Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale
Ipswich Ale Brewery

Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale AleIpswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale
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American Strong Ale
3.79 | pDev: 14.78%
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale AleIpswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale
Notes: This is not an ipa or a iipa. This is a imperial version of our original (pale) ale with some suped- up hopping. A blend of the old and new, cascade, willamette, Amarillo and Columbus hops. Dry-hopped.
Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 59 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of scotorum
4.29/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ipswich's 20th anniversary was in 2011, so this is probably one of the oldest beers I have had yet. Since it is described as a hopped-up version of Ipswich Pale Ale, the hops are probably somewhat muted to say the least. But I found the balance to be excellent.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a stemmed tulip glass.

a: Trans,lucent amber with a finger and a half thick offwhite head which receded to thick even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Rich butterscotch and biscuit.

t: Bready malt followed by a medium hop bite and some fruit notes. Bitterness lingers somewhat at the sides of the tongue and the back of the throat. Some butterscotch candy (not the more common caramel) flavor notes come in later too.

m; Medium and smooth with great body.

o: Really loving the color and the flavors in this brew, sweet malty yet fruity, with plenty of hop bite for balance. If this tasted at all similar when fresh, I would like to see Ipswich offer this in sixpacks. Hopheads may wish for even more hop bitterness, but the balance of strong flavors and hops is outstanding.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, citrus and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with strong flavors of caramel and citrus. Then a hearty but not too heavy malt character comes in. The hops presence is strong but not over-powering and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of tkelley
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this 22 oz bottle in a bottle shop and snatched it up right quick. i'd had the 20th Anniversary before and knew they weren't making it anymore. I was saving it for quite a while, but decided on a whim to open it up tonight. It's probably 1-1.5 years old. Glad I did. Poured into a snifter.

A - Great orange color with a thin white head.

S - Hoppy even though it was in the back of my fridge.

T - Again, good and hoppy. Nice citrus notes, more orange than lemon. High alcohol kick in the back. I really like the flavors here and I wish they would make this a year round or seasonal offering.

MF - Very smooth. I think the long time on the shelf/in the fridge did this one a lot of good. Very drinkable.

O - Again, I really like this beer. It is very well crafted but not overly complicated. It's all in the name - American Strong Ale. It has strong hop flavors and smell, strong alcohol... just a really strong offering overall. I doubt I'll come across this one again, but if I do I'll snatch them all up.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very slight haze on an orange/copper color. Head is white and rocky. Drops to a thin vestige of a cap in short oder. Carbonation is solid and on point.

Smell: Loads of pale malts. Some caramel malt sweetness. Biscuit aromas run rampant. Earthy citrusy hop component. Very mild, but still packs a nice depth. Very earthy and grassy.

Taste: Pale malts and biscuit dough. Gritty, almost dirty, citrus rind from the hops. Grapefruit rolled in fresh dirt and grass clippings. It's intriguing. Malts are sweet and doughy with just enough body to counteract the hop presence. Nice level of balance. Lingering touches of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a lingering grassiness that dries things up a bit. Body runs on the lighter side of moderate. Carbonation is stronger than I would like, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall: I had this when it was only a month old and I thought it was oxidized and lackluster. Now that it's many months older, I wonder what I was thinking. It's what it says it is, an imperialized version of their Original Ale with some interesting dry-hopping. Take it for what it is and it's pretty tasty.

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Photo of PJKSR02
4.83/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow: If you like a genuine, raw, local brew, this was it! It's an IPA with a hops flavor that lingers with a spicy aftertaste. There's a whiff of estery alcohol, but that is balanced by the hops aroma, and overall mouth feel. Can we ask for a 21st anniversary redux?

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orange/amber color, minimal white head, fades fast with little lacing on the glass, leaves a thin cap on top for a good portion of the drink.

Smell has a strong piney grapefruit aroma, the grapefruit really shines through as the star, the aroma kind of reminds me of the 1260 Triple IPA.

