Bitter Valentine | AleWerks Brewing Company

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Bitter ValentineBitter Valentine

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Double IPA is loaded with Pacific Northwest hops blended with a light malt backbone. A bitter Valentine for you to love, how ever unrequited.

Added by Viciousknishs on 02-18-2012

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Reviews: 127 | Ratings: 533
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.06/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a dark copper color. The head is a finger off-white shade with poor retention. It's disappointing how quickly the head fades; though on the positive side, it does manage to leave a bit of lacing behind.

S: Right from the start, it brings the dank, citrusy hops in a big way. Citrusy, mainly - in fact, there are some solid tropical fruit notes emanating. There's also some 'cat pee', which is never a bad thing in small doses. Maybe there's a bit more malt than I really prefer from the style, but this definitely succeeds as a 'total package'.

T: The slight malt sweetness that hits first quickly gives way to an onslaught of bitter grapefruit rind. Make no mistake, this is hella grapefruity. It becomes maltier during the finish, displaying notes of caramel, dough, toffee, and brown sugar. My problem is that there isn't much to tie together the big grapefruit with the malt backbone. It's just like cosmicevan said, this is a really sappy, syrupy kind of beer - and that's not what I want from the style.

M: Well carbonated, enough to poke through the thick body - in fact, enough to overpower the palate, even. One feature I really like: hop resins seem to accumulate on the palate, bringing more and more bitterness as more is imbibed. I'm torn between giving this a great score due to the hop resin or a poor score due to the rampant overcarbonation. Meh, I'll split the difference - it's a bit unpleasant feeling at first, but once the carbonation slows down, it develops a nice (if too sweet) texture.

O: I'm shocked this is a 95. SHOCKED I SAY! Okay, maybe not: this is a big ol' grapefruit bomb, which means if you like big ol' grapefruit bombs, you're going to really like this. Me, I only like them situationally (ie. Nugget Nectar), with my preference being leaner, less sweet DIPAs. As it stands, I'm still disappointed by this. Don't avoid this, just curb your expectations.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.32/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to yourfragile for the bottle. Enjoying it while watching IU in the B10 tourney.

Pours cloudy bright orange with a small 1 finger off-white head with low to no retention and good spotty lacing. I like the color and lacing, but prefer some head retention.

Aroma contains some tropical scents. Mango, pineapple and citrus fruits and as it warmed a bit of onion. There is a touch of caramel malt here but it's drowned out by the onslaught of hops.

A lot more pine flavor than the nose would indicate. A little of the tropical flavors come through although there is an oniony presence throughout. Not nearly what I was expecting after the wonderful smell. A touch of brown sugar before it finishes very bitter and dry with strong pine and onion. Onion bitterness lingers on the tongue and came out more as it warmed becoming overpowering.

Medium mouthfeel. A touch sticky, but still feels light. Carbonation average for the style perhaps a shade below.

Didn't live up to the hype for me. Would have liked the flavor hop profile to be a bit more balanced. I love eating onions and don't mind some onion in the flavor profile, but this one is overdone and makes the beer very one-note.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.44/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle dated 2/10/2014, so this isn't very fresh.

Appearance - Deep orange body. Small white head with a medium collar.

Smell - Grapefruit and orange. Toasty malt. Some pithy grapefruit aromas. Caramel malt is substantial.

Taste - Grapefruit hops. Some brighter orange hops before a caramel malt and toasty bready malt kick in. Pithy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium to medium heavy. Kinda sweet, but not syrupy. Moderate bitterness.

Overall - Had this after Pure Happiness. That didn't help, nor does the age, but it's still a good beer.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had during the 2nd Annual Redneck Racin’ & Tastin’ while tailgating at the dirt track race! Big thanks goes out to cmrillo’s wife (who is on BA but won't tell me her userhandle) for this one! Served from bottle into a NoDa snifter. Poured red-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, earth, spice, citrus, earth hop, and floral hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, earth, earth hop, citrus, and floral hop. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. The standout point on this brew was definitely the floral hop character which I am a real big fan of. However, nothing else on this one really stood out to me which was rather unfortunate. It was easy drinking out in the sun that evening, but definitely not a stand out in the style. Worth trying if you get the chance.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1457th Review on BA
Bottle to Tulip

No bottle date
CA Gang Bang BIF

App- Had a very deep orange color with a lighter center. A little bit of yellows in the glass with a good clarity. 0 head or cling. Very flat on the pour.

