Illumination
Central Waters Brewing Co.

IlluminationIllumination
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Style:
American Imperial IPA
Ranked #1,370
ABV:
9%
Score:
91
Ranked #4,380
Avg:
4.06 | pDev: 9.61%
Reviews:
274
Ratings:
942
From:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
 
Wisconsin, United States
Avail:
Spring
Wants
  96
Gots
  97
SCORE
91
Outstanding
IlluminationIllumination
Notes: Can you say palate wrecker? This double India pale ale is our version of a mouthful of hops. Full of Centennial, Chinook and Simcoe hops, it is as hoppy as a beer gets.
Reviews: 274 | Ratings: 942 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can into Goose Island Nonic Pint.
8/20/19

Chill-hazed, honey colored, with a tall creamy cap of 3 fingers, leaving tons of lace destroying the glass.

Aroma is straight pineapple. Freshly sliced, crisp, hard, juicy pineapple. Hints of citrus and grass.

Flavor is huge, huge, huge. A double dose of malt starts this - actually a nice balance of pale and toasted/caramel malts, followed by hints of citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit), pineapple, and some onion. I imagine as this beer ages the onion will come out more, but for now it's manageable.

Feel is super resin-y first and foremost, with a nice creamy body, moderate carbonation, intense warming alcohol, and more resins on the finish.

Overall, this is the imperial stout of IPAs. Unforgiving, unflinching, very intense, but has a wonderful balance of fruit and caramel malt. Definitely try it if you haven't yet, and it's been way too long since I've had it. Just make sure you get it fresh, it can get kinda stanky if it's left too long.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a single can into a tulip.

Pours a hazy amber with excellent two-fingered foamy/frothy head and excellent staying power. Good lacing.

The aromas are very forward--not shy at all. Citrus (ruby red grapefruit and orange) balanced with resiny pine. Hints of caramel malt and booze.

The flavor is a hopsplotion. Old school earthy hop bitterness meld with red grapefruit, mango, pineapple, white grape, white pepper, grassy notes and pine resins. Hints of crackery malt and plenty of warming booze.

Medium bodied, smooth, foamy very dry and fairly boozy on the palate. The finish is all hop.

This is a solid DIPA with earthy hop flavor from days gone by.

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Photo of scootny
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a big beer with no holds on the hops. A cloudy burnt orange fluid with a roasted eggshell head. A bit of rockiness and soapy bubbles.

Great nose with lots of citrus and an undercurrent of pine. The Chinook is my favorite part of the picture. Malt adds caramel and and light bread notes with an orange overtone.

Taste is very well balanced. I poured this at about 48 degrees to develop the flavor and it does not disappoint. A healthy malt backbone presents lots of citrus and pineapple on a bed of pine. Huge grapefruit smakdown in the middle of it. Finish is surprisingly clean and dry. Yes there is a hop oil linger but given the amount of hops going on it leaves quickly with a hint of mint. Alcohol is present but not prominent, basically undercover.

Feel is somewhat heavy with a lively carbonation and smooth swallow. Quite thirst quenching for such a big beer.

A great DIPA. Easy drinking for such big beer. I really like the hop combination.

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Photo of RoadLizard
4.69/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Great looking beer right out of the bottle. Nice initial head that creates a perfect lacing down the glass. Smells of citrus, orange, some pine and a little grapefruit too. Hazy orange color. This is exactly what a strong IPA should taste like IMO. Its clean, refreshing and has a perfect citrus bite without that "dirty" hop flavor that too many beers end up having. There is a slight maltiness at the back that just tones things down a tad & makes it practically balanced. Its delicious. Period. Great mouthfeel too. I cant find much wrong with this beer. Its going to be in heavy rotation in my fridge, thats for sure. Highly recommended.

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Photo of beergoot
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear, orange body; fine carbonation bubbles; creamy, sticky white head; sheets of foam clinging to the inside of the glass. A very nice citrus and pine aroma. Nice malt base provides a solid foundation for a robust hop bitterness; some citrus rind flavors; kind of peppery. Medium body; coarse and tingly on the tongue; mostly dry finish.

