Session IPL
Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Session IPLSession IPL
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Lager - India Pale Lager (IPL)
3.89 | pDev: 9.51%
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Session IPLSession IPL
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 82 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a hazy straw color with a one-finger foamy white head that reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass

S- smells of orange marmalade, citrus pith, fresh cut grass, red berries & ready malt undertones

T- tastes of citrus peel, tangerine pith, grass, mango and guava, clean toasted finish

M- medium-light body with medium carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a crisp dry finish, high drinkability

O- one of the best <4% beers I've had to date, it packs plenty of balance & flavor, while remaining remarkably drinkable

Jul 22, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: The bubble show produces a two inch foamy head that squats on the clear golden liquid; squiggles of lacing linger

Smell: Bready and pithy, with grapefruit undertones

Taste: A touch bready, but the hops really shine, bringing grapefruit and papaya; crisp, clean finish, with lingering tropical fruit bitterness

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with crisp carbonation

Overall: I left this one in the fridge long after I finished off the others in the series but it is still quite good, six months after its release

Jun 12, 2016
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delta490 from Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly cloudy deep gold with a big foamy white head. The head has great retention aided by steady carbonation and leaves nice amounts of small sticky lacing. The aroma leans to the IPA side, albeit more mild. It brings tropical fruit, citrus, and floral notes. The taste is good but it doesn't quite live up to the aroma. The hops almost immediately disappear and the lager notes don't quite fill the void. The body has a nice weight to it, just slightly thicker than you'd expect but not heavy at all with a good carbonation throughout.

May 04, 2016
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jmasher85 from Maryland

4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Clear light amber pour with great, foamy head that holds a nice little plateau shape even as I drink around it.

Scent is pine, cut grass, mandarine oranges, pineapple, and mango.

Taste is more mandarine oranges, apricot, pineapple, cut grass. Fruity, without being sweet.

Crisp, clean finish that leaves just a hint of dry bitterness on the tongue. Good fresh, even better after a month or two in the cellar - unusual for a hoppy beer.

Okay seriously, of the entire Devils Backbone Adventure Pack, this is the one that I most want to be able to buy in a sixer. Which is really weird for a session beer. I mean, 3.5% alcohol?? And more delicious than anything else in its sampler pack?? But let's be honest here, this is a truly unique (to me), flavorful, crushable yet savorable alternative to so many IPAs out there. And with so little alcohol and calories, I don't even need to feel bad about it. If you're listening DB, MAKE MORE FOR ME!!

Apr 13, 2016
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OldSwampy from Virginia

3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Although it is called a lager, the overall impression I get is more IPA than lager. There was some variety in the smell and taste that lift it above the typical IPA, and I suppose some of that is the hybrid character coming through, but this variety was minimal and not as well balanced as it might be. I prefer lagers more than IPAs, and might think of this more favorably if it were less of an IPA type (yet called a lager), but I can't blame the two breweries involved in producing this for the attempt, or "collaboration," as it is called on the bottle (NoDa is the other brewery involved with Devil's Backbone). I can imagine plenty of people will find it attractive. The "session" aspect for me would have more to do with the ABV rating than the flavor. It's an interesting beer for the low ABV, but just not that pleasant for something labeled a "session" beer.

Brew date: 25 Jan 2016 (on bottle).

I had another of these on 17 April (also brewed on 25 Jan). My opinion in general remains: it reminds me more of an IPA with a reduced but pleasant nose. It's quite hoppy (60 IBUs). In some ways a bit watery beneath the hops. A note on appearance: it has a nice apricot color, but the head was nearly non-existent with large loose bubbles that dissipate quickly. Aftertaste was not entirely agreeable. I lowered my rating a bit (was 3.43).

Apr 04, 2016
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hopphead31415 from Virginia

4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This session IPL has 3.8% ABV and 60 IBUs which I thought was odd, but it works.

Look-It has decent clarity and a golden color with a thin white head and sparse drooping lacing.

