Illumination | Central Waters Brewing Co.

264 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CaptainIPA on 06-01-2010

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Reviews: 264 | Ratings: 913
Photo of SortaAmbivalent
4.92/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a couple more 4 packs at Tournament. Poured from a glass into a Sierra Nevada Hop Tulip Imperial Pint Glass

The pour produced an impressive THICK one inch or so head. The beer is a hazy golden orange with plenty of carbonation and alot of lacing.

Upon opening the bottle I could smell fresh citrus, mango, grapefruit and pine. Just awesome.

The taste pretty much follows the smell, which is right up my alley. A little malty sweetness and then the bitter taste of the hops hangs on till the bitter end.

The mouthfeel is nice. The oily hops and carbonation combine to make just an incredible beer.

Does knowing that this is only around 6 or 8 weeks a year, if that, make me love it more? I'm not sure. But as far as the season DIPA parade, this beer gets a front float ride with Hopslam.
If it was available year round that would be cool. But it's probably best it isn't.
Golf clap for Central Waters.

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Photo of bld81
4.89/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks for the bottle, kort27!
No date, bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: dusty honey yellow appearance, nice sticky head
S: fruity with peach fights alongside pine and grass, nice and fresh hop aroma
T: Amazing, mouth puckering citrus, grapefruit, lemon and hay, malt follows long behind to prove its there
M: medium dry finish, alcohol hidden by carbonation and lingering bitter notes
O: Really tasty, wish I could get this in my area, can't wait to try again.

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Photo of Mdog
4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange-amber, huge head.

Smell: Pretty strong citrus/grapefruit.

Taste: Pineapple and sweetened pink grapefruit. Big sweetness before a dry but not super bitter finish.

Drinkability: I really like sweeter DIPA's and this one goes down fast. Not too bad at $10-$11 a 4 pack.

A double IPA that I haven't reviewed, so picked up a 4 pack. I like my DIPA's on the sweet side and this definitely hits that target. Plenty of hop bitterness too and easy to drink, not too heavy feeling. Highly recommended!

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant cloudy amber color with a terrific looking bubbly head that dissipates very slowly leaving lacing along the glass. This is the definition of what a DIPA should look like.

As soon as a pop the top on the bottle wonderful citrus notes bombard my nose. The aromatics here are stunning, tons of citrus and grapefruit, simply amazing.

Here is where the beer really shines with big bold citrus and grapefruit hoppy flavors up front followed by a nice big wave of bitterness. I love how this beer finishes bitter, but balanced. The malt is present, slight caramel, but takes a backseat to the massive hops, the way a DIPA should taste.

Mouthfeel is full and also slightly creamy. Medium carbonation compliments this beer excellently.

Very drinkable beer, the booze is no where to be found. I am blown away by this beer and recommend it to all hop heads, truly a thing of beauty.

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Photo of DeschutesNut
4.77/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pour yielded a golden amber color with an off white, two to three finger head that leaves thick lacing.

S-Smells of pineapple and mango and some light malt noted with a bit of pine.

T-Bitter and pine in the forfront with some very ripe pineapple and a slight hint of alcohol.

M-Refreashing mouth with light body and a medium to high amount of prickly carbonation.

D-Love this beer. Im gonna go out and say this. My favorite DIPA out there. Well that I have tasted. Cant wait till next year.

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Photo of gatornation
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours a beautiful amber/orange color with a perfect 1 finger head with clingy sticky lacing..the smell is mango.peach,pineapple,grapefruit..its a tropical feast for the follows with juicy hops/malty smells..the taste is exceptional it starts with a tropical barrage of fruit then some grapefruit infused hops..all balanced out with some sweet malts..a perfectly balanced dipa of supreme creamy taste..CW has hit this style out of the park.the mouthfeel is medium/full for a 9% and finishes in the end with a bitter hop taste in the back of the mouth that tells you that you want more..the drink ability is off the chart you just want another sip or another easy to down 2 of these very fast.exceptionally smooth ,creamy and very hoppy/ flavorful..very very recommended

