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Decadent Imperial IPA - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

702 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 702
Reviews: 342
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 28
Gots: 55 | FT: 1
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 702 | Reviews: 342 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Homerbag
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber body with one finger head that goes away quickly.

Smells of grassy and grapefruity hops with some caramel malt notes mixed in with some prevalent alcohol. Taste is sometimes a balance, but as it warms a battle of heavy malt and the grassy/grapefruit hops. No big flavor punch like most DIPAs. Alcohol is not hidden, it is not boozy, but does stick out. Feel is a bit sticky, lower carbonation.

Nothing really bad about this one, or really memorable. The overall objective was balance in this and at times it was there. No big hop punch. More like a high ABV sicky IPA. ehh. .

Homerbag, Feb 27, 2008
Photo of beeritron
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Decadent pours out of the bottle a bright, copper color with a foamy off white head. The head has good retention and floats just on the surface. Lacing is good and clings to the glass all the way down. The smell is malty with a bit of a banana scent apparent. A somewhat sour smell is there as well. For an Imperial IPA, there is not alot of hop aroma; just barely noticeable. The taste is sweet and malty with a bit of roastiness. The hop taste is there, but it's not enough to balance the beer well. I really don't perceive any bitterness either, although the website boasts 99.9 IBUs. For a 10% beer, the alcohol is well disguised, warming the tongue and throat as it goes down. The mouthfeel is medium-heavy with a light carbonation. A good beer to try, but I won't be seeking it out again.

beeritron, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of markgugs
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from 22oz. bottle into tulip snifter, unsure of when bottled, but this is at least 1 year old

A: Color is an attractive blend of copperish-orange, with perhaps a slight amber hue. Decent 2-finger off-white bubbly/fizzy head, reduces rather quickly but leaves solid lacing throughout.

S: Huge piney nose wallops you up front, quite surprising given that I'm certain this beer is at least 1 year old. Alcohol presence is obvious, and a nice biscuity malt backbone helps to balance things.

T/M: Very impressed given the beer's age; certainly nowhere near as bad as other reviews have made things out to be. If anything, the beer is a bit over-the-top with the piney bitterness, though I suppose that's the point of a solid double IPA! Alcohol is also not quite as evident as other reviews have made it seem, though this is far from the most balanced DIPA I've had. Still, quite refreshing, and the carbonation is spot on.

D: There are far too many brilliant DIPAs out there for me to seek this one out regularly, but it's pretty good. I'd definitely drink it again.

markgugs, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of NitroGen
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 22 oz. Bomber

A: Pours brilliant amber with orange tints with minimal off-white head that quickly settles to a scant cover and ring with minimal lacing.

S: Grainy and mild grapefruit pith.

T: Starts mellow and slightly sweet malt and then a blast of hops that is potent but not overpowering in bitterness and an absence of anything alcohol.

M: Well balanced with sweetness and then mellow hops that is not overly bitter.

D: Found this to be pleasant tasting and would have another

NitroGen, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of lightindarkness
2.3/5  rDev -37%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22oz bomber acquired in trade with Hypnoz123. Freshness is somewhat in question, with little discernible information available related to batch number or date. I submit this review on the investigated assumption that it was bottled, purchased, traded, and tasted within a reasonably short period of time.

Poured a dull hazy coppery orange color with a nice creamy ivory head, leaving a fair amount of lace.

Smell is a bit peculiar, particularly for an IIPA. Somewhat weak on the nose, with notable pineapple and peach fruit, light malt, and soft bread, but there's also a chemically phenol smell that lingers of plastic or polystyrene.

Taste is soft and flat (taste, not carbonation...), off for an IIPA. A few pleasant discernible tastes of some dank hops with slight bitterness, weak mild malt and a hint of pine. Very fumy taste, again of burnt plastic or polystyrene. Has an overall strange weak hollow taste, not at all what I expected.

Feel is more or less consistent with the style, very slight stickiness and some oily quality with a smoothness to it.

