Maharaja | Avery Brewing Company

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5,696 Ratings

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Maharaja is derived from the sanskrit words mahat, meaning “great”, and rajan, meaning “king”. Much like its namesake, this imperial IPA is regal, intense and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley – fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence. Welcome to his kingdom!

The Maharaja is the second installment in our Dictator Series.

102 IBUs

ABV varies slightly batch to batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-03-2005

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,696 |  Reviews: 1,879
Photo of MILECO
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #13, March 2011 bottle. Poured into a 9 oz. bulbous whisky glass.

A: Nice, dark orange color, with a few, thin bubble trail leading to a respectable, foamy head. After settling, a slight layer of head remains. Amazing legs on the edge of the glass throughout the drink, sticking in more than complete curtains of lace on the sides of the glass.

S: Immediate citrus and pine hit the nose, and almost a field of flowers hang over the glass. This sets up an expectation of intense flavor to follow. A sweet fragrance lingers after taking in a full waft...

T: ...And then the booze hits. Hmm. I re-read the label, and take special note of the malted barley. It's not that it's bad, just an unexpected first impression after smelling so much citrus. I understand now why this brew is unique in the community. An intensity that screams "HIGH IBU" follows, lingering well after the swallow, tingling for awhile on the tongue. This is fresh, and exactly how the brewer intended when he capped it. The alcohol isn't quite whiskey, but more ETOH, an almost unfortunate downfall. Mucho hops saves this from being too boozy to enjoy.

M: There is a thickness that stays in the mouth throughout, boldly staying with you, almost daring you to imagine pine tar coating George Brett's bat. A layer of film stays after the swallow, forcing you to swish you tongue about as a finisher. I can't think of a better example of umami in a non-stout/porter beer. I'm glad I chose the smaller glass to encourage consuming this in sipping fashion.

Overall: As I finish the last few ounces, I'm taken both by the uniqueness and sheer amount of ingredients used. This is an intense experience, and presents itself like a grand entrance to a great champion. I cannot recommend any food pairings with this, as it just KILLS with overwhelming, sudden force. The high booze taste almost begs to be aged, but therein lies the flaw: High-hopped beverages are best enjoyed fresh. These two competing priorities keep Maharaja from being the Great Gama it seeks to be. It's still a great drink, and definitely worthy of being entered into comparisons with PtY and Bad Boy. But, it lacks the subtle drinkability that accompanies such others in the hop-head category and price range of Nelson and Hop Juice. This imperial reagent needs a little refining before taking the top crown.

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Photo of tikibeer
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cool label....the guy on the bottle is all business.

Pours a pale amber with a nice one finger head. Spotty lacing with the head dissolving into a swirl of foam floating on top.

Aroma is killer! It is a hop bomb. Love it. Lot of pine hops

Taste is awesome. Nice balance of pine hops and a citrus and fruity hop.

Great Beer!

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'll be honest; I've been anxious about getting my hands on a Maharaja for some time. Everything I've read and all my friends who know what I like suggest this will be a DIPA that I will like.

Poured from a bomber into a Duvel tulip yields a deep copper ale with a large off-white, almost tan head. The head recedes and leaves a little lacing. Soon all trace of head and lacing are gone.

The aroma is strong of resin, some citrus and biscuit/bread dough which only heightens my anticipation and causes my palate to salivate. To my immediate disappointment my first sip has a spicy, obtrusive alcohol presence that is a turn-off. The hops are quite pine-y and spruce-y and less citrus-y and sweet than I had hoped for. Do Simcoe hops work well with all the "C" hops? The huge malt bill does make for a sweet ale, though, maybe a little too sweet for my preference. The bitterness is huge, and one I'm sure many hopheads will love, but I'm not as enamored as I hoped I would be. This Maharaja does rule with a heavy hand as Avery's website claims. The mouth feel is oily and somewhat flat, and has a little too much bite from the alcohol.

Overall, Maharaja doesn't hide its big alcohol well enough for me. Its hop profile is a little out of my flavor preference and it's too sweet.

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Photo of socaltay
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was looking forward to this beer. Batch number 13, poured from a bomber. The aroma is of alcohol and some citrus hop sweetness. The appearance is golden with a strong red/orange hue. The head does not last long and leaves lots of lacing, indicating that it is probably a very viscous beer. The taste is malty with citrus notes followed immediately by some bitterness. This beer seems a bit sweet. Overall I am glad I was able to pick up a few

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Photo of ghetto90007
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was really interesting.

