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El Toro IPA - El Toro Brewing Co.

El Toro IPAEl Toro IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

89 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 89
Reviews: 77
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 13.99%

Brewed by:
El Toro Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 89 | Reviews: 77 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the brewpub earlier today. Following review is based on notes taken during the tasting.

Served in a standard 16oz. pint glass.

Appearance: Crystal clear, gold-colored body shows very active carbonation inside. A short, creamy, white cap sat on top initially; it eventually settled as a thin film and held as such for the duration of the session. Head left a wall of web-like lacing around the interior of my pint glass - it was very impressive!

Smell: Caramelized resinous hops, moist pine, lime, and clean grains. Very hop-forward, which I like; however, the overall smell is far from a bouquet. Still good.

Taste: Caramel and toasted wholegrain bread are quickly overtaken by strong earthy and piney hops. Bitterness is strong and long-lasting. This beer could use a bit more sweetness in the form of citrus fruits and floral esters, but I'm totally digging this right now!

Mouthfeel: Oily, prickly, dry, and bitter. Leaves me with some pretty intense citric, earthy cotton mouth (good cotton mouth). Medium in body with light carbonation. Really well done.

Drinkability: Far from complex, El Toro IPA provides an intense hop kick that lasts and lasts. I'll definitely be ordering it on-tap again.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2010 02:56:45 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of LittleDon


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer starts off with a cloudy darker-than-yellow appearance, a healthy thick head, and little carbonation to speak of. There are hints of citrusy hops in the aroma. It starts off with a bitter bite, not too aggressive, though. Medium bodied with a clean hoppy finish. The lower than typical carbonation make this one stand out.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2009 16:26:32 | More by LittleDon
Photo of IronCitySteve


3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Jack's Cannery in San Francisco, came recommended from the bartender.

A: Pours a golden color with some orange hints, with a decent white foam head.

S: Mostly pine hops with some hints of citrus. Maybe I was spoiled having enjoyed a Pliny the Elder the day before, but I was not overly impressed with the smell.

T: Taste was better than the smell. Got a good blend of hops that was really put together well. Just a tad of malt flavoring on the back-end, which was suprising and welcomed.

M: A really smooth beer, leaves a good hop bitterness on the palate.

D: A really decent IPA. Would have again and would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2009 12:24:11 | More by IronCitySteve
Photo of nbblondie


4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer: El Toro IPA
Review Date: Nov 12, 2008
Appearance: On tap, pours a pretty clear golden color... not as cloudy as a lot of IPAs I've had. Good amount of head.
Smell: Citrus smell
Taste: Wow, this is a great IPA. I can taste the citrus that I previously smelled, along with a lot of hoppy flavor. Quite bitter and very tasty! I'm loving this one.
Drinkability: I could easily have a few of these.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2008 03:05:15 | More by nbblondie
Photo of snaotheus


4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good solid IPA. But I'm a sucker for an IPA, so what do I know.

I had it in a pint glass from a tap in Darren's Cannery Bar in San Francisco.

Hoppy, floral start with a nice round finish. Not as biting as some IPAs. Clean and smooth in the mouth. Looks amberish with medium head.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2008 00:14:10 | More by snaotheus
Photo of bbothen


4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy straw color with a fluffy 2 finger deep white head.

Smells of tropical goodness, orange, pineapple, citric hops, grassy/flowery hops, slightly bready as well.

Grapefruit, tart, earthy, piney, spruce, juniper, faint bisquit flaver. Hops are the king. Bitter goodness.

Smooth, lush, Medium Bodied, moderate carbonation, puckering finish.

Drinks well. Full flavored brew. Definate hop fixer.

Most El Toro brews are quality products. The IPA is no exception. Recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2008 23:59:40 | More by bbothen
Photo of ibbjamin


3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid $5.00 for a pint from the Brewpub in Morgan Hill, CA.

