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 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 hopsaplenty
4.92/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

64oz. growler.

Hazy orange washed gold. Cascading, pillowy head of medium light tan bubbles. As it settles to a thick cap, it leaves bands of sticky lace gracing the glass. A handful of slow moving small bubbled carbonation streams are visible. Fruity orange, pine, grapefruit, and candied rind aromas are intensely fresh and inviting. Big, bitey citrus hops initially assault the tongue and continue attacking across the mouth and down the throat. Piercing grapefruit and rind actually build in intensity and almost become numbing. The medium body provides a sturdy framework for the multitude of hops and just enough counter balance to prevent this from being one-dimensional. There is a delicate sweetness detectable beneath the fine bubbled carbonation which peppers the juicy hop-driven flavor. The incredibly long finish is saturated with citrus rind and pine sap. The tongue slowly becomes oiled with delectable resin. This is simply delicious and absolutely filled with fresh, bold hop flavors. They seem to jump out of the glass and are utterly vibrant. I could drink this all day and not become palate fatigued. Spectacular and near perfect. Far and away my favorite DIPA of the year thus far.

Huge thanks to Loren for supplying me with this growler of Captain Lawrence goodness.

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Photo of IPA_Junkie
4.91/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible Beer. The citrus, hops and tobacco flavors are so distinct. Clean after taste, clear straw like color in glass... sweet citrus aroma. I am definitly pleased with this beer. A new favorite!! The silk like markings on the glass, the abv at 9... what else could you want from a delicious IPA.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.86/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glad to finally see this guy in bottles.

A: Fairly light for a double IPA in color. More of a light golden color than the deep copper color that I look for. Great head retention and color. Tons of lacing.

S: Pineapple, tangerines, everything you want in a DIPA. Big ass redonkulus hops. The nose is nothing short of amazing.

T: The hops are massive with all those west coast hop flavors you as the consumer demand. What is interesting is how clear the malt comes through once the hops stop doing bad things to your tongue. God damn this is good.

M: Just the right amount of sticky.

D: I have seen the pyramids and drank the Plinys. Bottom line this beer is amazing. We did a growler of this next to Pliny the younger and it held up. There is no greater compliment that can be paid to a DIPA.

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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 CupcakeNY
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer from a friend's growler. It's a pretty ugly beer-cloudy amber, with not much of a head.

Smell was hoppy grapefruit.

This beer explodes in your mouth. It's full of hops, but multilayered with flavor; there's a prevalence of grapefruit/citrus flavors, bitter but so smooth and balanced. I'm told the ABV is 9, but you wouldn't notice it in your mouth; only after sucking down a couple.

This beer could not be more drinkable! I got a couple of bottles to see if the bottle version is as good as what I had form the growler, but this is one of the very best tasting IPAs I have ever had. A remarkable brew.

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Photo of brentk56
4.82/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy amber color and a one finger head that sticks and sheets

Smell: Smells like a San Diego Pale Ale; lots of tangerine sweet citrus aromatics

Taste: Am I on the west coast? I am tasting the tangerine, with a balancing malt backbone right through mid-palate; nice and bitter after the swallow, but always balanced

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A superb DIPA; may well be the best example I have come across on the east coast and would compete with the best of San Diego, too

(I don't plan to re-review this beer in the bottle, but I will note that I much preferred this beer on tap. In the bottle, though it is still a bitter beer, I find the malt a bit too dominating and the hops a bit too metallic to garner the scores it achieved on tap.)

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Photo of threeviews
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle (bottled on date of 12/31/13) into a 17oz Harpoon embossed globe

A- Pours a very hazy, yellow/gold with no more than a single fingers worth of a soapy, white head. (3.75)

S- Very bright aroma. Orange and grapefruit citrus strike the nose immediately followed by some tropical fruit (melon, mango, pineapple) along with a subtle note of pine. A perfect aroma for my senses...simply awesome! (5.0)

T- Although not overly complex, the flavor profile is quite aggressive. Resiny hop bitterness attacks the palate first, followed by a hint of sweet tropical fruits. This is followed by a lingering, sugary grapefruit that fades into a prickly/piney-ness to dry things out quite convincingly. Despite the rather hefty 9.0% ABV, the alcohol is completely masked. (4.75)

M- This DIPA possesses a rather light mouthfeel. I can only imagine that the crystal malt bill is minimal (if at all) along with some dextrose. Carbonation is on the higher side (2.55-2.60vols) and helps to keep things clean and dry. (4.75)

