Ironbound Ale | AleWerks Brewing Company

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Ironbound AleIronbound Ale
46 Ratings
Ironbound AleIronbound Ale

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dedrinker on 05-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 46 |  Reviews: 40
Reviews by wchesak:
Photo of wchesak
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1079 of 2007 poured into an Allagash chalice

A - big white head with a tint of tan, nice brown opaque color

S - caramel malt smell with earthy citrus hop notes

T - malt begins but is quickly overtaken my citrus hops that are nice and bitter,leaves a great hop flavor afterward that lingers and makes you want to take another sip

M - between medium and full bodied, good carbonation, finishes quick and smooth to a hop aftertaste

D - glad I held off for a year for this one, I mostly notice lower ratings for people who purchased 08, patience is key, certainly fits perfectly into the definition of an Imperial IPA

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to someone for sharing this at the May Freetail bottle release.

The beer pours a dark copper color with a small white head. The aroma has a lot of resin from the hops, but I also get some brown sugar notes. Not quite what I expected since the beer smells more like a hoppy American Barleywine than a Double IPA.

The flavor is more of the same. There is a lot of toffee and caramel as well as some bitter pine notes and some brown sugar. The alcohol is definitely noticeable, giving the beer a barleywine-like flavor.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. The beer is still good, but with the age it now has on it, it is not really an IPA at this point.

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Photo of asabreed
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #1417 of 2007 into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: A hazy amber orange with a bit of light going through all the yeast and the body. The head dissipates fairly quickly after looking fairly creamy, but with a quick swirl it's off-white color recharges nicely.

Smell: I find that this beer gets more aromatic as I let it sit on the coffee table, meaning it really dissipates throughout the room almost like a candle. Maybe there's so much going on that even the rounder tulip glass can't contain it -- I'm not sure. But the aroma is a seemingly fairly unbalanced assault of huge malt and hope, slight fruit, slight grapefruit, but very strong, with some alcohol presence also.

Taste: Pretty much the mirror of the nose with a dry finish, lots of nice bitterness from the grapefruit flavors of the hops mixed with the heavier fruity characteristics of the malt. It's balanced but not as nuanced as I'd hoped, which doesn't lend a lot of complexity for each new sip, even as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Heavy-bodied and rich, semi-chewy and slightly creamy.

Drinkability: Worth a shot for around $7 a bottle. I love smaller breweries brewing in small batches, especially the ones who offer numbered bottles and nice labels and styles. I wonder, though, would cellaring really do this any good? It's more reminiscent of a barley wine than a IIPA to me, and I wonder if the malt presence would eventually overshadow the hops even more, to make it, yet again, even more than a barley wine. I'll be interested to see some reviews done the road of folks end up cellaring bottles and trying them later, but I probably won't buy another one. I still have a Wolfe's Trap that I bought with this, and I'm not planning on cellaring that either, though maybe I'll have better look. So, enjoyable, yes, but disappointing a bit for as much as I expected.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a glowing reddish sunset color, shades of burgundy/rust. Head is thin and getting thinner as I type, yet it never fully disappears, remaining at a skim the whole time (although I tend to shake/swirl my glass every few sips, so...). Absolutely great lace stickage, along with a ton of bubbles. I think it's beautiful.

Very boozy nose. Malt quantity seems generous, and the hops are definitely ready to rage, but the booze has the upper hand. It's actually enjoyable enough, has a real intense cherry hard-candy/cherry syrup thing going on, but the flavor veers into cough medicine territory.

Yep, the flavor is rough. Hops are prickly and bitter--no problem there--but the malt is wild and out of whack, resiny and even sour flavors work their way in, and the alcohol is intrusive. It's not all bad, and in fact has some nice cherry cough drop flavor happening, but then the medicinal vibe starts elbowing in too much. Lemonade-pucker starts appearing in the finish after half a bottle. Not a drain-pour at all, but certainly a shadow of what could've been.

The texture is lovely--round, gooey, full, thick, yet with enough carbonation to keep it lively...pretty much how I prefer my big-ass IPAs.

