IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series) | Ithaca Beer Company

IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series)IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series)
Liked This Beer
3.97 w/ 40 ratings
IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series)IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series)

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerTruth on 04-22-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of petermethot
2.5/5  rDev -37%

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Bottle #1788 - APR 07)

Appearance: Pours a hazy coppy body with a thin, short-lived off-white head.

Smell: The heavy hop aroma of apricot, citrus, and pine is evidence of the bitterness that awaits. A bit boozy, too.

Taste: A light, short-lived taste of caramel offers almost no sweetness and quickly dissolves into flavors of apricot, grapefruit, and resinous pine with an assertive bitterness. Minor hint of Belgian yeast. There's a light acidity on the highly bitter finish. The alcohol is quite evident.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Mild carbonation. Slighty syrupy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Tough to finish. The domineering IPA characteristics really squash it's nobler Belgian side leaving it a bit of a fiasco.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle. Poured into a goblet.

Nice looking beer. Nice amber color with good looking white head.

Smells of thick bready malt and simcoe hops. Unmistakable. Taste is again nice and bready and thick, and laced with simcoes. Unfortunate that they felt the need to hop this up as much as they did. I would think it more of a DIPA than anything resembling a Belgian style.

Big body on this one. You can really feel the thickness. Not entirely unpleasant, though I was hoping for something else. Drinkable yes, but I wouldn't share another and probably won't seek this one out again.

I didn't get anything resembling a tripel from this, but a fairly decent DIPA.

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Photo of my_knew_craft
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of AaronHomoya
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle with very nice presentation.

Pours a red-amber color with little head.

Aroma was a bit off-putting. Combination of sour, fruity aroma with clove, flowers and honey. However, this conbined with the smell of old bananas to create a rotten fruit-like aroma. This improved as the beer warmed, but still took a lot away from my enjoyment.

Taste was of sweet, tropical fruit-like hops. A little honey and yeastiness. Nicely bitter finish.

Smooth, medium body. Drinkability suffered due to the smell mostly.

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Photo of zdk9
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the special Excelsior series, April '07.

A- A cloudy light orange. Not much head and very little lacing which is suprising with the hop level of the beer.

S- Hops are in the forefront of the smell with a bit of piney/earthiness. Some nice fruity touches of peaches and sweet apple.

T- Again hops are the focus. A good balance of bitterness and a touch of sweet maltiness which lends the fruit flavors.

M- Not too bitter and just smooth enough to enjoy.

D- A good beer but not all that interesting to enjoy for a long period of time. Would be interesting to see if more earthy tones came out with age.

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Photo of shirfan
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle number.... 666.

Bright orange-copper with a thin layer of very fine lace. Crystal clear at first, lightly cloudy with some chunks after a swirl-n-pour.

Aroma of tangerines, fresh bagels, and a hint of saltwater air.

Taste is complex yet soft and almost even understated until a delayed floral and leafy hop bitterness sets in from the IPA side of this creation. Not especially estery, but there is a bit of sweet tangerine and perhaps honey flavor floating around.

A good brew to be sure, but I think the belgian influence could be stronger. As it is, the IPA is bigger than the Abbey.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my standard tulip glass. The ale appears a hazed rich apricot color with about two fingers of dense light tan foam. The head leaves a decent lace behind on the inside of my glass. Nose and flavor are of caramel, toasted cereal grain, orange, lemon peel, yeast. A notch or two better than medium bodied with ample carbonation. Worth a try.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 952 of the IPAbbey Belgo-American Experiment.

First... i think it's interesting how different a simple thing like clarity can be so different between reviews. I wonder if that the difference in reviewers or product? I'm thinking product in this case. Bottle 952 poured the color and haziness of a good New York Apple Cider. About half way down i can see particles of 'unfiltered stuff''. It also poured flat, some spotty lacing observed. The last third, aggressively poured, still yielded less than a finger off white head and didn't enhance the nose much.

The initial pour smelled primarily of the honey malt and Belgian yeast. The middle smells as sweet and as malty as a high-end IIPA but much more subtle.

