Holiday Imperial IPA
Carolina Brewing Company

Holiday Imperial IPAHoliday Imperial IPA
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #3,363
Ranked #21,561
3.92 | pDev: 10.2%
Carolina Brewing Company
North Carolina, United States
Very Good
Holiday Imperial IPAHoliday Imperial IPA
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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 26 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cnjohn19
cnjohn19 from North Carolina

2.36/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

got this one on tap at carolina ale house in durham...must have been something wrong with the keg, but i wasn't impressed one bit...thus, i won't write much on here because i think i drank out of a bad patch...

pretty much tasteless except for the alcohol which was prevalent...almost no smell...but it was crisp and hops were present...

Mar 29, 2010
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rapidsequence from Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, last of my six.

Appearance: Clear orange-gold. Fluffy white head with average retention leaves floating islands and a rim. Lacing is a little disappointing.

Smell: PineSol. Quite a bit of piney hops. Pineapple is the next obvious smell. Nice.

Taste: Yes-- piney and sweet fruity hops. Really a surprising lack of bitterness initially. Sweet maltiness in addition to the prominent hops. Bitterness on the finish along with the caramelly malt.

Mouthfeel: Very full, bordering on syrupy. Resiny, coating, and slick. Nice.

Drinkability: Really quite a good DIPA. Not the best, but damn good. Reasonable price too.

Jan 16, 2010
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GJ40 from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Tyler's Apex.

A - Copper with great clarity and a small off white head.

S - A nice blend of sweet, toasted malts and citrusy hops.

T - A very rich blend of toasted malt, citrusy hop bitterness and alcohol with a touch of sweetness. There's a lot going on but it comes together nicely.

M - Thick and creamy with a nice low carbonation.

D - Some nice, interesting flavors. It's a bit strong to have too many but I liked it a lot. This is a nice local DIPA. I wish I had picked some up while the bottles were around.

Jan 12, 2010
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porterwoobie from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: light copper color, clear, 2 finger white head that fades to a dusting, some lacing.

S: very hoppy smell. citrus and grapefruit like aroma's. slight malty sweet aroma also detected.

T: hoppy in all three aspects. the bitterness lingers long after the drink, while the flavor and aroma greet you and bring you back for more. very tasty.

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation.
slight alcohol warming.

Drinkability: really solid offering. wouldn't mind having this as a year round goto. very drinkable.

Dec 09, 2009
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beer2day from North Carolina

4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review of the 09 Impy IPA. Clocks in at 8.6% ABV this year.

Beautiful deep honey gold color with 1-finger hear. Faint retention but laces well.

Strong grapefruit aroma. One of the most powerful I've had this year. Really nice.

Hits thick and slightly sweet. Hops kick in very fast and the bitters are intense. Nice dry finish. Expecting a little more fruit from the hops, but not disappointed at all. Alcohol is very well masked.

Feel is spot-on. Appropriately thick for the impy style.

Surprisingly easy to drink for an imperial style beer. Not sure I'd want more than 2, but this is a very good beer.

Dec 05, 2009
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Vancer from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brew sent courtesy of brentk56, thanks mucho man!

Poured a hazy amber ('cause I swirled the goodies on the bottom) with a nice ivory/tan foamy head. Lookin' good.

Nice whiff of citrus pine, followed by a sticky and sweetish resinous quaff. Bit o' woody pine in the finish. The booze is hidden, but it is a lighter Impy IPA at 8.2%. A solid, but not overwhelming, brew - but nice to sip on, I do wish I had a sixer of them.

Sep 06, 2008
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ffejherb from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into chalice on 8/3/08. Thanks to Deuane for the bottle.

A - Hazy, rusty orange body with some reddish highlights and thin off-white head that diminished into a wispy film and patchy lacing. Modest amount of slow rising bubbles of carbonation is present.

S - Sweet caramel malts with a slight toasted aspect paired with a pretty strong floral hop aroma and some mild perfume and citrus notes. Slight whiff of alcohol also sneaks into the mix.

T - Starts off on the sweet side with hints of caramel, toffee and toasted malt accents, then quickly segues into an assertive hop blast with a mixture of floral, perfumy and citrus notes and a bit of alcohol burn. The malt presence really balances out the aggressive hop bitterness and keeps this from becoming overly hoppy.

