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Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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793 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 793
Reviews: 253
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 91
Gots: 57 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CaptainIPA on 06-01-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 793 | Reviews: 253 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeledonia
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden, slightly orange, straw yellow, with a thin whitish head that leaves decent lacing. Looks quite appealing, dark and full enough in color that it looks like it's got something good in there.

Smell is dominated by citrus, resiny, and piney hops, with a nice balancing sweetness. They meld to form a very smooth, well-rounded aroma that I think is the highlight of the beer.

Wow, the bitterness of the hops is front-and-center. The piney hops are much more prevalent than they are in the smell. They're followed by a bit of citrus, and underlain by enough sweetness to fill in the flavor somewhat. But I want more than a smack upside the head with a bitter mallot, and that's mostly what I get with this beer. Some citrus flavor comes through a bit later, but it's not as multi-dimensional as the better DIPAs.

Mouthfeel is good, medium-light. Starts out a bit high in the carbonation, smooths out as those early bubbles disappear.

I'll readily admit that DIPAs aren't my favorite style. But I've tried, and enjoyed, some of the best examples, and they go beyond simple powerful hop bitterness. For me, this one doesn't. It's not really bad, but I definitely won't seek it out again.

Photo of bsp77
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Brewed in March, 2011 according to the label notch. Fresh!

Appearance: Hazy honey-gold with foamy sustained head and great lacing.

Smell: Wonderful aroma of tangerine, pine, mango, pineapple and some light toasted malts. Sweet, dry and almost tart all at once. I hope this tastes as good as it smells.

Taste: Onslaught of fruity, tropical hops. Some caramel and toasted malt backbone, but it is kept to a minimum. Finish is spicy, bitter and pine-like with some lingering tartness.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium smooth body, extremely dry finish. A little bit of a warming feeling after each sip.

Overall: Just a fantastic DIPA - one of the best I have had. I love that it is so dry and hoppy that it is borderline tart. I had only had Central Waters Glacial IPA before (which was somewhat disappointing) but I may need to try more from them after this beauty.

Photo of BeerLover99
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy deep yellow/orange body, big 2 finger head, outstanding lacing display.

S: big earthy pine, with orange peel and lemon zest, wonderful scent

T: sweet citrus (orange, lemon, slight pineapple) up front, nice mellow pine in middle, loooong firm bitter finish

M: med/heavy body, oily/sticky

O: Central Waters = delicious beer! This is another great brew. Highly approachable and 9% well hidden in the layers of flavor. I should have picked up more than a 4 pack. Must put this brewery on my list of ones to visit this Summer. I am thrilled that this beer is available to me.


Photo of vitrael
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pale amber, slightly cloudy with a small off-white head that dissipated into an oily film. Lots of pretty lacing.

S: Great hop nose. Very spicy and citrusy, trademark grapefruit flavor of the glorious Centennial hop.

T: Hops hops hops. Spice, citrus fruit, pine, and very bitter in the finish. Malts take the back seat for this ride. Clean and light.

M: Very light and thin, perhaps slight undercarb. Considering this is up at ABV 9.00 this is not a very small beer, so attenuation must be very high. Makes the beer taste very clean but also somewhat extra bitter.

Always love a new beer from Central Waters and this wasn't a let down. I would say it's very similar to Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, except with a more bitter hop palette, or similar to Stone's Ruination but more spicy and not quite as pretty.

Photo of GoldenJet
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To start, this beer is just plain gorgeous - like if you were making a beer commercial, you'd probably pour Illumination into the glass regardless of what type of beer you made, cause it's just that perrrrty.

Taste is no different - almost perfect in my mind. Loads of pine, citrus, and quite a bit of malt (which isn't overpowering); the finish is super clean - not a lingering hop bite, just a smooth remembrance of what you just tasted, leading to the next sip, and the next one, and the next . . .

For a Double IPA, this is quite possibly one of the most sessionable out there (Pliney, Abrasive, and Hopslam being others). But really, the winner here is the craft - just a well-made, under-the-radar beer from what's becoming one of my favorite breweries.

This one is not to be missed.

Photo of seeswo
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden copper with a good head on it. Smells of juicy hops. Brings me in and makes me want more. Taste is a somewhat generic, somewhat piney bitterness. Pretty smooth, but maybe not super clean like some DIPAs. Good, not great. Mouth is medium, maybe a touch heavy with good carbonation. Good drinkability. A very solid, if not elite DIPA. Good work CW making a local IPA/DIPA that is actually good (exempting Lupulin Maximus, which is awesome for about the first week in the bottle).

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a bright light orangey color ale with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of citrus notes with some bitter hops. Taste is not as bitter as expected with some citrus notes and a sweeter then expected caramelized malt base. Body is quite with a nice creamy texture and good carbonation. Well brewed though not as floral or bitter as I would have expected.

