Suruga Bay Imperial IPA - Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom

Not Rated.
Suruga Bay Imperial IPASuruga Bay Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

123 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 123
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 8
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom visit their website
Japan

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-05-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 123 | Reviews: 49
Reviews by popery:
Photo of popery
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light to medium orange gold color with a thick white head. The liquid is fairly cloudy, though I didn't really try to keep the sediment in the bottle and there's quite a bit of it. The head is medium sized and looks like a blanket of white cotton candy. It's a sturdy layer of fine bubbles that sticks around for quite awhile. The aroma is somewhat underwhelming. I fear that it's a result of shipping and age, but I bought the bottle soon after it hit my local store's shelf. At any rate, I'm getting too much pale malt. The hop aroma is certainly present but mild. There's orange, grass, pineapple, berry, lemon, mint. All good stuff, but I wish it was dialed up in intensity. On the other hand, the taste shows off more of the hop flavor than the aroma. It's full of juicy, tropical fruit flavor. Big on tangerine and pineapple. Bitterness is handled well, a crisp bite that doesn't overpower the hop flavors but still cleans up what little malt sweetness is present. The beer's pale malt backbone is well in the background, maintaining its supporting role. Light on the palate. Normal, unremarkable carbonation. This is a solid beer, and I think the aroma was once there. I'd love to try it fresher in the future. That said, I think reviewers should rate the beer as they find it, given reasonable circumstances. As a consumer, it doesn't really matter to me how the beer tastes under ideal conditions. It matters how it tastes when I drink it. And that's probably enough ranting for me.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Exotic fruit flavor and a high level of ingenuity collide as Barid Brewing bridges the gap between Japan and the Pacific Northwest, at least in taste.

Suruga Bay pours with a honey-orange hue that looks strikingly like a mix of grapefruit and orange juices. Equipped with a hoppy haze, the beer releases a creamy dense froth to top the beer until its final sip. Long lasting, the ale sheets the snifter with an abundance of lace.

Juicy and tart aromas of citrus and tropical fruits flood the olfactory senses. Tangerine, apricots, mangoes, pineapple, passion fruit, blood oranges and even papaya all weave into a vibrant scent that's striking of "Hawaiian Punch". With just enough of a malt presence to give the fruity scent a sense of sturdiness and to provide a plumper and riper fruit character, its honey-like aromas support the beer without trying to balance it.

And all that comes even more to life in taste. Its thin sweetness is stuck between honey and caramel and only plays out on the early palate. That's because the hop onslaught to come happens in wave after wave. Citrusy red grapefruit, nectarine, tangerine and apples rise from both the hop and ester contributions for a soft marmalade taste. Then come the tropical taste of pineapple, mango, apricot, papaya and pawpaw. As the fruit flavors tilt toward a dry and bitter finish, the ale remains smooth and mostly clean- only a mild grassy phenol taste washes over the finish with a little extra gusto.

Medium-light in body, this Imperial IPA pulls back on the malt to prefer the dryness that's usually reserved for Standard American IPA. Its light structure of malt and embedded carbonation hold firm while receding evenly and slowly, en route to a dry, warm, and pleasantly acidic finish.

Suruga Bay's fruit character seem as if exotic fruit juices were poured into the glass along side of beer. Its a highly vibrant and juicy ale that evokes mouthwatering tendencies upon its scent alone.

Photo of wl0307
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Coming in a 360ml slim brown bottle, bottle-conditioned; BB 31/03/14, served mildly chilled in a straight imperial pint glass.

Appearance: pours a fairly clear, bright amber hue, coming with a slowly dissipating creamy off-white head and semi-lively but fine carbonation.
Smell: the aroma seems to be dominated by American citric&flowery hops (like Cascade) and mildly acidic esters, underlined by semi-gristy pale malts with a mild touch of caramel; given a very good swirl, the citric bitter-sourness melts in the dense cluster of malt sweetness, while the soothing lychee-ish aroma and resins emerge elegantly to add more to the overall complexity. Like a standard IPA, balanced and nicely hoppy, definitely not as bold as many Double IPAs I’ve tried, but very nicely executed indeed.
Taste: the mildly resinous and lightly acidic foretaste yields a moderate layer of semi-sweet maltiness underneath the slowly-developing aromatic flavour of Cascade-like hoppiness, full of resinous lychees, citrus fragrance, tea stems, etc., followed closely by tremendous and wonderfully lingering bitterness with moderate tannins, bitter yeastiness, and a wee touch of phenol. Chewy, only faintly alcoholic, in the finish.
Mouthfeel & Overall: medium-plus bodied, softly-carbonated, soothing and mildly chewy on the palate at the same time; this “Imperial IPA” is more like one’s IPA good friend, easy to approach, well balanced, and even quaffable, with a decent depth and complexity to keep one’s palate interested for a long while. Definitely recommended.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 360ml bottle with a BB of March 2013 (in Italian). Purchased from the Brewdog webshop a while back and stored in my garage. The image on the label looks vaguely like chrysanthemums. Weird.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A hazy orange-amber hue with good carbonation; the fine yeast percolates through the liquid like smoke. Yields a decent head of creamy white foam that hangs around for a few minutes before subsiding to a surface layer. Aroma of intense hop notes: pine, grapefruit, orange peel, citrus. This is underpinned by a sweet, malty backbone with hints of caramel, subtle yeast notes and a hint of booze in the background.

