Leather Lips IPA | The Tap Brewing Company

very good
410 Ratings
Leather Lips IPALeather Lips IPA

Brewed by:
The Tap Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
he brewing process by itself contains enough Nugget and Chinook to satisfy the most seasoned hop head. But we couldn’t leave it alone. Once fermentation is complete we add a massive hop bag to the bright tank that is bursting at the seams with whole cone Centennial for an aroma that you just can’t get any other way. High fives all around.

Added by Bierman9 on 04-05-2004

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Ratings: 410 |  Reviews: 301
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crazily bubbled bright orange topped by a beige crown that is currently filling all but the bottom inch of the glass despite the gentlest of pours. This may be the most carbonated beer that I've ever seen, and I've seen some doozies. It still looks pretty good. Here's hoping the flavor and the mouthfeel won't be negatively impacted.

The aroma doesn't seem to have taken a hit, even through what is still four fingers of foam. It's bright and citrusy, with orange, lemon and grapefruit peel bursting out of the glass. A hop bill of Centennial, Nugget and Chinook should make for an impressive nose. And definitely does in this case.

Leatherlips is a good IPA that, nevertheless, isn't the stuff of my fevered hop dreams. I don't want to believe that overcarbonation is responsible for my less than full-throated praise, not after I've been dying to acquire a bottle for so long, but I'm afraid that it is. I'll try to work around it as best I can.

I'm amazed at how bitter *only* 50 IBUs can be in some instances. This beer is hugely bitter, much more than some IPAs/DIPAs that claim more than 100 IBUs. It just goes to show that the numbers mean very little. White grapefruit pith, bitter orange and unsweet pine sap make up what is a relatively simple flavor profile. Simple, but intense. My tongue has already started to twitch and I'm only halfway through the bottle.

Subsequent pours rejuvenate the head like an M-80 in a bubblebath. Amazingly, the insane carbonation is still as frenetic as it was when I popped the cap more than 10 minutes ago. While I'm tempted to bump the flavor score, I won't. This just doesn't taste like a special IPA (in its current state). I know one thing, my alpha acid tank has been topped off for the remainder of the day; maybe even the week.

How the hell do I properly assess the mouthfeel with this much chaos going on? If I can factor out the bubbles (difficult, but possible), I can better appreciate the quality of the mouthfeel. It's medium in heft with a finishing stickiness. It's a shame that I couldn't have experienced it as the brewers intended.

I still don't feel like I've had the true Leatherlips IPA. jrdegriselles was kind enough to send me two bottles, but I'm pretty sure they're both similarly affected. Maybe I'll open the other one and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so. If incredibly bitter, incredibly hoppy beer is your thing, then wrap your lips around a Leatherlips and get ready to pucker up.

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Photo of nase
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Tasting this next to a fresh Smuttynose IPA. This one is a few months old which makes the two difficult to compare.

This one has more emphasis on the sweet citrus taste and the heaviness of the hops. A thinner body on this one as well though there is good head retention and the beer overall feels light and creamy. Long-lasting pine/even metallic? finish.

Appearance - 4
Smell - 5
Taste - 3.5
Mouthfeel - 3.5
Drinakbility - 3.5

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Photo of orfeu
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to zrrbrrt for sending this my way. Cloudy apricot nectar with a huge mass of just-off-white sticky and cratery foam. Killer lacing, to boot. Lovely grapefruit and spruce scents, nothing mind-bogglingly unique about the aroma, but it's nevertheless a mouth-watering, hoppy nose that seems "picture perfect" for an IPA. Bitter through and through, with piney flavors just beating out the grapefruit pith citrus notes. Finishes *slightly* phenolic with a pleasantly biscuity aftertaste. Again, nothing that really "stands out," but I think Haverhill has simply nailed a solid, sessionable IPA here. Juicy mouthfeel with a dry finish. Awesome drinkability -- glad I have another in the cellar. I have the feeling that this might be just a bit better on tap...

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Photo of Enola
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is hoppy, for sure. There is a small head atop a nice partly cloudy light orange brew. There are plenty of little particles suspended in the beer. There is also ample lacing. The smell is very piney and citrusy. Sweet hops abound!!. The taste is bittersweet. This is the kind of IPA that one could drink every day. The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky. Drinkability is good. I wish this beer was more readily available here. Thanks to wcudwight who obtained it from swedejay.

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Photo of JimFalzone
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Tap has been quietly brewing and serving exceptional beers for a long time now, but now one of their creations is available in 6-packs. The artwork on the 6-pack holder and bottles is racey and humorous. The sexy woman depicted on the label was inspired by the name Leather Lips. This here is a hop monster. It's not an IPA like the bigger brewers make, with a subtle hop bite. The Tap's version is BITTER, really, really BITTER. I like it, but it would be tough to toss back more than a couple without needing some water to chase it. But you know the deal... Hop heads live for this type of beer. All other beer drinkers beware. Not my favorite Tap offering but it ranks pretty high.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, into pint glass.

