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Maharaja - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,923 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,923
Reviews: 1,767
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.38%
Wants: 300
Gots: 491 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-03-2005

Maharaja is derived from the sanskrit words mahat, meaning “great”, and rajan, meaning “king”. Much like its namesake, this imperial IPA is regal, intense and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley – fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence. Welcome to his kingdom!

The Maharaja is the second installment in our Dictator Series.

102 IBUs

ABV varies slightly batch to batch.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,923 | Reviews: 1,767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Domingo
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This batch is super fresh...bottled in February of 2008.
Pours a deep burnt orange color. It's got a medium to moderate head that can be kept under control with a less aggressive pour.
Smell is actually really fruity...but that's due to the insane amount of hops. Pineapple, citrus, and a strong smell of peaches. It smells potent in terms of flavor, but not necessarily boozy.
The taste is a tour-de-force of hops, but with a malt backbone that doesn't hide. Fruity and sweet, but with a lingering bitter-hop finish. Lots of tropical fruits coming out of the woodwork.
It's smooth and goes down like a normal IPA. I'm picking up the sweetness of a higher ABV% beer, but no burn or lack of drinkability. I split this bottle, but I think I could handle 2 bottles myself.

Excellent. My new top DIPA!

Photo of Mexinate
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

As my first beer review ever I decided to pick a style that I'm very familiar with and try a beefed-up version of it. I started carrying Avery's Dictator line because of a combination of the brewery's exceptional reputation and the outright marketability of this cool concept. Plus, the gigantic ABV percentages are a nice bonus.

Out of a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint, it pours a hazy copper with a two finger creamy head that dissipates fairly quickly. Pretty much exactly what I was expecting - no surprises here.

Big big smells. My nose stays focused on a piney, dank smell surrounded by some fruit smells I can't identify. outright. Lots of people mention pineapple - I don't get that. Some also mention passion fruit but we don't get a lot of passion fruit at the grocery stores here in Minnesota so, who knows? Maybe it's there.

Taste is hops hops hops all day. Pine again, with a really smooth bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth as well - there's lots for your tongue to do while your brain figures out what's going on. As soon as a flavor freaks you out a little bit it's replaced with something just a little different to keep you on your toes.

Overall, this is a serious IPA with a big reputation to uphold. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this was a good drinking session with lots to occupy and educate. This is a great beer, but for me not very sessionable, probably thanks to the 10.54% ABV. Still, highly recommended for fans of the style that want to move above and beyond the basics.

Photo of JJJ22
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My brother-in-law called me last night to tell me Grapevine had the 2008 Maharaja, but only six cases. Went first thing this morning to get a couple.

A: Copper, with a good 1 inch cream-colored head, that leaves a beautiful lace down the glass. Only flaw is a touch of haziness

S: Pine, pine, and more pine. Adam must have cornered the market on Simcoe just for this beer.

T: Hops. A hop-heads dream, with just enough maltiness to balance it out. Peppery carbonation, with just a touch of alcohol bite. Probably due to this year's 10.54% ABV.

M: Chewy. Coats the tongue just right, insulating it from the alcohol.

D: Dangerously drinkable. Easy to drink all 22oz in a hurry.

Photo of JEdmund
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Burgundy/iced tea color; big head; some lacing

Huge! Extremely pungent - citrus, floral, sweet, candy-like, fruity (berry) and tart

Taste & Mouthfeel
Super hoppy; burns a bit in the nose; an explosion of flavor - awesome; big hop flavor with enough malt to hold it in place but still show off, certainly not a 50/50 split; silky and creamy texture

Lived up to my expectations; I really enjoyed this seasonal and will grab a few more before they're gone

Side Note
Mix this 50/50 with a Dogfish Head 90-Minute and you're in for a treat!

Photo of boogles
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sometimes I like the Maharaja better than at others. Lately, I have been impressed. What I used to not like about it was overbearing bitterness, but I am noticing more citrus hops. In other words, it's similar to the Avery single IPA, but with more bitter, grassy hops, and they are both distinguishable. I used to prefer the single, now I think I like the Maharaja better. In a nutshell, it's a double with a multi-dimensional nose and a taste consistent with the nose, and no big surprises. If anything is lacking, it's refinement and subtle flavors that come out with time (for example, as with Stone's Ruination).

