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 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 Seanniek91
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml C&C bottle into a Woodcock Brothers Imperial Pint. 2013 release, but no date.

Appearance- Huge 4 finger head (and I didn't pour wildly). Clear copper with tons of bubbles.

Smell-Boozy malts up front, light wood, light hops. Smells very malty, hopefully it's not.

Taste- Initially when I first took a sip, I thought it was a booze bomb, but the second sip was fine. Big hop bitterness, medium caramel malt sweetness, I don't get any wood though- at all. I wan't less malts and more wood.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, relatively viscous, not as carbonated as it looks.

Overall- I think the Poplar is akin to the "Beechwood Aging" that Bud does, whereas it may exist, but you certainly can't taste it. Solid enough IIPA though.

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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 MCain04
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Extra from a trade, wish I remembered your name fellow BA. 750ml bottle poured into Spiegelau tulip. 2013 release.

Beautiful pour, a ruby amber, mostly clear body, with a generous frothy light-beige head with great retention and great lacing.

Smells of piney hops, some citrus notes, lemon and grapefruit, grassy,strong presence of cascade hops. Not much wood in the aroma.

Taste is very unique. Juicy cascade hops make for a bright citrusy and pine needle hop flavor right off the bat, not overly bitter. The malt background balances well with some sweetness. The poplar wood is this taste I am not familiar with. Earthy would be the best word, with a little vanilla. It adds a really nice complexity to the IPA without overwhelming it.

Medium bodied, a touch overcarbonated, not the driest of finishes, smooth on the tongue, lingering poplar earthy taste.

Overall, I agree with the Bros on this one - this is a winner. The subtlety of the poplar treatment really works to accentuate and balance rather than overwhelm this IPA. Try this if you can, well worth it.

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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 garuda
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy bronze, khaki head is thick, fluffy, laces very well and retains incredibly well.

S - Juicy hop bouquet backed up by a touch of toasted wood, slightly floral.

T - Leans a little more towards caramel malt, slight vanilla, with grapefruit flesh and resinous pine.

M - Full body, medium carbonation, very smooth, yet prickly and finishing bitter.

O - Oaked IPA/DIPAs can go either way. This one's a winner. I'd get it again. No bottle dating though, at least that I can tell.

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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 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 jmutoml757
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Hardywood brewery in an old fashioned plastic cup.
Appearance -was a deep copper color, maybe a burnt amber. One finger head with few carb bubbles but some lacing throughout.
Smell- got my lowest rating. Nothing stands out. The hops comes through with a slight floral note.
Taste- great hops taste that has a hint of grapefruit and perhaps caramel. Nice bite and bitterness
Mouthfeel- excellent balance on the front and back of the tongue. A little lingering metallic taste. But the hops stand out nicely.
Overall - what I love in an IPA . Great hops bite. Highly recommend it.

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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 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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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 axeman9182
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle courtesy of ncaudle. It was poured into my Firestone Walker tulip.

Hoplar pours a fairly clear bronze, with some orange highlights. Two and a half fingers of bone colored foam crown the beer. Head retention is good and a decent bit of lacing is left plastered onto the inside of the glass. Aside from the color being a bit dark the beer looks very nice. The nose is largely shared by woody and grapefruit aromas, with a bit of vanilla just noticeable as well. The flavor profile manages to add more layers. Some caramel sweetness leads things off, and that a subtle vanilla flourish give way to a noticeable, but not overly aggressive bitterness. The back end of the beer is made up of a woody base, on top of which grapefruit and tangerine zest proudly display themselves. The mouthfeel just misses by a bit. The body's a hair too malty and the carbonation's a bit too dull for it to really shine. My initial reaction has been to be fairly skeptical of wood aged IPA. That said, between White Oak Jai Alai and now Hoplar, I'm forced to reconsider my opposition to them.

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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 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 Mattyb79
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 750ml cork and caged bottle into a Hardywood Park tulip. This is my first review ever, but this beer made me want to write one up.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a minimal 1/2 finger head. Almost looks like real maple syrup in the glass. I can smell the beer as soon as the cork pops.

Smell: I get a little piney hops first, followed by some sweet fruit smells similar to grapefruit, mango, and a touch of orange. A touch of vanilla smell comes through as well.

