Proving Ground IPA
Magnolia Pub & Brewery

Proving Ground IPAProving Ground IPA
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Style:
American IPA
Ranked #2,800
ABV:
7%
Score:
87
Ranked #14,963
Avg:
3.89 | pDev: 10.03%
Reviews:
52
Ratings:
159
From:
Magnolia Pub & Brewery
 
California, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  2
Gots
  30
SCORE
87
Very Good
Proving Ground IPAProving Ground IPA
Notes: One of Magnolia's most-loved and asked-for beers, an over-the-top IPA we've been brewing since 1999. It's a hybrid, built around English Maris Otter malt and fermented with our English ale yeast but then packed with a powerful hop charge like an American IPA, including big dry hop character. American hops dominate but Maris Otter comes through with a malty counterpoint in a way not often found in this style of beer.
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 159
Photo of MeanMotaScootah
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy gold straw color. Not much on the aroma front - smells like a standard IPA. Taste is clean with mild hops and malts. Big beer as far as ABV goes but no alcohol heat. It's labeled as a British hybrid - can't detect much of the standard butterscotch notes common to the British style so not sure how this lives up to its description. Not a bad beer - nothing ground breaking but definitely a nice IPA. Reminds me of an East Coast style.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Have had this at the brewery in the Haight/Ashbury district as well at the Bistro's ipa festival. Old school orange is the color, here comes the maris otter! 3/5" white head. Aroma is dry hopped but its still older proprietary C hops I believe.

Taste was decent, plenty bitter and hoppy, that grapefruit and pine combo is a classic one. The maris otter and crystal malt is working overtime from a land before (beer shitlord) time. Malt almost has that earthy woody feel to it compared to a diet of hazy low ibu flaked malt beers. I dunno if bc they used an English yeast that they thought it should be lower carbonation? I dunno. Its not terribly low carbed like a cask, but it does seem to be lower than I would like it, especially in conjunction with the heavier malt usage for an ipa here.

I like it and its a good throwback overall.

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Photo of summitsix
4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into tulip glass
Wayne’s Basement 03/29/18 is printed on the bottom of the can

L: Hazy golden orange, delicate white lacing spread across the top
S: Dank hoppy goodness
T: Wow, peach, mango, passion fruit, bright, very well balanced by the proper malt background
F: Very pleasant, easy to drink
O: This is a wonderful representation of a West Coast Syle IPA. It does everything it should (cheers!)

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Photo of Act25
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Proud to be 49th review of this gold standard, since '99.
a) Hazed dark gold color indeed, sending up a 1 finger frothy, creamy head, that fractures onto shards of coverage and lace.
s) Too faint, but sharp speciality hops and malts that bring welcome cutter ship from San Fran to China kind of a brew, West meets English.
t) Ample following of the smell, if you like strongly bitter and malty, with lots of piney, cedary, woody notes, this is for you. Immaculate wood shop sharp, tight finish.
f) The finish makes this woody brew, with ample carbonation and mid-twisting weight.
o) Highly original, hugely flavorful, try 24.

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Photo of Jason
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, sample from the brewery.

A Hybrid of sorts but clearly leaning more American due to the hopping. Mildly hazed pale golden color, lacing stays around for a while. Aggressive hop nose of harsh citrus rind, dried grapefruit peel, hemp seeds, & tobacco. A whole lot of bitter here which I can really appreciate, no worries on wondering if this is an IPA. This is truly what West Coast IPAs are about IMO.

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Photo of dannydetox
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

unfiltered orange-amber colored brew poured from a 12 oz sample bottle numbered batch #210. plenty of minute particles suspended in this beer. noseis faint - a little pink grapefruit, some toffee, something reminiscent of amaretto maybe, too. more grapefruit on the palate, and some nuttiness along with a dark breadiness-pumpernickel thing going on. carbonation is low, which detracts from the feel to me. the flavor was surprising at first, but grew on me as it warmed up ever so slightly. probably better off their taps. bitter finish let's you know this is an ipa, albeit with a more noticeable malt body.

