Palate Shifter Imperial IPA | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

558 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: 558 | Ratings: 1,435
Photo of Kwak
1.91/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

this was in the growler for about 3 hours, it poured nice and fresh.
good amber color, nice white head thick tight bubbly head sticks to the glass

the smell was of pine lots of pine, could not smell any thing else

the taste was overpowered by the pine taste of the hops I couldn't taste any other flavors, it was a little dry not very refreshing

the aftertaste was almost stale no a favorite

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Photo of KWMiles
2.08/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Big thanks to trxxpaxxs for this one.

Poured out of a bottle into a teku glass. Something was definitely off with this bottle...

The appearance and nose seemed fine, but the taste was something like a combination between the dentist's toothpaste and aspirin. Definitely a bummer since this beer is generally so highly regarded. I would love to give it a second chance sometime!

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Photo of PDXHops
2.29/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle, poured in increments into a La Chouffe tulip. No visual dating information.

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a gentle, yet steady, stream of visual carbonation. A finger of white head recedes quickly, but just as quickly begins leaving some patchy lacing. sticky lacing. Subsequent pours increase the head size, but not the amount of lacing.

Aromas are underwhelming. Doughy malts and a slight mustiness somewhat obscure mild citrus and a touch of pine. Old bottle, maybe?

The flavors again have me wondering if this may be an old bottle. Mild citrus, sweet malt, rather boring overall, although there is a decent level of underlying piney bitterness. Malt dominates at the finish, with only sweetness and a bit of booze lingering. This beer is screaming for a serious injection of hops.

Overall impression: Tasty enough, but for the style, too tame, too malty, too uneventful. Not recommended.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
2.45/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

thanks loren for a couple of half liters of this.

first one was unimpressive, fell flat. promised to review the second, which was kept cold since arriving here in or.

clear golden pour with a solid head. very fluffy and bright to look at. extremely odd aroma. rye bread, honey, and a really stinky, rotten sweaty foot hop note. tastes strong. body is right, but finish is somewhat boozy. the flavor rides a strange line between sweet malts and earthy, pissy green oil. warmth brings a child's chewable vitamin aroma and further flavors of hollow abrasive bitterness.

this is a far cry from the beer i had many times in growlers. unfortunately, this beer needs serious work before the bottles rival the 'P' to the 'E', or most other dipa's for that matter.

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Photo of BrlyHpsWtrYst
2.46/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

What is this?!?!

A noble hop bomb? Had at the gracious hand of a great trader at the Local watering hole

A: Light amber with a quickly dissapating white head
S: Spicy.. not fragrant pine or citrus, just.. like saaz or other Noble, very english hop profile
T: definately not what I expected. This embodies the East coast vs West hop conundrum. Hops like wet newspaper. Very interesting to drink. but I do not like it.
M: effervescent. lively. very deceptive for the higher abv
D: Maybe I'm spoiled on the beer we get out here. This is not a poorly crafted beer. "I" just don't like it. I am glad to have tried it.. especially because a BA brought it out from the east, but hey, some beers don't strike a chord. but I feel honored to have the opportunity to know I didn't care for it.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.66/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75


Pour is a lightly hazed golden yellow with lots of white head and some large bubbles. Nose is heavy bready malt and caramel. Hints of hop but very faint. Either completely old extra or just a rough nose. Taste is much of the same, provides a bit more resin and pine hop. Still not hop forward. Not very good.

review 2/10/10
A-very light translucent golden yellow in color, not the best looking imperial ipa. the head is a creamy slightly off white color that has decent retention and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S-the nose is stronger on the malt side and brings a mix of caramel malt and a touch of brown sugar with some piney hops.

T/M-this has a good body and brings a little more hops than the nose did. it is syrupy and extremely smooth coating the mouth as it goes down. the big malt flavors are there bringing lots of caramel malt accompanied by some citrus and piney hops. the hop oils are present as it goes down and the finish brings a touch of hoppy bitterness.

D-this is more like a light american barley wine. it hides the alcohol extemely well and goes down smooth; but it is way to balanced for my taste as an imperial ipa and really leans on a stronger malt taste than its hop profile.

