Vortex I | Pisgah Brewing Co.

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Vortex IVortex I
185 Ratings
Vortex IVortex I

Brewed by:
Pisgah Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by atsprings on 01-25-2007

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 185 |  Reviews: 132
Reviews by Floydster:
Photo of Floydster
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle via mikesgroove, thanks again Mike, poured into tulip glass, golden dark orange color, 3/4 inch white soapy head, some retention and lacing, aroma consists of floral accents, grapefruit, chewing gum, bread, caramel, and hint of booze, flavor is strong as expected with a Triple IPA and there is some alcohol strength there, sweet caramel later on that is fairly tangy, probably could use some more dryness, medium to full bodied, hot, dry, and sweet mouthfeel, soft carbonation, could drink a few more ounces but the ten or twelve I had was probably perfect, a little sweet at times, not very smooth, floral accents can be overpowering at times, would drink again, worth trying

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/24/13.An Imperial IPA per label, as well as 9.2%ABV..Pours into an oversized wine glass a dull burnt orange infuse golden with a tightly formed white head atop.Aromas of caramel malts and tropical fruit-like hops,not much bitterness detected.A wave of tropical fruits coats the mouth on every sip of this beer,Iam not sure if I have had a beer with such a tropical element.Mango,peach,and overripe pineapple are dominant over top of a mildy sweet caramel base,the alcohol is there but not in your face.A great DIPA from Black Mountain,Iam gonna visit the brewery here in a few weeks,lookin forward to it.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very hazed, orangey brown with a dense foamy light brown head. The nose is candy seet with a grapefruit rind. Same grapefruit flavor with sweet muddled malt flavors. Thick syrupy body with a sweet finish. Good, but it doesn't compare with the top of the style.

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Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber pours a slightly hazed copper/orange body with a gushing ecru hued head that immediately becomes pitted and rocky. The head gradually settles into a handsome, lasting meringue.

Aroma opens with a fruity/floral orange blossom that segues into fruity pink grapefruit, Valencia orange, and pineapple marmelade. Pine needle notes add an inviting edge.

Mouthfeel is slightly sticky, with a medium body and carbonation.

Taste highlights a bitter and earthy hoppiness, with notes of pine, orange blossom, and pink grapefruit. Chewy caramel malt backbone adds a nice spine. Plenty of leafy hops in the finish.

Highly enjoyable. This North Carolina DIPA is one I wish I could stock in my fridge on a regular basis. Thanks to mntlover for bringing this by.

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Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mondegreen
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz poured into a Pisgah pint glass. Bottle says it was brewed 3/10 and has an ABV of 9.8%. It calls itself a "Triple Pale Ale," but the gentleman at the brewery referred to it as a DIPA. As such I am scoring it as a DIPA.

A: Pours a slighty hazy Amber/Orange. Wears a thin frothy head that lingers, leaves a touch of lace on he sides of the pint.

S: Nose is sweet upfront with aromas of sugars and cities fruit. Maybe a touch of busciut hiding in there, too.

T: Very bitter cold, lightens up some as it warms. Almost paradoxical given the sweetness of the nose. Very nice citrus notes and crisp on the follow through with a somewhat lingering bitterness.

M: Moderate with ample carbonation. Feels nice.

D: A nice drinking TPA/DIPA/ASA (or whatever style this thing is). It might wear on the palate a little, but as long as you sip and don't rush it shouldn't be an issue.

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Photo of chinchill
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz 2013 bottle served in a lager glass.
The clear body looks like honey, and there are suggestions of honey in both the aroma and the flavor. The aroma, however, is dominantly and strongly floral. The flavor has some citrus and herbal notes from the hops in addition to the floral ones. A relatively low bitterness (moderate) makes this very drinkable (aged) DIPA.
The high ABV is partially hidden.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The one, the only, the awesome TimmyP sent this my way!!! Split with my brother-in-law and served in a pint glass.

Pours copper color with a large head.

Tons of hops in the nose. Very sweet and floral. I pick up quite a bit of malt as well... I start to think fresh barleywine here.

Wow... an overbearing amount of hops assault your tongue. Like sucking on a greenhouse with all of the floral/perfume notes. Tons of citrus too... but I'm losing the malt that I smelled upfront. This is extremely hot as well.