Photo of Gehrig
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My good friend The Sage gave me the heads-up on this beauty a couple months ago, having tried it on tap at the dazzlingly good Pizza Plant in Williamsville, NY. Boy, does this deliver. A big, bold, and burly Imperial/DIPA, Maharaja pours two fat fingers off-white foam on a somewhat cloudy copper body, with veritable curtains of lacing adorning the glass as it's consumed--fantastic start.

The smell is chock full of hops but more--lots of malt and caramel to sweeten the deal. It's sweet in taste but not cloying, really delicious and smooth, enhanced by balanced carbonation to expertly meld the flavors and texture. It's never lost that it's well-hopped, but the balance serves Maharaja very well. I'm really impressed. It also went well with my plate of spicy shrimp and penne pasta, working itself, with my food, on its way into my heart and soul.

Maharaja is fabulous, and the high ABV (9.70%) never becomes obstreperous. A fantastic DIPA, this makes my short list of favorite DIPAs and IPAs. A treat not to pass up; you'll thank yourself later.

Photo of Quasmo
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sat down and had a bottle poured into a pint glass last night, good beer.

Appearance - Nice gold amber color, nice amount of head on the pour, head remained for a good amount of time.

Smell - Loved the smell of this beer. Nice smell of hops and citrus.

Taste - When I first tasted it, I was hit with on unexpected crispness. I did not expect it to be so sharp. As the beer warmed up the sharpness turned into a good smooth taste, but it was unexpected. The taste of hops is very strong with this beer, but very good. I could enjoy this beer over and over.

Drinkability - Very good, I could see myself drinking this more often than not. Good buy.

Photo of Contra
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a chance to get a growler of Maharaja, as it was on tap at Half-Time, my local distributor.

Apperance is rather cloudy, with a golden tinge towards the bottom of the glass, becoming amber colored towards the top. The aroma has a rather sweet, mildly fruity smell. Very malty, and of course, very hoppy. Compared to some of the other major Double IPAs out there (Weyerbacher's Double Simcoe, Stone's Ruination, Great Divide's Hercules), this beer isn't quite as hoppy. Still, a nice bitter bite with an excellent pine-peach finish. Whether you prefer this over the other Double IPAs I mention is probably more of individual preference, rather than an innate superiority. Of course, that's usually the case.

Overall, great stuff. Easy to drink for such a thick, heavy beer. A beer I could drink over & over again, and not get tired of.

Photo of illidurit
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy orange into my snifter. 1 finger white head.

Aroma is of freshly cut pineapples. Some tangerine tanginess too.

Taste is rindy citrus with an herbal hop finish. A nice grainy caramel maltiness is subdued but appreciable. Nice terminal bitterness.

Carbonation is nice and despite the richness in body, the finish is bone dry.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - A big foamy three finger head rises above a red-orange (grapefruit juice) brew and stays around for quite some time. Enormous amounts of chalky, sticky, crusty lace sticks to the glass. The brew is slightly cloudy, and the color is amazing. Head retention is outstanding...especially for a high ABV beer.

S - Big time funky grapefruit and tangerine. Lots of apricot and canned mandarin oranges here too. Smells wonderfully juicy and hoppy, and the citrus is backed up by sweet syrupy malt notes. There is an almost sea salt air freshness to this, and a big earthy funk lays down some real complexity.

T - Big grapefruit hops with a lot of herbal notes too. Extremely fruity and fresh with huge mandarin orange syrup flavors, bitter herbs and grasses, and some nice salty....almost fishy notes. Green tea and fish food come to mind also. Tastes tropical to me...lots of jungle fruits (like mango) and herbal grassy flavors.

M - Sandy, gritty, juicy, acrid, and extremely dry. This stuff sucks the moisture out of your mouth and leaves a gritty dirty feeling behind. The aftertaste lasts for days....I'll be intermittently tasting big herbal hops the rest of the night for sure.

