Flagship IPA | Carolina Brewery

57 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Flagship IPAFlagship IPA

Brewed by:
Carolina Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
87 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 207
Photo of MacMalt
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draught at the brewery. It poured a golden-amber color with a thin, milk-white head and lacing. The smell wasn't what I expected from an IPA: mostly malt with a whiff of caramel. Very little pine or citrus. The flavor followed the nose: a fairly sweet malt with a burst of bitterness at the finish. This ale is light and crisp and quite easy to drink with a moderate ABV of 5.9% Overall, it was rather betwixt and between: not overly hoppy, not very fruity, and somewhat malty. It's not easy to describe.

 521 characters

Photo of papat444
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best before early August.

Poured from a can a dirty orange body. tea-like hops but restrained which i'm glad for. Has a bit of a creamy feel to it and overall while i prefer American IPAs, I enjoyed this one.

 209 characters

Photo of hman43
2.72/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Look: It pours golden with orange tinges. The head is a creamy light orange.

Smell: It has aromas of apricot, bread, and sugar.

Taste: The are sweet flavors followed by some bitterness. The flavors are floral, bread, and sugary sweet.

Feel: It has a light-medium feel to it and is moderately bitter with a bit of astringency.

Overall, this is a balance beer with a slight edge on the hops.

 396 characters

Photo of SDavis108
3.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a good beer has a good taste. I'm big into the big hop taste and this one didn't have it. It's a very good IPA though I could see drinking this all day it taste way better than some of the sessions

 205 characters

Photo of Cavanaghty
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber color with a thin white head.

Smell: Light hops and citrus.

Mouthfeel/ Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of light hops and citrus.

Overall: Average IPA. Nothing special, but I would not turn it down if offered again.

 270 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear golden yellow color with a white head a bit of lacing, smell is light on citrus hops a cracker malt smell is present,light hops hit the palate with touches of citrus and pine,medium carbonation with a dry and somewhat bitter finish , this one is an average IPA it got some kick ,if nothing else on tap or curious then its one to try

 346 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: [3.50] Beer pours a nice dark copper color. This is definitely on the darker end of the IPA spectrum. The beer forms a decent 1/2 finger head of white bubbles. The beer lists a best by date of (7/11/15). There is no listed ABV.

S: [4.25] Caramel and bread-i-goodness. Definitely toffee strong on the the end of the nose.

T: [3.50] The hops and the malts are well in balance. I get toffee and brown sugar early. This fades out and gives way to the hops for a bitter finish.

M: [3.00] Decent body. The finish is bitter (not over powering) with a buttery feel to it. The dry/bitter feel goes on long after the beer is gone.

O: [3.50] This beer presents in reverse of typical IPAs. It is malt forward and then backs it up with the hops. I think with color, smell and taste this follows the English IPA route nicely. I have a 6 pack of these and I will be enjoying them in the future. My only hang up with this beer is the lingering bitter. It is there way after you finish a sip. It is longer lingering.

 1,022 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

12 oz can, poured into pint glass. Had a couple of these with dinner.

appears a medium copper color with head that fades fast. mild, but pleasant hop aroma - a mix of citrus and pine/earthy. taste is well balanced with some caramel malt flavor to balance the bitterness. medium body and carbonation.

 306 characters

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

A: Copper and cloudy with lots of sediment, 4 fingers of creamy head leaving a frothy honeycomb lacing.

S: Malts and black pepper, red pepper, light fruity citrus orange and grapefruit.

T: Caramel, malts, the big dull lingering bitterness I love, so typical to this style.

M: Medium thick resinous body, medium low peppery carbonation.

O: Excellent. Been a while since I’ve had a traditional IPA, and this one nails it. Bought in NC, drank in New Hamburg ON. Wish I didn’t have to rush this one, but I have a flight today and limited luggage space.

 563 characters

Photo of Sburkhardt99
4.51/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

IPA IPA IPA...They are in fashion now. Sadly most of the newer IPA's just add a ton of hops in an attempt to out hop the competitor. Oh you think you have hops well...

