Hoplar Imperial IPA | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

54 Reviews
Hoplar Imperial IPAHoplar Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hardywood Hoplar follows the wood-aging tradition of the earliest India Pale Ales, which were matured on oak. Rather than oak, we’ve selected the delicate wood of a fallen Virginia Tulip Poplar, which was TreeCycled by CitiWood and toasted for use in this hearty IPA. While this Poplar can no longer rustle in the wind or give shade, it is able to offer balance to the bright citrus and pine character from heaps of Cascade, Columbus and Summit hops with subtle notes of caramelized vanilla. And the tree was hoppy.

In the mid-1800s, when the early IPAs were being shipped in wooden barrels from the breweries of Burton-on-Trent to thirsty British colonists in India, our Tulip Poplar was a mere sapling on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia. On September 18, 2003, this towering Poplar prevailed to the fierce Hurricane Isabel and fell on Bell Creek Road. Richmond-based CitiWood Urban Forest Products helped us transform the wood from this fallen Poplar into custom designed flavor- and aroma-enhancing infusion sticks. Post fermentation, Hoplar is dry-hopped with a generous helping of whole-flower Cascade hops and conditioned on the toasted Poplar.

Hardywood Hoplar is mahogany in color with a hearty, tan head and offers an aroma of grapefruit brûlée and pine needles, as well as delicate vanilla toffee and a hint of campfire. Medium- to full-bodied with assertive (100 IBUs) yet delightful hop bitterness, Hoplar is balanced with ample caramel malt backbone. A bit of earthy tannin from the Poplar harmonizes with the resinous hoppy character, which dissipates into a lingering finish.

100 IBU

Added by siege06nd on 04-22-2012

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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 393
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and brown sugar. Taste is much the same with a tangy flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I am not sure where the tangy flavor is coming from.

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Photo of brentk56
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A magnificent pour, with a massive head forming over the hazy copper liquid; impressive retention; in fact the retention is so grand that you know that lacing will be terrific when it comes to that

Smell: The poplar wood (how Virginian that is) makes a statement and combines with toffee malt and vanilla tones; the entire aroma is buttressed by tropical fruit aromatics, which hints at citrus, mango and pineapple

Taste: A touch malty, up front, with toffee and vanilla tones but by mid-palate, the citrus and tropical fruit flavors take over assertively; after the swallow, the poplar comes through and lingers through the aftertaste, where all of the flavor elements can still be detected; there is a very nice floral aspect, too, that I didn't notice at first

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Although I typically prefer my hoppy beers to be just that, I don't mind the malt presence in this one; another outstanding beer from Hardywood

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.44/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Matt for picking this bottle up. Served in a cervoise. Pours a fairly-dark caramel-copper color with a short off-white head. The nose has a fairly-pronounced bit of poplar wood with some backing citrus and pine. The hop aromas aren’t really overpowering at this point. A bit too malty as well. Flavor is again fairly malty with a fairly-strong bitterness. Heavy wood presence. It seems like the hop flavor either wasn’t really there, or has fallen off. For wood-aged IPAs, I’m never normally too much of a fan, but I’m not sure why places don’t just ferment in the barrel to extract the character and not lose volatile hop flavors and aromatics while it’s wood aging.

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Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml brown corked and caged bottle, vintage date on the label.

The head retention alone won me over ... to start. Seriously, an amazing head and perhaps the best looking one this year! Hazed copper hue is inviting. Aromas of wood, spice, fresh pine sap, melon rind, mango, papaya, parsley, yeast, yellow cake. Deep smoothness, semi-creamy medium body. Big hoppiness, very bitter, heavy wood, earthy, spice, vanilla, peppery, resin, slightly pungent, hint of caramel, dried grass, yeast, tropical fruit, warming alcohol, long bitter and woody finish.

Someone pinch me ... mind-blowing.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Gift from the ever generous Brad. Shared with the dudes in the band this afternoon.

The beer is transparent and radiant orange with an inch of off white head. Hops and wood in the aroma, as expected. Fresh cut pine, woodshop scents. Very dry finish. Grandiose wood presence. Extremely dry finish, like sucking on a board (that's what she said). Grapefruit rind and pine cones. Wood aged IPAs are really not my thing, but this is done well. Worth a try.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Suggested to pour slowly.

