1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Decadent Imperial IPA - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

696 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 696
Reviews: 340
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 27
Gots: 53 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 696 | Reviews: 340 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of theWrkncacnter
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle with a fancy wax covering. Head was minimal which faded to almost nothing with only a tiny trace of lacing. Color is very nice new-penny copper that's slightly cloudy. Smells of very fresh/ripe slightly floral hops. Taste starts out with some sweet flavors and a little roasted malt that finishes with some good hop bitterness than lingers around for a while. Mouthfeel is a little watery at first but then very dry on the finish. Drinkability is high, hardly any alcohol taste at all.

In the world of DIPAs I think you really have to stand out, since so many people are doing them. This is a decent beer, and definitely good, but compared to other DIPAs such as Rogue's I2PA or 90 Minute or Breckenridge 471, this just seems sub par. I could have also used a little more carbonation al well, which I think might have helped a bit. Glad I tried this, but not sure if I'd buy again.

theWrkncacnter, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of atsprings
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy amber with a thin head. The aroma is a little weak, but presents some pine hops. The taste is a decent blend of pine and citrus hops with sweet caramel malts. The beer is heavy and sticky, but mostly tolerable. This is a decent IPA that is at least available year round in my area, better than GD Hercules but not as good as Double Simcoe, the only other two year round DIPAs available in my area.

atsprings, Jun 22, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

ChainGangGuy, May 24, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Wasatch, May 20, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours from 22oz waxed cap bottle a clear amber gold with a large head of foam that shrank slowly leaving a ring around the glass with good lacing.

The smell is dominated by sweet caramel malt but has a bit of grapefruit in the background.

The taste on first is big on the caramel malt that I mentioned in the smell. I'm also getting a bit of dark fruit...mostly plum.
Further sips in and some grain begins to show up along with some hop bitterness, actually more of a pungency, that makes up most of the finish. There *seems* to be an almost empty spot between the caramel malt and the hop finish, other than some graininess, and *that* comes across to me as a bit watery. The alcohol is hidden pretty well so the only thing I consider negative is that darn empty spot and it *does* affect the overall taste experience for me...

Bottom line: I'm glad I tried this DIPA but it's not one that I'd seek out again. Unless the flavours became more consistent.

Bitterbill, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice amber color with a small foamy white head.

The aroma was of very citrusy and herbal hops. Some alcohol and light caramel was in the nose. Faint vinous notes were also present.

The flavor of the beer was assertively bitter with good amounts of grapefruit and earthy spice. The maltiness was pretty caramelly for a DIPA. As the beer warmed, more of the spicy earthiness came out in the hops. This beer had slight vinous flavors, reminiscent of a barleywine, but not nearly as much as, say, Stone 10th. It gave the beer the flavor of a DIPA from a few years ago, different from many of the lighter-bodied west coast versions that are brewed today.

The carbonation was just right and the mouthfeel was light/medium.

A solid DIPA with an interesting malt profile. This should probably be consumed as young as possible. This has potential to become more of a light barleywine with age. That said, I feel that all DIPAs should be consumed fresh and bright.

SacoDeToro, Mar 29, 2007
Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 696 ratings.