Hoplar Imperial IPA - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Hoplar Imperial IPAHoplar Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

335 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 335
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 35
Gots: 54 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: siege06nd on 04-22-2012

Hardywood Hoplar follows the wood-aging tradition of the earliest India Pale Ales, which were matured on oak. Rather than oak, we’ve selected the delicate wood of a fallen Virginia Tulip Poplar, which was TreeCycled by CitiWood and toasted for use in this hearty IPA. While this Poplar can no longer rustle in the wind or give shade, it is able to offer balance to the bright citrus and pine character from heaps of Cascade, Columbus and Summit hops with subtle notes of caramelized vanilla. And the tree was hoppy.

In the mid-1800s, when the early IPAs were being shipped in wooden barrels from the breweries of Burton-on-Trent to thirsty British colonists in India, our Tulip Poplar was a mere sapling on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia. On September 18, 2003, this towering Poplar prevailed to the fierce Hurricane Isabel and fell on Bell Creek Road. Richmond-based CitiWood Urban Forest Products helped us transform the wood from this fallen Poplar into custom designed flavor- and aroma-enhancing infusion sticks. Post fermentation, Hoplar is dry-hopped with a generous helping of whole-flower Cascade hops and conditioned on the toasted Poplar.

Hardywood Hoplar is mahogany in color with a hearty, tan head and offers an aroma of grapefruit brûlée and pine needles, as well as delicate vanilla toffee and a hint of campfire. Medium- to full-bodied with assertive (100 IBUs) yet delightful hop bitterness, Hoplar is balanced with ample caramel malt backbone. A bit of earthy tannin from the Poplar harmonizes with the resinous hoppy character, which dissipates into a lingering finish.

100 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 335 | Reviews: 50
Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
2.28/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An unrecognizable bitterness that wasn't pleasant at all. It was honestly a struggle to get this one down.

Photo of John_Beeryman
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can taste the tulip poplar wood.

Photo of challenja
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Copper gild orange golden his. Honey comb bee pollen. Light sticky milk cloud head.
S: sweet pine sap grapefruit candied lemon heads.
T: powerful full bodied multi layered mouth banger. Full turtle hop bah. Mush mouth fallout throat tickle.
M:medium to full mouth feel. Powerful resin sap. Power up punch mouth feel.
O: a superb complex DPIA. Hardywood strikes again. So far the brew company on the East Coast.

Photo of AndrewMichael
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 mL capped bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Very well balanced and smooth for an Imperial IPA. Was hoping for just a bit more wood flavor to come from the tulip poplar conditioning.

Photo of Mesanville
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Epic! Going out to buy more...now!

Photo of qchic
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber with a rosy glow. Head lingers a while. Pine and caramel in the nose. I Had no prior knowledge of what poplar smells like, bit I am getting a sweet and spicy wood aroma that tamps the hop pungency. Lots of flavors from hops and poplar. I'd recommend sipping and savoring the battle between caramel and pine with fruit and plenty of bitterness. The wood brings an earthiness that rounds off the edges. Big body to this IIPA, and I love the oily mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little too fine. Still, very enjoyable to enjoy through the evening.

Photo of obywan59
4.71/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours crystal clear and coppery in color with a 2 finger off white head that leaves substantial attractive lacing.

Smell of ripe grapefruit, pine, and maybe a little biscuit.

Taste of pine, light caramel, and a light woodiness. Very bitter, but sweet malt counters well.

Medium full in body. Excellent retention on the palate. Moderately slick. Moderately crisp. Warming alcohol.

A luxurious brew. The flavor matures as it warms. Full in both taste and aroma and well balanced. Decadent.

Photo of Budinetz
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Epic Brew! Everyhing about this beer screams amazing. Definitely get the woody poplar flavor and the citrusy pine. I will seek this one out again!

Photo of Big_V
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Aggressive pour with 3 finger head. Aroma is sweet bread, pine, resin. Major hops up front then resin. This is a hop bomb. The poplar wood flavor adds major flavor. This was a great DIPA.

Photo of ZachKelly
2.92/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Unfortunate that I did not try this beer anywhere near peak freshness. I will certainly seek it out again this year when it comes out in the Spring. I drank it in January, so almost 8 months after release. It was still tasty, the wood flavors came through strong but with a malt taste that was just too overpowering. The dulled hop notes still had a good floral aroma but it was very muted.

Photo of curasowa
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy, dark copper color with a huge head that fades slowly with a thick curtain of lace.

Aroma: Candied fruit, brown sugar, lots of toffee, some earthy hops and woody.

Taste: Caramel, thick, syrupy-sweet up front, then some building earthy hop bitterness. Real dank and chewy. The bitterness intensifies through the lingering finish along with residual sweetness and is a bit hot and medicinal.

The Rest: Love the aroma, less so the beer itself. A really interesting aroma descends into a overly sweet, syrupy, somewhat unbalanced beer. For me, it sat too heavy without enough carbonation or hop character. It's definitely bitter, just not very nuanced.

