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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Reviews: 922 | Ratings: 2,067
Photo of Gavage
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with a thin head that reduces to some spottiness on the surface. Some light lacing develops. The aroma is nice as very sweet caramel and huge floral hoppiness dominate. The flavor is different than other barleywines, almost a mix between a barleywine and a imperial IPA. The hops are all over this in a very pleasant way, but slightly overbearing for the style. The sweet caramel, alcohol, and raisin tones round out the flavor.

The mouthfeel is slightly crisp and smooth at the start and the bitterness rides the tongue long after swallowing. A nice slow drinking brew, but the 22 oz bottle is a turnoff for this style.

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Photo of cbl2
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


A brilliant reddish brown with over an inch of creamy white head that has excellent retention, and a nice lacing effect.


The bottle promises 2 1/2 pounds per barrel of Columbus dry hops with 100 IBU's, and the aroma tends to agree with that. Pure in your face hoppy goodness.


Begins with enough hops to scorch your taste buds. As the viscous liquid swirls around your mouth though, a pleasant sweetness emerges, that is then replaced again by an herbaceousness of the hops.

The 9.2% ABV is barely detectable until the end, when a faint bit of warmness spreads across the tongue. Finish is quite bitter, though I'm not sure if 100 IBU's is correct. No hint of barley wine here, this is pure Imperial IPA.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 20 oz bomber with flying pigs on the label. It promotes 100 IBU's but I don't think it's that big.
Deep amber in appearance with a good sized beige head.
Smelled the hops right away with a sugary mollasses aroma finishing off. Barley Wine?
Raison and Dates came on strong with a good deal of hops finishing off. I like it but as far as a Barley Wine I can't say I agree.
Slick and oily with a good finish.
Good beer and I'll have it again but as far as style consistancy I can't agree.

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Photo of rastaman
2.36/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Very upfront in flavour. Raisinbread flavour, pretty sweet, with not enough bitterness or dryness to balance it out. The finish is short and feels empty. Not very hoppy in flavour, for a beer that claims to be highly hopped, well thats just what i thought anyway. Not my bag.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An attractive copper hued, brownish red color with a tan head that's sizeable for a barleywine.
Aroma of rich, toasty malt in harmony with floral, piney hops.

Taste shows a rich, sweet, toasty, caramel malt backbone. Fairly earthy, a bit much so for my liking. Big hop balance seems floral and piney and is a bit resinous, but not overly resinous. Big and bold yet balanced and smooth.

Good body and mouthfeel.
Very smooth and drinkable for such a big beer.
Overall, a good baryleywine style ale.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This came in a 22oz Bomber with an interesting picture of pigs flying on the label. This one pours a clean amber orange color with great frothy white head. The aroma is excellent the hops are there and the barley wine sweet maltiness is present. A bit of pine and fruit also come through, very nice. This one starts of tasting of sweet malt and a bit fruity. The hops then kick in with some bitterness and the slight taste of alcohol on the finish. A very tasty and balanced barleywine with good mouthfeel and carbonation. Highly drinkable for a barley wine, I could down a few of these.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22-oz bomber, the beer is a dark amber with a large, off-white head. The lacing is pronounced all the way down the goblet. The aroma starts with the sweet maltiness of a barleywine, but is kicked up with a backwash of huge hoppiness. The taste is similar with the barleywine sweetness with a big hop kick that rounds out the malt but gives the hops bitterness at the end. This is very thick in the mouth, but smooth and clean. I loved this from first drop to last, and thank God, it came in a bomber cause I still wanted more. It has a high ABV at over 9%, but it didn't have that heaviness that comes from some high ABV barleywines. I see this as sort of a cross between a barleywine and an IPA-style beer.

alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Drinkability is quite high for a barleywine.

A fine barleywine offering from Avery. It doesn't try to be a monster in any way, and has a nice balance of the hops, malt and alcohol. One that I likely will have again.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber, into a goblet. The color is amber, with a foamy, wispy head. The smell is a fine mix of malt and hops, where neither dominates. The taste is a well-balanced mix of malt and hops, with a bitter aftertaste, and a slight, warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Drinkability is quite high for a barleywine.

