Imperial IPA | Garrison Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by MMansfield on 08-11-2007

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Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 225
Photo of Mit
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade from fellow Canadian BA BBrianBoogie.

Holy cow just let me say...if I could get this on a regular basis along with some other Canadian notables I would travel across the border waaaay less often for my hop fix.

Appearance: A nice cloudy coppery red colour. Beautifully hazy with a nice creamy head that lasted for about a min or two.

Smell: A fantastic grapefruity hop aroma emanates from the glass giving away the hoppiness to come.

Taste: Just fantastic. A very nice bitter hop flavour permiates the initial tasting leaveing a nice spicy aftertaste. Some nutty notes were noticed with some maltiness coming through. Hops were very prevalent here.

Mouthfeel: It felt a little heavier than the 7.0% abv. Didn't detract from beer at all.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, but the 7% would probably get in the way of having too many of these.

I would hope that with the growing popularity of craft beer that Garrison can start making in roads into Ontario. I would buy this beer on a very regular basis for sure. I mean they still think Alexander Keiths is an IPA in Ontario...LOL.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Disclaimer - got this beer as part of a trade with Loftarasa. I was supposed to pick it up from my parents in December, but the box got lost amongst some empty ones on the front porch and I didn't end up getting my beer until this week (6 months later). However, since I don't know when I'll get another Garrison IPA I figured I'd review it - but with the hopes that I'll get a crack at a fresh one in the future. Bottled December 2008. Served in an Ikea pint glass at my cousin-in-law's BBQ party.

A - Gorgeous reverse waterfall cascade of foam that eventually settles to three fingers of soapy blonde foam. Solid retention and copious patchy lacing. It's definitely an unfiltered brew, with a slightly hazed dark amber color and the occasional tiny bubble that flits into view.

S - Pine and dank earthy hops - is this a Simcoe beer? Reminds me a little of the Weyerbacher double I had last week, but obviously smells older with plenty of caramel maltiness. I'm not getting any of the citrus promised on the label - perhaps it was there in January, but I guess I'll never know. Somewhat muted, even when it warmed up.

T - Pine, maybe a hint of orange, loads of caramel and bready malt. There is still some residual hop bitterness that builds and builds over the 650ml serving size. Nothing wrong with it - but it's just not popping like a fresh IPA would, and lacks depth (again, likely due to the age).

M - Mild to moderate carbonation, medium body, soft and creamy. Dry finish with some residual hop oils and resins. Pretty standard.

D - Bitterness mounts very quickly for this one. ABV is still in the session range, and finishing the bomber was no problem, but the palate fatigue made it hard to taste much of anything the rest of the evening.

I suspect having this fresh would bump it up to an A- (smell and/or taste would probably gain a half point). Hopefully I'll get a chance to amend this review.

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Photo of BigBry
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
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 ludachris
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Made sure I picked this one up on my last trip to Nova Scotia since I discovered true IPA's not that long ago.
Pours a very nice hazy deep orange with golden brown highlights. Finger and a half of off-white head with decent retention and decent lacing.
A burst of citrus, pine, floral hops and buttery malt in the nose. Very inviting.
Smooth buttery malt accompanied by a punch of pronounced citrus, grapefruit rind and pine that almost makes your mouth pucker and lingers to the bitter end. The hops are much more pronounced then the malt, but it still makes for quite a tasty beverage.
Incredibly creamy body that's capped off by a crisp, dry, bitter finish. Being so tasty and creamy, the drinkability is great but at the same time, I would find it hard to have more then two of these bad boys in fear of my tongue losing all of its senses to the bitterness.

Overall, an excellent IPA. Creamy, smooth, tasty and definately not lacking in the hop department. I am still a BA rook, but reading the label; "unfiltered Imperial Pale Ale" and with "Imperial" in its name, on top of the incredible IBU count, and 7% ABV ,I think this brew leans more towards an imperial IPA rather then an American IPA. Regardless, this was an exceptional brew that I would definately recommend for anyone travelling or living down East.

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Photo of Ralphus
4.46/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I received this beer as part of a BIF and wow - what a great thing to get in the mail! I believe the product has changed slightly as it's now unfiltered and the ABV has increased to 7%.

This beer looks wonderful. I don't give out 5's often but this one gets it. A beautiful mahogany red, cloudy and rich topped with two and a half fingers of rich foam. The beer leaves textbook rings down the glass as you drink it (rather quickly).

The smell is sweet fruit mostly with undercurrents of pine. Quite nice. The taste is full of sweet malts initially, the same fruitiness as the smell and wallop of piney hops. The hop finish is very long on this one. I agree with another reader below who thinks this should be classified as an DIPA.

Mouthfeel is solid creamy and leads to exceptional drinkability for a beer of this strength and bitterness. Well done Garrison!

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-ish mahogany, it's hazy, with ample head and nice, clingy lacing.

Oh, this smells nice. Prickly grapefruit and sweet floral hops and caramel, smells like a juicy sweet citrusy west coast pale ale for sure.

And then I drank it....


It's mostly all resiny hops with only a little caramel malt to back it up. Pine and grapefruit are there, but the bitterness seems to steal the show Don't get me wrong. It's a good beer, if one dimensional. All c-hop bitterness, and not a whole lot more.

Mouthfeel is creamy and viscous, slick and chewy.

