Improper Hopper
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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IPA - American
Ranked #3,390
Ranked #22,044
3.9 | pDev: 9.74%
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
Very Good
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SnowGoon99 from Maine

4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: cask into a mixer glass.

Appearance of the beer was extremely hazy and turbid. But that's acceptable being a highly hopped IPA and served out of a cask. Poured a dark yellow almost orange color. Head was huge! Almost an inch think and created Belgian lace all the way down the glass. Smell was great. Definitely some pine and citrus notes from the American hops.

Taste was great too and i got mostly pine notes in it with a hint of citrus. Great body with the low carbonation coming out the cask. That was definitely what stood out about this beer. Definitely made me want to look into cask conditioning in my homebrew. Very drinkable as well and if we had the time i probably would've ordered another one.

Overall a very tasty beer. I should've ordered one straight from the tap as well to compare with the cask. Still was a very enjoyable tasting experience.

Sep 28, 2010
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drpimento from Wisconsin

3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not bad for a grapefruity IPA. Served with a nice fine off white head with lots of lace. Color was medium hazy medium amber. Nose had a major grapefruit character with some yeast and malt. Flavor was similar to aroma. Despite the fine head the beer was well carbonated and very good body. Finish is like flavor but with hints of sweetness offset with the tang of the carbonation. Session beer.

Jun 28, 2010
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jtrem14 from Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at the Rock Bottom in Boston the other night. It was offered as both cask condition and regular draft options. I tried both, but this review is for the cask conditioned.

I really like how the beer looked when it came to the table. It was a bit hazy, but had a nice looking smoothness to it. It had a somewhat floral and citrus taste, but very subtle. The malts were sweet, but not very flavorful. It felt smooth but lacked the real silky texture of cask ales that I'm accustomed to.

It's a good brew that I could easily have a few of in a night, but nothing incredible. Very consistent and just above average for all of the senses.

Mar 08, 2010
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GregPearson33 from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had this beer tonight at Rock Bottom in Boston on Stuart St.


The appearance was a light golden-amber. It had great, tight lacing that continued the entire way down the glass.

The smell was also fantastic, and alluded to the bitter, citrusy taste. Opposed to other IPAs which might overdo either the alcohol or the malt profile, this did neither. I think it had a great bitter character, while maintaining its drinkability. The hops were decidedly more citrusy than rustic, and the aftertaste kept one wanting for more!

It might have been because the brew was on tap, but this was one of the best IPAs I've had in recent times and would definitely go back for a growler.

Jan 08, 2010
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thekevlarkid from Maryland

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off the tap in Beantown this beer was a cloud amber/orange color with a solid off-white head that left nice lacing down my pint glass. The aroma was dominated by grapefruit with some other citrus hops and pale malt behind that. The flavors were distinctly bitter, the grapefruit again with some herbal qualities as well. The malt balance never really seemed to be there but the finish was acidic and crisp. The body was medium/light, the carbonation good for the style and the mouthfeel slick.

Dec 06, 2008
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fitzy84 from Massachusetts

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

Had this in the sampler. A pretty murky gold appearance with some really thick lacing made this an attractive IPA. Light spice aromas permeated from the beverage with floral hints and hops. Surprisingly clean IPA, nothing too overpowering and slightly refreshing. Pretty crisp carbonation helped make it more refreshing and less a hop-fest. Overall, a fine IPA.

Jul 27, 2008
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Boston, MA

Poured an extremely cloudy, medium amber with a frothy, clingy, bright white head. (Apparently this beer is unfiltered.) Thin sheets of sudsy lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was hoppy and quite sweet. Floral and citrusy hops. Fruity and rich with a noticeable caramel malt backdrop. Some tropical fruit notes lay in the background as well, along with a touch of bubblegum.

The taste was very similar to the aroma. Creamy and malty (sweet caramel malts) up front with notes of tangerines and orange peel in the center. The finish contained a nice mix of piney bitterness and malty sweetness. Overall, this was an extremely well balanced brew.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied, exceptionally smooth and creamy with a fine, somewhat restrained carbonation.

This is not a hop monster but rather a simple, no-frills IPA (and a damn good one at that). It was one of the smoothest and most sessionable versions of the style I have tried to date. Furthermore, it served as the perfect accompaniment to my alder smoked salmon, green beans and white cheddar mashed potatoes.

Apr 15, 2008
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argock from Virginia

3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pulled into a clear imperial pint glass

A: Faint orange with medium-thick head and ample lacing

S: Plenty of floral and citrus hops in the nose with a nice punch of pale malt

T: Weaker than I was looking for from the classic look and aroma with a muted citrus hops flavor and not much beside pale malts to balance.

M: Smooth and this aspect benefits from the cask.