A fine barleywine offering from Avery. It doesn't try to be a monster in any way, and has a nice balance of the hops, malt and alcohol. One that I likely will have again.

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Photo of 99bottles
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This barleywine pours a dark red-maHOGany (har har) with a big reddish tinted head of white lace. The head lumps and comes crashing down, leaving the oh so tasty looking peaks and valleys. Ridiculous label with airborne swine is somewhat entertaining also.

Smell: Wowza. This is everything I want. Sweet and rich carmel malts, some other very dry grains come through hand in hand with the Columbus hops, dry hopped into each barrel. Mmmmm.

Taste: This is good guy for sure. The carmel and dark malts make this very rich and full, and the hops used are in a great proportion to match. This is very nice and the flavors really play back and forth. A nice aftertase of hop bitterness turns right into a thick malt belch.

Mouthfeel: Rich and full. Lightly coats the tongue in b-wine sludge. Alcohol comes through as it warms. Definitely not for the pilsner-crowd.

Drinkability: I had no problem finishing off the 22 ounce bomber, but given the weight of this guy, I wouldn't really call it drinkable. I liked it very much, and will certainly include this with the other barleywines I keep coming back to. Oink, oink.

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

Pours a super clear ruby brown liquid, no head.

Smell is malty and sharply of cascade hops, lots of pine and grapefruit aromas.

Taste is sweet and hoppy; grapefruit hits you the moment you taste it. Malt remain in the flavor, not totally over-run by the hops.

Mouthfeel is light for the style.

Drinkable brew, more subtle than Bigfoot.

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

Pours a clear orange/amber color with a medium sized, tiny bubbled, foamy tan head. Nice chunky, sticky lace.
Smells of sweet malt, caramel, fruit and a definite earthy floral hop presence.
Sweet tangy malt taste upfront. The spicy, slightly pungent hops quickly take over. Flavors of caramel, toffee and fruit get muddled in the middle under the hop onslaught. There is a lingering citrusy/bittersweet taste and alcohol shows up in the finish. This went right to the edge of being unbalanced to my taste, but pulled up just short.
Full bodied with a rich, creamy, mildly oily mouthfeel and soft carbonation.
Alcohol really shows up at the end. A real belly warmer. Almost seemed a smidge hop heavy but a solid Barleywine nonetheless.

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4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber
Bottle boasts 100 IBU and states "an unbelievably huge explosion of sweet malt tempered by 9.2% ABV and 2.5 lb/barrel of Columbus dry hops"

Pours a murky light brown color with a small wispy head which was somewhat quick to diminish.
The smell is very floral, somewhat like the smell of a good Cascade IPA.
The floral hop bitterness is very present and welcomed. The malt character was indeed very sweet and noticable, but perhaps not "unbelievable" as the bottle suggests. I believe it, and i like it. The thing I liked about this barleywine was that it is balanced to my liking. I am a hophead, and in this brew, the malts don't overpower the terrific hop character. Bigfoot is another one I like for this reason, and these 2 have definite similarities.
Overall a very drinkable brew. I could go so far as to call this a refreshing barleywine. And you thought that was an oxymoron...

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light orange, syrupy pour, a thin head dissolves into a tiny ring around the top of the glass. A heart-pounding aroma, some malts, grapefruit rinds, even alcohol presence detected on the nose; quite inviting. The alcohol is noted off the cuff, very rich and extremely slick. Intense belly-warming feeling even at the top. Hops burn the palate, followed by a burnt malt backbone. The body reveals some nice flavorings – caramel, roasted malts, and my first taste of Columbus dry hops, and are they tasty. Massively ugly label, but a handsome beverage!

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Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger, NYC. Poured dark almond and cloudy, ruby notes. Nice lacing, hoppy nose. Medium bodied. Hops are up front, grainy and resiny and rich. Malt backbone comes onto palate later for balance. This is a very drinkable BWine, Very tasy and enjoyable . Wish we could get this much more often on the east coast. Seek this one out and enjoy.

