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Retribution - High Water Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

46 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 46
Hads: 104
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 3
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
High Water Brewing visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: womencantsail on 02-05-2011

Retribution Imperial IPA is brewed for the true connoisseur of all things hoppy. We brew this beer with one theme, go big... or go home... Layers of bittering, finishing, and aroma hops all combine to result in a truely unique beer.

9.5% ABV 95 IBU
View: Beers (14) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 46 | Hads: 104
Photo of BerlinBomber
1.68/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Just had a 22 oz. Bomber

Had never heard of this, but figured let me try something new

Really didn't have any expectations - Not all that impressive

Definitely not that hoppy - more malty than I like

Alcohol was masked, but that wasn't enough to give this a high grade

Would not buy this again

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Photo of HopHead84
2.27/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2


Bomber opened by me and poured into a snifter. Thanks a lot.

A: Reddish orange with a substantial beige head that exhibits great retention. Lacing is everywhere.

S: This is malt heavy, with strong caramel and bread notes. The malt subjugates the hop profile, which consists of onion, pine, and grapefruit. Alcohol is evident in the aroma. Way too much malt, while the hops are feeble and muted. Bad.

T: Again, malt heavy. Caramel and bread coalesce with onion, pine, grapefruit, and booze. There's also a metallic note that is somewhat off-putting. Bitterness is at an upper moderate level and is astringent at times. Bad. It tastes like a 6 month old Double IPA.

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

Overall: Bad. I don't know what happened with this bottling run, but this is a pretty terrible Double IPA. The growler I had from the earlier batch was pretty good, so hopefully this recipe gets dialed in. My drain drank deep of this.

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Photo of Beeker
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into an over-sized wine glass. No freshness date indicated on bottle.

A - caramel color and amber hues

S - smells like a hop bomb with a blast of citrus

T - it got better as it warmed up, lemony-citrus on the front followed up by a slap-in-the-face hop-fest at the finish. Strangely, it had a bit of an acidic undertone - not sure how I feel about that. I did appreciate the caramel candy after taste.

M - light to medium mouth-feel with a heavy carbonation (serve warmer for a less sharp bite)

Overall - I'm not too impressed with this DIPA, I've definitely had better, smoother, and more flavorful brews in the past. Too pricey for the quality.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.84/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 9/23/11

Thanks to nickd717

Sunburst amber; medium-dark and faded around the edges. One finger head takes it's merry time dissipating. Retention is good. Impressive lace.

Notes of dry, dusty biscuit and caramel are prominent aromas. Interspersed there in are staccato hits of pine and a ghost note or two of citrus peel. Definitely tame on the hops. The abv is well-masked, though.

Tastes hoppier than it smells; with a sharp piney bitterness all the way through - not much depth in that respect. Solid malts, too - caramel and bread. A bit of alcohol warmth is noticeable; not bad, though. Tastes ok on the whole. A faint citrus layer emerges as it warms.

Medium-full body for the style. A bit slick as it warms up. Carbonation is a tad lower than moderate.

This one is decent enough, but it's too malt-forward and too tame on hops to set it apart from the top notch DIPAs around the country, let alone California.

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Photo of biglobo8971
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from bottle into RR tulip. The best thing about this beer is the smell. Very floral and aromatic, nice hop presence with a faint smell of sweetness. The rest, is ok. Nothing fantastic, the lacing, lasted the whole glass, which was impressive. Everything else, was ok. Nothing bad, just ok.

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Photo of bashiba
3.11/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep clean amber color with a huge sticky off white head.

The smell is mild with a light toasty bit of grain and some mild juniper hop notes.

Starts of big and syrupy sweet with some biscuit notes. The hops take over in the finish with a nice even blast of juniper bitterness with a touch of mint. The hop bitterness is there, but the hop flavors are a bit lacking.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily, lots of resin leaving a long lasting bitter coating.

Nothing special here, just your average malt bomb trying to be balanced out with a ton of bitterness, not terrible but a long way from great.

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Photo of beagle75
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color with over one finger of turmeric-tinted foam head. Scant lacing remains and a veritable forest of fine-bubbled streams rise in the column.

S: Pungent coniferous foliage and over-ripe pineapple suggest detectable hops as well as other estery contributions. A fine thread of whole milk blunts the hops a little, seeming out of place.