It has a sticky mouthfeel and is very full-bodied. I had a rough time finishing my half. I appreciate the chance to try this as anything Pisgah puts out interests me, but I don't know if I'll revisit again. I much preferred the Vortex II. Regardless, thanks for the beer Timmy!! I'm gonna repay that generosity soon!

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Photo of HopAttack3
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of mtpHokie
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of pwoods
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mikesgroove for sending this great growler. Very generous of you.

Pours into a snifter. Review from notes taken a couple weekends ago.

A: Pours Ruby Red grapefruit, glowing. Good head with decent retention. Lots of chunky lacing.

S: A bit on the subtle side for a big DIPA. Very odd hop bill. I'd guess Columbus and Simcoe but I'd probably be wrong, lol. Very resinous. Malts lend some sweetness but not much else.

T/M: Decent bitterness but not nearly as much as I would have thought. I'm still saying Simcoe. Citrus but without much pine and only a touch of resin with some stronger floral notes toward the end. Malt has beefed up a bit in the taste with more sweetness and some bready notes. Body stays on the medium side and doesn't get syrupy at all. As it warms further, a bit more oily citrus comes through. Finishes on the dry side with a bit of lasting bitterness.

D: Easily drinkable for a DIPA. Very different but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of dashirey
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you mikesgroove for this great growler!! I was super excited to get it.

A - Reddish copper color shines through with a off white fluffy one-finger plus head that leaves a good amount of lacing the whole way down.

S - Mix of citrussy hops followed by some piney and grassy hops as well. The malt is also present in the nose.

T/M/D - I loved this beer from beginning to end! A bit of malt, but nothing too much. There are some way too malty sweet DIPAs out there, but this is not in that category - but that's another discussion. The hops are there. There are a lot of hops - citrus, piney, grassy - but IMO it's not too much. The beer stays balanced enough for me to keep want to come back for more, and more, and more. It's smooth going down, if I didn't know the ABV I would have never guessed it was over 10%. This beer is medium bodied and just a great drink through and through. If I could I would drink this all the time, I think though they might catch up with you pretty quickly.

Thanks again Mike!!

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Photo of ahatcher78
4.92/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled 9/13/08 from a growler thanks to the very generous mikesgroove. Poured into my DFH snifter after a very satisfying whoosh of carbonation when cracking the growler.

A- A hazy orangish amber allowing little light through. About a finger of tan eggshell colored head. A thick lacing that stuck with the glass through the whole drink. Fantastic

S- Really a lot going on. Some citrus. A lot of Grapefruit for me. Followed by some sticky pine. Then a nice malt background that seemed pretty straight forward.

T- Hops,hops, and hops. Similar to the smell, but not completely. Very nice the malt takes the edge away. Blances good with resinous of the pine characteristics.

M- Medium bodied. A fine light carbonation. Tackiness from the pine, but not over bearing.

D- Perfect. You can't detect the alcohol except for the creeping of the heat into your cheeks. Extremely drinkable for the ABV, and perhaps the most drinkable I have had in the style. Superb.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label reads "Triple Pale Ale" and is listed at 9.8% ABV. Label art is like a Tolkien-esque/psychedelic take on the traditional nature label designs favored by Saranac and those old Schmidt's cans. I'm assuming it was brewed 11/09, as that's the figure on the label, so, not exactly fresh, though not exactly aged. USDA certified organic.

Pours a gold-tinted off-white head that sits on top of a burnt/rust orange color. Only thin flecks of lace left on the glass.

Wonderfully candy-like aroma, with lots of toffee, caramel, butterscotch, pineapple and spearmint sharing space.

Hops are immediate and unforgiving at the very beginning of the sip, while an electric caramel brightness offers some backup and balance; alcohol provides a comforting warmth and gives the beer some serious balls (although it's far from overbearing or "hot"). Fantastic hop character here, plenty of rind and oily resins, although again, just a lot of balance and class. Nothing spikes or veers out of whack. As well, the long, lingering grassy bitter/astringent character in the finish holds back just enough from being cloying, and is actually quite delightful if you dig big hops. What's the malt doing here? It's being good and providing a firm foundation but not hogging the stage -- this is definitely about the hops, even if they perform just a bit differently than other beers of this kind.

