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El Toro IPA - El Toro Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
El Toro IPAEl Toro IPA

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

90 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 90
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
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Ratings: 90 | Reviews: 77 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

ibbjamin, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to fartingdog for this brew a trade. Prost!

Pours with a nice one inch head. Nice amber color. Smells of pine hops. Tastes mostly of pine hops but with a bit of creaminess of some kind that I can't place. Mouthfeel is smooth & this is a drinkable IPA. I am glad to have tried it. Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of Chaz
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter this one impresses immediately with a billowy khaki/off-white, two-fingered head and plenty of lacing ringing the glass. A hazy, golden-brass in color and full of suspended yeast (which doesn't bother me in the least), this one is off to a great start. The nose is just what I'd expect of a fully accentuated West Coast IPA, with piney, resiny hops and gobs of 'em. But, on the first sip it's a bit more complex than high alpha acids and bitterness; there's some solid biscuity pale malt action going on right here. Bitterness is pronounced and lingers very nicely indeed. Finish is dry. Fruity esters and phenolic notes merge and dodge one another alternately, and when combined with the noted malt characteristics make for a fully-featured palate. Mouthfeel is interesting, too: smooth and creamy thanks largely to the presence of yeast, this doesn't feel overly full-bodied but feels quite a bit lighter than it drinks. A very tasty and well-crafted beer -- wish I'd picked up another bottle or two!

Chaz, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from rayjay, courtesy of Secret Santa 2007 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is decently balanced with a nice hops bitterness and sweet flavors of citrus and caramel. There's a hearty malt character. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, the finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, there are several other IPA's that I would pick first, but this is still a decent beer.

TheManiacalOne, May 17, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lothore for this little gem as an extra.

A - Pours a deep, clear golden body with a foamy white head. Decent amount of carbonation visible, tons of yeast on the bottom of the bottle, so I had to pour carefully.

S - Major west coast nose of piney, sticky hops, with a light lemony undertone. Malts barely notable on the back end.

T - This is a tongue-blaster. Almost too much, but it somehow manages to work. It's like a Hopsickle but with a little better balance. Huge oily finish that sticks around longer than I prefer, at least for a regular IPA.

M - Thick, slightly syrupy, ample carbonation, dry and puckering finish.

D - Drinkability is average, because the hop profile is a little much in my opinion. I like my IPA's to be a little gentler on my palate. Call me what you will. :)

Notes: It's not that this is a bad beer by any means, I just wouldn't necessarily go out of my way for it. Definitely worth a try if you're a hophead.

SaucyA, May 16, 2008
Photo of bcm119
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper in color with a slight haze. Puffy, off-white head that deflates to a sticky lace. Sweet, cookie dough caramel malt aromas with some spicy hop notes. Begins with soft, toffee caramel malts carried by firm hop bitterness. Hops do a nice job of bringing out the subtle caramel malt flavors while natural carbonation feels soft and smooth. Malt profile and delicate mouthfeel lean toward the English style; hops are herbal and spicy but not as citrusy as some California IPAs. The hops clean up the finish leaving a pleasantly dry, grainy flavor with a lingering grapefruit pith aftertaste. Overall a very well crafted IPA; I'd call it an English-American hybrid in style.

bcm119, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of plaid75
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy medium copper hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a resinous hop that exhibited piney and herbal characteristics.

The taste consisted of an upfront herbal spicy hop that lingered through the experience. A soild grainy malt supported the heavy hops well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style with a spice tingle.

Overall a superior AIPA that offers a different hop profile than most. Thanks to brentk56 for the sample.

plaid75, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of kirok1999
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2nd beer of this Saturday, again provided as an extra by rayjay.
Popped it open, turned my back to throw the cap away and damn if the thing didn't surge out of the bottle and waste a few tablespoonfulls. Damn.
Looks dense in the glass, dark orange with a thin white head and tiny chunks of lacing.
The hop smell arose from the spilled remains on the counter. Lots of hops present. Mostly seem to be pine and grass with some citrus behind.
Taste is strong in the start with lots of bitter, aromatic hops matching the smell. Bitter, lingering finish coats the back of the throat like cheap cough syrup. There's some malt hiding in the background, too afraid to show its face. Yet somehow it seems a little watery in the taste, maybe a little metallic as well.
Smooth, thick and creamy make it interesting to drink. A little malt sweetness wouldn't hurt this at all. As is, it's a nice bitter hop bomb.

kirok1999, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of Lothore
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep orange hue with a hearty 2 finger head that leaves quite a bit of lacing. Few carbonation bubbles present, filtered and clear.