Color was a bold copper. Great lacing all the way down the glass. Nice head on pour that had great resilience.

Smelled citrusy, but also a very strong sweet malt aroma - surprising for a DIPA.

Incredibly rich. Anise, caramel, along with the expected smooth hoppiness of a DIPA.

Moutfeel - full-bodied, creamy, and heavy.

This was a really rich imperial IPA with a high ABV. If there is a such thing as a winter IPA, this would be it.

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Photo of Rjhami
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bomber into snifter. Batch No. 13, Mar 2011. 10.54% ABV.

Beautiful color, light amber orange-ish. A little head subsides quickly leaving lacing that spots a little.

Citrus hoppiness quickly turns to heavy malt action, still quite smooth throughout. It is sweet like candy. A lot of fruitiness also present.

Citrus, grapefruit, lots of different types of fruit going on. Turns a little biscuit-y with a dry finish. At 102 ibu the bitterness is matched nicely with the malty tones.

Nicely carbonated and much lighter than anticipated. The warmth of the alcohol is barely noticeable.

I thought this one might be too sweet for the style but I did not find that to be the case. The fruit really shines through and is balanced very well with the malt finish. Hard to believe the abv is so high but i did start to feel it. I really enjoyed this one and if it were priced a little lower, I would consider it a go-to type

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Photo of Sensaray
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 13 22oz bottle
Oranger Amber tone

Nice fresh hoppy smell to it. Slight melon fruity, malt scents. Some citrus character.

Hot bitter hops throughout the taste. Apples towards the back end. Apples and tangy citrus. The alcohol and hops compliment each other well. Nice balance. Alcohol becomes more prominent as I drink as well. It eventually gets to a consitent slight hops to sweet citrus, nutty malt to hoppy alcohol intense finish. I keep getting a hint of lemon zest but its almost at random.

Medium mouthfeel. Smooth Carbonation.

Overall, pretty good. Definitely worth a try. I love DIPAs and I thought this was good. I wouldn't pay $10.99 for this again, but I'm happy I tried it. Too much alcohol after awhile, and I typically wouldn't say that.

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Photo of NWer
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Batch 13
March 2011

Wow! Where do I start?

Poured into my chalice deep bronze color nice light bronze head retains well minimal lace.
Aroma outstanding. Can't quite pick out individual flavors but moving on to taste, intense hop and malt flavors at the same time. The greatest beer sometimes is the last beer I had and that might be the case this time but suffice it to say that you want to drink one of these before you die.

Update April 2013
On tap at local watering hole recently blew me away. It had been a while - too many beers and all that. Checked back on my review and reassured by my original 5 on taste. Upticked appearance and mouthfeel. Deservedly so.
Release 17 2013
Not quite as overwhelming that I had on tap but still stellar. This beer should be much higher on the pecking order of top 250 in my opinion.

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Photo of Citadel82
4.84/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow! This brew is inspirational and awesome, balanced and tasty. The fact that it has such a high ABV is almost disappointing. To badly misquote Robert E. Lee "it is well that this beer is so terribly strong otherwise we should grow to love it too well..."

Pours a rich copper color with a rocky and clingy white head that retreats with the same tenacity as George Thomas "The Rock of Chickamauggua".
The aroma of this heady brew is sweet malt peppery and spicy hops with healthy dose of bread and not the least bit of shoddy... and somewhere in ther I foud sweet cantaloupe...

The taste is sublime and balanced between sweet malt and tangt pine and citrus hops. Notes of melon and a nasal burn of drying alcohol.

Mouthfeel is light carbonation and slick smooth malt. Neither excessively thick nor watery with average carbonation.

Overall, this one of the best beers I have tasted. Tomorrow I will walk down to Whole Foods and grab a few bombers to check for my flight home. I normally carry on but this is well worth the otherwise inconvenient checiking of a bag and picking up at the far end.

Sad, but true...

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Photo of notyourdadsbeer
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap poured into a tulip at Euclid Hall.

A: Bright orange to copper with amber hues, great lacing and a thick of white head.

