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Decadent Imperial IPA - Ska Brewing Co.

Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

624 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 624
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.84%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: RockyTopHeel on 12-30-2004)
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Ratings: 624 | Reviews: 333 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Boulders on Broadway. Cloudy yellow with some white head. A good bitterness, certainly on the hop delivery side. Sweetness is secondary. The palate needed resting after this.Faint hop only in the aroma.Alcohol warming.Worth having once, not necessarily best example of style.

Serving type: on-tap

02-08-2010 00:34:29 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Shimmering kumquat with butterscotch borders. Very few bubbles can be seen ascending through the pristine liquid before disappearing into the underside of the pastel gold cap. The surface is a mass of glassy bubbles that resembles caramelizing sugar. Loads of lovely lace help cement the above score.

Where is the Decadent amount of hops? We have a bruised apple fruitiness, a modest amount of caramel malt, and a flash of alcohol, but very little citrus fruit hoppiness. It's hard to believe that 99.9 IBUs are present. My expectations of lupulin lusciousness just took a major nosedive.

Wow... and I don't mean that in the good sense of the word. Ska Decadent is not a good DIPA. No how, no way. Even though bitterness is generous (but still not buying the IBU count), good hop flavor is seriously lacking. Unless this bottle is old, SBC needs to take the hop cones off the label... or add more of them to the damn beer.

The flavor profile includes dark butterscotch, orange oil, fermented pine sap and alcohol. If a double-digit ABV can't be masked any better than this, how about lowering it a few percentage points? I'm sure 10.0% was chosen because this offering was originally brewed to celebrate the brewery's 10th anniversary.

The shortage of bubbles contributes to the pleasing plushness. The mouthfeel is at least medium-full and is as smooth as the day is long. Too bad the other attributes can't keep pace with the appearance and the mouthfeel.

Decadent Imperial IPA wants to be big, bad, bold, ballsy beer... but it isn't. It's exhibit A in how to screw up a style that shouldn't be that hard to get right. If Ska is going to ask us to chip away all that red wax, the least they could do is deliver decent beer. What a disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 21:29:29 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color, with no head to speak of, little lace, but appearence is not all that impressive.. Smell is somewhat hoppy, but definate citrus hints in there, clean smell. Taste is not overwhelming hoppy at all, would have expected more to be honest. A bit of an alcohol aftertaste. The does feel very smooth going down, and does not taste anywhere near as strong as it is. Overall its a good one to try.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2006 00:39:40 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a nice fluffy white head on top and plenty of carbonation bubbles.

S: Not all that much in terms of hops, here. Quite malty, caramelly, and sweet, but I generally expect that when I see a waxed IPA. There are some notes of grapefruit and a bit of pine mixed in.

T: Not a terrible flavor, but it is (again) sweeter than I like for an IPA. This one definitely leans more toward the barleywine side of things, with lots of caramel and some brown sugar. The hops are subdued and provide just some hints of citrus.

M: The body is nice, medium to full (for an IPA) with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: After awhile, this one becomes a little too sweet and I just start wishing the hops were more alive.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2010 03:27:50 | More by womencantsail
Photo of BEERchitect


3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sharp, rough, pungent, abrassive, raw, bitter, grassy, and somewhat dank... I like it!

This nearly intimidating beer pours a deep amber hue with low lights of ruby, garnet, and crimson. Medium haze allows for a diffused glow that seems masculine and brawny. An off white delicate foam stance builds and retains well while light on lace.

Pungent aromas of caramelized malt and aggressive hops weave into varying aromas of pine, molassas, fresh cut grass, medium toasted grains, red grapefruit, maple syrup, and orange peel. Alcohol is evident as it strikes the olfactories with quite a punch. The balanced nose never allows the hops to dominate because of the substantial rebuttal of malt.

Bread crust, toasted grains, lightly burnt molassas all make their way into the early flavor spread. But the hop flavors of ruby red grapefruit, pine resin, grassy, herbs, and spruce all give an abundance of juicy complexity to accompany the dense malt flavor. Though balanced through mid palate, the finish allows the malt sweetness to subside and the hop flavors turn bitter with an aggressive bite and acetone alcohol flavor late.