With the out-of-whack flavor and overall booziness, this is not one I'd revisit, although I'm glad to have given it a shot. Their Grand Illumination barleywine was MUCH better. Hopefully they'll bring that back someday.

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

22oz bottle, #1125/2007, sent by Bert - owner of old hops

appearance: poured into my hopleaf tulip - very dark amber-mahogany body, light tan head with little retention

smell: aroma crosses over to the barleywine world - brown sugar, bitter hops, lots of pine, syrupy, caramel malts

taste: syrupy and full flavored with lots of alcohol present - dipa morphed into barleywine, or maybe it had these traits to begin with...chewy caramel, lots of pine and hop bitterness, sweet red fruit. interesting - would have liked to try fresh

mouthfeel: thick and syrupy, stinging bittnerness, moderate alcohol

drinkability: fine

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Photo of Kegatron
2.62/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Capital Ale House, Midlothian, VA.

Pours a clear, coppery amber with a 1/2 finger of creamy off-white head. A solid layer of retention leaves a big cascade of lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is very subdued on this but digging deep reveals hints of light pine, spice, citrus, and some underlying sweetness.

The taste is much the same as the aroma, with some subdued notes of hop bitteness that is mixed in with citrus and caramel malts. I'm also picking us some buttery Diacatyl notes that mostly come out in the finish, along with some light bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but doesn't possess any kind of beef that you would normally expect in this style, instead offering some moderate carbonation and a fairly watery feel at times.

Beyond the overall look, I wasn't impressed with this at all. I'd be hard pressed to call this a decent Pale Ale, much less a DIPA. This wasn't a very good introduction of their beers to me from Williamsburg Aleworks.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a very dark red with ok carbonation. The head is small and dark tan and leave lots of lace.

The smell is very hoppy and extreamly malty. On top of the hops I am sensing dark fruits and black bread, Schwartz brot und Brombeere. nice combo.

The taste follows hops are more in your face with basic earthy bitter notes and some floral, save the thick pine. Grapefuity after taste is there.

The mouthfeel is very good. Big and thick lots of cleansing carbonation yet a huge stickiness that is just like sucking a grape fruit rind with out cloying.

The drinkability is good for a big brew but the hole is very big and may be too much. Prosit MK

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Photo of Sanchezrox23
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of BeerSox
2.55/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22oz bomber into 8oz snifter.

Very dark cloudy mahogany hue with a thin light tan head that settles to a thin rim along the glass. Spotty lacing.

The hops seem somewhat mild for the style, instead replaced with a bit of spice. The malts add a sugary background.

Once again, sharp hops but not of DIPA status, along with some spiciness. The malts don't add much of a sweet background. Full bodied with decent carbonation. Acerbic hops finish it off.

I felt like this one was minimal hop flavor with all the bitterness. It's one thing to have an extreme DIPA, but it's nice when there is a little flavor mixed in with the harsh parts.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was number 736 of 2007 from a limited 2007 bottling that I have had in the fridge for a while. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, I enjoyed this one on 03/31/2009.

The pour was very nice with a very dark brown color and a really rich looking head of off white that came up over the top and settled down into a thin crown of lace that stayed with it throughout the session. Rich malt profile was mixed in with a nice hoppy note. Very well balanced here with a touch of alcohol before it warms up. Wonderful notes of caramel and rich biscuit like malts. Really very, very well done here as it warms and really lets it breath. Smooth, mellow carbonation and a nice warm body really let it shine. Solid dry finish with a sweet flavor that lasted well into the night.

Overall a very very solid beer even at a year old I would pay for this one anyday of the week.

