Chief's Imperial IPA | Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.

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Chief's Imperial IPAChief's Imperial IPA
28 Ratings
Chief's Imperial IPAChief's Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 03-28-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 28 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of donkeyrunner
2.4/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Muddy caramel color with a large white head. Great retention and lace but way too muddy.

Smells sticky: sugary, fruit laden malt dominates with a citrus hop compliment. Taste is similarly malt dominant with heavy caramel malt and comparatively minuscule oily, skunky hops. Develops a steely, pharmaceutical cough syrup flavor as it warms. More hops with my DIPA please.

My overall impression was that I just don't like it. Not enough hops even if it was a barleywine (maybe it could pass as English) and too syrupy. Not a drain pour as of yet as I'm going to try and pawn the other half of the bottle off to some one during Monday night football tomorrow. Potential drainpour if you will.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.96/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a deep, nearly opaque plum color - unlike any "Imperial IPA" I've ever seen (or imagined). Atop this mysteriously dark body is an absolutely gorgeous head: 3" of dense, creamy, tan foam that recedes extremely slowly and leaves tons of heavy lacing - this is probably the best-looking head I've ever seen on a beer with a double-digit ABV, but I have to mark this brew down on appearance simply because it does not look anything - repeat, anything - like what it claims to be. This might even have trouble passing for a barleywine it's so dark.

S: Yeah, it smells more like a barleywine, too. Sweet specialty malts and spicy esters are front and center, followed by some candied fruit and even more caramelized brown sugar sweetness. No hops presence whatsoever. I'd give this a 4 if it were a barleywine, but it just doesn't cut it for a DIPA.

T: Follows the nose - sweet and spicy at first, then just sweet. Finally a slight trace of hoppiness comes through on the finish, but it's drowned out with sweet alcohol. Not unpleasant overall, but it definitely goes overboard on the sweetness.

M: Sticky, hefty body with a generous amount of carbonation. A touch stickier than I'd like, especially since the stickiness comes from sweetness, not hop resin. Still, a good-feeling beer.

D: Drinks just about right for a 10% barleywine, which is to say not quite as well as a 10% DIPA - sweetness is always harder to swallow than bitterness (at least for me).

Notes: Now I see why the bottle suggests cellaring this beer - this is in absolutely no way mistakable for an actual DIPA, even a malt-heavy "east coast" version. This beer makes 90 Minute look like Sculpin as far as hop-dominance is concerned. Give it a shot if you want to taste a Pennichuck barleywine and prefer not to get an overpriced drainpour out of an infected Pompier. Both are gorgeous beer, and this one is at least drinkable.


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3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance a light caramel color with about an inch of head.

smell for an imperial ipa i would have thought of it to have a much more hoppier than it was... somewhat dissappointed in that

taste somewhat of a malty, mild hop taste. being not much a malt fan i thought it was ok for an imperial ipa

mouthfeel a smooth beer for a 10% abv..

drinkability being that it a 10% imperial ipa not many would be able to be had....maybe as a night cap

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Photo of sholland119
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Quotations.

A-Pours a hazy, caramel apple amber with virtually no head.

S-Brown sugar, caramel. Wait, this is a DIPA. Where are the hops?

T-Very malty with caramel notes and some pine hops in the finish. Also unexpectedly boozy.

M-Medium to full bodied, coats the tongue.

D-Too hot and heavy, and not in a good way.


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Photo of cilldalua
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer at Rattle n hum in NYC

Poured with a nice frothy head that settled quickly leaving a beer with an orangey amber hue. There is a slightly burnt aroma that hides the alcohol but that comes through in the taste but it's soon replaced with a very sugary texture which clogs up the taste buds a little.

Having said all that the final production is better than the sum of it parts and it holds together well.

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Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on tap at The Ginger Man. Good lacing, barleywinish. Wierd bitterness of a melange of hops, citrus, astringency, well-malted, sugary Not so drinkable. For extreme hopheads.Maybe better in the bottle.Columbus, Cascade, Willamette and Brewer's Gold, getting some aroma not a nice floral, C -hop

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Photo of david18
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not the greatest double ipa i've had but worth trying if you see it. It's a little too dark for a double ipa, the alcohol is a little strong and the hops is not as present as I think it should be. Dark brown color, not good carbonation but good malt flavor.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Twenty-two ounce bomber from Pennichuck pours into my Bass dimpled mug with a two fingered head. Incredibly dark for a double IPA, Russet bordering on brown.

Smells of restrained piney hops, sweet cotton candy and warm caramel.

Taste is very malt forward for an IIPA. Actually tastes like an amped up English IPA with a bite. Biscuit malt, graham cracker, slight pineapple taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy, but just a we bit thin.

Drinkability is okay as after awhile the alcohol makes itself know and things unravel a bit. Not harsh per se, but biting.

