El Toro IPA | El Toro Brewing Co.

very good
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El Toro IPAEl Toro IPA

Brewed by:
El Toro Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 93
Photo of ISmith87
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Trying this beer out of a make-your-own sixer of IPAs. I'm trying to find a more economical day-to-day IPA to sip on (Ruination gets a little pricey).

A - This beer is a nice orange/amber color that is clear of any hint of hop/cold haze. It has a finger of frothy white head that turns into a ring around the edge of the glass as it dissipates. Great looking beer. Leaves a nice, surprisingly fine lacing on the glass in almost perfect rings.

S - Definitely heavy malty aromas with hints of caramel and breadiness. Hint of pine/citrusy hops in the background.

T - The hop bitterness is right up front with a piney character to it. It's almost bitter enough at first that you have to stop and wait for the piney/citrusy character to kick in. Then comes the sweetness from the malt, which is not as much as you would expect from the smell, but in a good way.

M - Medium body with a nice carbonation to it. ABV hidden. Definitely leaves a nice bitter hop aftertaste.

O - This beer Is good, but not great. I would much rather have a Stone IPA or Firestone Walker Union Jack. The flavor from the hops just isn't there the same way as it is with these other beers. Also, the price is a little higher than the others I've been trying and while it's not a bad beer, it's not worth 2.25 a bottle.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a fair bit of haze and a moderate effervescence. Head is a finger of frothy ivory foam. A good looking beer!

Smell: sweet malt with a bready, very slightly biscuity character and a funky, resinous hop component. Not exactly my bag, but pretty good nonetheless.

Taste: bitterness right up front, unusually, with sweetness developing later and finishing with a hoppy, caramelly melange. Hops are quite citrusy and smooth, and there's a little bit of a dusty character here as well. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation. Not super creamy, but engagingly fizzy.

Overall: this is a pretty decent middle-of-the-road IPA. I would like to try it on tap sometime.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear copper color with a pillowy, off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of pine and citrus hops.

Tastes of the bright hops with a solid malt backbone. Hops lead off with grapefruit, pine, and a touch of tropical notes on the backend. Moderately bitter. Malts add some caramel sweetness on the end to cut a bit of the bitterness, but this is definitely all about the hops. Ends with a lingering pine note.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly assertive amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a good fruity IPA, but I knocked it down a bit due to price, $2.30 for 12 oz.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty thorough IPA. Lots of malts and hops coming together nicely. Consistent and thick, but not really trying to blow me away with any kind of showy character. A bit heavy to be drinking in this pleasant and warm California weather, but it's good.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.36/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Poured a burnt orange color with good carbonation, nice white cap and some soapy like bubbles and lacing remains

S: Toasty, grapefruit, some spicy notes witha whiff of toasty smoke

T: Oh boy. I'm not exactly how fresh this IPA is but it needs help. First sip is bittering orange peel, grapefruit, spicey, biscuity, toasted with a faded hop presence. The back end is a slick, grapefruit hop bite with a annoying buttery bite blended with hop bitterness, some astringency and booze.

M: Heavy, unplesasnt and disturbing

O: Wave the white flag.

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Photo of djbreezy
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - transparent, nice fluffy head, amazing retention

Smell - pine hops and sweet malts

Taste - very balanced, malts are strong, followed by pine hops

Mouthfeel - medium, dry finish, sticky

Overall - not a great example of a west coast IPA, expected it to be more hop forward

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Photo of SnacksMcBillings
2.98/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.

Aroma: Flowery and perfume like hop aroma. Light presence of pale malts, slight fruity ester aroma.

Appearance: Rocky white head, thick lacing as the beer went down. Light golden color. Good clarity.

Flavor: Initial taste was puckering. Extremely bitter trending towards astringency. The strong floral hop flavor tastes almost soapy. Very unbalanced, no malt backbone to support this level of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, light body.