Taste starts out with a musty like hop presence, the fruity grapefruit comes into play, minimal hop bitterness though since it's more of a citrusy/fruit hop than harsh bitter, malt helps smooth things over with a touch of sweetness, carbonation is soft and lends a creaminess, slightly syrupy and thick but not overwhelming.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ipswich Anniversary IPA pours a cloudy dark amber, with a small creamy head on top. The foam dissolves to a thin sheet on the surface leaving behind spots and lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is piney with some light fruit and bread mixed in. Lots of pine.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is oily on the palate, slightly chewy with mild carbonation. The flavor is nicely balanced. It begins sweet with caramel, bread and yeast. In the middle hoppy pine and citrus notes move in. It finishes moderately bitter and dry. Once gone the pine and bread notes linger on the palate.

This is a well balanced tasty beer. It reminds me of a British bitter with its fruity notes and earthy hops.

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Photo of Zorro
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Heavy chill hazed amber colored ale with a small white colored head.

Smell is sweet and syrupy with a strong malt and wood smell. Toasted bread with orange marmalade.

Starts out sweet with a bit of a salty flavor and a stout bitterness in the finish. Some sour hop flavors mostly lemon and a little rye. All in all though this is a little under-flavored.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and thick.

Overall this is OK. Not something that I can highly recommend, but it doesn't taste bad.

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Photo of LtCracker20
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours slightly opaque orange/amber body with a 2-finger white head that falls half way then sticks for a while. OK lacing.

S- Floral and piney hop burst up front. Some sweet maltiness follows (just a touch). Nothing really makes a lasting impression.

T- Piney and citrusy hops in the flavor followed by a little caramel malt. Flavors don't last too long, but aren't bad.

MF- Medium to full bodied with a lower carbonation level then, say, Arrogant Bastard.

O- Not a bad beer at all. Almost could be a break-in beer for someone who doesn't quite know the style yet.

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Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ran across this at La Boniche in Lowell, Massachusetts. This specialty ale looks hazy and copper colored with a nice off white head and great splatters of lacing. The aroma is a mellow caramel malt with musty herbal hop. The flavor lines up well with the nose as I get a woodsy caramel/toffee and a nice grainy malt over herbal hop. The body is solidly medium with a somewhat glassy feel with modest carbonation. A hoppy farmhouse ale that I enjoyed.

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Photo of danmcg62
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark orangey/yellow with a very small white head. Very murky, cloudy look to the beer. Nice looking beer.

S-Really fruity (Grapefruit, grapes, raisins, orange). Mild hop spice, stings the nose a little. I like the smell very much.

T-Spicy taste comes through first, very fruity, mild hop bitterness and a bit boozy. Stellar.

M-Nice feel in the mouth. Thick and spicy.

O-This is an excellent offering from Ipswich. Next to their Oatmeal Stout this is the best beer I've had from them. Great flavor and fun to drink.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a slight dense deep aged copper body with a light tan head that fades to a bubbly ring and a gentle carbonation for support.

S- The herbal musty green hops have a pine quality in the finish with a slight sweetness and some caramel notes in the finish.

T- The dry biscuit malt has some cracker flavors to it with a sweet caramel note to follow. There is a green unripe citrus hop flavor with a musty quality that turns to a pungent bitterness as it lingers.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz on the tongue with no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer has big malt and full malt sweetness but the hops are pretty soft and the aroma/taste are much more muted that the bitterness. The biscuit and caramel are a good balance but they just don't have the hops or alcohol or carbonation to support them.

