AleSmith Double IPA | AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Double IPAAleSmith Double IPA

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as YuleSmith (Summer)

Every year we anxiously await the warmer months to unleash this Double IPA, the summer edition of our former YuleSmith seasonals. The flavor imparts orange, grapefruit, and tangerine hop notes with earthy, spicy, and resinous pine undertones. A sturdy malt backbone balances out the profound hop bitterness to create a refreshingly assertive and vibrant beer that offers an unapologetically bold expression of fresh American hops.

YEAR ROUND: No – July / August

Added by xlperro on 11-24-2002

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Reviews: 952 | Ratings: 1,911
Photo of RootedFool
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Christmas in August? Sure, I'll take it. Poured into my Celebration Ale pint glass, I pick up a lovely marshmallow sweetness right away (more on the nose later); the body is hazy amber, gorgeous, with a head that has hints of yellow glowing around the whiteness, frothy and dense, excellent retention leaves a thin sweater of lace on the glass. Smell: citrusy hop burst (pineapple, lemon zest, lots of grapefruit, orange zest), followed by a simple cotton candy sweetness that plays nicely beneath the bright array of hops. Taste: deliciously sweet at first, all over the base of my palate, like sucking on a hunk of caramel, quickly followed by a rush of bright hops along the sides of my tongue and around the back of my throat, wonderful: oranges, grapefruits, some coconut, very festive. The aftertaste is a warming wack of alcohol heat, and an broadening malt profile: honeydew melons, simple syrup. The alcohol heat linger but not unpleasantly. Mouthfeel: perfect, full, but has a lightness that manages to encompass my entire palate in one dexterous swoop. A brilliant brew. Middling carbonation, but spot on. I feel blessed to have this bottle. Alesmith, keep sending your brews up to the north coast!

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Photo of edchicma
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light copper, with a rich creamy head. Lacing is pronounced. Smell is a blend of fruity hops with a nice yeasty undertone, very pleasing on the nose. Taste begins with a malty smooth beginning that yield to a hop presence at mid palate and finsihes dry. Overall very balanced flavors that invite you to taste more. Mouthfeel is smooth harshness which is surprising in such a high abv. Very good on the drinkability scale..very deceiving.

Second review...1-7-08 This year's is even better!
A perfect pour....mid-copper, pillow head...outstanding lacing. Cirus, pine, yeast blast on the nose..sweeet. Strong hop presence in the taste, initial creaminess, mid palte hop explosion, desert dry finish. Mouthfeel, while initially smooth, cascades into dry, drier and driest. For the style, the drinkability is tops...while a definite sipper, it is a fantastic experience.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: First pour from the bomber is a crystal clear and gleaming copper with heavy carbonation and a soft, hilly head that sticks like meringue. Lacing grips the side of my shaker pint in sheets.

Smell: An incredible orange citrus aroma wafts from my glass. Peppery from the alcohol, but not overwhelmingly so. Slightly piney, but the big juicy citrus dominates. Sweetness is apparent.

Taste: Amazingly complexity to the hop structure. Flavor hops abound, with layer upon layer of orange, then pine, then a spicy and somewhat woody or stalky character. The brief hint of the malt structure I glimpsed between waves of the hop onslaught is very nice, with a slight cherry skin flavor. I'd love to see what an aged bottle of this vintage would be like. Seems mildly sweet while in the mouth, but any hint of residual sugar is erased after the swallow, finishing with a dry, almost drawing, hop greenness. Only slightly hot, with the alcohol level apparent mostly in a slight numbing of the inner cheeks. Carbonation is a bit fizzy, but not distracting. The dryness helps immensely with drinkability, which is incredible for a beer of this size.

Excellent, excellent beer. This has to be in my top ten. A HUGE thanks to cmaruschak for sending this beauty my way!

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Photo of arizcards
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple of bottles of this from Trader Joes back in May for $4.99.

