El Toro Deuce Imperial IPA | El Toro Brewing Co.

very good
43 Reviews
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El Toro Deuce Imperial IPAEl Toro Deuce Imperial IPA

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rkhaze on 02-02-2005

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 65
Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy peach nectar color with a sturdy head that throws a few shards of lace around

Smell: Lots of grapefruity citrus but a solid caramel malt base in there, too

Taste: Lays down the caramel at the outset with a growing grapefruity citrus element that builds through mid-palate; after the swallow, the citrus flavors continue to maintain their prominence but the malt never fades

Mouthfeel: A bit thick with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: With a minor demerit for the thick mouthfeel, a first class DIPA

Thanks, Lothore, for the opportunity

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

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks to brentk56 for a bottle of this in the Secret Halloween '08 BIF.

Pours a hazy orange amber with several fingers of poofy off-white head. Settles down into a rigid layer of creamy retention that doesn't budge with a fantastic flareup that leaves just a MASSIVE coating of thick lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is extremely West Coast with notes of floral hops, pine, grapefruit, and spice but it's that big, grainy underpinning of malt that gives this bouquet some beef!

The taste is much the same, with an intensely bitter hop profile that is well balanced by tangy citric notes and a hefty backbone of bready and grainy malt that more than holds it's own. The bitterness really creeps itself back into the finish with a dry and lingering feel that has me begging for a glass of water! The mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a a creamy carbonation that spreads out well in the mouth and a hefty feel that is bitter and warming on the palette.

I've had the pleasure of this on draft at the brewpub and this bottled version compares favorably, just maybe not as fresh, as evidenced by the malt really coming to the forefront of the profiles. Make no mistake though, this is a large and in charge DIPA that takes no prisoners with a fearsome bitterness that doesn't let go.

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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

Polished tangerine with butterscotch borders. My usual pour produced a great looking head that is currently filling half the glass. The sticky foam is somewhere between pastel orange and ecru, and is beginning to lay down an impressive array of fine, delicate, lace-like lace. Only a murky, yeasty, hop-flecked look could improve the appearance.

The nose is out of this world. I'm not the least bit surprised since the brewery has decided to use my favorite hops: Tomahawk (Columbus), Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo and Simcoe. It simply isn't possible for a good craft brewery (and El Toro is definitely that) to go wrong with that lineup. The usual kick-ass aromas apply... grapefruit, pineapple, passionfruit, pine and ganja.

Deuce is outstanding beer on paper and it's outstanding beer on the taste buds. As far as I can determine, the only difference between this DIPA and El Toro IPA (one of the unheralded greats) is more pale malt, more alcohol, more hops and the addition of Simcoe hops to an already killer hop bill. No wonder I love it.

My bottle claims an ABV of 7.75%. That's pretty close to ideal for a beer of this style (unless your name is Cilurzo) because hops are meant to dominate, not alcohol. Too many DIPAs are ruined by too much caramel malt and too much appreciable alcohol. Besides, who wants a numb tongue and a numb brain halfway through the bottle?

On the palate, spruce sap is much more prominent than it is in the nose. In addition, the same fruits mentioned above explode with monster truck force as beer hits tongue. Let's add triple sec to the list of flavors as well. If the brewers are correct about 'greater than 100 IBUs', there must be a huge amount of malt sugars smoothing off the rough, alpha acid edges.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully plush without edging into sticky heaviness. A stealth amount of carbonation sees to it that things move smartly along, keeping ease of drinkability on the high side for such a big ale.

This El Toro offering is everything that I'd hoped it would be... and then some. In essence, it's a jacked-up version of one of the best IPAs in circulation, West Coast or otherwise. It's a damn shame that more hopheads haven't had the pleasure of downing The Deuce.

