Zen IPA | BluCreek Brewing

32 Ratings
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Brewed by:
BluCreek Brewing
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Golden2wenty1 on 08-29-2006

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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of WastingFreetime
2.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Reviewed from session notes.

A. Cloudy golden yellow with a fairly decent foamy head with pretty nice retention time, but only minor amounts of lacing.

S. Pale malt with a hint of green tea herbal and floral aroma. Very understated overall. I do *NOT* consider this to be an IPA. It has the aroma profile of an interesting PA with the tea gimmick, however, I am forced to deduct points for lying on the label as I rate according to label style and this beer simply does not perform as an IPA.

T. Same as the aroma, it comes across as a PA and not an IPA. Green tea mixed with light caramel malt and a gentle fade-out of herbal / citric peel hopping.

M. Thinner side of medium body, well carbonated, smooth texture.

Yet another case of a bottle lying to me on the label! I'm getting really annoyed with how common this practice is seeming to be, why must I constantly be forced to give perfectly serviceable beers scathing reviews simply because they print something on the bottle that is not inside?! :(

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Photo of captainbearcat
4/5  rDev +44.9%

Photo of Another6Pack
3/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
3/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of bpfrush
3/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of samyoung
2.71/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pulled this one of the shelf at Sicilianos in December 09. The concept was simply too good to pass up.

A - Very cloudy and unfiltered looking - went well with the zen imagery.

S - Not very bold; I was expecting more aroma from an IPA. The tea scent was definitely on display.

T- Green tea to the max; also disappointing as I was hoping for more hops and bitterness.

M - Thin and average feeling.

D - No problems drinking this unique beer.

Do not purchase this beer if you expecting a clever take on the American IPA style.

But if you are looking for a interesting take on the English IPA style, give it a try. I applaud the creativity here.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
3.13/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured In: Tulip Glass
Purchased At: Steve's Liquor (Madison, WI)

This should get said up front: This beer is not as bad as most of the reviewers on here have made it out to be. Some people are thrown off by the cloudiness. A little yeast won't hurt you. People also seem rather concerned about there being green tea involved in the beer. The green tea doesn't overtake the beer, and it only adds a small amount of flavor in the middle of the tasting. Maybe, just maybe I got a better batch than everyone else, but I don't think people gave this one a fair shot.

Appearance: Pours a golden yellow with a finger of head. The head retention is great; it's been floating on top as the amount of beer in my tulip slowly reaches zero. A little bit of lacing at the top of the glass. It's also a rather cloudy beer, although I don't really mind. You could tell the last inch of beer was a cloudy one as it left the bottle. I know this beer was brewed with some green tea, but I can't imagine the cloudiness being attributed to the tea. The tea leaves wouldn't be this fine. But, it also seems like too much cloudiness to be from the yeast.

Smell: A hint of earthy hops and pale malt. Really not getting much aroma from this.

Taste: Light caramel malt up front. A little bit of grass and soil, followed by a very light, but noticeable hint of green tea. The last wave involves a touch of grapefruit from the hops.

Mouthfeel: I feel as though people were a bit too harsh on the mouthfeel with this. It's a thin to medium bodied beer, not too carbonated, slightly creamy in the mouth, and goes down easy.

Drinkability: It's an enjoyable beer. I don't think it is quite up to par as an IPA, but it's a rather aggressive APA. Having a bias towards strongly hopped beers, I would have liked for this one to have another pellet or two of hops just for my glass alone.

I'd certainly give this beer a higher score if it were categorized as an APA. It just isn't an IPA, but I'd love to see them add more cascade and centennial hops to this and bottle it again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
2.41/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours oddly cloudy. Almost looks like a Belgian Pale Ale or a wheat beer of some sort. Kind of strange. Nose is also strange. Pineapple? Flavor is tangy and odd. No real hop qualities. Odd malt backbone too. Feel is thicker on liquid. An odd beer. In no way does it resemble the style, yet it is still drinkable. Overall though, remains a strange one.

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Photo of nsmartell
2.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. Now I say "enjoyed" in just about every review I make here, because hey, I'm drinking a beer! But I can't say I really enjoyed this beer. The only thing that saves it was that I was watching the Sarah Marshall movie.

From the 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a really hazy/cloudy dark orange color with a decent white head. Not sure what is up with the cloudiness in an IPA.

