IPA | Rubicon Brewing Company

107 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Rubicon Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Generous portions of Cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops are added throughout the brewing process to create Rubicon's Flagship Ale. Golden in color with an assertive hop bitterness. This beer won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival. A true American Classic.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-21-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 191
Photo of Arbitrator
1.97/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a reddish amber body with a fluffy off-white head. Retention was a minute or two, with some streaks of lacing down the glass.

S: Malty, bready, yeasty... grapefruit hops are subdued and reserved in comparison.

T: Again, malt-forward with a caramel and bread backbone. Hops are citrusy and develop the flavor further, but they are hardly the centerpiece of the taste as I would expect from an IPA. They seem to be almost an afterthought.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation. A malty finish with biscuit and caramel in the aftertaste.

D: I'm not impressed. It's not a drainpour, but it's a pretty weak IPA.

 653 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.07/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark burnished orange-gold with a rocky head of meringue-fluff off-white foam. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles around the edges. Not much lacing.

Piney hop resin character on the nose, with a very unpleasant undertone of diacetyl. Yuck! Menthol and citrus are there, but the sickly sweet butterscotch character burrowing underneath just puts me off. Blech!

Taste is unfortunately rather similar. Really unpleasant caramel sweetness infiltrates what is otherwise a clean hoppy IPA bitterness. Truly, the sweet character in this is unwelcome, and hopefully unintentional. Mouthfeel is ok, light sparkling character, good for an IPA, but it doesn't have much to work with here.

Too much sweetness, and even if the hops do try to cover it, they don't succeed, and it tastes like there's something fundamentally wrong here.

Did I get a bad bottle? Is this a bad batch? Or is it just a bad beer? Well, with so many other beers to try, and much better IPAs out there, I'd be wary of even giving this one a second chance. Sorry, Rubicon IPA, you blew it in my book.

 1,070 characters

Photo of HalfFull
2.09/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A golden orange into a large wine glass I pour ye, with a half inch of off white head. Fair retention and lacing. Looks rather rich.

Orangey, buttery, sweet, bit skunky in fact on the nose. No hops in the house, how is this an IPA? This beer reminds me of Union Jack (in the bottle) but isn't as good. Is it possible the beer was just very old and the hops had broken down? Maybe, but I didn't get that impression. There were some cryptic markings but nothing I could interpret as for freshness.

Back to the smell. A rich sugary citrus oil odor emanates, not my favorite though apparently there are many fans. Similar to some Firestone offerings in that regard.

Taste follows with a buttery texture, rich and syrupy. Bitterness is cloaked on the finish as are hops on the nose by the sweetness.

Feel and Drink, yeah, OK.

This beer is like a dumb blonde to me. She's pretty and all but the reality comes hard and it comes fast. If you like the Cascade/Crystal combo with a rich buttery diacetyl flavor then I would consider this an average Pale Ale. Yet this is a strange one in the IPA world.

 1,097 characters

Photo of sommersb
2.58/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Tasted On: 04-11-2014
Freshness: Bottled on 02-14-14
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: Received from a friend

A: Clear copper-hued beer with a huge cream-colored head. Features very good retention and a ton of lacing.

S: Aromas include light, floral hops and an uninviting vegetable smell that I hope doesn't carry through to the taste.

T: Well, sadly the vegetable notes in the smell are also in the taste. I get hoppy bitterness and also this harsh, vegetable-like taste.

M: Medium in body, with an astringent aftertaste.

O: Overall a difficult beer to finish. I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle or if this is how it's supposed to taste, but it was pretty bad. I'd try it again one day to see if maybe the next is better, but as-is I can't recommend it.

Thanks go to Craig for this one, even though I wasn't crazy about it!

 871 characters

Photo of maximum12
2.68/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to lurpy1 for schlepping a suitcase full of beer back to the cold steppes...some of it was even for me. 22 oz. bottle dumped into a pair of pint glasses.

Pours a clear pale golden that could be mistaken for a macro on a good day. Nose cut off to spite someone's face, because it's missing. A few stray grains if I sniff like a junkie.