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Photo of richkrull
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice cloudy golden color with quite a bit of fluffy slightly off-white head on it. Great lacing on this beer as well. Heavy hop aroma with maybe a hint of caramel coming through. Flavor is definitely hoppy with quite a bit of citrus and pine coming through. It's a good tasting beer. No alcohol flavor at all despite being 9% ABV. Mouthfeel is light but the presence is known. Very smooth drinking beer. Overall a great tasting DIPA. I'm glad it's a Wisconsin beer.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
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 kkleu357
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%

From notes on 10/31/13

Pours with not much head. Lots of flowery hoppy smell. Great full body flavor. What sticks out to me is there is more to it than bitter hops. Can’t explain it, but my whole tongue was hit worth flavors, not just the sides.

Also, on tap this beer really shines. Huge grapefruit notes and a big punch of bitterness.

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Photo of boralyl
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Bottled in March 2011. Pours an inch of off-white head into a tulip glass. The retention is great and leaves lots of the sticky stuff. The beer is clear and has a golden orange hue.

S - The aroma reminds me of a delicious west coast IPA. Citrus, grapefruit, pine and a light caramel malt presence is what comprises the nose.

M - Medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. The hops resin coats the inside of your mouth and clings for dear life.

T - The beer does a number on your taste buds. It begins a tiny malt sweetness before attacking your taste buds with hops. Orange makes an appearance first followed by citrus and then a strong pine bitterness that lasts long after you swallow and continues obliterating your taste buds.

A palette wrecker, but in the best way possible. This is an excellent double IPA, that is very reminiscent of a west coast hop bomb.

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Photo of Motozappa
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Poured from a growler served yesterday from a freshly tapped keg at Vista Beer and Beverage in Westchester, NY into a VIJF Duvel tulip glass (sil vous plait)

Appearance: When poured little white head developed which is a good thing really( :P ). The lacing was minimal, but what had developed was highly resinous so it stuck for ages. Notably was the cloudiness which a first I thought might be a frosty condensation, but upon whipping both sides of the glass, I knew the opaqueness was quite clearly non-transparent.

Smell: This is where things really get rolling even with my tree pollen alergies trying to stand in the way. To me it seems not all that complex, just straight up lightly florally hops, with a smooth pine aroma and a freshness that can not be compared to many others of the same style.

Taste: Now for a double or imperial IPA these suds are smooth as silk without any bite or a high alcohol blast. First it's hoppy upon the tongue, then mildly dry and lastly if you are paying attention, the persistent flavor lingers nicely on and and on...

Mouthfeel: This part is always hardest for me and no, it didn't feel like a ten thousand pound anchor was dropped upon my palette... I'll do my best: It's almost dry to the entire mouth especially the tongue yet only initially. Then it happens as I open my mouth the dryness dissipates quickly to a well rounded, smooth and sweet finish that is unobtrusive and very satisfying. Oh and it is mildly carbonated, but far from flat which I prefer with most ales.

If you've read this far, I thank you for reading and bearing with my excessive dribble. Enjoy good brews responsibly with good friends and family > goodwill, cheers and peace to all.

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Photo of gford217
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of Frankenbrew.

Pours a brilliant clear golden amber with a soapy white head thate recedes to a wispy cap and leaves some streaks of lacing.

The aroma is wonderful with pithy citrus hops paired with resinous floral hops. Grapefruits, lemons and pine trees all rolled into one. Light bready malts in the background.

The taste also has the sweet but slightly bitter citrus, grapefruits coming out a little more. The backbone is lightly toasted malts and a big, bitter finish just full of sticky pine resin and a little alcohol burn.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky with hops. The carbonation is moderate but the beer just sticks on my tongue after each sip.

This is a fantastic beer. One of the best IPAs I remember tasting. I'm starting to wonder if Central Waters is my favorite brewery. The hits just keep on coming...

