Retribution | High Water Brewing

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BA SCORE
85
very good
47 Reviews
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RetributionRetribution
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
High Water Brewing
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Retribution Imperial IPA is brewed for the true connoisseur of all things hoppy. We brew this beer with one theme, go big... or go home... Layers of bittering, finishing, and aroma hops all combine to result in a truely unique beer.

9.5% ABV 95 IBU

Added by womencantsail on 02-05-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
107
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
20.53%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
8
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 107
Photo of beagle75
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color with over one finger of turmeric-tinted foam head. Scant lacing remains and a veritable forest of fine-bubbled streams rise in the column.

S: Pungent coniferous foliage and over-ripe pineapple suggest detectable hops as well as other estery contributions. A fine thread of whole milk blunts the hops a little, seeming out of place.

T: Begins off-dry, with soft malt that tastes of caramel and hop aromatics whose pine qualities are slightly artificial. Astringency develops early amidst fairly mild acidity. Flavors become drier and generally less potent in the middle before harsh and disjunct bitterness--aspirin-like--develops in the slightly boozy finish.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly syrupy on the palate showing some alcohol burn, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Nothing if not consistent, High Water brewed what is truly the elder sibling to Hop Riot IPA. It struggles with continuity, transitioning between qualities clumsily. That said, it does yield somewhat greater appeal than its little brother, but appealing it is not.

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Photo of biglobo8971
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from bottle into RR tulip. The best thing about this beer is the smell. Very floral and aromatic, nice hop presence with a faint smell of sweetness. The rest, is ok. Nothing fantastic, the lacing, lasted the whole glass, which was impressive. Everything else, was ok. Nothing bad, just ok.

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Photo of bashiba
3.11/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep clean amber color with a huge sticky off white head.

The smell is mild with a light toasty bit of grain and some mild juniper hop notes.

Starts of big and syrupy sweet with some biscuit notes. The hops take over in the finish with a nice even blast of juniper bitterness with a touch of mint. The hop bitterness is there, but the hop flavors are a bit lacking.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily, lots of resin leaving a long lasting bitter coating.

Nothing special here, just your average malt bomb trying to be balanced out with a ton of bitterness, not terrible but a long way from great.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy copper-orange color with a thin finger of frothy off-white head atop. The head fades down slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of citrus hops and rich sweet caramel malts. There is also some herbal notes, some mint, and a touch of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of strong grapefruit and herbal hops and lots of bitterness. There is also a bit of super sweet and rich caramel malts. Through the middle, more herbal hops come through with more bitterness as well as some booze flavor. The finish is a mix of herbal and citrus hops and bitterness, rich sweet malts, and some alcohol flavor that linger together.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels a bit syrupy with some thick resiny feelings left on the tongue.

D - Very drinkable. Very much a hop-forward beer, and the hops flavor pretty much trumps everything else. The bitterness is nice and strong and does not seem to ever give up.

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

22oz into large tulip.

A- Golden yellow orange highlights.

S- Minty, zippy, green herbal blast. Boozy, malty aroma.

T- Good green flavors, mint, tea leaves, and pine needles. Alcohol is bold. Lots of malt, brown bread.

M- Hot, heavy, strong.

O- It wears on me. Tasty but hot alcohol lingers.

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

This caramelly auburn colour is a classic look for an IPA, double or otherwise, one of those things that's always in fashion. It is perfectly clear, despite a deeper tone, and gives off coppery highlights when held against the afternoon sky. Its head, although it becomes rather decrepit and seemingly incapable of it, marks the glass with its own graffiti-like tags.

For die-hard 'hop heads' the combination of pale malts and "Jesus" is all that's necessary. It's actually preferred. So chances are some of them would be upset by the fact that some malt is actually perceived in this aroma, despite that it's an overwhelmingly stinky, pungent, grassy, resinous hop character that occupies 95% of the air around the glass.

Me, personally, I don't mind a little caramel malt to prop things up, although I'd prefer it play second fiddle to the hops' lead. That's kind of the story here: there's lots of toffee-tasting maltiness, enough to feel as though it sticks to the roof of your mouth, but earthy, herbal resins and candied citrusy hoppiness slice right through it all as if it were Zorro.

The hops' more citrusy flavours taste remarkably like grapefruit and passion-fruit - they taste like pine needles too although that's neither here nor there at the moment - and they imitate those fruits' sharp acidity. Here's where that bready caramel comes in handy - it keeps the finish from being too acidic and also soaks up a lot of the alcohol, which is still detectable but manageable. (It's the vine-y, plant-like notes that linger longest.)