S: Big massive piney hops, resinous almost and very chronic like. Touch of tropical fruit sweetness and stick thick malt.

T: Surprisingly very well balanced! While the hops are present and seductive with intense bitter quality, the malts thicken up this brew with perfect balance making this a sipper. Tropical fruits- pineapple and mango are present but only sweeten out the hops.

M: Full bodied with a an even coat across the palate. Great carbonation and a finish that's to die for.

D: Fantastic beer! This is a staple for hop heads and IPA's across the board. The alcohol is very well masked and the hops are seductive and balanced with a solid malt backbone. Great beer for winter or summer.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

I had the last batch of this beer, but I didn't review it... Couldn't pass it up this time around.
Served in a snifter.

A fairly dark color for a "west coast" DIPA. A burnt orange color with slight auburn hues. A ram head of two fingers is sticky, but settles pretty quickly, leaving only a frothy film and some chunky continents of lace that spread out and stretch like a micro-version of a plate tectonics demonstration.

The nose has huge malt notes-- caramel sweetness and toasty bread and crackers with big old hops following close behind. The hops are giant citrus-- orange, pineapple, and grapefruit mostly. The flavor follows all the notes the nose hinted at, but adds a resiny note towards the finish-- a bitterness is light and fresh with slight pine notes.

The beers only real downfall is the boozy heat that comes through at the finish... The alcohol really comes into play... And not in a good way. The flavor is great-- the alcohol is an issue.

The body is nearly full with strong carbonation. Some nice oily feel coats my teeth.

Overall, this would e a great beer if it weren't so strong in the booziness... It is a serious flaw in my opinion, and certainly hurts the overall score. This could easily be a top 10 DIPA with a little modification.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this one as soon as it showed up on shelves here in Chicago. Batch #13 from March 2011. Served in a Stone IRS tulip.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam that settles to a thin haze and persistent thick collar, leaving behind spotty lace. Transparent bronze body.

S - The hops have that slightly cheesy dank note to them that I get sometimes, along with tropical fruits and a bit of citrus. Brown sugar malt backbone is present, but this lies somewhere between the coasts in terms of balance. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

T - Huge tropical fruit character, with straight up melon and cantalope flavors mingling with lightly browned sugar and cookie malt character. Bitterness is surprisingly low, and alcohol is non-existent. Drinks a little bit like candy.

M - Smooth texture, medium carbonation, medium-full body, oily residuals. Could use a bit more dryness in the finish to offset some of the sweet flavors.

D - This is a balanced DIPA but a very good one. Too strong for sessions, but something that I would purchase again and have on-tap if I knew the keg was fresh.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 13

I had this beer two years ago and it wasn't too memorable. That was the time when I just started drinking craft beers regularly, so my palate has probably changed.

Appearance-Clear orange color with little to no haze. About 2 fingers of head which turns into a ton of lacing. Ring of lacing rests on top of the orange beauty. Love the bomber look too.

Smell-I was expecting a complete hopbomb but on the first whiff I get some very sweet malt. Citrus hops come through and I get a ton of Grapefruit, and Orange. Hints of pine and flower come through as well, this scent is amazing.

Taste-Like the taste it starts off with a sweet malt. Once it gets to the back of your through you get the extreme citrus and bitter hops. Dry finish makes you want to go back to another sip to get that sweetness again. The perfect balance between sweet, malty, bitter and citrus.

Mouthfeel-Medium-Full bodied with just enough carbonation. After the first sip by mouth felt a little numb and instantly warmed the body.

Overall- This may be the most dangerous beer I have ever had. 10.54 ABV and this is so drinkable. The dry finish makes you coming back for more, and I did. I almost regret buying 3 bombers at a time because I'm going to want to have to restrain myself for going for another 22 ounces. All in all best beer I've had in 2011.

8/16/11-Drank the Batch 14 and it was horrid. Smelt sour, like popcorn and charcoal and just wasn't right. I drank it within 2 months of bottling date, Ended up w/ a Drainpour.

Batch 13 gets an A+
Batch 14 gets a D-


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Photo of UTCengOwl
3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this at Central Market before hearing that I could get St Arnold Divine Rreseerve #11 today. Compared thte two and this got crushed. I remembered liking this more in previous batches... hrm. Bottle dated 3/2011. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

It looks perfect on the pour. A caramelly translucent brown with a pillowy white head. I could sleep on that. Unfortunately, the head dies down a bit fast. Damn you, high ABV.