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Photo of jtmartino
2.78/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into my Bruery snifter. Beer pours a honey gold with almost two fingers of frothy white head.

Beer smells strongly of sweet biscuity malt and some pine. Very little fruity aroma from this one compared to some of the other DIPAs I've been drinking lately (Pliny the Younger and Elder, Kern Citra, Lagunitas SF Fusion, etc.)

Taste is has a clean sweetness up front tapering into some pine and bitter grapefruit. Some grassy notes from the hops. Leaves an astrigent bitter flavor in your mouth at the end. Honestly not as flavorful or complex as I had hoped. Could really use less bittering hops and more aroma.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and even a little creamy. The best aspect of this beer.

This bottle was purchased less than a month ago, but it tastes like it's old. I'm hoping that my underwhelming experience with this beer is due to its age. It is just about average in every regard, and does not stack up to other DIPAs (especially not those from the West Coast.) A little sweet, a little bland, and a little astrigent at the end. I'd drink it on tap, but I wouldn't buy a bottle again. I'm not really sure what people are thinking rating this so high.

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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 AdamPenna
2.93/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a murky amber. Lots of sediment. Good-looking fluffy white head, about two fingers-worth, which shrinks half a finger. Attractive lacing. In the bottle, the aroma seemed more hoppy than in the glass. Smelling mostly sweetness, malt. Mouthfeel is ok. Not much carbonation, none of that oily feel I like. I'm not getting much of the hops. A little alcohol kick. Some sourness, too. I was going to have one of these at Canterbury Ales in Huntington, NY on tap this afternoon, but had to leave after one Dogfish Head 90 Minute. Maybe it's my bottle, but I'm not impressed. This beer isn't exactly the ultimate for hop lovers as the bottle claims.

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Photo of largadeer
2.99/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500ml bottle kindly supplied by Dyan. Thanks, big guy.

Pale golden-amber, brilliantly clear and bright, this is a beautiful beer. Two fingers of head settles down to a thin disc that retains very well.

The nose is signature East Coast DIPA; big malts to match big hops with solventy alcohol backing it up. Sweet and tropical with scents of pineapple and Mandarin orange.

Opens up sweet on the palate, honey and caramel flavors competing with fruity, tropical hop flavors for the forefront. Medium in body, thankfully not too syrupy, but not nearly as crisp or dry as I'd like. Finishes with a blast of resiny, herbal hops that, while not too bitter, have an odd astringency to them.

Not a bad beer on the whole, but really rough around the edges. The sweetness muddles the hop flavor, and the finish is unpleasantly rough. Needs some work.

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Photo of claspada
3.1/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Aromas of grapefruit and piney hops, light bready maltiness. Smells pretty standard for the style..

The taste follows smell, copious amount of grapefruit and pine, some light bready pale malts in the background but let's be honest this is s hop bomb. Frankly it is a tad to astringent and resiny for my liking. Reminds me of a lesser Pliney which I also thought was too unbalanced to the hopside.

Mouthfeel is properly carbonated and full; quite sticky. Really lasts and lingers on the palate. Overall this is a decent DIPA but not malty enough/in balance for my preference. As I have said before I think they should have a DIPA category for malty high ABV beers and an Imperial IPA category for the hopbombs, anyway...

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.1/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into my perfect pint glass from the bottle

A - Pale yellow with a white head on top, very clear and light colored for a DIPA

S - A light citrusy aroma with a bit pale malt backbone

T - Moderately hoppy, slightly boozy, I get citrus notes from the hops and a bit of pine. More balanced than I'd like for the style

M - medium body with a normal amount of carbonation

D - Meh. Not as good as I was expecting. Could hide the booze better and give more hop flavor/aroma. Worth trying but I wouldn't seek this out again. I wonder about the freshness of this but the lack of a bottling date forces me to stick with my review.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.11/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From 500mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/8/11
*From notes

A: 2.25 finger head on a good pour. Solid lacing rims the glass. Lighter then I'd expected - pale golden brilliance.

S: Some decent citrus, though it's slightly muted for a DIPA.