Overall: Disappointed. Was told by one of the local bottle shop clerks that this was the best IPA out there. Totally unbalanced. Either tone down the bitterness or build the grain bill up to even this out.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from "Lifesource" Salem. $2.25 Burnt orange hazy body to this beer with a lovely creamy,thick off white head. Handsome. Floral,spicy, fruity hop aromas abound..invigorating. An intensly hoppy taste..yet not harsh at all but smooth..i think this is because it HAS a substantial malt back bone..even if its not obvious under the hop attack.Semi dry finish some marmalade flavours aslo. Good. Great thick,luscious palate..smooth..very nice. I really liked this IPA..very smooth and easy.

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Photo of thudstaffer
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at LifeSource Natural Foods in Salem, OR. Brew batch 1512.

Poured into Oregon pinot wine glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, dark for an IPA, true amber and copper tones. Head is lingering and thin.

Nose: Yeasty, floral (honeysuckle), good complexity.

Palate: Rich, pungent, lingering. Weighty, complex. Notes of caramel, w/ a bitter finish.

Overall: Solid, well-made brew. Stands out among other IPAs. Richness can be overwhelming, which is good or bad depending on personal preference. Body and complexity accurately reflect the price point of this beer; worth the money.

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Photo of olmatty
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange amber with a huge pillowy off white head. The beer is crystalline and clean.

Light spice of hop aroma, grainy and a hint of honey sweetness.

Flavors of solid cereal grain body well balanced against a spicy, piney hop.

Moderate body, palate flooding flavors.

Very pleasant and delicious IPA.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass, 2-finger dense off-white head over a clear copper color with streams of bubbles.

S: citrus, marmalade, a little bready

T: More in the English style than I was expecting, this has a rich, bready body. A hint of butter, but in a pleasing way. Hops are definitely there, but don't dominate, rather clean the palate with a mild bitterness that leaves you ready for another sip.

M: Smooth, maybe a little oily, with a slight astringent finish. Low carbonation.

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Photo of DousedInStout
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew #1486, picked up at Belmont Station in Portland (it was recommended by the clerk, otherwise I would've never looked twice at it!)

One of the most pleasantly surprising bottles I've purchased in years! Nice bright white head, pretty clear orange in color, and spot on carbonation. Aroma is of tangerine, lemongrass, and grapefruit. The taste is similar - a solid, pleasant, citrus forward IPA. Nice and attenuated finish, with quenching bitterness. When fresh, this is one of the most drinkable, impressive, and unassuming west coast IPAs out there.

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Photo of DoubleJ
1.79/5  rDev -54.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 ounce bottle picked up in the Bay Area on a recent trip. I'm looking forward to this offering which I can't get in Orange County. On to the beer:

Little is wrong with the appearance. The head is thick and sports plenty of its original self, peach colored body has the "glowing" illusion at some spots. The nose could be better. There seems to be a phenol problem that pushes juicy grapefruit and white wine notes aside. Dry, husky malt and the everlasting band-aid are buzzkills to its potential.

I'm getting depressed. The bitterness is there, but the hop juice walked away. There's a tiny hint of grapefruit that the palate can sense, and from there hell breaks loose. It's just one bitter mess with some soap and soft waves of phenols (more specifically, pllastic) that don't belong and the beer becomes even more unpleasant. The aftertaste lingers of some phenols and lots of pure bitterness. The liquid on its own is fine, nice and smooth, but the rough aftertaste ruins the mouthfeel.

Second major egg lay in a row. It's time to dump the remaining 10 ounces in the toilet, because my sink doesn't deserve this kind of torment. Now where's my Ovila?

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Photo of chumba526
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears hazy orange/yellow with a small off white head.

It smells very citrus and pine like. I get a grassy and fruity hop smell. There is also a mild malt sweet smell as well.

It tastes initially of sweet citrus hops. I get a strong orange flavor. I also get a pine like hop flavor to the beer. There is a very mild hint of malt sweetness but hops are king in this beer. The beer ends with a strong, brutal bitter flavor. This is a great tasting beer. It is pine like, citrus and bitter as fuck.

