Iron Fist | Revolution Brewing

very good
25 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Revolution Brewing
Illinois, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dry-hopped American ale featuring Centennial, Cascade, Chinook and Amarillo hop varieties.

Added by emerge077 on 02-04-2010

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Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 132
Photo of TheBrewo
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This brew was served on tap at Revolution Brewing Company’s pub in Chicago, Illinois. It arrived in your standard house pint glass showing a deeper but sparkling amber-rose coloring. It held a solid one finger head of tight and soapy white bubbles that showed championship quality retention. This eventually draped into a single sheet of wet lacing around the glass, with a remaining quarter finger’s height worth of a sheet atop the liquid. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be moderately active. The aroma offered a blend of grassy, nectary, and lightly piney hoppiness, cooling vanilla extract, heavily bittered phenolic character, simple and syrupy sweet pale malts, white flour adjuncts, buttered English breakfast cakes, celery vegetals, wet cloth, and lemony chemical cleaner. The flavor to follow gave sugary sweet citric hoppiness to match more herbal and piney varietals of bitterness. Between this battle was a mishmash of mineral and metallic yeastiness, sweet ethanol, massively soured cranberry acidity, that bitter phenolic wash from the nose, simply pale and amber grains, candy corn, mild rye metallics, fruity zinfandel grape, cardboard, and softly resinous aloe and green grassiness. The body was rather medium, and the carbonation was active. Again, for our third experience with Revolution beverages, we met a mouthful of dense oily slickness. Uncanny!! This sensation was certainly lighter than either Anti-Hero or Double Fist, but remarkable nonetheless. The intense head retention lent well to slurp and smack, with a cool and creamy moustache. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank back smoothly.

Overall, this was our third and final brew consumed with our lunch at Revolution’s brewpub, and again, we encountered a freshly hoppy and tasty offering. Here, the malts were most certainly left to the backseat flavor-wise, but wonderfully so, so as to allow for the fresh and tangy hoppiness, through both the brewing process and the dry hopping thereafter, to flourish. You get such a nice blend of this and that from the hop department throughout both your tours of the nose and mouth. The blend is unmistakable, but with a twinge of uniqueness in each sip. What malts there are lend a deeper, more amber and rye type quality to the tongue, pulling you into a more bittered and heavier shroud than for most in the style. Regardless, this was a nice beverage to end our visit on, and now that we’ve seen what they’re all about with the hops, we look longingly towards their “Deep Wood Series” to see just how high they can blow us out of the water.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours rather dark for a pale ale...light red/dark orange hue almost as if a red ale.

Piney, herbal, spice, and earthy.

Resinous pine and some spicy citrus from the hop profile and a great caramel sweet malt balance.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin, but not unexpected in a pale ale, crisp and refreshing.

Overall, a great standard APA to give shot, but I'd rather stick with my go to, Anti-Hero.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

2014-09-06: Sample poured at the Kedzie brewery.

Pours darkish golden, clear with a little head. Smell is nice -- very floral and fruity.

Taste is a little watery and bland.

Mouthfeel is light but sticky. Overall, it's OK.

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Photo of Treebs
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed on tap at Rev Brewpub. Served in a pint.

A: Pours a clear golden amber color with a white head forming on the pour. The head has great retention as it sticks around for the entire duration of imbibement. Sticky sheets of lace are left down the glass.

S: Earthy and citrusy with a lemon like citrus to it it. Underlying sweet malts with a good balance to it.

T: Bready malts with a an earthy hop profile. Grassy and grainy, slightly dirty with a nice orange zest balance to it. A sweetness on the back end from the malts provides a nice counter point.

M: Light bodied with a nice medium carbonation level. Sweet malt finish.

