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 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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Photo of hopoilcrazy
3.54/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

50th review! Thanks, to Shagens for the extra!

A - Straw colored and slightly hazy. Small big bubble head

S - Gummy sort of mint. Sweet. Big "mixed fruit" sort of notes. Hay-ish. Hop oil

T - Viscous sort of sweetness. Notes of chartreuse, orange, tequila, vanilla. A good amount going on, but it is subdued.

M - Good body, not too heavy. Alcohol is totally in check for 9%.

Overall, pretty good. Well crafted, but in the ever growing world of DIPA's it is not that memorable

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 5/19/11

Bottled in March

Courtesy of smurfbeer

Really sharp-looking beer. Sunburst amber with a moderate haze. Two finger puffy, white head drops to 1/8th inch after a few minutes but leaves drippy rings of suds behind. Thin retention; lots of lace throughout.

Notes of pine are apparent, especially while cold. As it starts to warm, the aroma shifts toward citric tones: orange peel, a spritz of grapefruit and a hint of lemon zest. Malts make a sturdy showing of sugar cookie and a little bit each of cracker and biscuit. Some alcohol.

Said alcohol carries over and greets the palate; this is rather hot and it kind of blurs the other aspect of the beer. As it opens up the alcohol is less poignant (at least until the finish) and notes of pine, grapefruit, orange peel and lemon are had. Biscuit and bready malt backdrop. Citrus is dry in the face of the alcohol heat and malt.

Leaning toward the high end of medium bodied. Slick with hops oils and alcohol. Carbonation is moderate and seems pretty much spot-on. Finishes resiny with lingering bitterness and some boozy tones.

Not too shabby at all, I would just prefer the alcohol to be toned down. Tastes just fine but the booze interferes too much. Definitely better the warmer it gets.

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Photo of EnJeiBee
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a slightly hazy copper color with a persistent one finger head and great lacing

S - The upfront piney scent dominates the floral notes that start to take the stage as the brew warms

T - The piney and floral scents are matched in the taste and accompanied by citrus notes and mild astringency due to the alcohol. It's also slightly sweeter than I would've liked...

M - Medium to heavy bodied and moderately carbonated

O - It's a solid DIPA, but not one that I see myself seeking out again. Beyond being sweeter than I prefer, there isn't anything overly right or wrong with it.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date notches on bottle says brewed in March.
Pours a slightly hazy coppery orange with an exceptionally creamy textured two finger head which leaves gorgeous lacing and lasts for quite some time. Sets a gold standard IMHO for IPA appearance.
At cold temperatures, the nose is nothing but Piney Resins hop smell. And I really mean it when I say that that is ALL there is. But once it warms up some, the nose turns into about 60% Pine Resins and 40% Floral Hop scents. Cannot detect any malt, and for this lack of complexity which can be found in other DIPAs it has lost some points in my book. This brew can be used as a good example for demonstrating pine family hop scent aspects to somebody unfamiliar with the way those smell.
While the flavor has more lemony citrus hop in equal measure to the pine cone barrage, there is a strange oily alcohol hotness which wouldn't be a problem if it didn't seem to randomly appear and disappear at odd intervals. Its as if the ABV is alternating between being blended in well and jumping out of a shrubbery and surprising you from sip to sip. That being said, there is nothing I can recall ever having yet tasted which does a better job of showcasing Hops as miniature Pine Trees than this brew! Now unfortunately, the malt gets lost sometimes unless you really look hard for it. It does also have a rather pleasing and sticky thickness to the body that can back up the brutal one-note hop flavor, but once again I say that there are several DIPAS available that pull off FAR better complexity than this beer does.
I'd say that this beer is a promising start which only needs a season or two of tinkering and fine-tuning to truly come into its own.

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Photo of prg1976
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale, hazy straw color. Kindof disappointed in the appearance. Doesn't look very appealing, but maybe I'm just being harsh.

Smells like a mix of pine and citrus hops. Quite a bit of malty sweetness in there too.