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Photo of bditty187
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear reddish, coppery-bronzy hue with a vague peachy highlight, it is an attractive color, the off-white head reached a modest finger in height before quickly fading to a bubbly collar. The subsequent lacing was minimal and very patchy. The nose was boldly hoppy, obviously this is an American barleywine; I detect nothing English/traditional about it. Behind the juicy citrus and piney hops was a weak note of toasty malt. I’m in love with the aromas of the hops; it is mouthwatering with its invitation. Will the palate live up to the hype created by the nose? The palate is a load, wow; it staggers the senses with flavor. Both the massive hops bitterness (and flavor) and the burning alcohol angrily vie for the focal point of this beer. Who wins? Both. They both kicked my tongue’s ass. The hoppiness was very flavorful, raw pine needles, grapefruit and lime zest, and fleshy citrus too; it is amazingly dry and raw at the finish. What the malt brings to the table, flavor-wise, is frankly little. The toasty caramel-toffee sweetness is weak in comparison to the alcohol heat. It burns so sweet! I really like the flavor “construction” on this beer; it is huge, unbalanced, forceful but very tasty. Granted I couldn’t, nor would I want too, drink this everyday. I found the mouthfeel to be indifferent, I’d say it is medium-full in bulk, modest carbonation but there is nothing noteworthy about the physical impression. It could be fuller, maybe even rounder; yes, I’d like more malt. The alcohol is not hidden. The drinkability is quite good. I think this is on par with Old Crusty, Bigfoot, or Arrogant/Double Bastard. If you enjoy any of those beverages, seek this one out. If you don’t like any of those beers, avoid Hog Heaven. I purchased a 22-ounce bottle in Loveland. I wish I had another.

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Photo of merlin48
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazy apricot color with no head. Patchy, beige colored lace leaves a collar and patching on the glass.
Lovely aromas delight the nose with apples, sweet caramel, smoked walnuts, and an odd, but interesting, Scottish style malt, all on a backbone of piney hops.
Mouthfeel reveals a strong hops presence and plenty of carbonation.
Taste is complex. Granny Smith apples dipped in caramel, some vinous alcohol presence, tangerine and citrus hoppiness, and a delighful, smoky, nutty, bitterness.
Very tasty, with an interesting array of complex flavors. This is what I think a good barleywine should be.

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Photo of mikeys01
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz bomber, nice flying pig artwork. Pours out a brownish-copper color with a thick tan head and long-lasting lacing. Aroma is very sweet and hoppy, smells more like a double IPA than a barleywine. Taste is full of columbus hops, very distinct right away. After the hops you do get a good dose of malt, more than I expected from the nose, a nice sweet caramely character that carries through to a subtly bitter finish. Spicy notes and alconhol become more apparent as the Hog warms up a bit. Body isn't very heavy at all for a barleywine, but the sweetness would make it tough to drink more than one of these. Definitely a different barleywine, I give credit for uniqueness.

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Photo of BierReise
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber No freshness date I love the label on this bottle. Flying pigs, love it. Poured a deep and clear amber with a thick and generous head that retains well and provides some serious lacing. Nice big hop aroma which seems to be the trend in BW's lately. If this continues, I may designate this as my favorite style. It seems to be coming in very close to the super hopped Imperial IPA's. On second pour the bready malt aroma rears itself. It's warming now and coming alive with great aromas. The body on this is quite full and smooth. The bittering hops are noticable in the finish which is also just a tad dry. There's a sweet caramel malt flavor also that is blending superbly with the hop onslaught. The carbonation is even. Not too sharp or flat. Overall I found this an exceptional brew. One I would buy often if only it were available locally.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a sample cup at the Lupulin Slam. This keg was dry-hopped with Columbus hops two, count 'em, two times. It was called Avery Double Dry Hopped Hog Heaven Barleywine at the event, but this does not merit a new entry.

Appearance: Hazy orange topped by a frothy white head that recedes to a rocky film. Nice wisps of lacing were left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Peppery, aggressively so. Piney and sulfury with caramel overtones and peach fruit. Rather intense.

