Contessa | Birra Amiata

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Brewed by:
Birra Amiata

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 83
Photo of TMoney2591
2.88/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

I remember the Contessa from the classic soap opera "It Never Ends"... Anyway, this stuff pours a hazy straw-brass topped by a more-than-healthy amount of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises pine needles, earthy greens, light Vicks Vapo-Rub, and rich toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, which unfortunately means a return of the Vicks character, which blends strangely with the earthy pine pervading the proceedings. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, I'm just gonna say the hop selection didn't do it for me, as the Vicks flavor and scent ruined things in my eyes.

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Photo of SilentBob2u2
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a 750 mL bottle:

A - Cloudy, orangish hue, pours more clear in the beginning, overall bronze cloudy color, dirty golden

S - Faint funkness, tartness, orange peel, sweetness of papaya or mango, citrus hops, perhaps even blood orange with biscuit notes on the end

T - Does not mask the alcohol flavor, midway through it is sharp and quite apparent. Citrus flavor mixed with floral sweetness, candied orange, definitely sweet floral quality of a very floral IPA. In the end, grapefruit comes through quite strong, mixed with a sweeter fruit like mango or papaya.

M - Thick, borderline syrupy, but not syurpy. Was confused with other reviews bringing up this being a DIPA with flavor, but I guess mouthfell fits that parallel. Extremely low carbonation

O - Carbonation was lacking, flavor was interesting, glad to have tried it but wouldn't go balls out to recomend it. $20 for the 750mL wasn't worth it. Somewhat disappointed.

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Photo of stcules
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden blond, intense, slightly veiled. Average white foam.
Hoppy smell, on a light malty base. American hops. Tangerine, then an underlying resinous note.
At the taste, again malty start, then hop, but not overwhelming, delicate, with light citrus notes, resinous, too, pleasant.
Well amalgamated and balanced.
Fresh and pleasant aftertate again, quite long, but never too prevailing.

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Photo of nickd717
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Alla spina a Bir & Fud a Roma.

Hazy yellowish-amber with a nice lacy white head.

Sweet malts and citrus fruits on the aroma, with a good hop presence.

Flavor is citrus, orange and grapefruit, and sweet malts with a touch of caramel and some breadiness.

Medium-full body with a smooth mouthfeel. Could be a bit crisper with a little more bite.

Overall not too bad of an attempt at an IPA.

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

Some foam comes out when I opened the bottle. The head is very large, off-white and compact. The hazy liquid is amber (20 EBC). The head leaves some fine lacing while it slowly sinks down.

The smell is bitter and sweet. Notes of honey and exotic fruits. It is in fact very sweet. Lemon peels. French loaf. Melon. The bitterness is more like an IPA than an APA.

The taste is sweet, as expected. Smooth flavours and a medium to strong bitterness. Exotic fruits. Clean and well defined flavours. The bitter flavours fades giving room for more honey sweetness. Clean sweet aftertaste with mixed fruits and a medium strong bitterness. Some unclean alcohol in the finish.

The carbonation is strong, the small bubbles light. The liquid is a bit sticky.

I would rather think of this as an IPA, the bitterness and the alcohol in this beer is clearly in this category. Sweeter than most, still an OK beer that might gain of some more depth.

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Photo of Dope
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a hazy sort of golden amber. Big, tall, fluffy light tan head. Head fizzes out pretty quickly but has quite decent lacework remaining. Good retention too, revives very easily.

S: Hmph. Some nice sharp citrus - orangey. Sweet caramel too.

T: Grass and citrus up front. Saltine-like malt with quite a bit of spicy pepper in the finish. Quite dry too, especially in the aftertaste. Hint of floral hops in there? Especially between sips I'd say.

M: High carbonation, quite fizzy. Decent medium body.