Tastes of aromatic hops, accompanied by sweet malt and a powerful bitter finish. Notes of pine resin, grapefruit, orange peel, citrus, caramel, mild earthy yeast and a hint of stewed hops. A twinge of alcohol lurks in the background, and a spicy, astringent bitterness rounds things off. Mouthfeel is smooth, spicy, tingly and dry, with good body. A tad flat - could be more carbonated. Pretty astringent; dries the palate. Aftertaste of bitter aromatic hops with a hint of malt.

Tasty - an impressive Japanese craft beer. Plenty of aromatic hop character and a solid malt presence as well. Not sure if it's quite intense enough to qualify as a DIPA, but it certainly makes a good IPA. The only minor let-down is the lack of carbonation, which leaves it seeming a bit flaccid. Flavourwise, this is quality stuff - grab one if you have the chance.

Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

360ml bottle. Besides the name and brewer (albeit in very large type) the majority of the label information is rendered in Kanji. Mmmmm, authenticity.

This beer pours a fairly cloudy medium golden apricot colour, with two fingers of thickly foamy, and eventually soapy off-white head, which leaves some nice mountainous lace around the glass as it melts away.

It smells strongly of musty grapefruit and mandarin orange citrus pith, bready caramel/toffee malt, and a weird spiciness that somehow reminds me of Italian restaurants. The taste is consistent with the aroma, with some strong creamy Yankee-ish grapefruit/orange citrus, singed drupe fruit, all only slightly tweaked by that particular mirror-world treatment, a hefty caramel malt backbone, a touch of rather foreign-feeling yeast, and further muted tropical fruit notes. Any extra booze is well and duly obfuscated.

The carbonation is just a tad stronger than the norm for yer average bear, uh, I mean DIPA, the body a sturdy enough medium weight, generally smooth, and with a bit of alcohol dryness messing with any sort of nascent creaminess. It finishes off-dry, the usual suspects (if you're Japanese, with a North American predilection, that is) battling it out to the end, sans any robots.

An American in Japan, pushing the West Coast way, is what this seems like, and most certainly is. Sure works for me, for a sidestep version of the real deal, except for the unnecessary cost and the carbon footprint, and, oh, who am I freaking kidding - Imma gonna indulge in this particular venture, no matter the indecipherable script on the label.

Photo of distantmantra
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Baird Harajuku Taproom, Tokyo. Review based on notes from April 2010.

A: Golden-amber with a good amount of white head and light lacing.

S: Big time citrus hop flavor. Grapefruit and lemon are the dominant aromas.

T: Grapefruit is the magic word with the Suruga Bay. However, this does not feel like an Imperial IPA.

M: Medium body. Carbonation is present, but not overwhelming.

O: Fulfilled my desire for hoppy beer in Japan. Fantastic flavor with just the right amount of IPA bitterness. Would definitely drink again, if Baird's North American distributor ever decides to return to Washington state! Yet another reason why a return trip to Japan is a must.

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks Presario. 360 ml., yellow with one quarter inch white foamy head, lace rings. Pungent hop aromas. A bit of a tongue number, shredder, big IBU. Decently drinkable, a bit of sourness in finish, a tanginess that was fun too.Worth trying. I liked it.

Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

360 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Big thanks go to HopDerek for bringing this one back for me from a recent trip to Japan.

Pours an unfiltered looking copper, topped with a finger of eggshell-white head. This retains with a frothy ½ finger, leaving back a rich cascade and tons of heavy spotty froth down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells grassy and bit dank, with a good amount of fresh bitter fruit character being present. Some tight grainy sweetness sits underneath, which a light touch of warmth seems to latch onto.