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Photo of blackie
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: snifter type glass, shows a full and thick khaki head above a deep orange-amber ale, excellent retention and nice lace

s: nose packed with dark, oily pine resins, supportive malt body of toasted caramel provides some balance but doesn't really add much complexity as it struggles beneath the hop deluge, aromas of soggy grain, light metallic note wears off after breathing for a few minutes

m: soft carbonation around medium, body on the full side

t: malt body of caramel, toffee, and toast - the weight might suggest sweetness but it seems to be under control, hops are all pine and totally dominate the malt - and to echo the reviewer below there is little cohesion or harmony between the malt and hop components, big flavors of pine bough tea linger long into the finish with a high but not oppressive bitterness

d: a satisfying drink, but limited...the monstrous hop presence makes for a nice experience, but costs valuable points in complexity and balance; like its presumed namesake the CSS Virginia, the armour of hop resin proves difficult to pierce

bomber from Arrowine, Arlington, VA...bottle 1818 of 2008

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Photo of JetSmooth
3.96/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This review will be of a brewery I recently discovered on a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. My wife and I were at a local restaurant in Williamsburg and found some beers from Williamsburg Alerwerks on tap. When we checked out, there was a pamphlet announcing brewery tours. Well, it didn't take bt a glance between us to know what we were doing the next day. This bottle was purchased on-site at the brewery and hand-carried home to be placed in my bar for later. Each year, Williamsburg Alewerks sets aside an equal number of bombers to the year and individually numbers them. This bottle was 390 of 2008 (which means it was bottled in 2008).

Eyes: Ironbound Imperial India Pale Ale pours with a deep ruby/caramel color that develops a thick, golden, almost souffle-like head. It took three pours and some painful waiting to fill the Williamsburg Alerwerks glass we also picked up during our tour. The color is rich and deep, but not dark.

Nose: The base of the nose is caramel; supporting a sweet malt and hoppy perfume. Somewhat resiny without being overly of pine. Maybe a little other-woodsy?

Tongue: Less-bitter than other IPA or Double IPAs I have had recently. I think the malt backbone of this compensates for the hops, which are definitely there and strong. There is no solvency or excessive alcohol, which is good for a 9 percent ABV beer. The caramel is so creamy, it's almost milk-chocolate-like.

Mouth: Chewy and full. There is plenty of residual malt to this beer, which gives a mouth that masks some of the hoppy "tooth enamel stripping" characters in other hob-bomb beers. There is also a fullness that I also experienced in their coffee-house stout. I would have initially put "smoky" in the flavor category, but there is an after-mouth of smokiness that doesn't really present in the flavor. Not chalky. Difficult to describe. It leaves you wanting to follow-up with another sip.

Overall: This is a beer for autumn! The colors are evocative of piles of leaves waiting to be jumped in, just like I can't wait to jump into another pint. The Unfortunately, this was the only bottle I grabbed. Next trip to Willamsburg, I am stocking up!

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing a bottle of this back for me from Virginia.
Limited release - bottle 0168 of 2007.

Pours mahagny with dark cherry highlights. A thin tan head has good staying power, leaving some lacing on the glass.

The smell is of spicy pine and resin (a hint of lemon as it progresses) with caramel/toffee backing.

The taste is of syrupy resin and pine with a bit of a heavy hand of caramel/toffee. Alcohol gives it a sharp boozy character. Sweet with some sour and bitterness in the finish. Potent and drying.

Full-bodied and syrupy, though not too sticky. Smooth despite abv.

It does have a certain drinkability to it.

According to the label, over 60 pounds of Amarillo and Cascade hops over 180 min. boil. My guess is that a lot of malt and sugars added, too.
An interesting brew.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle #256 of 2007 - Thanks to Cliff&Carol

Pours a rather solid chestnut brown with light ruby highlights. A creamy tan head fades, nice lacing on the glass. Very dark color for any style IPA..

Huge piney hops aroma, with a sweet malt smell backbone.

Sweet malt upfront leading into a robust blend of piney hops and a lot of IBUs - but not quite enough to balance out the sweetness.

Full body, well carbonated.

Overall, a good flavored IPA but the sweetness is prohibitive in drinkability. After one glass, I'm ready to move on.

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Photo of Drknight
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 0944 of 2007. Tasted more like a mellowed, aged barleywine than a Double IPA. Maybe the age has mellowed the hops a bit.

