El Toro IPA | El Toro Brewing Co.

very good
93 Ratings
no score
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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 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 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 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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3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A three finger fat fluffy off white head has nice retention and leaves a ton of lace as it fades. Nose has creamy veggie laced hops with a backround hint of citrus rind. Body is like pure liquid gold. Hops are very grassy much like dandilion stems as you take first sip. The bitter feel is ling and quite butally fat on the back of the tongue. There is a bit of citrus pulp to the end of the palate. Mouthfeel is hugely bitter. The lack of balance kind of hurts the drinkabilty.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm trying to understand all high reviews on this one, since it really didn't blow me away. I went back and forth about how much I really liked this. I had it a year ago, and found it a bit harsh to drink, and now a year later, that final analysis hasn't changed much.

The beer poured a dark yellow with some red sediment in the glass. Looking at suspended red particles is not something I prefer in a beer, but if you pour the bottle carefully, the particles will stay in the bottle. Otherwise, a nice foamy head floated on top and lots of lacing action on the glass. Some piney aroma. The flavor was highly dominated by a resin-like hop character, with some citrus peel notes to it. Very astringent, borderline harshness going down. Very little malt, and my preference is for a more balanced IPA.

I'm all for the hop-bomb West Coast IPA style, but I didn't find this to be one of the better examples.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid $5.00 for a pint from the Brewpub in Morgan Hill, CA.

Was delivered to me with a half finger white head that quickly dissipated. Very little lacing. Nice carbonation. Goldish copper color.

Very strong orange citrus pine nose.

The overwhelming hots hide the flavor of the malts. Finishes bitter and hoppy which lasts.

Medium body, hefty carbonation.

This is a re-review of a batch that is not as good as previous batches I've tried. One thing I have began to notice in El Toro beers is that consistency among their beers is somewhat lacking. This batch did not lace the glass much, had a smaller head and was even less balanced making it not as easy to drink.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Light caramel, kind of hard to judge the head in the ice cold bud light shaker pint filled all the way to the edge.

Smell: A large helping of C hops dominate the nose, a bit of pink grapefruit and pine, pine, pine. If you like the smell of pinesol, this Beer is for you.

Taste: The bitterness is sustained at first, with just a touch of caramel sweetness. But the more the pint went down the astringency went downright acrid, finishing bone dry. It was pretty good, but the kind of Beer that I only get sporadic cravings for. I probably would have gave it higher grades if I had less of it, because the more I drank it the worse it got, but the first half of my pint was pretty good.

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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 dancinwillie
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent copper, with some floaters in the mix. Big soft off white head that hangs around for awhile. Takes me 2 pours to get it all in. Either I'm getting shittier at pouring, or the beer's I've been choosing lately are really carbonated.

A lot of yeast aroma, and a little bit of piney hops. Makes me wonder how long this has been on the shelves. There is some printing that says BREW 1248. Hoping not bottled December, 1948.

Taste is a stunner, after that less than promising aroma. I can taste the yeast, so maybe it is a bit old, but also a wonderful hop flavor. Pine, herbal, a bit minty, traces of citrus fruits. Great malt here too. A little maple syrup, bready flavor keeps it balanced.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but with the taste as big as it is, I hardly noticed, until I got here, and had to rate it. A little creamy, and a bitter finish leave me ready for more.

I would assuredly drink this again and again. I would recommend this to my friends. This is a better than average IPA. El Toro lulled me, and I'm wearing red. This is a tasty brew, and one I will try again.

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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 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 SaucyA
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lothore for this little gem as an extra.

A - Pours a deep, clear golden body with a foamy white head. Decent amount of carbonation visible, tons of yeast on the bottom of the bottle, so I had to pour carefully.

S - Major west coast nose of piney, sticky hops, with a light lemony undertone. Malts barely notable on the back end.

T - This is a tongue-blaster. Almost too much, but it somehow manages to work. It's like a Hopsickle but with a little better balance. Huge oily finish that sticks around longer than I prefer, at least for a regular IPA.

M - Thick, slightly syrupy, ample carbonation, dry and puckering finish.

