Palate Shifter Imperial IPA | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

559 Reviews
Palate Shifter Imperial IPAPalate Shifter Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hops, and lots of them. The aroma is bursting with the classic citrus and pine aroma of American-grown hops. The flavor is dominated by a hoppy bitterness, with just enough malt to make you want to take another sip. (Formerly known as "Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA.")

Added by John on 02-13-2006

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Reviews: 559 | Ratings: 1,437
Photo of cjgiant
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap:
Pours a vibrant gold that somehow lens both slightl orange and slightly yellow. Head isn't strong, but rushes when beckoned by a swirl.

Nose is sweet peach nectar, which really shines after a swirl (and is more subdued without). A not very ripe tropical fruit skin bitterness is sensed on a calm beer, and a sharper ripe spring onion after a swirl. I've never noted a beer be so different in sense and strength swirled and not.

Taste starts clean, allowing a lightly alcohol burning/biting note to hit me. It doesn't come alone, but strikes me more than the peach, pineapple, green pine cone flavor I also get. The latter is nice, the former doesn't work as well for me. A raw herbal bitterness and a clean, Pilsner malt-like maltiness close the beer (another nice aspect).

I liked a good number of aspects of this beer, but I also was not a fan of others. I can see why the ratingbis high for most. If the nose was more obvious or less hide-and-seek, I'd rate it higher individually. So it could inch higher, but my overall is decent n the verge of inching lower, so that may be a wash.

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Photo of Vetbidder
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice look to this beer. Scent is of citrus with some fleshy tropical fruits and slight pine sweetness. Tropical fruity flavors to start with some pine bitterness to balance out the malty sweetness. Nice depth of flavor and decent carbonation on this beer with alcohol well hidden.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.84/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz format. Brown glass. Uninteresting label design. Branded black pry-off crown cap. Purchased at a Whole Paycheck in NYC as part of a 4-pack for $10.99.

"Imperial IPA." 9.0% ABV.

Served cold into stemware.

HEAD: ~3 inches in height. Off-white. Frothy and creamy to style. Retention is rather good for the high ABV - ~10 minutes. Leaves a thick coating of lacing on the glass' sides as it recedes.

BODY: Slightly hazy translucent orange-yellow of average vibrance. Nontransparent. Lacks any visible yeast/lees, but it doesn't seem filtered; definitely not a clean appearance.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a nice looking imperial IPA, but the appearance isn't unique or special.

AROMA: Fresh citrus jumps out of the glass, hitting juicy notes of fresh tangerine and evocative mandarin orange along with lychee, passionfruit, and papaya. Pale malt sweetness keeps any hop bitterness in check, but all the hop flavour is there, and this aroma is more expressive and vivid in terms of its fruity hop notes than any I've encountered this year. Though there's a blip of alcohol warmth, this is a rather inviting lively aroma that promises a balanced beer with loads of hop flavour. I'm eager to try it.

No overt yeasty notes or off-notes. Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Opens soft, welcoming the drinker with early notes of soft lychee, mandarin orange, and faded tropical fruits (papaya, tangerine), hitting the citrusy hop flavour nicely but not to the extent the aroma promised; it's not all that fresh, expressive, or juicy. Sharp zest intensifies as the flavour profile runs through its structure, culminating in a sharp overcarbonated zest-forward finish plagued by a warm alcohol undertone. Not boozy or "fusel" as the kids are want to to call it, but definitely warmer than would be ideal.

The result is a beer that evokes a booze-soaked tropical fruit profile akin to overpriced girlie drinks on some island resort, giving it a cheap taste. The shallow depth of flavour doesn't help.

Flavour duration and intensity are average. Not a balanced brew in terms of alcohol presence, but the pale malt backbone is enough to prevent the hop bitterness from really hitting the palate hard. It's not badly built all things considered, but the aroma promised so much more than the taste delivers.

Smooth and wet, but too boozy to be refreshing in spite of its relative softness. Certainly overcarbonated (sharply so in the third act), and a bit thick. Creamy, hinting at orange creamsicle when coupled with the citrusy flavours. A softer, juicier, cleaner mouthfeel would be ideal, as would less overt alcohol.

OVERALL: I've lived in New York six months and as much as I keep trying to get into these Captain Lawrence hoppy ales, I never seem to like them as much as everyone else. I commend the brewery for their sour ales, but this hop profile isn't great, the beer doesn't deliver on the promises of the aroma, and it's way too alcohol-forward for my taste, tanking its drinkability. Not a bad beer by any stretch, but far from world class. Won't dazzle the discerning drinker, and I wouldn't buy another 4 pack, but I'll enjoy polishing off the one I got. Decent at I just keep stumbling across old bottles from this brewery or something?

C (2.84) / AVERAGE

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Photo of tone77
3.74/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a deep golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of tropical fruits, pine, resin. Taste is dank, resin, orange peels, pine, considerable bitterness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer. I like my hops, but this one may be pushing the envelope just a bit.

