El Toro IPA | El Toro Brewing Co.

El Toro IPAEl Toro IPA
93 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 93 |  Reviews: 77
Photo of JeremyDrinksBeer
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of GClarkage
4.79/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in October 2004. Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA. I have had this beer so many times at The Englander in San Leandro, CA. I've always had it from the tap though because I could never find it in the bottle. Well, I finally found it and I am happy I snagged a six pack. Pours with a very nice head and pretty decent lacing. The smell is utterly perfect for an IPA. An emense magnitude of hops hits you smack in the face. Smells of grapefruit, lemon and pine. Oh, this beer is heaven! Such a huge hop taste. Would think it was a double IPA, except it just isn't quite strong enough. Huge grapefruit and pine flavors. A dry finish and goes down pretty smooth. I can't see myself doing this as a session beer though. A bit to much punch in the face for me. Two or three would be just right though. Ultra-yummy beer. Getting more tomorrow.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.66/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

wow, this was one surprise. I received this as an extra in a trade a while back and decided tonight to pop it open... who knew? Where the hell did this come from? Why haven't I heard ravings about this beer? I think the name and the label both suck, and that's probably it. If this beer had a killer, say, gargoyle on the label and a name like, say, Ruination, it would be one of the most sought after IPA's on the site.
So it pours a cloudy orange with minimal head... the most boring part about the beer, honestly. Except the label. Lacing is great, though, which gives it the 3.5 instead of a 3.
But it's uphill, and WAAY uphill, from there. The aroma jumps out at me with a smack in the face... wonderful, balanced hopping on par with some of the best IPA's I've ever had. Caramel-noted light malt is there, of course, but the grapefruity hops just take over... there has to be some Tomahawk, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo... the hopping is crazy complex, and crazy wonderful.
Flavor is by no means disappointing. delicious malts with the once again outrageous hopping coming in to balance and override neatly. the finish is all hops, a hint of resin, and an astringent, bitter finish in the back of the throat.
Body is smooth and medium carbonated, a bit warming and intensely astringent in the finish.
HOP FIX! get your HOP FIX! I highly suggest getting your hands on this beer ASAP. Absolutely ASAP.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.63/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review was from a 12oz bottle sampled on 12-18-04. Appearance is a murky orange yellow with about one inch of off white head on top. The head stuck around leaving thick rings of lace as this was consumed. Huge hop aroma, citric hops are just jumping out of the glass. It reminds me of the hop juiciness I have noticed in wet hopped brews. There is also a nice backing of bitter floral hops as well. First sip is a grapefruity hop bomb that comes on strong gripping your tongue with and not letting go. Strong earthy/floral hops are there as well. Even in its huge hoppiness a slight malt sweetness can be detected lurking in the background. Ends on a bitter earthy note that has some bite to it. Medium feel to it with a prickly component found in the hopped up beers. Goes down pretty smooth and it a prefect IPA for a hop fix. Definitely a top 5 IPA for me and a great hoppy beer. Thanks to gclarkage for the bonus brew that was excellent.

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Photo of plaid75
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy medium copper hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a resinous hop that exhibited piney and herbal characteristics.

The taste consisted of an upfront herbal spicy hop that lingered through the experience. A soild grainy malt supported the heavy hops well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style with a spice tingle.

Overall a superior AIPA that offers a different hop profile than most. Thanks to brentk56 for the sample.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich pumpkin orange with a wild flurry of yeast that damn near makes the beer opaque. The cap is lightly toasted marshmallow in color with a hint of pastel orange. It's firmly creamy and looks like it's full of hop resins. The upper edge of the head is sticking to the glass and is beginning to leave lace that looks like paint daubed on with a sponge.

It's been a while since I've had a truly hoppy, high quality IPA. What the hell was I thinking? The aroma on this one brings my hop love back with an immediacy and a vengeance. It's a smashingly good nose of pure, unadulterated hops with an emphasis on juicy orange and white grapefruit. A modicum of caramel malt is noticeable, but has the good sense to stay in the background.

El Toro IPA is a wonderful IPA from a brewer who doesn't get enough respect. The flavor is balanced if you approach it from a hophead's perspective and consider a 2:1 hop:malt ratio to be a fair fight. The caramel malt backbone is on the firm side and permits the huge hoppiness to have the run of the deck without coming close to going overboard.

Pithy, bittersweet, resinous orange and grapefruit are still ascendant, with a drop or two of spruce juice for good measure. This beer has a classic West Coast hop profile, carried out with aplomb. A long finish with echoes of bitter citrus peel is made all the more enjoyable by the presence of a mouthcoating stickiness. The medium mouthfeel feels slightly more full as a result.

While I was impressed by this brewery's Oatmeal Stout, I had doubts about whether or not they could pull off a top-notch IPA, even taking the relatively high scores into account. If it's so good, then why hadn't I heard more buzz? Make no mistake, this is a killer beer that will satisfy all comers, hopheaded or not. In terms of excitability, waving a hoptastic IPA like this one in front of me is akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull. Bravo! El Toro. Bravo!

