Illumination | Central Waters Brewing Co.

265 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: 265 | Ratings: 919
Photo of mobius387
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

poured into snifter, march bottle date

appearance: rich golden/bronze in color, frothy white head about 1", little to no carbonation bubbles noticed. the coolest part is you can see some sediment floating around, which is a nice touch

aroma: molasses, pine tree, honey, nutty, a little musty, and some malty background

palate: bitter, boozy, and biting. not great, but at least it satisfies the hop head in me

taste: it starts out nice, some pine and some sweet flavors, but then just ends really resinous. kinda a bad aftertaste, like mouthwash, the booze is definitely loud in this one

overall: not a bad beer, but not up to par with other dipas in the MW, and definitely not any where near CW's BA beers. a nice offering, worth a taste

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Photo of Ri0
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours into mysnifter a hazy copper/ orange color with nice 2 finger white head. It dissipates moderately and a ring lingers around the glass with lacing noticeable along the sides of the glass.

S- Bitter and slight floral hop notes with a very faint earthiness and maybe citrus. I can smell the sweetness of the malts.

T- The beginning for me is strong bitter pine hops followed by a touch of sweet caramel from the malts. The finish is very piney with a lingering earthy and very faint citrus.

M- Nice carbonation and a slightly resinous mouth-feel. Kinda sticky and dry afterwards.

O- One of the better IIPA's available in WI and CW does not disappoint. I prefer the New Glarus IIPA as it is not quite as bitter. If you are a bitter hop lover this would be one to try.

2014 bottle
I had to bump the taste up to 4.75 because it has massive tropical notes this year. Wow! Was there a recipe tweak along with the label change?

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Photo of MattyG85
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Label indicates bottling in March.

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big hop forward mix of citrus, pine, and earthy hops with a caramel malt background. Citrus hops upfront with hints of grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tangerine, mango, and lemon. Also in the hop mix are some hints of spicy pine, grass, and herbal hops. Solid bready malt backing with hints of sweet caramel, biscuit, toffee, and grain. Very hop forward with a good mix of fruit and spice esters. Solid aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a sharp and bitter hop forward taste with a good mix of citrus and earthy pine. Big ripe citrus fruit upfront with notes of grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, mango, tangerine, and lemon zest. Also a big presence of spicy pine resin. Floral, grass, and herbal hop hints as well. Solid malt background behind the big hops. Notes of caramel, biscuit, grain, and toffee. Overall very hoppy with a nice sharp dry bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very juicy and somewhat oily. Very drying and nicely bitter. Alcohol heat is fairly tame with the heavy hops.

Overall: A really good Double IPA. Nice sharp biting mix of hops with a solid caramel backing.

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Photo of cbutova
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Random Philly grab, wish this brewery was available closer to home.

A- Bottle poured into a tulip glass. The beer falls into the glass with a hazy, golden-orange body. A head forms to about one-two fingers in size and fills the top of the glass nicely. The head is a mix between creamy and foamy and retains nicely. Thick lace immediately with consistent patches following the beer down the glass.

S- Hoppy upfront, which should be expected these days. The hops have a big citrus component to them with notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and orange. Apricot, pine, floral and herbal hints as well. A bit of deep caramel malts in the background.

T- Citrus hops lead the way again. The hop profile brings lemon zest, grapefruit, orange peel, pine, flowery and earthy notes. Malt backbone is quite present with light caramel sweets, toast and cracked grains coming to mind.

MF- A moderately thick consistency that has a silky, creamy feel due to a lower-end but substantial carbonation. Bitterness isn't huge but saying it is less than big would be a lie.

Reminds me a lot of the Great Divide IPAs, especially a specific batch of Hercules I once had. Has a bit of a Barleywine feel to it as well with the malts which makes me think of it as a hybrid between Hercules and Avery Hog Heaven.

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Photo of vic21234
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle has a bottled on date of March 2012.

A- Pours a cloudy orange with a half finger of white head. Once the head fades some lacing is noticeable along the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet hop notes, some citrus along with some caramel is noted.

T- Starts off with some sweet caramel-like malt notes before giving way to all hop. The hops seem to be mostly piney in flavor. The citrus I noted in the smell is not apparent to me in the taste.

M- Nicely carbonated, medium-bodied, very bitter on the backend of the sip. The alcohol is noticeable but not bad.

A decent DIPA. A nice offering from Central Waters but nothing I would buy again.

