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Flagship IPA - Carolina Brewery

Flagship IPAFlagship IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

118 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 118
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 13.11%

Brewed by:
Carolina Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
87 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 47 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Brenden


3.69/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Flagship is darker than I expect, sort of a thick brown-orange. It's too dark and thick to be seen through, though I can see yeast loating around this unfiltered brew. The off-white head doesn't reach very high and is mostly a foam, although at least a consistent one. It does manage to leave spotty as well as thinly ringed lacing.
The nose is fresh and raw, not exactly clean but pretty pure. It's essentially lots of leafy and herbal green bitterness with a touch of caramel sweetness and bread from malts while a light grainy character runs underneath.
More hops come out in the flavor, which also has a bit more complexity to it as citrus flesh and zest are revealed along with an earthiness to go with the leafy, floral and herbal rawness that's balanced by yeasty notes, caramel, and biscuit.
The feel is good, a medium body holding some firmness and a steady carbonation allowing for a nice flow between a crisp bite and congruous smoothness.

Serving type: can

09-17-2013 21:25:35 | More by Brenden
Photo of WoodBrew


2.85/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

The Flagship IPA poured a nasty unfiltered amber with thick white head that is leaving a lace. The scent and taste are synonymous with most English IPA. I am pissed that this beer has chunky yeasty balls in it which means I will not finish it. The taste is bitter and not too bad from what I have tasted. Would like to try this off the tap to avoid the stuff that gives the craps!

Serving type: can

09-15-2013 23:25:06 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of sulldaddy


3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Sampling a cellar temp can poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a slightly hazy copper hue with a fluffy offwhite head of 3 cm foaming up even with a gentle pour.
The head recedes slowly leaving some windowpane lattice and creating craters on the surface of the beer.
Aroma is bitter medicinal notes, with some pine sap and general herbal tea scents. I get just a little toffee, but something just isnt quite right in the balance of the nose. There is a bite that is slightly off-putting to the nose.
First sip reveals a fine rolling carbonation and average body, nothing too exciting on the physical components, but not thin and watery either.
Flavor is a little grainy and then rolls to some pine and floral notes and again some herbal tea hits. Finish is dry and generally astringent.
Overall this is a straightforward, not over the top beer that is easy to drink. The nose seems a little off, but otherwise I enjoy it for what it is, a good IPA that could be sessionable in the right situations.

Serving type: can

07-24-2013 03:23:48 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of orsulacp


3.89/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Real nice balance of malt and hops. The taste has a good caramel sweetness to start and then the bitterness comes on and lingers, really well balanced. The aroma is mostly floral, not much of the malt gets through. Overall a pretty good English ipA.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2013 22:02:36 | More by orsulacp
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.61/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap a Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill, NC

A: Pours a clear copper in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation and moderate orange highlights. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that quickly reduces to a very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of floral and citrus/orange hops with some lighter notes of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of caramel malts with very little sweetness which is followed by moderate flavors of both floral and citrus/orange hops. Moderate amounts of bitterness which are sharp at first and fade slowly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable, just a touch too much ABV and bitterness to be sessionable but paired really nicely with the mediterranean food.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2013 00:43:49 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of dpodratsky3

North Carolina

3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: True copper orange, large fizzy head fades to just a film, white in color, should be crystal clear but my can had a TON of floaters

S: Not too hoppy, actually has some dominant malt aromas, bready sweet, hops are mild with a resiny and herbal aroma

T: Again, mild, malt is present in background, herbal and resiny hops again, hops at least provide the main flavor here but don't pack much of a punch

M: Medium body, slightly dry finish, pleasant mouthfeel

O: Ok, but it tastes faded, the date from Total Wine says 12/14/12. I'm guessing that is the shelved date (I reviewed this beer Jan. 23) so it shouldn't be THAT faded.

Serving type: can

01-29-2013 02:15:42 | More by dpodratsky3
Photo of 5thOhio

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a typical IPA color, golden amber. Thin head that dissipates quickly leaving a light ring of foam. Not much in the way of lacing.