Tastes like it smells, with a good bit of citrus and a little less of the piny hops. It is sweet, but it's pretty well balanced with the hops.

Not overly carbed, medium bodied. You can tell it's 9% by the time you're half done the glass.

Overall, it's pretty decent. Not the best DIPA I've had, but far from the worst. I'd definitely buy some again. I don't see a bottled date, so that would be one thing I would change.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Closing up my summer season with primary attention to DIPA. Conclusion that this is a hard style to master. Many average version and few very good or more.
This one has a nicely balanced aroma. Sweet, fruity, citrus and mild grass. Firm malt backing balances nicely. Well done.
Nice dense off-white head. Orange amber and lots of bubble from etching on bottom of SN tulip. Attractive.
Fully bitter with less apparent hop flavors. Drys and lays heavy on tongue. Mild malt sweetness with nice fruit flavor (best part of drink, by far).
Moderate body and carbonated nicely. Drinks thick and reasonable smooth.
Excessive hops can take on odd flavors. This one has something resembling dog poop - old and turned over in the grass. Needless to say I'm not fond of it.
Drinkability is limited due to intensity of the bitterness and flavors I don't appreciate. Can't say I'm anticipating my next bottle. It's only okay, in sum.
In the end I stick with my initial statement.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Bell's tulip

Pours a clear vibrant orange with pillow thick white head. Great head retention and sticky lacing.

Smells of strong floral hops with a tropical fruit finish. Some spicy hops as well. Has a touch of honey and a heavy sweetness. Smells similar to a freshly cut mango.

Floral hops and tropical fruits explode on the palate. Has a biting, bitter spicy finish. For such an astringent and hoppy ipa it has a considerable malt backbone. Goes down like fire.

The mouthfeel has some nice creaminess, but is over matched by an oily thick consistency. Has adequate carbonation, but is yet again hindered by astringent alcohol.

Overall this beer is perfectly suited for hopheads. It's not the smoothest or easiest to drink, but man does it kick. I was put off by the oily consistency and all that heat. Good effort, but it was too much for me to handle.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz purchased at Quick 6 Mt Rose, enjoyed from a tulip. No date marked even though there is a freshness date place on the label.

The color is a peachy golden with rosy hues. The head is rocky cream and measures about 1/2 inch with a tight bead. The lace attaches in a wavy pattern. the smell is floral at first but has a subtle pine odor with slight hints of fruitwith mild caramel malt scent. The feel is highly carbonated with a slightly high bitterness up front and mild caramel sweetness with gentle acidity and subtle dry tinges. The alcohol is mild in the feel as it finishes semi-dry.

The taste has a good hop quality up front with more bitterness than hop flavor with slight candy like malt sweetness echoing as the malt fades quickly into a spicy and slight piney hop transition which leads to a mostly dry finish w/ slight fruitiness from the yeast lingering. This is more spicy in flavor than any of the other hop descriptors with more of the malt presence than I prefer, but this bottle was good. I just wish I would have known how old it was, but the freshness dating was not marked. I still recommend this and think it probably just wasn't as vibrant as it could have been.

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Photo of John_M
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at TJ's the other day.

The beer pours a copper orange color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is also fairly attractive, showcasing orange citrus and considerable tropical fruit. Given the aroma profile with this beer, I was sort of expecting a sweeter style DIPA, and that's pretty much what I got. There is a lot of tropical fruit flavor in this beer, and it tended to overwhelm the hoppy bitterness. There was some bitterness on the finish, and I appreciate the fact that this beer isn't too boozy (a frequent problem with sweeter style DIPA's), but still.... I really felt the sweet malt in this beer dominated the flavor profile, to the point it was a bit difficult to drink. Mouthfeel was medium bodied to full, with a fairly long, malty, slightly bitter finish.

A decent DIPA, but just not made in the style that I appreciate.

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Photo of mnbrewery
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: (8/12)
Very malty for a Double IPA. Surprisingly little hop aroma. Slightly reminds me of a barleywine. Some citrus, but very little.

