SS Kentucky
Carton Brewing Company

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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #3,978
Ranked #36,570
3.7 | pDev: 12.16%
Carton Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States
Very Good
Notes: Collaboration with Against the Grain Brewing

There are few moments as inspirational as those spent wandering the tables of Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Fest. Some of our friends, some of our heroes, and a lot of our inspirations reveling, sharing ideas, and flavors. Last year while sipping with the team of Against The Grain inspiration hit. The “Need a Bigger Boat” recipe dressed with Zythos and Pacific Jade dry hopping, getting another wrinkle of dankness with the addition of pineapples smoked by our new friends. Drink SS Kentucky and enjoy the NJ/KY trade routes.
Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 133 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Kentucky-New Jersey connection is live and well when on the collaborative boat that's driven by Carton and Against the Grain breweries. With the aid of smoked pineapple, Pacific Jade and Zythos hops piled high on a classic Imperial IPA has us wondering if this boat is big enough for all of us.

SS Kentucky sets sail with a burnish gold pour, a fair haze and a frothy, cottony crown. With the scent of tropical fruit, citrus and a fresh botanical greenness swooning about the nose, the first sip brings a honey dipped radiance to a light caramel, and a mild poundcake and cashew taste early and often on the tongue.

As the hops unfold on the middle palate, a burst of pineapple is front and center. A follow up of tangy under ripened oranges, lemon, green berries and currant lead to a firm and withstanding bitterness of pepper and pine. All the while, a mild simmer of smokiness brings a mesquite level of savory to the overall session.

Medium full in body, the Imperial IPA has a crisp and refreshing texture that's a juxtaposition to the smoked pineapple flavor that offers a robust and hearty character. A long trail of resinous bitterness is of fruit rinds and campfire lingers long after the sweetness has subsided.

Oct 21, 2019
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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a semi translucent light orange/golden color. Nice creamy foamy head. Smells like smoke , hops,pineapple.Taste is off center to me. Much smokiness, faint pineapple, a mishmash of like 7 hops. A bit less smoke and more pineapple would be better. Feels very well. Nice carbonation, medium to light body. Finishes juicy. Overall not bad. a tad disappointed but don't regret trying it. This beer was in collaboration with Against the grain brewing ,which I have never heard of. Overall an interesting unique DIPA. I would consider buying again. I found the reason for all the smokiness is they "against the grain" smoked the grains in addition to the pineapple-

Aug 10, 2019
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Keananmichael5 from California

3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a good IPA. Way to smoky and weird. No hop flavor or traditional IPA flavor. I wish that it had more pineapple and less smoke. That would make it a good and unique

Aug 23, 2015
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can. Poured a hazy yellow color. Thin head. Aroma doesn't necessarily shout "Double IPA" to me. That isn't much of a problem because the smoked pineapple aroma is delectable. Genuine pineapple flesh with a light but present smokiness. Some tropical fruit hops accentuate the pineapple. Solid malt sweetness and alcohol. Flavor relinquishes the grip the smokey pineapple had on the nose. Its still the dominant factor on the palate but the other aspects of the beer are more important here. Smoked pineapple, juicy hops, alcohol, pineapple juice, sweet pale malt. Thick bodied. Could have used a bit more bitterness. I did really enjoy this beer as I do most Carton offerings. It was interesting and unique; and I enjoyed it more than the other people I drank it with.

Jun 22, 2015
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is hazed light orange with very light yellow edges and a good bit of white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Nose has a light grain up front with lots of pineapple and a hint of lemon and smoke. Flavor is even more smoky, its actually quite smoky. Still fairly tropical with a lot of pineapple under all the smoke. A touch sweet but not overly at all. Extremely low bitterness, very drinkable, medium body, and nicely carbonated.

May 31, 2015
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DWBoca57 from New York

1.21/5  rDev -67.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

L :Golden and clear. White head that slowly dissipates. Nice lacing.
S:Smells awful. Pure liquid smoke, nothing else.
T: Tastes like liquid smoke. Didn't get anything else.
F:Liquid smoke taste hangs on tongue, I need to go brush my teeth
O: awful! Drain pour, hurts my heart to say and do that, but it's gross. Had high hopes.

Apr 23, 2015
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Triklino from New Jersey

4.19/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I don't see how anybody can't smell the pineapple. The taste doesn't quite follow the nose exactly, but the pineapple and slight smokiness is there in the taste as well. Another really good beer from Carton.

Apr 23, 2015
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tikk from Canada

4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'd have to say I enjoy this beer more than some of you. looks like a nice hazy ipa. Smells like smoke and citrus. Tastes the same, with a smoky sweetness of the pineapple and a lingering citrus hop bite. Mouth feel isn't as smooth as i like, has a bit of a bite on it.
Overall I enjoy this beer, wouldn't drink more than one in a sitting though.

Apr 18, 2015
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Pete_IV from New York

3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice golden color with a lacy white head that disappeared rather fast. Smells of citrus and smoke, the smoke really comes through while tasting. Much smokier than I thought this would be but not upset with that. Still get the strong IPA flavors mixed in with smokey flavors. This beer is different and definitely worth a shot.

Apr 14, 2015
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Sterby from Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 16 oz can poured into tulip glass. Pale straw, good clarity, foam dissipates quickly with slight retention.

Aroma - Massive hops, little to no smoke or pineapple in the nose.

Mouthfeel - Very bitter, well carbonated

Taste - Big bittering hops up front, quickly fades to a smokey campfire that lasts for several seconds. Pineapple is hard to find.

Overall - Not my favorite from Carton, but certainly unique. This is for smoke lovers and hop heads.

Apr 11, 2015
Photo of Act25
Act25 from New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'd call this an 077 work in progress. Which is what Carton and its brewers like to do.
Also recently, they have focused on dankness, wildness and smoke. With more to come I believe, if you visit their cellar - lots of wood barrel aging and a search for wild yeast. I would expect major upgrades from Carton soon both in terms of tasting room, experimentation, and heading off the beaten path to discovery.

To like is the Kentucky "Against the Grain" collaboration, along with the stinky, smokey contrast here that balances the sweetness and intense hops.

A: They must still be working on appearances. Crystal clear, very little vis carbonation, not much head or lacing after a few minutes.
S: Very interesting. I smell fruit, smoke, pineapple sugar candy, pine, hops, grass, & hooch.
T: Blackened spare ribs. Works for me. Not a 2-in-a row beer, but a solid meditation, tease apart the flavors beer, with lots of mystery. Follows the multi-facet smell but gets better, an intensity: like a tarry, pine, sap fire pit in the shoulder seasons, with a pineapple stuffed pig roasted to bacon and char.
F: Liquor like, reminds me of B & B.

Excellent experiment. I bought a limited edition 4 pack. Want to share with my friends.

Mar 27, 2015
SS Kentucky from Carton Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 133 ratings