Maharaja | Avery Brewing Company

1,844 Reviews

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

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Reviews: 1,844 | Ratings: 5,551
Photo of UTCengOwl
3.78/5  rDev -10%
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 sophisticated
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My 2nd brew by Avery (the first one I ever tried was THE BEAST so I've been a little hesitant.) Nevertheless, I'm glad I gave this a whirl.

Got on 6/25/09 at Doherty's in RI.
$8 on tap poured into a tulip glass.

A) Like cloudy ruby-red grapefruit juice. Lovely 1.5 inch fluffy head of off-white foam. Slowly dissipated into a white ring; left lovely rings of lacing all over glass.

S) Major hops! Piney, citrus, just plain ol' hops. Also something a little sweeter in there, like apple.

T) Like it smells. Ends on a definite bitter note.

MF) Crisp, well-carbonated, medium-thickness

D) Good. Obviously it's a DIPA, and I do love my IPAs. But even for me it's a *bit* too bitter. But it's a pleasure to have one of these over the course of 30-45 minutes or so, and I definitely felt the buzz after a short while. No need for a 2nd one but it was a pleasure.

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Photo of ABOWMan
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was one of several IPA's I had this evening and I must say I was thoroughly impressed with this offering from Avery. Poured a full fluffy light head of three fingers which faded quickly, little to no lacing on the galss. The color was a rich copper/golden and the clarfity was cloudy.

The aroma was of citrus and malt, in that order.

The flavor was a well blended malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Huge flavor impact lowers the drinkability factor, but not the enjoyment factor for this ale. Avery has a number of very good offerings and represents one of my favorite lagers in their Kaiser offering. This Maharaja in an atypical IPA with huge flavor impact that is an exceptional value at $7 for this 22 oz. bottle. Wouldn't call it a must drink IPA but it is unusual enough to merit some attention.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch #3 bottled in February 2006.

Pours a peachy orange with very docile carbonation and not much head retention. I'm aware of the abv of this, but I've had dipas at or around this abv that maintained more of a head. Some flecks of spotty lace. This smells like grapefruit and pine resin. Grapefruit and pine resin. The hops don't so much come at you out front with each sip, rather, I get the malt sweetness and some slight breadiness which segues into a big citrus hops flavor. The bitterness really doesn't hit me until the aftertaste really, to which it lingers. Not as balanced as I'd like. Kind of sharp carbonation up front, but slides over the tongue more smoothly. There's a viscous alcohol slickness as I swallow that just doesn't sit right with me. Good flavor makes this really drinkable, but that slick mouthfeel kind of knocks it down a bit.

The only big Avery beer I've ever had that didn't taste like someone threw a shot of vodka in the bomber. I suppose when you use this much hops it's to be expected. Good, but not worth the $7.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a tulip at Barley's Smokehouse on 6/24/10

Faded amber color with a copper twinge. One finger head. Almost no retention; good lacing though.

Simcoe & C-hops are loaded for bear in the aroma. Lots of pine & tropical citrus: grapefruit, tangerine & hints of pineapple. Smells zesty - quite nice. Faint malty sweetness. Dank aroma as it warms.

The nose suggests but doesn't fully prepare for the onslaught of hops & malts. Scathing pine digs right in & doesn't leave. Citrus notes are dense but seated under the pine; as such they are not particularly vibrant. Malts are more assertive than the nose; caramel, nips of toasted bread & biscuit.

Full bodied for the style. Slick with some alcohol heat. Underlying grittiness; kind of sticky, actually. Carbonation is appropriately low. Pine & a touch of sweetness linger.

