Hall Of Fame: .394 Imperial San Diego Pale Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Hall Of Fame: .394 Imperial San Diego Pale AleHall Of Fame: .394 Imperial San Diego Pale Ale
Hall Of Fame: .394 Imperial San Diego Pale AleHall Of Fame: .394 Imperial San Diego Pale Ale

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
AleSmith's Hall of Fame version of the legendary Tony Gwynn .394 San Diego Pale Ale pays tribute to the one and only Mr. Padre and his commitment to excellence. Just like its predecessor, this "Imperial" or "Double" .394 is bursting with even more American hops, lending the beer a diverse palate of citrus, tropical fruit, and pine. Tony envisioned this beer in early 2014 and AleSmith is honored to make another one of his dreams come true.

" Tony Gwynn was incredibly proud to be a member of the San Diego community; he impacted lives all over the world. He was the heart, soul, and flavor of San Diego for so many years and now you can taste his passion with every sip." -Alicia Gwynn

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 121
Photo of Raul_Yrastorza
4.71/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I am a huge fan of the .394 pale and I waited patiently for this to come back around....it did not disappoint. The aroma of fresh hops and malt was mesmerizing.
The perfect accent to grilled veggies and bbq. Solid performance from a great brewery

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into Bell's Hopslam Tulip. No date.

L: Quite clear honey gold. Two finger off-white head has masterful retention. Outstanding lacing as well.

S: Lots of hops on the aroma, citrus and pine. Smells similar to a DIPA.

T: Kind of in between an IPA and DIPA. Has the hop flavor presence of a DIPA but low bitterness. Very citrusy with a pine backnote. Pineapple and mango.

F: Medium body, average carbonation levels, hop residuals linger.

O: I was expecting like a slightly stronger pale ale however this is pretty dang hoppy. VERY GOOD though.

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Photo of Victor
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Draft at Slater’s 50/50
Initial impression came from a 4 oz. sample. The beer stood out in both in appearance and aroma. Very hoppy and well balanced. I ordered a serving which came in a 10 oz. Pour at $8.
The aroma was solid, you could smell the hops from a good half arms distance. Citrus, nectarine, grapefruit, and piney.
Taste was solid. At first I could not taste the booze but it hit me halfway through. Overall excellent Imperial Pale Ale.

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Photo of EMV
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Clear light golden pour. 2 fingers of foamy white head. Great lacing.

S: Citrus... grapefruit and tropicals. Biscuity malts and grains.

T/F: This beer has rich malt backbone... lightly toasted grains and faint sugars set the stage for juicy citrusy hops. Grapefruit and mango... bits of peach/apricot. Floral notes... bitterness balances the sweet. Medium in body... oily on the tongue. The finish is tropical which leaves you wanting another sip.

O: A great beer dedicated to a great ballplayer... dangerously drinkable and delicious.

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Photo of Brolo75
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a golden amber orange with a bright white head, no retention, lots of lacing, beer is clear.

A: Tangerines, grapefruit peel, mango, guava, fresh crushed pine needles, slight malt sweetness on the backend.

T: Up front there are slight notes of guava, mango, and tangerines, hit of piney, grapefruit peel bitterness in the middle, finish has more pine and citrus notes lingering in the aftertaste, it has more citrusy and piney notes than tropical, touch of malts that adds a little balance, very nice.

M: Medium bodied with a long citrus and pine like dryness in the finish.

O: Very tasty, I was expecting San Diego Pale Ale .394 on steroids but it's not as big as I expected, still, it does have ton of flavor but it could use some more aroma, overall, very enjoyable.

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Photo of Kendo
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured from the bomber in to a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is clear tangerine, becoming a bit more golden-orange when backlit. Nice 1-finger foamy ecru-colored head on top.

S: Nice nose for a DIPA: sweet malt foundation is there in spades, but it's followed by citrus and pine.

T: Caramel malt foundation lays the groundwork. Modest tropical fruity hops, then citrus (orange, candied orange peel) and a touch of lemony pine at the finish. Alcohol well hidden. Finishes surprisingly clean and dry - with a touch of earthiness - in light of the sweetness.

M: A bit slick in feel; call it pretty close to full-bodied.

O: This is very good. Takes me back about 7 years or so, evokes memories of Goose Island Imperial IPA or Middle Ages' double IPA (I think it was called 'X') - lots of oranges and on the sweeter side. A nice sip of nostalgia, as this is way different from the tropical fruity Mosaic IPAs and the juicy, NE-style IPAs that are more common today. Tony Gwynn would likely approve.

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Photo of rand
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Dark copper-tan in color, a gentle pour creates a giant, foamy head that never fully recedes. Sticky lacing everywhere.

S: Bold aromas with sharp suggestions of citrus zest, burnt sugar and booze. Lingering floral hop essense edges the bouquet.