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a tulip glass

A: pours a very nice thick golden color with a slight amber color and two fingers of pure white head that is nice and foamy and lingers beautifully,
S: has a great grapefruit scent that is very gentle and not as harsh as im accustomed to with this style, also has a nice crisp scent of leaves or tree sap, not quite sure what it is
T: great taste, perfect amount of grapefruit and sweetness, perfect bitterness and a nice tartness, just awesome taste, so highly drinkable it is bordering on dangerous, only lacking in complexity and depth ever so slightly
M: medium carbonation, thick at first but moves its way over to being smooth and light, leaves a slight dryness
O: as i was pouring this brew, i could already tell i was going to love it, i could smell it as it hit the glass and the colors, just perfect for what i look for in DIPA's. truly reminds me of DFH 60 Minute but with 9% ABV, my god its awesome

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Photo of bound4er
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Hazy golden amber to light orange with tons of carbonation bubbles. Nice puffy two finger white head. Gobs of lacing seem to hang forever.

S. Just what I like in a DIPA - lots of citrus, mango, pineapple - damn, this is making my mouth water. No sign of booze either. Perfection.

T. Balance is what I find - plenty of hop fruitiness and bitterness but not in an off-putting way - citrus and pine seem to dominate. Nice breadiness from the malt for balance without any sweetness to distract.

M. Good creaminess with plenty of backing carbonation.

D. Off the charts - really goes down smoothly with no alcohol to be found. Finally a DIPA from a Wisconsin brewer to get excited about. This is an excellent offering from Central Waters - kudos. Add this to their great line of stouts and CW is right there with NG for best brewer in state honors IMHO.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.61/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Color me Illuminated!!! Got this in a 16oz growler from Cable Beverage in NY, and poured it into my Gandhi-Bot snifter.

A lot of the properties of this beer remind me of Chillwave: color, smell, taste.

Nice mixture of mango and grapefruit on the tongue. Exceptionally delicious!!!

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Photo of Snow81
4.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light glowing orange

Head: Thick white head

Smell: Big floral hops with a light malty grassiness, light citric

Taste: Light citric, little floral and a maltyness that is very low

Weight: Medium to light body

Finish: Sticky on the lips with big floral hops and sweet grass

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage

Pours a hazy orange, with fluffy white head, very nice lacing.

Smell is very nice, grapefruit, hops, and pine.

Taste is excellent, much like the nose, alcohol is very well hidden. Some bitterness at the end but the flavors are very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy, with a nice little bitterness at the end. Nice bit of carbonation.

Overall, this is one I wait all year for. One of the best examples of the style. So glad this brewery is in my back yard.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters tulip.
9% ABV, Bottled On MAR notched on the label. (2012)

A - The sexy sound of the beer pouring into the glass is music to my ears. A densely packed cream head rises quietly and sticks around for a while. Thick, chunky lace coats the glass above a hazy goldenrod yellow-orange-colored beer.

S - Mounds of pine needle and sticky, sappy resin overthrow the inevitable grapefruit citrus nose which is nice for a change. Usually it's the other way around with the American hops, though this beer is certainly not without plenty of tropical fruit aroma. A hearty malty sweetness full of dense bread and caramel cube balances the hops well.

T - The taste reflects the nose quite well. A more powerful pine resin flavor opens up leading into a sweet malty backbone that immediately gives way to a tongue-bruising, teeth-hurting citrus bitter kick. Other nuances pull through after the initial shock of the hop-roundhouse kick to the face wears off. Notes of honey-drizzled toast and a slight spicy yeast component share a low-level spot-light with a very subtle alcohol sensation.

M - The alcohol is almost non-existent in this beer save for the miniscule warming finish and light solvent aroma passed through the olfactory upon retronasal breathing! The medium-full body and light, lively carbonation don't do much to mask the severe bitterness that carries through the finish but the balanced sweetness helps tone down the well-deserved hop-smack. I can't think of a thing I'd change here.

O - Illumination is a great beer from home-boys Central Waters. In sticking with their mantra of "balance, even with big hops" as it were, Illumination serves up plenty for the huge hop head but remains different enough to stand out in a sea of hop monsters. Delicious and drinkable, especially for the high alcohol content, Illumination is a double IPA from Wisconsin that makes me proud.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tangerine gold with a pale-like glow. A creamy densely packed ivory foam sits on top with might at just over a finger high. Slowly sifted down to a heavy skim remaining the entire class through. Caked on lacing in very thick sheets and shelves coat the glass intently well.