Pours a cloudy brown with a medium size off white head that faces fast. Strong aroma of spices, dark fruit, malts and alcohol

Tastes great, like a mellow Bigfoot 2-3 years old, with some dark fruits replacing the grapefuit. It is rich, hoppy and malty at the same time. Incredibly rich and less alcohol burn and intense hoppiness than some barleywines.

Mouthfeel is incredibly rich, alcohol is there but not unpleasant. big flavors make it a sipper not a guzzler. I give this a 4 for drinkability becuse it tasts great and is mellow. A few of these would be nicer, but the alcohol level is self limiting.

My favorite Williamsburg beer is still the Rapidou Porter, but this is a winner as well.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle out of a 3-bottle gift set from the brewery. 1832 of 2008. I poured some of the bomber into a pint glass for this review.

Slightly hazy and very pretty red amber color. I can see through the glass and read the Capitol City logo on the other side, but there is a little bit of haze hanging around. Thick tan head stays around a bit and leaves a fair trace of lacing behind when it does finally decide to fade. Still a nice layer on top for the remainder of the pint.

A big does of citrus and pine hops in the nose. There is a touch of malt behind this but the hops do dominate. I would not call it balanced in the nose. A nice earthy quality to the hops gives it some nice depth though, and you can certainly tell it's not hop-water. Taste is big on the earthy hops, rugged and robust. The alcohol makes its presence known, intertwined with a sweet caramel malt flavor, and this all leads to a not-quite-as-bitter-as-it-could-be finish. Not much of an after-burn from the hops, and it ends a bit on the disappointing side.

Big thick body, not filling and not too hot. It's actually pretty drinkable for a DIPA. Above average effort I'd say but not among the better I've had.

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

bottle number 0951 of 2008

a: deep ruby/mahogany with light fluffy off-white head and nice light lace pattern

s: caramel; swedish bitterness; light tobacco; light bouquet of piny flowers and hops

t: caramel; swedish bitterness; light tobacco; bitter hops and light medicinal flavors

m: smooth medium body with light carb

d: an interesting and bitter DIPA
bottle 965 of 2008

same beer almost 2 years later

a: amber/dark rust body; tight round bubbled head that is thick and fluffy with great retention; some tight small bubbles; murky in the center lighter and more translucent; light abv

s: very light fragrance; fruity with hints of toffee; some light sour apple;

t: mild toffee hits first as well as as the final aftertaste; middle of sip is filled with that syrupy taste that comes from lots of hops then is followed by bitterness from the hops; mild but grows

m: medium body, lightly cloying; med carb

d: still good; definitely milder

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Photo of CharlieMopps
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

#993 out of 2007

A: Pours a dark, opaque mahogany hue with deep amber highlights. Off-white head is nearly three fingers, which much density, from a moderate pour into an oversize wine glass. Retention is excellent, but there is surprisingly little lacing.

S: The aroma of this ale smells great; seems like there's a bold hop presence, but one that is backed up with a solid malt backbone. Floral and soft fruit hop tones with a subtle, sweet caramel-like malt side.

T: The taste reflects the smell nearly perfectly, as the balance of this beer is worthwhile considering it's an Imperial IPA. A bock-style malt sweetness comes first, kind of sugary, but not over the top. This is followed by a bittering, citrusy bite from the hops, with kind of a grassy or floral subtlety to it as well. I picked up on a couple of hop profiles in the finish, and it rounded out quite nicely, even for an IIPA.

M: Carbonation is not as high as others of its ilk, but I rather like it better this way, at least for this particular beer. Big syrupy hop feel in the end, and a nice thick malt residue up front. Somewhat creamy texture on the palate, also.

D: I actually think this is quite a departure from the other Williamsburg AleWerks stuff, and a welcome one at that. While perhaps not being the most astounding IIPA (a style that continues to try and be outdone again and again), its real strength lies in its attempt at balance. While of course containing a lot of hops, it provides more malt as well so as not to completely destroy the palate. This makes it more drinkable and perhaps more enjoyable.

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Photo of theformula
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

"493 of 2007" Limited edition.

