Carolina India Pale Ale | Carolina Brewing Company

96 Reviews
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Carolina India Pale AleCarolina India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Carolina Brewing Company
North Carolina, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GCBrewingCo on 05-19-2005

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Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 160
Photo of HopDerek
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kegatron for this gift.

Pours a clear amber color with 1.5 fingers of foamy off-white head. Good retention left some decent lacing stick behind. Smells of sweet cereal malt, herbal and spicy hops, grass, lemon, and light piney notes. Tastes of earthy hops, spicy hops, and lemon zest with a pretty good balance thanks to some caramel and sweet bready notes. Finishes with some dry grass elements and more of the earthy and spicy hop lingering. Medium in body with moderate but poppy carbonation. Smooth and semi-sticky with a pretty good lingering bitterness with a slightly metallic feel. A good earthy IPA, easy to drink and session. I'd have no problem polishing a few of these off.

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Photo of BigBry
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Total Wine and More, Raleigh.
Blue label with a yellow, roaring lion (same as above). Best by 4/25/09, "CBC turned ten years old on July 3, 2005. All it takes is a liver and a dream!"
Dark copper orange color, no head just a few floating bubbles. Some floral hop aromas, hoppy but not really as strong as expected from an IPA. Hop bite to start, but lots of sweetness in the end.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin and light. Good drinkability for a lighter hopped IPA. Not the overwelming big hop flavor from other IPAs.
Enjoyable, enjoy the subtle hops flavor.

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Photo of Durge
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is a dark carmel color, a bit hazey with a modest white fizz for head and pretty scant lacing. The aroma is a nutty caramel with a spritz of piney hops, clean and crisp but not real hoppy. The flavor is not typical IPA, sort of heavier toffee grass and subtle hop bitterness laced throughout. Suggests a brown ale / strong ale with a bit of extra hop influence but not an IPA by my standards. It is nicely and finely carbonated, crispy refreshment but that doesn't suit the flavor as well as a brighter, hoppier deal might have. It's not heavy in body though, fairly drinkable. Not much alcohol noted. The grassy bitterness lingers well on the tongue, a little dry. Interesting as a brown ale, a bit disappointing as an IPA. I guess it depends on your preferences and expectations. Not bad at all, worth a try if your in the Carolinas.

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden amber with 3 fingers of smooth off-white head. A solid foamy retention leaves a creamy latticework of sticky lacing back. The aroma is fresh herbal hops that are a bit dank and earthy with spice and a touch of pine. Underneath lies a sharp zip of caramel and citrus that adds some thickness to the bouquet.

The taste is moderately hoppy with an overall spicy, herbal, and a dry bitterness that lingers on the palate for a while. This is well balanced by a silky mix of caramel, bread, and tangy citrus. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a pricklier carbonation up front that moves into a creamier and slicker feel underneath.

No complaints here. Solid all around IPA with well balanced flavors and good drinkibility. I'd have no problem making this a hoppy go-to if it was local.

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Photo of ATPete
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased in North Carolina, thanks Mike!!

Pours a slightly chill hazed orange brown color with a large sticky off white head. Fresh juicy hop aromatics started happening here as soon as the cap was popped and continues longer after i pull my face from the glass. Fruity at first, peaches, apricot and some juicy citrus fruits, balanced mid palate with a smooth malt under body and crisp carbonation. The bitter finish is more than welcomed, i found this IPA to be very drinkable.

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Photo of mechamifune
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am a bit bias as this was the first NC beer i tried upon moving down here 4 years ago. However, many many beers later it is still my favorite ipa. A large reason for that may be that i'm able to drink it very fresh, as the brewery itself is just a few miles away from me.

For me the biggest distinction for this ipa is that is maintains a sense of crispness through the entire bottle and is very easy to drink while still maintaining a very hoppy/citrus texture. I've had a lot of ipas, particularly bottled ones, where the sense of cripsness is non existant or dies off towards the end of the beer.

In general the brewery does a good job of keeping it consistant, though I admitedly have had a couple bottles that tasted a bit "off". Still, this is without doubt my favorite local ipa and still my go to beer when i don't feel like trying something new.

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Photo of cnjohn19
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - beautiful dark orange color...if rating just this would be a 5.0...but attained absolutely no head...

S - you get just a bit of the florals you would expect from an ipa...beyond that it was tough for me to get much more (but i'm new to the beer rating too so who knows)

T - experiencing just a tad bit more sweetness than i would expect, which is nice...i have been used to tasting very hoppy beers lately and this is certainly not one of them...

M - slightly thin and light...

D - very enjoyable for a lighter ipa...would buy again and could enjoy several in one sitting...nice for a lighter ipa drinker...