O- Despite this bottle being over 90 days (rule of thumb is 90-110 days for hoppy beers), I am absolutely impressed by how well the hop aroma/flavor has sustained itself. For the price (~$4.00/bottle), I challenge you to find a better DIPA for the value. (5.0)

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Photo of Hautacam
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy amber gold...creamy white head. Stays up pretty well for a double IPA...laces.
Smells great..lots of citrusy, piney hops. Very floral and aromatic...I could just be happy smelling it...OK , let's get real.
Tastes sweet malty up front..followed quickly with a rush of pineapple rind - citrus hop that just coats your mouth with unbelievably dense hop-bitter goodness. A religous experience.
The mouthfeel is perfect for the style. Just a bit syrupy...very light syrup, though, and a perfect creamy, silky carbonation.
Very drinkable for a big IPA.
I will want more of this. This could easily become my favorite.

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Photo of renegadeburger
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

picked this one up in nyc some of these items are easier to get there than back in new jersey although i see the captain larry stuff floating around every now and then

wow, this one was a real big strong ipa style heavy on the aroma intense hops smelled like a whole bunch of fruit and crazy spices i even smelled some banana in there i could tell this beer was going to be real intimidating but i like that

whoa taste is intense too just as i suspected but nice and dry with a good solid kick and bite at the end, it is sweet and bitter and strong but it does not slow you down you can actually sip this over and over and not get tired

amazing strong mouthfeel the carbonation was so tight and fine i really liked how he made this come together

so far this is one of the best local imperial ipas i had really good stuff here from the captain

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Photo of HBeezley
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is by far one of THE BEST IPA's I've had and ABSOLUTELY one of my favorites, if not THE favorite IPA in my area!

The look is nice. Light golden color with bright white head that thins out and sticks all the way down.

Smell makes my mouth water. Earthy, hoppy, and slightly citrusy..mmm.... delicious.

The taste really is fantastic! Simple enough to breeze through this bottle and wish I had grabbed another, Complex enough to keep me interested and always pleased. Mostly, the taste is with a faint hint of honey-ish sweetness, the powerful hops evade and notes of pine, fruits, and the final kick of alcohol leaves a dry finish.

Mouthfeel is scrumptious. Like I had already said, I wish I had bought another.

Overall, I wish I always had one of these in my fridge. The price, is great @4.99 and the fact that this brewery is local (and close to me!) really encourages me to support them!

I still need to visit the brewery though....

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap and was served in a pint-glass.
Slightly hazy straw/golden orange color with a fingers worth of head that dissipates pretty quickly.
Aroma was just heavenly. So much going on here, floral hops evident upfront with hints of pine coming through, only to be completely drowned by loads of tropical fruit. Peach, mangoes, grapefruit with slight hints of vanilla coming through. The aroma is a rich heavenly bouquet of fragrances that are so alluring.
Taste compliments the aroma. There is hop bitterness upfront on the tongue, with the malts and fruity ester sweetness in the middle. The finish has just that right amount of hop bitterness, which doesn't linger. Perfectly, perfectly balance DIPA.
There was no way I would have known this beer had 9% ABV.
Very good mouthfeel and drinkability. Not a lot of lace around the insides of the glass.
Absolutely fantastic ale, a 'must-try' for every hop-head and those who crave for a perfect balance in this style of beer.
Highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: crystal clear; nice fluffy white head that dissipated quickly; left a ring around the rim of the glass;

S: If there is a heaven, and if I'm lucky, this is what it will smell like. A little sweet; piney, citrus in the background; there's no mistaking this for anything but a DIPA.

T: Crisp; balanced; then the hops explode - piney, then citrus through the finish; bitterness builds and lingers.

M: medium bodied; a little high on the carbonation; you know the ABV is there, but a really easy beer to drink;

O: One of my favorites; nicely balanced; a good representation of the style;

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Photo of biegaman
4.76/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Gramercy Tavern in NYC.

Golden topaz amulet that is constant and steadfast even when held directly to the light. There are no flashes or highlights - this one tone is consistent and unwavering. The clarity is perfect and the complexion is almost antiseptically clean. The large seal of peach wax slowly dwindled into a honeycomb of lacing that molded the glace with white plaster. They don't come any better looking than this.

The aroma shows no signs of malt - only hops, and lots of them! It is absolutely rampant with citrus zest and it's these generous allocations of fruit that are foremost: blood orange peels, lemon grate, coconut shavings and whole chunks of white grapefruit. A good sense of smell might also pick up on hints of vanilla, pine and oak. Be prepared to have a slice of coconut shoved in one nostril and a thick, juicy orange up the other.