About as creamy and round as I'd want a beer like this to be, this is texturally quite nice, although not a feel to marvel over the way other huge IPAs/strong American ales can do (like Double Bastard).

Take this one slow; it's too unique to throw back quickly, and the alcohol packs a punch. Certainly one of the absolute best organic beers out there; you cannot tell this is organic: nothing is diminished or lacking, as many organic beers are, unfortunately. This is just full-on flavor, with plenty of depth, and it performs just as a strong American ale or "triple pale ale" should, yet steps off the path a little. Doesn't remind me of anything else out there in this crowded field. I'm officially on the lookout for anything else by this brewery starting...NOW.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to mikesgroove for this treasure.

Pours into my SA tulip a beautiful looking red/orange/amber/glowing/ruby color with a very nice off white/light tan fluffalicious head. Nose is mad grapefruit hops with a good malt presence. Taste most certainly follows with crisp clean (must be the organic) hop flavors. A good malt backbone makes its slightly sweet presence known right in the middle, just before the bitter ride of a great west coastish hop profile rears its head. Mouthfeel is just about right here, maybe a tad bit thick. Drinkability is incredible on this one, hampered only by a just barely to dry dryness on the finish. Shockingly smooth for its TIPA abv. Overall I am very impressed with this brew, and wish I could get my hands on it regularly as I would be drinking the shit out of it on a regular basis. A solid D/TIPA reminds us all how pisgah really belongs at the pinnacle of organic brewing, and up there for brewing in general. Great beer. Thanks again to mike.

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Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very thick head that leaves very thick lace, on grapefruit body. Aroma is hoppy, not crazy hoppy. Chinook, Nugget, very well malted. 130 IBU rated but not feeling that at all, well done. Grapefruit,some tangerine, very tasty. Dangerously drinkable.Bomber gone, 20 minutes. Smooth creamy mouthfeel. Called triple pale, and that's what it is.Thanks for talking me into it, Dr. Jay. From Bruisin' Ales.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomb, split with borat. my "welcome to reston beer" - always love to try some pisgah

appearance: gushing foamer of a bottle, poured into a nice oversized snifter, foamy beige froth and decent retention once the bomb of foam resides. nice full copper-amber body

smell: smells pretty nice - sticky pine hops, a touch of nice bubblegum, floral, pungent grapefruit...nice

taste: high bitterness levels - splashes of citrus and pine but the flavor profile falls a little flat overall

mouthfeel: oily and resiny - nice

drinkability: bitter but nice

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Photo of RickS95
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a thick head. The head starts off strong, but gradually slows down though it never goes away. You can tell the lacing is going to be killer because as the head pulls away from the sides, the glass is still covered.

I liked the smell from the start. The hops give you that nice citrusy scent. Flowery notes are also present.

The taste is similar to the smell. The citrus is obviously, but theres also a malty sweetness to keep the earthy hop flavors in check.

You could never call a triple pale ale smooth in the mouth, but for the type, this is as smooth as I've had. It's clearly hoppy, but the malts subdue everything

Despite ridiculous alcohol and being a triple IPA, this is pretty easy to drink. I love the citrus flavor and as mentioned a couple times, the malts take all the hoppy bite away and make this go down easy.

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Photo of Photekut
3/5  rDev -25.2%

Photo of qcbrewer
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of prototypic
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kkipple for this one. Much appreciated, Dan.

Vortex I is bronze or copper in color. It's very clear and has no haze at all. I'm tempted to call this excessively carbonated, but I'll hold that call. This beast of a head is tan in color and easily exceeds four fingers in depth. It dissipates (to a degree) somewhat quickly, but never completely goes away. Thick sheets of lace clung to the glass as it descended.

The nose is good, but not great. It certainly features a strong hop presence. It smells mostly piney and floral. I'm unsure of the hop bill. It's certainly big, whatever it is. A healthy amount of malt is noted. It smells like a mix of pale and maybe some caramel. The label describes this as a "triple pale ale." I'm not exactly sure what that is. Perhaps it is a DIPA. But, it does feature the somewhat balanced approach of an American Pale Ale. It's skewed a little in the hop direction, but not by much. Alcohol is noted, but I wouldn't have guessed it's nearly 10%. Good overall, not great.