Woah, this sucker is big. Even on a controlled slow pour it's just a huge large head. Light tan and slightly yellow it is as big as a fist. Super thick retention this thing will not go away or quit, a big thick lip hangs over the glass but never cascades down. Body color is beautiful. Crystal clear and this gorgeous deep red amber, with nice rising carbonation that isnt too excessive. A real impressive IPA here in the looks department, big winner.

Real interesting nose, very enjoyable. Big dank earth and hits of pine cone and needles. Some real nice forest green spruce like senses, spicy, even kind of floral a bit. Love this aroma and walking through crushed earth in a forest sense. Inviting.

Real interesting palate. Very subdued bitterness that lingers, with a nice caramel sweetness. Rose petal sweetness and a very long and slowly large and growing hop herbality. Green and black tea aromatics on the finish, slowly builds to a grapefruit large freshness. Incredibly juiced and thick perfect mouthfeel, lush, full, oily but not slick coating with just enough sugared warmth, and subdued carbonation. Lots of leafed tea herbal notes, and mixed citrus, and minimal mid palate bitterness

This is real impressive beer from these guys, as if Great Return was fantastic as it is this one is a winner.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a deep, vibrant, caramel copper coloring, with a foamy, clingy, off-white head. Gorgeous. Aromas of rich vanilla, subtle pine and resinous hops characteristics, rich smoky caramel, subtle orange and grapefruit, and woody notes. Flavors are rich and perfectly balanced forward, blending vanilla, wood, and caramel with pine tassel, wet grass, and dank vegetation. Extremely balanced, and as smooth as it is robust. The body is full and smooth, with a bitter resinous aftertaste lined with a tart grapefruit edge. The finish is layered smooth, with a dry undertone, with lingering resinous and citrus notes. Great beer, a truly great beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Eh, wood aged IPAs hardly ever turn out to be good. This one is OK though. Beer is amber with a mild haze, a white / off white head of small bubbles, low retention, no lacing, moderate carbonation.

Aroma is piny with some oak.

Beer is medium in body has an odd bitterness on the backend, an interesting beer all around but the hops are subdued, some pine in there some resin but nothing else. It is OK but I doubt I'll have it again.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a auburn tinted brown with two finger head and lace patches. Hoppy aroma, to say the least, as I get citric and some grape and a little bit of malt. Beer is good, hop strong of citric and grape, but like the aroma the balance is a little off and I get mostly hops and just a little bit of chewiness for the malts and no real sweetness. Not a major complaint but the hops start to wear down my palate and the finish is crisp but a little warming for some reason. A good but not great DIPA.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 750mL C&C bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 7/10/12
*From notes

A: Hazy blood orange in hue. A 2.25 finger eggshell white head lingers on a good pour. Solid retention, lacing and collar follow.

S: Unlike any IPA I can recall. It's herbaceous. It's woody. It's got a really rustic and old world vibe to it. Nothing if not unique.

T: Not too far off from the nose. Very sticky, and pine forward. The wood works it's way in there, and adds a complexity I've not found in an IPA before. It's like they brewed the beer knowing that the brewed product was the rough draft, like they brewed it with the wood fully in mind. Really tasty stuff. I'm getting some tannic acid, light toast and a firm malt backbone. As it warms, intense lemon becomes more prevalent.

M: Chewy and dense. This is easily the best mouthfeel of all the Hardywood beers I've quaffed.

O: I am always down for something different, and this, then, is right up my alley. The integration of wood and hops is really well done, as I've never encountered an IPA that sat in wood and was actually good. But I guess there's a first time for everything. Another solid offering from what's quickly becoming Virginia's finest brewery.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a Haw River teku glass. Spring 2013 release so not the freshest.

Pours a dark copper color with a half inch thick white head with terrific lacing. Mild amount of hoppiness on the nose..as well as some piney goodness. The taste has a ton of wood flavor..wow. Really piney and woody, this beer is the definition of what a piney IPA is. Hops have faded a tad in 8 months and i can imagine this would be much more hop forward fresh...though it is still quite hoppy and now the wood characteristics are more pronounced. Cant say its my favorite flavor for an IPA but its what the brewery was going for and i think they nailed it. Medium bodied with mild carbonation.

Overall Hardywood nailed this woody IPA. If thats what youre looking for..look no further.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a copper color and a clear texture. There was a big, two inch, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A very underplayed aroma of hops, citrus, and malt.

