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Illumination | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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262 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: 262 | Ratings: 904
Photo of RonfromJersey
2.7/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$2.65 single from Abe's.

Hzy orange body, topped by three fingers of rocky bubbly off-white foam. Moderate lacing.

Strong aroma is a mix of pine, grapefruit, and alcohol.

Sweet, maybe too sweet, malt beginning. Quick flash of fruit. Overpowering abrasive bitterness. Extreme sweetness returns and battles the bitterness to a stalemate in the aftertaste. Late alcohol burn. No winners here.

Ok mouthfeel, maybe a little light for the style.

A disappointing IIPA.

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Photo of drewba
2.7/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

A - an aggressive pour wasn't a very good idea - we're talking a 4 finger head, but does give me a chance to check out its' white fluffy goodness and shows me that it has decent head retention. The beer itself is a cloudy blood orange color.

S - loads of orange and grapefruit, a hint of alcohol and stale bread with caramel.

T - This honestly has a dominating dish soap and windex flavor that hangs on and won't let go - it even goes into the aftertaste....It's as if palmolive accidentally put their Tropical Citrus & Pine Burst soap into a 12 oz bottle. The citrus in the front is fresh, inviting, bright, highly lemon peel and orange, then a grapefruit and pine bitter comes in sharply and hangs. I don't want to make this out to be a bitter bomb, but it is impressively bitter and seems to be sitting right on the center of my tongue not wanting to leave. A small amount of sweetness comes in the finish in the form of shortbread and caramel, then right back to that soapy goodness/gag.

M - Nice and creamy, bubbly with a pretty hefty body that coats the mouth.

O - The soap aspect dies down a bit as the beer warms, but not enough to redeem itself or for me to ever recommend this to anyone. The underlying fresh citrus and impressive bitter qualities mixed with a very nice mouthfeel are well done, but even those things can't save soap. Fucking soap.

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Photo of hwwty4
2.77/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to CosmoHophead for this one.

I don't know what it is about IPA's and beautiful looking beers. I don't know, but I would bet if you look at my top 10 looking beers, 7 or 8 are IPA's. Really this is one fine looker of a brew. 3 finger creamy white head that leaves massive lacing all the way down the glass. Spectacular. The aroma is massive pine bordering on the pine sol/car air freshener pine. Maybe a bit of grapefruit pith bitterness. I don't know what does it but something just pushes piney hops over the limit to that artificial aroma. Honestly, it really pushes everything else that might help the aroma way back. A bit of bread, caramel and toast all make it through representing it s malt core. The flavor is massive pine. The pine blocks everything else out. Other hop profiles, malt, booze, just everything. Its overwhelming. I've never had a beer that is this piney. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated. I just don't get piney IPA's. They remind me of urinal cakes, floor cleaners, and that powder janitors put on the floor after kids puke. Maybe its a mental associating thing I cant get over. That's really what it is. You couldn't pay me to drink another one.

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Photo of B33R501
2.92/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

We'll have to call this "Tale of two beers".

Very disappointment considering this is on my favorites list from last year. But that was me drinking it from 6 - 10 months of age, when this beer had mellowed into a beautiful vanilla malted bright hoppy beer with a very nice bitterness. But that's a review for another day. Sometimes a hoppy beer needs time, at least for me.

The previous reviewer nailed it. Pretty gold to orange pour, great smelling citrus hops, but what happened to the taste. Way too bitter with a horrible, metallic finish.

Sometimes it's such a fine line between a great beer and a lousy one. The Port Mongo I enjoyed today is damn close to the perfect West Coast IPA. This needs alot of work. Then again I've said before when it comes to this double west coast ipa style you have the Plinys, Stone Ruination, Racer X, and Port Brewing.

So this remains a favorite from last year, this year I'll pass, at least until July or August.

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Photo of bashiba
2.99/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a bright orange color with a big and fluffy white head, tons of carbonation running throughout.

The nose is very mild for a double IPA, a bit of citrus hops and a touch of honey malt, surprisingly balanced.

The flavors are a bit bland for a beer this big, the hops are full of juniper with some floral qualities and not much else, the malt is a light slightly sweet mix of bread and honey flavors. There is a bit of peppery spice and mint in the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick and oily with a fair amount of resin.

A pretty average double IPA.

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Photo of airohead2001
3.02/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to glazeman for getting this one on his day trip to Wisconsin.