Drinkability is fine, yet at 10% abv it's a heavy hitter. It's too hot, in my opinion. One is plenty. I'd been considering getting a bottle; I'm glad I held out for the tap.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

note: bottle states bottled in feb 2008-very useful info. also nice to see listed are IBUs, OG, and abv.

poured into a tulip, this was a beautiful deep reddish copper, glowing almost, with a slight haze. off-white head and lacing is thick and persistent. bouqet is powerful and wonderfully fruity-apricots? ruby red grapefruit? pineapple? also noted are floral, resiny, and honeyed aromas. kick ass nose. exudes freshness. taste is a great balance of the big caramelly bready malts and a huge but smooth hop bitterness. mouthfeel is thick and viscous with a long, complex bitter finish that lacks any puckering astringency or sharp bite. perfect natural carbonation. boozy alcohol is nowhere to be noted in the nose or mouth, just a slight warming sensation after it's been down awhile. this is a really good fucking beer, very well done. Almost in the class of a dreadnaught.
Mar 2011/apr 2013: have revisited this fresh...nose is tropical fruit with an oniony/banana/earthy/garlic note...not much of the latter but simcoe? Not that citrusy. No chill haze-clear. thick and syrupy. Pretty decent but more like a hopslam/hercules/gubna combo than the perfection that is dreadnaught.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- It started with a nice off white head covering a clear amber body.

S- It has very strong hops on the nose of grassy pine, and some sweet ness. Almost wheat grassish.

T- There are nice background hints of a woody taste to the creamy heavy mouthfeel.

M- The beer coated my mouth but left it crisp and dry.

D -I particulary like this beer simply because its a basic well flavored Double IPA,

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Photo of Kinsman
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into glass, bottles in May 2010

Appearance is a medium amber hue with light orange highlights. A semi-sticky off-white head provides a large crown for the beer and sticks around for quite a while.

Hop aromas are both a bit piney and citrusy. Simcoe hops help give a more pine/earthy scent, white the cascade give their typical grapefruit. At this point the hops still seem fresh enough to dominate the nose.

Taste is not quite as hoppy as the aroma would have suggested. The strong malt backbone provide a lot of sweeter malt syrupy flavors, almost like a barleywine. The hops may not be super fresh, but still have enough in them to give a good kick. With the finish, the alcohol comes in to make the beer feel a bit warmer.

Mouthfeel is a very creamy texture that goes down well. Overall an enjoyable D.I.P.A. but nothing I'm going to go out of my way for (since we dont get it locally).

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Photo of TheJudge
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a chimay goblet, is a pretty light amber color with a frothy thick white head. Looks extremely nice. Not nearly the nose I would have expected from a double IPA, the hops aroma is present, but subtle. You do not smell the alcohol. Taste is quite good. While not in the nose, the hops are strong in the drink. Not overwhelming, but they nicely balance the alcohol. Feels thick in the mouth, somewhat less carbonated that my taste. This affects the drinkabilty as well, and too heavy in effect to drink all night

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Photo of rand
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tap to sniffer, 10 oz pour at Urge Gastropub

A: Copper-tan in color, little carbonation or head. Looks dense.

S: Subtle notes of honey-malts and grapefruit float from the glass, but this has perhaps the most delicate nose I've come across for this style. It almost smells like the booze and hops are cancelled out by the malt-backbone.

T: The subtlety stops at the nose. Big, biting, pine notes scrape the palate, along with citrus and floral notes. Burning booze mixes with the sweet malts, bordering on something like a beer liqueur. The onslaught of hops dry towards the end, keeping the bitter aspects front and center. Finished resinous and bitter, with a touch of lingering honey sweetness.

M: Medium-bodied, surprisingly light for the style and huge ABV. Could use a bit carbonation.

A big hopbomb, I've had this several times and never taken the time to review. I can't remember a beer that had a bigger disconnect between the nose and the palate. But if you're in the need for a hop-fix, you could do a lot worse.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a chalice at WhirlyBall - Vernon Hills.

Been a while since I last visited the old Raja; let's see what he's up to today, shall we? This stuff pours a clear sunset amber topped by a half-finger of off-cream foam. The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit rind, light leek, orange peel, pine resin, and plenty of toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, with a heavier influence of grapefruit and pine, a more caramel-y tone in the backbone, and some grass tossed in for good measure. The body is a solid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a fine and dandy hop bomb, indeed.