The flavor profile is pretty good, but it's somewhat disappointing. It certainly kicks off with a strong, bitter hop flavor. It is indeed aggressively bitter. I'm not so enthralled with the hop flavor though. It's an okay mix, but could be better (the bottles indicates four varieties). There's a good bit of pale malt, and perhaps some caramel, that tries to balance out some of the hop flavor. It remains very bitter. Moreso than I expected. Alcohol is noted on the tail. It still doesn't seem like such a strong beer. I like that aspect of it. All in all, it's not bad stuff. I'm wrestling with how much I like this beer. There's no doubt that it's pretty good. But, I can't help but feel that it's a little disappointing. It just doesn't seem to have enough flavor to reach the next level.

Vortex I has a (barely) medium body. Carbonation is not quite as excessive as I thought. It's nearly smooth, but needs a little more body to get there. Drinkability is above average. I like the flavor alright, but it could be better. It's also strong at 9.8%. A bomber is plenty for me.

Pisgah did an okay job with Vortex I, but it's a little disappointing. I always find a lot of novel style approaches less than completely satisfying. In this case, it's a 'triple pale ale.' I don't know what that is. The biggest problem here is that it doesn't have the amount of hop flavor, nor the girth that it needs to excel. That could be easily rectified with a couple of tweaks. It's not bad and is definitely worth checking out, but it falls pretty far short of Valdez. It's disappointing compared to that.

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Photo of woodchip
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of hooliganlife
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks ROBORB !

A - pours deep copper with a massive white head, i mean massive head. I HATE waiting for head to go down. only seemed to be on the initial pour.

S - smell is alcohol, biscuit malts, floral hops, very sweet

T - very bitter from start to finish. not as sweet as the scent makes it out to be. strong malt backbone but the bitter pine and citrus hop flavor REALLY stand out. VERY bitter.

M - very full, carbonation has some bite to it.

D - this is a great DIPA or as the bottle says - triple pale ale. huge flavors that really put you in your place.

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Photo of russpowell
4.61/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from joe1510, cheers Joe!! Review based on notes:

Pours copper with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Hazes as the bottle is drained but to be expected from a bottle conditioned beer I am trying to squeeze every drop from. Tons of lacing & head retention

S: Breadyness, pineyness, floral hops, plus leafy hops as this warms

T: Pineyness, herbal hops, a touch of tangerine, toffee & leafy hops up front. As this warms, I get biscuitty malt & herbal hops melding nicely, plus some orange slices, also some dryness. finishes fruitty with some herbal hops, grapefruit, pineapple & a touch of booze

MF: Creamy, medium body with fantastic balance

Drinks easy, but I am feeling the ABV on this a bit. Not perfect, but damn near. I will be on the look out for this when I go back to NC this summer!

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Photo of Kegatron
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Pretty foamy pour at first but dumps a hazy amber (that have a sort of burnt orange hue to it) with several billowous fingers of poofy of-white head. Settles into a still somewhat thickish layer of retention, with swirling getting a nice rise, leaving a massive latticwork of sticky looking lacing back. The aroma is a big warmish fume of floral and spicy hops, pine needles, just MASSIVE juicy tropical fruit notes of mangos and pineapples, and an equally huge malty dose of toasted grains.

For the taste, I could pretty much just rewrite the aroma. Starts with sticky (but not overly so) resinous hops that have got a lot of herbal and spicy character going on with it to. The bitterness is intense but doesn't go over the top thanks to it running into a COMPLETE WALL of lush tropical fruit juices and beefy feeling toasted and grainy malts. Spicy bitterness lingers long and proudly, spreading a dry and tingley warmth across the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an all around more viscous feel to it but it also carries a softer, creamier feel within it, that keeps this from feeling completely oily. The ABV is very eveident, as you can imagine at almost 11%, but I don't feel that it's overly rampant though. It does however mix with the huge hop profile to impart a bitter sting but the residual warmth it gives off does help compliment the big flavors in this.

Massive bomb of an IPA here from the Pisgah boys, that while dripping with lush hop character, doesn't get it's raging ABV quite under control enough to keep the drinkibility of this up. I'd definitely recommend sitting down with a bottle of this, just plan on taking your time with it.

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Vortex I from Pisgah Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 185 ratings