A - Thick, hazy, cloudy, dirty, dark orange with a one finger head with nice retention and great lacing. A nice looking DIPA.

S - Not a whole lot here - a bit disappointing. Some mild, stale smelling hops and booze. That's all.

T - Interesting tasting DIPA. Sharp, bitter, piney hop bite through out, particularly in the finish. Very little malts. The bitter hops are most prominent as they bubble against my epiglottis on route to my belly. What makes this one interesting is the finish. Although it is definitely bitter, it is also accompanied by a nutty, wheaty, light pilsner profile. Sort of bizarre, but I like it.

M - Both very thick and very carbonated. I like thick DIPAs, but something's got to go - either the carbonation or the chewiness. Having both around is a bit too much.

D - Overall, this was a tasty and interesting beer. However, the bitterness, lack of malts, and overly intense mouthfeel make 12oz of this beer just the right amount for me.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by largadeer. Thanks, Chris.

From notes jotted after I got home.

A: Pours a clear amber body. Sudsy head with good retention for the style. Some lace.

S: Malt-forward. Caramel, some biscuit, and (interestingly) brown sugar. Hops are a citrus variety with some candied orange and a touch of grass. Some booze on the nose (bizarre).

T: Malt-forward here, as well. It seems to have used a lot of bittering hops, as the clash between brown sugar/caramel and earth/grass sets the stage for most of the taste. Some hop flavors come through (candied grapefruit, as noted in the nose). It's boozy on the finish. After I have some fish and chips, all I can taste are the bitterness and booze.

M: Overcarbonated, and boozy. Malty.

D: Maybe I'm just spoiled, coming from the West Coast. But this isn't a very good DIPA.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at TJs during "The Scraps" this weekend.

The pour gives me a hazy copper beer with a 1-finger creamy head. Sticky and resinous lacing does stick to the glass, leaving a nice pattern.

The aroma when the beer comes to me is full of grapefruit and pine along with a good dose of clean and sticky bitterness. The flavor is similar as long as the beer stays cold, but as it warms, I get an almost overwhelming caramel malt flavor as well as garlic/onion summit hop-like flavors. It's a bit of a turnoff. As the beer warms, the aroma suffers similarly. Quite a shame, as a bit more balance and aroma hops would have really improved this.

The mouthfeel is pretty standard, with the sticky and full texture on with a pretty reasonable level of carbonation. The balance of the beer was just off for me, with not enough hop flavor coming through to temper the flavors from the malt backbone. Also, the summit-like hop flavors just seem off in this beer.

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Photo of Blanco
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

reviewed from notes

amber colored with white head. malty smell with a bit of the hops but not the big hop notes you'd expect from a DIPA. Right off the bat I can tell this will be malt heavy and that's confirmed in the taste. Very sweet with huge malt and caramel notes and a hint of piney hops. Thick, syrupy mouthfeel. I like my DIPAs to be much less heavy on the sweetness and this one did not do that.

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Photo of jdhende
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on March/April served in a Bruery Tulip

A: Pours nice burnt orange with a finger white head and decent lacing on top.

S: Very fresh hop aroma's filled the air right away when I opened it. Also lots of sweet caramel notes.

T: Very sweet Malt opening followed by tangerine and orange. Finishes extremely bitter. Was an overkill in my book

M: Medium mouthful with medium carbonation. Finishes pretty dry.

O: Just an average DIPA and at $12 a 4 pack I will not be seeking this out again.

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Photo of drpimento
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

yeah, I can say Palate Wrecker as well as Tastebud Trasher. Just another crank the hops way up and there you are. Prefer a little more aesthetics m'self. Poured with a nice, white, foamy, frothy head and lots of lace. Color is a clear amber. Nose is HOPS, big grapefruit ( not my thang) with a some malt. Flavor's the same as aroma. Finish is the same as flavor plus alcohol and fairly long. Not a session.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012-02-22 tasting notes when reviewing was disabled...

on a hunt in chicago found these...bottled Feb/March of this year and couldn't resist such freshness (that plus a helpful tip on the deliciousness from a Binny's employee - thanks mystery guy for the tip!)

a - popped the bottle and filled a plastic cup in my hotel room (classy, i know). has the classic ipa orange witha finger of white frothy ipa head.

s - as soon as i opened the bottle, fresh ipa smell filled the room. upon closer inspection, yep...maximum freshness. there is a strong hop presence, but i'm surprised to say that the malts are equally represented very caramel and almost even barleywine like. candy.

