1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

El Toro IPA - El Toro Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
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%
Wants: 9
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 89 | Reviews: 77 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chumba526
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%

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.

chumba526, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of johnnyboy76
3.85/5  rDev -2%

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.

johnnyboy76, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of Lukafer
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

Lukafer, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.4/5  rDev +12%

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.

ThreeWiseMen, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%

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.

Arbitrator, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of NorCalYeti
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%

taste- same as the smell...warm caramel and loads of bitter hops

color- tangerine

clarity- cloudy

smell- caramel, fresh hops

body- full, rich, balanced, front focused

appearance- nice color, light white head, suspended sediment, slight carbonation

overall impression- stellar ipa

notes- brew 1272, should always have this beer on hand, serious ipa with lots of character. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

NorCalYeti, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Thanks arbitrator and friend!

Pours a slightly hazy orange-y/amber. Pretty dark hue. Large off-white head that quickly dies down.

Smells like grapefruit ... and a bit of interesting bitter ... orange rind-iness. Yeah. That's the name I'd put to it.

Taste is actually quite nice. Very pleasant. Some grapefruit, a bit of caramel malt sweetness, and an interesting, almost astringently bitter citrus rind or maybe charry/earthiness to it. Not sure what that is.

Quite drinkable and very pleasant.

Overlord, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%

Solid IPA that doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Admittedly, this is fairly lightly distributed, but still. If you see it, give it a try. Pours a dark amber with a thick grainy head that sticks around for a while. The smell has surprising amounts of sweet, cookie-like malt, and finishes with some citrus and pine from the hops. Tastes delicious- long bitter pine flavor wityh the sweet malt creeping up on the back end, but the long bitter note cuts right through it and is sustained until the end. Much hoppier than it smells. Fairly full bodied in the mouth and the long bitterness keeps things lively. Nice beer.

Georgiabeer, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of mjl21
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%

12 ounce bottle poured into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Comes in at 6.5%. The code Brew 1321 is on the front of the bottle.

A-Pours a semi-clear orangish amber with a fluffy one and a half finger light tan head that has some great retention. Lots of bubbles and lace are left. It is a really nice looking beer.

S-The initial smell is almost dominated 50/50 by piney/citrusy hops and caramel malt. As it warms I get a little bit of dank. It smells a little sugary. It really should be a 3.75 as it is not bad, but too malty for me to score any higher.

T-The caramel malt comes on quickly followed by some citrus and pine notes. The caramel malt comes back again on the finish. There is some bitterness left. The alcohol does dry out the tongue a little. As it warms it becomes more herbal/grassy tasting.

M-Medium bodied and has great carbonation.

D-A little too malty for my taste. I'm not sure if that is due to age or the way the brewer intended.

Another not bad, not great IPA. I would like to try a guaranteed fresh version before I cast my final judgment.

mjl21, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of Buebie
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

Poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pub glass. Color on this is a pale orange with a bit of haze to it. Head is a generous 1'' of froth, slow to recede, leaving a nice colar and sticky thick lace along the glass.
The look on this is textbook, good lace cling, head retention and color.

Aroma is grassy with pine and orange peel and a touch of sweeter fruit. Caramel, malt and a bit of cotton candy/ bubble gum in the distance.

Taste is malty upfront with plenty of explosive fruity semi-sweet hops, grapefruit, mango's, very bitter pine, grapefruit bite and just a little bit of grain flavors. Becoming increasingly earthy, with a touch of spicie onions, Mild burnt caramel in there as well.
Mouthfeel contains medium carbonation and a bit of a stickyness to it. Carbonation does provide a fuller feel.

This is very well balanced between malt and hops, although the hops do dominate into the finish, obliterating the taste buts and lingering for a long time.
Taste is similar to Hopslam, although a little less fruity with more pine bitterness. The alcohol seems low, as there is just a touch of warming. This probably could have gone a bit higher in abv, while still hiding the boozyness amongst hops.

Buebie, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%

Extra recieved in a trade poured into a regular kitchen glass. Never even heard of this brewery.

A- El Toro pours out a even mix of faint red with burnt orange with a small haze to it, cant 100% see through the glass. A 1/2 inch of off white foam comes up than exits quick leaving small spots of lace, not coating the glass.

S- A nice scent coming from this IPA, Im getting hops giving of citrus/Tropical fruit with some grapefruit and mango. The hops also give off grassy scents. A good amount of malt to even things out.

T- This is fresh for sure, Im impressed with the taste. The hops are up front giving off a slight bitterness but nothing tounge buckeling. The grassy scents come out a bit more in taste, but the citrus is up front. The malts are somewhat bready and give off a sweet aftertaste. After warming up the taste dwindles a bit

M- El Toro feel is weird because the hop flavors go to the top of my mouth while the smooth malts & slight sweetness ride towards the bottom near the tounge. The bitterness is very light. This one is bordering on medium bodied with some carb built in. Grassy taste afterwards with warming.

D- This is easy drinking with a slightly above sessionable ABV but who cares, the taste makes this one a winner. We get a bunch of California beers here in PA and I would not mind if this brewery happened to stop by in the future, hopefully they will, fingers crossed.

BARFLYB, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of LittleDon
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

LittleDon, May 29, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. The ale appears a hazed rich amber color with about two fingers of lingering, bone white foam. A thin lace is left on my glass with each sip. Nose and flavor are dominated by citrus (oranges and grapefruits), pine, medium toasted bread, sweet malts. A notch better than medium bodied and amply carbonated. An impressive IPA from a "new to me" brewery. Hope to try more of their offerings in the future.