Pours a bright clear medium copper with heavy carbonation visible, and medium dense somewhat rocky head that leaves medium lacing.

Smell is sweet citrus fruit hop, and sweet malt to back it up.

Taste is lovely, pronounced citrus and sweet hop, pine and caramel malt. Delightfully unbalanced, and hop heavy. It's fascinating, in that it's almost like a hyper-hoppy English IPA more than a west coast style hop bomb.

A delicious beer, the dozen or so times I've had it on tap, and half a dozen in the bottle. I'll definitely keep buying it.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've waited quite a while to try this beer. Although I live pretty close to the brewery, I never got around to visiting. Tjis one pours a perfect orange color, with a nice white head, and sediment floating around inside the glass. Smell was absolutely filled with hop presence. These were the real deal piney, oily hops that really assault the palate. Taste was as intense as the smell with the hops...they really do a number on your tongue. Mouthfeel was medium, and oh so drinkable if you are big into hops like me. I have to say that this might surpass Smuttynose Finest Kind as my favorite local American IPA. I simply cannot find anything wrong with this beer. It gives some Double IPA's a run for their money in the hop department.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my SS 2006 jrdegriselles for this beer off my wants.

The beer was a little over carbonated with the pour. A rich floral smell is present. The taste is a little too floral for my preference. This an above average IPA IMO but I would not seek this out b/c I have easy access to some great IPAs. I would like to try this on-tap to see if there is a difference.


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Photo of Greenlabel
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

IPA's are one of my 2 favorite styles and I'm certainly glad the folks in Haverhill put in a bottling line and made this product available to a wider audience. I'm not sure how widely the bottles are distributed but I bought a 6-pack at Julio's in Westboro, MA. No freshness dating but definitely fresh.

This IPA poured an orangy amber color with a lasting white creamy head. Smell seemed normal for an IPA but the taste and mouthfeel were well above normal. Citrusy, piney - whatever it might be called, the taste was at the upper end for IPA's. From a drinkabilty standpoint, it would seem to be a great candidate for a session IPA.

I've never tasted a Haverhill Brewing product before but, if this is an example of their brewing capability, I'll try any of them which are distributed in bottles. Hope they go for a wider distribution but, if not, I'll be back to Julio's for an encore - maybe a case next time.

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Photo of Franchise
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering pours a cloudy dark orange leaving a thin off-white head. The aroma is orange peels, lemon, pine, honey, and a grassy earthiness very nice. The taste starts bitter, actually more like a bitter "pimp slap" that roughs up your palate a bit but tries to balanced with a small malty fruit honey feel but finishes with that grapefruit bite that makes you smack the tongue. Great aggresive American IPA. One that will end up in my fridge most of the year.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a wonderful looking hazy as hell copper colour wit ha big foamy head that leaves it mark all over the glass after it subsides.

The aroma is bready, piney, and citrusy for the most part. A bit rugged but a bit floral as well. Good stuff here.

Taste is more of the same: Bread all around. Hops simply dominate, but in a good, balanced way. Nothing overpowering here as the malt backbone is quite nice as well. pine/citrus notes mix in mostly in the middle and the finish is a bit rugged and dry perhaps. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nice and slick and oily.

I dug this one. Was happy to find it in bottle format as I had actually forgotten it was bottled on a recent trip back to Boston. Worth picking up at least a bottle or six-pack if you can find it.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle.

Amber body with thick off-white head.

Nose is sweet tangy citrus, delectible.

Flavor is outstanding, one of the best IPAs around. Tart citrus and floral hops perfectly balance the sweet malt body.

Mouthfeel is oily and slick. Plenty of tooth stripping quality.

Drinkability is near perfect. A flavorful and tasty session IPA.

Thanks for finally making this available in bottles.

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Photo of Jermbrew
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this on tap @ the brewery before, but this time from a 12oz bottle. Just as good as the first time.

The frothy head sits on top of a copper colored ale. It's a good looking sight. My initial wiff turned up a scent of pine accompanied by a hint of sweet smell. The piney smell lingers throughout the duration of the drink.

Taste is great. Bitterness prevails in the end and I even detect a little honey-clove sweetness.

Due to a reasonable ABV of 5% I see no reason to "take it easy". Makes for a great all-day IPA. The brewer did an excellent job here while maintaining a lower gravity for this style.

The first gulp coated my entire mouth with a pleasant creamy layer. I dig this a lot. Ideal mouthfeel for an IPA in my opinion.