Was delivered to me with a half finger white head that quickly dissipated. Very little lacing. Nice carbonation. Goldish copper color.

Very strong orange citrus pine nose.

The overwhelming hots hide the flavor of the malts. Finishes bitter and hoppy which lasts.

Medium body, hefty carbonation.

This is a re-review of a batch that is not as good as previous batches I've tried. One thing I have began to notice in El Toro beers is that consistency among their beers is somewhat lacking. This batch did not lace the glass much, had a smaller head and was even less balanced making it not as easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2008 17:18:24 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Light caramel, kind of hard to judge the head in the ice cold bud light shaker pint filled all the way to the edge.

Smell: A large helping of C hops dominate the nose, a bit of pink grapefruit and pine, pine, pine. If you like the smell of pinesol, this Beer is for you.

Taste: The bitterness is sustained at first, with just a touch of caramel sweetness. But the more the pint went down the astringency went downright acrid, finishing bone dry. It was pretty good, but the kind of Beer that I only get sporadic cravings for. I probably would have gave it higher grades if I had less of it, because the more I drank it the worse it got, but the first half of my pint was pretty good.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2006 22:29:51 | More by Goldorak
Photo of ISmith87


3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Trying this beer out of a make-your-own sixer of IPAs. I'm trying to find a more economical day-to-day IPA to sip on (Ruination gets a little pricey).

A - This beer is a nice orange/amber color that is clear of any hint of hop/cold haze. It has a finger of frothy white head that turns into a ring around the edge of the glass as it dissipates. Great looking beer. Leaves a nice, surprisingly fine lacing on the glass in almost perfect rings.

S - Definitely heavy malty aromas with hints of caramel and breadiness. Hint of pine/citrusy hops in the background.

T - The hop bitterness is right up front with a piney character to it. It's almost bitter enough at first that you have to stop and wait for the piney/citrusy character to kick in. Then comes the sweetness from the malt, which is not as much as you would expect from the smell, but in a good way.

M - Medium body with a nice carbonation to it. ABV hidden. Definitely leaves a nice bitter hop aftertaste.

O - This beer Is good, but not great. I would much rather have a Stone IPA or Firestone Walker Union Jack. The flavor from the hops just isn't there the same way as it is with these other beers. Also, the price is a little higher than the others I've been trying and while it's not a bad beer, it's not worth 2.25 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2013 04:11:08 | More by ISmith87
Photo of flagmantho


3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a fair bit of haze and a moderate effervescence. Head is a finger of frothy ivory foam. A good looking beer!

Smell: sweet malt with a bready, very slightly biscuity character and a funky, resinous hop component. Not exactly my bag, but pretty good nonetheless.

Taste: bitterness right up front, unusually, with sweetness developing later and finishing with a hoppy, caramelly melange. Hops are quite citrusy and smooth, and there's a little bit of a dusty character here as well. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation. Not super creamy, but engagingly fizzy.

Overall: this is a pretty decent middle-of-the-road IPA. I would like to try it on tap sometime.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2013 19:49:03 | More by flagmantho
Photo of ocelot2500


3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear copper color with a pillowy, off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of pine and citrus hops.

Tastes of the bright hops with a solid malt backbone. Hops lead off with grapefruit, pine, and a touch of tropical notes on the backend. Moderately bitter. Malts add some caramel sweetness on the end to cut a bit of the bitterness, but this is definitely all about the hops. Ends with a lingering pine note.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly assertive amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a good fruity IPA, but I knocked it down a bit due to price, $2.30 for 12 oz.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 00:28:42 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of RblWthACoz


4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty thorough IPA. Lots of malts and hops coming together nicely. Consistent and thick, but not really trying to blow me away with any kind of showy character. A bit heavy to be drinking in this pleasant and warm California weather, but it's good.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 16:39:17 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of barleywinefiend


2.3/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Poured a burnt orange color with good carbonation, nice white cap and some soapy like bubbles and lacing remains

S: Toasty, grapefruit, some spicy notes witha whiff of toasty smoke

T: Oh boy. I'm not exactly how fresh this IPA is but it needs help. First sip is bittering orange peel, grapefruit, spicey, biscuity, toasted with a faded hop presence. The back end is a slick, grapefruit hop bite with a annoying buttery bite blended with hop bitterness, some astringency and booze.

