Imperial IPA
Garrison Brewing Company

Imperial IPAImperial IPA
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #1,212
Ranked #4,490
4.08 | pDev: 10.54%
Garrison Brewing Company
Nova Scotia, Canada
Imperial IPAImperial IPA
Notes: Launched and enthusiastically received at the first annual Halifax Seaport Beer Fest in August 2007, this ale has quickly become known as the hoppiest beer in Atlantic Canada! Unfiltered Imperial I.P.A. is a robust, full-bodied and complex brew in the Double IPA style. An intensely fruity aroma combines nicely with a malty caramel backbone, clear hop bitterness and lingering citrusy finish. This beer is for the true hophead!

81 IBU

This beer was previously known as Garrison Imperial Pale Ale.
Reviews: 126 | Ratings: 231 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by gruvn:
Photo of gruvn
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow - great beer. I'm glad to be living in Halifax these days.

Poured a deep, dark, almost red colour, which an creamy/light orange head. The head retention is pretty good - lasting 10min or so.

Smells so good, it's hard to smell, because it makes you want to drink it! Mostly hoppy, but with a floral aspect - and maybe even tree? (like pine or something?)

This sucker fills up your mouth, and gets into all your tastebuds. A veritable roundkick to the parts of your cheeks that detect bitterness. It's super bitter, in fact, which lowered my grades for taste and drinkability. Keep in mind that I tend to prefer porters, and I don't love the bitterness as much as some. That being said - I'll finish this 750ml and be wishing I had another.

In my limited experience, I'd say this is more of a Double IPA then a regular, plain ol' IPA.

I can't believe this comes from the same city that churns out Keiths.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of pootz
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1/2 liter bomber: First of my Garrison private order cache:

Pours a hazed deep amber orange with a monster meringue cap. Great retention and lacing.

Gorgeous pungent aromas of juicy citrus- pine hopping and toffee malts.

Medium bodied, Big rush of resinous hops in front is countered by ample caramel malt body, large flavor. Finish is wet hoppy and with a long astringent hop bittering burn.

One of the best big IPAs I have sampled in Canada but the astringent finish blows the balance and harmony...a small foible and a personal preference but this alone keeps me from giving this higher marks,

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Photo of charlesw
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

[Currently listed as an IPA. I'm reviewing as an I2PA which is a lot closer in style, eh?]

Light, hazy orange/amber. You can see the beer is dense in how it pours in the glass and the bubbles swirl and slowly rise up. On the low end, perhaps, for head but with nice tight dark cream bubbles that stick around several minutes. Lastly lace.

Smells earthy with a bit of a floral touch.

Tastes... Ah! Tastes OK, I guess. I mean, you just send me yours and I'll save you the trouble of drinking it. 'Kay? No, seriously, this is the stuff. How do they pack this much malty sweetness into a beer that's only 6.9%ABV? It's insane! This is like drinking smutty b'wine or double bastard... But at 6.9%! Man, this is what I want to brew! OK, if I brew it I'll take the bitterness down a touch, but that does not mean, in the slightest, that I'm not enjoying drinking it like this! Full mouth bitterness changes to a mouth watering bitterness with just a touch of citrus then fades altogether. Wicked good beer. Oh, I know who the lucky dog is who's going to receive the other bottle I bought! Ha!

Anyway, yeah, again, big on the body (not as big as DB or smbw) for the "low" alcohol. A rousing success, this one! Heck... Given my need to cut calories back... I'd make this a daily drinker!

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 500 ml brown bottle. Pours out a hazy marmalade hue, tall massive billowing spongy white head with excellent retention. Small yet thick patches of lacing.

Rich bready malt on the nose with a background of mild citrus hops, with predominant orange notes.

Rich chewy bready malt up front in the flavour, also some caramel character, with a serious presence of bittering hops, while some sharp pine works its way out of it all towards the finish. Some white grapefruit pith atringency leeches out in the aftertaste

Full-bodied mouthfeel but on the lower end of that scale, low carbonation and silky smooth. If only all DIPA's had this calibre of mouthfeel.

This has its moments, the mouthfeel is great, however the hop profile within the flavour simply comes across too aggressively one-dimensional, there's far too much bittering character without much development of actual flavour making it almost akin to chewing on a pine bough without the sharp edges. Malt is great, just needs more diversity with hop treatment.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy dirty brown color ale with a quite large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter and citrus hops is dominating with s very noticeable malt backbone. Taste is also dominated by some citrus and bitter hops with a nice West coast feels and a very nice malt backbone with light dry characteristics. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well done and something I would like to try more often.

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Photo of TerryW
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pretty fierce brew best suited to hop lovers. Looks great. Hazy orange amber that pours a large firm head that eventually settles to a heavy film and gives up a ton of lace long the way. Looks quite appetizing.

Very hoppy nose with a sweet malty backbone. Very fruity, lots of grapefruit citrus and pine. Also quite appetizing. Quite sweet from the malt when it first hits your mouth but is immediately dominated by powerful grapefruit peel. You gotta be lovin' your hops to like this, otherwise you'll be wondering what hit you. Long lingering bitter finish.

