Illumination | Central Waters Brewing Co.

266 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: 266 | Ratings: 920
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 cokes
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thick, messy, mesa of stained ivory sits on top of the lightly hazed bronze-orange liquid. The head erodes over time, but leaves scree-slopes of lace all the way down.
The nose is all about pineapple, muskmelon, and lime. But the closer one's nose gets to the surface, the more variety of fruit is teased out. Apricot, tangerine, kiwi, lemon, orange, papaya....but those first three do the heavy lifting. Some toffee and breadiness add balance, but stay in the background. As does the alcohol. It's there, and it's not.
Taste-wise, it's re-shuffled a bit. All those same things are here, but in a different order, and with some newcomers.
Maltiness makes some elbow room with caramel, burnt toffee, and dates. All that ebbs as the hops force their way in, and malt takes up a breadier, backing role. Hopping is much more piney and abrasive than it was on the nose. Fruit is pushed down, though melon and pineapple and mango still are still integral. The strength of the hops rest on pine sap and resinous bitterness. The former forward fruitiness is now auxiliary. Earthier and danker now, but the booze is still barely noticeable.
Fleecy, full bodied, given perk and bubble by the steady, low-level carbonation. It's heavy, but it's not heavy. And that's how good DIPAs go.
There is a world class DIPA in here somewhere. It's got everything it needs. And while very good, with a small tweak or two this could be off-the-charts.
In reality, that's all nitpicking, and only because I really like it. I'll gladly hope for and anticipate it's return, as is, every year.

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Photo of boomer31
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Love all of CW 4 pack releases and have heard this compared to Hopslam?!?!

A - Golden and transparent. Little head that leaves quickly.

S - I get some sweet hop fruitiness here but more malt than hops. This is interesting but nice. I hope the 100+ IBUs come forward in the taste.

T - Here are the hops. Grassy hops. A deninite double IPA up front with sweet malt and bitterness only in the back. I can see where some may taste a bit of hopslam in this but it doesn't live up to it. The bitterness lingers but not overwhelming. Also a touch of alcohol which fits nicely in this beer.

M - Nice low carbonation and residual sweetness.

D - This is very smooth, sweet and drinkable.

A nice beer for CW. I would buy this again but won't seek it out. There is some sweetness but I'd like to increase hops in the nose.

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Photo of glazeman
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A: The most orange beer I have ever seen, with a tad bit of amber in there. This has a a one finger creamy off-white head that has moderate head retention and phenomenal lacing. This is a great looking beer.

S: Illumination is pretty good smelling beer. It has a nice floral and tangerines with a little bit of alcohol in there as well.

T: Almost all hops. There's a tiny bit of malt in the finish, but this is definitely a hop lovers beer. The main flavors I noticed were pine, bitterness, and some alcohol burn.

M: A bit overcarbonated for my liking. The aftertaste is not all that pleasant as some alcohol heat comes through at the finish.

D: This beer definitely exceeded my expectations, but was not quite as balanced and well rounded as some of the top DIPAs. It is definitely worth a try if you are in the Midwest and can get a hold of it though. I thought it was a nice drink and would have it again.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into my La Choffe tulip

Pale orange pour is quite clear when hold to the light. Head sinks to a whispy quasar along the surface as a ring settles around the edges. I tend to enjoy the look of an orange-y IPA and this nearly fits my visceral visual enjoyment.

Initial scent of candied orange is short lived, followed closely with some grass and a healthy amount of brown sugar. It's pretty nice, but doesn't stick around long enough to make this particularly memorable.

Bitterness rules the Illumination. With a tongue battering bitterness throughout, this beer's a bit like what I would imagine eating the forest floor might taste like. So hungry from hiking, so famished, near death, need food or ....forest floor. Before you consume nature and have the Sierra Cub all up your business, I have a beer for you that will satisfy your needs. Crisis averted, we can breathe easy and return to the review. When aggressively swirled, some of the brief citrus from the initial nose returns, but similarly, doesn't last.