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Photo of rkhaze
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy orange/amber with a nice sized creamy white head and a few floaties. Decent retention and excellent chunks of sticky lace.
Huge grapefruit and pine smells upfront. There were some other citrus aromas and perhaps a bit of sweet malt. This one is all about the hops though. A little one dimensional.
Wow! Tastes like a fresh, zesty and juicy grapefruit with pine resin poured on top. The sweet malt that was lacking in the smell showed up in the taste and balanced rather well. Finishes dry tangy and bittersweet. Excellent!
Medium bodied with a full creamy mouthfeel that was oily/resinous and a bit sticky. Perfect!
Great drinkabilty. A classic west coast IPA and quite a surprise.

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Photo of oberon
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you wanna hop fix without the huge alcohol this California IPA is it,pours a hazed peach color with a very clingy 1/2 finger white head leaving the pint glas with soap scum looking lace all the way down.Whoo resiny piney hop with big grapefruit rind notes in the nose I also picked up some apricot in there with a barely noticable sweeter caramel malt note.Citrusy and piney flavors what can you say its all left coast quite resiny and sweet,somewhat oily on the mouthfeel department.A hop fixer here and quite sociable to boot,yum.

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4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BA MoeSizlak for picking up a sixer of this for me on a beer run to Madison. He gauranteed it to be liked, and it does not disappoint.
Smell is all hop aroma...citrus and pine just thin out the nose hairs, clean your sinuses. Terrific news.
This IPA has a medium body, medium carbonation, medium head. I guess i'd say that's why it's so damn drinkable.
The flavor hits you up front with pine cones, citrus, and some very tart rinds. THere is a slightly sticky, sweet undertone to this which made me think they were chasing AV's Hop Ottin IPA with the honeyed malts. And why the hell not? I wouldn't call it plagiarism even if I thought it truly was.
They don't make 'em like this in England.

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Photo of SethB2
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received via a most excellent (for me) trade with GClarkage. He sent me home with great stuff, and I sent him home with, err, let's not go there.

Anyway, poured this beer from a bottle into my Lagunitas pint glass. Looks nice. Looks like an IPA. Non transparent brownish-orange color with white head and good lacing. (As a side note, is it just me, or does it seem like about 10 different IPAs fit that same description. I swear I can't tell them apart, Alas, it matters not because I like the look.) Smells citisy/grapefruity ... very pleasant, though nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe some floral hops in there too. A sweet caramel smell peeks through in the background too. Taste is very, very good. Initially, the hop hammer lands on my tongue, as expected, but then a real pronounced toasted maltyness follows. I wasn't expecting this beer to be so balanced after smelling, but it does a great job. The sweet toasted malts then exit leaving a bitter grapefruit finish (and leave me wanting another slug). Wonderful. Mouthfeel is more full than most DIPAs. As this goes across my tongue, I feel like I might need a fork for the next drink (not literally, but you get the picture). Drinkability is very good as well. I have one more in the stash, but I think I might save it for the end times.

Great beer. El Toro guys, if you're reading this, please, please distribute to the Sacramento area. Me love you long time if you do.

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Photo of sweethome
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge grapefruit nose. Hazy golden color. All citrus - full of fruity esters- grapefuit, lemon. Bitterness grabs you right off. Again, lemon and grapefruit flavors with a nice carmel malt flavor coming through all the huge hops. I'm chewing a grapefruit here... Very long bitter and dry finish. Each sip provides maximum flavor and hop experience.

I also found it in Wisconsin, but have had it in past years in CA. Just as good as I remember.

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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 nbblondie
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer: El Toro IPA
Review Date: Nov 12, 2008
Appearance: On tap, pours a pretty clear golden color... not as cloudy as a lot of IPAs I've had. Good amount of head.
Smell: Citrus smell
Taste: Wow, this is a great IPA. I can taste the citrus that I previously smelled, along with a lot of hoppy flavor. Quite bitter and very tasty! I'm loving this one.
Drinkability: I could easily have a few of these.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First of all, this is an excellent IPA that all fans of the hop should actively seek. It rates up there with the best, yet is virtually unknown. Thanks GClarkage for the sample!

An easy pour explodes into my pint glass with 4 fingers of fluffy head. Color is orange/amber and very cloudy, with fine particulate matter swimming around. Highly active bubbles rush to the surface, creating a rocky-topped head that never dies. With density like shaving cream, the top of the head forms strange, rock-like formations that seem to defy gravity. Lacing so thick that it looks like stucco. The last sip of beer still wears a half inch of creamy foam.

The aroma is sweet caramel and honey malts perfumed with exotic floral and citrus hops. Grapefruit, tangerine, and orange blossems rule the day.

