Hop Cakes
NoDa Brewing Company

Hop CakesHop Cakes
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #488
Ranked #2,649
4.17 | pDev: 9.11%
NoDa Brewing Company
North Carolina, United States
Hop CakesHop Cakes
Notes: NoDa Brewing will release four-pack cans of Hop Cakes, a double IPA brewed with maple syrup, at the taproom this Monday, Feb. 9. The cans will be distributed around town starting the next day, but if you want to try it on tap head to the brewery this Friday, Feb. 6 (kegs, too, will make their way to area bars next week). This beer first appeared as a small-batch NoDable beer almost three years ago when head brewer Chad Henderson interrupted a lumberjack convention to tell them about the beer. The brewery has since brewed larger amounts and had it on tap at the brewery, though not often. This will be the first time they have packaged the beer. This is the second in the brewery’s line of specialty cans. The first, Hoppy Holidays, was released last December. Though it was distributed to many bottle shops around town, Hoppy Holidays didn’t last long on the shelves. At more than 3,000 four-packs, Hop Cakes will be much more plentiful than Hoppy Holidays. Still, it’s limited. I’d recommend trying to find it sooner rather than later, as it’s sure to sell like — well, you know.
Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 227 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of drdiesel9483
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look - slightly dark copper color with a good lasting head
Smell - deep citrus malty scent
Taste - earthy less sugar caramel slight citrus
Feel - medium full body with a light carb
Overall - pretty tasty

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Photo of Unclevince
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This one was a bit over my head. There were not a ton of hops in the aroma or flavor. Strong sweetness from the maple syrup but I kept getting this salty potato thing on the palate. The flavor kind of reminds me of stale ipa. I like the idea but not one I will visit again.

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Photo of BoodahMoogle
4.81/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An ipa with the distinct sweetness of maple syrup. Not exactly a combination I knew I needed. Like having a glass of orange juice with a stack of fresh pancakes. This is an excellent wake up call... if the 10.2% ABV doesn’t put you to bed!

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazing brew...first smell/ taste reveals the maple syrup but the taste is quickly surrendered to a hop-pine smash which is to be expected of a DIPA. Poured into a Sam Adams beer glass a golden hue typical of the style w/ a slight head. The 10% abv. is well-hidden, making HopCakes extremely drinkable! Well done NoDa!!

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Photo of EMV
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a tallboy can into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Slightly hazed golden pour with 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Solid ring of lacing.

T/F: Light grains... pine forward hops with light citrus. Honey and maple syrup sweetness mingles well with the bitter hops. Medium bodied... sticky on the tongue... booze present but hidden. The finish is bittersweet citrus.

O: A big bittersweet IPA. Reminds me of a poor man's 'Hopslam' and that's not really an insult. Quality beer and one to be careful with given the ABV.

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Photo of strohme2
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce can, packaged 2/12/18. On the outer threshold of it's life. Poured into tulip.
Pours a duller copper orange, with fluffy white head of a finger or just a bit more. The nose is full of dried sweetened clementine orange, honey. Wow, that is straight up Mandarin orange. I used to get these dried Mandarin oranges from Costco. They were intense and flavorful and this is exactly the taste. Some resiny characters and overall bitterness. Solid. Mouthfeel is light for a DIPA but supremely drinkable. No hints of booziness detected. I've loved everything from NoDa and this fits rights in. Well done.

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Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding DIPA. Pours a hazy honey yellow color from a pint can into a pint glass. Big foamy white head with good retention and thick bands of foamy lacing on the glass. Aroma is piney hops and sweet caramel malt, fairly pronounced and very pleasant. Excellent flavor. Good level of bitterness, sweet caramel malt. Mouthfeel is the best part. Sweet, smooth, and bitter with a pillowy softness that I first experienced with Blind Pig from Russian River. The 10 percent abv is not noticeable and if I was drinking this from pitchers, I would probably be wiped out!!! Great beer!!