Ambrosia, nectarous ambrosia! This beer is heavenly tasting, worthy of serving to the Gods themselves! This divine flavour is made up of pine serum, a teaspoon of honey, a shot of brandy, a bushel of orange peel, a squirt of passionfruit, and a chunk of white grapefruit all served over doughy, toffee laced wafers. There seems to be a lemon grove's worth of peel shavings stirred into a mango-peach smoothie.

The bitterness is mild but befittingly snippy for the style. You are scarcely able to taste much beyond the hops although you can sense a sweet, caramel base. The beer is surprisingly sessionable considering how satisfying it is. The 8% alcohol is strong enough to let on that you're drinking something special but never obnoxious enough to interfere with drinkability. That can become a problem.

Although hops were known to early civilizations and have grown abundant in nature since the dawn of civilization, it wasn't really until the 16th century that they became commonplace in mainstream brewing (until then beers were seasoned with spices, herbs, berries, woods, just about anything really). Nowadays we know what a wonderful additive hops are and this certainly uses enough of them to make up for all that lost time.

West Coast brewers eat your hearts out - New York's Captain Lawrence said 'anything you can do I can do better'. This is the true glorification of hops. The list of world's best DIPAs is a lengthy and competitive one but the Captain's Reserve can be found right at the top of it. It's craft like this that epitomizes the ingenuity of American craft brewers. Summed up: this is an orgiastic feast for the senses.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from tasting notes. Minty, piney hop nose with grapefruit and citrus. Pours brilliant gold with a stiff, persistent 2” off-white head. On the palate fruit, orange, grapefruit, orange rind and grapefruit rind are balanced balanced by a big assertive hop bitterness and rich malt flavors. Medium body, medium low carbonation.

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Photo of ralflord
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Nice amber hue, with the requisite head for this style. Smell of hops, not too many, and citrus. Taste was outstanding. The flavor of this IPA blossomed in my mouth, while the balance of hops and sweet was nearly perfect. Drinkability is excellent, in spite of the high ABV, and one could get into trouble with this beer on hot summer nights. I highly recommend this great offering from Scott at Captain Lawrence Brewery. He is truly doing great things there.

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Photo of oldmanpliny
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pop the cap and take a quick wiff of incredible hoppy goodness. 5 different hops make this imperial ipa a complex brew. This beer pours as good as any beer I have seen. The head looks like the top of a freshly brewed latte. This beer is love at first sip it is hoppy hoppy hoppy did I say it's hoppy. There are citrus and mellon notes with a slight hint of malt and it finishes bitter however not as dry as you would think. The bottom line is this a a first class beer all the way. The west coast is the king of the IPA mountain however this NY IPA can hang with the best of the west. Try it you will like it!

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Photo of bobsy
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler shared by the very generous grub. Thanks man!

Orange pour with red highlight and a creamy off-white head. Nice retention and lacing. Wonderful aromas of sweet citrus - clementine, tangerine and satsuma. Very sweet juicy and enticing. The flavour delivers big time. Sweet orange juice, tangerine, candied orange peel - really its all sweet citrus, but with an immense biscuit malt background to balance things out. And balance is the key word here, as its expertly achieved - a feat that is often overlooked by many brewers of imperial IPAs. Decent bitterness in the start and finish. Medium body and carbonation.

So many great beers in one night, but this was prhaps my favourite. Its an imperial IPA that doesn't drink like one. Its smooth and delightfully moreish. The flavours are clean and enticing, and it delivers in every respect. Excellent stuff!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I sent my Dad to the store for some CLBC Nor'easter (what an awesome Dad!). He came home with this instead; I was slightly disappointed, I was looking forward to some strong winter beer. Until I drank this one...

G - Haughty Williams-Sonoma mug.

A - Golden and brassy, crystal-clear, with a two-finger head and leaving plastered lacing everywhere.

S - Tremendously citric hoppiness, favoring more of an orange impression over the usual grapefruit; hops are the star of the show. Slightly sweet malt tones fuse with the hop aromatics, strengthening the already robust notes of fresh citrus.

T - The taste is, in order, 1. piney 2. grapefruit-y 3. bitterly dank and herbal. This beer is phenomenal; one of the best American (2x) IPAs I've ever had. I would say this crushes, for example, Hopslam.

M - Everything you would expect from the style.

D - Hell yeah, so drinkable.

Pops also brought me home 3 De Dolle brews, XX Bitter, Nugget Nectar, and Petrus Aged Pale. As I said, what an awesome Dad!

