Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA | Avery Brewing Company

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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPAHog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Hog Heaven Barley Wine

Or is it hop heaven? This dangerously drinkable garnet beauty was designed to satisfy the most zealous hop devotees. Intense bitterness and the dankest of dry hopped aromas are intertwined with a rich caramel malt backbone. Oink!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-05-2002

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Ratings: 2,081 |  Reviews: 923
Photo of alleykatking
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a rusty amber color with some orange highlights when held up to the light. One and a half finger tan head shows medium retention. Web style lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- There are sweet sugary darker fruits in this along with a lot of caramel malts. Light toffee notes come through in the middle of the aroma with piney notes. Some light citrus hops in here as well. Some light medicinal alcohol in the tail end that makes the nose tingle.

T- Citrus and piney hops roll through the front of the beer. Sugary darker fruits soaked in rum toward the middle with some sweet malts to compliment the fruits. Light toasted grains in the middle to ending. Some light citrus hops in the ending along with a high alcohol taste toward the backing.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Tons of malts and darker fruits left on the palate with citrus hops and medicinal alcohol in the aftertaste. The overall balance on this barleywine is actually very good. Clean tasting overall with some higher alcohol tones from time to time. Heavy drying on the palate from the alcohol.

D- This barleywine is a couple of years old and I think it hit it's prime right here. A good hit from Avery for me at least. The higher ABV is kind of hidden toward the end which comes through a sharp alcohol hit and then it's gone.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewery in August 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate copper color with a very thin off white bit of lacing after a small head on the initial pour. Sell brings citrus and floral hops and a large amount of caramel malt sweetness. Taste is a bit of a mess with a large dose of hops that are somehow overpowered by an even larger dose of sweetness. Doesn't carry very much depth. Feel is fairly heavy with low to moderate carbonation. Drinkability is hampered by the taste just kind of being everywhere. A strange barleywine that might do better with some age.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First glass pours a dark clear amber brown. The second glass pours a nice hazy dark brown amber colour again. Love the floaties in the second glass. Tastes of sweet dark malts with a little hops kicking in there too. Drinks pretty smooth over over 9% alc. Quite the tasty american barley wine. One of my favourites to this point.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Pours a murky brown with a thin head. Minimal lacing. Aroma is boozey and hoppy. Sweet. Taste is more hops than I expected. Slight warming alcohol flavor but not a real boozey Barleywine. Heavy beer that is certainly a sipper. Overall a hoppy barleywine that is more like Bigfoot than say Olde School. I enjoyed sipping this one and will probably grab one again.

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Photo of Jeriba
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle enjoyed form an oversized wine glass.

A: Murky amber orange in color. There was very little foam, but it left some nice lacing around the edge of the glass.

S: Strong barley and toasted hop aromas, with some sweet malt and dark fruits (plum).

T: Dry and bitter, but in a roasted rye bread way, rather than a hoppy kind of bitterness. I also get oak, bourbon, prunes, and a hint of mild licorice. There's an expected amount of boozy kick at the end.

M: Slightly chewy and creamy.

D: The 9.2% ABV means it drinks like a wine and should probably be treated like one. I was happy to finish off a bomber, and would definitely drink this one again, especially when the weather turns a bit colder.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured amber brown with orange yellow highlights that had a half finger of head and left good frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I literally caught the smell of the beer just by the it sitting on my night stand in a tulip. Once I did take a whiff pine hops, grass, floral, and sweet malts were the most dominate but I was able to detect slight citrus and caramel notes.

T: the sweet malts, piiney floral hops, and caramel flavors work really good together and accent each other but I did get citrus caramel notes coming through as well; pretty hoppy barleywine.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, citric, piney, hoppy bitter, sticky finish.

D: it drank pretty good for the style but IMO it was too hoppy and bitter for a barleywine. I really don't look for hoppiness when I'm in the mood for a beer in this stlye. Might as well pick up an IPA.

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Photo of codewarrior
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz Bomber, poured into a chalice.

L: Amber, brown and cloudy. Bubble lurking up through the murkiness. Thick 1 finger of head.

S: Toasted hops, overwhelmingly so. Bottle boasts 100 IBUs ... nose backs that claim up.

T: Exceedingly hoppy up front, good balance as it opens up. Finishes slowly, nice fade into strong barley flavor.

F: Thick as hell. Velvet.

D: A delight, all-around. Seriously good Barleywine here.