Some breweries, in a well intended effort to make their IPA stronger only end up intensifying certain ills (such as upping the bittering hops without adjusting accordingly in the flavour, or upping the alcohol without adjusting for it accordingly in the maltiness). High Water avoided those pitfalls - they've gone big without going wrong. Indeed, this is a DIPA you can't go wrong trying, especially if you're looking for a more balanced (read: malty) offering.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Toronado. I remembered liking this far more than Hop Riot, so I got it again and was pleasantly surprised to see my memories affirmed.

A: Pours a lightly hazy orange-amber with a finger of off-white head that retains to the point where I get it from the grubby Toronado bartender's hands.

S: Bright: citrus notes dominate, and they are tempered by floral characteristics with a touch of mint. Great aromatics here. A nice caramel backbone gives the bouquet some character, and cuts through the vile stench of the Toronado itself.

T: Caramel malt is pronounced; this is fairly unusual out of the DIPAs I've been drinking lately, and it immediately commands attention. Grapefruit and orange flesh, lemon peel. A touch of passionfruit and peach. Quite vivid fruit flavors. The finish evokes a flavor of mint that is unusual; I think the only other beer that brings out this characteristic is Alpine's Nelson. Mild bitterness. Very nicely done.

M: A touch of booze brings the mouthfeel down. It's nicely sticky. Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: The standout of the two IPAs coming out of High Water right now. But it seems like every batch is different, so I'm not going out of my way to recommend this.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bomber. No apparent date, but it's a brand new beer so it can't be that old...

Pours a deep dark gold, a touch hazy. Finger of off-white foam. Fairly thick lacing.

Caramel apple aromas emerge. Some pear and orange too. Bready malt. Pretty mild.

Initial taste brings on mild citrusy fruit and sweet caramel malt. The hoppy bitterness doesn't emerge until late in the flavor. A real blossoming flowery bitterness in the finish. Finish is quite dry with an alcohol presence as well. Wow, bitterness really lingers on this one. Not too bad, a bit skewed from other DIPA's.

The body is on the lighter side of medium with good medium carbonation. Not much apparent alcohol until the finish. Pretty drinkable. Your enjoyment will be swayed by how super bitter you like your beer though.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours amber, almost copper, with an off-white head.

S: Lots of sweetness on the nose. Brown sugar and caramel are the big ones, but there is a bit of bread in there too. Some piney hops and a bit of tropical fruit, some citrus as well. Not quite as hoppy as I would have hoped.

T: The story is pretty much the same on the palate. Very sweet with lots of toffee, brown sugar, and caramel. Some citrus, fruit, and pine notes with a moderate bitterness, but not enough to counteract the sweetness.

M: Medium to full in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really a let down. Far too sweet and not really even that great of hop flavors.

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Photo of Sideswipe
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1/13/12 update: Arbitrator sent me another bottle of this brew due to the recipe being tweaked by the brewer. After sampling it, I must agree that this is a much improved DIPA. The nose exhibits nice citrus fruit characteristics and the taste is a balance of fruity, bitter hops and a pleasantly biscuity malt backbone. The finish is semi-dry with a mildly bitter aftertaste. All better now. Scores raised accordingly. Cheers!

6/11: Bomber received in a great box from Arbitrator. Thanks Mihir!

Poured into a pint glass.

A- the beer is a translucent amber color with two fingers of white foam on top. Decent lacing.

S- Dank hops, bready malt, and a bit of pine.

T- It starts out balanced but things go downhill from there. Mid-palate a bready malt presence gives way to a floral hop profile. This is followed by a wave of intense bitterness. The finish is dry, lingering and overly bitter.

M- The beer is medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation.

O- There are aspects of this beer which are decent, in and of themslves, but they don't quite work together here for me. There is a strange quality to the aftertaste which I can't quite put my finger on, and that I find a bit off-putting. Glad for the opportunity, but not one I'd look for again.

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Photo of flexabull
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright gold color, mostly clear, with a nice white head, and good lacing.

Aromas are resiny, orange, green, and floral. This has a pretty nice hoppy nose.

Taste is creamy, lightly sugary sweet, with some caramel, and light bready malts. Finish is dry, with some earthiness, tart and bitter citrus, and hints of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel, is full, and pretty smooth.

Overall, a pretty solid DIPA. It's certainly more balanced, cleaned up, and refined than the bit off centered IPA from High Water. This is pretty good, I'd consider trying this one again. But I prefer others in the style.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.27/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

6/4/2011

Bomber opened by me and poured into a snifter. Thanks a lot.

A: Reddish orange with a substantial beige head that exhibits great retention. Lacing is everywhere.