Rubicon IPA was billed as a good Sacramento local; I'm going to be contacting my attorney over that claim. Heavy on the whole wheat grains, spritz of lemon Pledge, but no hops were harmed in the brewing of this beer. As much bitterness as your average hefe. Easy to drink. I guess that's its strong point.

Not a bad beer, but there's just nothing here to even criticize. Bland. Blah. Dull. As inoffensive a beer as I've ever met. Might nick mediocre, but that's a big word for such a little beer.

 844 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.96/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a light golden color, lots of carbonation, dirty head. Smelled of citrus and floral. Taste was rather astringent and bitter from beginning to end. Yep..not a fan. Tasted like it had some english malts in there too. Mouthfeel was so bitter I couldnt wait to get it down. No smoothness to this brew at all.

 311 characters

Photo of warmstorage
3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the brewpub about two dozen times in the last four months. My 3.0 ratings across the board actually surprised me, but this really is a very average IPA, and very average brewpub beer, from a place that can do better.

The Rubicon IPA is consistent, and good, but I think it used to be MUCH better in years past.

It's mildly hoppy (for IPA), apparently British style, medium-average copper, crisp (and served way too cold), medium carbonation. Not a lot of initial aroma (again, it's served quite cold), but as it warms up, hints of floral and citrus-spice, but again, definitely not as much as in other IPAs served on the West Coast.

It starts with a full hop floral presence, but is somewhat unbalanced, and the hop start doesn't deliver and turn into much. It finishes a little raw and over malty for style, and a little bitter (perhaps with a small hint of metallic.)

In years past (late 90s, early 2000s) it was hoppier, more floral, and less harsh-bitter in the finish. I don't know if it was reformulated, but it's not the first IPA I ever fell in love with. Then again, my tastes have developed quite a bit since I first had it, so that might well have something to do with it.

 1,213 characters

Photo of aforbes10
3.03/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Java Lounge in Sacramento. Pours a nice full amber-to-brown color with a thin white head. It's in a plastic cup, so i won't judge the poor head formation too harshly. Vague citrus hop odors and a hint of sweet malt on the nose. Big hoppy flavor on a sweet caramel malt base. Hops are again, this vague sort of citrus. Bitterness roars in towards the finish and sticks around for a while. Hint of something metallic like tin. Medium bodied. Bitterness is a bit overdone for my taste, but its a fine IPA, no huge complaints.

 536 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.03/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. The head is two fingers high, with an off-white shade. While the texture is both dense and creamy, it doesn't seem to have very good retention. However, it also leaves behind plenty of sticky, persistent lacing.

S: Smells like an archetypal west-coast IPA, just one that seems watered down. I get notes of grapefruit, melon, and more general citrus, along with a slight malt backbone. Actually, just about everything in the nose is slight. Nothing wrong with it, it's just too weak aromatically.

T: The focus is both on grapefruit-laden hops - good - and crystal malts - not so good. But, there's also a healthy, welcome bitterness on the back end - also good. But it seems a bit weak in flavor - also not so good. Still, it's bitter (but not generically so) finish helps earn it some points back.

M: While it's fairly crisp, there's too much malt intrusion on both the texture and finish to give it that drinkability I love. The texture is rough, both from the hoppy bitterness and the crystal malts. Carbonation is surprisingly gentle, all things considering.

O: It's okay. It kind of drinks like a poor man's Sculpin, which isn't the worst thing in the world to be. Still, there are many superior (and more local) IPAs I'd easily pick over this one.

3/5: The quintessential average IPA

 1,357 characters

Photo of Tiffany88
3.04/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Had this beer at the Rubicon restaurant on Capitol Ave. With a spinach salad.

A- Light gold brown color, with practically no head (white foam).

S- nice sweet aroma of hops with earthy tones and a slight citrus.

T- nice strong robust hops, but it didn't seem to have much of a kick to it. the bitterness seemed to overpower the beer.

M- light to slightly medium pallet, with a vague hint of carbonation.

