1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

782 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 782
Reviews: 252
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 84
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 782 | Reviews: 252 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

chicagobeerriot, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of Lukafer
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Lukafer, Oct 14, 2010
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.

siradmiralnelson, Oct 03, 2010
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.

drizzam, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of samie85
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

samie85, Sep 30, 2010
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...

hawks10, Sep 27, 2010
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

PSUDREW, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of Ek0nomik
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Ek0nomik, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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%.

Thorpe429, Sep 17, 2010
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.

Bubba83, Sep 17, 2010
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
Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 782 ratings.