This beer delivers the goods for a powerfully hopped beer. Well-rounded and quite drinkable even with the 9% ABV. Good stuff.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

You know Central Waters makes several world class barrel aged beers. But one aspect of their game seems decidedly underwhelming, and that would be their contributions to the hoppy world of beers. Will this one be any different?

Pours a hearty orange color familiar to those who remember the ibu and crystal malt arms race of the last decade. 1/3" barely off white head. Aroma isn't huge, not much dry hopping going on, and what there is or might be, seems to be of the bittering hop variety as opposed to an aroma or finishing hop.

Taste is a mostly bitter and malty ipa, without much in the way of flavor beyond the normative caramel, pine and grapefruit discussions. Hides the alcohol pretty decently. This is pretty much exactly what you would expect from this book when you judge it by the cover. There are no off flavors or whatnot. Just another sticky dense malty ipa with a ton of IBUs moreso than citrus or tropical flavors or smells.

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Photo of scream
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is pretty solid. It will not blow one away if you are looking for a hop bomb. It's just a really well done example of a traditional IIPA. If you are looking for a NEIPA it is not for you. I like it

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a bright, clear orange with an average head. The aroma features pine, caramel, grapefruit, orange, and mango. The flavor is very bitter and quite sweet, with orange and grapefruit peel, dry caramel, and a strong pine finish. The mouthfeel is very full and rich upfront, with a dry finish. Overall this is a classic big double IPA - lots of booze, lots of bitterness, lots of caramel malt - tasty and classic.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L- pours a brilliant, hazy, golden Orange. It has a one finger, White, foamy head. Just a little carbonation.
S- smells of candied orange and pineapple as well as other citrus fruits. Very sweet smell.
T- The Taste follows the nose in which the malt makes this a very balanced Dipa. The candied Citrus hop is a very nice experience very juicy Citrus hops. The bitterness does come to the party and resonates for a while but does not dominate The Taste. Also a little pine on the back end and is part of the finish.
F- the alcohol is nearly undetectable. A very balanced mouthfeel with a light to medium bodied the IPA.
O- one of the most balanced dip Asif had. The candied Citrus hops with a bitter finish is very well done. A wonderful example of the Dipa.

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Photo of craigbelly
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is mild, and I'm not knocking it, it's fantastic. But don't be fooled, this is all hop. It's alot to take in, but as you work your way through this one you start breaking it down. Its a big bold hoppy DIPA.

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Photo of Cfred371
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Illumination pours a beautiful, translucent, orange gold. A head of a finger or so rises up top, and carbonation bubbles stream North.

Smell: Waves of dank notes hit the nose. Pine, resin, some hay notes, but stirring leads to more resin.

Taste: Hops are really the main show here. Pine, resin, some tropical flavors, though not terribly dominant. A nice example of an old school IPA.

Feel: Illumination is definitely well carbonated. and presents a medium body. There's some bitterness and drying in the finish, but I've experienced more intense bitterness.

Overall: This is a nice west coast IPA that's worth checking out. The dankness isn't overwhelming to the point that it detracts, but it is certainly the main show.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An intense but balanced take on the style here, big for sure, but it's not just all hops through the whole thing, there is a sturdy biscuity crystal malt base that balances nicely, adds a ton of body, and gives it some legs and depth. The hops are piney and dank, resinous and sticky feeling, bitter for sure, but even a little sweet in the flavor, west coast type, pungent and classic to me, northwestern varietals, high dose, spruce, even juniper and orange here. Lots of body, even for a double, and lots of high alpha hops pushing through it, bitter in the end as sweet as it is to start. Long lasting sticky sappy hops on the palate well after the swallow. I like this one a lot, but it definitely seems wintery to me with all the pine going on in it, Christmas tree, and enough booze cutting in to be very holiday appropriate. It feels like a lot to me in warmer weather, but I really like it still. Definitely one of the better hoppy beers I have had from these guys so far. Starting to seem like they do everything pretty darn well...