T: Bold on the palate as well, aggressively hopped with big notes of booze and caramelly sweetness. Citrus and pine notes at front of the sip, quickly giving way to lemon pepper and sweet bread. Booze at finish, combined with an orange overtone, that finishes long and sweet.

M: Medium mouthfeel and body...ample carbonation keeps the brew drinkable - probably not the best on cask.

Another delicious brew from one of my all-time favorite local brewers. Alesmith's pale ale's, imperial or otherwise, have a distinct trademarked flavor profile. This one reminds a little of their summer Yulesmith, but it's a tasty and interesting brew unto itself.

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Photo of D9sus4
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tried it from a tap for the first time yesterday. A good, solid traditional old school style DIPA. Darker amber color, good creamy head, light hoppy aroma. Tastes like a DIPA should in my opinion. I could drink it on a regular basis. And for those of you, who like me don’t like the grapefruits brews that are currently so popular with Millennials, this is not one of those. I empathize this because several reviews stated that it has a grapefruit taste, and it may out of a bottle, but not from a tap.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap:
Clear light orange-hued golden. Nice collar and really fine lacing.

Light caramel and citrus, some alcohol.

Malty opening with that orange blossom honey, turning towards rind with zest still playing in. Bitterness only balances, light grapefruit by the end.

Barely hot, but light and almost refreshing.

Really enjoyed this though I didn't realize it wasn't the pale ale. Pleasant surprise.

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Photo of VABA
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy amber color with a nice head and lacing. Aroma has hints of citrus, pine and hops. The taste follows the nose with notes of citrus, pine and hops. A medium bodied well carbonated beer. Well made and well balanced complex beer.

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Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a golden-amber color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Lots of lacing.

S: A very nice aroma of hops, citrus, tropical fruit, and some malt as well.

T: Tasted of lots of citrus fruit (lemon, orange), a bit of grapefruit, a ton of dank hops, light malt notes (mostly in the finish), tropical fruit (good old mango), pine, and caramel to boot. This is one big flavor, much more than your typical APA. Sweet, fruity, hoppy, and quite tasty.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a vibrant finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this beer has more in common with an IPA (or even a DIPA) than an APA (why quibble?), it's well made and easy to drink. Very much drinkable.

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Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 6/19/2018. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy medium golden/amber color with a 2 finger fairly dense and rocky off white head with amazing retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of huge grapefruit, mandarin orange, lemon, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, berries, citrus peel/rind, light pepper, pine, honey, toasted biscuit, light caramel, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/fruity/tropical/earthy hops and bready malt notes; with big strength. Taste of huge grapefruit, mandarin orange, lemon, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, berries, citrus peel/rind, light pepper, pine, honey, toasted biscuit, light caramel, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Light-moderate pine, citrus peel/rind, herbal, floral, grassy, peppery bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of grapefruit, mandarin orange, lemon, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, berries, citrus peel/rind, pepper, pine, honey, toasted biscuit, light caramel, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/fruity/tropical/earthy hops and bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and no lingering hop astringency after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/sticky, and lightly resinous/rindy balanced mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 9%. Overall this is a fantastic DIPA! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/fruity/tropical/earthy hops and bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV; with the mellowly bitter/resinous/drying finish, not aggressive. Feels like Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo. Very juicy and fairly dank/earthy hops; great bready malt backbone, mild residual sweetness with lingering bitter dryness. Sweeter version of the base beer. Not sure if the hops are any different, my past review shows many similarities. A highly enjoyable offering as expected of the base beer.

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Photo of arizcards
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 32 oz Growler from Kings Beer & Wine today 9-5-18 for $9.00. First pint from growler consumed 9-5-18.

Beer poured orange with a nice white head that has some good hang time.

Nose is fresh orange forward with some hints of mango.

Taste is a nice combination of oranges, grapefruit, mango, and citrus rind.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and both smooth and refreshing.

Overall a nice upscale from the .394 base beer, glad i got the draft version!

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass from the bottle.

Appearance: semi-hazy gold to Amber color with medium bubbles. Head comes off white maybe maybe quarter of an inch after a hard pour.

Smell: light floral aroma with touch of warm sugar.

Taste: Complex and smoothly bitter. Malts with hint of honey and deep floral feel. Feels like a borderline DIPA, who knows I have had chicken that tastes like quail if you know what I mean.

Mouth: Medium carbonation with a full body and dose of smooth hops. Slight dry but sticky all the way.

Overall: Great brew, much better than what I thought I told was going to be considering I would call this a hybrid type of beer. Always in a glass...Salud!

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Ramped up flavors from the original. Lots of tropical fruits like papaya and mango and well as the citrus flavor like orange rind and tangerines. Sweeter caramel malt back ground, but never feels too sweet.