M: Heavy, unplesasnt and disturbing

O: Wave the white flag.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 22:53:46 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of djbreezy


3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - transparent, nice fluffy head, amazing retention

Smell - pine hops and sweet malts

Taste - very balanced, malts are strong, followed by pine hops

Mouthfeel - medium, dry finish, sticky

Overall - not a great example of a west coast IPA, expected it to be more hop forward

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 05:20:23 | More by djbreezy
Photo of SnacksMcBillings


2.88/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.

Aroma: Flowery and perfume like hop aroma. Light presence of pale malts, slight fruity ester aroma.

Appearance: Rocky white head, thick lacing as the beer went down. Light golden color. Good clarity.

Flavor: Initial taste was puckering. Extremely bitter trending towards astringency. The strong floral hop flavor tastes almost soapy. Very unbalanced, no malt backbone to support this level of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, light body.

Overall: Disappointed. Was told by one of the local bottle shop clerks that this was the best IPA out there. Totally unbalanced. Either tone down the bitterness or build the grain bill up to even this out.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2011 05:07:34 | More by SnacksMcBillings
Photo of Reidrover


4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from "Lifesource" Salem. $2.25 Burnt orange hazy body to this beer with a lovely creamy,thick off white head. Handsome. Floral,spicy, fruity hop aromas abound..invigorating. An intensly hoppy taste..yet not harsh at all but smooth..i think this is because it HAS a substantial malt back bone..even if its not obvious under the hop attack.Semi dry finish some marmalade flavours aslo. Good. Great thick,luscious palate..smooth..very nice. I really liked this IPA..very smooth and easy.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2011 19:31:46 | More by Reidrover
Photo of thudstaffer


4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at LifeSource Natural Foods in Salem, OR. Brew batch 1512.

Poured into Oregon pinot wine glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, dark for an IPA, true amber and copper tones. Head is lingering and thin.

Nose: Yeasty, floral (honeysuckle), good complexity.

Palate: Rich, pungent, lingering. Weighty, complex. Notes of caramel, w/ a bitter finish.

Overall: Solid, well-made brew. Stands out among other IPAs. Richness can be overwhelming, which is good or bad depending on personal preference. Body and complexity accurately reflect the price point of this beer; worth the money.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 05:28:24 | More by thudstaffer
Photo of olmatty


4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange amber with a huge pillowy off white head. The beer is crystalline and clean.

Light spice of hop aroma, grainy and a hint of honey sweetness.

Flavors of solid cereal grain body well balanced against a spicy, piney hop.

Moderate body, palate flooding flavors.

Very pleasant and delicious IPA.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2011 04:53:10 | More by olmatty
Photo of kscaldef


3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass, 2-finger dense off-white head over a clear copper color with streams of bubbles.

S: citrus, marmalade, a little bready

T: More in the English style than I was expecting, this has a rich, bready body. A hint of butter, but in a pleasing way. Hops are definitely there, but don't dominate, rather clean the palate with a mild bitterness that leaves you ready for another sip.

M: Smooth, maybe a little oily, with a slight astringent finish. Low carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2011 00:19:16 | More by kscaldef
Photo of DousedInStout


3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew #1486, picked up at Belmont Station in Portland (it was recommended by the clerk, otherwise I would've never looked twice at it!)