I live in Northampton,MA but go to Haverhill quite a bit, so if anyone is interested in scoring some Leatherlips drop me an e-mail.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy burnt orange color.
The smell of tangerine jumps right out at you the moment you free this beer from the bottle. I don't have to swirl or inhale. Tangerine just fills the room. Wow!
This is a unique IPA. Fruit fresh from the tropics start this beer off. Mango maybe? The flavor actually kind of mutes itself in the middle and the hops kick in during the finish and stay. I love beers where you are still tasting the hops from the previous sip when you take the next sip and this is one of them. The hops are very citrus in nature and somewhat floral. I don't detect the piney nature of a lot of IPA's.
Mouthfeel is very dry and not sticky like a lot of IPA's. The dryness is nice and kind of refreshing.
At 5% this is an excellent session beer that is full of flavor and will make a positve impression on your tastebuds.
Thanks to swedejay53 for the bottle.

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Photo of waughbrew
3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle, no date, leather-clad redheaded woman with a mug of beer looking seductively at me. Back off lady, I'm married. Plus, if I married you, our kids' hair would burn people's eyes.

A very hazy light-amber with a big creamy head that leaves rings of lace down my mug. Bready and yeasty with a small helping of orange peels. Not as hoppy in the nose as I was expecting. Sort of homebrewish with the yeastiness. On the thin side, crisp, evenly bitter, and pleasant citrus throughout. The finish has a tang to the bitterness that keeps going, but is not entirely pleasant. A little crushed aspirin action going on. Strong bitterness plays on and on like it is the guitar solo in Freebird. And I like it. The bitterness is at a rare level, I find.

Overall, this bottled beer does not stick out too much in its look, smell, feel, or drinkability, but I love that shot of bitterness that it has.

Beware the redhead.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy, light orange with a medium foamy head. The head retained quite well, with persistent, intricate, sticky lacings. The impressive lacings possessed a grainy, wet sand property that seemed to move magically around the sides of my IPA glass.

Sweet malt aroma blends with orange peel, grapefruit and a floral hoppy presence.

The unique taste consists of sweet malt, bittersweet grapefruit, citrus rind and a nice, bitter hop finish. The Centennial and Choonook hops represent a nice changeup from the usual norm, adding to a pleasingly bitter character. The name may or may not be derived from an earthy, leather-like character in the aftertaste. At five percent, there is no perceived alcohol in the flavor.

This light/medium bodied brew is very well carbonated and lacks the syrupy consistency that can detract from the drinkability of other Amercian IPA's.

This is a unique, smooth and well-balanced IPA. At 5%, this is a hoppy, sessionable delight!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12ozer bought as part of a 6-pack from Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" dense light tan head over the clear orangey amber brew. Head fades gradually, with lots of lasting lace. Aroma has some grain notes, but the story here is the citrus hops. Taste is upfront with the fruity hops, then kicks in with a whole pile of bitterness, and then thinks about balancing a bit with some sweetness peeks towards the swallow. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both great. This one is all I expected, hope to see more out and about.

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Photo of cbl2
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/28/2006 $8.99 6 pack 5.00% No best by date.


Pours a hazy peach with fine carbonation that lead to a meringue like peak that settles into billowy clouds of white vapor, with nice lacing along the glass.


Beautifully ripened grapefruit, dripping juice with smooth biscuity malt.


Nice biscuity malt flavor with muted hops, perhaps approaching the 50 IBU's promised on the label, though this is subtle by IPA standards. Finish has notes of grapefruit, and a long bitter streak to it. This reminds me more of an American Pale Ale than an IPA, but it is damn tasty.

Purchased at Bauer Wine in Boston. Nick told me this is unpasteurized, and that he doesn't like to take it out of the fridge for extended periods of time.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so it's finally available in bottles. Let's test the hype.

Pours a hazy light copper with a decent off-white head that lingers around.

Smells extremely citrusy and juicy, very sweet, tropical fruits, candied malts.

Taste is also very sweet with hops fighting their way through to a dry, astringent finish. Once again, very tropical tasting. Very unique, I must say. Almost tastes like a red ale/ipa hybrid. Finish is very dry, aspiriny, grapefruity, while the front is very sweet, citrusy, and juicy. I wish it was a bit more balanced throughout the taste curve, and not as thin, but it is still very impressive. The dry, astringent hoppiness clings to your palate for an eternity after each sip.

Mouthfeel is a little watery with decent carbonation.

Drinkable? Absolutely. The tropical fruity sweetness to it makes it very drinkable and addicting. The 5.0% abv helps a boatload in this category as well. Great session brew.