Smell- It openened with a small tropical note and then progressed into a smaller pine with a good amount of hops to it.

Taste- This is a big DIPA. The 9% isnt messing around. Had a small creamy flavor behind it with a thicker pine flavor and was flavorful if not one dimensional.

Mouth- A lighter medium body which I thought was odd. A medium carbonation level. Gave the feel a thicker mode to it.

Drink- It was tasty, like I said, just one dimensional. Needed more citrus balance to tame the pine.

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Photo of dar482
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

The beer comes in a dark amber.

The aroma is very muted, despite a 2 week old bottle. Sweet hop candy, piney and resiny.

The flavor follows with sweet grapefruit candy in the front. Resin, spicy hops. A huge middle malt backbone onto a very little bitterness of woody hops.

Almost like an American barleywine, this is very disappointing.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle at Food and Friends in Philadelphia. I won't lie...this purchase decision was made entirely on the hype behind this beer. Bomber bottle with no freshness code. Poured into wine glass. This is my first beer from Williamsburg AleWerks.

Really attractive beer! With some coaxing of the head, there is a solid finger and a half of dense, tight cream colored head. Surprisingly, the head dissipates somewhat quickly for a DIPA. Lacing is all over the glass!! Really the most attractive thing here is the crystal clarity of this beer with that burnt amber coloring. Had to drop it a half point for the poor head retention.

Aroma has all of those juicy fruit smells that are all the hype these days. No wonder people are all over this beer. Notes of mango, grapefruit, light hints of pine and melon. Pretty bold aroma and exactly where a DIPA should be.

The actual flavor suffers in my opinion and does not hit the expected mark from what I got from the aroma. Way too much alcohol presence here, and that hotness masks some of the subtler flavors of malt. The hop bitterness is there, but is not very high. Hot on the exhale. The complexity that was present in the aroma is just NOT there in the flavor. Pretty much hits one note throughout the beer. Really what shows the most here is the alcohol, and therefore, I found this to be less than average for a DIPA.

The mouthfeel is a bit under-carbonated in my opinion. Better than having it be overly effervescent, but at the same time, this could use some more bubbles. Very smooth, and very slick on the tongue. Still, could use more carbonation.

Overall, I was seriously impressed with the appearance and the aroma. It made a big impression on me. However, the heat from the alcohol and the noticeably low carbonation brought it down from glory. Would I buy again? No.

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Photo of jegross2
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Bitter Valentine from Williamsburg AleWerks out of Virginia. This, like Pipework's Ninja vs. Unicorn, is a highly hyped and newer IPA on the market. Thank you ProperHops (Joseph) for sending me this treat!
Score: 84

No bottle date, which is never a good sign for an IPA bottle. Why do brewers even bother selling beer without bottled on date? Marginal revenue at the expense of bad customer experiences and quality control is never good marketing. Served in a Half Acre tulip and enjoyed on 05/04/12.

Appearance: Pours a lighter, but translucent, orange-amber color with one-plus fingers of seafoam tan head at pour that settles to a thin foggy cap and bubbly ring around the glass. Average lacing, above average retention. 4/5

Smell: Malty orange citrus, dirty/earthy hops and a little lemon. Residual onion/horseradish. 3.5/5

Taste: Bitter orange rind and malty orange. A bit of sharp/spicy onion on the midpalate. Bitter earthy hops on the back of the tongue. You can tell this is not the freshest, but it's still pretty solid. Seems to get bitter/maltier as it layers, with less citrus flavor. Lingering hop bitterness. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Oily mouthfeel. Bitter finish with a little residual intensity on the tongue. 3.5/5

Overall: You can tell there's potential here, but this beer was likely not the freshest. Williamsburg AleWerks really should bottle date their stuff. I would like to revisit this when a new batch is released.