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Photo of claybeer
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Avery Hog Heaven is a cloudy apple cider color. It has a real mix of orange and brown tints as well. The head was there and then gone leaving just a thin film on the side of the glass. Sweet! Sweet! Sweet! All I smell are rich malts and honey notes. The sweet follows right on the tongue with a LOT of fruit. I get some apricot, peach, a little cherry and raisins. Wow! Some tartness lingers on the back of the tongue followed by the slightest hint of heat from the alcohol. I wouldn't say this beer is very drinkable because of the intense flavors. It is not for the faint of heart. It does, however, have great appeal to a quiet night by a fire place with a mixture of dried fruits and salt covered walnuts, cashews and almonds.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful clear amber into my imperial pint glass with two fingers of head, very nice retention and solid sticky lacing.

S - Big nose just full of pine and citrus hops as well as malts. Probably the most hoppy barlywine in aroma I have come across at this point in time.

T - The taste of this is just out of this world if you are a hop lover. Mostly pine and citrus hops with a bit of sweet malts mixed in. Caramel sweetness mixed with grapefruit hop bite and bitterness.

M - Very well balanced, smooth, medium body and slightly dry.

D - Easy to drink, easy to love, this is by far one of the best Barlywines I have ever had!

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Photo of avalon07
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an orange color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of long-lasting, foamy head. Very good lacing.

S: A strong aroma of caramel, hops, citrus, and malt.

T: Had a big dose of hops, caramel, grapefruit, malt, and a nice bready quality. A very well balanced, focused, and tasty barleywine.

M: A solid amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

D: One of best, most drinkable American barleywines I've tried.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a rusty,sunset,reddish-orange with a one finger,off-white head that held a slight beige tint.Head diminished quickly leaving sticky spider-webs of lace.Medium carbonation was visible.

S-Candied grapefruit,toffee,pine resin and brown sugar.Big citrus and pine character upfront gave way to scents of caramelization and grain.Slight booziness present on the nose.

T-More grapefruit,pine and cooked sugar.Honey and earthy grains.Flavors of toasted whole grain bread and orange marmalade.Alcohol burn on the finish.

M-Medium-bodied.The only area that was lacking for me.I was expecting a little more.I enjoyed the hop bitterness but felt that there could've been a little more complexity and balance overall.

D-The drinkability is quiet high on this beer.Well hidden ABV and bright hoppiness.I enjoyed this beer but it was difficult to differentiate between this being a barleywine or just another solid Double IPA.

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Photo of mklinger
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the J Clyde in Birmingham. Served in a 12oz snifter. A small head off white head formed over a bright amber liquid. Crystal clear. Great lacing left behind.

Aroma was hoppy, nice and citrusy and a bit dank. Also a bit of caramel sweetness. Maybe a smidge of alcohol going on here.

Taste was nice. Certainly some solid malt & crystal malt/caramel flavor. Not as big of a malt character as I usually expect from a barleywine. In some ways, not so different from some DIPAs. Plenty of hop flavor, too. Quite bitter -- Strong as many DIPAs again. Alcohol was noticeable, but less present than in aroma.

A bit more light bodied than expected for style. Good beer, but not really what I expect for a BW.

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Photo of IPAescotch
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown and cloudy. not much head, but the lacing is so intricate and golden brown it paints landscapes of clouds on the glass.

S: Rank like a decaying fallen pear trees.

T: Yeasty fruit esters. Dark caramel and tofee.

M: Thin with a substantial bite.

D: Yum. Enough said.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barleywines are a unique and interesting beer; and often confusing. The name alone, barleywine, doesn't seem to suggest that it is a beer. Really the name has much history dating back to a time when the term beer was not so prevalent, and ales at the time were not so powerful. Wine was the drink at the time that would consume the 10 to 14% alcoholic range, and beers that got that close in strength were seen as a different beast. It was easiest then to define a strong and rich beverage brewed with barley as a Barleywine. No matter, we have kept the style name, and now excessively malty and rich beers, often with a load of balancing hops are known as Barleywines, or Barleywine-Style ales to be most accurate.

The good brewers over at Avery Brewing have created a Barleywine-Style ale and so aptly named it Hog Heaven. I'm not really sure why, but I do know that his beer shows exceptional depth and character and is well worth the time in your cellar. In fact, my last visit to the Beer Bistro yielded me a 2008 bottle of the Hog Heaven, and it really was some form of heaven - I don't know about hog heaven, but lets not dwell.