Overall you can appreciate the time spent brewing this beer...taste is distinct, but not overwhelming...would have enjoyed a more apparent aroma...

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Photo of skeeordye11
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Orange-red color with a light tan head that sinks into the beer leaving good lacing along the glass and a few bubbles on the surface.

S: Smells very balanced with good malt AND hop presence in the nose.

T: Delicious malty sweetness up front and finishes with wonderful citrusy and floral hop bite on the back end. The malt has a toasty note as with most of the beers from Carolina Brewing Co. I trait I find very appealing.

M: Medium/full bodied beer that starts sweet and finishes with a fair amount of dryness. Good carbonation for the style. Spot on all around for an IPA.

D: Love this beer. Just had it over the weekend at the brewery and the bottle is just as good. Just gotta love fresh beer! I could drink this beer everyday. Perfect example for the style in my opinion. Highly recommended to those that can get their hands on it!

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Photo of drums4matt
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally it's time to rep my hood with this beer. 12 oz longneck into a tulip - hey, man, this one needs some respect! Perhaps I'm biased as this comes from about 20 minutes down the road from where I sit. Come to think of it this may have been my crossover to microworld.

A - What a beauty! Darker than expected, this one's nearly garnet over a bronze base color. Pours out clear with a two finger, slightly off-white head which fades after a few sips to a solid ring and a translucent white lace cap with several small, white bubbly patches from the glass's nucleation points (EDIT: this was on a HARD pour). Nice sticky lacing gets an immediate ring all the way around from the fade of the preliminary head and leaves tightly-laced spots half way down the glass.

S - It's hard for me to even get a solid, stand alone whiff as I feel compelled mid-snuff to take a gulp. Upon full sniff there's citrusy, floral, leafy hop character with a well-anchored malty sweetness. Very clean. There's just a breath of spice/alcohol present.

T - Glory goes to the hop here, but in the fashion of a DFH 60min there are very present malty notes with a bit of grain and a nice, clean hoppy finish - not at all overly drying. The hops come into the picture first with a citrusy grapefruit thing going on - a bit of sweetness whose origin is hard to distinguish; could be some sweet hop character or the malty backbone showing through or a combination thereof. The spicy flavor character of hop oil lingers on the palate. There's really a lot going on here - more than a local brew like this will often get credit for.

M - Really nice. Not palate-destroyingly acidic like many really beefy IPAs but nice and drying but still sweet, bubbly and quite pleasant.

D - What more can a locavore hop head want, really? Totally sessionable and not overly drying but enough to satisfy my hop cravings. I hesitate to bring price into this because it truly is not a factor for this beer - it can hang with any micro - but at 8 dollars to the cent (?!?!....after taxes even!) this should be every pale-blue sky loving, mountain-to-sea North Carolinian hop head's go to beer. At the same time, I'm content to keep this one a local secret for those in the know in the Triangle region.

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Photo of hopdog
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium medium amber color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, light pine and a little earthy. Tastes of citrus / oranges and light caramel. Very lightly bitter. I found this to be thinner and weaker for an IPA.

Notes from: 10/20/06

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Murky, orangish/amber in color. A half inch head recedes quickly leaving minimal lace. Not exactly what I'd expect from an IPA.

S - Now we're back on familiar territory. There's a nice bready, caramel aroma providing the backbone which I prefer in my IPAs. The hops contribute a wide range of frangrances including pine and citrus, but the most obvious aroma is fruits in the range of apples, peaches, and apricots.

T - My first impression is how extremely well balanced this IPA is. Some folks like pthat in an IPA, and some don't. I happen to be of the former. The caramel malt is most obvious and the hop flavors are a bit secondary to what could almost pass as a red ale. Grapefruit peel is ever-present around the edges with a flavor best described as pine plus apple. Virtually devoid of any bitterness.

M - An extraordinary mouthfeel. Very low carbonation with a silky, medium body. This brew goes down as smooth as any IPA I've ever had.

D - To start with, I really, REALLY liked this beer. Several of these wouldn't be a bad way to spend a night with friends. To be fair though, it's quite removed from the prototypical IPA. The malt character is competing (and possibly winning) with the hop profile which isn't what an IPA is about. In general the hop element is subdued greatly, and with so much malt focus it's hard to say this is a great IPA. Still though, it is a fantastically tasty brew that I hope to revisit time and time again.

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Photo of GJ40
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass.

A - An almost amber color with good clarity and a thick, creamy head. Great lacing.

S - A nice blend of malt sweetness and floral hops. Not huge but nice.