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

Had the pleasure of having this one with dinner last night, I am always happy to get a new IPA whenever I can find one. This poured a very nice and somewhat hazy amber, with just a touch of a golden hue to it. Very nice three inch plus head of foamy and sticky lace formed on the top and gradually settled down to just a thin layer across the top and a very nice set of concentric rings of side glass lace. Smell was thoroughly and deeply hopped. Big floral bouquet of bitter pine and a touch of grapefruit. This followed over very well to the taste. Not a tear your lips off bitter, but defiantly a big IPA for sure. Very nice mixed of orange and tangerine like hops with jus the slightest touch of pine to even it out. Great smooth feel and nice carbonation gave it a medium body and a very nice drink ability. Long drawn out dry finish and a nice touch of sweetness added into the back rounded it off very nicely. Overall this was a fine IPA, and definitely something I would like to try again. Nothing earth shattering, but just very nice and well crafted. A good version for the hophead to get themselves wrapped around.

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

03/19/05- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- from the tap into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Nice golden-orange pour with a textbook 3/4 inch head which settles in at about 1/4 inch. About the most maginificent lacing I have seen on a beer. Covered the entire glass most of the way through the beer.

Smell- Very fruity and floral, but not over the top, which could be good or bad depending on the brew.

Taste- Was expecting a hop bomb because I am used to the hardcore hops in their regular IPA (which happens to be my all time favorite brew). It certainly was hoppy, but in a mellow kind of way. Very good mixture between the malt and hops, with nice pine and grapefruit flavors carrying the beer.

Mouthfeel- Not a mouthcoating as such beers as The Younger or The De-nogginzer, but still a bit heavy on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Two thumbs up here. One of the better DIPA's oput there on the west coast. I shudder to think I passed this up at least 50 times or so at the Toronado. Shame on me. I should have known better.

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Photo of John_M
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours an orange amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose in this beer is incredible and is clearly it's best feature. It really smells as if a lot of simcoe and amarillo was used in the making of this beer, as I get a huge dank aroma of fresh tobacco, wet earth, pine and skunky marijuana. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this beer, though the alcohol is a bit more noticeable and prominent than I like to see (especially for a 7.5% abv. beer, according to the label). What's interesting in this beer is that initially there's some pretty noticeable sweet malt, which is then shoved aside by the tidal wave of hoppy bitterness. This leads to very long, slightly alcoholic, very dry, bitter finish. Drinkability is OK, though as noted above, there's a bit too much of an alcohol bite for my liking.

An interesting take on the style. I tried this side by side with the maharaja, and frankly it made the maharaja taste rather tame. That's how hopped up this DIPA is from El Toro.

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Photo of weeare138
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Toronado...
Appears a semi-transparent golden amber with a small, white head that slowly fades out into a mild cap. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, caramel, perfumy, floral hops, honey, and graham crackers.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with honey and floral hops standing out amongst the flavors.
Mouthfeel is of honey sweetness up front with grapefruit bitterness rounding it out. Medium bodied, chewy, smooth, semi-dry, with a candy enjoyability.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
1.91/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Copper pour, half inch of head. Aroma was wet horse blanket and no hops allowed. Terrible.

Taste, just as wet horse blanket, in an ipa. . . I can't even; So many weird things going on, substantial hoppiness, to accompany the barnyard smell of burning hair. This was just terrible. It was on tap, so maybe they had just tapped a shaggy dog keg before this one. ..

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a 12oz bottle oon 12.29.11

A - Pours a cloudy dark orange with a two finger yellow-cream colored head. Good retention and nice lacing.

S - Very carmely, malty and sweet.

T - Similar to the nose, Carmel and sweet. Some hoppiness in the background, but not much.

D - Good carbonation and an average body for the style. Slightly bitter finish.

O - It was sweet and not much hops. Makes me wonder if it was an older bottle, but I don't think it was.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.04/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Copper pour at the Bistro dipa fest. 1/2" head on it, looked nice. Aroma was just rough, bitter dog hair. Needs more dog? No thank you.