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Photo of mactrail
4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Just a slight haze in the orangey amber brew, and plenty of white foam in the-- whoa! Ommegang chalice from-- Cooperstown, of course. I had the glass out and pulled the one non-IPA bomber from the fridge. A lucky play at home. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Barons Market.

This has all the trademarks of a DIPA but maybe it's something with the honey malt, or maybe a little less of the insistent bitterness. Otherwise, it's sweet, big mouthfeel, expansive hoppy aromatics, acidic mouthfeel, and a rush of bitterness on top of the sugar.

Flavors of basil and apricot, maybe some candied pineapple. Then some dark woody notes. Aromas of fruit salad and pineapple. This is quite dangerously drinkable. Rather sharp finish.

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Photo of Vetbidder
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somewhat hazy with a slight head. Soft citrus with a dank edge to this one. Fruity with maybe some (mosaic) twang to it. Soft on bitterness. Slight carbonation with a creamy feel.

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Photo of Brkr521
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Crowler pour. Off white initial head. Amber leaning toward golden color. Intense sweet smell of mango and pineapple with hints of pine. Initial taste is sweet almost syrupy but doesnt' finish super heavy or with an alcohol finish. After a few sips though can definitely tell this is a hard hitting Ale, much like it's name sake Tony Gwynn.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: 12-oz. snifter glass
From: Alpine Beer Company Pub in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $5.00
Purchased: June 29, 2015
Consumed: June 29, 2015
Misc.: N/A

Poured a honey, orange, clear color with 2-to-3 fingers of off-white creamy head. Good amount of layered spiderweb lacing on the sides of the glass. Average retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled Citra, nectarine, grapefruit, floral, orange blossom and tropical zest. Very nice. (Smell - 4.25)

Taste wasn’t quite as good as the nose, but close. Citra, resin, nectarine, mango, orange rind, orange creamscicle, slightly boozy, floral and some German hops. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Creamy-to-oily texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt, boozing finish. (Feel - 3.75)

This was a really good beer. I’m on the pale ale side, but this was nice. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 4.00)

4.05 | 91 | A-

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In this week's episode of "taking an awesome beer and imperializing and putting it in a more expensive container it to have a less awesome beer," we visit Alesmith's Imperial .394. So hey, cool ass bottle, no doubt. Other than that, it pours super orange with a 1/3" white head. Aroma hits more of the caramel sweetness than the hoppiness of the regular version.

The taste is similar, you get a bounty of hop flavors, the bitterness and alcohol heat are higher, and so is the caramel and pale malts. It doesn't sock you with bitterness, so there is still plenty of tropical fruit flavors that combine with the sticky dank and caramel. I would prolly be higher on this beer but for the normal version being so good. It is a good dipa. Its just the regular base version is better, more bangable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

with a couple of notable exceptions, i usually am not a huge fan of when a beer gets imperialized. like, the original exits for a reason, and they dont always scale up well. i am a huge fan of the original beer here, and was a little concerned this would be a mess and nowhere close to as good, but its amazing, should have known with alesmith! a little hazy and just a tad deeper looking than the original, just as lively and heady. the hops are awesome in this, both aroma and flavor, and while its bitter like a big ipa, its also resinous and rich like a good west coast pale, and its over the top in a good way. piney and dank, sticky and intense, with sweet orange notes to it and plenty of grain to support, a complex and well layered beer, it scales up incredibly well from the base beer, and has a similar profile, just a lot more of all of what makes this original such a classic. in this case more is more, and even though it feels pretty big, the alcohol isnt exposed or anything, and i find myself slugging this one down pretty well. i love finding new ones from alesmith, always a treat, dont miss this one! usually imperial pale ale doesnt do much for me, but this is special!

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Photo of QuakeAttack
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.

I had in a taster at the taproom. This is definitely in imperial as the hops are more front and center than the malts. While I enjoyed the taste, I prefer my Pale Ales to have more of a balance.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colored and with a solid inch of tightly knit beige head on top. Excellent clarity. Wonderful citrus hop and light malt aroma. The taste is a nice blend of intense citrus hops and a dialed up light malt presence. The mouth is chewy with a light resiny hop presence with a light warmth from the high ABV.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok let me start off by saying the alcohol is extremely well hidden for a 9% abv beer. Looks very similar to regular .394. Tons of lace and a really good head. Bright, clear orange. Slight touch of alcohol in the aroma, caramel, citrus. Caramel in the flavor, grapefruit, sweet. This is a tasty west coast style double IPA.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Extremely drinkable. Pours a nice orange with fast fading white head. However, floral and fruit tones throughout the nose and mouth. Nice pale ale characteristics with a bit of a punch. Really pleasant and very well balanced. Would order again. Tasted from the bottle.

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Hall Of Fame: .394 Imperial San Diego Pale Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 121 ratings