Full bodied for an Imperial IPA, the beer carries a dense malt texture and full creamy carbonation very deep on the palate and has trouble developing the crisp and dry finish that make all IPAs so appealing. Quite rough with the grassy hops and abrassive alcohols for a warm, almost fusal feel in finish.

Overall, a very tasty IPA that was a joy to drink. But the malt complex and hop balance came together in a similar way as Stone's Double Bastard Ale, but without the elements of finess and control that make that one a standout. Decadent begins to creep into the world of American Barleywines just a bit too much.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2011 18:01:28 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


2.53/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle thanks to drabmuh. Served in a tulip.

Hard pour yields a copper-orange body with a minimal head and no lacing. Some large bubbles form a collar around the edges. Tue nose brings forward a good amount of caramel malt and accompanying sweetness plus a bit of booze. Some citrus and floral hops in the background.

The taste is quite sweet with a really strong booze presence and a lot of heat in the finish. Some bitterness and some floral hops are there as well. Feel is medium and boozy with lowish levels of carbonation. Not a huge fan of this.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 00:33:26 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Shared with my good friend, AndoBrew!

Appearance: Pours a reddish-copped body with a thinnish, white head.

Smell: Hinting at its impending sweetness, the aroma smells strongly of caramel and orange-flavored candy, with some hints of pine, cinnamon, and fruit in the background.

Taste: Relying heavily on malts, the beer primarily features a heft of sweet, sweet caramel. The piney, citrusy hop flavor tries with all its might, but eventually ends with a rather weak finish. AndoBrew professes it to be "well-balanced" but its a bit too sweet for me. However, we both agree that it lacks complexity.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Low carbonation. Neither silky nor syrupy, its unquestionably marshmallowy. "Like those duckies you get, well, I don't get them personally, but those duckies you get during Easter. Poofs?" Peeps.

Drinkability: Decadent is never luxurious, majestic, or an awe-inspiring display of the brewing arts, but its still decent. I'll give it that. "Second to many!" bellows AndoBrew.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 00:22:02 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.33/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 03:06:34 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At first sip I'm taken back to some of my very first pale ale's. Grassy and leafy hops within decidedly caramelish malt! Watney's Red Barrel comes to mind. But it's even richer, so much more malty, firmer, and entirely more flavorful. It's much more American.

And Watney's Red Barrel is a standard, well maybe a premium, English pale ale. This is more... it's bigger, but is it an "Imperial" IPA? Well, under British standards I'd guess it is. But for American expectations it's just not bitter enough. Herein lies the rub. This is an excellent Imperial I.P.A., but in a more malty sense. I can't even sense the strength. What is it? 10.0 % - oh, geez - it doesn't appear it.

The deep copper body has a reddish note to it, and the creamy and frothy off-white head holds for seemingly forever. The nose is sweet and caramelsih and fruity and hoppy (leafy, grassy). The body is full, or at least medium-full but with a dextrinous side, and it's got a median carbonation. The flavor is rich, sweetish, fruity (apple), and malty, but backed with lots of hop flavor and a firm backbone of bitterness. It finishes drying, and perhaps a touch chalky with lots of apple-like fruitiness and some dark-apple-rind bitterness that lingers.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 01:02:34 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazed orangish hue, slim , soon-gone head.

Aroma of pithy citrus, big time resiny pine, sappy, orange and lemon...sweet and bitter, two step, side step, cha cha cha...

Tastin' it: big, flabby citrus, huge hops, loud flavor, and creeping alcohol. But, lacks a cohesive character, somehow. Just doesn't stand out enough. An outsized IPA, alright, just not imperial enough to merit the name.

Full bodied, fruity, bittersweet finish, but a bit flat in the flavor department, fails to deliver anything big and beefy. Good try, though.
Wish I could get excited about it, but, eh...there we go...

