Holy Cow IPA - The Alchemist Pub & Brewery

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Holy Cow IPA
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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

37 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 37
Hads: 47
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 3.96%
Wants: 18
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Alchemist Pub & Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.16% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottum on 12-23-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 47
Photo of BigCheese
4.68/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On Tap at Brewpub.

Served in a trendy, stemless snifter. Quite dark in color, relatively clear, nice thin plush head that sticks around until the end, and leaves lacing.

Smell was very citrus/sweet hops, some light bready/malty notes too.

Taste: WOW. I cant believe how much flavor this packs for the abv, its really incredible. So complex/rich in flavor. Tons of hop presence on par with an DIPA. Maltys are rich almost porter like in flavor initially, a hint of chocolate and caramel. Then the hops, citrus, grapefruit, tropical, sunshine, summer and glory.

Incredibly sessionable for the flavor profile. Very well made.

Best beer under 6% abv I've ever had. (665 characters)

Photo of tubbnik
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have a Cow, man!

Wonderful IPA from a wonderful brewpub. Best Pale Ale in Vermont!

a - Deep copper color. Nice head that lingered for about halfway thru my drinking.

s - Grapefruit is most prominent, followed by assorted citrus essences. Deliciously balanced with a sweet malt aroma. Balanced.

t - The blend of hops gave a inital burst of citrus flavor, again mostly grapefruit. Then a wave of malt backbone comes in right on time. Followed by a slight pine flavor. Finished with an even blend of hop bitterness and malt flavor. So balanced its amazing. I couldn't go more than 30 seconds between sips.

m - felt like beer in terms of carbonation and viscosity. which is an accomlishment concidering the strong hops and malt presences. more than anything, my mouth felt satisfaction. on the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

d - high drinkability. After sampling their beer menu, I enjoyed two more. I couldn't get enough.

Highly praised and reccomended. Drive to Waterbury and have one. (1,007 characters)

Photo of chuckd123
4.6/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Updating my original review. I knew this was a great IPA the first time, but since then I've tried countless others, and generally prefer double IPA's for the hoppier, more flavorful taste. Now having had this one again, I am amazed at the flavor John gets out of a 5% abv beer. I love Pliny the Elder, but I swear the Holy Cow is a better overall beer, and at 5% you can realistically session this one vs. 8% Pliny. If John ever decides to bottle this one, and the rest of the BA's around the country try it, I have no doubt it would rank in the top 5 for the style. Great job John, another fantastic Alchemist brew.

Had several Holy Cow's while in Vermont skiing in January 2008. Excellent IPA overall. Very typical copper color with a head that maintained lacing all the way down the glass during the 30 or so minutes I spent drinking one. Very hoppy right away, has the flavor more typical of a double, but much more drinkable given moderate abv. Smells of hops, citrus and malt (in that order), with hops dominating. If you're an IPA fan, get yourself up to the Alchemist for one of these. They make several excellent IPA's (try the holy moly double if you want more of an alcohol kick, it's amazing). One of the top 5 IPA's I've ever had. (1,246 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap poured into a 4oz sample glass.

Pours a nice pale amber that's a bit hazy with a small white head and thin white lacing. Nose is light, hoppy and malty. Quite floral and fruity.

Taste is great and hoppy, ita hard to remember this is an ipa not an iipa, it's very tasty and citrusy with a good malt backbone. Super drinkable, very tasty ipa. (350 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Looks a lot like Rapture. Pretty darker color. Great head. I'm surprised at how dark the color is. I dig it. Lacing everywhere. Great presentation in the glass too.

S-The Alchemist does not play around with the hops. They mean business. This one is incredibly hoppy too. Tropical hoppiness. Decent balance too. Aromatic and fragrant.

T-Flavor for days. Hoppy and fresh, but still a delectable malt backbone. There is a bunch of fresh cut grass in the flavor. Herbal and delicious. Quite like Rapture. I can tell by one glass how incredibly sessionable this flavor is. Simply delicious and cut out of the Alchemist's mold.