Smell: Not much going on here but a little bit of hop notes. I imagine that is a green tea, but I'm only guessing because I don't drink green tea.

Taste: Just as the nose suggests, not going on here. Again, I'm guessing that is green tea I'm tasting. Also some pine hop flavors, but the green tea is too much.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied. Unfortunately, this is the best part of the beer.

Drinkability: Can't say I would recommend this beer and that saddens me.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.08/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

"The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there."

--Robert M. Pirsig

Ripe tangerine with a massive amount of yeasties that makes the beer look like a shaken snow globe. In this case, however, the particles stay in suspension. The crown is melted orange creamsicle in color and has an acceptable texture. Less than outstanding lace assures the lower score.

The nose isn't hoppy enough for an APA, much less an IPA. It's a bit musky-fruity, but the killer lineup of Chinook, Cascade and Centennial is not obvious by any means. My guess is that the brewers backed off the hops to showcase the green tea. Probably not a good idea.

Despite the ABV (whatever it is) Zen IPA is an APA. It doesn't have the flavor boldness, the hoppiness or the body to pull off the bigger style. That said, it isn't a bad little brew. Nor is it a good little brew. Being different only gets you so far.

There can't be too many hops swimming around; never mind the 'intense infusion' claimed by BluCreek. There's a smidgen of orange and apricot, maybe some grapefruit, along with a mild herbaceousness that I would never have been able to identify as natural green tea. Is there such a thing as artificial green tea? A moderate amount of bitterness is probably due to a lack of malt as much as anything.

The mouthfeel is pale ale average (which makes it less than *India* pale ale average) and is a fraction too fizzily bubbled. Things are calmer in the bottom half of the bottle, though not necessarily better.

Zen A(I)PA is an interesting concept on paper, but it doesn't work that well in the glass. Beer of this style needs an abundance of hop leaves, not an abundance of tea leaves. Bottom line: neither mystical nor magical.

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Photo of Tone
2.86/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, golden color with lots of suspended yeast. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of what I'm guessing is green tea, slight hops, some hints of spice (ginger), and some earthy malt. Seems to fit the style of an English IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with a high carbonation level. There is a strong dryness associated with this brew that makes you want to go back for more. Tastes of slight hops, strong herbal flavors (green tea), some earthy malt in the background, and some slight yeast cleanliness flavors. Wow, this is definitely an odd beer - maybe not particularly bad, but an extreme version. In my personal taste this is not a very good English IPA, but too each his own.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
1.54/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from a 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Looks like a dark liquor poured into a pale beer. Terrible and unattractive.

S: Hops dominating with a bit of malt and a strong green tea smell, not in a good way

T: Tastes like an unpleasant green tea poured into a semi-hoppy beer with a bitter finish.

M: Well carbonated, that's about it and its the best part of this beer.

D: Not drinkable, first beer I've poured out.

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Photo of cdkrenz
1.79/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A - Extremely cloudy and full of carbonation. It appears as a carbonated apple cider would. There is no head atop this ugly brown body.

S - Very faint hop aroma.

T - The flavor is hoppy but it's not smooth and tasty. It is bitter and abrupt.

M - Coarse and uncomfortable.

~ My opinion of this brew is not going to flatter the brewer. I suggest leaving this IPA in the shelf or in the cooler.

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Photo of drizzam
2.96/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A buddy of mine from Beer Advocate gave me a bottle of Zen IPA at a Christmas party...but he warned me he wasn't impressed and he was giving it to me for educational purposes. Let's give it a shot and see if his analysis was valid...

A - I poured it in my favorite pint glass and gave it a gander. An aggressive pour produced a weak thin white head on top of an opaque orange/copper colored brew. I was a little surprised at how thin the head was and it left very little to no lace on the inside of the glass.

S - Suprisingly, the smell of hops in this selection is underwhelming for an IPA...when I think IPA, I think HOPS....this is an IPA that doesn't do hops justice. The smell is more citrusy than I expected...reminding me more of a Hefe than an IPA.

T - I again implore you...for an IPA, where is my bitter hop taste? The hops are almost indistinguishable among the orangey citrus and bready taste followed by a green tea undertone. Again, this is not my definition of an IPA, but I'm not totally mad at it.