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Photo of MarkIntihar
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into my Russian River Belgian glass. June, 2011 bottling.

A - Pours pure red-amber with a finger-plus of cream-white head. The head fades fairly quickly, but still leaves a decent ring around the glass. A bit dark looking for a DIPA, but still a good looking beer. I particularly like the way the head laces the outside of the glass as I drink more of it.

S - Hmm, interesting. Very sweet and malty smelling. The hops don't necessarily punch you in the face like you'd expect from a DIPA. Perhaps because the bottle is a couple months old? Anyway, behind the sweet and malty start is a dark citrus scent, can't place my finger on exactly what it is, but it's fairly pleasant. Still definitely reminds me more of a barleywine than a DIPA, which throws me off.

T - AHA! So here are the hops! Starts with an excellent blend of bitter, citrusy hops as well as sweet malts. This is one interesting beer to say the least... While it starts as any DIPA should with a barrage of hops and citrus, the finish is almost purely malts. It's almost a bit chalky in the finish. Very sweet in the finish as well, despite the fact that the bitter bite sticks to the tongue. Truly a complex beer, and I can't quite decide if I'm into it or not. It's definitely not bad though.

M - As mentioned in the taste, there is a decent bite to this beer, as well as the effect of drying the mouth with the almost chalk-like finish. Not entirely unpleasant though, as the malt profile does help to kill the bitterness of the hops a bit.

O - I still can't quite figure this one out. I want to like it, but there's something about the finish that is too barleywine for me. I hope it's just a case of the hops fading over the couple months since bottling, but I'll just have to revisit and find out for myself another time!

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Photo of ballz50401
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle (May '10, batch 12) into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a glowing copper with a orange/reddish hue. Head is big and frothy with an off white, almost light tan color. This one looks very inviting. Be careful, there is alot of chucky yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: This has alot of malt sweetness in the nose. Heavy caramel/toffee in the aroma. Light citrus hops in the back. Hop aroma probably faded some from aging 3-4 months.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Starts with a thick malty base that is sticky with caramel, toffee, and some bready notes. It then finishes with a semi-sharp hop bitterness. Again, hops are pretty much muted at this point. Mouthfeel is very full, creamy, and smooth.

Drinkability: This has turned into a nice drinking "barleywine". I'm sure it would've been much better fresh, but the hops do not hold up very well with 3 months in the bottle.

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Photo of Forb
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from Batch No. 13; March 2011...

Appearance: Orange, copper, amber hue with a frothy creamy colored minor head with medium leveled lacing.

Smell: An immediate sweet hop kick is most notable of this beer. Malt backbone to mellow out the complexity of this IIPA.

Taste: Very sweet malty characters first noted amongst a bitter hop intensity that carries a great balance over the sugary quality to finish. The intensity here is not for the faint.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full creamy, carbonated body that goes down smooth and mellow.

Overall: A great representation of the style and a first for me from Avery Brewing. As this is a style I have been interested in as of late I can say it is similar in taste to the Twin Sisters from Left Hand but undoubtedly I will recommend the Stone Ruination as the premier chose for this style.


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Photo of claminat420
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9 Feb 2009 on bottle

A- poured a hazy amber color with a thick off white head. heavy lacing.

S- just real earthy hops. maybe alil piney. caramel malt is easily noticed.

T- alcohol shows up just alil. the hops aren't attacking as i thought they were gonna. malt is more apparent.

M- medium light bodied. nice carbonation.

D- really good! wish i had two of these 22's.

Overall- the hop smell and the taste really are different. the high 10%abv is pretty well hidden. i say pick it up but nothing for the crazy hop heads like myself.

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Photo of Auracom
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes. On-tap at Kelleher's on May 13th, 2011.

Pours a dark amber with a reddish-hue and a soft, white head. Smells strongly of west-coast profiled hops with grapefruit and lots of other citrus. Probably the heaviest grapefruit quality I've yet to come across in a DIPA. The drink exudes more caramel malt than I was expecting, similar to Dreadnaught. Less forward in the hops. It's decently-balanced but maybe lacks the bitter punishment one tends to expect out of the style. Honey sweetness underneath. Medium-length finish. Not quite enough carbonation but is smooth. Slight ABV heat on the backend.

