Hop Cakes | NoDa Brewing Company

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Hop CakesHop Cakes

Brewed by:
NoDa Brewing Company
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Bung on 03-03-2013

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Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 180
Photo of leroybrown10
3.27/5  rDev -20%
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 n2185
3.37/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a murky honey color with a finger of beige head that fades into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Maple syrup, caramel malts, and some light tropical hop aromas like pineapple, melon, and apricots.

T: Maple syrup and caramel up front with sweet melon flavors followed by a resinous pine kick and finish that is both sweet and bitter.

M: Medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet but avoids being watery.

O: An interesting and decent beer, overall. I love maple syrup and was excited for this, but the maple adds so much sweetness that it's reminiscent of countless IPAs that are past their prime.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.37/5  rDev -17.6%
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 macrosmatic
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
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 Tucquan
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2015-03-15 in Columbia, PA from a 16 oz can

A - Mildly hazy, burnt orange with a 2-finger white head and nice lace.

S - Mostly a dank aroma with some cereal and just a bit of maple sweetness. Smells like a DIPA past its prime.

T - Hop forward dank and bitter, toasted batter, pine, sweetness that isn't obviously maple, and citrus zest bitterness that lasts a long time; more than I expected from a beer wanting to emphasize maple syrup. This improved as it warmed; emphasizing more of the sweetness but I could have used more maple flavor and grain to offset the bitterness.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Resinous and quite prickly.

O - A decent-but-not-great DIPA. For comparison, I much-preferred this year's Bell's Hopslam (2015).

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Photo of handcrafty
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Lots of HDR comparisons, but this beer is an entire different beast. Great balance between the hops and the single syrup malt. Hops shine in a can dated a little more than a month ago. Smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel and well hidden alcohol for a 10%+ beer. I loved Hop Drop when it first came out, and the cakes have restored my faith in a brewery that I felt was otherwise starting to cater to the snob conscious. (just stop putting TM after your beer names, please).

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | 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 emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
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 brentk56
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a very modest head though it leaves a surprising amount of splashy lace

Smell: Piney hops buttressed by a hint of caramel

Taste: Caramel with a hint of maple in the backbone; by mid-palate, the piney hops grow bold and pithy bringing bitterness to the finish; in the aftertaste, the sweeter tones linger

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: When I heard this had maple syrup, I was a bit concerned but the maple is very subtle here; just a well-brewed DIPA

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Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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 hotpauko
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Michael Alexanders in Charlotte. Big double with big hop flavor. Yes this is close to pumped up HDR. You can pull out similar hop flavor if you know HDR well enough, just a little bolder and not as crisp and clean. Smell is boozy and hits your mouth initially boozy, then mellows. Mouthfeel is smooth with an easy bite for such a high ABV. Sweetness is noticeable start to finish. Well made, great hop mix like HDR. I think I'd like to see a bit more malt backbone and less sweetness but this is Hop Cakes!!!

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Photo of Myotus
4.01/5  rDev -2%
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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Photo of Bung
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Revolution. Standard bright gold pour, thin layer of white head laces nicely.

Aroma, big floral and citrus hops. Faint bread or more biscuit in the background.

Taste, citrus, especially grapefruit. Pine is pretty light. Faint malty background. Tastes more like a straight ipa, a very nice ipa though.

Maybe medium bodied, very easy drinking. For the size this is insanely easy to drink, little alcohol presence.
Brewed with maple syrup, not sure what it did other than give some color. This is a real nice ipa in a dipa name.

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Photo of Daktah
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured bright gold with about of finger of white head and good lacing. Smell is great out of the gate - lots of citrus and sweetness with a touch of more earthy notes. Fantastic smell, but nothing to signal syrup. Taste was exactly what I expected after that nose - citrus, a touch of pine, some tropical fruit as well. Still no syrup. Light bodied for a DIPA, but that's where the beer style for this one gets a little confusing. I taste nowhere near 10.0% in this this one. I would peg this as a great IPA with around 7.5% or 8.0% alcohol. Very easy drinking and much lighter than I expected - DIPA made with maple syrup painted a much darker, slow-drinking picture for me.