It's a good and drinkable beer. Not my favorite beer ever, mind you, but you could do a lot worse. It's too bad it didn't taste more like it smells. Perhaps less hops at the beginning of the boil and more towards the end would even things about a bit.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this at the local pub. Not sure why it is called a PALE ale, considering it arrived as a pint of darkish brown ale. Little to no head, but that is mostly just how the pub pours all their pints. Deep Hop aroma and very bold taste. Surprisingly bitter for a pale ale, but very tasty overall.

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Photo of gruvn
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
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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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
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 KaiMiller
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml, unfiltered

Nice amber pour, hazy with hop resins, disappearing fluffy head.
Big hop aroma, resiny, grapefruit, spruce.
Flavour is big american hops up front, grapefruit, earthy. Lingering earthy bitterness. Light malt profile, some nice yeast fruitiness. Smooth body, goes down well. Time to change my opinion of Garrison.

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Photo of elricorico
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
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 babyhobbes
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
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 esch
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
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 nighthawk
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a cloudy orange. Couple fingers worth of off-white (nearly yellow) head. Grapefruit smacks me in the nose, with some herbal and grassy notes, and just a faint caramel poking through here and there. Tastes strongly of bitter citrus, grapefruit, grassy, earthy, and delicious. Caramel sweetness took me by surprise with its nice balance. Hints of alcohol near the finish, but it's basically bitter through and through. Robust body, low carbonation, and surprisingly smooth. Very high drinkability, gives big beer flavour in a relatively low-alcohol package.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
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 charlesw
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
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 irishkyle21
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with a large fluffy white head that holds its own and leaves lots of lacing as it fights to stay two fingers thick. Has a murky copper/orange color. Well she starts off great in the looks department, now lets see what she offers for personality.

Smells of spicy grapefruit hops, lots of sweet pale malt and just a little bit of mustiness (in a good way).

Tastes of grapefruits, citrus (and other hop goodness), caramel malt and a clean bitter finish. I could drink this 24/7. I can only hope that one day I could try this on tap at the brewery. Thanks goes to MMansfield for this tasty treat.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

650ml bomber served in a 750ml brandy snifter. Entered under growler, as I previously reviewed a bottle of this in it's thankfully short-lived "filtered" version.

A - hazy ruby-orange colour, with a dense creamy tan head that eventually recedes to a few splotches. Talk about unfiltered, there are even a few hop pieces floating about! Some good lacing down the side of the glass.

S - juicy sweet grapefruit hop, no bitter rind or pine notes, but lots of other "tropical" notes such as papaya and mango.

T - Absolutely satisfying. Sweet malt and hops upfront, bitter grapefruit hop mid-way, finishing with a wicked combo of hop bitterness and biscuity malt.

M - Smooth is the name of the game here, with a lip smackingly dry finish to cleanse the palette. Barley a hint of alcohol is noticable, carbonation is low.

D - Drinkability is sky high, this delivers the goods in spades!

West Coast-style IPA from an East Coast Canadian brewery? WTF!!! What a frickin' monster of a beer, just when I thought I was burning out on IPAs, along comes a bountiful package full of this glorious beer. Leaves absolutely no doubt that this beer was fully deserving of it's 2007 CBA Beer of the Year award. Congrats to Greg!!!

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Photo of Viggo
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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 Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
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 SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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 grub
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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 Mandrake
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep and cloudy reddish-copper, a testament to the unfiltered bottling process, with a decent sized off-white head that leaves very good lacing. Smell is nicely hopped, at the same time herbal and fruity, with good citrus showing and a touch of caramel. Butter as well, and a woodsy note too. Taste is really quite interesting. Starts hoppy, the grapefruit and pine bite nice and strong. Malts the become apparent, caramel and breadiness filling the profile out and lending some complexity. Damp, earthy note in the finish is really different, and I love it. Well done. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, lively, and full-bodied, and drinkability is nice for such an aggressive, high-ABV beer. Good stuff, a top-drawer IPA.

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Photo of demcorhip
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to NASH, for not only brewing this tasty treat but trading me some.

A beautiful looking brew. Unfiltered and opaque pale coppery brown brew. Big, tight, four finger pale tan head on a mildly aggressive pour. Seems finely and mildly carbonated as I cant see any carbonation streams due to the murky body of this ale. Head decently retained, and left a good thick web of lacings.

Biscuit and crusty multigrain bread, caramel and a hint of diacetyl in there too. Floral and citrusy hops, mostly orange scented, and woody and piney aromas also present. Earthy qualities also present, as is a slight yeasty? mustiness that doesnt detract from the overall aroma of this brew.

Solid biscuity malt backbone, flavours much like in the aroma of whole grain crusty bread and some caramel. Hops fairly assertive, but not typical of the american IPA style, but its fair to say this is one amped up pale ale that lies somewhere between IPAs, pale ales, and perhaps even strong ales. Mostly floral and earthy, woody hop bite from the Magnum hops. Then Cascade make an appearance, with flavours of orange and pine.

A big bodied brew, somewhere between medium and full bodied. Rich and solid malt backbone bends but doesnt break under a solid hop assault. Very mildly carbonated, works nicely with the big, smooth, and slightly creamy feel. Hops almost approach resinous and stripping feel at the finish, which is slightly astringent.

The mild astringent finish makes it easy to keep coming back for another drink of this refreshing big bodied brew. Alcohol noticeable, but not too assertive, so in no way does it detract from the drinkability. While in no way typical, easy drinking session fare, this would be a great beer to tip back all night long.

My only complaint was the slight mustiness, but this was something that my palate quickly accustomed itself to, and in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this tasty brew. Lucky Haligonians. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Canadian brewing.

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Photo of trevorwideman
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
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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Imperial IPA from Garrison Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 225 ratings.
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