D - Outstanding. There really isn't anything about this one not to love...I couldn't drink more than one bottle though. An outstandingly complex and satisfying DIPA. This doesn't have quite the malt muscle of other top notch DIPAs though, but it makes up for it with the earthy herbal complexity and juicy freshness.

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours with a beautiful dark butterscotch/caramel body. The head is a one finger off-white/brown head that settles into a half-finger. The lacing is absolutely stunning: spotty, caligraphic, and mountainous simultaneously, this beer first settles into a sort of fingerprint pattern on the rim of the glass. Or, on second look, a wave's sea foam. This lasts well into five minutes. Outstanding.

Smell: Beautiful, beautiful Double IPA. Nutty tangerine, orange, lemon, and lime combine at first. A sort of citrus jelly candy-like aroma. Next is the harsher but still sweet grapefruit and the backwash of pine. All incredibly balanced, and showcased in such a n unusual and fantastic way, that this is currently one of my favorite beers.

Taste: Again, beautiful: caramel leads into orange candy syrup, followed by lemon, some lime, a slight tangerine and a swift orange. Pine dominates the citrus in, again, a backwash or background of flavor. Gorgeously satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Hate to keep giving a 6 month old Double IPA its kicks, but damn: creamy, thick, and tasty.

Drinkability: One of the best DIPA's I've ever had. That being said, it's a sipper, despite the lack of alcohol taste.

Photo of lightindarkness
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, marked as bottled in May, 2007, batch 6. Thanks to Hypnoz123 for this great beer.

Pours a deep hazy dirty orange-pumpkin color. Big creamy head leaves frothy lace all over.

Strong initial hop scent rich in pine, pineapple, and grapefruit. A fresher hoppy aroma works its way forward, full of pine needles, lime, and herbs. Also has a very soft and underpowered floral nose.

Tastes rich and strong, with a surprising presence of caramelly malt and robust depth despite the intense hops. Hop flavor is characterized by a sharp, narrow bitterness, along with strong piny resin and a somewhat dank finish. Nice roasty grains run underneath from beginning to end, even more as the beer warms. What begins as a sweet ethery taste burns off as alcohol flavor, finishing with a bitter warmth, leaving a faint chemical aftertaste from the notably present 9.65%abv.

Definitely has a nice sticky feel for the style, but alcohol presence literally lifts the beer off the palate at times while drinking. Very strong astringent and ethery feel, gives a slippery oily quality to an otherwise sticky heavy beer.

I really like the flavor of this beer, but the notable presence of the alcohol is somewhat of a deterrent. Even among other high ABV IIPA beers, I notice the alcohol taste and feel in this more than most.

Photo of mattster
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber from batch 6, bottled May 2007. Poured into snifter glass.

Layer of bubbles across top of glass, but otherwise a thin head. Appears very thick on pour - a nice hazy amber.

Smell is wonderfully piney, nice hoppy aromas. Taste is definitely hoppy, nice citrus zest and sweetness that complements the the beer and doesn't overpower. Bitterness is balanced. Mouth feel is very nice and full, very drinkable with a nice earthy touch on the finish. A pleasure to all five taste senses.

Avery has this one right. I've enjoyed several of their brews now, definitely worth trying this one. Really good beer.

Photo of stewart124
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very hazy amber/orange color with a thick and viscous tan head. This ends up leaving a pretty lacing down the glass.

The nose is very piney, citrusy and spicy. Powerful hints but still very pleasing.

The taste is awesome! Really a great blend of everything. No one particular ingredient sticks out. The hops are beautifully done and give a nice tingling feel. There is more pine and citrus that blend well with caramel malts and there is also a toasty, malty feel to this beer.

There is obvious alcohol in the aftertaste but it is not overpowering and continues to blend well with the overall beer. Citrus and pine continue hit the palate and leave a nice flavor. There is a left over sweetness from the caramel malts.

A really great Double IPA overall. Very drinkable.

Photo of srobertson59
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a 22 oz. glass.

I found this at a local Deli shop (thanks Pimpp!) and after reading some reviews was a bit anxious to give it a go. Could it possibly knock out my current favorite of Stone’s Ruination?