ClockworkOrange, May 24, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%

Big thanks to Cloudskipper for providing this in trade.

Says "Brew 1334" on the label.. is this a production code?

I've been excited to try this IPA and now see why so many people enjoy it. Quite nice.

First off, rather good looking beer. (poured into my Sam Adams glass) 2 fingers of beige creamy head that show excellent retention. The beer itself is very clear and orange/amber colored. Rings of lacing everywhere.

Aroma is fresh, citrus, floral and wonderful.

Flavor is so well balanced. Nice hop presence but in no way is this a hop bomb. The bitterness really sets in later in the back of your mouth. Just wonderful. The more it warms the more you can detect the sweetness of the malt and a light caramel character. More fruit comes out as well.

Almost creamy mouth feel. Subtle but present carbonation. Medium bodied and this is accentuated by the big hop finish.

Nicely drinkable... Good IPA. Very glad I had the opportunity to try this.

One to enjoy as you let the hops cling in your throat.

Reagan1984, May 20, 2009
Photo of Opethsprite
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%

(From notes)
Pours a musty orange with a modest head, leaving lots of lacing. It smells largely of citrus--grapefruit, primarily, but with some orange. Yeast evident as well. To taste, lots of grapefruit with hints of pine. This harshness was juxtaposed nicely with the sweetness of raisins and just the slightest caramel element. Very nice! Sprightly yet hearty mouthfeel, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

Opethsprite, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of IronCitySteve
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%

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.

IronCitySteve, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of RunDWP
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%

I'm trying to understand all high reviews on this one, since it really didn't blow me away. I went back and forth about how much I really liked this. I had it a year ago, and found it a bit harsh to drink, and now a year later, that final analysis hasn't changed much.

The beer poured a dark yellow with some red sediment in the glass. Looking at suspended red particles is not something I prefer in a beer, but if you pour the bottle carefully, the particles will stay in the bottle. Otherwise, a nice foamy head floated on top and lots of lacing action on the glass. Some piney aroma. The flavor was highly dominated by a resin-like hop character, with some citrus peel notes to it. Very astringent, borderline harshness going down. Very little malt, and my preference is for a more balanced IPA.

I'm all for the hop-bomb West Coast IPA style, but I didn't find this to be one of the better examples.

RunDWP, Mar 17, 2009
Photo of nbblondie
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%

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.

nbblondie, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

snaotheus, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of bbothen
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

bbothen, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%

Bottle thanks to golubj.
Pours golden in color with about two inches of head. Smell is very nice citrus and piney, grassy hops. Taste is more of the citrusy and piney hops, however there is something at the very end of each sip that just isn't fitting. A very dominant off flavor at the finish. Everything up until that point is very good however.

FtownThrowDown, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of khiasmus
4.68/5  rDev +19.1%

wow, this was one surprise. I received this as an extra in a trade a while back and decided tonight to pop it open... who knew? Where the hell did this come from? Why haven't I heard ravings about this beer? I think the name and the label both suck, and that's probably it. If this beer had a killer, say, gargoyle on the label and a name like, say, Ruination, it would be one of the most sought after IPA's on the site.
So it pours a cloudy orange with minimal head... the most boring part about the beer, honestly. Except the label. Lacing is great, though, which gives it the 3.5 instead of a 3.
But it's uphill, and WAAY uphill, from there. The aroma jumps out at me with a smack in the face... wonderful, balanced hopping on par with some of the best IPA's I've ever had. Caramel-noted light malt is there, of course, but the grapefruity hops just take over... there has to be some Tomahawk, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo... the hopping is crazy complex, and crazy wonderful.
Flavor is by no means disappointing. delicious malts with the once again outrageous hopping coming in to balance and override neatly. the finish is all hops, a hint of resin, and an astringent, bitter finish in the back of the throat.
Body is smooth and medium carbonated, a bit warming and intensely astringent in the finish.
HOP FIX! get your HOP FIX! I highly suggest getting your hands on this beer ASAP. Absolutely ASAP.

khiasmus, Aug 30, 2008
Photo of dancinwillie
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%

Pours a translucent copper, with some floaters in the mix. Big soft off white head that hangs around for awhile. Takes me 2 pours to get it all in. Either I'm getting shittier at pouring, or the beer's I've been choosing lately are really carbonated.

A lot of yeast aroma, and a little bit of piney hops. Makes me wonder how long this has been on the shelves. There is some printing that says BREW 1248. Hoping not bottled December, 1948.

Taste is a stunner, after that less than promising aroma. I can taste the yeast, so maybe it is a bit old, but also a wonderful hop flavor. Pine, herbal, a bit minty, traces of citrus fruits. Great malt here too. A little maple syrup, bready flavor keeps it balanced.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but with the taste as big as it is, I hardly noticed, until I got here, and had to rate it. A little creamy, and a bitter finish leave me ready for more.

I would assuredly drink this again and again. I would recommend this to my friends. This is a better than average IPA. El Toro lulled me, and I'm wearing red. This is a tasty brew, and one I will try again.

dancinwillie, Aug 28, 2008
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%

A three finger fat fluffy off white head has nice retention and leaves a ton of lace as it fades. Nose has creamy veggie laced hops with a backround hint of citrus rind. Body is like pure liquid gold. Hops are very grassy much like dandilion stems as you take first sip. The bitter feel is ling and quite butally fat on the back of the tongue. There is a bit of citrus pulp to the end of the palate. Mouthfeel is hugely bitter. The lack of balance kind of hurts the drinkabilty.

SPLITGRIN, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of ibbjamin
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%

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.

ibbjamin, Jul 05, 2008
El Toro IPA from El Toro Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.