This beer really seems on the English end of the spectrum or perhaps more of an imperial red than a double IPA. Almost like if you took a Bateman's XXB, added a lot of American hops to it and raised its OG substantially (upon rereading this I don't know if even I know follow what I'm saying!).

Okay beer, wouldn't kick it out of bed, but wouldn't get off on it frequently either.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.44/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades very slowly leaving an excellent lace. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light pine/grapefruit hop nose. Flavor is almost sweet grapefruit but there is no doubt about a hop presence with 105 IBUs. Lingering hoppy aftertaste. There are better DIPAs like Dogfish Head's 90 minute IPA. $5.29 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of gford217
3.46/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber courtesy or MrRetardedMonkey poured into a tulip.

Pours very dark for a DIPA, a clear copper, underneath a huge creamy beige head that shows extremely good retention, with a one-inch head lasting for a very long time. There is also ample lacing.

The aroma is very sweet, especially with the caramel malts. There are citrus hops clearly present but the malts seem to be the dominant player in the nose.

The taste has an astringent bitterness up front with lots of citrus and earthy hops. The caramel malt backbone is extremely sizable and keep the taste very sweet and malty overall. The finish is also astringent with a lingering bitterness in the aftertaste, mostly pine this time.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky with hops which leave the tongue tingling with bitterness after each sip.

There are clearly lots of hops and lots of malts in this one, and it almost comes together as a great beer. But the astringent hop bitterness limits the drinkability a bit. It's still a very good beer, just not as good as I think it could be.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance; Arrives with a clear caramel color and a modest cap that quickly drops to a ringlet and leaves little lace

Smell: Rich, malty aroma with a hint of piney hops

Taste: Lots of caramel malt before the piney hops make an appearance; tastes more like a barleywine with a big, sticky finish

Mouthfeel: Thick body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Thick and sticky; not bad but not a first class DIPA

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Photo of CHickman
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured brown orange in color with a 1/4 inch tan creamy head with very good lacing; smells of floral hops, malt, spices, orange peel and a caramel sweetness.

Tastes like it smells with floral hops, piney hops, malt, orange peel and or grapefruit, caramel, cinnamon or coriander, and some sweet spices that makes this feel like a winter warmer more than an IPA. The brew start with the malt sweetness up front, then followed by the spices and citrus, and then the hop bitterness kicks in, followed by the alcohol kicking in to start a warming feel to it. It slides down creamy and smooth with very, very light to no carbonation.

Very sweet (almost too sweet, but it didn't cross that line) for an IPA, yet still very enjoyable - there is a nice balance with all the tastes and sensations. A very nice beer, but not a DIPA or Imperial IPA...a strange hybrid that masks the ABV very well. Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of Brewnami
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer because Sunset Bar and Grille in Allston, MA had this on tap and I could get a 10% beer in a 23oz. Anyways, I was not expecting much out of a beer brewed in Milford, NH, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really don't feel like it is as thick as other imperial IPAs I've had. The beer pours a dark mahogany color with a fluffy white head that leaves an even lace around the glass. Sticky pine and citrus notes are the most prominent scents. Thd taste is bready and malty with the obvious piney hop flavor. For the money, this is a damn good beer. Definitely not my favorite imperial IPA, but the cost makes up for the flavor. Because its not as thick as other imperial IPAs, this beer is more drinkable. You can't go wrong with a 23oz imperial for under $7. Try it if you can, just don't expect a Harpoon Leviathan IPA or a Great Divide Hercules IPA!

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Photo of strengthdoc
3.66/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer poured from the bomber into the glass to reveal a very thick and rich head. The color of the ale was very deep amber. There is a mildly sweet apricot aroma with a hint of pine. The mouthfeel is fairly light. The taste is well balanced at first with a hop character that slowly comes in toward the mid taste and intensifies in the finish with a mild earthy pine flavor.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish orange with a moderate, tightly beaded head that settles to athin cap. Smells nicely balanced with sweet malt and citrus, some earthiness, and a touch of pine. Tastes a bit breadier and maltier than many double IPAs, but there are nice clean flavors here and it doesn't come off as too sweet. Nice earthy, piney, citrusy hoppiness also in the mix, but perhaps a bit too much on the malty side. Lingering bitterness through the finish. Smooth and slightly sweet in the mouth, a tad too bready and sweet forme to want to drink more than a glass or two.

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Photo of weeare138
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Pickering Creek Inn...
Appears a semi-transparent amber with a maroon hue when held to the light. An off-white, bubbly head slowly fades. Tubular, streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of ginger, caramel, brown sugar, and herbal hops.
Taste is of the mentioned ginger-like herbal blend with hoppy citrus, herbs, vanilla, and caramel.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, herbal, bitter, and more on the hoppy/herbal side than balanced side.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pennichuck- DIPA

A- Deep amber brown with a solid thick foamy head.
S- Sweet molasses brown sugar malt and floral hops.
T- Thick brown sugar/ molasses malt with a touch of dried fruits and sweet pine hops.
M- Very thick sweet malt with a deep dark dry fruitiness. Thick sweet pine hop finish.