Nose is light, fresh floral and slightly herbal. Mouthfeel is medium, appropriate for an IPA, with delicate prickly carbonation.

Taste begins with the floral and herbal hop notes, then a strong bitterness overwhelms with underlying subtle notes of malt. The heavy bitterness makes it hard for me to detect the specific flavors of the malt, but it's there notwithstanding.

For an English IPA, I would expect more balance. However, it's still a decent IPA, probably better on tap.

Serving type: can

09-04-2012 22:59:27 | More by 5thOhio
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer review from a can on 8/23/12: pours clear amber color with a foamy 2 finger white head that faded slowly and left very good spotty lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, biscuit, toasted grains, floral hops, toast, wheat and buttery cracker; malty overall and the hops are an accent like an English IPA.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, biscuit, toasted grains, floral hops, toast, wheat, lemon, light citrus hops, buttery cracker, toast and/or dough; malty overall with light citrus hops and lemon to compliment the malty biscuit flavors which handle most of the flavor. If this is an English IPA, then this is spot on - if not, then it's a decent IPA.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with light carbonation, a medium body and a slightly bitter malty finish that's on the sweet side. Average overall, so I wouldn't seek this out again. I like hoppy American IPA's better, but this was worthy of trying while in NC.

Serving type: can

08-31-2012 03:31:41 | More by CHickman
Photo of Pencible


3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a cloudy copper with some off white head and chunky sediment.
S: It smelled like faint copper hops and bready malt, with some orange.
T: It tasted like bitter resin and copper, with some herbal hops and bready yeast. It had a bitter metallic aftertaste that was somewhat clean.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Good full body.
D: This was a decent English IPA. The scent and taste were fitting for the style, but not really my preference. The body was very nice, but the finish was a little harsh, so it was not the easiest to drink. Nice to try once, but easily forgettable.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 18:29:05 | More by Pencible
Photo of Cylinsier


3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours a light amber gold color with a white head.

Piney hop nose with some malt under there.

Strong hop profile, but much more floral than the nose suggested. Bready malts round out the taste.

Medium body with light carbonation.

Pretty good IPA, I liked this one a lot. Good hop character without being too bitter, works for me better than just a hop assault. On top of that, thirst quenching and almost sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2012 22:50:05 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served by a brewery rep. at the NC Brewers Fest.

A: Pours with an amber-orange body and a medium size, off-white head.

S: Hoppy more than malty, although there is a bit of breadiness present.

T: Has a fine, weedy/herbal hop flavor; only mildly bitter in the mouth, it leaves a more bitter aftertaste. 3.75

M: Near medium body; excellent carbonation.

O: a fine English style IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2012 02:38:11 | More by chinchill
Photo of Durge


3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ran across this at Margaux's in Raleigh, North Carolina. It's a clear quiet amber/copper color with just a breath of some little white bubbles on top and modest lacing. The nose picks up a nice citrus nutty pine. The flavor follows suit but adds a peppery grass that’s a little on the harsh side but not bad. Carbonation is sharpish, very fine and body is between medium and light. Drinks easily and is pretty refreshing with a tingly feel that maintains fair constitution. The citrus bread flavor holds on through the finish. Definitely worth a try as a satisfying hop refreshment.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2012 02:31:15 | More by Durge
Photo of JimKal

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass with a two finger white head, a slightly cloudy amber. Head dissipates quickly leaving behind some nice lacing.

It has a faint citrus aroma.

This presents with a nice hoppy taste. The hops, for me, dominate the taste profile here.

Mouthfeel is aggressively hoppy. Not over the top like some of the west coast styles but these hops will sty with you for a while.

For me, this is a nice local (North Carolina) IPA that meets IPA standards and is worth a repeat (and it comes in a can).

Serving type: can

04-10-2012 17:29:04 | More by JimKal
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub on 3/3/12.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a soft layer of creamy, white head that has decent retention. The nose is spicy and citrusy. The flavor opens with a faint malt note that mildly bready and then finishes with a strong citrusy, grapefruit hoppiness that's smooth and pleasing. There is also a good bit of spiciness that adds a bite to the hop character and to the finish. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, smooth, and a little crisp.

