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 RocPorterFanatic
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a opaque reddish copper with a solid 2 fingers of off white creamy head.

S - Very pungent citrusy, floral nose. This stuff could peel paint.

T - Nice malty backbone on this beer. The intense bitterness is mellowed out pleasantly and the wood aging helps to compliment the entire package.

M - A little hot yet, the alcohol is very much in the game. Agressive carbonation keeps everything in check, leaving your mouth clean sip after sip.

O - Delicious beer, near perfection. Thanks to Beejay for sharing this one with me.

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

Serving Type: Enjoyed from a goblet at Mekong in Richmond, Virginia

Appearance: Cloudy amber would be the best way to describe it. The head started off at about half and inch but quickly fell. Beautiful lacing throughout the experience.

Smell: The poplar pops out at you like you were walking through a poplar forest. The hops are noticeable as well.

Taste: I know I am biased being a Richmonder but this would have to be one of the best IPA's I have ever had. The poplar comes to you at first and leads right to the hops. You dont get that bitter copper flavor you get with many other IPA's that lingers too long.

Mouthfeel: Like I said earlier, my favorite characteristic about this beer is that it doesnt leave a copper-like after taste in your mouth. The smoothness created by the poplar/hop combo is fantastic

Overall: If you are in the Richmond area, you have got to try this unique IPA. It is truly a religious experience. Hardywood keep it up.

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Photo of Crazyale
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass. This is an IPA that was aged in a barrel made of Virginia poplar.

A: Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber, with orange highlights on the edges of the glass. Big frothy head that sticks around a leaves a sticky web of lacing on the glass.

S: Citrusy hops hit the nose first, but the aroma is more complex, with some pine needles, wood chips, and honey.

T: I'm picking up the poplar wood taste first, which is quite forward tasting. I'm not getting the big vanilla taste you get from oak; instead I'm getting more of a woody sapiness. Then the hops escape from the wood with a nice bitter citrusy kick. Due to the poplar, it actually takes several seconds for the hops to fully develop on the tongue, making this beer something of a "creeper" tastewise. I could probably spend all night talking about this beer; it's very complex and unique, and keeps producing new flavors.

M: This is a medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Due to the creeping effect of the hops, the aftertaste lingers on the mouth forever, changing its character as the seconds go by.

Overall, this is a unique and delicious beer from Hardywood. I was leery about an IPA conditioned in wood barrels, but this sappy poplar is the perfect complement for an IPA. My only complaint is that it is difficult to drink this big a beer in the 750ml format.

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