IPA | Rubicon Brewing Company

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191 Ratings

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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 191 |  Reviews: 107
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a clear light orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a slight malt finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that tastes better than it smells and is easy to drink.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on tap at stone brewery and then again in a 22 oz bottle. Pours a nice copper/amber color with a nice 1/2 inch head. The foam died off over the course of a minute or so and laced the glass nicely. There were a few bubbles coming out of solution. The beer smelled of fresh hops and sweet malt, mostly hops though. The taste was half malt half hops with a good amount of bitterness, a little above average for an IPA. It was a bit less bitter out of the keg but who knows how old it was. The mouthfeel was good and thick. Very drinkable if you're a hop head. I'm going to get a case or so of this stuff.

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving some lacing on the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of grapefruit hops are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has lots of bitter flavors of grapefruit along with some notes of pine. The bitterness lingers into the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This IPA has an aggressive, in your face type of bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - A clear copper color with a two-finger, khaki-colored head. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus and pine. Some bready notes.

T - Burnt toast maltiness with sweet caramel and toffee. Good piney bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. Medium bodied.

O - The only Rubicon beer I've ever seen. It was pretty good.

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Photo of brentk56
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a huge head that sticks well and leaves quite a bit of lacing, too

Smell: Pithy grapefruit and a hint of pineapple and biscuit malt

Taste: The hops don't waste any time dominating the biscuit on this beer and they continue to build through mid-palate, although a slight metallic tendancy is noted; after the swallow, the flavor is slightly more balanced, but this beer is a West Coast IPA through and through

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This beer will wear out your tongue but it is still a very nice example of the West Coast style

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

What should really be said here? Rubicon's IPA is a very straightforward amber-colored American style IPA. It has an aroma of citrusy Cascade hops combined with softly sweet biscuity and caramelish malts. The flavor is basically the same with some more pine-like hop character (it's a bit floral as well). It's solidly bittered but balanced. If anything, it could be a bit more refined (the bitterness does tend to stick at the back of the throat), but as it is, it's still far more in-check than many of the examples on the market today. A straightforward, balanced, and drinkable American IPA.

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Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright orange with honeycomb highlights. A fine yeasty haziness is barely disturbed by a handful of slowly rising bubbles that plink... plink... plink... into the underside of a sticky, yellowish ivory crown. Plenty of lace is created as multiple foam bridges break in slow motion.

What's not to love about a pale malted IPA that shows off a bumper crop of American hops? The orange, grapefruit and ganja-like qualities of Cascade are front and center, while the citric spiciness of Chinook is less apparent. This should be a good one.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it pays to drink IPAs soon after bottling. Rubicon India Pale Ale is now just short of 4 months of age and is a lip smackingly delicious beer that any hophead should enjoy. There's a ton of fresh hop flavor and a healthy amount of bitterness. It's impossible to do so accurately, but I'd put the IBUs somewhere in the neighborhood of 60.

There's just enough pale malt to keep the hops from being too abrasive. The malt sugars attempt to soothe the tongue, even as the alpha acids dig in with authority. The orange juiciness, the white grapefruity pithiness and the cheesiness of this particular hop bill is fantastic. Then again, any of the C-hops, alone or in combination, usually result in beautiful beer.

The mouthfeel matches the flavor profile extremely well and makes the beer gulpable in the extreme. That's why it's been rewarded with a good score in spite of being slightly lighter than the style average. Warming improves things considerably and provides a pleasing, luscious creaminess.

I had no idea what to expect from Rubicon IPA, but it definitely delivered the goods. This is an ale that fits my ideal of what an American IPA should taste like. It's stunning that a brewery unknown to most people outside of the Sacramento area can produce beer this delicious.