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Photo of stickynotes
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Snatched this bomber off the shelf because I've never seen an imperial pale ale before. Pours an orangey caramel with a suspicious cloudiness to it, the glass is bright and vibrant though. Towards the end of the beer fine sediment is clearly visible. A just off-white head which hangs out 1/4" deep; moderate lacing. Nose is strong citrus hops, earthy. Taste was not what I suspected, sweet malts up front and also in the after taste, piney, spicy hops. Alcohol is there but blends in well acting as a strong background to the swig. I get more used to it as I drink it down, certainly a nice brew but there is something off, it doesn't 'pop' like I expect it to, seems maybe a little stale; heaviness. Mouthfeel is medium, pleasantly carbonated. Overall this is ok, I am glad I have tried it but wouldn't buy this bottle again. This brew isn't cohesive for me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

The last of the Ipswich offerings available 'round here. Based on my experience with them, I'm kinda glad this is the end. It pours a mostly clear tawny-copper topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, honeydew, light orange zest, caramel, light grass, and a few drops of honey. Though the hops are definitely front-and-center, the caramel fights its way through to the van pretty easily. The taste brings in the same see-saw-like balancing act between citrusy hops and caramel, but then, near the end, in comes that asshole of a vinyl flavor, seemingly stronger this time as it melds with the caramel and clashes with the hops. The body is a straight medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a slightly syrupy feel. It sits a bit too heavily on the tongue for my tastes... Overall, another potentially okay brew that suffers from that damn Ipswich character. I wish I knew what caused it, so I could get around it. I'm gonna see if I can't get some of these brews on tap somewhere, just to give them another chance, but they have not been kind to my tongue...

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Photo of uustal
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a vibrant dark orange. Hazy complexion with a solid off-white head with nice lacing. Aroma of aggressive earthy and herbal hops. Flavors states off with muted bitter citrus notes. Grain and doughy malt creates a bit of sweetness before a bittering pine, herbal, earthy and leafy hop combo finish. Booze is present as well. Certainly enough flavor and alcohol to carry the Imperial label, but flavor doesn't come together all the way. Hint of staleness in the body I couldn't get over as well, for a fresh beer.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review adapted from notes taken 8/12/11

Appearance: Hazy, cloudy copper orange with some floaties, unexciting head and average lacing

Smell: Some citrus (mostly grapefruit), some pine, some floral hops - somewhat malty with pale and caramel malts - not particularly exciting, doesn't smell that "imperial"

Taste: Basically, this tastes like a pale ale, but maltier - more hops, too - some substantial maltiness from the pale and more toasted malts - a lot of citrus rind - almost tastes a little boozy, kind of leafy, wet

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, could definitely be more crisp

Overall: Good, but not as good as the non-imperial Ipswich Ale

This really tastes like Ipswich Original Ale with a lot more malts and a bit more hops. The result is not ideal. It's a good beer, but it lacks the balance and charm of its non-imperial cousin.

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Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from Wine & Cheese Cask in Somerville.

Pours a hazy golden-copper color with a slightly off-white head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of grainy pale malts with good amounts of light citrus and herbal hops. Also present are hints of floral and heavier leafy hops.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Moderately dry pale malts up front are joined quickly by bright citrus hops and deeper herbal hop flavors. Midway through hints of breadiness come into play before being overtaken by leafy hops that carry through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a solid beer, though nothing exceptional. Worth a shot on a warm summer day.

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Photo of SABERG
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a modified tulip glass.

A - Copper, cloudy and rich looking. Big head with some density, lacing moves through the whole pour.
S - A liitle spicy, some sweet elements run right up against the pine. A little citrus, and a touch of alchohol comes up later.
T - Hops, malt brawl. A bit sweet, hops in the middle and a lond balanced finish. Big but not offensive.
M - Smooth, a little oily and a nice bitter middle, Finish is suprisingly dry and pleasant.

O - One at a time, and easily shared with friends. Big for the Pale Ale, but exactly what advertise. Well done.
What a nice anniversay offering. Ipswich has given 20 years of fine efforts and shared this present with all.


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Photo of johnnnniee
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle caught my eye the other day.
Pours a cloudy orange amber color with a two finger fluffy/bubbly white head that recedes slowly but leaves lots of sticky lace all the way down. Smells of citrus and pine mostly. I can't find much in the way of malt but I do pick up a hint of garlic. Bready toasty flavor up front before the hops dig in. Lots of pine and garlic or onion and a bit of citrus. Bready almost caramel malt sweetness comeback midway until the piney hops come back for the finale. Medium body and carbonation level with a resinous bitter mouthfeel. Good beer, not great. Seems one dimensional and a little bit boring but grew on me after a while.

