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Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

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803 Ratings
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Ratings: 803
Reviews: 255
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 93
Gots: 60 | FT: 2
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: 803 | Reviews: 255
Photo of Azurescens
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with bottled on punch taken out of label between March and April, poured into snifter, reviewed on 4/6/11.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden hue with off-white head that quickly fades to a thin film, some lacing left on glass.

S: Pleasant citrus hop aroma with some sweet malt and alcohol in the background.

T: Nice hop bitterness up front that is balanced nicely with a sweet caramel malt backbone. The bitter hops and sweet malt come together in complete harmony leaving my tastebuds thirsty for another sip. Finishes sweet and smooth.

M: Nice medium body and carbonation, nothing to complain about here.

O: Nice well balanced imperial IPA, not world class but well above average, very drinkable for its 9% ABV.

Photo of adman08
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Slightly cloudy, probably due to me pouring too much yeast from the bottom of the bottle. Straw colored. Very good head that stays around to the end and leaves nice lace on the glass.
S-Nice citrus with a bit of pine aroma.
T-Obvious malt presence. Good citrus hop flavor.
M-Malty, slightly sticky but not a bad thing. Good hop biterness with citrus tartness.
Overall a very very good beer. Very similar to New Glarus IIPA. Good hop and malt balance. This beer is very well respected in Wisconsin and rightfully so.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Copper color with an orangeish hue and clear. Super fine bead voluminous beige head with great retention and nice lacing.

Aroma-Awesome hop aroma-mangos, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, and a bit of pine. Slight herbal notes and malt play in the background-some toasty and caramel aromas. Slight alcohol aroma.

Flavor-Smooth piney resiny hop flavors dominate the palate. Moderately high hop bitterness. Chewy caramel malt in the mid palate as the hop assault begins to fade. Hop bitterness, resin, and very light caramel malt lingers into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with moderately high carbonation. Very low alcohol warmth.

A solid, easy drinking double IPA. The nose is great, but the flavor isn't as complex as some other examples of the style. Good, but not my favorite. Tasty.

Photo of GoldHorde
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At once, sharp and biting; no apologies, no subtleties. EXACTLY the way I like a Double IPA to announce itself. The hop acid aftertaste is strongly herbal, NOT floral. "Floral" to me describes the suffocating stench you get behind bluehairs on an escalator in Bloomingdales doused in White Diamonds (cough, cough, wheeze, ack!). THIS beer remarks like early morning leafy green foilage dominated by dew wet ferns...the kind of aroma that accompanies the solitude of creek fly fishing. This beer perfectly fulfills its name: "Illumination". "URP" - and nicely carbonated I might add. This one quickly ramps up into the top ten list of my Preferred Double IPA's. Nice job!

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

This beer pours a clear orange-copper with a clingy white head that leaves a nice lacing. The aroma is an extremely fresh strongly citrus hop aroma with just a bit of sweet malt in the background. The flavor is intensely hoppy, a lot of pine and citrus, hop bitterness is high yet smooth. Despite loads of hops an underlying malt sweetness is noticeable and plays nicely with the hops. The beer finishes a bit dry with lingering bittersweetness. The body is medium-full, silky and carbonation moderate. Overall a boldly fresh citrus hop bomb with a underlying sweet malt, delicious and recommend.

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

Illumination is a tasty one from a 'Sconnie brewery that's a bit of a sleeper. The alcohol hits you hard so you might want to show a bit of restraint before you reach for #2.

No, it's not the revered Hopslam, but it'll do quite nicely if you're lucky enough to find it. Unfortunately this one will probably disappear sometime in April as it did last year. Highly recommended.

The appearance is classic amber with a hint of cloud.

The pungent smell lets you know you are in for a punch.

The taste is a powerful hops and alcohol explosion that really pops you.

The big, solid mouthfeel that just envelops your head.

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Central Waters snifter..how fitting:

A - Pours a golden hay, slight amber hues. Tiny bit of grapefruit ruby rays shine through the sides. At first there is a decent foam cap but dies to a nice foam ring around the edges with a few clouds and foam patches in the middle. Lacing is pretty good.

S - Great smell of grapefruit, mango, tangerine, papaya, and other citrus notes. A bit of a pine presence. You can also pick up on a bit of thick, slight boozy notes. Tiny bits of caramelized notes. Overall, pretty great smelling.

T - Bits of lemon zest, orange peel, grapefruit, and pine. Bitter resin notes. There is also a noticeable booze presense. Its not offensive, but it does make up a bit of the flavor. The taste is not as good as the smell, but still pretty good.

M - A bittering effect lingers in the mouth. The carbonation is pretty good. The bitterness leaves a bit of a dry feeling. It is also slightly thick but at 9% it is kind of understandable.

D - This is an enjoyable DIPA. The smell is just fantastic but and it looks great, but the taste and mouthfeel just don't meet those standards. It is still a great brew to come out of a great brewery. Worth trying if you can track it down.

Photo of mjpolzin
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The color was nothing special although it seemed to get a little darker as I poured it in my glass mmm...

It smells a little sweet, maybe like fruit or flowers.

You can feel it in your mouth, not saying its not smooth but you can tell its there.

It is very bitter, really can taste the hops. The second time I drank it, I all of a sudden got a very distinct taste of grapefruit and I looked forward to that every drink for the rest of the bottle. It was a nice compliment to the bitterness. Not the best DIPA I've had but it is still decent. Doesn't really seem like 9% abv.
EDIT: After a few months, maybe this is my favorite DIPA. I have really grown to like this beer.

Photo of Fluke828
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to smurfbeer for including this as an extra in a recent trade.

12oz bottle poured into Liefmans Goudenband Cervoise

Pours a nice cloudy amber/tawny-ish color with a cream colored 2 finger head. Solid amount of sticky lacing.

Smell is very floral and herbal with faint citrus.

Taste is not as bitter as I expected with the smell, very fruity and floral hoppyness some bitterness but more spicy than bitter. A glorious balance.

Mouthfeel is great, healthy carbonation and smooth balance.

Overall this beer is fantastic, the first Central Waters brew I've tasted and needless to say I'm impressed. A truly superb double IPA.

Photo of Snow81
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light glowing orange

Head: Thick white head

Smell: Big floral hops with a light malty grassiness, light citric

Taste: Light citric, little floral and a maltyness that is very low

Weight: Medium to light body

Finish: Sticky on the lips with big floral hops and sweet grass

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.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 803 ratings.