There is a crisp mouthfeel to this beer. It also has ample carbonation.

The drinkability is very good. It is bitter but multi-dimensional. The beer goes down very smoothly.

Overall this is a great IPA if it was a little less expencive I could see myself buying this beer often.

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Photo of johnnyboy76
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly delicious.

Looks like a bottle you would take a look at and pass by in the cooler, but this beer does not disapoint.

Totally worth a try,and not too expensive either.

Good smell, with a robust taste. Typical IPA flavor, has a smooth finish, and the hops don't sit on the back of your throat too long like some lower grade IPAs.

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Photo of Lukafer
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MilwaukeeCrusher for this one!

Pours a hazy orange with off white head of about a finger that doesn't stick around. Smells like citrus, oranges and some bitter hops. Taste is caramel malts, slight grapefruit and some bitter pine. First time I've had this beer and it's pretty good, I imagine it'd be even better if I could get an extremely fresh one.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the brewpub earlier today. Following review is based on notes taken during the tasting.

Served in a standard 16oz. pint glass.

Appearance: Crystal clear, gold-colored body shows very active carbonation inside. A short, creamy, white cap sat on top initially; it eventually settled as a thin film and held as such for the duration of the session. Head left a wall of web-like lacing around the interior of my pint glass - it was very impressive!

Smell: Caramelized resinous hops, moist pine, lime, and clean grains. Very hop-forward, which I like; however, the overall smell is far from a bouquet. Still good.

Taste: Caramel and toasted wholegrain bread are quickly overtaken by strong earthy and piney hops. Bitterness is strong and long-lasting. This beer could use a bit more sweetness in the form of citrus fruits and floral esters, but I'm totally digging this right now!

Mouthfeel: Oily, prickly, dry, and bitter. Leaves me with some pretty intense citric, earthy cotton mouth (good cotton mouth). Medium in body with light carbonation. Really well done.

Drinkability: Far from complex, El Toro IPA provides an intense hop kick that lasts and lasts. I'll definitely be ordering it on-tap again.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos.

A: Pours a very cloudy orange-amber color with an inch of fluffy, off-white head. It takes a few minutes to vanish, and it falls back into a light collar on the brew, but it leaves substantial lacing with register marks down the glass. Very nice.

S: Citrus (orange, tangerine) and pine hops, with a small floral component. Have trouble smelling anything else. Seems like a hop bomb.

T: The taste is more balanced, though. Again, lots of citrus in orange and tangerine flavors, with a lighter pine component. But there is a very balanced caramel malt and maybe some bread in there. I get a little floral taste before the finish. Very clean flavor. Has a slightly dry finish that leaves some grass in the aftertaste.

M: Medium-bodied, with medium carbonation. No oiliness, but a slight aftertaste and some light stickiness. Well-masked ABV.

D: This was a go-to beer for me for a while, although my initial infatuation faded as I tried more IPAs. I like it, but its latest pricing, from $8 to a sixer jumping to $16 a sixer, has pretty much prevented me from getting it again.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

taste- same as the smell...warm caramel and loads of bitter hops

color- tangerine

clarity- cloudy

smell- caramel, fresh hops

body- full, rich, balanced, front focused

appearance- nice color, light white head, suspended sediment, slight carbonation

overall impression- stellar ipa

notes- brew 1272, should always have this beer on hand, serious ipa with lots of character. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

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Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks arbitrator and friend!

Pours a slightly hazy orange-y/amber. Pretty dark hue. Large off-white head that quickly dies down.

Smells like grapefruit ... and a bit of interesting bitter ... orange rind-iness. Yeah. That's the name I'd put to it.

Taste is actually quite nice. Very pleasant. Some grapefruit, a bit of caramel malt sweetness, and an interesting, almost astringently bitter citrus rind or maybe charry/earthiness to it. Not sure what that is.