Carolina Brewery a small brewery in NC with two stores has in my humble opinion the best IPA to date. What is "best". My measure is a balanced approach. Simply put Color, nose, taste, and finish in this brew are extremely well done and each are distinct and compliment each other. The only ding if I had to give one would be the nose. There is not as much floral to this IPA as others but perhaps I am dinging nature in as much that any other hops in an attempt to lend a floral note would significantly change the taste. Nose be damned!

I will finish with this. This a perfectly balanced IPA that is drinkable all day long.



 812 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Flagship is darker than I expect, sort of a thick brown-orange. It's too dark and thick to be seen through, though I can see yeast loating around this unfiltered brew. The off-white head doesn't reach very high and is mostly a foam, although at least a consistent one. It does manage to leave spotty as well as thinly ringed lacing.
The nose is fresh and raw, not exactly clean but pretty pure. It's essentially lots of leafy and herbal green bitterness with a touch of caramel sweetness and bread from malts while a light grainy character runs underneath.
More hops come out in the flavor, which also has a bit more complexity to it as citrus flesh and zest are revealed along with an earthiness to go with the leafy, floral and herbal rawness that's balanced by yeasty notes, caramel, and biscuit.
The feel is good, a medium body holding some firmness and a steady carbonation allowing for a nice flow between a crisp bite and congruous smoothness.

 950 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

The Flagship IPA poured a nasty unfiltered amber with thick white head that is leaving a lace. The scent and taste are synonymous with most English IPA. I am pissed that this beer has chunky yeasty balls in it which means I will not finish it. The taste is bitter and not too bad from what I have tasted. Would like to try this off the tap to avoid the stuff that gives the craps!

 380 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Sampling a cellar temp can poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a slightly hazy copper hue with a fluffy offwhite head of 3 cm foaming up even with a gentle pour.
The head recedes slowly leaving some windowpane lattice and creating craters on the surface of the beer.
Aroma is bitter medicinal notes, with some pine sap and general herbal tea scents. I get just a little toffee, but something just isnt quite right in the balance of the nose. There is a bite that is slightly off-putting to the nose.
First sip reveals a fine rolling carbonation and average body, nothing too exciting on the physical components, but not thin and watery either.
Flavor is a little grainy and then rolls to some pine and floral notes and again some herbal tea hits. Finish is dry and generally astringent.
Overall this is a straightforward, not over the top beer that is easy to drink. The nose seems a little off, but otherwise I enjoy it for what it is, a good IPA that could be sessionable in the right situations.

 1,000 characters

Photo of orsulacp
3.91/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Real nice balance of malt and hops. The taste has a good caramel sweetness to start and then the bitterness comes on and lingers, really well balanced. The aroma is mostly floral, not much of the malt gets through. Overall a pretty good English ipA.

 252 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap a Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill, NC

A: Pours a clear copper in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation and moderate orange highlights. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that quickly reduces to a very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of floral and citrus/orange hops with some lighter notes of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of caramel malts with very little sweetness which is followed by moderate flavors of both floral and citrus/orange hops. Moderate amounts of bitterness which are sharp at first and fade slowly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable, just a touch too much ABV and bitterness to be sessionable but paired really nicely with the mediterranean food.

 938 characters

Photo of dpodratsky3
3.12/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: True copper orange, large fizzy head fades to just a film, white in color, should be crystal clear but my can had a TON of floaters

S: Not too hoppy, actually has some dominant malt aromas, bready sweet, hops are mild with a resiny and herbal aroma

T: Again, mild, malt is present in background, herbal and resiny hops again, hops at least provide the main flavor here but don't pack much of a punch

M: Medium body, slightly dry finish, pleasant mouthfeel

O: Ok, but it tastes faded, the date from Total Wine says 12/14/12. I'm guessing that is the shelved date (I reviewed this beer Jan. 23) so it shouldn't be THAT faded.

 667 characters

Photo of 5thOhio
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a typical IPA color, golden amber. Thin head that dissipates quickly leaving a light ring of foam. Not much in the way of lacing.

Nose is light, fresh floral and slightly herbal. Mouthfeel is medium, appropriate for an IPA, with delicate prickly carbonation.

Taste begins with the floral and herbal hop notes, then a strong bitterness overwhelms with underlying subtle notes of malt. The heavy bitterness makes it hard for me to detect the specific flavors of the malt, but it's there notwithstanding.