Photo of Treyliff
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle, poured into a snifter

A- pours a murky amber color with a creamy off-white head that retains long after the pour, leaving some lace behind

S- the addition of the poplar wood is noticed right away with big woodsy aromas, it even brings our some aromas of dried chili pepper. There are some earthy hop notes, but primarily woodsy

T- woodsy flavors dominate up front that still resembles a chili pepper taste, underlying piney and earthy hops, finishes dry with more woodsy flavor

M- medium body and moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a creamy finish

O- I liked the addition of the poplar wood, but it overpowered the hops, definitely unique

Photo of Fieldzy27
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours apricot orange with a fairly dense head raising easily even with a gentle pour. It deflates over time leaving big sudsy globs of appealing lace scattered around the glass , the head is a khaki color with good retention. The color of this beer is just phenomenal and clarity is perfect.

Aroma: Sweet bread and caramel , vanilla , orange zest and light citrus, aroma is strong and a hint of alcohol melds well the the other scents. There is also hints of all spice or cinnamon. Hop aroma is juicy and full. Great nose.

Taste: This beer has the most distinct actual wood character I have had in a beer. Almost like a tinge of fresh cut pine. Hops dominate soon after though the large amount of orange and tangerine character. The malty sweetness is really a flash in the pan and finish is bitter and clean. Small amount of alcohol can be tasted. The flavors are good and well rounded. Not insanely complex but a solid set of flavors that drink very well.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is lively and bright it carries the hop bitterness very well. Alcohol is felt on the pallet and on the swallow as it warms after. Its viscous enough to carry its bold flavors very well.

Overall: A good tasting beer with no flaws, although it doesn't really shine. The wood character is very cool and im glad it showcases it well however other than that I feel like if someone were to ask me how to describe the "average" DIPA that this would be what I would say (minus the aging). All and all a great beer.

Photo of rjs246
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generally speaking I am not wild about Hardywood's IPAs, but the Hoplar is by far their best. The poplar balances well with the hops and provides for one of the more interesting IPAs available from a local brewery.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: deep burnt orange but with a strong bright clarity to it. Two to three fingers of a tannish head that fades slowly and leaves a lacing on the entire side of the glass. Moderate clarity.

Smell: very strong smell. A hoppy mix of citrus, tropical fruits, pine and some resin. Silky sweet character as well. Small notes of vanilla to toffee with some boozy oak qualities.

Taste: opens with lots of hops. Hints of citrus, mango, papaya, strong pine, and hops resin. Pine taste comes off as a mixture of bitter and sweet pine sap. Background is full of spice, some burnt character, earth, vanilla, wood. Moderate to strong alcohol that plays very well with the beer.

Mouthfeel: wonderfully silky and smooth. Leaves some bitterness and alcohol warmth behind.

Overall: a great and unique iipa. Great variety in the character, from all aspects hops malts and barrel.

Photo of Pencible
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with thick light tan head.
S: It smelled like bitter pine and metallic hops, with some citrus zest and a bit of wood.
T: It tasted like bitter resin and citrus zest, with some spicy wood character and honey biscuit malt. It had a clean bitter aftertaste.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Great big body.
D: This was a nice IPA with subtle wood character to add a little unique scent and taste. The body was excellent, and the finish was smooth with pretty well hidden alcohol. So it was fairly easy to drink. Not my ideal hop profile, but it worked well for this beer. Solid brew.

Photo of bubbaoyster
3.01/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The poplar aging does not sit well with my palate. Rather than the floralness of a good IPA , I get more of a acidy mouthfeel which combined with a lot of carbonation kind of kills this one for me.

I'm a native Richmonder and happy about our recent explosion of microbrews but this needs some work.

Photo of cjgiant
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to auburn, hazy, with lacing edge head that is foamy in nature
Smell of raisin and date, a hint of some unknown tropical fruit

Taste also hits on the dark fruit (little more date-like), initially. The carbonation jumps on the tongue to combine with the bite of the resinous hops (woody/pine base with light mango flavors). The wood taste could be from the Poplar aging. This beer almost tends towards a barleywine (American) in some senses, the lift fruit middle and dryness of the end perhaps saving it.

A very solid beer. I might flat rate it a little higher, but it's crossover in style (to me) confused my ratings slightly.

Photo of smakawhat
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Suggested to pour slowly.

Woah, this sucker is big. Even on a controlled slow pour it's just a huge large head. Light tan and slightly yellow it is as big as a fist. Super thick retention this thing will not go away or quit, a big thick lip hangs over the glass but never cascades down. Body color is beautiful. Crystal clear and this gorgeous deep red amber, with nice rising carbonation that isnt too excessive. A real impressive IPA here in the looks department, big winner.

Real interesting nose, very enjoyable. Big dank earth and hits of pine cone and needles. Some real nice forest green spruce like senses, spicy, even kind of floral a bit. Love this aroma and walking through crushed earth in a forest sense. Inviting.