t - much like the nose suggests, this one is a very malt forward IIPA. some fruitiness and then a wash of bitterness. all-in-all, not really what i look for in a uber fresh IIPA. i'd say perhaps this is a year old, but i was told it *just* came in so must be fresh.

m - medium bodied, not as thick as i'd expect and the bitterness at the end is interesting, but not offputting.

o - overall, a double ipa...perhaps, but not along the lines of double ipas that are all the rage these days. too malt forward. i'd swear it was miscategorized, but the label says double ipa. not a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, but compared to what's out there for the style, this is average at best. i'll happily drink the rest of my 4 pack, but not when i'm looking for an ipa. i am rather surprised by the high ratings on this one (mmm...unexplained high ratings from the locals - D'oh).

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a beautiful glowing copper/amber color with a finger and a half of fluffy head that leaves webby lacing down the glass.

The aroma is extremely tropical....lots of mango and pineapple. Not enormous or sinus cleansing or any other adjective such as that, but still absolutely fantastic.

The flavor is not quite the blast of hops I anticipated, but it is still nicely bitter and flavorful. The malt profile is light and bready and brings a balance to the bitter, piney hops. In the finish, quite a bit of alcohol heat (acetone-like) takes over. This brings down the overall flavor profile and drinkability quite a bit.

The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is perhaps a bit too prickly.

Overall this one had some promise, but that booziness sticks out like a sore thumb and makes this a beer that I won't be seeking out again. A good attempt I suppose.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful cascading copper rush pour effect with a generous one inch fluffy white head.

Aroma a bit of a letdown--not much for me except muted tropical fruit.

Taste is very one dimensional. All bitter white grapefruit with mediocre malt filling. Nothing even remotely sweet for balance.

Medium body and decent carbonation. Bitterness lingers.

Taste and smell are everything and this is average at best. This should not be touted in 4 pks almost as if its an exclusive find. Store I purchased this from has always been fair in pricing, but this comes in @ $11/4PK...overpriced IMO. I could only drink one and then move on. I will not purchase again.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, DLFarris!

Hazy orange and light copper in color with an off-white head that lasts forever and eventually leaves messy stick all the way down the glass.

Mild aroma, with some light citrus, bread, and caramel.

Bready flavor, with some mild citrus, somewhat high bitterness, and some sweetness. Relatively well balanced, but unexciting.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Just ok.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.


A: Huge rocky head over a bright dark straw body. Sediment visible on the bottom of the bottle. Excellent head retention, generous cover, and thick rocky cover.

S: Pineapples and pine needles. Slightly sweet, and somewhat aggressive, but pleasant.

T: Strong citrus flavor on the front end, pine immediately after and following through to the end. Lingering bitterness, and a very slight caramel sweetness.

M: Light to medium body and fairly high carbonation. Hop astringency is the overwhelming characteristic of the beer's mouth.

D: Great beer to drink one of over a meal. Not really a session style beer even if you disregard the 9% abv.

O: Good beer, but not great. Hop heads will love this beer, but I'm looking for something with a little better balance.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with 1 ½ fingers of off-white head. This retains with a solid ½ finger cap that doesn't quit and leaves back some thick foam that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma is floral with sharp notes of pine and spice and some earthy dankness. Some tropical fruits sit underneath the more bitter aspects of the nose, as does some tight grainy malt. The nose has an alcohol presence to it as well that fluctuates between warm and hot.

The taste is bitter with grapefruit, resins, and peppery spice which then trail off into notes of pithy citrus peel. Underlying fruit is sweet but not overly so and melds with the more herbal character that is present in the profile. Malts are toasted and grainy feeling the back, as the citric fruit flavors bring most of the balancing sweetness to this. This finishes bitter but not harsh, thanks to some residual sweetness that hangs around. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a little heavier, with a light creaminess to the carbonation but this is mostly slick feeling in the mouth. The ABV unfortunately really shows itself as this warms, with a solvent like heat that stings the throat as you swallow.

Things to like (full hop flavors, decent balance) and things not to like (rampant ABV) having me giving this big DIPA from Central Waters a solid thumb in the middle. Maybe that alcohol is better hidden when this has a maximum freshness going on with it? I'd be willing to find out.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good looking non-hazy orange color with a thin stable cap.
aroma is full of crisp orange peels, by far the biggest note coming out. Some floral esters.
Solid citrus and grapefruit with some malts accents to speak of, the malt that is there is a dry biscuity compliment. faintly floral but with a more hardwood persona. "Tastes like Wisconson" Mouthfeel is a bit resiny and sticky, a bit heavy bodied, but not too much.