The palate has been assaulted. Each sips seems to launch an unprovoked bombardment of my tongual region. I did not notice until now that the bottle has warned me that such debauchery would result in my opening this bottle. Shame on my lack of reading.

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Photo of airohead2001
3.02/5  rDev -24.9%
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 ZAP
4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Clouded deep orange color....little head

S-Bright citrus....Mandarin oranges, tangerines, clementines..along with a tropical malibu rum like aroma....very intriguing...

T-Sweet, bright citrus again....same fruits...good hop flavors and a mild bitterness on the finish...not jagged or abrasive at all..

M-Full bodied...this is a sipper...carbonation is about perfect....drying bitterness on the finish.

D-Very interesting and enjoyable. I love the hop flavors. Prettty unique taste to this....I'd like to hear how they hopped this to get these dimensions.

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Photo of blackhawks87
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. This is my first review.

A- Opaque, orange, honey like color. Poured gently producing a white ~1cm head. Lacing on the glass the entire way down. Nice head remains around the edge of the glass, patches of foam are scattered about the middle of the surface of the beer as well.

S- Strong citrus hops invade my nostrils. Also can smell something honey-like, and a malty breadiness comes through as the beer gets warmer. Also can smell peppery hops at the end.

T- Heavily dominated by hops, like I would expect from the smell. I can taste grapefruit and oranges in between lots of hops at the start and a strong peppery finish. As the beer gets warmer I can start to taste white bread and slightly taste alcohol before I swallow.

M- The mouthfeel is what I imagine biting into the hop nugget on the bottle label would feel like. Hop bitterness spreads across my entire mouth immediately, nearly dominating any other inklings of flavor. Carbonation is good. Mouthfeel score suffers slightly because of the hop bitterness, but the bottle warns you it is a palate wrecker.

D- I have to agree with the bottle that this will destroy your palate. I could probably enjoy only 2 of these 12 ounce bottles maximum in one sitting. The alcohol is hardly noticeable, even as the beer gets closer to room temperature. If you could handle the strong hop bitterness you could take these down no problem. Overall I like this beer and I could see myself getting it again, if I'm okay with not being able to use my taste buds for the next ten days.

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Photo of NealVsBeer
4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A beautiful golden-orange color with a one-finger head and good retention

S - Smells of citrus and hops

T - Citrus up front. Pineapple really stands out. Hops and malts to finish

M - Medium-bodied and smooth

D - Overall a very impressive DIPA. This is a must try.

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Photo of Brez07
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz pour into a Portsmouth tulip. Bottled May 2010

A: Tangerine orange hue. Leaves a one finger white head which recedes to a ring not long after the pour. Some spotted lacing

S: Starts with a good amount of fruit - pineapple, grapefruit - followed by some pine and a good amount of malt

T: Very similar to the nose. Fruit hits the palate first, but then the malt comes crashing down. Finishes bitter

M: Medium bodied. Slightly creamy. Bitter, dry finish. Hop tingle stays on the tongue for a while

D: Another hop filled DIPA that hides the alcohol all to well. That being said, it doesn't stand out for me. Definitely worth a shot, but there are a bunch that I'd grab before this

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy orange amber with a thin white head and sticky lacing.

S - Candied fruits, grapefruit and tropical fruit. Resiny hops with a touch of caramel beneath.

T - Spicy pine, resiny grapefruit and citrus hops with a strong malty, caramel backbone.

M - Full body with a dry hoppy aftertaste.

D - Tasty DIPA but a little too much on the malt side for me.

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Photo of tempest
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
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 mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a golden color with one inch of white head.

s - Smells of citrus fruits and hops, tropical fruits, and earthy malts.

t - tastes of grapefruit, other citrus hops, and tropical fruits.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A nice IPA. Lots of nice citrus hops to it. Would like to have again.

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Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tapered pint, it has a fluffy cap that rises above the lip of the glass momentarily. The surface is riddled with dimples much like an english muffin. It's very sturdy and has a creamy texture, also leaving puffy lacing in its wake.

