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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.

664 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 664
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 28
Gots: 41 | 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)
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Ratings: 664 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

4.43/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Lightish maple syrup amber brown. Decent head for the ABV, off white beige with fair retention.

Smell: Pine, lemon, a lovely forest of hops. Sweet, toasty malts with a fruity and doughy edge. Notes of caramel and burnt sugar. Very nice, with a subtle hint of alcohol, like a complex herbal liqueur. Rosy floral notes emerge as it warms.

Taste: Hops hold off until mid-sip, then rush in to soak up the carmel malt sweetness. Desert-dry finish with long-lasting resinous grapefruity hop flavor. Mild liquor-like alcohol. Fruity, perfumey sweetness. Dang.

Mouthfeel: A tad thin but nice and clean, surprisingly easy on the palate considering the high IBU and ABV figures. Not mouth-stripping or even puckering, and not syrupy.

Drinkability: This is a killer beer, badass but definitely not hard to drink. Sucking down the bomber was no problem.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2007 07:42:46 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of gmcfarre


3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 22oz bomber (with wax coating!) into traditional pint glass.

A - Amber with 1/2 inch light tan head and very full lacing.

S - Mild aroma with strong hops, but they don't really jump out at you. Good sweetness, but somewhat uninspired.

T - Not the expected hop explosion. Tastes alot like a mildly hoppy IPA with a decent malt balance.

M - Not overly drying, smooth and slightly bitter. Light carbonation.

D- Drinkable in a decent IPA kinda way, but not at all worth the price and excessive presentation on the part of Ska. I kept asking myself, this is a double IPA?

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2007 17:25:53 | More by gmcfarre
Photo of pmatz2


3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22-oz bottle with wax seal.

Pours a deep copper but it took an very aggressive pour to get a decent medium tan head. head Left the amount of lacing on the glass you would expect from this style of beer.

A strong citrus smell followed by a malty aroma. Nothing aggressive

The mouthfeel is pretty good for this style. Carbonation is moderate. It starts malty sweet then starts to move towards hoppiness and finally finishes hoppy. The finish is where in start to notice the 10% alcohol. Not to pronounced but it's there. It's not an overly bitter finish.

I found this to be a very drinkable beer.

Although this wouldn't be my first choice for an America Double IPA. I would drink this again

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2006 03:02:56 | More by pmatz2
Photo of nlmartin


3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this beer up at Sams in Chicago. The beer was served in a Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a medium amber coloration. Light bubbling carbonation rises to the top of the glass. The head of the beer was 2 fingers high; however, the head of the beer settled into a milky thin foam on the surface of the beer.

Smell: Frankly, I found the smell of the beer rather wimpy. The beer has a vanilla/ caramel malty base. This combines with a very understated citrus and pine smells. No off smells are noted in the smell.

Taste: The taste of the beer follows the smell. The beer has a wimpy hop flavor. Vanilla and butterscotch malty sweetness dominate and are given a light kiss of citrus and pine.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a medium body. The beer has a very nice oily buttery texture. The beer doesnt really work for me as a DIPA. I really like this beer in terms of a nice malty treat. The beer was easy to drink. No offensive smells, flavors or textures noted in the beer. The alcohol was well incorporated in the beer. This is a nice try at DIPA; however, I expect a much more aggresive beer when drinking DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2006 18:03:37 | More by nlmartin
Photo of Mebuzzard


3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium-dark amber, hints of burgundy. Small head, persistent, tiny bubbles (not the Don Ho kind), little lacing.
Smelled of some citrus and pine, but nothing strong. Some sweetness of the malt makes its way through.
Taste was a bit thin, not like an IPA. Some citrus, caramel, and alcohol. Hops were there to make it seem like a PA.
Thin feel to it. A bit oily. Nothing special about this brew, but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 03:19:29 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of hopsaplenty


2.78/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz brown bottle, red wax coated cap, no date information.