Photo of hwwty4
2.77/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to CosmoHophead for this one.

I don't know what it is about IPA's and beautiful looking beers. I don't know, but I would bet if you look at my top 10 looking beers, 7 or 8 are IPA's. Really this is one fine looker of a brew. 3 finger creamy white head that leaves massive lacing all the way down the glass. Spectacular. The aroma is massive pine bordering on the pine sol/car air freshener pine. Maybe a bit of grapefruit pith bitterness. I don't know what does it but something just pushes piney hops over the limit to that artificial aroma. Honestly, it really pushes everything else that might help the aroma way back. A bit of bread, caramel and toast all make it through representing it s malt core. The flavor is massive pine. The pine blocks everything else out. Other hop profiles, malt, booze, just everything. Its overwhelming. I've never had a beer that is this piney. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated. I just don't get piney IPA's. They remind me of urinal cakes, floor cleaners, and that powder janitors put on the floor after kids puke. Maybe its a mental associating thing I cant get over. That's really what it is. You couldn't pay me to drink another one.

Photo of Kegatron
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with 1 ½ fingers of off-white head. This retains with a solid ½ finger cap that doesn't quit and leaves back some thick foam that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma is floral with sharp notes of pine and spice and some earthy dankness. Some tropical fruits sit underneath the more bitter aspects of the nose, as does some tight grainy malt. The nose has an alcohol presence to it as well that fluctuates between warm and hot.

The taste is bitter with grapefruit, resins, and peppery spice which then trail off into notes of pithy citrus peel. Underlying fruit is sweet but not overly so and melds with the more herbal character that is present in the profile. Malts are toasted and grainy feeling the back, as the citric fruit flavors bring most of the balancing sweetness to this. This finishes bitter but not harsh, thanks to some residual sweetness that hangs around. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a little heavier, with a light creaminess to the carbonation but this is mostly slick feeling in the mouth. The ABV unfortunately really shows itself as this warms, with a solvent like heat that stings the throat as you swallow.

Things to like (full hop flavors, decent balance) and things not to like (rampant ABV) having me giving this big DIPA from Central Waters a solid thumb in the middle. Maybe that alcohol is better hidden when this has a maximum freshness going on with it? I'd be willing to find out.

Photo of Bobby12many
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Hazy, nearly opaque golden straw color with a nice frothy head that sticks around. Abundant spotty, clumped lacing. Overall a great looking DIPA.

S - Hoppy with a zesty lemon note. Very nice aroma.

T- Bright flowery Hops up front with a nice tangy citrus note on the back end. Very bitter and somewhat one-dimensional, but the freshness and crisp zest of this make it quite enjoyable.

M - Medium bodied without feeling too dry and sticky.

D - I can certainly imaging buying this one again, if for anything to share it with some hop head friends. It is local, fresh, and inexpensive when compared to others of this style. Certainly not the most complex or intriguing IPA I have ever tried, but very far from the worst.

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from (massive) backlog. Drank on 7-12-10 when the brew was six weeks old, allegedly.

A - Pours an orange-amber hue, capped with a big off-white head that deposits a good deal of lace as it collapses.

S - The nose is generally citric, towards white grapefruit, but also evergreen-pine-y, resiny and herbal. Pale maltiness provides a very good platform, but unfortunately the hop profile is somewhat muddy, and certainly not sharply discernible note-wise.

T - The taste is pretty straightforward and is somewhat plebeian for the style. It is plenty bitter, certainly, but it is not exhibiting a focused or succinct flavor profile. The pale maltiness is amply understated to showcase a big hop bouquet, but instead it is left to support a vague citric-evergreen bitter impartation. It tastes good, but it is just underwhelming due to the proximity of its potential to greatness.

M - DIPA. Good.

D - A good beer, but not great. Close, though. Focus the hop profile more sharply, and we'd have a big-time winner.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber with a medium veil and a generous downy head.

The pillow of head lets loose a fruit salad of smells on the nose: Mango, strong pineapple take the lead, but there's a interesting cake batter and bread mix hanging out in the background with just a faint pine smell.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with enough carbonation to bring out some of the citrus flavors to come.

West coast purists may not love the taste, but I think the flavors are pretty spectacular. It starts out with the rich mango, pineapple and citrus flavors that were present on the nose. A strong malt backbone emerges with caramel and sweet wheat bread notes. Only then do the hop jihadis get their way: a pine and lemongrass punch fades in and leads you into a deep satisfying bitter finish. A really well crafted tour of IPA flavors.