Well made, good drinking. Worth a try.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Garrison- Imperial Pale Ale

Purchased at the brewery, after sampling($1).

A- Nice deep hazy copper brown with a thick lacing head.
S- Good sweet caramelized malt, slightly grainy and big fresh hops.
T- Big sweet buttery caramel malt melds into a big grapefruit rind hop body. Big bold flavors really jump out. quite tasty.
M- Thick, sweet and malty with a huge bitter hop finish. Buttery and creamy to hoppy and bitter!

Overall- Take a good English ESB and blend it with a big West Coast IPA! This beer is so good! I wish I brought back more. A beer you must have if you visit Halifax. I will load up on this on my next visit!

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Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Bigbrye, or should I say Mrs. Bigbrye. A bomber of bottled hops, with significant malting. The formula is More green hop taste well malted. It's drinkable, it's a good IPA. Dark yellow with some white head. Medium mouthfeel, a bit on creamy side. Neutral aftertaste. 2nd tatsing courtesy of NEAL was better and more hop in nose.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a chill hazed orange with a huge, creamy, rocky head. Lace drapes the glass. Citrusy hops and fresh bread fill the nose. The taste is a a hop barage. Thick pine resin notes mix with grapefruit rind and tropical fruit of some description. A big caramel malt flavor provides good balance. The mouthfeel is full and textured with billions of tiny carbonation bubbles. The finish is very bitter and lasts forever. Its wonderful.

A great DIPA. Very bitter and balanced. ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of babyhobbes
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like an IPA. Kind of an orangey tan with a crisp white head that left a ring throughout. Lots of lacing, too. I smell hops, but they aren't particularly anything specific to me, just hops. Good though. Also, kind of sweet odor. Everything seems sort of sweet lately. It's definitely not a bitter smell. Taste is hops with a nice caramel balance. There's a sort of hop bitterness on the back of the tongue that lingers some between sips. Delicious. There is a little more carbonation than I would like. It's quite bubbly despite my having done a bunch of crap around the house before remembering I had poured it. This detracts a bit from the beer. It is very good, though. I would certainly have it again. Sadly, I can't as this is a Powerball win.

Thank you CharlesW!!!

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Photo of smcolw
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Modest, but lasting head. Leaves a ring of lace after each sip. Hazy, copper amber color.

Fresh, floral hop aroma. Some grapefruit, some pine.

Starts with a malt base, relatively dry. Strong spicy, hot pepper bite in the swallow. There's a long aftertaste that is like sucking a hop pellet. A true hop-head's delight. The flavor completely covers the increased alcohol level. Rich bodied.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my Secret Santa 2007 Biegaman for this brew. Cheers!

Pours with a slight head, cloudy, and an amber color. It has a nice lacing as you drink it. Smell is mostly piney hops. Tastes rather bitter with a slick mouthfeel to it. The pine comes out more as you drink it. A drinkable IPA for sure; not a real Imperial IPA as it is labelled. A solid brew from a brewery which is new to me.


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Photo of ericj551
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Viggo
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MMansfield for hooking me up!

Pours a cloudy amber, forms a thick off white head, settles down to a thick ring and layer, nice lacing on the glass. Smell is caramel, biscuity malt, pine and floral hops, grapefruit, nicely balanced. Taste is similar, solid malts, caramel and bread, grapefruit and pine hops, some nice floral and citrus, very balanced finish, perfect bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, alcohol is well integrated. I didn't know Canadian brewers knew how to hop until I had this and the HP Humulus, and this Garrison closest thing to an American IPA commercially available here. Thanks Matt!

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Photo of trevorwideman
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks so much to mmansfield for sending me this! Unfiltered version.

Vigorous pour produces 1 inch of pillowy off-white head and lots of lovely lacing. This is the murkiest IPA I've ever seen, brownish-gold-copper-whatever, almost opaque with sediment. Pretty intense looking. Aroma is very floral and sweet with hints of citrus and mango. Background malty notes create a light caramel and vanilla base. Lovely and uncluttered and balanced.

Taste is very impressive. Herbal licorice notes, a bit of pine, grapefruit, and juicy mango with a little vanilla. Bready malt in the background, a bit cakelike. Really nice balance. My only quibble is a bit of a papery note that comes through in the finish, I assume this is a fresh bottle, so where is it coming from? Mouthfeel is lively with a zippy carbonation and medium body. A little less dry than I expected in the finish, but it does have a big malt presence. This is a beer I could drink all night long, but the 6.9% might hamper that a little. With the big body and the massive hop bill this could easily have been dropped into the DIPA Category.

All in all drink for Haligonians to be proud of, and the best beer I've had yet from Nova Scotia. All hail the new Garrison!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber body with a scant, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma of grass and grapefruit pith with a backing of sweetish hinted caramel.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness tailed by a grassy, citrusy burst of hop flavor. Moderate bitterness, some acidity. A bit of astringency in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent enough for a beer that resides in the no-man's-land between IPA's and DIPA's.