For an English IPA, I would expect more balance. However, it's still a decent IPA, probably better on tap.

 617 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer review from a can on 8/23/12: pours clear amber color with a foamy 2 finger white head that faded slowly and left very good spotty lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, biscuit, toasted grains, floral hops, toast, wheat and buttery cracker; malty overall and the hops are an accent like an English IPA.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, biscuit, toasted grains, floral hops, toast, wheat, lemon, light citrus hops, buttery cracker, toast and/or dough; malty overall with light citrus hops and lemon to compliment the malty biscuit flavors which handle most of the flavor. If this is an English IPA, then this is spot on - if not, then it's a decent IPA.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with light carbonation, a medium body and a slightly bitter malty finish that's on the sweet side. Average overall, so I wouldn't seek this out again. I like hoppy American IPA's better, but this was worthy of trying while in NC.

 939 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a cloudy copper with some off white head and chunky sediment.
S: It smelled like faint copper hops and bready malt, with some orange.
T: It tasted like bitter resin and copper, with some herbal hops and bready yeast. It had a bitter metallic aftertaste that was somewhat clean.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Good full body.
D: This was a decent English IPA. The scent and taste were fitting for the style, but not really my preference. The body was very nice, but the finish was a little harsh, so it was not the easiest to drink. Nice to try once, but easily forgettable.

 607 characters

Photo of Cylinsier
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours a light amber gold color with a white head.

Piney hop nose with some malt under there.

Strong hop profile, but much more floral than the nose suggested. Bready malts round out the taste.

Medium body with light carbonation.

Pretty good IPA, I liked this one a lot. Good hop character without being too bitter, works for me better than just a hop assault. On top of that, thirst quenching and almost sessionable.

 425 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served by a brewery rep. at the NC Brewers Fest.

A: Pours with an amber-orange body and a medium size, off-white head.

S: Hoppy more than malty, although there is a bit of breadiness present.

T: Has a fine, weedy/herbal hop flavor; only mildly bitter in the mouth, it leaves a more bitter aftertaste. 3.75

M: Near medium body; excellent carbonation.

O: a fine English style IPA.

 386 characters

Photo of Durge
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ran across this at Margaux's in Raleigh, North Carolina. It's a clear quiet amber/copper color with just a breath of some little white bubbles on top and modest lacing. The nose picks up a nice citrus nutty pine. The flavor follows suit but adds a peppery grass that’s a little on the harsh side but not bad. Carbonation is sharpish, very fine and body is between medium and light. Drinks easily and is pretty refreshing with a tingly feel that maintains fair constitution. The citrus bread flavor holds on through the finish. Definitely worth a try as a satisfying hop refreshment.

 584 characters

Photo of JimKal
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass with a two finger white head, a slightly cloudy amber. Head dissipates quickly leaving behind some nice lacing.

It has a faint citrus aroma.

This presents with a nice hoppy taste. The hops, for me, dominate the taste profile here.

Mouthfeel is aggressively hoppy. Not over the top like some of the west coast styles but these hops will sty with you for a while.

For me, this is a nice local (North Carolina) IPA that meets IPA standards and is worth a repeat (and it comes in a can).

 523 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub on 3/3/12.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a soft layer of creamy, white head that has decent retention. The nose is spicy and citrusy. The flavor opens with a faint malt note that mildly bready and then finishes with a strong citrusy, grapefruit hoppiness that's smooth and pleasing. There is also a good bit of spiciness that adds a bite to the hop character and to the finish. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, smooth, and a little crisp.

This is a decent, balanced, intriguing beer. The crispness and spiciness work well together to add an extra degree of drinkability. I will definitely have this again.

 641 characters

Photo of JayQue
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at Pamlico Jack's in Nags Head. Served in the ubiquitous frosted beer mug so the head suffered a bit. A small white cap on the glass...faded quickly. Light amber/copper color. Smell is fairly robust. Citrus hops primarily.

A balanced IPA. Citrus hops and some caramel malts. Mouthfeel is crisp with some good hops bitterness.

Plenty hoppy enough for an English IPA. Light enough to accompany dinner without overpowering it. Not bad at all!!

 462 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Flagship IPA from Carolina Brewery
3.56 out of 5 based on 207 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.