S- Smell is faint but dominate in hops. Very piney and possibly a bit overbearing if the nose is any indicator.

T- Taste is mainly resiny, piney hops. Very strong bitterness at the end for a normal ipa. I enjoy this beer but it seems like it hides behind the strong hoppiness.

M- Semi- thick and very carbonated. I personally prefer beer with a good amount of carbonation but I think this may be a little bubbly for me.

D- Because of the huge hop presence and not much else I would say it's not the most drinkable ipa on the block. It is certainly enjoyable and I would drink it again but it is not my favorite IPA.

Lothore, Nov 08, 2007
Photo of seaoflament
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label states “Brew 1168”

Pours a nice, clear golden color with very a very active head and great retention.

Aroma is of pine, citrus, grapefruit, bitterness, biscuit and toasted malts.

Taste is similar to the aroma; there is some biscuit malt upfront with some citrus notes, pine and a decent bitter and dry finish. Some grassy notes also make themselves present in the finish. As the beer warm up the malt profile steps up a bit and there is some caramel and toffee notes. The mouthfeel is surprisingly thick, thicker than I expected. A bit odd, the mouthfeel is thick yet it leaves a watery aftertaste—there is just some residual bitterness and citrus that sticks around. Refreshing, but a few of these will fill you up

seaoflament, Oct 02, 2007
Photo of uwmgdman
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This IPA pours a golden-orange into my pint glass with a thin white head. The aroma is very high grapefruit-citrus aroma, very American hops, with a small amount of pine also in the aroma. The high hop bitterness strikes initially and lasts through the swallow, quite a bitter IPA. A medium-high hop flavor also emerges half way through the sip. The bitterness is supported by a little sweetness, but make no mistake this brew is all IBUs, all the way. The carbonation medium to medium-high with a medium body. Overall this is a nice example of an IPA. The hop aroma is very fresh and inviting. The bitterness and hop flavor lingers well after the swallow, appreciated, but knocks the drinkability down a bit for me. A nice IPA!

uwmgdman, May 10, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Fro for this beer.

A: The force was strong in this one....pushed foam right out of the bottle once uncapped. Fortunately I'm a seasoned veteran and these things don't catch me off guard anymore....I had a glass handy. What a fantastic head it produced too. Towering creamy light tan head that you could float a cap on. Body is mahoganey copper allowing no light thru. This bad dog left rings of suds all the way down the glass. Good stuff.

S: Soap, pine resin, grapefruit rind and lemon juice.

T: Begins with a caramely red fruit which gets just steamrolled by a tidal wave of bitterness. Reminds me sort of a liquid pine cone with grapefruit zest dusted all over it. little bit of carrot, little bit of pear with just a tad of soapy tobacco. Finishes with earthy bitterness and a lymon pungentness. Oh...and its bitter.

M: Medium body with only a low level amount of carbo sting and fuzz.

D: This is one bitter beer. Little too bitter for me but for some I bet its pure liquid gold. Nice beer.

Westsidethreat, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of oberon
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you wanna hop fix without the huge alcohol this California IPA is it,pours a hazed peach color with a very clingy 1/2 finger white head leaving the pint glas with soap scum looking lace all the way down.Whoo resiny piney hop with big grapefruit rind notes in the nose I also picked up some apricot in there with a barely noticable sweeter caramel malt note.Citrusy and piney flavors what can you say its all left coast quite resiny and sweet,somewhat oily on the mouthfeel department.A hop fixer here and quite sociable to boot,yum.

oberon, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of Goldorak
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.

Goldorak, Sep 25, 2006
Photo of bradybeer
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was able to find this in Santa Cruz-and man I am happy.

Pours a creamy head while the body is copper.

There is an initial malt sweetness that hits you at first but with a very nice hop bitterness in the finish.

I could drink this nearly everyday-

Perhaps I had a fresh bottle-but I really enjoyed this beer and look forward to tasting their other brews-

bradybeer, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of rayjay
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6-pack from the brewery, a very small one but very friendly and worth seeking out.