I can't get past the weird synthetic taste and smell that's in there. I have to wonder how old this beer is, but I have no concrete way of knowing. It sits comfortably in the stomach, but I can't take 22oz of the taste.

*edit - I'm investigating the small illegible print on the bottle to determine date/batch, etc.

lightindarkness, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of GClarkage
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/18/07- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness information. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance- Deep amber colored pour. Frothy and somewhat creamy looking 3/4 inch head. Leaves nice pacthwork and streaks behind.

Smell- Hefty bready caramel malt and sharp harsh bitter hops.

Taste- This one is decently balanced...thank god. It has incredibly harsh bitter dry grapefruit hops, but also has a deep roasted bready and chewy malt backing...still it overpowered by the hops.

Mouthfeel- Chewy and rich with a middle of the road carbonation level.

Drinkability- A touch too sweet and thick for me. Decent, but not Decadant.

GClarkage, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a wax sealed bomber to a pint glass. I'm not sure that the deal is with was on a DIPA I thought it should be drank fresh. The liquid id a dark gold with poor carbonation. The Head was not or barley at best, a little bit of white bubbles but it did lace a bit as I drank.

The smell was ok very hopy, earthy and citrus.

The taste was ok a big hopy beer but just that not a great combination of hopy notes. Some citrus notes and a good bit of thick bready malt but not sweet.

The mouthfeel is ok at best. Very thick and syrupy, carbonation must have been locked in as the bubbly bite is ok.

The drinkability was not so good. This beer is a mess. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of mattster
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

mattster, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of AylwinForbes
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dulcie likes this one better than I and practically stole the whole bomber. The diversity of reviews suggests bottle-to-bottle variations with this brew. Ours was a pale amber and quite hazy - thick like a home brew. Piney, hoppy, aromatic nose, lot of caramel and fruitiness on the palate, transitions into a slight metallic bitterness on the finish. The high alcoholic content makes its presence felt. Mixed feelings: Dulcie likes the fruity elements; I like the low price.

AylwinForbes, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to camarokyle for this one.

22 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark copper hue with hints of amber. A one finger off-white head dies down to just about nothing leaving a decent amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. Smell is a pretty dirty grapefruit aroma with some other citric scents as well. A small bit of caramel malt and pine in the nose too. Very booze-like flavor up front with a slick oily hop taste that's there too. Some grainy earthy hops on the tongue too, but the alcohol flavor dominates this one all too much. Mouthfeel is big, strong, and a bit gritty...just not pleasant. Drinkability is lacking due to the mouthfeel and the alcohol all over. Damn, this beer needs some help.

BeerTruth, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very deep amber in color. Lots of red in this. Head is minimal leaving large bubbles around the perimeter of the glass.

Sweet citrusy, resiny aromas with a lot of alcohol backing. A good toffee malt lies behind everything as well. I really enjoy the nose on this beer. Succulent aromas of peach and apricot. I guess more of a stone fruit than citrus with a slight herbal quality.

Pleasantly suprised with this beer after reading some of the reviews. Maybe it needs time in the bottle. The one thing discouraging about this is a very bitey, gristly mouthfeel on the finish that is not too pleasing. However the flavors are fine and full of alcohol in the mouth and a burn in the chest that doesn't seem to take from the beer. Not largely complex but enough going on the keep things interesting. Very good malt the hop balance. Resiny and chewy with peach flavors leading the way into the toffee, bits of caramel mid. The aftertaste is almost like bile however. A decent beer.

mcallister, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of dakeller80
1.8/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Sadly, this it the first Ska I've had that was nearly undrinkable.

Appearance--reddish amber, almost no haze. Almost no head, some lacing on glass

Smell--apples, cherries, almost no floral hops. . maybe slightly piney. Shockingly phenolic. Alcohol evident. Does NOT smell like an imperial IPA.

