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Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
IlluminationIllumination

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

772 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 772
Reviews: 252
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 85
Gots: 60 | FT: 3
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: CaptainIPA on 06-01-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 772 | Reviews: 252 | Display Reviews Only:
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

mnbrewery, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of atsprings
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

atsprings, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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

blackie, Sep 03, 2010
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.

DefenCorps, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of garymuchow
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Closing up my summer season with primary attention to DIPA. Conclusion that this is a hard style to master. Many average version and few very good or more.
This one has a nicely balanced aroma. Sweet, fruity, citrus and mild grass. Firm malt backing balances nicely. Well done.
Nice dense off-white head. Orange amber and lots of bubble from etching on bottom of SN tulip. Attractive.
Fully bitter with less apparent hop flavors. Drys and lays heavy on tongue. Mild malt sweetness with nice fruit flavor (best part of drink, by far).
Moderate body and carbonated nicely. Drinks thick and reasonable smooth.
Excessive hops can take on odd flavors. This one has something resembling dog poop - old and turned over in the grass. Needless to say I'm not fond of it.
Drinkability is limited due to intensity of the bitterness and flavors I don't appreciate. Can't say I'm anticipating my next bottle. It's only okay, in sum.
In the end I stick with my initial statement.

garymuchow, Aug 31, 2010
Photo of CurtisLoew
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at discount in milwaukee - thanks for the recommendation Wisconsinality!

A - This is a great looking beer. A dark yellow/light orange color, with white lacing around the glass. Cloudy and inviting.

S - Smell of citrus and floral hops. Pretty muted compared to other double IPA's.

T - Very good taste. Balanced IPA, and a great dose of hops.

M - Perfect Carbonation, and very clean mouthful.

D - Great drinkability. I could drink these all day. Very smooth and easy to put down for the style.

CurtisLoew, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of benfranklin
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just bought probably the last bottle of this particular batch at Ridgeview Liquor in Green Bay.

Despite being late in its life, this beer remained a worthy DIPA. Congratulations to the guys at CW for cooking it up.

I look forward to another chance to sample it next spring perhaps (?).

benfranklin, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Beertracker for this one, cheers Jeff! Bottled in May.

Pours an effervescent honey color with 3 fingers of rocky tan head. Great head retention & lacing

S: Pineyness & grapefruit, some breadyness. All aromas fade as this warms up

T: Grapefruit, breadyness & apricot up front, but mostly grapefruit, & some woody herbal bitterness. Woody hops, pineapple & slight boozeyness as this warms, plus dryness. Finishes with slight astringency, a bit of grapefruit, woody hops & dryness

MF: Chewy, firm carbonation & alright balance

Drinks pretty easy, ABV is well hidden, a good DIPA that works for me, but doesn't get me too pumped up. I would love to try fresher, I'm sure the DIPA aspects are more pronounced..

russpowell, Aug 22, 2010
Photo of thetomG
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber/orange pour with nice tightly packed foamy head that dissipates rather quickly but leaves some nice spotty lacing around the glass.

Pleasantly hoppy & sweet aroma. Flavor has a nice balance between sweet citrus and piney hop notes. Very interesting and well balanced combination - I've had plenty of DIPAs that lean heavily one way or the other, but the balance here is refreshing. Quite drinkable considering the 9% ABV and not overly bitter considering the 100 IBUs...

I would definitely drink this again. Tasty.

thetomG, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of nickd717
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle shared at a tasting thanks to chswimmer. Thanks for sharing, Ted!

Pours clear copper in color with a lasting one-finger white head and decent lacing.

Aroma is pretty nice. Citrusy and floral hops as well as some sweet malt.

Flavor is really solid. A sweet caramel and pale malt background along with loads of hops, grapefruity, resinous, and a little piney.

Pretty good palate, medium-light bodied with some hop resins. A surprisingly good DIPA from Wisconsin. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

nickd717, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of Duff27
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Thick(!) near two-finger foam that lasts quite awhile. Pleasant lacing down all sides of the glass. Copper/light red color. Beautiful.

S- Hoppy, makes my nose happy. Citrus.

T- More bitter citrus hoppiness...just one of the things I love most about DIPAs. Some alcohol in the aftertaste but that's just to remind you that you shouldn't be drinking these all afternoon long.