Candied orange, passion fruit, and grapefruit in the nose. Resiny and a little bit spicy. Tastes rich and chock full of resiny grapefruit rind, spicy pine, and oranges. Full bodied and malty in the background. Pleasantly dry and bitter aftertaste, true to style. Firmly bitter with a bigger quaff, it really sticks with you. Very smooth and creamy, full bodied without being heavy. Tons of citrus. Enjoyable and tasty DIPA from Wisconsin... you don't see many of those! To me, O'so's Lupulin Maximus slightly edges this one out for the WI DIPA crown.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into tulip glass.

A: Color is a dark orange with hints of amber. Pours with a 3/4 inch slightly off white head that gradually fades, leaving some splotchy lacing.

S: Ahh, very nice. Greeted with huge hop aromas, pleasant combination of citrus and tropical fruits. Orange, grapefruit, pinapple, mango, etc. Some pine, earthy, almost grassy notes as well.

T: Taste does not disappoint. Hop flavors hit your taste buds early. Along with the citrus and tropical hops, I get more piney hop flavors mid-taste. Some bready notes appears mid-taste as well, providing some balance to the huge hop flavors. A light caramal sweetness is present as well, with some light honey notes creeping as well. Finish is pleasantly bitter and just a light warming affect from the alcohol.

M: Medium to medium-big body, moderate carbonation.

D: Wow, this was incredibly easy and enjoyable to drink. Compared to some west coast styles, I thought there was a touch more malt presence in the mid-taste that distracted from some of the hoppy flavors lingering into the finish. But overall, this was very easy (almost too easy) and enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of e11a627
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a sampler glass from Between the Bluffs beer festival in La Crosse, WI.

A: Gold, orange, hint of canary yellow.

S: This beer is holding a great multitude of hops. Smells so divine. Fresh grapefruit aroma.

T: Instant hop once it hits your tongue but a very smooth, almost strange, finish which was not verry hoppy towards the end.

M: Nice hoppiness. The finish gives a strange/unique taste almost like plastic - Could be the ABV.

D: Delish but not a session beer. Most enjoyable if you want to just have 1.

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Photo of hu5om
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

split 12oz in 2 6oz tasters with newk340
a- fairly clear, golden orange. slight white head that becomes a ring of foam leaving excellent lacing.

s- bitter hoppy orange and grapefruit

t- big hops. peace out, palate. BITTER orange and grapefruit. linger on the palate, but in a good way. light pine taste as well.

m- sharp burst covers the mouth before fading away. average carbonation

d- delic. can't drink too many, but it's got that big hop punch that i love. well done Central Waters. I see the light!

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Photo of newk340
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: a golden hue with a thin head with moderate carbonation climbing from the depths of the 6oz sampler glass.

S: a strong citrus aroma that is very pleasing is omnipresent.

T: a very strong IPA that blasts citrusy hops onto the tastebuds, but quickly recedes leaving a hole in the palate craving more.

MF/D: a subtle buzz of carbonation compliments a smooth finish leaving the mouth 'illuminated.'

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Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky looking body of orange/copper. Thin dirty white head on top. Lacing is quite full. Balanced out aroma that isn't too forward in any specific area. There's pine, but also citrus. Hop resin and also fruitiness, with tangerine and orange providing the underlying fruit aromas. Flavor is quite good and quite balanced as well. Malt base is crystal based and the hops provide a little of everything...subtly. Grassiness, bitterness, fruitiness, smokiness....good stuff all together. The bitterness is not scathing at all. It's there, don't get me wrong, but not too abrasive. This is a well done DIPA. Wouldn't expect anything else form these guys.

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

Picked this up at Woodman's in Kenosha. Was sort of surprised to see a hoppy brew out of Wisconsin, but figured I might as well give it a shot. Label is notched in May, but the first reviews started trickling in after June 1st, so this is probably six weeks old now. Served in my trusty Kuhnhenn tulip.

A - Pours with two fingers of orange-tinged foam that slowly dissipate to a thick, chunky, cap. Nice splotchy lacing is left behind. The body is a hazed light amber color, with tiny bubbles racing up the center of the glass.

