Portsmouth Imperial IPA - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Imperial IPAPortsmouth Imperial IPA

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

124 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 84
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 79
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Another beer in our stable with the “intense” designation hung around its neck. With almost double the malt as our Bottle Rocket IPA, 9% ABV and 22 pounds of hops, this medium-bodied golden ale has an amazing balance for such an assertive beer.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 02-12-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 84 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by WoodBrew:
Photo of WoodBrew
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So I am in New Hampshire for the Great Bay Half Marathon...its the night before a race and ....why not drink some....ok....alot of the local beer!!! The Imperial IPA from Portsmouth is good. I have issues with Imperial IPAs cuz the heavy alcohol, but they are always good for a pint. This beer has a smooth copper color with thin white head and great lace. The smell has sweetness tied in with subtle pine and citrus. This beer has body...no question! The smell funnels into the taste of this beer. There is too much ABV to Session...certainly worth a taste.

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weekly Wednesday lunch at the Brewery. The Imperial IPA is out (at least it's new from last week). A very good beer. It was a light amber color with a thick white head and some impressive lacing. It had a fresh outdoors scent. The taste was hops, hops, and more hops. Also fairly sweet. Very smooth and drinkable, although its 10%ABV will preclude overdoing it.

Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at the brewpub, growler-style.

Pours a hazy (clears up with some warmth) amber with a dark orange center, topped with a thing white lacing with moderate retention. Big, resiny, piney, nose with a hint of diacetyl and malt. Ultra-smooth, round, full-bodied, with a dense and chewy consistency. Sticky resin, pine, sharp grapefruit, earthy-bark, green wood, spice, salt, and some faint soapiness in a most complex and intense hop profile. Raw and leafy. Sweet malty characters attempt to balance with some caramel, toffee, and sugary syrup, along with toasty bread notes that add some depth. Juicy orangey fruitiness. Slight rhubarb edge. Residual sweetness in the end, with a palate coated with resins and woody notes. Lingering toasty bread crust. Long lasting dry finish.

The alcohol is well-hidden with this one, making it even more approachable, and the hop profile is off the hook. A damn fine Imperial IPA.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled on site...this one replaced Kate and is the only brew that can fill its shoes IMO.
A bright mahogany color with a full finger and a half of creamy off-white head...half of it remains for most of the glass and leaves some thick lacing.
Attractive in the nose...a floral hop, bready yeast and almost amaretto like scent.
The taste is phenomenal...huge fruity hops bittering this one up big time and enough carmelized malt to sweeten it up. Very well balanced and the bitterness lingers in the finish.
A touch over carbonated for me, but goes down dangerously easy for over 9%...the highest drinkability I believe I've given for an Imperial IPA.
Another great extreme brew from Portsmouth.

Photo of Beer21
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Portsmouth- Imperial IPA

A- Hazy reddish/ orange brown. thick frothy heavy lacing head.
S- Oily pine resin and dried fruits (raisin and date)
M- Thick and creamy dried fruits like raisin, fig, and prune. Heavy caramel malt and oily pine hops.
M- Thick and sweet with a huge oily pine hop bitterness. Alc. is well hidden.

Overall- An excellent DIPA. I was drinking this and Kate the great 1 afternoon! Great 1-2 punch.

Photo of ams4k
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Publick House for HopHead ThrowDown: fantastic. This one held its own against the other big fellas on draft, surprising me with an amazingly floral, citrus nose and a smooth delectable velvet hammer of hops. Similar to Goose Island Imperial IPA, but just a notch less sublime. Seek this one out.

Photo of Kegatron
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brew pub.

Served in a 10oz tulip glass.

Pours a somewhat murky amber with a small off-white creamy head that retained well for the most part and left some very nice lacing. Aroma is mostly hop citrus and light caramel sweetness.

Taste is a hop bomb mix of citrus and pine resin bitterness. This is nicely balanced by a backbone of mellow caramel sweetness. The moutfeel is medium bodied and creamy. Alcohol is very subtle. It's definitely adds some beef to the mix but is still very approachble.

This is a very well done and underrated Double IPA. It's got a nice mix of powerful flavors and heat and yet still remains highly drinkable. Very much recommended if you see it on tap or stumble across some of the bottles that leave the brewpub.

Photo of ChrisL24481
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of joepais, thanks Bro!

Poured from a bomber to a pint glass the liquid is a rich gold with good carbonation. The head is big thick, white and leaves lots of lace.

The smell is a tad mild on the hops side. Nice bready malt.