Not as good as I was hoping but not bad by any means.

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Photo of ISmith87
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tried this one while I was in Missouri for a while and can honestly say it's not that great. Jai Alai is way better, Maharaja is waaay to earthy/dirty tasting, like a cheaper IPA. It's way to malty and does not live up to the hype. I would not buy it again.

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Photo of gpogo
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle Says: Bottled in Feb 2006 Batch 3 9.9ABV

A- Opaque orangish brown with small off-white head. I find the colour fascinating, it is unfortunate the head is lacking as every other Avery beer I have had has a lovely head leaving beautiful lacing. This may be in part to the extensive aging this beer has undergone.

A- Smells of a pine forest with a backed with a heavy malt profile leaving a hint of sweetness on the nose.

T- The hop flavor seems to have mellowed, but there is plenty of bitterness for any hophead. It leaves for a very interesting balanced malty sweetness, having never have had such an old brew myself.

M- Medium body, low carbonation.

D- The extensive aging gave it a much more mellow taste than most other IIPAs that I have had. I would love to try a fresh bottle to get an idea of what the years of waiting for me to come along and drink it did to the beer. It was delicious though and as with all Avery brews I've had previously I would not hesitate to have another.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled in Feb. 2006 - Batch 3.
1.085 Original gravity – Alcohol 9.9% by Vol.
1 Pint 6 fl.oz. 102 IBUs

Presentation: Silver foil covers the black logo’d Avery crown cap and upper neck. The main label looks just like the one shown in the BA Database with a familiar Imperial design that revolves around a picture of an Indian Maharaja.

Appearance: Soft edges shine with an orange-amber persistent shine that reminds me of polished Aztec copper. The head is white with a soft beige influence that sleights the setting sun and reminds me of those dirty white shirt collars, you know, sort of white but with a faded yellow look. Solid conditioning.

Nose: Oily-tastic pungent rasping distilled hop oils soaked in chocolate Orange liqueur. Freshly skinned oranges impart a zesty distilled Curacao peel aroma in the air. Supreme carbonation lends a feisty feel to the taste profile…..big swirls punctuate the air with a metric tonne of orange flavored high alcohols.

Taste: Immense oily orange pip start with some mastic-like adhering viscous hop oils raping the cheeks. Sweet malts in the middle add some balance, whilst the finish has a fiery orange burn on the cheeks, mixed with alcohol bite. Citric tones in the back end add yet more bite. Barley sugar traits in the lingering finish seem to referee the balance between the sweet malts and hop oils.

Mouthfeel: Stretches its muscles big style, thick torso and upper arms but it has a very small brain and a little dick. Bitter, oily but averagely hoppy. Thin feel at times which is juxta-posed.

Drinkability: Decent enough but it has that Avery “harshness” that somehow belies sensibility and common sense, often a tad annoying yet intriguing to the beer geek not restricted by boundaries. Unbalanced and harsh with a ‘play-free’ “My Dad is bigger than your Dad” feel. One Bomber takes some downing and is more than enough.

Overall: I ended up reviewing this one again and replacing my old review, the last one was under duress, or do I mean the influence!? This is a strange brew though and you may have to be half out of it to even half understand it – least it seems that way. This is my third bottle now, the first time I rather enjoyed it (albeit being a bit wrecked), the second time I was put off by its orange arrogance, but the third time I’m back to liking it again. Weird! Nice enough, a Double IPA that always treats the adventurous mind but I guess in real terms it fails to live up to the better examples of the genre and more balanced drinkable versions of the Double IPA style.

This is a likeable odd-ball Imperial IPA, sort of Arnold Layne meets Jugband Blues - very Syd Barrett - if you know what I mean. A fitting beer to finish the day with considering.