Smell-Spicy, leafy, grassy, hoppy, earthy, fruity, and citrusy.

Taste-The taste is very crisp and clean. I get plenty of earthy and grassy hops with some citrus. The bitterness is low, but much more noticeable than I’d expect from a LAGER and a session at that (the so-called session IPL). I get plenty of spices and herbs like coriander, nutmeg, and black pepper. Then a tinge of malt sweetness that is fleeting yet melts the spices with the citrus and grassy hops. There is a hop oil resin that coats the tongue which I really didn’t expect. It is quite nice though and goes well with the lemon, orange, and tangerine notes that appear after the grassy hops and honey-suckle malts.

Overall-There is a lot going on with this beer and it is far more surprising than I anticipated.

Mar 21, 2016
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oldn00b from Virginia

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle dated 1/29/16. This is a gorgeous beer. Pillowy white head faded only slightly and retained through the duration of drinking the beer. Nice fat sticky lacing. Color is crystal clear gold and the carb level looks right on. I give the look a perfect score.

Nose is a bit muted - definitely pick up some subtle floral hop notes but not overly so. Lager traits pull through and a bit of a bready malt bill.

Flavor is really nice. A lot of depth for for a sessionable hopped lagger. Fruity, floral hop notes. Nice drying bitter. Really well rounded. Finish is long on the bittering hops (nice for my liking but definitely big on the bitter hop aspect and a bit light on other hop notes).

Great mouthfeel here - soft and a bit creamy. No rough edges.

This is surprisingly good and doesn't drink like a 3.8% sessionable IPL.

Mar 11, 2016
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Lucular from Maryland

4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Incredible how much tropical fruit-like juicy aroma and flavor is packed into this little 3.8% IPL. It looks great too with impressive lacing. Better than 95% of IPA's out there (and also far superior to the "double dank" cream ale and the "Double Pacific Ale" from the collaboration pack). I would buy a 12-pack of this beer any time of year.

Mar 11, 2016
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Pantalones from Virginia

3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Second bottle of this one from the collaboration pack; bottling date is December 7th, 2015.

Pouring a bit more vigorously than usual kicks up a decent layer of white foam, which hangs around for a decently long while (albeit shrinking over time) and has a nice fluffy texture to it. The beer itself is pale golden, shiny, and very clear, with lots of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Looks about like a good pilsner, actually, which I suppose is a positive for any low-ABV hoppy lager. I know I'm always impressed by that shiny-clear-gold/bright-white-foam look that pilsners tend to have, so I'm definitely counting that as a plus here anyway. Leaves a decent bit of lacing behind here and there on the glass, too.

Smell is very noticeably hoppy -- when pouring I can definitely get a good whiff of the hops from about a foot away from the glass, which is pretty impressive for a beer at only 3.8% ABV! Sniffing a bit after it's in the glass, I get a very planty sort of smell, leafy/grassy and tropical-fruit-skins and spicy. Maybe a bit of sweetness hiding in the background, too. Around halfway down the glass it's starting to seem just a bit oniony, which is a little odd but still a pleasant smell for me (...I'll eat onions in basically anything. XD)

Taste is leafy and spicy right off, a bit different than what I remember from the first bottle (I'm guessing it's my taste buds rather than age or bottle variation here) but still nice. Am getting some of the oniony thing in the taste as well, and it's not quite as pleasant here as it is in the smell, but not bad either. Picking up a little bit of sweetish malt on the end starting around halfway down the glass too, but this is *definitely* not a malty beer by any stretch of the imagination (it's possibly one of the least-malty beers I've had, actually.) Also popping in around halfway is the start of a lingering leafy-bitter aftertaste.

Feel is very carbonated, bubbly, a bit fizzy/prickly at times. Despite the low ABV however it does not feel watery, just light and bubbly, with a bit of an almost oiliness (from the sheer amount of hops involved, perhaps?) that definitely adds to the feel of it. The prickliness seems to be standing out to me more this time, though, so overall I'd have to say this is probably the weakest point. Fortunately, around the halfway point of the glass the prickliness seems to stand out less. I'm having difficulty rating this category so I guess I'll go with a "upper end of 'okay,' low end of 'good'" score.