M - It's not the heaviest beer for mouthfeel but it isn't quite thin either. Carbonation (at least in the bottle I had) was almost non-existent and I noticed that the second I pried the cap and heard very little escape of built up carbonation.

D - This wasn't as bad as my buddy made it out to be in my opinion. I wouldn't make this a usual session brew but I'm not angry over trying it. I am still trying to figure out how this made it into the IPA category though.

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Photo of hopdog
3.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade with ughsmash (thanks!).

Hmmm, I love IPAs and I love Green Tea, lets see how they play together.

Poured a medium and murky / muddy orange color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, herbal, floral, and light pine. Tastes of green tea (yes, its definitely there), citrus, and just all around herbal. Not bitter at all. Light lacing left on the glass. The tea dominates the flavors. I found it interesting and drinkable, but would not have pegged this as an IPA.

Notes from 2/25/07

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Photo of WJVII
2.31/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Well truth be told, I had a mix-in-match sixer ready to go and this brew caught my eye with a free pint glass (I am a collector) so instead I picked this up.

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice hazy grain color with a decent white head that is sticky and leaves great lacing. So far so good, right? Well, that is as good as it gets. The aroma is week and only has a mild hop note, some mild citrus and maybe a hint of dough. The taste is very disappointing. It was very thin and if I wasn't sure it was a beer I could mistake it for tea (maybe a glass of green tea to be exact). No real hop bite as expected in an IPA and almost a sour aftertaste. Not sure I could drink the entire 6-pack myself.

Just goes to show, if you need to give a freebie with it, probably not that good...at least I have the glass to show for my troubles.

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Photo of beerad666
1.92/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an American Pint glass. The Zen IPA pours a cloudy orange. It looks heavy in the glass. There is a small light white head, that dissipates after a few a moments. It has a very a little hop smell and the smell grapefruit is overwhelming. The taste is as disappointing as the smell. I think it was the green tea that killed this one.

This is not drinkable at all.

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Photo of jeremyd365
3.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Alright, I admit it: I bought this one primarily because of the "green tea" gimmickry and took a chance on it.

It pours a thick, opaque, nutty-brown-colored and is SUPER foamy (it took me nearly 20 minutes to get the whole bottle poured into my glass). It appeared to be highly carbonated, as one might guess.

The smell is not unpleasant, but not that of a normal IPA: nutty and malty with perhaps only a hint of hops.

In the mouth it's thick and a little citrusy, while the hops are more apparent at the finish. I can MAYBE sense some green tea at the finish as well but it's hard to tell--it's kind of citrusy as well.

Overall, I can see why this would get such an average low rating while judging it as an IPA, because it really doesn't seem like one at all. HOWEVER, it IS quite an interesting concoction and not at all horrible. Thus, I won't completely fail it and am glad I tried it. It seems sort of the same situation as Dogfish Head's Midas Touch. It's hard to compare it to other brews.

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Photo of strohme2
1.57/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This is cloudy with specks of yeast (i hope). Too much foaties for me to consider it appealing. It looks like water from a murky creek. It had a brownish-orangish head.

Smells almost decent. Very weak for an IPA, almost no hops.

Tastes okay for about ten seconds. Again very weak for an IPA. Tastes orangy with a very slight green tea taste. Aftertaste is like chewing on a bit of aluminum.

Medium body, no carbonation but not in a good way. Too chunky.

I usually like breweries that get creative with their beer, go for some unique fruit or addition that makes it good but this was very, very bad. I don't like this beer. Two thumbs way down.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-20-2007 06:29:24
Flag as Inappropriate | id: 592626

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Photo of Goliath
2.35/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This IPA is brewed with "natural green tea".

This beer pours a ridiculously cloudy amber color with a very thin layer of light yellow head.

The aroma is fairly hoppy with some citrusy tangerine like notes shinning through. A little herbalness is also present.