A: Pours a dark amber body, nearly opaque; strange for even a DIPA. Large, light brown head which retains well and leaves a thick, soapy blanket on the surface. Good lacing. Very dark.

S: Aggressively hopped and aggressively rich/malty. While hops are strong the unusually dark, sweet malt is also. Piney and citrus-y w/ a sharp, perpper-y spiciness. Big toffee, caramel flavors w/ dark brown sugar. Alcohol is apparent.

M: Medium body, crisp carbonation. Creamy w/ a full M.F.

T: Punches your palate w/ flavor, although this DIPA is just too dark and malt-focused for me. Actually similar to Double Bastard, really. Rich malts on the first wave w/ toffee, caramel and dark brown sugar; almost a vinous character. Finishes bone-dry w/ very strong oily, piney bitterness and a nutty, grape tannin-like texture.

D: This tastes like a severely hopped barleywine. That can be a good thing but it's not so much in this case. Just too rich and malty for a DIPA IMO. Pale it up a bit and it could be much better. Hoppy for sure, but altogether it's just off. Great flavor, regardless.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazed up copper/caramel pour. Semi bright topped with a medium head that produced some rockiness.
Pine and light caramel aroma. It has a mix of strong resinous and slight sweetness smells to it. seems balanced, or about as balanced as an IIPA can get.
Pine is the prominent hop characteristic. Malt is hidden, but does come through at the very beginning with a hint of sweetness that leads to a thin caramel pressence. Then the hops hit. Resinous and sticky. alcohol is noticeable.
Good bite to it and this would be very drinkable if poured only a half pint. Strong abv.

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Photo of SwillBilly
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz Limited Edition bottle.

Appearance: Pours a deep, rich amber with a hearty head that is tan to almost yellow. Ample lacing is left behind in the glass.

Smell: Slightly sweet with hints of amber fruit and citrusy hops. Not as aromatic as I thought this would be.

Taste: Big malt profile upfront with plenty of molasses and brown sugar with an underlying fruitiness. The hops come into place in the middle in finish as they somewhat balance out the big malt profile. Hops lend a nice citrusy bitterness that linger on the tongue after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with nice carbonation.

Drinkability: Not your typical DIPA but still a fine beer. Big and malty with hops rounding things out in the finish. ABV is well hidden for a beer that is 10%. More like and Imperial Amber than a DIPA. A good beer and definitley worth a try.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.53/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 1651 of 2008. Very deep orange and coppery color. Some of the stickiest and gummy lacing I have seen. Huge pine aroma. Very sweet malt comes thru. Pine/resin/sticky/sweet/caramel all blend together at once for a huge, complex flavor. Somewhat earthy. Slick and full mouthfeel. Nice tongue blast feeling form the over abundance of hops. Really a great lipsmacker! Huge imperial IPA all around. Very well balanced IMHO. Tons of hops and a malty back that holds up great.

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Photo of brentk56
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle 559 of 2007

Appearance: Pours a hazy caramel color with a rocky beige head; a bit of lacing left behind

Smell: Rich caramel malt aroma, with hints of burnt brown sugar and pine

Taste: Sweet and piney, up front, with a slightly medicinal element, though it is very resinous; lots of caramel after the swallow, although the resinous elements persist throughout

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, with moderate carbonation; rather sticky

Drinkability: Two years of age have transformed this into a barleywine and while it remains drinkable, it is just a bit too resinous and sticky for my palate

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Photo of dedrinker
2.62/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very murky dark brown with little head. Aroma is of sticky sweet resinous hops(but not strongly so) and caramel. Loads of caramel on the palate with surprisingly little hop flavor for its purported 130 IBUs. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, and the finish is sticky malts and hops. As I work through this beer the bitterness picks up considerably on the finish with more piney notes, but nowhere near what the style calls for. The color is far too dark for the style as well. The hop character on their regular IPA is pretty good, so I was very disappointed by this one. Especially at $6.99 retail in the state of Virginia, when a Lagunitas Maximus cost me $3.99 from the same store, yet came from all the way across the country.

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Ironbound Ale from AleWerks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 46 ratings