple overall; I don't get oily hops, citrusy notes, juicy notes, nectary character, etc. Just floral hops. Simple and timid. Balance is decent; the malts suit the hops, but both are underwhelming. No complexity or subtlety here. Likable and pleasant to drink, but of clearly limited quality.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Adequate carbonation. Okay thickness; maybe a bit overbearing for the lack of flavour. Decent presence on the palate. Suits the flavour profile in a general sense. Okay execution, but not unique or special.

Dr: A passable Imperial IPA that I wouldn't recommend to friends. I'll finish the glass with ease, but I wouldn't want another one. Drinkable but underwhelming. Not worth trading for by any means. Decent, but nothing to write home about. Hides its ABV decently.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer looks nice. Smells nice (citrus toned). Nice flavor tone. Very hoppy with salty and pine resin flavor characteristics. The delivery of flavor is consistent and long lasting on this one, and I like it. I feel like this an "easier drinking" dipa. Maybe it's easier drinking because it just stays consistent and there is no pretense about trying to be all showy. Anyways. I like this one. My second from Brew Kettle, and another good one. If you see it, definitely try it out.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy bright orange color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, apricot, lemon zest, orange peel, light pine, light caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, apricot, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, light caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, apricot, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, light caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/tropical/piney hops and moderate malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, sticky, and lightly creamy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent DIPA. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/tropical/piney hops and moderate malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old 21 Imperial IPA makes it clear on the label that it pretty much hits you with on hop variety aka Simcoe. It's hard not to compare this to Weyerbacher's Double Simcoe IPA. Dank mary jane, pith of Grapefruit with the peels, super pungent hop nose here. A bit of sugar coated malt backing this label states there's 90 IBUs and 9% abv. This beer isn't messing around. Besides the lighter copper golden color this beer appears to have it pretty much mirrors the Simcoe DIPA from Weyerbacher. Full thicket of off white head forming thick bands of lacing. Flavor is super bitter with an earthy grapefruit/dank marijuana/earthiness that doesn't exist with any other type of hop out there. Super big malt layer stands up to the onslaught of Simcoe hops but just barely, again these guys are awesome homebrewers gone pro. They understand the brewing process and I'm excited to try the next variation of the same beer that they produce. Mouhfeel is medium bodied with a evident alcohol infused base that hasn't been there in any other variation of this style, pretty hot if you know what I'm saying. At least their small brewing operation can ferment out to this level, resinous oily texture from the hop additions brings on a full mouthfeel compared to most single to double IPAs old 21 isn't messing around it's a display of what this brewer is capable of. Overall drink more Brew Kettle beer if you're lucky enough to find it then you should be drinking it. I know that Premium Beverage out of Columbus has distribution rights but I demand to see more of this near my beer store in Steubenville OH, considering the great bomber prices people will try these beers and be thoroughly impressed.

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Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pub glass. Cheers and a thank you to Kegatron for gifting me with a bottle of this. It takes a hearty pour down the middle of the glass to produce a head about a finger strong that looks off-white and rapidly dissolves to a thin film across the top. Rising bubbles of carbonation help sustain the cap a bit and a light swirl revives. The brew sitting underneath is clear with a copper color.

The brew smells of caramel malt mixed with a bit of buttery toffee. Then the onset of hops comes into play which smells floral and fruity. It is a little strange to take note of the malt character of a DIPA first, but im not gonna like, I actually really like the way the caramel sweetness intertwines with the floral and fruity qualities of this aroma. It really works well in an atypical sort of way.

The taste is no shocker when compared to the aroma. It contains a toffee to caramel-like sweetness before the onset of fruity and floral hops. The hops are juicy and full flavored before the bitterness settles on the tongue. Once I pick up on the bitterness and focus on that, it becomes a bit more herbal and borderline piney with a bit of a mineral inclusion. there is a mild note of alcohol showing through on the backend which is a bit solvent almost like a neutral spirit like vodka. It is interesting that this is the only point in the experience where that 9.5% abv starts to show itself.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. For the most part it is clean and easy drinking for a 9.5% brew. This was a nice departure from the DIPA norm but honestly it isn't something I would want to buy a bunch of if I was looking for a hop bomb assault. Overall this is an easy approaching and enjoyable middle of the road brew.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11eye for sharing this bottle.

Pours golden yellow with a white head. The aroma is resiny pine. The flavor is more of the same with the resin bordering on extreme. You also get some grapefruit and pine as well as some citrusy orange. Thin-medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

LOOK: Bright golden color with a fine clarity. Small but well retaining froth leaves snake eye bubbles all around the top of the snifter. Leaves rings of lace on the glass.

SMELL: Pine, spruce, herbs, and all types lush forest aromas of hop. Pineapple juice, alcohol, and a huge malt body shine through with the suggestions of ale yeast.

TASTE: Hoppy pine notes upfront, along with grapefruit and fresh orange peel sharpness. Has a bite with a solid bitterness right there but then gives way to citrus and fruitcake notes. There are suggestions of tropical fruit as well, pineapple,mango and papaya. Sweet big pale malt backing and ale yeast fruitiness and big hops. Brewed in a West Coast fashion I might say.

FEEL: Surprisingly light on the palate, medium bodied with a good solid medium level of carbonation. A touch drying.

OVERALL: A very nice double IPA from a regional but very well respected brewery. After brewing the stellar White Raja, a world class IPA, this has significantly greater strength but is not less tasty.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The old 21 is one of the better imperial ipas that I have had. The beer poured a clear orangish with thin white head that is leaving a lace. The scent is very hoppy....pine and citrus. The taste is nicely balanced....slightly sweet to start then finishes with a piney resin. The Mouthfeel was fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer.

