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

124 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 124
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: 124 | Reviews: 49
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+

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 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 BDTyre
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting take on an Imperial IPA. Cloudy orange with a thin white head.

Lemon-y, sour grassy smell from the hops. Weak bready malts. Weird, sweet-sour malt and hops taste. Not very IPA like - too bitter, and the malts are off. Good hoppiness enough, but the balance is wrong.

Decent carbonation, but a weird taste.

Photo of MarkLeberer
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Balanced iPA. The serving glass was branded and appropriate for an IPA of this caliber and very attractive ....as was the blonde at the bar...but that is another story for another IPA. Suruga bay imperial is about 7.8% alcohol by volume. very much worth going to Japan to drink...

The beer was just slightly cloudy but appropriately so

Photo of SmashPants
3.44/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Format: a very solid dark brown 360mL bottle with a fancy label - looks like a piece of art.

Appearance: pours a hazy mid amber-orange in colour with a decent, creamy half-finger of head that drops fairly quickly to a thin cap. Okay lacing around the glass.

Aroma: the aroma is definitely dominated by a citrus peel / zest and tropical fruit hops, though they are not quite as distinct nor as pronounced as many DIPAs. A touch of obscure malts behind.

Taste: pretty much follows the nose - the fairly unique citrus zest and tropical fruits, with honey and sweet malts. The taste is a bit flat, but what flavour there is is fantastic.

Aftertaste: some bitterness whilst still having those hop flavours around. Some brown sugars also.

Mouth feel: moderate in feel with a pretty lacklustre carbonation that causes a lot of the problems to taste. I got the impression that this may be close to its used by date, though there is nothing to suggest so on the bottle itself.

Overall: not a bad Double IPA, but I have definitely come across better examples. It isn't cheap either, at AU$8 per 360mL bottle. I'd like to try a fresher one.

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 Hoppsbabo
3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A: Dull copper body with a mountain of a white head that you could rest a coin on.

S: Nothing Japanese about it, it's every bit American – a bit of a tropical fruit bomb.

T: Woah, completely dry. Like puritanically dry. Not even a hint of sweetness. Otherwise it's what the nose promised – a regular American IPA, although the bitterness has been toned down somewhat. It's loaded with orange peel and tea leaves. It's earthy and slightly herbal.

M: I like that it's halfway flat. If it were fizzy it would taste like Alca-Seltzer.

O: Even a smidgen of sugar would breathe some life into this peculiar tonic. Way too dry for this style of beer.

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

Big malt aroma with caramel notes. Good earthy hop profile with just a touch of citrus. Moderate pine.

Hazy, amber colour with a big, fluffy off-white head.

Good, balanced hop and malt flavour. For me, the malt is actually a bit too high as I like it to tilt to the hops. I get the honey, grapefruit and pine character expected.

Medium-full body with moderately-low carbonation.

A decent DIPA but it lacks the full-on crazy hop character I expect (and like) in a DIPA.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Package date: 9/4/14. 8.5% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thick swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny chunks of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is of brown sugar, candied citrus zest, and floral aromas. Taste is much the same with brown sugar and candied citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that seems more sweet and sugary than hoppy in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

Photo of mr-jj
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from 12 oz bottle.

Color was a hazy light amber with a thin creamy head. Decent lacing.
Smells like caramel-glazed oranges with some floral notes.
Flavor is different than the nose, more pineapple and tropical fruit that gives way to some toasted malt . Finishes with a crisp bitterness that lingers for a bit.
Mouthfeel is medium to full with a dry finish.

Overall, my new favorite beer from Japan. I hope I'll be able to find it the next time I am there.

Photo of brendan13
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy amber coloured beer with a few centimetres of fluffy white head that slowly falls away leaving a bit of lace.
S - Citrus peel & piney hops with some sweet malt character.
T - Like the smell citrus peel and pine hops are up front followed by a sweet maltiness.
M - Medium bodied, slightly cloying and low carbonation.
D - A nice beer but a touch on the sweet side.

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 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 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 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 William_Thephasdin
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Just an above-average IPA in my opinion. Great tasting and enjoyable, just nothing unique to set it apart from the rest.

Photo of snogglethorpe
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color, kinda looks like whisky! Chunky solid head typical of fresh Baird beers.

The smell is reallly nice, a slightly sweet fresh hop smell. It's like being in a hop garden.

The taste is a little bit of a let-down, as it seems sort of muddled compared to the smell. There's some obvious alcohol, but other than that, nothing really comes forward... but at the same time, it doesn't really give the impression of "well balanced," more "something's missing." The hop-garden impression given the smell is slightly detectable when swallowing, but ... very subdued.

This doesn't really yield the big flavors one wants from an Imperial IPA, and is too high in alcohol to really drink much of. I'd stick to other Baird beers.

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. No dates or codes that I can see, which makes me nervous for a Japanese import.

Pours fairly cloudy orange amber with a medium-small pale head, medium amount of fine slow carbonation. Smell is a little orangey, a little floral, a little bready or yeasty.

Taste is a splash of orangey citrus and a bitter finish that maintains orange characteristic throughout somehow. Actually pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick, a little sticky. Overall, pretty good beer. I wish it was as readily available as Aooni in Japan -- maybe if they're exporting now, it will be more readily available.

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.

Photo of Chico1985
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Japanese Double IPA. Notable advice on label: "Please drink contemplatively, Beer Drinker-san."

A - Pour is a darkish shade of orange with some haze to it. An off-white head retains very nicely as a full+bubbly cap for the entirety. Bits of lace left behind.

S - Citrus, herbal and grassy hops in the nose. Some light caramel and bready malts coming through as well. Though slightly unremarkable in the grand scheme of IPAs, solid and pleasant with decent strength.

T - Nice mix of citrus+herbal hop with some resiny tones too. Medium-high bitterness, but well-balanced overall with a good dose caramel+toasted malt backing. Could probably pass for a single IPA intensity-wise.

M - Just a touch on the hefty/malty side with ample bitterness, and low-medium carbonation. Smooth with no noticeable booze, drinks easy.

O - Somewhat standard but nice, this is probably a great choice for those looking for a good American-style IPA in Japan. Went really well with lunch.

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 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.

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Suruga Bay Imperial IPA from Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
87 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.