Taste: Sweet, malty, fruity, mildly bittersweet pine. A nice metallic tang from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Thick and burly, like west coast barleywines gotta be.

Drinkability: A very over-the-top West Coast barleywine. I'll have to try the normal formulation for comparison. I've heard good things about it.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a auburn color with a large white head. Minimal lace is left but lots of alcohol tannins on the goblet.
Aroma is highly hopped, Citrus, pine and chalk or linme hits me. Caramel malt and a musty and nutty note come through. Faint hint of some dark fruits as it warms.
Flavor is very IPA-ish, big hops, high pH level and heavy grapefruit from the hops appear on the palate.
Mouthfeel is pleasant, not outstanding, nice alcoholic kick on the backend.
Drinakability is good, so much like an IPA could drink several.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is a glowing deep and clear ruby-brown with a thin light tannish fluffy head, very thin, intricately whisped curtains and ink blot lacing surrounds the glass. Aroma is a bit subdued with an overall malty sweetness of caramel and some nice pine sap and dry hop wood-like variants. Taste withstands some nice sweet tones in its malts touching on some caramel with some very light and dulled dried citrus. Finishes with a good hop dryness of wood and pine, very easy on the bittering scraping up some grassy notes late. Feel is a smidgon under medium bodied lacking some girth, creamyness, smoothness, and nearly everything I desire out of a BW. Hops make for a nice finish, but I needed more out of it. For me, this stuff needs a boost, its missing a thicker volume in both flavor and body; length too. Not bad, more of a mediochre-close-to-good BW. Seems more like a very good Red ale like Bear Republic's Red Rocket then a BW. I do like the flying pigs on the label though.

Thanks goes out to Gusler for the Avery samples!

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Photo of nomad
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A murky brownish-auburn, it pours out a large off-white head with beady lace and stain aplenty.

Smells of Columbus hops: piney, chalky, lots of leafy scents. This is backed up by a smell of spiced caramel sauce, with a musty roasted sense mixed in there, too. An almost melon note creeps out. All told, the overall scent doesn’t hold well, though.

This is a barleywine? It smacks immediately of big tasty hops, piney dry, with lots of high alpha acidity for flavor. Lots of grapefruit bitterness without grapefruit flavor, the caramel body grows with time - its there but covered in hop effects. This beer slowly begins to become fruity but even more spicy, but are rasped by the rough bitters in the finish. Thin mouthfeel from the high attenuation.

This beer needs some time, and even then, this thing is much more of a double IPA. It lacks any sense of malt - even young Bigfoot has some! Regardless, I had no problem enjoying it.

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Photo of Brent
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

There are few beer styles to which I haven't taken an immediate liking. Loved over the top with hops IPA right away. Stygian black imperial stouts - no hesitation. But barley wine is one style at which I've had to work to develop an appreciation. Perhaps that is why I was so taken with Hog Heaven, as it seems to bridge, or perhaps defy, a strict classification as a barley wine. Big malty sweetness, edging into Belgian territory with a rock candy sweetness. Offsetting this to perfection was an aggressively pungent, piney hops bittering. I'm amazed that the high degree of sweetness in the beer was not cloying, but somehow they managed to balance the act. This could almost be put in the strong ale or imperial IPA category, with the show of big hops, but that would seem inappropriate for the malt profile. Very much an in-your-face beer, and yet most drinkable.

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Photo of aracauna
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is very hoppy. It has a big aroma and a sweet finish. There's a good balance, but it's more of a big IPA than a barleywine. Instead of the essence of a barleywine, it seems to have the flavors of an IPA with just the hint of strength like an I2PA would. As big of a beer as it is, that actually make it an impressive brewing feat.

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Photo of granger10
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a murky copper color with a head that fit it perfectly. The smell is strong on the hops dept. which seemed odd for a barleywine. The taste starts out with a syrupy sweetness but that soon fades to a citric flavor that's not quite tart. Hops are there the whole time and are really strong in the finish. The body seems a little thin but it is well carbonated at the same time. This one was quite good and definitely a must buy for hop heads who want to try a barleywine.

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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA from Avery Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 2,067 ratings.
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