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Photo of stevoj
3.02/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can from Steve. Bright golden, small fizzy head. Hoppy aroma, faint maple sweet back end. Taste too, mostly generic IPA flavors. Doesn't feel like a DIPA either.

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Photo of dlos
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours semi clear golden color with a white head that leaves some nice lacing. Maple sweetness and hoppy on the nose. Bitterness mingling with maple sweetness dominate the taste. Pretty well disguised ABV, good carbonation and a medium bodied mouthfeel, easy to drink.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm trying this at my Bestie's in Charlotte. It poured a clear golden with white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent had hints of maple and hop bitterness. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. There was a slight maple syrup sweetness. The mouthfeel is fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it was a solid beer.

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Photo of JohnKochanski
3.71/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Read other reviews of this and I had crack it open. Boy was I severely disappointed in this beer. aroma is very hoppy with a sweetness probably from the maple syrup. Taste there is a bitterness from the hops that really takes away from he overall flavor of this beer. Can't put a finger on the bitterness whether it's the hops and/or from citrus pith/ peel. You can definitely taste the 10.2% in this which again takes away from the overall taste of this beer. Can't say I'd have this one again.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours semi transparent golden color with thick white head. Spotty lacing all around the glass.

Aroma - Nice malts and caramel aromas along with just a touch of sweet maple syrup. There is alot of tropical ripe mango and pineapple as well as some pine resin.

Taste - Nice complex flavors lots of tropical fruit mango, pineapple and mango up front with the sweet maple syrup and caramel on the back end. Also showing nice pine finish as well.

Feel - Medium body well carbonated slightly slick

Overall - Just a great beer very well done, all of the flavors stand out nothing over powers, no sign of the 10.2% ABV.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 16-oz. can
Glass: Beer Nerd tulip
From: My friend, Jay
Price: $4 (educated guess)
Purchased: N/A; Received March 10, 2017
Consumed: March 13, 2017
Reviewed as: American Double / Imperial IPA
Misc.: Canned on Jan. 31, 2017

Thanks, Jay!

Was lucky enough to receive this as part of a 10-beer package sent by Jay. Had one NoDa about three years ago and thought it was a decent session. I believe they were still a fairly new brewery at the time. Had semi-followed them afar since and was glad to get one of these in the package. Had their Coco Loco a few days ago as part of the package as well. Have high hopes for this one.

Poured a deep gold mostly clear color with 2-to-3 fingers of frothy white head. Could see just a few bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass, but rather serene overall. Very good uneven lacing. Very good retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled floral, maple syrup, caramel candy squares, spoiled nectarine, sticky resin, melon, cantaloupe, pineapple, hints of cereal milk, toffee candy and earthy herbal. Picked up Cascade hop early on, maybe Citra too, but having trouble picking out anything else with all the Maple Syrup malts. (Smell - 3.75)

Taste followed for the most part. Wow, that sticky maple syrup dominates. No hiding that 10.2 pct. ABV. Also got caramel candy squares, bitter orange peel, pine needles, toffee, resin, lemon zest and nectarine. Getting some spiciness, which I’m association with Simcoe. Really hard to pick out any other hops. It was kind of messy and unbalanced that way. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Bitter abrupt finish. (Feel - 3.75)

Wanted to like this better than I did. Would still like to have it again though. (Overall - 3.75)

3.77 | 85 | B+

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks Wil for this one!
Pours a bright saturated golden orange. Thin layer of foam and a halo of spotty lace. Hoppy aroma with a light maple essence, thankfully not sweet. Very resiny and bitter with a load of hops, and some booze on the back end. Maple adds an interesting twist of natural woody flavor, not the caramelized sugars of maple syrup. Aftertaste is a little bit harsh, the 10.2 abv bleeds through. Overall it was unique and interesting to try, but could be a little smoother.