Freshly buzzing hops are boldly set on the nose with a citric, tropical, floral front that has peach, mango, pineapple, and sweet pink grapefruit. The citrus dances around with a bit of floral freshness thats a bit weedy/cannibus tinted. Nice.

Taste is far more rounded and duller in sweetness of citrus. The citrus is there but mashed up into more of a darker aged marmalade. Very deep and darker peach, mango, and pineapple, mix together with a bit of pale and caramel malts. Then we come to finish, which totally turns it up big, full, and dryer, while being bittered with grapfruit peels and pithy citrusyness. Cheek parching grapefruity floralness sits last and remains there for quite a lengthy seat on the palate. Again, nice.

Clean, robust, creamy even, and a nearly full body that slips alot of citrusy action taking place all over the place. Excellent finish. Just bitter and drying enough to grab the palate but not pushy as to keep you from taking more sips. Complex hoppyness across the board. A favorably yummy Impy IPA form Central Waters!

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Photo of Beerlover
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Has a cloudy golden color. smells of sweet hops and tastes very similar to another double ipa I have had, couldn't put my finger on it at first but then figured out it was Bell's "hopslam". for about 4 bucks cheaper (taking into consideration the four pack this came in over the 6 pack the bells comes in)a good deal. if you see this one and like hopslam you gotta try it!

(had again this year {2013} and liked it just as much if not more than i remember liking it last year, awesome double ipa, better than hopslam was this year in my opinion!)

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Photo of bsp77
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Brewed in March, 2011 according to the label notch. Fresh!

Appearance: Hazy honey-gold with foamy sustained head and great lacing.

Smell: Wonderful aroma of tangerine, pine, mango, pineapple and some light toasted malts. Sweet, dry and almost tart all at once. I hope this tastes as good as it smells.

Taste: Onslaught of fruity, tropical hops. Some caramel and toasted malt backbone, but it is kept to a minimum. Finish is spicy, bitter and pine-like with some lingering tartness.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium smooth body, extremely dry finish. A little bit of a warming feeling after each sip.

Overall: Just a fantastic DIPA - one of the best I have had. I love that it is so dry and hoppy that it is borderline tart. I had only had Central Waters Glacial IPA before (which was somewhat disappointing) but I may need to try more from them after this beauty.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
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 beerwolf77
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is golden orange with about two fingers of bright white head. Great retention. Lots of sticky lace left around my glass.

The aroma is fragrant bouquet of piney resinous hops and tropical citrus fruits. It's like mangos and grapefruits rolled in fresh pine needles. No malt getting through in this one. I could smell this all day.

The flavor is simply a mirror of the nose. Full hop blast but no shredding bitterness. It has a mango/pineapple/grapefruit smoothness. Like the sweeter side of those fruits. The piney kick is there as well but not until the finish. Spot on perfection.

Medium creamy body with solid carbonation. Light dry finish.

Overall another straight up winner from CW. Super flavorful and hoppy yet easy enough to have more than one in a sitting. Paul is steadily becoming one of my favorite brewers.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this afternoon into a pint, I really like the way this one looks in the glass it is a beautiful orange with a good cloudy haze with no sediment.

It smells of orange, mango, pinapple, citrus all way it is a citrus bomb in the nose.

It tastes just like it smells oranges, mangos, pinapples an other citrus fruits all the way through to the end where a malt backbone and a good bitter bite really come through.

mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth. Very nice.

I really like this DIPA, this is the first year I have tried it but it will not be the last. I wish this was year round.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 3 fingers of head. Very good retention. Thick lacing. Nice hazy orange color. Label is pretty ugly.

S. Smell is tropical fruit. Very citrusy. Grapefruit and Pineapple. Big Hop Smell. Up there with some of the best DIPAs that I have had.

T. This is a super smooth drking DIPA. Taste is more of citrusy hops. I really don't get very much piney flavor, which is a good thing for me. Has that honey sweetness that you get from Hopslam. This is more bitter than Hopslam.

M. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Nice DIPA feel. Touch of lingering sweetness.

D. This beer is extremely driknable for a big DIPA. It goes down super easy. This is a very good DIPA at a very reasonable price. Thumbs way up to Central Waters on this one.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 913 ratings.
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