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Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

260 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 260
Hads: 873
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 18.11%
Wants: 95
Gots: 79 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

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

Availability: Spring

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 260 | Hads: 873
Photo of YouSkeete
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange/copper with a finger thick off-white head. Fresh aromatic hops, bubbly citrus zest, whole wheat and creamy malts. Big, full, strong aroma overall. Blast of fresh bitter hops with spicy orange peel and honey malts on the first sip. Boldly spicy with a lot of earthy hop flavors. Hop bitterness follows through into the sticky, mildly nutty aftertaste.

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Photo of morimech
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Hazy, radiant, deep, golden-amber color with two fingers of dense white head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Hard to imagine a DIPA looking much better.

Smell- Pungent hop aromas. Hints of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine. Underneath the citrus bash of hop aromas, there is some softer notes of tropical fruit. Malt does not make an appearance here.

Taste- A lot of citrus upfront. Some passion fruit and mango as well. Malt is dry and is used to just transport the hops. Very high bitterness which is not surprising. No sign of alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with soft carbonation. Wonderful texture for such a bitter beer.

Drinkability- About as drinkable as a DIPA of this magnitude could be. Maybe two bottles at the most before the palate would be fatigued.

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Photo of EdwardK77
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Copper in color with a solid white head that holds up well and leaves nice bubbly lacing.

S- Not overpowering to me but pleasantly in the citrus spectrum.

T- I'm getting perfectly balanced sweet, bitter, citrusy, and caramel goodness.

M- Very smooth drinking, mild effervescence with some nice residual stickiness. The mouthfeel keeps you coming back for another sip.

O- This was my introduction to Central Waters and I am sure that we won't part company for too long. This is a top end well balanced DIPA.

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Photo of derkfromwi
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Half-inch white frothy head that thins to a thin layer with awesome retention (whole glass), slightly hazy golden orange color, lots of carbonation, very appealing lacing

S: Awesome smells, fresh hops, sweetness, grapefruit, orange peel, earthy, lemon

T: Bitterness (to be expected as it's 108 IBU's), grapefruit, earthiness, sweet orange, bitter palate wrecker is right

M: Smooth, medium-bodied, good carbonation, oily

O: Very good Double IPA, I look forward to this every year, I think it was a touch tastier on tap last week, but I'll have to do a review on that soon to be sure

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Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky looking body of orange/copper. Thin dirty white head on top. Lacing is quite full. Balanced out aroma that isn't too forward in any specific area. There's pine, but also citrus. Hop resin and also fruitiness, with tangerine and orange providing the underlying fruit aromas. Flavor is quite good and quite balanced as well. Malt base is crystal based and the hops provide a little of everything...subtly. Grassiness, bitterness, fruitiness, smokiness....good stuff all together. The bitterness is not scathing at all. It's there, don't get me wrong, but not too abrasive. This is a well done DIPA. Wouldn't expect anything else form these guys.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= This is the last of my four pack so I figured now is the time for a review. The color is a nice semi hazy golden amber color with an excellent two finger head on it holding pretty steady with excellent lacing on the glass.

S= The most pineapple I've ever smelled in a beer. It actually smells like pineapple juice to me. What kinda hops were used in this? Other than pineapple I'm not sure how to describe this. A slight citrus slight pine smell???

T= The taste is initally pineapple juice again. Wow, I've tasted pineapple in a beer before but nothing like this. There is a little extra citrus bitterness in the mid pallate and the finish is a little pollon bitter hoppiness but I'm being picky there. This is pineapple all the way.

M= A nice light carbonation. Maybe a little less carbonation would be better but there isn't much wrong with this.

D= Again as I have said throughout this review... This beer tastes sooo much like pineapple to me. The finish does get a little hoppy bitterness to it but the taste is pineapple. Unbelieveable. This beer is worth seeking out just because it's so different.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
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.


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Photo of crossovert
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The local store finally got this in. 12 oz brown bottle. Says it was bottled this month, nice.

It pours a hazy cidre/orange color. The head is white and foamy and leaves very nice lacing behind.