This is a decent, balanced, intriguing beer. The crispness and spiciness work well together to add an extra degree of drinkability. I will definitely have this again.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2012 09:43:28 | More by tdm168
Photo of JayQue


3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at Pamlico Jack's in Nags Head. Served in the ubiquitous frosted beer mug so the head suffered a bit. A small white cap on the glass...faded quickly. Light amber/copper color. Smell is fairly robust. Citrus hops primarily.

A balanced IPA. Citrus hops and some caramel malts. Mouthfeel is crisp with some good hops bitterness.

Plenty hoppy enough for an English IPA. Light enough to accompany dinner without overpowering it. Not bad at all!!

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2011 17:28:10 | More by JayQue
Photo of MtnmanMcFee

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I throughly am enjoying this beer at the moment. It poured a a nice light brown color like most other IPA's. Nice foamy head that settled after about a minute. Leaves a good lacing down the side of the glass. Nice smooth taste yet still has the bitterness you would expect from an IPA all in all a farily good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2011 18:30:01 | More by MtnmanMcFee
Photo of nickd717


3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a clear bright copper color with a white head, nice retention and lacing.

Herbal and citrusy hops on the aroma along with a little bit of sweet malts and maybe even a tropical note.

A bit of passionfruit comes through on the flavor to go with the orange/citrus from the hops, and a substantial caramel maltiness sits behind that.

Medium-bodied with some hop resins on the palate.

Now here we've finally got a decent beer from these guys. This one is not bad.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2011 02:20:57 | More by nickd717
Photo of Soonami


2/5  rDev -43%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This beer was just awful. I hate to write a review like this too because I received a growler of this as a gift from a friend, but it was truly horrendous. I was already expecting the worst when I saw an IPA bottled into a CLEAR GLASS GROWLER! If you think Heineken is skunky, think about how much worse it would be with 4 times the amount of hops and crystal clear glass. The beer looked just fine before it was poured, a very hazy orange. But once the skunk genie was let out of the bottle I was wondering how I could possibly finish this beer. The funny thing is that my uncle says, "I didn't know that they made this kind of beer here in America, it tastes like an imported beer..."

I know that some may say it's not fair to judge this beer because it was probably pretty good leaving the brewery. Carolina packaged this beer in their own labeled clear growler that is very spoil-prone then they deserve this kind of review. Beer people know that clear glass is terrible for protecting beer and that's why even BMC prefers to package in cans or at least brown bottles, but a naive consumer might think that a growler-packaged beer is fancier and higher-end. They would've spent good money expecting a good beer to only be disappointed by something that should be poured out. I think this is awful and Carolina should be ashamed of putting such a poor product on shelves. The retailer, Total Wine & More in Raleigh, shares some of this burden of shame too, but I had other growler beers from that store and they were fine. This was definitely Carolina's fault and I hope that they would address it. I will contact the company shortly

Serving type: growler

01-10-2011 23:28:16 | More by Soonami
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

1.88/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The third in a series of beers sampled at the brewpub.

Alrighty! I was excited for this one, being their "flagship" beer and one that has supposedly won awards for the brewery. Poured a somewhat hazy tangerine-ish color. Nice head that laced all over the glass. Very pretty. I was excited until I smelled it. Hello? Hello? Is anybody home? Where's the aroma? Where's the pine and grapefruit and citrus rinds and pine resin and fresh cut grass? Shit, son, the Trolley Brown had more aroma than this! I get hardly anything except a very light graininess and a bit of earthiness. And I'm struggling to find these aromas so I can put something down for it! Dude, where's my hops? The flavor is weak. That's the best way to describe it. Subtle honey and nuttiness, hint of esters, and much bitterness in the finish, but did they not use any flavoring or aromatic additions in the recipe? This is pathetic. We don't have a hop shortage any more, use the damn things! I honestly think they forgot to add hops towards the end of the boil. No citrus, no pine, none of those hop characteristics that supposedly define IPA's. Fail.