Transparent amber. Dense, slow building head of small soft tan bubbles topped with frothy milkshake foam. Slow settling, leaving glass-coating splotchy lace, resting at a thick skim for the duration. No carbonation streams. Nice, but tame by DIPA standards, aromas of orange rind, saw dust, caramel, and alcohol. Pine cones and sweet orange blossoms rest on warming alcohol. Thinnish, sweet body with an orange juice and grapefruit pulp finish that does not persist. Low carbonation dampens the hop edge. The orange rind and grapefruit pith is countered with too much caramel sweetness, and the finish simply lacks the resinous stickiness associated with DIPAs. Instead, it is more reminiscent of a regular IPA. There is an overt alcohol flavor that washes along through the finish. The hops lack punch and the body is too thin. This looked alright, but the smell, taste, and mouthfeel did not deliver.

Thanks for Heath for the fresh load of CO beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 02:36:25 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: bottle

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


3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dennis: Usually when you have double IPA's you get hop's to the Nth degree and a strong bitter flavor. This brew however seems to take a more subtle approach. At first, I wouldn't have believed you if you told me this was a double IPA. I also wouldn't have believed it was 10% alcohol either. I think what they did was skip on the dry hopping (which is just smell really) and actually added some Belgian sugars to it to hide the alcohol and soften the hop bitters. Honestly, at first I was disappointed, but as I drank I really have come to respect the power behind this beer.
Jen: At first whiff, all I get is mild hops and the sweetness of caramel malts that I'd not expect from an Imperial IPA. The taste is in the same boat. It has a nice piney and grape-fruity hop flavor, but then this weird sweetness sneaks up on you. I would usual expect a punch of hops with a mild malt backbone, but this seems to be a balance of the two. I do appreciate the fact that it is 10% ABV and you can't tell, but I don't find myself wanting more.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2006 13:49:54 | More by denjen
Photo of TechMyst


3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

PURCHASED @: binny
COST: $6
HEAD: none
LACE: streaking; lasting
COLOR: hazy amber
AROMA: sweet/citrus hops
MOUTHFEEL: medium; sparkling/burning cond.
PALATE: resinous going to slick/oily
COMMENTS: bitter and citrus are at war

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2006 03:26:26 | More by TechMyst
Photo of mntlover


3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy rich looking deep amber color with a small beige head, even with aggresive pour. The head falls to clumps of bubbles that leave some spotty lace.

Aroma is nice, malty lots of caramel noted with some good fruity hops, pink grapefruit and apples. Also some pine needles noted in the hop presence.

Taste is mellow for a big IPA the nice big malt aroma is not so big in the taste. Hop flavors are good but also not near I2PA caliber. They do leave some lingering bitterness along with fruitness, just not enough wow.
Taste is not bad its a good beer just needs either more hops or bigger malt taste to compete in the style.

Mouthfeel is medium with good mellow carbonation,

Drinkability is good a nice beer, just not a big in your face double.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2006 10:57:20 | More by mntlover
Photo of dirtylou


4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, Sam's Chicago

appearance: pours into a New Belgium chalice...amber-orange body with a froth white cap and decent lacing. pretty solid looking DIPA

smell: very nice aromas indeed...big pulpy grapefruit, orange and other citrus, pineapple, tropical fruit, pine. Noticeable caramel-malt backbone in the background. I cant really say anything bad about the nose here...a bit of booze more noticeable as it warms

taste: ok, i dont really understand why this beer scores so low. I see the argument about the flavour flattening out a little but whats there is very nice in my opinion. Big and juicy grapefruit-citrus, dripping hops, fresh pine, tropical fruit flavors. Buttery, caramel malt provides some balance but this one is still clearly a DIPA in my eyes

mouthfeel: high bitterness in the finish, medium body, syrupy

drinkability: fine

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2006 00:19:40 | More by dirtylou
Photo of meathookjones


