Decadent Imperial IPA - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

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722 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 722
Reviews: 343
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 29
Gots: 63 | 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: 722 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ncbeermonger
2.88/5  rDev -21.1%
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 -15.6%
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
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%
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 -4.1%
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
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
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
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
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
2.63/5  rDev -27.9%
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
2.55/5  rDev -30.1%
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
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
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 -24.7%
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
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
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
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
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
4.8/5  rDev +31.5%
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
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
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 -1.9%
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
4.83/5  rDev +32.3%
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
2.85/5  rDev -21.9%
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
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
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
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
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
2.63/5  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 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...

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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. .

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.

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.

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

Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 722 ratings.