Imperial IPA | Garrison Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA
231 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 231 |  Reviews: 126
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip glass.

A - Dark orange/amber colour with a small amount of bubbly white head.

S - Nice aroma of bitter citrus hops with a touch of floral scent coming through. A sweet caramel backbone rounds out the nose.

T - Bitterness hits you up front with some floral and faint citrus notes. A big sweet caramel malt backbone is present as well. The hops create a big bitter bite that lingers in the finish.

M - Medium body, good chew, lightly carbonated.

D - A good DIPA but needs more flavour from the hops (lots of bitterness without the accompanying flavour profile)

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Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a murky amber colour with huge frothy beige head. I can't make out much carbonation due to the haziness of the beer, and there is some fantastic lacing.

The head lasted for over 5 minutes or so before it was gone.

Smell - hops, slightly metallic, malts, toffee/sugar

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a nice and balanced mouth feel. There is an average amount of carbonation mixed with full bodied taste that makes it feel velvety. Hops are the most prominent flavour, also some caramel and malts, and lots of floral and citrus notes. There is a lot of flavour going on here, very potent and full bodied - and very sweet. It finishes with a hop/bitter aftertaste.

Drink - Definitely a good IPA, worth seeking out.

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Photo of MattyV
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep amber-orange colour with a thick creamy off-white head that shows great retention.

Spice and (mostly) citrus evident in the nose, along with a noticeable caramel malt character. Hints of fruit start to come out as it warms.

Very bitter tasting, but doesn't overwhelm, just coats the tongue and mouth with a thin coating of grapefruit rind, pine needles, and earthy hops. A subtle caramel malt flavour can also be picked out which complements and balances the hoppiness, although it clearly/appropriately takes a back seat to this major hop-assault on the tastebuds.

Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated, slightly creamy mouthfeel.

The intensity of the hop flavours will prevent most from reaching for more than one of these in a single sitting... but that being said, I was glad to see this arrive at my local LC as its great for once to be able to grab something Canadian to get a solid hop fix!

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Photo of BBP
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a thick orangish brown with good carbonation. The head was quite robust, and the lacing was preeminent.

S- Piney hop with a bit of bite, as well as some malt. I couldn't make it out too well as the hops were very dominant.

T- Piney hop and a bit of smokiness in the malt from the start. Has some citrus and caramel notes as well. Light bits of fruitiness, and very bittersweet. I found this to be a great example of balance in an IIPA. I loved the bitter pine aftertaste mixed with smokiness. Through it all, I appreciated how the hops remained the focus of it, as some DIPA's become heavy in regards to malts.

M- A bit more than a medium body, and it goes down quite smooth. The carbonation seemed just right.

D- Easy to down, and quite enjoyable. No real flaws in it at all. The only DIPA I'm aware of that I can get around here, which certainly helps it out.

Before finding this, I wasn't aware of any double IPA's in my country. I thought they were almost exclusive to the states. That being said, I wasn't sure how one of ours would hold against the others, and the answer is that it did a pretty good job. Not my favorite DIPA, but I don't think it's lacking.

I may pick up a couple more of these, regardless of the slightly high price point. It was incredibly smooth for it's style, but maybe a little less potent.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle pours a dark, slightly hazy orange brown colour, with a lot of head. Tastes slightly bitter with a bit of a hop bite up front, but the follow through falls short. Lacks the finish, this beer does. Its ok overall, but the back end could use a little more punch. Thought this one was a little over hyped.

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Photo of liamt07
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle, dated January 19, 2010, into my new Propellor pint glass (bottle and glass courtesy of Long813). Past it's prime clearly, but I'll keep that in mind.

Pours a deep orange/amber with a finer or so of eggshell white head. Good head retention, with still a significant amount of fat, chunky lacing. Aroma is of grapefruits, but the malts have a huge presence here; very sweet, bready and caramel-like. Taste is initially of a quick punch of hop bitterness, supported tremendously by solid malt base, again not overly sweet, but balanced, smooth and of a caramel/toffee flavour. Mouthfeel is full and balanced, with a slightly astringent and dry finish. Bitterness lingers significantly. Drinkability is quite good, not a huge blast of hops and again, balanced and easy to put back. Alcohol is non-existent here. Would've loved to have tried this fresh, and will definitely re-review this when I do.