2.55/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours out clear orange amber with a quickly disappearing light tan head. Very mild citric hops come out in the nose with equally strong sweet caramel malts. Not much hoppiness here for a double IPA and pretty weak aroma overall. The flavor was lacking in the same manner with way too much upfront malt sweetness and only a mild bitter hoppiness to counter it. Alcohol comes out almost as much as the hops do. The flavor was disappointing to say the least. Body is solid. Drinkability is hindered by the lack of real Double IPA hop punch in the aroma or taste. One I could do without trying again.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2006 13:35:06 | More by meathookjones
Photo of TastyTaste


3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Lrrr for the bottle, from These Go to 11 BIF
Appearance: Bright copper-red color, head fades fast leaving a thin skin of head. Barely any lacing.

Smell: Very nice fruity and fresh hops, draws you in, makes you want to taste it. A little bubblegum and alcohol tingle.

Taste: Not as intense as I would expect or hope for. The flavor is not bad, but I want a full-on bitterness assault from a DIPA, and this does not deliver. It is hoppy, but I like a little more from this style.

Drinkability: Easy to put back, a more balanced than you'd expect from the style. Bigger hops and this would be a better beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2006 02:38:23 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of kennyo

New York

3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

went to Durango, Colorado for a couple of days and was only going to bring back two SKA beers because with all these CO. beers I 've never had I would have to rent a 40' container.

Pours a light copper color with a small head that dissapates very quickly. Aroma is malt/hops, alcohol. Sweet malty taste, citrus, hop bitterness. Overall this is a very good drinking beer with a lot of hops but they are very subtle. Tis is a 10% beer but could be very sneaky.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2006 02:05:25 | More by kennyo
Photo of clvand0


4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with wax over the cap. Pours a copper color with a tall head that has great retention. Very hoppy aroma - mostly US pine hops in there. Smells pretty promising. The flavor has a lot less hops than the nose foretells. There is a very strong caramel malt character that flows along with the piney hops that make it seem pretty well balanced ... although it's a bit weak as an imperial ipa. Very tasty brew here. The body is moderate and the drinkability is very good. Not as hoppy in the flavor as it should be, but still very good.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2006 21:42:27 | More by clvand0
Photo of dhilltop2000


3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bomber at $5.79.

Pours a dark honey amber with moderately tight head, after some settling. Fair aroma for an IPA, nothing special. Goes down light for an imperial IPA with 10%alc with only a slightly-heavy hoppy taste. Neither lingering flavor nor bittness prevail rather sweet tones with moderate hoppiness loiter around . Disappointing for the listed specs of this imperial IPA.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2006 21:14:23 | More by dhilltop2000
Photo of blitz134


3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up in Asheville, NC...my first Ska brew...

Nice clear amber, caramel bodied beer. Head was just off-white and started out small and ended even smaller.

Aroma is a bit light to start with, what I pick up smells fine though. Mainly citrus and pine, estery (if thats a word) with some sweetness. A bit of harsh alcohol is present. More umph please.

Taste is hops again, but not quite up to snuff for me. A bit herbal to me, but some fruity overtones work in as well. Some earthy type malts are present. I like this flavor profile over the sweet, overly tropical DIPAs out there, but there just isn't enough hop flavor in this for me. It seems to lack true hoppines and the bitterness just isn't there. Alcohol is also evident but not as strong as the aroma initially indicated, but still a bit hot. It tastes alright.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin really. Carbonation is a bit low. Drinkability is just okay, not quite up to the style. Flavor is good we just need more of it and some more body would make this one good.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2006 01:03:16 | More by blitz134
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazed orangish hue, slim , soon-gone head.

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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


3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For a double and 10% abv – this one is mediocre, it just doesn’t get over the top and fully into DIPA range.

Very nice start – clear amber / orange with a frothy tan head, nice lacing all the way down the glass.