The taste is good and quite refreshing. This is a nice rendition of the style I like the malt and the hops, very tasty with out going over the top. The malt is a sweet bead of sorts, the hops a grassy earthy blend.

The mouthfeel is very good, nice body and good carbonation.

The drinkability is also very good, really a quality brew and well done. Most IIPA are a bit much to have a lot, This one I could easily have more.

Prosit, und Zum Wohl, MK

Photo of u2carew
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber
A) Pours a finger thick head. Semi-sticky lacing. Hazy body, copper in color.
S) Pleasant hop aroma - hints citrus fruits and floral notes. Subtle caramel.
T) Balanced hops and malt. Caramel. Grapefruit. Pleasantly sweet in the middle and finishes with a nice hop bite.
M) Smooth. Creamy. Medium body. Finishes dry and a bit of tannin. Warming alcohol.
D) A delicious brew. I'd have another for sure.

Photo of PEBKAC
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Down-lo Downey. Thanks. :)

Poured into a 16oz Allagash tulip/chalice. Cheap glass. The base on these always chip on me.

Bulbous & thick cream colored head. Chill-hazed, honey body. A little time to settle & we're good & clear.

Smell has a gentle tangerine base, with milder sensations of honey wheat, the fuming alcohol to come, & strangely... cheese.

Taste is juicy & a touch tangy. Rich sweetness, but it hits quick. Rindy fruit(think chewing on mango skins), thick, but dry malt. A little pine. It bleeds ethanol uncontrollably. Cheesy, & a bit spicy. I actually feel a little heat on my tongue(That's really unusual!). Finish is faintly leafy, & dry with cracker.

Feel is thick, & pretty syrupy. Carbonation adds to a frothy finish, but can't quite penetrate the main mass.

A monster of a beer, even for our modern standards. The alcohol bites back & turns me numb before I can even fight it off. Just a touch more balance & I could easily have give this this a greasy fat score.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into several Pint Glasses

A – Poured a very hazy and cloudy sediment filled amber with a large three finger head of white frothy and sticky lace. Great retention left behind copious amounts of side glass lace and a good one finger of foamy stuff left on the top throughout the session. Tons of floating sediment really clouded this one up.

S – The aroma was nice and bitter with a good amount of resiny hops. Not too heavy on the big citrus plunge, but more of an East Coast IPA type aroma. Nice malted grain like back rounded blended in well and there was some sweetness to it swirling around.

T – The flavor was very nice and a bit unique. This was not your normal big-time floral hopped IPA, but rather was very well blended and smooth with a more malty character then I would have thought. A very nice earthy backbone was evident and layered on top of this was a good amount of sugar. The malt character was very nicely balanced against a good amount of Euro like hops. There was a nice bitter bite to the front and back but not hugely floral or citrus. More of an earthy resin likes hoppiness. Very different and actually a nice welcomed change.

M – Very nice creamy smooth medium bodied ale would be the best way to describe it. Not hugely carbonation but just enough to keep it from getting too thick and syrup like. There was a nice strong finish and it kept you coming back for some more.

D – Very nice. Nice this was a big IPA at over 9% abv but that was very well hidden until it started to sneak up on you. Very nice late night sipper.

Overall this was a nice East Coast style IIPA. I thought it was quite different and new and really enjoyed getting to try it. The large amount of malt flavors may lend it to being able to cellar for a bit and I will have to sit my other bottle down for that. A definite good call and I would really look forward to trying this one in the future again.

Photo of andylipp
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured an opaque gold/copper with 1½ inches of beautiful off-white head. Five minutes later, only a quarter inch remained, but it was easily frothed up with a few swirls of the glass (a Corsendonk Tulip). Quite a bit of lacing as it died down.

Smell - Floral and citrus hop aroma dominates with piney notes, plus a substantial bit of Malty sweetness .

Taste - Delicious sweet malty backbone with an immediate impact of the floral hops up front. That quickly gives way to the pine and grapefruity finish.

Bomber bought at the brewery store.

Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation, with some substantial viscosity in the body. Sticky.

Drinkability- High. Each sip beckons another. The high abv warrants moderation, but one could drink this all night...and the next.

Comments- The Portsmouth Brewery is known for Kate the Great RIS, but I think that this perhaps Tod's best offering. It is certainly one of the best DIPA/ IIPAs I've tried. It's a shame that it isn't available year round. Big fan.

Photo of plaid75
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured an oily dry hop with spikes of grapefruit and white pepper.