Overall, this is a pretty nice lower-ABV hoppy beer, though I do have to say I enjoyed it a good bit more the first time I had it -- I suspect it's due to a shift in my taste buds or something I ate earlier in the day more than the beer itself, but since I don't have a third bottle to try another day I can't confirm this until I grab another collaboration pack (which will almost definitely happen when this one's gone.) Maybe time to take a break from all the hops and try one of the pack's maltier collaborations next?

Feb 24, 2016
Photo of ChrisKayler
ChrisKayler from Virginia

4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Floral, grassy hops with a ton of tropical fruit coming in the aroma. Pineapple, mango, guava distinctly. Some of that earthy spicy thing going on as well. Taste follows, with ample bitterness and moreso grassy hops with just a bit of tropical fruit.

Feb 23, 2016
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with date

clear pale golden in color, foamy white head - lots of lacing. nice grassy, floral hop aroma. taste is mild grainy malt and earthy hops. thin body. overall - easy drinking, but not watery.

Feb 22, 2016
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Beejay from Virginia

3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A: A dusty yellow color with an off white head.

S: A delightfully delicate fruit and grain aroma. Light and flowery with a bit of tropical fruit.

T: Less delicate than the aroma, lemon bitterness up front, with a lingering earthiness, and something quite odd in the finish. The flavor calms a bit as I drink, but man the bitterness in this one is heavy handed.

M: Light, with high carbonation and a dry finish.

O: The aroma is delicate, while the flavor is quite rough. Abrasive. A lot of session beers miss the mark on flavor, this one seems to have over corrected that issue. The whole idea of a session beer is one you can have a few of without getting hosed.. this one makes me want to reach for something else.

Feb 19, 2016
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on 2016-02-16 in Columbia, PA from a 12oz bottle

A - Mostly clear golden-orange with a 1-finger white head that fades fairly quickly leaving mild lace.

S - BIG peach aroma, light melon and sweet hop floral. Pretty strong and smells great.

T - Herbal mint tea and earthy hop bitterness up front, then orange flesh, cracker light pine and some grass. Lots going on here. Finishes on the bitter side.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation. Prickly but not resinous. Quite dry.

O - Impressive aroma and very good flavor for 3.8%. I'm impressed. This would be a regular in my fridge if it were available beyond this collaboration release.

Feb 16, 2016
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JamieDuncan from Maryland

2.87/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a very clear light golden color with a decent white head that dissipated quickly. There was pretty good lacing on the glass as I drank. Piney hop aroma was pretty good. The taste is also piney, grassy, with not much else. The bitter stands out. Light mouthfeel and lingering bitter. It seems that they put bitter into a lager but did not really add to the taste. So it is a light lager that is bitter, certainly what some will be looking for.

Feb 13, 2016
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip appears clear golden color with sudsy white topping.

The aroma is soapy, grassy, rindy with some faint fruitiness and carbonic character.

It tastes like bitter pulp, rinds and pith with slight grassy aftertaste.

A light body with modest carbonation and quite bitter with lowkey hop flavoring. Not bad but not great either. It has a non distinct hop character that seems too focused on bitterness instead of flavor...if that makes any sense.

Feb 10, 2016
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AndrewMichael from Virginia

3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a stemmed tulip style glass.
Dark golden color with a great head on the beer.
Piney and a touch of citrus on the nose.
Very pleasant light body feel and bitter finish with a hint of malty creaminess lingering.
Still a hop forward IPL, great style, and incredibly easy to drink as a session at 3.8% abv.

