Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale | Ipswich Ale Brewery

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Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale AleIpswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale
Very Good
59 Ratings
Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale AleIpswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-27-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by glid02:
Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +4%
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of Homebrew35
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a half finger worth of egg shell colored head. Somewhat creamy and fluffy. Cloudy orange body with lots of yeast in suspension or chill haze, not a bad thing considering that this is probably unfiltered and maybe bottle conditioned. Nice bubbly ring of lacing remains after the pour, no head which is a bit disappointing but I still like what I have. Oh it's 8% abv I wouldn't expect more head retention then.

Smells big time of resinous piney hops, citrus, earthy and some orange juice. Very nice to the nose, thank you for this truly noseworthy brew Mercury.

Tastes initially of smooth Carmel sweet malts, then it transitions to a good amount of resinous piney hops, some orange juice and lime. Firm hoppy piney bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium. Medium carbonation does help clean the palate but is no match for the lingering oily slick hop bitterness. Some may not like the finish with it's sticky coating bitterness, but I love it. A good balance of malt sweetness keeps me wanting more.

Overall this is a great brew. At $5 a bomber I could drink one of these every night for a few days. The 8% is barely noticeable.
Thanks again Mercury for this great beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +4%
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 telecomz
2.74/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I loves me some Ipswich. Big fan. That said, this disappointed. The thought of an IIPA from Ipswich was exciting; the execution was not:

A - Nice looking copper brown.
S - Absolutely no aroma to speak of....when you buy an IIPA you really hope for the hop slam o' citrus. Bupkiss.
T - Not bad...if it were an Amer or Brown Ale...which it isn't...which isn't cool. Like the malyt sweetness. Good IBU...but there is nothing here that says this is an IIPA or an IPA.
M - The mouthfeel is really really light....too light...unsubstantial for a reg'lar ale...horrible for an IIPA
O - Not a drain pour whatsoever, nice Amber Ale...notsomuch as an IIPA

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Photo of tkelley
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
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 jsh420
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
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 danmcg62
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
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 EJNibs
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful ruddy-auburn gold with about 2 fingers of head which held for about 3 minutes, leaving very nice lacing after dissipating.

S: A great mix of really resiny pine notes from the hops and just a bit of caramel biscuit from the malt; the nose might be the best thing about this beer.

T: The hops and the malt merry well, though perhaps not quite enough of either to hide the alcohol heat in the finish.

Overall: This beer really surprised me, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with just a plain old imperial pale rather than a DIPA, but I was pretty pleased with it, and I have to give extra kudos as it seems like exactly what an IAPA ought to be--strong but balanced, lots of hops but not a monster, enough malt to notice but lets the hops come through. Not going to be a staple on my shelf, but certainly worth a shot if you see it!

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Photo of rondufresne
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of angrybabboon
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
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 deltatauhobbit
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
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 raythealeman
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of Zorro
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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 PJKSR02
4.83/5  rDev +28.8%
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 donkeyrunner
2.53/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Summer Sunday beer.

Translucent dandelion color with agave nectar edges. Off-white head thins but never quite leaves. Leaves a few measly splashes of lace.

At first pour a euphoric aroma of soft pine, Yoplait peach yogurt, and orange Italian ice have my hopes up. I don't know what went wrong but halfway through the glass but the wonderful hop aroma dims down and leaves a nice, but hop-less, sweet toasted grain in it's place. The hops have left the building.

Mild, bulbous bitter and a faint peach yogurt and orange sherbet at the start, again fades out to bland malt. This is a "balanced" DIPA...which means not enough hops. Which means it's not really a DIPA at all. Not even IPA worthy, more of a big, malty pale ale. Thick body obscures any hop resin.

This beer completely falls apart as it warms. I expect more from Ipswich.

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Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev +6.7%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
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 Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of PicoPapa
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours a murky sandy brown color with a half inch of head. Aroma is sweet bread, buttery, with some faint floral and citrus hops in the background. Not what I was expecting. The flavor is of hops trying to battle the buttery grain flavor. The hops are losing that battle. Very sweet and buttery taste. Floral hop flavor at the beginning, butter at the end. Pretty drinkable for an 8 except the buttery qualities slow you down. Overall, this is a disappointing one and will be my last. Not terrible but just not what I had in mind.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
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 jlindros
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light bubbly and fizzy almost 1 finger head, bit of lacing, a hazy rosy reddish amber colored beer.

Nose has plenty of fresh hops, some pine, little earthy and a bit herbal, bit musty, somewhat floral, light citrus and tangerine, also some chewy malts underneath, semi sweet malts. The herbal hops get a bit heavy as it goes with a weird chewy earthy feel.

Taste starts with a semi sweet malty glaze, a bit chewy a bit of booze, then some chewy hops, a bit earthy and herbal, semi bitter but not heavy bitterness, a bit pine and musty flavors, but a slight bitter hop extract flavor as well, and slight citrus. Finishes a bit bitter but not heavy, syrupy mouth feel and a little sweet, bitterness gets a bit stronger but not heavy, a little booze warmth, bitterness climbs a bit at first but never gets too heavy, and some light pine and herbal hops, then gets a little dry very late.

Mouth is a bit syrupy but medium bodied, lower carbonation, hint of warming booze.

Overall meh, not great, some weird hop flavors, extract, herbal hops, syrupy malts, nothing really redeeming, drinkable but not great, and the malts don't seem to play too well with the hops for some reason.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger cream head that fades quickly to a ring leaving some lace. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Hazy amber color. Nose is grapefruit hops and flavor is also grapefruit hops with hints of caramel. Lingering bitter after taste. Seems like a DIPA to me. $6.15 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
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 smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent head that lasts throughout the tasting, leaving plentiful lace. Orange-amber color and very cloudy.

Light caramel malt tones to the nose. There's a fresh hop in the background.

The flavor is far more bitter than the smell suggests. The body is neutral but the carbonation is low, making it seem richer. The flavor has an alcohol essence but it isn't the central taste. Overall, I like this beer very much.

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Photo of LtCracker20
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
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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Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 59 ratings