Decadent Imperial IPA - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

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756 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 756
Reviews: 354
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 14.21%
Wants: 30
Gots: 85 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co. visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RockyTopHeel on 12-30-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 756 | Reviews: 354
Reviews by dozier77:
More User Reviews:
Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decadent Imperial IPA. 10% alcohol content. Bottle shows a skeleton in a suit an hat dancing around with a bouquet of hop in his teeth... delightfully evil.

A- The beer pours deep hazy orange tainted fluid with tight bubbly head that leaves behind a nice quater inch head and froth. Lacing is top notch with gobs of excess froth clinging to the glass.

S- Smell is of sweet floral hops with a kinda danky twang of malty alcohol in the back end.

T-M- Well... not what I expected from the smell but starts with rotton citrus flavor consisting of grapefruit, star fruit and orange. May be some grassy and earthy tang in there. Decent malt back bone keeps this one alive, but all and all unbalanced. Mouthfeel is thin with a dose of acidic tingle with the carbonation going down.

D- Yeah its drinkable but not my first choice. Needs more balance between the hops and malt but hell, a decent showing of DIPA.

Photo of pat61
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%

Decadent has a fruity, floral hoppy nose.
Pours gold with a slight haze under a fluffy off-white 2” foam cap.
A big fruity malty attack combines yeast and hop driven fruit flavors such as papaya and melon with light caramel malt and light grains to finish with a clean, bitter aftertaste with a hint of light vegetal hop flavors. The beer contains a lot of hops but they are expressed more in the flavor than in the bitterness. Well balanced.
The beer has a big body with slightly below carbonation.

Photo of oberon
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep clear copper with a rather thin white head wich really didnt stick around long even with a hard pour thee wasnt much head to speak of.Well the aromas seemed a bit odd there was a noticable piney hop profile but there was big cracker malt presence that kinda over shadowed the hops wich was kind of odd.By itself this beer was decent an ok piney/citrus character with caramel malt and alcohol in there as well but with food everything seemed to be off flavors did not meld well at all.Well not really worth a fuss not a big hop monster and flavors seem a little off at times,I wouldnt seek out again.

Photo of RoyalT
2.47/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – This is a terrible looking beer. It is a sad yellowish orange in color with a Bud Light head that showed no retention and foamed down like a soda pop.

Smell – There’s some nice orange rind and pine in the nose but no malt at all.

Taste – The citrus notes are OK but I can’t believe they used any grain to make this beer.

Mouthfeel – Way too thin for the style with an uncomfortable bitterness.

Sinkability – You get the hop kick from this beer but otherwise it’s a far cry from being a quality DIPA.

Photo of brownbeer
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great head retention on a bright orange DIPA that shows great clarity. I'll just say that this is a huge beer, almost creating a challenge for the drinker. Floral hops and sweet mandarin orange with a super RICH maltiness and thicker mouthfeel for the style. The alcohol is high and it does show a little. Lacks nuance that separates the great from the good, but I did expect to see it rated a little higher though. It tastes better on draft, but it's still a bitch to finish a glass if you're not in the mood.

Photo of drumline
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a bronze color, slightly hazy, with a quickly disappearing head.

Smell - Light citrusy hops....light malts as well. I expect more from a DIPA

Taste/Mouthfeel - Where's the hoppiness that I expect with a DIPA? Tastes more like a normal IPA, except slightly more sweet and more alcohol. Mouthfeel isn't too bad though. Smooth, with light carb.

Drinkability - The alcohol cuts this one down a bit. I'd never have more than one a night.

Overall....pretty subpar. If you're looking for a DIPA, you won't find it here. Just a more alcoholic IPA.

Photo of blitz134
3.11/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up in Asheville, first Ska brew...

Nice clear amber, caramel bodied beer. Head was just off-white and started out small and ended even smaller.

Aroma is a bit light to start with, what I pick up smells fine though. Mainly citrus and pine, estery (if thats a word) with some sweetness. A bit of harsh alcohol is present. More umph please.

