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: 921
Photo of e11a627
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
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 +6.7%
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 +8.4%
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 +10.9%
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 +4.2%
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 -8.9%
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 +1.2%
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%
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 +8.4%
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 -2%
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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Photo of beerwolf77
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
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 cvaypai
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to dfh signature glass.

Appearance - Pours with a fluffy white 1 fingered head with some large bubbles throughout. Leaves a wonderful lacing down the glass as I drink. Hazy golden orange with not much visibility through.

Smell - This beer smells absolutely wonderful. Tons of grapfruit and grapefruit fly right out of the glass. I can smell it from feet away. A bit of pine, honey and orange comes through also. A faint little hint of sweet malt.

Taste - Tons of fruity flavors, the grapefruit and the pineapple come out immediately. A bit of resiny pine comes through as it warms along with a great bitterness, albeit a bit harsh. I like the harshness though and the biscuity malt rounds it out, you can't taste much of it, but it's there.

Mouthfeel - The weight is right where this beer should be, medium to heavy mouthfeel and good carbonation. The bitterness bites the tongues and coats the tongue but it's maybe just a bit harsh at times.

Drinkability - For a 9% dipa the drinkability is pretty darn good. 1 or 2 a night is it for me though. I will be buying this again, if that is any indication of its drinkability.

Finally the DIPA I've been looking for out of a Wisconsin brewery.

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Photo of NorthsideFred
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite snifter.

A: Looks great! Pours a rusty orange with a thick foamy white head.

S: Very fresh citrus scent.

T: Delicious! Wonderfully fresh taste. Light, sweet (but not overly so), citrus, not too bitter. I like this a lot.

M: Full-bodied, and perfectly carbonated.

D: Drinkability is higher than just about any DIPA I've ever had.

This is an excellent beer. I had it side-by-side with Lake Erie Monster. It crushed Lake Erie Monster! I don't want to take anything away from LEM, because it is a good beer, but not in the same class.

This is a great summer beer. I need more!

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into SA perfect pint.

A- Pours a crystal clear orangish golden with a big two and a half finger head. The head dies down slowly and leaves great lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A big mixture of pine and citrus hops. I pick up a little bit of the malt base and some nice biscuit. Also seems to be a little orange peel.

T- Midwest hop heads rejoice. Huge amounts of bitter hops punch your tongue right away. The malt is almost nearly no existent. This is not your typical Midwest DIPA. Just a slight biscuit finish.

M- Nice bitterness that you don't usually see from Midwest DIPA's. Medium bodied with great carbonation and is very dry on the finish.

D- The 9% abv is pretty well hidden but this is a pretty intense beer so I wouldn't really want more than 1 or 2 at a time except for my bachelor party in which case I had 6.

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Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade with BarrytheBear. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber with a thin layer of head.

Smell: Not as hoppy as I thought it would be. Pleasant grapefruit, pineapple and mango aroma mixed with a very nice smelling malt aroma.

Taste: Taste is similar to the nose. Heavy citrus flavors of grapefruit, pineapple and mango. Aftertaste is a mix of hoppy bitterness mixed with malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Very good DIPA that was a pleasant surprise. I would pick up more of this if I could. Probably one of the better Midwest DIPAs I've had.

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Photo of portia99
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with mothman. Thanks for another great one Ben! Poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Pours a super clear and bright amber orange color with 2 fingers of dense whipped creamy white foam with good staying power. After a couple of minutes the foam falls and leaves lots of sticky lace on the glass.

S - Tons of pine and some rich citrus and tropical fruits. Grapefruit is up front along with pineapple and mangos. A quick whiff of alcohol, some lemony smells and very faint sugary and caramelly malt in the background.

T - Pine and grapefruit up front. Some sugary sweetness, alcohol, pineapple, and a full and crisp bitterness round things out. Malt is subdued and takes a back seat to the hops, but some sweetness and a light caramel character do make an appearance.

M - Medium bodied with carbonation somewhat on the low side. I'm getting a light prickly feel but also a smooth and creamy fell for the most part. Big bitterness lingers into the aftertaste and dominates. On the inhale I pick up noticeable alcohol, but this doesn't make it into the flavor, feels like it is going to bite me, but then disappears.

D - Overall, this is a very good DIPA. Loaded with citrusy and tropical hop flavors, full of bitterness and just enough malt without it becoming too much of a focus. This one wasn't on my radar, but really glad to have an opportunity to try this. Hope to revisit this one some day.

