SS Yirgacheffe
Carton Brewing Company

SS YirgacheffeSS Yirgacheffe
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #469
Ranked #2,884
4.19 | pDev: 9.07%
Carton Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States
SS YirgacheffeSS Yirgacheffe
Notes: While playing coffee games last winter, even though they didn’t work for that project, we found ourselves attracted to the bitter lemony notes of cold brewed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from our partners at Fair Mountain Coffee Roasters. While playing our usual hoppy games recently we were similarly inspired by the lemony bitterness of the new "Lemon Drop" hop from our friends at Hopsteiner. With "SS 2014 Yirgacheffe" we bridge our “Need A Bigger Boat” recipe from 2012 to these flavors with the helping hand of the lemon notes of Sorachi Ace hops. Drink SS 2014 Yirgacheffe (Need A Bigger Boat) because we only turn 3 once.
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 149 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of IvoryFoxhole
IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can dated 3/18/20. Poured into Trillium The Six States Goblet.

A coffee IPA. Only did this once before. Was not as bad as I feared.

L: 1.5F foamy white head with pretty good retention, leaving webby lacing and a ring. Beer is a hazy deep copper.

S: Light coffee, some lemony notes from the Soriachi hops (unclear if they also used Lemon Drop or not). Earthiness.

T: Dominated by the coffee notes, though lemon does make its presence on the back end. Some serious malting here, thinking oats and or barley. Somewhat bitter.

F: Medium body, not much carbonation (maybe more would help?). Points for the delicate construction and balance needed to pull this off, but it probably could be a bit less bitter or lingering.

O: Heck of an effort. It's a little bit like a fortified Boat + Regular Coffee + lemon. I'd rather they swing and partially connect than get in a rut.

Apr 06, 2020
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farrago from New Jersey

3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Credible finger plus head, eggshell white in color, enough density to retain a full surface coating for some time, in turn the lacing forms broad if stubby streaks. Coppery hued liquid, nice brightness with more yellow tinged rims, close to zero visible carbonation. As expected, the nose dominated by bitter coffee notes, if you manage to get past these it delivers lemon peel, meadow grasses and pine sap, the relentlessness of the coffee smothers any fruit aromas. Full-bodied, creamy and rich, the carbonation adding to an expansive fluffiness. More room here for the herbaceousness to blossom and it’s more floral and citrusy as well. Something more like oats or grains than doughiness or breadiness. The peach, apricot to papaya fruit flavors surface now and then. However, even while to a lesser extent than in the nose, that coffee can be punishing at times. A roasty bitterness trumps any grassy bite and brings with it bitter dark chocolate notes. In the final analysis it’s more than just a goof or curiosity but it could use more balance among the constitutive parts to really excel.

May 17, 2018
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mdfb79 from New York

4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ton of coffee; it dominates the hops and does not taste like an IPA. Interesting and a good beer but don't expect a complex mix of hops with the coffee.

Apr 23, 2018
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.69/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Can to snifter.

Dark yellow color. Medium off white head.

Aroma: is barley, coffee, flowers, mild wood/pine.
Taste: more of the flavors in the aroma, but maybe not mixed as well.
Feel: medium body, sturdy, good carbonation, smooth finish.

Pretty good brew. I thought this was another in their cream ale series (like regular coffee), but I realized as I was pouring that it's a pale ale. Though I am not a fan of Yirgacheffe coffee, I do like it in combination with this beer. Another solid Carton creation.


Apr 23, 2018
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orcrist_cleaver from New York

4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep orange with copper highlights. Head a bit fizzy but long-lasting.

S: Lemon, tangerine, lychee, pomelo, sweet cream and coconut. Imagine If regular coffee had a baby with an IPA.

M: A tad sticky. Slightly resinous. Hints of alcohol along with an acrid kick at the end.

T/O:Floral and herbal, chocolate covered citrus rind fruity, red rooibos tea-like finish. Rich berry, red wine undertones, but short of jam-like. Bready-caramel malt notes. Lofty and heady dill weed.

A very dynamic tasting beer that almost had me lost a couple times. Choco-dill orange-berry beer anyone? It manages to be robust yet toned.

Apr 12, 2018
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TheGent from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love good coffee IPA’s and this is no exception. The lemon drop hops and the coffee work so well together. As noted on the can there is a lemony bitterness to the beer as the hops and coffee meld together perfectly. There is a subtle sweetness to the beer almost as if someone poured a few drops of regular coffee into the beer. Not sure what’s driving this but it’s delectable.

Apr 08, 2018
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AZBeerDude72 from Arizona

4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Gold/Amber with thick head and good lacing.
N: Nice roasted coffee, hops, citrus, and malt.
T: Follows the nose, very pleasing coffee flavors mixed with hops and cool citrus to make this a really unique beer.
M: Medium
O: What a great beer, the flavors work so well together, very good.