The nose has hints of a double ESB. Hoppy as all heck, but still caramelly and somewhat medicinal fruit. Could have used more citrus hops. Something brighter would have balanced this a lot better. Is this a pretend barleywine? One of my friends says peaches. Let's go with that.

The taste is thick. Damn. Maybe a bit too sweet, too. I think this is a mediocre American Barleywine instead of a DIPA. The hops aren't bright enough or have enough citrus. Not as peachy. Quite bitter, but that's balanced by the malt.

This is a good offering, but I think it could be improved. I'd take a DR 11 over this almost every time.... or even a SN Bigfoot.

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Photo of stimulus
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 13, bottled March 2011, 10.52% ABV.

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: Pours a clear orange with a one finger off white head that settles a bit and leaves nice lacing.
S: Sweet citrus, aromatic and bitter hops, and a nice malt presence in the background.
T: Flavorful hop bouquet to begin the onslaught, followed by sweetness from the sturdy malt backbone, orange and grapefruit, and finally the brew finishes with a bitter alcohol bite combined with more citrus.
M: A bit sticky and cloying, medium carbonation, smooth finish.
O: The finish on the taste sounds a bit overwhelming, but it the alcohol bite is just noticeable, and it hits with a good amount of bitterness and citrus flavor for a balanced combination. This beer is perhaps one of the best IIPA's I've ever tried, and now that I've tried it fresh, I think I can put it right up there with Green Flash & Double Jack as my favorite IIPA's. (Note, I prefer the citrus characteristics these beers impart more than I do pine, but I respect and enjoy PtE for what it is, but not as much as these 3).

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Photo of ehammond1
2.61/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A beautiful beer. A very dark orange and amber. Thin white head, great lacing. Nearly perfect.

An obviously hoppy aroma but lacks the citrus or pine nuances that I truly love. I smell quite a bit of melon though which is unexpected and nice. Some alcohol.

Disappointing taste. Loads of bitterness and a huge amount of sweet malt presence but this beer seems completely out of balance and hot with alcohol. A bit syrupy. A little citrus and some melon, but only in the background. Not for me.

A rich mouthfeel, plenty of carbonation, but overly hot.

This beer really disappointed me. I was hoping for a world class DIPA but this one seems closer to a mess than it does anything spectacular. Hot with alcohol, a ton of hop bitterness, and little of anything else very pleasant. Wanted to enjoy it, but it wasn't anything to write home about.

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Photo of heebes
3.41/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden orange with a nice two finger off white fluffy head. Nose is remenants of faded floral/citrus hops and big caramel, bread malts. Taste is similiar, bitter in the middle and lingering finish, but predominately malt now that the hops are diminished. Medium bodied mouthfeel. Undeserving of this review and the hunt will continue to try this years batch.

(Another dusty bottle on the shelf at Ryan's. Batch 12.)

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Photo of gpatt55
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Label, Dictator Series, Batch 13, March 2011

Pours a majestic crystal clear deep orange/red with a thick fluffy white sudsy head. Gorgeous richness and clarity on the appearance. On the nose this has a lot of citrusy, piney hops with some biscuit malt in the background and a bit of heat. The first sip hits you with a considerably weighty mouthfeel. This is a sweet, oily, viscous high alcohol brew. Spicy malt notes mingle with plenty of bitter hops. The richness makes this hard to drink a lot of but not surprising given the 10%+ abv. All in all a massive DIPA that impresses with it's power. Go big or go home!

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Photo of SkipWeathers
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the new label, "Dictator's Series." I love dictators. The beer has a wonderful aroma, citrus, melon, and flower-like sweetness, much like Hopslam. Taste - buttery, earthy, and herbal, like drinking an herb garden in a bottle. Appearance - very golden red, with ample foam. Drank in a snifter for optimum aroma. Kind of a combination between a barleywine and double IPA. Will try to acquire more of this tomorrow.

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Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 1 L swingtop growler filled at Al's of Hampden; the beer is fresh (just a few weeks old).

A: The DIPA is a coppery amber color, bright with an otherworldly glow. A dense, craggy head, white as snow, spilled over the sides of my glass. As that head receded, thick lace was left behind.