The taste consisted of a fruity hop and a doughy robust malt. Oily, oily hops.

The mouthfeel was of averaqe fullness for the style.

Overall a very good DIPA.

Photo of gameface23
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

This beer was just so-so for me, but in all fairness, it isn't really geared towards my personal tastes for a double IPA. There are plenty of hops, but they have almost a spicy aspect to them at times during the sip (my least favorite quality in a hop). The malt that is present seems to be made out of a darker crystal malt, where as I prefer lighter. It's a good beer, but just not for me.

Photo of weeare138
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to zrrbrrt for sharing this one that he got via warriorsoul...
Appears hazy, semi-transparent with a small white head that fades into a tiny collar. Spotty remnants of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of grapefruit, brown sugar, orange, herbal, caramel, and light fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a heavy dosage of grapefruit and citrus zest.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, yeasty, fruity, bitter...perhaps a bit too bitter and out of balance but not bad at all. I just wasn't too crazy about this one.

Photo of selecter70
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasty IPA that won over my IPA-fearing wife! A nice dark orange pour with good head and a great spicy aroma. Medium hoppy with full earthy-grain taste and not too bitter, rather, a subtle sweet and easy to drink flavor. The spices tasted real & not syrupy and added to the overall taste unlike other versions.

Photo of wedgie9
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted from bomber bottle obtained in a trade. Pours cloudy burnt orange with a thin white head that leaves decent lacing. Smell is grapefruit hops up front with a solid malt backbone, and a hint of tropical fruits. Flavor is nicely bitter all the way through with some caramel malt and solid citrus and tropical fruits. The body is full and somewhat sticky with light carbonation and a very long bitter finish. There is most definitely some alcohol in this beer, and it could be masked a little better.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this up at the brewpub, thought I'd try one for me as I picked up another for a friend. Very glad I tried it!
A - nice bold slightly hazy golden color with a solid white head on top
S - resinous hops piney grassy hops, lightly sweet biscuity malts undertones
T - similar to the aroma, divinely blended malts and hops tickle the taste buds.
M - medium / full bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth clean finish with a satisfying lingering hop effect.
D - amazingly approachable, hides the abv so well it'll sneak up on you before you know it! Leaves you thinking I could have another except once the first is done that warm feeling reminds you that one is plenty.

Photo of BenSw
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of Packforever1976
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My 2nd Portsmouth brew, courtesy of joepais.

Poured slighlty chilled into my pint glass. Shows a nice deep amber, but I can still see the bubbles floating to the top. Shows a smallish off-white head that slowly receades, but it does hang around. Has a very sticky lacing that's quite nice.

Smells amazing. Big grapefruity hops, intense. The malts are back there, but the hops are the star of this show!

Taste is hopp-ily awesome! What an assault on my taste buds, in a good way. Big time citrus in there! The malts find their way in there, but they stay back as they should. There is a little spiciness in the back, maybe some rye? This is awesome.

What a luscious mouthfeel. The right amount of thickness, coats my mouth nicely. Even though extremely hoppy, it's very balanced and doesn't overpower my palate.

This has a great drinkability for a Imperial IPA. Has a fantastic balance, and just tastes f-ing fantastic! Damn, I wish I had about 2,3,4,58 more of these. This is a rockin' brew, thanks Joe!

p.s. Send me more!!

Photo of jneiswender
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer at the brewpub. Served as part of a 10 beer 3oz sampler package.

A-Nice amber color and an off white head

S-nice balanced scent, floral

T-two punched beer! Great malt wallop in the front, followed by a great hop finish.

M-medium, slick

D-This may be the best beer in Portsmouth. It really took me by surprise. Elevated flavors but nothing obnoxious. Full flavor without being overwhelming.

Photo of phingdong
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of MrMonkey
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy deep orange/amber with a creamy three-finger off-white head that lasts for a real long time and leaves a thick web of lacing as it recedes to a pillowy cap.

Smell is mostly floral and citrus hops: lots of orange peel and lemon zest. There's a caramel sweetness keeping things balanced, though. Also notes of pine sap, spruce needles and some alcohol.

Taste begins with a solid malt backbone: sweet caramel, fresh biscuits and a bit of burnt toast. Then it's all hops: big and bold pine flavors meld with bitter grapefruit and orange peel. Finishes dry and bitter, with a healthy dose of warming alcohol.

Medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. Begins creamy but dries out in the finish.

Great drinkability for such a big beer. Another exceptional brew from the folks in Portsmouth.

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Portsmouth Imperial IPA from Portsmouth Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.