T: Begins off-dry, with soft malt that tastes of caramel and hop aromatics whose pine qualities are slightly artificial. Astringency develops early amidst fairly mild acidity. Flavors become drier and generally less potent in the middle before harsh and disjunct bitterness--aspirin-like--develops in the slightly boozy finish.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly syrupy on the palate showing some alcohol burn, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Nothing if not consistent, High Water brewed what is truly the elder sibling to Hop Riot IPA. It struggles with continuity, transitioning between qualities clumsily. That said, it does yield somewhat greater appeal than its little brother, but appealing it is not.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

Pours dark copper with an inch-plus head of beige. A solid skim coat and short sheets of lacing throughout the glass.

Aromatics are heavy on the pine and grapefruit, but theres quite a bit of wet cardboard in there also. Dusty malt and stale pellets follow through.

Medium bodied with a crisp, tacky mouthfeel.

The palate starts off with a swipe of bitterness and a heft of malt. Aged pine sap and dried grapefruit rind follow through along with wet papper and cardboard.

Finishes with a lingering bitterness and stale hop pellets.

This beer is either old or was just never that good. The nose is faded and oxidized and most of whats left for the palate is bitterness and stale malt.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours amber, almost copper, with an off-white head.

S: Lots of sweetness on the nose. Brown sugar and caramel are the big ones, but there is a bit of bread in there too. Some piney hops and a bit of tropical fruit, some citrus as well. Not quite as hoppy as I would have hoped.

T: The story is pretty much the same on the palate. Very sweet with lots of toffee, brown sugar, and caramel. Some citrus, fruit, and pine notes with a moderate bitterness, but not enough to counteract the sweetness.

M: Medium to full in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really a let down. Far too sweet and not really even that great of hop flavors.

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Photo of azdback
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Spaten Tumbler. A bright and clear orange color. Very few carbonation bubbles at all. What few there are lead to a large two finger, bright white, soapy looking head. The head drops very quickly and does look like it's going to leave some lace.

Smell is bright bitter citrus. Yellow grapefruit or blood orange. There are also quite a bit of musty, earthy, bread or biscuit smells too.

Taste is quite lemon rind tart and full of soggy bread. It is very sweet and bright. It's taste does loosens up as it warms though. It gets a bit less tart but the musty yeast strain or choice of hops stays.

Mouth is crisp but smooth. Carbonation is almost spritzy with a medium body. The finish is average and dry.

Overall I think that I liked this but definitely didn't love it. It was bright on the hop side and dark and musty on the yeast side. From a California DIPA I was expecting more of a brutal tongue lashing. I don't mind more balanced DIPA's but this one doesn't balance the bitter hop with sweet malt. Instead it's balance is hidden by musty yeast. Thanks to Tuscon25 for this extra.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It comes in a 22 ounce bottle, and contrary to popular belief, the water used for this beer does not come from the waterfall depicted on the label. On to the beer:

The color has a hazy character and looks like a mix of brown and muddy orange. Spots and a few strings of lace stick around the glass. The aroma is missing some omph, but at least there are signs of life; a bite of grapefruit peel and brown sugar are among the highlgihts for a dissapointing nose.

Lemon rind and plenty of resin to be had at the first sip. As the introduction stage is over, spicy and citric alcohol breathes onto the stage. More bitter citrus arrives. The maltiness is there, but doesn't seem to do much work. A touch of orange towards the end lessens the strain of the bitterness. The beer has a medium full body, somewhat creamy, and with a pretty smooth carbonation, finishing brash with the bitter citrus.

While Retribütion Ale may not be as refined as more popular and "mainstream" Double IPA's such as Stone Ruination, this beer does have a few things going right. This one can get really bitter, so if that's you're style, this is one to get.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No freshness info available. Served at 50F in to CBS Snifter.

A - Medium translucent orange with half a finger of cream coloured head that quickly receded to a few bubbles.

S - Pine, peppery/spicy and light citrus aromas up front with a bitterness that is not overwhelming but is definitely present. A sweet malt backbone is also present in the nose.

T - A massive, almost abrasive bitterness up front with pine, citrus and earthy/floral notes. There is also a big, sweet caramel malt backbone - bigger than I expected for a west coast DIPA, but it is necessary to cut through the massive hop bitterness. The finish is dry and puckering.

M - Medium body, slight carbonation. Nice tongue coating hop oils.

