Imperial IPA | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Draft only as of 2008.

Added by cretemixer on 11-24-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 523
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I find this style on a whole counter-productive. Way too much hops, and then to be drinkable, perhaps malted down. I find I am ranking regular well-done IPAs significantly higher. This one is no exception, its fresh, its got some grapefruit aroma, it looks nice, and i taste the cascade, bu the additional megadoses of tettnang and simcoe and then lots of malt..well its a one-time effort. In any case, thanks for delivering Viggio.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This poured out as a nice clear orange color with a soapy white head on top. The retention is thin but has a very nice sticky lacing. The smell of the beer is packed with fruity pine-like hops. Very fresh and bright aromas on the nose. The taste is really good as well, lots of sweetness balanced with a great bitterness. The flavored of fruit and malt mix really well with a subtle resin finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied gently carbonated. Overall this is a very good IIPA.

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Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is relatively clear yellowish amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and sides of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts and floral and citrusy hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that there are a little more flavors of caramel malts and a light to medium amount of bitterness. Only a slight amount of alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Imperial IPA ages pretty incredibly as you can still smell and taste some of the hops after a decade. While the aging has rendered it closer to a barleywine, you can still get some of the hops in the smell and taste.

Note: Aged approximately 10 years.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Like chewing on a pine cone that's dripping with citrus fruit juice and candied with caramel, this strongly hopped ale shifts the balance decidedly toward the hops in their most glorious fashion.

The highly hazed ale settles in with a burnish gold, amber color that looks much like grapefruit and orange juices. A creamy foam settles upon the beer with an off white blanket that's firmly retained and clingy with lace.

Grapefruit, oranges, and pine aromas provide an intense and fragrant scent while the supple malt sweetness picks up on the citrus character with light caramel and honey. Grassy as well, this is a testament to the sheer amount of hops employed to deliver this strong of aroma.

Citrusy as hell with white grapefruit pulp, freshly zested oranges, passion fruit, and apricots gives a sense of the resiny, tropical and pithy flavor of fruit. Seemingly candied in nature, the mild caramel malt sweetness is thin gives the fruit flavors a candied effect. Quite bready, the starch of dough takes over for the timid sweetness and gives the hops a firm pillow on which to rest. Followed by a grassy and deeply resiny bitterness and mild vegitable taste, the dryish beer opens itself to the rewards and limitations of reckless hopping rates.

Starchy to texture as well as the bready malt feel gives the dry hops a creamy (almost chewy) mouthfeel and soothes the high alcohol warmth and rounds off the astringent hop matter. Finishing dry, bitter, and gripping on the back of the throat, a linger of sharp citrus carries the palate into the next sip.

It's a dangerous beer that causes such resiny dryness that it's easy to reach for the next sip to quench the thirst far sooner than the nine percent beer should. Sneaky, that one.

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Photo of largadeer
3.56/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Fiver29 as an extra - thanks man!

Appearance: Hazy amber in color with an enormous frothy head. Excellent head retention and lace - this is a great looking beer.

Smell: Malty and fruity; mango, papaya and pineapple with a toffee undertone.

Taste & mouthfeel: Very sweet and fruity up front. Big flavors of mango and pineapple, candied peach and a hint of lemon. Full-bodied for the style, fuller than I normally like, but it somehow works here (thanks in part to the high carbonation). The finish is hoppy and bitter, but not overwhelmingly so - the malt flavor stacks up, making this drink almost like a barleywine.

Notes: This generally isn't my kind of IPA; I tend to like them light-bodied, dry and generously hopped. This is one of the few heavy, malty DIPAs that I've actually enjoyed. Recommended for fans of Dreadnaught and the like.

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Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

At long last we meet for a review...i've had this fresh and on-tap several times, but this sample is from 2005. Let's see if the "flavor continues to develop over 5 years" as stated on the bottle.