M- Smooth. Medium carbonation.

D/O- As with any imperial style beer, the drinkability suffers a tad when you can only drink so much before your taste buds are shot and you don't taste anything anyways. Overall, a solid solid performance by Central Waters. This is the third or fourth brew I've had from them and they still deserve my attention.

Duff27, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a bruery tulip glass. Beer is amber and slightly hazy. Forms a big head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass but the overall carbonation level is low.

Beer smells slightly piny hoppy and quite malty. There is almost a wheat edge to it.

The beer is medium bodied and quite malty but the malt is not the star. There is great hop character on the mid and late palate of this beer and overall the malt does well to balance it out. I'm not one of those guys that wants a balanced IPA usually, I'm looking for hops hops and more hops, but the maltiness of this one made it more drinkable and enjoyable.

drabmuh, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of Spica66
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this an extra from Alexander. Thank you Alex!

Poured from bottle into glass.

A: Slightly syrupy looking pour. Copper/golden color. Good head formation and carbonation.

S: Not a punch-you-in-your-face-look-how-much-hops-I-can-put-in-a-beer smell. Mostly deep malt smell with a bit of citrus hops.

T: Very malt-forward. The hops must have been mostly bittering hops, because they fight hard with the malt on your tongue to see whose boss. This is the maltiest DIPA I have ever had.

M: Super creamy and very well carbonated.

D: Couldn't tell the 9% at all. Very drinkable.

Spica66, Aug 13, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An intensely bitter Double IPA with all the flavor, malt backbone, and alcohol complexities to balance and round the beer. A beautiful hop demonstration all the way around.

A golden-copper color shows a modest haze (typical of dry-hopping). Froathy white foam tops the beer and settles into a light blanket of consistent foam. Great lacing and retainage throughout.

Juicy and intense aromas of grapefruit, orange zest, pine resins, and sharp grasses. A supportive malt character gives the light impression of caramel and cinnamon spice. Light on fruity esters, phenols, and with a modest alcohol scent, this beer is all about the hops.

Strong hop flavor of citrus fruits (ruby reds, tangerines, and pineapple) dominate the flavor with only a background showing of graham cracker maltiness for a modest attempt to balance the flavor. Pine, lemon grass, and fresh cut herbs give an earthy bitterness to the beer and take the flavors from the citrusy start and into an aggressively bitter and drying finish. Chinook hops (or similar) seem to be the driving force for hop flavor and bitterness.

Full and creamy early, the beer smoothens into a moderate malty feel through the first impression. But then the subtle flavors of malt and hops taper off, allowing the intense bitterness to lead into a drying and minty/alcoholic finish.

I like the early malt rebuttal against the showcase of flavoring and bittering hops, and then proceeds to allow for a growing hop intensity into the finish and aftertaste but without completely loosing it's malt flavor or feel- this is what separates the IPA's from Double IPA's. Still, this beer doesn't try to balance either, such as Avery's Maharaja and Bell's Hopslam. True to fashion, but I need a more vibrant and juicy hop flavor with less aggression to set this one apart.

Thanks once again Shango42!

BEERchitect, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of SykDoc
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear straw color forming a 1/8 inch off-white head with nice retention and a full lacing. Carbonation visible and no sediment.

The aroma is as expected with a vibrant citrus hops and a sweet malty backbone. A hint of alcohol.

The taste is a pleasant malt sweetness followed by a balancing citrus hops. Some bread and pine notes with a little more alcohol.

The mouthfeel is full/medium bodied. Carbonation is solid. The hops gives it a leathery texture with a nice dry finish.

This is a very good beer and worthy of getting your hands on if possible. If you like DIPAs and hops, this is a great option as it has the abv and flavors, but not overwhelming.

SykDoc, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
3/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by largadeer. Thanks, Chris.

From notes jotted after I got home.

A: Pours a clear amber body. Sudsy head with good retention for the style. Some lace.

S: Malt-forward. Caramel, some biscuit, and (interestingly) brown sugar. Hops are a citrus variety with some candied orange and a touch of grass. Some booze on the nose (bizarre).