A: Medium blonde, very tiny amount of sediment. Medium sized head with less-than-perfect lacing. Just a shade darker than I remember, but a nice light AIPA (the way it should be).

S: Floral. Lots of hops. Some apple juice too. Just a bit of alcohol and malt. I swear I smell glue, but not in a bad way!!!

T: Very bitter, seemingly more than some other IPA's but probably due in part to the low malt backbone. I mean, malt is definately there, but just slightly underbalancing the hops, which is perfect for the style, imho. A classic west coast IPA. Not as floral as it smells. Pure white grapefruit juice from concentrate. Bitter aftertaste lingers 4-ev-R...

M: A hair heavier than I'd have it. Otherwise a nice body, esp on a 105F day like today.

D: I give it a 4.5 because I've had some great sessions drinking this particular beer over the years. It has very rarely let me down, and even so that was probably a freshness issue with the bar. Cheers!

rayjay, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of dirtylou
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, $1.29, Brennan's - University

appearance: pours a pulpy clear golden-amber into a between the buns pint glass...3/4 frothy white foam with some solid retention

smell: well then, a surprisingly (brennans is hit or miss, usually miss) pungent and juicy IPA, sour grapefruit, grainy malt, pulpy hops, chalky aroma, light pine

taste: high bitterness level noticed immediately, chalky feel, pulpy ruby red grapefruit, sugary, other nice citrus flavours, light toasted malt presence, lightly spicy...Definitely one of the best obscure brews i have found at Brennan's

mouthfeel: high bitterness, a tongue twister, chalky, medium body

drinkabilty: above average

dirtylou, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of znarf
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beware, I am a hop head, Three Floyd's Alpha King being my current beer of choice. For my taste El Toro IPA has a cleaner finish. This is not a criticism of the Alpha King, just a comparison. When a flavor is great, I do not mind it lingering. El Toro IPA is available year around for you enjoyment. It is worth pursuing if you local store does not stock it. Great for sipping while grilling in your back yard.

znarf, Jun 03, 2006
Photo of SethB2
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received via a most excellent (for me) trade with GClarkage. He sent me home with great stuff, and I sent him home with, err, let's not go there.

Anyway, poured this beer from a bottle into my Lagunitas pint glass. Looks nice. Looks like an IPA. Non transparent brownish-orange color with white head and good lacing. (As a side note, is it just me, or does it seem like about 10 different IPAs fit that same description. I swear I can't tell them apart, Alas, it matters not because I like the look.) Smells citisy/grapefruity ... very pleasant, though nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe some floral hops in there too. A sweet caramel smell peeks through in the background too. Taste is very, very good. Initially, the hop hammer lands on my tongue, as expected, but then a real pronounced toasted maltyness follows. I wasn't expecting this beer to be so balanced after smelling, but it does a great job. The sweet toasted malts then exit leaving a bitter grapefruit finish (and leave me wanting another slug). Wonderful. Mouthfeel is more full than most DIPAs. As this goes across my tongue, I feel like I might need a fork for the next drink (not literally, but you get the picture). Drinkability is very good as well. I have one more in the stash, but I think I might save it for the end times.

Great beer. El Toro guys, if you're reading this, please, please distribute to the Sacramento area. Me love you long time if you do.

SethB2, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of marcobrau
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this beer on a trip to Wisconsin a couple years ago. It still hasn't made it the Chicago area market, so every trip I take to Wisconsin demands a stop at a Brennan's market and the purchase of at least a six-pack of El Toro IPA. This particluar bottle of El Toro IPA pours a slightly hazy gold with a huge head that settles leaving lacing making for a very visually appealing beer. The honey-citrus aroma is quite appealing, too. The hop flavor is massive and intensely spicy, peppery and "hot." The hoppy flavors are laced with bits of vanilla and honey sweetness, before everything gets blown away by the exceptionally bitter finish that overwhelms the palate. After a few sips all taste is spicy, bitter hops. The malt in this beer merely supports the hops. Hopheads should celebrate this beer, one of the few I think could almost be too bitter (affecting the drinkability score somewhat.) This bottle was more full-bodied and less dry than I remember since the last time I reviewed this beer. It's still one heck of an IPA, though.

marcobrau, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of Mark
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was bowled over by this IPA. Appearance wise it was a orangey amber with a pefect head that left intricate lacing patterns. Aroma was what one expects from double IPA's, hop city. Taste was grab you by the b---- aggressive, in your face whatever you want to call it. Excellent hop character, very grapefruity. Drinkability rating was relatively off to the other rankings because it felt much stronger than the 6.5% it claims. Also, I think there is too much of a good thing, or should I say hop monster liquid is not an everyday thing. I sure liked this beer and rregret not buying this breweries beers more often.