Recommendation: A decent IIPA as is, but seek this one out fresh. Bitter/oniony hop haters and casual beer drinkers should probably avoid this beer.

Pairings: Grilled chicken.

Cost: $7.99 for a 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad I finally got to try this one, though I suspect this bottle is past its prime. No dating makes it hard to be sure but my understanding is the most recent bottling was in April, making this bottle close to three months old.

Pours nearly clear, gold, with a small, quickly settling white head and patchy lacing.

Resinous, herbal, “weedy” aroma with noticeable caramel maltiness; smells both bitter and honey-sweet. Some tropical fruit notes.

The flavor is primarily hoppy and bitter, as the name implies, but has moderate sweetness that emerges more and more into a clear honey flavor as the beer warms a bit. Either way the malt has a substantial presence. Citrus fruit and piney, resinous hop notes. Lingering bitterness; sweetish finish. Booziness is also increasing noticeable as you work your way through the glass.

Medium bodied and carbonated, smooth and slightly sticky mouthfeel. A good DIPA but for me wasn’t anything to get too worked up over. Maltier, sweeter, and generally heavier feeling than most of my favorites of this style. Good enough hop character but the particular blend chosen wasn’t knocking me out. Again, no bottle dating, which seems inexcusable at this point. I’d like to try a fresher bottle sometime but won’t be springing for another if it’s unclear when it’s from.

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Photo of crossovert
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle.

It pours a clear amber with a foamy white head.

Luckily though it is decently old (for an IPA) the smell is still there. It is definitely hinting more malty though. There is some sweet tropical notes and some citrus rind. The malt is sweet smelling with some bread and caramel.

The flavor is nice. Good hop flavors with a biting bitterness, it has no shortness of that. But I think the hops could be a bit better, more of a slap of citrus. This one is more of a pine one which I like, but it isn't really complex. The malt isn't as prevalent in the flavor but leaves a bit of a balancing sweetness.

I have some chili john's cooking, this is going to be a perfect pair.

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Photo of JFear
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Been drinking a lot of IPAs/IIPAs recently. This is an enjoyable one from a brewery I had not tried in the past. Definitely checking out their future releases. Bottle dated 5/20/14. Nice to know it's pretty fresh.

This beer has an appealing look to it in my New Belgium globe. Deep, slightly reddish amber, with a bright, white head that doesn't stick around too long, but doesn't dissipate immediately. Very clear. No sediment visible.

The aroma is rich. Very sweet tropical fruit smell, almost like a soda. Maybe mango? Specific tropical fruit references are slightly elusive, but there is a nice bit of grapefruit. Decent amount of alcohol on the nose, but it remains subtle, even as the beer warms. ABV is not listed on my bottle, curiously enough. The taste is classic double IPA. Citrus, such as the aforementioned grapefruit, that ties in with a lingering bitterness, and a decent amount of sweet malt that blends in nicely, but isn't enough to make your teeth stick together. The mouthfeel is pleasant enough. Hitting the Goldilocks mark with the carbonation: not too bubbly, not flat.

Overall, a good double IPA, and a nice entry in the Virginia beer market. Seems to sell out fast too. Good enough for me to check out some of their other beers.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Half Acre tulip.

A- pours dark copper with a 2 finger off-white head. Thick walls and leopard spotting of lacing remains on the glass.

S- caramel, biscuit, very light citrus, some spice and nice pine aroma

T- someone caramel, light toasted malts, not much citrus to be found, and big pine bitterness at the end.

M- medium body and carbonation. Smooth and crisp with semi-dry finish.

O- good dipa. Citrus was lacking for my taste but had some sweetness from the malt to balance the big pine bitterness.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tall thin glass on tap at Capone's.

Bitter Valentine pours a mostly clear orange. There's a thin wisp of white head, the minimal foam not even geting a chance to display any lacing or retention. The nose is packed with potent aromas of pineapple and grapefruit. The brewers definitely loaded this one up with plenty of end of the boil and dry hops. There's a bit of malt to be found in the flavor profile, in the form of some caramel sweetness to lead off each sip. That's followed by a massive wave of bitterness, the name of the brew is well earned. The grapefruit and pineapple from the nose come back to close out the beer, but they're not nearly as intense as I'd hope, given both the aroma and the pointed bitterness. The mouthfeel is just a little bit off all around. There's too much bulk to the body, and the carbonation is a little bit dull. Everything's close, but not right there. Williamsburg AleWerks' Bitter Valentine is an Imperial IPA that doesn't quite follow through on delivering the intensely hoppy flavors one would hope for, but it comes pretty close.