I must say that, while it is not the best IPA out there, it is definitely very unique. For that alone, it deserves good praise. I'd say that I am pretty impressed with Haverhill on this one. Although, I'd still say that it is slightly overrated.

Edited rating on 10/08 - this has become a favorite and is way better than I had recalled.

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Photo of snilsen13
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I seek out this sort of brew. "Hazed and Infused " and "Blonde Hop Monster" are similar. These are IPAs with a lots of aroma from dry hopping, I think. This one is pretty good, but is also pretty straightforward, and could be better. There ought to be a new category for these beers.

a - slightly cloudy orange with solid off white (yellowish) head.

s - dry-hopped? Most definately. Very floral hops. Bottle says 50 IBU of centennial and chinook

t - hops are bright and grassy/piney, very subtle sweetness.... aftertaste is not over powering, but this could benefit from storage. Hops are too sharp and not sufficiently complex too merit a rating better than "good".

m - it's fine.

d - pretty good. 5% ABV makes them easy to knock back, and the hops become increasingly palettable and never loose their bite.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.92/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The new bottled "edition"

From the 12oz. bottle into a shaker pint the beer was a pale golden bronze color with one-finger of pure white and fluffy head. Some moderate lacing, but no other outright signs of carbonation.

The nose is fresh juicy hops. The beer smells like ripe and wet hops freshly plucked from the vine and put under your nose. The hop freshness aroma is truly amazing. The hop smell is raw and piney. Very citrusy with grapefruit leading the way.

The bitterness hits your palate immediatley and grabs the back of your tounge and coats the palate. Crisp grapefruit citrus flavors are abound and this one approaches Smuttynose grapefruit levels. Again the freshness in taste of this beer is amazing. The taste has hints of malt that make a futile effort at balance, but hops steel the show here. The taste in not just bitter, but trully hoppy with every sip. The beer drinks much bigger than 50 IBU but is very sessionable.

Medium body that is very crisp. The hop flavor seems to almost coat the palate with a film that lingers for some time. Still bitterness is not abbrasive or "biting" but rather smooth and even.

This may well be better from the bottle than the tap. The freshness of the beer is supburb and thus it is extremely drinkable. The flavors here are hoppy, bitter, and everything I look for in a sessionable IPA. Thankfully this is all now a trip to the fridge (and not Haverhill) away.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

hazed amber with a thin-ish not quite white head.
the aroma consists of yeasty light caramel, and pungent grapefruity flowery hops up close. really green smelling.
resinous, spicy almost tangy grapefruit hop flavors with a nice strong bitterness. i can't find much in the way of malt, maybe a trace of caramel... very west coast.
medium bodied with delicate, but active carbonation.
easy drinking despite the high bitterness. a really kick ass american IPA.

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Photo of clickpush
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 12oz bottle to pint glass, this beer came heavily recommended by Nick at Bauer. A nice one finger tan head rises over a caramel or almond skin color brew. The beer's very cloudy for an IPA, but this one's unpasteurized. Head lasts only a couple minutes and reduces to great lacings and trails along the glass. Lots of tiny bubbles stream from bottom to top.

Nose: The aroma is so strong it kept wafting towards me as I regarded the appearance. Lots of fresh dough, heavy in the yeast, and caramel. Up close it's very hop-forward with a malt balance underneath. Seems to be very well balanced.

Mouth: Sour and hoppy, all around grapefruit. Nice prickly mouthfeel as it enters. The malts are not as present as in the smell, or they're just completely overshadowed by the hops. After swallowing it's like sending some hops olympic boxing team down my throat, pummeling my rear taste buds with its bitter finish. Slight lemon-sour flavor and peanuts to balance bitterness, but not comparable to malts. This is a hop-head's dream, but doesn't present the hop/malt balance that I like.

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Photo of bencharles
4.51/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i headed over to the tap to try some leatherlips (my friend suggested it since i'm in the nashua area)...

leather is simply incredible! it goes down SO easy, no fizzy carbonation, AND the taste is just "WOW" :) i drank one too many of these bad boys and uh, well, let's just say it's a knockout punch! (in a good way)....good times, good friends, good leather...mmm....

however, there was a kind of medicine/cough syrup odor coming from the glass, but other than that it's by far one of the best IPA i've had...try this one, you won't be dissapointed!


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Photo of WeymouthMike
4.88/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really couldn't wait to try this beer in the bottle, I had limited prior experience with samples at brewfests which on led me to want more. Appearance is straw yellow with a red tint with a clear one finger head. Lets jump to drinkability, 5% you must be kidding me. When I bought the six pack I was told to pick up two and didn't. Mouthfeel is smooth with no carbonation.

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Leather Lips IPA from The Tap Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 410 ratings.
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