EDIT: Bottle as part of the recent LCBO release, less than a month and a half old. Appearance ranks the same, excellent lace and retention. Greater citrus and hop presence in the nose, so much more fruity and huge toffee malt compared to how I remember. Taste ranks the same, bigger bitterness this time round. More chewiness. Smell bumped up from a 3.5 to a 4, and drinkability from a 4 to a 4.5. One of the better ones in Canada, a few notches below the 10BY.

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Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks really good. Nice, two-finger thick, meringue-ish head. Laces, but does go to near nothing within a few minutes.
Nice deep, cloudy, orange/amber colour.

There's a strong citrus in there. Kind of grapefuit, and a bit of... conifers.

I did not like the taste (maybe moreso the feel) at the beginning. It got better as the bottle went on, though. It's fruity, and very much like the smell.

It feels fine in the mouth overall, but there is a long-lingering bitterness on the back of my tongue... almost like I just ate soap. Perhaps this beer is the Thrills gum of beers?

It's pretty drinkable. I like the flavour and smell... they're pretty fresh. I like that, even though it's 7%, the alcohol doesn't stand out at all. I don't like the strength of that bitterness and lingering feel, though.

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Photo of Evocatus
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden yellow with a frothy white head. Aroma was a mix of fruits, spices and hops. It was pretty strong as well. Taste was more geared to the hop and spices. Good balance, nice and strong. Good body for the style, nice and crisp as well. Garrison's best IMO. Wouldn't mind drinking a couple of these.

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Photo of pootz
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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 Long813
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled On: Jan 10 2010

A: Dark cloudy copper bodied boasting just over two fingers of off white head. A good amount of head retains throughout the entire drink and leaves exceptional lacing.

S: Can't pick much out besides a large from of hops and malts that seem to smooth it out.

T: Loads of hops up front with a malty base. Malts really smooth and sweeten up the bitter pine taste. Taste good, but I can't pick out any specifics.

M: Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Has a smooth creamy texture that ends with a bitter pine taste. No sense of alcohol here.

D: Great Canadian DIPA and DIPA in general. I'll be drinking a lot more of this and can't believe I waited this long to review it.

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Photo of kjyost
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks BBrianBoogie! Bottled on Nov 20/09. Poured into a Tulip.

An amazing looking beer. This is not the biggest IPA by ABV but man does it look good. A rich red body that is a little cloudy. Pours a perfect head that slowly drops itself as it leaves thick and perfect lacing. Woowzers! This beer has me right off the hop.

The aroma continues in the same vein. Floral and hoppy, Amarillo or a C hop? A bit of earthy hop underneath it too. The malt is understated, but I think that is only because I am getting the hops kicking me in the nose... Everything an IIPA should be. I was worried that the nose would be off as the bottle was older. Thanks heavens not!

The taste of the beer is nice, but it is not nearly as overwhelming as my two previous senses too it to be. The primary hop flavour is earthy and a bit dank. Not my favorite. It is well balanced though as the bitterness is there, but not overwhelming nor lingering forever upon the palate. The malt body is sweet and at times tastes bready / like crackers. This hits you until the bitterness rolls in and balances it out. Personally I would have preferred a more floral hop in the body. Still good.

Mouthfeel is a unbalanced. Plays well in the mouth in terms of bitterness, but the carbonation at times seemed a bit too biting. Not normally, but in a few mouthfuls.

A good and drinkable IIPA, that had me from the pour. Well done Garrison!

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Photo of eat
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally found this one at Volo; this is the last bottle I needed to acquire to finish off the current BA Canadian Top 25. It's listed here incorrectly: this is an Imperial Pale Ale (as stated on the label) and not an Imperial IPA. I had been confused due to the listing.

Wicked colour: a hazy/translucent ruby-copper. Foamy, thick finger of cream-white head and sticky lacing. This beer looks great.

The nose consists mainly of tropical fruit. Guava, papaya and pineapple with a solid backing of sweet malt. Similar in character to a real American West Coast IIPA but not as powerful. It could use more presence.

An unbelievable amount of flavour for 7% ABV. It has the flavour of a full IIPA even though by ABV it's closer to an IPA (which can regularly weigh-in at's hard to think of 7% as a "double"). I could see how naming this an Imperial Pale Ale would make sense; it seems to be in between a IIPA and an IPA. Tons of grapefruit rind, caramel malt, earthy and grainy with a hint of pine. The tropical fruit from the nose doesn't really show up in the taste as I was expecting. I really liked that hop character and wish I could taste it here, maybe it's more obvious when super fresh. This is one of those hoppy beers which is purposefully unbalanced; significantly higher in hops than malt. Though it doesn't overdo it: there is enough malt to serve as a solid base. No noticeable alcohol.