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Photo of Bum4ever
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark golden color with a one inch white head that takes it's time dissolving.
S: Sweetness is the first thing I smell, followed by hops and some citrus and pine.
T: So this tastes like a sweet hop bomb w/o a ton of fruitiness. As someone who likes sweet things like stouts with vanilla and chocolate, this is a nice thing. Also some pine flavor in the finish.
F: Thinner than usual for a DIPA but not terribly so.
O: This was canned about 5 weeks ago and to me it seems to be holding up really well. To me this is different from my usual and I definitely liked it.

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hop Cakes is a slightly hazy, deep-gold beer that is alive with exceptionally fine carbonation; its medium off-white, creamy head shows modest retention and leaves excellent lacing in the form of thick slabs and caverns. The nose is a big, tasty blend of florals that hits spicy/sweet, cannabis and perfume, backed by more subtle grapefruit and a hint of grassiness; significant alcohol overtones ride above everything else. Up front, the palate is medium-bitter citrus with a significant caramel character and cannabis highlights. Mid-palate, the full range of florals from the nose emerge, and come to the forefront, eclipsing the citrus, and the grassiness becomes a bit more apparent. The caramel character is joined by a bit of bittersweet nuttiness, and the bready malt foundation stands revealed, reducing perceived bitterness to a modest level; all told, the malt/hops balance is fairly typical of the breed. Boozy undertones are quite serious, but not disconcertingly so. The finish is a good hit of booze and bitter citrus, and is the least bit astringent; it is followed by the onset of a modest cannabis/pine bitterness that lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the medium body, and the texture is medium-creamy, slightly slick and slightly peppery from the understated carbonation. (growler)

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange brew with quickly fading head that smells like grapefruit rubbed pine needles with a drop of maple syrup on them. The flavor is malty and fruity with a ton of pine and a hint of maple. There is a massive bitter finish that is reminiscent of the Hop Drop and Roll. Solid beer but I'm not sure the maple brings a lot to the party.

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Photo of Terptwerp
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap at the brewery last night. The 2017 batch is even better than the last few years. The hops and the sweetness balance each other well. I have to force myself to slow down drinking it, since the 10% abv is fairly well hidden. Glad that I picked up a four pack,

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Photo of ElMariachi29er
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer gets better every year. The 2017 does not disappoint. Quality hop boom with just a touch a sweetness at the finish. 10.2% ABV hidden very well and this is a well executed beer. People were lining up at NoDa for this today which is a testament to its appeal.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to dogdoc sending this one! Reviewed from long-standing notes. Poured from the 16 oz. can into a Cigar City Brewing pint glass.

A: A nice apricot-gold, quite hazy. Capped by a thin white head that fades quickly, and an average level of visible carbonation.

S: Resin oil hops over the biscuit malts with a backer of maple syrup sweetness. Citrus hops - rinds and orange marmalade - as well, followed by some caramel malts.

T: Follows the nose. Resin and citrus hops over sweet biscuity malts with some caramel character and just a hint of maple syrup. Unfortunately, this tastes a little bit old (or oxidized?) as well. The maple is way more noticeable in the nose than on the palate. There are hints of grassy and melon hops as well. As it warms, the maple syrup shows up a little more, with a rock-candy-dipped-in-maple kinda thing going on. A modest amount of bitterness in the hang with some residual malt crystal sweetness.

M: The body is a bit on the heavy side but not objectionable. Carbonation sensation on the low side. It feels somewhat warming but is not overly hot.

O: I suspect that this can is suffering from being about 2 months old when I'm drinking it (April 2015). While not screamingly fresh, I feel like most DIPAs should be able to handle that amount of age. At any rate, I was hoping the sugars in the syrup would dry the beer out while leaving maple flavor…instead, it ends up in the sweeter spectrum of DIPAs, which aren't generally what I'm looking for. I would give a VERY fresh can another try, but as is I won't be actively seeking a second.