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Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours into a pint glass with a slightly hazy amber body. The head has nice size, creamy texture and good retention.Tons of lace coats the glass.

S- Immediately upon pouring, nice notes of orange, lemon citrus and caramel flow out. I also get some peach, yeast bread and herbal hints.

T- Hops and malt are both nicely present, with hops being the driving force. Herbal and floral hops lead with nice fruit, pine and citrus blended in. Caramel malt and bread balance it all out.

MF- Moderately thick creamy body with solid carbonation. Hops give it a nice bitter finish.

An 8%APA is a strange idea to me but it works out nicely without being too much like an IPA. Ipswich is solid, always.

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Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a hazy, golden amber color with a one-finger, khaki colored head of foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, floral notes and some sweet caramel.

T - It had a good burnt toast maltiness with sweet caramel. There was a bitter hop bite with a citrusy kick.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice brew. However, I'm still not sure if I get the idea of an Imperial Pale Ale.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice copper, brown, and tan coloring. Had about a finger width of head with a decently aggressive pour. Spotty lacing.

The aroma isn't very strong.. but if you focus hard enough you can distinguish what you are smelling. I got a good amount of fruity hops right after the pour. After it settled in, the hops were much more floral.. and a doughy biscuit malt scent.

The taste is the best part of the beer for me. Sweet fruity hops up front, which is taken over by an earthy bitterness. A bit of biscuit maltiness in there as well.

The mouthfeel is pretty on par for a Imperial IPA. It's a bit dry in the after effects.. and has a medium body.

Overall, I like this beer. I'll continue to purchase it until my local store runs out of it. At 4.99 a bomber, it's right in line with Lagunitas for value.

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Photo of jsh420
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours hazy copper orange with a 1+ finger head that had good retention and left some spotted lacing down the glass

smell - floral hops and a good amount of biscuit malt

taste has more of a bitter pine resin hop flavor - the malts are still there but the hops are a tad harsh for me

mouthfeel - has a medium body with good carbonation

overall - i just dont see the need to make high abv APAs or maybe i dont see the need for me to ever buy them

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Photo of corby112
3.44/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber received in a recent trade with mkabull. Thanks again Alec!

Pours a very hazy, completely opaque, dark copper color with golden orange hues and a two finger frothy off-white head. Excellent retention, slowly fading into a lasting cap that leaves large rings and chunks of soapy lacing behind.

Floral hop aroma with lots of earthy pine needle countered by subtle citrus notes and a strong malt backbone. Hints of grass and soil as well as some grapefruit and orange peel. This is countered by a prominent malt presence. I'm picking up caramel, toffee, biscuit and nut in the nose. The malt character is a bit strong for my liking but the piny hops are still strong.

Medium bodied with a blast of dry, bitter hops that linger over the malt backbone into a lingering dry finish. Very floral and earthy up front with lots of soil and strong pine flavor. Faint citrus character provides a bit of sweetness and the prominent malt backbone balances things out. Lots of caramel sweetness along with hints of nut, biscuit and toffee. Slight alcohol presence toward the end of the palate.

Overall, the hp profile is one dimensional and the malt presence is too strong for my preference but this beer is decently balanced with a nice bitter hop flavor.

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Photo of albern
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This doesn't seem like it is an APA coming from Ipswich. The beer certainly looks good and has lots of creamy head and retention with a bit of lace. The nose is very malty with some evident bittering hop underneath.

The beer was a bit of a disappointment because the hops just didn't play nicely with the malts in the beer and the bittering aftertaste just wouldn't quit. Not good. There was a sharp leafy hop in the beer and a somewhat medicinal pine that lingered well into the finish. The beer is creamy and the malty middle was spot on, the hops just didn't work that well for this special edition.

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Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 59 ratings