This one smells pretty damn awesome. I'm glad I got it super fresh. It is bursting with hop scents. It has a nice candied orange peel, some mild mango, and some grapefruit. I love smelling the tropical fruit bombs, tasting them is hit or miss, we shall see.

This one tastes pretty damn awesome too. The ample amount of bitterness accents the fruitiness nicely. There is a lot more pine and grapefruit peel in the flavor which I like. I love mangoes and citrus and pretty much all tropical fruits, there is only one that irks me and it is pineapple, there doesn't seem to be much of it here luckily. It has a nice mineral water flavor to it as well. It is a very finely crafted DIPA. It isn't an out of control hop bomb, and isn't too sweet. It definitely is leaning towards bitter but it isn't the most bitter DIPA you will find. The resinous hops seem to stick in your mouth forever with a lasting bitterness.

The mouthfeel is decent but not perfect for this one. All that bitterness leaves a bit of dryness.

Much like say a hopslam, this one is a dangerously drinkable brew, especially with a hearty abv. It is immensely quaffable.

Central Waters had me with their stouts, now they have me with their DIPA. This brewery is really starting to make more and more quality beers.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a big fan of many of Central Waters' beers, though I'm not overly fond of Glacial Trail IPA. But when I saw Illumination in six packs for about $6 more than their staple brews, I had to jump at it. Poured straight from the fridge into a pint glass and enjoyed immediately.

L: Pours a deep copper/apricot with about a half inch of off-white head that persists for a good while before settling down to a ring and broken film. Quite clear, with modest effervescence. Substantial lacing on the glass as it goes down.

S: It doesn't have an overpowering nose to it, but the bouquet is beautiful. Lots of citrus/grapefruit hop notes mingling nicely with apricot and more subtle pine and grasses.

T: Some sweet malt/biscuit flavors at the fore, followed almost immediately by a piney hop onslaught that carries into the aftertaste. At the back, the citrus flavors assert themselves before a nice--but by no means overwhelming--bitterness. This description might make the taste seem jarring, but it's quite the opposite: this is an extremely well-balanced and drinkable DIPA.

F: One thing I can't stand about many of the DIPAs out there is their syrupy quality. This beer is not in the least syrupy or overly heavy on the palate. It has a lighter body than many in this style, along with just the right carbonation. The bitter stays on your taste buds without making you feel like you've just swallowed Robitussin.

O: If you can get your hands on this beer, it'll be well-worth your effort. It's incredibly drinkable for a DIPA--it really goes down easy without sacrificing any of the hop glory. You continue to impress me, Central Waters.

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Photo of bsp77
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From taste notes. Appearance: Smell: Rich, hoppy grapefruit rind nose Taste: Starts malty with some caramel and they gives way to a very pleasant lingering citrus rind bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium body, rich and creamy, fine soft carbonation, smooth. Overall: Very easy to drink for such a big beer.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is golden orange with about two fingers of bright white head. Great retention. Lots of sticky lace left around my glass.

The aroma is fragrant bouquet of piney resinous hops and tropical citrus fruits. It's like mangos and grapefruits rolled in fresh pine needles. No malt getting through in this one. I could smell this all day.

The flavor is simply a mirror of the nose. Full hop blast but no shredding bitterness. It has a mango/pineapple/grapefruit smoothness. Like the sweeter side of those fruits. The piney kick is there as well but not until the finish. Spot on perfection.

Medium creamy body with solid carbonation. Light dry finish.

Overall another straight up winner from CW. Super flavorful and hoppy yet easy enough to have more than one in a sitting. Paul is steadily becoming one of my favorite brewers.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this afternoon into a pint, I really like the way this one looks in the glass it is a beautiful orange with a good cloudy haze with no sediment.

It smells of orange, mango, pinapple, citrus all way it is a citrus bomb in the nose.

It tastes just like it smells oranges, mangos, pinapples an other citrus fruits all the way through to the end where a malt backbone and a good bitter bite really come through.

mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth. Very nice.