Those hops bring all of the bitterness here in the taste, with a fresh citric bite and some underlying herbal flavors that weave in and out as well. The sweetness here is all from the grains that are present and while there is enough to balance this, it never comes off as overly sugary either. A gritty pithiness finishes this off with a moderate amount of dryness. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with a mostly slickness creaminess to the carbonation but there is just a bit of light crispness present as well. Alcohol provides some minimal warmth.

I don’t know if I’d quite call this an Imperial IPA per se, but this had enough of a well balanced bitter crispness and a decent drinking body to call this a pretty solid feeling take on an American IPA. This was more of a bitter and dry take on the style but I still enjoyed it. Thanks again for the hook-up Derek!

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy dark amber with a large, fading head.
Nose shows big fruity hops, with lemon, orange blossom, apricot and grapefruit quite noticeable, along with some pine. Underneath is lots of sweet caramel.
Flavours are very malty, lots of caramel and sweet clean malt. Also a lot of resinous pine, but with little of the aforementioned fruit transferring through.
Body is a little too syrupy.

Photo of Rutager
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a clear amber-gold with a finger of thick white head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell. Big citrus hops with lots of lemon, some roasted grain.

Taste. Tangy citrus, yellow grapefruit rind and a little toasted light grain.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with lower, smooth carbonation.

Overall. Nice hop fix. Tastes good and finishes with a clean bitterness.

Photo of jmarsh123
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to my wonderful gf for bringing this back from her trip to Japan.

Pours murky orange with a small white head that settles into a small pillow with pretty good lacing down the glass.

Aroma features citrus fruits (especially grapefruit) along with some bready caramel malt. Could use a bit more here as the smells are a bit weak.

Lots of juicy citrus up front in the flavor. A considerable bready malt balances the hops. Finishes with a little pine and earthy bitterness. Moderately balanced. Hoppy yet not very bitter.

Medium bodied and smooth carbonation.

Pretty impressive beer. Definitely well balanced, but still has enough of a hop kick to satisfy hopheads.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a medium golden amber with a fine two finger white head with great retention and pillowy lacing. Aroma of citrus and light tropical fruit, light bready malt. Flavor of citrus hops, pine resin, mild caramel malt, orange and grapefruit rind. Finish is astringent citrus rind hop bitterness. Nice medium body with some creaminess accentuated by the whipped cream-like head. A well made IIPA with an interesting hop complement and good supporting malt that stays in the background. The finish is unexpectedly intensely bitter without supporting hop flavors. As with any imported IPA, this could be a result of age rather than intent. Still a nice, creamy, hoppy ale from a great brewery.

Photo of spicelab
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been hanging on to this beer for a while, hope I'm not doing it an injustice. With thanks to Chris@Slowbeer.

Murky golden orange, with a finger and a half of sudsy white head. Falls very slowly depositing lace in a lattice network.

Lemon, grapefruit, melons and loads of candied citrus rind. Occasionally detect crazy sweet sherbet notes. Bready and biscuity malts poke through at times, but are largely a bit player. Very nice.

Taste has a good deal more bitterness, yet it doesn't eclipse the candied citrus notes at all, merely provides stark and interesting contrast. Big bitter grapefruit and pine resin face-off against lemon sherbet and candied orange peel. Works really well.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and metallic. Moderate bitterness on the mid-palate, but otherwise not much presence to speak of.

This is a tasty and intriguing IPA. West-Coast inspired, but with plenty of difference. Big fan of the bitter versus seriously sweet hop profile. Given a more ballsy mouthfeel, I'd easily rate this a lot higher.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 360 ml brown bottle. Pours out a hazed marmalade hue, 2 fingers of frothy loose-bubbled white head that casually remains.

Bright citrus hops on the nose, musty toasted malt.

Clean light malt up front in the flavour, then it's time for a building avalanche of American hops, tangerine and grapefruit with some spicy pine, and a dry astringent aftertaste.

Medium-full bodied mouthfeel, slick yet grainy texture, good zippy carbonation, a bit soapy on the finish.

A decent contender, if a bit one-dimensional at the same time. A very drinkable IPA, although I question the Imperial listing, it's somewhat tame for that category.

Photo of patre_tim
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Light peach juice with fair cloudiness, hard to see any carbonation. Topped with a 4 finger off white head with small and large bubbles. Fair head retention, random spots of lacing.


S: Nothing at first. After a few sniffs, I get more concrete scents of tropical fruits much like fruit punch. Some spicy pine in there. I’m thinking more of a light American IPA on the nose.