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Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz Can

A big thanks goes out to Wil for sending some beer my way, this included! Thanks, guy! Hop Cakes is a deliciously pale golden libation. The clarity is good and it grows even paler the closer it gets to the light. The foam easily rises to three fingers on the pour and slowly settles to a skim coat. While it settles, and after each drink, it it leaves sticky, patchy lac down the glass.

The nose is dank and earthy, it can be smelled the second the can is cracked. Pine needles and bark are at the forefront. The maple syrup adds that earthiness. The malt profile is of the palest varieties laying down a canvas of candi sugar, sugar cookies, and soft breadiness. The pine grows the longer this beer sits out of the fridge.

The flavor follows the nose pretty closely. It's pine needles off the bat in a big way with the bready maltiness joining the fray. There's some citrus in the middle, lemon and orange pith, that the nose didn't show but is certainly welcomed here. The finish is bitter and bold with the pine needles, pithy citrus, and resinous qualities all at once. It's a bruise with very little noticeable malt base.

This is a hefty beer, and while there is some alcohol fumes and drying caused by the same, the booziness is barely noticeable. The body sits at moderate in weight and there is a soft, lively carbonation that adds some airiness and makes the body lighter, more drinkable. The finish is dry and bitter, very bitter.

Hop Cakes is a damn good beer and like I mentioned above, it's a bruiser. A piney, resinous, dry, easy drinking 10.2%-er. Tht's dangerous in the best possible way. Thanks again, Wil!

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.37/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Just a little too hoppy and boozy for me. I figured it would be a touch hard to drink at over 10% ABV, but it just wasn't enjoyable enough for me to drink the entire can. I am not a huge hop head, so that might be why I didn't love this one.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.27/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear gold with a large off-white head. Good retention and lots of sticky lacing.

Hop forward aroma. Pine and lemon. Just a hint of the maple sweetness, was expecting more. Caramel malt.

Again hop forward taste. Resinous pine in particular. Also, lemon, grapefruit, and bitter orange. Maple syrup comes through much stronger than the nose. Caramel malt that is mostly overwhelmed by the hops and syrup.

Medium body with a high degree of bitterness. Medium carbonation. Pine lingers.

An out of balance beer. Individual flavors are good but don't mix well. Maple Syrup seems more a distraction than anything.

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Photo of danh53
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was very enjoyable. Citrus, baked bread, and the maple is beautifully done. It is subtle as it should be, but you can taste it. The beer has a dry finish that keeps it from getting too sweet and syrupy. Mouth feel is clean and crisp and you don't taste the 10.2. I had All Green Everything the other night and this is much easier to drink and more enjoyable. Exceeded expectations.

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Photo of Myotus
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured at 52°F from a 16oz can (canned on 19Feb16). Consumed on 16Mar16.
LOOK: Three fingers worth of dense, off-white foam is formed after the initial pour. At 25 seconds, the foam becomes rocky and porous. At 3 minutes, the foam head has dissipated into a fingers worth of foam, leaving behind a moderate amount of thick lacing. Honey orange in color with a mild amount of cloudiness. There is a large quantity of small sized rising bubbles. Lacing is moderate in quantity and both thick and very thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of piney hops are backed by mild maple syrup, white bread, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit aromas. There are also hints of bitter hops.
TASTE: The initial taste is composed of strong piney hop and mild maple syrup flavors that creates an interestingly tasty clash of flavors on the opposite side of the taste spectrum. Mild white bread and subtle orange, tangerine, and grapefruit flavors immediately follow. Mild bitter hop flavors and hints of alcohol finish off the taste profile as all previous flavors push on.
FEEL: Medium-bodied with a subtle amount of carbonation. Goes down smooth and creamy. Finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness.
NOTE: A unique brew to say the least! What seemed bizarre and unappealing turned out to be pretty good. I'm not big on the piney hop flavors, but they commingled well with the syrup. If y'all ever see a can, get one and enjoy!

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Hop Cakes from NoDa Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 227 ratings