Pours a reddish color, with a nice 3 inch head that has retained quite well throughout my glass(4.5). Nose is of dark fruits, malts, and floral hops(4.5). Taste is a wonderful blend of malts, dark fruits, and hops. I swear I am tasting a hint of chocolate both with this bottle and my first sample back in May but perhaps my palate is confused!(5.0) Mouthfeel is perfect! Richly full, lively, and creamy(5.0). Overall drinkability is perfect...this is a wonderful beer! I'll have to look for the July release!(5.0)

8-19-11: Looks like i had version confusion 6 years ago. Here goes a review of the recent summer version purchased last weekend from Total Wine for $8.99:

A-Beer poured golden with a solid white head that is retaining well and leaving lacing behind.

S-Nose is of fresh hop flowers.

T-Taste is very well balanced. Hop forward, grapefruit zest, hints of melon and some mango. Malt backbone is strong but taste is clean and not cloying.

M-Mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and refreshing.

O-This is a very solid DIPA, hangs with the best of what the San Diego brewers offers!

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A big beer. Very hoppy and lots of alcohol and some spices such as nutmeg and cinammon in there. Maybe I'm not such a big fan of double IPA's or more likely they are as a group overrated by the hopheads. Well malted to take the edge off the bitterness.

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

Poured a cloudy orange amber color with a small tan head, that left some lacing on the glass. Beautifully strong citrusy hop aroma. Very well balanced taste, with grapefruit hops, then resiny pine needle taste and then a superb malt finish. Full / creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Summer 2005 release, Sampled July 26th, 2005
This beer is brilliantly clear and pours a full reddish copper color and is topped by a frothy, light tan head. The aroma is full and hoppy with notes of fresh cut herbs, pine, grapefruit, and bergamot. The beer is sweet up front with a hint of cinnamon mixed in with the abundant hop notes. There is also a good maltiness to this beer, which really helps to hold the hops in check and provide some sort of balance. The hops are sharp and biting from finish to end. As the beer leaves my mouth a slow spicy sharp astringency begins to build for a good half minute span. This beer is still just damn good, so well balanced between the aggressive over the top hoppiness and a solid maltiness, which while definitely playing second fiddle, is still present enough to contribute and tame some of the hop notes.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Summer 05 release in a 22oz bomber. Clear orange in color with a two inch tall white foamy head. Light scattered lace was left as the head broke down. Citric hops galore in the nose with a fairly large sweet malt base being there. Surprisingly a little alcohol was peaking through which I didn’t remember from other releases of this. Grapefruit hoppiness with a good amount of sweet caramel and biscuit malt. Alcohol is there as well but doesn’t interfere too much. Light citric bitter bite on the finish. This years seemed to lack the floral component that I enjoyed before but it was still good. Thick and full with a surprising warming quality as it goes down. Good drinkability still. Solid and a bit different that previous releases but still tasty.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A gorgeous, very slightly hazy golden-amber with a massive pillowy head. It doesn't get much better.

Aroma-- have you ever been a kid? If so, have you ever crunched down on a fresh hard candy known as SweetTarts and feel a burst of artifical sweetness and citrus tartness? That is the EXACT aroma that I first smelled when I poured this in my chalice. You might not think that's a good thing, but I do! But then, on follow up sniffs (I love to sit and smell a wonderful smelling beer), I get the hops- flowery, pleasant hops. Just a bit oily (my pet peeve when it comes to hops) but mostly flowery. And then more hops. I almost couldn't give this a 5, but I am feeling good about this one (actually, I''ve had it before, so I can't say that with too much of a straight face).

Flavor- Oh, yeah. This is hoppy, solid, and downright good. The alcohol isn't hidden as much as I would like, and so the rating is lower for me. From the aroma, I was not expecting this to be a Double IPA, but now, I can see why it's categorized that. But it's flavor profile seems to cross that too- there's some interesting spiciness going on- black pepper, maybe some chile heat, not sure what else. Interesting complexity here.

Mouthfeel is rich and full, but drinkability is limited from it's alcohol content. Great to have once in a while!

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Photo of Beervis
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, I believe it's the July 2005 release, although there is no indication of this on the bottle.

Pours a deep amber with nice red highlights and a very thick tan head. Leaves a nice lace on the glass. The head formed almost little mountains inside the glass, very attractive!!