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Holy Smoke: Pours a cloudy honey gold with a cap of head that quickly settles to a collar. Smell off old socks... taste seems also off not quite medicinal.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden with tan hues with a thumbs worth of head. Decent lacing. I found the smell mild, but what I did pick up was pine hops and malts. The taste was pine hops with a touch of citrus up front, malts in the middle and a bitter resiny finish. Medium carbonation and a sticky mouthfeel.

Good beer, but the nose seems a bit mild for what I would expect. Definitely hoppy enough, and worth a try for the IPA/DIPA crowd.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tuliip

A- pours a clear amber color with some orange and ruby hues, small creamy white head reduces to a thin film and ring around the edge

S- Piney and resinous hop with a hint of citrus and melon, sweet malty undertone gives off hints of caramel

T- strong piney and grassy hop bitterness up front, followed by lighter notes of citrus. Earthy and caramel malt add a bit of balance, before finishing with a resinous finish and lingers of pine and citrus

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy thick mouthfeel that continues into the finish

O- very bitter and aggressive, the underlying malt seems to control it a bit

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for this one. 12oz. bottle into a Darkness snifter. The label is different now than what is posted.

Elevated pour yields a .5 finger foamy white head with moderate retention. Beer is a clear dark peach. Lacing is spotty and sparse with little stick. Average.

Nose belies the flavor profile and immediately, I know that this is the piney, sappy IPA style that I'm not a huge fan of. Notes of tree sap, resin, caramel and papaya. Moderately aromatic.

Opens resin, tree sap hop bitterness and a full bodied fruit malt body. Some more sap and resin hop presence in the middle balanced by caramel, coarse brown sugar and bark. Ends grass, sap and amber. Solid but I'm really just not a fan.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Foamy and bubbly in the mouth and goes down aggressive and coarse. Finishes accented with a resiny, sticky aftertaste. Decent.

There's big, bold hop flavor going on here but I'm just not a fan of the resiny, sappy hop profile type IPAs. This certainly leans towards that direction. Not a bad beer by any means, just not my style.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm a big fan of many of Central Waters' beers, though I'm not overly fond of Glacial Trail IPA. But when I saw Illumination in six packs for about $6 more than their staple brews, I had to jump at it. Poured straight from the fridge into a pint glass and enjoyed immediately.

L: Pours a deep copper/apricot with about a half inch of off-white head that persists for a good while before settling down to a ring and broken film. Quite clear, with modest effervescence. Substantial lacing on the glass as it goes down.

S: It doesn't have an overpowering nose to it, but the bouquet is beautiful. Lots of citrus/grapefruit hop notes mingling nicely with apricot and more subtle pine and grasses.

T: Some sweet malt/biscuit flavors at the fore, followed almost immediately by a piney hop onslaught that carries into the aftertaste. At the back, the citrus flavors assert themselves before a nice--but by no means overwhelming--bitterness. This description might make the taste seem jarring, but it's quite the opposite: this is an extremely well-balanced and drinkable DIPA.

F: One thing I can't stand about many of the DIPAs out there is their syrupy quality. This beer is not in the least syrupy or overly heavy on the palate. It has a lighter body than many in this style, along with just the right carbonation. The bitter stays on your taste buds without making you feel like you've just swallowed Robitussin.

O: If you can get your hands on this beer, it'll be well-worth your effort. It's incredibly drinkable for a DIPA--it really goes down easy without sacrificing any of the hop glory. You continue to impress me, Central Waters.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.71/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vibrant tangerine color with solid fluffy head, looks great. Smell is more piney followed by some citrus, again very well done. Smoothest DIPA I've encountered but has resinous hops linger. Completely dangerous at its ABV. It's a winner

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From taste notes. Appearance: Smell: Rich, hoppy grapefruit rind nose Taste: Starts malty with some caramel and they gives way to a very pleasant lingering citrus rind bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium body, rich and creamy, fine soft carbonation, smooth. Overall: Very easy to drink for such a big beer.

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Photo of Chaz
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazey orange-amber in color, topped with a rocky pale tan head. Head Holds up for a good few minutes (in a chalice) and exhibits good lacing. Looks good so far...