T: Malt-forward here, as well. It seems to have used a lot of bittering hops, as the clash between brown sugar/caramel and earth/grass sets the stage for most of the taste. Some hop flavors come through (candied grapefruit, as noted in the nose). It's boozy on the finish. After I have some fish and chips, all I can taste are the bitterness and booze.

M: Overcarbonated, and boozy. Malty.

D: Maybe I'm just spoiled, coming from the West Coast. But this isn't a very good DIPA.

Arbitrator, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of gford217
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of Frankenbrew.

Pours a brilliant clear golden amber with a soapy white head thate recedes to a wispy cap and leaves some streaks of lacing.

The aroma is wonderful with pithy citrus hops paired with resinous floral hops. Grapefruits, lemons and pine trees all rolled into one. Light bready malts in the background.

The taste also has the sweet but slightly bitter citrus, grapefruits coming out a little more. The backbone is lightly toasted malts and a big, bitter finish just full of sticky pine resin and a little alcohol burn.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky with hops. The carbonation is moderate but the beer just sticks on my tongue after each sip.

This is a fantastic beer. One of the best IPAs I remember tasting. I'm starting to wonder if Central Waters is my favorite brewery. The hits just keep on coming...

gford217, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of cokes
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thick, messy, mesa of stained ivory sits on top of the lightly hazed bronze-orange liquid. The head erodes over time, but leaves scree-slopes of lace all the way down.
The nose is all about pineapple, muskmelon, and lime. But the closer one's nose gets to the surface, the more variety of fruit is teased out. Apricot, tangerine, kiwi, lemon, orange, papaya....but those first three do the heavy lifting. Some toffee and breadiness add balance, but stay in the background. As does the alcohol. It's there, and it's not.
Taste-wise, it's re-shuffled a bit. All those same things are here, but in a different order, and with some newcomers.
Maltiness makes some elbow room with caramel, burnt toffee, and dates. All that ebbs as the hops force their way in, and malt takes up a breadier, backing role. Hopping is much more piney and abrasive than it was on the nose. Fruit is pushed down, though melon and pineapple and mango still are still integral. The strength of the hops rest on pine sap and resinous bitterness. The former forward fruitiness is now auxiliary. Earthier and danker now, but the booze is still barely noticeable.
Fleecy, full bodied, given perk and bubble by the steady, low-level carbonation. It's heavy, but it's not heavy. And that's how good DIPAs go.
There is a world class DIPA in here somewhere. It's got everything it needs. And while very good, with a small tweak or two this could be off-the-charts.
In reality, that's all nitpicking, and only because I really like it. I'll gladly hope for and anticipate it's return, as is, every year.

cokes, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of boomer31
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Love all of CW 4 pack releases and have heard this compared to Hopslam?!?!

A - Golden and transparent. Little head that leaves quickly.

S - I get some sweet hop fruitiness here but more malt than hops. This is interesting but nice. I hope the 100+ IBUs come forward in the taste.

T - Here are the hops. Grassy hops. A deninite double IPA up front with sweet malt and bitterness only in the back. I can see where some may taste a bit of hopslam in this but it doesn't live up to it. The bitterness lingers but not overwhelming. Also a touch of alcohol which fits nicely in this beer.

M - Nice low carbonation and residual sweetness.

D - This is very smooth, sweet and drinkable.

A nice beer for CW. I would buy this again but won't seek it out. There is some sweetness but I'd like to increase hops in the nose.

boomer31, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of glazeman
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A: The most orange beer I have ever seen, with a tad bit of amber in there. This has a a one finger creamy off-white head that has moderate head retention and phenomenal lacing. This is a great looking beer.

S: Illumination is pretty good smelling beer. It has a nice floral and tangerines with a little bit of alcohol in there as well.

T: Almost all hops. There's a tiny bit of malt in the finish, but this is definitely a hop lovers beer. The main flavors I noticed were pine, bitterness, and some alcohol burn.

M: A bit overcarbonated for my liking. The aftertaste is not all that pleasant as some alcohol heat comes through at the finish.

D: This beer definitely exceeded my expectations, but was not quite as balanced and well rounded as some of the top DIPAs. It is definitely worth a try if you are in the Midwest and can get a hold of it though. I thought it was a nice drink and would have it again.

glazeman, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into my La Choffe tulip

Pale orange pour is quite clear when hold to the light. Head sinks to a whispy quasar along the surface as a ring settles around the edges. I tend to enjoy the look of an orange-y IPA and this nearly fits my visceral visual enjoyment.