I really like this DIPA, this is the first year I have tried it but it will not be the last. I wish this was year round.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of jera1350
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark burnt orange in color with a nice layer of creamy tan foam on top. Nice gobs of lacing on the glass.

Fresh citrusy goodness fills the nostrils. Pineapple, orange and grapefruit with a malty sweetness as well.

What a hop profile! Picking up some pineapple and citrus and then a wave of pine sweeps in. A nice sweetness that seems to be more fruity than caramel. Strong pine resin and grapefruit bitterness lasts until the next sip.

More than medium bodied, smooth with some very soft carbonation. Finishes tongue suckingly dry.

Drinks well for the style and abv. This is a DIPA that should be on everyone's radar. Top notch and sure to satisfy all hopheads.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tangerine gold with a pale-like glow. A creamy densely packed ivory foam sits on top with might at just over a finger high. Slowly sifted down to a heavy skim remaining the entire class through. Caked on lacing in very thick sheets and shelves coat the glass intently well.

Freshly buzzing hops are boldly set on the nose with a citric, tropical, floral front that has peach, mango, pineapple, and sweet pink grapefruit. The citrus dances around with a bit of floral freshness thats a bit weedy/cannibus tinted. Nice.

Taste is far more rounded and duller in sweetness of citrus. The citrus is there but mashed up into more of a darker aged marmalade. Very deep and darker peach, mango, and pineapple, mix together with a bit of pale and caramel malts. Then we come to finish, which totally turns it up big, full, and dryer, while being bittered with grapfruit peels and pithy citrusyness. Cheek parching grapefruity floralness sits last and remains there for quite a lengthy seat on the palate. Again, nice.

Clean, robust, creamy even, and a nearly full body that slips alot of citrusy action taking place all over the place. Excellent finish. Just bitter and drying enough to grab the palate but not pushy as to keep you from taking more sips. Complex hoppyness across the board. A favorably yummy Impy IPA form Central Waters!

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Photo of Beerlover
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Has a cloudy golden color. smells of sweet hops and tastes very similar to another double ipa I have had, couldn't put my finger on it at first but then figured out it was Bell's "hopslam". for about 4 bucks cheaper (taking into consideration the four pack this came in over the 6 pack the bells comes in)a good deal. if you see this one and like hopslam you gotta try it!

(had again this year {2013} and liked it just as much if not more than i remember liking it last year, awesome double ipa, better than hopslam was this year in my opinion!)

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters tulip.
9% ABV, Bottled On MAR notched on the label. (2012)

A - The sexy sound of the beer pouring into the glass is music to my ears. A densely packed cream head rises quietly and sticks around for a while. Thick, chunky lace coats the glass above a hazy goldenrod yellow-orange-colored beer.

S - Mounds of pine needle and sticky, sappy resin overthrow the inevitable grapefruit citrus nose which is nice for a change. Usually it's the other way around with the American hops, though this beer is certainly not without plenty of tropical fruit aroma. A hearty malty sweetness full of dense bread and caramel cube balances the hops well.

T - The taste reflects the nose quite well. A more powerful pine resin flavor opens up leading into a sweet malty backbone that immediately gives way to a tongue-bruising, teeth-hurting citrus bitter kick. Other nuances pull through after the initial shock of the hop-roundhouse kick to the face wears off. Notes of honey-drizzled toast and a slight spicy yeast component share a low-level spot-light with a very subtle alcohol sensation.

M - The alcohol is almost non-existent in this beer save for the miniscule warming finish and light solvent aroma passed through the olfactory upon retronasal breathing! The medium-full body and light, lively carbonation don't do much to mask the severe bitterness that carries through the finish but the balanced sweetness helps tone down the well-deserved hop-smack. I can't think of a thing I'd change here.

O - Illumination is a great beer from home-boys Central Waters. In sticking with their mantra of "balance, even with big hops" as it were, Illumination serves up plenty for the huge hop head but remains different enough to stand out in a sea of hop monsters. Delicious and drinkable, especially for the high alcohol content, Illumination is a double IPA from Wisconsin that makes me proud.