O: A pretty mellow, easy drinking beer. It's an APA but definitely not the mega-hopped quasi-IPA style APA that you are probably used to. Closer to a hoppy saison or BPA, especially with the crackery malt and pepper and grassy notes.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Received this beauty from the Rare Beer Club. Now, it's not exactly "rare" in Philadelphia, and I had the opportunity to switch this out for something else, but thought I would give this beer a chance and try it out even if it is literally on the shelf down the street. Poured into a stemmed wine glass.

With a rough pour, a large soapy off-white head is coaxed to about a few fingers high. The body is a hazy, golden orange color that has yellow highlights to it. The head sticks on the sides of the glass (not in rings, but everywhere!), letting you know that this is one highly hopped Italian beer.

The aroma confirms it, that this Italian Pale Ale has a high amount of hops, with a pungent, perfume-like aroma, filled with notes of lemon drops, wild sage, bubblegum, and some light hints of clementines. It's sweet, but also carries a level of herbaceous aroma, and underneath you can tell it's going to have light, toasted malt.

Following the aroma, Contessa remains focused clearly on the hops, with an up front flavor of fresh, lemony hops. It veers away from being a sharp, bitter beer though, and instead carries a good amount smooth, sweeter malt flavor to round out the taste and mute the bitterness just enough. Lingering into the aftertaste is a gentle fruitiness.

Surprisingly soft body. The head greets the lips with a dense creamy foam that is silky smooth and the body underneath is neither sharp nor flat, but ever so soft. As a pale ale, I am going to say this is fairly full-bodied. That makes sense to me though, as it is 7% abv.

I'm impressed. At first, I thought the aroma was just so similar to American IPA's, and I wasn't expecting much different, but like I said, it is surprisingly soft on the palate, both with the gentle carbonation and the muted bitterness. However, it retains the full flavor of the ripe hops, and uses a profile that is somewhat less conventional. I think the clarity could be better, which the accompanying sheet expressly states that this beer is crystal clear, so that maybe I got some chill haze? The aroma is appetizing and the flavors are fresh, and approachable. I would buy this again, and I think many people would like this beer.

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Photo of rarbring
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear amber, a spotty white head, some lacing and good lacing.

Smelling american west coast, pine, grass, citrus etc.

Starting with some toffee and bread, then citric wibes, lemon and grape-fruit peel. Some pine resin.

Medium carbonation, smooth and fresh, medium body, slightly dry.

Much more hops than expected, a very american Italian pale ale.

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Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap during the Italian beer fest at Max's.

The beer pours a slightly hazy, peachy gold color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The is attractive, with some light orasnge dry citrus and a hint of earthiness. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but there's just more of everything. This beer delivers a considerable amount of flavor, the finish is long and satisfyingly dry and bitter. Alcohol is fairly well integrated into the flavor profile, though I get a hint of heat in the finish.

Very nice pale ale.

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Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy dark yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense white head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of citrusy hops are present in the nose - grapefruit seems to stand out in particular.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has some favors of grapefruit citrus and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a good Italian represention of an IPA that has some nice aromas and flavors of grapefruit bit isn't overly bitter.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's Trappiste Pub & Cafe in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a clear honey orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and some slight perfume aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some solid aromas and flavors.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is hazy orange with quite some visual yeast in it . The enormous white head is both compact and creamy. Lots of lacings.

S: Floral hops brings piney and citric notes, but rather mild. Bitter hops and caramell semi-sweet malt.

T: Dry bitterness from the bitter hops, but well-balanced with floral hops; grapefruits and pineappel, even some ripe oranges. Sweetness in the caramell malt.

M: Long bitter and sligthly sour aftertaste. Full body and rather low carbonation. SMOOTH!

