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Decadent Imperial IPA - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

727 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 727
Reviews: 344
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 14.48%
Wants: 30
Gots: 67 | 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: 727 | Reviews: 344 | Display Reviews Only:
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 daliandragon
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've got a plate of hot curried beef to go with this one so I'm pretty psyched about the potential here. The pour is solid with a hazy orange amber hue topped with a bubbly wet head. The warning signs start with the nose, which isn't real hoppy but produces significant malt heavily tinged with medicine and alcohol. Where are the hops?

The taste is more of the same, with caramel brown malts predominating early, a brief flash of citrus and pine and poof!, they're gone as quick as they appeared and the finish is all malt although reasonably clean. Alcohol and some dark fruits dance around the malt backbone. The texture is fairly thin but delicate and carries the high abv pretty well.

This isn't bad. It's tasty and keeps the alcohol under control considering the potency. However, as a DIPA it doesn't really fit the bill. The hops are but a small player in the whole deal. As an American Strong Ale or even as a Barleywine this makes more sense and probably grades better. The beef was still good regardless.

Photo of saintwarrick
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bought this up in Charlotte ... ooh, wax over the cap, very fancy. This brew pours a nice amber, a bit darker than most IPAs with a fluffy and slightly fizzy white head on it. Aroma is not like most DIPAs, which burst forth with the hops and citrus and pine. This one is more subdued and sweeter, though with a bit of slightly citrus hops in the far background. Taste is the same, sweet and subdued, only sweet apples and almost no hop bitterness accompany this beer. This actually makes it a very drinkable DIPA as it is hides the 10 percent alcohol very well.

All in all, a bit of a disappointment, has some characteristics of an English IPA, but the hoppiness required of a DIPA is all but missing. This needs a little more work, but it's worth a try.

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 HoustonTX
3.34/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ska Decadent IPA pours a hazy orange body.

Yeasty notes, lots of fruit and florals in the nose.

Quite sweet upfront with notes of pine and herbaceous hops.
Only mild bitterness, with a out of place strong belgianesque yeasty note. Sugary and mild herbaceous aftertaste which lingers for a bit.

An alright beer, it hides the 10% abv well. The flavor tones seem out of whack though, and the sweet belgian flavor really throws me off. Some fusels pop through as well. This one just doesnt do justice to the style. It needs a lot more balance and hopping.
A let down for myself.

Photo of ncbeermonger
2.88/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has an attractive bottle. The top is covered with a plastic like substance made to look like wax.

The beer pours with litte to no head in my trusty Sam Adams glass.

The smell leaves a lot to be desired from an IPA

The taste also leaves a lot to be desired. It should be noted I just had an outstanding Imperial IPA from Green Flash, so this one is quite a let down.

The mouthfeel is good, almost crisp, but slightly heavy even for an imperial IPA

The drikability is decent, but not great. For your money you can do better than this attractive bottle!

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep and very clear golden hue with a minimal head
Sl: There wasn't really much in the way of hop aroma for an imperial IPA, but I do get some slight apricot and apples with only a touch of caramel malt
T: I was looking for a hop explosion that never came on this beer, and this doesn't represent what a IIPA should taste like. I get apricot and hot fussel alcohol in the flavor profile, some fruity esters and only a small touch of piney hop bite on the back end.
M: medium bodied with the alchol very present on the mouthfeel
D: This just didn't taste like how and IIPA should taste, and I won't be searching this beer out again

Photo of PatrickJR
2.59/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into nonic pint glass.

A - Amber, with some slight haze and noticable floating particles. A couple fingers of off-white head dissipate fairly quickly, falling to a thick collar with a thin film. Lacing is pretty minimal for the style.

S - Nice DIPA aromas of pine and citrus, with an interesting hint of brown sugar that pulls things together nicely.

T - If I were blind folded and not given the chance to take a huge whiff of this brew, I would never know it was a DIPA. Sweet malt in the realm of brown sugar/molasses with some buttery notes is most noticable with what feels like a mere sprinkling of hops. A slightly piney and herbal flavor pulls through, but the malt still steals the show until late palate where a huge bitterness kicks in. At this point the 10% is more than obvious, contributing a lot to the overall bitterness and providing a rather nasty astringency to the whole thing. Finish is bitter and the aftertaste is pure ethanol.

M - Moderate carbonation is decent enough, but the body is way too thin. Huge wash of alcohol also contributes to percieved lightness of body.