D: Taste was disappointing but this offering comes off pretty well from the cask, although it might be better categorized as a weakly malted bitter.

Appearance: hazy light orange in color with a short one finger head that falls to a thick surface foam. Decent lacing develops.

Smell: nice amounts of floral and citrus aromas are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: a well balanced beer as malt sweetness is counterpunched with some grapefruit and orange citrus. Bitterness is mellow and not offensive. Overall a decent IPA.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp on the tongue. Aftertaste is short with the citrus, sweetness, and bitterness. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: easy to drink session-styled IPA. One of the better offerings during my trips to Rock Bottom while in Boston for a few days

Jan 10, 2008
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YonderWanderer from Colorado

3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy yellowish-orange with a finger of foam that dissipates quickly.

S: Piney and citrus hops up front with a bit of malty sweetness behind it.

T: Hops hit you all the way through. Piney, resiny, cirtus hops. Nicely balanced out by a sweet, biscuity malt. This beer is still all about the hops though.

M: Smooth, very crisp and dry.

D: Very tasty. I could easily drink many of these. Very tasty on cask.

Oct 19, 2007
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sstackho from Canada

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

A pint and a growler on tap (cask) from the location in the Theater District of Boston. My first time there. Most of the beer descriptions sounded pretty boring, but the cask IPA seemed worth a try, and it certainly was. Very nice, fresh hop aroma. Followed by a nice fresh hop taste upfront, although it thinned out a little bit on the way down. Still quite nice overall. Good enough to take a growler home with me, and at a pretty reasonable price too - $9 or so. Fantasatic lacing.

Oct 01, 2007
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adowney523 from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On cask at the Rock Bottom Brewery in Boston. Pours a copper color with a thick white head and excellent head retention. The cask creates a nice cascading effect of carbonation.

Smells big on citrusy hops with a faint background of freshly baked bread.

Malt taste upfront in biscuity, which fades nicely to a crisp, citrusy hop bite.

Medium-bodied with low carbonation and a sweet finish. Nice to have it on cask, reminded me of some British cask beers.

Jul 03, 2007
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barleywinebrewer from New Hampshire

3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy, yellow-orange, modest white head. some haze I attributed to the very cold servig.
S - Distincly hoppy - grapefruit / pine with a light underlying maltiness.
T - Nicely focused, hoppy with light maltiness to balance.
M - light to medium bodied, clean smooth drinking
D - Went quite nicely with dinner. I'd have had another but needed to drive.

Mar 29, 2007
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Gavage from Nevada

3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy light orange in color with a short one finger head that falls to a thick surface foam. Decent lacing develops.

Smell: nice amounts of floral and citrus aromas are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: a well balanced beer as malt sweetness is counterpunched with some grapefruit and orange citrus. Bitterness is mellow and not offensive. Overall a decent IPA.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp on the tongue. Aftertaste is short with the citrus, sweetness, and bitterness. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: easy to drink session-styled IPA. One of the better offerings during my trips to Rock Bottom while in Boston for a few days.

Mar 18, 2007
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler obtained from the brewpub by my wife yesterday. Thanks babe!

First imperial pint pours with a 3/4" off-white head, which hardly seems to fall at all, and lots of sticking lace. Brew is extremely cloudy light amber, with an aroma of citrusy hops over pale malts. Taste is dominated by the hoppy bitterness from beginning to end, but the grain character does make a valiant effort to surface at times, and since the hops are flavorful, not simply harsh bitterness, it's not a real problem. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty nice too. Nice offering here.

Feb 11, 2007
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Dewey0603 from Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a creamy golden yellow with a smallish head. This is a decent looking beer. The smell is hoppy with a strong citrus presence. The taste,like the smell, is all hops. The citrus grapefruit flavor is very strong and good. A real treat for a hop head. The m/f is light and well balanced making this a very good brew. Cheers.

Jul 02, 2006
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some beers are on the verge of greatness like this one. I loved some of the great originality, particulary in the aroma. Yet, this one falls slightly short of the goal line, making it very difficult to rate.

Small pub-pour head, leaving little opportunity to see the lace. The color was a neutral orange-amber with some cloudiness (which I equate with a fresh pour).

The aroma is special. The hop has a strong pineapple-grapefruit smell to it. This appears in the flavor profile as well which is surprisingly fruity. Excellent hop taste. Nice body and a great spicy aftertaste.

This beer is very drinkable and smooth. Not perfectly true to style, but an interesting entry.

Jun 10, 2006
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Sycodrummer from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented from the tap in a 23oz. mug the beer was a tawney orange color, unfiltered and with almost no head at presentation. Some carbonation bubbles clung to the glass.

A floral and fruitty smell, slightly spicy with an earthy pine cone scent and slight malt presence.