O: A nice APA, with a nice balance between sweet, bitter and fruity. Probably the best beginners-APA ever.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a cloudy, light orange amber. Thin, quickly dissipating white head leaves a ring around the glass and light lacing. Aroma of orange, other citrus and light stone fruit, citrus hops, light sweet malt and a hint of funk. Flavor is an unusual attenuated grapefruit and light fruit flavor with mild citrus hops and light malt. Nice lingering. somewhat dry, citrus hop aftertaste. The first few sips left me wondering where the flavor was, but I grew to enjoy the complexity of the subtle flavors present here. The bitterness seems to hit the exact taste centers that are triggered by grapefruit., which is unusual even in other beers that have grapefruit flavor elements. This is not your typical American pale ale, although the right malt and hop elements are faintly present. This is the closest thing to champagne I've had in a beer. The flavor starts out almost nonexistent and then light flavor elements reveal themselves slowly until the rather full scale citrus hop finish. Recommended if you want to try something with subtly light flavor, but interesting. Body is light but active carbonation gives this a nice mouth feel.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: Philly Beer Scene Tasting panel with Matt Falco at Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

I was privileged enough to be on the tasting panel for PBS Magazine, along with Bill and Greg of Victory. This was one of 21 beers we sampled during the session, and probably my second favorite after Peeper Ale.

Poured a slightly hazed golden yellow color with a small but consistent white head. Aroma is full of fresh, fruity hops, lemony, with a biscuity malt backdrop. Taste bordered on IPA territory, but never quite made it there. More fresh citrusy hops, a bit floral, with a mildly sweet and biscuity malt base. Light-medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation with just a slight Champagne-ish feel, crisp and satisfying, and went down easy. Very nice beer overall. A successful American style made by a European brewer. This is one to keep an eye out for.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a fine ipa, and another great Italian craft beer. I wish these were more prevalent in the united states market. thanks to my rare beer club for this one. it pours a light and bright pale yellow color with several inches of thick white foam. countless tiny bubbles scatter towards the surface. the nose is really hoppy, a lot like the mosaic hops I used in my most recent homebrew, although I doubt highly if mosaic is used here. similarly high alpha though. light malt profile, almost like a pale wheat beer, but a little cleaner. the taste is just like the nose, very alive, very springtime, very delicate, very drinkable. some floral elements in with the tropical and bitterness of the hops. the grain bill is simple, but a serviceable platform for the hops to come through fully. lighter than medium body and effervescent carbonation make this beer readily sessionable, even with its stronger abv. I have very little to critique here, as I thought it an excellent example of the style from the Italian point of view. less aggressive than American versions, but that's true of everything right? well worth seeking out this time of year.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a tulip glass at Beachwood BBQ. Well, on to the beer:

Light orange in the glass, decorated with some strings that cling to the glass. With Italian beer, you have to approacch with caution. Not saying it in a bad way, but most of their craft offerings feautre some oddball spices. But not Contessa. The nose is very American (good hop and malt combinaiton, oranges), and so is the flavor (sweet and hoppy, sweet citrus). It's medium bodied, and despite being full of flavor, is pretty easy going down the hatch. This is an very good Italian Pale Ale (dare I say IPA?) that doesn't fool around.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, no date. Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Cloudy/hazy golden-orange. Thin off-white rocky head. Plenty of persistent lacing in sheets and strands. Some sediment came along with the pour.

Smell: Floral, citrus, mango.

Taste: Delicately hopped and very well balanced with malt sweetness. Orange/lemon citrus, some tropical fruit, and pineapple hop flavors. Malt has some definite berry sweetness to it. The finish is mildly bitter and more sweet than one would expect with a AIPA.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and nicely thick. Very light carbonation and not very sticky on the teeth at all.