D - This would be one of the last things I reached for when looking for a DIPA. The aroma is there, and it probably has a decent malt profile for the style, but the hop presence is far too minimal and the alcohol is way too in-your-face.

Photo of Seanibus
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure about this beer. Is it good? maybe. Is it great? maybe. Is it awful? Maybe.

Pours deep amber, slightly cloudy, with a decent head and nice lacing. Smells malty and alcoholic. The flavor is malty and thick, at first blush out of balance, but it mellows to a slightly tea-like flavor. For all the power of the syrupy malt, there is relatively little hop character - like tea, like a musky flower, but always quite light. In the background is the faintest banana-like dactyl character. And there is a bite of alcohol. The mouthfeel is viscous and thick, clinging to the tongue and back of the mouth, but with a surprising lack of hop character.

I don't know that I can recommend this beer. It's interesting to dissect in your mouth. It's a razor-thin balance between good and out of balance. But it is challenging to drink and has many flaws, leaving me to wonder about its overall drinkability.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.86/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

Photo of Jerzdevil1116
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber drank from a pint glass.

A: 1 finger of off-white head. Transparent orange/amber body.

S: Bready, caramel malt. Apricots. Floral hops also present but slightly hidden by the maltiness.

T: Malt beginning followed by earthy hops. Hints of tobacco. Decently bitter. Alcohol presence throughout.

M: Very smoothe. Medium body.

D: Goes down very easy, but the higher alcohol percentage will catch up to you.

Photo of wardough
2.62/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one is a caramel color brown...much darker than typica DIPA. Smell is overpoweringly caramel with little hops to balance it out. Taste is sweet with little hop balance. Very sweet. Mouthfeel is very light with light carbonation. There's not many beers that I don't enjoy, but this is one that I don't enjoy.

Photo of woodychandler
2.63/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was presented to me with a thin, light tan head with low retention. The color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose had a slightly caramel-ish aspect to go along with the intense hoppiness. The mouthfeel was thin-to-medium with a very hot alcohol bite on the tongue. The finish ... I had to wait for my heartbeat to slow before the finish could register. Zounds, was this an intense beer! Very hot, perhaps too sugary. A larger glass might have Skaletonized me. Oof.

Photo of chileman13
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber into a georg schneiders tall beer glass.
A- copper orange clear brew.
A- spicy hops that are not overpowering the malt. The hops are more floral than citrus.
T-Hops with carmely malt that isn't overpowering. Neither take the forefront. It has hops of an IPA yet that isn't all you can taste.
M- medium carbonation smooth mouthfeel given it's 10% alcohol.
D- it is a good drinkable Imperial IPA. You can drink this beer without fear of not being able to taste the next beer. Some Imperial IPAs just stick around too long.
I like SKA and think they are a dark horse that has been underrated for too long.

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 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 ihscout426
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A creative label and waxed bomber that pours with little head that settles quickly. The aroma is of floral hops wit a malt underpinnig.

The bitterness is present, but not biting. Caramel malt taste stands up well to the hops.

Has a soft mouthfeel with a nice alcohol warming at the same time.

Very drinkable with the hops bringing bitterness and aroma both to the party.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.77/5  rDev +30.3%
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.

Photo of tapman
3.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recommended by a clerk at Warehouse Liquors in the South Loop of Chicago as an alternative to the over-priced Three Floyds I.P.A.

Dark red/mahogany color to the body with excellent head retention as two fingers + ascendes slowly after the pour has finished. Head is off-white and creamy. Carboantion appears to be well retained as bubbles burst from the bottom of the glass supplying an almost never ending lacing, spider webs lining the sides of the glass with the sticky strands of dried foam.

The aroma is musty and sweet. It smells very malty; I smell lots of caramel malt. To my chagrin the hops are in the background smelling spicy, bready, and mild (for an I.P.A. that is).

The taste is quite decadent if you know what to look for. Caramel malts are huge, I'm pretty sure of it. Malts really are the star here as they are huge. The malt sugar fills the entire palate. Fighting its way down the sides of my tongue is some tangy hp presence. As the beer warms the hops come out a little and are sour/bitter with a fine spicy quality. Personally I love malty beers when done right and this one is pretty good for me, but I could imagine a hop head being a little dissapointed in the lack of hops in this double I.P.A.

The mouth is nice. The malt sugar rests heavy on the palate, though its thin enough to not be too chewy. For an imperial brew, quite quaffable.