O: The younger brother of Double Fist this wasn't as citrusy, but still was nice and pretty drinkable. Nicely balanced, but a little too earthy for me. I prefer the juiciness of Double Fist.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

this pale ale is pushing an ipa, kept as just a pale ale only by its malt base, which has some decidedly English caramel and biscuit flare. I love the hops here, bitter and fruity both, with some pine resins too. I get orange and pineapple in here, which goes expertly with that bigger denser English pale malt base. it has an almost amber ale malt taste, but the hops keep it drinkable and prevent any sweetness from coming to the fore. centennial for sure, maybe some other higher alpha C varietals, the finish is long and luscious, plenty of bitterness, but not quite ipa status. I liked this as much or better than the ipas I had at revolution. good bubbles, but again, a little filling from the grains, denser than normal for the genre. overall a more than passable pale ale on the hoppy end of the spectrum. good glug here.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- This beer pours a deep copper body with a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles supporting a perfectly smooth creamy head of light tan that sticks to the glass in sheets with each sip.

S- The juicy green cascade citrus hops have a dry slightly buttery (diacetyl) caramel malt note that gives it a nice British lean.

T- There is some dry but juicy citrus hops that have a minty hint to them with a slightly woody hop finish that lingers just a moment after each sip.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a tight crisp fizz in the finish that compliments the hops.

O- The nice deep hop profile has no bitterness just great hop flavor and the buttery character adds nicely to the malt notes.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From 01/21/13 notes. Had on tap at the brewpub in Chicago.

a - Pours a clear orange-amber color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of pale malts, some fruity malts, citrus hops, and bready malts. Some nice fruit and citrus, though not overly hoppy or flavorful.

t - Tastes of wheat, bready malts, pale malts, light fruity malts, citrus, and light vanilla. Light tasting than the nose, something interesting in the backend of the taste, almost like vanilla.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and no bitterness, pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a decent pale ale. Not my favorite beer from Revolution but easy to drink and some decent fruit in the nose. Would have it again but there were better beers on tap.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer #5 in my great Illinois Brew Hunt.

This is very much like the Double Fist - surprise! Earthy hoppy base, but this one has a more peppery and spicy tone to it from the hops. Fruity tones are pretty high as well. Carbonation is quite biting; could be toned down a good bit.

I'm not quite sure which I like better: this or the Double Fist. I think I'll have to go with the Double Fist, but this is still pretty tasty!

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Photo of socon67
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

A - Pours dark copper with a thin foam that settled fast.

S - Has a nice hoppy scent with a bit of honey sweetness. Light and slightly herbal smell.

T - I'm digging the dry hopped medley going on here. Cascade, Chinook, and other hop varieties give this a blended and slightly bitter finish. A bit of citrus in the taste.

M - Easy drinking pale that is very fresh and thirst quenching. Went great with my food.

O - Just solid in every way. A great one for the local folks in Ch-Town.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

With a hop-forward demeanor, Iron Fist lays down the hammer by shifting the balance from even-keel to "hops first" in this Revolution house pale ale.

Like many, many other pale ales, the beer pours with a medium copper hue that's laden with a foamy cap of off white foam with sticky lace that grips the glass. If it seems like I've written this description of appearance a thousand times, its because I've drank a thousand beers that look like this.

Hops showcase the aromatics with varying scents of grapefruit, orange, fresh cut grass, pine, and tropical fruit. A supporting role of caramel, graham cracker, and fresh kilned barley balance the beer nicely but allows the hops to stay firmly in command.

Flavors are more balanced, at least up front. Light caramel, bread crust, graham crackers, and toasted grain give a dry malt taste to the beer with a hint of biscuity starch. Hop flavors arrive shortly after with more delicate but zesty taste of white grapefruit, freshly zested oranges, muddled grasses, pine, and herbs, with a lightly resinous bitterness to finish. Although the finish certainly favors the hop bitterness, the early malt impression stay with the palate throughout.

Medium-light in body, the early malt sweetness and starch is rounded into a creamy texture by elevated carbonation, but that's all quick to fade as the mid palate is quick and dry leaving the beer somewhat empty going into the finish. But a closure of citrusy and piney bitterness causes refreshment and a cleansing feel with alcohol warmth that extends well into the next sip.

With it's caramel upstart and refreshing bitterness late, this is a beer well suited to accompany those burgers, pizzas, and drummies at Revolution. It's a beer that seems to pair with everything on the menu.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rev Kedzie Grand Opening Party.