The Hog Heaven was served to me properly at cellar temperature around 12C (54F) - an American Barleywine with 9.2% abv and 104 IBUs should not be served cold. This beer needs some warmth to open up its flavors and let all the aromas and juicy notes out.

The pour was gentle and silky but created lots of life in the beer. It formed a dense, pale white 2 inch head that glowed pink into the light reflecting off the beer. The beer then was a ruby red shining with deep amber garnet and golden browns emanating from the depth of the beer. It was somewhat transparent, but dark and full showing an opaque finish.

The nose is powerful pouring out aromas of fresh earthy hops, dense malt and warm caramel. It is dry and sweet right away with scents of dried cherries, apricots, almonds, sweet grapefruit, blood orange and hay fields. The flavor comes in with striking similarities but is mature and refined far beyond the beers age.

Close to 2 years old by now the Hog Heaven glides gently onto your palate in a smooth and silky wash of soft caramel, warm toffee and brisk but round hops. It is extremely elegant and creamy to the touch creating a massive beer with a uniquely drinkable presence. Rich malts and dense hops are perfectly balanced here sticking to your palate effortlessly. The malt is big and juicy with the classic flavors of caramel, biscotti, fig, dates, apples, pear, cherries and pineapple. The hops are fresh and zesty showing grapefruit, sweet earth, lemon peal, hints of orange and a touch of pepper.

Towards the end more butterscotch comes through with notes of clove and cinnamon resting against the utterly smooth palate of this beer. It is not very complex, just elegant and divine showing you its true colors right out in the open. The mouthfeel is so fantastically easy and clean it takes a monstrous beer and tames it perfectly. The finish is dry and slightly quenching with still the sweet candy malts in my mouth and a hint of tart fresh hops. Really a delicious experience. Try it with dense chocolate deserts, a wide array of cheeses or hearty beef stew.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clearish auburn brown with a 2-finger head that slowly receeded on top of a real hoppy aroma, citric and tea-like with hints of grape and dark fruit as well as a touch of yeast and sweet malt. Malt overload as a dry, bready/doughy medium body w/ a touch of alcohol bleeding as well as some caramel, toffee, chocolate and roasted malts are in there as well for a touch of sweetness. Even has a bit of sticky syrupiness. Some bitter herbal hops and fruits like grape and orange are in there as well although the malts are more powerful. The finish is dry and the alcohol is noticeable on the backend but overall a dry, husky yet sweet and flavorful barleywine that is a good try at this style.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured into a pint glass. Dark amber with bright red highlights. Moderate head but great retention.

S - sweet caramel malts, pine, fig; all of them pretty strong. Somewhat unusual pairing but I didn't find it weird.

T - more of the same, but not as successful. Now I do find the combination a little odd. Bitter hoppy finish is a nice touch though.

M - goes down smooth, but with more tingly fizz than most barleywines. In the process I think it loses some stickiness / mouth coating points.

D - a good beer, but there are better examples of the style...not on par with Avery's dark beers

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Photo of Bendurgin
2.79/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got this one for Father's Day this year. Pours this one into a tulip. Pours a dark copper amber color. Big fluffy off white head on this one with really nice lacing. I'm not loving the smell on this. It's kind of musty, I'm sharing this with my brother and he said it smelled like faded hops. I would agree with that. Dark fruit aromas also around. I'd say it smells sweet. As I expected it's kind of sweet. Caramel up front and dark fruits and a somewhat metallic finnish. Not bad, I do feel like fresh this would be a hoppy one. I'd love to get a hold of a fresh bottle, but I did sit on this one for about a month. Mouthfeel is a little sticky and syrupy with low carbonation. The alcohol is hidden well and this one and I'm enjoying sipping it.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok, drank a 2007 next to a 2010 to see how they compare vertically. Pours a clear copper color with an impressive sheet of foam, even the 07 shows nice retention and lacing. Great looking brew here. The older one is a bit darker in color.

2010 nose shows bright grassy hops with a strong caramel backbone. Pretty straightforward with some nuttiness and a mid-fruit presence...figgy with maybe a bit of olive brine and strawberries. 2007 is mostly smooth caramel and light oxidized malts. Has a darker blackberry fruitiness. Dont think I can pick a favorite right now, both smell excellent.