A - Pours a somewhat cloudy/hazy honey-amber with a generous tight head. Some sediment is visible lofting through the carbonation. Good retention with ample amount of lacing on the glass.

S - BAM! An oily hoppy infusion to the nose with hints of citrus and tart apple with toasted malt shining through.

T - Mmmmm. Now this is EXACTLY what I was expecting! A huge explosion of hops, followed closely by a sweetness that seems to compliment the hops instead of hiding them. Just the slightest bit of warming from the well hidden alcohol.

M - A very creamy viscous feel all the way down the throat. All of the flavors seem to linger at the same levels. At no time do any of them overpower the pallet in aftertaste. And the finish on this one lasts a long, long time.

D - HELL YEAH! I have found my #2 favorite brew. If you enjoy the experience of Stone's Ruination, then you'll definitely enjoy this offering from Avery.

Photo of brantadid
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich amber color. 1/8th inch head formed and quickly diminished. Lots of sticky lacing.

Tons of aroma from this beer. I could smell it before I picked it up from the table. I think every hop aroma presented.

Lots of Citrus fills the mouth. Orange, lime, and grapefruit rind is all over. An insanely long finish. It just went on and on.

Excellent carbonation and a creamy smooth mouthfeel.

Photo of albern
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very fine IPA and very enjoyable, quite a nice surprise. The beer pours a nice cloudy, tawny orange with plenty of tannish head and lacing. The head is thick and creamy and somewhat billowing, and you will find some nice yeasty bits floating in the glass, but not lots. The smell is thick piney hops, sweet malts, grapefruit, and very enticing. I did knock it down a little in that the smell thinned out too much after the initial pour. It's nice nevertheless. This beer is a full bodied, thick, syrupy, moderately carbonated IPA that is very tasty. Plenty of piney hop notes, resinous hoppy esters, lots of grapefruity tang and subtle sweetness, plus some other sweetish citrus flavors that are difficult to pin down. I detect some rind, some spices, and some slight flowery hints as well. This beer improves as it settles. This is a wonderful ale for a cold day. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy on the tongue, there are some warming alcohol notes, but the 9.7% ABV is very well concealed overall. There is a little throatiness with this beer in the finish and beyond. This is well worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a juicy white head that leaves behind some beautiful lacing as I slowly sip away. Has a hazy copper color.

The nose has a lot of hop qualities. Notes of citrus, pine, sweet tropical fruits and a caramel malt that tries to soften the impact of the hops but gets pushed aside.

The hops are the main attraction on the palate as well. Tastes of grapefruit, a bit piny and sweet malt that comes through more than I thought it would.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-cloudy amber/gold with an absolutely insane head. Huge head sticks around for the long haul leaving intense lacing. Beauteous. Smell is sticky sweet like a good barleywine actually. Huge sweet malt presence and citrusy aromas in the nose. Taste is more sticky sweet malts blended with a great hop profile. Citrusy, juicy, bitter, very balanced. I have had this once before and dont remember it being so balanced. Alcohol is very well hidden. Mouthfeel is velvety, pretty heavy, decent carbonation. Delicious and hugely enjoyable. If I could handle it, I would drink a fair share of this.

Photo of marcpal
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into pint glass.

A: Dark amber and the colors of a malty brew. White head was substantal and lacing present.

S: Hops and malty hops at that. Citrus somewhat but dominated by the malted alcohol hops. Really looked forward to the taste after the aroma.

T: Malted hops initially great- my favorite style and accent to a beer. The hops are there and come through very smoothly. I did think there was a strong hop aftertaste without being too sweet. Like the malty based hops over anything that had overly citrus.

M: Not overly carbonated and had the thickness of a good hop presence. Hops clung on and attached a bit to the palate.

D: For an Imperial, this was ridiculously drinkable. The hops were strong but the alcohol was well hidden and enjoyable afterwards.

This is one damn fine beer. Top notch. The first Avery I have tried and it looks like I will venture further into their offerings if this one is representative of the quality.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.15/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22oz bottle, bottled May 2007/Batch 6, served in a pint glass.