The flavor starts of malty sweet, with creamy caramel, honey, and sweet yeast bread. Hops take over in the form of citrus fruits, melon, flower blossems, honeysuckle, and a hint of hoppy spice. Complex for an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium to big, and is accentuated by all that carbonation yielding in a creamy, full mouthfeel. Delicious and totally sessionable.

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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 connecticutpoet
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Obtained in a trade with GClarkage. Second one I tried from the stash.

The beer poured out with a HUGE head... half a pint had a 4 finger hear, very rocky, and I had to wait for it to die down.

The bottle was labeed Brew 948.

The aroma was powerful, all grapefruit and lemon hops. It also smelled a little sweet.

Taste was of MAJOR citrus hops, with a light maltiness. The hop lingered a long time in the aftertaste. But it wasn't very bitter, oddly enough.

Mouthfeel was a little thinner than I expected from the aroma, but I could drink this as a session beer easily.

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Photo of rayjay
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6-pack from the brewery, a very small one but very friendly and worth seeking out.

A: Medium blonde, very tiny amount of sediment. Medium sized head with less-than-perfect lacing. Just a shade darker than I remember, but a nice light AIPA (the way it should be).

S: Floral. Lots of hops. Some apple juice too. Just a bit of alcohol and malt. I swear I smell glue, but not in a bad way!!!

T: Very bitter, seemingly more than some other IPA's but probably due in part to the low malt backbone. I mean, malt is definately there, but just slightly underbalancing the hops, which is perfect for the style, imho. A classic west coast IPA. Not as floral as it smells. Pure white grapefruit juice from concentrate. Bitter aftertaste lingers 4-ev-R...

M: A hair heavier than I'd have it. Otherwise a nice body, esp on a 105F day like today.

D: I give it a 4.5 because I've had some great sessions drinking this particular beer over the years. It has very rarely let me down, and even so that was probably a freshness issue with the bar. Cheers!

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Photo of Troyone
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in a 12oz. bottle, label says 6.5 abv; Recommendation, after one pops the top shake the bottom of the bottle before pouring it in the glass.
Poured a hazy somewhat copper and light iced tea to apple juice color with two inch head, also had lots of material in the haze like tiny hop flakes or yeast floating around. The floating specks of hops or yeast are almost uniform in size and seem to be spaced evenly throughout the glass, no beer drinker will see them all (or even the majority) settle to the bottom.

The smell is slightly malty with a rich flowery pine/resin hoppy aroma.

The taste has a cookie, toasted, nutty, and taffy malt; heavy to harsh slightly herb, pine, grapefruit, resin, slightly lime, and different flavors of tea hops; light doughy yeast; and has hints of toffee/cola. However the hops are smooth and dominate throughout to the finish.

The mouthfeel has a light/medium body, slightly syrupy dry texture, soft carbonation, with a smooth but manly finish.

The drinkability is great the carbonation is medium throughout and the aftertaste lingers the hops with the medium carbonation.

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

Beware, I am a hop head, Three Floyd's Alpha King being my current beer of choice. For my taste El Toro IPA has a cleaner finish. This is not a criticism of the Alpha King, just a comparison. When a flavor is great, I do not mind it lingering. El Toro IPA is available year around for you enjoyment. It is worth pursuing if you local store does not stock it. Great for sipping while grilling in your back yard.

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Photo of Mark
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was bowled over by this IPA. Appearance wise it was a orangey amber with a pefect head that left intricate lacing patterns. Aroma was what one expects from double IPA's, hop city. Taste was grab you by the b---- aggressive, in your face whatever you want to call it. Excellent hop character, very grapefruity. Drinkability rating was relatively off to the other rankings because it felt much stronger than the 6.5% it claims. Also, I think there is too much of a good thing, or should I say hop monster liquid is not an everyday thing. I sure liked this beer and rregret not buying this breweries beers more often.

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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 MichaelBigbone
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of raynmoon
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of KimenTshom
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of santoslhalper
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a hazy orange with loads of carbonation ripping up the sides of the glass. A nice, rocky, bubbly head sits beautifully above the brew, and leaves massive lacing.

Smell: Hops! Hops! And more hops! Grapefruit and lemon greet my nose at first, with an almost complete absence of malts. Very herbal, very fruity, and very hoppy.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Wow. A huge hop presence at first, almost over-bearing, but just right. The middle a nice amount of malts shine through, and the end is nice, dry and hoppy. An incredibly hoppy taste, with hints of pine, herbs, oranges, and so much more. But so how it manages to remain well-balanced.

Drinkability and Overall: An outstanding beer to say the least. Hugely hoppy, and still well-rounded. I wish I had more than one of this, but thank God I got to try it. One of the best IPA's I've had to date.

Thank you GClarkage for another phenomenal beer. The beer Gods smile upon you.

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El Toro IPA from El Toro Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 93 ratings
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