Newer offering is resinous pine hoppiness, but surprisingly smooth with toffee, burnt biscuit maltiness in tow. Tropical alcohol and bitter on the finish. 07 is much smoother as expected. Burnt cake-bottom malts still are complimented by a nice hop bitterness. Sherry-like alcohol is much smoother than the younger version, but still biting. Pleasant with some rough edges still poking through that would probably never smooth out. More dark fruit in the older version and more complex to my tastebuds. It aged well I thought but not might improve any more. Very fun comparison, I prefer the aged version. Make sure you have a friend or two to share with drinking two of these behemoths.

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Photo of ReDave
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep ruby amber, [strong red with light behind it, rather nice color]

Pretty rocky head that seems to linger well creamy off white

I don't catch the hop aroma much, pretty malty...

Nice taste. Fairly well balanced, with a nice hop presence. later after several sips some hop waxiness...

Excellent lacing.

After more sips much more hop presence still, but not overpowering.

I'd get this again.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pardon me while I whip this out...of the cellar.
A 2009 bottle, decided to try it. Perhaps should have waited a bit, but still is a good beer.
Pours an orange/ruby rust color. Some haze, clears up a bit after a sit. chunked up head, fluffy and some lacing.

Hop forward aroma, pines and grapefruit. Sweet caramel gives it a nice 'coating' smell. Strong. Alcohol says 'hi'. I think another year would do great.

yeah, flavor is strong but not quite blending well. Hops open the palate to let the malt cover it with sweetness and caramel. Then the alcohol jumps in to give it some bite and heat. A tad syrupy I think.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'll have to age another two years instead.

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Photo of WickedSluggy
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium Amber color light foam that forms blotchy lacing on a wine glass.

Hoppy bouquet and sweet malt aroma followed by some wet cardboard and sherry. There is a pleasant oxidation. Interesting - this is very different from the casks and kegs I had last Fall - and different from my memories of bottles of this beer.

Lovely complex flavors in this bottle. The hops and malt profiles are of a "Bigfoot style" American barleywine but its personality is worthy of distinction. The oxidation, the ever-so-slight sulphur and sherry flavors are wonderful. The alcohol, at 9.2%, adds a good warmth and finish.

Drinkability - Well, its a huge 100 IBUs of hop bitterness and flavor balanced by an equally big semisweet estery malty rush. If this is your desire, you will find it very "drinkable". If not, don't choose it. It fits the category. It gets rated fairly high by me.

I have forgotten to stock this beer lately and that is a shame. It is a damn good barleywine. No problem though - I purchased this beer yesterday from a high-volume location and it doesn't need more time to develop character. Excellant.

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Photo of NewGeneric
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Irish coffee glass.

A: Pours a clear amber color with 2 fingers of white foam that slowly recedes, leaving solid, sticky lacing all over the sides of the glass. Gorgeous.

S: Really hoppy. Pine and citrus scents collide with earthy tones that fade into a deep, rich malt character.

T: Luscious hops, almost like eating them fresh. Heavy caramel malt combines with some light fruitiness that splashes all over the tongue.

M: Very smooth, save for an extremely dry finish. Bitterness is clean as well. Very good.

D: Drinks quickly and often.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Pours a clear light maple brown with a fine pillowy offwhite head. Retains as a film very well.

Smells of syrupy sweet malts with a hint of floral hops.

Tastes of piney, floral hops, maple and brown sugar malts.

Feels moderate with slight carbonation at the back of the throat and on the tip of the tongue.

Strong and flavorful. Excellent representation of the style. Good hops and malts. A definite must-try for fans of the style.

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Photo of alcurtsinger
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into a Tulip, this is my first barley-wine

A. Frothy beige head of about 2 fingers. The beer is of an red amber color.

S. Very strong, citrus hops, piney, a little too sweet

T. Malt dominance, but I also taste quite bit of hops

M. dry, crisp, smooth

d. Not too drinkable, one bomber was enough for me.

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Photo of hardy008
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a 3 finger off white head with large bubbles and good retention. Smells like pine, grapefruit, and caramel malt.

The taste is hop forward, with pine and grapefruit, backed by a sweet caramel malt backbone. More bitter than sweet, but not a bad combination.

Full bodied, smooth, and the carbonation is a bit higher than I would like. Has a bitter and somewhat dry finish. The alcohol is well hidden for 9.20 %. This beer is worth trying, if you get the chance.

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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA from Avery Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 2,081 ratings.
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