Smell is incredible, hops hops and more sweet hops. Citrusy, flowery and a bit of alcohol spiciness.

Taste is VERY hoppy, with a crapload of malt that is so balancing that it's magical. This brew stays hoppy from start to finish, with layers upon layers of different hop characteristics. Mouthfeel is huge, filling, and very very complex. Finish snappy and lingering, just tempting you to take another sip.

This bad boy went down so smooth that the alcohol snuck up on me really quickly. I love DIPA's, and this one is no exception.


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Photo of RedDiamond
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lush, syrupy aroma of honeydew-strawberry accented by a light flourish of hop flowers. This is my third Alesmith ale in three days and each of these has yielded a mountainous four-finger head. Yulesmith is infused with fine suspended particulate though it is otherwise clear amber. The abundant maltiness evident in the aroma makes a swift appearance on the palate before submerging beneath a strident, peppery bitterness.

This is a celebratious, full-bodied ale, no matter what time of year the brewery chooses to release it. My advice is to be very deliberate in allowing this one to warm to at least 55 degrees. The flavor is too hearty to conceal with cool temps. There were moments when I felt the fruity maltiness and searing bitterness struggling to reconcile as a surprisingly strong EtOH presence attempted to intervene. The bitterness teetered towards harshness at times but in the end this is still a very drinkable ale. Taste-wise I might compare it to a barleywine though with greater CO2 and less alcohol.

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Photo of baiser
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had fresh at the brewery and brought some home. Is everything that the IPA is and much more. Extremely hoppy - full of grapefruit. Very juicy and delicious. The complex flavours attack your tongue. Just the right amount of bitterness, and the alcohol is deceiving. Extremely balanced for a double IPA.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to HopasaurasRex for sharing this one.
Pours muddy amber with a thick beige head. Medium to large carbonation bubbles, fully effervescent.
Lots of sticky, chewey caramel malt in the nose with spruce and citrus.
Black cherry juice and sugar daddy with hops.
Reminiscent of an old ale with it's winey notes.
Thick and juicy in the mouthfeel. Heavy on the crystal malt, with brown sugar.
Underlying bitterness drys the pallet at length as each sip finishes.
Dried fruits with residual sugars and warming alcohol.
Doesn't quite pull off the "DIPA" moniker, more like an Imperial red.
Leaning twords a Barleywine. Some similar qualities with Nogginknocker.

Edit: 12/04/05
Fresher examples are superior.
Several bottles consumed in Arizona, Utah, showcase a lush, juicy, hop profile.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This fella’ gave off a huge, monstrous head that was thick and unrelenting, sinking slowly on top of the hazy orange liquid. This just looks serious.

Smell – The big, fruity hops are out in force here. They are very complex and can keep the drinker busy for hours just smelling this bouquet. I think I took a whiff with every sip.

The malts are thick as well and full of caramel. They are very rich and epitomize the ADIPA style.

Taste – Yes, this is a heavy-hitter. It’s probably the fruitiest of the ADIPAs that I’ve had the privilege to sample. The malts are big and rich and form a terrific backbone, but it’s the giant fruity hop profile that sets this one apart from the pack.

Mouthfeel – This is a big medium-bodied ale with an effective combination of super-sweet fruitiness and a strong, finishing dryness.

Drinkability – I thought this lacked the malt depth of some of my favorite Double IPAs, but the big fruity hops and great “alcohol mask” made this one the life of the party.

Comments – BuckeyeNation is in da house! This is just one of many wonderful beers that I picked up on trade from him. BA rules!!

Update – I popped a fresh one in Nov 2007 and found a bit more malty bitterness here than before but otherwise it is right on point. As I said in my original review, the striking thing about this beer is the head. It is so stubborn and so lacing. This is a real looker with bite to back up its bark. I’m bumping the Drinkability up half a notch and raising my glass to the AleSmith crew.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 edition. Excited to be trying this one after hearing about it.

Pours a deep brassy orange with a nice orange-tinted head. Sticks around and laces fairly well.

Smell is quite a nice little package. There's a strong piney hop scent that I was expecting, but also an almost-spicey malt presence that's pretty thick as well. I feel like I'm reading some caramel and maybe even licorice in there.