Taste is alright, but slightly odd. A slight citrusy tangerine up front with almost no hop bitterness. There is a huge green tea presence on the finish and is kind of dry. I think they accomplished what they were trying to achieve, but I do not believe it was successful.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate. Low alcohol and subtle flavors make this beer easy to consume, however lack of flavor and poor flavor combination does not encourage you to do so.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.45/5  rDev +25%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had BluCreek's blueberry ale a few years back and wasn't too impressed but I figured I'd give this one a shot. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is pretty gross looking; cloudy urine colored with tons of little floaties that are constantly recycled through the beer from the carbonation. The smell is better, a bready malt presence with a respectable earthy hoppiness. The taste is very fitting of an EIPA, not overly hoppy but has a nice malt background. The green tea is slightly apparent. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a minimal carbonation. Thank goodness you can't feel the floaties! A drinkable beer, I think it deserves better that the rating others have given it but I will admit that the appearance is probably the worst of any beer I've ever had... must be the tea.

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Photo of pmcadamis
1.53/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - This one is a cloudy, dirty, soupy brown/amber with a tight 1/2 inch cap of desert camouflage colored head. I like how friggin' dirty this looks! It looks like water from the most tepid, insipid, nasty, hot, stagnant, infested South American jungle river! I hope that it doesn't smell or taste like that though.

S - Super malty bread with some weak hops that smell like orange juice concentrate with heaps of grass thrown in.

T - Sadly, the taste doesn't live up to the awesome appearance and nose. It does sort of taste dirty though. I taste very prevalent green tea, some mild orange hop notes along with some dry crusty bread notes, some darker bread too....like pumpernickel that's been getting hard and crusty for a few days. There isn't really a whole lot of complexity or assertiveness. It does taste a lot like green tea though...they should really put that "Green Tea" in larger print. I hate green tea and bought this without reading the very fine print on the bottle. All I saw was "Zen IPA" and thought...great! Most IPAs are at least decent so this should be a safe purchase. Wrong. I'm trying to be positive, but it really does taste a bit like vomit.

M - The body is pretty much medium, and carbonation is almost non-existent. The finish is just about the driest I've ever experienced in a beer, wine, or whisky. This is literally like eating a big 'ole mouthful of sandy dirt. It really is that friggin' dry! I've got to give it a pretty high mouthfeel score just for that!

D - I really don't care for this beer. I'll never buy it again, but I'm glad that I tried it...it's very, very unique. Everyone just has to try this to see the dag nasty river bottom soup appearance and experience the moisture wicking super-dry sandy finish.

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Photo of kimcgolf
2.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

This beer was really good....for about the first ten seconds!! Pour was hazy light orange, with a medium off-white head and okay lacing. Initial nose for this hazy off-orange beer was citrus grapefruit, as expected of a good IPA. First sip even mirrored this.

UNFORTUNATELY, a rancid nose and taste, which must have been the green tea, soon followed. Starting slowly, like dark clouds on the horizon, this pungent acidity soon engulfed the flavor and finish, and to boot, there was even a tea-like residue in the bottom of the glass.

I downed the glass quickly, afraid that it was only going to get worse as it warmed. Stay away from this one.

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Photo of Vancer
1.41/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Good Grief! Saw the IPA label and picked this one up. Shees, whata piece of crap – GREEN TEA??!!?? Are you kidding me? A health beer?

I poured it, and saw a nice hazy amber brew, ivory head was kinda wimpy, but not bad.

Then, the aroma of green sticks made me wrinkle my nose, but that was nothing compared to the taste. A horrid and harsh over boiled green tea – so I checked the label, and sure enough – made with green tea.

Cripe, this was no IPA and I wouldn’t call it a beer either. An alcoholic tea, in a bad way. It almost made me sick,

BUT! I man’d up and finished this SOB. I’d give up beer if this was the only thing available. Can’t believe this will be around for long.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
1.83/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I was definitely unimpressed by this beer. It is unappealing in appearance, not differentiated in flavor, has a watery mouthfeel, and flavor is nothing that would redeem itself over these other flaws in its flavor. I would not recommend this; there are just too many other great IPAs in America.

This beer comes out of the bottle murky, cloudy and dark...it looks like this nasty apricot-orange stuff my wife drinks, with not much head. Aroma was citrus-y, but not in the normal hop-bitterness way that you'd find in say an Alpha King. Rather this beer exhibits an unusual citrus-ness without bitterness. Mouthfeel is apparent before the flavor...it is quite flat. Flavor is watery, bland, not IPA-like at all, and not very satisfying. Definitely not recommended.

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Zen IPA from BluCreek Brewing
2.76 out of 5 based on 32 ratings.
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