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Photo of Dowlers
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On draft at Magnolia brew pub.
Look: burnt gold, orange. Very appealing colour with good thick off white head. Clear.
Smell: faith pine.
Taste: big and bitter. Hops have a tropical sweetness quality. Not much malt at the end.
Feel: smooth, medium carbonation.
Overall: A really good solid IPA. I was expecting more of an English style IPA after seeing their other beers but this is definitely a big hoppy West coaster. Solid for the style but lacking the smoothness and subtlety of Pliny or Sculpin. I would definitely drink again should I find myself lucky enough to come across it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

From the cask this is frothing white excited and flashy. Despite its cloudy muted color, the look is aggressive and has a great rush of micro bubbles. Nose and tast of classic hop strains with that classic cask conditioned mellowness and an assertive but palatable bitterness. Juicy fresh for a cask beer, colder than others, still refreshing. A bigger brew too, tons of body and a long finish. Cut grassy finish, bitter, half English. Overall this may be the best cask IPA I have had, hitting the best if both worlds perfectly. Magnolia is really impressing me!

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Photo of BenHesk12
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Proving Ground IPA is the workhorse of the Magnolia Pub and Brewery; it's moderately priced ($6/pint for SF is average) and always available. English hops, low carbonation, maybe a nitro mix on tap here to make everything palatable to the restaurant goers. I get the feeling that this place is more about food, vibe, and profit than quality of the beer. Proving ground is by far the best beer they have, and I only rate it slightly above average. Most beers are in the 4-6% alcohol range and just watery representations of english or german styles.

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Photo of jellikit
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: light orange. Crystal clear. Medium head; thick foam.

S: mango. Pine. Mild aroma, but clean.

T: pine followed by malty, bready goodness. Bitter hangs on for a bit.

M: medium carbonation. Medium body.

O: decent IPA. Not stellar. Would be better if the bittering hops were different. A bit too much of a lingering funkiness. But I guess this is Haight/Ashbury.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco. Orange color, good head. Aroma was slightly floral and piney, not bad. Flavor was bitter and hoppy, citrus, not much dank though so I really didn't feel this was a true west coast style IPA. Yes it was hoppy but didn't have that certain something you get from say a Pliny or an Alpine. Still, a decent IPA and one I would probably buy a bomber or sixer of.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.63/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at Magnolia. Unfortunately they didn’t have it on cask on my visit otherwise I’d include some side-by-side comparison notes.

This pours a light caramel tan-sunny gold color with tight bubbling.

There’s a sharp grassy piney aroma on it, followed by some toasted straw notes.

Fantastic flavor—it just knocks it out of the park with a great blend of toasted straw, piney notes, and grassy green, finishing with some slight chew and a easygoing, laid-back bittering. Worth the effort to try it out. I know cask is delicious too!

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Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the toranado, proving ground is light bronze with a small white head, big bubbled and frothy, but with suprisingly good retention, leaving decent lace.

Smell is light dough and earthy hops.

Taste is good and hoppy, more so than I expected from the nose, a nice resinous quality. A little spicy. Fairly dank. Little malty, biscuit.

Mouthfeel is good, soft and oily. Medium light bodied.

Drinkability is good, this is a solid west coast ipa that really does well on cask.

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Photo of DrewSnyc667
2.78/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap in a plastic cup at Off the Grid in SF

A - copper to tannish body, very little head or activity
S - Very citrusy, some mild toasted sugar and biscuit
T - Hops are a bit overpowering for me, needs something to balance out the bite
M - Sticky and oily, not really for me
O - Not my beer, but it happens

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serve in a 20 ounce glass at the brewpub.

A: Light off-white head. The beer is gorgeous, clear and brilliant orange.

S: Strong hops...Cascade? Balancing bready/caramellish malts (Marris Otter?). Very nice!

T: I suspect English hops have infiltrated my IPA, but I don't mind so much. This a darn good beer, full of earthy, spicy hops. Bitter end taste highlights the excellent dry malt balance in the main taste.

M: Full, thick, carbonated, excellent-strong.

O: Recommended; solid beer. I would have it again. Great with food.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear honey orange with a 1 inch orange white head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and lots of herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of sweet malt and herbal and citrus zest hops. An assertive bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good IPA but the bitterness is pretty assertive and distracts from the flavors somewhat.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a fairly clear copper-amber color with a finger of frothy white head. The head faded fairly quickly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of citrus hops and to a lesser extent some pine hops. There is also some sweet caramel malts in the background.

T - Starts off with a nice kick of citrus hops and some bitterness. There is also a bit of sweet caramel malts in the background to balance. Through the middle, the bitterness grows a bit more and some piney/grassy hops come through. The finish is a mix of citrus hops and bitterness and some sweet caramel/bready malts that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a nice dryness from the hops and bitterness.

D - Very drinkable. Nice citrus hops profile. Could have used a bit more complexity, but still a very solid IPA.

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Photo of peacebone116
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on cask in an imperial pint glass at Magnolia on 5/22/11.