Above average.

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Photo of beagle75
3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, light amber color with two fingers of diminishing off-white foam head that collapses to a lofty half-dollar-sized pad. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Sticky sweet and resinous, with interesting dark citrus that is more intense than the toffee, butterscotch, and carbon dioxide that are also present. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with piney hops and substantial caramel malt that features a woody flavor. Carbonic acid is unruly here, causing other flavors to seem diluted when they should be rich. The middle is faintly plant-like--reedy--entirely too thin compared to the smell and the early taste. Bitterness in the finish is bracing, tasting of resinous pine with lesser umami. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, acidity is felt fairly strongly on the palate--even in the teeth--with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This is a fair attempt at a DIPA, fairly malty but still balanced, that is undermined by the unappreciated effort of the acidity that is more tasted than felt. It redeems itself late, reminding the drinker that this is a DIPA with some appropriate and appealing qualities to showcase.

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Photo of tempest
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Label notch tells me this was bottled in May. The hop character is really fruity and not terribly bitter, reminding me a lot of the big-hops beers from Avery. Pineapple dominated the hops with just a little citrus and spice round the edges. There's also a smooth bready malt backbone providing a bit of balance, but I think it's too much.

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of BarrytheBear poured into my New Belgium globe(I'm getting deja vu.... hmmm)

Bright orange body with an eggshell colored head

Very big floral hop notes in the nose, some pine but really reminds me of sniffing a gardenia with a touch of sweetness in the end.

Taste falls in line with the aroma, floral hop flavors mingle with a noticeable pale malt backbone, a bit sweeter than I'd go for. Aftertaste is a little more of the floral hop notes, I dunno I'm not that big of a fan. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little stickiness.

A decent DIPA but not one that I would seek out again. I prefer more citrusy and tropical fruit flavors with a big bitterness but this one is a bit sweeter than I'd like an the hop flavor isn't what I'd prefer.

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Photo of Bubba83
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Traded to me by Kegatron. Bottle -> Tumbler around 45 degrees.

Pours a hazy tawny orange, with good sparkling carbonation and a pillowy light yellow 2 finger width head. Darker than many DIPAs I'm used to on the west coast. A thing ring of head persists for a long period of time, and the lacing it leaves behind is moderate.

Smells like a whole hell of a lot of pine and dark caramel. Definitely smells east coast in style, but I haven't had much luck with east coast IPAs lately so I'm hopeful for this guy based on the smell because it's quite good. Maybe not so complex, but good.

Pretty malty for an IPA. Lots of biscuit and caramel flavors along with a tongue twisting raw bitterness. Hops are there at the end, more pine like there was in the nose, and maybe some citrus here or there. I was hoping to get a bit more hop flavor instead of such a raw bitterness, but it's still tasting good overall. Lot of caramel/butterscotch flavor in the swallow/aftertaste and a bit of heat.

The feel seems pretty heavy and damp. This falls in line with a lot of other east coast IPAs and tends to be fuller than the west coast style, and even a bit chewy. I think I like the full body better, but it's less refreshing than wehn I think of most IPAs.

Overall I think this is pretty well crafted for what it is trying to achieve. Seems like there's quite a bit of Simcoe in there. I'm always up for trying these east coast style IPAs/DIPAs, but I generally find the west coast style much more appealing. The alcohol actually does get in the way a bit and negatively impacts the drinkability, as does the bitterness.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a bright light orangey color ale with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of citrus notes with some bitter hops. Taste is not as bitter as expected with some citrus notes and a sweeter then expected caramelized malt base. Body is quite with a nice creamy texture and good carbonation. Well brewed though not as floral or bitter as I would have expected.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
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 Steasy66
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz into Duvel tulip, bottle marked 'March'

A Cloudy amber with lacy white two finger head.
S Floral hops, some malt, hint of citrus
T Sweet, floral and herbal hops, very bitter finish.
M Thick, a bit lacking in carbonation.
O This is a very nice beer, but in a world stacked with amazing DIPAs this beer doesn't stack up. 2nd tier DIPA with a 1st tier price.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.03 out of 5 based on 904 ratings.
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