Apr 07, 2018
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superspak from Michigan

3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a BIF from MacMalt. 16 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 3/1/2018. Pours lightly hazy cloudy deep golden amber/light orange color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky off white head with awesome retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of nutty medium roast coffee, cocoa, lemon, lime, orange, dill, mint, citrus peel/zest, honey, and toasted bread; with lighter notes of caramel, pepper, pine, smoke, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/earthy hops, coffee, and bready malt notes; with solid strength. Taste of big nutty medium roast coffee, cocoa, lemon, lime, orange, dill, mint, citrus peel/zest, honey, and toasted bread; with lighter notes of caramel, pepper, pine, smoke, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Light-moderate pine, citrus peel, herbal, grassy, spicy hops; and light roast, char, coffee bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of nutty coffee, cocoa, lemon, lime, orange, dill, mint, citrus peel/zest, light pepper/pine, honey, toasted bread, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, coffee, and bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready, fairly sticky, and lightly resinous/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Mild increasing warmth of 8.4% after the finish. Overall this is a very nice coffee imperial pale ale. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, coffee, and bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. The lemon/citrus/earthy hops and fruity/nutty coffee complexity complement each other well; nice balanced bready malt backbone, not overly sweet/heavy for the ABV. A very enjoyable and unique offering.

Mar 31, 2018
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MacMalt from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed one week after its 3/1/2018 canning date. Poured into Carton IPA glass. It pours a hazy, honey-orange color with a large, fluffy, bright white head and soapy lacing. The smell is interesting: there's a lot of tobacco, along with burnt coffee grounds. Not what you'd expect from an APA. There is also lemon, grapefruit, and pepper notes. Its taste is an intriguing combination of freshly-brewed and burnt coffee, caramel, char, tobacco, lemon, and bitter, biting Sorachi Ace hops. It's a nice balance of bold sweetness and bitterness. For an APA, it's surprisingly rich and creamy - almost chewy - with lively carbonation, and a noticeable and potent 8.4% ABV. Overall, this is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable beer: it's like a stronger version of Boat blended with Regular Coffee. It would easily stand up to a hearty meal or for dessert.

Mar 13, 2018
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Act25 from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

As i return to this, I like it more. Perhaps it's Carton's best.
A) Another Carton looker with lace and lasting white head over a slightly hazed coffee influenced amber body.
S) Coffee in a good way, as it rises in a morning kitchen, along with steaming sweet buns and fried eggs.
T) Monster big hops laced with that cold brew coffee. Lemony, lemon rind, on a malt caramel breakfast bun core.
F) Even has a little astringency of the lemon and cold brew.
O) Winner if you love coffee that’s not over done, like cold espresso laced with lemon rind twirl. Euro.
Prickly clean finish, I prefer this to other coffee brews because astringent, not sweet.

Mar 04, 2018
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woemad from Washington

4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can from SammyJaxxx’s unprovoked ninja attack. There’s no obvious freshness date on the can, just the promotional paragraph that has been reproduced here.

Poured into a Mad Bomber IPA glass, this was a chill-hazed orangey amber color, almost burnt orange, with a big, fluffy beige colored head that took several minutes to drop and left lots of lace on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is of lightly citrusy hops with a roast coffee edge to it. The hops definitely come through more than the coffee, but those coffee notes are definitely alongside.

I find that the coffee seems to be leading the charge in the flavor department, but the hops are right there as well. The hoppiness is a little more lemony, grassy, herbal in nature as compared to the grapefruity-piney hoppiness I’m accustomed to, but it works well here. As it warms, the coffee flavor becomes more prominent at the hops expense, but it’s not a massive, overbearing coffee presence even then. Things are really well balanced. The finish is dry, but not bone-shatteringly so. No sign of the relatively high alcohol level, by the way.

Medium bodied, with a more creamy mouthfeel than I would expect for an IPA, and correspondingly less oily and resiny.

I’m not familiar with the type of coffee used here (I’m more of a dark roast kind of guy), but it’s apparently supposed to impart fruity, lemon like flavors, so I’m finding it’s pretty hard to tell where the coffee flavor ends and the hops begin, which is probably the whole point. The balance is superb. I think I want to have this again, and try more coffee IPAs. Given the level of coffee fanaticism in the PNW, maybe this will soon be a thing around here. Thanks to SammyJaxxx for this tasty and fascinating beer!

May 15, 2016
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DerekCarruth from Georgia

2.6/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm not sure if I just got an old can or what, but I did not like the initial taste (very malty to me) and the after taste was a little funky. As much as I love 077XX, I am a little upset as I was expecting this to be great. I'll try again another time to see if indeed this was just an old can.

Jan 23, 2016
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2beerdogs from California

3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to NJ Beer Ambassador @Sammyjaxxxx for this one.
Well I thought this one sounded, well, uh, interesting.
But we need to be open to new experiences.
Poured a golden to amber hue. Off white head bursting with lemony citrus and yes, hints of fruity coffee.
Taste is really a fine blend of lemon zest and lite roast coffee. It is nothing I ever expected to enjoy, but it's quite good.

Jan 18, 2016
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RVA_BDK from Virginia

4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great balance between the coffee and the hops. I was a little skeptical of this beer at first but it over delivered. I couldn't have more than one in a sitting but would certainly look for this again.

Jan 15, 2016
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can, sample from the brewery.