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Photo of MrFabulous
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had a 64 ounce Growler that I got at the brewery while watching NFL playoffs. Very well disguised 9% ABV. Loaded with piney grapefruit hops. Its so citrusy that you can drink this one year round. Highly recommended. Will need to reload the growler in preparation for Patriots in Superbowl.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am in the midst of the Bottle Backlog Eradication here at Chez Woody & I am elated to be back in the world of hopheads (at least temporarily)! These are glorious days in which we live.

From the bottle: "When your everyday IPA no longer satisfies your hoppy nectar craving - you've experienced a Lupulin Threshold Shift and the only cure is more hops! Palate Shifter is brewed using only the finest American hops and dry hopped for an extra aromatic kick!"

I Pop!ped the cap in the happiest, jauntiest of ways & could barely bring myself to perform a gentle pour, but it has been a long day & once more, I do not feel like dealing with a (potential) mess. An in-glass swirl proved my concerns to be founded as three-plus fingers of foamy, rocky, bone-white head came jumping up at me, forcing me to take an unexpected sip before falling back to wisps. At least there was some decent lacing left in its wake! Color was Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 - 5) with NE-quality clarity, prompting a premature visit from the Gelt Gang of Mammon, Midas & Croesus. They are totally geared up for tomorrow's Black & Gold Doubleheader, beginning with a LOT of black & gold as the BOS Bruins visit the Pens, followed by Th' Stillers at the Patriots, but they are not adverse to some nice gold in the meantime. I'm with them, especially given the 24-carat, NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled like six kinds of dank, including pineapple, grapefruit, pine resin, grass, black pepper and sticky, resinous dank. Mmmm. Mouthfeel was medium. Taste was a riotous admixture of crazy hoppiness to include (initially) pine resin and pineapple, but then exploding with grapefruit and pepper! Oh my. I love what this style has become/evolved into. Early on, too many DIPAs were too malty and boozy, overwhelming the hops, but not in this case. There was never any question that hops were being showcased in this one. Finish was dry, but more hoppy than outright dry, if that works. The inherent sugars were well into the background, but it was not gasping. More, please.

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Photo of Budinetz
4.99/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a Belgian tulip glass. Bottled on 11-22-16.

Pours a slightly hazy, golden straw color with a white frothy head that dissipates moderately. Some axing forms around the glass over he course of imbibing.

Smells dank and citrusy with a medium malt balance detected. I smell a little fresh citrus on the back end.

Tastes of sweet malt up front with a citrus bite, followed by very pleasant bitterness. A wonderful array of flavor!

Mouthfeel is a perfect representation of this style. Sweet up front with light carbonation, followed by acidity, and then finishes dry. It does not drink like a 9% abv DIPA. Amazing.

Overall a solid Imperial IPA that is well balanced and quite drinkable despite the high abv. This can be very dangerous because you can pound these back and not even realize unless you are prepared for the 9% abv!! Captain Lawrence creates some amazing beer and this is among their elite. I would definitely seek this one out again!


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Photo of DIM
4.49/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this was an upper echelon DIPA for sure! Scant malt balance for wave after wave of delicate tropical fruit and a prickly, tickly dankness with minimal bitterness and well disguised warming alcohol.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottled 09/27/2016

Pours hazy golden amber with a dense creamy frothy white foam head. Smells like big tropical fruits, fresh pineapple, papaya, passionfruit, melons, mango, orange, grapefruit, guava, bready caramelized malt, with dank herbal earthy grass and resinous pine. Tastes like bitter leafy green oniony resinous pine, dank herbal earthy grass, passionfruit, pineapple, papaya, melon rind, mango, orange citrus, grapefruit, guava, with some bready caramelized malt. Feels medium bodied, smooth and creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a nice DIPA.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Unfortunately, I drank this at about 10 months old. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into IPA glass. It pours a clear amber color with one finger of bright white head and lacing with excellent retention. The smell features malt, grapefruit, and floral hops. Despite its bottle age, the hops shine! There is a malt backbone but it's overcome by the pine and hoppy finish that leaves a biting, bitter aftertaste. This ale is medium-bodied, pleasantly carbonated, and you can feel the 9% ABV. Overall, it's a very good DIPA. I only wish I had it fresher.

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Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an orange color and a hazy consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy head that lasted an above average amount of time. Very good lacing.

S: A nice, enticing aroma of a hops, citrus, pine, and a hint of malt.

T: Hard to ignore the biggest factor in the flavor: The hops. There's a heap of them, but they're balanced out with a tinge of malt, some citrus (grapefruit, orange), a decent bit of pine, and a floral quality. While the hops certainly dominate the flavor, they don't overpower it. An aggressive, complex taste.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a lively, if bitter, finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a well made, extremely drinkable beer. If you're not a hop fanatic, don't come any closer. Everyone else, give it a try.

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Photo of RBBLASC
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look - lighter than expected with medium head.

Smell - Big floral and citrus

Taste - piney resin, with grapefruit trying to creep in. Clean bittery finish.