Feb 06, 2016
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For a 3.8% beer this thing is packed with flavor. Nice medium god with a white head that left only traces of lacing in my glass. The aroma was bitter and dank but had a sweetness lurking and a nice grapefruit pith scent. The taste was light and dry with a bitter grapefruit taste with some weedy hops at the end. This is a finely constructed low alcohol beer.

Feb 05, 2016
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OldManMetal from North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This collaborative low-ABV IPL (brewed in conjunction with NoDa) pours to a big, brief-lived slightly pebbly white head on a crystal-clear sparkling deep-gold body; lacing is fair, consisting of irregular, tentacular blotches. The nose is moderate in intensity and austral in nature: vinous notes are dominant, with green grapes and a white wine character riding atop a subtle spicy hop aroma; there is no discernable malt character. The palate is pretty straightforward: assertively bitter piney and vinous hops rule uncontested, largely obscuring the grainy malt foundation. The finish is vinously hoppy and a bit dry, followed by the onset of an aggressive, resinous grassy/pine hop bitterness that lingers for quite awhile. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the light body. The strong, large-bubbled carbonation is distractingly soda-like; this, combined with a slight wateriness, keeps the texture from being as enjoyable as it could be. That said, the mouthfeel on this beer is a lot better than the average "session" pale beer. (12 oz bottle, 54 days after pkg)

Jan 31, 2016
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, honey gold coloring with a ton of carbonation action in the body, and a fluffy, bubbly, clingy, off-white head. Aromas of resinous hops, bitter and grassy, with a subtle caramel backbone, fruity esters of peach, apricot, and mango, and some subtle citrus notes. Very aromatic. Flavors are very bitter forward, with grassy and cedar notes, followed by a roasted malt sweetness that lulls on the palate a bit. The tail end of the beer has a building bitterness again, with an astringent feel coming along with the grassy and piney hops notes. Fruit characteristics are very muted. The body is smooth and light, with a resinous and bitter aftertaste. Dry, crisp finish, with a resinous and roasted linger. This started off really strong, but feel flat a bit for me at the end.

Jan 29, 2016
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Zylod from West Virginia

4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow this was much better than expected! My first beer from Devil's Backbone and it's a good one. Wonderful flowery aroma and a great taste that follows. Very well done.

Jan 24, 2016
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wedge from North Carolina

3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Crystal clear yellow gold under a thin bubbly head. Oily hops, tea leaves, weed, and a little apple over some cereal and honey-like grain. Very crisp, bitter hop flavor...more tea, flowers, and peppery spice. Pretty light, slick, and bitter. Decent.

Jan 22, 2016
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stephenjmoore from Maryland

4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear golden body with a sticky, soapy bone-white head. Aroma is big and hoppy, lots of topical fruits including mango, peach and some herbal qualities. Flavor follows suit, big hoppy punch, not much else, but good flavor for the low abv. Feel is actually pretty good, medium-light body, medium carbonation and a lingering stickiness. A really nice low abv IPL. This would be awesome in cans.

Jan 22, 2016
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oberon from North Carolina

4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/7/15.Part of the DB collaboration mixed pack,this one with NoDa.Pours into a becker a clear light to medium golden with a thinner but long lasting egg shell white head atop.Wow the juicy grapefruit hop notes really jump out at ya in the nose,very fresh and appetizing!Holy smokes this beer packs a hop punch for how small it is,the juicy sharp grapefruit notes really hit home,a clean dry malt base to go along with the abv and flavors make this about as easy drinking as you can get.A damn fine beer,probably the best "session" beer I have had.

Jan 21, 2016
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VABA from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was skeptical about the low ABV, but the beer had a very good flavor and a nice aroma. I can see myself drinking quite a few of these during summer. Great beer!

Jan 20, 2016
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Thin tiny bubbled lacing, good clarity. Smells of pears and orange rind with a cracker-like grain. Light bodied, crisp and smooth. Big citrusy flavor, more rind than zest. Clean graininess, semi-clean finish. It works, lots of fun to quaff back.

Jan 20, 2016
Session IPL from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 82 ratings