Tiny bubbled lacing, nearly clear amber hue. Smells of light citrusy hops, faint fresh ground coffee, bready malt, & dried pear-like fruitiness. The cold brewed coffee is in there, lots of lemon zest and pith all of which balances out the big malt back bone. Lots of flavor mingling around yet it all works together, warming in the finish but still quite drinkable for the size. A lot of fun to knock this one back.

Jan 12, 2016
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gopens44 from Virginia

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Carton has this coffee thing down. Seriously. Nose carries certainly a nice coffee aroma most prominently but the taste captures the coffee flavor masterfully balanced against a slightly fruity hop bitterness. Beer rounds out with a slightly hot aggressive bitter. This one is for real.

Dec 31, 2015
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Wasatch from Colorado

3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks goes out to SammyJaxxxx for this brew.

16 oz. Can

Pours a very nice dark golden yellow color, with some very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger plus off-white head, which leaves some very nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, with some coffee notes, slightly roasty. The taste is pretty nice hoppy, malty, with some roasty/coffee notes. Medium body, with a slightly bitter finish. Overall, never thought about putting coffee into a DIPA before, not bad, but not really for me.

Dec 23, 2015
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stephenjmoore from Maryland

4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Settles into the glass as a murky tarnish-orange body, with a soapy bone-white head. Aroma is big in coffee grounds, piney hops and toasted malts. Flavor fits the bill; piney hops balanced out by bitter coffee. Feel is medium, with medium carbonation. Full flavored, but easy drinking. A really solid IIPA brewed with coffee.

Dec 17, 2015
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thampel09 from New Jersey

4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

First off let's say this nose is fantastic! Great aroma of coffee and hops melds so well together. On the pallet it's straight hoppy coffee with alight lemon undertones. Well done!

Dec 06, 2015
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thatoneguymike from Georgia

4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another great coffee blonde beer from Carton.

The color is very similar to Regular Coffee, a blonde color which completely hides what is to come.

The IPA just reeks of coffee, in a good way if that's your thing.

Taste is a great play on an coffee-IPA and this is just a wonderful beer.

I loved it.

Dec 06, 2015
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agreenman19 from Connecticut

4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L - pours a crystal clear color just like unsweetened iced tea! Nostalgic!

S - not sure what this is. I get coffee, but it's not the typical coffee you'd smell in a stout. I suspect the hops are contributing! More caramel like a brown ale.

T - more of that initial caramel forward taste, but a stringent bitterness pervades. There's a lot of different sensations and flavors going on in this one. An avant-garde beer for sure. Cold-brewed coffee, some slight hop citrus. Hint of lemon. Strange balance, but works for this beer. Despite all the bitterness in the middle, it finishes smooth. Dries the mouth ever so slightly.

F - packs a punch. Prickly, but also a little thin. Accentuates the hop bite.

O - a strange beer! Not used to the bitterness from my coffee coming from something other than, well... coffee!

Dec 05, 2015
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jebenavid from New Jersey

4.99/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic coffee ale by Carton Brewing. Can't think of something that would make this beer better. Poured into a 16oz Carton 077XX IIPA glass.

Look: A clear, light amber colored pale ale with plenty of carbonation, with a generous pour resulting in a couple of inches of a pale cream colored head, with little lacing left behind

Smell: Smells of straight freshly roasted morning coffee in the foreground, with a light hop element and lemon smell in the background.

Taste: A pale ale done right. A burst of lemony, citrusy flavor with a hoppy undertone, followed by the big roasted flavor of coffee, rounding the corner with an ultra smooth and non-bitter finish.

Feel: As mentioned, smooth as silk. Clocks in around 8%abv yet feels as if it is ultra drinkable. Definitely dangerous as I drank 3 cans in a 2 hour sitting.

Overall: I hope Carton maintains this route because this coffee pale ale was fantastic. Brought me back to the Goose Island Fulton Street Coffee blend, but I do believe Carton leaped a large hurdle over it! Definitely seek it out and try it.

Dec 02, 2015
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DrStiffington from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very tasty non-stout coffee beer. I missed it the first time around, so I was psyched to get a bunch this year. Very coffee forward on the nose, with the taste following suit. Don't get a lot of lemon flavor, but overall a treat.

Nov 28, 2015
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HopBomb515 from New Jersey

4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hazy golden touch toward the orange side, small head fades fast, alcohol legs but not much of any lacing. Smells of coffee, lemon, hoppy, touch of caramel sweetness. Amazing aroma but it lacks that pop out of the glass. The way the coffee, lemon and caramel flavors meld together is amazing. Bitterness from the coffee and hops finishes pleasingly bitter with a nice citrus touch. Mouthfeel has some initial carbonation on a full end of medium body that turns creamy and finishes slightly sticky and drys out in a flash at the end. This is a world class beer with truly unique flavors and Carton just nails another one.

Oct 05, 2014
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brianmandell from California

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Comes in a waxed and capped growler. This is a nice IPA that is more of a coffee beer than an IPA. The coffee is very present in aroma and flavor and well integrated with the base beer. Very well balanced. Creamy carbonation with great mouthfeel. Nicely done, Carton.

Sep 13, 2014
SS Yirgacheffe from Carton Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 149 ratings