Flagship IPA - Carolina Brewery

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Flagship IPAFlagship IPA

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173 Ratings
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Ratings: 173
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 12.68%
Wants: 3
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2003

87 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 173 | Reviews: 54
Reviews by chinchill:
Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its been a few months since I had a real cask ale so I ran to the tent yesterday serving it up.this poured a rich copper with a nice creaminess to the head.Aromas of caramel and some nuttiness hops were not as prevelant as I thought but it was appetizing enough.Taste is highly hopped but it didnt knock me out with em there was a nutty malt presence in the background that I picked up keeping it from going over the edge.A worthy cask ale my first NC on the engine very solid and well made.

Photo of ROBORB
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap, this beer poured a nice copper color with a 1 finger head. The smell was not overpowering but there were faint aromas of citrus, hops and malt. The hop profile is not overly drying and I found myself ordering it again and again. This was a very easy to drink IPA. Get it on tap if you can find it.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.07/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Carolina Brewery. Light copper in color. Thick and long-lasting off-white lace coats the glass. Prominent notes of grapefruit in the nose. Very nice. Flavor is HOPPY! In your face, teeth-rattling bitterness is all that comprises the flavor. Nothing so much as shows itself to try to tame the hop landslide assaulting your palate. Almost to the point of being unbalanced. Finishes very bitter, with a splash of grapefruit juice squatting on the palate to remind you what this is made of. Biting mouthfeel but still drinkable. Not for the faint of heart.

Photo of Soonami
1.95/5  rDev -45.1%
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

Photo of Brenden
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bold amber in color with a thin, wispy film of bubbles atop it (possibly because it took my waitress a while to get the beer to my table...), my IPA arrived as a nice appetizer before a big meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Crisp and hoppy in the nose, this beer is bright and bitter, with a nice clean finish and slight floral and fruit notes in between. Solid all around, but nothing to really sing about. Still, I liked it and I'll have it again.

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of WoodBrew
2.83/5  rDev -20.3%
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!

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.

Photo of silver0rlead
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery golden color with a thick, foamy white head. Smell is light citric hops with a sweet caramel malt background. Taste is light floral and citrus with an oily mouthfeel. It ends with a sweet but mild caramel malt, and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste that is gone quickly. A highly drinkable IPA, that is not quite as complex or hoppy as it's main North Carolina IPA competitors (Hoppy Hour and Big Boss), but a good attempy none the less, and I definately see the English IPA style as being apropriate.

Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Off-white head. Beer's a light caramel color.
Unique grassy hop aroma. Sweet malt as well.

Unique taste that didn't hit the spot for me. Fruity, grassy hops and sweet pale malt. Decently balanced. Maybe I had apricots on the brain as my buddies were drinking DFH Aprihop, but I detected a touch of apricot.

Good mouthfeel.
A bit odd to be real drinkable.

Overall, a solid IPA. Big thanks to AKSmokedPorter for bringing a growler up to Ohio!

Photo of akorsak
3.62/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

A: Copper and cloudy with lots of sediment, 4 fingers of creamy head leaving a frothy honeycomb lacing.

S: Malts and black pepper, red pepper, light fruity citrus orange and grapefruit.

T: Caramel, malts, the big dull lingering bitterness I love, so typical to this style.

M: Medium thick resinous body, medium low peppery carbonation.

O: Excellent. Been a while since I’ve had a traditional IPA, and this one nails it. Bought in NC, drank in New Hamburg ON. Wish I didn’t have to rush this one, but I have a flight today and limited luggage space.

Photo of CHickman
3.8/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of daliandragon
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler this weekend from Whole Foods in Raleigh. Pours a mediocre reddish ochre with a brief, thin head. Nose is dense and malty with nuttiness and some dark fruit extant. Not bad but where the heck are the hops?

It truly is a tale of two halves in the taste with heavy malty, bready notes up front and suddenly the hops kick in out of nowhere. The second half saves this IPA. Spicy, piney hops with a citrus finish. Not heavy but powerful enough and more split than balanced. Mouthfeel is overly thick at first but thins out nicely. This is an easy drinking IPA that won't please true hopheads but will easily quench a thirst on a Saturday afternoon.

Photo of gatornation
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear golden yellow color with a white head a bit of lacing, smell is light on citrus hops a cracker malt smell is present,light hops hit the palate with touches of citrus and pine,medium carbonation with a dry and somewhat bitter finish , this one is an average IPA it got some kick ,if nothing else on tap or curious then its one to try

Photo of MtnmanMcFee
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of granger10
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was one very interesting IPA. The nose had a big citrus, fruity hit to it with some grain maltiness in there underneath. The taste however was powerful and had quite a bite. It was very, very earthy to me. Lots of strong earthy hops, grassy hops and some floral ones in there as well. I really couldn't taste the fruity flavor that I smelled. Malts are definitely second fiddle here but they play their part in taste. But the hops assault me with their bitterness especially at the end. This probably isn't a really high IBU IPA but it still had a strong bitterness than most IPA's I have had. Very interesting but not something I could drink all the time.

Big thanks to Loki for the growler!

Photo of 5thOhio
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Photo of AngusOg
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really tasty English style ipa. Would definitely drink this one again.

Photo of cvstrickland
3.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft arrive in shaker pints, glowing a honey-amber color and sporting a finger of white foam that recedes to a ring that leaves very little lacing on the glass.

The smell is... well... the smell is all but drowned out by the smells in the brewpub, which is inside the same open room as the drinking/dining area. Yeasty, malty goodness reeks throughout the joint, but I think I smelled some nice floral hops coming from the drink. The menu says the beer is dry-hopped with Cascades, and I think I'm feeling that...I'll give it the benefit of the doubt!

Taste is fruity hops and sweetish malts. Grapefruity hops and succulent pale malt caramel flavors are spiced with a dash of orange zest and a bit of ripe cherry.There's a bit of dry astringency in the finish.

Soft and medium-bodied with nice carbonation. Good drinkability.

Photo of JayQue
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
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!!

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Flagship IPA from Carolina Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 173 ratings.