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Photo of B33R501
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ok i get it the popularity of this beer and beers of this type in general. doesnt surprise me to see it overall rated right next to lagunitas sucks. of course this style will never be my favorite, i prefer maltier, more balanced ipas, celebration the perfect example. on the good side, this was my second bottle, it certainly had no annoying flavors, and the bomber dissapeared quickly enough, its drinkable.

nice pour, more of a darker amber hue, nice head, retension and lace. sure is pretty. smells the best part of this beer, lots of citrus fruity hops and a little alcohol, which i dont mind at all. tastes starts off the same, but i think gets a little muddled towards the middle / end of the bomber. personally, i dont need to get this again. however ...

great brewery that i think is starting to get more (well deserved) recognition. their bourbon barrel porter is so great, on my favorites list, and their barleywine was also top notch.

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Photo of teromous
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle has a faded stamp of "8 12 14" 12 AUG 2014? Just under two months old if this is the case.

Appearance: Fairly short white head that looks somewhat creamy with some larger bubbles in it. The body is a hazy orange and bronze color.

Aroma: I get a fresh cut grapefruit scent, a bit of a grassy aroma, and slightly catty. There is a bit of mango that peeps in every now and then too.

Taste: There is a rustic bread crust flavor right up front, followed by an earthy woody flavor. There is a bit of pine in the aftertaste. As the beer warms up a bit in he glass that pine character starts to dominate a lot more and becomes the primary flavor.

Palate: It has good bitterness without being overwhelming or difficult to drink. It sits in the medium body range with a good amount of malt backbone without feeling overly sweet. It does a very good job of highlighting hop bitterness but balancing (not equalizing) the malt character.

Overall: The beer was nice but it wasn't fantastic. There wasn't a whole lot of hop flavor presence in comparison to the overall bitterness of the beer. Perhaps that was the goal of the beer, given the name "Bitter Valentine." It's not a beer that will be on my radar in the future.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottling date is half cut off, but looks maybe like 01/26/16

Appearance - Pours hazy and golden orange in color with a bit of fine sediment floating about. The head is off-white and peaks at just under a finger. Fair retention results in a thin, broken layer of suds across the surface. Decent amount of lacing, mostly in a broken, webbed pattern.

Smell - Orange, pine, pineapple and a light bready, biscuity sweetness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Juicy notes of orange, with lesser pine dankness and a trace of pineapple zing. Sweet bready malt undertone. Candied peach? Stone fruit pit nuttiness comes through toward the finish and joins the mild pithy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Goes down easy with a very, very dry finish.

Overall - Pretty good, though it doesn't break the mold for originality; i.e. I'm enjoying this, but nothing really stands out about it. A bit too dry for my thirsty tongue, but that's not a huge hindrance. I'm glad to have tried it, but it's missing that X factor for me.

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Photo of mabermud
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Deep amber body that appears unclear. Soft and creamy looking off-white head. Sticky lacing that slowly slides from the glass as I twirl the beer around the glass. Nice artwork left on the sides of the glass as the beer disappears.
Smell: Spicy hops at the forefront that smell dank and resiny. Candied oranges.
Taste: Some bitter hops up front. Citrus sweetness. Malt plays a supporting role.
Feel: Fuller body. Medium to low carbonation. Feels heavy in the mouth.

Overall - Not bad, but nothing special to write home about. Let's not forget I just spent three weeks in San Diego...

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (dated two weeks old) into a tulip
L: Orange to Amber color, west coasty, and a bit hazy. Slightly off white color bubbles making a finger of head.
S: West coast DIPA aroma, big grapefruit and citrus. Some sweet malt character and slight alcohol can also be detected.
T: Follows the nose with grapefruit, citrus, and some pineapple and pine. There is a nice sweet malt character to the beer. Very little bitterness and slight alcohol in the finish, not boozy but you get it. The lack of bitterness makes this one very easy to drink.
F: Creamy with good carbonation.
Overall: About exactly what I expect from AleWerks, a great west coast style DIPA and a beer I wouldn't hesitate to buy again.