Appearance: (2/3)
A quite cloudy orange. This beer looks like it could be a wheat beer.

Flavor: (16/20)
The taste is pretty malty up on the front of the tongue. Midway through, the hops show themselves. At the back end, it turns really hoppy and dry. Earthy hops as well as citrusy hops.

Mouthfeel: (4/5)
The mouthfeel is a little heavier than most DIPA's I've had. This version is definitely more malty and less crisp.

Overall Impression: (7/10)
This beer is a nice drinker, but the flavor isn't very crisp and the hops used in this brew would have benefitted from the usage of more citrusy, grapefruity varietals!

TOTAL: 37/50

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Photo of atsprings
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to wedgie9 for the extra. 12oz bottle, notched as bottled in May, into a DFH Signature glass pours a slightly hazy, very bubbly orange with a decent eggshell head that lasts and leaves great lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of fragrant pine hops and burnt caramel malts. The taste is funky pine hops in front of burnt caramel malts, I can't put my finger on it, but this one is just a bit off. The beer is slightly heavy with mild carbonation. I guess this one would be better is it were less than 3-4 months old.

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Photo of jegross2
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Illumination Double IPA from Central Waters Brewing Company.
Score: 86

Bottled February/March 2012 (can't tell; the tick mark is dead center between the two months). Served in a Half Acre tulip glass and enjoyed on 03/03/12.

Appearance: Pours an orange color that falls between opaque and translucent with a slight brownish hue. Held up to light, an orange center is surrounded by a layer of yellow-orange glow. Three fingers of foamy off-white head at pour gradually settles into a foggy cap and clump of head floating in the center. Average lacing, average retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Fresh orange and grapefruit citrus. Orange peel, lemon zest, pine and fresh grass clippings. Some pineapple juice, some oily resin. There's a bit of red bell pepper in the aroma too. 4/5

Taste: Where's did all the citrus from the aroma go? There's really not a whole lot of any flavor going on here. Just an intensely earthy, slightly grassy, hoppy bitterness and bitter orange peel flavor throughout. There's some mellow grain malt too. This beer is decently refreshing and loaded with plenty of bitter, earthy hops, but there's no real midpalate flavor at all. Dare I say this is the Daisy Cutter of imperial IPA's? A little bit of juicy orange citrus comes out halfway through the glass. Lingering bitter finish. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a low amount of carbonation that really lets the bitterness of the beer sit heavy on the palate. Oily mouthfeel with a huge cotton-mouthing effect. Dry, bitter finish. 4/5

Overall: A hop heavy imperial IPA without too much flavor. Smells great, but virtually all of the citrus aroma is totally absent from the flavor. Would not buy this one again.

Recommendation: Hop haters beware! At $11.99 per four pack, I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this beer. Certainly worth trying once if you can find a fresh $3.99 single bottle, but this is not one that needs to be consumed by any stretch of the imagination.

Pairings: Creamy pepper jack cheese.

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden color with a thin wispy head.
Aroma smells like canned pineapples with sweet malts.
Taste is good but sweet. Lacks in the hops dept. so i taste mostly caramel malts. There is a weak hop presence but akin to maybe a pale ale or even amber. there is also a good dose of alcohol warming that lingers deep into the aftertaste.
medium body on the palette with a very aggressive bitterness at end.

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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 Nugganooch
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
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 womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike for sending this one my way.

A: The beer pours orange in color with a big, fizzy, off-white head.

S: A bit sweeter than I was expecting. Caramel and toffee with a bit of bread. Still a pretty good hop character to it. Piney and grapefruit hops with a little bit of orange peel.

T: Like with the nose, a bit too sweet, but still nice hops. Toffee and bread, but plenty of grass and citrus. Pine bitterness as well as a hint of pineapple as the beer warms up.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: I was expecting a bit more from Central Waters, but this wasn't bad.