T: Again, thinking more of an APA or American IPA. I get the tropical fruits, though nothing distinct, more of a Hawaii Punch. A bit of peach, maybe some papaya. The lower carbonation does remind me of the style this is supposed to be, it’s just not very well done. I get a good solid bitterness, some grapefruit pith. Very light sweetness.


M: Medium thick syrupy body with resinous tones, low carbonation.


O: Again, at 7.5% ABV, it borders on an American IPA. Surprised and glad that Japan is attempting this style, and I don’t want to discourage their attempts. More of a happy find for an American living in Asia than a solid challenger to others in the style. Got on Wishbeer, drank in Kunming, Jan 31st, 2015.

Photo of hoser
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is of a beer with a chill haze and a rather thin head. This has a hop forward nose of pink grapefruits pine nuts. The mouthfeel a little thin. This is more hops than malt could and I could drink more of this hell ya!

I like Bryan Baird's beers and thanks John for bringing them to Alberta and TimE for introducing me to the brewery.

Photo of GregJ
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy amber/orange. Smells of pine, weedy, earthy an some floral. Tastes weedy, earthy, some wheat, yeasty, citrus fruit and a hint of banana. Earthy and pine resin aftertaste. Medium body and carbonation.

Photo of juju7
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They're making some decent beers over at Baird. Poured beautifully with great head retention and perfectly even lacing. While the nose doesn't scream hops it does let you know that there is some there. A tight well balanced mouthfeel with a good backbone of bitterness and malt kick. Maybe lacking that little something to make it truly special but it's not a competition is it? Good beer, will be happy to drink again.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Churchkey in DC, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a nice hazy golden orange color, topped with a finger of white head, leaves nice lacing.

S- Big fruity citrus aroma, lots of grapefruit and orange, some caramel malt also noticeable in the back.

T- Follows the aroma, the best part of the beer is the incredible juiciness of the citrus flavors, it's packed with juicy, fresh grapefruit and orange flavors. Bitterness is moderate, with pine and grass and a nicely balanced amount of sweet caramel malt.

M- Medium-bodied, creamy feel with a dry, bitter finish.

O- A really nice IPA, easily the finest non-American/English IPA I've tried, and even within the realm of American West Coast IPAs this beer can hold it's own, very tasty stuff.

Photo of HipCzech
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 360 mL bottle poured into an IPA glass.

Appearance: Cloudy amber gold with a tall head of pillowy head comprised of variously sized bubbles. A good cap off white foam remains on top and leaves rings of lace.

Smell: Mildly sweet, fresh baked bread. Orange, peach and pineapple, slight resinous pine.

Taste: Round but not too sweet caramel malt. Pine needles and herbal hops, slight earth and minerals, and a nicely crisp, lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation, with a very slightly oily smoothness.

Overall: A solid DIPA with some nice West Coast hop notes, but otherwise well balanced and restrained.

Photo of mulder1010
3.28/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

360 ML bottle poured into a tulip glass
Thanks to Triple5 for providing the beer in trade. Very nice bonus

A-- Poured a dark honey color. Head started off at two fingers and finally settled down to a little under one finger. Off white colored head. Lots of sticky web like lacing. Good head retention and a well put together head for the beer. Just a little bit of carbonation bubbles at the base of the beer.

S-- Honey, grapefruit, citrus, carmel, and some pine. Honey, grapefruit and the carmel stand out the most.

T-- Once again honey, grapefruit and carmel are the dominant tastes. Pretty decently balanced between the grapefruit and carmel. Both are fairly reserved though. Not an in your face Imperial IPA.

M-- Finishes very dry. The flavor does not last too long in the mouth. That would be the honey. Does not stay in your mouth and leave a real impression like others in this style. Missing that pine feel in the mouth when finishing. Medium to lower end of carbonation

D-- For the money in Australia this is a good version of a DIPA. A little too much honey as it is missing a lot of the pine and aggressive feel that DIPA's have and finishes too dry. Still a good beer and the ABV at 7.5% does creep up at the end but could have 2 easily

Photo of Oakenator
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is golden brown in color. Good head and nice lacing on the glass throughout consumption. Mouth feel is solid with healthy carbonation. Aroma is floral hops and sweet. The taste is consistent with the smell with a citrus tang on the back end. For an imperial IPA it is not the strongest or over the top hop flavor but it is nicely balanced.

Photo of John_M
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours the color of unfiltered apple cider with fairly decent head retention and minimal lacing. Happily, the beer smells better than it looks, with an impressive IPA nose of sandlewood, white pepper, light pine and a hint of sweet malt. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this fairly dry IPA. The beer is well balanced, fairly light on the palate, and very easy to appreciate. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and drinkability is quite good. I wish it had a bit more flavor, but over all, I thought this a pretty enjoyable IPA (can't really buy this as a DIPA, even in Japan).

