Battle Axe IPA | Kelsen Brewing Company

very good
22 Reviews
Read the review
Battle Axe IPABattle Axe IPA

Brewed by:
Kelsen Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Battle Axe IPA is a unique example of the style, focused on smooth hop flavors and aroma, while avoiding the harsh bitterness found so often in today’s IPAs. Rather than competing for the most bitter beer available, we chose to leverage voluminous late hop additions in the boil to produce a highly drinkable IPA with strong hop flavors, fresh citrus hop aroma and a profound drinkability that makes it a great beer to pair with food.

Added by JakerLou on 03-02-2014

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 111
Photo of JayF562
2.32/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Proud a dark gold color with a slight haze. Off white rocky head. Medium low pine, earthy aroma. Flavor hits you with bready malt with a high bitter finish. Medium carbonation. Unfortunately this is not a easy drinking IPA. Honestly had to dump this as I could not drink the whole thing. I'm sure some they have better offerings. Will revisit some of the other beers they make soon.

 383 characters

Photo of brewme
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had never seen or heard of this brew. Picked up a four pack for about eleven dollars. In the interest of full disclosure: this batch was canned in 11/16, which I did not catch. That being said, this is one of the worst IPA's that I can remember having, totally bland.

 271 characters

Photo of digboy
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

[Note: This is an old can, so the review is likely biased to a lower score than it deserves]

16 oz can dated 10/4/16 (6 months old) Given to me by a friend, probably from back of fridge. He said he really enjoyed this one.

Pours a clear light orange color with plenty of effervescence and a one finger pillowy head that settles down to a half.

Aroma is mild but tropical fruit. I get pineapple the strongest. No citrus and no grass as others have reported - could be the age of the can.

Taste is bland or watery. Was expecting something a lot different. I know they are particularly trying to have it be low bitterness (which it is), but its almost like there's something missing in the beer. Aftertaste is a mild alcohol burn too, which I don't like for a standard IPA.

As for feel it is smooth and creamy, though "thin" feeling. I guess one positive is that it is "drinkable", meaning it goes down easy like a session ale, but there is too much malt (and the alcohol burn) for it to qualify there. Quite an odd duck.

I can do without this one. Glad I didn't buy four of these.

 1,098 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grassy, Earthy, Pithy

All the makings of a great IPA, stunning appearance with a head that does not want to go away. While this IPA may be around 60 IBUs there is a much more flavors on the palate than bitterness. Thick grassy flavor throughout, pithy with suggestions of bitter citrus rind. Hint of caramel in the middle which tries to keep a balance, warming alcohol flaunts some ripe tropical fruit in the hoppy finish. Not half bad, not the greatest either ... there is an overly pungent hop flavor that just does not jive with us all the way. Regardless, this is very much and IPA.

STYLE: American IPA | ABV: 7.2% | AVAILABILITY: Year-round

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #95 (DEC 2014)

 704 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Bright orange body color and quite clear. Lager like rising carbonation, reaching to a bright fluffy two finger head. Collar like lacing and settling nicely.

Light caramel smelling malts and a bit if biscuit at first. Accented small hop aromatics of a sugary orange and pine it seems. A bit sweet almost syrupy smelling.

Palate sticks to simple basics. Pale ale almost session like body, with faint hop softness in the mid palate. Soft fruit and florals with a bit of small sugary flavor. Finishes a bit wet with a little hint of bitterness.

Kind of plays it a bit safe, and does have well hidden abv character. However really lacks a hop punch and distinction.

 720 characters

Photo of mnj21655
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a light gold in color with a finger of white head. Aroma is a bit of orange and grapefruit with some pine. Taste is heavy on the hops with distinct citrus and resin notes; starts a bit malty sweet but turns decently bitter in the finish. Good mouthfeel, medium body and carbonation. Overall a pretty good IPA. It's more of a classsic IPA that's somewhere between East Coast and West Coast.

 395 characters

Photo of ScaryEd
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 32 oz growler filled at the brewery.

Pour is a clear, golden orange color with a huge fluffy white head. Head is gone relatively quick but leaves some good, soapy lacing around the glass.

The aroma is dank and earthy, and very citrusy. Has a subtle but noticeable sweet malt note on the back end.

The taste is very citrus forward, with notes of grapefruit as well as some grassy pine. Picking up a decent amount of the sweet, caramel malt character. Nothing spectacular, but pretty well-balanced.

The mouth is medium bodied with pretty good carbonation. Very dry and bitter at the end of each sip.

Overall, a pretty good IPA. It's crisp and refreshing, and very drinkable.

 695 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden in color. Semi see through. Fresh bottle. Fruity pebbles, melon, pineapple and mango. Attenuated. A sweeter, flavorless malt backbone helps the hop profile. Kind of reminds me of a bigger bodied Two Hearted. Not bad.

 224 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from the brewery open house.
Pours a slightly hazy reddish copper color with a huge frothy bubbly off white head that persists forever. Earthy, pine, citrus, and stone fruits meld with light caramel and bready malts in the aroma. The flavor holds a bit more maltiness than the aroma suggested. Solid bready caramel base with an earthy citrusy flavor. Moderate hop bitterness. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick resinous mouthfeel. A bit old school with a heavier caramel and toffee malty presence, but the use of newer hop varieties make this one stand out. Nice brew.

 602 characters

Photo of fitzy84
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought a bottle at the Beer Shop in East Longmeadow. The beer pours with a pretty clear gold color with a thin ring for a head. Some orange citrus came forward in the aromas with a decent amount of pine. Flavor is really good with the taste; grassy hops at first and then some of that bittersweet citrus. Good, crisp, mouthfeel and a generally medium carbonation. Overall, not too bad, especially with its taste and mouthfeel characteristics.

