IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series) | Ithaca Beer Company

IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series)IPAbbey (Excelsior! Series)
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of Kendo
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle # 572, bottled in April of 2007.

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Body is murky copperish amber with lots of sediment/floaties. A small ivory head disappears quickly. Only minimal splotches of lacing.

S: I think "instant c-hops on the nose" -- grapefruit and tropical fruits waft up from the glass before I even pick it up. Upon closer inspection there's some alcohol as well. Smells nice.

T: Caramel malt base then hops -- like the nose, there's grapefruity hops with tropical fruit (papaya or mango). Feels sticky and juicy, but a dry, lemony taste lingers and cuts through the sweetness, leaving a nice dry bitter aftertaste. Alcohol is noted, more so as it warms, and that familiar warm feeling in the belly is evident right away.

M: Sticky and juicy in feel, medium to full-bodied in heft.

D: Pretty good for a beer with this much booze. That dry hoppy bitterness really cuts the sweet fruit and encourages another sip.

Notes: I wrote "very fruity" at one point. I'm not sure if that flavor was from the American-style hops or the Belgian-style yeast -- or some combination of the two. I thought this beer worked pretty well, though at these prices (I think I paid $8.99 at a Consumers in Erie County back in July), even if this were a regular offering from Ithaca, I probably wouldn't buy it all that often. . . .

Thanks to MRMOJORISIN for his hospitality -- and raided beer cellar -- on Saturday night. . . .

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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 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 djamieson
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at the brewery in Ithaca and enjoyed it during a rainstorm while camping at nearby Buttermilk Falls. Since we were drinking out of the bottle, as is the only way around the campfire, appearance is not applicable. The aroma was consistent with the proclamation on the bottle as a Belgian abbey ale with a ton of hops. As a hophead with some solid experience living and drinking in Belgium, this beer knocked my socks off. The strength (ABV) and malt sweetness point to a tripel all the way, balanced near perfection with heaps of NY state greenery, this should brighten anyones soggy campout. Big up to Ithaca on this Masterpiece.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Peachy hazy cloudy pour with a settled head cap with a scant coating leaving zero lace.

Bright peach and apricot nose over waffle malt scent leaving behind some green melon aromas.

First swigs: Peach hops front over meringue flavor. Light playful body and spicy hints of cardomon and orange peel. Mix of light spice and peach sherbert pale malt?

Feel is subtle bubble fwisk ginger ale. The 9.0% ABV is completely totally hidden.

Last swigs: Sherbert and pale malt waffle ease. Well done Belgian pale. An easy version of Houblon Chouffe.

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

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is excellent. It has a wonderful hop aroma that really stands out. It also has a solid malt bill of mostly pale and light crystal malts. It's well balanced with a slight Belgian yeast fruitiness in the back. The taste is good also. It is extremely bitter from start to finish. This is one damn hoppy beer. It goes down easy with a hefty malt bill and finishes smooth with a yeast feel. It's not dry like some IPAs. It's a bit sweet and fruity at the end, although it's hard to tell with all the hops. The mouthfeel is great. It's a full bodied beer with just the right amount of carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's a lot more IPA than Abbey, but it drinks well and has awesome hop character. Cheers!

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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: 3.97 out of 5 with 40 ratings
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