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Photo of ikats
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden in color (it may be yellow, but golder sounds better). Light white head. Wonderful lacing. Aroma is sticky hops full of floral notes, pine notes, and may be a touch of citrus. Taste is great - hop bitterness, but with strong malt background. Don't get me wrong - it's crisp and thirst-quenching, but there is really great balance that is brought into the body by malts. Hop bitterness lingers on the tip of the tongue. Very drinkable and terrific mouthfeel (provided you are expecting DIPA). Wonderful beer from a great brewery. Glad to see it bottled in a simple pint-size bottle.

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Photo of ironbike1
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my favorite IPA hands down. I am very happy it is easy to find near me. This will not be your conventional review as The Bros have already touched all the main points.

Poured into a nonic pint. Beautiful golden color (not your norm for this style) with a nice thick white head that leaves lacing all of the way through the drink. Smell is delicious and hoppy and the taste is just plan yummy. It has your typical double IPA profile with something I just can not put my finger on. Maybe its just the brewing that Cpt. puts into this IPA. Truly easy to drink and smooth like no other. Overall this is for me the best double IPA out.

Thanks again for a very delicous and affordable double IPA Cpt.

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Photo of Gavage
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: hazy orange in color. One finger head sticks around a while. Light lacing develops.

Smell: grapefruits and pine are bold and very pleasant.

Taste: nicely balanced malt sweetness with grapefruits, pine, lemon, and a hint of alcohol. This is a great DIPA since the hop bitterness is not over the top.

Mouthfeel: smooth and dry throughout. Medium-heavy in body. Long bitter and caramel sweetness aftetraste glues itself to the tongue.

Drinkability: for a DIPA, this was very easy quaff. If you are tired of the over hopped DIPA's but want more punch than the standard IPA, this beer will make you smile. I found this easy to drink more than one.

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Photo of dar482
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

No bottle date on this brewery’s beers.

Pours out with a big white head composed of large bubbles. It quickly dissipates a one finger head. The color is a clear dark orange with a slight bit of green in the light.

The aroma has huge juicy peaches, pineapple, floral rose, sweet orange with a bit of grapefruit, a slight biscuit malt, and pine. Just very inviting and fresh smelling. Great aroma on this one.

Front of the tongue is huge juicy sweet peach and pineapple along with fresh big juicy grapefruit. It also has a big pine Simcoe flavor too. In the middle is this gentle malt sweetness that then eases in the finish that has a lingering grapefruit peel bitterness. There’s a good amount of malt to balance this out, though in the end, a bit light on the mouthfeel.

This is quite good. I’m really surprised as Founder Double Trouble is quite a close comparison in profile and quality to this. Having had Double Trouble recently, I can’t say that this isn’t amazing. The mouthfeel and bigger malt roundness that Double Trouble probably makes it better, but this wins on the bitterness.

I truly surprisingly world class Double IPA.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Clear gold color with bright white sticky head. Super super piney nose with some hints of tobacco and grapefruit.

Wow this is delectable. Incredibly smooth and velvety for the abv. Sweet hoppy fruitiness, tropical fruit, papaya and mangos, tart grapefruit along the mid palate with citric rind bitterness on the back end. Slick mouthfeel but not syrupy, full bodies with enough carbonation to cling the flavors together. Bitterness is mild, sweet sticky malt counteracts and balances things nicely, lingering fruitiness with hints of pine and tobacco. Just a touch of alcohol heat but otherwise incredibly smooth

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Photo of Pahn
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16.9oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Couldn't find a bottled on date.

Appearance: Reasonably aggressive pour yields a 1 inch frothy white head that dissipates slowly and unevenly, leaving rings of lacing. Pours a clear yellow/amber with some bubbles rising to the top of the glass. Leaves peaks of lacing everywhere.

Smell: Cornucopia of hop aroma; notes of mango, pineapple, grapefruit, pine resin, grassiness, some floral notes. Lots of sweetness. All the beautiful smells from the hops are clear and strong. Promises a world class DIPA.

Taste: Again, tons of hops. Strong but not overdone bitterness, and the same giant assortment of flavors from the nose. Tropical fruit, some piny and grassy notes, and a nice subtle malt backbone. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Fills up the mouth but is neither creamy nor juicy. Perfect vehicle for all the hop goodness.

Drinkability: The 9% ABV is undetectable in the flavor, which is itself delicious. Coupled with a perfect mouthfeel, this is a DIPA I want to return to, often.

I'd heard a lot of hype about this beer before getting around to trying it, and it exceeded my expectations. It's really a flawless DIPA, delivering everything you could want from a hop bomb in terms of taste and aroma, along with a world class mouthfeel.

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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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