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2006 06:14:58 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.8/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from Weisguy, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep orange/brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is excellently balanced with a strong hops presence, fruity citrus and caramel sweetness and a malt character that isn't as hearty as most beers in the style but it has just the right substance to keep this beer on-par with other highly-rated 2IPA's and still make it light enough to drink continuously. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style. This is a beer that I could drink for a whole evening... or at least until the 10.00% ABV catches up with me. Honestly, I'm baffled by the low scores that this beer has received. Typically I don't reference prior reviews but I know this might not be as good as Dreadnaught (which I gave a perfect 5), but the fact that this is a "delicate DIPA" makes it a very drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2008 05:16:22 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft serving in a smallish 10 oz. goblet.

The pour is a murky reddish amber with offwhite tan foam that lasts for awhile. It fades to a ring with spotty lace as the glass is sipped slowly.

Sweet caramel toffee and resiny hop greenery, more malt heavy and sweet though. Flavor is similar, heavy and sticky caramel with a moderate hop bitterness and plenty of heft to it. Alcohol starts to creep out a bit, and it gets to be fatiguing on the palate halfway through. Mellow carbonation, slightly viscous and sticky on the lips.

Not really a fan of this super-heavy barleywine-esque DIPA. Something to warm up on the coldest of winter nights, but not with the 80º March weather we're having...

Serving type: on-tap

03-16-2012 20:28:23 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light orange/bronze with thick 3 fingers tan head. head retention& lacing both good

Smell: Piney hops dominate, not much else

Taste: Piney hops caramel. followed by fruittyness. Then fruittynes,along piney hops & grapefruity hops intermingle. Later piney hops stick to the roof of your mouth. Finishes grapefruitty & malty.

MF: Medium to thick with good balance & okay carbonation.

Drinks really too damn easy for the style & abv. A little more balance would make this fatal. Very good effort from Ska

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2006 04:28:09 | More by russpowell
Photo of drabmuh


3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I received three of these in rapid succession through BIFs and trades (extras). Fun, I do love a good IPA. This is more of a malty DIPA rather than a dry hoppy one. Oh well.

Beer is dark copper to light brown and hazy with a thin off white head of small bubbles that leaves very little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is super sweet with a late feeling / detection of some serious earthy hops. I now fear a malt bomb.

Kaboom! Malt bomb. Lead off is syrup...sweet...midpalate is dried out by the big sweet forward start, the hops are religated to a serious but by comparison weak bitterness in the late palate. The beer finishes a little dryer than it probably should. Oh well, there are much better DIPAs out there.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 20:39:11 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


3.53/5  rDev -3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2011 05:13:19 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear copper color with burgundy highlights. It had a thick, tan, two-finger head of foam that left some sticky lace.

S - It smelled of grapefruit and other citrusy aromas. The was also a nice pine smell with a subtle caramel notes.

T - It was very spicy up front with a sharp bitter hop bite. There was a nice burnt toast maltiness with sweet grapefruit flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Imperial IPA. I greatly enjoyed my first ever Ska brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2009 21:31:35 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliantly clear amber copper color and is topped by a frothy tan head. The aroma has notes of alcohol, strawberries, and pine. The aroma is surprisingly low on the full force hop attack one expects to find in an IPA, much less a DIPA. The taste is lightly sweet, with a solid caramel note. It is sharply alcoholic as well, which really detracts from the finish. This is sorely lacking in the hop character department, this is more of a strong ale with a balance towards a caramel like maltiness. This has a nice light body, despite the 10% alcohol, if they had put 4 times the hops in this, this would be complete with all of the components needed in a DIPA. With out the hops though this is a flop, and not even worth trying to finish the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2005 05:10:13 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of RblWthACoz