S: The DIPA has a

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Photo of BlastBeats
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Made the voyage to Avery Bewing Company to experience a tour of the brewery before enjoying this outstanding Imperial IPA at their tap room. Avery was having a release party for the Maharaja that day which meant that the beer couldn't have been any fresher.

Appearance: Pours a golden, burnt orange color with excellent head retention.

Smell: Citrusy, hoppy, with a mild floral scent

Taste: The best tasting Imperial IPA I've had to date. Hops are extremely well balanced. This beer features the "bite" you would expect from an Imperial IPA, but it isn't overwhelming. Tangy fruit flavors are present, yet not out of control.

Mouthfeel: Great consistency. Prickly hop sensation is moderate.

Overall: World-class!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Batch #13. March 2011.

(A)- Pours a caramel colored amber. Produced a nice off-white frothy head with decent retention. Plenty of sticky lacing left behind.

(S)- A big burst of citrus: lemon, lime, pineapple, and grapefruit. Minimal pine, but has an underlying sweetness.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A big burst of resin-like citrus: lemon, lime, and pineapple. A caramel-like sweet finish.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. nice hop citrus and malt balance. A hefty bitterness, but fitting.

(D)- This DIPA deserves the praise it gets. One of the best? No, but its up there. Great stuff and enjoyable.

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Photo of bound4er
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Golden orange with a nice white head of three fingers that slowly recedes. Laces well.

S. Citrus, mango and pine dominate. Some bready malt lies beneath.

T. Big piney and light citrus hops play center stage. There's bitterness here but it isn't off-putting at all. The alcohol is really well hidden.

M. Smooth feel - medium bodied.

O. I liked this beer more than I thought I would. This is a well crafted DIPA that actually drinks super easy for its ABV. A bomber on an empty stomach sure tasted good but kicked my ass.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Blue Palms in Hollywood - served in a Coronado snifter.

Lava body, dark but largely clear with a lasting old lace head. Sticky, ropy lacing. Slight legs.

Strong waves of citrus in the nose- valencia orange, tangerine, and a hint of lemon zest. Potent herbal/mint notes as well, rounded out by the scent of pineapple.

As others have pointed out, ripe Ataulfo mango is paramount on the palate. Lightly sweet malt joins up with the honey-ed tropical hop notes to further offset the moderate bitterness which is slow to develope, but grows stronger with each subsequent sip. Cedar, thyme, mint, and more citrus in the crisp medium-dry finish. Some alcohol esters pop up around the edges.

Creamy, soft, a little hot, with sufficient carbonation.

Very good example of the style, albeit catering to the sweet-tooth contingent among serious hop-heads...

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Photo of mrotstein
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, you can actually smell pungent and citrusy hops just upon opening the bottle! Avery usually delivers, and this one is no exception. It pours a slightly hazy reddish-copper body with orangeish highlights beneath a short but creamy head of white. Unfortunately, the head doesn't hold quite as well as might be hoped for (but with 10.54 % alcohol by volume (102IBU) that's to be expected!), and it does leaves some thin rings of lace about the glass. A firmly caramelish and delicately biscuity malt comes into play within the aroma, although the hops are still clearly present with notes of grass, pineapple, orange peel, dried pine needles, and muddled grapefruit. In the mouth its filling and dextrinous as the very-fine-bubbled carbonation warms and becomes airy before sliding away like silk pajamas on silk sheets. The flavor delivers a heavier blow than the aroma suggests with its solid maltiness ducking and weaving between punches of hop flavor and hits of solid bitterness. There's no real pattern to the way that it appears on the palate, and slaps of hops or hits of malt seem to come and go in a different fashion with each sip. Everyc omponent is always there, but certain characteristics just seem to pop at times. The one constant, however, is it's lingering, resinous and citrus-fruit-rind finish. There's bitterness there as well, but it doesn't come across as being raspy because of the thin but sticky layer of sweet malt that so stealthily hides itself while slowly receeding. It's a really nice, very well-balanced IPA that offers a decent amount of changing character in its profile; but might actually be lacking in complexity due to it's being "too balanced" - if that's possible. Still, this IPA rocks! The alcohol rarely appears, and its bitterness never overwhelms the palate! You can't drink too many because of the strength, but it's definitely drinkable.

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Maharaja from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.23 out of 5 with 5,696 ratings