O - Delivers as advertised - a huge hop bomb but didn't come together perfectly. Got better as my tongue adjusted to it.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Toronado. I remembered liking this far more than Hop Riot, so I got it again and was pleasantly surprised to see my memories affirmed.

A: Pours a lightly hazy orange-amber with a finger of off-white head that retains to the point where I get it from the grubby Toronado bartender's hands.

S: Bright: citrus notes dominate, and they are tempered by floral characteristics with a touch of mint. Great aromatics here. A nice caramel backbone gives the bouquet some character, and cuts through the vile stench of the Toronado itself.

T: Caramel malt is pronounced; this is fairly unusual out of the DIPAs I've been drinking lately, and it immediately commands attention. Grapefruit and orange flesh, lemon peel. A touch of passionfruit and peach. Quite vivid fruit flavors. The finish evokes a flavor of mint that is unusual; I think the only other beer that brings out this characteristic is Alpine's Nelson. Mild bitterness. Very nicely done.

M: A touch of booze brings the mouthfeel down. It's nicely sticky. Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: The standout of the two IPAs coming out of High Water right now. But it seems like every batch is different, so I'm not going out of my way to recommend this.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear golden copper, topped by a large ecru foam that leaves some lacing and has some retention.

Smell is sweet and malty, bummer. Understated hops show up eventually, as well as a boozy astringency. There is a detectable vinous scent as well.

Flavor is bitter throughout, piny and pithy, with no fruity characters. As it moves from middle to finish, a mellow sweet malt taste balances it out a little.

Texture is nice, smooth and clean. Doesn't feel like the 9.5, but doesn't have much punch.

The smell is lacking the hop, and while the bitter flavor is nice, that's all it had going for it. Even that flavor is one dimensional, with no citrus or fruitiness. Meh, it's alright, but not for that price, never again.


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Photo of flannelman808
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Bright copper in color and topped with an off white head which has ok retention and good lacing.

S: Hop pollen greenery, orange peel and caramel malt.

T: This more or less tastes how id have guessed. A zap of herbal bitterness followed by bitter orange pith. Starts pretty bitter but finishes with a good amount of sweetness. Lots of biscuity malt and toffee throw this out of wack. There is a sort of odd bitter finish on the beer reminiscent of onion. oops.

M: Carbonic syrup

O: This is more of a hoppy barleywine than an DIPA. The flavors, while not all bad, are overly sweet, making for a just ok at best DIPA.

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Photo of Sideswipe
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1/13/12 update: Arbitrator sent me another bottle of this brew due to the recipe being tweaked by the brewer. After sampling it, I must agree that this is a much improved DIPA. The nose exhibits nice citrus fruit characteristics and the taste is a balance of fruity, bitter hops and a pleasantly biscuity malt backbone. The finish is semi-dry with a mildly bitter aftertaste. All better now. Scores raised accordingly. Cheers!

6/11: Bomber received in a great box from Arbitrator. Thanks Mihir!

Poured into a pint glass.

A- the beer is a translucent amber color with two fingers of white foam on top. Decent lacing.

S- Dank hops, bready malt, and a bit of pine.

T- It starts out balanced but things go downhill from there. Mid-palate a bready malt presence gives way to a floral hop profile. This is followed by a wave of intense bitterness. The finish is dry, lingering and overly bitter.

M- The beer is medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation.

O- There are aspects of this beer which are decent, in and of themslves, but they don't quite work together here for me. There is a strange quality to the aftertaste which I can't quite put my finger on, and that I find a bit off-putting. Glad for the opportunity, but not one I'd look for again.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber almost brown appearance, ever so slight ring of head to it with little lace accumulation. Aroma was nice and hoppy in the grapefruit realm.

Taste, just a weird aftertaste on this one, heavily bitter. I really wanted to like it, as I loved the brewer's work while at Valley, I loved the name, but alas, this one was a relative miss for me. Alcohol was up there on this one.

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Photo of largadeer
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had to adjust my ratings because this beer has changed dramatically. First two batches were excellent beers, newer batches are decent but very different and much less impressive.

Original review:


Draft at Gourmet Haus Staudt.

Appearance: Pale burnished copper, brilliantly clear with a frothy white head that shows solid retention.

Aroma: This one takes a minute to open up, but it's got an amazing nose when it does. Heavy on the citrus fruits, namely tangerine and grapefruit, with undertones of peach and pineapple. Alcohol is present at a low level, buried beneath the hops.