Taste, was even more rough, the bitterness was accompanied by terrible off flavors. Plenty of hops, but it made you wonder if it was infected, or just awful at times. All three of us that went to the festival together drain poured this and joked about how the 'drains to ocean' sign made us feel bad for the aquatic life that was going to get the remaining ounces. It tasted like the beer came through the most wretched tap line of yesteryear, uncleaned, and hooked right up to this beer.

I'd like to think this keg was just terrible, but I've never really been into El Toro's stuff anyways. We'll see, they're often at the Bistro fests, so I'm sure I'll take one more plunge into their creations, even this one, just for the sake of knowing if it was just a bad batch, or if they truly just make something so offensive to me and my crew.

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Photo of ccrida
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my Murphy's Stout tulip, Deuce is dark burnt gold with a tight, sand colored head that leaves scattered, foamy lace, as well as some nice rings.

Smell is a hop explosion, no two ways about it. Loads of resiny pine, apricots

Taste is super fierce. This one's got plenty of hop flavor, but a very gritty, intense bitterness that lingers on the long aftertaste. There's some sweet alcohol flavor but it's mostly hop bitterness and fruity and resiny hop flavor. Extreme.

Mouthfeel is on the thick side, dry.

Drinkability isn't too high for me. Too bitter, a strong bite from the alcohol, which is only listed as 7.75% on my bottle, and fairly expensive as well. Worth a try for hop heads, but only lovers of extremely bitter IPAs will really dig this.

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Photo of gford217
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle courtesy of EinWeizenbitte.

The aroma is big and fantastic, just full of juicy citrus, namely grapefruit and pineapple. On top of that is a slight herbal character with maybe some sweet malts.

The taste doesn't live up to the aroma for me. It's got a huge spicy bitterness throughout but doesn't have nearly the juicy citrus presence that I was expecting given the aroma. There is a hefty sweetness underneath as well. The finish is slightly metallic.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very bitter and dry in the finish.

This is a very good DIPA that could have been great if the taste came together a little better. That said, I still enjoyed it.

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Photo of DIM
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a cloudy, coppery golden color. It poured with a medium sized, moderately sticky, off-white head.

s: Biting, assertive nose on this one. Rough, resinous hops notes of lemon rind, grapefruit, and pine. Sweet malty notes of caramel and to a lesser extent honey and vanilla. The alcohol is present but not out of line.

t: Caramel and vanilla sweetness with a little honey up front give way to an extremely bitter finish that tastes lemony and grassy.

m: A beefy body and gently creamy carbonation, very nice.

d: A bit rough around the edges, but definitely a tasty treat.

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

12oz bottle (Brew 1377) into a Unibroue tulip. Listed at 7.75% ABV. Thanks to MilwaukeeCrusher for the trade!

Pours a murky orange-creamsicle for the body. Very yeast-hazed, but clarity is overrated anyway, right? The rocky head is towering, lace-leaving, and the color of lemon meringue. Fresh hop aroma absolutely drips with the scent of pungent, piny hop cones. Musty almost. The malt backing is no slouch either, with lot of caramel and toffee sweetness to support those hefty hop aromatics.

Hop bitterness pounds the tongue with each sip, but is restrained enough to allow the malty sweetness to come through. For all intents and purposes, Deuce IIPA is a lot like smelling and tasting a hop pellet: intensely aromatic and bitter, but the hop flavor makes up for it with notes of pine and resin. Bready, carmel-rich malt profile is big enough to withstand the hoppy onslaught. Mouthfeel is creamy and full-bodied for the style. Low carbonation but zesty in the finish with lots of bitterness. All in all, this is a tasty (if somewhat unconventional) Double IPA. Worth seeking out for fans of Humulus lupulus.

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

On tap at the Toronado. I think very highly of their regular IPA, so I was looking forward to this one.

A: Pours a slightly murky, fruity orange-colored body with coppery edges against the light. The bartender knows what he's doing, and delivers this with a perfect 1" of head. Retention is decent, and it leaves webs of lace down the glass.