Taste is hops again, but not quite up to snuff for me. A bit herbal to me, but some fruity overtones work in as well. Some earthy type malts are present. I like this flavor profile over the sweet, overly tropical DIPAs out there, but there just isn't enough hop flavor in this for me. It seems to lack true hoppines and the bitterness just isn't there. Alcohol is also evident but not as strong as the aroma initially indicated, but still a bit hot. It tastes alright.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin really. Carbonation is a bit low. Drinkability is just okay, not quite up to the style. Flavor is good we just need more of it and some more body would make this one good.

Photo of merlin48
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle capped with red wax, $5.99 at the Weinhaus in Asheville, NC.
Appearance: Pours an unimpressive, hazed, rusty orange body with a skimpy offwhite head that leaves very sparse lacing.

Aroma: Smells of juicy and citrusy hops, with a distinctive caramel malt presence in the background. Grapefruit, orange, and some pine are among the hoppy notes in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth medium body, good carbonation, and a creamy(oily) hops bite.

Taste: Juicy, citrusy, hops all over the palate. Caramel malt spine sinks into the abyss. Grapefruit, orange, and a touch of pine front the hops assault. A pleasing tweak of tangerine juice and peach pulp adds complexity to the middle. Hops are assertive, but more tangy than bitter. Minor notes of bitter pine stick around all the way through. Amazing lack of alcohol presence for a 10% brew. Finishes with a bitter, but wet, citrusy hop note.

Drinkability: Tasty and evenly balanced, this is dangerously drinkable. Very well constructed. This is my first sampling of a Ska brew. Looking forward to trying some of their other products.

Photo of Billolick
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, festooned with a red wax sealant. No freshness information to be seen. This one pours typical almond amber, slightly cloudy, under a light tan head, that leaves behind a light tan semi frothy head and plenty of sheeting and striated lacing. Nose is of leafy and resinous hops. Hoppy brew, 10% nowhere to be found…….easy drinking and pleasing on the palate. Mellow carbonation levels. Doesn’t have the hop crunch that I enjoy/hope for in a DIPA, but still quite enjoyable and satisfyingly complex. Drying finish, to a pleasant and nicely crafted creation. Well worth a try. God bless all the U.S. brewers who create more and more fine brews of this style.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to absolutesites for this offering...and on the 4th week of New Beer Sunday '05.
Pours a colorful bronze w/ a cloudy feel...cream colored head sits on top and remains there for the duration. Almost looks like an American Barleywine IMO.
The scent is very apparent, but not overpowering...mostly citrus hops w/ some caramelized malt and vanilla...just the slightest hint of alcohol, but inviting.
Taste is fantastic...a hop bomb, but the malt keeps in check. It is just slightly chilled which makes the alcohol a bit more up front, but the bitterness is what I am really enjoying. The sweet, buttery texture is one of the best for its style and it is surprisingly refreshing...could enjoy quite a few of these in an evening. I am really glad I had the chance to try this brew...very good!

Photo of Mora2000
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of toffee notes as well as a little bit of pine mixed in. The flavor is more of the same. I get some toffee and caramel malt as well as some bread and pine notes. There is also a little bit of orange citrus in the flavor. Low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of jamesmk48
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not anything special. Im am not saying its terrible but ive had much better Double IPA's. Would I buy this again, probably not.

Photo of mattster
2.78/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bomber bottle into pint glass. Nice dark color, almost no head. Some lacing around top.

Very nice Mahogoany color, somewhat clear. Smell is of nice hoppy malts. Taste is decent. I was expecting something stronger in flavor, but this is lighters than other beers of this style.

Decent mouthfeel but bitter finish and aftertaste sort of spoils the whole package.

Not a horrible beer, but I probably won't seek this one out again.

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is better than the ratings reflect. Hazy orange pour with an oily brown head. Aroma heavily hopped with a good amount of resin. I agree with AlcheistAZ that this borders on a heavily hopped barleywine with the amount of malt. Still has a nice hop bite with the resin and citrus that belongs in an IIPA.

Photo of jamesm7485
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this on a whim as i enjoyed their ten pin porter very much, also helps that i only paid 2 dollars for it from my boss. Pour is a red golden amber color with a very small head and little to no lacing. Not a whole hell of alot on the noise and certainly not dipa level of smell. The taste is very good but like some other people have said its not very double ipa to me when i think double ipa i think ruination, hop henge or something of those sorts. Never the less very drinkable and enjoyable hiding its ten percent very well ,just not very true to the style. Would i pay 7 a bomber?.... doubtfull but for what i paid it was a damn good brew and not something id turn away just not something id go out of my way for either.