M - Medium body with smooth, creamy texture and a prickly mouthfeel that starts off on the soft side, but builds up the longer you swirl it around. Sticky hops cling to the palate, while the liquid emits a warming quality on the tongue.

D - This was my first Carolina brew, and it did not disappoint. While the floral and perfume hop combination isn't necessarily one of my favorite hop profiles, it was still very well balanced with sweet and toasted malts and minimal alcohol burn. Nice version of an East Coast DIPA. I will definitely seek out more Carolina brews in the future.

Aug 04, 2008
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Oxymoron from Colorado

4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally rated a beer before JDV. Pours a very hazy orange to light amber color. Some sediment on the bottom but I did a good job not adding it in. A soft white head with great retention and lacing throughout.

The nose as softened since first trying it 6+ months ago. A mostly hoppy nose with a earth and sudsy nose. Some minor piney notes on the back end as well. The malt is soft with hint of caramel and light biscuit. The yeast notes have really backed down with some noticeable alcohol heat notes but not overly solvent.

The taste as really matured as well. The malt is more balanced with the hops playing a bit stronger in the taste. The piney flavors are noticeable but as overwhelming from before. Some more earthy and floral notes with some limited sudsy flavors that come out as well. Noticeable caramel flavors with a touch of victory or biscuit leaving a nuttiness. The bitterness lasts into the finish and leaves a bite in the aftertaste.

The body is closer to full than moderate. Light carbonation, surprisingly but helps bring out the finishing hops. Overall for those who say you shouldn't age an IPA, I think this is a good example that you can and still get a good result.

Jul 16, 2008
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MuenchenerKindl from Germany

3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a dark amber with good carbonation. The head is ok 1 finger off white and it leaves good lace.

The smell is earthy hops, sugary and a slight zest of citrus.

The taste follows, lots of earthy hops and a good caramel malt. The hops are mostly woodsy yet not piney, grapefruit, and an orange note are present

The mouthfeel is good, thick body and ok carbonation.

The drinkability is good, a solid DIPA, just nothing out of the norm as such. MK

Jun 09, 2008
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hoppymeal from Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium slightly rusty copper, decent sediment haze with a good size light cream colored fluffy head that slowly recedes with a decent amount of lace left behind. Aroma is a soft honey, fruity like malty sweetness, good amount of citrusy hoppiness, berries, oranges, and grapefruit. Taste follows with grapefruit and some pineyness that comes out stronger as the beer warms. Some peppery taste at the back of the throat before a slight bite of warm alcohol and a good bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation feels thinner than it looks, pepperiness on the tongue and throat, alcohol warmth and puckery drying bitterness in the finish. A great dipa, I continue to be very impressed with Carolina's seasonal higher gravity offerings. Thanks Brent for this opportunity.

Jun 09, 2008
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a three finger head that sticks well and laces beautifully

Smell: Pith and pine, with undertones of caramel

Taste: The big caramel malt backbone asserts itself immediately, but the pith and pine flavors develop at mid-palate; after the swallow, the bitterness remains strong but is balanced out by the malt at the finish; a bit of a tug of war but the they come together for me at the very end

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and viscous; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice effort from the boys in Holly Springs; I've been drinking this for a while and have enjoyed every opportunity

Apr 26, 2008
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with nutbrown. Thanks Alan!

This pours a hazy amber with a very nice 2 finger head of foam. Very good head retention and there's some nice sticky lacing.

The smell has a nice floral/fruity hop *and* caramel malt thing going on and is pretty nice.

The taste is big grapefruit notes up front but there's no lack of malt here as I'm getting an equally big dose of bready malt that hits my taste buds nicely. There's another fruity flavour I'm getting here and...yes...I cheated. Buckeyenation is spot on with the tangerine reference even though I rarely eat tangerines but I *have* done so in the past and they are definitely there.

Nice thickish mouthfeel here and the carbonation is pretty light despite what you see when you hold up your glass to the light... lots of tiny bubbles. I really like how the malt and hops are so well balanced in this brew..even in the finish! Re the abv, I think it is very well hidden; just a bit of warming some time after the swallow.

Bottom line: This is a well crafted and pretty darned drinkable Imperial IPA from Carolina Brewing and I'm very happy I got to try it. Thanks again, Alan!!

Apr 18, 2008
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark coppery orange possessing a glassy clarity that is minimally disturbed by several slow-moving bubble streams. Their destination is a three finger crown that is the exact color and texture of tangerine mousse. Wide portions of the wonderful looking lid stick to the glass like pulled taffy, leaving an impressive array of lace when they eventually break.