S: Lots of citrus: flowery grapefruit, orange rind, and bordering on tropical with pineapple and passionfruit. Also a substantial amount of pine, with a hint of dank weed underneath. Great aroma.

T: Phenomenal on the taste buds. It's drier than the IPA, which is something to appreciate in a beer that has obviously much more malt (and hops). It's not completely attenuated, and I get some caramel and pale malt flavors in there, but it's definitely hop-forward, with citrus leading the way. I love the ganja flavors underneath all of this.

M: Medium-heavy bodied; it threatens to coat the tongue and mouth, but it's helped along nicely by carbonation that pushes the sticky hop oils out of the mouth. Can't detect the alcohol, which is always good thing.

D: Pretty high, I'd say. I want to sit down and review this out of a bottle, and maybe side-by-side with their IPA, to get a better understanding of the differences. But so far, 2 for 2 on their IPA offerings.

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Photo of jdense
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle form bottle shop in PDX, poured into Delirium Tremens tulip glass 3.25.11.

Finger and a half broken white head, medium-slow dissipation with above average lacing. Orange amber cloudy body, significant amount of floating yeast, bottled conditioned?, should have been more careful pouring. Whoa, impressive nose, huge citrus/tropical notes, no bubblegum, grapefruit and guava, a bit of bready malts in the middle, aroma maintained its fruitiness as it warmed. Taste mirrors nose, melon up front backed by a bit of citrus, then whap! aggressive skank pine resin finish. Mouthfeel is about medium, slightly above average effervescence, though this in one resiny beer. This is not a beer to be taken lightly.With this flavor profile, I'd like to see what El Toro could do with a CDA. Highly recommended for dedicated hopheads.

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

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, amber-copper body shows off active carbonation for the entire session. A creamy, white halo sits on top and drags decent, web-like lacing.

Smell: Strong pine resin, grapefruit, rich caramel, earth, and sweet esters. I find a lot more fruity and floral aromas in here than I found in the El Toro IPA. Very earthy, but with sweet pleasant undertones.

Taste: Strong earthy and piney bitterness take over immediately. Toasted wholegrain bread and caramel play second fiddle. Grapefruit comes through in a big way later on, accompanied by lemon and even cherry/red currants.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, dry, prickly, and oily. Medium-to-full in body and lightly carbonated. This is a definite palate-wrecker!

Drinkability: Well done, but not very memorable. I personally liked Geno's regular IPA (El Toro IPA) better. I will say, however, that this imperial IPA was surprisingly bitter for being 3-4 months old. I can't imagine how intense it would be fresh.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A special thanks to zrrbrrt for this drop-off.
Pours quite hazy...golden honey in color with less than 1/4 finger of bright white head, disappearing all too quickly and very little lacing.
Fruity hops in the nose with some caramel malt sweetness....some floral notes as well.
Taste is very enjoyable...a balane of floral and fruity hops...severely bitter with just a hint of sweetness to add some balance. Finish is bitter and dry, yet clean.
Fairly thick mouthfeel, but quite crisp...not overly oily or cloying.
Alcohol is very well masked...at 8%, this one could be quite quaffable for a DIPA...not gonna happen here, as I only have one, but I am quite lucky to get one of these to consume.
Thanks again Josh.

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

Thanks to Aaron for this bottle of the Deuce! This one pours a golden orange color with a touch of haze, big head with large beads, high retention and thick lacing. The aroma has a lot of lavender and floral hops with citrus, tropical fruits and an underlying malt backbone evident. The flavor is resinous along with lavender, orange peel, full bitterness with a finish of cookielike malts, geranium, and leafiness.

Body is relatively thick for a DIPA with a moderate carbonation that lends itself to a smoother thicker body, though a touch of astringency is present for me with a bit too many botanicals. Pretty nice beer though the hop bill is a touch too floral-astringent for my liking, though there may be some batch to batch variation obviously, the two bottles I have tried have displayed this. Pretty tasty though, if this were available for a fair price I'd probably get a six pack from time to time.