Great beer that I hope becomes a regular rotating/seasonal offering.

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Photo of oberon
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a tulip glass a duller medium golden with a thinner but lacey white head atop.Herbal and oeverripe tropical fruit -like hops dominate the nose with not any maple syrup notes the hops were large and in charge though.Big hops with note being overly sweet on the palate wich was great,tropical fruits with a touch of herb with only light sugary sweetness and alcohol,not getting the maple syrup though,maybe a hint in the back end.Love this beer,anytime you can find a DIPA that's not saturated in caramel/sugary sweetness it's a good thing,really like this beer.

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Photo of wingnutter
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hop Drop on steroids. I wish the maple syrup came through more, but this is a solid, smooth 10+% ABV that hides the alcohol very well. Another winner from NoDa.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a growler poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a mainly clear with a touch of hazy ruby orange. One finger head that dissipated quickly.

S - Hops, front and center. A smidge of alcohol. Grapefruit/citrus.

T- Again, the hops dominate, and they are of the resinous, dank variety. Slight sea salt/onion, but not in a bad way. There is some malt/sugar sweetness, but you don't pick up much of the syrup until it gets warm. Butter.

M - Carbonation is mid-level, not sticky as you would expect, the feel is pretty crisp and clean and easy for a 10%er.

O - A solid DIPA, the only wish would be more of the syrup notes in the taste. The hops here (like the Hop Drop) are stellar. If I had to guess, I would say that the syrup primarily added the ability to get to a higher heat %, and throw in a touch of color and a little warmth.

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Photo of dvmin98
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This must be a revamped recipe because I've had this in the past and it was underwhelming. This years is very hoppy with mild maple flavors. One possible answer is I drank something that was literally canned yesterday, so its ultra fresh. Nice job. Seek if you can

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
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 Immortale25
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottom of can says 02/09/2015.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small side patch of bubbly surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a thin jagged ring behind.

S- Has that cereal grain sweetness that I like so much about Hop Drop coupled with the maple syrup sweetness. The hops meld in with this sweetness seamlessly.

T- Maple and cereal grain sweetness at first, then the hop bitterness slowly creeps in and then you're left with a bready aftertaste. At first I can't believe this is actually 10% ABV but after a few sips right in a row I taste the booze. Still, incredibly smooth and enjoyable.

M- Oily and slick with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- So glad I was able to snag a can of this since it's a unique and super tasty take on the Double IPA style.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear amber-ish copper in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate honey orange + golden yellow highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a couple of small to medium sized patches of medium thick film surrounded by a thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of tropical/pineapple, citrus/grapefruit, and herbal hops over the top of light to moderate aromas of biscuit and caramel malts with a moderate amount of sweetness.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of biscuit and cereal grain malts with a hint of caramel malts and a slightly stronger than moderate amount of sweetness from the maple syrup (with a hint of maple flavor). That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of tropical/pineapple (overripe), citrus/grapefruit, and herbal hops which contribute a moderate to strong amount of bitterness which fades away fairly slowly.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly chewy with a light amount of dryness in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable and has a lot of the aspects that I love about Hop, Drop, 'n Roll - the biscuit/cereal grain maltiness with a moderate amount of sweetness and big hop flavors with aggressive bitterness. Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol. Glad I was able to snag a can this year, I would gladly have another if I had the chance.

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Photo of Bum4ever
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
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 Axnjxn
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

draft at beet study in chapel hill.

dark yellowish/orange color with a nice head. smell is very hoppy and a bit citrusy...hops much more prevalent than the citrus. taste is huge on piney goodness....a ton of hops here to balance out the maple syrup that was added and the beer doesnt taste sweet almost at all,...just a tad on the back end. just an amazing beer for 10.2% (undetectable) perfect body for an IPA with good carbonation.

overall one of noda's best and a top 5 NC IPA in my book. great job guys

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Photo of danh53
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
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 ElMariachi29er
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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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Hop Cakes from NoDa Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 180 ratings.
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