Medium bodied, the mouth feel of this particular bottle was significantly under carbonated...for either an IPA or a Triple. There is still a tingle from the hops that's keeping things interesting. Surprisingly clean, very little post swallow signature.

The flavor is good; much like a nice IPA, but with a balanced sweet malt characteristic. The 'abbey' element isn't as pronounced.

Drinkability - I'm surprised that it's 9% ABV because i'm not detecting that in any respect, either in the mouth or after the seven hundred and fiftieth ml. Looking forward to the other 2 bottles that i have and to the other three products in the Excelsior line. Summary: kinda sorta like an IPA and somewhat like an IIPA, but nothing like Ithaca Double IPA.

I think the coolest thing is trying new beers and sampling new-new beers is the ultimate deal!! Ithaca rocks! You go girls!

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Photo of number1bum
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BeerTruth for this one.

Pours a hazy orange copper color that struggles to produce much of any head. About one finger of head eventually builds with a very aggressive pour but it's bubbly and recedes quickly leaving nary a trace. Lots of bubbles, as well.

Smell is earthy and bready with some citrus hops and a bit of sweet caramel malt. There's also some belgian yeast in there, and the nose is also quite boozy.

Taste has a hop bitterness to it that hits you up front and stays throughout. It's not overpowering at all, and there's enough bready and sweet caramel malt flavor to balance it out. Some citrus hop flavor sneaks in toward the finish and the finish is quite dry with lots of hop resins coating the palate. Not much alcohol in the taste although it comes out in the nose.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, and the brew is quite smooth. Interesting and pretty complex but it's not spectacular. Definitely worth a try though and I'd have it again if I happened upon it.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honey yeasted Belgian IPA. A good example of this new style. Though the honey yeast contributes to mouth texture, is it necessay? It moderates the IPA bitterness and overall a good balnce, integration of ideas. Worth seeking out, and a game changer for this brewery.Simcoe, Amarillo, and Saaz, and Trappist Ale Yeast. Good drinkability.

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Photo of jackorain
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle with a nice green label, attactive. Label says "Release Date: APR-07" and "Bottle #1896"

A-ligth brown and murky. Not much head from agressive pour. Poor retention. Some sheeting, leggy lace. There was a brown scum around the inside of the mouth of the bottle. It almost looked like it was laid down at some point. But I di purchase it at the brewery and it was standing up at that time.

S-big hoppy aroma, simcoe is here for sure. Grapefruit and pine. Yeastiness is present in the middle. Caramel malts show through as well,

T-This beer is hoppy, big pine and grapefruit, caramel mlats and frutiness certainly don't balance out these hops. Lemony, sour and grapefruit bitter finish. A little dry too. Not too much yeast here in the flavor. I diod expect a little more funk like Houblin Chouffe

M-medium body, nice even carbonation

D-its okay, I'll let it go after splitingone with my wife over spicy chinese. Paired well with that though.

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Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Basically its a little pricey and not the most complex Belgian adaptation, but it's plenty tasty and a great drinking beer. The taste and aroma all center on the hops profile of American citrus hopsbacked by spicy Saaz. The malt really lays low and is too smooth really. The alcohol never comes out, so watch out and make sure you share with a friend. I'd call it a good social beer.

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Photo of Calico
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I went down to Ithaca in the hopes of finding some of this still on tap after the grand opening night at Korova; alas, there was none on tap, but Finger Lakes Beverage Center had it for $8.99/750 mL bottle, so I picked one up.

Appearance is cloudy amber with good head retention.

Aroma is mostly of hops, with the American ones (Simcoe and Amarillo) predominating. A bit of warm fruity esters, plum and peach.

Taste is mostly that of an American IPA, hop-forward. Mouthfeel very bitter on the tongue. I can taste the round-bodied esters here, a tiny bit of banana, a lot of plum, a little strawberry. My husband said Juicy-Fruit gum but I disagree. There's a lot of astringency here, puckering up the front part of my tongue. (Hop oils may play a part in this as well.)