I like this brew, but I feel that there is always something lacking from Ska brews in relationship to the style that they are attempting. This is a good beer, but it tastes like an Imperial Amber ale. Picture Bell's Kalamazoo Amber with more alcohol and you have this beer. Decent hop presence, but with big-brother malt overshadowing it. The wax on the bottle is a nice touch. My next sip will be administered with pinky out.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Copper brown color, one finger of white head lasts a few minutes, but the lacing sticks around forever. Clear, but with nice ruby highlights.

Aromas of hard water, brewers yeast, and hops. Unimpressive but serviceable.

Fair amount of bitterness, offset nicely by a good amount of sweetness from a toffeeish malt. Hops are pretty hot, leave a strong bitter residual, and are very present. Finish is long, body is medium to full.

Enjoyable but not amazing. Hard to get past the hard water character.

Photo of Tolann
4.82/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - red in color and a white head that didn't hang around long. A little bit cloudy. Loved the bottle art and the red wax dipped top.

S - WOW! floral hops. Big on citrus and could be smelled as soon as you start pouring. Really liked it and it got looking forward to the beer more.

T - Really hoppy, citrus, sweet. Not a huge bitterness biting the back of my tongue. Love citrus hops

M - Little aftertaste. Medium body feel and smooth. Not offensive in carbonation.

D - A favorite for the time being, tho I know I'll keep trying different beers and keep finding favorites. I'll remember to keep my eyes open for more of this and happily clear a space in the fridge for more.

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 cvstrickland
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a pretty red wax-dipped bomber into a seidel; body the color of raw honey; small head that reduces to a creamy film that leaves some nice lacing all the way down.

Smell is of bitter grapefruit and piney hops plus lightly sugary sweet brown malt.

Taste is predominantly sweet and malty with a hint of piney hops and a lightly spicy, citrusy bitterness. Smooth and only minimally carbonated in the mouth; alcohol so well hidden as to be invisible.

No idea of the date of manufacture, but if this thing was ever a hop bomb, it sure as heck isn't now. Not a bad beer, but I wanted a hop fix and this was just a malty, sneaky, 10% abv kick in the face.

Photo of Beertracker
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ska's Decadent Imperial IPA pours up with ample carbonation that creates a moderate creamish white head that sits atop the slightly hazy deep copper-reddish amber body. The hop oriented aroma features some citrus & piney hops with a huge fruitiness reminiscent of ripe grapefruit, but has a solid toasted, caramel maltiness featuring some soft bready yeastiness & spiciness. Some oxidation (wet cardboard) detracts. The flavor starts off with a biscuity graininess that gives way to an abundant hop bitterness, but the caramel maltiness is never completely overshadowed by the resinous Northwest hops. The minerally finish is fruity, malty, and slightly warming. This medium-full bodied DIPA is rather straight-forward, but doesn't dissapoint. My bottle seemed to be a bit past its prime, so I'll definitely review again. Great looking package. Here's to Ska's decade of decadence!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Photo of ccrida
2.64/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Red-wax dipped bomber poured into a shaker pint, Decadent is a clear copper with a small, creamy, long lasting ivory head that leaves decent lace.

Smell is sweet and very fruity, like white grape juice. Some piny, herbal hops, but I'm thrown by the estery aroma dominating a DIPA. There's a sharp spiciness to it that I don't care for either...

Taste is OK, very much more strong ale then DIPA to me, as I'm still getting mainly a fruit ester taste and malts, with some light grapefruit hops. I was expecting it to be much sweeter and thick, but it's pretty smooth and well balanced. There's a homebrew taste to the malt that I don't like at all (like a too-young strong ale). I look for way more hop flavor and aroma in my DIPAs, which the lacks, but the bitterness is kept in check, which I appreciate. This is more like an English take on the style (well, IPA, I guess the whole concept of DIPAs is American, but this reminds me of a really big English IPA) I got this from a Colorado liquor store, but not really sure how fresh, it was at least kept cold...ABV at least is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is on the crisper side, decent carbonation and light body for the style/size.

Drinkability is OK for a big ass IPA that I didn't really like to much, mainly the lighter body and lack of overt booze...but for a DIPA period, I'm mnot impressed, and was really sick up it by then end. I really was a bit back and forth on this on at first, but at the end of the day, it's not at all my taste in the style....by the second glass from the bomber, that homebrewy tang just was too much - this ones needs aged like a proper strong ale to smooth out, unless the hops have really staled on me...

Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 727 ratings.