Nice beer...

Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Straw-brown, some yeast haze; white head, ring of retention, light lace.

S: Lemon rind, apricot, candied pineapple and hints of underlying sponge toffee.

T: The hopping is really interesting, with plenty of depth: Lemon rind, steelie grass, apricot, mango, light pepper. There's a pleasant maltiness (biscuit with hints of sponge toffee) without the crystal sweetness. Modest fruity esters (tropical) and a solid bitterness make this a great IPA (though I wouldn't call it an Imperial).

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a quality (biscuity) malt feel, with a crisp, dry finish.

D/O: Well crafted and and incredibly easy drinker. Hard to believe the abv is as high as 7.5%. I think this is a really great brew (and I'd mark it significantly higher if it were presented as a single IPA).

Big thanks to Boney for this rarity!

Photo of kojevergas
3.03/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: 355ml. Imported by the Shelton Bastards. Brown glass. Has an appealing label design. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

Reviewed live as an imperial IPA per the label and name, though just below the label art the label deos call this merely an "India Pale Ale."

Served cold into a pilsner glass. Expectations are average; this is my first beer from this brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Nicely frothy and full, with a fluffy airy consistency. Could be creamier and softer looking, as well as more even. Leaves inconsistent messy lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes. Head retention is nice for the ABV - easily 4-5 minutes.

BODY: Has a slight haze indicative of a lack of filtration. Colour is a translucent transparent orange-copper with honey hues. Average vibrance. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible, but the haze gives it a more lively look than most imperial IPAs.

Appears well carbonated. It's nice to see an unfiltered IPA, though this isn't a unique or special appearance. There are no egregious flaws.

AROMA: Faint lime. Pale malts. Pink sea salt. There's some fruit, but I can't quite put my finger on it - tangerine, maybe? There's a faint juicy quality to it, and part of me worries this will feature that stale orange juice note I often find in the worst examples of the style (or unintentionally aged bottles). As it comes to temperature, I finally identify the fruit - it's mandarin orange. There's a sweetness here that doesn't come merely from the pale malts; I think maybe some unrefined sugar was used as well - maybe sugarcane? When I start looking for rum-like sugarcane notes, I find a hint of toasted coconut - but it's so fleeting it might just be in my head.

Aromatic intensity is average.

To style, there's no detectable yeast character, booze, or off-notes.

TASTE: More tropical than the aroma suggested. I find mandarin orange, lime, passion fruit, papaya, and maybe even guava. It has a cool refreshing taste uncommon in imperial IPAs, and while it has a robust pale malt backbone and ample sweetness, it isn't overtly boozy. The stale orange juice note I feared is absent. As it comes to temperature, I get still more fruit - grapefruit, tangerine, maybe mango. I'm not a fan of the heavy caramalt in this flavour profile, which brings the sweetness into imbalanced territory and throws off the mellow tropical schema of the brew.

But I like the raw, almost pithy quality of the fruit, and I like that it's different from most imperial IPAs you'd find in the U.S. It has good elements, and feels like a cohesive whole, but the bitterness/sweetness balance is constantly uneven throughout the beer, and this never tastes like a gestalt whole as a result. I'd like more fruit, far less caramalt, and maybe something zany like sea salt to set it off.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration: Above average.
Flavour intensity: Average.

It's adequately complex for an imperial IPA, and some of the fruity notes are subtly executed. But this is by no means one of the more intricate or nuanced beers in the style. I do like it.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, slightly syrupy, a bit too thick and hefty on the palate, and somewhat refreshing. It's clean yet overcarbonated, and does generally complement the taste. But this texture ultimately fails to elevate the beer. There's also some slight alcohol warmth, which just plain shouldn't be noticeable at a scant 7.5% ABV.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: This odd hodgepodge of interesting fruit notes makes the beer worth trying, if only to experience a rare fresh take on the imperial IPA style, but ultimately its fundamental imbalance holds it back. The hop bitterness that drags on the palate in the late second act is the worst aspect of this brew, but it has a decent mouthfeel. While it's far from the most drinkable imperial IPA at (or even above) this ABV, I'll enjoy finishing the glass and I'm glad I tried it once. But it's not worth nabbing again, at least not at import (especially Shelton Bastards') prices. There's potential here, but it needs work.

Low C+

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Suruga Bay Imperial IPA from Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
87 out of 100 based on 123 ratings.