O- an ok IPA. The way it was served on tap it really wasn't at my preferred temp (I like my IPAs really cold), but all in all it was decent at best.

 561 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.07/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very hazy orange copper. The head hits about an inch and leaves a bit of lace behind.
The smell is very floral and sweet. Not bad but one dimensional.
The taste follows suit with some herbal notes following. A little too thick for the style/ABV.
Not terrible, but nothing I'd buy or go out of my way to find again.

 323 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.08/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a pint glass. Hazy goldenrod with a light beige head that leaves some wispy film behind. Aromas of pineapple and toffee. Not especially robust. Flavor is malty and woody with zero citrus. Some hop bitterness but not a lot of hop flavor. Some herbal notes and astringency as well. Very dry on the palate. Tastes like an IPA that hasn't been stored properly.

 375 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Clean hammered copper color with a refined feel to it. Only a few bubbles spawn from the bottom of the glass. Head is fairly nice, good vanilla colored creaminess.

S: Good balance of grapefruit rind, pine tar and caramel.

T: Starts mildly fruity with nips of red fruits, old orange juice and aluminum. Bitterness comes on hard and unyielding, really attacking the tongue and not allowing the other flavors to come through. Little bit of pine and pear can be perceived through the bitterness. As the bitterness subsides, alcohol becomes present in an aloof sort of way. Finishes with some red apple and lingering dirty bitterness.

M: Very prickly.

D: This is an old school IPA, very different than the new, ultra-diverse IPA’s that are hitting the market now adays. This is a drinkable beer but totally outclassed by the new age brews hitting the market.

 863 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a pale, hazy copper color. Minimal slightly off-white head, with some visible carbonation.

Smell: Very mild, floral hoppy aroma.

Taste: Bitter, hoppy flavor with a bit of citrus beneath. Fairly constant through the aftertaste too.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Moderate ABV, not a big fan of the taste.

A tolerable IPA, but I don't particularly enjoy it. A bit too much bitterness in the absence of other flavors.

 516 characters

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle tried 13 Mar 2009.

Poured in a Sierra Nevada pint glass. Very large, fluffy peach colored head. Light carbonation. Aromas of soap, pineapple, toffee. Starts with a buttery sweetness, hops come through as pineapple and light citrus. Some soapiness. Finish is bitter, earthy and citric. Aftertaste is a little sweeter, toffee and a lingering faint bitterness. Medium sticky body. Ethanol leaves a warming sensation.

I don't mind a little bit of soapy aroma or taste but there was a bit too much here.

 514 characters

Photo of ronniebruner
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer poured a nice copper color. Upon opening of the bottle, the aroma was very strong grassy hops. The beer had the right amount of foam, lace and head and had the typical high hop taste of modern American IPAs. The mouthfeel left a tinge of hops that lingered on the tongue for quite some time. Overall I would say this beer is slightly above average for an IPA and definitely worth a try.

 396 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice foam on the orange amber brew. Poured in a tall glass, lots of lacing. Modestly carbonated in the mouth.

Fruity, flowery, and resiny flavors dominate over the bittering hops. Quite earthy and herbal. Medicinal aftertaste. Starts out nicer than it finishes. Rather woody and sets my teeth on edge. Pine sap and some spoiled fruit. Nice nose of pine boughs and fresh laundry. GEtting more and more bitter.

From the 22 oz bottle. Plenty of flavor for the modest alcohol content, and more richness in the body than many other more powerful IPAs.

 548 characters

Photo of jimmah120
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber bottle ~4 months old

looks like your average ipa: orange color, filtered, khaki head, poor retention, better lacing. smells slightly like peach, with a lot of nature scents, grass, floral, and an odd hint of garbage juice. taste is like the smell but better. it starts bitter and grassy, sweet spiced marmalade middle, finishing with oak and alcohol.

Very average.

 378 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.32/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper colored liquid, looks like it has a little more viscosity, might be in for a caramel malt bomb, but being that this is Rubicon, who has shown the ability to deliver good west coast hoppy beers, I dunno. Smell was a little subdued, pithy notes of citrus can be picked up, but they aren't as sharp as they should be.