S: This is malt heavy, with strong caramel and bread notes. The malt subjugates the hop profile, which consists of onion, pine, and grapefruit. Alcohol is evident in the aroma. Way too much malt, while the hops are feeble and muted. Bad.

T: Again, malt heavy. Caramel and bread coalesce with onion, pine, grapefruit, and booze. There's also a metallic note that is somewhat off-putting. Bitterness is at an upper moderate level and is astringent at times. Bad. It tastes like a 6 month old Double IPA.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky and dry.

Overall: Bad. I don't know what happened with this bottling run, but this is a pretty terrible Double IPA. The growler I had from the earlier batch was pretty good, so hopefully this recipe gets dialed in. My drain drank deep of this.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

532nd review on BA
Bottle to Tulip

App- A very dark orange with a nice one finger head. Spotted cling with some streaks and a bit of dots to cling. Color was quite clear as well

Smell- A bit citrusy which was a welcome deviant from the nose bashing pine/resiny DIPA. Had a bit of malts and a bit of hops as well.

Taste- It's not overdone. I was very happy to taste a DIPA, that didnt try to kill it. This was very balanced, tasteful and complex as well.

Mouth- Medium bodied and Medium carbonated with a citrusy malt punch.

Drink- A very tasty as mentioned above not overdone DIPA. It was well layered with some lush citrus and then some layers of caramel. I'd like to have this one again.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.28/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Highwater Brewing Retribution Imperial Pale Ale 9.5% ABV

A: Looks good, golden and amber notes, a burnt orange throughout, very similar to Pliny the Elder, suspiciously Pliniesque.

S: I love it when Imperial IPAs go the citrus route over a super heavy tomahawk/pine forward approach, it’s that genteel white glove treatment that keeps my bitter zones from being too skiddish on the first date. This has a more muted citrus profile than the best, but it is still present and accomplish. It smells like if Alpine Duet was vigorously scolded as a child or grew up in an oppressive Presbytarian household or something. Let those citrus notes free.

T: This has a fantastic taste of sweet drying orange rind on the first sip with a satisfying finish throughout. The problem it feels like listening to you favorite album on ipod headphones. You want to tell it to let loose and embrace its hop profile. The tastes are there they just aren’t “big” enough, if we can break Kantian conception of time space. I mean, if you focus and seek them out, they are there but they just seem like they are up to malfeasance, curiously silent. You feel like something is up with these hops.

M: Fan. Tastic. I love the drinkable character of this beer and the crisp thin nature is satisfying. I know some people will comment about how I slammed Dogfish Head’s Boring Baton for being too thin but this is a whole different story. When the hops deliver, albeit in a silent abused way, the maltiness doesn’t have to be the breadwinner of the family. This isn’t the maltiness show, the hops can pitch in around the house too once in a while.

D: The thin character with the nimble acidic hops give it a great get up and go. I love how it quenches and demolishes your taste buds at the same time. It is drinkable in the way spicy cheetos are edible, you keep drinking, harming yourself, and seeking more as a cure. I hope someone picks up this brewery on distribution because they are cheap and very well done. It may be that they get infected with Alipinitis and we see people swapping 24 packs of Furious for these sooner rather than later.

Narrative: “AND IF I EVER CATCH YOU PLAYING WITH THIS DAMN CHEMISTRY SET AGAIN REUBEN, THIS BELT IS COMING OFF!” The door slammed and little Reuben just clenched his jaw. Oh sure, sodium bicarbonate made in his own house, who was Reuben kidding? He sat there, conscious of his genius but rolled over on his Thundercats bedspread and wondered if anyone would take the time to read his algorithm that created a move paradigm for Magic: the Gathering cards. Everything that he touched became clearer and more accessible, if only his parents could see that. “NO MORE LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS REUBEN!” He remember his father’s words so well. Now when people asked Reuben what he was working on he would just shrug his shoulders and mutter “justacoldfusionreactorohitsnothing.” His genius remained latent for that one fertile bed of appreciation to accept him.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Body is clear gold with a sudsy half inch head that forms pillows of foam and leaves thick curtains of lacing.

Very pleasant perfumy nose, with vegetal and fruity hops, light malt, soap and salt.

Tastes of caramel malt at first, with just a hint of fruit, then the more vegetal/floral hops present fleetingly, and are quickly overtaken by the bittering hops which provide the long bitter finish to this. The malt structure is pleasantly light and sweet. I might prefer just a bit more floral/aromatic hops in this, but I find the palate pretty enjoyable as it is.

Carbonation is moderate and round and provides a moderately creamy mouthfeel and is a tad sticky.