Deep raw honey toned orange, topped by spindly lacing that resembles the logo of the band Darkthrone. Huge aged hop smell, overripe grapefruit and cantaloupe. Herbal and spicy notes linger behind the fruitiness. It's still intimidating after almost 2 years in the bottle.

Taste is mellow at first, building into hoppy territory, bitterness is like sucking on a grapefruit rind. Velvety malt blanket settles midway through. Nuanced spice and herbal hops linger long into the finish. This is still a formidable IIPA. The hop edge is definitely more subdued, and if you cellar, try to wait more than a becomes a different animal at that point.

As it warms, it becomes slightly more difficult to drink. The giant stumbles due to it's largesse. Fresh and on tap, it's easy to lose count. However, a cellared bottle is more of an occasional malty hop-bomb treat. Age has changed it quite a bit, and i'll be saving one for a side-by-side when the next batch is released.

Fresh on tap, this is a 4.5-4.6 easily...

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Monger: Poured a cloudy yellowish/copper color ale with a nice foamy pure white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet floral malt with a nice mix of hops with some citrus notes but nothing overwhelming. Taste is a complex mix between some sweet malt with a nice mix between floral and citrusy hops which provide medium bitterness at the end. Body is above average with some medium carbonation and no alcohol could be detected.

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Photo of zeff80
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an orange/amber color. A small head that leaves some very nice lacing.

S - It smelled of hops, grasses and there was a sweet, fruity quality to it.

T - Tasted very hoppy along with a dried fruit flavor and a slight malt taste.

M - Very crisp and sharp. Medium-bodied.

D - A great beer. Tons of hops and tons of flavor.

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Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hoppedup for sharing this bad boy,poured a slight hazed golden with a tinge of orange with a nice tight,sticky white head that stuck around for quite awhile.Resin,resin,and more resin in the aroma along with some pine and grapefruit no malt to be found here.Very nice thick,coating mouthfeel.Iam not sure what the alc% is on this puppy but it shows up in the finish after a rather dry intensly hopped resiny,piney bomb very little malt detected.Had a tea-like aftertaste that lingered for quite awhile wich was different,if you are into hops what can I say this is one for you.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Goose Island Clybourn (Chicago, IL) on 4/24/09. 12 oz pour served in a tulip glass.

Pours a hazy apricot orange color that is topped with a 1/2 finger of creamy eggshell colored foam. Retains with a smooth and creamy look that drenches the sides of the glass with a rich cascade of lacing. The aroma on this is what sets this part as one of thee best Midwest DIPAs. This is just LUSH smelling with tropical fruits. Grapefruit, mango, and apricots. It's so in your face, that you don't even realize at first just how floral, spicy, and resinous the aroma is a well. There is also a thick underlying layer of bread, caramel, and some light heat that rounds out this quite awesome bouqet.

Luckily, the taste keeps up the pace but this time it's the hops that show themselves with a forceful bitterness that possesses a spicy and stickily resinous quality to it. The boldness of the hops is eventuall tempered and extremely well balanced by that same lush tropical fruit character and a beefy backbone of caramel sweetness and toasted grains. The fruit mixes with the malts to create a sharp tang that nicely evens out all of that sharp bitterness. Finishes warm and spicy with a lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a hefty feel to it but the carbonation itself has a softness to it that keeps things flowing. The alcohol presence keeps the drinkibility of this in check for me but the hugeness of the flavors help distract from it for the most part.

Wow, just wow. This is just a fantastic DIPA and it's easily up there in my top 3 for the style in the Midwest area. I had only previously had this in the bottle (and it was an older one at that) and loved it back then. On tap, this is just stunning. Man, I hope they choose to bottle this again, as I'd be all over some freshies of this.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 release, acquired from JeffKrenner courtesy of the Birthday Club 2, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a murky amber color, with a thin but dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a good blend of floral hops, caramelized malts and some citrus.