Photo of Lukafer
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light gold, good deal of head for this style.  Smells are citrus hops, sweet malts and some pine hops.  Taste is citrusy, piney hops, alcohol at finish. Mouhtfeel is medium, drinkability is high. Every beer I've tried by Central Waters has been pretty great, this one is no exception.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 3 fingers of head. Very good retention. Thick lacing. Nice hazy orange color. Label is pretty ugly.

S. Smell is tropical fruit. Very citrusy. Grapefruit and Pineapple. Big Hop Smell. Up there with some of the best DIPAs that I have had.

T. This is a super smooth drking DIPA. Taste is more of citrusy hops. I really don't get very much piney flavor, which is a good thing for me. Has that honey sweetness that you get from Hopslam. This is more bitter than Hopslam.

M. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Nice DIPA feel. Touch of lingering sweetness.

D. This beer is extremely driknable for a big DIPA. It goes down super easy. This is a very good DIPA at a very reasonable price. Thumbs way up to Central Waters on this one.

Photo of drizzam
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a golden amber in color...the body has a very light haze to it. Topped by a white one finger head that has excellent retention and leaves a generous wall of lacing down the inside of my glass.

S - VERY aromatic. You can smell loads of hoppiness in this one with pine and grapefruit abounding. Smells absolutely delicious.

T & M - Hope you lke hops, because this is one hoppy mutha! The hops are very well represented with piney and citrus flavors, but this is not a one dimensional brew. There is also a nice caramel maltiness to balance out the huge hops. Medium bodied and creamy, and it finishes with a sort of dry bitterness.

D - This is not a quaffer, but rather a sipping beer. I've made the mistake of drinking this one after the other on tap at a local pub, and let's just say it's a good thing I didn't drive home that night. The 9% ABV is well hidden by the hops. A very well crafted beer! Kudos to Central Waters...you amaze me with all of the beers you brew.

Photo of samie85
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-A very vigorous pour yields a golden amber color with an off white, three finger head that leaves thick lacing.

S-Smells of pineapple and mango and some light malt noted with a bit of pine.

T-Bitter and dry pine upfront with some very ripe pineapple and a little bit of alcohol and light malt

M-Pretty drying in the mouth with light body and a medium to high amount of prickly carbonation.

D-Not bad, but I feel like the drying qualities would get to me after awhile as would the alcohol notes that seem to become more prevalent as it warms.

Photo of hawks10
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - Bottled May 2010 - Poured into my Central Waters pint glass...

Pours a fairly clear, golden amber color with two fingers of soft white head which sticks around for a long time, leaving lots of lacing behind...

A strong citrus hop aroma outweighs a decent amount of sweet caramel malt. Pretty straightforward IPA aroma, was worried the hops would have faded a ton in the 4 months since this beer was bottled, based on the aroma, I think they are still fairly prevalent...

A decent amount of bitter hops with a citrus twist hits you at first. They do seem a bit faded but still fairly tasty. The malt adds a bit of sweetness in the middle but really fails to take hold as the bitterness and dryness come back hard and linger well into the finish...

Medium bodied with good carbonation. Very bitter and dry aftertaste...

Would like to try this again, knowing it is fresh...

Photo of PSUDREW
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to LeviFunk for this one
A: Nice hazy, darker golden color. Not much head, steady carbonation
S: Deep citrus odors, with some nice grassy hops at the end, very pleasent
T: LOTS of different citrus up front, little bit of minty pine, and some sweet malts all thrown together. Hoppy/minty/peppery finish, kind of dry. this is prob one of the more variety, taste wise for an IPA I have had, and it mixes nicely
M: Has some heft, but will not over power it at all
D: given the abv, this one is up there

Photo of Ek0nomik
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured In: Snifter
Purchased At: Steve's (Madison, WI)

I had this on tap at the Malt House around two months ago and it was fantastic. I saw one bottle left at Steve's and I knew I had to grab it.

Appearance: The pour is a clear amber and carrot orange with a finger of head that disappears quickly. There's very little effervescence, which has me happy as I expect the carbonation to be perfect right on the first sip. There's a few splashes of lace along the glass. Even with the final pour from the glass it's still clear; this bottle was filtered well.

Smell: The nose has a small hint of alcohol, caramel malt sitting in the background, with a load of citrus and herbal hops resting on top. Pine, grapefruit, mango and grass.

Taste: The beginning of the tasting starts out slightly sweet, with the bready caramel malt really holding the beer up. More pine and grass come through, with some citrus fruit including grapefruit, orange and mango.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, perfect carbonation right from the beginning.

Drinkability: This is a lovely beer, Central Waters has hit the spot with this IPA. This isn't a beer I could have many of in an evening, two at the most. As the bottle states, it really is a palate killer. The amount of hops in this just destroy the palate, but it's quite worth it.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Alex for sending this out as an extra.