I'd call this an American IPA if the Belgian IPA category hadn't been added. It's more like a Great Divide Titan than it is like a Duvel. Whatever it is, I like it, though I think I'd like it more if it backed off on the hops and let the Belgian yeast character take over.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

sampling a cellar temp bottle aged from the 2007 release. Bottle number 1092.

Poured into a snifter, I am careful not to get any sediment on this first pour. Beer is a beautiful bright clear copper with heavy ruby highlights. Very minimal eggshell white head leaves only wispy islands almost immediately after sitting the bottle down on my desk.

The aroma is very mild at this tasting and is basically some mild grainy malt and a bit of caramel sweetness mixed with some earthy hops and a bit of grass. I bet the hops were bigger when this was first bottled.

First sip reveals an average bodied beer with very mild and spacious carbonation. The flavor is a bit of sweet malt with caramel dominant and followed by some astringent herbal, tea leaf hops. Sits a little bitter on the palate after each swallow.

No real hints of the ABV and the beer is very drinkable.

wonder if they will ever do this again?

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Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 1136

Appearance: Pours a murky amber with very little head despite an increasingly hard pour; surprisingly manages to leave some lace, however

Smell: Mostly caramel malt with just a hint of piney hops

Taste: Opens with a caramel base flavor, more like an amber ale; by mid-palate, some earthy and woody flavors arrive, moving this into English IPA or ESB territory; after the swallow, it gets fruitier, with stone fruit and earthy pine flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation

Drinkability: Mighty bizarre beer; I'm not getting anything Belgian out of this, but I do like the way it tastes

Thanks, BeerTruth, for the opportunity

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to beertruth for this via trade. Bottle #156

a - Pours a crystal clear honey / amber hue with a billowy off white colored head.
S - Strong citrus hops with a touch of spicy hops dominate. When up to room temp, light undertones of honey and amber malts show up. Being a belgian I had hoped for a more pronounced yeast aroma but if it's there it's all hops right now.
T - Similar to the smell but the honey / amber malts begin to be more pronounced towards the end of the bottle.
M - one for the hop lovers out there! The hops are sharp yet smooth. The ABV is so well hidden you'd think it's less until you finish the bottle.

A must try if you're a hophead.

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Photo of Minotaur
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An ale combining elements of the Belgian Triple and IPA hop quantities. This is from a 2007 bottle. Poured into a Chimay goblet.

The appearance is definitely "rustic". It is speckled with black flecks which cause a haze in the amber-brown body of the beer. There is almost no head to speak of and no real lacing. Just a tiny skim of white here and there atop the swampy water looking murk. Little to no carbonation.

Things begin to get better with the aroma: the nutty, bready sweetness of the belgian ale with an overlay of Simcoe hops: floral, citrus, sweet fruits, berries.

The taste is wholly unique. Upfront it can be intensely grapefruit bitter but there is a massive honey, caramel-malt sweetness beneath that sharp attack. There is a strange melody being played beneath the very light and not particularly deep sweetness - and the very sharp hops. Initially it almost seems disconnected, but when had with food - especially spicy food (I had this with a curry) - it begins to harmonize entirely.
Other flavors: plumb, holiday spices such as coriander and ginger, the distinctive sweetness of the honey becomes highly pronounced. There is also the characteristic Belgian flavors of yeast and sourdough bread that poke through, and seem to characterize the blend.

Post food and through out the glass the bitterness returns, nearly overtaking the sweetness. I almost feel like there are too few "mid-range" flavors The alcohol presence is now making itself known.

I am fairly well amazed at how intensely the bitterness and floral quality of the hops has been maintained through out the nearly three years of aging.

The mouthfeel on this beer is very good: smooth, liquor-like, soft despite the intense palate.

It is a very drinkable, if not bitter hop-heavy, beer.

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

Beer review from BA Mag Aug 2007.

Part of Ithaca's new Excelsior! series of bold, hand-bottled, bottle-conditioned beers. A "Hoppy Tripel Ale" brewed with Canadian honey malt; Saaz, Simcoe and Amarillo hops; and a Trappist yeast strain. Ours is bottle #50 from the April 2007 release.