T: The taste hits with strong flavors of caramel and citrus sweetness up front. Then there's a strong but noticeable toned-down hops bitterness that comes in. The sweetness quickly kicks back in and leaves a sweet after-taste.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, the age on this beer really seems to have brought out the sweetness, which makes me curious how it would be fresh. However, it's still a good beer overall.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an amber body that's not so hazy as there's a fine powder-like substance dispersed throughout. Smallish, though creamy, white head.

Smell: Hoppy aroma of citrus, pine, and spice with subtler caramel malts underneath.

Taste: Biscuity malts with a slight caramel sweetness. Orange and grapefruit rinds. Some pine resin. Constant spiciness. Full, earthy bitterness. Touch of alcohol warmth. Bittersweet finish with a lingering spice on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A rather good brew and one I certainly enjoyed, though it most likely displays more malt and balance than hopheads would desire.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pristine, glowing, rustic orange with butterscotch edges. The cap is thickly creamy and is an especially appealing shade of buttery pale yellow-pastel tangerine. A rounded, melty mesa of cream occupies the center of the glass and a fair amount of lace occupies the glass itself. It isn't the hop oily glass-coater that I was hoping for, but I'm still confident that it'll be nicely hoppy.

The aroma is outstanding. Bittersweet orange is uppermost, white grapefruit isn't far behind and fresh evergreen brings up the rear. I love the hop bill (Tettnang, Simcoe, Cascade). The Simcoe give it that extra something that makes it stand out from the DIPA pack. Thankfully, very little caramel maltiness is evident.

The flavor follows the nose directly. There's a huge malt load that tastes almost exclusively pale malty. As a result, the flavors that it contributes don't get in the way of the hop love. It's also fairly sweet and is, therefore, nowhere near a tongue shredder. Candied orange peel is still king, candied grapefruit still plays second fiddle, and sticky pine sap is still trailing in their wake. As I said, just like the nose.

Goose Island Imperial IPA is neither the balanced, caramel malty, quasi-barleywine style of DIPA (which I don't like as well), nor is it the supersonic, incandescently hoppy style of DIPA (which I prefer), but is somewhere in the middle. I still love it, though I wish that the malt:hop balance was tweaked just a shade more in favor of the good guys.

Asking for an ABV of 9.0% to be completely buried borders on the unreasonable, but I see some room for improvement in that department. I can appreciate a (minor) hotness that could stand to be toned down a tad. The mouthfeel is top-notch. It's medium-full, supremely smooth and heavily silky.

Imperial IPA is my favorite Goose Island beer to date; no surprise given that American Double IPA is my favorite style. Actually, now that I think about it, their standard IPA is just as good. I can think of ways in which it could be improved (more hops!), but it's still an outstanding beer that confirms Goose Island's place among the best breweries in the Midwest.

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Photo of russpowell
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another extra/extra from Bitterbill, cheers Bill!

2007 vintage pours a semi-hazed apricot with a pinky of beige head. Some viscosity to this, along with very good lacing 7 head retention

S: Dark & rocarg fruits, breadyness & leafy hops & a touch of breadyness

T: Pears, plums, apricots, a touch if booze warmth with leafy & herbal hops up front. Pineapple & booze-infused passion fruit show as this warms, along with herbal & leafy hops, along with some figs. Finishes dry with a hint of booze, pears, apricots, figs & grapefruitty hops, plus some nice tropical fruit & leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied, with fairly lively carbonation, & slight chewyness

Drinks pretty easy for the style, a really nice DIPA verges on greatness, skews toward the English influence as far as flavor profile goes..

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.61/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have been waiting a long time for this one! Was curious to see if it can live up to the hype of a great IPA, boy did it ever. Bottle indicates it is a 1996.