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage

Pours a hazy orange, with fluffy white head, very nice lacing.

Smell is very nice, grapefruit, hops, and pine.

Taste is excellent, much like the nose, alcohol is very well hidden. Some bitterness at the end but the flavors are very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy, with a nice little bitterness at the end. Nice bit of carbonation.

Overall, this is one I wait all year for. One of the best examples of the style. So glad this brewery is in my back yard.

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Photo of Snow81
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
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

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.61/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Color me Illuminated!!! Got this in a 16oz growler from Cable Beverage in NY, and poured it into my Gandhi-Bot snifter.

A lot of the properties of this beer remind me of Chillwave: color, smell, taste.

Nice mixture of mango and grapefruit on the tongue. Exceptionally delicious!!!

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Photo of gford217
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
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...

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a tulip glass

A: pours a very nice thick golden color with a slight amber color and two fingers of pure white head that is nice and foamy and lingers beautifully,
S: has a great grapefruit scent that is very gentle and not as harsh as im accustomed to with this style, also has a nice crisp scent of leaves or tree sap, not quite sure what it is
T: great taste, perfect amount of grapefruit and sweetness, perfect bitterness and a nice tartness, just awesome taste, so highly drinkable it is bordering on dangerous, only lacking in complexity and depth ever so slightly
M: medium carbonation, thick at first but moves its way over to being smooth and light, leaves a slight dryness
O: as i was pouring this brew, i could already tell i was going to love it, i could smell it as it hit the glass and the colors, just perfect for what i look for in DIPA's. truly reminds me of DFH 60 Minute but with 9% ABV, my god its awesome

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Photo of bound4er
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Hazy golden amber to light orange with tons of carbonation bubbles. Nice puffy two finger white head. Gobs of lacing seem to hang forever.

S. Just what I like in a DIPA - lots of citrus, mango, pineapple - damn, this is making my mouth water. No sign of booze either. Perfection.

T. Balance is what I find - plenty of hop fruitiness and bitterness but not in an off-putting way - citrus and pine seem to dominate. Nice breadiness from the malt for balance without any sweetness to distract.

M. Good creaminess with plenty of backing carbonation.

D. Off the charts - really goes down smoothly with no alcohol to be found. Finally a DIPA from a Wisconsin brewer to get excited about. This is an excellent offering from Central Waters - kudos. Add this to their great line of stouts and CW is right there with NG for best brewer in state honors IMHO.

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Photo of Motozappa
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Poured from a growler served yesterday from a freshly tapped keg at Vista Beer and Beverage in Westchester, NY into a VIJF Duvel tulip glass (sil vous plait)

Appearance: When poured little white head developed which is a good thing really( :P ). The lacing was minimal, but what had developed was highly resinous so it stuck for ages. Notably was the cloudiness which a first I thought might be a frosty condensation, but upon whipping both sides of the glass, I knew the opaqueness was quite clearly non-transparent.

Smell: This is where things really get rolling even with my tree pollen alergies trying to stand in the way. To me it seems not all that complex, just straight up lightly florally hops, with a smooth pine aroma and a freshness that can not be compared to many others of the same style.

Taste: Now for a double or imperial IPA these suds are smooth as silk without any bite or a high alcohol blast. First it's hoppy upon the tongue, then mildly dry and lastly if you are paying attention, the persistent flavor lingers nicely on and and on...

Mouthfeel: This part is always hardest for me and no, it didn't feel like a ten thousand pound anchor was dropped upon my palette... I'll do my best: It's almost dry to the entire mouth especially the tongue yet only initially. Then it happens as I open my mouth the dryness dissipates quickly to a well rounded, smooth and sweet finish that is unobtrusive and very satisfying. Oh and it is mildly carbonated, but far from flat which I prefer with most ales.

If you've read this far, I thank you for reading and bearing with my excessive dribble. Enjoy good brews responsibly with good friends and family > goodwill, cheers and peace to all.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 260 ratings.