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bomber from Vintage Estate. I've gotta get to the brewpub on my next trip...

A: The DIPA is an amber color, like dried brown leaves in the fall. At times radiant, the ale doesn't give up its translucence. A finger plus of off-white head laces in thick patches about a finger below the mouth of my glass.

S: The nose is medicinal and oily, excess pine is soft but definitely present. The more I linger, the more resiny and citrusy the aromas get. A very tempting sniff.

T: A good dose of Simcoe hops but an equally strong caramel presence, all good things are about balance after all. The simcoe grabs hold early, resiny with pine and citrus kick. For a DIPA, the hops aren't too concentrated. Instead they carry the ale without fuss. Check that, there is a hint of boozy heat near the end of each sip but it is easy to overlook. Despite that hiccup, I'm a fan of this ale.

M: The mouthfeel is hop driven but it isn't prickly and hot. The hops are at their most resiny, smoothing out the ale considerably. But they are strong and leave their mark.

D: More, please! The third pale ale incarnation from The Brew Kettle that I've really enjoyed. A strong DIPA any way you look at it.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.25/5  rDev +9%

12 fl. oz. bottle received in trade from a non-BA member that I sampled on August 20, 2014.

It pours a slightly cloudy medium amber with a tremendous cream colored head.

The aroma is a lovely balance of toasted caramel and toffee malts and hop bitterness but more earthy than floral or citrus.

Medium, smooth body.

The malt character starts things out with a bang but it does not take long for the hop bitterness to roar in like a waterfall and take things over, lingering to the end. Liked it.

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Photo of rudzud
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Miketd for sending me this beer. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice crystal clear copper/orange hue with an almost one finger white head that fades to leave a thin white blanket and thin side lacing.

S - Rather dankish. Not boozey though. Sigh; one gets spoiled with the likes of Heady Topper and hill Farmstead and the knee buckling aromas those bring to the table. This has some light malt sweetness, some biscuit, light pine, some almost faded citrus. Clearly, at one point this had pineapple aromas but this is quite faded now.

T - Taste is...dang. Far too sweet for my liking. Lots of honey like sweetness, some light booze, hop oil, slight pine, old pineapple and citrus. The sweetness though, that malty sweetness...gah!

M - Mouthfeel is pretty dark good for a 9.5% DIPA. While I dont know if one can gulp this back its still damn impressive, even with how sweet this is coming off now!

O - Overall its good, was probably really good at one point. The malty sweetness though I just really dont care for in a DIPA.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a dark amber/orange color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention is average, but there's a good amount of lacing. The aroma is mostly hops, both citrusy and pine. There's also some caramel malt noticable. The taste is the same as the aroma, it's mostly citrusy and pine hops and some caramel malt in there too. Also has a good lingering bitter hoppy finish, and the taste isn't harsh at all. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit slick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is great, it's smooth and extremely easy to drink. I think this is a pretty good overall brew, it's one of the better Imperial IPA's I've had in a while. I'll definitely buy this again soon!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An OH IIPA focused on Simcoe. The label says "A big, bold Imperial IPA. The clean malt plays a supporting role to the straight up Simcoe hops through and through that give this variety hop bomb its bang."

The beer is crystal clear, light copper color, with a few fingers of foam that lace in a nearly solid sheet on the galss. The aroma is strong Simcoe, sticky pine resin-like. Some sweetness from the malts, the non-carameliness of which I appreciate. This is a DIPA where the hops shine. The flavor is nearly abrasively hoppy, although the pale malt bill must be huge as the sweetness tomers the hops, bringing it near (but not over) the barleywine line.

Thick bodied for the style, lending more credibility to the barleywine comparisons. Adding the high ABV to the thick mouthfeel limits the drinkability a bit, still pretty good.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Barrel and the Bottle...Dark clearish orange, good light tan head, not much of note...The aroma is strong, lots of pine resin hops, oily a little citrus, but could be more balanced...The taste is slightly better, pine resin is the main player again but its got some citrus and caramel notes to help out. The finish to bitter though so its a little tough to drink.

Decent DIPA but not knocking my socks off. Hides the alcohol well but not very drinkable.

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Photo of barczar
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear deep golden color with hints of copper and a one finery ivory head that dissipates into a layer of foam, leaving little lacing.

Orange citrus hop and caramel bready malt begin the aroma, leading to citrus pith bitterness and a touch of pine.

Flavor is huge citrus malt initially, grapefruit, mouthwatering, then turning decidedly bitter, with a hit of spruce and resin at the finish. There's a background grassy hop profile that is also oniony. Malt ties the hop flavor together, providing a hint of caramel sweetness.

Body is moderately heavy, with moderate carbonation and slight alcohol warmth. There's a hint of astringency.

Overall, initially a citrus hop flavor dominated, but bitterness quickly took over and controlled the profile. Booze was somewhat repressed, given the abv. Hops could've been more complex.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, secret santa 2011

appearance: served in great lakes tebow-mas chalice, very clear, light golden-orange body, light beige film lace

smell: light and clean floral hop presence, tropical, grassy

taste: a pleasant, relatively light-bodied DIPA - nice simcoe hop presence, lush and tropical, grassy, bright citrus with low bitterness, orange zest, earth. This was good - not overwhelming, but no complaints

mouthfeel: clean, a touch light, not much booze

overall: nice

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Old 21 Imperial IPA from The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
87 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.