A - Pours a reddish/amber color, white head, thin cap.

S - Lightly hopped, nice dose of malts, citrus. Pretty straight forward here, but still solid and done well.

T - Grass, light citrus, hoppy bitterness, light malts.

M - Light body, good carbonation, oily finish.

O - A nice APA from Rev that's easy to drink and enjoy multiple times at 5.5%. Not something I go to all that often, but it's nice if you're just looking for something light to enjoy.

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at the brewpub. Citrus aroma invites me in. Lacey, fresh looks, smell, and taste. A good citrus bitterness, this would be an IPA in the old days. Centennial, Cascade, Chinook and Amarillo provides complexity for each sip leading to very good drinkability.

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Photo of KDawg
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this on tap at revolution from a pint glass. Pours a nice orange-gold color with a small head

balanced and hop based aromas along with navel oranges and citrus aromas as well

full bodied but lacking a bit and a shorter finish. The flavors are very good and hop based with some oranges too

this is a good pale ale, and it is easy it drink. There are better options if this was canned or bottled, but is a solid bet at the brewpub

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Photo of AgentZero
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Orangish amber colored beer with a finger of white head that left splotches on the sides.

S - Caramel malt backbone with some slight sweet tropical fruit and some bitter, somewhat catty, hops smell. I was hoping for something a little crisper and cleaner on a hot day, but this is more of a down and dirty, hop-forward APA.

T - Sweet caramel, some pineapple and citrus orange. The hops take over mid-taste and turn to a sugary, bitter resin bite. Its not bad, but kind of sweet and edgy, not what I was hoping for.

M - Slightly gritty with active carbonation and medium body.

O - This is a decent, malty, hop-forward APA. Not bad, but one of my least favorite Revolution beers, becomes kind of hard to drink after a while. Wish it was more refreshing.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On-tap at Revolution. Supposedly a fresh batch just tapped today.

Clear, deep amber in color with a small cream head that lingers well. Little lacing.

Aroma is not that fragrant. Possibly a mix of piney and lemony hops? Kind of hard to tell what is going on.

The taste starts out as a blast of bitter hops with a bitter grapefruit peel flavor. Malty, bready middle with a light caramel sweetness. Finish is piney and lemony hops mixed with the caramel sweetness. Kind of citrusy, but not bitter.

Medium body with a higher carbonation that is almost foamy in texture. I'm not really digging this.

An all right pale ale that has a nice hop flavor but lets down in the aroma and body. I probably wouldn't order this again.


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Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub - December 27, 2010.

Pours a nice reddish-copper color with a one-finger white head and a bit of lacing on the way down. THe nose has an odd blend of hops that I can't say I really like all that much. Some citrus, grass, and floral character all together without really melding. The taste falls victim to the same problem and offers a bit of biscuit-esque malt in the background. Light to medium body with a good backbone of bitterness. Drinks quite well. Enjoyable and certainly drinkable but I'd alter the hop bill.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Revolution Brewing Company (Chicago, IL) on 8/7/10. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark copper, with a ½ finger of creamy eggshell-white head. This retains with a thin, yet frothy, layer which coats the sides of the glass with a sticky smattering of lace. The aroma is floral with bitter grapefruit notes, while a more dank and earthy hop tones sit underneath. Tropical smelling pineapple and mango character mixes with some gentle feeling breadiness from the malts to sweeten the profile up some. The hops really shine here though, blowing fresh flavor up the nostrils with each sniff.

The taste really packs in the hop flavors, being bright with grapefruit, earth, and citrus rind, with just the right amount of spice and bitter fruit left over in the finish. Grainy sweetness from the Pale malts mixes with some sweeter fruit to balance the hops out while still letting them sit at the forefront of this. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with an easy feeling creamy slickness that just allows this to move effortlessly around in the mouth. Very quaffable overall feel.