Decent feel, though it could be a bit more syrupy for my taste. The lightly-foamy carbonation does trick you into thinking the body is a little bigger than it is. Not bad.

I'm surprised...I thought this beer was most likely a little overrated but it isn't at all. At 7%, this could even conceivably be sessionable (though it's a little bitter to be sessionable for myself). I don't think I've ever tried an Imperial Pale Ale...very nice!

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Photo of kwjd
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Feb 17, 2010, so this is just over a month old.

Pours a dark cloudy orange colour. Huge fluffy off-white head that dissipates down, but leaves a nice cap on the beer. Lacing all down the side. Smell is a beautiful bouquet of hops, some pine and citrus. Taste is very hop forward, with some sweet caramel in there. A sticky type texture, but quite refreshing. Nice level of bitternes.

I don't know if this should be an IPA or an Imperial IPA, it may be half way in between. Whatever it is, it is delicious hop goodness.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle- Pours a deep orange with hues of amber. Head is one finger froth of off white foam. Nose is pine needles, orange peel, juniper, candied apricots. The flavour profile is a blast of piney hops upfront, followed by orange peel sweetness, grapefruit, dried apricots again. Chewy, heavy, oily finish. I liked this one! Another winner from these guys.

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Photo of Lukecook
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle

A- Cloudy orange color, 1 finger of head that diminshes to a fluffy blanket of foam leaving lots of lacing in its wake.

S- carmel malt, pine and citrus

T- Grapefruit, pine, light background of carmel, nice hop finish, hard to put down!

M- Medium body and mildly acidic.

D- I love this beer. It is definetly one of the best offerings here in New Brunswick.

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Photo of FishGetter
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up on a recent trip to Canada. Cloudy unfiltered copper orange color. Thin frothy head from an aggressive pour clings nicely to glass.
Fresh, crisp hop aroma. Very floral citrusy aroma. Some hints of malts blend in too.
Refreshing hints of hops right up front. Citrus flavors blend with a piney finish. Not overpowering or mouthpuckering. Sweet notes from malts even things out with a slight hoppy resin left in mouth.
Good solid mouthfeel, a bit on the heavy side but still refreshing.
Well rounded offering here. Definetly holds its own compare to well sought after IPA's. Very enjoyable, will seek out again on the next trip.

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Photo of papat444
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to stagger for this one. Enjoyed with my supper last night, pulled pork quesadillas from President's Choice.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, bottled on May 29, 2009.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, orange hued body that turns a deep brown as the rest of the bottle is poured. Murky and hazy as an unfiltered beer should be. Big 3 finger head sits atop.

Smell: Citrus, pine and a healthy dose of hops that aren't forceful but nice. A little sweetness in there also.

Taste: A good hop bite though not as strong as it might have been. Ripe grapefruit with an earthen feel to it. A little mellow in taste with a certain spice-like feel in the finish. Though not as aggressive as it should be, i found the taste quite enjoyable regardless.

Mouthfeel: A nice lasting bitterenss that is felt everywhere in the palate and lasts long after the sip. Good carbonation with a solid body. Good balance between astringency and smoothness.

Drinkability: Good taste and an ABV that is not easily felt. I'd have this one again for sure.

Overall: 5 1/2 months and this beer is still good and holds up quite well. This beer must be quite good when fresh. A keeper for sure.

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Photo of cratez
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Garrison & Bar Towel for hooking this up through their private order! What a beast of a beer.

Pours a glowing and cloudy amber orange with golden hues and a half-inch of white head. Big gobs of spotty, sporadic lacing permeate the entire glass.

Smell is strong perfume, nectarine, floral hops, tangerine, and citrus.

Taste is much the same with piney and resinous hops, citrusy orange flavours, and some caramel and biscuity malt to balance. Sweet toffee and bread flavours make a brief appearance, but the hops steal the show. IBUs are way up there, as the pleasantly bitter aftertaste lingers for quite a while.

Mouthfeel is nothing short of luxurious: smooth, tangy, and full-bodied, with a bright and fruity hop spiciness in the finish. Very satisfying.