4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nose on this beer is typical of what I feel I find in Belgian brews and other beers well made that have a very high alcohol content; that thick sweetness. This one's at 10% and the body carries that load of alcohol fairly well. It mixes with the full bodied flavor enough so that it doesn't stand alone totally. Overall a fairly good brew, but the farther in the bottle you do go, the more the alcohol seems to stand out, probably from it warming up.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 01:49:30 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this is going for 6 bucks a pint (yes, a pint!) at illegal petes on evans right now. it pours thick honey colored with a half inch of white head the texture of uncured cement. it smells like an oily hop bomb, not quite a 120minute, but similar hop profile, just juicy and rich. the flavor is bitter as hell, with only a touch of malt sweetness to it. the alcohol is also surprisingly not intense in this, and its in fact a pretty quaffable imperial ipa. theres a certain metallic thing in the taste though, minerally and brassy. it gives the beer a weird finish, but i like it just the same. mouthfeel is real big. its carbonated well, but the body is impassably huge. as it warms the alcohol comes out making it even more bold. this is a daring beer, not for everyone, but its a hell of a deal right now. a pint glass of this is a lot. i went from hungover to feeling groovy with one glass...

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2012 23:30:21 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper color, slightly hazy with a fluffy white head. Indeterminate malt aroma backed by mild citrus grapefruit. The flavor showed more promise with a more assertive grapefruit/hop profile backed my mild caramel malt. Slick, slightly oily mouth feel. Decent drinakbility.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2008 15:00:18 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest


3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber for $6.50 at Harris Teeter in Corolla, NC. It's immediately evident that this isn't one of the better DIPA's I've had. There simply aren't enough hops. As the beer warms, there's also an unpleasant alcohol bite. The pineapple and grapefruit hops are tasty, but the caramel malts are just too chewy for me. This beer is just too balanced for a style that should focus on the hops.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 01:48:43 | More by tempest
Photo of kojevergas


2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

10% ABV confirmed. 650ml brown glass bottle with waxed over pressure cap served into an Odell 90 Shilling pilsner glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given its current ratings as well as the brewery that produced it.

Not paired with food.

Served straight from the fridge and side poured as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger light light khaki head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a clear textbook copper. Translucent. no yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. A typical appearance for the style.

Sm: Some caramelized malt and some floral hops. Maybe some nectary hops. There's not much going on here. Still, it's generally inviting. No yeast character is detectable, nor is any alcohol. Somewhat muted; where're the aromatics? Below average in strength.

T: Candied sugar, caramel, mild floral hops, and plain clean malty sweetness. Surprisingly simple, actually. No alcohol comes through, but I still wouldn't call the booziness itself well concealed. No yeast character is present. I wouldn't call it balanced. It's enjoyable, but lacks sufficient flavour. The hops are quite restrained indeed. Some unconcealed bitterness on the finish. Tropical fruit esters are present but don't fit well into the overall profile at all; I get mango and maybe (to venture into pretension) passionfruit.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit too thick. A bit overcarbonated. Fair palate presence.

Dr: ABV is well concealed, but the quality is questionable. I wouldn't want another one; it's just so bland for the style. If you're not going to bring the hop profile, you've got to have balance to compensate; this doesn't. Not recommended. A disappointment from Ska, but then Ska is rapidly declining in my view.


Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 23:31:49 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Rifugium


3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids, Longmont, CO

Poured a reddish-copper, bubbly, with a small white head that receded to a thin layer of ubiquitous bubbles. Scents of citrus and pine, caramel, lightly toasted malts, and a dash of spice. Leafy. Sweet malty base overlaid with a generous amount of pine and citrus hops, orange zest and apple peel; starts sweet, ends dry and bitter. Medium-bodied and quite drinkable, though can be a little strong, alcohol-wise, so watch yourself.

Serving type: on-tap

09-01-2011 14:54:35 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.93/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2007 23:27:20 | More by Billolick
Photo of Wasatch


3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to NucularGeorge for this brew.

22oz. Red Wax Bomber

Pours a deep dark orange color, some carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is slightly sweet, malty, hoppy, darkfruit (plums), and some caramel. The taste is malty/hoppy, slightly sweet, nice touch of caramel. Nice little touch of bitterness on the dry finish. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice DIPA, slightly different, but still tasty.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2007 23:03:21 | More by Wasatch
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Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 624 ratings.