Overall- Very thick, malty and hoppy. Very juicy very good.

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Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark copper color with a two-finger tan head. The head recedes slowly into a thin pancake on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of rich caramel malts with hints of pine needles. There's not a huge hop hit coming out of this, it smells closer to an English barleywine than anything else.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Loads of sweet caramel malt up front are joined midway through the sip by light pine flavors before a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with light carbonation.

Drinkability is good. The bomber disappeared quickly and I could have a few of these.

Overall I have to say that no one should get their hopes up over this being a hop bomb, but the label states that this is a "perfect beer for cellaring" so that should be apparent. Nothing overly special, but a solid beer that's worth a shot.

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Photo of hopdog
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Poured a medium to deeper orangish/amber color with a huge sized (5 finger) off white head. Aromas of foral hops, citrus, toasted malts, and lightly earhty. Tastes of floral hops, toasty, caramel, citrus, and a little 'sugary'. Overall the alcohol was well hidden.

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Photo of thespaceman
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a DFH regular pint glass.

Appearance: A nice copperish/red color, lots of red highlights! Very nice looking brew. Pour showed a nice size head, lots of lacing down the glass with decent retention.

Smell: Not your typical DIPA, alot of malt in the nose here, a bit perfumy as well, some citrus qualities are here but barely noticeable due to the generous amount of crystal malt. Orange zest, malt spice and some grapefruit.

Taste: Just like the aroma, the malt is the key factor in this. Big toasty flavoring up front, roasty goodness oozes over the palete, a hint of grapefruit, mango and some hop oil keep themselves balanced into the backdrop. The finish consists of some caramel, alcohol, a bit of esters and some hops. This one is all over the place in the taste department but it's balanced fairly well. Alcohol is becoming prevalent even more as my glass warmed. Tastes eerily similar to the RockArt DIPA.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is medium, the maltiness actually slows down the carbo, very chewy on the tongue, a bit sharp when sitting, but smoothes out a bit as it continues to sit in the palete.

Drinkability: I love DIPA's, but I like my DIPA's more when the malt presence isn't so much stronger then the hops themselves. Drinkability wise, this is a pretty easy to drink brew even with a 10% ABV, it's got alot of character and a good balance. I haven't had a Pennichuck brew since their Oktoberfest last year, and their Oktoberfest was the best fall seasonal I've ever tried. Pennichuck does alot of good beers, and this is one of them. Hop heads won't become accustomed to this one due to the high maltiness but I enjoyed it, another good one from the Pennichuck guys!

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Photo of ohmybock
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pennichuck should re-label this beer as a hoppy American barleywine. It's a bit too dark for a DIPA and the flavor just doesn't fit that category. With that being said, I actually like this brew a lot. It pours a fairly dark color, and there's no way you would ever think of this brew as being close to "pale". It has a mostly clean taste with a punch of maltiness, some dark caramel, and some aggressive hops (bitter, flavor, and aroma). This brew reminds me a lot of Old Ruffian. Both beers look similar and have similar taste profiles. They also both lean toward the hoppy-side of barleywines, but neither is syrupy. If you like hoppy, high-gravity brews, then try Chief's. You'll probably like it, just don't expect a DIPA.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice hazy dark golden brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy light tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some malts thrown in, citrus, nice little pine note. The taste is sweet, hoppy, malty, with some citrus/pine notes. Medium body, a nice chewiness in this brew. Drinkable, I like this one. Thanks Bill.

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Photo of Seanibus
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Pennichuck and I was impressed.

Pours clear reddish brown with decent head and slight lacing. Smell is rich and plummy, with floral hops. Flavor is rich and carmelly, with intense grassy hops and a burn of alcohol on the finish. Slight bitterness develops slowly, building in intensity. Mouthfeel is rich, creamy and smooth

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Photo of kimcgolf
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An interesting Impy/Double IPA, in that it did not much resemble the style. Missing was the overwhelming citrusy hop nose, taste and bitterness I expected (and have come to love)An interesting Impy/Double IPA, in that it did not much resemble the style. Missing was the overwhelming citrusy hop nose, taste and bitterness I expected (and have come to love) based on leaders in the style like Plinys, Dreadnaught, DFH 90 and Ruination. More dominating was a thick, sweet malty essence, with just enough of the forementioned hops to blend well. Throw in the presence of the 10% abv, and this was a very enjoyable beer from a brewer I had never heard of

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Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Rattle N Hum, NYC.

Poured a murky medium amber hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a heavy cereal grain with a balmy hop spice.

The taste consisted of heavy caramel malts and a lingering herbal hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and robust malt forward DIPA.

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Chief's Imperial IPA from Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 28 ratings
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