Overall, this is not only one of the best beers in Canada, but also a shining example of the style. A sumptuous and aromatic beer with truly bold and enticing flavours.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into pint glass oct13 2009

A lots of suspended particles inside a reddish orange glass with a giant head on it. the foam goes nowhere and coats my glass well down the side. this is looking like a good thing

S citrus with the mild pine smell, lots of hops and some toffee

T all of the smell but more, I get some malt that works well with the large amount of hops. the citrus is a little more focused at grapefruit and a little booze is there but mild. nice seeing a real IPA from Halifax this is a winner

M foams up a fair bit but it seams too add a nice touch and give it a creamy feel.

D I like the bite this beer has going on, very easy too drink and overall one of the best big IPA's I've ever had from Canada

thanks wittaker for this one its great, knock one of the Canadian top25

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Photo of Kooz
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer my wife brought back from her trip--I love my wife!

Color--remember the Crayola crayon Burnt Umber? The beer is that color--unfiltered and gorgeous. An aggressive pour gave mit a bit too much head that took forever to dissapate. Awesome.

Smelled very hoppy. I am not an IPA fan (regardless of what the "I" stands for) because of the hops, and I could smell the hops from a mile away. Still, it was so pretty I didn't care.

Taste was, well, hoppy. But I didn't mind so much. It had bite, but also hints of other tastes I couldn't quite place. Other reviews say it's citrus--I didn't get that.

Tough to say about the mouthfeel. It was mellow, easy. The foam was light and airy, almost like a real ale/cask ale.

Even though it's my least favorite style of beer, I could see drinking this again and again.

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Photo of berley31
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured with an average-to-large sized, white head, that exhibited some very good lacing, clinging in small clumps and spiderweb patterns on the glass. Body is quite cloudy and a dark orange/amber color.

S: Very nice aroma of average hops, with a lot of scents in there, such as pine, citrus, and various herbs.

T: Great flavor with some citrus and pine notes, and a very bitter and dry finish. Lots of hop profile with this one, but it's not overpowering at all... there's a great balance with the whole flavor from start to finish.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy, with average carbonation.

D: A perfect example of an IPA with a good amount of kick, that doesn't, however, try to completely rip your taste buds apart. Definitely worth plenty of future purchases, and easily the best Garrison beer I've had to date.

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Photo of EsoxLucius
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a cloudy orange, very nice and interesting looking.

S: citrus and hops came out on top with some sweetness. bit of the bite of the ABV came out too.

T: hoppy and bitter, not in a bad way, i very much enjoyed drinking this beer, full of positive flavors.

M: decent body with minimal trace of its potency.

D: very good, i drank these all the time on my honeymoon to Nova Scotia and smuggled some back in a suitcase ;)

they're all gone now. =(

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Photo of bobsy
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this beer several times, in bottles during a stay in Halifax, as part of a private order in Toronto, and on draft at the brewery itself. While it doesn't quite hang with the big boys, its a fine Canadian hopbomb.

The body is a cloudy orange colour (its unfiltered), and the pour generates a sticky off-white head that laces prodigously. Retention is also very good.

Earthy, hoppy aroma with a mixture of pine and sweet citric notes. Lots of citrus and pine in the flavour, which certainly veers to the hoppy end of the spectrum, and makes for a slightly unbalanced beer, and a hopheads wet dream. Tangerine and grapefruit mixed in with resin. Caramel and light biscuit provide the malt backbone, but this spine has osteoporosis. Good mouthfeel for the style...almost chewy and oily. Considering the bitterness, the drinkability is really high, and I could definitely drink a few in the evening. The ABV is a strange one, pitching this beer between an IPA and IIPA.

Deserving of its spot in Canada's top 25, I'm sure this would hold up well south of the border.

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Photo of vgoreham
4.85/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I say bottle, but I've had this in every form it is served - it is one of my regulars. Although it has changed somewhat from it's inception, it's still a fantastic brew.

Pours a beautiful, hazy, orangey-copper, with great lacing and sufficient head.

Smells of citrus and hops.

Tastes bitter, almost like grapefruit juice, amazing hop taste assults the tongue. Just enough sweet caramel malt-flavour to let you know it hasn't been forgotten. Reminiscent of many DIPA/IIPAs.

A finish that is once dry, hoppy, crisp, sour, bitter, and refreshing - leaving the mouth feeling clean, happy, and craving more.

For it's strength, and it's hop level (high) this is a very drinkable beer. Definitely can be sessionable (but be careful when you stand up!)

Overall, this is on the border of an IPA/DIPA and rights the wrongs done by Keith's IPA here in Halifax!

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
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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Imperial IPA from Garrison Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 231 ratings
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