Chill-hazed (though it clears up as it warms), this beer pours a dark amber color with copper hues and a nice creamy white lacing and stick. Complex aroma of breads, herbal characters, resin, citrus flowers and light caramel, as well as a hint of ripe fruits and soap-like notes. Super-smooth and creamy on the palate. Body is firm and round, with a slight chewiness to it. Prickly bitterness strikes the palate first, then herbal and woody notes; a backhanded citric smack lingers throughout. Touch of aspirin and dry leafiness. Hop oils coat the palate with a dense resiny presence. Gets quite bready at times, with sugary notes, ripe stone fruits, blood oranges, mild toffee, dark bread crusts, a slight buttery note and burnt, earthy characters around the edges. Wood/bark notes emerge in the dry finish, with a lingering herbal flavor in the oils. The alcohol is hidden well in this one, but its warmth will indeed sneak up on you.

We love this emerging enthusiasm for hoppy and strong Belgian ale that beers like De Ranke XX and Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel have helped to put on the map. IPAbbey offers the same enjoyment and flexes qualities that Tripel and Dubbel IPA fans should no doubt enjoy. We dig it a lot.

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Photo of ahbaggins
4/5  rDev +0.8%

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

Bottle #742. IPAbbey is a slightly hazy solid sienna with a quickly disappearing oil-slick head. The aroma is very fresh and of bright, fruity hops. It is medium bodied and smooth. It's mostly just hops in the flavor. It's quite bitter (think citrus peel) but not over the top. It is balanced with a mild sweetness. This doesn't really seem like a Tripel to me-- I never identified any esters that I would look for in a Tripel. This just seems like a really good IPA.
(rated Jun 12, 2007)

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A style that I have only ventured into a few times and well I havent come out all that impressed yet this one changed that for me.Poured into a oversized wine glass a tawny slight hazed brown with a frothy 1/2 finger head,ahh the amarillo hops show in the nose a piney,resiny quality along with some Belgian yeast components hints of medicinal and brown sugar notes.Nice hop profile on the palate somewhat piney and herbal maybe from the saaz imparted a yeasty spice flavor comes thru with some light medicinal and dark fruit character.Interesting but could use a bit of cellaring its quite big and somewhat alcoholic right now.

Bottled in April
Bottle #670

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Photo of drseamus
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

April 2007 Bottle 056; provided by aerozeppl

A: Amber body with plenty of floaties. Great lacing.

S: Honey malt and the smell of bitterness. Some tropical fruits float around in there also.

T: Still good hoppy bitterness despite the age. Pretty amazing how well it held up.

M: Medium bodied and smooth as silk.

D: Pretty drinkability. Very smooth despite the bitterness.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 FL OZ. (750 mL) poured into the Excelsior! tulip glass.

Released: Apr 07 Bottle # 151

I was so happy to finally get this beer from the brewery. These are basically available only in the Ithaca area, so get them if you can. Let's just start off by saying this is a very unique beer. Like on the label, they proclaim it to be a Belgo-American Ale. I wasn't sure whether or not to classify this brew as a Belgian IPA or a Tripel, but it's quite hoppy so I went with the Belgian IPA. Pours a cloudy amber hue with a fairly thin off white colored head. Little granular lacing that sticks here and there throughout tasting. Smell is fruity/citrusy which comes from the powerful hop explosion. A hint of spicy cloves followed by a yeasty honey odor, very enticing. Taste is amazing, begins with a piney bitterness that ends with a smooth yeasty aftertaste. The honey flavor stays true with a bit of figs and apple as well. Mouthfeel is very chewy/grainy but quite easy on the palate. Carbonation is low which helps the drinkability for a 9% abv. Ithaca Beer Co. continues to brew some wonderful beers. If you enjoy Belgians and/or IPA's, get a hold of this one. It will please anyone and everyone that appreciates a well crafted brew. Absolutely delicious!

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IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series) from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 75% out of 100 with 40 ratings
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