T: A bit hot. It's got a touch of burnt rubber to it. It's more biting then it is juicy or fully balanced. I'm get the feeling this bottle may be a bit on ths stale side.

M: Killer body. Rich and creamy. The carbonation is tops, and the feel really carries this beer.

O: The bottle of Captain Lawrence's Imperial IPA that I had was clearly on the not-so-fresh side. I bet that when fresh, this may be a damn good DIPA. As it was sampled...meh.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
3.12/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sent FRESH from mikey711-Thanks

Beautiful color, nice frothy head, some lacing.

Smell was very low key, faint citrus fruit, sweet malt. Not much.

Taste is way more hoppy than you would think when you smelled it, some grapefruit, a little pine, lots of bitterness. The malt bill on this has an unusual blood orange taste that finishes very interesting. Not much alcohol present considering the 9%ABV> Mouthfeel was smooth and dry.

Glad to have tried this NY DIPA. I would have liked more hoppy smell and a little more sweetness. This is worth trying.

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Photo of mjl21
3.14/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Acquired via trade...thanks Mikey. Really cool looking 16.9 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. No abv info or bottling info is given.

A-A very interesting looking beer. It it quite clear and looks like a pilsner with brown highlights. It is the lightest IPA i have ever seen. It has a large two finger off white head that has some great retention. It has lots of visible bubbles and leaves some nice lacing.

S-Not surprisingly, it smells like an East Coast DIPA. There is lots of sweet malt aroma along with some biscuit malt. There is some pineapple and some underlying pine. As it warms I get some floral/grassy hop aromas.

T-The biscuit and sweet malt along with some pine hit first. The pineapple citrus hits more in the back. There is some noticeable booze in between sips. The aftertaste is a combination of alcohol, grassy hops, and some bitter aspirin.

M-Thicker bodied, well carbonated, and creamy from the massive head.

D-Boozy and too rough for me.

This one didn't come together for me. I think there are some good flavor profiles going, but they just don't mesh entirely. I would like to try it fresh from the tap before reserving final judgment.

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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 nhindian
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16.9oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. Purchased at Whole Foods Bowery in Manhattan.

A - Pours a light goldenrod color, a bit brighter than most DIPAs I've had before. There's a big, 3-fingered head on here that is off-white, with excellent retention. Rocky foam lasts for ages, and it leaves its mark on the glass as well in the form of sticky lacing. It's clear as well, with a ton of carbonation streaming out of the etched glass bottom.

S - The smell is certainly interesting on this beer. The thing that surprised me right out of the gate was the earthy, musty note here. Seriously, it's even bordering on funky. Very unique for the style in my opinion but I'm not entirely sure its intentional. Besides that, the hops essentially dominate the nose, with incredibly juicy grapefruit and tropical fruits. There's some slight caramel malts here as well, but expect them to be buried underneath the hops and funk.

T - Again, I'm getting a lot of tart funkiness at the start of this beer. However, I am liking it a lot less here than the complexity it adds to the nose. I feel it overpowers and feels out of place here, even after praising it in the nose. Thankfully the hops are still here in full force, bringing notes of grapefruit, mango, orange, and even a little pine. The malts help balance everything out here for the most part, but the bitterness does last a while in the finish.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with high carbonation. It feels decent in the mouth, perhaps a bit heavy. The hops don't destroy the palate at all, but does have the effect of weighing it down a bit.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. I liked the earthiness in the nose but can't say I enjoyed it in the taste. Still a pretty good IPA, and a nice introduction to this brewery for me.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear light orange with a thick white head. Aroma of garlicky hops, piney hops, graham cracker, and light citrus. Also an odd aroma I can't really place, but it makes the beer smell rather odd. Flavor of citrus with some piney and crackery malt notes. Much different from the draft form. I don't know...there's just something off in this beer, but I don't know what it is.

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Photo of dfillius
3.19/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed at the Ginger Man in NYC in a pint glass.
A: 1/2 finger of creamy white head with great retention. Cloudy dark orange color. Very pretty.
S: Little smells at first, some alcohol, tiny grassy/piney hop.
T: Fairly hoppy, some alcohol. As it warms a lot of alcohol, then a tiny hop aftertaste.
M: A bit of heat, good carbonation. As it warms, much more heat.
D: Too much alcohol, not enough hops.