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

I am not sure how old this one was, whether it came from a local trader or out of my cellar. As such, I employed a very gentle pour so as not to disturb any lees that may have been present. I got no head as a result, but it had NE-quality clarity in its light-amber color. Nose smelled of pineapple and caramel, again causing me to question its freshness. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was of minty hops, caramel malt and HEAT! Holy alcohol burn, Batman! This held up really well and could have sat even longer. Jesus, I was openly sweating after my first mouthfeel. I wonder what this might be like young. After a couple of swigs, I began to settle into the spearmint/peppermint-like hops and the caramel sweetness underlying the hops. The heat began to subside, but it remained a big beer. Finish was literally breath-taking. Phew!

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

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Well hazed orange amber color. Two fingers of frothy off-white head. Retention is about average and lots of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Big citrusy hoppiness with orange leading the pack. Pineapple and grapefruit to follow. Clean malts with a light crystal malt vibe.

4.0 T: Like the nose, this is clean and drinkable. It's not too sweet or too bitter. It's just right. Citrusy hops again - orange, pineapple, grapefruit. Some pine as well. Light crystal maltiness with a moderate sweetness.

3.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Could be a bit creamier, but good enough here.

4.0 D: Solid DIPA. Easy to drink and with good flavors.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.29/5  rDev -18.2%
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 YouSkeete
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange/copper with a finger thick off-white head. Fresh aromatic hops, bubbly citrus zest, whole wheat and creamy malts. Big, full, strong aroma overall. Blast of fresh bitter hops with spicy orange peel and honey malts on the first sip. Boldly spicy with a lot of earthy hop flavors. Hop bitterness follows through into the sticky, mildly nutty aftertaste.

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

12 oz. Bottled MAR-2012
Pint glass

A: Illumination pours a hazy golden amber color. Big thick two to three finger head of ecru colored head formed. Nice broken lace cling down the glass.

S: Smell is dank pine with some florals and spiced herbs. Good amount of breadiness present in the aroma.

T: Taste is spicy grapefruit with a real organic leafy herb note. Some orchard fruits. Moderate bitterness. Balance focuses more towards a sugary bread malt character with a lending of Crystal malt influence. Has that caramel presence. Spicy hops. Some alcohol slightly warming and noticeable. Not bad by any means.

M: Medium in body with nice carbonation that gave a real creamy texture and nice sleek feel. Finish is a bit wet with a touch of crisp to it.

D: A solid offering that might already be starting to fall off at three months. Not sure. I would love to try an even fresher sample. Has some real nice hoppy flavors and balance was nice overall. Just a touch more towards the malty side of the spectrum.

Thanks Allen for the MW hook up!

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a hazy amber color with a medium sized creamy tan head. Good head retention and lacing throughout. Aroma of citrus, resin and floral hops, caramel and lightly toasted malts. The taste is citrus, resin and herbal hops with toffee malts. Medium bodied and good carbonation. Dry and slightly bitter finish. Overall, a very good DIPA!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Central Waters Illumination Double I.P.A. India Pale Ale. "Can you say palate wrecker? This double IPA comes in at 108 IBUs as hoppy as it gets with a mouthful of citrus flavors. Grab one today and illuminate your senses." 9% ALC./VOL. Brewed in Amherst, WI.

Well, I've already grabbed, so let's start illuminating. Clouded, apricot-ish hue, smallish head. Looking okay, I'm ready to go.

Oooo! Deep and dank hop bitterness all up in the nose. A massive attack of citrus and pine, grapefruit, orange and lime. Small sweet notes, amid the big, bad bitterness.

Tasting it: Boom, boom, boom. Bitter hop attack spread all over the palate. Slamalamadingdong. Getting tropical now, some pineapple-ish elements emerge, still with a unrelenting hop smack-up.

I like this. Good, if not great. Enjoyable, if not "the best."

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in February. Tulip glass.

A: Pours an orange-tinted gold with good clarity and a half finger of nice, dense off white head.

S: Rich caramel and some pine and citrus supporting aromas.

T: Mostly toffee-like, with little hops evident, finishing with moderate bitterness which overwhelms the other flavors.

M: Medium body and light carbonation.

O: Solid effort. I have to think that a fresher bottle may have shown more of the hop character and subdued bitterness.

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Photo of Lordquackingstic
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from Chefbergo. Thanks buddy!

A: Deep coppery pumpkin color with a fingers head. Solid lacing.

S: Oranges, sweet malts, citrusy hops.

T: Follows nose, very bold flavors with a nice citrus kick.

M: Clean finish with just the right amount of carbonation for a DIPA.

O: Very enjoyable, would love to pick these up around here if they came to NY. Don't let the less than mediocre bottle artwork fool you, this is top notch stuff!