 442 characters

Photo of SawDog505
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass, not sure of the bottle date. Pours a bright orange red, with a one inch off white head that leaves behind massive gobs of lace.

Smell tangerine, pine, hard candy, caramel, and grapefruit.

Taste follows pretty well, some nice earthy hops and plenty of sweet malt to balance it out and a hit of grapefruit lingers in the finish.

Body is medium large, nice amount of life, a bit dry, and very drinkable.

Overall this is a nice IPA, fairly tame/balanced, a great starter IPA. Once again a little local nano brewery impresses me.

 564 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Pours clear, gold in color with 1/3 inch head. Taste is lime, tangerine, and lemon. Slightly bitter, well balanced with light body. Tasty IPA. I would get this one again.

 187 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled on March 2, 2014.

The pour is a deeper amber color with a maple or mahogany tone leading up to a modest off-white head that lingers. Fairly good clarity.

The aroma begins with a sweet profile followed by the earthy and slightly floral hop character of an IPA. There is a definitive dark fruit character in this as well and not the zingy type most associated with IPA's.

The body is medium and smooth.

The taste begins with a fascinating sweet and caramel malt note and then the mild bitterness comes in to linger dryly at the end. The malt character tends to be more forward than the hop character so IPA hopheads might be disappointed by the mild bitterness. But this is actually the way I enjoy my IPA's.

 743 characters

Photo of Beglane
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked this up at the Gulf gas station in Bristol NH. Not expecting too much, I figured I'd give it a shot. It pours a beautiful golden color, with a head that won't quit. Good nose, very good taste. What a pleasant surprise, it's a damn good American IPA. I really enjoyed the malt backbone, balanced well with a citrusy hop upfront. I will definitely be buying more of this.

 379 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains piney hops, fruity citrus and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out a strong grassy hops bitterness. Then some citrus and caramel sweetness comes in. The malt character is thin for the style but it still provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid IPA to drink for a while.

 682 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had the big brother, Double Battle Axe, before, but not this one until last night (25NOV16). Cost me $3.75 for a pint at Happy Hour at The Nashua Garden.

My shaker pint held a medium-golden brew which was a touch hazy. Had sparse, slow carbo and a creamy, smooth, 1/4" white head. Lacing was A-1, too. Aroma had a hint of bread, but was mostly solid rindy, citrussy hops. Had a medium body, and was decent on the tongue.

Tasted some light caramel at first, with a touch of toast. Then there was lots of citrus; some sweet like apricot, but more bitter like pithy grapefruit and a smidge of pineapple. A basic yet solid IPA. Zum Wohl!!

4.02/5 rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


 724 characters

Photo of beantown_hopster
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yum yum yum. According to the very cool beer tracker website this was bottled on 12/22 and popped on 1/6.

I had no expectations going in as I grabbed this in NH on a trip to the outlets but I'm pleasantly surprised. A very drinkable 7.2% IPA, the malts and hops balance really well. The citrus hops arent overpowering and theres no heavy alcohol taste despite being a bit of a heavier hitter.


 399 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bar-poured, golden and clear. Moderate head hat leaves streaks on the glass for lace.

Aromatic, strongly citrusy hop nose. Elegant and inviting.

Near extreme bitterness from the aforementioned hop. Biting and long lasting. The bitterness peaks at the swallow but lingers a long, long tome afterwards. I really cannot pick up any base malt flavors. The body is neutral, and the carbonation elevated.

 403 characters

Photo of risendragon
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%

As of this review, I have reviewed every single beer from Kelsen. Fan much? Poured from a bomber into a standard glass.

A- Caramel/bronze, off-white two-finger head. Glass has some nice lacing. (4)

S- Big citrus hops start off the party. A crisp, sweet caramel scent follows with malts taking a backseat. This is good so far (4).

T- Big citrus hops, grapefruit, some pine in there, bitter aftertaste. I am getting some malt sweetness, some caramel, but mainly hops. I also get a roasted flavor at the finish, not sure if it's from the hops or the malts (4.25).

M- Crisp, not cloying like some other IPA's I've had. Nice light to medium body (4).

O- A nice way to finish off the Kelsen cannon. This is a great IPA, nicely balanced, a good one to start off with if you're just getting into IPA's (4.07).

 806 characters

Photo of theIPAman
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is right in my wheelhouse. A huge nose of dank hops. Lots of juicy fruit, just a touch of sweetness, and a mildly bitter close. Hops are showcased and are upfront and lingering. This beer really stood out among the 15 beers we sampled at today's brew festival with its unabashed use of hops, earning Kelsen my eventual vote. If you like hop bombs, give this one a try.

 377 characters

Photo of njcraftguy
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lucked upon this while visiting my sister in NH. Really enjoyed it. Not a juice bomb but a smooth tasty brew. Good flavor and easy to drink. . Could see myself putting down a bunch of these. Well done.

 206 characters

Photo of theandyday
4.71/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I just had the most recent Battle Axe on tap at the brewery. They apparently dropped a malt and my god - amazing.

I remember the first BA I had and could taste the promise. I've waited to review this beer as the brewery has tweaked it and I think they've found what they were looking for. It's a crushable IPA, and an outstanding go-to beer.

This batch is crisp, bright and has just enough malt to balance the hop profile. I've killed growlers of this in a night by myself without even trying. I suppose I could get more technical, but at the end of a long day, you just want a beer you can kick back and crush. This is it.

 631 characters

Battle Axe IPA from Kelsen Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 111 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.