Poured a very bright orange amber, full of haze and suspended carbonation. Big bollowing, pillow like frothy white head, went absolutly nowhere for a long time. When it finally did decide to rest, it left the glass almost completly obscured with lace. If looks could kill, I would have fallen down flat. Looked absolutly perfect, can't wait.
Smell came across at first very sweet, like an orange pop sickle hop bomb, yummy as heck. Some of the strongest orange scent I have ever smelled when first poured. Let it sit around a bit and warm and this revealed some hints at the alcohol that lies inside, and some more pronounced grapefruit scents and pine resin started to come out. The taste followed along, and even improved on that, it was really utterly fantastic. Very sweet flavors of Pineapple, not too strong though, were the biggest player here. Also notable were a nice pine resin flavor that carried over well. Very balanced between the bitter hops and the sweetness, this was like liquid candy for me, wonderful. The after taste was as close to perfect as I have gotten, very long lingering and bitter, pine tree fresh, and so dry it left you begging for another sip. Great mouthfeel on this, smooth with great carbonation, a slight bit of warming due to the alcohol, which at 9%abv is to be expected, but is so well masked but the rich and sugary flavors it is a non-issue.

This was an absolutly fantastic beer. Hands down one of the finest IPA's I have every tried. Great smell, awesome taste, and just a smooth easy drinkibilty make this one stand out above alot of others. Would love to get some more one day, and will do my best to make that happen.

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Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! I started with a/n (probably too) agressive pour and was presented with easily two fingers of eggshell/off-white head for my troubles. The date on the bottle is a little tough to read, but it looks like it was bottled in December 2003. Whoops! Well, the bottle does advise me that the flavor would continue to develop over the next five years and that I should use a wide-mouth glass. I'm down with both, since I am using my favorite Schlitz Light goblet today. Laugh, if you must, but this is a nice heavy glass that probably once had a home in a bar.

On the nose, I still get a jolt of hops, but the malt has begun to assert itself and it comes through as an underlying scent. The color was a slightly hazy deep amber with lots of CO2 bubbles in evidence. The mouthfeel was actually quite full and the hops were the prevalent taste on the tongue, although I can imagine that they were once more intense. Even so, a good deal of hops make their presence known on the tongue and the finish has a wash of malt to accompany them to reduce some of the sharpness that this probably had on its initial bottling. The sticky lacing that this produced is really notable. I am going to buy some more bottles and set them aside, also.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears copper orange with a bright white head leaves thick chunks of lacing around my Stone IPA chalice, nice look it. Aroma contains big layers of citrusy and pine scented hops along with lucious bready malt tones finishes with a cinge of alcohol. Flavor is up front bitter with loads of hops bringing citrus, pine, and some earthiness to the equation wrapped with semi sweet biscuit malts and alcohol tinged finish @ 9% abv. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied oily resinous textured even smooth carbonation flows very nicely. Drinkability for this hop head what a delight gret double IPA in todays beer world of extreme pushing the envelope on each style this one finds itself as a staple of what Imperial IPAs can and should be like unique and tasty.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on-tap in a tulip glass in a local bar.

Pours deep copper with a creamy white head that has nice retention and leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of tropical and citrus fruits. Hop spicing certainly comes through in a robust aroma.

The taste is citrus and tropical fruits (apricot, grapefruit and banana) mingles with a touch of caramel. It has a spicy, long finish.

It has a chewy full body. Smooth despite abv.

A wonderfully tasty hoppy brew that is dangerously drinkable!

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Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, informative label, including bottling date. My bottles were filled only 6 weeks ago. Fresh brew from a fine brewer. This DIPA is a tasty offering to the hop gods. Pouring Glittering, clear orangy amber, almost white head that is long lasting and leaving respectable lacing. Nose is loaded with juicy hop notes. Full bodied and immediatly bitter and crammed with waves of grainy, oily and citric hop notes. Balanced by a bed of semi-sweet malt notes. Big, bold and complex. Alcoholic strength is quite evident. Hop lovers/big beer lovers rejoice. Even more world class brew from Goose Island. Well done!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with BA earthman, courtesy of the illustrious AKSP! Thanks, Flash!