Palate: Juicy, ripe tropical fruit flavors hit the palate first. Pineapple, grapefruit, a bit of peach. Malt is present at a pleasant level for a DIPA this big; it brings a light balancing sweetness that highlights the hop flavors without overwhelming them. There's an alcohol kick, but the beer is highly quaffable regardless. The finish is bitter and punchy, but ultimately clean. I'm happy to say that this beer exceeds any IPA Steve brewed with Valley. If there was a less noticeable alcohol on the palate, it would be an A+ beer.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bomber. No apparent date, but it's a brand new beer so it can't be that old...

Pours a deep dark gold, a touch hazy. Finger of off-white foam. Fairly thick lacing.

Caramel apple aromas emerge. Some pear and orange too. Bready malt. Pretty mild.

Initial taste brings on mild citrusy fruit and sweet caramel malt. The hoppy bitterness doesn't emerge until late in the flavor. A real blossoming flowery bitterness in the finish. Finish is quite dry with an alcohol presence as well. Wow, bitterness really lingers on this one. Not too bad, a bit skewed from other DIPA's.

The body is on the lighter side of medium with good medium carbonation. Not much apparent alcohol until the finish. Pretty drinkable. Your enjoyment will be swayed by how super bitter you like your beer though.

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Photo of 33nickadams
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hophead247 for this extra!
Translucent amber-orange color with about a finger of sticky white head. Smells of really piney hops with some hints of mango and other citrus fruits. I do pick up a sense of caramel in the nose. Taste is really hop forward, with the pineyness taking the driver's seat. The malt backbone doesn't really supply the support of the bitterness. At 9.5%, the alcohol is barely there. The mouthfeel is on the medium side, so this one goes down rather quick. Leaves the mouth dry, like other west coast DIPAs I've had the fine privilege of enjoying. Nice for an extra, and I doubt I'll ever get another chance to have it again.

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Photo of flexabull
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright gold color, mostly clear, with a nice white head, and good lacing.

Aromas are resiny, orange, green, and floral. This has a pretty nice hoppy nose.

Taste is creamy, lightly sugary sweet, with some caramel, and light bready malts. Finish is dry, with some earthiness, tart and bitter citrus, and hints of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel, is full, and pretty smooth.

Overall, a pretty solid DIPA. It's certainly more balanced, cleaned up, and refined than the bit off centered IPA from High Water. This is pretty good, I'd consider trying this one again. But I prefer others in the style.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and pine aromas. Taste is much the same with a herbal flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but somewhat strong.

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Photo of armock
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Helm's Ale House in Tracy, CA

A - Poured a copper color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is mostly of grapefruit and piney hops

T - Follows the nose with citrus and pine hops with a decent bit of malt getting trough

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - I enjoyed this DIPA quite a bit good hop flavors that weren't overdone which made it very easy to drink to me worth grabbing if you see it around

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Photo of McD0uche
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into a pint glass:

A: Appears as a normal IPA, with dark amber hues and good amount of carbonation. There is not much head, but what's there shows considerable lacing as it subsides.

S: Crisp hops, pine, lemon, and grapefruit. It smells good, but isn't out of the ordinary.

T: Definite hop profile with a big grapefruit bite. Cream, toasted malts, almonds, lemon. The taste is pretty good.

M: Light, creamy, smooth. Finishes bitter and dry as it should.

O: This wasn't a bad DIPA at all. I'd like to check this out in the future.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap @ Library Alehouse; served in a 5oz taster glass.

A sort of burnt-orange liquid with great clarity and a snow white head which is thin but lasting. Paint/batter - like lacing coats the sides.

Sweet caramel aroma backed by a fresh citrus/herbal/resinous blast of hops.

Bitter melon, grapefruit, black pepper, and mint on the palate. Punishingly bitter with a drying earthy finish. Malt adds a touch of honey, while the alcohol gives a substantial kick as well. Pungent flavors, but abrasive profile overall.

Creamy, medium-bodied, warming (not quite hot), and moderately carbonated.

The spicy bitterness and alcohol force you to slip slowly; as a fan of the IPAs he brewed for Valley, I'm happy to see Steve back in action - but this beer is aptly named and makes me wonder what my palate ever did to deserve such a harsh revenge.

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Retribution from High Water Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.