Music: Piper at the Gates of Dawn, (The) Pink Floyd

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Photo of Phelps
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks: Like an old grapefruit. Pours a hazy mahogany wooden color with a foamy light-orange head tha fades quickly to a ring but leaves impressive sheets of lace. The liquid itself looks unfiltered and hazy enough to obscure everything behind it.

Smells: like sugared grapefruits. Sweet tangerines, pine, grass, clove, pink peppercorns and sourdough, with a candy glazing.

Tastes: like biting into an unpeeled tangerine. Holy bitterness, Batman! The first sip reveals an explosion of tangerine citrus, which is soon met by the accompanying harshness of pith. The malt backbone is fighting back valiantly, imparting a heavy caramel sweetness. I almost feel like I'm picking up some hefeweizen flavors: wheat, clove, coriander, rose petals. As the beer rises in temperature, it becomes almost like drinking warm grapefruit concentrate, with a bitter finish to match.

Feels: meh. Smooth, but with high, nearly painful carbonation and a medium-light body.

Drinks: with increasing difficulty. Maharaja is decent at first sip, but became increasingly bitter and tart as it warmed. Even my tulip glass seemed too much for me by the end.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is small, still, bumpy and thick. The beer is a clear, still, copper-amber. Runny sheets of lacing. Nose is sweet: sugar, grass, pine, citrus. Nice, hoppy. Huge hoppy pine in the front with major pepper and spice. Some roasty nuts. The middle is very thick, sweet and malty. But the hops are never far from sight. Huge alcohol finish (a little rubbing alcohol) and more mountains of hop. Bitter aftertaste with loads of pepper. It's not bad. The alcohol is pretty raw, but the hops are fresh and juicy. And there's enough malt. Quite nutty with temperature. It's a decent drink.

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Photo of BabaJohn
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is certainly a nice beer, but my main complaint is that the alcohol actually seemed to dominate the taste at times. At this point I generally expect the hops in an IPA to kick the ass of everything else, but in this case the alcohol took control. I couldn't quite bring myself to dock the taste rating but I had to take it out of drinkability. Still, I wouldn't turn this one down for a second, unless I had to choose between the Maharaja and a Stone... Otherwise, looked nice, smelled nice, was nice.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a slightly hazy orange golden color with a massive frothy tan head. The lacing is spotty and chunky. Ahhh now this is how a double IPA should smell! This smells super yeasty and doughy. There's a nice lemony citric smell to it. Whiffs of alcohol. Taste is a combination of super piney hops and the caramelly sweet malt backbone. It has a strong brown sugar taste but i wouldn't say that its cloying. Alcohol certainly makes its presence in the flavor. Feel is smooth and creamy.

The only thing that hurts this beer is the alcohol pushing its way to the front which leads to a diminished drinkability.

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Photo of jdense
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

TV on the Radio Beer Tour Review #5.

Getting close to showtime, so moved downtown to Bailey's Taproom, served in 10 oz. shaker.

Opaque copper brown body underneath tan head, not much lacing to speak of. Big hop profile in the nose, but some Lorna Doone cookieish malt presence. A nice balance on the tastebuds, big piney oily hops with the cookie goodness. A definite sipper, and at this ABV, one is plenty. Not by favorite DIPA, but certainly worth a try.

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Photo of BeefTongue
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer lent a nice one finger head that laced well on the pour. The floral aroma of the brew, a product of the lovely hoppiness, came out powerfully--the smell was my favorite part of this beer, it was delightfully refreshing, perhaps more intoxicating than the beer itself, I'd jest, but with its nearly 10% ABV, this brew packs a punch. The taste is good, but not terribly outstanding with regard to other nice IPA's. The bitterness of the hops predominates alongside a mild malty sweetness. The carbonation foams up in the mouth yielding a nice velvety mouthfeel; the beer goes smoothly down the throat. Overall, it's a tasty drink, but not one that I'd buy again over more preferable (and less expensive imperial IPA's). It's good's the point, but there are better beers of this sort.

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Maharaja from Avery Brewing Company
4.2 out of 5 based on 5,551 ratings.
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