One of the most pleasantly surprising bottles I've purchased in years! Nice bright white head, pretty clear orange in color, and spot on carbonation. Aroma is of tangerine, lemongrass, and grapefruit. The taste is similar - a solid, pleasant, citrus forward IPA. Nice and attenuated finish, with quenching bitterness. When fresh, this is one of the most drinkable, impressive, and unassuming west coast IPAs out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2011 03:18:31 | More by DousedInStout
Photo of DoubleJ


1.68/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 ounce bottle picked up in the Bay Area on a recent trip. I'm looking forward to this offering which I can't get in Orange County. On to the beer:

Little is wrong with the appearance. The head is thick and sports plenty of its original self, peach colored body has the "glowing" illusion at some spots. The nose could be better. There seems to be a phenol problem that pushes juicy grapefruit and white wine notes aside. Dry, husky malt and the everlasting band-aid are buzzkills to its potential.

I'm getting depressed. The bitterness is there, but the hop juice walked away. There's a tiny hint of grapefruit that the palate can sense, and from there hell breaks loose. It's just one bitter mess with some soap and soft waves of phenols (more specifically, pllastic) that don't belong and the beer becomes even more unpleasant. The aftertaste lingers of some phenols and lots of pure bitterness. The liquid on its own is fine, nice and smooth, but the rough aftertaste ruins the mouthfeel.

Second major egg lay in a row. It's time to dump the remaining 10 ounces in the toilet, because my sink doesn't deserve this kind of torment. Now where's my Ovila?

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 05:13:33 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of chumba526


4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears hazy orange/yellow with a small off white head.

It smells very citrus and pine like. I get a grassy and fruity hop smell. There is also a mild malt sweet smell as well.

It tastes initially of sweet citrus hops. I get a strong orange flavor. I also get a pine like hop flavor to the beer. There is a very mild hint of malt sweetness but hops are king in this beer. The beer ends with a strong, brutal bitter flavor. This is a great tasting beer. It is pine like, citrus and bitter as fuck.

There is a crisp mouthfeel to this beer. It also has ample carbonation.

The drinkability is very good. It is bitter but multi-dimensional. The beer goes down very smoothly.

Overall this is a great IPA if it was a little less expencive I could see myself buying this beer often.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 02:36:01 | More by chumba526
Photo of johnnyboy76


3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly delicious.

Looks like a bottle you would take a look at and pass by in the cooler, but this beer does not disapoint.

Totally worth a try,and not too expensive either.

Good smell, with a robust taste. Typical IPA flavor, has a smooth finish, and the hops don't sit on the back of your throat too long like some lower grade IPAs.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 05:55:02 | More by johnnyboy76
Photo of Lukafer


3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MilwaukeeCrusher for this one!

Pours a hazy orange with off white head of about a finger that doesn't stick around. Smells like citrus, oranges and some bitter hops. Taste is caramel malts, slight grapefruit and some bitter pine. First time I've had this beer and it's pretty good, I imagine it'd be even better if I could get an extremely fresh one.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 00:51:30 | More by Lukafer
Photo of Arbitrator


3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos.

A: Pours a very cloudy orange-amber color with an inch of fluffy, off-white head. It takes a few minutes to vanish, and it falls back into a light collar on the brew, but it leaves substantial lacing with register marks down the glass. Very nice.

S: Citrus (orange, tangerine) and pine hops, with a small floral component. Have trouble smelling anything else. Seems like a hop bomb.

T: The taste is more balanced, though. Again, lots of citrus in orange and tangerine flavors, with a lighter pine component. But there is a very balanced caramel malt and maybe some bread in there. I get a little floral taste before the finish. Very clean flavor. Has a slightly dry finish that leaves some grass in the aftertaste.

M: Medium-bodied, with medium carbonation. No oiliness, but a slight aftertaste and some light stickiness. Well-masked ABV.

D: This was a go-to beer for me for a while, although my initial infatuation faded as I tried more IPAs. I like it, but its latest pricing, from $8 to a sixer jumping to $16 a sixer, has pretty much prevented me from getting it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 00:59:10 | More by Arbitrator
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El Toro IPA from El Toro Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.