Taste--Initial impression was that it was a well balanced although "fruity" phenolic beer. Not horrible, but odd for an imperial IPA. However, the more I tasted, the my surprise over the strange characters turned into disgust. When my girlfriend got a whiff of it and remarked that it smelled like a Red Bull and jaegermeister, that was it. . .I couldn't take it anymore and poured it down the drain. Floral hops are present in the taste but masked by the sweetness.

Mouthfeel--Actually about right for style.

Drinkability--I didn't finish it and won't be buying anymore.

dakeller80, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in blind tasting
This beer pours an amber color with an awesome head and good retention.

The smell has some apple phenole with some cramel malts and some hoppiness.

The taste is very sweet with some sweet caramel malts. Apple phenol comes out on the nose with each sip. Nice hop bitterness to balance, but this beer is a little sweet for a DIPA.

The mouthfeel was full and crisp with a slight creaminess.

This makes for a decent session. Not bad at all.

jasonjlewis, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very slightly hazy orange with a relatively thin head and spotty lacing. Smells of sweet malt and orangey hops. The taste is drier than the nose would suggest. Slightly grainy, fairly balanced with slightly sweet creamy malt and grassy/citrusy hops. Mouthfeel is a little grainy as well. At least the alcohol is subdued, which is saying something given the high abv. Really just fairly ordinary. It's pleasant enough, but not worth the alcohol intake an there are lots better in the category.

Georgiabeer, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of arizcards
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber back in early June from Sprouts for $5.39.

Beer poured an orange color with no head. Appears to be decently carbonated though. Nose is pleasantly malty with hints of floral hops. Taste is pretty much a malt bomb with a piney hop backing. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat lively on the palate. Drinkability is OK, this is a decent beer and is enjoyable on its merits but one i will not seek out in the future given all the choices in this style.

arizcards, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of rallison
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber/red color with a 1 finger head that leaves some decent lacing. Smells of citrusy hops with some caramel sweetness.

So how's it taste? Somewhat hoppy, somewhat sweet. Piny hops with some citrus are here - but kind of rough. Touch of caramel sweetness in the background. Simple, and kind of boring. The flavors never come together here.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side somehow. Not all that impressive.

Drinkability is only okay.

Overall, not recommended. This one just doesn't quite work, I'm sorry to say.

rallison, Oct 26, 2007
Photo of
2.9/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle. Red, waxed cap.

Hazy, orange gold liquid. Medium +, rocky, ivory colored head. Some lacing and legs.

Delicious nose. Grapefruit, caramel, fruits and biscuity.

Taste went south. Alcohol was first thing I noticed, not very well hidden. Much more bitter than sweet, but compensated for with a very large malt backbone. Bitterness lingers in aftertaste, herbal in character and not entirely pleasant. Sweetness reminds me of artificial sweetner, again, not a desirable attribute. It improved some as it warmed, but never rose above average for me.

Medium + in body. Low to medium carbonation, could bump up some and improve if possible with ABV. Dry.

A fairly well balanced DIPA, but tastes just do not work for me. The character of the bitterness and the sweet, as described above, as well as how sweet it was overall just about ensure no return to this one for me.

, Sep 06, 2007
Photo of tonistruth
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- toasted golden straw color, 1 finger white head with good retent, thin film lacing

S- hop oils, malty, citrus, grassy, pine

T- citrus, grassy, earthy, malt backbone, hop oils, mellow, simple

M- medium, some heat and spice, rather smooth and tame

D- mellow and simple 2IPA, maybe too on the simple side, walks dangerously close to boring, strong showing, but thats just not enough to survive in a 2IPA world

tonistruth, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of biking4beer
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Yeti goblet/snifter.

After an aggressive pour, this beer produced an minimal head, and what was there faded quickly. Color is a hazy deep orange to ruby.

The aroma is offering promise. Mostly orange with a little floral and piney background.

Taste is unusual. It's not as big as the nose said it would be. There is a strange sourness. Almost a Belginay sourness. Camamely sweet with but balanced decently with a some bitterness. Slightly metallic. Is this one a little oxidized?