Feel - light on the tongue, with a bittery tingle finish.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass. bottled 7/29/16, so a little over 2 months old.

hazy orange/yellow body, decent fluffy white head, very good lacing.

very little on the nose, faint malt/hops, a slight mustiness.

sweet tasty. faint alcohol presence, hops come through a little more at the end. decent balance.

between medium and full on the mouth, slightly sweet/bitter/sour finish.

overall, a tasty enough dipa, just not the hop assault promised on the label.

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Photo of ONUMello
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Teku
A: Slightly hazy orange with a one-finger head
S: Pine, orange rind and malts
T: Matches the nose
M: Fairly full-bodied, quite bitter
O: A big, bitter beer; hides the alcohol well

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Photo of Mongrel
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Like your IPAs big and bitter? This one's for you. Old school piney bitterness and a little new school juiciness. Some dank, resinous character emerges as the beer warms. Solid and bracing, to say the least. Not for the novice hophead.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.16/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

So this is the old Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA (even though there is still a duplicate listing for said beer).

Found it to be very yellow with a nice big 4/5" white head on it. Aroma lacked hops.

Taste was super bitter, hid the alcohol decently though. Despite a 5 hop claim, none really stand out beyond the normal non descript grapefruit bitterness. Light toasted pale malts.

I don't see how this beer gets the ratings it does.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap at Hand and Foot in Corning in a pint tumbler.
Comes in a clear copper color with a soapy off white head that leaves sheets of lacing.
The aroma offers pine needles, juicy grapefruit, orange peel, peach, and biscuity malt sweetness.
The palate brings lots of juicy grapefruit and orange juice, peaches, and biscuit in the middle. Some orange peel bitterness. Finishes with some alcohol warmth, and lingering pine, orange peel, and apricot. Medium bitterness.
The mouthfeel is medium-plus, well-carbonated. Finishes dry and piney with lingering hop oils.

This is a solid DIPA for 9%. Tasty and very drinkable.

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Photo of Beers-es
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle a couple months old (props for dating the bottle), pours a slightly hazy deep copper-gold. Big 2-finger head. The look is the best part of this beer.

Smell is kind of muted. A bit of floral hops and sweet malt. Taste is kind of on the simple side: a bit of bitter grapefruit pith and malt. Sort of musty tasting. Not as bitter as I'd like, honestly.

Feel is a solid medium. Kind of run of the mill IIPA these days. Not that it's bad, but the bar is much higher.

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Photo of mickyge
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hop bomb, fairly strong piney citrusy smell. Clear golden look and a grapefruit bitter feel that stays through the swallow and maybe a hint of stickiness. Hides the 9% well and stays pretty bitter on the back of the mouth.

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Photo of parris
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper color, huge earthy piney nose. Same with the taste, tons of resinous pine, citrus peeled, pleasant hint of booze and medicine. Lingering bitterness to finish.

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Photo of BMFR1811
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Way to sweet, tastes under attenuated and very malt forward. I am too used to super dry dipas that going back to malty ones is tough. Almost syrupy and boozy

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Photo of Horbar
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Crystal clear dark peach color
Light fruity smell with a bit of candied fruit
Very hot, the alcohol is upfront and stifles the hops, although I can still get a bit of the hops to tell they would have been a nice combo.
Even with its booziness, it is still pretty good for an IPA that wasn't kept cold at the store or canned. The one flaw was a doozy.

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Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE - Light, no head, hazy.

AROMA/SCENT - Hops, pine.

TASTE - Hops, very bitter, pine.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Dry, clean, light, crisp.

VALUE - $10 for a 10-oz pour, expensive.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - Standout bitter Imperial IPA.

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Photo of IronLover
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pale yellow in color with a heavy haze. Poured with short, dense, bright white foam with good retention. Medium high citrus aromas with lemon zest highlights followed by floral nots. Hop aromas are mellow at first with an emerging pungency into the middle followed by medium light malty aromas and mellow boozy notes at the back end. Medium light body with a smooth feel and medium high carbonation. Medium high hop aromas of pungent citrus and lemon flavors up front. Tangy, medium hop bitterness through the middle followed by light, crackery malt flavors, and pleasant, boozy warmth near the end. Finished dryly with lingering and citrus and floral hop bitterness and mellow boozy notes. Aggressive carbonation balances the body and mouthfeel nicely with this slightly boozer, hop forward IPA. Light malt aromas and flavors balance the hop characteristics very nicely. The highlight is the complex hop spectrum of citrus, lemon zest, and floral aromas and flavors that are pungent at times. Smooth and easy drinking considering the hop intensity and higher abv.

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Photo of RJQ3
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tall Pilsner glass. Orange gold cloudy color with thick white head. Smell was of citrusy hops but taste was not as good as CL's IPA. Too strong and more malts presence in this one. I'll stick with the IPA which is world

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Palate Shifter Imperial IPA from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 1,437 ratings.
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