Taste: Wow! I have had quite a few brews from Hardywood, but this one blows me away! I get a lot of sweet citrusy fruits right off the bat, followed by some woody vanilla characters, and ending with a mix of piney hop bitterness and vanilla. This beer is amazing in the way you can pick up on so many different flavors. The only downside that kept this from being a 5 is a slight bite from the charred poplar that hits right at the finish. It doesn't really detract from the beer, just noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Perfect for the style IMHO. Just enough carbonation to tickle the tongue, but syrupy enough to coat your entire tongue with the amazing blend of flavors.

Overall: Again, I have never took the time to review a beer, but this made me want to do it. I am quite impressed with this and would buy it all day everyday if it was a bit more affordable. $9.99 for a bomber is acceptable, since it is well worth the price, but for me this will be a special occasion beer. Too bad it's not year round!

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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 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 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 TechTriumph
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes on 04/04/12:
Growler from the brewery; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - A bit more than a half inch of off-white frothy head that sticks around for a minute or two; Deep, dark caramel/copper in color with a very cloudy appearance; Awesome webs/veils of sticky lacing left behind

S - Not quite the potent aroma as you'd expect from a DIPA, but what's there is very pleasant with notes of spicy pine, grapefruit and orange citrus, cracked black pepper, and toasty, biscuity, and caramel character; Nice presence of poplar/wood notes with very subtle vanilla

T - Very flavorful and robust here; Nice combination of sharp spicy pine, grapefruit citrus, vanilla, toasty malts, black pepper, earthy poplar wood, and subtle sweet caramel that immediately come forward; Good shot of bitterness lasts from start to finish, though it does weaken towards the end; Finish is fairly peppery with hints of pine and poplar that linger for awhile - pleasant and delicious

M - Below moderate, but fairly prickly carbonation; A bit above medium bodied; Very smooth going down with a bit of alcohol warmth; Nice, sticky, dry finish that leaves a thin oily coating within the mouth

O - It seems like Hardywood just can't miss with their creations. I like this DIPA quite a bit, but after giving it some time to warm, it becomes even better and showcases some pretty harmonious flavors. The combination of flavors is unique for sure, but the end result displays great earthy/wood character and is one of the better DIPA's I've had the opportunity to try. This has gotten me even more excited to see what future IPA's Hardywood has in store.

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

Pours an orange/amber with a fluffy off-white head. Already I have the feeling that this is going to be a malt-forward DIPA without smelling or tasting it. The smell is a little underwhelming - I'm just not getting as much of a hop aroma as I would expect in a DIPA. I'm getting more of a harsh wood/piney hops aroma, which is nice, but doesn't stand out as much as I would like. Flavor is interesting, it's certainly a maltier DIPA, but not sweet at all. It's actually very bitter - the wood and the hops come together to give it a harsh bite, especially in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this just isn't my kind of DIPA, but it's far from a bad beer. I like slightly sweet, big citrus flavors with the malt playing a small role in the DIPA, and this beer really isn't citrusy or sweet and it's quite malt-forward. Fans of Dogfish Head 90 Minute might enjoy this, but I'm not the biggest fan of that one, and I don't love this either. That said, it's well-constructed for what it is.

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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 Beejay
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy in the glass, and peach to tangerine in color. The dense head is tan in color and fairly solid.

S: Citrus notes as well as a hint of grass. There is a nice malty sweetness that comes out in the form of caramel. There is a touch of pine, as well as a little bit of fruity sweetness. Perhaps in the finish there is a little cherry, or almond.

T: Huge citrus flavor; grapefruit, orange, and lemon peel. The brew is resinous with pine notes followed by a caramel malt flavor. I am picking up a little woodsy flavor, I think you have to search a little to find the poplar. The bitterness seems to linger on for a while, and with it a touch more of the wood flavor I want from this brew.

M: Medium to medium thick in body. Carbonation is appropriate for the style. The finish leaves a lingering bitterness and a little bit of a hop oil feel.

O: Overall I like it. The bitterness is solid, nice hop flavor, and some good malt balance. I wish the poplar flavor was a little more forward, but still a good brew.

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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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