Carolina Holiday Imperial IPA's aroma is pale malty sweet and is citrus and spruce-like too. Although it could be more bombastically hoppy, what reaches my nose is wonderful. It's a pretty safe bet that one (or more) of the C-hops are present.

This is a solid offering that, admittedly, is only getting the above scores because DIPA is my favorite style. It does nothing out of the ordinary and it isn't overly exciting. Having said that, it has a respectable amount of American hop flavor and bitterness, backed by sweetish pale malt.

The fruitiness of the hops is especially tangerine-like, which always makes me think of Amarillo. There's also a fair amount of white grapefruit peel that might be coming from Cascade and/or Centennial. A dollop of pine sap and a hint of spicy alcohol fill out the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel blows through IPA territory and finds its comfort zone on the left (lighter) side of the DIPA curve. No rough edges and sedate carbonation are definite positives.

Holiday Imperial IPA is good beer because it has no real weaknesses. Would I like even more hoppiness? Sure, but it's hard to argue with what the boys from Holly Springs, NC have created. Thanks to brentk56 for a terrifically tasty toss-in.

Apr 11, 2008
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Bottled On: 11/20/07). Good to know! I appreciate CBC providing such crucial information.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep orange body with a small, wispy white head.

Smell: Hoppy aroma of flowers and citrusy grapefruit centered around a modest amount of pale malts.

Taste: Pale malts with a light sweetness lead you into a trap of resounding hop bitterness. Plenty of citrus throughout that, along with the bitterness, lasts till the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight oiliness.

Drinkability: A respectable Double IPA, though I could use a bit more 'oomph' to the body. Still decent, though.

Mar 24, 2008
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oberon from North Carolina

3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass a clear burnt orange with a slight but sticky white head that settled into a soapy-like mass.Nice citric-floral hop profile in the nose like..well like laundry soap really with a bit of sweet biscuit underlying,the flavors dont match up to the nose in my opinion a little watery as well.Hops are there but they dont seem to hammer anything home they are mild and kind of linger away into the finish its a little boozy as well nothing really stands out here.I like this brewery I have been there and did the free beer brewery tour and have alot of respect for these guys but this leaves me wanting more.

Mar 20, 2008
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Kegatron from Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to HopDerek for the bottle.

Pours a fairly clear amber with a big poof of off-white head that retains nicely into a still good sized layer that leaves behind big time sticky hop lacing. The aroma is a little subdued at first but then opens up a little more with piney hops and citrus being dominant, followed by accents of thick sweet maltiness behind it.

The taste fires up with a nice blast of piny hop bitterness and citrus up front with the bitterness lasting through the whole sip. This is backed by a pretty hefty backbone of sweet caramel malts. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slick, almost viscous feel at times. The ABV is present, and as things warm, mixes with the pine notes and malt sweetness to give off a somewhat off-putting sticky medicinal feel.

This one started out OK for me but as it warmed, some unbalanced characteristics took over and kinda crashed the party. Balancing all the big hops, malt, and alcohol involved in some of these DIPAs can be a tricky business. I just wish this one had done a little better job.

Mar 12, 2008
Photo of guzzle211
guzzle211 from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass, bottled on 11/20/07. A holiday Imperial IPA - what a great change up from all the winter warmers and Christmas beers that hit the taps this time of year.

A: Pours a deep copper orange. Lots of carbonation, surprising thick head and a very respectable lacing considering the abv (8.2% according to the stamp on the label.)

S: Hops dominates, but detectable balance of malt. Alcohol slightly present, but barely, very well hidden.

T/M: In accordance with the smell, crisp and clean hops dominates - citrus and pine specifically. First sips taken while still rather cold, and the hops hit hard. As it warms, the malt backbone emerges and proves this beer has a great balance. Alcohol is undetectable, further proof that this is a very well crafted hop bomb. Lots of carbonation keeps this beer fizzy, which works well with the high hop content. You can feel the beer as it dances across the tongue, a nice effect.

D: Despite the abv (which is well hidden) and the extreme hops (which are well balanced) this brew is highly drinkable. I wish I had a few more to cellar away in order to sample on a hot summer afternoon, paired with some grilled meats once it has had even more time to mellow. No worries though, it is just as satisfying on this cold winter day.