T - The malt sweetness dominates the experience. There are some citrusy hops and a slight bitterness but it's just not enough. A good flavor with no flaws but just too mild and meek for an IPA.

M - Decent body. Nice low carbonation.

D - Very easy to drink but not compelling enough. It's an IPA for the masses, not IPA lovers.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Light amber in color with a tight little eggshell colored head. Great lacing down the side of the glass but little head retention.

Aroma is mostly earthly with some citrus and pine notes as well. A little light for an AIPA. Slightly fruity with big caramel presence. A little more citrus or american hop aromas would make this one killer.

Nice flavors. Fruity and hoppy on the palate first with some bready and grainy qualities finsihing out the flavor. A decent hop bite is felt toward the end and leaves a slight tingle on the palate. A little bit of acridness but nothing overwhelming.

Slight thin on the mouthfeel but a nice beer. A little more hop aroma and hop flavor and we are looking at a great beer. Certainly an easy drinker and a solid sessioner.

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Photo of JDV
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of emacgee. Thanks man!
Pours a dark hazy amber with a light offwhite head. Smell is fresh, bright malt, and citrusy, fruity hops. Taste is really nice and fruity with citrusy sweet hops. Very drinkable and a good semi-rich body with nice refreshing carbonation. Nice crisp bitterness. This is a very underrated IPA, I think, and a classic example of what I want in the style. Thanks again for this one!

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Photo of joe1510
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Bottled 4/23/08

This was an extra in a recent trade with beavers, thanks a lot Mike! Carolina's IPA pours amber, a little darker then the usual IPA. The body is clear with a minimal amount of carbonation rising slowly to the surface. A fingers worth of creamy white head formed on the pour and left some chunk lace on it's settling to a cap.

The hops are the first thing to pop showing citric qualities. Orange and lightly sweetened grapefruit are the first two that come to mind along with a squeeze of lemon. There's an earthiness I pick up here and there but isn't constantly present. The earthiness goes away as this beer warms up. The maltiness seems to be on the caramel side but is in back letting the hops do their thing.

Flavor follows the aroma stride for stride. Sweet orange peel and lightly sweetened grapefruit show up after the caramel sweet start and lead through the finish. A touch of lemon flashes through occasionally adding to the citric hoppy touch. This is a good IPA.

I'm really digging the mouthfeel of this beer. Medium body with a good silkiness but a noticeable carbonation that massages the tongue nicely. Leaves a growing bitterness behind.

This is an IPA I would have no problem drinking a few at a time. The lower abv (compared to others of the style) and silky mouthfeel keep this beer flowing freely.

This is a very solid IPA from Carolina Brewing. Good hop characteristics along with a muted maltiness and high drinkability make for an enjoyable beer. I would buy this often if available in my area.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper in color. Short white head. The thin, just slightly sticky lace receeds leaving cobwebs and spots.

In the nose the yeast lends notes of fruit, including apricot. The hops are grassy, herbal and leafy, and perhaps a bit piney. The malt is sweetish and bready with a caramelish base.

In the mouth it's delicate, fine-bubbled carbonation caresses the tongue. Medium bodied and smooth.

The flavor basically follows the aroma, with a restrained bitterness that balances it nicely, leaving an edge of caramelish and bready sweetness.

Easy drinking. Enjoyable.

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Photo of tayner
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Nice copper color, clear enough to see bubbles rising up in it, pillow-y white head that keeps a thick ring and skim coating on top and laces quite nicely. Very attractive beer.

Smell is of a pine-y, earthy hop nose, the kind I prefer, so going in I have high hopes. I can also smell some sweetness of the malts, so again I am hoping for a well balanced, earthy hop IPA.

Taste is a little more on the floral hop side than the nose is. Perhaps they used a more pine-y type of aroma hops and a more floral flavoring hop. I wish it were the other way around. The hops are fairly well balanced in this beer nonetheless, not overbearing or overstated at all, but they are unquestionably there making it an IPA. It is not a complex, over the top beer by any means, but a solid floral IPA.

There is plenty of carbonation that holds a thick ring and skim coat of head the entire beer, and leaves a good amount of lacing for the entire glass. The carbonation also makes the mouthfeel light and refreshing while i am still able to notice an oily residue on my tongue which helps balance the malty background quite nice.

I could session this one pretty easy, especially on a hot summer day, or when playing poker and snacking on a variety of foods. I would compliment pretty much any snack food and is not so bold or complex as to make you think about it too much but instead just enjoy it. If it were local and cheap I would buy it.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lions for lambs? Pours a lemony orange color that is mostly hazy. Some lighter blond hues through out. A soft white head with larger bubbles. Limited retention and good lacing.