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Photo of IronLover
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep pumpkin orange in color with a deep haze. Poured with a huge rocky white foam that slowly reduced to a soapy cap that left sheets of sticky lacings on the glass. Big citus grapefruit and orange aroma with floral hop and caramel malt notes. Smooth even feel with perfect rich but subdued carbonation. Pungent citrus hops up front with grapefruit and orange flavors. The hop bitterness creates a tangy sensation in the middle as the citrus hops taper and pine hop bitterness grows from the middle to the end. Finishes with a lingering pine hop bitterness and boozy notes as it warms. This DIPA totally overwhelms the taste buds.

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Photo of mikul93
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours a beautiful hazy orange/gold color with a small head that dissipates quickly. Nice lacing.

S Citrus, Pine and malt. It's not bold and in-your-face, but it's a nice smelling beer.

T Lots of citrus. Grapefruit and orange. Malt hits the middle of the tongue. Bitterness hits at the end and lingers. It's a nice linger.

M Very crisp beer. I thought it was nicely carbonated. Medium viscosity. A dry finish.

O This is a solid DIPA. So well hopped that my burps are delicious. (ha gross but true) Definitely should seek this out.

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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 Etan
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

A: Pours a brassy orange with a soft white head. Head recedes quickly, but leaves some nice lacing.

S: Weak aroma of orange, marshmallow, with a hint of bitterness behind.

T: Oh boy, this is a grapefruit bomb. Big juicy grapefruit hits the palate, intermingling with a nice dose of bitterness, malty sweetness, and a bit of peppery alcohol. Malt is quite vanilla-like. Notes of vanilla, peppercorn, raw hop leaf, grapefruit, some orange, flowers, tobacco.

M: Finely carbonated with a good body.

O: A little weak in the aroma, but the taste delivers.

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

A-golden amber color with a nice thick off-white head and good lacing

S-lots of grapefruit with tropical fruit and pine

T-grapefruit, pine, and some tropical fruit with a nice bitter hop finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth silky feel

O-a very nice DIPA with great aroma and taste

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Photo of Nachojon
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice hazy golden color. One finger white head, give off some nice lacing. Great looking IIPA with nice color complexity in light.

S- Not the most fragrant Double IPA, it smells good, it just doesn't hit your nose the way you would hope it would. Some nice warm hops here and a citrusy malt background.

T- Dry hop forward. There is some nice citrus in this one but really not a whole lot going on. It has a pleasant flavor but not a lot of wow factor. I'd say a balanced IIPA if there ever was one.

M- Crisp and dry. The mouthfeel is nice. Obviously wish there were some tongue burn but not bad.

O- I really like this beer. However, for a IIPA this one doesn't stand out the way I would like it to. I could drink a ton of it and it's delicious, just not the best.

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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 Steasy66
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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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Photo of Scotchboy
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated March 2012 from my most recent trade with laymansbeerfan (thanks man!), poured into a New Belgium Globe.

A: Beautiful soft hazy sunset orange with a fingers worth of brilliant white head, good retention and decent lace.

S: Citrus dominates, mango, orange, peach, sweeter hops and a floral bouquet, minor pine herbal notes, and not a trace of malt.

T: First sip overwhelms with bitterness but as your palette adjusts its obvious that this beer is more about hop flavor in the form of juicy, citrus-type hops...tropical fruits, mango, orange, hints of grapefruit dryness, fresh floral hops, with a good amount of sweetness.

MF: Light to medium mouthfeel, refreshing, soft carbonation, moderate-to-high bitterness levels, with some dryness.

O: No real malt presence at this age...this beer is indicative of middle-of-the-country IPA's, and it reminds me of a less-boozy Hopslam with its hop profile.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into CBS snifter.

A) Hazy amber with maybe a finger of white wispy head. This settled to a swirling dusting. Not much lacing.

S) Nice sweet malt, oranges, peaches, a little pineapple. There was some booze.

T) Starts out sweet, orange pineapple, tropical fruits. Nice balance. The hop bitterness follows with pine and grass. The finish is orange rind and alcohol. Aftertaste has some tingle.

M) Pretty thick, a solid medium body, with light carbonation. It's really quite smooth, even with the alcohol.

O) A really enjoyable DIPA. I found it more enjoyable at room temp. The alcohol could have been a little better hidden, even at 9% ABV, but that's a minor concern. I would gladly recommend.

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

Pours a lightly hazed orange color with a quarter inch of white head. Clusters of spotty lace.

The nose is tropical with aromas of pineapple, mango and light pine hops. Sweet malts lie behind the prominent hoppiness.

Clean tropical fruits begin the flavor voyage. Pineapple and mango are seet and juicy. Bitterness rolls off my palate after a short while, allowing some nutty malts to poke through.

The mouthfeel is crisp and dry, but only after the bitter juciness fades. Medium-bodied.

Overall, I really liked the fresh crispness of this brew. Awesome hop forwardness.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 919 ratings.
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