Overall / Drinkability: Well done - mild by US AIPA standards, but it ends up being a more nuanced take on the style that is worth a try. Very drinkable - I finished my glass pretty quickly as it was quite tasty, and I would not mind another. Went well with food (meatloaf and potatoes) and I suspect it would go well with a lot of other dishes. A well done IPA - maybe a hint more English in style than American, but still quite good.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a clear greenish-yellow with high carbonation producing a massive 4-5 inch bubbly white head. The extreme amount of carbonation jets continuously refuel the head so it lasts just about forever. With time, and since the head lasts for the duration of drinking the entire glass, the head eventually turns more rocky in nature. Thick, fluffy lacing.
S: Fresh citrus hops, fresh cut grass, lemon zest, and hints of delicate herbs and peach. Light and fresh and different from your typical American IPA.
T: Peach, delicate citrus hops, grassy herbal note, hint of honey. Follows aroma quite well.
M: Light body, wonderful prickly tingle from the carbonation, soft mineral bite, and with a satisfyingly dry finish.
D: This one grew on me...I think my taste buds needed a little retraining. It is a subtle--and subtly complex--brew...certainly not the in-your-face hop slam that has become de rigueur for the typical West Cost IPAs. Seek it out for a nice change of IPA pace!

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Photo of pkalix
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

being a large part italian, i figured it would be worth my while. i already like the other italians ive tried- the standards, of course.
this one pours a 'hofbrau' gold with no head to speak of but billions of tiny bubbles that neither rise, nor interact wth each other. they seem to just 'hang' there as if suspended in a jelly-like substance. trippy.
smell is... floral, hoppy. citrus-y
taste is.... same, but rather subdued. i get the pine-y, bitter finish but the first taste is smooth and soft, maybe a tad sweet for what one might consider sweet in a hoppy-er brew.
those billions of tiny bubbles arent making much of a mark in the feel of the beer. the beer has a consistency of, maybe, pulp-less pineapple juice? not as thick as an orange juice, a little lighter. and still beer, of course. but this is a different brew...
overall, i guess i could like this if i were into hoppy beers. but i do like the way it goes down and i am very intrigued with the different 'feel' to this. it is so smooth i can try to accommodate the the bitter tang from the hops, but then, these even taste different than the hops i've become used to in most of the american ipa's. surely try it if you have the opportunity; i imagine this would be incredible from a tap...

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Photo of buridan
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An imperial IPA from a 12oz bottle, contessa is orange in color, loses its nice head with some good lacing. I had it slightly colder than it probably should be. It is slightly cloudy, but that is likely the wheat flakes. It is floral in taste and nose in a traditional IPA mode. At 6.6% it isn't that close to an an imperial, but that is how it is labeled. After a long walk, it hits the spot though.

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Photo of HopHead29
4.79/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a snifter:

A- Bright cloudy gold with a bright white head. Head keeps retention but is not very big. Leaves lacing. Head has soap like bubbles in it.

S- Lots of fruit complexities. Mostly reminiscent of pear, banana, grape fruit, and tropical fruit (maybe kiwi and pineapple?). Also a hint of pine. Very nice.

T- There's a nice sharp attack of hops consisting of some of the aforementioned smells. This big presence of hops is well balanced with a beautiful wheat breadish malt that just sits there in the background. Best part? The taste seems to linger a little bit.

M- Quite smooth. Carbonation isn't too intense. There is a pleasurable sharpness that is felt at first that settles into a mild tingle. Feels pretty good.

O- Not what I was expecting coming from Europe or Italy for that matter! Was it worth $16? Maybe.

I am going to have to try more Italian beers.

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Photo of joefuzz
4.82/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into pint glass no bottle date but by the flavor im going to assume it is pretty fresh

pours a clear gold with a very tiny white head great lacing

smell is a total citrus hop bomb which i was not expecting at all...the smell is on par with some of the best IIPA's i have ever had

Taste is up their with the best of them as well, huge citrus hops punch you in the nose and mellow out to a very nice sweet aftertaste with a slightly dry finish

Mouthfeel is pretty on par with a imperial ipa...low carbonation and full body

Overall this beer is absolutely stellar!! I have no idea why there are only two other reviews for it...people need to seek this out immediately

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Photo of WynnO
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This rare beauty came of the tap a but wide. Style calls for possible citric notes but I sense some wild yeast. Is that the intent or not? Nobody in my immediate crew knows since it's so rare. Time will tell. It doesn't taste right per the style.

It's QUITE tasty regardless.

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Contessa from Birra Amiata
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 83 ratings