A - murky, burnt orange with a sandstone color foamy head that thinned to a layer, leaving sticky trails of lacing on the glass. There was a mass of floaties in the bottle and I managed to keep them there!

S - sweet citrus aroma, like a tangerine.

T - sweet tangerine or apricot flavor, I can taste the alcohol, dry and somewhat bitter at the finish.

M - creamy, medium/full bodied brew, lightly carbonated.

D - not worth the price of admission for me.

Photo of micahgoldfus
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served to me with a 1 1/2 white, fluffy head that went nowhere for a good 3 minutes. It just sat there, looking so delicious. The beer itself is a warm orange-yellow cloudy color. The smell was like getting hit in the head with a sack full of hops. It was so earthy, piney, and flowery, with citrus (especially orange) all around. Someone was sitting next to me and asked me if I had windex in my glass. Despite that analogy, I thought the smell was fantastic, and it made me very excited to try to beer. The taste was powerful, but not as much as the smell. Obviously, the name of the game was the hops, which gave a strong, dry, nearly stinging linger to each sip. But there was also a warm alcoholic taste, notes of citrus fruits, and some sweet substance. A meduim body and light carbonation made this a great sipping beer that still won't let you take your mind off of it. In the end, I definately enjoyed getting it, but I thought it was a bit too potent for my tastes.

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

May 2007 Vintage, Batch 6

A: A crystal-clear shade of burnt orange with a fluffy, white head that easily takes up half the glass on a moderate pour. Pockets of lace adhere to the sides as the head slowly recedes, finally settling to a raised island of foam with a crescent of liquid surrounding it.

S: The bouquet seems to be a grab-bag of hops. Part citrusy grapefruit, part floral and grassy, part pine. There is a spicy aroma, and a sharp, stinging scent that may be from the alcohol. Malty sweetness is also noticeable, and swirls in with the incredible array of smells. Smells quite complex and delicious.

T: Solid malt base adds a touch of sweetness up front, which is followed by a hop profile that seems to pull the flavor back almost immediately in the middle. A faint streak of alcohol is detectable on the tongue, as the bitterness draws back into the finish. Still, for all this, the flavor fades smoothly and rather quickly, with a minimal aftertaste. Cloying sweetness is present, along with some residual hop oil.

M: For all the carbonation, thinner body than expected. Still, there is a medium quality of thickness. For all the hops present, there is minimal hop oil clinging to the palate.

D: Quite a bit more drinkable than other Imperial IPAs that try to go way over the top. That being said, it does not live up to the expectations I had for this particular offering. The mouthfeel seemed a bit weak, and the flavor profile was rather thin, especially for an assertive style. Balance was obviously more skewed to the hops, but the sweetness of malt did not seem to fit as well as it could have. Nevertheless, worthy of a taste, as this does feature some incredible aromas and varying hop varieties while attempting balance.

Photo of macster
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

May 2007 vintage. Pours a slighly hazy but bright amber-orange color. Produces a handsome 1/2" thick creamy off-white head with excellent retention throughout the entire glass.

Exquisite, rich aromas of fresh orange juice, grapefruit rind, pine and a touch of caramel covered Granny Smith apples are enjoyed.

Mouthfeel was just perfection; velvety creamy and silky smooth with just a faint hint of fine carbonation.

Taste profile seemed to slightly lean toward the sweet caramel candy and toffee malt side, but was quickly followed up by a firm blast of American northwest citrus and pine hops. Great balance between the malt sweetness and just a moderate amount of hop bitterness. Alcohol was definitely warming, but not in anyway hot or intrusive.

At $7.99 a bit pricey, but was certainly worth the try.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: hazy amber color, nice foamy head settling to thin veil, decent lacing
s: piny hops coupled with hints of malts
t: like riding in a bitter hoppy car throughout (start to finish), with splashes of sweet malts, spices and citrus fruit, finishing lots of hop bitterness
m: good balance of carbonation (espec front & back) and smooth
d: definitely provides a kick over 9%, but a good mix of hops & malts

Maharaja from Avery Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 4,923 ratings.