Real interesting palate. Very subdued bitterness that lingers, with a nice caramel sweetness. Rose petal sweetness and a very long and slowly large and growing hop herbality. Green and black tea aromatics on the finish, slowly builds to a grapefruit large freshness. Incredibly juiced and thick perfect mouthfeel, lush, full, oily but not slick coating with just enough sugared warmth, and subdued carbonation. Lots of leafed tea herbal notes, and mixed citrus, and minimal mid palate bitterness

This is real impressive beer from these guys, as if Great Return was fantastic as it is this one is a winner.

Photo of athomasPSU
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour is amazing. A perfect ruby amber color that's not as cloudy as I expected. About a finger or so of beige head that leaves a sticky lacing that looks great.

Smell has lots of hops and grapefruit with some earthy wood. It's hard to figure out what it is. Also some malts that seem to come out. Its also got some toasted vanilla coming through.

Taste is very unique. Bright powerful citrus and sticky pine that's balanced by the toasted flavors from the malts and wood. Definitely notice the wood. It's got a great bitterness to it. This beer is so complex. Sweet and bitter with a great toasted malt backbone

Not a lot of carbonation. Very nice mouth feel. Smooth drinking.

Overall this is amazing. Very complex but so delicious. An imperial IPA at it's finest. The poplar makes this beer. It's a beer I would love to get more of. Thanks for the trade upton7418
I would recommend trying if you get a chance.

Photo of Chaney
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Oh cool, another Hardywood entry. Rock on!

Served in a Game of Thrones glass.

A: Holy crap this sucker unfiltery to the unfiltered power. Pretty much dark orange with tons of yeasties. Only a slight beige head.

S: A whole lotta nothin going on overall, but that's maybe because I just finished a juicy "Flower Power" right before this. Poplar wood huh? I kinda dig it.

T: Not particularly piney or bitter, but it has a very distinct, original flavor profile: Sorta white peppery, non-candyesque, and pretty earthy. Nice.

M: Lotsa lacing left on the snifter, no over-the-top sweetness, and certainly no lingering bitterness.

O: Pretty good.

Photo of Axnjxn
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a Haw River teku glass. Spring 2013 release so not the freshest.

Pours a dark copper color with a half inch thick white head with terrific lacing. Mild amount of hoppiness on the nose..as well as some piney goodness. The taste has a ton of wood flavor..wow. Really piney and woody, this beer is the definition of what a piney IPA is. Hops have faded a tad in 8 months and i can imagine this would be much more hop forward fresh...though it is still quite hoppy and now the wood characteristics are more pronounced. Cant say its my favorite flavor for an IPA but its what the brewery was going for and i think they nailed it. Medium bodied with mild carbonation.

Overall Hardywood nailed this woody IPA. If thats what youre looking for..look no further.

Photo of Seanniek91
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml C&C bottle into a Woodcock Brothers Imperial Pint. 2013 release, but no date.

Appearance- Huge 4 finger head (and I didn't pour wildly). Clear copper with tons of bubbles.

Smell-Boozy malts up front, light wood, light hops. Smells very malty, hopefully it's not.

Taste- Initially when I first took a sip, I thought it was a booze bomb, but the second sip was fine. Big hop bitterness, medium caramel malt sweetness, I don't get any wood though- at all. I wan't less malts and more wood.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, relatively viscous, not as carbonated as it looks.

Overall- I think the Poplar is akin to the "Beechwood Aging" that Bud does, whereas it may exist, but you certainly can't taste it. Solid enough IIPA though.

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a auburn tinted brown with two finger head and lace patches. Hoppy aroma, to say the least, as I get citric and some grape and a little bit of malt. Beer is good, hop strong of citric and grape, but like the aroma the balance is a little off and I get mostly hops and just a little bit of chewiness for the malts and no real sweetness. Not a major complaint but the hops start to wear down my palate and the finish is crisp but a little warming for some reason. A good but not great DIPA.

Photo of MCain04
4.49/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Extra from a trade, wish I remembered your name fellow BA. 750ml bottle poured into Spiegelau tulip. 2013 release.

Beautiful pour, a ruby amber, mostly clear body, with a generous frothy light-beige head with great retention and great lacing.

Smells of piney hops, some citrus notes, lemon and grapefruit, grassy,strong presence of cascade hops. Not much wood in the aroma.

Taste is very unique. Juicy cascade hops make for a bright citrusy and pine needle hop flavor right off the bat, not overly bitter. The malt background balances well with some sweetness. The poplar wood is this taste I am not familiar with. Earthy would be the best word, with a little vanilla. It adds a really nice complexity to the IPA without overwhelming it.

Medium bodied, a touch overcarbonated, not the driest of finishes, smooth on the tongue, lingering poplar earthy taste.

Overall, I agree with the Bros on this one - this is a winner. The subtlety of the poplar treatment really works to accentuate and balance rather than overwhelm this IPA. Try this if you can, well worth it.

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Hoplar Imperial IPA from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 335 ratings.