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Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

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IlluminationIllumination

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

802 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 802
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: 802 | Reviews: 255
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.

Photo of garymuchow
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

Photo of CurtisLoew
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of benfranklin
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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 (?).

Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev -4%
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..

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.

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.

Photo of Duff27
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of Spica66
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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!

Photo of SykDoc
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.03/5  rDev -25.2%
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.

Photo of gford217
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
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...

Photo of cokes
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of boomer31
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of glazeman
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 802 ratings.