Flavor holds this line pretty well. Huge frontal attack of west-coast hoppiness that bitterly mauls the tongue with an aggressive blend of piney and citric grapefruit notes. The caramel malt is pretty strong, and I detect a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg that really pulls everything together. Quite a nice one here.

Mouthfeel is thick, but not overly syrupy or chewy. I would term it "just right."

Overall: I'm really glad I got to try this beauty. It's a really nice beer that lives up to most of its hype.

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Photo of ejquin
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears reddish / amber with an off white head with slight lacing. Smells awesome. Carmel, malt, cinnamon and spice as well piney hops. Not as full on hop aroma as most double IPA's. Taste is deep and rich. Carmel and malt with the hops coming through at the end. Again, not in your face hops but they are prevalent. Incredibly balanced. Medium bodied mouthfeel with perfect carbination. Drinkibility is good for an 8.8% abv beer. Overall in my top 2 IPA's

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Photo of granger10
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an illuminating orange glow. Nice sturdy tan head holds in place and tons of lacing around the sides.

Aroma is very citrusy, lots of orange in there, decent amount of piney notes as well but not really sharp, there's a honeyish sweetness under the pine.

I get a nice honey sweetness up front but that is almost immediately offset by a strong citrusy, extremely juicy full hoppiness. The hops come off extremely juicy with tons of flavor and a good amount of bitterness as well. Caramel resides under the hop juices as the base and tempers the bitterness. As it warms slightly the bready yeastiness comes out and provides another spectacular dimension to this beer. Alcohol is scantly noticeable save for the finish. Dry, acidic finish with a slight sweetness in there. The finish makes me want to drink more and more. Amazing beer, too bad for the price, still worth it though imo.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - burnt orange color, orange-tinted head of a finger+. Thick creamy bubbles stick to everything and melt down with lots of little craters.

Aroma - mild pine nose allowing some of the citric side to show through. For some reason, it smells like a wood fire in the fireplace. Don't know where that comes from but that's what popped into my head.

Taste - sweet malt base with a thick layer of orange-flavored hop icing on top. Minimal bitterness, beautiful balance. Props to Peanut at Dilly Deli for recommending this one. A reprise of the malt as the hops back off a little, then this warm and steady wave of alcohol envelopes the senses and lingers at the finish. A rather light intensity but plenty of of flavor.

Mouthfeel - velvety rich and luxurious.

Drinkability - it's got the hooch! This one gets more of a spin next year for sure.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This highly regarded DIPA came to me via nvsblman. The 22 oz. bomber had a painted label appropriate for the holiday season. Opening the bottle and pouring it in the tulip was a joy to the senses, as the luscious burnt orange liquid slipped out of the bomber and produced a cascade of bubbles that erupted in a crowning, foamy, off white head. The underlying beer was dense, and cloudy, and gave a good indication of the solid malt foundation that formed it. The lacing was magnificently thick, as the head hung around for a while and kept coating the sides of the glass.

The hops assault on the nose began the moment the cap was popped, and bringing the glass to the nose unleashed more of it prior to each sip. Lovely citric fruit peels, and spruce and pine resin were among the many forms that this hop aroma took.

The taste was very bitter up front, as the hop oils exploded in my mouth. The malts were definitely there to back things up with their sweet caramelized, toasty, and faintly smoky self, but there was no mistaking about the mission of this beer. It was to get as many hops into your mouth as possible without going over the top. The hops were never overpowering as unpleasant, but instead kept the drinking session alive..

The beer felt marvelously thick in my mouth, as the body was on the right side of medium. The tongue coating body definitely let the hop residue sit on my tongue longer which left a lingering bitter-sweet aftertaste. As it faded, the brain signaled that it was time for another sip, which is a testament to the awesome drinkability of this beer despite the strength and hop presence. Speaking of strength, the 8.5% ABV hardly ever registered on the radar screen. In the end I was bowled over by the deceptive charm of this hoppy beauty.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Gueuzedude for this fine sample.