Usual suspects in the taste, bitterness, caramel, mild sweetness. Hops just aren't out in the forefront like I hoped for. No bottle date, who knows how old this is, especially when purchased at a Bevmo. Really came off similar to most run of the mill to decent ipa's out there. Does Rubicon just make extra special batches for Bistro's hop events, or did I just get a less than desireable aged ipa bottle?

 729 characters

Photo of JTahoe
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear golden amber with fluffy off-white head with decent lacing, moderate retention.

S - Very nice hop aroma, though fairly mellow with notes of tropical fruit, pine, and wild flowers. Nice bready background.even smelling some banana, like ripe fruit.

T - Blended hop flavors come through in a pleasing way, much like the smell with a twist of orange juice. Decent bitterness without overpowering. Yeasty bread flavor with some biscuit malts with a hint of caramel. Not very complex in character, but some good interest. Lingering aftertaste late in the finish borders on unpleasant in my opinion, but doesn't ruin the overall beer for me.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slightly drying in the finish.

D - Pretty good--not the best example of the style, but solid. Definitely worth trying. I would like to try this on tap.

 844 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a - burnt orange color with a one-finger ivory head, not much retention as the head quickly dissipates, moderate lacing, a bit hazy

s - pretty reserved/weak, aroma, some orange and citrusy hop notes along with a mild biscuity malt aroma, hints of alcohol

t - big sweet orange burst up front with more citrus on the mid-palate mixing with a nice mildly sweet malty backbone, hop bitterness with a lingering caramel maltiness on the finish, not much alcohol evident

m - medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, pretty dry on the finish, slight alcohol warming

d - decent drinkability in that it's pretty easy on the palate for an IPA, but it's not all that interesting in flavor

Decent IPA overall, but nothing memorable. Worth a try if you see it on your store's shelves.

 771 characters

Photo of russwbeck
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Really hazy yellow pour with a huge white head. Billowing over the top of the glass, the head has awesome retention and lacing.

S: Musty smell with some bitter hops. Fruits come out a lot here, bananas and citrus most of all.

T: The taste is a bit strange. Hoppy, but overly fruity. A bit Belgian almost. Yeasty, bananas, citrus, and some bitter hops. Just a bit disjointed sadly.

MF: Medium body with a low amount of carbonation.

O: I was not a fan of this. Just too strange tasting. Perhaps I had too many IPAs tonight, but this just didn't hold up.

 558 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber body with a thin, wispy off-white head.

Smell: Caramel maltiness with some honeylike hints and scents of citrus and pine.

Taste: Caramel malts with a drizzle of honey and a medium level of sweetness. Forward hop flavors of citrus and pine. Moderate hop bitterness. Slightly acidic. Finishes expectantly dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Not exactly the most memorable beer around, but it's still a solid representative of the style.

 502 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chill hazed orange amber color, your basic "IPA Orange" color. Small off-white head forms and falls.

Smell is sweet and malty for an AIPA. Muted citrus, pine and pineapple aromas and woody and tea bags scents. Smells muted to me.

The taste starts out neutral and woody with a sharp bitterness and a teabag astringent taste. Strong woody flavor and something that prickles the tongue that I am going to call astringency. Malt sticks around here and doesn't get over powered by hops.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Drinkability is just so so. This beer just seems to be a bunch of parts and not a combined beer. Not something I will likely try again.

 638 characters

Photo of bbb099
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Clear, orange golden color. Average amount of white-colored head. Quite typical of most IPAs.

S - Piny hops and a small amount of citrus. Some yeast aroma present as well.

T - Citrus hops up front followed by the bitter, musky piny hops. Malt flavors are present throughout. Did not finish quite clean however, it has a tiny amount of unpleasant aftertaste (fishy).

M - Medium body, nice amount of carbonation.

O - Pretty good for the price, not much to write home about though. Decent value, but I would fork over the extra $2-3 per bottle for a better IPA.

 567 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
IPA from Rubicon Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 191 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.