M-Still pretty big for a %5.2 brew. How did they pack this much flavor into this? A bunch of bubbles and a dry aftertaste. Good, lasting bitterness.

O/D-Don't let the bigger brews fool you. This one is an absolute ace on its own. Would kill to have this regularly. Tropical and grassy hops blow me away. Cannot say enough about this brewery and their amazing IPA. And once again, cheap for a glass. (1,026 characters)

Photo of Satchboogie
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the source

A: Pours bright orange, very hazy, with nearly 2 fingers of slightly off-white head (foamy). Leaves a lot of lacing covering most of the glass.

S: Holy Cow! Citrus and tropical fruits are bursting out of the glass: tangerine, mango, grapefruit, etc. Really "orange" and bright smelling with a touch of floral and herbal qualities. It's like opening a fresh bag of really citrus-forwards hops.

T: Does the nose follow over? Yep! Just short of an all out hop assault: tons of that great citrus with good balance (floral and herbal notes) and enough pine resin to give a good wallop of bitterness. The malt base is lightly toasted with a decent amount of crystal malt. The hop flavors last long through the finish without really budging. Fairly dry and bitter finish with an awesome hoppy aftertaste.

M: Medium body, slightly high carbonation, very resinous. Has a fairly crisp finish, but does have a bit more sweetness than a really dry IPA. A little balance.

O: I've heard a lot about these big, citrus-forward killer IPAs, but they for the most part have been fairly elusive. This really fits the mold for my perfect IPA. Stone IPA I find too herbal, Alesmith wasn't intense/bitter/citrus enough, etc etc. This was one the spot. The most amazing thing to me is that ABV. I could drink this baby all day if I had easier access. (1,355 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a pretty hazy orange/copper, nice colour, very thick white head forms and settles down to a chunky layer, very rocky looking, big chunks of lace stick all the way through, great retention.

Smell is great, fresh and hoppy, intense pine notes, grapefruit, big nose on this one, caramel and biscuit maltiness, floral, tons of resinous pine, a bit of fruit, lightly herbal, great balance, very hoppy.

Taste is nice too, malty up front, caramel and some biscuit, crackery, floral, grapefruit, pine, lots of citrus, nice malty middle, big herbal bitterness in the finish but perfectly balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, very smooth. This is a great IPA. (714 characters)

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Alchemist this past Thursday.

A: Pours a hazy orangish brown color with an off white foam head. There is more than sufficient lacing.

S: Lots of hops, mostly citrus and pine hops. The beer also has lots of bready malt and caramel malt. Bitter and sweet smelling.

T: A wonderfully balanced beer. There is plenty of hop character up front that lasts throughout the tasting, but the malt backbone is plenty sufficient so the beer is balanced.

M: Leaves a slightly bitter and slick feel ont he palate.

D: This has a low ABV and it quite balanced that makes it extremely easy to drink. This is a must try for anybody who appreciates great beer. (662 characters)

Photo of musicforairports
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Cloudy amber in color. A fluffy 1-inch head on top leaves some lacing down the glass.

Smell is all hops. Lots of tropical fruit aromas and some pine.

Taste is very hoppy but not very bitter. Mango, papaya, grapefruit flavors dominate. I'd say this is a Simcoe/Amarillo mix, perhaps some Citra. No really malt flavors to speak of besides a mild sweetness in the background that never really comes out much. Finishes dry.

Lightly creamy on the mouth with the right level of carbonation.

This is a fantastically drinkable IPA, and given the ABV I could drink a lot of them. The Alchemist does hoppy beers very well. (640 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the alchemist brew pub on 11/3/2010

This beer pours a golden straw color, with a fingers worth of head that dissipates leaving lacing on the glass. The smell is earthy hops with a hint of citrus. The taste is a little more hop flavor leaning towards the pine and less towards citrus notes. it almost makes my mouth water just thinking about how this beer tasted, and how easily it went down. if your at the alchemist definitely try this beer before heady or it just won't taste the same. (507 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Deep copper with a white head that reduced slightly and left nice lace.

S-Grapefruit and other assorted citrus aromas. A nice follow up by sweet caramel malt.