Starts with a really pleasing hop aroma (grass, citrus) with a nice fruity sweetness. Not so intense as others of style. I find this enjoyable. Wonderful blending. Malt increases in intensity and takes on more character in time.
Head is rather thin. Cramy color with tan, biege hues and becomes a solid ring. Some lacing. Great amber color with orange, reds and gold. Clear on first pour then cloudy towards the bottom.
Both malts and hops impress immediately. Again wonderful blending. Rich matled and hopped, yet somehow not overly intense or unsettling. Hops are grassy and citrus with a fairly high level of bitterness. Malt adds bulk and support. A nice little sweetness up front. Hints of chocolate from somewhere.
Amazingly rich, thick and creamy. Smooth like heavy cream and leaves a thick coating of goodness on the tongue (which helps with the enjoyable long yet mild finish). I'm impressed with its smoothness in spite of the intense hop load.
This is a substantial beer. Warm in stomach from alcohol and heaviness from a full grain bill. I think that other Am. lager style I'm drinking a truly unique American beer, i.e., it's based upon a little that precedes it. Considering it's heft it's probably best to heed the advice on the bottle of sharing it with a "friend" or "loved one." Smoother, softer and less intense of others in style. I prefer this one.
Yulesmith 2004, 500th batch marked on bottle.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tasted the 2004 summer release of YuleSmith (red foil with blue & white ink on bottle)

The color was a deep honey coppery color with a nice inch of white head. The aroma was a piney hops with notes of citrus, rather pleasant. This is a delicious beer. Balance that starts with a sock of hops finishing with the malt.

This summer release taste different than the winter release. Different kind of hop profile it seemed, leaning towards the bitter... both releases are damn good.
EDIT: I just had this again and had to up a few scores... so good this brew!!!

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Photo of budsboy
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear, deep tan with an explosive foamy head that spins a sticky web on the glass.

Deep, piney hop scent mixes so well with the woody alcohol and malt scents. It's Christmas in a bottle.

WONDERFUL piney hop and almost smokey malt with a heart-warming alcohol show. Fabulous balance of sweet malt and bitter hops. The flavor is so full and round and juicy. This is in a class all its own.

Somewhat oily mouthfeel, not full in the mouth. A pine-sap film sticks to the teeth.

Easy with this, it'll kick yer arse. But get some if you can. It's a wonderful brew. Many, many thanks to hustlemuscle for the gift.

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Photo of ChappyCubsFan
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All 4.5's for this gem. The AleSmith IPA is a truly remarkable beer, so you can trust that they know what they're doing with this seasonal brew. I first tasted YuleSmith at the San Diego Strong Ale Fest in December 2004. It was one of my favorite double IPA's at the fest (along with Pizza Port's Lou P. Lin). That was enough to promote a trip to the AleSmith brewery the following week to buy several bombers of this classy brew.

The malt taste of this big beer is an excellent compliment to the hops. One thing we've noticed is that they (AleSmith) seem to vary the recipe and bottling slightly with each release, or at least it seems that way when we taste the different bottlings of the ones we have cellered from purchases we've made in San Diego. And each one is a great experience.

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Photo of walleye
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from the bottle poured a hazey orange with a off white head and some decent lacing. aroma hoppy, pine, citrus, lemon , grapefruit, caramel, malts, grapes, pear, bread. flavor, brown sugar, hops, floral, caramel, citrus, a nice bitterness and dryness hope to get some more of this.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful appearance to this hop puppy, with a lasting creamy head atop its deep amber body. Head retention is great. Begins extremely well balanced, with fruity notes that emanate seemingly directly from the head of this beast...a long, hop filled cherry flavor stays with me throughout. Has some nutty characteristics to go with the malt, following through to an almost-sweet point before the hops come crashing down. Finish is slightly dry and again, a bit on the sweet side. Oh yeah, and there's the alcohol. Tastes like it's right around 9%; the warmth feels more like 11%. That's not a complaint...just stating, what is to me, a fact. This stuff is balanced, full of hops, sweet & citrus fruit, and alcohol. All the makings of a kickass beer.

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AleSmith Double IPA from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.22 out of 5 based on 1,911 ratings.
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