Photo of ohmybock
2.82/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Is there such a thing as a "delicate" DIPA? If there is, then this Ska brew is a prime example...

This is the second time I tasted a bottle of this brew. I remember thinking the first bottle (a year or more ago) wasn't aggressive with its hop aroma/flavor. Upon opening this new, fresh, bottle the same deficiencies show themselves again. I expect hops in the aroma of a DIPA, but this brew is utterly lacking. It does have a slight, clean, caramely, malt character, but no hops in the aroma. The taste is more of the same. This is an extremely clean tasting brew which is a great quality I enjoy, but where are the hops? The malt and (not overwhelming) bitterness serve as great supporting backbones to what should be a wonderful hoppy aroma and flavor. Unfortunately, the hop aroma/flavor just isn't there. Maybe those characteristics are filtered out of this bottled brew? I don't know, but I imagine the fresh tap version at the pub could easily be much better. Until I taste that version, all I have to go with is this bottled version. As it stands, this brew is severely lacking in hop flavor/aroma and comes across as a brew which should be named "Delicate" rather than "Decadent" Imperial IPA.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great orange pour, big head retention, amazing aroma, citrus and the hops big time.

Taste, far less hoppy than hoped for, way bigger malt gang behind it backing it up. Tasted very bitter, and still hoppy, but it was just big on everything, another example of when balanced isn't necessarily better. Don't be fooled though, this is still a decent beer even if it defies conventional classification. Had it on tap and bottle at different times, both are enjoyable and have always seemed fresh. The mouthfeel is sticky, but relatively speaking it hides the alcohol. A little pricier with all the other comparable choices out there.

Photo of glid02
4.19/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Lee - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy golden-copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of pale malts with good amounts of herbal, citrus, and tropical fruit hops, in that order.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Mild amounts of pale malt flavors are quickly overtaken by large amounts of herbal and tropical fruit hop flavors. Midway through the sip the hops darken up a bit with hints of citrus, carrying through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this beer after not having been terribly impressed with other offerings from Ska. This one's worth a shot.

Photo of jbphoto88
2.52/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First of all this bottle is a pain in the ass to open. I had to chip away at the wax just to get a bottle opener on the cap and then when I opened it I'm sure some wax fell in. What a beating. It finally pours a lovely deep garnet. Very pretty with it's fluffy white head. Damn decent retention too.

The scent is crap if this is an Imperial IPA. Where are the hops? The only scents I am getting is a estery apple scent. This one smells more like a poor Belgian beer then a double IPA. Hopefully the taste will be better.

Crap beer. That's the first thing that comes to mind after the first sip. This big beer is cidery and has nothing that points in the direction of a DIPA. Even the bitterness is lame, but at least it's present.

I don't know what else to say about this beer with out trashing it completely. So rather then describe what's bad I'll stick to what I do like... Review over.

Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a copper colored brew with a tight, rocky white head that leaves a little sticky lacing behind.
Initially there's a hint of pine on the nose, which gives way to a sweet caramel malt and then to a nice grapefruit bouquet with a touch of soapiness.
While the caramel malt is stronger than many would expect in an IIPA, and perhaps adds a little more sweetness than is typical, the real beauty here is a fantastic grapefruit flavor akin to drinking fresh grapefruit juice with a bit of raw leaf in there as well, with a pine presence lingering and just a light touch of alcohol warmth. I suppose I can hope that the reall reason this is so off-putting to some is the strict adherence to style; otherwise, this is one delicious brew.
The mouthfeel is just crisp enough with a creamy smoothness. A light carbonation adds a little balance to a medium-full body.
With a 10% ABV, the drinkability can't be particularly high; and, while I'd love to have had another bottle right then and there, I was a little dizzy after just one.

Photo of wmtxbb
3.27/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Dark amber gold with thick lacing.

Smell: thick malt, citrus, and floral hop scent.

Taste: Very strong citrus/grapefruit aftertaste; it's not bad, just - interesting. Moderate bitterness, citrusy bitterness. Alcohol, while present, isn't aggressive. Very earthy in the middle of a tasting.