T: Tasted of hops, a little citrus, some malt, grass (not that pleasant), and the advertised poplar. Not quite as powerful or complex as it could have been. Decent, but not a spectacular flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Definitely an uneven beer, Hoplar does have some good attributes. Could have been better than it was.

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Photo of Pencible
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with thick light tan head.
S: It smelled like bitter pine and metallic hops, with some citrus zest and a bit of wood.
T: It tasted like bitter resin and citrus zest, with some spicy wood character and honey biscuit malt. It had a clean bitter aftertaste.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Great big body.
D: This was a nice IPA with subtle wood character to add a little unique scent and taste. The body was excellent, and the finish was smooth with pretty well hidden alcohol. So it was fairly easy to drink. Not my ideal hop profile, but it worked well for this beer. Solid brew.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very interesting!
Amber hue, rich head stays around. Quite pretty to behold. The nose starts out with hay, pine, and well... poplar. A nice hint of wood. The taste is clean hoppy, earthy grass with a lite woody coating on the tongue. Reminds me a bit of a tamer Pliney with poplar notes. Beautiful lacing following each sip. Makes you want to crawl into your glass and tongue scrape each ring of lacey sediment left behind...could use my archaeology background to work through the sedimentary levels. HAHA
Finish has a slightly oily stickiness yet the mouthfeel changes to a watery, not a bad thing, swallow.

Overall, I liked this one a lot. I'd love to get another one to share. It's very unique.

Thanks to ASUBeer, NCBeerFan, beerness, and Wino47 for this beauty!!

Just had this one again...7-12-15 Thanks to @montman

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Photo of MDDMD
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-slightly reddish deep amber color with a nice off-white head and good lacing

S-malt, citrus fruit, wood, brown sugar

T-caramel malt, citrus, pine, wood, hint of vanilla, a little booze coming through, moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and crisp

O-an interesting DIPA but more malty than I prefer, I like the wood though

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Photo of cjgiant
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to auburn, hazy, with lacing edge head that is foamy in nature
Smell of raisin and date, a hint of some unknown tropical fruit

Taste also hits on the dark fruit (little more date-like), initially. The carbonation jumps on the tongue to combine with the bite of the resinous hops (woody/pine base with light mango flavors). The wood taste could be from the Poplar aging. This beer almost tends towards a barleywine (American) in some senses, the lift fruit middle and dryness of the end perhaps saving it.

A very solid beer. I might flat rate it a little higher, but it's crossover in style (to me) confused my ratings slightly.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.92/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to BJ for this awesome bottle. Shared with Jacqui last night after a nice dinner. Review from notes.

Poured a beautiful dark maple/copper with honey blonde highlights in the kitchen light. A well retained white head kept lacing the glass as the liquid disappeared. Huge hop notes of citrus, pine resins, and tropical fruit, especially pineapple. It almost reminded me of Hop Stoopid. Nice bold caramel and grainy crystal malt body to hold up the intense hop bomb. A bittersweet forefront that carried juicy pineapple and citrusy hops throughout each sip. A very earthy and piny finish. Nicely carbonated, but needed a little swirling to decrease the carbonation. If I could drink this beer as my staple IPA, I would.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: A darker IPA, Amber. White fluffy head that stays. S: Pine, dank hops, herbal, grassy, a touch of wood. T: Some wood, a little melon, some pine. M: This beer is creamy, silky smooth, some bitter on the backend but the silky smooth feel just invites you in for more. O: I'm becoming a fan of these wood aged IPAs. It added a smooth mouthfeel that is almost barleywine like. An overall nice beer, I'm really enjoying it

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- A very good looking amber color that has hints of orange and gold. Bubbly off-white head that leaves some lacing and leaves a thin layer of bubbles around the edges of the glass.

S- Big piney hops with a strong wood smell similar to oak. A hint of sweet maple and vanilla are in the wood aroma as well.

T- The hops do not come through as much as they do in the nose. Almost has a similar style taste to something like burton baton, which is a blended IIPA. Tons of wood flavor along with pine and vanilla. Everything is pretty well balanced.

M- Full bodied, medium carbonation, a sipper, but good feel.