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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 hardy008
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark gold / light amber color with a 2 finger white head with good retention and nice lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, oranges, sweet malt, and pine.

The taste is grapefruit, oranges, malt, and pine. Same as the aroma. A very nice DIPA. Not overly sweet, and not harshly bitter either. A very nice balanced beer.

Medium bodied, proper carbonation, and the alcohol is well hidden. This is a very nice beer. It falls a little short of the top DIPAs such as Dreadnaught, Pliny the Elder, HopSlam, and Abrasive Ale, but is still very, very good.

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Photo of Mdog
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
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 mothman
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this the other night side by side with PtE, but not decided to review it so I don't mess up any tastes.

Poured into Bruery glass.

Pours 1 finger of creamy beige head. Pretty decent retention leaving some sticky lace rings. Color is a hazed golden bronze.

Aroma:Very similar to pliny. Big hop bite right up front. Lots of floral and pine notes. Tons of citrus fruit flavors. Just a touch of bready malts show. A very nice aroma.

Taste: More bready malts show here than the aroma. A very big chewy taste to it. A strong floral hop profile with an instant rush of grapefruit citrus. Also has some orange notes in there.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter, but also creamy. This was one of the biggest differences when comparing the beers. Pliny didn't have this creamy feel to it. A fairly big body with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a massive amount of hops in the aftertaste.

Overall, I was really shocked with this beer. It is a great dipa and something I would have a hard time believing came out of the midwest (despite the malts showing through a bit). It is pretty drinkable at 9%. Hats off to central waters for this one.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= This is the last of my four pack so I figured now is the time for a review. The color is a nice semi hazy golden amber color with an excellent two finger head on it holding pretty steady with excellent lacing on the glass.

S= The most pineapple I've ever smelled in a beer. It actually smells like pineapple juice to me. What kinda hops were used in this? Other than pineapple I'm not sure how to describe this. A slight citrus slight pine smell???

T= The taste is initally pineapple juice again. Wow, I've tasted pineapple in a beer before but nothing like this. There is a little extra citrus bitterness in the mid pallate and the finish is a little pollon bitter hoppiness but I'm being picky there. This is pineapple all the way.

M= A nice light carbonation. Maybe a little less carbonation would be better but there isn't much wrong with this.

D= Again as I have said throughout this review... This beer tastes sooo much like pineapple to me. The finish does get a little hoppy bitterness to it but the taste is pineapple. Unbelieveable. This beer is worth seeking out just because it's so different.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in an in person trade with millah- thanks!!

A: pours golden with fluffy white head, heavy lacing and good head retention

S: big fruity hops on the front with tons of tropical notes including mango, orange and papaya along with some pine as well. A touch of malt at the end.

T: like the nose, big hop presence up front along with some sweetness. Malts come through in the middle with a hot alcohol finish

MF: high carbonation, medium body

D: another great beer from Central Waters. Nice tropical hops which reminds me of some of my favorite DIPAs. Everything is in balance.

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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 sweemzander
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled in May 2010. Thanks to beerwolf77 for yet another bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a good fluffy white head with good retention.

(S)- A good dry piney citrus with lemon, lime, and pineapple.

(T)- A good dry piney dryness with the same citrus from the smell. Has a light creamy sweetness of pineapple/honey at the end.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Everything you should expect from the style. A good piney bitterness and citrus sweetness.

(D)- A solid DIPA with everything in the right place. A good drinker with a crisp and refreshing feel in a style that sometimes gets too malty. Chalk up another good brew from Central Waters.

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Photo of KeefD
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy tangerine orange color with a two finger white head that stuck around for awhile with nice sheets of lacing down the glass - probably helped that I drank it so fast! Aroma is big time citrus goodness, plenty of orange and pineapple (my favorite hop aroma in DIPAs), malts barely make themselves known, and thank goodness there isn't much of pepper spiciness that I detest in some versions of this style. Great flavor on this brew! Hops are citrusy, with flavors of orange, grapefruit, light pine, and a touch of medicinal qualities on the dry finish. Again, as in the nose, malts are hard to detect, but what does make it's way out can be described as crackerish and bready, light sweetness, and maybe could be amped up a touch for balance. Body is medium, but is bit alcoholic and hot on the finish which makes the body seem lighter than it is. That being said, I've been gulping this thing down awfully fast despite the 9%. Good, drinkable, high ABV DIPA here. Nice job CW!

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.03 out of 5 based on 921 ratings.
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