A: No head & cloudy gold in appearance, even after beer has settled.

N: Fairly weak scent of peach & light lemon.

T/M: Bitter hop flavor comes in first followed by a light sweetness from the malt. There are lingering citrus notes after the finish. The beer's carbonation is a little on the low end for a cask style, but definitely within appropriate range. Beer finishes fairly dry with, as I stated above, a lingering light lemon-pepper flavor.

Beer is okay, but not the best strong IPA i have ever had on cask. Usually the dry hopping is featured a bit more when on cask, but this seems a bit weak on the nose. I actually prefer this one on draft a bit more.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Magnolia

A: The pour is a light copper sort of color with a nice layer of off-white foam forming on top.

S: A moderate citrus aroma from the hops along with some floral notes coming through. There is a sharp note of alcohol at times, which is never really appealing. A bit of toasted malt hits the nose which is a bit more reminiscent of an English style IPA.

T: Mostly oranges in terms of the citrus but there's a bit of grapefruit peel in there as well. More floral hops are present, too, as are some pine notes. It seems this is just a bit watery, too.

M: The body is just about at medium with a low to moderate level of carbonation.

D: Not overly hoppy or bitter, which I can deal with, but they advertise this beer as having 100 IBUs, which is just so far from the case. A mediocre IPA.

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Photo of tdawgydog
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Magnolia. Served in a pint glass, the beer had already lost its head by the time it made it to the table. The scent was very piney. The beer was bronze in color (although it was very dark in there). A very enjoyable IPA. This seems to have become the summer of the IPAs and Magnolia makes a very good one. They have stiff competition in the SF area but this was really good. Maybe my only complaint was the lack of head and the beer seemed a little flat. This may have been by intention but I would definitely drink some more of these if given the opportunity. I tried the cask version of this IPA and this was definitely better.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass at Magnolia.
Amber, slightly redish, clear. No head retention. Muted grapefruit aroma. A bit more carbonation than expected, given that it was cask conditioned. Citrus front that fades quickly. Balanced middle and bitter back end. A very subtley West Coast IPA. Alcohol shows up in the middle, but is well hidden. Board at Magnolia indicated a higher ABV than 7.2

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Photo of jdense
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Magnolia 4.1.10 $6 imperial pint.

One finger white head, quick dissipation, minimal lacing. Orangish amber clear body, a bit of rising carbonation. Big hops attack in the nose. Taste is a big grapefruit hit upfront, balanced with caramel malts with a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium, minimal effervescence and quite drinkable. Solid but not a standout.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ontap, magnolia brewpub on Haight

cellphone notes

appearance: served in a standard pint, big amber body body, murky

smell: hop resin, sweet citrus hops, orange peel

taste: pretty solid ipa, big sweet citrus flavor, floral, caramel. nothing wrong with this one - only beer consumed while at magnolia

mouthfee; medium body, slick

drinkability: good

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Photo of Jayli
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at Toronado on 12/5

A: This beer pours a nice murky amber color with a one finger of white head. Head recedes quickly leaving nice sheets of lacing.

S: Nose is of solid malt backbone with a nice mixture of floral and piney hops.

T: Taste starts with some pale malts up front. Hops then begin to trickle in to the body. Hard to decipher the hops flavoring until they sit on your tongue for a bit. Floral hops are detectable first balanced by a nice burst of pine and the finish is of grassiness.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, slick oily feel to this one.

D: Not quite a hop bomb, but a nicely balanced IPA that goes down easily and isn't too filling. I'd like to have a few more pints of this one!

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Photo of ffejherb
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Magnolia on 7/12/09.

A - Clear golden/amber body with slim white head that retained as a patchy residue and thin, stringy lace.

S - Pleasant hop bouquet with pine and the forefront and some citrus and resin to add more depth to the aroma. Malt is sweet with caramel notes, some grains, and just a hint of buttery diacetyl. Subtle waft of alcohol.

T - Opens with a piney hop bite and a splash of citrus until a grainy malt presence swoops in to cool down the bitterness a bit. Some sweet caramel malt adds balance as well. Subtle alcohol notes also creep into the mix.

M - Medium body with a syrupy, oily texture and mild carbonation. Subtle alcohol warmth with a moderate hop bite in the finish.

D - Not getting 100 IBUs from this. However, this is a pretty solid IPA, and certainly much better than In with the New, which I also sampled on this day. Proving Ground boasts much more of a hop presence.

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Proving Ground IPA from Magnolia Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 159 ratings