O- A solid offering and a well done IIPA with wood. Worth seeking out for sure.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle, poured into a snifter

A- pours a murky amber color with a creamy off-white head that retains long after the pour, leaving some lace behind

S- the addition of the poplar wood is noticed right away with big woodsy aromas, it even brings our some aromas of dried chili pepper. There are some earthy hop notes, but primarily woodsy

T- woodsy flavors dominate up front that still resembles a chili pepper taste, underlying piney and earthy hops, finishes dry with more woodsy flavor

M- medium body and moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a creamy finish

O- I liked the addition of the poplar wood, but it overpowered the hops, definitely unique

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Photo of siege06nd
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one is aged on a Virginia tulip poplar. Poured into a nonic pint...

A: Pours a cloudy copper with a massive three finger eggshell white head. Tons of lacing that positively coats the inside of the glass...I'm talking a good finger of lacing on the glass alone. Pretty good head retention as it settles to a half finger and lingers. Color is not quite as vibrant as I would hope...a little murkier and dark for the style. One of the most impressive head retentions and lacing I have seen.

S: Very very good. What stands out most is how floral the bouquet on this is, no pun intended. I get rose and tulip petals, citrus, honey. Not lots of pine resin or spiciness detected on the nose, just a beautiful floral aroma with hints of citrus. I like.

T: Extremely sweet. I get a lot of honey, some very light pine and herbal bitterness, floral notes, some woodiness, and perhaps a touch of booze. The flavors are good, but not particularly bold. And the honey flavors are a little over the top...lots of the sweet stuff, maybe even a little vanilla and caramel. Huh.

M: Interesting flavors, but lacks balance. Sweetness is too much and hop presence is decidedly thin and one note. I also thought the carbonation way too low for the style.

O: This is definitely a unique DIPA, with a very memorable nose and flavor profile. However, the sweetness just undercuts everything, covering up both the malts and the hops and making this one drink a little thin and one-note. Very very very interesting, but needs a step up in hop profile (or down in residual sugar) as well as additional carbing to make it a bit more crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 mL capped bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Very well balanced and smooth for an Imperial IPA. Was hoping for just a bit more wood flavor to come from the tulip poplar conditioning.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - pours an orangish mahogany with a tall fluffy dense caramel/tan fantastic lacing and retention and fantastic lacing.

S - resinous pine, grapefruits, bitter, some kind of unfamiliar bready/woody spiced aroma, vanilla and caramel malts

T - as it smells, piney and grapefruit and earthy bitterness originally with a nice heavy malt backbone, peppery and warming alcohol, slight tart earthy tannin and what I assume to be poplar follow and the bitterness lingers through the finish.

M - medium plus with good carbonation but still quite creamy/smooth

O - very well balanced big flavored dipa

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Photo of Chaney
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Oh cool, another Hardywood entry. Rock on!

Served in a Game of Thrones glass.

A: Holy crap this sucker unfiltery to the unfiltered power. Pretty much dark orange with tons of yeasties. Only a slight beige head.

S: A whole lotta nothin going on overall, but that's maybe because I just finished a juicy "Flower Power" right before this. Poplar wood huh? I kinda dig it.

T: Not particularly piney or bitter, but it has a very distinct, original flavor profile: Sorta white peppery, non-candyesque, and pretty earthy. Nice.

M: Lotsa lacing left on the snifter, no over-the-top sweetness, and certainly no lingering bitterness.

O: Pretty good.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 22oz caged and corked bottle.

Appearance - Burnt orange/tan with a 1 inch thick, foamy head and tons of lacing.

Smell - Piney grapefruit hops, lemon, orange, some wood and oak notes, a little vanilla and added sugars. Not overly strong aroma.

Taste - First sip starts off with huge piney hops and a strong malt backbone. Woody oaked flavor Is certainly present, adds a nice dimension to this 100 ibu dipa. More flavors come out like added sugars, spices, and a herbal note. Nice balance with some minor alcohol warmth at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Huge piney hops really coat and bitter the tongue, leaving a hoppy resin. Malts, oaked wood and sugars hit the palate. Nice herbal flavors come in near the finish. Aftertaste is woody, malty, hoppy, bitter and sweet.

Overall - I admit im a huge oaked, wood flavor fan, so im a bit partial to the style, but this is really good. Tons of flavors, balanced, but nothing is over the top or too much of. My first hardywood beer, and im very impressed, cant wait to try more, and cant wait to get more of this one. Awesome beer.

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Hoplar Imperial IPA from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 393 ratings.
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