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Photo of AdamAlway
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Mostly clear orange body with just the slightest haze. Originally a half inch, very thick white head. However, bubbles continue to rise long after the beer is poured causing the head to grow to an inch.

S: The "bitter" in the name certainly starts here with strong hops and malts. An addition of apricots, pineapple and grapefruit is a nice touch that isn't overly sweet.

T: Front loaded apricots, pine and perhaps a little peach. Leads into a nice malty middle. The finish is earthly with less bitterness in the aftertaste than expected, but that makes this much easier to enjoy multiple glasses.

F: Medium body with moderate to light carbonation. Smooth and light, but heavy enough to hold the flavors and not feel weak.

O: A pretty good DIPA. I definitely enjoyed the apricot and peach notes. Doesn't quite have the punch I'd like and leans more towards a standard IPA with some unique flavor balancing.

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Photo of dvmin98
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle with a friend. Nice golden color. Limited head with mild lacing. Smell is fairly hoppy, but not overly. Flavor is rich hoppy flavor with aftertaste of onion, though not too much. Similar to the way Sculpin tastes to me. Not overly carbonated. A solid DIPA. Had better, had much worse. For the most part, enjoyed it.

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Photo of boralyl
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Thorpe429 for the bottle.

A - Pours an inch of creamy white head with good retention. It leaves a ton of sticky lace as it settles. The beer is clear and has a medium golden-orange hue.

S - The aroma has a huge hope presence. I get a lot of orange and citrus combined with a pleasant caramel sweetness.

M - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. The finish is slightly creamy.

T - There is a light caramel backbone throughout. The hop-aroma is also present in the taste, starting with orange and citrus. Then there is a grapefruit bitterness along with some alcohol heat. The finish is a little harsh.

I enjoyed this beer, I just wish the alcohol presence in the finish weren't so harsh.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle, date not apparent, mark looks like 03 6 1:
(Originally gave this a straight 4.25, probably need to revisit to hone in my rating)
Look is hazy orange with nice line of fluffy white head.
Nose is lightly tropical with a hint of alcohol. There's a little candy sweetness as well as a floral ending in some whiffs.
Taste starts with pitted fruit sweet-tart (apricot, nectarine), with a little unspecific tropical background. The malt flavor sits back more than expected from the nose. Eventually a light medicinal alcohol bite come on but it is fleeting and acts as a gateway to a light grapefruit pith and pine bittering.

I wish the bittercame on a little stronger. The light tart flavor from the opening does seem to linger throughout the taste, which helps. Not too sweet for a DIPA, but not overly bitter, either.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A half finger of white head and a pale gold body.

Nose is potent leafy hops, North American style.

Impressive spicy hop character, quite leafy and rather bitter. Unbalanced, as many bitter DIPAs are, by honey, this somehow manages to find some measure of balance on its own. Grapefruit character.

Very smooth, light mouthfeel.

Even as a professed hop-hater, I can appreciate this. Another outstanding AleWerks beer.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a large tulip. Bottled on 01-27-2017.

Pours slightly hazy bronze-gold with a medium to small head and a lot of fine carbonation. Smell is a little bit fruity and a little bit pine. Surprisingly muted.

Taste is a splash of citrus followed by a bit of pine. Bitterness comes out more with the second sip, builds slowly to something like a lemon skin bitterness.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick, but surprisingly fizzy. Overall, nice beer.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing Shane!

Pours a medium coppery color. Head was a dark tan. Aroma was not very pronounced. As it warmed, there was some citrus notes to pair with a smidge of caramel malts.

The taste was a different kind of monster. Sweet citrus notes, light pine, with an assertive hop bite and linger.

Medium bodied, slick, almost creamy.

The aroma was average, but taste was great. I can see this being a sleeper.

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Bitter Valentine from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.18 out of 5 based on 533 ratings.
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