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Photo of yankeepride
3.23/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

Really got a strong, foamy head on this one. Was able to pour out the entire bottle into an imperial pint glass, and the head was tough enough to just keep piling higher without spilling over. Took a whiff, and got some strong apricot notes. From there, though, it went downhill for me. It had a bit of a malty edge which I didn't expect for something less than a 10% imperial IPA. I just didn't get a flavor profile that I could identify with. It wasn't piney or citrus-laden, but just had some bread-style malts with some bittering to it. I'm a CL fan, but not of this one.

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Photo of glazeman
3.23/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: medium golden straw color with a 3 finger white head that has excellent retention and lacing.

S: Lots of citrus notes, in particular grapefruit and lemon.

T: Big bitter hop profile up front but without much specific piney flavor or citrus notes. Finish is a little too chalky for my taste.

M: Fine, but the chalkiness makes it less crisp than I would like. Perhaps a little over carbonated as well.

O: This was an ok DIPA, but not one that I would really want again.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.24/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, honey-amber with flecks of hops or yeast or something. Thin head. Spectacular fresh hop aroma, like sniffing hop cones - leafy and herbal, piney, spicy, and very floral. Hayfever sufferers beware. A slight honey-caramel malt base backs it up. The cask carbonation does not do any favors for this very thick, malt-forward brew, which is much more sweet than it is bitter (a pretty big no-no for a DIPA in my book). Still, the hop flavor is full and nuanced, ripe with cilantro, pine, citrus, and pineapple. But it doesn't have the scorching, raw lupulin quality of a good DIPA. Tangy and sweet finish, far from dry. The hop flavor is good enough to keep this malt bomb drinkable for half a pint, and the alcohol is well-hidden, but a full pint would be more than plenty for me.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.26/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Really yellow, but such a pillowy head that rises up like the cliche pheonix. Aroma wasn't there. Bubbabrewgans threw this in as an extra, thanks bro. Classy move.

Taste, really bitter, was surprised to read that the alcohol was 9%. They say 5 hop variations, but nothing really stands out or creates some super hoppy blend in this combination. Tastes like the standards, some cascade and maybe columbus. Light body though, so it leaves you feeling a little more buzzed, not knowing it.

Not too complex, but a good beer to get me a little buzzed up to let it fly on the disc golf course in a few minutes. Nevada 28, Idaho 3 at halftime, you're going down Corpulent!

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Photo of Overlord
3.26/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Pentecost! Pours gold with a hint of orange. An inch or two of white foam head.

Smells interesting. Kind of like medicinal pine with a hint of sugary malt. Okay. Not what I expected, but I'll roll with it.

Taste is a dank, earthy pine-i-ness with some citrus notes, a strange dirt aftertaste, and a bit of herbal juiciness. Nice thick mouthfeel. The pine and earthiness is all obliterating.

One of the strangest DIPAs I can ever recall having.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.28/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of rmjavanut, Thank you Ryan. Shared with the father-in-law over the holiday weekend while living a life of leisure.

Pale gold with a thin white cover that lasts the duration of the beer. Tiny bubbles rise to the surface and each sip leaves a spattering a lace.

Khafir lime, pepper, bread dough, a bitter heat on the nose. The octane is foreshadowed well here.

Taste trends much the same. Try as I might to conjure up a different experience, this beer just seems muddles. I'm having real trouble pulling the five hop varieties here. What is present is heavy bitterness and alcohol heat. Peppery bitterness on the end and the long lingering astringency leave me wondering where the amazing hops that many other reviewers seem to find have gone to hide. Sadly, this bottle plays average to me.

Mouthfeel is nice a thick and if there were some distinguishing features here, this would be a nice long sipper along the fine feel and body. I have another bottle via Ryan's generosity and I will enter with some hope and trepidation. As experienced here, this is very middle of the road.

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Palate Shifter Imperial IPA from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 1,435 ratings.
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