Overall, a lighter body beer for 10 percent alcohol brew. Not a standout, but still interesting for a DIPA; great for the price ($6).

Photo of lnashsig
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the appearance of this bottle- the wax covering over the bottle cap is really cool. Poured into my Dfh snifter, about 2 fingers of frothy foam stayed around for awhile and then subsided, leaving nice sticky lacing on the glass. Smell- I get some cookie dough sweet flavors, some tropical fruit, but very little citrus. Taste- hop bitterness, followed by a sweet cookie taste, with some fruity flavors on the end. For a 10 percent abv, this is very well masked. Dangerous! I could drink many of these. Mouthfeel- avg. Drinkability- as mentioned previously, I could pound this beer.

Overall, this is a well made dipa, but nothing special. I could however, drink this everyday and be very happy.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes 2/25/11.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with white one finger head. Great retention but only moderate lacing.

S: Bright citrus a good bit of caramel and toffee malt.

T: A little grassy, some citrus and floral hops. A lot of caramel and toffee malts with a bitter finish.

M/D: Medium bodied with good carbonation. You can taste a little of the alcohol and has a bitter finish. Moderate drinkability. Could not find a bottling date, but could be older than desired.

Photo of GilGarp
2.75/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 22oz. bottle with a red wax seal. Personally I'm not a big fan of wax on beer bottles. All it does it create a big mess. It also sets expectations high so a beer better be damn good for it to be dipped in wax!

Appearance is very promissing with a great reddish hue, perfect clarity, and a good amount of head.

Aroma is the first impression and usually a good indication of a great IPA. Unfortunately this beer lacks any decent hop aroma. In fact, it leans towards buttery sweetness. I'm looking for fresh hops and I don't get anything.

I shouldn't be surprised then that the taste is unimpressive as well. Not the hop bomb I was expecting or hoping for. It has some bitterness to it but it's entirely unpleasant. I wonder if the bittering hops were a poor choice on the brewmaster's part or just past their prime.

The strange surprise from all of this is that it's surprisingly drinkable for a beer of this ABV. At first I wonder if it's incorrectly marked at 10% but eventually it sneaks up.

Disappointing at best and considering the wax sealed bottle, it should have been something special.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a fiery orange-red-copper thing, and it's nice, but the lack of any kind of haze and the soda-like bubble activity raises eyebrows immediately. The head is a sticky and creamy thing, not the thickest ever, but darn good looking in its bone-white fluff. Decent lace stickage too.

Smell is solid IPA, or like a heavily-hopped big amber/red ale of some sort. Hops are vibrant, equal parts citrus rind and pine, with a dash of cinnamon too. Almost reminds me of Sierra Nevada's Celebration holiday ale. Doesn't quite recall a big double IPA though, lacking the considerable maltiness those usually have, and it's pretty amazing that the 10% alcohol hardly flares the nostrils here.

Again reminded of that classic Sierra Nevada Christmas beer, having that same sweet, spicy and citrusy character. There's a pretty prominent spearmint character here too. Probably could have used a bigger, better malt presence, but as is, there's nothing too out of whack. Alcohol creeps in just enough to add some spice and warmth, but never enough to detract. When we get into the 10% ABV range, it's always impressive when a beer doesn't taste boozy. Finish is incredibly bitter, one of the most bitter I recall in any beer. Everything that came before it, all that the tongue detected, is wiped out by the astringent bitterness that is, unfortunately, the final sensory memory you're left with after all is said and drunk.

Mouthfeel is right on, and my favorite aspect of this beer. I might even call the texture complex. It's sits between the disparate poles of carbonation tingle and velvety creaminess, and also provides a bit of stickiness in the middle of all that. Kind of airy, kind of bright, but still just round and robust enough. An enjoyable and interesting thing to hold in the mouth, that's for sure.

From reading some past reviews (something I usually don't do right before reviewing a beer, but I did this time), you'd think was better called One Hot Mess than Decadent. But I think it's just not the most amazing double IPA. We're all so spoiled with so many good ones that when one merely performs well enough, it gets low marks. Just my opinion. I don't find anything too offensive or off-putting about this beer...I was glad to try it and it went down well from first sip to last. I suppose it just needs some tightening up, and whether that's more malt, a less bracing finish, or higher quality ingredients, I don't know.

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Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 756 ratings.