Hazed pale orange, solid creamy-toned head.

Outsized aroma, speaks, maybe screams, from afar, blazing pine and tropical fruit, spanks the nose, then softly tickles.

Taste: again, blazing hops, loud and proud, fresh citrus zest, packed with alcoholic punch.

Huge texture, big pucker, fat bitterness, graps the lips and drags it around for a spin...very pithy citrus character, abundant hop bitterness.

A challenge, but a fun one. A real unique twist on the double IPA, not like many others, and...dangit, I like it!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap at the Wrigleyville Goose Island. Served in one of their reserve glasses (cross between a flute and goblet). This is the 2008 batch.

A - One finger of creamy off-white foam. Excellent retention and lacing on this one. Dark coppery color - almost red. Really nice looking brew.

S - Tropical citrus flavors - tangerine and pineapple mostly. Also some fresh hoppy bitterness. There's a bit of malt backbone, but it's very far in the background. You can tell this is very fresh. It's yummy, but not groundbreaking.

T - Starts with the sweet citrus and touch of malt, but then ends with hoppy bitterness. The aftertaste is quite mild, which was a pleasant surprise. Again, it's good, but not earth-shattering.

M - Surprisingly thin. Nice carbonation tingle, but not overly bloaty. Slight resinous sensation afterwards, but not overwhelming.

D - This does not taste like 9% at all. It goes down uber-fast with the thin body, medium carbonation, and controlled bitterness. It's almost as if it was designed for sessions - tastes great, no drawbacks! (other than drunkenness I suppose...)

This was a huge improvement over the 2007 bottle I had (which was well past it's best before - think I had it around Hallowe'en for a brew that expired April). I understand why Greg thinks this is best consumed fresh, as it turns into a malt bomb otherwise.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/30/07- Tasted at a beer tasting at Talisker's apt.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, didn't get a close enough look to see if there was a freshness code. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Slight deep orange colored pour. Larger bubbled 1/2 a finger head. Very white in appearance. Left behind a few nice sticky small gobs of lace.

Smell- Wonderful fruit basket smell. All citrus. Lots of grapefruit with a nice tangerine nose as well. Sweet caramel malt rounds out the scent.

Taste- Reminds me of Dogfish 120, with 10% less abv and a tad less sweetness. Grapefruit and orange rind flavors tie together with a pretty hefty caramel flavor.

Mouthfeel- Thicker feeling mouthfeel with medium to a lower carbonation level. Bitterness aftertaste lasts a decent amount of time.

Drinkability- I'd like to try another one of these if I get the chance again. The scent steals the show, but the flavor is very good as well. All around very good DIPA.

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Photo of Duff27
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Half inch tall white head on a murky dark red/amber body. Splotchy lacing with a cap and collar.

Smells of citrusy booziness.

Slight citrus from hops. Grassy. Has almost a menthol quality to it. Noticeable alcohol.

Full mouthfeel, good carbonation,

Good beer, although I disagree with the distinction of world class. DIPAs are a crowded field and this one just doesn't have enough to set it apart from the pack. That being said, get your hands on some if you can.

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Photo of Tone
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, slight flora hops, sweet malt, slight caramel malt, hint of grapefruit, and a hint of pine. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of citrus hops, alcohol, hint of floral hops, sweet malt, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance and aroma, but average body and blend.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At the time of this review this beer is illogical on the "Top Beers - American Double / Imperial IPA" list on It does not belong at all.

Beer served in a snifter, on draft at Churchkey DC. Beer is amber and mostly clear with a tan off white head of small bubbles.

Aroma is malty, earthy, mildly piny, smells fine.

Tastes horrid, it is mildly solventy with this odd bitterness at the end that must be from grain, maybe almost smokey? I hate it. I will not have this again.

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Imperial IPA from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.21 out of 5 based on 523 ratings.
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