D - Drinkability is average, because the hop profile is a little much in my opinion. I like my IPA's to be a little gentler on my palate. Call me what you will. :)

Notes: It's not that this is a bad beer by any means, I just wouldn't necessarily go out of my way for it. Definitely worth a try if you're a hophead.

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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 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 Lothore
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep orange hue with a hearty 2 finger head that leaves quite a bit of lacing. Few carbonation bubbles present, filtered and clear.

S- Smell is faint but dominate in hops. Very piney and possibly a bit overbearing if the nose is any indicator.

T- Taste is mainly resiny, piney hops. Very strong bitterness at the end for a normal ipa. I enjoy this beer but it seems like it hides behind the strong hoppiness.

M- Semi- thick and very carbonated. I personally prefer beer with a good amount of carbonation but I think this may be a little bubbly for me.

D- Because of the huge hop presence and not much else I would say it's not the most drinkable ipa on the block. It is certainly enjoyable and I would drink it again but it is not my favorite IPA.

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

Acquired from rayjay, courtesy of Secret Santa 2007 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is decently balanced with a nice hops bitterness and sweet flavors of citrus and caramel. There's a hearty malt character. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, the finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, there are several other IPA's that I would pick first, but this is still a decent beer.

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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 uwmgdman
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This IPA pours a golden-orange into my pint glass with a thin white head. The aroma is very high grapefruit-citrus aroma, very American hops, with a small amount of pine also in the aroma. The high hop bitterness strikes initially and lasts through the swallow, quite a bitter IPA. A medium-high hop flavor also emerges half way through the sip. The bitterness is supported by a little sweetness, but make no mistake this brew is all IBUs, all the way. The carbonation medium to medium-high with a medium body. Overall this is a nice example of an IPA. The hop aroma is very fresh and inviting. The bitterness and hop flavor lingers well after the swallow, appreciated, but knocks the drinkability down a bit for me. A nice IPA!

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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 FtownThrowDown
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to golubj.
Pours golden in color with about two inches of head. Smell is very nice citrus and piney, grassy hops. Taste is more of the citrusy and piney hops, however there is something at the very end of each sip that just isn't fitting. A very dominant off flavor at the finish. Everything up until that point is very good however.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2nd beer of this Saturday, again provided as an extra by rayjay.
Popped it open, turned my back to throw the cap away and damn if the thing didn't surge out of the bottle and waste a few tablespoonfulls. Damn.
Looks dense in the glass, dark orange with a thin white head and tiny chunks of lacing.
The hop smell arose from the spilled remains on the counter. Lots of hops present. Mostly seem to be pine and grass with some citrus behind.
Taste is strong in the start with lots of bitter, aromatic hops matching the smell. Bitter, lingering finish coats the back of the throat like cheap cough syrup. There's some malt hiding in the background, too afraid to show its face. Yet somehow it seems a little watery in the taste, maybe a little metallic as well.
Smooth, thick and creamy make it interesting to drink. A little malt sweetness wouldn't hurt this at all. As is, it's a nice bitter hop bomb.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label states “Brew 1168”

Pours a nice, clear golden color with very a very active head and great retention.

Aroma is of pine, citrus, grapefruit, bitterness, biscuit and toasted malts.

Taste is similar to the aroma; there is some biscuit malt upfront with some citrus notes, pine and a decent bitter and dry finish. Some grassy notes also make themselves present in the finish. As the beer warm up the malt profile steps up a bit and there is some caramel and toffee notes. The mouthfeel is surprisingly thick, thicker than I expected. A bit odd, the mouthfeel is thick yet it leaves a watery aftertaste—there is just some residual bitterness and citrus that sticks around. Refreshing, but a few of these will fill you up

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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 IronCitySteve
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Jack's Cannery in San Francisco, came recommended from the bartender.

A: Pours a golden color with some orange hints, with a decent white foam head.

S: Mostly pine hops with some hints of citrus. Maybe I was spoiled having enjoyed a Pliny the Elder the day before, but I was not overly impressed with the smell.

T: Taste was better than the smell. Got a good blend of hops that was really put together well. Just a tad of malt flavoring on the back-end, which was suprising and welcomed.

M: A really smooth beer, leaves a good hop bitterness on the palate.

D: A really decent IPA. Would have again and would recommend.

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