Innitial bitterness of the beer comes through quite nicely as the first taste sensation. The strong hoppy flavors nicely balanced with a subtle maltiness to finish each sip. Citrus fruit flavors; some grapefruit, and orange are both present.

Medium body and crisp to the finish with a high degree of carbonation.

This is one of the beers from RB that is always on and is my mainstay beer. Nothing from RB has wow'ed me, but this is a good fallback for a subpar seasonal or other release.

May 17, 2006
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gentlebubbles from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Amber gold beer with white head.

Lovely peach scent.

The glass is barely cool to the touch, and the contents tip upon the tongue with a tender mouthfeel.

Sweet peachy honey with subtle resin background and more caramel and pine in the finish.


Apr 30, 2006
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errantnight from District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a sucker for this beer... but then... I used to work at this Rock Bottom. This was my standby.

A beautiful golden, unfiltered beer with a soft, foamy head and superb lacing, this baby is a fantastic, hoppy brew. She brings together a pair of citrus and floral hops that give it some bite, and a nice toasted malt evens things out, and brings the complexity up a notch. Balanced and a little light for the style (I've known fellow employees to toss lemons and oranges in during the summer... not that I condone such activity), it's not my favorite IPA, and could use a little more body and richness, but a superb and relatively distinct example of the genre. If you're a hophead and you live in Boston you do yourself a great disservice to miss this beer.

Apr 17, 2006
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edchicma from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering has a light head with decent lacing. The appearance was cloudy . Smell was an inviting citrus hops. Taste is mainly hops throughout that lasts to a slight hop finish. Mouthfeel was medium in nature, with a slight dryness on the finish. Easy on the drinkability scale. Worth a try.

Feb 24, 2006
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FLAbeergutinMASS from Massachusetts

4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Started my NEBF day off with this cask-condition masterpiece. Came to the table slightly chilled not cold, which I prefer. The beer had a huge frothy head that followed the beer all the way down. Extremely fruity throughout. Orange, lemon and spicy hops which are wonderfully balanced.

One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Not overpowering or too strong, just right. I had the non-cask offering afterwards it was in no way close to the quality of the cask.

Nov 02, 2005
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UncleJimbo from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at the Boston brewpub back in August.

This IPA poured a cloudy, golden-orange color with white foam that settled but left some lacing on the glass. The smell was strongly hoppy (Chinook and Cascade hops?): fruity, catty, and grassy. Nice. The taste was hoppy with lightly fruity hops and good maltiness to balance and a mild tanginess. The mouthfeel was smooth and crisp with medium body and moderate carbonation and a mild tanginess throughout. This was a very nice, refreshing, and drinkable IPA.

Oct 27, 2005
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rousee from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tried this on cask yesterday for the first time. Pour is orangey amber with a small head. Nice soft rings of lace remain on the glass as I consume it. Smell is quite mild but there are some decent hop aromas wafting from the glass. The taste is balanced with some malt presence to make this baby one smooth as hell IPA. The cask conditioning really seems to help this. It is exceptionally drinkable. Seems like it would be fairly versatile for food pairing too. A very decent offering. I should mention that the cask at RB is still pretty chilly. Much colder than a cask beer in England for example.

Oct 23, 2005
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johnshuster from Massachusetts

3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Braintree, MA Rock Bottom brewpub. Ordered a pint as the sox lost game 3 to Chicago in the ALDS. Drowned my sorrows in the hop juice.

Looks like usual IPA. Darkish copper colored, with a hint of red. Small head on top, about a finger or less. Left some nice light lacing on the glass as I drank it down.

Smells like the usual IPA-hoppy, flowery, very strong. Maybe a whiff of grapefruit in there.

Taste-lots of hops. Lots of fruitiness, not extremely sweet. Doesn't assault the hell out of your tongue like other similar brews. I like harpoon IPA, but after just a couple my mouth always feels dry and I can't take anymore. This doesn't do that.

Mouthfeel-moderate carbonation, feels fairly light on the palate, not overwhelming. Nice overall, balanced.

Drinkability-strong taste. More of a sipper or gulper. Not the thing I could pound easily, at least without practice.

All in all, pretty good stuff. If you like IPAs this isn't bad at all.

Oct 21, 2005
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MuddyFeet from North Carolina

2.55/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer got off to a nice first impression with its towny gold visual texture and thick head. A nice lace would form on the glass as well. But the taste was downhill from there. The hops (which were ever so present) were not bitter and biting, but best described as sour and pinching. The unsubtle flavor (which lasted well into the finish) was of not-yet-ripe grapefruit. I thought I was drinking sour mix. On my way out I noticed it is also served in a cask and I have a hunch that it best enjoyed that way (which judging by the other reviews may not be far off the mark).

Nov 27, 2004
Improper Hopper from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 27 ratings