S - Lots of citrus zest, tropical fruits, and a hint of pine and grass. Malt character is present, but imparts mostly sugar cookie and a touch of brown sugar as well. Not much in the way of obvious alcohol.

T - Taste is a little less complex, with lots of grapefruit rind and potent bitterness that lingers well past the post. There's a glimmer of tropical fruits at the tip of the tongue, but blink and you'll miss them. There's actually less malt here than in the nose.

M - Tingly carbonation, exceptional dryness, and some definite resinous residual qualities. A touch warming after a half-glass. Body is medium in weight.

D - The bitterness gets somewhat oppressive here. I'm OK with palate-bruising beers, but I tend to need a little more flavor to make it session-worthy. Still, it was pretty enjoyable and I'd be glad to have another bottle down the road.

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Photo of maximum12
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew has been vanished fast off local shelves, & most of the first four-pack I bought vanished into my lovely wife, so I'm going to assume this is good from the get-go. Let's see if it holds up.

Pours the color of an orange Freezy Pop, except clear & unfrozen. Smell is a promising tease, a bouffant of hoppy citrus, pine, & a spritz of zested orange peel.

Illumniation is heavy on the grapefruit, belying the nose, & it takes me a moment to adjust my expectations from one sense to another, both of which were a bit confused. Once my palate has been talked down off the roof, I find this that in addition to the grapefruit, there's a bit of the tropics mixed in; pineapple, maybe mango, other fruit you'd find lying next to a palm tree of washed up on a beach. Hop bittering jumps out from behind the palm after the flavors wander by for one last hurrah.

Good beer. Not the gut-slap I was hoping for, the hops are kind, gentle, & loving rather than sticking their talons up my ass. A good, solid midwestern IIPA.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Another generous extra received in a trade with eyncognito, thanks Ian! Poured into a snifter, the beer is dark orange with a thick dirty white head, good retention, and scattered lacing.

In the nose I detect sweet and bitter grapefruit and a perfumey aromatic quality in addition to pine notes. There's also a bit of ripe orange with a little pith. The malt backbone is caramel in character and it creates an impression of a well balanced Double IPA, lending sweetness.

The flavor is bitter up front with notes of unripened grapefruit and orange, with balancing caramel malt sweetness. Alcohol is evident in the finish, but it's well integrated in the well balanced flavor. The finish is bitter citrus and sweet caramel malt. The beer is medium bodied with a soft, sticky mouthfeel and a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall, a well balanced, quality Double IPA that is definitely worth a try. I'm enjoying this take on the style quite a bit after drinking so many dry west coast style DIPAs lately. My only complaint is the ugly label.

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Photo of theghost3
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to XaulZan11 for this.

Poured into a snifter. Appearance is slightly hazy orange with a 2-finger white head. Lots of lacing.

The smell is strong of juicy grapefruit hops at first, then the smell kind of takes a hiatus before coming back with piney hops and biscuity malts. The taste is grapefruit and pine hops with some honey, alcohol and medicinal qualities. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, somewhat sticky and smooth.

This is a drinkable DIPA. Beautiful appearance with a nice grapefruity hop profile. Definitely not a session brew with the high ABV and rich flavor. Pairs nicely with blue cheese.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle (bottled on 05/2010) into a snifter glass. Pours a nice dark golden/orange with lots of carbonation and a big soapy head with good lacing. Alot of perfumy, citrus, pine resin hops in the aroma with some caramel malt sweetness. I get some dark fruits and citrus flavors with some sweet caramel and honey. This has a nice smooth full mouthfeel that finishes with a good hop bite. A pretty nice DIPA that doesn't fall flat with the hop bitterness. Nicely done.

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Photo of pdoran10
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beer pours out a deep, thick dark golden color with nearly a full finger of lovely sticky head. smell is mango and citrus with resin. really pungent and exciting. taste is a bit of a let down compared to the smell. i get resin and a hint of pine strong up front with slight grapefruit as an afterthought. taste doesnt seem to follow the smell. mouthfeel is thick but good for a double ipa. drinkablity is good, but will assault your palette with hops the hop flavor isnt good enough to overcome this.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 920 ratings.
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