Mark, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First of all, this is an excellent IPA that all fans of the hop should actively seek. It rates up there with the best, yet is virtually unknown. Thanks GClarkage for the sample!

An easy pour explodes into my pint glass with 4 fingers of fluffy head. Color is orange/amber and very cloudy, with fine particulate matter swimming around. Highly active bubbles rush to the surface, creating a rocky-topped head that never dies. With density like shaving cream, the top of the head forms strange, rock-like formations that seem to defy gravity. Lacing so thick that it looks like stucco. The last sip of beer still wears a half inch of creamy foam.

The aroma is sweet caramel and honey malts perfumed with exotic floral and citrus hops. Grapefruit, tangerine, and orange blossems rule the day.

The flavor starts of malty sweet, with creamy caramel, honey, and sweet yeast bread. Hops take over in the form of citrus fruits, melon, flower blossems, honeysuckle, and a hint of hoppy spice. Complex for an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium to big, and is accentuated by all that carbonation yielding in a creamy, full mouthfeel. Delicious and totally sessionable.

AlexJ, Jul 28, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out a hazy yellowish brown color with a creamy head. Big piney hop aroma. Very hoppy flavor. This is a good example of a west coast ipa. The malt isn't completely overpowered, but the emphasis is definitely on the hops. The abv is noticably high. Full mouthfeel. I'm suprised that this brewery isn't better known. Nice ipa.

beveragecaptain, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich pumpkin orange with a wild flurry of yeast that damn near makes the beer opaque. The cap is lightly toasted marshmallow in color with a hint of pastel orange. It's firmly creamy and looks like it's full of hop resins. The upper edge of the head is sticking to the glass and is beginning to leave lace that looks like paint daubed on with a sponge.

It's been a while since I've had a truly hoppy, high quality IPA. What the hell was I thinking? The aroma on this one brings my hop love back with an immediacy and a vengeance. It's a smashingly good nose of pure, unadulterated hops with an emphasis on juicy orange and white grapefruit. A modicum of caramel malt is noticeable, but has the good sense to stay in the background.

El Toro IPA is a wonderful IPA from a brewer who doesn't get enough respect. The flavor is balanced if you approach it from a hophead's perspective and consider a 2:1 hop:malt ratio to be a fair fight. The caramel malt backbone is on the firm side and permits the huge hoppiness to have the run of the deck without coming close to going overboard.

Pithy, bittersweet, resinous orange and grapefruit are still ascendant, with a drop or two of spruce juice for good measure. This beer has a classic West Coast hop profile, carried out with aplomb. A long finish with echoes of bitter citrus peel is made all the more enjoyable by the presence of a mouthcoating stickiness. The medium mouthfeel feels slightly more full as a result.

While I was impressed by this brewery's Oatmeal Stout, I had doubts about whether or not they could pull off a top-notch IPA, even taking the relatively high scores into account. If it's so good, then why hadn't I heard more buzz? Make no mistake, this is a killer beer that will satisfy all comers, hopheaded or not. In terms of excitability, waving a hoptastic IPA like this one in front of me is akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull. Bravo! El Toro. Bravo!

BuckeyeNation, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Obtained in a trade with GClarkage. Second one I tried from the stash.

The beer poured out with a HUGE head... half a pint had a 4 finger hear, very rocky, and I had to wait for it to die down.

The bottle was labeed Brew 948.

The aroma was powerful, all grapefruit and lemon hops. It also smelled a little sweet.

Taste was of MAJOR citrus hops, with a light maltiness. The hop lingered a long time in the aftertaste. But it wasn't very bitter, oddly enough.

Mouthfeel was a little thinner than I expected from the aroma, but I could drink this as a session beer easily.

connecticutpoet, Apr 10, 2005
El Toro IPA from El Toro Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.