Subtle hints of citrusy hops, here’s where this one starts to go south. Then the quaff – an earthy malt flavor, a tad on the leathery side, just not enough hop hammer to make this a robust double. It would be fine as a regular IPA – except for the high abv. The alcohol was hide well, even though the brew is rather thin bodied.

An IPA, yep, a DIPA – she fails.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2006 12:42:57 | More by Vancer
Photo of hoppymeal


3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark copper in color with a minimal white head that fades quickly. Aroma is nice with and citrusy with some grapefruit and a little tropical-like sweet pineapple, quite perfumy as well. Taste doesn't quite live up to the smells, but not bad. Some sweet citrus and sweet caramel malts with a good size bitter and alcohol bite. The alcohol becomes more pronounced and quite strong as it warms. Mouthfeel is medium body with a dry and warming finish, becoming more slick feeling as it warms to room temp.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2006 01:57:06 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of kmpitz2


3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber. Pours a deep golden color with a light coat of head over top. Clarity is excellent and there is only a small bubble up the sides of the glass. Its a little darker than expected. Nose is sweet caramel with a nice kiss of grapefruit hop and a light toasty bread character. I'd like to see a little more aggressiveness in the aroma. The hop just doesn't pop as much as I think it could. Flavor presents initial flavor of rich caramel sweetness, that is followed by very juicy citrusy hop. The finish is just moderately bitter; enough to let me know it is there, but not overly strong. The hopping is very nice, as it is strong but not over done. The finish is light toastyness along with the very smooth bitterness. I like it. Mouthfeel is a solid moderate, with a light to moderate carbonation. The finish is a touch dry, pulling on the sides of my tongue. As far as drinkability goes, this one is a winner. No hint of the 10% is in the nose or flavor. I think the flavors meld well together, and make this one a solid offering. For the price, this one is a winner.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2006 02:01:15 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of sulldaddy


4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling this beer at room temp in a snifter. the brew pours a clear chestnut hue with fluffy beige head that receds slowly. Aroma is roasted malt and caramel with hops putting in a strong performance. I get mostly pine and citrusy rind scents, but a faint wisp of biscuity yeast shows up as well.
First sip reveals an average body with slightly syrupy texture and fine spacious carbonation. the flavor is sweet briefly with a bit of caramel and maybe honey as well, but rolls to a piney, citrusy, and grassy hop mixture the rolls to a drying finish. the abv is hidden very well and the brew is a dangerously esasy drinker. A solid double IPA IMO.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2006 14:06:15 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of russpowell


4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Smell: Piney hops dominate, not much else

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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


2.2/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Rubied tea in color, this beer exhumes from the bottle rather limpid and lifeless, with a tiny head. Somehow, phenomenal cling is produced on the sides of my wine-glass.

The nose of this beer is anything but vivid. Slight and tentative hop aromas are buried beneath a wall of sticky caramel and an aroma that reminds me of the beer that got spilled on me at a recent Cubs' game. After searching desperately for something resembling hops, I do get something analogous to oranges.

Again, the flavor profile here is super-subtle...the beer itself is rather raisiny and malt-forward which make me seriously skeptical about the DIPA branding. Seems kind of like a poorly interpreted English BW to me...rather stale all around, and if there's a hop flavor it reminds me of fake-watermelon.

One half-bomber was too much. A major letdown, especially at $6 a bomber. I would never have taken a shine to DIPAs if my first foray were at all like this...

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2006 20:28:07 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Boone Saloon in Boone NC
Comes a cloudy amber color with a thin head. I didn't expect a massive head though given the 10%.
Smell is very un IPA like. Lot's of caramel, little citrus, piney, grassy hops.
Taste is kind of on the mild hoppiness side for a double IPA, but good none the less; and you can tell it's a big beer. Lot's of caramel in the flavor and the hops don't hit until the finish.
Has a thick mouthfeel and you can feel the oilyness in the hops.
Very drinkable given the high gravity, alcohol is not noticable until the pint is finished.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2006 03:06:00 | More by wcudwight
Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 664 ratings.