Quite drinkable and very pleasant.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid IPA that doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Admittedly, this is fairly lightly distributed, but still. If you see it, give it a try. Pours a dark amber with a thick grainy head that sticks around for a while. The smell has surprising amounts of sweet, cookie-like malt, and finishes with some citrus and pine from the hops. Tastes delicious- long bitter pine flavor wityh the sweet malt creeping up on the back end, but the long bitter note cuts right through it and is sustained until the end. Much hoppier than it smells. Fairly full bodied in the mouth and the long bitterness keeps things lively. Nice beer.

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Photo of mjl21
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Comes in at 6.5%. The code Brew 1321 is on the front of the bottle.

A-Pours a semi-clear orangish amber with a fluffy one and a half finger light tan head that has some great retention. Lots of bubbles and lace are left. It is a really nice looking beer.

S-The initial smell is almost dominated 50/50 by piney/citrusy hops and caramel malt. As it warms I get a little bit of dank. It smells a little sugary. It really should be a 3.75 as it is not bad, but too malty for me to score any higher.

T-The caramel malt comes on quickly followed by some citrus and pine notes. The caramel malt comes back again on the finish. There is some bitterness left. The alcohol does dry out the tongue a little. As it warms it becomes more herbal/grassy tasting.

M-Medium bodied and has great carbonation.

D-A little too malty for my taste. I'm not sure if that is due to age or the way the brewer intended.

Another not bad, not great IPA. I would like to try a guaranteed fresh version before I cast my final judgment.

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Photo of Buebie
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pub glass. Color on this is a pale orange with a bit of haze to it. Head is a generous 1'' of froth, slow to recede, leaving a nice colar and sticky thick lace along the glass.
The look on this is textbook, good lace cling, head retention and color.

Aroma is grassy with pine and orange peel and a touch of sweeter fruit. Caramel, malt and a bit of cotton candy/ bubble gum in the distance.

Taste is malty upfront with plenty of explosive fruity semi-sweet hops, grapefruit, mango's, very bitter pine, grapefruit bite and just a little bit of grain flavors. Becoming increasingly earthy, with a touch of spicie onions, Mild burnt caramel in there as well.
Mouthfeel contains medium carbonation and a bit of a stickyness to it. Carbonation does provide a fuller feel.

This is very well balanced between malt and hops, although the hops do dominate into the finish, obliterating the taste buts and lingering for a long time.
Taste is similar to Hopslam, although a little less fruity with more pine bitterness. The alcohol seems low, as there is just a touch of warming. This probably could have gone a bit higher in abv, while still hiding the boozyness amongst hops.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Extra recieved in a trade poured into a regular kitchen glass. Never even heard of this brewery.

A- El Toro pours out a even mix of faint red with burnt orange with a small haze to it, cant 100% see through the glass. A 1/2 inch of off white foam comes up than exits quick leaving small spots of lace, not coating the glass.

S- A nice scent coming from this IPA, Im getting hops giving of citrus/Tropical fruit with some grapefruit and mango. The hops also give off grassy scents. A good amount of malt to even things out.

T- This is fresh for sure, Im impressed with the taste. The hops are up front giving off a slight bitterness but nothing tounge buckeling. The grassy scents come out a bit more in taste, but the citrus is up front. The malts are somewhat bready and give off a sweet aftertaste. After warming up the taste dwindles a bit

M- El Toro feel is weird because the hop flavors go to the top of my mouth while the smooth malts & slight sweetness ride towards the bottom near the tounge. The bitterness is very light. This one is bordering on medium bodied with some carb built in. Grassy taste afterwards with warming.

D- This is easy drinking with a slightly above sessionable ABV but who cares, the taste makes this one a winner. We get a bunch of California beers here in PA and I would not mind if this brewery happened to stop by in the future, hopefully they will, fingers crossed.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer starts off with a cloudy darker-than-yellow appearance, a healthy thick head, and little carbonation to speak of. There are hints of citrusy hops in the aroma. It starts off with a bitter bite, not too aggressive, though. Medium bodied with a clean hoppy finish. The lower than typical carbonation make this one stand out.

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El Toro IPA from El Toro Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 93 ratings.
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