How this beer looks is greatly overshadowed by the massive juicy hop aroma, and the complexity to be found therein. Citrus (orange and lemon rind, grapefruit) and tropical fruit, along with a hint of (pepper)mint. Sweet malt profile as well; smells rich but not too complex. Just a hint of yeast.

Brisk and sweet/tangy/bitter on the first sip, coating the tongue and entire palate with a lightly-numbing, resiny hop character. It's the whole shebang, all at once! Dry on the finish -- astringent.

Notes of mint and anise on the back of the palate, which is a change from the burst of citrus and tropical fruit on the nose. Nice surprise, actually.

Mouthfeel is lighter that I'd expected, making this seem like a much easier drinking beer (the alcohol is pretty well hidden at first, too.) Defintely dangerously-drinkable at this strength.

This one brings back some very fond memories of my first 90 Minute I.P.A.!

Worth seeking out, trading for, or ticking -- take your pick!

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Pours a moderately hazed orange color with a white head. Some lace is left behind on the glass. Aroma is floral and citrusy with a hint of pine. The taste is like dandelion with so much floral but backed by citrus and pine. Floral, bitter and resinous. Medium bodied, well carbonated, semi dry with the sharp hop bite. Overall, an above average brew that is worthy of the praise.

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

August 29, 2014

Tulip, 12 oz bottle

A – Pours deep golden to orange amber, slight haze after the pour. I can see a lot of bubbles and carbonation in the beer. Moderate foam head that sticks around for a minute or so, about a cm of froth sitting on top after a couple minutes.

S – Resin, tropical fruit, maybe some guava or something similar that I can’t quite identify. Some pine in the background. Smells like it’s going to be a pretty bitter beer, the hops are definitely there over the malt.

T – The hops are very fruity and bitter, but there’s a surprising amount of maltiness here as well. Much more balanced in the taste than in the aroma. Still getting the resin and the pine, but still some tropical or passion fruit there. Again, much more balanced then I was expecting. There also seems to be some alcohol heat that I wouldn’t expect with it being “just” 9% alcohol—comparable to what I taste with a 120 Minute.

M – Very bitter, but the maltiness comes in to balance it out. A pretty thick feeling beer, but the carbonation washes it away quite nicely. The bitterness does stay in the finish and the aftertaste, a little more so than I prefer. Again, getting some heat from the alcohol, but pretty mild.

O – A lot of Double IPAs try to hit you over the head with the hop bitterness, and with the aroma profile I thought this would be similar. However, the maltiness provides some really nice balance across the senses, especially with the flavor and the mouthfeel. It has a lot of qualities I would expect from a more English IPA. I really like this beer, and think it stands out amongst Double IPAs.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

A - Pours an orange amber with a finger of light tan head. Good retention, fantastic lacing

S - Grapefruit and orange mostly. An incy bincy bit resinous, maybe a hint of booze as well.

T - Very nice. Big dry bitterness but the citrusy grapefruit and orange do a solid job holding up to it. Big boozy and bitter mainly but enough balance in here to make it quite enjoyable. I'm thinking if maharajah was actually balanced it would maybe taste something close to this.

M - Medium bodied+, solid carbonation. The boozyness makes it a little bit of a sipper but still an enjoyable drinking big bitter dipa

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served from tap in a tulip.

The beer is a dark amber color, slightly cloudy and was served to me with about a one-finger foamy head.

The aroma is grapefruit and citrus with a hint of underlying bready malt.

The taste is big-time grapefruit with maybe a hit of pine resin and a bit of booziness. There is a lingering grapefruit pith bitterness that stays on the tongue for some time. It's quite a potent mouthful.

The beer is medium in mouthfeel and a bit sticky.

This is an excellent brew that I would happily drink again. A big IPA that delivers big flavor.

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Photo of Tone
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, floral hops, sweet malt, hint of pine, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong bitterness level. Tastes of citrus hops, floral hops, sweet malt, strong pine, and alcohol. Overall, strong and fresh flavors, good appearance, aroma, and body.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 942 ratings