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Photo of elricorico
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium orange-brown in colour and hazy. Has an almost yellowed tan head that starts at 3 fingers and fades to a cap.

Piney hop aroma. Rather straightforward, but nice.

Taste is hoppy for sure, but not as powerful as expected. Pine again, but with citrus added. Hops sit on top of a slightly watery, biscuit-like malt base. Not bad, but not great.

The body is light, with a touch of slickness to it. It is lightly carbonated. Not bad here either.

The theme is that this beer isn't bad, but really isn't blowing my mind.

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Photo of BigBry
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle of the Unfiltered Pale Ale.
Pours a deep orange color with golden brown highlights. Hazy, due to the fact it is uniltered, but that adds a bit of shimmer to the liquid. 2 inches of off-white head, decent retention and good looking lace.
A good dose of citrus, pine, and floral hops in the nose. Heavy malt tsate first, then a whole bunch of piney hops, citrus, grapefruit rind, lots of bitter goodness. The hops are stronger than the malt, but it is not overly out of balance. Thick and creamy body coats your mouth, then a crisp and dry, bitter finish.
Strong flavors and nice alcohol warmth at the end, not one to chug, but a sipper.
Overall, an excellent IPA, and as mentioned previously, pushing a Double / Imperial IPA.

Note to Self: Ranked #22 of the Top Beers - Canada when I tried it.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL brown bottle with no freshness date. Pours a chill-hazed toasted gold, with medium carbonation and a thin tan cap that retains well. Smells of biscuity and caramelly malts, piney/citric hops, a few esters and a hint of pleasing diacetyl. Lots and lots of juicy hops on the palate, with piney/herbal notes, sharp white grapefruit and a strong bitter linger on top of a smooth, moderately-carbonated body. Not much malt, but there is a light sweetness. Tasty enough; raw and hoppy, but it isn't quite balanced right.

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber-copper with a light tan head, good retention, great lace.

S: Huge citrus aroma with grapefruit, tangerine, nectarine and hints of toffee.

T: Plenty of hops, with some nice malt to back it up. Great balance. Flavours of tangerine, nectarine, grapefruit, toffee & nut with hints of caramel & fruity esters. Alcohol is subtle.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has some hop acidity and a crisp finish.

D: I love it, but it's more of an IPA and a half, so it's certainly not as sessionable as some.

Definitely among the best in Canada.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper with a big billowy head. Careful pouring this one - the head will build for a good long time! Nose is bright, floral and citrusy with a touch of sawdust and fruit. A little on the boozy side and leans towards bitterness rather than hop flavour. Could have more balancing sweetness. Good body and drinkability. Tasty enough but doesn't really pop.

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Photo of grub
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pubstyle hooked me up with this one. thanks troy!

22oz bottle. unfiltered.

pours slightly hazy reddish copper colour with a thick, dense cream coloured head. drops slowly and leaves tons of lace behind.

aroma is good. biscuity malt. light alcohol. grapefruit and orange.

taste is good. medium-high bitterness level. bit of alcohol. bread and biscuit malts. grapefruit. bit of orange. touch of caramel sweetness. the malt fills out a little more as it warms, which is nice.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is good. nicely balanced, maybe leaning a touch too far towards bitterness when it was cold, but it balances nicely once warmed a little. looking forward to trying more from these guys.

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Photo of JMBSH
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of esch
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Quite nice orange color. Very hazy, but advertised as unfiltered so that's to be expected. Poured with a very dense white head. Retention is high.

S: All about the hops. Citrusy, grassy, minty, it's all here. Even though it's only 6.9% there's a nice twinge of alcohol. The barest notes of sweetness poke through at the end.

T: This is a face-full of delicious hoppiness. Incredible hop flavor. Tending towards earthiness and grassy the citrus notes from the aroma are missing. Aggressively bitter, not that it's a bad thing. Listed at 70 IBUs but tastes much higher than that, this beer lights up the edges of my mouth like few have before. There's certainly big maltiness here but it's completely dominated by the hops.

M: Body is big on this one. Medium carbonation. Nice alcohol heat. The bitterness lingers for quite a while after you swallow.

D: In a word, fantastic. I wish they'd dial down the bitterness a tad but otherwise this is a complete success.

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Photo of Mindsquall
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle has been living in my cellar for the past year and I figured it was time to open it and see what it was like.

Served at cellar temperature (approximately 8 degrees C.)

Poured into a standard pint glass, looks good, reddish amber with a slightly tan head that holds itself quite well. Smell is very hoppy, some underlying malts in there but it's almost all hops. First sip threw me off, it was ridiculously bitter and honestly not all that enjoyable. However as I went through it I began to enjoy it a little more. Some maltyness shows itself in the aftertaste but the hops are really aggressive.

This somewhat reminded me a bit of DFH 90 Minute but with a much smoother finish.

Definitely a must have if you like heavily hopped ales.

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Imperial IPA from Garrison Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 231 ratings