Overall, this is a very good DIPA that challenges some of the established offerings, though it is on the bitter side, and that seems to be Steve Altimari's preference as the Hop Riot IPA is also a tad bitter. The alcohol is not so noticeable in the taste, but I am starting to notice its effect as I finish the first pint. Sip, sip, sip.

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Photo of Trilogy31
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty, clear Light amber brown with a creamy two finger of white foam leaving sticky lacing. The nose has a citrus custard note along with vanilla and oak(?). The taste brings pure hoppy bitterness, rich caramel malt along with candied orange peel. Very nice beer and well balanced for being at 9.5%. One of the better dipas i have had.

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Photo of illidurit
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap in sample size at the 2011 Bistro DIPA Fest. Pours a brownish gold color with a sticky off-white head. Perfumey hoppy aroma, lots of tropical fruits. Pineapple, orange, and grapefruit to be sure. Flavor is similar but with a big alcohol kick and some pale maltiness. There's also a strange bready brown malt note that I can't really put my finger on. This stuff is good but too boozy.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap @ Library Alehouse; served in a 5oz taster glass.

A sort of burnt-orange liquid with great clarity and a snow white head which is thin but lasting. Paint/batter - like lacing coats the sides.

Sweet caramel aroma backed by a fresh citrus/herbal/resinous blast of hops.

Bitter melon, grapefruit, black pepper, and mint on the palate. Punishingly bitter with a drying earthy finish. Malt adds a touch of honey, while the alcohol gives a substantial kick as well. Pungent flavors, but abrasive profile overall.

Creamy, medium-bodied, warming (not quite hot), and moderately carbonated.

The spicy bitterness and alcohol force you to slip slowly; as a fan of the IPAs he brewed for Valley, I'm happy to see Steve back in action - but this beer is aptly named and makes me wonder what my palate ever did to deserve such a harsh revenge.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber almost brown appearance, ever so slight ring of head to it with little lace accumulation. Aroma was nice and hoppy in the grapefruit realm.

Taste, just a weird aftertaste on this one, heavily bitter. I really wanted to like it, as I loved the brewer's work while at Valley, I loved the name, but alas, this one was a relative miss for me. Alcohol was up there on this one.

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Photo of nataku00
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a nonic pint glass. Dark hazy orange with a finger of off white bubbly head. The head mostly dissipated, leaving no lacing. Good amount of carbonation visible through the beer though, small bubbles slowly rising to the surface.

Nose is a nice combination of citrus and pine hops, bitter orange peel, fresh pine, sweet citrus tangerine, and caramel malt. The bitterness is balanced by a fruity and malty sweetness.

Taste follows the nose mostly, orange and grapefruit peel bitterness with only a hint of pine in the aftertaste. Good sweetness from the fruity citrus flavors and a light caramel malt. Flavor balanced, with a nice lingering citrus and pine bitterness on the tongue.

Medium bodied with good light bubble carbonation keeps the tongue from getting overly dry. Only a light hop dryness that goes away after a minute or so, inviting the next sip for your taste buds to experience the beer all over again. Alcohol is well hidden and not detectable at all. If not for the bold initial hop profile and strong malt back bone, it would be hard to tell that this is just under 10% abv.

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Photo of largadeer
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had to adjust my ratings because this beer has changed dramatically. First two batches were excellent beers, newer batches are decent but very different and much less impressive.

Original review:

4.5
5.0
4.0
4.0
4.5

Draft at Gourmet Haus Staudt.

Appearance: Pale burnished copper, brilliantly clear with a frothy white head that shows solid retention.

Aroma: This one takes a minute to open up, but it's got an amazing nose when it does. Heavy on the citrus fruits, namely tangerine and grapefruit, with undertones of peach and pineapple. Alcohol is present at a low level, buried beneath the hops.

Palate: Juicy, ripe tropical fruit flavors hit the palate first. Pineapple, grapefruit, a bit of peach. Malt is present at a pleasant level for a DIPA this big; it brings a light balancing sweetness that highlights the hop flavors without overwhelming them. There's an alcohol kick, but the beer is highly quaffable regardless. The finish is bitter and punchy, but ultimately clean. I'm happy to say that this beer exceeds any IPA Steve brewed with Valley. If there was a less noticeable alcohol on the palate, it would be an A+ beer.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

taste- sweet citrusy hops

color- brown/amber

clarity- clear

smell- nice citrus, grapefruity hops

body- bitter finish, lots of lively hop bite, oily texture on the top of the mouth

appearance- nice, foamy slighty off-white head. active carbonation and good lace

overall impression- very representative of the style

notes and comments- well-balanced flavor profile

beer spy- the monk's kettle, san francisco ca, 3/19/11, $7.75, 10oz

glassware: tulip

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Retribution from High Water Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 107 ratings.
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