Very easydrinking Pale here with a full hop profile that brings the flavor but without overdoing the bitterness. A tasty thrist quencher here for sure. Another solid brew from Revolution.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.39/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap into a tasting glass at the brewpub...A medium copper but very clear. Boring light white head...Aroms is super light, grass mostly but there is a baby puke finish which is very offputing...Thankfully the taste isn't pukey. This is the epitome of an average beer. Super watery which sucks, but taste of hops and caramel so has flavor. Decent to drink..

Average, beer nothing great, but worth sampling at the pub.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at the brewpub

appearance: served in a standard pint - full copper-amber body, strong white lacing

smell: moderately hoppy, toasted grain, caramel malts

taste: consumed right after the anti-hero...palate took a few minutes to come back down to earth. the iron fist has a more modest hop profile with a nice grain/malt contrast...light fruity notes and easy drinking

mouhtfeel: nice medium body, light bitterness

drinkability: good

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Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to drfabulous for sharing this growler.

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a two-finger, off-white head of thick foam. Good head retention eventually receded to leave rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of grapefruit, orange peel and a strong dose of burnt toast malt.

T - The taste differs very little from the aroma. Good burnt toast maltiness with a grapefruit/ orange citrus presence from the hops that provided a solid bitter kick.

M - It was crisp, sharp and had a dry finish. A medium bodied ale that is exceptionally easy drinking.

D - This was a good growler of beer. We opened it about 3 days after it was filled and it tasted as if it had been poured from the tap that night. Good brew!

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Photo of bruachan
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

evidently my favorite part of this beer is its appearance (which doesn't happen so often, i feel): rich amber color with solid head

i get amarillo aromas before anything else, and the citrus is a sneaky one

as far as hop flavor goes, more pine comes through than citrus. hops are handled appropriately for style: we're firmly in APA territory, though that territory may be the beneficiary of some lupulin brinksmanship in recent years. some fruity esters play round in there as well. very little in terms of pure malt characteristics

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Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a clear orangish-copper color with an average-sized white head and nice lacing.

Aroma is citrusy and floral hops, sweet malt, honey. Smells pretty nice.

Flavor is good and clean with sweet caramel malt and honey along with a nice hop complex profile: orange, grapefruit, and floral notes.

Pretty standard palate for the style, with medium body and carbonation.

Another impressive beer from Revolution, which surprised me. Drinkable.

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Photo of hawks10
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a pint glass...

Pours a nice golden copper color with great clarity. A two finger pure white head quickly dissipates and leaves a ring of haze on top of the brew for the whole drink, a bit of lacing...

Bready and caramel-like malt presence hits the nose first. A bit of floral hops show through, but overall the smell of this beer is pretty muted...

Sweet malts, clean and crisp tasting. A bit of a hop bite towards the end with a mild bitter lingering aftertaste...

Medium bodied with high carbonation, very prickly on the palette. Easy drinking and highly sessionable, but nothing I would go out of my way to acquire. Middle of the road APA...

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Photo of Florida9
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper in color. Clear. Active carbonation is perceivable. Served with about a 1/4" of off-white head. Decent lacing.

S: Heavy floral notes. Orange blossom. A little citrus.

T: Light, grainy malts. Maybe a little seltzer from all of the carbonation. Chewy finish of citrus and mild pine hops.

M: On the lighter side of medium with a quite active carbonation.

D: A very drinkable pale that reminds me of a toned-down AK or Daisy Cutter. This beer will make a wonderful addition to the Chicago beer scene.

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Photo of jvande7
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an above average pale ale. If you like Sierra Nevada, this is right up your alley. Not overly hoppy, more of a balanced brew but enough hop presence to remind you that you're drinking an APA. If you consider yourself a hophead, you'd be better off with their Anti-Hero IPA though.

Only had a sample portion of this brew but there were no other reviews so I figured I'd throw something down.

UPDATE: just grabbed a growler of their new/2nd batch and this is even better than their first! This is far superior to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (but along the same lines). Great hop aroma. A full-flavored brew that's an excellent example of craft beer. Try this if you like Mad Hatter by New Holland, very similar.

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Iron Fist from Revolution Brewing
3.81 out of 5 based on 132 ratings.
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