With that said, however, the body was decent; moderately thin but decently carbonated. I still can't get over the lack of hops. If you like this type of thing, it would drink well I suppose. But I'm not a fan. With the bitterness there and nothing to complement it, I'm glad I only got a sample or it would be a tough time finishing a pint of this.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 03:09:47 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of akorsak


3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pint glass served at the Corolla Brew Pub (not Carolina's Brewpub in Corolla, the actual name).

A: The IPA is a coppery amber color, orange accented and translucent. The initial pour had a head that measured less than a finger but, as I worked my way through the ale, strata of lace developed like rings on a tree.

S: The nose starts off with a pleasant hop bite, a little citrusy floral dose. Behind that are caramel malts, plenty to go around. The hops are never quite as fresh as in the first sniff.

T: As with the nose, the first sip delivers a flowery citrus hop presense that quickly fades into the caramel malts. The base of the ale is strong, bready with plenty of residual sweetness. The hops, though not as strong, are still present throughout with citrus driving the flavor.

M: The mouthfeel is hoppy but not without its malt side for balance. The mouthfeel benefits from the scrubbing effect of the high carbonation levels.

D: A decent IPA, not one that I'd seek out on a regular basis but as a vacation refresher it works.

Serving type: on-tap

08-21-2010 18:57:41 | More by akorsak
Photo of Broombrew

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a growler into a standard pint glass.

a- pours with a decent 2 finger head. beautiful golden brown.

s- malty with hints of hops

t- well balanced taste influenced by delicious hops.

m- lightly carbonated but full bodied mouthfeel.

d- very drinkable. goes down smoothly. would have another anyday. delicious but not overly impressive compared to other IPAs

Serving type: growler

07-27-2010 21:00:25 | More by Broombrew
Photo of joepais


3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cbros for this sending this wonderful brew along to me.
Growler poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass produced a two finger white head that faded fast to nothing on top of an amber colored brew.

The brew was a little sweat in the nose with the yeast coming out as the dominate characteristic. There was a light hop note present as well but not as pronounced as most IPA's. The flavor followed the nose; it was mostly sweet malts with a light hop bitter in the finish. It had a medium feel to it with good carbonation for coming out of a growler.

The brew drank real well I sessioned the growler myself through out the course of a night. I enjoyed every drop and it went well with all the appetizers' available. If I was at the brewery I would gladly do the same

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2010 16:51:46 | More by joepais
Photo of porterwoobie

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a 64oz growler into a standard pint glass.

A: light orange-hued amber color, slim head, little lacing

S: fruity, citrusy hop aroma

T: malty sweet at first, then after a few moments the bitterness fills the mouth and lingers at the back of the mouth

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: pretty decent IPA. if you are looking for immense hop bitterness and flavor, this beer does not have it, but more of a mellowed hop character. still very drinkable.

Serving type: growler

05-31-2009 19:17:47 | More by porterwoobie
Photo of panthalassa

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the second growler I've purchased from the Raleigh Whole Foods on Wade Ave. Many of the critcisms leveled against this ale are legit, including the lack of head retention and lacing, and that it would probably be better characterized as a pale rather than an India pale based on the malt to hop ratio.

Yet it fascinates me primarily for the simple reason that I've never had a beer which so reminded me, in taste and particularly in aroma, of upper-middle grade weed. I got the second growler just to see if the first was an aberration, but no ... the effect is like sticking your nose in a ziploc bag of kind. I recognize that this would be polarizing even among pale ale fans, yet when I assign the adjective "dank" to this brew, it's intended as a compliment.

Serving type: growler

05-10-2009 20:34:29 | More by panthalassa
Photo of cnjohn19

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had on tap at carolina brewery on franklin street...(props to the waitress who knew her shit regarding her beers...great presentation)

pours a light, honey brown...extremely clear, but head non-existent which i did not like...smells not very strong at first, but smell again about midway through your pint...you'll get orange peels, and what i thought smelled like grapefruit, but still lacking for an ipa...sharp, bitter...cascading hops dominate the entire way...good stuff...

with a balanced abv, you'll be able to enjoy this beer over and over again...good enough for me to get a growler on the way out!

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2009 01:40:55 | More by cnjohn19
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Flagship IPA from Carolina Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.