Feb 20, 2008
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SIRIUS2 from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Sort of a rusty amber color, not quite clear with a slight haze. Not much of a head to this but trace lacing seems to linger to the end.

S: Hops! Incredibly pungent floral hop aroma; very pleasant.

T: More Hops! The very first thing that hits you is the sharp bitterness of the hops with a caramel malt flavor hiding underneath. You really have to look for the malts through the piney tasting hops. Lingering finish.

M: Medium to heavy, almost oily in nature.

D: Very enjoyable if you are a hop-head. The strength of the brew is completely masked by the hops.

Hops! That pretty much sums this one up. I love hoppy beer and this one is very enjoyable. I sampled a pint on tap at the brewery in Holly Springs, NC during their usual Saturday 'tour' (thanks guys!). Very enjoyable but I don't know that I would want it everyday. Powerful stuff.

Jan 26, 2008
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MuddyFeet from North Carolina

4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the better beers I have had in a while. Pours a fairly clear amber in color. Not much of a head bit the aroma coming out of thi =s beer is a very pleasant floral hop nose. Bit herbal too.

Flavor is more of te same but with a malty base that holds up well as the beer warms. Hops tya present but more of a pine flavor. I am also picking out a wood presence. Mouthfeel is rather dry but with a decent lingering oily feel. Really diggin this beer and may slowly enjoy my final six-pack.

Jan 19, 2008
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HopDerek from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade with ipa2xs, thanks dude!

Bottled on 11/20/07, enjoyed 30 days later. Appears a hazy burnt orange with little eggshell colored head that quickly fades leaving a scattered grouping of bubbles and spotty lacing. Smells of grasses and pine with a hint of caramel at first pour, but as it warms up there is more citrus rind scents. Tastes very grassy up front with some sweet caramel hints, but not enough to balance it out. A good grapefruit finish with no alcohol taste. Medium in body with a nice stickiness. Very drinkable and a good effort from Carolina, but seems unbalanced and lacks the punch of other Imperial IPAs.

Dec 21, 2007
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NCSUdo from Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, bottle on 11/20/07

A: Hazy copper-orange under a small white head. OK lacing and retention.

S: A light citrusy and piney malt, a little more piney than fruity. A tad lacking in the smell department, and I have to admit that the hop combo here isn't exactly doing it for me. However, after the beer warms a bit, the aroma shifts more towards a tropical fruity, really a skin/rind-like, character and is more tolerable.

T: A slight sweet character up front, followed by a grapefruity and lightly piney hop character and a huge bitterness that throws the balance of just a little. No hint of alcohol.

M/D: Mouthfeel is good, carbonation is just right and helps add to a creamy medium body along with a nice oily character. Drinkability is good as well. This one is quite as good as the anniversary IIPA last year, but they did have to switch the hops. Still is a reasonably good beer.

Dec 20, 2007
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wagenvolks from Texas

4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm fairly positive that I had this Holiday Imperial IPA on-tap at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh, NC. It was listed simply as "Carolina Imperial IPA", but since their 11th anniversary is their only other IIPA, and it is long-since retired, I figure the Holiday was probably the proper beer to review.

The waiter brought me a golden, clear, well-carbonated pint glass of ale that supported a light, cream-colored head. Aroma is absolutely CHOCK-FULL of sweet grapefruit, lemon peel, floral notes, and (of course) hops out the ass.

The flavor is no different. HUGE notes of sweet grapefruit, hops from here to China, and not much else. As much as I love hops, this was a little too much on the unbalanced/simple side for a IIPA. Not to say that it wasn't tasty, as it sure as hell was. The mouthfeel packed a wallop of a bitter finish to a decently carbonated, juicy, sticky, medium body. Drinkability was good, too. Although I would have to cut myself off after 2 of these, it's got the right ingredients to keep me coming back for more. Nice job, Carolina.

Dec 14, 2007
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atsprings from North Carolina

3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crisp orange with a decent head that diminishes to a ring. Aroma is sweet malts, pine and citrus hops and a hint of caramel. The taste is an interesting blend of sweet malts and earthy hops, not exactly bad, but not great either. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with some stickiness. I have to say that overall this is a disappointment. It remains a drinkable local offering, but there's so many better DIPAs out there.

Nov 25, 2007
Holiday Imperial IPA from Carolina Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 26 ratings