Giant Star Imperial Pale Ale | Great Waters Brewing

8 Ratings

Brewed by:
Great Waters Brewing
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ADR on 05-02-2005

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 7
Reviews by BDLbrewster:
Photo of BDLbrewster
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy pumpkin hued amber with yellow highlights. Small head with poor retention and a fair amount of sticky lacing.

The nose is plump with resinous hops. I get a lot of orange, mango, passion fruit and some citric grapefruit. I also smell a very characteristic odor that I get in all Great Waters brews, I'm not entirely sure what it is but it is indeed there. Could very well be the malt variety they constantly use, but I am not sure.

The taste carries a nice hop profile, a healthy mix of orange pith, some traces of pine a sort of herbal taste and a bitterness that is not crazily overbearing. The hops are more about flavor in this one than extreme bitterness. The malt backbone is firm and very supporting if not even a little heavy. The toffee is very strong and stands up well to the hop profile. The claimed 9.2% is nowhere to be found.

The mouthfeel is so in tune that it goes almost completely unnoticed. I am rating this category off a hand pulled engine, so the consequence of the effect on carbonation is apparent. On tap this brew had very healthy carbonation, and I don't feel like I am drinking from a squeeze bottle of Aunt Jemimah.

Overall this is definitely one of the best brews I have seen out of Great Waters. Easy sipper and high ABV that make this great brew a big sleeper.

 1,316 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of ADR
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub...

Served in a smaller tulip glass. Cloudy but solid light reddish walnut color, bright with tone. Head is fluffy with a good mixture of bubble sizes. Great laces, thick like toothpaste. Aroma is fairly reserved, woody with hints of lurking hop oils. Starts with an intense peach sense and a good malty beginning but a change is occuring. As the slightly syrupy malts fade, the bittering builds, almost ascending out of the fruit background like a flying insect out of a pupa to reach a "grapefruit on fire" level of tongue-twisting tang. The beer's heaviness becomes apparent in an ashy but sticky finish. I can only imagine the new brewer smile as this beer finished at 9.2 % ABV and an estimated 115 plus IBUs. This beer is actually too bitter at the close -- but, by FAR -- it is the most entertaining Great Waters brew in years.

 858 characters

Photo of Ragingbull
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a cloudy amber color or at least something closely resembling amber. The beer has a light frothy head. The nose is hoppy. The flavor is mildly hoppy in the attack with some sharply acidic hops flavors. The mouthfeel while being smooth, is somewhat average. There are some floral notes in the flavor towards the finish. I would go so far as to say that the finish to this beer is actually sweet.

 407 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub served in a 10oz snifter: Bright but dirty peach color with a substantially thick white puffy head. The cap stays intact for a good duration. Lace plastered all over the glass in thick spongey set curtains.

Aroma is quite nice. Oily yet dry with pine sap sitting among a toasted floral citrusy backing. Clean, reserved, fresh, and juicy. It has a nicely twisted realm of fragrent hop oil. Flower pollen of citrus trees is what really sets it off.

Flavors are smooth and hoppy. No big bitterness...yet. Tangerine and peach skins lead the way with a nicely handled juicy sugared oilyness. Flowers, pine cones, and dulled lemony hints slip in. Light caramel malt makes a sweet note here and there. Smooth and even as it fades off towards the finish. But wait...oh there it is. Hello, oily hop heat. Wow, it has a big late return of hop heated citrus and build back of bite. Pine and citrus oils almost burn, but not very harshly, as it transends into a warmer ending.

Feel is medium creamy with a slight dustyness in some areas bringing a hop dust or refined leafyness to it. Super finely grated citrus peels and sticky pine sap syrup seem to coat the texture too as the hops indeed bring the overall character to an oily perfection.

A good drinker, as the creamy oilness favors its hop heft and warmth. Goes down swiftly and more then just one 10oz glass will be needed to find its true potential and complexities.

Growlers not available for the batch is very small.
...Or at least I thought.

 1,529 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep gold color...nice citrus/leafy hop nose...tangerines and weed....body is on the high side of medium....nice hit of hops on the taste but balanced and not in a barley wine kind of way...they hit the double IPA threshold nicely without entering BW territory...hops lean piney on the taste..also citrusy (tangerines, grapefruit and pinneaples)..steady, sweet, caramel-like malt backbone...

A very enjoyable beer...the best brew I've ever had from GW (and I've had some back in the day I didn't rate)

 504 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Chill hazed copper. Thin, compact tan head. Retention is decent enough. The slight halo left after the head diminishes leaves some droopy lace. Damn near perfect nose. The glory of hops. Resinous, pink grapefruit pulp, pine drenched and "Mary Jane" esque. Also nice little toffee malt additions. There's substantial amounts of sweet aromas in this one, and it adds a nice touch. Onto the taste. Ahhhh Man. This one's got it going on. This is exactly what I look for in a DIPA. Bitter as hell. Grind your teeth bitter. But also great hop flavor. And why not?? Horizon, Simcoe, Amarillos, Perle and Cascades are some of my very favorite hops:>) The bitterness is just a little jagged, but really not that rough in the grand scheme of things. The hop flavor resounds heavily on the pineapple, grapefruit pulp, rind, resinous, raw sap and canabis tones. Damn nice. And there is a noticeable malt presence. Still seems toffeeish to me. Maybe a little toasted. Alcohol is barely perceptible. Damn this is good.

Easily the best beer I've had from Great Waters in over 5 years. The only one I can think of that might compare was a Carnival IPA that Jeff Martin brewed way back when. I think my Great Waters growler will finally start getting some use again.

 1,255 characters

Photo of mjryan
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served "pushed" as the brewery likes to say, wich means it was not dispenced via beer engine, or cask conditioned like most of their ipas. The colour is hard to describe, kind of a murky copper/orangeish. Very hazy wich I would attribute to the huge amount of hops that went into this brew. Nice white head that left decent lace but not as much or sticky as some DIPAs Ive had. The aroma is pretty substantial. I swear there is some pineapple and defentely regular pine in there. Also maybe a touch of onion? Sometimes I get that from hoppy beers. The flavour is way hoppy; pineapple, pinecones and that ghostly onion. Is it really there? A nice sweet malt base backs it up well and makes this DIPA actually pretty balanced in a relative sort of way. Smooth bitterness. There is also a touch of booze wich I really dont like but it didnt bother me in this one. The body was medium and a tad oily. The finish was sweet and bitter. Great beer.

 941 characters

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Giant Star Imperial Pale Ale from Great Waters Brewing
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 8 ratings
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