Initial scent of candied orange is short lived, followed closely with some grass and a healthy amount of brown sugar. It's pretty nice, but doesn't stick around long enough to make this particularly memorable.

Bitterness rules the Illumination. With a tongue battering bitterness throughout, this beer's a bit like what I would imagine eating the forest floor might taste like. So hungry from hiking, so famished, near death, need food or drink...must...eat...the ....forest floor. Before you consume nature and have the Sierra Cub all up your business, I have a beer for you that will satisfy your needs. Crisis averted, we can breathe easy and return to the review. When aggressively swirled, some of the brief citrus from the initial nose returns, but similarly, doesn't last.

The palate has been assaulted. Each sips seems to launch an unprovoked bombardment of my tongual region. I did not notice until now that the bottle has warned me that such debauchery would result in my opening this bottle. Shame on my lack of reading.

BarrytheBear, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of airohead2001
3.08/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to glazeman for getting this one on his day trip to Wisconsin.

A - Thick, hazy, cloudy, dirty, dark orange with a one finger head with nice retention and great lacing. A nice looking DIPA.

S - Not a whole lot here - a bit disappointing. Some mild, stale smelling hops and booze. That's all.

T - Interesting tasting DIPA. Sharp, bitter, piney hop bite through out, particularly in the finish. Very little malts. The bitter hops are most prominent as they bubble against my epiglottis on route to my belly. What makes this one interesting is the finish. Although it is definitely bitter, it is also accompanied by a nutty, wheaty, light pilsner profile. Sort of bizarre, but I like it.

M - Both very thick and very carbonated. I like thick DIPAs, but something's got to go - either the carbonation or the chewiness. Having both around is a bit too much.

D - Overall, this was a tasty and interesting beer. However, the bitterness, lack of malts, and overly intense mouthfeel make 12oz of this beer just the right amount for me.

airohead2001, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of ZAP
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Clouded deep orange color....little head

S-Bright citrus....Mandarin oranges, tangerines, clementines..along with a tropical malibu rum like aroma....very intriguing...

T-Sweet, bright citrus again....same fruits...good hop flavors and a mild bitterness on the finish...not jagged or abrasive at all..

M-Full bodied...this is a sipper...carbonation is about perfect....drying bitterness on the finish.

D-Very interesting and enjoyable. I love the hop flavors. Prettty unique taste to this....I'd like to hear how they hopped this to get these dimensions.

ZAP, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of blackhawks87
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. This is my first review.

A- Opaque, orange, honey like color. Poured gently producing a white ~1cm head. Lacing on the glass the entire way down. Nice head remains around the edge of the glass, patches of foam are scattered about the middle of the surface of the beer as well.

S- Strong citrus hops invade my nostrils. Also can smell something honey-like, and a malty breadiness comes through as the beer gets warmer. Also can smell peppery hops at the end.

T- Heavily dominated by hops, like I would expect from the smell. I can taste grapefruit and oranges in between lots of hops at the start and a strong peppery finish. As the beer gets warmer I can start to taste white bread and slightly taste alcohol before I swallow.

M- The mouthfeel is what I imagine biting into the hop nugget on the bottle label would feel like. Hop bitterness spreads across my entire mouth immediately, nearly dominating any other inklings of flavor. Carbonation is good. Mouthfeel score suffers slightly because of the hop bitterness, but the bottle warns you it is a palate wrecker.

D- I have to agree with the bottle that this will destroy your palate. I could probably enjoy only 2 of these 12 ounce bottles maximum in one sitting. The alcohol is hardly noticeable, even as the beer gets closer to room temperature. If you could handle the strong hop bitterness you could take these down no problem. Overall I like this beer and I could see myself getting it again, if I'm okay with not being able to use my taste buds for the next ten days.

blackhawks87, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of NealVsBeer
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A beautiful golden-orange color with a one-finger head and good retention

S - Smells of citrus and hops

T - Citrus up front. Pineapple really stands out. Hops and malts to finish

M - Medium-bodied and smooth

D - Overall a very impressive DIPA. This is a must try.

NealVsBeer, Jul 20, 2010
Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 772 ratings.