The nose is balanced with more of East Coast appeal. The hops have mostly a piney backing with a floral finish. The malt has a bready and toasty nose. Almost gives it a nutty aroma. Some fruity notes and an off yeast characteristics. Not overwhelming but there if you look for it.

The taste is a bit more hoppier than what the nose would indicate. A nice bitterness on the top end but quickly dies for the finishing floral hops. Some earthy and light spicing on the back end. The malt is toned down with more of a distinct bready flavor. A mild band aid taste. Some light biscuit and a noticeable sugary finish. There is a chalky finish that is a tad off too.

The body is nice and dry with a light carbonation. Would have liked more carbonation to enhance the hop flavor but that is ok. Overall a good IPA for lions and lambs alike.

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Photo of ewright
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A vigorous pour yields half an inch of rocky off-white head with moderate retention. The beer is clear and brilliantly copper in color. Lacing isn't great, but present.

S: A mix of citrus and tropical fruits right up front. I get notes of lemon, mango and pineapple.

T: Not very bitter for an IPA. The malt shows flavors of toast with faint hints of caramel and vanilla. Good floral notes show up from the hops.

M: Very smooth. Unlike a lot of IPAs, this is not a shockingly bitter beer, so the malt creates a creamy texture with the bitterness pricking through.

D: Lower ABV than many IPAs (another remnant of our old 6% cap), this is a pretty drinkable beer. It won't wow you, but it is a nice approachable step up from APAs.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.29/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't expect to be wowed by ordering a bottle of this at my favorite pizza joint. I just wanted a decent IPA, nothing fancy, nothing overly malty and big... just a good ipa with some hops. This is exactly what I got. Some citrus notes in the nose ]and on the palate. Not a ton of malt, which I was hoping for since I didn't want it to be too big and filling with all the carbs I was getting from the pizza. Just a solid ipa without tons and tons of malt. Nothing to over analyze and critique.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a pint glass at one of the saturday 'tours' at the Carolina Brewing Company itself in Holly Springs, NC.

A: Clear golden color with about 1/2" of soapy white head. Moderate lacing.

S: Great floral hops dominate the nose with faint malty undertones. Not much else gets through the hops.

T: Great balance between malt flavors and hops with a bit more of the latter. Even thought the malt flavors come through, I was surprised at how dry the brew was and how well it complimented the other flavor components. The linger has the nice hoppy bitterness that you would expect from an IPA but it doesn't over do it. Very nice.

M&D: Mouthfeel is about perfect for the style, with just the right amount of carbonation to accentuate the flavors - lighter in weight, lively bubbles, and level finish. This would be a good session beer, especially on a hot day. Nice.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Carolina- IPA

Thanks to Pimpp for this 1!

A- Nice golden caramel bron with a small sticky head.
S- Nutty malt with a touch of pine hops.
T- An immediate nutty (pecan and walnut) malt with a delicate pine hop finish.
M- Creamy and malty with just a touch of oily pine bitterness, becomes slightly cloying in the end.

Overall- A simple, but easily drinkable IPA. A session beer here.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smells of tasty hops with a slight malty edge. More on the fruity side of it. Taste is citrusy hops, earthy, a bit grassy. Green tea flavors. Caramel and toffee malts that come out more as it warms a bit. Very well balanced. One of the most refreshing and drinkable IPAs I have had. Not incredible, but it would be great for a hot day or tailgate. Even sessionable at such a low ABV for an IPA. This is becoming one of my regular IPA purchases at only 7 bucks a sixer, and very fresh, since I live less than an hour from the brewery.

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Photo of mcallister
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice looking IPA. A deep copper color with a sporadic seperated white head. Fades into a bubbly mess leaving erratic lacing here and there.

Good floral bouquet with caramel undertones that lead into a fruity sweet hop aromas that lend toward citrus and stone fruits.

Nice bitterness with a slightly grainy, chalky finish. Not overly appetizing. The same fruits as in the nose but hard to pinpoint. Very stone fruit driven with more of a floral almost herbal feel. Caramel backbone makes this a very balanced IPA. If not for the slightly unpleasant finish this would be much better.

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Photo of Vancer
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice beer sent my way via trade with limesmut!. Cool!.

Decent drinking IPA from the Carolinas’, this would work well in the summer heat.

Clear amber pour, lacey pop top of ivory – sheds lace all the way down the Bitburger pilsner glass. Aroma reminded me of a West Coast IPA – pretty darn piney with a good dose of citrus. Quaff added some woody vine – although just a touch raspy.

Medium bodied and enjoyable for the short time it was with me.

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Carolina India Pale Ale from Carolina Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 160 ratings.
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