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Photo of glazeman
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
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 ktrillionaire
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from (massive) backlog. Drank on 7-12-10 when the brew was six weeks old, allegedly.

A - Pours an orange-amber hue, capped with a big off-white head that deposits a good deal of lace as it collapses.

S - The nose is generally citric, towards white grapefruit, but also evergreen-pine-y, resiny and herbal. Pale maltiness provides a very good platform, but unfortunately the hop profile is somewhat muddy, and certainly not sharply discernible note-wise.

T - The taste is pretty straightforward and is somewhat plebeian for the style. It is plenty bitter, certainly, but it is not exhibiting a focused or succinct flavor profile. The pale maltiness is amply understated to showcase a big hop bouquet, but instead it is left to support a vague citric-evergreen bitter impartation. It tastes good, but it is just underwhelming due to the proximity of its potential to greatness.

M - DIPA. Good.

D - A good beer, but not great. Close, though. Focus the hop profile more sharply, and we'd have a big-time winner.

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Photo of tewaris
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottled last month poured into a New Belgium balloon.

Pours liquid gold and with a huge porcelain head. The head recedes eventually and leaves sticky lacing all over. The aroma is very weakly tropical fruity, and metallic? But it does improve with warmth. More C-hop character emerges and makes for a better than average smell.

Off to drinking... I can see that this beer has potential- the finishing notes on this beer are powerfully rind-y and bitterness is UP there! The finish is dry and the body great, complemented by the just right crispness from carbonation!

But what's up with fusels? That's the last thing I'd want in a DIPA. Terribly off putting! Wish it had better to offer.

Overall it's good but doesn't belong among the best of the best.

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Photo of nhindian
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle provided by MilwaukeeCrusher, thanks!

A - Pours a color somewhere between dark yellow and light orange with some straw highlights. A very foamy, 2.5-finger head, eggshell white in color rests on top with very good retention for the alcohol in this. The foam is sticky, but prefers to attach to the liquid rather than the glass, but there are still generous spots of lacing.

S - The smell of this is juicy grapefruit hops mixed with resiny pine tar. It smells pretty dank, but there's also a touch of alcohol in the finish that is a little distracting. Not a ton of malt backbone here, but there is some caramel.

T - As in the nose, the taste is pretty hop-forward, but the biggest problem I have with this is that it is a little hot and solventy. It comes and goes, but is apparent throughout most of the beer. Citrus and pine continue to be the driving hop focus of this beer, and they are just as apparent as they were in the nose. The caramel malts do flesh out here a bit, giving a bit of sweetness and curbing the alcohol a tad.

M - The mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with good carbonation. This is fairly bitter, but doesn't wreck the palate too bad. The foamy head adds some creaminess, and it goes down pretty slickly.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. This one's tough to rate. It's spot-on in the way the hops come across, but the alcohol is just still too hot to push it over the hump, which is a shame. Come for the hops, leave from the alcohol.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
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 Nachojon
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
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 beerthulhu
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

- double ipa. reported 100 ibus. bottled apr. consumed sept.

A: Murky cadmium orange in the vessel is topped off by a thick, frothy, tan head. Slow rising carbonation builds the head, lacing is speckled band with a moderate rate of retention. Covering is skim til the end.

S: Fresh citrus, pine of average strength, grapefruity toasted grains.

T: Flavor was grapefruit flower and toasted grains. Nice level of bitterness, some fresh citrusy flavor, spicy, toasted grassiness with everything blending nicely together. Woodsy toasted pine, the malting is very well done here.

M: Creamy malty, lush mouthful, tight tingly carbonationdry with a flowery citrus coating teasing the tongue. Spicy pine bite afterwards.

O: The nose could of used some more backing, but the balance of malts and hops flavor/bitterness wise made amends. The mouthful was decent. Consumed 5 months past bottling this still held up and showed a strong hoppiness with little fade. Nice balance of lightly dry bitterness mingles with some wet hoppiness with no aging effects. Maybe even better when fresh. worthy a try.

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