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Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a slightly hazed, copper-bronze coloring with a dense, foamy, big bubbled, off-white head with good cling and staying power. Aromas of sweet caramel, tropical fruits, tart grapefruit, and a subtle resinous character. Flavors are smooth, with a tropical (pineapple and mango) and citrus (grapefruit and orange) blend forward, a roasted and richly sweet caramel backbone, and a solid bitter and resinous hops characteristic at the end. Tangy and bitter throughout, with the tart citrus notes to cut through. Smooth, mid-bodied, with a tangy sweet and dank, bitter aftertaste. The finish is smooth, slick, with a solid bitter resinous linger. Tasty and drinkable brew.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The hop tones on this are one dimensional and pedestrian. Slightly salty and very mildly earthy. But the consistency is nice. There is a touch of a citrus edge here that provides the only flavor diversion. Overall, it's s pretty nice ale. Nothing that's going to blow you away, but it's not too bad.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Copper pour, a little thicker consistency than your average ipa, this one brings the caramel appearance and thickness I guess. Minor citrus aroma, but its pretty mild.

Yup, standard stuff, caramel, bitterness, minimal sweetness. Hops aren't popping.

This is a blast from the past, 90s style CA ipa.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of DoubleJ
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at The 6740, on to the beer:

Yellow-orange colored beer with long lasting head and a few patches of lacing sticking around. Not particularly aromatic beer, a little tinge of pine and grapefruit, but its taste makes up for it. In classic West Coast form, the strong hoppy flavors make notes of tangerine, pine, and white grapefruit, while the malt just sits there and lets the hops do the work. Medium bodied and smooth with a tiny prick of alcohol, this beer has little trouble going down.

Delightful IPA. One of many IPA's from California that are such.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: brilliant gold, 1” fluffy off-white head that dissipates to a thin film S: citrusy, resiny,
T: Strong malt gives way to citrusy hops – lemony, grapefruit, grapefruit rind, some astringency in the finish from the hops. Starts lightly sweet and then dries out in the finish.
F: Creamy, soft on the palate, fine soft carbonation, medium body.
O: I’m happy with this, the aftertastes are rich, long lasting and awesome. The long lingering aftertastes are a major selling point.

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Photo of John_M
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewpub the other day.

The beer pours copper amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive as always, with considerable dry citrus and leafy tobacco to bouy the moderate malty sweetness. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, with the beer showing pretty decent bitterness and good balance. There's a decent amount of sweet malt in this beer, but it has sufficient bitterness to counter and balance that malty sweetness very well. The finish is fairly long , and there's good bitterness at the end. The beer comes across as almost heavy on the palate after a glass of the monkey knife fight, but for all that, this is a very drinkable, completely uncomplicated IPA.

Have drunk quite a lot of this IPA over the years and have always been a fan. While it doesn't excite me the way it did when I first sampled it back in 89 (and when the beer was winning gold medals at the GABF), this is still an enjoyable, always dependable IPA. Very glad to have the opportunity to sample it again after all these years.

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Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at Lucky Baldwin's IPA festival, June 2007
This beer is topped by a two-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, deeply red, copper color. The aroma is fresh and hoppy with notes of clean, sweet citrus (made up of grapefruit and orange peel). Malty aromatics towards the end contribute notes of biscuits, soda crackers and perhaps a wisp of crystal malt / caramelized aromatics.

The flavor is quite bitter with lots of pine & menthol flavors that I did not notice in the nose. There is still an ample citrus character in the flavor; notes of sweet citrus, tangelo, lychee and grapefruit all play a role here. This beer has a good balance between the citrus hop notes and the sharper, herbaceous hop character. It also has a nice, lingering bitterness in the finish. It is fairly light bodied, which really helps it to be easy drinking. It does have a certain malty fullness to it that helps to carry the dominant hop flavors. I get a hint of caramelized malt sweetness and a hint of toasty malt character in the finish. I also like that this is fairly dry, though with enough sweetness to accentuate the citrus notes. The dry character helps to accentuate the biting bitterness and the herbal notes over the citrus character.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a dark yellow, with a full cask head, cascades to make a nice looking pint, leaves a mound of lacing instead of just traces.

S: Nice floral hop aroma, wildflowers, some honey, grapefruit.

T: Grapefuit pith and lemon, light citrus character, with a bready malt character as well.

M: Light, low in carbonation, I know this is a cask ale, but it still felt kind of watery for this serving type.

D: A nice beer, haven't had it in the bottle yet, should buy a bottle to compare, a nice beer.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.07/5  rDev -43.4%
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.

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IPA from Rubicon Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 191 ratings