Bitter Rival | The Tap Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
The Tap Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheManiacalOne on 04-23-2013

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Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 43
Photo of GimmeASchlitz
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass

Pours a nice cloudy golden copper color with a fluffy biege head. There is sediment but not a mood killer.

Not getting much on the nose other than some floral notes and sweet bread.

First sip gives me citrus peels, grapefruit, lot of bitterness and sweetness. The biterness lingers on the palate. As you keep drinking you get tropical notes such as mangoes and sweet clementines.

Good medium body with good carbonation. I felt a bit of stickiness as well.

I like this beer. Great tag on the bottle that describes it perfectly. Liquid brutality. Brutal hops but balances slightly with a bit of sweetness. It isn't my favorite IPA in the state. I wanted more from the nose but not a deal breaker.

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Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%

4.0 3.75 4.0 4.25 4.0

This beer pours with a lot of sentiment. The liquid is red-orange-dark amber. Small, but lumpy head--slowly recedes. Great frothy lace.

The smell is a pleasant combination of semisweet caramel and mild floral hop.

Smooth start with a rich toasted malt up front. The hop is strong in the swallow, very similar to black pepper. Good carbonation to balance the full body.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy copper with a fluffy white head. Head lasts and leaves tight lacing rings. Second half of the 220z bomber kicked up a ton of sediment. This is something I've experienced before from this brewery. Cosmetic issue only though.

S - Piney hops, caramel sweetness, biscuit.

T - Hop bitterness is very overpowering. I was expecting a little more hop aroma and flavor, but it really lives up to its bitter name. I do like it, but not what I expected from a Best Coast IPA.

M - Light body, light carb, leaves the palate and tongue incredibly dry.

O - It's a clever name, especially since I'm a fan of the Boston hockey club. The flavor is lopsided with the bitterness. I would've preferred a little more of the hop flavor to come through.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well I already wrote a review for this but when I clicked 'review' it was washed away. So here is an abbreviated version. Love seeing my review being obliterated due to site alterations...I digress.

A-Pours cloudy and orange with a thin, off white head.

S-Aroma is surprisingly lacking much definable hoppiness. I can't pick out any specific words to describe the hops here; I actually can't pick up much hoppiness in the nose. It's grainy and I smell some caramel but I really am struggling to sniff out any describable hoppy notes. No specifics. *As it warms I get some floral and citric hops but when it's ice cold, the hops are silent.

T-While I had trouble finding the hops in the nose, the flavor is a bit different. It's resoundingly bitter. However, the hoppy bitterness is almost soulless. There are no specific flavors I pull from it; it lacks definitive flavor. It's more of a noxious plume of bitterness that rolls over the tongue and chokes away any specific flavor. I find that the malt is easier to describe: caramel, grain, bread crust. If forced to describe the flavor of the hops - bitter, strong, pine.

M-Medium bodied. Exuberant bitterness. Desert dry. Alcohol hidden well. Pleasant carbonation that helps to aerate the palate.

O-This beer is bitter just for bitter's sake. There is no finesse, but I guess that's want they were going for. I was disappointed by the nose. The flavor was better. Both the aroma and taste got better as the beer warmed. This review may seem mostly negative but to be quite honest, I will take a tooth-melting IPA any day and be pretty happy. It clearly got better as it warmed up.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bitter Rival opens to a hoppy aroma, with dandelion stem and pine resin dominating here, and lesser notes of grapefruit rind and light mint. What is more surprising, however, is the strong grain aroma, which resembles the mustiness inside of a grain silo. This latter note mixes with crusty breads, hay, and biscuit to form a distinctly grainy note that almost overpowers the hops. Touches of brown sugar, as well as very faint hints of berry, orange, and apricot fruit esters, add small threads of sweetness. As a whole, the nose is very intriguing, largely because of its extreme grainy notes. As the beer warms, these do fade a bit, revealing a better sugary base, but the initial blast is quite interesting. The warming also reveals a more rounded hop profile, with pink grapefruit, rose hips, and sweet rosewater joining the pine resin, until the hops smell more sugary than bitter. Bits of fig and plum also show up in the fruit esters, joined by larger heaps of brown sugar. The aromas, in other words, definitely improve as the beer warms, becoming very candy like in the end.

On the tongue, the beer is very bitter, and not at all like the candies noted in the aroma. Dandelion stem, pine resin, eucalyptus, grapefruit rind, lemon oil, mint, and anise abound here, with hardly a glimpse of any of the more sugary hop notes. So bitter are the hops that much of the rest of the flavors are overwhelmed, though touches of peppery breads, toast crust, biscuit, and Grape Nuts cereal do come through, as well as faint bits of brown sugar, and a few berry and orange fruit esters. The emphasis here is clearly on the hops, and the beer has enough of a palate wrecking effect that much of what little non-hop flavors were present in the initial sip are lost in subsequent mouthfuls. The hops also dominate the aftertaste, becoming even more bitter, resinous, and rind-y, the effects lingering on the tongue for a long time. Mouthfeel is a slightly watery medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, there’s certainly a huge amount of bitterness in his beer, and it nicely lives up to its name. In the end, however, the bitterness is so overwhelming that the beer seems imbalanced, and could have used a much larger sugary counter, especially in the orange fruit ester and brown sugar area, to provide a bit of relief. Still, it’s worth trying if you’re a hophead.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.39/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap 2/7/2013 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light coppery brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a good blend of floral hops, citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very good 2IPA worth drinking for a very long time.

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Bitter Rival from The Tap Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 43 ratings.
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