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

This arrived as a nice gold and orange without much head. Lace is minor.

The smell is very nice, bringing floral smells on top of the more raw hop flavors. The taste brings a fair amount of malt, which is taken over by slight and somewhat tropical fruit flavors and hefty amounts of hops. The mouthfeel is medium, while drinkability is very good.

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

This beer was a deep amber topped by a thinnish head that retained all the way down, lacing was excellent. Nice aroma of fresh hop, not as strong as I expected but a definite presence. Sharp hoppy bitterness, almost grapefruit juice like, still balanced and smooth. An excellent Double IPA, very drinkable. I might like the regular IPA as much. El Toro is a very underrated brewery.

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

A- Golden in color with a small eggshell head that fades and leaves a little lacing.

S- Smells extremely hoppy. Grainy pine scents dominate the nose.

T- Piney hops are prevalent from start to finish with a bitter kick. Grainy bready taste masked beneath the hops.

M- Thick and chunky with a blast of carbonation that compliments the hoppy bitterness perfectly.

D- Definitely a sipper but certainly very drinkable for a double ipa.

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

Brew 1107. I just scored this 12 oz bottle directly from the brewery. Bottling this one seems to be a new, limited scale thing for El Toro. I frequently enjoy it on draft at the Toronado, so I made a special trip to pick these up.

This one's a golden pilsner-colored ale that retains a thin layer of head for the duration. Alpha hop nose like grapefruit zest. I've tasted much hoppier beers, but this one has a solid bitterness that fades for a good 10-20 seconds on the tongue. Malts are practically out of the picture, a hallmark for the west coast IPA. The hoppiness is a simple, one-dimentional, delicious bitter bite.

As far as 2xIPAs go, this is a tame, refreshing, relatively low abv example; some beer drinkers may miss a big chewy malt body, but for hopheads like me it's pure bliss. Consider it a "session double IPA." I love it, but not quite as much as an ultra-fresh draft version. Cheers!

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

The aroma is thick with hoppy goodness. Lots of citrus and grass. Underneath is some caramel malt and some spicy yeast, almost peppery.

Orange with a solid small layer of white foam. Cloudy but lots of rising carbonation from the bottom of the glass. Moderate lacing too.

Big malt backbone, lots of caramel and some crystal. Then come the hops. Good bittering and some grassy and citrus hop flavor. Big hop oil lingering aftertaste too. As it warms up, there's more malt comlexity. I get honey and brown sugar. Overall, pretty balanced in that it's got a ton of malt balanced by a ton of hops.

Body is thick but not heavy. Prettty high carbonation level adds to it seeming lighter than it is at 8%.

Nice, nice beer. Maybe even better than some of the sought after examples of the style but less well known and a bit more rare outside its home market. If you see it, get one.

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Photo of ibbjamin
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Paid $6 for a pint of this one at El Toro in Morgan Hill. Reading the beer list, I noted that there are a LOT of hops in this one. Uses Tomahawk, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo and Simcoe hops.

Small 1/2 inch off white head. I didn't see the bartender pour this one, but his knowledge of beer indicated he knew how to pour a beer. Nice lacing that thins out after a few minutes but lasts.

Orange/citrus bitter hoppy nose.

Extremely hoppy, as expected with a double IPA. Orange, citrus and hops with a mild spice to finish. Bitter lasting aftertaste.

Heavily carbonated which mildly takes away from the great flavors they have working here and makes it a little tougher to drink. The only downfall of this beer.

Nice ABV. This pint and another Bock had me with a decent buzz.

This is my hometown hero and this is the best of theirs I have tried yet. Glad to hear this one is also available in a 6 pack.

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El Toro Deuce Imperial IPA from El Toro Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 65 ratings.
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