Mouthfeel is really thin on this one. Was slightly disappointed. I like my DIPAs pretty oily. this one had all the other characteristics that would lead you to believe it would be oily, but it failed to deliver.

I didn't want a bottle by myself. I might buy it again. It's worth a try.

biking4beer, Aug 25, 2007
Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Billolick, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of walshclimb
4.7/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear reddish honey with thin off-white head and bubles moving slowly up the glass. Light lace. Very hoppy smell with both flowers and pine up front and a hint of perfumey fruit and a good malt base that is discernable over the big but not overwhelming hops. The initial flavor was more malty than I expected with good floral hops. The aftertaste is floral to bitter and stays around a long while with steady bitterness and decreasing floral note. Very smooth and nicely balanced. Definitely one of the better IIPAs in terms of balanced flavor. Medium to full bodied with slightly syruppy texture and active carbonation that gives a little bite on the tip of the tongue. The finish is nice and not too alcoholic, especially considering this is a 10% beer. Overall, I really enjoyed the balance that the flavor provided with excellent floral aroma and flavor that is not crushingly bitter like some others of this style. I would definitely recommend it.

walshclimb, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of masterkush
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a wax sealed bomber. Has a deep amber color with little head and no lacing. The first thing I smell is malt. The second thing I smell is malt and a hint of alcohol.

And well the taste, you might have figured that one out already. Oh yes. Malt. The hops are there, I can tell more from the mouthfeel however then the taste. The hops come through finally in the aftertaste once the malt subsides. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy but has that slighly puckering, lip smacking sensation you get form high IBUs.

I was a bit surprised given the style, it was not what I expected. I'm not sure if this might be better classified as another style, but Imperial IPA is what the brewers were going for and so it should be reviewed as one. I'm not sure they hit the mark, but otherwise this beer stands up on its own and is one to be reckoned with. If you are looking for a hop heavy IPA, I would look elsewhere, but for something different with a heavy malt nose and flavor (not unpleasant in the least), this beer is definitely worth a try.

masterkush, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of Imstillthegman
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First, I will admit that I can be a sucker for wax sealed bottles. I purchased this and Ska's Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter. I have had neither one before, so I probably would have bought them anyway. Then again, I didn't buy any of their non-waxed beers. Moving on...

The beer poured out a clear amber color with a thin off-white head. There's some light lacing, but nothing fancy.

The smell is of sweet caramel malts and some piney hops. Doesn't smell extremely fresh, though. This may be a problem...

The taste is so-so. I get some of the pine resin from the hops and a lot of the sweetness from the malt. This may be an old bottle...it's a bit watery. It does have a nice bitterness to it, which I enjoy. But that water keeps coming out...eh.

Mouthfeel is...you guessed it...on the thin side of medium and a little watery. Bitter, somewhat astringent at times, aftertaste. That could be the abv coming through and it does become more prominent as it warms. Not horrible, but not great either. I would give it another shot just to compare a bottle to this one.

Imstillthegman, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of btcook007
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I recently tasted this alongside 4 other IPA's. It came in 5th, but was still very good overall. My tastes run more towards very hoppy, pine and citrus flavors, and I rated them as follows:

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (1); Stone Ruination IPA (2); Port Brewing Wipeout IPA (3) (actually almost tied with the Stone); and Sam Smith's India Ale (4). I'll start off by saying that all of them were very good, and I'd order each one of them again.

This was the most similar to the only English IPA that I included, the Sam Smith's. It was hoppier than the SS, but had more sweet maltiness than the others I tasted, other than the SS.

It was the darkest of the 5, with a copper-red color, and it had the smallest head which diminished quickly. It had a burnt-malty, hoppy scent and was pronouncedly less hoppy tasting than the other 3 American brews, with a sweeter, caramelized flavor.

Mouthfeel was also kind of flat compared to the others. Overall it was balanced. Unfortunately, when I'm looking for an IPA, I'm looking for UN-balanced, with a ton of hops and less malt.

btcook007, Jul 09, 2007
Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 702 ratings.