Pours a light apricot color with nice lacing as it goes down. Pretty hefty hop profile dominated by citrus and flora notes. Tastes very nice with a good hop blend, although not nearly as strong as the nose suggested or is common amongst the style. Somewhat dry in the finish with good carbonation. Fairly sessionable for a DIPA and hard to believe that it is 9%.

Photo of Bubba83
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Traded to me by Kegatron. Bottle -> Tumbler around 45 degrees.

Pours a hazy tawny orange, with good sparkling carbonation and a pillowy light yellow 2 finger width head. Darker than many DIPAs I'm used to on the west coast. A thing ring of head persists for a long period of time, and the lacing it leaves behind is moderate.

Smells like a whole hell of a lot of pine and dark caramel. Definitely smells east coast in style, but I haven't had much luck with east coast IPAs lately so I'm hopeful for this guy based on the smell because it's quite good. Maybe not so complex, but good.

Pretty malty for an IPA. Lots of biscuit and caramel flavors along with a tongue twisting raw bitterness. Hops are there at the end, more pine like there was in the nose, and maybe some citrus here or there. I was hoping to get a bit more hop flavor instead of such a raw bitterness, but it's still tasting good overall. Lot of caramel/butterscotch flavor in the swallow/aftertaste and a bit of heat.

The feel seems pretty heavy and damp. This falls in line with a lot of other east coast IPAs and tends to be fuller than the west coast style, and even a bit chewy. I think I like the full body better, but it's less refreshing than wehn I think of most IPAs.

Overall I think this is pretty well crafted for what it is trying to achieve. Seems like there's quite a bit of Simcoe in there. I'm always up for trying these east coast style IPAs/DIPAs, but I generally find the west coast style much more appealing. The alcohol actually does get in the way a bit and negatively impacts the drinkability, as does the bitterness.

Photo of mnbrewery
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: (8/12)
Very malty for a Double IPA. Surprisingly little hop aroma. Slightly reminds me of a barleywine. Some citrus, but very little.

Appearance: (2/3)
A quite cloudy orange. This beer looks like it could be a wheat beer.

Flavor: (16/20)
The taste is pretty malty up on the front of the tongue. Midway through, the hops show themselves. At the back end, it turns really hoppy and dry. Earthy hops as well as citrusy hops.

Mouthfeel: (4/5)
The mouthfeel is a little heavier than most DIPA's I've had. This version is definitely more malty and less crisp.

Overall Impression: (7/10)
This beer is a nice drinker, but the flavor isn't very crisp and the hops used in this brew would have benefitted from the usage of more citrusy, grapefruity varietals!

TOTAL: 37/50

Photo of atsprings
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to wedgie9 for the extra. 12oz bottle, notched as bottled in May, into a DFH Signature glass pours a slightly hazy, very bubbly orange with a decent eggshell head that lasts and leaves great lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of fragrant pine hops and burnt caramel malts. The taste is funky pine hops in front of burnt caramel malts, I can't put my finger on it, but this one is just a bit off. The beer is slightly heavy with mild carbonation. I guess this one would be better is it were less than 3-4 months old.

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: new glarus pint, medium amber in color, average off-white head with some retention

s: very fruity hop aroma, vivid pineapple, passionfruit, mango, sweet orange, juicy fruits on an out-of-the-way caramel malt backing

m: medium-full body and carbonation around the light-medium range

t: sweetish caramel body with a big dose of fruity hop flavor, same set found on the nose but not as vibrant, sappy green pine, moderately bitter

d: drinks well given the pretty high abv

picked this single up at Riley's in Madison, consumed during an Isle Royale layover, notepad notes

Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's quite a surprise when you trade for 2 bottles of beer and find 10 that you weren't expecting. Joel, one of the finest of traders, blew me away with the box I received today. Among the gems in there, many of which were new to me, was this beer, one that I was quite looking forward to try.

Illumination is clear burnished copper capped with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and plenty of lacing. Apart from being darker, this is a very good looking DIPA. The nose (at least now), reminds me of the Moylans Hopsickle. With plenty of pine, candied grapefruit, pungently so, with some floral and perfume-like character as well. A moderate sweetness is present, but it works well with the hop profile, lending a little balance (which I usually do not like). Very good.

My palate is immediately bruised and assaulted by a copious amount of grapefruit, pith and all, along with a secondary attack of pine. Resiny, pungent and palate-coating, the hop oils are very prominent here, and the candied grapefruit i picked up on the nose is also present. This flavor works very well with the moderate sweetness that's present, quite caramel-like. The finish has a blend of a light sweetness and an intense bitterness with plenty of pine. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation, this feels quite excellent on the palate. As it warms up, the alcohol does get a little noticeable, but it does not detract or distract from the excellent beer that this is. I'd love to try this fresher. Very reminiscent of Brass Knuckle IMO.

Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 793 ratings.