T-Five hops?? Hello grapefruit and citrus! Then a malt backbone comes in right behind. Very nicely balanced with the hops taking the lead. Nice lingering piney hop bitterness.

M-Medium body with nice drying finish.

D-All hops, all the time! Oh right, and some malt too. Bring it on....this is super nice. How could Heady Topper be any better? Holy Cow is right! (528 characters)

Photo of Matthew
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ummmm Holy Cow! Ok I said it, but its deserved. This beer is set in front of me and is quite pretty. Burnt golden orange color with a solid inch of white frothy soapy head. After a few sips it settles and leaves a thin covering and lots of spotty lacing.
Absolutely bursting with grapefruit and orange rind. I could smell the ridiculously fresh oily citrusy hops as soon as this beer was set in front of me. Loaded with notes of tangerine and a light toasted caramel maltiness. Just incredibley fresh and potent.
Lots of flavor immediatley. Grapefruity citrus hops, orange, bit of lemon, a touch of peach and the lingering hop notes are more bitter than the immediate fruity hoppiness. Finishes with that hop bitterness and a light toasted malt flavor.
Light carbonaton with medium body.
Talk about a drinkable totally sessionable IPA. I could drink this beer all night. (874 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From 08/28/10 notes. Had on tap at the Alchemist in Vermont.

a - Pours a murky golden-amber color with one finger of white head and light carbonation evident.

s -Smells of citrus, as well as fruity malts. Hint of pine, very good. As it warms up, got some floral hops.

t - Tastes of citrus, with a tiny but of bitterness, but not as bitter as the Heady Topper. Also some fruity malts, caramel malts, and more grapfruit.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, smooth and easy to drink.

d - A very nice IPA. At 5.1% it was very easy to drink, and had a lot of nice citrus in the smell and taste. Would love to have again,. (627 characters)

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Off the tap at the charismatic joint I found this beer to be a amber color, slightly hazy with some visible carbonation. White head, little retention and spotty lacing. The aromas were nice and all hops, piney hops, citrus hops, herbal hops. The flavors were spot-on, grapefruit, strong pine and resin, green grass and a solid malt backbone behind it. Superb balance. Very drinkable and a fantastic example of the style. (420 characters)

Photo of skivtjerry
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has changed a little over the last couple years. It has gone from 5.1% ABV and 65 IBU to 5.6% and 85 IBU and gotten a little rougher around the edges - in a good way.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, with a moderate head.

Smell: Wonderful American hop aroma backed up by pale and crystal malts (maybe a little Munich??).

Taste: Hoppy and malty all at once, with a big hoppy finish. A lot of hops but still very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Substantial. A good one to chew on for a bit - something often missing in lesser IPA's.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night, except, a) I have to go home at some point and b) there are too many other great brews here to stick with this. (697 characters)

Photo of brewdan
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy Cow pours a dark golden color (from memory)

Fresh hoppy aroma.

Bright clean taste. Bitter finish. Just enough malt backbone to be balanced but not get in the way of the hops.

Smooth mouthfeel with ample carbonation.

Overall: excellent, especially once you consider the abv is only 5.2%. So much flavor for 5.2%.

Well-crafted indeed!! (344 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub on November 4, 2010.

Pours a nice, slightly-hazed orange color with a three-finger off-white head and an explosion of lacing as it goes down my glass. Then, the nose--holy crap are there a lot of hops in this way. The nose itself is incredibly bitter and brings forward a strong force of citrus hops with a bit of pine as well.

The flavor backs off a bit. There is just an unending amount of bitterness coming through in the feel, though the taste doesn't quite hit the high not belonging to the mouthfeel and the aroma, as the hop flavors don't really pop and it turns into a bit of an IBU bomb without the flavor to back it up. Still, a really nice beer and a pretty good substitute for not getting to try Heady Topper, though I'll be back looking for that. (783 characters)

Photo of DNICE555
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So glad I made the trip up her. Totally worth it. Another solid ipa from the Alchemist. Slightly under el jefe as far as taste is concerned but still a great ipa. Not quite as full and flavorfull especially in terms of the fruit coming through. This is being picky though. I could go through a bunch of these. (309 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first bier I enjoyed during a long weekend exploring northern Vermont with Alewife. Scored a pint whilst sitting at the bar... Poured a medium golden color, perhaps a touch of copper there too. Liquid was slightly cloudy, and the head was thin, white and creamy, leaving nice lace. Aroma sugested a touch of malt sweetness along with a healthy dose of citrus. Body was a solid medium, and the bier, not being highly carbonated, passed nicely on the tongue.

Holy cow! There's lots of citrus here, and the 6 malts used did lend a nice base upon which the hops were heaped. The major force playing in the flavor is the citrus, with a super grapefruit component. Despite the hops, this is really not an unbalanced bier. The malt has a good presence with all the hopping going on. Very nice brew...

Prosit!!

4.25
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5

1053 (884 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served a great full amber with a beaut of a white headskie. Tastes nice full and hoppy with a great mix of hop flavors. The malts are theree too for balance. As one would expect, the cask version of this beer has better mouthfeel and is smoother than the on tap version of the brewskie. Worth checking out for sure. (315 characters)

Photo of ChrisPro
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tap at The Alchemist

A - hazy golden yellow, bug white head.

S - lots of orange and grapefruit along with some peach/apricot.

T - little honey and then a perfect light bitterness. Tons of hop flavor without overpowering bitter finish.

M - medium, but feels super light. Nice carb.

O - I may like this better than heady. Not as complex, but I could drink this all day every day. Tons of flavor for 5% (404 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Alchemist on 1/5/2011. Pours a dull orange with a hazy clarity and a rocky, half inch bright white head that gradually dissipates into a fairly consistent skim. Thick, textured bands of lacing were revealed during the tasting. Nose expresses huge, sweet citrus aromas with a barely detectable kiss of earthy bitterness at the back. Flavor profile starts with a strong, earthy bitterness that reasserts itself at the finish. Middle reveals some citric acid with just the merest suggestion of citrus sweetness. There's also a slightly grassy quality interspersed in the mix. Mouthfeel is light-medium in consistency with an even carbonation and some astringency that lightly stimulates the salivary glands along the cheeks. This is a top notch IPA; one of the most memorable I've had to date. Slightly on the bitter side of the spectrum for my normal tastes; however, this is an extremely drinkable IPA nonetheless. (927 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this wonderful IPA on my way to this year's Vermont Brewer's Festival. In a pint glass the beer was an amber color with a thick white head and some decent lacing. Big hops aroma: citrus and floral. Mostly a grapefruit taste, a little pine, and a good malt background. A well-balanced beer. (295 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap

Appearance - hazy copper colour with an average size frothy white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, oranges, pine

Taste & Mouth - There is a slightly below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and a decent amount of hops. There is also quite a bit of a citrus fruit juiciness - oranges and grapefruits and a touch of pine. The beer finishes with a fruity sweet aftertaste with lingering dry hop bitterness.

Overall - A better than average IPA that i would be happy to have again any time. It reminded me a little bit of a better tasting Dale's Pale Ale. Worth seeking out. (751 characters)

Photo of Gosox8787
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Served on tap into a pint glass at the Alchemist.

Appearance: Cloudy orange in color with a nice white fluffy head. Good retention all around.

Aroma: Big citrus and pine notes. Aggressively hoppy. Nice balance of some of the more fruity notes and a strong pine presence.

Taste: Pine notes are dominant with some nice citrus flavors in the back. Hops are dominant but there is a touch of pale malt malt in there. The aftertaste is really intensely bitter. Makes this a bit harder to drink and retracts from the beer a little in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and a touch creamy. Very refreshing.

Overall, a really nice IPA that has a ton of hop flavors. The bitterness towards the end can be a bit much. Just a note, I had a couple sips of this on cask after having it on tap and enjoyed it a lot more. The bitter aftertaste smoothed out perfectly and really allowed the other flavors to open up. Good, but I definitely prefer my limited experience with it on cask. (997 characters)

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Holy Cow IPA from The Alchemist Pub & Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.